2 women trying to make a baby

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Lemonade

I am feeling a bit of a tantrum coming on. I am tired and frankly I am cranky.

I am tired of always having to create lemonade from the lemons my life keeps growing. Why can't my life grow juicy, sexy pomegranates? Why am I always looking for the happy moments in all the sadness? Why am I always looking for the zen to get through this or that new challenge? It's not that I would rather stop trying to be happy: it's just that I wish I could get to be one of the easily happy people. I want to be one of the people who get what they want. Why couldn't something have just worked? Why. is. my reproductive system. all. screwed. up?? Why have I not only been lapped again but now I also need to find a new freaking category for myself?

At times I can see the beauty in Joey being the one to carry our baby, but at times I am incredibly resentful that it is unlikely that I will get to know the joy of growing a baby inside my body. I keep sitting down to write a calm "all is well" post and this tantrum is what keeps bubbling up instead.

Perhaps tomorrow I will get to write the acceptance post.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Setting the record straight

Joey and I have returned home from our trip back home. I have thought about you all and the internet break has been odd. I could only even get a signal to my I.phone intermittently. Frustrating to say the least. So Merry Belated Christmas (Hannukah) to everyone.

So you may recall that Thanksgiving was dedicated to Joey's family this year; therefore, Christmas was dedicated to my family. You may also recall that I was less than flattering about her family while I described my own family in glowing terms. I think I should even things out a bit. The LONG visit with my family has allowed me to recall their issues. Hop on board and I will share some of my "favorite" moments from the holidays.
  •  My mother asked me for input on dinner the first night we were there. I made several suggestions- not one of which did she use.
  • My mother has no idea how to tell a story or indeed what an interesting/amusing story IS. At one point I considered jumping out of the car to escape her fascinating story about the recent community worship service. No no, she didn't talk about the message or the music. She recanted the name of each church who participated, listed their denominations, presented each person whom she saw and then recanted the SMALL TALK she had with people who were there.
  • My parents get on an actual rant when they talk about all the many social programs their church offers the needy.... not flattering.
  • My family are all republicans. Eeek.
  • My father watches television at a volume only slightly quieter than a heavy metal concert.
  • My mother sees no reason why she should not attempt to talk over the television noise.
  • My mother has no idea how to show concern. As I was litterally doubled over with cramps at her house (yes, good times), she began an endless list of questions about my cycle. It was rather like the menstrual inquisition.
All that aside, we actually had quite a good time and Christmas is always fun. Some highlights include watching the entire family attempt to play the AC/DC drum set/ Rock.band game we gave my nephew for Christmas, enjoying a lovely meal with the entire family and just spending time with everyone. I am amazed and pleased to see how my neices and nephew are growing up. Not to mention some serious swag, Joey and I received. But I am oh, so glad to be home. In fact within an hour of walking in the door of our house, Joey and I had taken down the tree and returned to normal life. Ahhhh, can you hear the sweet sound of silence?

Yes, I also have been giving thought to my currently non-functional uterus. I go back and forth on that one. Some moments I find my zen then other times I just find the grief. Moment by moment, right? I am certain that a post on ths issue will form soon. But that is an issue for another day.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Oh, I wish I had a river

A real scene between my RE and I at my Friday consult;


Mumbling : “Huh, well that’s weird.”

Me, raising up onto elbows now, slightly alarmed: “Did you just say ‘that’s weird’?”

RE: “Well, yeah, I did.”

This is not a conversation I wanted to have as my Reproductive Specialist has the wand buried in my hoo-ha.

TMI alert: The RE then went on to explain (with a pertinent photo display) that she has not seen a lining as thick as mine is. Recall that I did not get suppressed the last time I cycled despite birth control pills and Lup.ron injections. Add to that what I did not share which is that the period after my 40+ day cycle was super light and the result is a lining that has been building up until it looks like a grapefruit is hanging out in my uterus, which I guess explains why I have been so moody and bloaty. So the RE gave me a script for Prover@ and is anticipating that I will have a cleansing of sorts in the next couple of weeks.

Which brings me to the next question some of you may be thinking: why did the RE do an ultrasound during a consult? Ah, yes. That is the money question. Another scene from the office:

RE, looking uncomfortable: “Cindy you have had several cycles, some with really good embryos.”
<>

Me, catching a clue: “Y-Y-Yes?”

RE: “Have you guys given any thought to Joey being the one who carries?”

A conversation about my mother having endometriosis and me potentially having undetectable endometriosis followed. She then suggested Joey and I give it some thought and almost without thinking, the RE suggested that she check my uterus, “just to see if anything is detectable.”

The answer is that NO with the grapefruit-lining, the RE could not detect anything related to whether I might or might not have endometriosis. She said she was going to spend some more time with my chart and get back to me. It is not a good thing to alarm your RE.

So yet again, I have dashed the hopes of another RE. My first RE said right away that IVF was my only option. I was not savvy then and I listened without question. (poor response followed by miscarriage) Next I had a consult with another RE, she said that she felt a few IUI’s might do the trick. I did not like her or her office so I chose my 2nd RE who also felt that I should be able to get pregnant pretty easily. He suggested IVF simply due to my age and to maximize my chances. He did 2 cycles, saw my response and egg quality issues and suggested donor embryos (2 BFNs). Now move to my newest RE, initially she said that perhaps we should try a few IUIs. I thanked her and talked about my pattern of poor stimulation followed by ever-diminishing egg quality. She agreed that donor eggs or embryos would be a good plan. (Another BFN) Flash forward, now she thinks that not only do I make poor eggs, but I also seem to be a bad incubator.

My head is telling me that my RE is right. We have been giving my body chance after chance to conceive and we still don’t have a baby after well-over 2 years of trying. We have also done 6 IUIs with Joey and she has done many at-home insems (I have stopped blogging about those hail Marys). Clearly, a new plan is called for. But I don’t want to change uteruses. I WANT TO HAVE OUR BABY. ME. I WANT.

I feel so incredibly selfish at this point: selfish and sad. I find that tears are never far away when I give our new plan some thought. I know that moving on to Joey’s uterus is the right thing to do and I will do the right thing and I will learn to get past this feeling. I will. I must. Honestly I am kind of kicking myself for even being sad. Other women would love to have their partner even be a carry option. Other families have to use a surrogate. I am hoping that I will get to a better calmer place soon because it seems that this is my new reality.

My apologies: sorry to be such a downer in the last 2 posts and I am sorry if I have now ruined grapefruit for anyone reading this entry.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Hope

I have been thinking about the word "hope" lately. We all hope that this one is the cycle. We comment to one another that we hope the hpt was wrong, that more follies grow, that the ultrasound will come out for the best, etc etc. Always hoping. I know that what we are really doing is looking for ways to keep ourselves going cycle after cycle and provide support and encouragement to one another. Honestly I am endless grateful to have all the support that this community has offered to me and I think that watching people endlessly root for one another is a moving experience..... But.that.word. is bugging me- "Hope."

Hope is the wish for something with the expectation of its fulfillment. Hope implies a level trust and confidence that things will eventually end with the result I have been hoping for. I just cannot say that I believe that anymore. I have seen good women turn and walk away from TTC because they could no longer face the hurt that came with monthly (or per cycle) let-downs. I have seen women put themselves into precarious financial situations all because they keep thinking that the next one will be the one that works. I have seen women lose their sense of direction because of the singular focus of TTC. I know. I am living this way too. When I think about all the hopeful cycling, it brings to mind compulsive gamblers--- always expecting the big one to be just around the corner. I don't mean to be a downer and I can't say that I am particularly sad right now. Perhaps I am simply pissed off at hope. I have been putting myself in her hands time and again and she always lets me down in the family-building arena.

I watched an episode of Friends a few days ago. Chandler and Monica were talking with the pregnant woman whose babies they adopted (prior to their birth). They were asking her about the potential fathers of the baby. One was a high school football star and the other was in prison for killing his father. Chandler's musing to Monica was something like "Of course the baby's father is the imprisoned father killer. It's us." That pretty much sums up how I am feeling about my chances of having a baby. Of course things won't go well--- It's us. Joey and Cindy don't get to have things easy in the baby-making area. And I know that Joey and I are not alone in the seriously frustrated category. A couple of years trying to make a baby while it seems that every teen drug user can get pregnent by heavy petting alone can leave a woman with serius jaded feelings.

So I am thinking that I will remove "hope" from my vocabulary for a while or perhaps I will just save its usage for times when it is appropriate. I will only use "hope" when I really do have a sense of expectation that things will go as I wish/ or others wish.

So here goes: I want to get pregnant and have a baby.
                        I desire for my next donor cycle to work.
                        I wish for a baby.
                        I yearn for my family to grow.

It's honest and that is pretty much the best I can ask for right now.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Good, bad and weird

Thanksgiving was all that I imagined it would be and.oh.so.much.more. Really the last week was utterly sucktastic! I have never been so happy to be home in all my life.

The Good
The cabin we rented was absolute heaven. Comfy beds, cute decorations, Egyptian cotton linens.
Joey's 2 year old nephew spent the night with us. He was a barrell of fun and such a love bug.
Joey's sister is fun.
Our trip there and back was safe.
We have good insurance.

The Bad
Pretty much everything else.
My clothes and hair smelled like cigarette smoke everytime we spent any time at a family member's house.
I do not enjoy eating Thanksgiving dinner in a less than clean house.
None of the food was like my mom makes.
Joey's nephew ended the evening by throwing up on me at 5:30 AM.
Joey's mom fell in the cabin floor, requiring an ER visit, a sling and serious meds.
Joey and her mom spending almost a week together non-stop = high stress.
Me being away from home and hormonal = low frustration tolerance.
The drive was supposed to take 8 hours but thanks to a well-placed rock slide and detour took 11 hours.
We hit a deer on the way home.

The Weird
The bio-mom did not meet with us so it is unlikely we will be adopting a sweet baby in February.
I did not see Aunt Flo until CD42.... seriously!!
No donor egg cycle for us until 2010.

Ahhhh, it's good to be home.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Kinda random

One of the things my program uses to help children and families identify their feelings is a magnet that says, "Today I am feeling" followed by faces depicting an emotion which is then named. Generally I like to choose Hysterical of Disgusted because the pictures look all googly-eyed and silly but I think if I try to find an honest emotion for today then I choose: Hopeful. Nothing is really going according to plan here and I am okay with that. Seriously, now that I have embraced my lack of control I feel as though I am along for the ride. I am observing my own life with a sense of peaceful detachment and just a little bit of bemusement at the absurdity of all this. So here is the scoop:

  1. Aunt Flo has decided to take a long vacation in the Caribbean. She was scheduled to be here early this week but she has yet to even send a postcard. If she does not come visit tonight or early in the morning then I will not be cycling in December, which is what my gut tells me will be the case. Although I want to cycle, it is nice to remove some pressure from a Christmas BFP or BFN.
  2. I bought some Christmas flotsam yesterday. My plan is to make the guest bathroom look like a holiday snowman farm exploded in there then I will move into other rooms in the house. Last year I avoided real decorations so I may have returned to a happy holiday place.
  3. The adoption front is rather quiet. I have read all the TN adoption statutes, spoken with a lawyer, talked with homestudy agencies, investigated my work reimbursement ($2000) and now I am prepared to wait. While in the midst of trying to figure out how to make adoption happen in a quick timeframe, I was clearly very overwhelmed. But now that I have a grasp on what can happen and how, adoption does not seem anymore intimidating than TTC. If I had to figure out all the ins and outs of ART in a week, I would have also melted down. Even if this adoption opportunity does not pan out, I may be ready to jump into that pool soon.
  4. We found out bio-mom now has 2 jobs. Good for her but potentially bad for us. Who knows? We will talk with her over Thanksgiving and see what her emotional state looks like then.
  5. You ladies are the best! I got so much reassurance and good ideas for how to move forward with this situation if bio-mom agrees. Thank you all for sharing your adoption knowledge and general support. If possible, Joey and I are going to have bio-mom stay with us for a few weeks/month prior to her giving birth which will save us thousands in legal fees and will avoid the dreaded ICPC. Then we will put bio-mom up in a nice hotel for 2 weeks as we wait to finalize paperwork.

My only real life friend who reads this blog (Hi K!) sometimes expresses that she does not want to say the wrong thing to me. I always assure her that she can say ANYTHING to me without me getting offended, and this is true. So I have given some real thought to why I am so annoyed and hurt by trite phrases from other people. For me, I think it is about the other person's intent. If they are uncomfortable with my pain and want to shut me up quickly (although I rarely talk about this babyless business), my feelings are hurt by the banality of a response intended to shut down my lived experience. If the other person is trying to minimize my experience, I am also angry and annoyed. But if the listener actually listens and cares about my feelings, I can pretty much overlook remarks that are more offensive than the cliches. For instance, I have a friend who decided she wanted to get pregnant and did so on her 1st try. She listens endlessly to me and cares so deeply yet she cannot seem to hear me talk about my stupid old eggs without referencing her own abundant fertility. I know I should be upset with her but she does not intend to be insensitive. So finally this week when we spoke she said her normal thing and I responded, "Okay so when are you having a baby for me to adopt?? I am ready now." Unsurprisingly she stammered a bit. Let's hide and see if she mentions her fertility again. (he he)

And that is about it from here, except that I want to take a page from some of you ladies. Last year Olive sent out a little holiday gift to people who sent her their addresses. I though that was so sweet even though I was too shy to send my own address.  So gather round, email me your address if you would like a little holiday cheer from TN... don't get too excited, I cannot afford anything very large. But I would like to be able to send a little something to all of you who have been so good to me in this past crazy year. (Lurkers and recent joiners are welcome also.)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Besieged with information

Has anyone ever noticed that the challenges involved with building a family never seem to get any easier? At this point, I am not even complaining: just noticing a pattern. What would it even be like to decide I wanted a child, have a little afternoon delight and end up pregnant? Does that even happen? Do people really get kids that way anymore? I am so immersed in the lands of infertility and lesbi2n reproduction that I have utterly lost sight of how normal people have babies. To me the "old fashioned way" involves donor sp.erm, fertility drugs and at home inseminations. Damaged and slightly jaded.. who me?

But I have digressed from the original intent of this post. I was trying to talk about how very many layers of red tape are involved with potentially adopting Joey's psuedo relative's baby. Apparently, we need an attorney in TN and we need to find (and pay for) another attorney for the birth mother (in another state). We also need to find an agency willing to work with same gender couples (done), gather about 6 trees worth of paperwork and have a homestudy. Then the birth mother still has the option to back out at any time (which we knew). Then after the baby is born, we have to stay in that other state until the court gives us permission to return to TN. And, the current laws here require that only one of us can actually adopt the baby. Perhaps later we will be able to find another attorney and judge who will sign off on a "step-parent-type" adoption of the other mother. Not to mention that IVF is actually cheaper than all the costs we are looking at having to pay to adopt. (Of course that assumes that IVF works and we all know my track record in that arena.) Application fees, homestudy fees, 2x the legal fees, post placement visit fees, report fees and of course the general costs of actually preparing for a child. How do people do this?

So my newest task is to investigate potential funding streams. What good is it to be in social work if I can't occasionally use my skillset for personal gain? Happily some foundations exist that offer help with all the fees associated with adoption. I could go on and on about this area of research but suffice it to say that IF we get approved for a grant, the money will not arrive within the next few weeks. On and on this whirlwind goes and I am having something of a panic attack about the whole thing. So I am trying to remind myself that I am super-thankful that this young woman is even considering giving us her baby boy.

Confession time: I must admit my own folly. I have already started dreaming about "our son." We have a name picked out and I keep picturing what our curly-haired little man will look like. In my mind, our little bi-racial son will have big brown eyes and will smell like an angel. I can't seem to help myself so I imagine how it will feel to meet him, look at him and hold him for the first time. Note to self: you know better than to allow your heart to get remotely attached to this idea. I wish I could pretend to be smarter about this adoption idea but the heart wants what it wants.

And on to different matters,
  • still no sign of AF. She now has less than 1 week to show up or our December cycle will be cancelled.
  • my mother used one of those trite phrases that make us all crazy last night. As I was talking about my adoption fears, she actually said. "If God brought you to this, He will bring you through this." I know she meant well, I do. I don't think working through these adoption challenges will kill me so I know that I will get through this.....But just once, couldn't my mom say something like, "I am so sorry hon. How scary for you. What can I do to help?"

.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

And the beat goes on

I had more b/w and an ultrasound this week. My E2 is coming down (187) and my lining is STILL excellent at 10.5. Of course these numbers are all wrong for suppression but meh. The nurse said that as long as I start my period by the 18th all will be well for us to have a December transfer. If I do not see AF by the 18th then we will miss the December window (since I need time for my lining to build) and the lab will close before I can complete my cycle. Worst case scenario is that I have to cycle in January, which at this point in my TTC history is not a very bad potential worst case. :) The good news is that my nurse said that I can stop the weekly blood draws and ultrasounds. Yippee! Because I have to say that I have been getting more action from the ultrasound tech than I have been getting at home. I feel like the tech should at least buy me dinner or ask about my interests.

In other news, Joey and I are visiting her home for Thanksgiving. I sooooo do not want to go but I have not seen them in over 2 years. What can I do, except paste on a smile and drive to see them? I just wrote an exceedingly honest description of her family then realized that such honesty on-line would be bad and erased it. Imagine this: if my family were described musically it would likely be some Jack Johnson song. Easy and laid back. If her family were described musically, think "Dueling Banjos" and all the connotations that go along with that. However, they are warm and accepting of me so I should learn to be happier about visiting.

But as part of our trip, Joey and I are meeting with a young pregnant pseudo-relative who is considering adoption. There are many many crazy factors and family pressures surrounding this young woman that are helping her think that she is not ready to raise a child- the details of which I will share in a protected post after we meet with her if things appear as though they will pan out. I can say that the girl is almost 6 months pregnant with a son and she is considering giving her baby to Joey and I. We know better than to get really attached to this idea right now because there are way too many "ifs" surrounding the whole situation, but maybe.

I have this little glimmer of hope that we could have a baby in our house in February and that thought is utterly intoxicating. Joey has always wanted to adopt and I have always wanted to carry a baby. So here is the happiest dream ever: what if within the next few months, we both got our hearts' desires? What if we have not 1 but 2 babies in our home by the end of 2010? I cannot imagine how my heart could contain such joy.

And now I am back to reality: one step at a time. Suppression, period, transfer, pregancy test and talk, home study, waiting, lawyers. All maybes.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Three dirty dogs


All my babies are home again. Joey and I are two happy mamas this evening.


We spent the entire day calling rescue organizations, going to shelters (too awful), driving around, hanging new signs, fearing the worst and periodically crying. Then just as Joey and I suited up for what I assume would have been a 40 mile trek into the squishy fields and woods surrounding our house, my phone rang. A very nice man about 1 mile from our house called to say that he had seen our sign at the local quickie mart. He said that some dogs that seemed to fit the description of mine were hiding in the barn next to his house. I immediately started RUNNING to the Xterra. Joey wanted to go into the house to get leashes and a blanket to cover her seats with: I would have none of that. So we sped down the road and pulled up next to the barn "Dukes of H@zzard" style.


Sure enough my three goofy dogs were hiding out. Bailey (the giant Schnauzer) did not recognize me at first and he was violently shaking all over. Jack (the former foster dog) recognized me immediately and ran to me happily. Bailey then recognized his mamas and began wagging and kissing. Watson (the mini Schnauzer) was pretty traumatized. He ran to the car and barked alot. Then I looked over and all three dogs were jumping on Joey, clamoring for her attention. Ahhh, good times. We brought the mud ball dogs home, fed them and began the process of untangling burrs from fur. Eventually scissors were involved. Now Bailey is taking up our whole bed napping. Watson has curled up on the couch with my pink robe and Jack is napping in a dog bed. They are all exhausted as are Joey and I.


I could not be happier about the ending of this saga, but who has ever heard of a dog that cannot find the way home even a mile away?

Friday, October 30, 2009

heartsick







Last night as Joey was opening the gate to go into our fenced yard, the dogs bum-rushed her. We expected that they would come home quickly but they are still not home today (10 AM). Last night and today, I have driven around local neighborhoods and searched the nearby fields and woods. I have called local animal control offices who have been surprisingly helpful. I am currently waiting for the 1 hour photo place to finish my pics so that I can put up fliers all over the area. My heart is broken. Watson, Bailey and Jack (a foster dog) are gone and I cannot stop thinking of all the terrible things that might have happened to them. These are my kids. Please say a little prayer to whoever or whatever you believe in.
.



Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Unquelled yet surrendered

Last week's E2 level? 320

This week's E2 level? 308

I pretty much knew I was in trouble when the ultrasound tech congratulated me on my nice thick lining this morning. (It is at 11 at present.) My response, "Uh, this is a suppression check." Her abashed response, "Oh." Yeah, I knew that was not a good response since my lining should be thin and my E2 level low.

The nurse called my voice mail this afternoon. She was really apologetic and said that the RE had no explanation for why this is happening. "It just happens sometimes." Now I am likely to get a period before the transfer and before I start E2 and progesterone. It is pretty much looking like our thaw and transfer will not happen until the week after Thanksgiving. This is the oddest cycle I have ever experienced.

In a weird twist, I am not fretting. My thoughts are that maybe having a different kind of cycle will result in a better outcome. Also I had a bit of a release in my car today. I came to the place where I accepted that I have little to no control in this process. I am not the one who is in charge and I need to stop living and thinking as though I am. I surrendered. Now I am almost watching the process from outside myself which is a relief from the near constant self-doubt I have been living with this cycle.

Now I just need to order more Lupron.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Gratuitous kitten pics






















Because some days you just need a little kittie love.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

You can't suppress me!

I had my suppression check today and my E2 level was still too high to continue. So I take Lupron for another week and my transfer gets pushed back by a week, making my transfer day November 19 (which was our original plan). Ok, no big deal. right?

I also met with a nurse I have never met face to face before. But we have communicated several times. She was so warm. She talked about how she felt as though she already knows me and that she is really hopeful that Joey and I will end up with a baby from this cycle. She also told me that the donor we are using this time is great. She is petite-- kinda like me. The nurse said our donor has a great history of high quality eggs. I am hopeful but nervous. What if Joey and I made the wrong decision? What if Joey should be the one to try to get pregnant? What if, what if, what if???

Monday, October 19, 2009

Off the grid and fun with math

I have been almost completely Internet-free in my spare time recently. It was strangely freeing and anxiety-provoking at the same time. But now I am back (and almost entirely caught up) both from my Internet sabbatical and from an actual vacation.



Joey had a conference in Salt Lake so we decided to stick a vacation at the end. I was pleasantly surprised. The weather was fabulous and we spent time with great friends. I almost didn't think about TTC for a few days, which is tough when I am taking injections every morning. Then out of the blue, our IVF nurse calls and asks if she can move up our cycle by 1 week. The new schedule means that our eggs will be thawed on November 9 and our transfer will be November 12. Now let me just express to you the joy that comes from having this very private conversation, along with lady business questions, while sharing a rented van with 7 friends. So much for my dignity and being low key. You know what also sucked? The driver did not realize when I got on the phone so she cranked the radio really loud and I had to ask her to turn it down. Now instead of people having side conversations, the van goes utterly quiet as I ask questions about when I will have my period and when will my ultrasounds be scheduled. Ah well, half the nation has seen my lady business so why not have the other half hear about my period and such?




In the time that I WAS thinking about TTC, I considered some numbers:


Using conservative numbers, IVF works about 40% of the time. So 40 out of 100 people will get pregnant on the first try.
Then 40% of the non-pregnant 60 get pregnant on the second try which is 24.
Now 64 of the original 100 have gotten pregnant, leaving 36 women to have a third IVF and 40% will get pregnant (14).
This means that after 3 cycles of IVF about 78 of 100 women will have a baby.
Assume that the 22 women not pregnant will all move on to donor eggs. Of those 22, 60% will get pregnant (13). Now the number of women having babies has increased to 91 out of 100.


If my math is correct (and remember that I am a therapist, not a real scientist, meaning that my math skills are roughly on par with the average 6th grader) I am part of less that 10% of women trying to get pregnant using ART who are not successful after 3 IVFs and a donor egg cycle.

No one can ever accuse me of being a quitter.

Friday, October 9, 2009

How we met

I am at that place in the cycle where life is uneventful. Aside from taking BCPs and prenatals, my life is just the same as when I am not cycling. I am finding this normalcy quite calming. So I decided to finally write the story of how Joey and I met. (Yes, J = Joey. She said that she is comfortable with me using her name now.)

I know it is trite but the way Joey and I met was through an online dating site. Joey had just moved to a new city to begin her PhD program. She was looking to meet new people and she did not have much free time to spend in bars and such. I lived in a small town and I was quite entrenched in the lesbian community. As happens with small towns, the dating scene had become too incestuous for my comfort. It got to the point where every new woman I dated was an ex of this close friend or that close friend and then having parties got complicated because inevitably Jane doesn’t like Dylan and Dylan cannot be in the same room as Wendy, etc. I wanted a woman from well-outside the circle of crazy.

Joey had an online profile with a picture. She was wearing little John Lennon glasses, uber lesbian chic clothes and a mischievous grin. Her profile was also laugh out loud funny. She talked about lots of things but what I recall is that she wanted someone who could find her bad spelling charming and who could see the unintentional humor in many of the profiles on the site. Witty, stylish and confident? Sign me up! I spent about 2 hours crafting the perfect email introduction… just a few lines but constructed for maximum benefit. She responded and I was so excited. We emailed back and forth a few times, talking about life, our careers and funny tidbits. Then one day, I mentioned The Princess Bride. Bam! Joey’s next email ended with a telephone number and a good time to call. She told me when we spoke that anyone who loved the Princess Bride couldn’t be too scary. We talked on the phone for hours on end, every day for about 2 weeks in addition to continued emailing. The conversations were intoxicating. I had not connected with anyone so completely and I kept telling myself not to get too excited (I knew that a telephone persona could be quite different from real life). We decided to meet but we both agreed that we would only meet as friends.

Joey drove down to meet me on a Saturday. I was giddy with excitement. When she got to my town, she called and I directed her to my apartment complex. My apartment was far from the road. I stood on my little porch and watched her walk toward my door. I was hooked. She was hot! I got nervous and felt goofy hanging out on the porch. I went back into my apartment which Joey found hilarious. She could clearly see how wigged out I was (in a good way). Thankfully I was cool enough to not come on too strong, which would have made her head for the hills. I took Joey to a birthday party where we were making pottery. I had not told any of my friends about Joey and they were all intrigued. They were convinced that Joey and I had been secretly dating. Joey and I had fun with keeping them confused. We made a plate together, sitting close enough that we had to touch accidentally. We laughed a lot and somewhere in the middle of the party, Joey put her hand on my leg. Every little touch was electric and I was able to maintain my composure only with great effort. We joked that we were making our “love plate” and we would eat our wedding cake off the plate. Then I took her to a bar to watch some of my friends play music. There we held hands and she often kept her hand in the small of my back. I knew that I wanted to be so much more than friends.

We ended the evening late and Joey said that she was going to drive home that night. I convinced her that it was dangerous to drive so far when she was tired. She agreed to stay the night. Conveniently, my couch was super uncomfortable and I only had one bed. She felt a bit awkward about sleeping together. I told her that I slept with all my friends (the double entendre was intentional) then with my best sexy confidence I promised not to attack her, unless she wanted me to. I gave her a t-shirt and boxers to sleep in. Joey had an insurance policy to make certain that she would behave herself that night: she didn't shave her legs. That did not work as well as she planned. I said goodnight and turned toward the wall. My lack of aggression intrigued Joey and she snuggled up behind me. Of course we didn’t go right to sleep *smile* but we also stayed clothed….. the next night was another story.

From here our story gets pretty lesbian average. We talked on the phone for hours and we spent every weekend together. We were together every moment we could find and within the month we were clearly in love. Six months later I left my town and my state to move in with Joey. Truthfully, I think I fell in love from the moment we met. Six years later, I remain in a bit of disbelief that we met and that I get to be with the person who is perfect for me. I still find her witty, stylish and sexy.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Deep breaths

J and I had a consultation with our RE today. First we talked about our failed DE cycle. After every one of these sessions I am left feeling dissatisfied. I want a REASON. I want to know what went wrong. Instead we always we get an answer like, "Well it could have been ___ or it might have been _____."

Our RE did say that she was surprised that we did not have any embryos left to freeze and she said that with this next cycle, she will try to get us more eggs. Also we agreed that she will choose our donor based upon who has the best eggs. All good things. She also thought it was odd that I keep not getting pregnant when my lining looks good. We talked a bit about J carrying but in the end decided to go with my uterus again.

So I will keep taking the BCPs and will begin Lupron in about a week. Then I will add in Estradiol and Progesterone injections. Same protocol as last time. Tentative transfer date November 19.

I must admit that I am feeling anxious about this cycle. I have no idea where my calm Zen place might be hiding. I am fearful and I have lost confidence in my body. I need a serious infusion of Hope. Any ideas where she might be hiding?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

WHOA!?

Do you ever have a series of events happen in your life that leave you feeling dumbfounded? Yep, that is where I am right now. After days of going back and forth between acceptance, sadness and anger, I did not expect this turn of events.

So this is the story.

Yesterday, I had not gotten AF after 7 days which made me concerned that something might be amiss. J called the IVF nurse for me who suggested I take another hpt but said not to worry. Don't get excited... still negative. I bought some super cheapo hpts, because I did not want to spend good money to tell me what I already knew. The first test, I failed. Seriously, I failed it and got no response at all. Apparently, I flooded the thing and got no lines whatsoever. I did not know that could even happen! El cheapo #2 confirmed that I am still not pregnant. Really it's okay. J and I laughed alot.

Also the financial lady from our clinic called. She is really nice and we like her. She said that the whole clinic was upset that our cycle ended with a BFN. Then she said.....wait for it...... that the clinic will let us cycle again for the super low introductory donor egg price!!!! Not exactly free but 1/3 the price of what other people are paying now. They felt that we have been through too much and they saw no reason this cycle should have failed.

*slightly dazed look and glassy eyes* Yes, I would like 2 more tickets for the crazy train, please.

So today marks CD1 for me and I get right back on BCPs on Thursday. The nurse was calling my other meds into the fertility pharmacy this afternoon.

I also feel the need to apologize to my credit cards in advance. They are about to be inundated.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Pruning

The weeds have grown back in my flower beds again, as they are so wont to do. So today rather than taking the nap I wanted to take, I decided to clear out some weeds both physically and metaphorically. I grabbed great angry handfuls of tall weeds and jerked them out from the roots. I am not fooled though. I know that the weeds are still lying in wait underneath the mulch and they will grow back again. Vigilance and determination is the key. And aren’t those really the keys to everything?

I also pruned the enormous and unruly bridal wreath bush. It blooms when and if it chooses. And it adamantly resists all my efforts to contain it. It is at the corner of the flowerbed and at times I find an errant new sprig has grown outside the boundaries of the bed. It refuses to stop. I cut it back to near stubs at times and yet it always finds a way to grow larger, greener and healthier. I respect that bush.

So today, I will enjoy the sunshine. I will breathe and I will find new territory to grow into. No one ever promised that growth would come without a price.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The fleet of hope is so pretty

Tread carefully, there be sharks in these waters!

So I want to begin with a heart-felt thank you all of you who commented or emailed me this week. Every word was like a lifeline and while I hardly feel as though I have the words for a post I want to let you know that I have not done a swan dive from a bridge. Also, I really do plan to email all of you back: hopefully I can stop wearing this damn albatross around my neck (which is really weighing me down). Every footstep feels heavy and gravity is not my friend. I find myself feeling the need to sit and stare into space at every opportunity. For instance, right now I am blogging as I left a half-completed pan of twice-baked potatoes waiting for their filling. Meh.

When I look at myself in the mirror, I hardly know the woman staring back at me. I look as tired as I feel. My body is bulkier than when I began TTC and my eyes don't convey a sense of mischief anymore. I don't even feel funny, and I think I used to be pretty funny. Not to mention that I have having some serious anger toward my physical self. I have a friend who is HIV+ and he always refers to his blood as poison (yes, he has issues). When I think about my own reproductive tract, I internally call it the "embryo terminator". I used to call it that aloud but J put a rapid end to that level of emotional flogging. Alas, gallows humor is not her thing.

After we got confirmation that this cycle was a bust, J and I briefly talked about giving up TTC then she had an insight that she doesn't even know if we could be who we were before we started trying. J wants to talk future plans. She wants to consider our options. She wants me to be okay. Mostly I just want to nap.

Also if another well-intended person in the non-TTC world says to me that a baby will happen for J and I "when the time is right," I am going to completely lose my mind. So I could have saved the 50 grand we have spent as well as all this emotional turmoil if I could be more tuned into when God and the universe are ready for us to conceive?! R.i.g.h.t

Monday, September 21, 2009

I sound my barbaric YAWP...

It is over. I am not pregnant.

I went to the RE's office only to find that my pg test was not covered in the large fee we paid for this cycle. My insurance required that my blood be sent away to another lab which means no answer until tomorrow afternoon. I literally began sobbing in the lab tech's little cubicle area. I almost felt sorry for the blood lady as she tried in vain to comfort me. I gathered myself and made it to my car. Where I called J and reported the day's suckage through sobs, sniffs and gasps. She called our GYN who I am convinced is the nicest man in the universe. The GYN agreed to do a bloodtest and give us the results within a 2 hour period. All covered by my insurance thank.you.very.much. Of course the doc came in and said that there is no HCG in my system. He was kind and apologetic. He also wrote me a new script for my anti-depressant.

J and I are so sad, angry and broken that there are no words to express the emotions. We are wrestling with "why" and what to do next. There are no answers in this primal place. But we are open to answers if anyone has some.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Into the rabbit hole

I took a hpt this morning. Eight days past a 3 day transfer seemed like a safe-enough time. It is negative. I cried a little but mostly I got really numb. J did her best to cheer me up. She told me how early it is and that the blood test may show something better. (I admit that I am still holding out some hope for that.) J also said that I need to stay strong and positive for the embryos. But I think that they are either attached and thriving or arrested and gone: I have little faith that my hope or lack thereof will have any effect at this point.

I looked at J and said, "What will we do if this didn't work?" Her response without a moment's hesitation, "We will save up and try again." Truly I never doubt her love for me and that makes me glow inside. But I must wonder, do I just look foolish at this point? I keep trying this and that, tweaking the protocol, trying a different road, thinking outside the box....nothing works. When is it time to stop banging my head against this damn brick wall?

Monday, September 14, 2009

All in

So, neither of the extra embryos made it to freeze. Let me just say that I am not a "live on the edge" kind of gal. I am much more about hedging my bets. I buy extra insurance. I buy extended warranties. I like having a safety net. Why does the universe never allow me a reproductive insurance policy?

So as usual, I am waiting through this 2ww knowing that the outcome is black or white. No do-overs for me. Is this some cosmic lesson I am supposed to learn?

But here is my bright side thought: Why wouldn't this current cycle work? the embryos are high quality, my uterus was ready and textbook, the lab used ICSI and AH. This will work!!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Of emotions, waiting and celebrations

Since my transfer, my emotions have been all over the map. Granted I have been a more tearful person in general since I began TTC but seriously I have hit a new level of emotionality. Now I don't feel that it is enough to simply get tearful over other people's blogs, kind remarks from friends, television shows (especially when babies are born) and etc. Now I feel that there must actually be tears rolling down my cheeks and occasional sobs. This behavior is really embarrassing for me. I tend to be rather understated so all these waterworks are more than a little disconcerting. The problem is that I cannot seem to stop myself. Seriously, I try all the tricks: looking up at the ceiling, deep breathing, reminding myself that I am also being affected by the medications at this point. Nothing works!

On other fronts, I am feeling cautiously optimistic about this cycle. I keep telling myself: "young eggs and high quality embryos." The clinic also used ICSI and assisted hatching. I like the idea of using new techniques (for me). Surely new efforts will equal new outcomes, right? Right? I am trying to focus on eating well, meditating and not allowing myself to worry too much. The jury is still out on whether I will be able to stay in this calm happy place. I think I am hoping for some small symptom in the next week, like impossibly sore bbs, a bit of implantation spotting or something.

Also today J and I are celebrating our 6 year anniversary. We are keeping it rather low key this year as I am still under many cycle-related restrictions. I think we will have a nice dinner and some shopping afterward. Feeling inspired by the rash of "how we met" stories I have really enjoyed lately, I may put together the story of how J and I met in a future post.... must stay busy in the 2ww.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Transfer complete

2 sweet perfect little embryos are hopefully snuggling into my uterus right now. J calls them our pearls and I love that idea. One embryo was 7 celled and the other was 8 celled. The embryologist said that they both looked just the way they hoped for today. The RE (one I had not seen before) called my uterus textbook perfect. In fact every RE has called my uterus some version of beautiful. I am taking that as a good sign. Let's hope this fabulous uterus is the perfect home for my little pearls.

My other 2 embies are still doing well. I will know Monday if one or both can be frozen.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

More updates

Original post:I have an update of sorts. A different person called from the IVF lab this morning. He said that I have "several embryos" which "seem to be developing well." Then he re-iterated that my transfer is scheduled for tomorrow morning. He said they would bring photos of our embryos then.

OK- I am happy that some of our embryos are developing well and that I will get embryos to transfer.

BUT- I want a number!! Are 4 still doing well? Has a fifth embryo made a late start? Are we down to 3 embies now? *banging head on desk*

Now, breathing and reminding myself that all I really want is 2 excellent quality embryos to transfer, implant and grow into a healthy child/ren.

Now back to being excited....

Update: My ever assertive J called the woman she has made pals with at the RE's office to get more detailed information. I love my wife! Now we know that 2 eggs did not thaw well. 2 eggs did not fertilize at all and 4 fertilizing is quite good. She then said that 2 embryos are looking spectatcular! Two other embryos are still living and dividing but they are just "looking good." The clinic will let those 2 good embryos develop to day 5: if they make it to the blastocyst stage, they will be frozen. So yay, we still have 4 embryos.

Happy happy, joy joy!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Early returns

After much waiting and fingernail-biting, the lab let me know that 6 eggs were able to be ICSI'd. 4 fertilized. Of course I wish I could have gotten a 100% fertilization rate, but I am excited to know that we have 4 little embryos dividing and growing at this point. It is also reassuring to know that the little embryos are made by healthy young fertiles. I am reminding myself not to be greedy. J and I just need 2 excellent quality embryos to transfer on Friday. The lab will give us another update tomorrow afternoon, so keep sending positive, thriving energy to "the babies." Incidentally, we keep talking about the 4 embryos as though they are fully functioning children hanging out in the lab. "Do you think they are lonely?" "Do you think they are thinking about us too?" Do you think they will like the dogs?"

Ok, deep breaths.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Held hostage

Well not exactly, but the clinic did not give us any details on how the egg thaw went today. I called my clinic-created mailbox all afternoon and.... nothing, nada, zilch. zero, no dice. I came home and double-checked my paperwork and the clinic said I could call for a fertilization report TOMORROW. So it seems that technically speaking, the clinic is doing is exactly what they promised and taking care of the embryos (You say potAto/ I say potato). Doesn't my RE know that I need some information today? Doesn't she get it that mommy needs information about the egg babies? The good news is that it seems that J and I are equally disturbed.

So J comes home and says, "Do you think we have babies? What do you think they look like?"

Me: "Microscopic round little balls most likely. High quality perfect cell balls."

J said: "High quality perfectly round balls with equally dividing cells."

Me: "Yeah, those are our babies."




Shoutout to Queerstork:
http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_gilbert_asks_why_are_we_happy.html

Monday, September 7, 2009

Oh the places my brain goes

This cycle is so.... quiet. I am still taking Estradiol shots twice weekly, Lupron daily and today I began taking PIO injections. The RE also added an antibiotic and a steroid as a "just in case measure." It's funny the things a person can get accustomed to. I set my phone's alarm, I take the next med and I move on. My side of this cycle seems easy, physically.

I am finding the mental aspect much harder. I find it hard to truly admit this to myself, but this attempt is quite likely the end of our journey. I am hopeful that I will get pregnant and will have a baby from this cycle, and if that does not work, I am hopeful that we will have frozen embryos to use in the future. But after that.... I think we have to be done. What other drastic measures can a woman take after 3 IVFs and the use of donor eggs? If this does not work, I cannot keep asking J (and myself) to keep pouring money down the drain. In honesty, J could have walked away after IVF 2 or 3: she keeps persevering because she worries how I will react if she says "no more." So this is now my task, I must be the one who finds the end game, edits our priorities. Clearly money is not the value we esteem most, but imagine the vacations we could have financed with our "fertility money." Imagine the student loans we could be finished with. Imagine the simple good times we could have if our focus were not always on the next step, the next chart, the next plan..... the life we hope we will have. How might our lives be different if we could honestly start living presently? If we could fill this moment to the brim with LIFE and fun and happy memories, would that be enough? So here comes the big question: if this donor egg thing does not come through, will the life I am left with be enough?

I have asked myself the same question many times throughout this journey and every time I have answered that "NO, my life cannot be full without a child!" But I think I am at a different place today. My answer is not a calm, serene, "Sure." My answer is more like, "I can find a way to make my life happy." I watched a powerful presentation on TED.com about this very topic. The speaker showed research that discussed the level of happiness people present after events and the results were surprising. Getting everything a person wants (like winning the lottery) does not make that person any happier than a person living through a trauma after 6 or more months have passed. It seems that we must find meaning to make our lives happy. So I am trying to find ways to make my life meaningful with or without a BFP, with or without a child.

See my point? The physical side of this cycle is rather a cinch compared to all the mental machinations I am putting myself through.

But all in all I am not as freaked as I seem. I am still hopeful and I believe this cycle will give J and I the child we are meant to have. I think I am just moving to a place of letting go of the wants of my ego to move to a place of accepting whatever fate my life holds. Either way, I will move forward without regrets.

Tomorrow morning, our eggies will be thawed and ICSI'd. I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas. A kid with a really intense set of thoughts and worries.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A bit of clarification

I have been playing fast and loose with the cycle dates I have mentioned in my posts, causing some confusion in blogland.

So here is my attempt to be less confounding:
  • My 8 little frozen donor eggs will be thawed and fertilized on September 8.
  • 2 (hopefully) perfect quality embryos will be transferred to my uterus on September 11.

I am so excited I can hardly see straight!! Wanna know another thing I am oddly excited about? The RE has prescribed 1 Xa.nax for me the day of the transfer. That lovely little pill goes so nice with uncomfortable procedures.

Here is a mental picture to leave you with: J is cooking supper. yay! I looked up to notice that she is wearing my new apron. I did a double take to discover that she is wearing only my apron and some panties.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Moments-- updated

I have been a terrible commenter and poster of late. I am sorry about that. I don't have any great excuses except that I have decided to do lots of self-care for this cycle. I am having a massage a week. I am presently able to justify things I normally would not purchase. I have basically fore sworn unappealing household chores and I am living like a diva! For pete's sake I am even eating what I want (mostly). Honestly though, writing about my diva-like actions is stirring up all my WASP-y guilt but I will move forward with some of the more fun moments from the past few days.

  1. I made and ate homemade chocolate pudding for supper last night. And yes, that was ALL I ate. I used my grandmother's recipe and the whole event brought back the most comforting waves of nostalgia. By the way, the pudding was smooth and a little sweet... just like Granny made.
  2. I bought myself a Willi@ms and Sonom@ apron. It is perfectly lovely and I have created a space to hang it in my pantry. Reminiscent of my other grandmother. I feel very motherly when I wear it.
  3. I searched all over town until I found a Sod@Stream, carbonated water maker. I love it! It makes Perrier-like water or sodas at home without all the bottles, sugar and caffeine. I convinced myself that I needed the new shiny thing because my drinking options are now limited since I don't want the sugar from soda and cannot have caffeine in tea.
  4. There was a sale at Coldwater Creek. Need I say more? I am utterly filled with consumer bliss.

In real TTC news, my lining is at 9.6 on the ultrasound today. I don't have my E2 level yet, but I am thinking that the news will be good. Currently I have EPS. My nips are like radars. They can feel a strong breeze in the next county and forget about coming near them. If the nurse decided to feel me up at my appointment today, I was planning to have serious words with her. The bbs are now strictly off-limits due to crazy-soreness. (And yes, I am quite sure that I am not pregnant since the transfer is still 12 days away. :) )

Also, as I was lying on the table today with "the wand" inserted into....well where it goes, the ultrasound tech turned on the hooha interrogation light and swung it around. The light made a loud squeaky noise, which was annoying. The tech decided that she would then attempt some sort of assessment on the light, while her other hand was still busy stuffing a wand inside my nether regions. Eventually she did give my lady business the proper attention it deserved but frankly I am deciding that my clinic pretty much forgets that there is a person attached to the other end of all the faulty reproductive bits!

UPDATE: My E2 level is 742. My lining is tri-layer. AND my egg thaw is officially confirmed for September 8. This thing is going to happen!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

For those of you playing along at home

My bloodwork, ultrasound and mock embryo transfer went well today.

My E2 is at 46 and my lining is almost non-existent. I am suppressed. Now I reduce the Lupron to 5 units per day and I start taking Esatradol Valerate on Thursday. Next appointment August 31.

As for the mock embryo transfer, the nurse "threaded my cervix" twice. Basically she did a pretend IUI.... 2 times. Why the extra attempt? I suppose, just for the fun of seeing my uterus cramp. ??? And does anyone know why she had to feel up on my tatas? I am just curious about that.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Choices

So I had to visit with my primary care doctor today to have bloodwork re-done. Apparently the FDA requires people using ART have a certain set of tests EVERY 2 YEARS. The doctor determined that my bloodwork expired sometime at the beginning of the summer. Yep, we have been trying to get pregnant with IVF so long that it is officially time to have the same tests repeated. I was feeling a touch irritated about that until I met a lovely nurse at the doctor's office.

She is a tall pretty blond who is fit and intelligent. She was looking over my chart and began asking lots of questions about infertility and IVF. Turns out that she is 25 years old, married and does not ovulate. She has done some testing but is clearly under-informed. She took Clomid for a year. Now she and her husband plan to try naturally and pray. She said that if she has not gotten pregnant by the time she is 30, she'll try IVF. She thinks that she and her husband will have saved enough money by then. My heart is breaking. That young woman wants a family so badly and she feels that she has no real options to get a baby for 5 years.

So while I am generally quite happy with my life, I had one more reminder that I am lucky. I have found my soul mate and I never have a single day when I do not feel loved. (Occasionally I feel incredibly annoyed or angry at my soulmate but I know those feelings will pass.) I have a job I am good at (though occasionally I question whether I want to do it). And through some incredible luck or timing or whatever, we have been able to do IVF 3x and now a donor egg cycle. So no, I don't have a baby yet. But yes, I still have many things to be thankful about in my life. In the end, I think it all comes down to options. When I look at the options in my life, I feel that there have been enough thus far and I feel grateful to have come so far. I am reminded that I have choices and that is not a small gift to be overlooked.

Friday, August 14, 2009

So Vv v v v very happy

I am typing this entry on the shiny new laptop my honey bought for me. Previous posts have been typed on my old Dell which has been slowly dying. To begin the back arrow stopped working... no big deal. Next the "V" key broke and could not be reattached, necessitating me to stick my finger in the hole where the "V" once resided. It worked, but it was not an efficient typing method. You might be surprised how often the letter "V" gets used in ordinary writing. Final straw: the spring holding up the screen broke, meaning that I had to type with one hand while I held the screen in a use able position with my other hand (makes capitalizing letters pretty tough). Being resourceful and a lesbian, I grabbed a handy roll of duct tape and created a bridge between the screen and keyboard. It worked but it wasn't pretty! Recent development: the laptop began slamming on my fingers each time I moved. I have known I needed a new computer for a long time but with my old laptop somewhat functional, I did not want to divert funds from the baby-making effort. So today I came home from work to find a lovely pink present in place of my old laptop. J's a keeper and I feel so excited to be off the low-rent laptop.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Domestic Goddess/ Hormonal Mess






Lest you all think that all I ever do is try to reproduce, I wanted to share a bit about my weekend. (For that matter, sometimes it feels like all I ever do is try to reproduce.) So this weekend, my mother and father came to visit. We spent time shopping, having a super yummy dinner and visiting. My mom and I pressure canned green beans and tomatoes. My dad and J built a new handrail on our deck. My parents also got to meet their newest furry grandkids, ie, the kittens, who obliged by frolicking most cutely. It was a good weekend and I loved it.


In the past, I used to think that I would NEVER quit my job: now I have changed my mind. I think I could quite happily hang out around home: growing things, making planned-out dinners, keeping my house clean and (dare I say?) taking care of babies. Were J and I to become independently wealthy, I would quit THAT DAY and never look back. Especially since the team I direct has collectively lost their minds and this week is yearly evaluation time. I can practically feel the Cindy voodoo dolls being made and stuck with pins. Really who needs to have people want to speak to them at work anyway? :)


On other fronts, I have always tended to think snarky thoughts about women who complain about BCPs. I have just never had any trouble with them. Karma is now biting me in the ass. I. am. evil. and. moody. For instance J was all cheerful this morning as she took care of the dogs and fed the cats. She had the unmitigated gall to MAKE NOISE and TALK to me! I had to fight the urge to tell her to "shut up!" Really? How crazy can I be? And even as mean as I am, J is being sweet and loving. She hugs me and kisses me and says how pretty I look. I almost judge her for loving me at this point.


Did I mention that I am taking more Lupron than ever before? The needles are tiny but the first shot stung like a tiny little wasp on my arm. And it kept stinging for about an hour. Eek. Not to mention the headaches that have come on with the Lupron. Egads. I am working really hard to channel my inner happy place but frankly, I am a serious hormonal grump!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

What do I think?

I have been reading about early pregnancy foods to eat and foods to avoid. J and I are seriously trying to schedule a time to paint the nursery. As I was canning green beans last night, J asked if we should can more than normal this year, since we will be a larger family (of course then she realized that it will pretty much be next summer before anyone can be born). As I read Best When Used By's early pregnancy fears (totally normal) I tried to give myself a stern talk about how to best get through those early days. And as I looked at An Offering of Love's recent baby belly (beautiful!), I could totally imagine myself that pregnant.

So yeah, I think this donor egg cycle is going to work. I am fearful of course. But at some point I realized that I can't take a step forward until I find enough faith to believe the step will work. I am simply not a roll the dice and see what happens person anymore. So I am hanging out with Hope and she is whispering the sweetest things in my ear right now.

Cycle tally:
roughly 2 more weeks of BCP to take.
Z-pak finished- wicked yeast infection initiated (sorry TMI)
Lupron shots begin in T-6 days.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Bitter pill

Sometimes I think I have completely dealt with an issue only to find that the issue still has some power over me. I find these moments of self-insight frustrating beyond words. For instance I know that the world is not fair. I know that many families who do not want or need to be parents will easily have children. I know that women who are completely physically, emotionally and financially prepared to be parents will never get that chance. I know that there is no real rhyme or reason to who gets pregnant how quickly. I know. I know. I know that TTC is not fair. Sometimes though I still struggle to accept the unfairness of this process.

Remember my friend A, who I wrote about a couple of months ago? She is my long-term friend who is 39 and recently decided to try to have a child. She refused to take any fertility drugs and began IUI's. She was honestly a bit smug about her chances of conceiving, saying "Women in my family are always fertile." I wished her well but had my doubts. Yeah, we all know where this is going. She called me yesterday. Her second IUI attempt was successful. She is pregnant.

I have now been lapped by older women who only recently woke up and though "Oh, I think I might try to be a mom now." The lack of fairness is a bitter pill this weekend. I have done 3 IVF cycles... no baby. J has done 5 IUIs...no baby. J has done 3 at home insems... no baby. We have spent many thousands of dollars we do not have. We have cried more tears than we thought we could hold and we have prayed with such intensity. Now we have even given up on own own DNA. It feels as though we have put in our time and my friend A hasn't. I can't help but think of a post by the egg dance some months back when she listed all the people she thought would become pregnant before she does. To name a few, she listed men, extinct animals, and her neutered pets. For my own personal list, I would like to add every freaking female I ever knew, even the ones who said that they did not want children!

BTW: a part of me is really happy for her since I would never wish infertility upon anyone.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Things I know now

J talked to the nurse who has the most contact with the donors at our clinic. We got a bit more information about the donor's physical characteristics and some details about her personality as well. The nurse said that our donor "lights up the room when she enters" and described her as funny and outgoing. I love those characteristics. The donor is 21 years old and is considered the clinic's "best" egg producer. The nurse also said that every cycle with our donor's eggs have resulted in a pregnancy (either immediately or through FET). Last piece of information: more than 50% of the pregnancies have been twins. Exciting and scary all at the same time!! Now that twins might be a real option, the thought is frightening due to all the complications that can come with twins. Holy stomach butterflies Batman!

A few people have asked some questions about my cycle, which must be confusing to people not in the midst of my craziness. So please allow me to explain. I am using frozen donor eggs. The donor goes through a cycle specifically to produce frozen eggs or gets paid to go through a fresh donor cycle with someone else (tres expensive!). The original egg recipient gets a total of 12 eggs then any additional eggs are frozen. The women getting the frozen donor eggs are given up to 8 eggs (at least enough to create 2-3 embryos). The success rates with frozen donor eggs is roughly the same as with a fresh donor egg cycle- 60% or better. The benefits of a frozen egg cycle are 1) the cycles of donor and recipient do not need to be synchronized and 2) less expense since the donor can provide for multiple people at the same time. The eggs are frozen immediately after egg retrieval then are thawed when the recipient is ready. The eggs are then fertilized and allowed to culture for a 3 day transfer. And 2 weeks later the recipient (ME) gets a positive beta!!!

So yeah, yesterday's melancholy seems to have left and the hope is rolling back in.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Out of the starting gate

I am having serious difficulty creating any sort of post in which I talk about the schedule for my donor egg cycle. So sorry folks, the following is rather informative but really not very clever.
  • I am now on BCP's. (always such an irony)
  • At the end of this week I add a Z pak.
  • August 10, Begin Lupron injections.
  • August 20, Begin Estradiol injections.
  • August 31, Last suppression check and Estradiol level taken.
  • Sept 7, they thaw and fertilize my (donor) eggs.
  • Sept 10, Embryo transfer!!!
  • Various monitoring visits thrown in for good measure and a mock embryo transfer sometime in August.
  • Sept 20, I will take my 1st hpt--- if I have shown amazing self-restraint.

I am feeling strangely calm about this cycle. I suppose I have great faith in young eggs and I just can't stand to think about how I will react if... you know. So la la la, I am NOT thinking about that. I am thinking happy thoughts and trying to decide if I am brave enough to paint the nursery.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Missing

I would like to place a missing *erm* person's report please. It's my aunt, Aunt Flo. She has gone missing. While normally she is something of an inconvenience because she likes to do things like drop by when I am unprepared or irritate me on a day I need to be cheerful. However, this month I have been waiting for her. I have set the stage for her arrival and many plans hang in the balance depending upon her arrival schedule. She did phone ahead on Monday, causing me endless frustration. She has decided to be something of a persnickety cuss and now she will not show herself. You see I usually see her about every 25-26 days. This time she has decided to make a grand late entrance when she KNOWS that I need to call CD1 into the RE's office.

What else have I been doing with my free time? Working on becoming a crazy cat lady. I still only have the 2 kittens, but now I talk to them and ABOUT them almost endlessly. J and I have become completely redundant. We must utter some version of the sentence, "Have you seen what Uggs/Ringo/they is(/are) doing right now?" Then we make up words to go with their actions and the thoughts we imagine them having. Sad really.

So yeah, my period needs to show up within the next 24-36 hours to keep us on schedule with our donor egg cycle. If AF does show up in a timely way, I should have some embryos in my body in early/mid September. Can I actually be excited to start taking shots again?
.

Monday, July 13, 2009

My own tea cup

I love old Zen fables and I was reminded of one this weekend. I had to recall the story of the overflowing tea cup as I spent some time in the "dog kennel room." (For those of you who might not know the story, I have copied a very short version at the bottom of the post.)

I have been calling our third bedroom "the dog kennel room" since March 17, 2008 when I resolutely stopped calling it the nursery. I was wholly unprepared to have a miscarriage and I handled it in my way which was to grieve intensely for a short time then to lock the whole thing away. Out of sight, out of mind... sort of. So the dog kennels were placed in front of the boxed up baby furniture we lovingly chose and I left the kennels there for well over a year. I also started piling things in that room. Need a place for clothing waiting to be taken to Good.will? The padded glider seems the perfect spot. Too lazy to put the Christmas decorations in the attic? I've got the perfect spot. And on and on my process continued until the room was hardly recognizable as the room I once held in such high regard. I also kept the door closed. all.the.time. The metaphor is almost silly but it is so true.

However, this weekend I had to venture into the closet of the 3rd bedroom to find the ceiling paint and I had the "aha" moment. The room no longer holds overwhelming emotion for me. So I decided that I needed to make some space so that something new can fill it (namely a baby). I began cleaning. Decorations went into the attic. Trash was bagged up. Gently used items were offered new homes. I vacuumed and dusted and I hummed a happy song. The space feels lighter and I feel more free. I am even planning to paint with the lovely classic po.oh colors I chose long ago. The door is thrown open. Okay baby(ies), physically and emotionally, I am ready for you now!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - -

A Cup of Tea
Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era, received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.
Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring.
The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. “It is overfull. No more will go in!”
“Like this cup,” Nan-in said, “you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Confession











Uggs (cat in the painting tray) said that he needed a friend. I was feeling so happy after yesterday that I went and got Uggs's brother. Meet Ringo (white face). They were happy to be re-united so they bit one another's legs, played chase and found a bag to play with. Ringo is super sweet and his little kitty motor runs all the time.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Reserved some eggs today!

Today J and I went to the Big Business Fertility Clinic and we were able to choose our egg donor! Yay. It feels as though we are finally on the road to having a baby. What is this strange pleasant feeling infusing my system: could it be fertility related optimism? Holy cow, I think it is!

So the story of the day goes like this. J and I met with *Amy* the egg donor lady. We signed a ton of forms. She let us look at 6 egg donor profiles we could choose from. She explained the egg donor process. She tried to send us home to think about our donor choice. We said, "Not so much. We will be making a choice and getting this ball rolling TODAY." She laughed and we made our choice. Our egg donor is 22 years old and she has 2 children. She is something of a rock star egg producer. She is tall with red hair and green eyes. I love our choice! The mixture of our sperm donor (dark hair and eyes) with our egg donor will be the most like J and I could have created together. I also love that we will likely get 8 eggs from the donor. They will transfer 2 embryos to me. Here's a really fun part: if we have more good embryos left over, they will be frozen for later use! I am not holding my breath for enough embies for an FET but it does sound like good news.

Then we were whisked away to the nurse who will actually work with our cycle. She is very nice and knowledgeable. She talked with us about what the schedule will look like. BCP followed by Lupron and Estradiol, lining checks, 3 day transfer and progesterone injections. I know it sounds like alot but I just kept thinking how much easier this will be than a full IVF cycle. It looks like we will bring our embryos home (inside me) at the end of August!!!!

Last stop: the check out desk for another bill. Cost of today's talks and scheduling, $140. Cost of getting us a baby: priceless.

Monday, July 6, 2009

meme pictures
















These go with the last post but I am not cool enough to make the pictures and the text go in the same post in a reasonable configuration.






Top left to bottom: 1) Our new kitten Uggs 2) my tomato garden 3) some of my little green tomatoes 4) the fence J and I built all by ourselves 5) J walking the little dogs in the field next to our house. I love this picture as I took it one morning when J did not even know I was there. I was so touched by the beauty of this sight.

7 things


I have been tagged by An Offering of Love and Insert Metaphor. Thanks ladies!



For the Kreativ Blogger Award the rules of acceptance are simple: list seven things you love and then pass the award to seven blogs you love.


7 things I love:

1) My partner in life- J. I adore the way she looks at me like I am perfect when I am so far from it. She is also just generally a fun person!

2) Our house- we have worked and toiled away to make this our home. It's my happy place.

3) My garden- growing things is fun

4) People, places, books and movies that feed my head and inspire me.

5) My pets (which reminds me that we got a kitten)

6) Spring and Fall- I love the promises that both seasons hold. There is an indescribable quality to the air.

7) taking pictures-- it sparks my imagination.


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Grade A eggs


I need a few good eggs. I am talking high quality specimens from a young baby-maker. Preferably, I would like about 10 eggs much like the one pictured to the left. This is just a visual reminder I found online, not an egg from my own ovaries. If it were my egg, it would be grainy and poor quality. But that is all okay now because J and I finally get an actual appointment with the egg lady "Amy" and the calendar lady"Jennifer" !! I am taking this step as a nice milestone since the clinic only let us have brief, entry level talks with Amy before (though expensive).
One week from tomorrow, J and I get to go to the big business clinic, talk cycle dates and look at donor profiles. If one suits us, then we get things rolling. Honestly 'healthy' is our only criteria at this point so I am thinking that we will pick out someone. J is just certain that all the clinic will have available is red-headed donors. She is a natural red and was teased unmercifully as a child. I, on the other hand, would LOVE a little red-headed baby.... or brunette, or blond, or whatever. I might burst from excitement. I am also sure that my fertile young friends will now be glad that I have some eggs on the way (potentially) so I can stop harassing them and offering money for their eggs. This is not even a joke.
And a little update: J called our pal the financial lady at the BB fertility clinic. Remember my earlier posted fears that we would get on the list then the super-low introductory price of donor eggs would end? Well that happened: the price has jumped to 3x the price we were quoted, as the pilot program has shown excellent success. The good news? We are the last couple on the list still being given the bargain basement pricing! That goodness, because after 3 IVF's our ability to creatively finance baby-making is rapidly nearing a close. Dare I say that something in the reproductive area seems to be working inour favor?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Emotional rollercoaster

I seem to be a bit emotionally erratic of late. The good news is that much of what I am feeling is actually pretty happy. Here's the rundown from this past week.

  • VERY SAD: Guess who should NOT write quizzes on the day AF unexpectedly rears her emotionally-charged head? yep, the last post was written mere moments before my period started... that explains alot!
  • JUST EMOTIONAL: J looked at me last night, laughing and said, "Who ARE you and what have you done with the Real Cindy?" I was crying as I watched people get married in a movie I have seen no less than 7 times. I also agreed to take a kitten a friend has. I think IF has finally sent me over the brink.
  • UNEXPECTED OPTIMISM: Today I saw my GYN for a 6 month follow-up after my yearly exam. I was making an appointment for 4 months from now (which he requires when women are taking Clomid) and I had the thought, " I won't be keeping this appointment, since I will be pregnant by then." How about that? I haven't actually imagined myself as a pregnant person in a very long time.
  • NERVES OF STEEL: I did not get weird about all the pregnant bellies surrounding me at the doctor's office today.
  • ZEN-LIKE CALM: I have not been freaking out about when the fertility clinic will call and whether our turn really is this month or not. I have a quiet certainty that we will get some eggs this month or next month.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Quiz time

Okay, what's the best and quickest ways to throw a frustrated infertile TTCer into a dark funk?

a. announce your "accidental" pregnancy
b. attend a baby shower
c. go buy a present for previously mentioned baby shower
d. optimistically make comments like "I know we'll be doing this for you soon."
e. all the above

Yes, all the above happened to me today. I drove to a co-worker's baby shower for which I was supposed to have made the cake (no way! no how!). I picked up the pre-ordered cake and bought 3 of the cutest newborn outfits you have ever seen. I wrapped them in beautiful paper. I got to the shower and held the most precious newborn baby boy I have seen in years. Not kidding, he is beautiful. Another coworker mentioned that she is pregnant accidentally (f-----). I dressed really nice and smiled alot, hoping to avoid the pity of my coworkers. It didn't work. They tried to be supportive and ask about our TTC efforts. Then they made the comment about having a shower for me soon. My answer, "Oh we'll see, but that sounds nice."

I thought I was fine until the drive home. My mood is foul and I am not good company for anyone tonight. When will this part end? I am ready for something new.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

ambivalence

I am having a really tough time blogging lately. I am not sure why but I am guessing that I am having too many mixed emotions. The strange thing is that when I am nowhere near a computer, I think of things to blog about all the time.

So we met with Potential donor man. He was as nice as I recall and is very willing to be helpful. He is pretty hippy-ish. He has done this before and knows the drill. He got all his testing done (we paid) and we got a contract together. He signed and last night was the first insem with J. It all fell into place easily which I usually trust as a good sign. This time, not so much. I am just left with this weird inner icky feeling. I can't decide if I DON'T trust the known donor thing because it's too easy: if I am so attached to the donor egg thing that another path feels wrong: if I am just grossed out at how very close I am now to a rather random man's "essence": or some other things I can't put into words yet? I had to laugh at Olive's suggestion that our home insem attempts as we wait for donor eggs was a version of the "maybe if you just relax" idea. It felt like that to me but now that I am actually living this path, I am finding that the silly fun feeling about it is gone.

Oh, and I have called *amy* (head frozen donor egg lady) TWICE this week to find out our current place on the waiting list. She has not called me back yet. I only ask this question once a month, surely she does not find that frequency too pushy? UPDATE: Amy is on vacation this week. Kelly called me back. I cannot recall exactly who she is: embryo lady? overall coordinator? She said that we are FIRST on her list. Yippee!! She said that she has to talk with Amy on Monday and that the whole team will be staffing cases at the start of the week. She said she will call me Monday evening or Tuesday. She also said something about putting together profiles for us to choose from. I am so freaking excited I can't contain myself.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Impatient much?

In my real life, I am pretty focused and patient. BUT in my TTC life, I am a crazed maniac, which opens J and I up to a host of interesting possibilities. Enter our newest waiting-time adventure: we are in the negotiation stage with another known donor. In my mind, the donor eggs are still the sure bet but wouldn't it be amazing for J to end up pregnant with a few home imsem attempts?!! At least at home attempts will not cost us $1000 per month (donor material + monitoring + IUI = $1K).


How this all came into being: a friend of a friend mentioned that he had donated to some other lesbians in the past which resulted in an actual child. New sorta-known donor is quite laid back. He would like to be a part of the child's life in an uncle capacity and thus far he has expressed a willingness to sign over all his rights. (We have a large known-donor contract just for such occasions- which seem to occur with odd frequency.) He is gay but celibate and willing to do all the testing to put our minds at ease. This is an odd situation. We have dinner scheduled with Mr Potential tomorrow night to discuss in more detail. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I used to be a nice person

....but infertility has changed all that.

I got an email from a dear friend on Monday. She and I have been close pals since graduate school circa 1995. She is a couple of years older than I am and she and her partner have begun TTC. They are really early in this thing and are wayyyyyyy too optimistic about how it all will work. I have advocated for the use of some fertility drugs but have otherwise kept my inner Debbie Downer hidden. Back to the email. It was very short. She asked about J and I and the TTC efforts. She said nothing about herself. She and I have not talked in a few months. I responded to the email in an upbeat way and asked about her efforts. Internally I was seething with anger. I had decided that her short email was a means of feeling us out before she told us that she is pregnant on the first attempt. I. was. really. mad. I just knew she had skipped her turn and jumped to the head of the TTC line. I just knew she was now knocked up while I am still waiting for some freaking donor eggs after years of wishing, wanting, praying, tears and trying.

Then I received her response email.

She was just thinking of us. She may try her first insemination this month depending upon the timing. She is excited.

I am bad. Have I sunk so low that I am wishing infertility upon my friends? My friend (A) is a wonderful person and she will be a great parent. I want her to get pregnant. But still, my first response was not something I am proud of myself for feeling. Ick, I need to shower now.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

a new low

A variety of factors have converged to reduce my current quality of life. My uber long hours at work, keeping up with the outside tasks and J doing research over the summer have brought us to new depths of take-out food. Last night, I had to run the dishwasher when it was not even remotely full (no full-sized plates!) because we had run out of forks. Not a single clean fork in our whole kitchen and only 3 clean soup spoons! The dishwasher was run and J cooked a quick meal in celebration. At least we were both wearing clean underwear. :)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

new toys


No news on the TTC front. J and I are waiting for donor eggs and periodically talking over our options. We are hopeful that we will get good news about some young eggs before the end of summer. We wish that we could do IVF for J with donation to me but this option is very expensive and we just don't know if we can swing it financially. (My sad little $2000 IF coverage for the year is used up and J has none.) We are also considering another round or 2 of IUIs. I just wish we had an answer about what path is best. Of course we don't so we are focusing on other things.


We garden and we buy things. Historically I have been committed to using as few gas-powered implements as possible in my desire to be green. However this week it became clear that my long hours at work are making us lose the battle against weeds in the yard, garden and flower beds. I broke down and bought a gas powered weed-eater, a small tiller and a rechargeable thing that pulls weeds. So if you happen to drive by my house, I am the crazy woman with all the lawn implements who is trying to squeeze 3 hours of daily tasks into a 1 hour space. The new toys are helpful and speedy but they seriously impede my zen. I cannot hear the gardens talk to me over the roar of the engines. ;) I suppose it's all about compromises.


After I bought all my goodies, J decided that she deserved a new I-phone. I am officially jealous. Her toy is better than mine!


And I have included a new pic of J on a day when we were planting things and caging the tomatoes.