Saturday, December 29, 2007
Remember the triplet boys on Christmas Day story? If I do switch to IVF at the time the RE is recommending, and if my cycles stay regular until then, my predicted due date will be... December 26th. How funny is that? Of course, if I were to get pregnant with triplets, there's no chance they'd bake a full 40 weeks. The mantra may need to change to triplet boys due on Christmas Day. Hmmm...
I'm not pregnant. I'm sure that's no big shock. If I'd had good news, you better believe I'd have found a few minutes to shout it from the cyber-rafters. I'm halfway through this month's round of Clomid. No symptoms so far to speak of, but last time, they didn't hit me until the 2ww, so the fun is probably yet to come.
I had an ultrasound on Thursday morning. It was perfect. Of course. Perfectly healthy with absolutely nothing to fix. Damn it. I asked the doctor about the laparoscopy and she said (again) that she wanted to do two more Clomid cycles and then she would encourage IVF, but would consider a laparoscopy at the time if that's what I preferred. She also said that she would recommend IVF over laparoscopy because the IVF would likely be the treatment for anything the laparoscopy might find, so basically, if we're "to that point," why not just skip to the finish line. I'm not so sure. If they find Endometriosis in the lap, they can clear it out and it's possible I could get pregnant on my own after that. I'd really like to avoid IVF if possible (duh), and it's not just because of the $15,000 price tag that my insurance won't touch. At least I have two more cycles to think all that through and seek out a second opinion. I hate every single tiny part of this TTC garbage.
Interesting phone calls yesterday: So, the new RE won't use KD without the quarantine restrictions, right? That means that until mid-February (depending on how quickly we can get KD in for an infectious disease screen once the 6 months elapses), we need to stick with KFed. The RE was less than thrilled by our choice of banks and explained it would require some more administration on their part because they'd never worked with our bank before, but agreed to do it. My task was to call the bank and have their CLIA certificate and FDA registration faxed to the RE's lab for pre-approval. I called yesterday. I reminded the sperm bank lady what donor we were using and she notified me that we "might" have an availability problem for next week's IUI. They have some vials of his in storage, but aren't planning to screen him again until the end of January so the vials have to be held until then. She asked for our second choice. I told her I couldn't remember so we'd have to check the profiles again and get back to her. Blech. I hate daddy shopping. HATE. Then I asked her to fax the info to my RE. Turns out, they don't even HAVE a Clia certificate!! Here I am thinking this is the most straightforward part of the whole call and they don't have the damn certificate so the RE won't use them. The best part of this is that it is the afternoon of Friday, December 28th. The next day I'm likely to find people in their offices is Wednesday, January 2nd, and I may need to inseminate as early as the 4th. There is NO WAY IN HELL that we can set up an account with a new bank, choose a new donor, and have the vials shipped to arrive by the 4th. Not gonna happen. And please recall that I'm 3 pills into my Clomid, a drug I do not want to take for a month longer than I have to.
There are three choices as I see them: The first is that I fly out to KD's next weekend and we go back to doing things "the old-fashioned way." Not that way, the other old-fashioned way. You know, a business meeting? This is less than ideal seeing as I just put KD on a plane this morning and I already have a big trip planned for later this month. A second, less-preferable option is that I can just pick up a vial myself from the bank and do an ICI at home. One drawback to both of those routes is that ICI is less effective than IUI so it's a partial waste of the Clomid cycle, but at least we won't lose the cycle altogether. The third and best option (cue heavenly music here) would be for my NP to do the insemination. She'll do an IUI, she's cheaper, and she'll use KD's swimmers. I need to call the RE and ask her about this option and I hope she'll give it the thumbs up, but I'll do it anyway even if she doesn't. The worst she can do is refuse to count this cycle toward the two more I need before we go to the next step (since she didn't end up having control over all variables), but at least I won't miss the cycle. I also have to ask the NP if she's willing to do it, but I feel like she will be. After nearly a year of monthly meetings, I think she wants this for us just about as badly as we do.
Sooo, that's all the news that's fit to print. I'll do a better job of updating - should be easier now that the holiday chaos is going back into hibernation.
Monday, December 17, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
This post has been brewing for a few days, and when it started, it was going to simply be an "I really, really hope I get pregnant this cycle" post. Since then it has been trying to evolve into a raging vent with lots of swear words. I'm hoping to meet myself somewhere in the middle here.
Here's the "I really, really hope I'm pregnant" part:
I am so very tired of this rollercoaster. I have been living my life in two week increments for 15 months now, and each month, I spend at least one day soaring on the highest highs and another weathering the lowest lows. It's downright draining. If this cycle works, my due date will be August 30th. This would suck from a weather standpoint, but that's why God invented air conditioning, right? From every other angle, it would be perfect. M would be totally done with school so she wouldn't have to tear herself away from a newborn to deal with class stuff. It would be early enough to not interfere with our goal to move in the fall but late enough that I probably wouldn't have to go back to work after my maternity leave. It really is just kind of perfect. Also, we were able to use KD as the donor, something we might not be able to do again for a few months.
Since then, I've become totally overwhelmed with all this TTC nonsense, and I am sooooo ready to be done, and not in the fun, optimistic "Gee, I really hope this is my month!" way. I had the consult with the RE last Wednesday and it was completely depressing. I don't even know where to start in explaining why.
1. She is not willing to use KD's stored vials without them passing quarantine. I knew this would be the case, but it still felt like a punch to the gut for some reason. The reality is that KD is who we want to use, and despite all the rationalizing I did to come to terms with using an anonymous donor, KD is still my first choice. At the time, I could justify the switch by needing to rule out incompatibility issues between KD and I. But now, with two failed inseminations using KFed (half the medical "best practice" for ruling out donor issues, but still), I feel comfortable enough to want to proceed with KD as the donor, whatever that takes. I think I talked her into compromising on the quarantine issue enough to count the time the samples have already been in storage toward our 6 months (giving them a release date of 2/1/08), but I won't count that chicken until it's hatched, grown, and laying eggs of it's own. Not after the experience we had with the evil cryobank.
2. I went in with a mental list a mile long of options I expected to be presented with: injectibles, trigger shots, mid-cycle ultrasound monitoring, laparoscopy... She suggested none of these. What she suggested was repeating an ultrasound I had several months ago, 2-3 more cycles with Clomid (but at 100mg. rather than 50mg.), then IVF. That's all folks. I have wrestled with this nonstop since my appointment. I feel like we've paid our dues and I'm ready to fast track this pregnancy. For perspective, you have to remember that we're figuring we only have 3-4 more months to try before we have to take a year off to relocate. So, if IVF is what it will take, then IVF it is, and bring it on sooner than later, please. I just can't believe I'm really at that point. The only explanation I've come up with for why she didn't suggest any of those other options - right or wrong - is that they are all designed to address specific fertility issues, none of which I have based on the battery of tests I've completed. So I guess she's just not wanting to waste time on fixes for things that ain't broke. I'm just disappointed that she didn't think any of those things were worth trying. I really wanted her to believe that those options were viable for me, not in a patronizing or indulgent way, but in a genuine, I-believe-you-CAN-get-pregnant way. It's heartbreaking to hear that the professional opinion is that my only hope is a couple tries with one drug, then IVF. I'm thinking about getting a second opinion. The only problem is time. The waiting period for new patients is 2+ months in most practices - that's what it took me to get in with her. Also, she wants to hit the ground running with the ultrasound and 100mg. Clomid pretty much the second my period arrives, which is less than two weeks away. That doesn't give me a lot of time to make a decision about possibly switching doctors. The more I think and talk this out, the more I realize I need to at least have a consult with someone else, just for my own peace of mind, so I'll work on that. And I guess I'll probably just be stuck with her in the interim, which isn't a big deal. It's only money, and my sanity of course. The one other thing I'm thinking of doing is going back to her and (a) flat-out requesting a laparoscopy - no reason she shouldn't want to do that if I'm willing to pay her for it, and (b) informing her that if all she's planning to do is Clomid and IUIs, no ultrasound monitoring or mid-cycle bloodwork, I'd like to do that with my NP who charges half as much as she does, and return to her having saved up our $$ for IVF when the time comes to cross that bridge. Of course, I have to check with the NP and make sure she will prescribe the 100 mg. of Clomid, but I don't think that will be a problem. You're starting to see the issue though, right? Too many variables. Too many possible configurations. And the clock continues to tick...
I go through periods of feeling more and less sad about my own inability to get pregnant, more and less jealous of others who become pregnant so easily, and more and less desperate about my prospects of ever having a successful pregnancy. Lately, I've just been feeling "more" on all counts. Some days, I'm able to see my infertility as a gift, believe it or not. It's taught me so much about myself and M and our relationship, and helped me to empathize with a community of women who have endured this same challenge that simply can't be understood without having experienced it. But for the last week or so, I've just felt really sad about it all and wanted to go back to the blissful ignorance in which I conceived of myself as a healthy, normal person.
My non-TTC life has been a complete disaster lately, and that's not helping me have the emotional stamina I need to deal with all of this. M and I are both so ridiculously busy, we're lucky if we see each other for 10 waking minutes each day. We are beyond broke. I overdrew our checking account this week - something I haven't done in a looooong time and I'm at a loss to describe how much this stresses and frustrates me. I am drowning at work from having so much time off this month and last month. I feel like I'm on some kind of revolving object (merry-go-round? sit-n-spin?) and it keeps going faster and faster and faster as the world around me dissolves further and further into one big blur. Even acupuncture isn't cutting through the fog right now, and that's been my silver bullet for the last few months.
I have a decent break coming up for Christmas with M's family, and the guest list and agenda (or lack thereof, more accurately) pretty much guarantee that it will be a week o' awesomeness. Still, there's a part of me that is anxious about it because it's more time away from work, and being behind there is a big chunk of what is making me feel out of control right now. Once I get back on top of things at work - and it's totally realistic to do this before my last day in the office on 12/21 - I'm sure I'll be as overjoyed about having the week off as I am about the company I get to spend it with.
Really, what I need to do is sit still and think and talk about all of this. There is an answer and it's already in me somewhere. I just need to find it. I called M this afternoon and scheduled a "team meeting" for this weekend, so hopefuly we'll be able to work some things out. I have a feeling it will involve a significant amount of surrender.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
If I'd written a dictionary two weeks ago, this is how the entry would have read:
Clo-madness (n.): 1. A transitory mental illness brought about by the ingestion of Clomid, a medication commonly used to treat ovulatory disorders; characterized by headaches, emotional outbursts, mood swings, antisocial behavior, and unexplained crying spells.
I'd heard stories of women screaming obscenities and throwing small appliances at their partners, friends, pets, and/or anything else that moves. Turns out, I was all prepared for nothing. With the exception of a couple of hot flashes, I was totally asymptomatic while actually taking the darn stuff. However, since stopping it 4 days ago, I have realized that a second definition is needed:
2. A secondary condition characterized by extreme frustration after learning through trial and error that Clomid F's up your ovulation timeline and produces false positives on ovulation redictor kit test sticks. Most commonly associated with taking an OPK on the same day as the last Clomid dose and being surprised when it returns a nearly positive result, causing one to panic and rearrange schedule to make sure IUI-ready samples are on hand for insemination which will surely occur within the next 24 hours. This is followed by the confusing state of continually peeing on OPKs which are turning less positive instead of more, coupled with the total absence of secondary fertility signs (a common side effect of Clomid) making it impossible to cross-check OPKs, and the knowledge that the tank only keeps samples at the appropriate level of freezing for so long. At this point, one typically calls the bank to verify that samples will last until ovulation (assuming it ever freaking happens) and is told that they can not guarantee it unless tank holder takes time off work to drive out to cryobank to have liquid nitrogen refilled. In the meantime, internet research is typically conducted that indicates (1) Clomid causes false positives on OPKs as late as 3 days post last dose of Clomid, even though ovulation never occurs until at least five and sometimes as many as NINE days past the last dose of Clomid, and (2) Clomid significantly delays ovulation, especially if started after day 5 (which would be especially interesting/useful to someone who started it on day 6 of her cycle). At this point, one typically concludes that ovulation is still a few days away assuming said person is only on day 14 of her cycle) and all the commuting back and forth to the cryobank, peeing on sticks, and general stressing that said person has done for the last four days has been totally unnecessary. And this - typically - does not make said person very happy.
If my NP had read the above entry, perhaps she could have told me a couple of things such as not to expect my ovulation to occur on time, and to delay the OPKs (which she requires I start on day 10) until 4 days past my last dose of the Clomid, seeing as it's hormonally impossible for me to ovulate before then anyway. At a minimum, she could have warned me to look out for the
false positives. Those pearls of wisdom could have saved me a lot of money, gasoline, and emotional reserve.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Hopefully the next two weeks will fly by as quickly as the last two have. The holiday ramp-up will help, I'm sure.
Friday, October 26, 2007
My mood is okay. I'm definitely a little down, but noticeably less so than on previous failed cycles. I had a hard day on Tuesday when I finally accepted the stack of negative pregnancy tests in the wastebasket, but again, not as bad as it has been in the past. I think I'm (finally) acknowledging to myself that this will probably take a lot more time, if it works at all. I don't know if that's a good or a bad thing. To be honest, it certainly makes the BFNs easier to deal with. On the other hand, I hate the idea of losing faith in myself under any circumstances. Oh well, I'm just along for the ride and if there's one thing I've learned, it's not to bother trying to control my feelings about this stuff.
I can't remember if I mentioned on here that the NP referred me to an RE. I don't think I did. We had the talk I wanted to have and she basically said that she has done everything for me that she can. I took the first available appointment with the doc she referred me to and it was DECEMBER 18TH - over 2 months from the date I made the appointment. Good grief. I called back this morning and switched it to one of the newer doctors in the practice, and I still couldn't get in before November 29th. So, we still have one full cycle before we see her. I'm not sure yet how aggressive we're going to be this time. This might be a good month to save some money before the RE bills start rolling in.
I just typed this next paragraph about a dozen times and deleted every draft. I'm sticking with this one, for better or for worse! :-) I was trying to explain how this journey teaches me, in tidy monthly increments, that there is no true acceptance, only stages of it. Every month, I say all the right things to myself about how it is going to take time, yet I'm still surprised and unprepared when it doesn't work. So, I can't say that I've finally accepted that this is going to take a long time, because I'm sure what feels like acceptance now will seem diminshed in hindsight. What I can say is that I seem to have taken a big step toward accepting it. Despite knowing it "could" be a long journey when we started, I later found out that I'd had no doubt I would be pregnant by my 2Xth birthday (yup, a mere 2 cycles after we started - wasn't I cute and naive?), and after that, by my 2Yth. I remember on my 2Xth birthday thinking I was being so generous by giving myself another year! Anyway, last week I caught myself wondering whether it would be realistic to think I'll be pregnant by the time I turn 30, and feeling that at best, I'd give myself 50/50 odds of that happening. It's entirely possible that as that milestone rolls around (if not before), I'll realize that I didn't actually believe I wouldn't be pregnant by then, but we'll see. I feel like I finally expect this to be a marathon, no asterisk or fine print included. I think the difference is that I'm finally conceiving of myself as having Unexplained Infertility, a label I've rejected until now. Maybe it was making the appointment with the RE that caused the shift, or maybe it's crossing over the one year marker. Whatever it is, it feels like a good development in that it is easing my expectations and bringing some form of peace, even if there is some sadness as well.
We'll get our family. I know we will. If I really stretch, I can even find a part of me that's kind of excited to see what crazy not-yet-dreamed-of way in which it will find us.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Monday, October 8, 2007
One of the best parts was that I took in all my temperature charts and after looking at them for about 3 whole seconds, she found something to actually FIX. Finally, *someone* has looked at my situation and been able to offer me some hope for change or improvement. She's lucky I didn't kiss her right on the spot. ;-) She said it can take up to three months for the acupuncture to make cycle changes, but she wouldn't be surprised if I started seeing some signs of improvement much sooner than that. If it's even half as effective on the rest of my body as it has been on my mental/emotional state, I can't wait to see what kind of good things it brings.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
This new cycle will include two TTC landmarks: We are on try #10 (hence the title of this update), and we are closing in on our official one year anniversary. Christmas will mark 2 years since beginning our TTC journey in earnest, but October 6th was the first day of our first cycle of actively trying. On one hand, I feel like we've been doing this forever, and on the other, it seems crazy that a whole year has passed since my first trip to KD's. I feel like I'm living in a time warp.
In observance of this inauspicious milestone, we are launching Operation Overwhelm-K's-Body-With-Goodness. Last night, I went to my first Weight Watchers meeting in almost 2 months. I have the name of a chiropractor that specializes in women's health and OB/GYN issues. I also have the name of an acupuncturist that comes highly recommended by one of the local fertility clinics. I'm going to yoga after work tonight and am committed to making a pattern of it. I haven't had any luck finding a counselor that specializes in fertility issues, but I'm planning to ask the acupuncturist if she has anyone she recommends. I'm going to make an extra effort to avoid microwaved food and stick with organics when I go grocery shopping tonight (both on a tip from a recently preggo online acquaintance). We're already pretty good with organic foods, but I'm a microwaving fiend, especially at work.
M and I had a financial summit last night and agreed that the time is right to invest in as many of these complementary services and products as we can right now. We only have a few more months to try so we're giving them our all. I'm giving the NP one more cycle to put me on drugs and then we're headed for a Reproductive Endocrinologist. I can't think of anything else to do right now, but if I think of it, I'll do it.
So, that's the scoop. I'll keep you posted as the Operation unfolds.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Here's a nutshell version of Monday's update: I haven't ovulated yet. I haven't even begun to detect an LH surge. My fertility monitor is still on low. WTF! I have two vials of K-Fed chilling in my living room (pun intended) and no freaking ovulation in sight. In the 18 months I have been charting my ovulation, I've only been late twice and only this late once before. Interestingly, both shockingly late cycles were ones where we made changes to our protocol that I felt very optimistic about. Apparently, when my body starts to think it might actually work, it freaks out. Very weird, and very frustrating!
And here's today's update: I finally had a postive opk on Tuesday after work and then everything started moving FAST. I ended up only ovulating 2-3 days late and my monitor jumped straight from low to peak once things started clicking into gear - first time in over a year of use it's done that little trick! I did one insemination Tuesday night at home and the second yesterday at the NP's office. M was there, which is always a nice treat as her schedule almost never allows her to come along. I feel good about our timing and hopeful about the cycle in general. Cross 'em if you got 'em, folks. ;-)
Edited to add: I just did a quick skim and realized I haven't introduced the K-Fed reference yet. The sperm bank we're using assigns each donor a celebrity look-alike, in order to give sperm shoppers an idea what the person looks like without releasing pics of the actual donors. They hand write this look-alike information on top of the profiles they send out as part of their "staff impression" report. When we fell in love with our donor's profile, we noticed that his "celebrity look-alike" information wasn't filled in. Oh well, no biggie. We'd already decided that appearance wasn't our main criteria. Well when I called to place my order, I told the woman the number and she said "Oh, the Kevin Federline look-alike?" I said something hesitant and she started laughing and asked if I wanted to change my mind (which I kind of did) but I said to leave the order as it was, for then at least. I called M to ask what she thought and we decided to stick with him. I mean, the guy says he didn't miss a single math question on his SAT's - how Kevin Federline-ish can he be? He can't help what he looks like! LOL. Since then, we keep reminding eachother, "This is Kevin Federline the mortgage banker, not Kevin Federline the skeezy deadbeat baby daddy!" We've also been referring to the vials themselves as K-Fed (i.e. "Can you grab K-Fed out of the car please?"), and our NP even got in on it yesterday, asking M if she had K-Fed all warmed up when she came back into the room to see if the vial had thawed. It's been hours of entertainment, as has dreaming up the various "Sean Preston is my brotha from anotha motha" baby onesies we've been working on in case this pans out.
Thursday, September 6, 2007
In the end, we ended up with a list of 4 donors that were up for consideration and we sent a picture of M to the bank for "photo matching" with our top 4. In the time it took for the photos to be received and matched, we continued to absorb the profiles and decided that we had a clear favorite out of the 4 and one that we weren't so crazy about anymore. Can you guess what happened? The photo matching results came back - the one we weren't so crazy about is a "very good" match with M's pic. The one we loved based on his profile looks nothing like her. We talked some more and polled some local friends and decided to stick with our original favorite - the one we clicked with on paper. Chances are my dominant genes are going to wipe out any that would look like M anyway. :-) I called yesterday and placed our final order and the vials are set to ship at noon today.
And then... The director of the lab called me on my way to work this morning. She was all excited because she'd met with one of her donors last night and she knows he wasn't in our top four but still she can't believe she didn't think of him sooner because oh my god he looks just like M and he has one of the highest post-thaw motility ratings in the whole program and of course it's up to us and she's sorry for making our decision harder at the last minute but she really really thinks we should consider switching to this other donor. Pause. Catch breath. (I should note that this woman is a total lab rat with no previously demonstrated people skills and this may be the more words than she's said to me if in the sum of all of our other conversations to date.) I told her I'd need to talk to M and get back to her, but I really appreciated her letting us know because while we're not so invested in the photo match, the post-thaw motility rating is very appealing given that we're a year into this process already. I was basically ready to change.
I came to work and opened up his profile and saw at the top that he was a firefighter. Normally, this would have meant nothing to me, but just last night M and I were talking about the various stories we've heard about other people's donor selection processes and she mentioned to me that some friends of ours picked their donor solely because he looked like the non-carrying partner and the only other thing they remembered about him was that he was a firefighter. Hmmmm, what are the chances, really. There must be millions of firefighters in the world!
I'm sure you can see where this is going.
With the clock ticking, I emailed this friend and asked if she used the same bank we are using because we were concerned we might be looking at their daughter's donor. She emailed back right away. Same bank. Same donor number. We would have been trying to conceive a half sibling of a friend without realizing it. For some reason, this doesn't actually bother me, but I think M feels differently, and I could tell via email that our friend would not have been happy at all. She was extremely relieved that we caught on to the situation before it went any further. I was just relieved that our decision was made a lot easier. I'm sort of worn out on decision making right now. :-)
The moral of the story is: It pays off to be open with your friends about your donor selection! The mail order gene pool isn't as large as one might think. LOL!
Thursday, August 30, 2007
I think another part of my frustration is that the "mom's club" (aka the two women who had babies in February that get on my nerves to no end) could not have been less receptive to my co-worker's announcement. They didn't smile. They didn't say congratulations, or anything in that vein. They looked at each other and frowned at the table. Literally. It's like they can't share even a shred of the baby limelight, even though their babies are six months old! The celebrity status they claimed during pregnancy and during their first couple of months back was bad enough - now they're going to take away from someone else's joy? Give me a break. My co-worker totally noticed it as well and said something to me about it afterward. It just made me so sad for her.
One of our other co-workers who was not here at lunch just came in and we made her call the pregnant co-worker for the news. She was so genuinely excited and enthusiastic and congratulatory - it was an interesting juxtaposition to the less-than-friendly response the mom's club gave.
At lunch, everyone was making a big joke of starting a pool to predict who would be next to be pregnant. I guess that's what I get for working on a team of 12 women of "reproductive age" (oh how I hate that phrase). Predictions were flying right and left and I'm not sure if anyone guessed me, but I doubt it. I tried to tune the whole thing out. I'm so tired right now and so ready to stop being the big infertile loser around here. I just really, really, really want this next try to work.
A million years ago (like, last spring) when M and I were first planning our TTC adventure, I was crazy. I'm crazy now, but it was a different kind of crazy then. It was the pathetic, naive kind of crazy.
I had all these conditions. Specifically, I really wanted a girl. To be honest, it wasn't so much that I wanted a girl as that I didn't want a boy. What the heck would M and I do with a boy?! So, I read up on all the gender selection tricks and discovered that we could increase our chances of having a girl by restricting our inseminations to a couple of days before ovulation actually occurs. Granted, this decreases your overall chance of becoming pregnant because the closer you inseminate to ovulation, the more likely you are to be successful in general, but it was a trade off I was willing to make. I figured if we could increase our chances of having a girl by letting it take a few extra cycles to work, it would be a worthwhile trade off. See? Crazy.
Another of my conditions was that I did not want a baby born between October and December. M and I both have birthdays during that time, as do many of our family members and close friends. Between all those birthdays and the general holiday frenzy, I just figured it was too crazy of a time already and there was no need to add another (planned) birthday to the mix. Cue more craziness: I just figured that if we weren't pregnant by the time those potential due dates rolled around, we'd just take a break until January came into focus! In all honesty, our first potential due date month was July and I honestly think it never actually occured to me that we might still be trying in October-due-date range, but still, it was my plan at one point.
And the last condition, put in place to avoid my greatest fear of all: I was terrified of the idea of multiples. The idea of twins was enough to make my blood run cold, let alone more than that. Based upon this fear, I decided I would never use fertility drugs. I mean, it's just not worth it, right? Even if it takes us an extra year or more, it's just not worth the risk! Yup, I actually thought that at one point.
...And then we had a few failed attempts and I got a grip on reality. My TTC co-worker (now pregnant) and I were talking several months ago about how our perspectives had changed after a handful of failed cycles and I told her how unbelievable it was to me that I'd ever thought the things I listed above. I said, "At this point, give me triplet boys born on Christmas day and I'll be the happiest woman in the world!" Ever since then it's been a slogan of sorts for M and I. Every time we have to jump through a hoop or do something we never thought we'd do, we look at each other and repeat the mantra. When we very first talked about switching donors and I was totally freaked out about the possibility, M said "This is just the latest 'triplet boys on Christmas day' compromise - how badly do we want this?"
So that's the story. I know it's kind of lame, but it sums up what I consider to be a significant evolution in my perspective. The craziest part of it all is that I really mean it. Give me the freaking triplet boys! I'll take 'em! Of course now, we're looking at something more like Easter or Mother's Day or something, but whatever. You get the point. :-)
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
It was a difficult decision that M and I have been wrestling with for the past month - ever since the daunting acting challenge we all went through last cycle. When things were looking grim, we started frantically scrambling for any option that would help us save the cycle, and we ended up with a stack of anonymous sperm donor profiles in our laps. At the time, I could hardly look at them without getting queasy. I have been so thoroughly in love with the way we've been trying to build our family and I was heartsick at the idea of having to go in a different direction. Fortunately we didn't have to cross that bridge at the time because I was nowhere near ready.
Fast forward through one month and one more failed attempt. M and I took a hard look at our goals for the next couple of years and realized that we only have 3 (maybe 4) more months to try to get pregnant before we need to stop for a while. The situation is that we are planning to move sometime between August and December of next year. This means any babies would need to arrive between early June (my due date if I got pregnant this cycle) and August, or maybe September if we were willing to stay an extra month or two. Moving with a 3-4 month old will be hard enough - I can't even imagine going sooner than that. I can't in good conscience start a new job while pregnant, and it's likely my benefits wouldn't kick in in time anyway. Same goes for becoming pregnant a month or two into a new job - tacky! Moving while pregnant could all work out if M got a job with DP benefits and I found some well-paying temp work until the baby was born, but that's a couple too many best case scenarios to bank on. Plus, it would be a pain to have to transfer to a new OB midway through a pregnancy. I know people do it, but it would be nice to avoid if possible, you know? SO, baby has to come before September or not for at least a year after we move. That means there is a year long TTC hiatus looming on our horizon. That threat was all we needed to kick our butts into high gear. A year? I can hardly cope with a month off. A YEAR?!
So we're pulling out all the stops. One pearl of the collective TTC wisdom is that if you try a few times with no luck and all the medical tests say everything's good, change donors. I've seen several women try for months and months, then switch donors and get pregnant on their first or second cycle. Apparently some sperm and eggs just don't play well together. Changing donors is the first step we're taking. If that doesn't work, we'll look into adding acupuncture, herbs, meds, more IUIs per cycle, and heaven knows what else. For the next 3-4 months, we're trying anything and everything. I even consented to let a woman on one of my online boards do "quantum touch" long distance from Texas. We're ready for anything. It still seems a little crazy to me that this change wasn't anywhere on our radar 6 weeks ago, and now we're charging full-speed in a whole new direction, but as I've heard about so many other parts of the TTC craziness - it's good practice for parenthood. Rolling with the punches is definitely one of those necessary skills.
If it works with the new donor, it will truly be bittersweet. There's definitely a part of me that is hoping it doesn't so that we go back to using KD and do whatever it takes, even if that is IVF. However, there's a bigger part of me that just wants this to work, by whatever means necessary, which is not to say I won't still be a little sad if this is how it has to go in order to work. That second part of me is the part of me that wants M and I to have some disposable income again (you know, at least until the baby is born and a whole new world of money bleeding starts!) and be able to talk about something other than OPKs and planning travel around insemination windows. I just want to move on to the next stage of ultrasounds and baby kicks and nursery painting. And then of course there is the baby - the pot of gold at the end of this crazy ride. I feel like we have earned our right of passage.
As M pointed out re: the switch to an anonymous donor, this is our new "triplet boys on Christmas day" challenge. (I've already explained what that means, right? Hmmm, gotta go back and check on that.) If we really want the baby, this is what we have to do. But, we're both still very sad about the change of plans and the turn away from the special bond we've been weaving with KD and his wife. We know the bond has been created no matter where we go from here, but there is still a loss and it is disappointing. Hopefully it will be worth it in the long run.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Saturday, August 11, 2007
For some reason, I'm really hopeful this time. I thought I was past the point of getting my hopes up too high, but apparently not. I feel that any little difference from previous cycles is cause for optimism at this point and my ovulation pains were on the opposite side from where I normally have them - stronger ovary, dare I hope? Also, I think our timing was perfect, and there was the HSG... I'm keeping everything crossed.
My show opened last night, and that went pretty well too. Near the end, I was standing backstage and my "daughter" came over to wait with me for our entrance. When she got to my side, she put her arms around my waist, leaned her head against my stomach, and whispered "Hello mother!"
Oh honey, I hope so.
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
The situation is not yet resolved, to my knowledge, but I think it's as close as it's going to be for the next day or two. People's uniform response to the story has been that someone will need to write a book about all of this someday, so here's the rest of the details, before they are mercifully erased from my memory.
On Thursday afternoon, I came out of a meeting to find a voicemail on my phone at work. It was the office manager at my NP's office, a man notorious for spreading agony and ill will everywhere he goes. (I think I've mentioned this before, but my NP and I work in the same small field, meaning I interact with their office staff on a professional level frequently. As you might imagine, this does make my personal endeavors there a bit awkward at times, but she's the only NP in the city who will do what we need which is, ironically, ignoring the federal booby trap we've just fallen into for "directed donation." This office manager - E - is by far the most hated man in our system. He has made my colleagues cry. Seriously.) So, E left me a message saying I needed to call him back ASAP, which I did. E explained that the cryobank had called him needing some information from my file and he wanted to get it from me to avoid having to pull my chart. However, when I didn't call back within 20-30 minutes, he got my chart out so he was good to go for calling them back. I asked if he knew what they were wondering and he said the message they left was unclear, but he'd call me back if he needed more information or if there were any problems. As soon as I hung up, I started to worry just a bit - ours is a carefully constructed story. I decided I was just being paranoid though, and it's not like I could give much information over the phone anyway. I was on my work phone and I work in a cubicle. Surely he knows the legal atmosphere in which his clinic functions. I called M and we talked ourselves into believing it was probably nothing. We were wrong.
E called back within a half an hour and stated he was really confused now and wanted me to speak to the lab director myself. He mumbled something about our vials not being shipped, a six-month quarantine, and a physical exam for KD, but then said he had no idea what they were talking about. I explained that those things he was mentioning were what they required for cryobank clients who are not intimate partners, which is why the NP instructed us to tell them otherwise, but it sounded as though they had found out the truth. I asked E if he was given any indication of how this could have happened, since I clearly needed to call and lie through my teeth if we had any chance of going ahead this cycle, and after a long pause he said, "Well, me. I told them. I didn't realize that was a secret." He went on to say a bunch of other things about thinking M was KD's wife, then realizing she was my partner and how confusing my chart was with all these names and something about my "special arrangement" with the NP and blah, blah, blah... I couldn't hear much. My mind was racing with if and how this could possibly be cleaned up. As he realized the magnitude of his disclosure, he started apologizing, but he didn't offer to do anything to fix his little disaster. I took the woman's phone number, hung up the phone, grabbed my ttc buddy at work (who is more than familiar with E) and headed for the conference room to freak out. In talking to her, we came up with the following strategy: I call the cryobank the next day to place my shipping order and play dumb. When they tell me that my vials are in quarantine, I come unglued (as your average heterosexual woman would when faced with this situation) and demand to know how this can be fixed because SURELY it can be fixed. I figured the NP would probably need to become involved, but it was too late at that point to call her office back to find out when she would be back from vacation. I just started crossing my fingers that it wasn't any later than Monday.
I had sent an email to KD to give him a heads up and he called a little while later. He said that nothing had been out of the ordinary on his last visit and he was as surprised as I was to hear they'd started digging around in our file. I gave him a run down of "the plan" and agreed to keep him posted.
M and I strategized that night and came up with responses for everything they might be able to throw at me. The one thing we didn't have a ready response for was the existence of KD's wife. What if they had found out about her? What if they have some crazy search program that pulls up marital status and spouse information? If such things exist, it isn't unthinkable that they might have access to it, given the federally regulated field they operate in. Eventually, M pointed out the key: They don't require that I be married to KD, or that he not be married to someone else, only KD and I are "sexually intimate partners." The fact that he's married to someone else doesn't mean we can't be in a relationship or trying to become pregnant. *Sigh* So true. Isn't it amazing that people trying to have children within their extramarital affairs manage to escape moral judgment, but not single women who are attempting to get pregnant with the help of another fully informed and consenting adult? Which atmosphere is likely to be more nurturing to the resulting child? Whatever. The double standard could work in our favor here, so I'm not about to challenge it.
The next morning, I called the NP's office first to find out when she would be returning - Monday. Hallelujah. Then I called the cryobank. I initially tried to do it while driving, thinking that having to focus on something else would help disguise my anxiety, but I was shaking too badly from nerves so I pulled over. I got B (our regular lab contact) and tried to place my shipping order. "Ohhhh," he said slowly when I identified myself. "Um, you're going to need to talk to B2."
"OK," I answered cheerfully.
B2 came on the line. She calmly and politely explained that it had come to their attention that KD is not my partner, which makes him a "donor." Not a donor in the cryobank sense where you call up and give them a number - she was quick to add - because clearly I know KD, but a donor in the legal sense nonetheless. And so, this means that their lab has to... blah, blah, blah.
I knew I needed to interrupt her quickly, if I was to have any credibility, and demand to know how she had come to this ludicrous conclusion, but (1) she was talking really fast - I think she might have been as nervous as I was, and (2) I still didn't know how she had come up with this information and I needed to know what I was up against. It was a balancing act between wanting to show my own righteous indignation and needing to give her a chance to show her cards. I let her talk a little bit longer, then dove in head first.
"I'm sorry to interrupt you," I said, cutting her off. "I'm just confused as to what might have given you the idea that KD and I are not intimate partners." This silenced her for a split second. She wasn't expecting that. She explained that something in our file had tipped them off, and when they called my doctor's office for clarification, their suspicions were confirmed by someone named E.
I won't bore you with all of the details here but in the end, they knew about both KD's wife and M, and I had a lot of explaining to do. After I denied being in a same-sex relationship, she said, "so you don't know an M?"
"Know her?" I shrieked. "Of course I know her, she is KD's sister, but I'm not in a relationship with her. That is absolutely absurd!" I think I even laughed a little, in a totally dumbfounded way. This was the moment that secured my Emmy, and my farthest departure from reality. I may have even bordered on homophobic. Perhaps it was too much, but I just reacted the way I thought the average heterosexual woman would react if falsely accused of being in an intimate relationship with the sister of her male partner. It worked. B2 was clearly embarassed, and I felt bad for that.
When asked about KD's wife, I declined to comment and said I'd have to have KD call because "his personal life may be complicated but it is certainly not my place to discuss it with you." She said that speaking to KD would definitely help.
She asked why we were living in different states and I said that people do it all the time. He is working there, I am working here, and our plan is to be living in the same place within the next year, but we would prefer not to have to wait until then to start a family.
As I type all of this, my comment above about denying my relationship with M being my biggest lie seems strange - the whole phone call was so far out on a limb, it seems silly to quantify degrees - but if you think about it, everything else had some element of truth to it. Are KD and I sexually active in the way she meant it? Of course not. But is there much difference between that and having nearly a year of inseminations under our belt? I think not. If the purpose of the law is to protect my health (which is the BS claim they make), I've already been exposed to whatever it is they're worried about. Seven times. Oops. It is also not a lie that my intention is to be living in the same place as KD a year from now - that's the current plan - or that this family that we are creating is "ours" if you look at the big picture. KD will just be the uncle rather than the dad. There were significant departures from reality to come in explaining KD's relationship with his wife, but those unfortunately fell to him. For my part, my feigning shock and - I hate to say it, but a little bit of disgust - at the "accusation" of being in a lesbian relationship was the hardest pill for me to swallow. I just have to keep reminding myself that I did it for M and I, and it's only a means to an end.
M and I have both been struggling with the "rule breaking" aspect of all of this. For better or for worse, we are the type of kids who like to stay out of trouble and do what were told to do. The decision to throw caution to the wind and GO for this was a scary one, but we felt it was worth a shot. I kept thinking of the King quote about breaking an unjust law openly and lovingly. I'm not putting this miniature act of resistance to discrimination anywhere near on par with the Civil Rights Movement, but it was the "some laws must be broken" nudge that M and I needed to feel comfortable with pushing forward. Up to that point, we had been able to get by using semantics and lies of omission, for the most part. This was going to call for a full scale deception, and would surely carry more serious consequences if it were to blow up in our face.
The other thing I have held in my mind that has helped me stomach all of this is the belief that B2 - who is actually a really nice woman - knows what's up and is cool with it. The idea of her as collateral damage is too unsettling to me. I like to think of her as someone who knows this law is a bunch of BS, but she's got a job to do and she needs to dot her Is and cross her Ts. She wants this all to work out for us, just not at her own expense, which means we still have to get all the documents to her and declare to the death that our relationship is what she needs it to be, but deep inside, she's glad we're sticking it to the man. Perhaps I'm kidding myself, but it makes me feel better about both her and I, so I'm going with it.
But I have digressed, and badly. In the end, B2 agreed to lift the quarantine if and only if I would have KD call to testify about the respective roles his wife and I play in his life, and our NP would write a letter declaring that we are indeed "sexually intimate partners." She said to be sure it used those words exactly. She initially said that it would need to be an original signature, so it would have to be mailed. I insisted this would be impossible for us because I am due to ovulate next week and I couldn't afford to miss this cycle because I had an HSG last month. (At this point, B2 said "awwww" in the most genuinely sympathetic way. Apparently she is familiar with the hell that is an HSG.) She put me on hold for a minute while she asked someone else about making an exception. When she came back to the phone she said they would ship upon receipt of a faxed copy, but I had to promise to have a hard copy mailed as well for my chart. I said I would make these things happen as quickly as possible and we ended our conversation.
After I hung up, I immediately called KD. I recapped a couple of key points from my conversation and asked KD to think about whether he would be willing to call and support the story I'd put out there. He sounded appropriately stunned by the whole thing and said he'd figure something out. A few minutes after getting off the phone, I realized what an idiot I was. Perhaps I should fill him in on some of the details I provided about our life together, huh? We talked again, briefly, to compare notes, and KD said his current plan was to call back and say that he and his wife are amicably separated and pursuing divorce, and she is aware of our relationship and our plans for me to become pregnant. (Is it even necessary for me to say something at this point about how amazingly lucky M and I are to have KD in our corner? Are there even words that would come close to expressing it?) KD agreed to make his phone call by the end of the day, and I left a message for the NP stating I had a logistical emergency and I needed her to call ASAP when she returns from vacation.
KD called later to let me know B2 had been receptive to his call and his side of the story, and now we were just waiting on the letter from the NP. This is where we sat all weekend. For most of the weekend, my mind was at ease, knowing the last piece of the puzzle had to come from the woman who taught me the lie in the first place. By Sunday night, I was a ball of nerves again. For some reason, I decided that the NP was going to say that putting that information in writing was where she would draw the line. She was with us to that point, but that was a threshhold she couldn't cross professionally.
On Monday morning, I called her pager for my standard day 10 check-in (I have to call her daily from day 10 of my cycle on to update her on my ovulation indicators) and left an extra message that I needed to speak with her ASAP about some documents the cryobank needed. She called back about five minutes later. I explained that E had told the cryobank that KD was not my intimate partner and had gone so far as to give them my partner's full name. After a pause, she said that she hadn't talked to E to hear his account of this yet, but she hoped he would not have done that. I recapped my conversation with E in which he admitted it, and she was clearly disappointed. She apologized and asked if she needed to call them. I said that they actually had requested a letter from her and I gave her the specific wording to use. I explained that she needed to fax a copy and put the original in the mail, and gave her all of the relevant contact information. She agreed to do it that morning.
At 12:45pm on Monday, I called the bank to confirm everything was resolved and place my order. I got B, again, who was clearly uncomfortable speaking with me, again. He said that the fax was received, but he could not speak with me further or take my order until B2 had a chance to approve it. I asked if I could give him the information for my order and he could just call me if there was a problem and he said no, but reassured me that B2 would be in within half an hour and he'd leave her a message to call me ASAP.
I called them again at 5:30pm, having stared at my silent cell phone for hours. This time I spoke to B2 who explained, nicely as ever, that they had received the NP's letter, but could not accept it because she is an NP and the letter needed to be from the supervising physician. B2 said she had spoken to the NP and she was working on arranging this, and they expected to receive the fax that afternoon or the next morning. As long as this occured, my shipment would arrive at the NP's office on Wednesday morning. She said that they would confirm a ship date with the NP once the fax is received. Why with the NP and not me? Who knows. I was so DONE talking to these people, I just let it go. The NP is nearly impossible to get messages to unless I use the pager (which I'm not supposed to except for my daily check in) and she doesn't call me for anything, so I know better than to expect to hear something from her to put my mind at ease. I could call the cryobank this afternoon to find out what happened, but frankly, I don't have it in me to call them again. I feel like every phone call to them is a roll of the dice and the whole thing might blow up in my face at the slightest misstep on my part. I've kind of accepted that everyone knows what needs to be done and no amount of hand-holding on my part is going to make that happen any faster. It will come together or it won't. I've done all I can do.
All signs are pointing to early ovulation (hmm, could it be from STRESS??), so I expect I'll be calling in the next day or two to schedule my IUI, and I guess I'll find out at that point if the vials have arrived. M and I just keep saying how much better we'll feel once the vials are here in our own time zone. Perhaps they are already en route. I think that if these 4-6 vials (yeah, I don't even know how many they are shipping) don't do the trick, we'll have to move on to another plan. I think our relationship with the this cryobank may have run it's course. Here's hoping this all becomes a moot point soon.
My apologies for the excessively long update. I should have put an intermission in there somewhere. LOL! I can not WAIT to tell this story to our teenager the first time they throw a fit about how we don't appreciate them enough. :-)
Monday, August 6, 2007
I explained what needed to happen and she said "I only ever know what my patients tell me. Are you telling me that you and KD are 'sexually intimate partners'?"
"Absolutely," I replied.
She's sending the fax this morning and will put the hard copy in the mail.
I'm going to continue to hold my breath until I talk to the cryobank in a couple of hours, but it looks like this may actually all work out.
Friday, August 3, 2007
It turns out that having the quarantine lifted requires three steps:
1) I call and lie.
2) KD calls and adds his own side of the lie. (talk about going "above and beyond")
3) Our NP writes a letter to verify said lie(s).
Steps 1 and 2 are done, and I have a message in to the NP to call me ASAP when she returns to work on Monday morning. I feel confident that she will agree to write the letter we need, especially since her office manager violated my legal rights by disclosing some of the details that he did. If everything continues to click along, we should have no trouble getting the samples here in time for next week's festivities. I can not count the times I have sighed with relief today that we left ourselves a buffer, timing-wise. Having a few extra days of wiggle room in this "waiting to ship" phase will be the thing that saves us for this cycle. That, and a whole lot of very well intentioned dishonesty.
Baby-to-be, you are so very loved.
Thursday, August 2, 2007
We have suffered a monumental setback today. For some reason that I can not understand, the cryobank decided to do a little digging into the mysterious nature of my relationship to KD. In their quest for discovery, they did not call KD or I, who would have been happy to reassure them. No, they called our nurse practitioner's office. Unfortunately, our nurse practitioner (the person that first sat me down and informed me of the bullshit laws that are designed to prevent single women and lesbians from conceiving AS WELL AS how to get around them), is out on vacation, so they reached the office manager (weasel) instead. He dutifully informed them that KD is in fact my brother-in-law, and I am attempting to become pregnant via artificial insemination.
And that was that. Our cryobank account has now been flagged as a "directed donation," and we have to put KD through another expensive and time-consuming battery of tests before we can receive any of the samples he has already deposited. The silver lining? We've got nothin' but time to do it in. As a directed donation, all samples are also subject to a SIX MONTH quarantine. That means that all the samples that KD went entirely above and beyond to accumulate in preparation for our next shipment (supposed to be going out in a mere five days) must now be held until the end of J A N U A R Y of 2 0 0 8.
The office manager called me to say that they were mandating quarantine and said he was "so confused" as to why this might be! I said it sounded like they found out we were not "intimate partners" and asked if he knew how that could have happened, since our NP told us what to say and we've never strayed from the story. "Oh," he said. "Well, I guess I told them then. I just read what was here in your chart." He proceeded to tell me how very sorry he was to have caused this situation, but he did not offer to help clean it up. I asked if the NP was available. My first thought was to see if she would be willing to call on our behalf, say that her office manager was confused, and "clear up" any "misunderstandings" that may have occured. This is when I learned she is out on vacation. I didn't have the presence of mind to ask when she would be back - the world had already begun to spin too fast for that.
I really don't know what to do. I can't fly to KD next week. I would miss ANYTHING work-related at this point, but I'm set to ovulate ON the opening night of a play I am in. I can't stomach the idea of taking another break for one month, let alone six. This past month off was too hard on me. Even if I could, we'd be crazy to miss out on one of our 3 post-HSG elevated fertility months. My best idea at this point is to call the cryobank tomorrow morning and feign ignorance. I'm just going to say that I'm calling to make shipping arrangements, and when they tell me about the minor change to my account status, I'm going to be outraged and demand to know how I can fix the mistake that the "clearly confused" office manager has made. How can they possibly ask me to prove that KD and I are intimate partners? Will the demand a demonstration? I think not. On one hand, I can't imagine this will work. On the other, I'd like to see how they can prevent it from working. I'm interested to see what kind of "proof" of intimacy they can possibly ask for, other than our word. The bottom line is that I don't know what else to do. I kind of feel like this is our only hope, and if it doesn't work, well, then we won't be any worse off than we are now, right?
I'm just so shocked and sad that in the midst of a society filled with so many unplanned, unwanted, and unloved children, someone would make this process so damn near impossible for people like M and I. What do they care how I want to get pregnant? Can't I just sign a frigging release saying I won't sue them if I get some horrible disease? Isn't that what lawyers are for, to write contracts like that? I'm so sick of people feeling that they have the right to make such intimate decisions for me and how M and I create our family. We're not hurting anyone. We're just trying to build OUR own family and not be discriminated against. Wouldn't these legislators efforts be better channeled into preventing teen pregnancy, treating babies born addicted to crack, or improving the foster care system. Damn it! Leave us alone already!
I shouldn't have written this right now. I should have let myself cool off. I'm just so...
Monday, July 30, 2007
One of them dropped off the board shortly after, but the other has remained a regular poster and I've followed her pregnancy with affection. She's a neat person, and someone I would have been drawn to anyway, but given the circumstances, she also became my living, breathing (if virtual) marker of "what if?" Her due date was set for the same day mine would have been. When she posted pictures of her growing belly, I would look down at my own and think of how strange that would be. When she passed her due date (nearly 2 weeks ago!), I thought about how insane it would be if M and I were having a BABY right now, and also of how anxious she must be to meet the little person that's been kicking her and keeping her up at night for so many months now.
She finally had her little boy last Friday. He was 11 days overdue. She returned to the board last night to post a quick report and a picture. He's adorable, of course. I am very used to these "s/he's here!" posts. There are 3-5 per month on my board, and I usually have no reaction to them, other than thinking the babies are cute and being relieved that everyone is healthy and happy. But reading this story and looking at this picture, I felt a strange and unexpected little tug. It wasn't sadness or jealousy or anything like that. It was just this weird sensation of looking at something that could be mine, chronologically speaking. I have lived vicariously through his mother's pregnancy, and now here he is, and I feel a connection to him that I didn't expect. Aside from that, he is like a living, breathing (again, if virtual) representation of how much time has passed since we began trying. And that time that has passed adds up to a person. It's just kind of crazy, and amazing, and I'm not sure what all else. This probably doesn't make much sense. Admittedly, I haven't made sense of it myself yet. I just thought it was interesting.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Friday, July 13, 2007
Last night I was thinking about the millions upon millions of possible DNA combinations between sperm and egg and how crazy it is that at some point, this process is going to work and a whole brand new person is going to come into existence - a product of a towering number of tiny variables. (Sidebar: In order to understand my point of view on this, you have to know that despite the impatient venting that frequently appears in this blog, I do genuinely believe that everything happens for a reason, and at the right time... but it doesn't stop me from wishing that right time was sooner rather than later.) Anyway, I had a lightbulb moment when I realized that if this process works even a month (or day or hour) sooner than it is "supposed to," our entire future family will change. Think of the difference between you and your sibling(s). Same sperm provider + same egg provider = totally different people.
The not knowing how long we will have to wait makes the interim months hard, but it doesn't change the fact that there is a certain formula for the creation of our family and if we wish for that to change (i.e. TTC working sooner rather than later), we are actually wishing for a different child than the one we are destined to have. Let's say I'm supposed to get pregnant on try #12. If I were to get pregnant on any of the previous 11 tries, I would be deprived of ever meeting the amazing person that is supposed to come into our lives. That doesn't make the first 11 tries any less disappointing, but I'm hoping this new perspective will help me make some sort of sense of it. We'll see. :-)
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
The radiologist said everything looked good. Of course. One more test to tell me there is no reason why I shouldn't already by pregnant. I wish that results like that could be good news, but at this point, they just freak me out. It's just one more "fixable" thing checked off our list of possibilities. The radiologist said he would go over the images in detail and get a final report to the NP by today. I'll call sometime this week to check in since I know she won't call me. Now it is just a waiting game. Our next insemination should be sometime during the second week of August.
I had a really bad night on Friday. It had been building all week and it had to come out sometime, I guess. Some unexpected news ended up being the straw that broke the camel's back and all of the sudden it was like ALL of my grief over our journey so far welled up and spilled over. M and I talked a lot about options and the current thinking is to give this NP one or two more tries, then move on to someone who is willing to be more aggressive. That will be tough to do logistically because of my alter ego (you know, the one who is intimately involved with my brother-in-law, uh, I mean, my heterosexual partner?) but we'll figure it out. I don't have the emotional stamina to keep doing what we're doing with no success and no escalation in sight.
I'm also looking into options for counseling. I seem to have turned an emotional corner this month and I need some help keeping one foot in front of the other. There have been hard times every cycle around each negative result, but they always pass within a day or two. I'm now going into my third week of feeling really low, and that's no good. Before we started, I told myself it could take a while - years, even - but I knew immediately after our first negative result, and have learned more and more each day since, that I never really believed that. There is a part of me that never imagined for a moment that I wouldn't be pregnant by now. That same part of me still can't quite believe it or come to terms with it, and that leaves me feeling really scared and powerless. I've (now) had nearly every test in the book and there is no medical reason why I am not already pregnant. We've been at this for nearly a year and it's like we're exactly where we started - no, worse off than where we started because we now have 7 failed attempts under our belts and a long list of "easy fixes" that we are not candidates for.
*Sigh* I'm sorry I've been so miserable to get updates from lately. Imagine living with me. Poor M! :-/ This is just a tough month but it WILL get better. I know it will.
Thursday, July 5, 2007
M and I listened to an episode of This American Life the other day that was on "the cringe." It was all about cringe-worthy life experiences and what gives them that quality. The bottom line was that it boiled down to trying. When you really try hard for something and it doesn't work out, you haven't just failed; you've embarassed yourself by putting forth so much effort. (Yes, this is a selective recap and I'm in a pessimistic mood, but this WAS the basic premise of the cringe theory.) Anyway, there is certainly a part of me that feels like at some point, it will be more livable to just stop TTC and maintain some dignity. I'm not so short-sighted to think I am there now, but I have found my thoughts going there more than is usual for me, and more than I would like.
My coworker went in for her second beta today. I would now put a LOT of money on there being at least 2 babies-to-be in there. From her numbers, it could be 3. She'll have an ultrasound next Thursday and then she'll know for sure. I can't say this isn't hard to be around right now. I can't even get pregnant with 1 and she may have 2, or more. I know it's stupid for me to compare our situations as if there is anything fair or balanced about the dice roll of conception. And, her situation isn't all a walk in the park - having twins as a single mom is no joke. But it still makes me wish it was my turn too. She's just so Happy. She's doing all she can to be sensitive and not give me updates unless I ask and all that, but she's unmistakably glowing already and I'm just jealous. No way around it.
My HSG is scheduled for Monday. There was a big mix-up getting it scheduled and I nearly bit someone's head off the other day. In the end, I forgot to remind the inept admin staff at my NP's office that she wanted me to start on an antibiotic and take some Vicodin pre-procedure. I'll call tomorrow to request the scripts. I'm not calling before then or they might realize their mistake in scheduling it Monday morning (a mistake that works in my favor) and tell me I have to have the test tomorrow, and I just couldn't cope with that little development right now.
I know this will pass. It always does. This is just a low point and things will go back up. This rough patch has just lingered longer than any thus far.
Saturday, June 30, 2007
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
I'm more optimistic than not, but trying to prepare myself for a disappointment as well. Fortunately the next few days are busy so hopefully they will pass quickly.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
The Metformin I started last week made me sick, sick, sick, sick, SICK. I was soooo unimpressed. I told M if it was any indication of how morning sickness would be, I wasn't sure I'd make it! She reminded me I would feel a whole lot different if I was actually pregnant and there was a tangible reward coming at a (relatively) predetermined finish line. She's totally right.
I'm very disconnected from this cycle. I think it's because I mentally prepared myself to break this month, and I also think it's too soon for the Metformin to make a difference. I dunno, but apathy is actually kind of a welcome visitor during this process so I'm cool with it.
That said, I think 7 is a great number. Very lucky. The artist formerly known as the symbol (or whatever) has got to be on to something.
Friday, June 1, 2007
I also did some poking around regarding PCOS. I've asked the NP about it before, and she has dismissed my concerns because of my periods being so regular and all my hormone tests coming back fine. But when I sought out more information this weekend, I found that 25% of women diagnosed with PCOS have perfectly regular cycles and hormone levels, they just aren't actually releasing eggs. Irregular periods aren't diagnostic criteria, just one of many symptoms. And other than that, I have some form of most of the other symptoms. Anyway, there are a couple of random tests I haven't had yet that can indicate PCOS so I planned to request those, and also to talk to her about starting a couple of medications. This conversation did not go as well as I'd hoped and I don't have the energy to write all the details right now, although I should at some point so that I don't forget them. In the end, I left with one of the two prescriptions I wanted and blood drawn for the remaining diagnostic tests. I also left with a plan to take this month off (grrr) to get the darn HSG out of the way. She mentioned that once I schedule the HSG, she will call in an Rx for Vicodin, so that'll help. I'll also have to do a round of antibiotics because of the invasiveness of the procedure. *sigh*
So the plan is: Start Metformin and break for HSG this month. Next month, resume IUIs with NP. After 2-4 more IUIs (she recommends after 4 but will "consider" after 2 depending on how desperate I become - you can already see how this will end up), she will consider giving me a prescription for Clomid. She told me to stop even thinking about IVF for now as I am "too young and too healthy."
M and I will be having one of the most wanted children in the whole wide world.
Friday, May 18, 2007
EDIT: Paragraph o'whining deleted. This shit is really expensive. 'Nuff said.
So, now we wait. I feel like our timing was good, but it's been good before and nothing came of it. Maybe this time will be different. It could happen. :-)
Thursday, May 17, 2007
I had an ultrasound yesterday. I watched her measure my uterus and both ovaries so I know that I have them and they are roughly in the right places. The sonographer isn't allowed to say anything during the ultrasound but she didn't gasp or anything, so hopefully that's a good sign. KD's solo business meeting of late last week produced two IUI-worthy samples, both of which arrived at the NP's office this morning (I hope). I go in at 4:45pm today for IUI #1. M will be able to come along, so I'm really looking forward to that. It's the first time she's been able to be there. The NP said she could teach M how to do IUIs at home, so the plan is to do that with the second sample either tomorrow or Saturday. I guess we'll see how everything goes.
Now hopefully I can go right back to not paying attention to my cycle. I'm pretty sure it's going to be a lot harder during these two weeks than the last two!
Monday, May 7, 2007
I'm taking a break from charting (OCD beasts, be still), I'm staying away from all but one of my online communities, and I'm trying to focus on other things. It's only day 4, but it's working well so far - knock on wood. It seems like I think about it less and less with each passing day, which is really nice. I have no idea what went so wrong for me emotionally last cycle. First and foremost, there was some other body weirdness going on that coincided with what would have been pregnancy implantation time leading me to have all sorts of strange symptoms. It was probably a cyst or something, but it got my hopes up a little too high for my own good. Also, I think telling my parents was a mistake. Well, not a mistake, exactly. It certainly made negotiating the schedule overlap easier and it was really, really nice to get to see them. But I think it put a lot more pressure on this last cycle than I realized. As much as I know intellectually that my inability to get pregnant is not some form of personal failure (and I DO know that, in my head), that's still the way it *feels* to me and it was embarassing and stressful to know that my parents were witnesses to my latest incident of inadequacy.
Buuuut... All of that is irrelevant now that we're in the zen cycle. :-) My goal for the next week is to lose track of what cycle day I am on. So far, so good. I actually had to look at the calendar to figure out today was day 4 when I typed it above. Usually I know my cycle day as clearly as I know my own name. The plan is to reduce my consciousness to the bare minimum. The first thing I *have* to do is start daily OPK-result phone calls to the NP on Mother's Day, and my plan is to ask M to remind me to do that, then LET GO of it myself. I found a local acupunturist who specializes in fertililty. Now whether we'll be able to afford for me to go is another question, but not one that needs to be addressed at the moment. I also printed out an updated yoga schedule for the gym.
Cue new leaf.
Saturday, April 28, 2007
OK, I've totally come around and I'm feeling really optimistic. Yes, our timing was less than ideal and the odds are therefore against us, but wouldn't it just figure this would be the one to work? The real source of my new found optimism are the "symptoms" that have been creeping up over the last 36 hours or so. As I told M last night, I would be sure they were psychosomatic, but they are very unlike anything I have ever felt or expected to feel and therefore I feel incapable of psychically conjuring them. :-)
I'm having the strangest cramping sensations - not like pre-AF cramps at all. They're actually more like ovulation cramps, but not quite that either. Very tingly and weird. There are a couple other little things but I don't want to post them here. (Apparently I still have some restraint on the TMI details.) Anyway, I still have a few more days until I can test so hopefully I can stay positive, but it won't be hard as long as these funky cramps continue. They are so... different. And after 4 failed attempts, different is good no matter what form it takes.
Friday, April 27, 2007
Then I went to my doctor's appointment, and now I'm back to thinking TTC is complete and total bullshit and a hopeless endeavor to boot. (Catastrophizing? Me??) I'm an idiot and forgot not to eat anything this morning so I couldn't get the fasting blood test. The NP said she wouldn't recommend it for me anyway as she's fairly sure it would come back normal. I was able to get the other blood test I wanted. It's amazing how much of a non-event needle sticks have become to me. A year ago, I would have done just about anything to avoid them. Now I don't even notice them anymore. But I digress. I also talked to the NP about the HSG and other diagnostic options. I found out that she will not do an insemination in the same month as I have the HSG (the pros are divided on this one - some will, some won't), so that means another month off if we decide to do it. It's really too bad I didn't press this issue this cycle because this month would have been a perfectly convenient month to take off instead of making a last minute trip to KD and having to tell our parents what's going on. It would be good to have the HSG soon so that we can avoid throwing more money down the TTC drain if there is a problem, but it means paying a huge chunk of money and taking a whole month off. I just don't know if I can do that mentally right now. I'll have to see what M thinks.
In the "I'm a big dummy and I'm getting my hopes up despite all odds" category: I had some serious lightheadedness last night. The women on one of my boards swear by that as a sign of implantation, although I have my doubts. I have also been crazy emotional for the last few days and it would be wonderful to be able to chalk this up to hormone stuff and not a personality defect. This has been a really rough cycle for me all around though, so it could just be the emotional aftermath of all that. Maybe it's all just catching up with me.
I can't believe I have to wait another week before I can test. :-(
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
The cramping started around 5pm on Wednesday and when it hadn't let up by about 7:30pm, I was approaching panic. I don't have ovulation pains every month, but when I do, they last for 2-3 hours and coincide with all the other signs that tell me I'm ovulating right then. I was pretty sure we were done. I went on the Southwest website to find out if I could still cancel a flight I'd already checked in for, and I could, so there was a tough decision to be made. The expense in question was a $400 flight plus whatever other expenses I would accrue during a weekend of traveling. Could I justify spending that if my gut told me we'd missed the window? Under normal circumstances, yes, but considering that we've spent $2000 on our dog in the last month, it seemed a little irresponsible. I was leaning toward not going, and this was the point at which I lost it. I didn't want to have to take a month off and I felt there was NOTHING I could do to salvage this cycle. I could not believe how delicate our timing was - that I could do so much tracking and planning and still have the rug pulled out from under me at the last second. This quickly ballooned into me wondering what was wrong with me that I was spending so much money and putting M and I through so much stress for something that is so totally out of our control. For the first time, I told M I was "done." It truly felt like there was NO WAY to get all the puzzle pieces together at any one time and I was feeling really stupid for how much we've already invested - emotionally and financially. We've talked a lot about moving closer to KD lately - I just figured we were stupid to try any more until that happened so we wouldn't be at the mercy of all the long-distance logistics.
There was a lot of crying, and in hindsight, I think it was good. It released a lot of tension that has been building up over the past 6 months. Also in hindsight, I'm surprised I didn't go through a brief "I'm done!" phase sooner. I knew this process might be long and there could be lots of ups and downs. It feels more healthy/appropriate to the process that I should flip out every once in a while. Post-meltdown, I feel better but definitely not 100%. I'm more resigned to this taking a while, and the fact that it's time to step up the intervention, and these things make me sad. I know this sounds really cheesy, but I feel like I'm mourning the loss of my perception of myself as this young, fertile person who would have no trouble getting pregnant.
On the brighter side of things, I had a delightful talk with the cryobank near KD this morning. They sound about 2000% more enlightened and easy to work with than my local bank, and they're cheaper, too. Woo hoo! :-) I don't think it will be any problem to move forward with them, so that is a relief. I also have an appointment with the NP on Friday to check hormone levels and possibly schedule an HSG for next month. There are lots of options available to me, and I'm doing fine now, really. I just wanted to get last week's episode down somewhere so that in a few years when we're blissfully happy with #1 and considering #2, I can remember what the process *actually* was like rather than the nostalgic, fictionalized account I'm sure I'll carry with me.
Friday, April 20, 2007
Monday, April 16th - My monitor moved to "high", which is not good, since that's when you're supposed to start having sex if you happen to have a male partner lying around in your bed. All I could do was cross my fingers it wouldn't peak until I was at KD's. (Typical # of days at high = 2-3)
Tuesday, April 17th - I told my parents about us TTC. It went well, I think. It was a hard conversation for me (more later, perhaps), but my parents were thrilled (of course) and I got to cancel my rental car. :-) My mom agreed to drive me to and from KD's (from the airport) so we could visit in the car both ways.
Wednesday, April 18th - No peak yet, but a damn near positive OPK accompanied by major ovulation pains starting around 5pm CST. If I were in fact ovulating at 5pm, it would be virtually impossible to have any chance of pregnancy by the time KD got off work for a business meeting on Thursday. Commence total melt down. This is the thing I'll have to write more about later. Total culmination of all frustration of the last few months surveillance difficulties triggered by a straw breaking a camel's back. At the end of my melt down, we decided I would still go to KD's. The worst case scenario is I just get to spend a weekend with KD and his wife and see my mom, with no chance of pregnancy resulting.
Thursday, April 19th - Full positive OPK and peak on the fertility monitor. Against all past experience (why can't my body ever just be consistent?!) my "ovulation pains" continue for a solid 30+ hours. I've never had them go on for more than 2-3. This indicates that - at least this time around - the pain I was attributing to ovulation was more likely from the follicle build up rather than the actual release. We went ahead with an insemination last night, and the pain started subsiding around 10pm. It looks like we may have caught the tail end of the window after all, praise the deity of your choice.
We should probably have one more business meeting tonight, but we'll see what today's fertility signs hold as the day goes on. That's the scoop for now. It's nice being here and I'm really excited about spending the weekend with KD and his wife, no matter what happens on the TTC front. Not saying I'm not hoping for a BFP, but I'm feeling pretty realistic about the (un)likelihood of me getting pregnant without additional intervention at this point. I have an appointment with the NP a week from today and we're going to discuss starting medications and some diagnostic options for next cycle. I just think I'll feel more optimistic about our chances once some of those elements are integrated.