Tuesday, April 29, 2008

new schedule

I just talked to the clinic. AF's late arrival means my IVF is pushed back even more than I expected it would be. They have to keep me on lupron for a few extra days to accomodate their clinic schedule. The extra lupron days plus the 8 days my stupid period played hooky add up to a retrieval and transfer two full weeks after I was expecting. I know that's nothing in the grand scheme of things, I'm just disappointed. It's kind a pain for the delicate IVF v. job application ballet I've been choreographing. Oh well. What will be will be. New schedule is to your right.

Monday, April 28, 2008

not a moment too soon

You probably thought AF found me over the weekend and I didn't have a chance to get online and post an update. Unfortunately, no. I went in to acupuncture this morning and begged for help. My acupuncterist specializes in fertility and pregnancy, not the summoning of AF, but she said she'd "needle every darn contraindicated point [she] could think of." She also sent me home with instructions to press on certain points as much as possible, and a guarded whisper that if I got especially desperate, black cohosh could be my new best friend.

Well, I am pleased to announce that after a day of poking my hands and feet until I couldn't stand it any longer, AF rolled into town about an hour ago. I'm pretty sure the clinic will call tomorrow CD1, which means my period was 8 days late. Good grief. I've updated the IVF dates accordingly, but it's possible things will shift a bit more when I get in touch with the clinic tomorrow.

I haven't been this happy to see AF since high school. :-) The last few days have been really hard emotionally and I'm still feeling pretty blue, but hopefully this is a sign of the turning of the tides.

Friday, April 25, 2008

what else is new?

No AF today, which makes this officially the longest cycle I've had in 27 cycles of charting. I've kind of given up looking for her. I'm going to cease and desist with the daily updates. I'll just let you know if she ever rolls into town.

Happy Friday all!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Maybe I got pregnant on a break cycle!

I mean, it happens to straight girls all the time, right? Surely that's the only logical explanation for why AF would rebuff me in this manner. Granted, I haven't been in contact with sperm since sometime in February but hey, there's always immaculate conception. Perhaps the second coming will be via 2 previously infertile lesbians. How much would that rock?! I wonder if the baby will have M's features.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

still waiting

Thank goodness we didn't try this month. I'd be losing my mind.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Dear AF,

I'll admit that I haven't always been the best niece. I have cursed your arrival many times over the last 18 months (nay, the last 16 years) and I'll confess to having said some less-than-friendly things behind your back. That said, I think I've been fairly hospitable on your last visit or two, and even looked forward a bit to your arrival. I believe we've turned over a new leaf in our relationship, you and I. So, it is with great displeasure that I note your tardiness on this 22nd day of April. I was expecting you yesterday and you did not arrive. Fine. Everyone runs a day or so late from time to time. But seriously, this is getting ridiculous. We need to work together on this. The welcome mat is out, the champagne has been corked, there are mints on the pillow in the guest room... what are you waiting for, a letterpressed invitation?

Please come soon. Or call. Or something.

With vigilance and impatience,

Monday, April 21, 2008

a story I forgot to share earlier

M and I had an interesting conversation this weekend. It started by me making her promise that she would never hold that which I was about to disclose against me: Not now, not at 3am on a random Tuesday a year from now... not ever. She promised. I confessed that as we go through all of this build up to IVF, I've kinda-sorta evolved a bit in my general feeling toward having twins. At one point, I was terrified beyond belief at the possibility of more than one baby - recall the triplet boys on Christmas Day story. Lately, I've moved more toward a position of neutrality and - dare I admit it - hope(?) that we will get pregnant with twins. The bottom line is that we're working so freaking hard for this and spending so darn much money. It would just be really nice to get a two-fer. After my hesitant confession, M admitted that she too is sort-of kind-of a little bit hoping for twins herself, for similar reasons.

Don't get me wrong. I'll still be scared out of my mind if the occupancy of my uterus ever surges to 2 (and let's not even TALK about anything beyond that), but there is a silver lining in there that I'll be grateful for. I really don't want to have an only child (no offense to any only children out there), but the thought of going through all of this again makes my head spin a bit. It would be really nice to have that pressure removed, because then we can still go through ttc again if we decide we want to, but not because we feel we have to.

Now I just have to apologize to my friend L who has been pulling for twins all along and I've been snapping at her to bite her tongue every time she says it unless she's planning to be over for night-duty at least 3 times a week. Similar apologies go out to my dear friend inlocoparentis who I've been secretly hexing ever since she expressed her desire for us to squeeze two peas into the pod. ;-)

jitter. bounce. fidget.

I have an acute lack of focus.

AF is due today. At least, I think she is. I didn't track my ovulation this month so it's possible it was later than usual. I'm antsy and distracted and watching the minutes tick by until I can do... I don't know what exactly, but it's gonna start by getting out of this desk chair.

I talked to the pharmacy this morning. I'm having 4 of my scripts transferred to a local pharmacy for pick-up this evening (PIO, Prenatals, Doxycycline, and Medrol) and the rest will be shipped around May 7th. That gives me some time to explore the possibility of getting some injectibles for free from my doctor. Cross your fingers, please!

In the meantime, I just keep looking at the calendar and counting days and I realize this is making me feel crazy but stopping makes me feel even crazier. I spent some time checking out this summer's concert line-up and that provided a good 5 minutes of distraction. However, researching concerts prompts me to think about dates and thinking about dates prompts me to look at my calendar and looking at my calendar draws my attention to a colorful sea of projected IVF checkpoints and that, my friends, is what we call "back to square one."

I just keep reminding myself that in less than 2 months, our life's course will be significantly more concrete than it is now, and in 3 months, it'll be even more so. My job right now is to chill out.

There are plenty of house projects to be done. I need to put a second coat of paint on our kitchen walls sometime this week. The first coat was applied... never mind, it's too embarassing to share. We have new threshholds to be installed and house plants to be re-potted. I also have an art project in mind for the dining room. Hopefully I can focus on these things for a while instead of... darn it - square one again.

Friday, April 18, 2008


First off, THANK YOU all so much for your opinions and insights and suggestions. You helped in some ways you probably know and some you don't even imagine.

M and I talked last night and I now have a little more information about the hiring process. It turns out that because it is a state job, there are 2-3 months full of bureaucratic hurdles to clear before anyone will be hired. 2-3 months! That means they plan to offer the job to someone between June 18th and July 18th, give or take. If we continue with IVF and if everything stays on schedule, our beta will be around June 16th-ish. If we are willing to go ahead with paying out of pocket rather than waiting to see if I might or might not get some infertility coverage, we can most likely have an answer from our IVF cycle before the job offer goes out. So, the current plan (as of noon today - give it a few days, hours or minutes and it may change) is to push ahead with IVF as scheduled and also apply for the new position. Perhaps I'll hear back sometime during our cycle that I'm out of the running for the job, or perhaps I'll get a BFP before a hiring decision is made at which point I'll withdraw my application from consideration. The only way we could find ourselves in a bit of a sticky situation is I'm offered the job and the hiring process takes much less time than they expect it to - like if I'm the only qualified applicant or something (unlikely). If that happens, hopefully it will be close enough to our beta that I can tell them I need a few days before I can give them an answer. If it's too far away from our beta to do that... well, I don't know but we'll just figure it out if and when we have to!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Just when I thought nothing could derail us...

There is a rather exciting job opportunity in the system I work in. It's a significant vertical move, both in annual salary (the cost of our IVF cycle, incidentally) and in job classification. Having been at my current job for 3 years, I could easily take it without being accused of job-hopping, and frankly, it's such a signficant promotion, I'm pretty sure it would be considered justified even if I'd started at my current job a week ago.

There is no guarantee I would get the job. I don't know who else is even thinking about it - maybe some good candidates. However, several people with influence asked me specifically to consider it, so that seems like a promising sign. I at least have a good enough chance that I have to take my decision to apply seriously. It's not a "eh, I'll just throw my hat in and see what happens" situation.

Here's my concern: I'm pretty sure they're looking to fill the position quickly, as in, definitely before I know the outcome of our IVF cycle and probably before we even have the retrieval and transfer, but probably NOT before I would need to start medications.

The pros as I see them:
  • GIANT leap in terms of job status
  • influence on a system I care about
  • excellent resume builder
  • a TON more money

The cons as I see them:

  • how irresponsible would I look if I had to announce a pregnancy two months into a new job?
  • what if I have a difficult pregnancy and am sick during some or all of my probationary period?
  • what if I have a very difficult pregnancy and have to spend the whole thing on bedrest?
  • the only surefire way to avoid those last three points is a con itself - postponing IVF until... who knows when?

What the F am I supposed to do?

In the 18 months we have been trying to get pregnant, I have turned down two other opportunities for major promotions because I was so sure I'd get pregnant right away and look like a jerk. In hindsight, I wished I'd made a different choice and I made a pact with myself I wouldn't let a similar opportunity pass me by again. No point keeping my life on hold for something I can't control or predict. So now here I am, and based upon past promises to myself, I should pursue this opportunity without regard to anything that may or may not be happening in my reproductive life. That said, this is IVF. I feel like an idiot for saying this, but what if I get pregnant? I mean, I've used that excuse before but this time it could actually happen. No really! You know? I would NOT forgo this opportunity if we were going in for IUI #11, but we're not. We're paying a boatload of money and enduring an exceptionally advanced procedure based on the relatively high likelihood that it will be successful. It's seems a little messed up of me not to give the possibility this will work at least as much credence as I gave our past attempts in regards to making future decisions. I mean, it's just one more try, really. If it doesn't work, we're taking a break and I'm free to take any and all promotions that come my way. The thing is, they won't. I work in a system that is notorious for having few internal promotion opportunities. People get supervisory jobs and then sit in them foreeeever. To move up, I'd have to move out (the last two job openings I passed up were external) and I love what I do. This is a really unique opportunity. Fuck.

I think the worst case scenario is that I take the job, wind up pregnant (possibly with twins or more!), and have the pregnancy from hell. I won't qualify for FMLA because I'll be a new hire. I don't know what their short and long-term disability coverage is like and whether I'll even qualify for it yet. We could really get screwed. At my current job, I am not on new-hire probation, I have accrued sick and vacation leave, I'm enrolled in short and long-term disability programs, and I have 3 years of strong performance to encourage them to accomodate whatever I may need. That is definitely a better position to be in going into what has a minor but real chance of developing into a medical problem where I need leave and flexibility.

But this is a really, really good job opportunity. So do we postpone IVF so I can pursue it? Is that seriously an option I'm even willing to type? M is as ambivalent about it as I am, but we both have strong emotional responses to the idea of postponing IVF. But are we cheating ourselves if we put too much weight on that? Are we letting our resistance to waiting push us into a poor long-term decision? IVF is the culmination of something that has consumed our every thought, minute, and dollar for the last 18 months. It's all been building to this. It's not just some small thing we decided to do.

Here's my question, for those that want to give input: How bad is it to get pregnant at the same time as you're starting a new job? I mean, clearly it's not ideal, but is it a major offense or just one of those "probably better not to if you can avoid it" kinda things? We hired someone a couple of years ago that got pregnant pretty much the weekend after she signed her employment papers and while I thought it was an extremely irresponsible move, the rest of my office (including my boss) didn't seem to think anything of it. So, am I just being prudish about this? I kind of feel like, if it came to it, I could tell my future boss (who I already know well and have great rapport with) that we tried for a year and a half with no success and I genuinely didn't think it would be an issue. Once she finds out we did IVF that compromises my story a bit, but I could tell her our cycle was already past the point of no return when the job became available. Yeah, I know. That's a lie. It's not a big lie, though, and hardly a lie at all if you count emotional momentum, and we did already pay for it.

What to do? What to do? What to do? I worked myself into a fit over this dilemma tonight. I tried to watch tv to quiet my thoughts but I felt queasy and couldn't relax at all. I really don't want to put IVF off, but I also feel like I'll regret it if I don't pursue this opportunity, especially if our IVF is unsuccessful. I'm pretty sure the BFN will hit me hard enough on it's own without piling some "AND you missed out on a once-in-a-blue-moon professional opportunity!" on top.

I'm just gonna keep hoping for clarity. Something will rise to the surface soon, right?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

back in the saddle

... or at least in my typical time zone. I returned last night from a 5 day trip to see the fam in honor of my grandfather's 90th birthday. It was nice to check out of my normal life for a while, even if I did have to dodge half a dozen "Isn't it baby time for you two yet?" inquiries. I thought I was immune to such questioning on accounta' my lack of heterosexuality, but not in my family, which I am actually grateful for despite any temporary discomfort it might have caused this weekend.

Roughly one week until AF arrives, at which point we... um... wait again. Big checkpoint there, huh? Her arrival will start the official game clock though, and three weeks later, we will start Lupron. This week's task is ordering meds. I need to find out what (if anything) my clinic will be able to furnish me with in the way of samples or returns and make a final pharmacy decision for the balance. Right now, I'm thinking Schrafts as their Follistim price is competitive with the other pharmacies but their Lupron is $99/kit instead of $200. It seems somewhat futile being remotely interested in a savings of a couple hundred bucks when our total drug bill is likely to be $3000+, but every penny counts. Regardless, bargain-hunting is in my genes - I couldn't quit it if I tried.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

just putting it out there (edited to include afterword)

At the risk of sounding like a hormonal, ungrateful b!tch, I just want to throw this out into the atmosphere in hopes I can get it off my mind. Someone said something to me today that got under my skin a bit at first, and has since managed to fester into something quite bothersome. Some of you may know what I'm referencing - most should not. It wasn't anything from blogland and it certainly didn't come from any of you. I say ungrateful because it's someone I've given and received support to/from for some time now and I know she meant it with the best of intentions, but it's just bugging me and I can't shake it.

Have I somehow given the impression that I'm unrealistically hopeful about our upcoming IVF? Because I feel like I'm kind of the opposite. I find - more days than not - that I fully expect it NOT to work. I've already started cleaning out closets and planning the packing I'll need to do for our impending move (which will get the green light if and when our IVF fails). Anyway, someone felt the need to put my hopes in check today, and I'm totally irritated about it.

Does she worry the last 14 BFNs haven't left their mark? Because they have. Does she think she's close enough to me to say the "tough stuff" and help me to prepare for the worst? Because she's not. If she wants to pick on someone (bear with my editorializing there - I know that's not how she meant it at all), how about calling out one of the starry-eyed newbies who can't wait to cash in on her share of the beginner's luck? Don't get me wrong, I was that girl myself once upon a not-too-distant time, but I'm not now. I'm acutely and painfully aware just how little control I have, how fragile our chance is, and that the likelihood of it NOT working is 54%, which is more than half. The last thing I need is someone reminding me to consider the fact that I may have just written a $16,000 check that will yield no returns.

*sigh* OK, now that I've (hopefully) exorcised my demons for the evening, you may now return to your regularly schedule programming. :-)

Edited 4/9/08 to add: I'm feeling really guilty about this post - so guilty that I thought about deleting it, but decided against it. It contains in honesty what it lacks in grace. Some days are just better than others.

Monday, April 7, 2008

last hurdle cleared

We have all our clearances and there's an incubator shelf with our name on it. We're officially scheduled! We're going to wait for my next cycle, which is fine as it puts ER/ET at a significantly less busy time for us, and it gives me time to shop around for my meds. The actual dates depend on when AF shows her lovely face, but our tentative schedule is:
  • May 12th: start lupron
  • May 23rd: suppression check/start stims
  • June 2nd-ish: egg retrieval
  • 3 or 5 days later: embryo transfer
  • June 16th-ish: beta
Hopefully the next month will pass quickly. We've got a lot going on so there should be plenty of distractions. I just can't wait to get this show (back) on the road!

Friday, April 4, 2008

you are here

We have been oriented, our bill is paid, and I shot my stomach up with saline. We're ready to go.

The orientation was good. Lots of detailed information about every step of the process. I was impressed by how much technical information they covered, actually. I'm used to doctors explaining things to me as if I wouldn't understand the "real" explanation, so they're going to give me the stock fifth-grade reading level version.

There were about 15 couples there and we were the only lesbians. There was kind of a weird dynamic. On one hand, we're all at IVF's doorstep so I would have expected some kind of camaraderie or instant rapport based upon (at least some degree of) a common journey. It seemed the stigma of infertility was more powerful, though. Everyone kept their heads down and spoke in hushed tones with their own partners. No one made eye contact across the tables or while passing in doorways. No one spoke to anyone they didn't come with. You'd think the whole "we're all in the same boat" reality would have won out, but everyone (myself included) seemed terrified of invading the other couples' privacy. Perhaps that is indicative of our shared experience - we all know how painful and demoralizing it is to have reached this point, so we're doing our part to help each other save face. I don't know. It was interesting though.

I'd be lying if I said it didn't make me feel a bit overwhelmed. The stats are a little disheartening. Even in my age group (the "best" on all their charts), the success rate for live births is 46%. They also said that only 20-25% of couples end up with embryos to freeze. That was a bummer. M and I have been realistic about the possibility that we wouldn't have an FET option, but I thought our chances were much higher than that. At least 50% or more. Guess not. The technology is simply amazing. It blows my mind that they can even do ICSI, let alone complete it in a way that encourages embryo development rather than simply frying an egg.

The most surprising part to me was how totally freaked out I got during the injection training. I really thought I knew what I was getting in to and that I'd long ago leveled any barriers I had to being stuck up with needles. (TTC really takes care of that for us, doesn't it?) Still, when we started pulling out all the needles and vials and alcohol wipes, I felt myself getting a little woozy. Especially those darn PIO needles. Holy cow, those are big. Here's a scene from our injection training:

Nurse: We find that the practice of giving yourself a shot is a lot less scary than thinking about and anticipating it, so after we're done talking through all of these, we'll go upstairs and let each of you practice giving yourselves a saline injection.

M (to me): That's a great idea.

Me (to her): Um, yeah. Easy for you to say!

I should point out that M was the cheerleading team captain while I was actually doing the injection, and she's the one that's gonna have to do the PIO which will be about a hundred times harder than the subq shots, so I really should let her off the hook for being so eager to throw me to the wolves. :-)

One more scene, this time from the car after the orientation:

Me: My stomach is sore where I gave myself that shot. Why did she have me use so much saline? I mean, it was just a practice. We could have used the tiniest drop. Why did we have to use 20 ccs?

M: nodding silently and indulgently

Me: I mean, not actually 20 ccs. That's not right. That whole syringe was like half a cc or mL or whatever, but I can't remember what the units were.

M: still driving, letting me work through my nonsense

Me: I guess it was only 20 milli... I don't know... 20 milli... tiny... units or something.

M: Hmm, yeah. Millitinyunits. I'm pretty sure that's what it was. You don't mind if I use that as the units on my next exam, do you?

She puts up with a lot from me. She really does.

So anyway, here's where we go from here. A couple more people need to touch my chart for final sign-offs and then the scheduler has to contact me and let me know when they will have incubator space. I didn't necessarily get the impression that they were too full for us to start this cycle, but I did get the impression that they don't move all too quickly. So, I'm trying to be realistic about how likely it is that the finance person will send my file to the doctor for final medical clearance, the doctor will prepare my prescriptions and pass my chart on to the scheduler, she will contact me and we'll manage to avoid days of phone tag, I'll do my obsessive price comparison shopping and get my meds ordered and delivered, and all of this will happen before I'd need to start Lupron in, oh, about a week. It could happen, I'm just not getting my hopes up too high. It seems more likely that we'll start Lupron in early-May for an ER/ET at the end of the month.

As always, I'm trying to be optimistic enough to keep breathing and putting one foot in front of the other and realistic enough to avoid a mental health crisis should this not work.

I'll update with a calendar the moment I have one!