Monday, March 31, 2008

It may not be all good, but it's not all bad, either

Right from the beginning I wanted to keep this blog on topic. To stick to infertility and, more specifically for the time being, my last-gasp attempts at ART. It's a little depressing to read, though, isn't it?

Well of course it is! IF sucks old dirty rotten donkey eggs. (No offense to donkeys. Really, I don't know where that came from.) There's nothing bright and sunny about the topic. If I'm not whining — er, blogging — about my inability to do the ONE thing my body was uniquely created to do, I'm worrying about the emotional and financial tolls 4.5 years of failed TTC efforts have exacted. Or I'm venting about my state's lack of mandated coverage for medically necessary fertility care. OR, I'm reminding myself that it's illegal for me to snatch that tiny, helpless, perfect, crying infant I saw today in the park — the one whose mother kept slamming down her book so she could lean over the stroller and say "SHUT UP."

All that stuff is honest and comes with the experience. It helps for me to express some of it. But I often find myself looking for positive things to write, on topic, too. It's hard to pull off, though, because most of my happy thoughts and news have nothing to do with my theme here. I want to add a different dimension, but I kinda can't and sorta won't. While every day looks like a bad day when viewed through the IF lens, I think writing about that life angle every day is not the best thing for me. So I don't. Except when I hit a streak where I do.

The point to all this? Good question. Let's see if I can work out an answer.

IF takes up a ton of space in my life, to be sure, but I work on staying rooted in the reality of my WHOLE life, both what's going on now and what the future may hold. I'm grateful that IF hasn't erased the rest of me, and I guess maybe that's where I'm going with this today:

I don't know how this IVF will go. I don't know what we'll do if it fails. I can't predict exactly how the pain from these "infertile years" will color the rest of my life. What I do know is that, no matter what happens, I won't be denied a life. Because I already have one. And it's a good one, at that.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Holding pattern

Very little topical-to-the-blog business going on this week. Waiting for the new cycle to start, which could happen anytime from NOW (nope, not yet) . . . to NOW? (psych! another false alarm) . . . to early next week.

I wish someone would name that Aunt Flo fake-out feeling, don't you? Wonder what Braxton & Hicks are working on these days. Ah, well, Wikipedia tells me I had it wrong. BH is NOT a researching duo and not nearly as contemporary as I'd imagined — it's just one guy who is 200 years' worth of dead.

Dang, that was such a logical condition-naming choice, too:

"Oh, my dear young girl, you're not really getting AF right now — that's just what we experienced ladies know is Braxton Hicks AF. Don't worry, you'll KNOW when the real AF shows up. Why, soon you'll be looking back on all these Braxton Hicks AF feelings you're having, and you'll just LAUGH . . ."

I'd submit corporate heavyweight Procter & Gamble as a good second choice, but I fear their only interest in raising awareness about this widespread (yet largely misunderstood) thang would be financial gain. I can imagine them leveraging the sponsorship into a bid to get women to use some form of feminine protection every single day of the year for the rest of their natural lives. Oh wait, they already do that.

So, since Masters (dead) & Johnson (not dead yet but likely still mad at Masters) no longer work together and Ashford & Simpson appear to be busy running and performing at their NYC club, I WILL JUST HAVE TO HANDLE THIS SITUATION MYSELF.

From here on out, I officially capitalize the Aunt Flo Fake-Out Feeling and, thus, will freely and easily acronym-ize it as AFFOF. To be pronounced, by me, with an accented first syllable, as in AFF-uhv.

Back to work I go.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Say it with me: "April stimsies bring May eggsies"

Catchy, huh!

We concluded on Friday that this IVF process will begin with my next natural cycle. Originally, I thought we'd get going with a progesterone test as early as tomorrow. I didn't realize that the first antagonist shot would occur then or that the appointment would serve as my suppression check. A bit clueless about the workings of the new protocol, I was.

I told the nurse coordinator that DH and I had TTC'd this cycle. Actually, to back up, I was questioning why she wanted to do the progesterone test "4 or 5 days" before my next AF instead of doing it at 7 DPO. Her response was that it was just easier. I disagreed, as my cycle length can vary by as much as 6 days and my LP by 3. Going by my ovulation date sounds much simpler to me. She said, "Yes, but then you'd have to know when it happened."


I told her I was already 4 DPO, and she said "What makes you think that?"

What makes me think that. Seriously? I guess women who don't track their cycles do end up at the Fertility Clinic. They must. But really, would you expect a 42-year-old woman TTC #1 for 4.5 years to NOT be testing for every last dang ovulation she has left?

"Fertility monitor, OPKs, typical signs, you name it."

"Ohhhh," she said, "Did you guys try to conceive this month?"

Sure did. Had I understood ahead of time that the first antagonist shot was given during my LP (when some might argue there is a minute-but-there chance that I could be pg), I might not have. But I did not and so we did. It.

That's why we're waiting. The suppression check will be about 4 weeks from now, give or take some unknown number of days for this LP to ride itself out and my next ovulation to occur. (I'm still gonna tell the nurse when that happens, whether or not she wants to know.)

DH is a little disappointed that we aren't starting right away. But I'm not. I feel better about having more of a break before stimming it up again. I can get in a few more acupuncture sessions, let my body regulate itself, and do whatever I can to encourage healthy May eggies.

Punny P.S. The nurse warned against engaging in further, um, activities (you know, the type that get other girls pregnant) "without protection" from here on out. I shared that with DH, who has promised to go out and buy a gun.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Today I'm grappling with an issue of work, finances, energy, and emotional health. How do all those things affect an IVF cycle? And me?

I'm a freelancer, so I'm constantly hustling to keep a steady workload. Work begets work, and all that.

Well, a major project of mine was slated to finish up by the end of March. Now, though, it has been extended by 3 months and the client just offered me the job of seeing the thing through to the end. The pay is good. It amounts to, naturally, the exact cost of our IVF cycle. (Why does it have to be that very amount? What does that MEAN, mighty Universe?)

I want to say yes, because that is how you keep your business going. It can be feast or famine, and you never know when the next dead period might hit. If it's a good deal and you know you can pull it off (even if that means you put in long, long days), you say yes.

On the other hand, I want to say no. I had a TERRIBLE time keeping it together during the last cycle attempt. I wasn't overly emotional or stressed, but I was impossibly distracted. That Lupron messed me up. Somehow I accomplished all work goals, but it was rough going. Should I really set myself up for that a second time?

Here's the part where I talk myself through it.

Possible reasons to accept the job:
  • I won't be on Lupron this time.
  • I've done this before and might be better at it a second time.
  • The money on top of other expected income would make those 3 months particularly lucrative for this or any year.
  • This would be extra money that we weren't factoring in when we decided to go ahead.
  • Taking it keeps me in good with a client I want to keep happy.
  • I think being super busy helped me not obsess too much over the last cycle.
  • If things don't go well with the cycle, having the extra work may help me cope.
  • Work may indeed be the only thing I have to keep me busy in my old age, so I should focus on that.

Possible reasons to decline the job:
  • I will still be on drugs, one of them new. I don't know how I'll feel.
  • This would be a heavier workload than I had during the last cycle. It's really too much, and my list should stop here.
  • I should create breathing room where I can, and not be the catalyst for my own suffocation.
  • I have enough other work lined up anyway.
  • This would be extra money that we weren't factoring in when we decided to go ahead.
  • I've already made this client happy.
  • I can't do everything just because it's there.
  • I can't do something just because the client wants me to. (This is a different concept than the one above.)
  • After 15 years in the business and 6 working for myself with maybe 2 too-short-for-my-liking dead times, I need to acknowledge that I am not in a feast-or-famine situation. I can get more work.
  • What kind of crap attitude is that last point under "reasons to accept"?
The Universe (or its minions) is toying with me by dangling that exact cycle fee in my face. If it was any other amount, it wouldn't stand out as anything but extra work I don't need. But because it equals the cost of IVF, I'm in the position of choosing money and meaningless pursuits over sanity and my best shot at getting my heart's desire. Something Else over Me.

I'm calling the Universe's bluff and choosing Me for a change. Now is as good a time as any to mix things up.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Back to the blog, back to the IVF life

Technically it's been 10 days since my last post, but I've interacted with the blog since then. Gave it some special one-on-one time. My Blogger dashboard shows 3 half-finished posts and 1 over-finished manifesto. I'm moving that to my private journal before somebody gets hurt. The other bits originated under the influence of flu and probably weren't going anywhere anyway.

Guess what? As my title suggests, we've decided to try IVF one more time. The decision-making process was complicated, but we're doing it, for better or "we'll be okay." Good result, bad result, we want one good try on the books before turning the page.

We're working through whether to start right away or wait one more cycle. Timing-wise for DH's job happenings, it would be better for us to get going asap. But biology (mine) will trump convenience (sorry, Giant Aerospace Company). Dr. K wants a confirmed natural ovulation as the cycle go-ahead, so I'll get a 7 DPO progesterone check next week. Not sure if we check for cysts then or wait for Day 3.

I'll follow the antagon protocol this time: no BCPs, no Lupron (amen!); Ganirelix to stop the LH surge; Follistim and Menopur for stimulation; HCG trigger; Medrol for assisted hatching; PIO for progesterone support.

Here we go!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Baggage: What dreams are made of

So, I've been pestering the clinic for a detailed accounting of where our up-front IVF cycle money went, and most important, EXACTLY HOW MUCH WE GET BACK. The money is an issue and does affect our next steps. Because we went no further than ER, we should at least get money back for things like ICSI, AH, embryo coddling/fertilization reports, transfer, and the beta finale. That's my position, anyway. Nobody did any of that stuff. The clinic is happy to help but is taking its time getting me the info.

Yesterday's mail brought a note from the finance department, so we thought "Finally, here it is." Wrong-o, it's a BILL. For $20. Due upon receipt. It's strange because it's listed as a copay x 2 for a date neither of us went in. It looks like they successfully submitted a charge to insurance after the fact, though. We'll see, more money back for us, perhaps. I expect to know where we stand early this week.

For old time's sake last night I dreamed about the doctor who wanted to treat me to a hysterectomy for the "leaky faucet" he so expertly diagnosed 22+ years ago. I said no to the uterus removal and got a godsend of a second opinion (chronic hemorhagging clearly due to removable fibroids), but not before I'd let him spend a year pursuing myriad ineffective procedures while my life, health, college career, and relationships suffered. I was young and desperately trying to make everything work, and I just kept taking that doctor's "medicine" for too long.

The dream started with me sitting in my home office. My phone rang: Dr. Leaky calling. He wanted me to stop into his office, which was — conveniently enough — suddenly located in my laundry room. I trotted right on over to talk $$$. Oh no, sorry, no refunds for the IVF, he quickly explained. He then handed me a plain white envelope (clearly from my own stash). He encouraged me to put the $20 right on in there; he figured that was easiest since I had the cash in my purse. I said, "What exactly is this charge for?" And he told me it was for the extra unplanned hour he'd recently spent thinking about my case and concluding that he'd been right all those years ago . . .

Turns out I have money issues, lingering emotional baggage, AND the subconscious of a simpleton. Nice!

I happen to know that Dr. Leaky is long dead. I woke up rolling my eyes at him for taking time out of his afterlife to rattle some of my rusty old chains.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Friday funny

This Onion headline made me laugh this morning:

"New Blog Gives Much-Needed Look Into the World of Geoff"

It sums up what I was thinking about this blog just yesterday. I mean, who cares?

Not that I'm stopping yet. But I've been a little sick of myself lately.

Here's the hilarious audio. Hoping other bloggers/readers enjoy it too.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Catch you on the flip side, Bloat!

Yesterday marked 2 weeks since stopping my IVF stims, and it was the first time since my October 2007 myomectomy that I felt totally comfortable in an unforgiving waistband. (Can you say "persistent BLOAT"?) It was also the first time since then that DH and I managed a typical weekend, with no medical stuff to think about/react to . . . and no work previously derailed by medical stuff to catch up on.

The weekend was good: Relaxed-yet-productive days with cozy nights. The dog even got some special attention — 4 neighborhood walks! freshly laundered bed covers! surprise trip to the off-leash dog park! raw lamb patties! tooth brushing & ear cleaning! hooray!!!!!

DH will be home soon, and we'll have a typical Monday leftovers dinner. I'll probably mention something about Bloat taking flight (I will save it for AFTER dinner), and then we have a date to look at his travel calendar to make our TTC/we-think-DH-must-be-home-on-these-dates plans for the next 2 or 3 months.

I purposely avoided the whole "What the heck are we doing" topic over the weekend. That in itself is a little bit hard to believe, but what's even harder to believe — if, like me, you are privy to the way things work around our house — is that DH brought up the topic. Twice that I permitted myself to notice.

Time is not our friend, so we have to keep moving till it's time to stop. But I'm not sorry that I took 2 measly days to live a normal life, NOT think/talk about all things we're-never-getting-pregnant-but-what-else-is-left-to-try, and wear jeans that fit. I feel stronger for the break. And a lot less bloated.