Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A trilogy of good omens

I had three very good signs this morning:

1) M and I woke up together at the crack of dawn to take our dog to the vet. M rolled over and said, "Can you clarify something for me? Did you wake up earlier and tell me you were pregnant?" I confirmed that this did not actually happen, and also let her know it was definitely too early for me to have news like that. She proceeded to explain that she thought it was too early, but that it had happened in what was apparently a dream, but it was so vivid she couldn't distinguish it from reality. Even after several reassurances on my part that it was, in fact, a dream, she still had a touch of disbelief.

2) Just before lunch today, my boss (who is aware of our TTC journey) called me into her office. She had ooohed and aaahed like crazy over my haircut on Monday, and she said that she'd been thinking about it since then and while the haircut is cute and all, that wasn't it - there was something more. She said it hit her last night: She thinks I'm pregnant. I told her I hoped she was right and agreed to keep her posted.

3) I left my boss's office and went over to the table where we all eat lunch. My co-worker who is also TTC was sitting there and I asked her how she was (today was her day to test). She said not good, which meant BFN, and I told her how sorry I was. Then she said, "You know what though? I feel really differently about this cycle for you. I really think this is going to be the one. I don't know why, I just have this feeling." We always encourage each other - of course - but we also both appreciate the danger of building false hopes, so I know she wouldn't just say something like that to be nice. It was very different than the type of encouragement we usually give each other.

So, I'm really hoping there is something to all that. I'm trying desperately to keep my optimism in check, but I'm feeling really positive. I think if it was test day now and it was a BFN, I'd be okay, but I have at least another week to get through, during which I expect the hopes to just get higher and higher and higher, despite any and all efforts on my part.

Monday, March 26, 2007

The rest of the details

I had one solo business meeting via shipper, as I posted earlier, and then KD arrived on Thursday night. On Friday, we headed off to the cryobank for our acting challenge. It ended up being no big deal. I think the NP was right - they don't really care. They just needed us to use the right language to help them get around their legal restrictions. KD was blessed with a skilled phlebotomoist and I'm sure he hardly even missed the gallon of blood they drew from him. ;-)

They ended up requiring fewer tests than we originally expected (read: we had to pay less money), and we didn't have to pay any of the "extra" charges we had planned for in our worst case scenario. The whole cryobank piece cost a lot less than we expected, which was a pleasant surprise. When the cryobank tech came out to hand us the processed slides, she had a little grin on her face and made a comment about things looking "really good." We didn't find out exactly how good until we checked out the analysis results in the elevator on the way down. Let's just say that KD exceeded every parameter in a big way. This led us to joke for the rest of the weekend about how he is 12 times better than the average male (yes, TWELVE). So we raced down to the NPs office and arrived on time for our appointment without a second to spare. She whisked me back into an exam room and told me to continue holding the PP slides until the last second (we had to keep them at body temperature). I'm sure I looked like quite the fool trying to get undressed, the whole while keeping the tube in my hot little hand.

So the NP came back in and checked out the SA results. Her exact response was "Oh wow, K. You're getting pregnant today!" Her confidence was so reassuring. She did the insemination, then asked me to stay relaxed for 15-20 minutes while she went to check the sample under a microscope. She stuck her head back in a minute later and said that she wanted me to rest a little longer, but she just had to tell me that she made a microscope slide out of our power point slides (ha ha) and she couldn't believe the way they were just swimming away. She said she'd also made a slide of my cervical mucus to check for the ferning pattern that indicates good timing and there were "beautiful ferns all over the place." She said she'd let me come see them in a few minutes. About 10 minutes later I was standing in the lab staring through a microscope lens.

Holy crap.

That may have been one of the coolest things I have ever seen. After I looked... and looked again... and brought KD back so he could look (mistake - he was not as impressed as I was - LOL!), we went into her office where she gave me a pregnancy test and a date to check back in with her. She kept saying that she knew it was going to work this time. She was so confident and excited, it was truly infectious, and therapeutic, to be honest. I left there on cloud nine. I soooo hope this is our month!

And that was the end of our TTC efforts for the cycle. We could have done a business meeting at home on Saturday, but I'm pretty sure the window was closed. I actually think our IUI was later than ideal, but hopefully not so late that it won't work. The rest of the weekend, we just spent hanging out and having fun. It was really nice.

So if this cycle doesn't work, KD will have to ship us PP slides from here on out. I learned on Friday that the cryobank does NOT use the same shippers we used this time, which actually makes me feel a LOT better. They will send KD a mini cryopreservation tank so he can freeze the slides right away and they will remain frozen until we need them. It'll be crazy expensive of course, but we're kind of past the point of caring about that part. Hopefully it will be a moot point anyway.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

a quickie

KD has come and gone. The bit with the cryobank was a breeze and our overall timing appeared to be decent, thanks to the shipper since I think our IUI was borderline, if not a hair too late. So, now we just sit back and wait for the next 2 weeks to see if we were successful!

I'm really, really glad we decided to move to IUI. The experience was fantastic - more on that later. The cryobank services ended up costing less than we expected, so that was nice, especially after the ridiculously outrageous cost of the plane ticket we bought for KD. (We figured out the problem with the airfares, BTW - there was a huge sports match being played in our city against, of course, the team from KD's city. KD's flights were loaded up with rapid fans, hence his ticket costing 250% of it's normal value.)

Anyway, things are good. I'm feeling really optimistic - for better or for worse - and I promise to get on here sometime tomorrow to fill in the rest of the details. :-)

Thursday, March 22, 2007


KD's shipment arrived earlier than expected this morning, which actually worked out perfectly. Instead of having to run home in the middle of my busy day, I was able to go in an hour late and just take care of it then. My solo business meeting took place less than 24 hours after KD produced the slides on his end (ah, the miracle of modern transportation) and only a couple of hours after I got my positive OPK and CBEFM peak this morning. Tomorrow's IUI will be 28-30 hours after the peak, so pretty much perfect timing. :-) Against all odds, we couldn't have planned this better. LOL!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Good news!

I did NOT surge this morning, which puts us one day closer to hitting the target window. Even more, the secondary signs I had yesterday that made me think ovulation was right around the corner seem to have decreased somewhat.

Perhaps it was the enormous amount of stressing I did yesterday that warded off my ovulation (hopefully it won't stay away too long!), or perhaps it is the $200 insurance policy we purchased yesterday in the form of a "shipper" that is currently en route to KD, or maybe all that good karma I've been storing up is finally paying off. Whatever it is, I'm happy for it. Now if I can just keep from surging for the next 48 hours, we are totally good to go this cycle.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Operation Counter-Intelligence

I talked to my parents last night. I don't get to talk to them all that often because they're about twice as busy as M and I are. My mom (aka Ms. I-will-guess-your-every secret-just-by-the-rate-of-your-breathing) has apparently... wait, a little background is needed... M and I are headed to her parents' house for Mother's Day, along with KD, his wife, M's cousin from overseas, and now, my parents. My parents asked a couple of weeks ago if there was any way to merge the trip they were planning to take "sometime this spring" to the city M's parents live in with our visit there in May. M and I decided it would be too much of an imposition on the weekend M's mom is planning and we said no without even mentioning the idea to M's parents. This weekend, M's mom called and, lo and behold, she thinks it would be simply lovely to invite my parents down for Mother's Day weekend! I guess M and I were wrong. Furthermore, M's mom called my parents and said she wouldn't entertain the idea of my parents staying in a hotel, so we'll all be under one roof like one big happy family all weekend. Oh, and M's mom is planning a big BBQ for all their friends to see the kiddos while they're in town. Back to my original story...

So my mom (recall the nickname), has apparently decided this is a big set up for M and I to announce a pregnancy. I guess she thinks we've somehow masterminded the whole thing and then removed ourselves from the middle to cover our tracks. She also has apparently told this theory to my father (aka Mr. No-topic-of-conversation-is-off-limits). Last night on the phone, he made some comment about how we're all going to be there and won't it be fun and are M and I going to have a big announcement? *crickets* My heart stopped beating for a minute.

M and I had been giggling and bubbling all weekend about what a cool opportunity that weekend would be to announce a pregnancy. Mother's Day for our moms, big BBQ for everyone else... perfect. Now we just have to get pregnant. :-) My dad completely took the wind out of my sails. It wouldn't be such a big deal, but we're jumping through so many freakin' hoops to preserve the big surprise announcement, it just really sucked to hear that our exciting plan du jour is being anticipated. Also, how weird was it that he would say that?? If he *didn't* think we were pregnant (or would be by then), then the comment is even weirder and less appropriate than I thought, and if he *did* think we were pregnant (or would be by then) and we were going to all this trouble to plan a big surprise announcement, why in the freaking world would you try to spoil that by asking about it early?? Geez.

It's my own fault. Back when I was young and stupid (last spring) I had several excited conversations with my mom about how close M and I were getting to TTC and how I was pretty sure we'd have good news to share by the end of the year. At that time I was operating under 2 incorrect assumptions: (1) that we would be open about our TTC process when it started, and (2) that it wouldn't take any time at all. Shortly therafter I started to realize that perhaps we would want to keep the process a secret so that we could have the big "surprise, we're pregnant!" moment and I stopped talking about it. I know for a fact the last conversation I had with my mom about it was on Mother's Day last year. I now realize this lack of updates has led my mom to assume that we are infact trying, and since I know my mom has NO IDEA how long TTC can take or how hard it is the way we're doing it, of course she would assume we are pregnant already. This brings us to operation counter intelligence:

I need an alternative story to feed my mom so she'll believe she's off target in her assumptions. The current frontrunners are (a) M just can't fathom it until she's finished with school, or at least until her schedule settles down a bit (totally plausible, and M is okay with being the scapegoat) and/or (b) we still haven't met our target balance in our savings account, but it's okay because we're excited about getting all of our debt paid off. Eventually we'll be able to start putting money in the savings account. (My mom knows the target balance we set last year so if she thinks we haven't even started yet, that'll buy us plenty of time. It was pretty ambitious.) Also, my dad gave me the perfect conversation starter to work the excuse in without it looking fishy. I can just tell my mom that my dad made some weird comment and we can only assume it means he thinks we're pregnant but that's completely impossible because x, y, and z. Or, I guess we could just give up on all the secrecy and use that weekend to come clean with our parents about the fact that we're TTC. I dunno. In the meantime, anyone have any other suggestions for throwing my mom off the scent?

In other, but related news, we may miss the window this cycle altogether, and in a totally unpredictable and frustrating way: I may ovulate before KD even gets here! Argh! It would only make sense, right? Last month I'm 5 days late, this month I'll be 4 days early. Of course! >:-[

We may still be okay. My monitor only went to high this morning. The peak reading usually comes within 1-2 days after the first high, and ovulation usually comes 1-2 days after that, so while it's possible I could O tomorrow or Wednesday, Thursday or Friday is more likely. There are some other signs that make me think we're going to be on the early end of those calculations, though. Unfortunately, based on KD's travel schedule, I really need to hold off until Saturday to O in order to maximize our chances. *sigh* How annoying is that? Oh well, I'm trying to stay focused on the goal of just getting the cryobank situation worked out this month. That is priority number one.

One foot in front of the other. One foot in front of the other.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

ISO crystal ball

I had my first TTC-but-not-BFN-inspired breakdown today. M is out of town and I've been muddling my way through one hell of a logistical nightmare. I'm not even sure where to start in explaining all this.

Here are the known facts:
1. M and I have decided to expand our efforts to include one intra-uterine insemination (IUI) in the NP's office (all we can afford at the moment) per cycle.
2. My ovulation, which is typically very regular, was about 5-6 days late last cycle, making it very difficult to predict when I will ovulate this cycle.
3. If I were to ovulate "on time" this cycle, it will likely fall between Friday, 3/23 and Sunday, 3/25.
4. If I ovulate on Saturday or Sunday, we are S.O.L. as the NP only does inseminations Monday through Friday. (Technically, we can go in on Friday or Monday, whichever seems closer, but the farther you get away from ovulation, the less likely you are to be successful and therefore the less rational it seems to spend the big bucks.)
5. KD's boss who earned MVP honors last month by letting KD telecommute (read: stay with us for longer) has decided that's not going to fly this month. KD has generously offered to take vacation time to fly out, but the longest he can get away for is a weekend plus two business days.
6. In order to have an IUI, we have to take the power point slides to a cryobank and have them processed. The cryobank charges a hefty amount of money for this, of course.
7. In order to continue IUI's over the next few months when KD's schedule gets crazy busy, we need to have banked specimens there. (keep adding up the $$$) These specimens will either have to be deposited by KD in person, or shipped using one of the convenient yet suspicious (in my opinion) shippers offered by the bank (more $$$).
8. In order to bank specimens there, KD and I have to go in together, in person, and LIE, saying we are a heterosexual couple that are using assisted reproductive technology due to living apart from each other right now. More precisely, we have to tell this lie so that they will not quarantine his sperm for 6 months while he proves he was not HIV positive at the time of the deposit. This little lie also knocks our fee for the deposit down by about $1500. Yes, I recently found out the exact price tag on my integrity, folks.
9. In order to bank specimens there (yup, there's more), KD and I both have to have a mile-long list of tests done. I had mine done this past week at the NP's. KD will get his at the cryobank when he is out here next, and they'll only cost us a measly $450!
10. One can only generate so many power point slides in a day.
11. The cryobank is only open from 8am to 4pm, Monday through Friday. Please refer back to #5, and remember that it takes an entire day to travel from KD to us by plane. So, even if KD takes the first morning flight out, he won't make it here in time to visit the cryobank that same day.
12. Starting next month, KD launches a major project and won't be able to come out again for more than a regular weekend until at least July.
13. For some unexplainable reason, all of the flights between our two cities are booked for the weekend in question and the fares are $540+ across the board.

And this is where my head explodes.

Do we have KD come out at all, or do we put off IUIs for another month and send me to him? If he comes here, what combination of home business meetings, banked samples, and clinic IUIs do we do? What combination of those things can we afford? If I go there this month, that means NOT using the cryobank services at all until KD has a chance to come out here again to open the account with me. How will we feel about having made that decision three months from now? Can I keep traveling out there all those months if needed to keep trying a process that hasn't worked so far? Or, are we moving to IUI too fast? I mean, can we seriously justify spending $2000 or more on TTC this month? What if I don't ovulate while he's here? Should we have him come Thursday through Sunday, in hopes I'll ovulate Friday? Should we assume my ovulation will be late again and have him come Saturday through Tuesday? How many minutes or hours do we have to make this decision before the airfares go up again?


My reserve for coping with this is low. I am sick and M is out of town visiting a friend. I only got to talk to her for a few minutes today, and unfortunately - albeit predictably - that's when I had the breakdown. A few tears later, we realized we needed to prioritize. We decided that objective #1 has to be getting the account set up at the cryobank. Checking this off the list will give us a lot of options over the next few months, and it's our only chance to do it before mid/late summer. Even if we get nothing else accomplished on this trip of KD's, that will be a significant step. From there, objectives #2 and #3 are doing a clinic IUI and banking a deposit, in that order. If the timing works out and we have the money in the bank account to do an IUI in the clinic while he's here, perfect. If not but we're able to bank a sample, that'll be good too. If we run out of time or money for either of those things, no big deal as long as we accomplish objective #1. We decided to fly KD out Thursday through Sunday. If by Sunday morning, I have not ovulated, we can can always do one at-home business meeting before he leaves and cross our fingers, but again, objective #1 is the priority. I thought I would feel sad about possibly losing the opportunity to try this cycle, but mostly, I just feel relieved to have a workable plan.

This TTC stuff is not for sissies.

KD is simply amazing. His altruism blows me away. I don't know what it is inside him that prompted him to agree to get involved in this crazy business, and keeps him committed as this drags on and becomes more complicated. I only know that words completely fail me when I try to express how grateful I am to him. I would like to think that if the roles were reversed, I would be as empowering and generous of spirit. I hope that I would. He has one hell of a sense of humor about the whole thing, too. Reading his blog on the subject is a trip.

So there's the update, for now. I'll post more after his visit. I'm sure we'll have lots of fun stories from our acting performance in cryobank-land.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

tampons and wine

This is the shopping list I gave M this evening - no joke.

I'm sure you can figure out where this is going. I'm okay. A little bitter today, but it will pass soon.