Thursday, December 31, 2009


We are taking a much needed break in California, where I intend to go to the gym like crazy, have several lovely massages-spa treatments, and eat and drink yumminess.

I'm in LA now, which is fun, but I'm super excited to go to one of our fave places and hear the ocean while we are drifing off to sleep. Somehow I believe that being at the ocean will help restore my slightly crushed spirit.

Since I am bberry only for a while, that means that I can read but not comment... So be well and know that I am rooting for all good things for all of you!

Happy new year, and may it bring peace and happiness to each of you.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Moving forward (not so much)

I've titled this post moving forward, but I'm not entirely sure that it's true.

Much though I try to not feel horrible about not succeeding on our very first IVF try (and a very conservative transfer of only 1 5day embryo), I do. I feel horrible, and I am not doing a very good job snapping out of it.

I guess I just thought that, statistics to the contrary, that all of the hard work of the shots and acupuncture, and changing my eating habits, etc, etc. would work. Because they HAD to work. Because I really really wanted it to work and am a nice person and would make a pretty decent parent.

But it didn't, and I am just miserably unhappy about it.

I've been trying to do things that make me feel better, but instead I am just lying about wallowing. And eating cake. While baking the cake was fun and therapeutic, eating the cake is making me feel like a cow, despite the fact that I have gone back to the gym twice since Thursday (and I swear I am going today, just not until I eat another piece of cake.)

And tonight we have a birthday dinner for a friend from college and I've just been told that she is likely to announce her pregnancy to the whole group (she's about to hit 12 weeks). I'm really happy for her, but now just sadder for me. And I'm not sure whether I feel happier or sadder that she got pregnant naturally, after having conceived her first child through IVF and then recently failing an IVF cycle with frozen embryos and having none left on ice to work with. Because while I do think it's amazing and wonderful for her, I'm not sure why a little of that luck can't come my way. Why can't I catch that break?

At least today I spoke to the RE and got the green light to move ahead on the FET... today is day 2 and on day 21 I will start Lu.pron (fun!) for a transfer in Feb. But February? That is eons away. I can't believe how long everything takes. Infuckingfuriating.

Oh yeah, and did I mention that I had a ridiculous fight with the Boy that I basically started because I was unhappy about the recent pregnancy news? So just when I need him to hug/ talk me back into feeling ok, he's out running errands and cooling down? Fuck. This sucks. I wish I could just be happy for people instead of feeling sorry for myself all the time. (I know -- I can do that, but right now it's just hard.)

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Snake eyes

It didn't take.
Needless to say, we are pretty disappointed.

I'm trying not to wallow (although I just bought all of the ingredients to bake a cake tomorrow, so I guess that's sort of wallowing...) but I'm sad. And I feel sorry for myself. And generally resent the people who just get pregnant really easily.

The bright side?
- we have 2 5day blastocysts hanging out in the freezer
- we took a very conservative approach this time (only put one embryo back in) so statistically, this was more likely to not work than to work
- It was only our very first try with either IVF or IUI, so we learned something about how I respond to the stimulation drugs (and I responded pretty well, also a good thing).
- On our vacation over new year's, I can sit in the steam room/ sauna/ hot tub all I want, and I can drink.

That's all the bright side I can come up with. I'm sounding better than I feel, but I'm guessing that soon the effort will be too much and I will get all weepy again.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Back to CVS

Today is 7dp5dt.

I made a special snowy trip out to the drugstore because I am going nutty.
And when I got there, I stood in front of the home pregnancy test section for about 5 minutes today, debating to buy or not to buy.

I chose to not buy.

I am seriously frozen by fear by the possibility of knowing the outcome. I'd rather just get my period and find out that way.

I've googled every possible symptom I am having, and they are all related to progesterone, so there is no reason to believe that they are real and not due to the 200mg I am taking daily.

My gut says to be prepared for a negative on Wednesday.

On the plus side, I got a job. More on that another time, but I am pretty pleased!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Double Ouch

Ever since about 4 hours after the trigger shot, my boobs have been killing me. That's how I knew the HCG was in my bloodstream, because I got up from the sofa and immediately flung a protective arm across my chest.

This is not your average "I'm about to get my period" hurting, this is no shit "if I don't strap these down in a jogbra they may break off" hurting. And it's not getting better at all... And may be getting worse. Case in point, I am wearing my pajamas and my jogbra. To bed. Again. I would wear the bra in the shower if I could.

I wish I could say "ooh look, an early symptom that this worked" but since it's been going on since before ET, even at my most delusional I don't think that I would buy that logic.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Final count

Another one made it to freeze, so we have 2 5-day blastocysts on ice.

Not bad for an old girl, I guess. I'm just hoping that all of the attrition is done, and that each of the 3 left is good baby-making material.

Since I am pretty quantitative, here's the final rundown, with numbers:

18 eggs retrieved
17 fertilized via ICSI (94% retained)
10 fertilized on day 1 (59% retained, 55% of retrieved total)
8 still going on day 3 (80% retained, 44% of retrieved total)
5 blastocysts on day 5 (62% retained, 28% of retrieved total)
3 good enough to freeze/ use (60% retained, 17% of retrieved total)

So our percentage attrition from retrieval to "good enough at 5 days enough to possibly become a baby"? 83%.

(incidentally, as I was re-reading this, I had a "12 days of Christmas" moment. So now I am humming that to myself with the words replaced. Oy.)

I wish like hell there was some place where I could compare these numbers to some sort of averages and then see associated live birth rates based on numbers of embryos transferred. Because I am in the throes of an obsessive Google-a-thon, and that sort of data, or an article that talks all about regressions and correlations is just what I need to keep occupied.

(If any of you know of such data, please let me know where I can find it!!)

I think I am going to step away from the keyboard and bake something. Seriously, my fingers are going to start to bleed soon from too much typing.

Monday, December 14, 2009

I'm weirdly calm about today's transfer. Actually, aside from some low-grade anxiety yesterday about how the embryos were doing, I have kind of enjoyed this process the last few days. Because there is nothing I can do at this point, and so stressing out is only going to make things worse. Mostly I am just focusing on creating a warm, comfy nest for the embryo to snug into.

So here's the deets:
As of this morning there were 2 blastocysts grade 4bb and 3 others that were also that same grade, but didn't quite look as good. So we went with our gut and transfered the best looking one. We definitely have one on ice, and the three others were going to be looked at again late today to make a decision on whether they are good enough to also freeze.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little bit worried this morning when they told us that the embryos weren't super high quality, but like I said, there's nothing I can do at this point, and so today I've been lying around all day thinking about how I am going to keep busy during the next 9 days.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

And now we are 8

As of yesterday morning, our 10 embryos had gone to 8, and all of them looked pretty good. Good enough that they waved me off of a three day transfer and we are going in tomorrow morning for a 5-day version.

Things I am anxious about, but can do nothing to control:

- I have no idea what they looked like on Saturday am (were they 4, 6, 8 cell??) because I was awakened from a fairly deep sleep by the call from the RE's office to tell us to not show up and, well, I'm not at my best at that time. All I know is that the RE who called said that there were still 8 embryos still in the game, and they all looked alike enough that it would be hard to choose which ones to select at this stage, therefore waiting until 5 days would allow the better embryos to present themselves. Which is all good, and makes sense. But I wish I had asked where they were in their splitting. And unless you have an emergency, it's pretty much impossible to get anyone to talk to you on the weekend. So I know nada about where they were on Saturday.

- I know that there will be more attrition between Saturday and tomorrow, and that is what is supposed to happen, but what if they ALL are gone by the time I get there? I made a lot of eggs, and I know that number of eggs produced and age are the two most important prognostic indicators of ivf success, but AAARGH it makes me sort of anxious that they all might suck, since I am now 39.6 years old.

What has really taken up most of our time thinking about is how many to transfer. We have a strong bias against multiples. That's just our personal perspective, and its informed by our own situation and experiences, so we have been thinking through all of our options for this round. We're also really lucky in that a relative is a RE at a big clinic in Boston, and he was in town and we were able to spend a lot of time with him today asking questions and discussing our options.

So it really all comes down to what the little guys look like tomorrow. Nothing to do at this point but take my progesterone and wait....

Thursday, December 10, 2009

10 little indians

As of this afternoon, we have 10 fertilized embryos hanging out in a dish in the lab. Apparently they did ICSI on 17 eggs, and 10 took. Not a bad batting average.

We are scheduled for a transfer Saturday (3rd day), but they will call us early Saturday am if they want us to wait until Monday. I guess they schedule everyone for 3 day transfer, and then take a look at what is happening on the morning of Day 3 and make a decision.

It's kind of bizarre to think that little clumps of cells that could one day be a child are sitting in a lab right now. The Boy refuses to get emotionally invested and thinks its all some combination of hocus pocus and scientific theory until I'm officially pregnant, but I can't help be sort of excited that the cellular building blocks of our potential offspring officially exist already.

On the more prosaic matter of how I'm feeling, well, I'm feeling much less crampy than yesterday (there were a couple of moments that made my eyes water), but still am all swollen and bloated. I'm really starting to miss the gym (which I think is actually shocking, and I deserve a medal for even writing that). I'd love to get back there, but the RE and nurses made me promise to wait a few more days.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Retrieval day - updated

18 eggs were retrieved today, which I am feeling very positive about. I'm sure that there will be attrition in fertilization, etc, but it makes me pretty psyched that we are starting with a large number.

The drama this morning came when, as I was sitting in the recovery room.... Long story short, but all worked out, and its a good thing we live only 10min by car from the RE :-).

And now? Lovely husband made me brunch and I am parked on the sofa with a heating pad and a whole lot of liquids. There is definitely a nap and a movie in my near future. So far, I feel pretty ok, but have had a couple brief episodes of rather spectacular cramping. Somehow, I didn't expect that. But I'm just pleased that now my grapefruit-sized ovaries can shrink back down and stop being so uncomfortable.

There was a nap, and 2 fluffy movies, and the boy made dinner and bought me an enourmous cupcake. Yippee!

Monday, December 7, 2009

34 - Update

34 is the number of needles that will be inserted into me by the time I go to bed this evening. Here's the breakdown:
-1 blood draw
- 30 acupuncture needles to keep energy happily circulating
- 1 pre-filled gan.irelix syringe (and does anyone else find those needles not as sharp as you might wish?)
- 1 and meno.pur cocktail
- 1 ovidr.el shot later tonight

Yep -- tonight is the night and I would be lying if I said I wasn't somewhat nervous about the monster needle. I'm also somewhat nervous about the Boy wielding said needle, since he has done exactly zero of my injections and keeps talking about the syringe like it's a javelin or something. So if you hear screaming at 9.35 EST, that will be me after my husband takes a running stab at my rear.

After an anxiety-producing slow start, it looks like there are about 10 follicles over 15mm on the right (largest are at 19mm) and about 6 on the left (largest also around 19mm), but some are smaller and likely won't catch up. Honestly, I kind of lost count, since there was a certain amount of discomfort from the vagicam required to get those numbers. But whatever it is, it's more than zero, and that makes me happy.

I'm just trying to relax and feel part of the process and not obsess. I think I might watch a movie or two just to keep my mind off of things...

We're on our way!

Updated: shot wasn't that big a deal! The Boy was so nervous that I actually ended up doing most of it -- he was in charge of the plunger and then pulling it out. I have to admit that I watched about 10 online videos before he came home to prep, so was mostly prepared.

Yay for us!

Friday, December 4, 2009

My walk home

This is an older photo from earlier this year when the leaves were still on the trees, but I took the same walk home today and this was my view. (This photo has pretty cruddy resolution since it was taken from my bberry, but you generally get it.)

Today was my official last day at work, and even though I don't know what's coming next, I am at peace with my decision to leave.

Perfect evening.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Mind over matter

Last night I went to dinner and a play with my MIL. We saw Let Me Down Easy by Anna Deveare Smith, which was really excellent. Depressing, but excellent. And while it did address the inequities in our health care system, as well death and dying, it wasn't a total downer, and in some ways was very empowering. So if you can, go see it.

Today, when I woke up, what was in my head was the Ann Richards character saying "It's all in my head, whether I have a good day or not." And so today I was determined to have a good day, because if she can have a good day even while fighting a losing battle with cancer, I should be able to get my whiny act together and have a good day too.

And so it was a good day, and is still a good day, and hopefully I will go to sleep and still feel content.

The follicles will be what they are, and this cycle will be what it is, and I'm doing everything I can (acupuncture, no caffeine, lots of sleep, lots of water, moderate exercise, blah blah blah) and so worrying about it isn't actually helping.

I really want to hold on to this sense of peace, even just for a couple of days.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


I'm feeling a bit sad and wistful today. Couple of things going on, I think, and so I'm sure I will just ride this out, but I can't exactly say I am enjoying it.

My formal last day of work is Friday. That means I have to give back the laptop and bberry. Also, since we use lotus notes, that means that if I want to save an email, I have to forward it to my personal account. Hence, I have spent the last several hours reading through over 5 years of old emails and choosing especially important ones to forward on and save. There's a lot of history in there, and I'm so sentimental that even making a decision to delete some of these is hard. Basically, I am shutting a door on part of my life, and that always makes me sad. I'm very happy to be leaving, and am essentially already gone, but it's just weird to say goodbye to a place that, for all of its challenges, was one of the best places I could have ever hoped to work.

Other reason for sadness? Aside from the gloomy grey weather? Had a talk with one of the REs today in response to my concern about the low follicle count. She agrees it isn't the response that they expected, given my numbers, etc., but is still pretty comfortable that we could get a few good quality embryos out of this cycle, assuming the little guys catch up to the bigger follicles. I guess we will know a lot more tomorrow, but I don't exactly feel a whole lot better about things. So I am just trying not to obsess about what my ovaries are doing.

I guess through all of this, what provided some comfort was that all of my numbers were very good and that I appeared to respond well to at least some of the drugs. And now that things are a little less positive? I am not sure what to think any more about the likelihood that this will work. I guess I'm just becoming convinced that this won't be easy at all (yeah -- that was clearly naivete on my part) and that I may not be one of those women who get lucky on their first cycle.

Breathe in. Breathe out. This will work. Maybe not on the first time, but it will work.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

First stim check

Things appear to be moving along, which is pretty good. From this morning's US (after 5 days of and men.opur) here's what we see:
-right ovary: 2 follicles < 10mm
- left ovary: 1 at 13mm, 1 at 12mm, 1 at 11mm, 2 < 10mm
- lining 6mm

I know it's early, and I'm sure I'm just being my annoying overacheiver self, but wtf is with the right ovary? Seriously, this isn't all that great, and it makes me worried about this cycle.

Trying to relax, and went to acupuncture and had a good sleep, but still not entirely sanguine about these numbers.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

TSA surprise

Last time I wrote, I was all sorts of anxious about going through airport security with my pharmacy supply worth of drugs and needles. Turns out no one cared a bit. So for all of you women out there worried about traveling with your injectable medication -- worry no more, at least if you are flying to either Newark or Cleveland. My suggestion is to carry note from the RE just in case.

But shouldn't someone care that I brought 6 syringes with large mixing needles, 5 small needles, and a mandoline (Japanese cooking tool with very sharp blade for slicing vegetables) with me in my carry-on luggage? I certainly don't feel a lot safer in the air.

But other than that, Thanksgiving was wonderful (more on that later) and I'm 4 days into my stim shots. Turns out that the men.opur/ cocktail stings a bit going in. But overall, not too bad.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Back in the saddle

OK, really, I mean back in the stirrups, but that sounds so much less fun.

First off, I want to belatedly welcome everyone here from ICLW. Here's a quick rundown of our TTC history:
- Spring 2008 deal with random mystery endocrine system issues. Everything checks out ok after I give about 3 gallons of blood, but thyroid levels are moving all over the place.
- Got hitched in Nov 2008. First time for both of us (everyone asks) but we are getting up there in years (I'm 39 now, the Boy is 45)
- Pulled the goalie in Aug 2008, and counted on the empire waist wedding dress to hide any growing bumps. Hah.
- Tried every month until January, at which point my OB gave me a full work up, which was all good, although the Boy's SA was kinda eh.
- Failed 5 months with Clo.mid, although one of those months I was out of town during the key days, so it doesn't really count. So let's call it 4. With a bonus month of useless pills that made me fat and crabby. But respond really well to clo.mid (made >9 eggs first month)
- Refer to an RE, who double super checks everything out. As do the other two REs we go visit to get other opinions.
- Consensus is to jump direct to IVF.
- Give it a few more tries before getting started.
- Learn lab is closing for a few key weeks during the months we want to start
- Oct I finally begin Lupron. On Day 13 of the injections, still no period, so go in. Evil cyst on left ovary. Damn.
- Stop shots. Three days later, bleeding starts. On cd2, cyst miraculously gone, but running into Thanksgiving travel with this cycle, so hang out on bcps for 2+ weeks
- Stop bcps today. Starting stims on Thursday 26 Nov. Back into RE on 1 Dec.

Oh yeah, in June 2009 Boy loses job. In Sep 2009 I begin my 4 month severance period at my job, which I quit, and so our income and our insurance all run out soon! Woo hoo!

Tonight I will pull the box o' meds off the shelf and go get all my meds ready for our big plane ride. Man are they gonna love me at security. I have a "special dispensation" letter, but I still think that it's going to be a shit show on the day before Thanksgiving.

So that's pretty much it. I'm very excited to be starting again, but woke up ridiculously early this morning (4.30am) for no apparent reason, and so am honestly too tired to feel excited. Need. nap. now.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Turning a corner

Ok. It appears that my week of drama is over, and I have regained my personal equilibrium, as has the Boy, and that everything is back to good.
So now my attention is going back to le cycle.
I've been really trying not to count every last second of the bcps, but I have. I'm pretty freaking psyched that I have only two pills left, because this long break from any real forward progress has left me feeling pretty convinced that our someday baby is just a figment of my imagination. I mean, I'm taking birth control pills for gosh sakes. Because yeah, we apparently needed help not getting pregnant. Actually, we did a good job of not getting pregnant all on our own, thank you very much.
I know I know -- I chose this path and could have been practically at transfer already. But things have been so crazy with job hunting, and Thanksgiving travel is imminent, so I still think this was the right decision . But not doing anything to create our mystery baby just puts it more and more distant in the future, and I'm just ready to get on with it already.
I keep taking out all of the meds and looking longingly at the needles -- I actually miss the shots and can't wait to start them again. I'm super excited about packing everything up and doing all of the chemistry experiment mixing (my favorite toy as a young girl was a chemistry set, so I guess it should be no surprise) when I am at my Mom's for the holiday. She has just redone her guest bathroom and has promised me a whole drawer and loads of counter space for all of my paraphernalia. I'm getting all happy just thinking about it.
After this cycle -- and my enthusiasm for it -- came to a screeching halt with the evil cyst, I guess I'm now allowing myself to start getting excited again. Let's face it: I AM excited, because maybe, just maybe, it will work. One thing is for certain, it's certainly a whole lot more likely to get us our mystery baby than these damned bcps. So here's looking forward to another appointment with the vagicam on Monday. I'm ready to get this show on the road.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

3 mile island

It finally happened this week -- our long-anticipated meltdown. I think that all of the stress that I have been really trying to pretend wasn't there finally got to us. I've been doing such a good job of being willfully ignorant of what is really going on with us that I have only now actually acknowledged that things are very very tough right now.

And much though I hate to say this, what pushed me over the edge from blissful ignorance to the-sky-is-falling hysteria was actually the Boy. And I understand his perspective -- really I do -- but I just can't deal with it right now.

I'm lucky. No shit, really really lucky. I have a very good resume, a strong network, and have gotten two job offers without really trying that hard. But neither job is right, and the recent offer is definitely low-balling me on salary. And, incidentally, I really don't want to do the work that the job entails. So I told the Boy I was thinking about turning it down, and he said "you know, if you do that we will have to move -- we won't be able to afford to live here."

Now I get it -- he works in finance and that job market is just a shit show. And he has been out of work since January and looking really hard for several months, and has exactly zero real leads. Nada. Zilch. And I just walk into an offer (seriously, I did practically nothing) and then cavalierly suggest that I will turn it down, even though I have nothing else confirmed yet, but do have several things moving forward nicely. And that freaked him out that we will have to start dipping into our savings, which we have not had to do yet.

So his anxiety about being in a deficit situation ran headlong into my anxiety about taking a job that I am not excited about. And that was a rather combustible collision. Turns out that both of us are, in our own very different ways, completely freaking out about the fact that we don't have steady jobs, and are about to dip into savings to keep things running (like eating and stuff) and are, at the same time, about to start an ivf cycle. Which could (and hopefully will) result in a baby, and while that is crazy exciting, is also a scary thing if we don't have jobs.

How did this happen? We have 3 graduate degrees from 3 fancy-ass universities. We work hard. We are good at what we do. We save our pennies and don't run up debt. So how has it happened that we are struggling so damned hard for everything right now?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Freaking out

I had something approximating a panic attack last night. Why? Because my severance runs out in 2 weeks, the job I just got offered isn't a great fit, the Boy still has no prospects for work, and I am trying to get pregnant. via IVF. with my insurance that I will start having to pay for in 3 months.

oh yeah -- and I live in the most expensive city in the US (New york) and am careening into my 40th birthday.

what the fuck am I thinking? I think I am finally breaking under the stress.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I have three major projects going on right now:
- find a job
- lose weight and get into better shape so that I feel and look better
- have a baby

Now, each of those projects takes a fair amount of time and energy, and not all of the goals are actually consistent -- case in point, I would prefer not to be starting a new job and pregnant at the same time, but I guess that's just the way the world works out. (Note the implicit assumption that both of these things will work out pretty well in the near term. Still holding out hope that everything will just work out ok.)

So I've actually made a good deal of progress on these, and I thought I'd share what's going on.

Starting with the "don't be such a fatty" project, since the beginning of September I have actually lost the 12-15 lbs I packed on this past year (I was clearly unrestrained in my consumption) and am in better cardiovascular shape than I have been in a while. My flexibility and strength are coming back steadily and I feel pretty good and can fit into my clothes. I just have 10 lbs more to go to reach the 30-year-old goal weight. One annoyance: I apparently overdid it on some of the weights and aggravated an old shoulder injury, but I'm back at PT 2x a week, and so that is good all around.

The baby? Well, we've acknowledged that we need a little help, since our monthly efforts were not paying off in a reasonable time period. That was a pretty big step for us, especially the Boy. And although IVF v.1.1 had to be cancelled earlier this month b/c of an evil cyst, we are still on track to finish a cycle by early Dec. I just went back in yesterday because I was having some painful cramping on the left side, which was site of evil cyst, but both ovaries look good and quiet, which is how it all should be with the bcps I am presently taking. I'm back in on Monday and then start stims (assuming period comes after ending bcps) on the 26th. Right now, I'm just trying not to be focused on the baby making because there is really nothing at all going on. Just more waiting and a daily pill. No shots, no drama -- nothing.

Lastly, the job. Now, let me preface this by stating that I would be perfectly happy not to work any more, ever. I think that I have put in enough hours of working in the last 17 years since I graduated college that it should cover me until I am at least 55. But since the Boy's job search is quite slow, and we do need food and shelter, I am looking to head back to work. And I got a second job offer yesterday, and have a whole bunch more interviews set up this week, so I hope to receive another couple of offers in the near term (before year end). Woo hoo!
I'm overall quite pleased about how things are working out, and while I wish that I could have a little bit more certainty in my life, this is a positive step forward.

That's it from this part of the internet. I like forward progress, and so am pretty happy about where things are. Off to another interview... (is it bad I'd rather have a nap?).

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Today is our very first anniversary (yep -- I waited until I was 38 to get hitched, and the Boy was 44).

Aside from the whining in the last post, it's really been quite a fun year. We've actually had just a perfectly lovely day, and a really nice night out last night. Today we went to one of our favorite brunch places today and then went to an art exhibit, and then walked home in the sun through central park. On our very first weekend we spent together, we did the exact same thing, so it was nice to reminisce about that a bit, and laugh about how hard we both were trying to be on "best date behavior" for a whole weekend.

This year of being married has been surprising: being married can be hard but it is also awesome. Really really awesome. (I'm weirdly inarticulate about this, but I'll just leave it there.)

This year has also thrown a whole lot at the two of us: one job loss, one "I've had enough and I'm quitting" job loss, two parents with cancer, the murder of a friend, and our infertility. I don't think I'm overstating it when I say that I might not still be standing if I didn't have the ability to lean on (read "grab in desperation") the Boy, and I'm hopeful I've made it a bit easier on him, too.

None of these challenges have gone away yet, but we have made it through the year together, and we are stronger than we were before. And that is enough. Enough so that even if nothing else works out the way we plan, our lives together will be rich enough and full enough of laughter and love that it will all be OK.

So today I just feel lucky, and I'm going to hold onto that feeling for as long as I can.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Collateral damage

One of the things that I hate about this whole damned process is how it has screwed with our otherwise normal sex life. Here's what I think may have driven the train off the track:

- Month upon month of scheduled mandatory sex. Not only is it not awesome to have to do it on demand, but my work schedule made it really rough. Because I used to travel about 70% of the time, for us this has involved us shelling out and taking last minute flights or train trips, leaving the office and then running back, waking up really early to wedge in a "session" before a 7am call, and once a conference call put on mute because we were literally not going to have any time before I left on an unexpected week-long trip. Honestly, there's nothing sexier than hearing your co-workers talking about financial reports while you are trying to get it on. Try it -- it's awesome.

- Oversharing about what is going on in my nether regions. Ovulation cramping, the need for "first morning pee" for the OPKs, the regularity of my periods, and -- and this one was clearly a strategic error on my part -- discussions of cervical mucus changes. This was way waaay more than he wanted to know.

- Emotional meltdowns at, well, at almost anything. This includes the arrival of my period, the announcement of friends' pregnancies, births, childrens' photos, the pregnant woman in front of me in line at the grocery store, a scene in a movie, children in a playground. Turns out that (a) being somewhat OCD about TTC and (b) being a snotty, blotchy mess isn't that attractive. And while he is good at consoling, and really sweet, that whole thing from the movies where the handsome actor kisses the weepy starlet's tears away as a prelude to a steamy sexual encounter? Yeah, that's not so much us.

- Dates with a cup. He hates it, and I can't really blame him for not being super amorous afterwards. And mediocre results didn't really help him feel better about things.

- Irrational rages, often directed at the Boy. I know I know that it isn't his fault that the lup.ron made me a complete wingnut, but he definitely took the brunt of it. And he's taken the brunt of a lot of other rages at the unfairness of the entire thing. Lessons learned: picking a fight is not the best foreplay. And makeup sex might work for other people, but we are more likely to need a makeup nap since arguing is so damned draining.

- The lurking sense of failure. Our sex didn't work, it wasn't productive, and we couldn't create a child "the normal way." It's not always there, but sometimes I just can't help thinking it.

I just want sex to be fun again. And not on a schedule. And just about us and closeness and not about breeding. I just want things to be normal.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Nothing much going on.

Hanging out here on the bench, there's really not a whole hell of a lot to report about my fertility (or lack thereof).

Here's really the schedule:
I wake up. Brush my teeth.
I take my prenatal vitamin.
I take my birth control pill.
I count the number of birth control pills left until I am done with them.
Then I use my fingers and my addition skills (which are rusty at that hour of the day, so I'm a little slow) to figure out what day I will go in for ER, and when a possible ET could be.
I check to see if we have plans for those days, so that I can cancel them.
Then I calculate (again, using fingers) when I would know if I was pregnant.
Then I calculate when I could contemplate telling people.
Then I calculate a potential due date (this one is harder since that whole 40 weeks thing doesn't start from the "hooray you are pregnant" day and requires subtraction as well).
Then I feel relieved that this child won't have a summer birthday and won't feel cheated by not being able to bring in cupcakes and celebrate at school.

I seriously do this every morning.

I am insane.

I'm guessing you all knew that already.

Like I said, not much to report

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My very first award!

Happy Tuesday! (I'm willing myself into a good mood. Annoying, isn't it?)

I received my very first blog award from the lovely Sprogblogger (whose birthday is today, so be sure to stop by!), so I thought I'd dive right into it. And a big thank you to Sprogblogger for sending this my way (seriously, it made my day)

Here's the rules, and here's my answers.


1. You can only use one word!
2. Pass this along to 6 of your favorite bloggers.
3. Alert them that you have given them this award!
4. Have Fun!

1. Where is your cell phone? Sofa
2. Your hair? Unwashed
3. Your mother? Strong
4. Your father? Missed
5. Your favorite food? Shortribs
6. Your dream last night? Mystery
7. Your favorite drink? San Pellegrino
8. Your dream/goal? Happiness
9. What room are you in? Livingroom
10. Your hobby? Hiking
11. Your fear? Loneliness
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Content
13. Where were you last night? Livingroom
14. Something that you aren’t? Carefree
15. Muffins? Yes
16. Wish list item? Mittens, kitchen counterspace
17. Where did you grow up? Ohio
18. Last thing you did? job search phone call
19. What are you wearing? Clogs
20. Your TV? Ginormous
21. Your pets? Snuggly
22. Friends? Irreplaceable
23. Your life? Flux
24. Your mood? Eh
25. Missing someone? Dad
26. Vehicle? Feet
27. Something you’re not wearing? Bra
28. Your favorite store? Bergdorf Goodman
29. Your favorite color? Sage green
30. When was the last time you laughed? Yesterday
31. Last time you cried? Yesterday
32. Your best friend? Husband
33. One place that I go to over and over? Connecticut
34. One person who e-mails me regularly? Husband
35. Favorite place to eat? NYC

And I'd like to pass this on to the following lovely bloggers (and apologies if you've recently gotten this... its like a chain letter, but a well-intentioned one!)

Notice my newfound ability to put links into my blog -- Thanks Maddy!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

IF in real life

About a month ago I posted that I had emerged out from my cave and had started re-connecting with some friends that I had ignored when I first started dealing with our TTC challenges.

One of the people I re-connected with was an old college friend -- let's call her S -- who had also been "missing": she hasn't returned any calls/ emails and no one had seen her since early in the Spring. I had a sinking suspicions I knew why she was hiding out, and so I sent her an email basically telling her that I was struggling to get pregnant, was about to start IVF, and thought she might be in a similar place. Sadly, I was right, and it turns out she had done 5 failed IVF cycles, to include one m/c and one ectopic. (And by now its 6 failed cycles). So she most definitely "gets it" and I hope I have been able to be a good friend and sounding board for her.

One of the great things about this recent discovery is that we have formed our own little united front against the masses of our friends that have kids so we can bitch to each other about the annoying shit that our fertile friends do. In fact I got an email yesterday from one of our mutual friends, which, of course, I immediately forwarded on to S. [As background, I've been trying to go out to visit this third friend since August, waiting for her to tell me what dates work, since she has twin 5yo and a 5 month old.] When I finally emailed and said that maybe we should wait until the spring, I got this:

"Your life is very different than mine right now, and while I am blessed with three beautiful children, they also take a lot of time. I wouldn't expect you to understand why I couldn't find time to respond to your emails this past month, but a lot of things just fall by the wayside when you have kids."

And my dear, wonderful friend S's response to me? "Seriously, we all know she can be a raging bitch sometimes, so just ignore her. And remember, she's fat and her husband is fat and weird."

And this response, which is bitchy, and catty, and yet kind of wonderful, made me laugh out loud because it is 100% true and only a woman who I have known since I was 18 could possibly have come so close to articulating what I really wanted to say, which really was "oh go fuck yourself."

So maybe the two of us will just become angry and crotchety and more bitter, and will alienate all of our friends with their packs of children, but it sure is great to have someone who I know, and have known for years, to talk and bitch and whine and cry to.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

No going back on this

Oh lovely internet ladies. I read all of your advice, and agonized all day. And I talked to the Boy and to my Mom and to my dog (sometimes you just have to talk it out) and I decided to wait and go the bcp route.

You all gave me very thoughtful and helpful advice, and I don't want to appear that I am not taking it into consideration, but, well.... Here's really it: I can't miss Thanksgiving. I can't even come close to thinking about missing Thanksgiving.
- My mom is getting tired from her daily cancer treatment (which started last week) and she was very honest that she doesn't have the energy to cook, even though she insisted that I should do what was right for me.
- My grandfather, who is 94 and possibly my favorite person in the entire world, has told me several times how much he is looking forward to keeping me and the Boy company while we cook on Wednesday.
- The Boy's parents (who are unaware of our TTC status/ challenges) are flying in on Wednesday, and so would be mighty curious about why their children weren't there yet.
- Wednesday is my parents anniversary, or would have been had my dad not died 25 years ago, and I don't like my mom to be alone.

The Boy knows this, and knows that I would have been a complete and utter fucking basket case for the next 10 days while we waited to see how long this would take, and he asked me to wait.
He also knows that, much though I love my family, sometimes I get mighty stressed out when I am home, and so he was worried that the stress might not be 100% optimal during the time the little embryo will be trying to snug in.

So I'm holding off.
I hope to hell it is the right decision, but I've already popped the bcp so there is really no going back now. To be honest, I'm already regretting it a little bit and thinking about what would happen if I did the shots and the bcp, but even I'm not that crazy. I promise.

So here's what I'm going to do to while away this time: I'm going to set a goal and try to go to the gym every single day between now and 23 Nov so that I will get the bloody scale to read in the proper decile (and even that is not the decile of my 20s...) by the time I depart for Thanksgiving. It's ambitious, but I think I can pull it off for 2 weeks +.

If you had 2 weeks that you needed to fill to ensure you were appropriately distracted, what would you do? (And remember -- I have no job so I have loads of time!!)

Wonder of wonders (and I need your advice!)

Miracle of miracles.

Not only did my period arrive yesterday (accompanied by the worst cramps I have ever EVER experienced), but I went in for day 2 b/w and u/s this morning and...
(wait for it)
the cyst is GONE!

My RE, who I am starting to adore, gave me two options:
- start f + men.opur cocktail tonight, add gan.irelix after 6-7 days (depending on how things look) and get this cycle wedged in before my departure for Thanksgiving (morning of Wed 25 Nov).
- start bcp tonight through 23 Nov, and start stims on 26 Nov. (3 weeks behind original plan)

Why is there any question?
Assume I stim for 10 days, then ER is on 18 Nov and 5dt on 23 Nov and we are all good. Stim for 11 days -- also all good. Stim for 12 days or 6dt? I have to move our plane tix for the busiest travel day of the year and tell my mom that she will have to cook (it's my turn this year).

I know that it's not entirely correlated, but I responded like gangbusters to clo.mid and had 11 big follicles when they checked after 6 days. And there is nothing in my hormone levels to lead me or the RE to believe that I will not be a very good responder.

But do I want to make myself crazy for 10 days?

The Boy is still sound asleep (sloth!) so I don't know his preference.
What would you do?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Big fat waste of time

I had a job interview today. That's generally a good thing, even though I keep telling the Boy that I'd prefer not to go back to work. But it's an interview for a position that would be pretty interesting and pay quite well, so I'm generally ok with it.

One thing about this company -- it is in New Jersey. Now that's not really that big of a deal, and I have had many clients from my old job out in NJ, but when I do, I get a rental car (it's true -- many people in NYC do not own cars. Case in point: me.). But for a one hour interview, I did the math and it was way cheaper to take the train and then a taxi.

My schedule:
6.20 awake
6.30-7 take dog out for a quick run
7-8 get ready and eat breakfast
8 leave house via subway to train station
8.47 train to NJ
10 train arrives at destination
10.10 taxi pickup scheduled
11 interview.

I made it through steps 1-5 before something got screwed up. And that something was that my interviewer had no power at her house and therefore could not get her car out of the garage to get to work.

So at 9.50am I received a call from the assistant to my interviewer cancelling our meeting. I was one station away from my destination. I had spent ~$25 on subway and train fare. I was wearing a suit, makeup, and heels. But I got off of the train and waited 25 minutes for the return train and then went home. I was away from home for exactly 4 hours, and accomplished exactly nothing.

I'm vaguely peevish about the whole thing, but at least I'm home and back in my fleece pants and sweater eating homemade soup. As part of my "stop whining" initiative, I am determined to make the best of it.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Moving on

I think I am mostly recovered from the crappy day I had yesterday. I finally got to talk to my RE (let's call her Dr. T) and we came up with a plan that could work. Here's the final answer:
wait for my period and then start stims on day 2 and then add in gan.erelix. I still need to go over all of the details with a nurse, but this should keep things moving along and will avoid the risk of another lu.pron induced cyst.

Possible complications -- my body has decided to rejoice in it's lack of lu.pron and has -- against all predictions -- decided to start spotting and getting all crampy. Awesome. Not exactly what I was looking for, since its pretty clear that the cyst isn't going to be gone yet.

So what does this mean? This means that I could totally get screwed since if I get my period either after tomorrow or before 24 Nov. Because if it comes in that middle period I will be out of town during some critical time of monitoring or retrieval or transfer. I'd drag the whole family here for Thanksgiving if my grandfather wasn't 94 and hooked up to a dialysis machine 3x a week. So I'll get over it and we will just move on when we can.

After a period of bitching, I spent a good chunk of the afternoon yesterday basically doing things that make me happy -- I went to the local/ organic butcher that just opened and bought all sorts of yummy meats for the next round of hearty (and healthy) fall cooking. I also went to the regular grocery store and bought all sorts of yummy organic fruits and veggies so now we are all set. I made yummy miso-marinated scallops with poached asparagus and watched a movie while the Boy was out with friends. And for tonight I have an Amish-raised chicken coated with fresh tarragon butter and roasting in the oven . I do love roast chicken.

So I am just doing things that make me happy -- reading good books, cooking, going to the gym -- and trying to not focus on what is going on with this cycle. No other approach really makes sense unless I want to make myself completely crazy.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Three, two, one...

Houston, we have a problem.

And that problem is a big ass functional cyst on my left ovary that is pumping out estrogen and delaying my period and generally fucking up this cycle.

The RE gave me two options:
- stay on lupron for another week and check it out, and see if we can start stims then
- cancel this cycle, wait for my god-forsaken period to arrive, and then start on cd2.

He frankly wasn't very confident that a cyst of this size (3.2 cm) would go away in a week, and I went over the calendar with the nurse and I will be in lovely Ohio for Thanksgiving during the week of ET with the revised schedule, so I've called it off.


So I am basically benched until this cyst goes away, and then I get to start all over again.

Questions to the peanut gallery:
- Have any of you had this happen? How long until the cyst resolves and you get your period?
- What have your RE's done to prevent this from occurring -- I'd prefer this not to be a repeated event.

Oh I am so frustrated I could explode. I can't DO anything except wait.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Waiting again -- Updated

I've done 10 days of lu.pron shots. And then 4 more to go before I go in to get bw and another vagicam to give me the green light to start stims.

But I was supposed to start the quasi-period thing a few days ago, and while there has been all sorts of mysterious cramping, there is no sign at ALL that I am going to start to bleed. None. Zero.

I find this annoying and ironic -- month after month of desperately hoping not to see the tell-tale signs of my monthly cycle kicking in and yet seeing it arrive on an annoyingly regular schedule, now that I do want to see it, it's nowhere to be found.

So I'm on what would be Day 31 of my cycle, and nothing. Nothing. No. Thing. Latest my period ever showed was on Day 30. So what to do?

Any ideas? Is it supposed to be later than normal? Normally I wouldn't care about a couple of extra days here and there (yeah, that's not entirely true, but let's go with it). However, we are supposed to travel on Thanksgiving Day, so I don't have a whole lot of wiggle room. Probably not the greatest planning, but we thought we had a big enough buffer.

I sense that I am going to be placing a neurotic call to the RE's office tomorrow.


UPDATE (because I'm sure that the rest of you are as gripped by this saga as I am. I am one crazy-ass neurotic woman right now.)

So I called bright and early and spoke with one of the nurses, who are lovely, but usually can't help much. And then I sat around and waited all day for one of the REs to call me back.
And I waited.
And waited.
And stared at the phone.
And waited some more. And stared harder.
And even though it's a mobile phone, decided that I couldn't go to the grocery store, or the gym, or even take a shower because there might be a call, and I wanted to be sure that I was somewhere quiet when it came.
But there was no call.
So right before 5pm closing time, I broke down and called back. No real answer, except I will go in a day early (Wednesday, not Thurs) for more bloodwork and another u/s. Not a very satisfying answer. So I am just hoping my body kicks into gear.
I'd rather lie on the sofa and rest after this exhausting day of waiting, but I have to go to a birthday party. I guess it's good I will leave the apartment since the Boy has told me that my moping is starting to get to him. (Actually -- he'd like me to amend that for accuracy. "Bugging the living shit out of him" is closer to the truth.)

Saturday, October 31, 2009


This is my favorite time of year -- the air is crisp, the leaves are doing their thing that they do, the food I cook and eat is heartier, and the earth just smells all loamy and, well, earthy. I get to wear sweaters and turtlenecks and boots and mittens, and when it gets cold at night the air has a steeliness to it that usually means snow is not too far behind.

It's also time for my favorite holidays: Halloween and Thanksgiving. Halloween because I loved dressing up as a kid (and teenager and college student, and even now...) and Thanksgiving because that's the time my family all gets together and overeats. (We are Jewish, so we don't do the whole Christmas thing, and Hanukah really isn't enough of a draw for us to fly back home to Ohio.)

My mom used to make the best costumes for us -- we were clowns, witches, cowboys, the musketeers, bunny rabbits, robots and one year when we were especially creative I was a hot fudge sundae. We never had store bought costumes -- my mom was opposed to them, and so I grew up thinking that every mom made costumes.

So I've been keeping a mental running list of cute ideas for costumes for children who don't have opinions yet (I recognize that there is a time when Mom's ideas are no longer wanted). And I'm pretty much ready to start sewing now, thank you.

Tonight, I will give out candy to the many kids who live in our building. And I will laugh at the funny things they say, and be appropriately scared or admiring of their costumes. But I'd rather be on the other side of the door, holding my child's hand.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Who's there?

I was reading blogs last evening and read this post from EB at IVF 40+ ( ). [Note: please someone teach me how to nicely insert links!]

And then I felt bad about whining. Pretty embarrassed about my shitty attitude, actually. So I am resolving to wrestle my hormones to the ground and not let them have me so crabby.

So. There.
Not crabby anymore.

That said, I do find it incredibly frustrating to know that my mind -- my conscious, that-which-makes-me-human, reasoning mind -- can so easily be thrown out of whack by chemicals. While I guess I am ok with other parts of my body reacting to the drugs, I am just a little troubled by the fact that the drugs also change the way I feel and think. Because I thought I was supposed to be in charge of that.

I'm clearly over-thinking this, but when I woke up at 4.12 this morning and lay there with my mind racing, I started thinking about how much our mind is really under our "control" and how much we are just pawns of the chemicals that go sloshing about in our systems. I think I need to believe that I have more control over what goes on between my ears. I mean, I clearly can't control what's going on between my legs (sorry, crass, but it's nice parallel structure, no?) and having only marginal control over both is just too much for me to bear.

I was talking about this with my sister, who is a research psychologist, and she started to laugh. Laughing wasn't what I expected (or, frankly, wanted) but she said that sometime during grad school she started just calling her foul moods by chemical names so that she could more directly acknowledge what was physiologically going on.

I'm not sure that helps me much, or makes it worse. I'm left with this question: what am I really feeling and what is just a side effect? If get angry, am I really irritated or is it "just the Lu.pron talking?" Is there a difference?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I appear to have recovered from the trauma that was my women's radiology appointment. Thanks to all of you so much for your comments -- they made me feel loads better that others understand how difficult moments like that can be, and they cracked me up, which was all good.

I'm one week into my lu.pron shots, and thought this would be a good time to regale you with how those are going, as it appears I have another week before adding on the stims (and I keep the lu.pron even after that. Fun!).

Worst thing about them is that they are screwing with my sleep in a big way. I like my sleep. I need my sleep. I am an excellent sleeper. But now I am finding that I wake up every 2-3 hours, and then am just lying there, listening to my Boy breathe, growing increasingly agitated that he is sleeping and I am most definitively not.

I have periodic weird cramping that feels a little like ovulation. Its a complete mystery what's going on down there, but it makes me bloody anxious.

I am getting crazy ass hot flashes. I got these from the progesterone suppositories I took during the five (failed) clo.mid cycles, but I keep finding myself needing to strip down at the least convenient times: at the grocery store, while walking the dog, at a Broadway play. This also fucks with my sleep, because I already heat up when I sleep, so I really don't need a temperature boost, thank you very much.

I would rather not have sex. Ick. That's pretty odd for me to say, since I usually possess a healthy sex drive and was so excited that we are not doing the whole scheduled, "let's do this even though we are tired and not that into it" baby-making sex. But instead of this being a period of unbridled physical fun, I'd rather watch a movie. Or do the dishes. Or organize my sock drawer. The Boy -- he's not all that amused.

I keep feeling over-caffeinated. It can't be that, since I cut out caffeine in June (and yes, that sucked just as much as you think it might). But I feel jittery and kind of hyper, and not in a good way.

So these effects are combining to make me a wee bit cranky, which really means I am losing my freaking mind on a fairly regular basis. I'm not weepy like I sometimes am before my period, but I'm just very volatile. Case in point -- I kind of lost my shit yesterday over a salami sandwich. There was nothing wrong with the sandwich, except that the Boy made one and didn't make one for me, and that apparently was a capital crime. So he's kind of hiding out, and I am going to the gym and trying to burn off this inchoate agitation. But then I get angry that he's not paying attention to me, so there's really no winning for the poor guy.

I frankly think I'd be a happier person if I self-medicated with a good drink or too, but I've cut out alcohol as well. Gargh!

Anyway, if any of you out there have suggestions about how to keep the crazies out of my head, please let me know! Any and all coping suggestions are welcome (and especially if you think I am being a weenie about the booze and can (should?) drink during this time, I'd love to hear from you!).

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Baring my chest

Yesterday I had one of the more humiliating/ infuriating physician's appointments of my life. Actually, the fun started a couple of weeks ago when I made the appointment, but yesterday was the cherry (and whipped cream, and sprinkles) that topped it all off.

My mom has breast cancer. This is not the first time -- the first time was at the ripe old age of 49 -- and so we know the drill. She's going to be just fine, and all of the surgeries are done, and we are awaiting her treatment protocol (radiation & hormones and maybe chemo). But she's ok and I am infinitely grateful.

Because of my stellar family history in the boob department (both grandmothers also had breast cancer), I started getting annual mammograms at the ripe old age of 33. So when my mom's cancer came back, I called my radiologist to chat about whether I should get an MRI just to be super sure.

Receptionist: You know, you are overdue for your appointment. With your sort of family history you should come in every year.
Me: Wasn't it supposed to be in September?
Receptionist: Yes -- that's right.
Me: OK -- well, it's the first week of October, so hopefully that's not a problem.
Receptionist: Oh wait, are you nursing now? You can't do a mammogram if you are nursing.
Me: Nope. Why?
Receptionist: Oh, well I see here we did a sonogram on your ovaries to see how you were responding to Clo.mid in December of 2008, so I assumed you had a child.
Me: Nope. No child.
Receptionist: Well, then, since you are not nursing, when would you like to come in?
Me: Oh, as soon as I stop weeping. That would be fine. (OK -- I didn't say that last part.)

So yesterday, in I go. The women's radiology waiting room is a lot like the RE's waiting room, except the women are about 20 years older. No eye contact, no talking, even when it is jam packed like it was this time. I had to sit on a pile of phonebooks, since every chair was taken.

After waiting about 45 minutes, I get called to come back. I stumble back to the exam room (my ass had literally fallen asleep) and am told to strip down from the waist up. Yes, that's waist UP. What a nice change, right? I'm so used to waist down I actually paused a bit before I started undressing.

After waiting 45 more minutes in my not-really-keeping-me-warm gown, in comes the MD. We discuss the change in my family history. We discuss the MRI costs (about $3K, and not covered by insurance) and other options. Then I get the scolding lecture that I knew was coming.

MD: You don't have any children, do you?
Me: No, but we are trying.
MD: You know your risks are higher for breast cancer because you've never had children. You are 39, right? Weren't you in here almost a year ago for an ovarian sonogram with Clo.mid? What's the story?
Me: Well, we thought we'd give it a few more tries just to be sure, and then I was travelling, and now we are starting our first IVF cycle. I'm on my 4th day of Lu.pron injections.
MD: OK -- let's get you in here every six months for breast sonograms, since I'm concerned about your history and all of the estrogen surges from menstruating and from IVF. You can go into the next room for the mammogram as soon as you have your gown back on.
(Note to reader, this conversation took place while my boobs were being roughed up while checking for miscreant lumps. The fun never ends.)

As I am walking down the hall into the mammogram room, Nurse 1 bellows to Nurse 2 - "use the lead shield -- she's doing an IVF cycle now and doesn't have children yet."

So then I arrive in mammogram room red-faced and do the drill, during which Nurse 2 mercifully says nothing about the IVF and just goes about her business of making my breasts into horizontal and then vertical pancakes. (Ouch. That pancake thing hurts like a bitch.)

Into the sonogram room I go. I thank Nurse 3 for the warmer for the goo that they use. She tells me that it's a baby bottle warmer. Super. Then she tells me how cold the gel was each time she had sonograms for her 3 kids, and how she was sure that the cold gel made the babies more active for the sonogram. (Ummm... sure?) And then she says "Oh, sorry, I forgot. You're the patient doing the IVF cycle. You don't have children yet, do you? You know, I had gestational diabetes with my 2nd and 3rd, and had to give myself shots. I can imagine IVF is pretty rough."

At this point, I wasn't really listening, since I was contemplating how I might disembowel her with the sono wand. Seriously, a couple more days of the Lu.pron and heads would have rolled.

The upshot of my hell appointment?
- 2.5 hours there
- multiple conversations about my infertility and how it might give me cancer
- a painful mammogram
- a cold and goopy sonogram.
But at least my boobs are all fine. For my trouble I got to write out a check for $800.

I was so drained by the end of this that I took a long nap when I got home. If I have to go back in 6 months and am not pregnant, I'm going to blow my head off.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


In the spirit of the "how, when, where... to comment" posts that have recently been posted on the Stirrup Queen's blog ( I just wanted to say a big thank you to all of you out there who have read and commented on my blog posts.

At a time in my life where I find myself incredibly lonely and have found it hard to talk about this with my friends IRL (most are either already moms or currently pregnant), you all have provided me with a fabulous community and support network. So thank you thank you thank you.

Also, I would be remiss if I didn't say to all of you that you are some of the bravest, most impressive women I have ever "met." Regardless of whether you are an IF veteran or new in this community, you are all on an emotionally and physically taxing journey, and are amazing for your ability/ willingness to share your lives and seek support and guidance.

Again, thank you thank you thank you.

Monday, October 26, 2009

This one kind of stings

It was a really hard decision to leave my job, as I liked it for many years, and has a lot of monetary upside, but it was taking too much out of me with 90 hour weeks and constant travel (80% of the time). It was essentially impossible for me to be healthy and, frankly, sane. So while I am not going to take advantage of the maternity policy, I am still pretty psyched that I am leaving.

A few months ago when I was struggling with how to better manage my work/life balance, I turned to one of the women who had been at my company for a few years longer. Her advice was to keep my shoulder to the wheel and do what was necessary to become a partner, and then worry about the lifestyle after. When I asked her how I should balance that continued effort, and the expectations of significant travel (increasingly to Europe for several weeks/ months at a time) with our desire to have a family, her response was "There's technology to deal with that. You will have to do the travel if you want to succeed."

So that was pretty much the moment that I decided that I would leave my job.

Not only is that just a crazy-ass thing to say to someone, but it is also, I have discovered, factually untrue. With our au naturel trying, we only needed to be in the same place for a couple of days each month. With "technology" I have to be at the doctor a whole lot of times, and the scheduling is even more complex. So her answer was basically bullshit, and I'm glad I completely ignored it.

So why is this now a big deal? Because it turns out that she was pregnant when she said that to me. Her baby is due in about 4 weeks, which means that she would have been about 15 weeks pregnant. For some reasons, that bugs the living shit out of me. I mean, I'm happy that she is having a baby and all, but I think that it's just beyond obnoxious to tell someone -- especially someone who you know is almost 40 -- to postpone/ de-prioritize TTC when you are currently pregnant.

I will shake this, but right now it really bugs me.

Friday, October 23, 2009


I'm very proud of myself -- I did my very first shot last night. It was a bit like I was standing on the end of the diving board over a very cold pool. I rushed up to the edge a couple of times only to back away, and didn't fall for the "one, two, three... GO" trick that the Boy tried to use, but then I did it and it frankly was not a big deal, although you have to push a bit harder than I expected.

To those of you out there who have done this multiple times and think no more of giving the shots than you do of brushing your teeth, my hat is off to you -- I'm sure you are rolling your eyes at my neophyte whining. But, well, everyone starts somewhere, right?

Comic relief was provided by the Boy, who also played a very helpful quality check, extra set of hands, and cheerleader role:
"The directions say to take a small pinch of skin. Isn't that pinch you have too big? Can you really pinch that much? I mean, that's a really big pinch." Yeah -- that went over well. But then we both cracked up and I just poked it right into that big ol' pinch.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ready, set...

Well, here we are at Day 1 of IVF cycle 1.1. I've got the box o' meds, I've been to the RE's for initial blood work and what my husband refers to as the vagi-cam. All systems are go.

I have a ridiculous amount of hope riding on this cycle. All of my numbers seem good, my thyroid is under control, the IVF/ ICSI can manage the mediocre SA, and all of the REs that I have spoken to (4 -- I did some shopping around for clinics/ REs) are optimistic that this should work for us. My husband keeps reminding me that even under perfect circumstances, even if I wasn't careening into 40, someone has to be on the wrong side of the statistics. And so while intellectually I know this (for chrissakes, I'm a trained economist -- I understand statistics), I can't get past thinking this will work. This has to work.

Famous last words. Don't remind me of these in December.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

CVS and me

I'm inherently an optimist. I try like hell to be more cynical, but hope keeps elbowing in. Why is this relevant? Because for every single day since we started TTC in Oct 2008, I have taken either a folic acid tablet or some fancy prenatal vitamin. Every fucking day. Because, of course, I wanted my baby to be well nourished from the very start.

Over a year later, I'm starting to feel kind of stupid about renewing the Rx. Mostly because the same woman always gives me my meds at the local CVS at the same time she gives me another box of the OPK sticks. She's seriously the longest-term CVS employee ever, and I feel like she's starting to look at me with a combination of pity and confusion -- I mean how many times do I go in to pick these up?

Today, with the hugely pregnant woman behind me, I wanted to sink into the floor.

Monday, October 19, 2009

It's not anyone's fault

Today was a rough IF day for the Boy. He had done 2 SA's before, but both samples were done at home, and neither was analyzed by the lab at my RE. So today the RE's office called me with the results of last week's test.

Volume -- so so
Concentration -- fab (so then not a big deal about the volume)
Motility -- ummmm....
Morphology -- yeah... we have a problem.

So I know that the Krueger morphology test is super strict, and so a lot of men are below the 14-15% normal cutoff, but even the RE did note that he is pretty far below that number. On the two previous tests, he had been kinda borderline low, but something is apparently going on that has dropped his numbers off of a cliff. And while before most of the little guys were moving around, now more of them apparently were kinda tired and so were, well, resting, so the mobility numbers were low too.

The upside here is that the RE told me that this is not an insurmountable challenge -- we are already on track for IVF, and so we will just tack on the ICSI and so it isn't really that big of a deal (If it is a big deal, please someone tell me that I am just being naive.)

Frankly, I think this test is (in a weird way) good news -- if we know more what the problem is, then it's theoretically easier to fix. This leave me feeling really optimistic, but the Boy? Yeah, not so much.

My sweetie is basically all freaked out that our challenge in conceiving is entirely his fault. Usually he doesn't overreact like this, but this apparently touched a nerve. So now he keeps coming in and saying things like "I'm sorry you have to do all of these shots because I'm not able to get you pregnant" and "I feel bad that I asked to wait a few months before starting IVF, since I'm clearly the whole reason we have to do this."

I understand that he feels flawed and broken -- I've certainly been there, and will likely be back there again. But I am having a hard time convincing him that it really doesn't matter to me why we are embarking on IVF, but it just matters that we are in it together. I figure if I keep telling him that I'd rather do IVF with him than get pregnant with someone else's faster, shapelier sperm, eventually he will be able to hear it.

I sometimes forget that this is hard on both of us, but today, it seems that it is mostly hard on him. I just hate seeing him so unhappy.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Presents in the mail

On Thursday we got a package from Fedex and were all excited to see that it was a very lovely (somewhat belated) wedding gift. Both the Boy and I really like the gift -- its a silver leaf-shaped platter with a lot of very lovely details --it's really quite beautiful and I can imagine using it to entertain. Of course, it would be easier to entertain properly if we had a dining room, a table that could fit more than 2 and more than 4 dining/ folding chairs, but I'm not getting too hung up on that.

On Friday we got another package from Fedex -- the box o' meds. Yipeee!
I freely admit that I spent way, way more time poring over the contents of this box than I did admiring our new gift. Remember when you got a present that had lots of little pieces and you took them out, examined each one, and imagined how all of the pieces would work together in some sort of big erector-set, train-set glory? That's kinda how I felt about getting a box full of needles and hormones. And you know what I really like? What made me smile the moment I saw it? The hazmat box. For some reason, that cracks me up.

I can't figure out whether it's my inner child, who just loves toys with loads of parts, whether it's my nerves about starting the IVF cycle, or whether I am just so relieved to finally be doing something that might bring us closer to getting pregnant that is making me so crazy excited about the arrival of the meds. Either way, my Boy thinks I'm a little nuts and has resisted my efforts at show-and-tell. He's promised that he will go through it all with me this weekend, so then I get to look at all of the shiny bits and pieces again. Yay!

Seriously, I write that and I think I have lost my mind. But I keep looking at the box o' meds and getting happy, as if a baby is just going to pop right out of there. I am clearly going to need to ratchet back my expectations of this thing big time, but right now, I'm pretty psyched to be getting off the sidelines and onto the field.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ken Burns made me cry

I'm a big Ken Burns documentary fan. He has nice music and calming voices, and also because I like watching TV that makes me feel all smart and virtuous (America's Next Top Model, while definitely on my DVR, does not do that). But usually somewhere in the course of the documentaries there is something that is either so beautiful or so touching that I get all kinds of weepy.

So I was expecting that when I finally got around to the National Parks series I would tear up a few times, especially because I have a huge emotional soft spot in my heart for the National Parks. Why? Because my entire childhood was spent doing these massive 6-week summer camping vacations around the country with my family visiting the parks.

Although I've been told I occasionally whined at the time, and do recall that once I offered to use my allowance to pay for a Holiday Inn (apparently I was not always in love with our tent), these trips are now cherished memories of my childhood.

The parks, and the memories of these trips, are even more important to me because my Dad, who was the real camper in the family, and the one who taught me and my sister to be outdoorsy and respect the natural world, died suddenly when I was a teenager. So basically, I have a lot of emotional baggage just waiting to be unpacked by this new documentary.

The series is six 2-hour episodes. In the first 5 minutes of the very first episode, a very nice historian (William Cronon) says this:

"One of the things I think we witness when we go to the parks is the immensity and the intimacy of time.

On the one hand, we experience the immensity of time which is the creation itself. It is the universe unfolding before us.

And yet it is also time shared with the people we visit these places with. And so it's the experience we remember when our parents took us for the first time. And then we, as parents, passing them on to our children -- a kind of intimate transmission from generation to generation to generation of the love of place, of the love of nation, that the National Parks are meant to stand for."

And that is pretty much when I started to cry uncontrollably. Because right there, in that one passage, was why I would like a child -- to pass on the things I love, to share stories of my family, to teach a love of beauty and respect for nature and to create memories for a child of their summer vacations with their family.

Maybe this isn't the right reason to have a child, but it's my reason right now. What I have learned from both my parents shaped me into the adult I am today, and I think it is a wonderful inheritance that I would like to pass on to a child. My child.

And so I cried during that part, and I got choked up when I rewound it so that I could write it down. I admit that I am kind of afraid to watch episodes 2-6 because I know that something else will strike me again, and I'll get all weepy. But Episode 1 was really good, so I'm going to try to keep it together.

I'll let you know how the rest of it goes.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Goddamn NYT

Quick rant on this: why does everyone who knows that we are having trouble TTC feel that its their business to send us the NYT articles about multiples and IVF and IUI?
(Yep, for those of you who missed it, Monday's paper had a followup. Spec-fucking-tacular)
What are they thinking? All of a sudden they are experts with opinions to share? I live in NYC- I get the damned paper, people. (incidentally, I usually heart the NYT, so this is tough for me to be so angry at them.)

Seriously, what are people thinking? And please don't even get me started on the vitriolic comments to the article on Sunday. Gargh!

Forward progress

Since I am just waiting for this cycle to start (thank you, RE, for your poorly timed lab closure last month), I have come up with 3 things on my IVF to do list:

- Call RE and get them to call in the order for meds for IVF v.1: check.

- Call scary evil health insurance company and confirm coverage and check on copays (the idea here being that they had already told me I was covered, but now that I know the specific meds, I'd rather not be surprised with a large bill): check, but it took literally 1.5 hours on the phone to get this sorted. Because I was not really pleased with their response "oh -- these drugs? we can't send these drugs to you... they are only covered if you have them sent to your MD and have them administer the injections. "
Ummm.... what? That's a new one. Sorry, but that's not the right answer today.
And so I basically held two people hostage on the phone until it was sorted. Boy referred to my approach as pleasant, but firm. Read: I can be a tremendous pain in the ass.

- Send the Boy for a test run at the Sperminator: check. All other samples he's been permitted to generate at home and then take the 10 min cab ride to drop off, but the RE really prefers in-office. This test run is basically to confirm that he can do this, so that I am not left high and dry on ER day. He just walked back into the apartment and (phew) he was able to get the job done. Although he came home less triumphant than I expected, and slightly more freaked out. He's really quite the sensitive little bunny, my Boy, and I think it just wasn't the warm, fuzzy experience he prefers. He kept muttering about bright fluorescent lights killing his mood.

So now I just keep looking at the calendar and waiting for day 21 to show up. I mean, I know when it is, but since we already got delayed a month, I am really impatient. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Not as much action as I would like, so I'm just trying to keep busy. I could do other useful things like look for a job, but that's less interesting. I mean, I will, but just not now.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Sometimes good moods just elude me. Maybe it's that I have too much stressing me out, or maybe I have given into the frustration and gloom that accompanies my increasingly fervent belief that nothing for me is ever easy.

So today I woke up kinda gloomy, which is ridiculous, because it is a perfect fall day, with crisp air and blue skies, and have been trying to shake out of it. I just feel like I am trying, and failing at almost everything.

I'm trying to be in a good mood. It's not really working, and the Boy finally said that he was going to go out by himself the rest of the day, because I was being impossible to deal with. He's right, of course, because I know when I am a pain in the ass, and today is one of those days. So I will try harder later, and hopefully we can salvage the day.

I'm trying to find a job that I like. This is sort of hard, because I am tired of working, but don't really have the luxury not to work. Upon reflection, quitting my job during the worst recession since the 1930s may not have been a good plan. But I still think the idea was sound, and think that I will ultimately find something that I like to do. I just hate the "trying to find" part, because, well, it's just a lot of work and I am fundamentally in a lazy, not very optimistic, not very confident place right now.

I'm trying to get pregnant. That's not going great, as discussed, and now we are embarking on IVF after 12 months of trying a variety of other options and being tested and poked every which way. So we've ordered the IVF drugs and are starting in 11 days.

I'm trying to lose weight and get in better shape, since I have gotten heavy and really absurdly un-fit over the last several years. I'm making progress, but it's slow, and on days like today, I really really really want a cupcake. I'll just feel worse when I eat it, but damn do I want it.

All of this trying to do things takes a whole lot of effort, and what I want right now is for things to be easy and smooth. I don't want to be tested; I don't want to prevail over difficult odds. Dammit, I just want what I want and don't see why things have to be harder for me than they are for so many other people.

Yep -- re-reading that, it's clear that I have lost all perspective. I need to get the hell outside and go for a walk. This mood will pass, and I will realize that I am fundamentally lucky in that I am healthy, have a strong supportive family, have significant savings, am well-educated, etc., etc. I know this, and I try to focus on the good things.

But man oh man, today I just wish that things could be a wee bit easier, because trying is sometimes so hard.

Update (6 hours later):
I went for a 5 mile walk with the baby (yes, that's what we call our dog, M) in the lovely fall weather. Turns out, exercise almost always helps me feel better, so for now, at least, I feel like I have my shit back together.

I might have felt even better still with the cupcake, but I'm trying to stick to the diet. OK -- that's a lie. I did go to the cupcake store, and was in the process of selecting my treat when I realized that I had left the house with no money. The teenage girl behind the counter wasn't really interested in bartering the cupcake for the old hall's cough drop and dog pick-up bags I had in my pocket.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sheer force of will

Fairly random list of things in my head today:

- Even though I still think that Wall Street is lame, and am still worried that we will have no shelter or insurance in a few months, I am less angry. Now I'm just anxious, but at least I can do something to address those worries.

- I rode my bike hard for an hour in the park (12 miles) and made a kickass dinner last evening, and it made me feel better. Pork chops with apples and pecans and polenta with goat cheese. I have to say, it was pretty awesome. The fact that my ass is killing me today (from the biking, not the pork chops) is, well, not as much of a good thing, but I will live with it.

- Even after feeling better about the world through the magic of exercise and tasty food, I still managed to have a huge meltdown about something stupid last night. It might have been freezer bags that set me off, or whose turn it was to feed the dog. All I know is that these BCPs are making me absolutely nutty, and I went through nearly half a roll of toilet paper blowing my nose while weeping. My husband is still asleep now -- I think he needs to recover.

Today -- I will try to be cheerful. I am going to will good cheer into being, and if I am lucky, I might even start to buy into it.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Wall Street is lame and stupid

I'm starting to really buy into the whole "Wall St is the source of all of this country's ills" thing, as it kinda turns out that a lot of those guys (and believe me, they are mostly guys) making craploads of money are complete dicks. And bear in mind that my Boy has been working on the Street for over 20 years, so you might rightly put him into that dick-ish category. But he's different, and maybe that's why this is so hard for him. Some of these guys have egos too big for the island of Manhattan, and one of them at least -- KR (otherwise known as the Liar) -- is just not a nice person at all.

Why am I agitated? My husband's prospective job has evaporated in the way that promises that aren't really every meant to be kept just kind of fizzle out. Like those mirages on the highway -- you see them and believe that they are there, and when the time comes, they are gone. Turns out that loyalty and past success and a handshake aren't really a substitute for a signed piece of paper in this world of ego and money, and that the last 4 weeks of the Boy's working for free in a consultant kinda role while HR pulled its act together were really just kind of a gift to a guy who already has so much that, in my view at least, he shouldn't be looking for handouts.

I suppose we should have known that it would be too easy if one of us acquired gainful employment without too much grief and stress, but then, well, that would be someone else's life now wouldn't it?

So now I have a really foul-tempered husband rattling around the house (and by rattling, I mean slamming doors, and muttering all manner of obscenities). My response? Be supportive to him but (a) try to figure out where this guy lives so I can mentally plan to go bitch him out and (b) internally begin to freak out that our health insurance is going to run out during the middle of our first IVF cycle....

Shit shit shit. Would catching a break really be that bad?

Stepping away from the hampster wheel

First off, thanks for the advice. I know people don't mean to be insensitive, so I will try to be less touchy. I might actually tell them what I am feeling so that they are not relegated to reading my mind. (Turns out that isn't so effective as a communications technique.)

Second, I finally weighed myself after a month of dieting, and it turns out I have lost 5 lbs this month. Seriously, this makes me feel like the daily trips to the gym and the lack of cupcakes is worth it. Yay for me!

Third, one of my former colleagues sent me the partner elections from the firm I used to work for. I wasn't on it (obviously -- I no longer work there), but I actually didn't care and was able to be just happy for my friends who did get elected. It's so nice to finally say goodbye to that part of my life and be less driven about always having to "win." Don't get me wrong -- I still compete pretty hard (usually just with myself), but I'm super psyched to not have to perform for anyone else and to have made a proactive decision to step off of the treadmill. I love love LOVE having some of my life back and to be able to focus on being healthy, doing things that are important to me and to the Boy, and basically getting more of what I want and need. So today, when I say the new partner list, I realized that I finally can say that I don't need to be a partner to feel good about my career and myself, and I don't need to work 80-100 hours a week to feel like I am excelling. And that, to me at least, was a big, fat breakthrough and a huge relief.