2 women trying to make a baby

Thursday, April 30, 2009

My fortune

I swear this is the fortune in my cookie at a Chinese restaurant yesterday.
"You will find happiness as you lose material wealth."

Seriously, isn't this the motto of anyone using ART?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Immaculate conception

One of my favorite people said a fantastically ridiculous thing to me today.

Background: she knows about the extensive medical intervention my female partner and I have utilized in attempts to get pregnant. She is always beyond supportive. She ALMOST had to see a fertility specialist before she conceived her second child.

What she said: " You just need to relax and it will happen for you."
In my head: WHAT?!
My response: "Maybe that will help."

Que? J and I will diligently attempt to make a baby here at home this month, while we relax. But I am still thinking that our lack of sperm will persist in confounding our baby-making efforts. I also doubt that my grainy old eggs will be much help either.

Question: have any of you gotten pregnant without sperm? ;)

Monday, April 27, 2009

the cardinal of donor material.

Today J and I went for a consultation with the therapist our RE told us to see. Apparently she has to give us her blessing to use donor material. I went to the appointment with more than a little hostility about the matter, though I am not 100% sure why that may be. In any case, the office space she shares was a total 70's shag carpet nightmare: totally reinforcing my sentiments that the lady would be a crackpot therapist. I also had a really strong urge to behave inappropriately in the waiting area. I imagined all sorts of compromising positions she could find J and I engaged in like poorly-manner teenagers.

Instead, we were greeted with a lovely, intuitive older woman. She shared a wealth of information about how donors are chosen, success rates, resources and etc. She asked us great questions and treated us with utmost respect. I ended the session wishing that this woman had been my real therapist when I needed one. For instance when I mentioned the miscarriage, this woman showed sympathy then said, "We really do a bad job of letting women know that about 1 in 3 pregnancies will end in miscarriage." She was so warm and understanding. She seemed to understand infertility and the issues surrounding it. I loved that she did not feel the need to help me "come to terms" with my experiences or infuse me with false hope.

But, I am hopeful again. I hope we move up the donor lists quickly and I hope that J and I can maintain the amount of fun we have been enjoying in the past few days. Seems like this forced break is removing some pressure and allowing us to remember that we are a couple who is in love, not just a couple with an insanely frustrating goal.

BTW: happy 100th post to me.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Socially engineered attractiveness

We got to speak with *Amy* yesterday and it seems that J and I have a pretty good chance of having a short wait for donor eggs. Why? Because we are not picky! J has light eyes and strawberry blond hair, and I have dark hair and eyes. With this range of features, we could look like a "normal" family with a child of most any hair/eye coloring.

At first I was totally happy thinking about potentially moving up the donor list because other infertiles passed on eggs with the wrong physical features. But then I began to think that maybe I was being too accepting and perhaps J and I should care what our future (hopefully) child will look like. In the end, I decided that I just don't care. If we were adopting, we would not turn down a marginally-attractive child, and goodness knows that either J or I could have spat out an FLK (funny looking kid) from our own loins. What I do know is that the Big Business Fertility Clinic carefully screens egg donors and chooses the healthiest and most attractive (I am trying not to think about the implications there). Last conclusion, I don't think that J or I would have qualified to be egg donors back in our younger days. While no one has ever turned away from us in horror, no one has ever suggested that we should enter beauty pageants either. We may end up with a child that is wildly more attractive than her mothers! How 'bout that?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

4rd Runner Up

J called the fertility clinic today about a booster shot she needs to get today or tomorrow. You would not believe the difficulty she is having getting one. It would be easier for her to get a script for narcotics!

In any case, while she had the nurse on the phone J asked about staffing yesterday and whether we will get donor eggs. The nurse looked us up and we are 5th on the list. It seems that we are the "Miss Congeniality" of the donor egg world. We get to stand on the stage but we only get a tiny little paper crown. We also have to knock off several infertiles to "get us our baby." Good news is that the wait is only likely to be about 3 months or so. Bad news: we do not know if we will get to pay the uber-cheap price or the uber-expensive upcoming price. Apparently we have to talk to *Amy* about that and *Amy* is out today. For some reason I have a really mocking internal voice every time I say *Amy*. I should learn to be externally nice to her as she is the gatekeeper for my potential future child.

The nurse then suggested that we should consider donor embryos and we should set up a consultation appointment with Dr BB. I think J began to consider self-harm at that point. She had to explain that we did set up the consultation appointment: it was on Friday. The doctor was running and hour and a half behind schedule and did not remember us. Dr BB did talk about our options in a cursory manner and we paid $200 for that. The nurse had the good grace to sound embarrassed and said that she could set up a free phone consultation.

Today I find that I am laughing at the utter insanity in this whole process. The clinic that is most likely to help us get our hearts' greatest desires is also the least personable and approachable clinic we have ever used. They are completely competent and have great programs but they just seem so.... cold.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Monday updates

Guess what very large fertility clinic did not call us today... well yes, that would be my fertility clinic! So we are still waiting to find out if we get some donor eggs. The financial lady did email. I swear she is the most personable and warm person in that entire practice. She said that she will give J and I a detailed estimate on using J's eggs for us both. She even said that she will try to figure the price in the least expensive way possible.

On a more positive note, J is up for an award that would provide us a few extra k's and she can also put some work online and will get a bonus for that as well.... she is so very industrious. All I can do is travel extra miles so that I get bigger mileage checks, which is pretty minimal really.

Also another nice thought, sort of. Today I walked through the waiting area of the place where I work, which is a rarity. The waiting area smelled like stale cigarettes and body odor. The children all looked sad and the parents looked irritated. It made me so thankful for my own comparatively happy childhood. It also reminded me that I live a life many of my clients cannot imagine attaining. J and I are so very far from wealthy but compared to many, we are blessed beyond measure.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

No more plans

I have been struggling with how to write this post because I realize that I am blogging such sadness and frustration lately.... for that matter I suppose I have been feeling sad and frustrated lately. This is just not who I am. I am engaging and active and funny and a good friend... all sorts of nice things, but I am not sure that most people can see that lately. I am in the TTC slump... the waiting place where nothing ever really happens. I have been thinking that J and I need to make a way to take our lives back from the Constant Disappointment Monster.

Edited paragraph: Today, Monday, is CD 1 for J so no luck with the IUI this month. Also we found out that the bank we use has been having problems with the exact prefix donor vials we used for this IUI. Remember that the lab lady did not check for swimmers. So I am thinking that J would have had the same chance of getting pg this month if we had just stayed home with a bottle of wine and some Marvib Gaye CD's.

On Friday we met with the Big Business Fertility Clinic. The RE (Dr BB) looked at my lady business (because that phrase makes me laugh) and said that she can't see any reason I am not getting pregnant. Nice, and the same thing that 3 other RE's have said before doing a cycle with me. However after seeing me actually cycle, they say that I am a poor responder and have poor egg quality. At this point, J's face is getting red (bad sign) because it is clear that Dr BB does not recall the options she and J talked about at J's last visit. With some prompting, we see the light bulb come on and the Dr starts talking about the options that might actually work. Donor embryos with a success rate of about 40% but significantly cheaper that a full IVF cycle, donor eggs from young women, with a success rate of 50-60% and still cheaper than a full IVF or using J's eggs for me, unknown success rate and most expensive option. Last option.... wait for it.... IUIs for me... really WTF?! 3 failed IVFs and several others REs saying that IUIs might work if we had years to do monthly IUIs. Really, my egg quality is not getting any better and I am not getting any younger. Even at best case scenario, 50% of my eggs are poor quality with my age, and history has shown that my eggs are not best case scenario. We say that we will bypass spending $1000 per month for IUIs indefinitely and will choose an option with better odds.

We chose to use donor eggs. We were filled with positive feelings about our choice. We chose to cycle next month as the donor egg program is only going to be cheap for about another month or 2 because they are trying to show good success then will increase the price to a more "competitive range." We left Dr BB's office laughing and talking about how this would all work and how we could move money around to make the cycle work so quickly. Then the RE's office called to say not to get the blood work because they are low on donor eggs. They will staff our case Monday and let us know. J and I were so overwhelmed and sad at this point. We were going in a direction that felt like success only to have the rug pulled out from under us, again.

So now we wait. We wait to see what the staffing finds. If they won't give us donor eggs, we are not doing donor embryos--- not good enough success there as the embryos are from all aged women. We will likely do an IVF cycle with J and use her eggs for both of us. Expensive and we will need to save for a few months. Perhaps we could do that cycle in August. Maybe, sort of, we'll see. No plans: I just cannot kid myself that I have any real control over this baby-making situation.

See another entry ends in sadness and frustration. This is not the story I want to write about my life.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

More dumb things people say

I think most TTCers have experienced people who make seriously insensitive comments. I seem to store up the comments and ruminate about them.

This week, one of my employees was talking about how her grandson has gotten too old to hunt Easter eggs. So she pointedly said to me, "You need to hurry up and have a baby for us to hide eggs for." My response, " Well B, that's not going so well."

At my last therapy appointment (as in last ever with that woman), my therapist asked me if I could see my miscarriage for the blessing it is. I know her thought process here but I hardly see losing my only real chance at a biological child as a "blessing."

Not long ago my mom suggested that "We'll just have to see what God's will is" about my TTC efforts. In her WASPy way, she was implying that I am throwing away our money because God does not want J and I to have a child. Thanks Mom. I am all warm just feeling your complete support.

Lastly, I was speaking with an old friend. She asked about our baby making efforts and I told her. She said, "Have you ever thought about adoption?" My internal response, "Adoption? What's that? Never heard of it before! You mean that J and I can just get a newborn baby tomorrow without intense heartache? Well sign me up!" My external response, "Kinda."

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My brain is tired

There is a particular type of therapy I love to do. It is called Motivational Interviewing. With this approach, you talk with someone who has ambivalence about something (be that drug use, where to attend school, etc) and you do not advise the person: you simply ask questions and provide restatements of their ideas and feelings. Through this process the person can work through his/her own thoughts and make a decision. We do not give advice because when you give the "stop" advice the person is only left with one side of the argument, the "go" side. You see the idea.

So in soliciting advice, I had a feeling that I would be able to read every one's entirely logical thoughts and just "know" the path J and I should attempt. Well, thank you to everyone who humored me because we now have a plan I really like.

At J's next cycle (assuming this IUI is a bust), we will have her antral follicles checked. If she has a bunch, we will use her eggs. This idea makes my heart sing at carrying her child.

But, if she has a low antral follicle count, we will use the donor embryos. This idea makes me feel very happy also because we get 2 tries for the price of 1 (kind of) with younger eggs.

I am feeling quite calm about the whole thing. And J's RE's office called me today to schedule a time for me to see the doc also. Surprise, she has an opening on Friday. Things seem to be falling into place and that is such a nice change for us. I wonder if we will change our minds again after consulting with the RE? Ah, *shrug* same same.

Monday, April 13, 2009

What would you do?

Assuming that this IUI does not work, we have a big decision to make. I really want every one's input here since J and I keep going back and forth.

2 potential solutions to having a baby: 1) J does IVF then gives me (and maybe herself) some embryos to carry around 2) We use donor embryos.

Here are my thoughts:
  • J is 36 so her eggs are not totally fresh.
  • I got pregnant on IVF #1 then nothing in IVF #s 2 and 3. So although there are no obvious issues with my luteal phase, we have no guarantees that I will get preggers.
  • We could use 2 donor embryo attempts for the cost of using J's embys in one or both of us.
  • While I would love to carry J's baby, we are not utterly tied to the baby sharing our genetics.

The issues are confusing for me. Each path has its own set of good and bad points. When I make my list of pros and cons, I end up more confused rather than less so.

Best case scenario would be that J gets pregnant with this IUI then I could use donor eggs... best of both worlds but I have no control over her uterus. Thus I am in my current quandary.

Last night I was cleaning out my closet and I found the maternity clothes I bought back in the day. Most still had the tags on them. As I folded them, I had to decide where they should go: attic, Goodwill, stay in closet? I was overcome by a wave of sadness. I really want to have a baby so I am discarding most solutions that remove me completely from the picture. I neatly folded my clothes (along with my hopes) and stored them in my bottom dresser drawer.

So, your thoughts? Feel free to be completely honest.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Our state of affairs

All is quiet on the southern front. J and I are oddly calm.
  • We are not yet obsessing about present or absent eps and have not talked much about the IUI since it was done.
  • J has some outside reviewers at her job this week and they have been very complimentary, especially of my J. (I am so proud!)
  • Our local RE did call us back and they will let us use J's eggs in both of us (and not for the price of 2 full IVF cycles). Our plan would be 1 for her and 2 for me. (yay!)
  • Our local RE (who I need to name) also talked about us using donor eggs or donor embryos... younger women who have donated younger eggs. We are open to that thought and it may even be less expensive.
  • We may have some decisions to make but I am still holding out hope for J's cycle this time.
  • I read a journal article that suggested lesbians using IUIs who did not conceive after 6 attempts should use more aggressive TTC efforts. So....
  • My plan for J is to move to injectables for the next IUI if this one does not work. Enough playing around. Either an IUI has to work within 2 cycles or we are on to IVF/donor/whatever.
  • I have gotten serious about getting rid of my 20 fertility pounds. I am doing the South Beach thing and it is going very well. (This may be part of my calm since I have a focus in addition to TTC.) Who knows I may even end up at my college weight?
  • My major accomplishment? I have not cried in my office in over a week! I am feeling like a champ since yesterday my team staffed a particularly disturbing case of parental drug use and neglect of a three-year-old. This sort of thing usually sends me over the edge.

So no earth-shattering news yet but we are happily plugging along.

Monday, April 6, 2009

I'm not so sure

The doc did, indeed, meet us on Saturday; and he did, in fact, do an IUI. BUT we are feeling pretty doubtful about this month's attempt.

  • The IUI either had to be early (Saturday) or too late (Monday). Hopefully we hit somewhere near ovulation.
  • The tech at the clinic did not test the sample. We asked the counts after the syringe was all filled and she said, "oh they are pretty much guaranteed to be fine." (We all have stories about empty vials.)
  • Dr young and cute had serious difficulty hitting the mark. He eventually had to do the grabbing J's cervix thing. Seriously the process took about 5 minutes-- we all know that is way too long for an IUI.
  • J has been crampy and bleeding ever since the procedure.

Next attempt we will be using our new RE-- after we go to counseling about having to use a sperm donor. (???) The RE said that it is a law that couples must have counseling and a statement from a psychologist before donor anything can be used. This is one of the times when it feels as though we are banging our heads against a brick wall.

Please tell me that we will actually walk away from all these frustrations and disappointments with an actual child. Sometimes it feels as though all the fertility treatments, drugs and time we invest are not heading toward any real outcome but have simply become our intensely masochistic hobby.

J is feeling quite discouraged and I am learning the art of being the cheerleader. I make a mean batch of rice krispy treats as comfort food and I even suffer through action movies.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

If you blog it, he will come (updated)

9 AM more frustrations....really?!

This morning started out so well. J had the new donor sp.erm delivered to the doctor yesterday and spoke with the nurse to double check that they do IUIs over the weekend. We get up this morning, and J has a lovely surge showing up on the OPK. We call the doctor's office and get the answering service: our doc is not on call this weekend. The on-call doc calls us back shortly and screeeeech! The good day comes to a halt. On-call doc says that they do not normally do IUIs over the weekend but that he would see if he could get some techs to go to work and would call us back. We have been waiting for over 30 minutes and our anxiety is rising to a fever pitch. It's not even like we can just run to the doc's office and pick up our sperm... it's being held hostage. If we have to wait until MOnday to do the IUI, J will have ovulated and that will be about $1000 and another month down the drain. Gar, urrrrr, arg, sh*t, F*ck and etc!

9:30 happy dancing

The on-call doc spoke with our regular doc and he WILL see us today!!! yippee! I think our doc shared the sad story of 3 failed IVFs and 4 failed insemination attempts in the last year. The doc said he will meet us in 2 hours and he was so much nicer on call #2. Apparently he also heard that my TTC posse was gathering... :)