Wednesday, April 30, 2008

All triggered up and no place to go (just yet)

Took my HCG trigger shot at 8:00 tonight. I'd been feeling a smidge nervous about doing the IM injection myself, but last night I had an epiphany. It went something like this:

Why worry?

So I didn't. Just mixed and jabbed. No prob.

Now I finish getting ahead on work enough to leave it alone from Friday (ER at 7:30 am) through Tuesday. DH's flight tomorrow will get him home by noon. He is exhausted, so we need to get him a nice nap.

Today's appointment report for those who follow such deets:

7 follicles at 18–20 mm
2 follicles at 15 mm
3 follicles at 12–13 mm

Dr. L will do the retrieval. I'd hoped to get Dr. K (my RE), Dr. D, or Dr. L. So I'm happy.

I had a tough time not crying on the drive home. I kept having strong surges of happiness/hopefulness about where things stand, remembering the "sick" from how things went before, and generally feeling hopped up on hormones. One minute I'd laugh at a corny morning-radio bit, then I'd be angry at the cell-phone user slowing down traffic. Just about lost it when I heard a clinic ad stressing how most patients don't even need IVF. ("Hey, chances are you'll get pregnant just by MEETING our super-smart staff!" Yes, I exaggerate.) Then, while finally walking into the house, I caught myself whistling. I don't whistle, btw.

DH just may get his wish of witnessing some authentic drug-induced mood swings!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Moving right along

Had my now-daily clinic fix first thing. The follies are behaving themselves. We looked at 12 total: 9 possible egg-carrying vessels at 13–15 mm; 1 at 10.something mm; and 2 "cuties" (the NP's word) trying to get in on the fun at around 7 mm.

I had to slap myself (in my head) to keep from squealing.

Will get measured again tomorrow, give blood, and have an acupuncture session. Same thing minus the acu on Wednesday, to which all signs currently point as trigger day.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Diagnosis: Irritation

Added Cetrotide .25 mg to the injection cocktail yesterday and had a tee-errible night. Throughout the evening, my Cetrotide injection site was tender and rashy. Then I woke up at 12:30 feeling HOT (but not in any of the good ways) with an abdomen out-to-there and swelling/painful burning & itching in the nether-est of regions. Tried but just didn't need to use the restroom, so I drank a bottle of water and a glass of cranberry juice right away. I was able to start purging some fluid fairly soon, but it was another 3 hours before I was comfortable enough to even try lying down again. Nothing in the house to use for the nethers. Not enjoyable.

Turns out all that is just how some ducks react to mixing the Cetrotide with the stims the first time. Antagonist protocol? I'll say.

Day 8 bloodwork and ultrasound first thing tomorrow.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Follies on the brain

I had a sleepless night Tuesday, just counting the days until today's follicle and bloodwork check. Recovered with a great sleep Wednesday (partly because the acupuncturist gave me a special sleep needle, mostly because I was exhausted). Then I had a freakishly great day on Thursday: Highly productive at work; lots of energy; positive attitude; loving feelings toward all humankind; thinking it didn't matter how things went with the cycle because I was just so damn lucky to be alive and should be grateful to even have this experience. (WTH on that last part! Must be the drugs.)

Last night (still Thursday), I fell asleep fine, but then I awoke at 3:00 (stupid Friday) and resorted to counting the minutes until my 8:30 appointment. I lay there just tuning in to my ovarian sensations and trying to cheer on the 11 follies counted last week. "Come on, my pretties. All together, now, grow, follies, GROW!"

I tried visualizing them, but I didn't really like the true-to-life image. Sometimes I'm just better with the figurative, so after a bit of psychedelic drifting, er, clever word association, I began thinking of the perfectly symmetrical and synched-up chorus lines from old-time stage follies. I want my follies to behave like those pins, all crazy-in-step and full of vim. And you know, from the prominent, buzzy twinge-y feelings I have on both sides, I think they are.

The appointment went well from the "poor responder" POV. All 11 are still there, with 7 currently out in front, of fairly uniform size (10–12 mm), and on track for maturity by ER in another 6 or 7 days. The 4 lagging behind (6.5–8 mm) are close enough to surprise (yay) or drop off completely (boo, whatever). My lining looks good. Didn't write down the individual follie sizes/placements or ask about the E2 number because I'm leaving some details alone. I don't need to do the math, nor can I do anything to affect it.

The rest of the day? It sorta stunk: Spent my acupuncture session resenting the 4 hours out of this day I spent at/getting to and from the clinic; spent WAY too much time in the pm dealing with all things IVF (new appt schedules, meds reorders, trying to guess the ER date for an anxious DH); totally ignored my sister's perfectly well-intentioned phone message asking for an update — I felt inexplicably annoyed to get it; got very little quality work done; and wore a frownie face, mostly, while walking my just-happy-to-be-outside-and-sniffing dog in gorgeous weather at a picturesque state park.

"Must be the drugs again," I told myself tonight. I'm sure they're playing a part. But really, I know that even though I was indeed happy about today's monitoring appointment, deep down all I've been doing since is wondering if there's anything even in them thar follies.

We'll see soon enough.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Home alone

It's strange going through all the cycle motions with DH on the other side of the country (and only marginally in touch). He sent an email early this morning that just said "How's the pooch?" Didn't realize until later on the phone that he wasn't talking about the dog. He meant my injection "pooch." (Ha.) Which, by the way, is already markedly bloated on Day 2 of stims. Not complaining yet, though. I'm still in a state of active gratitude that I'm not on Lupron for this round. I know I feel better. Hoping that means I'll keep more of my sanity as things progress.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Game time

Wasting some time while acting as the go-between for DH and the clinic about the IVF and cryopreservation consent forms he faxed last Wednesday from the road. DH faxed and got a confirmation receipt, yet the clinic "can't put fingers on the forms." Grrr. Anyway, saw this time-waster a while back on Tracy's blog — now seems like the perfect time to propagate it.

my name is:

relationship status is:

favorite color is:

celebrity crush is:

favorite princess is:

favorite adult beverage is:

dream vacation is:

when I grow up I want to:

Saturday, April 19, 2008

And this little piggy went, "Good luck!"

Today is CD 1, marking the official beginning of our second IVF cycle. I'd thought (and hoped), it would start on Wednesday. That would have meant not only that I'd had a normal-for-me natural cycle (this was only a 9-day LP!), but also that DH would have a better chance of getting to fly home for ER at the least inconvenient time for him.

But such goals were not to be. The body does what the body does, eh?

My stims phase starts Monday. My nervous-stomach phase starts now.

Like my good-luck pig?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

With apologies to T. S. Eliot and those who enjoy good haiku

April is the month
that cruelly sprinkles dull roots
with hope for new life

The photo shows the cap from my vial of Cetrotide 3 mg. I chuckled at its message as I mixed the potion tonight, which — once injected — left me with an itchy red welt.

Monday, April 14, 2008


Just feeling good because my suppression check went smoothly today. Everything looks normal. The only "cyst" was this cycle's ovulation follicle. It's small and collapsing on itself as I live and breathe.

It was Dr. L's day to see patients. He measured the cyst/follie, poked it from every which-way to see whether it hurt (nope!), and said, "That is a nothing. Everything looks exactly right for where you are in your cycle." He counted 11 small resting follicles, all of similar size (!!!!!!!!!!!).

When I said, "This is starting off so much better than last time," he smiled, clenched his jaw, and gave me a firm fingers-crossed sign. Then he said, "There are no guarantees." I told him to shut it and let me enjoy the difference 2 months make for a moment. All in good fun, of course!

Had a great acupuncture appointment afterward. My liver qi was especially good, said J. I was glad because I took a teetotaling break over the weekend. I didn't drink much at all, but it was more than the nothing I've been having per my own set of rules (the clinic says moderation is fine right now). It's just that DH and I went to a professional baseball game, and I don't think they sell soda pop at the stadium. They didn't at the bar we went to afterward, either. I am choosing not to punish me for disobeying me (and not thoroughly checking out the soda option)!

I'll give myself a 3-mg Cetrotide antagonist shot tonight. Stims start 1 week from today. And I will be visualizing, meditating, praying, and mostly muttering my brains out from here on out.

Suppression check in 5 hours

Will I be cyst-free? Will I get the go-ahead to do a Cetrotide injection tonight? Will my cycle calendar start to firm up? Will I need to explain the billing mix-up again in order to pay the amount originally quoted and NOT the one that's $2K higher? Will my wait time for this appointment make me late for my acupuncture appointment afterward?

I'd be okay with a yes on all fronts.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Pretty sure boys freak out when girls cry

. . . during, uh, you know, a bit of the ole "wink wink, nudge, nudge."

Actually, my boy doesn't realize I choked back tears for the whole during last night. Apparently there was no way for me to pick the ideal time, place, or situation to finally have a nice breakdown. It was a while a-coming.

My eyes leaked hot, stinging tears. I held my breath and bit my lip to try to stay quiet. I repositioned myself to keep from choking. And DH, god love him, had no idea.

That cry started with me deciding I'd had my FILL of On-Demand Hanky-Panky. I've been fine with ODHP for most its 4.5-year reign at our house. But I hit a big wall after the February IVF and since then have NOT been on task with it. It seems ludicrous to even try that approach anymore, because doing so implies some expectation that sex with your husband might result in conception. More proof that that scenario is never going to play out for us, I do not need.

I also cried . . .
  • Because I hadn't yet had a real cry about the dismal ER. I wondered, "What is wrong with me that I haven't managed a proper fit about THAT?"
  • Because we're not allowed to TTC this cycle and I'd gotten a positive OPK stick, making it the so-called perfect time to get busy for procreational purposes. I'd also had some ovulation spotting, which — according to popular TTC lore — means you might just be "extra fertile" that cycle. (Riiiiiigggghhhhhht.) We're not allowed to take advantage of any dropping egg because if we got pregnant, the Cetrotide I'll shoot up with next week would kill the fetus. And neither of us wants to be a baby killer.
  • Because as I focused on hating the "protective" condom, I couldn't help bitterly thinking how absurd it was to even imagine we'd get to the fetus part under any circumstances . . . and also how even more absurd-er it was that I wanted to say to heck with the love glove to see if we could beat all odds by getting pregnant on our own and watching our miracle bean survive the baby-killing drug. Wowie, wouldn't that be a swell story!
  • Because the only reason we DTD in the first place was to prepare DH's pipes for making a sperm bank deposit — just in case his plane goes down while he's trying to get home for a fresh deposit on ER day.
  • Because DH — who never pulls this crap under normal circumstances — tried to "forget," and clearly hoped I would forget, that we needed to DTD last night to accommodate HIS work issues and all the complications they've added to this project for the last, uh, entire time we've been working on it.
  • Because I admitted to myself that it sometimes makes me mad that all DH ever has to do to further this whole ride is ejaculate. (Yes, I DID just say that!) For crying out loud, the very serious Rx for his severe MFI is frequent ejaculation. Boo-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo.
  • Because I pictured my life if DH's plane goes down — and for a moment, I didn't hate it.
  • Because I tried to focus my thoughts elsewhere, but my mind refused to take me anywhere I wanted to go.
It's true, I covered ALL that in my secret-but-right-in-front-of DH's face cry. Impressive, yes? :)

Then I pulled myself together. I felt perfectly calm and composed, ready to stake out some personal space for the night, until DH snuggled close and sweetly said, "I do love you, you know." His simple show of affection knocked my composure back down on its arse.

It reminded me that we're among the lucky ones. And THAT'S when my sobbing really began. DH asked what he could do, I said nothing, and he just stroked my hair while I let it out.

It was a good night for both of us, I think.

POST SCRIPT: By its very nature, this whole blog is based upon personal issues. Even so, I still keep lots of things to myself. I almost didn't publish this entry because it's stuff I would typically send to my personal journal. I waited two and a half days before coming back to decide for sure. I figure the experience couldn't be more IF-specific. So I'm posting it for anyone out there who might have had a similar experience and is wondering whether anyone else out there can relate. To you I say, "I can relate. I do relate. And I know that we are totally normal."

Friday, April 11, 2008, 6:00 pm

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Breathe with me, people!

I took the day off today, mostly, and as lovely as that sounds, I almost wish I hadn't. I do so much better with the IVF process (even just the gearing-up part) when I have pressing work.

This morning, I got through to all the people I wanted to talk to yesterday. Which is great because it solidified plans. But it also made everything Real, and left me with nothing to do but
  • answer 3 short work emails
  • seriously consider but not follow through with doing laundry, running errands, mopping the kitchen floor, actually working anyway, cleaning my office, and mopping the kitchen floor (yes, considered that twice — you would too if you could see it)
  • FREAK myself right on out
Ah, well. Had to happen sooner or later. Guess it's time to breathe.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Ring, dang it all, ring!

I'm 10 days away from my estimated suppression check — so the real flurry has not yet begun — but I'm already needing to stick close to the phone just to stay on top of things.

Nobody involved on the other side of my IVF process EVER picks up the phone when I call. I spend what seems like a lot of time sitting through very long voicemail announcements leading up to the beep. Sometimes I pass out a little and miss the beep. Other times I suffer a minor blank out and hear the beep but forget whose voicemail I've dialed in to. Today, though, I was fresh enough to get all my messages recorded and, presumably, deposited at the back of a long queue.

People who hold small bits of my future in their hands that I would like to but won't hear from before the day is out:

My acupuncturist, J. I need to set up this week's 2 appointments. I wanted to do this Friday with J's assistant M, but M wanted to touch base with J on the weekend, call me herself on the weekend, and then have me call J on Monday. Okay. Convoluted, but I can adapt. Now I just need J to call me back, which always seems to take 2 days.

My RE, Dr. K. I want more information from her about the timing of my upcoming Cetrotide shot. I am not satisfied with the nurse's assertion that my ovulation date doesn't matter and that we only need to go by my typical cycle length. Especially since Dr. K initially described the protocol as starting at 7 DPO. I could press the issue with the nurse, but I just want to cut to the chase for an explanation better than "it doesn't matter." If it doesn't matter, I want to hear it from Dr. K because she will at least give me a why.

I also want Dr. K to okay the banking of an, ahem, sample from DH before he flies away to the opposite coast next weekend. DH has planned to fly back as soon as it's time for me to trigger. He WILL be here for ER and fresh-sample donation. But a popsicle in the freezer would help us both let go of niggling worries that his flight will be delayed or WHATEVER.

My financial counselor at the clinic, C. She and I thoroughly discussed costs before DH and I got the cycle balls rolling. But I received — from a different financial counselor — a bill that does not reflect the credit amount we have with the clinic, the base fee C and I used to calculate costs on the phone, or the 10% discount I get for being a repeat customer. The bill is about $2K higher. And I'm not having that. I don't anticipate a problem, really. Just a "Sorry for the error," which is all I think it was. But still, it took me 2 weeks and 5 phone calls to get the first cycle total in the first place.

My fertility-meds pharmacy rep, A. We discussed everything from the giant Rx order before the ship date, but I received a couple of things I asked them not to send. Nothing big, just a second sharps container ($30 is $30, and I told her I didn't need it) — oh, and narcotics I'm allergic to and don't intend to pay for.

Everything is going fine right now, really. Despite this maybe sounding like a bunch of complaints, I don't have any big ones at the moment. Just the one where I say WHY IS THIS PHONE-TAG GAME SO CONSISTENTLY ONE-SIDED?

Ring, dang it all, RING!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Remarkably, I had not heard this one

Will I be able to overcome my lifelong distaste for clowns (don't even get me started on the song "Send in the Clowns"; CAN'T stand it!) in order to sway the IVF odds in my favor??????

Not bloody likely!

DH plans to pick up the necessary supplies on his way home. You know, just to be safe 'n' stuff.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

For some of life's interludes, love is the drugS

Opening my second shipment of "love drugs" made me nostalgic for the days when DH and I thought love WAS the drug that would turn us into a family someday. This Roxy Music video takes me back to a night in April 1990 — 18 years ago! — when DH walked me to his place (a teeny-tiny wreck of an efficiency) to call me a cab.

It was very late — past closing time at the pub where a group of us met Tuesdays for burgers, brews, and boisterous fun. The weather that day had been unseasonably gorgeous, making it possible for us to be the first group of "summer" to hold court in the bar's iron-fenced, cobblestoned beer garden. (At least until we started freezing and had to go inside.) All of us were either out of college and high on the first blush of total independence, or in graduate school, excitedly nabbing fellowships and grants and talking about changing the world through scientific research. Everybody in the bunch was happy, carefree, and eager to explore the seemingly wide-open field of possibilities ahead.

That particular Tuesday party broke up much later than usual. (It was a weeknight, we did have places to be the next morning, and we weren't the kids we used to be!) Under such circumstances the boys typically made sure the girls had safe passage home, and DH volunteered to look after me that night. We were 23/24 then and wouldn't start dating for another couple of months. Back at his place, I started getting to know him on a more personal level than I had before. We talked and laughed, then we talked and laughed some more. DH showed me, hilariously, how he functioned in that 10' x 10' box of a living space. I got to hear the feral cat living outside his window, screeching and moaning, just the way DH had actually NOT exaggerated at the bar. We discussed families, big plans, all the usual stuff.

And then DH showed me his entire album collection, one by a hundred and one. I teased him about drawing out the exhibit to spend more time with me. He didn't deny it. He just forged ahead, tossing aside "an old girlfriend's" Belinda Carlisle album, and then stopping to lovingly present his prized Roxy Music LPs.

Seems I was the first girl he knew that had ever heard of 'em. It's such a small thing, but I swear that silly shared moment of "I like Roxy Music, too!" helped seal our fates. Things started feeling awkward, so it was time for me to go. We listened to "Love Is the Drug" as I waited for my cab.

Over the next several weeks, I frequently asked whether he'd invited any other girls in to see his "etchings." He remained adamant that I was the only one who'd EVER fallen for that one. We regularly saw each other for group activities (of which there were many) and even a few one-on-one "friends" outings. We were already in love. But it wasn't until June of that year, just after our first real date, that DH would officially take charge of my safe passage home — from any location or life situation — for good.

I picked a recent performance video of the song because it looks like we're all still going strong.

These probably won't go in the photo album

DING-DONG! Next-Day-Air Drug Supplier Calling!

Pup thinks return address looks legit. Box stinks like the last one. Recommends opening parcel at once, as Big Red Sticker instructs.

Additional BRS advice inside.

Message to DH: "Honey, if Joe stops by while I'm out, please shut the guest room door. I left a big mess on the bed."

"And if you offer him a beverage, DON'T let him help himself."