Friday, February 26, 2010

Ass shots and hypothetical scarves

The ass shot (my Lupron, that is, not some terrible frat party drinking activity) was no big deal. Nurse Incompetent's bedside manner was unhelpful (Are you SCARED? It's a BIG SHOT, so get ready! You should LOOK THE OTHER WAY!), but I felt nothing at all. Not that I am eager to sign up for doing it daily, but the once-a-month-administered-by-someone-else version turns out not to be scary at all. I have also succeeded in scheduling my surgery, and, as you all knew I would, I feel a little better about the waiting now. And I hope to see all of you become pregnant (or more pregnant, depending on your status!) while I sit here. With nothing to do. Perhaps I will take up knitting.

In fact, if I knew how to knit, I would start kitting a scarf. I would knit a little every day. If I happened to feel hopeful, I'd knit in, I don't know, a nice springy green. And when feeling despair, I'd knit in a gloomy grey-blue or something. And when I got pregnant, I would stop knitting. And when my child was old enough to appreciate the gesture, I'd present my forty-mile-long scarf to him or her, and say, This is how badly you were wanted. This is how much we loved you, ever so long before you were born.

And he or she would say, MOM! You're sooooo embarrassing!

Finally, I was hanging with PBF last night and she mentioned that they'd gone to great lengths trying to work a version of my name into their (still unborn) daughter's middle name. They ultimately failed, 'cause my name is unusual. But I was nonetheless deeply touched. I hope I get to be an important person in her life, even if we don't share a name. And most of all, of course, I hope I can provide her with some friends who are not too much older than she is.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Club Kitchen

PBF is due this week. I keep checking my phone because she promised to text me when she goes into labor. It's put me into a weird state where I am alternately excited and filled with fondness for this person (who has been an extremely compassionate best-friend-of-an-infertile, as well as being the most awesome person) and wracked with sobs of deepest despair. The despair sounds kinda like this: can it really be possible that I will never have this experience? Is this really my life? When oh when will my fucking drugs get sorted out so I can at least feel like I'm doing something? How will I endure the next five months with no chance at conceiving when I'm freaking out about the possibility of things being delayed by a week? When will I be capable of feeling happy again? What if the answer is never?

I know--SO BORING. Basically the set of feelings most of us go through on a daily basis. Anyway, last night I tried a cure that has sometimes made me feel better, or at least briefly more alive. My husband is out of town, so I put my favorite mix on the iPod player in the kitchen and danced my little heart out. With the lights off so the neighbors couldn't see my craziness. I used to love to go dancing when I was not so old and lame... At first I was like I don't remember how to do this anymore. That felt really fucked up. Like my body is had turned into this fossilized object that can only 1) sit at a computer and 2) fail to conceive. But this particular mix includes songs that span my musical life--from the early Pixies and obscure Russian rock band days to more recent stuff (any Ra.tata.t fans out there?) so I was eventually swept up in a nostalgic wave that allowed me to get over myself a little bit. As always, though, things came back to that gaping black hole in my life. There's an unfortunate Lo.w song on the mix, I.n Meta.l, in which the singer describes her reluctance to see her baby grow up and her desire to protect her daughter. It's full of cooing baby sounds. Rad.

I don't know, folks. Sometimes I think that in a few years I'll look back at this bleak era (which so far isn't even the worst part of my life, though I realize things could go plenty down from here) and think, that was hard, but we got through it. Other days I imagine myself still in exactly this place. Still whining online, to a new group of sad women, because all of you will have moved on. Still trying to recapture some fragment of my former self by visiting Club Kitchen, and still failing.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A new item from my line of depressing and exploitative products!

I've decided to take the Kajillions I made with my specialized pregnancy tests and develop a new product, the Fertility Bartender. Unlike those of you who are all, eh, drinking, I can take it or leave it, I really like to get my drink on. (Although I have noticed that my desire to drink tends to vanish once I actually can. That's annoying!) I've got a whole bunch of months coming in which I can drink all I want, so it's the perfect time for R&D.

How does the Fertility Bartender work? Well, it detects where you are in your cycle through the usual urine-based methods. It can also detect hCG, so functions as a pregnancy test. BUT...instead of telling you you're not pregnant, it will serve up a cocktail recipe. Something delicious that will cheer you up in your sorry state. And once you're in a new cycle, it will start weaning you off the hooch, with messages like HAVE SOME ORANGE JUICE INSTEAD or whatever. During the fertile window it will suggest tasty non-alcoholic beverages featuring fertility-promoting pineapple, pomegranate, and...uh...clams*. YUMMY! Pineclamtini, anyone? During the two week wait it will offer reassuring advice like NOT EVEN ONE SIP OF WINE. DON'T BE A BABY KILLER. And in the unlikely event that you do get pregnant, it will follow you through those early months with stomach-calming recipes to help with morning sickness. Clampinetini, anyone? If you would like to invest, feel free to send me a very large check. I promise not to blow all the money on IVF. 'Cause I can't for about eleven months.

(The recipe shown on the package is for my favorite cocktail, the One of a Pear. Shake over ice.)

*Don't ask me, man. This is what google tells me and google knows everything.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I am stupid and work sucks.

I am stupid. I know absolutely everything about reproduction, except this very fundamental thing: the whole alternating between two ovaries thing is an oversimplification. Thanks, Finch and Trinity, for smartening me up! In fact, my research suggests women younger than thirty do tend to alternate sides, but ancient creatures like myself are more likely to ovulate from the same ovary month to month. Also, the right ovary appears to be slightly more active over one's reproductive life, with about 55% of ovulations happening from that side. So...let's hope my body doesn't decide that it's time to give the right side a break.

(Oh, and while we're on the subject of being misled, In case some random woman with fibroids reads my last post, I wanted to add a tiny clarification. READ THIS TOO, RANDOM WOMAN! It's not the case that the overall rate of miscarriage in women with fibroids is 60%--that's just the percentage of women in one study who had a miscarriage prior to myomectomy, and women with recurrent pregnancy loss due to fibroids often have the surgery. So 60% is quite exaggerated.)

I am also stupid because when my RE told me to "call to schedule a Lupron shot" I had no idea what I was getting into. First, I would need to get a prescription, 'cause that's how drugs work. That took a couple of phone calls. Then, I would need to get the prescription filled. It took a couple of phone calls just to discover that I had the choice of paying $700 or requesting "authorization" from my insurance company to get the meds via mail order. At this point I handed things over to Mr. Bunny, who works in the insurance biz. I watched with dumbfounded gratitude as he negotiated several more phone calls which he indicates will result in our insurance company rejecting the claim but me still getting the drugs via mail order without too much delay. I am READY FOR MY MENOPAUSE (and deep bone pain--thanks JB and hope4joy for that enticing prospect), peoples!

And work sucks. One of my duties is to meet with with job candidates to tell them how great Mediocre Institution is and convince them to come (in the event they actually get an offer). Last week I met with one who wanted to talk a whole lot about babies. Do you have kids? No, but we really *suppressed sobbing* want to. What's the parental leave policy? Blah blah blah... What sorts of resources are there on campus for parents? Here I got to talk about the faculty group for parents that I foolishly joined when I first started trying, thinking it would be good to get a head start. Wow, do I hate thinking about that. Tell me in great detail about schools in the area. You know, the ones you'll never have any children to send to.

I hate being faced with a hopeful young thing who is just beginning her journey. It makes me feel so old and depressing. I know just what she's thinking, 'cause I was thinking it too, three years ago. I'll get this job, I'll wait a semester or two, and then I'll get pregnant! I hope it works out that way for her. In fact, I hope it works out that way for her at some other institution. So I never have to see her with a stupid fat belly all full of baby.

Friday, February 19, 2010

I'm an ingrate

This morning's pregnancy test was... unnecessary, given the rivers of blood. My clinic doesn't do betas with IUI, which I personally appreciate. I can see how it would be nice to have a decisive answer, but I'm all for avoiding trips to the clinic, and the whole waiting for a phone call part sounds sooo sucky. So that's that. I'm weirdly not upset. I'm not sure why, and certainly not sanguine (blood pun! ha!) that misery won't leap out and attack me at any moment, but maybe I'm going to be okay this time. Maybe because I've finally got something to look forward to.

MENOPAUSE. I get to try it out for 8 weeks! I'm super psyched. Maybe if I take good care of it--walk it every day, don't forget to feed it--they'll let me keep it.

After the first negative test I did a flurry of research and then e-mailed my RE with a bunch of questions. Yesterday he responded. As I'd suspected from my research, I get to do a course of Lupron to shrink the fibriods. So yay on that front. Really looking forward to injections and side effects. And I hear it's cheap, too. But after the horror story he told me about performing an emergency hysterectomy to keep a patient from bleeding to death, I'll gladly sign up for menopause if it will protect my uterus.

In addition to the news that an eight week treatment would be needed prior to surgery (which never came up before, even when we were talking about possible timelines. Dude! It's important to mention things like this! Don't you know your patients think about every damn thing in terms of how soon they will have a shot at pregnancy?), the conversation contained two more shockers. First was his response when I asked how soon after the surgery I could do IVF. Six to twelve months. What? He'd made it sound like we'd hop on the IVF train the moment I was recovered. And as you can tell from my last post, my bags were PACKED! So at first I was devastated. But then he informed me that eight weeks post surgery I can start trying naturally. WHAT?!?! WHAT?!?!

This next part will make you want to smack me, and that's okay. I was disappointed to be told that I can try making a baby through sex. Part of this has to do with the fact that changes to my expectations always come with high emotion. I'm a planner and I don't like to have my plan revised unexpectedly. And part of the disappointment comes from the fact that IVF, for all it's tremendous agonies, does have a higher success rate than natural conception. And since I want a baby NOW NOW NOW, seeing that higher success rate recede a year into the distance was painful. But then my rational mind spoke up and I was like, Isn't this every infertile person's dream? To be returned to the land of fertile people? To have a shot at getting pregnant without some medical professional up to the elbow in your vagina? So I was happy. But THEN I remembered that I'm still going to be one fallopian tube down after this surgery (he doesn't think the left tube will be functional again), so I'll only have a shot every other month. And it's unclear to me how much this surgery is really going to help with egg pickup on my right side, the side where it's supposedly been possible all along. And where I've always had good follicles for my four failed IUIs.

So this is not actually a dream come true. But it's not bad. If I were part of a couple with male factor or problematic eggs or other issues that close off the natural conception path quite decisively, I'd be smacking me for sure. How can I not be over the moon about the possibility of getting pregnant on our own? Well, it requires me to be patient, which I hate. And I'm a fucking pessimist already.

I'm trying to be positive, and while a 50% conception rate in the year following surgery seems to be average, I read one study with a 70% rate for women my age. (The same study also reported a 60% pregnancy LOSS in women before myomectomy. Um. HELLO! That's enormous! Get these fuckers out of me NOW! How could anyone have recommended IUI for me?!?!) But then I think about moving into my third year of infertility, about all those months of negative tests rolling by, about the possibility for recurrence of the fibriods, about missing my chance for a year of the rabbit virtually smack me if you need to, but I'm not happy. Maybe it's the menopause--you know cranky these hot flashes make me.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

David vs. Goliath

Today's pregnancy test read STILL NOT PREGNANT, O PATHETIC ONE. Whatevs. Today I'm in a slightly more positive state where I'm looking forward to having my belly sliced open moving on to something that will give me a better shot. This is a temporary state, I know. I'll be curled up in a ball in the closet weeping with despair in a few days...but I'll also be extremely drunk. So there's that.

Today I'm contemplating the question of whether to get a second opinion before IVF. Or maybe even before the surgery. There are two clinics in my area. Let's call my current clinic David. David sees about 100 patients a year, right at that too small cutoff. David has an affiliation agreement with Mediocre Institution, which means I get a 30% discount on IVF. As a self-payer, this factor is not insignificant. David is across the street from my office and I walk past it every day on my way to work. Extremely convenient--as a lazy person, this factor is also significant since I hear tell IVF involves a lot of appointments. David's rate for number of cycles resulting in pregnancy varies between 58% and 48%, and the average my RE cites is 50%. David has no shared risk program, but it's not clear that shared risk is the right choice for people like us with (as far as we know) healthy gametes. I like my RE despite his sometimes weird manner. I trust him because his logic has always made sense to me. He's an experienced surgeon and a researcher, which I find comforting. He says David has excellent embryologists, and I don't think he's lying. He encouraged me to check out other clinics, so I feel he's being truthful.

Let's call the other clinic Goliath. Goliath has about 300 patients a year. Goliath's rate for number of cycles resulting in pregnancy varies between 44% and 49%, so 46% is probably a good estimate. There are no real differences between the clinics in terms of patient profile (male factor, female factor, etc.) Goliath is walking distance from my office, so not necessarily a problem for a one-car family, but would definitely add an extra half hour to any appointment. I'd pay full price at Goliath, though they do have a shared risk program. Goliath has a habit of stealing embryologists from David by paying them more than David can afford to, according to my RE, so it probably has good people.

David's comfortable--the staff and the building feel familiar and reassuring (in a totally depressing way) now. I don't want to switch clinics. I'm so lazy I don't even want to investigate my other option. So I need a reality check.

My first question: is it unwise to do IVF with David before even meeting with someone at Goliath? I'd likely have time to set up a consult while recovering from the myomectomy. But here's my second question: is it unwise to go ahead with a surgery before getting a second opinion? And here's my third question: are there factors I'm not even thinking about? Any opinions would be appreciated.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Probabilities and percentages

20%. A good estimate of the chance that I am actually pregnant after today's negative test. (A big fat digital NOT PREGNANT. How I wish I'd never bought those In Yo' FACE Barren Biyaaatch™ brand digital tests.) My policy is to test on days 26-28 of my (28 day) cycle, because I prefer the gradual letdown to the agony of anticipation. So of course on the first day of testing my mind immediately begins spinning the result... ifconceptionhappenedlateonthe5thitwouldstillbefourdaysbeforemyperiodandthat'sonly50%accuracyandmaybeI'moneofthosepeoplewithlowhCGlevelsatfirstandtheaverageforimplantationisday9andthenit'sonlybeenthreedaysand... SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! My inability to accept reality makes me so angry. But the whole point of the test-early-and-often strategy is to gradually suffocate the hoping part of my brain (there's no hoping part of the brain, by the way), and that means accepting that it's going to put up a good fight for another day or two. It can't help it.

15%. The commonly cited success rate for IUI. At the moment, I'm in a hilarious state where the estimated chance that I'm pregnant despite the negative test is higher than the success rate for the procedure intended to knock me up. HA HA HA. It is so funeeeeeeee. It is not funny. It is fucking depressing.

500,000,000,000%. The percentage of my heart that was broken when I told my husband about the negative test and (after giving me a hug and being sweet) 30 seconds later I heard him whistling a jaunty tune. Me = loneliest and most abandoned creature on earth.

26%. The proportion of blogs I read where the writer has become pregnant since I started writing. Let me emphasize that I wish it were 100%. As we all know, the next best thing to getting pregnant oneself it to have it happen for someone who you know has been hurting like you've been hurting. But as we also all know, even those of us who are new to the game, it makes us feel left behind. It makes us feel like our turn will never come. It makes us feel the icy hand of childlessness resting heavily on our shoulders. I cite this number not for the wonderful women who are cherishing the hope of an end to their suffering, who know how lucky they are, who deserve every bit of joy they can manage to feel amid the doubt, but for the women who, like me, are still facing the terror of no end, not ever ever EVER. And especially for those who have been through more than I have, and whose ultimate prospects might seem less sunny. Just an acknowledgment that no one deserves this pain.

2%. The part of me that was amused when my brain generated a positive test dream last night. Fuck you brain. I mean, I get where you're coming from. But let's not do that again, 'k? 'K.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I'd like to thank my agent, who always believed in me...

While I was away, everyone seems to have broken out in Beautiful Blogger award! This means we should all stay home with thermometers under our tongues and watch bad movies, right? Right? But for serious, it's really lovely to get a shout out from someone you think is super rad! Here are the expectations that come with this prestigious award:
1. Thank and link to the super rad person who nominated you. That would be Finch, who is currently too excited to be Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise to care about my thanks, but I send them anyway.
2. Place the award in your blog so everyone can tell how awesome you are.
3. Struggle to come up with seven things about yourself that others might find interesting.
4. Nominate seven other super rad bloggers and link to them.

Prepare to be interested.
3.1 When I was a kid, we lived in a house with no electricity or running water. It was right out of Little House on the Prairie--kerosene lamps, wood stove, heating water on the stove to take baths in a washtub in the kitchen... It's not something I'd recommend, but did give me an amazing sense of how simple life can be.
3.2 In high school, I played rugby. On a co-ed team. So don't make me mad or I'll tackle you.
3.3 My BA is in linguistics. I have studied many languages, including Latin, German, Russian, and Yucatec Maya. Sometimes I lull myself to sleep by thinking of all the words I know for cheese.
3.4 I love to go backpacking. My favorite trip ever was to the Kaulau valley on Kauai, Hawaii. Best part: eating mangoes right off the tree--all sun warmed and delicious. Worst part: naked hippies everywhere.
3.5 My hair is down to my waist. This is more about laziness than vanity. I'd probably look better with shorter hair, but then I'd have to fuss with it. As it is, Mr. Bunny trims it once a year.
3.6 I once made a dress entirely of broken umbrellas I found in the street. It took about a year to collect enough. See photo.
3.7 I've been vegetarian since I was fifteen. This choice was made primarily to avoid my mother's cooking, but I don't think I'll go back. The main thing I miss eating is fish sticks. NOM!

Speaking of nom, here are my nominations, which consist of everyone I read who hasn't been nominated already. As far as I can tell. Sorry if you have and I'm forcing you to generate an additional seven things to share about yourself. And I'm not nominating two of my absolute favorites--Trinity because her blog is all covered with awards so she has no room for more, and Twangy because her page is too pretty to mess with.
4.1 A of A + B...waiting for C. A super strong woman going through a stressful time.
4.2 Call Me Mama. How does she manage to always be so positive? It's crazy!
4.3 Hope4Joy...and a special shout out to an Ohio sistah!
4.4 Al of Mission Motherhood. So brave!
4.5 JB of Of Cabbages and Kings. I don't like to play favorites, but Jen is my favorite internet person. That's just how it is.
4.6 Rain Child. Always serene and lovely, just like her blog design.
4.7 Egg. Such a good one.

Tag, ladies. You're it.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Trade Offs

My visit to the Million Dollar House turned out to be quite a lesson in compromise. The house itself was far less lavish that I'd imagined. I'd forgotten that when you live 25 minutes outside of NYC, a million don't buy much. While certainly not modest, the house was not the amazing mansion I'd envisioned. And it was kind of crappy--a sad combination of uninteresting Victorian and ugly 70's add-ons. It was also dreary, cold and filthy. My own house is (far smaller but) much nicer. (Lengthy aside: When we arrived, Mrs. Rich greeted us with the announcement that the housekeeper had not come that week. The house was in fact a FUCKING WRECK! But not just an I-have-two-young-kids wreck, which I've seen before. An I'm-accustomed-to-having-slaves-clean-for-me kind of wreck. I know lots of people have cleaning services and I don't pretend I could keep a house that size clean, but I find it depressing when people don't do their own housekeeping. It's just a thing I've got. So, the house was filthy and Mrs. Rich, whom I described as attractive and fashionable, was covered in spitup and clearly worn down. HA!) 

On the other hand, the town in which the house is located is vibrant and filled with shops and restaurants and great schools if you happen to have kids, all within walking distance. While I'm fond of my city and neighborhodd, they do have a bit of a rust belt flavor and are far from hip. So--great town or great house? Me...I come down on the side of great house in perfectly reasonable town. Another point of compromise had to do with the fact that Mrs. Rich gave up her career to have kids. She clearly feels sad about that, and mentioned that she struggles with not resenting Mr. Rich. Women having to make this choice is old news and I don't want to dwell on it, but she said point blank that she envies me. Of course, she doesn't know what I'm going through, and if I had to choose between never having kids and never having a career, I'd certainly choose not having a career. Maybe just because I have had the chance to experience pursuing and attaining a dream, so I know it's not all it's cracked up to be. I still hope I can have both. 

A third point of compromise had to do with the fact that Mr. Rich works quite late (he's usually not home until 8pm) and so doesn't see much of his kids. In general, he seemed like a crappy parent (my middle name is Judgey McCritical Pants, by the way). Like, while Mrs. Rich was taking Little Rich Girl to school, Mr. Rich was in charge of taking care of Little Rich Boy. He plopped him down in front of the TV and fucked around on his blackberry, totally forgetting to feed his kid breakfast! Who forgets to feed a one year old? Unfed one year old = BAD NEWS. So, again, while having a lot of money and a fancy job might have advantages, I'd choose a husband with enough time to be a father. IN SUMMARY, the inadequacy I feared was not felt. Not one iota.

The rest of our trip was very nice, though it did not stop me from thinking about pregnancy every fucking moment. 'Cause nothing can. The MFs show was great, of course. Mr. Bunny admired my stylish outfit (see Figure 1) and I felt reasonably City. On Sunday we went to the Met and tried to find the items described in From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Is there any other reason to go to the Met? Sadly, the bed is no longer on display and the cat statue was on loan, but it was fun to have a mission. I confess that I had a powerful vision of telling Trixie about doing this when she was just a tiny embryo in my uterus and that made me really sad, but I shook it off. Sort of. Okay, not really--it was also the day of peaking progesterone and thus high emotion. BUT, we had a lovely dinner at a low key restaurant near our hotel and then Mr. Bunny graciously allowed me to watch figure skating. 'Cause that's love.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Whiney whine whine!

Barring flight cancellations due to snowstorms, I'm off to New York City (said in the voice of the salsa ad some of you are probably too young to recall) tomorrow afternoon. Except I'm actually off to New Jersey first, to stay a night with my husband's best friend and his wife and their young kids. These people scare the shit out of me. First, there's their million dollar house. He works in some consulting firm thingy in Manhattan and makes MAD bucks, so dropping a mil is no big deal. They're probably a little ashamed of their cheap house, and tell their friends it cost two million. Then there's the the fact that they are both super attractive, super fashionable, and kind of weirdly aggressive. Must be a New Yorker thing. And then there's the kids. The last time I saw them was the summer we started trying, and their daughter was maybe 10 months old. She was the first baby I'd seen my husband hold, and I remember thinking how good it looked on him and how it wouldn't be long before we'd have our own. Now they've got another one.

UGG! I'm not in the mood! I've spent very little time with these people, so it's not like we have any kind of rapport. It's just going to be 15 or so hours of feeling inadequate on every damn front. I'm short! I'm plain! I'm barren! I'm depressed!

And FUCK, I just realized I have to figure out what to do about the no drinking thing! I know lots of you face this on a regular basis, but since we rarely see other people, I've been largely spared that experience. Maybe I'll pretend to be on cold meds? I have NO IDEA. 

On the less self-pitying front, I am definitely looking forward to the New York City part. The band we're seeing is called The Ma.gne.tic F.ield.s, and they're the band my husband and I fell in love to. We've seen them several times and they put on a fantastic show. I'll get my husband to take a picture of the City Bunny outfit ya'll helped me put together so you can admire your handiwork. Finch, I'll be thinking of you and hoping, hoping, hoping!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Roses are red, violets are...waaaaaaaaaaahh

My husband's out of town so I've been working on his valentine. This morning I sat down to finish it off with some loving words. I find that I just don't know what to say. On the one hand, I'd like to say something like this year has been total crap and thanks for being supportive and awesome. But I've said that plenty of times so...boring. On the other hand, I'd like to ignore the whole damn I'm always heartbroken because we're barren and my daddy's dead and you're always a bit befuddled and sometimes VERY cranky thing and just focus on him and the reasons I fell in love with him. I guess it's been an emotionally volatile year so I don't feel like being funny and flippant, and when I try to get serious, I get awfully serious. And then I can't help but imagine us still in this childless place a year from now, and while I'm confident our marriage can take it, I just get overwhelmed with sadness and it drowns out the love. Maybe I should go the dirty limerick route...

Monday, February 8, 2010

Spring = death

My spring break is coming up. This makes me want to die for several reasons.

1. It will mean my semester is half over, and I've accomplished nothing at all during this precious time of no teaching when I was supposed to be all super productive.
2. Since I started grad school, my spring break tradition has involved spending the time in Chicago with PBF. When I was in school she'd come stay with me and we'd watch as many movies in which people's lives are transformed through the power of dance (think S.tep Up, Sav.e the Last D.ance, etc.) as we could get our hands on. After I graduated we'd take our husbands, stay in a nice hotel and (because we now had MONEY) go shoppin'. This year she'll have a couple-week-old baby. Tradition = ovah.
3. My husband is going on a two-week trip during my break and his absence will preclude any attempts at reproduction that month. All because stupid old Clomid will delay my period this month by two or three days, so I'll just miss my chance to get inseminated. Super frustrating.

Before I continue my whining--yes, there is a possibility I could be pregnant by then. I know some of you are dealing with roadblocks and holding patterns and don't have even my very slim chance. Yes, I'm an asshole to not treasure that possibility. But I am most comfortable when I evaluate things quantitatively, and when I plan for my next step. The numbers say IUI is a long shot for me. So I'm planning for my next step. And...I'm torn.

My RE suggested three more IUIs, but I don't know that I want to endure the psychological costs of three more failures. However pointless they feel, it's still devastating when it doesn't pan out. So part of me is leaning towards having the myomectomy asap. Maybe even in March, though probably not, since my husband will want to be there for my recovery (selfish him!). So April. Then I'd have to recover for three months, and would prep for IVF in August. IVF in September. A fighting chance at getting pregnant for reals.

So that's one reason to have the surgery as soon as I can. Other reasons include the following. My RE said that the fibroids increase my chance of miscarriage (though I haven't asked him to quantify it--I'm assuming if it were a huge concern he wouldn't let me do IUI) and they increase the chance that if I did get pregnant, the baby would orient in such a way that I'd need a c-section. Finally, I'd kinda like to get these fucking things out of me! Who wants tumors in her abdomen, however benign? But to take a step that will guarantee I have to have a c-section if I ever have a baby, and that will make IVF my only option--it's hard to face that choice.

I'm curious--what would you do in my position?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Choosing a name might be premature, but...

If this procedure with an estimated 85% chance of failure miraculously works and I have a girl, I'm for sure naming her Tricky Cervix. I know, I know, total Porn Star name. But that way every time someone asks her about her name (How interesting...Is it a family name?), she can tell the beautiful story of how it took two nurses to get her daddy's sperm all up in her mama the day she was conceived. Of course, if you ask me, the issue was not my excellent and beautiful cervix, but rather the incompetence of Nurse Idiot. This was the same nurse who miscalculated the day of my insemination (Dude. It's not hard.), and when I saw her coming at me, I was pretty bummed. Fortunately she didn't poke me for too long (though long enough for me to start thinking, How many of my husband's sperm just DIED, you bastard!) before calling in someone with more experience. So. Me = inseminated and badly in need of two week's worth of distraction.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The New Baby Situation

When I started writing yesterday I actually intended to ask your advice about something, but ended up reflecting on my pseudo pregnancy instead. So I'm going to get back to the advice-asking, after a quick detour. 

Detour: It occurred to me that one of my thousands (perhaps millions?) of faithful readers might have been taken aback when I admitted to having been sorta pregnant once. That reader might have thought, Don't you realize there's a huge difference between never having seen even the faintest of lines on a test and having seen that nebulous sign of the ghost of a baby? If I'd ever seen such a thing, I'd get enormous comfort from it, knowing that the possibility of achieving pregnancy exists. How can you be so cavalier about the fact that you're in a whole other category of infertility? You totally deceived me and I'll never read another post. You might think with millions (perhaps billions?) of readers I wouldn't care about preserving that one person, but I wanted to offer an explanation. In case I was insensitive, but more because I want to figure out what my deal was. SO. I didn't think of myself as someone who has been pregnant before because I never had the experience of testing and seeing a positive and having hope. (I'm enormously grateful I was spared that experience.) Instead my experience was having hope and testing and having no hope, much like every other damn month. That experience was not so bad, though it turns out it was more psychologically significant that I gave it credit for. I mean, I never even told my husband about it. Can you believe that? After writing yesterday's post I was like, HOLY SHIT I CAN'T BELIEVE I DIDN'T TELL HIM THAT! So then I did last night and we talked about what it meant and I cried. Good times. And thank you, as always, for your kind thoughts. They made me cry, too. In a good way.

Advice: Does anyone have any thoughts on how best to approach the New Baby Situation? I've been thinking about how to manage my desire to be there for PBF/BFB as she goes through this amazing experience, my desire to meet her daughter (whom I anticipate I'll instantly love with that I'd Give My Life For You kind of love one reserves for family members--unless she's ugly, in which case I'll be like ewww) as soon as possible, and my fear of what it will do to my heart to see BFB her holding her child. I know nothing will protect me from the pain, but if any of you have thoughts, I'd love to hear them.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

My non-baby

The nurse called to report that I had not ovulated as of yesterday morning. Point to the clinic. It's almost like they know what they're doing. I will never use my monitor while on Clomid again, I SWEAR. She also reported that she'd made an error in scheduling the IUI, which should indeed have been set for Friday. Point to me. It's almost like I know what I'm doing.

Meanwhile, after several months of sleeping like the baby I'll never have, stress-induced insomnia has returned. It's not just the Clomid, since it started the moment I knew I'd be doing IUI this cycle. The thing that keeps me from falling asleep at night and awakens me at five in the morning is this: PBF will soon metamorphose into BFB, or Best Friend with Baby. I lie there in the dark and think, In a couple of weeks a moment will come when she goes into labor. Then I'll get an e-mail saying Jane X Y was born at time q and weighs n pounds. Mother and baby are doing well. Then my heart will explode and I will die

I have to reveal something. Although I think of myself as someone who has never been pregnant, in fact I have had a chemical pregnancy. I was out of town and separated from my pregnancy tests so by the time I tested (Sunday, July 26th) the line was so faint I knew nothing was going to come of it. It didn't really phase me, as that was back in the glory days when I thought my upcoming first appointment with the RE might actually fix something. So I never really felt sad about it...until now. 'Cause the thing is, though I didn't know it at the time, it had been about six weeks since PBF's daughter was conceived. For the briefest of moments, maybe only HOURS, we were pregnant together. As her delivery looms closer I've started thinking about how different things would have been if that semi-pregnancy had stuck. Oh Dear God, things would have been so different.

When I think about the losses some of you have experienced, I feel pitiful for even getting worked up about this. I don't have a due date to grieve over, I didn't have a miscarriage to endure. I'm not mourning the loss of a child so much as the loss of an alternate reality. And I've been doing that for a long time, so where is this fresh sorrow coming from? And how can I make it stop?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Some cosmic "humor" to brighten my day

One of the great luxuries of my life is that I get to walk to work. This might not seem like a luxury when you consider the waist deep snow and icy winds, but I love it. The walk means I get exercise every day, even when I am not allowed to work out due to my slightly enlarged ovaries. I also have some time when I can think sans distractions. Some days I can even appreciate the beauty of the natural world around me. Here are some of the things I saw this morning.

I love the effect of snow on branches.

Tiniest and most perfect footprints ever!

And this...


Good one, universe! You're SO FUCKING FUNNY. And I particularly appreciate the way the sheet just happens to be folded so the NOT PREGNANT is extremely prominent. Like I needed a reminder. *Sobs convulsively* This bit o' trash was right in the middle of the sidewalk, as though it had been placed there just for me. I picked it up and stuffed it under some ivy, 'cause there ain't no way I'm going to confront that every damn day.

So, about my ovaries. I did call the clinic yesterday as you all recommended. I asked the nurse whether ovulation ever occurs when follicles are still too small, but all she would say was, It's possible--don't want to say never. I asked whether the LH surge my monitor detected was real, and she seemed to think it was, and that I'd missed my chance. This seemed weird to me, since normally they do the insemination 36 hours after the trigger, and it had only been about 30 or so. I expected her to say we could do it this morning. But no. So I didn't get my questions answered, and I didn't really feel like pressing. After this morning's scan they took some blood and will call if I have indeed ovulated. It's so hard to trust the clinic. I know they are wise and experienced, but when they give me inconsistent information (ovulation 24 hours after LH surge? ovulation 36 hours after trigger?) I become confused and anxious. And they scheduled me to trigger on Wednesday night and come in for the insemination on Saturday. That has got to be a mistake! And I will most certainly confirm if they don't end up calling and telling me it's too late anyway. BLECH!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Ovulation experts needed!

My weekend included the following:
  • A follicle scan for my upcoming IUI. The dominant follicle is on the right ovary, so there's actually a chance of the eggs getting into a fallopian tube.  So YAY on that front. They all need a little more cooking time so I have another scan tomorrow.
  • A ninety-minute massage. Ahhhh, that rocked.
  • A cathartic conversation with my husband in which we tackled the tricky issue of how to deal with our mutual lack of interest in sex (though it remains to be seen whether we will actually do anything about it).
  • A lot of FREAKING OUT about something that ultimately doesn't matter.
To wit: I'm afraid that I'm going to spontaneously ovulate and miss the opportunity for my IUI. I brought this on myself by using my fertility monitor, which detects the LH surge. Despite the fact that the pamphlet says not to use the monitor while on Clomid. But my cycle is screwed up because of the general anesthesia. I'm on day 15 right now, and usually get the LH surge on day 14. But I have the follicles of someone on about day 11. So I figured I'd use the monitor and if I got the LH surge, I could call the clinic and ask them what to do. Of course I got the surge on Sunday. The monitor is known to be inaccurate at representing some things if you're on Clomid, but is thought to be good at detecting the LH surge.

So I should call the clinic. But now I don't want to because I'm embarrassed that I don't understand the biochemistry of ovulation and because I was using the monitor, which is VERBOTEN. I thought maybe some of you IVF veterans could give me some reassurance. My basic question is: what controls ovulation? I mean, I know it's a surge in LH and FSH, but how does my pituitary decide it's time? Will my pituitary keep to its normal schedule despite my tiny follicles? And since Clomid leads to increased FSH and LH, can't that also trigger ovulation? Is my monitor giving me a false positive or am I going to ovulate before my eggs are ready?

On the other hand, I really should STOP CARING. I'll find out soon enough what the deal is. The worst case scenario is that tomorrow's scan will show I ovulated already (or am about to do so), and with such immature follicles, the eggs will not be viable. BOOOO! SAD! But more important, where the hell did this stupid HOPE come from? Just a few days ago I was treating this IUI as a hoop to jump through before having another surgery. So I could move on to IVF knowing I gave IUI my best shot. Now suddenly I'm obsessing over ovulation? It's so aggravating that no amount of disappointment will cure me of dreaming that I might get pregnant this time.