Thursday, July 30, 2009

Confession Time

I am feeling guilty for something I know was not under my control. But I can't help it.

Five embryos were donated to us. A mom and dad loved those embryos and agonized for 5 years after their own twins were born over whether or not to donate the remaining embryos. Yes, they were frozen in a cylinder for 6 years (frozen at the time of the donor's fresh cycle). I'm sure those parents thought of their embies often.

After so long, they found it in their hearts to donate their embryos. We were the lucky recipients. Four of the five survived the thaw. I have a photo the RE gave us of our 4 surviving embies. One looked too frazzled. It was not in good shape. But the other 3 were so pretty, full of beautiful cells and almost no fragmentation.

Those 3 beautiful embies were transferred to me. Only 1 survived and implanted.

I feel badly that the others did not make it. That we were given this gift of five embryos and my body accepted only one. My generous donors - their gift - it was so amazing and took them so long to feel comfortable donating their children's future siblings. And I only managed to save one of them.

Logically I know that I did my best. This was not in my control. But I am almost ashamed that I "lost" their other embies. I know that at age 43, carrying multiples would have presented additional risks. I just feel that I failed my donors in some way.

Don't get me wrong. I am so, so grateful and honored and joyful for the one little one inside me. I will do everything I can to preserve this baby and help it to grow strong. I love it so much and know it is already the sunshine of my life.

I'm just a bit sad that it's siblings won't be coming along too.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Back on My Feet

If you asked my friends and the people who know me best, they'd tell you that I'm pretty grounded, level headed and not dramatic or overly emotional. But I have to say that all of your sweet comments to my previous post made me want to shout, "I love you all!" and cry. Thank you. Yesterday gave me quite a scare and it was distressing to sob so hard because the only times I ever sobbed that way was over pregnancy losses and when I had to put my 18 year old dog to sleep. That sort of "gut sobbing" takes the stuffing out of a person and I slept like a rock last night, which did me a lot of good.

And I don't blame you guys who jumped to the end of yesterday's post after reading the first paragraph or two. I know I can I just wanted to write it in a way that would allow you experience what I was feeling and thinking at each turn.

Today I am much better. Part of the reason I feel so good is because Cindyhoo, good friend that she is, offered to drink a few glasses of red wine on my behalf (thanks, Cindy, I needed them!) and because at this very moment another good friend, Fran, is on a boat, which has departed Ireland and is heading for California so that she might check on me. Although I am afraid she will have to sail around the southern tip of South America and it may take her quite some time to arrive.

See, even my sense of humor has returned.

Seriously, though, all day yesterday evening I was thinking about how the nurse practitioner guessed that I am carrying a boy, based only on folklore. You know what, I was so focused on just getting pregnant that the idea of "boy" or "girl" hadn't yet entered my mind. Oooohhhh yeaaaah. It will be a boy or a girl! Imagine that.

So, despite my usual tendency to keep walls in place around my hopes, I began to think about what it would be like to have a baby boy. To have a baby girl. As an infant, as a toddler, as a child, as a teenager (I was cringing a bit here) and as an adult. You know what? I can't decide which I prefer!

It was a lovely daydream.

Wednesday, Bloody Wednesday

This morning around 9:45 am I felt a little blob of wetness down there. I presumed it was some leakage from my morning progesterone suppository. When I checked, I found bright red blood. I wiped. There was more. And more.

My heart and my mind raced. I was shaking. First call was to the Clinic. I am bleeding! She told me, "Don't freak out, 80-90% of IVF pregnancies bleed, and we don't know why. 80-90% bleed even though the baby is okay."

WHADDYA MEAN 80-90% of IVF pregnancies bleed?! With that kind of occurrence rate, shouldn't you have mentioned this to me a long time ago? Just to prepare me?!

Sorry, lady, too late. I'm in full panic mode. Increased respiratory rate, increased heart rate, tears, shaking. Panicked.

She told me to go on bed rest, increase my progesterone to 2 suppositories each time, and go to my U/S appointment tomorrow.

Tomorrow? How does a person wait 24 hours when they can't breathe, are crying and heaving and shaking like a leaf?! I told her I wanted to call my OB's office and try to get seen today. She said that was fine if they could get me in. I really think she was trying her best to reassure me, but I was way past the point of being reassured by anything less than an ultrasound.

So, I called the OB's office. I could hardly spell my name because I was crying. Tears can be your friend, though. They were able to get me in - if I could be there in 30 minutes.

I called my husband as I was throwing on some clothes, putting in my contact lenses and shutting the windows. He was working away from home today and agreed to meet me at the doctor's office. This was all happening so fast.

Should I tell you that I drove 82 mph on the freeway to the doctor's office? I did. Despite a car accident on the side of the road (for which I did slow down) and a construction zone on one of the side streets with cones, I made the 15-minute drive in 8 minutes.

I signed in and sat in the waiting room trying not to look at the newborn infant pictures on the wall. Or the very pregnant woman sitting nearby. I stared at the blue and gray carpeting and just breathed. This was not how I wanted this appointment to happen. I wasn't ready. I was supposed to feel excited and anticipatory and not like I was going to sob any minute. I wasn't supposed to be bleeding and scared. I hadn't showered, I was barefoot and wearing the dirty flip flops I use in the back yard. God only knows how tangled and disheveled my hair was. This was not how this appointment was supposed to be. And yet here I was. The next time I stepped foot in my house I would know the truth. Baby or no baby.

My DH finally arrived just before they called my name. I changed into the paper gown and sat on the exam table and we waited for the nurse practitioner to come in. My thoughts got the better of me and I started to really sob hard. My DH got me some tissues and I folded myself over into my lap and just sobbed. I was so afraid that this was going to be the end of our pregnancy story. He didn't know what to do with me. He sort of patted my shoulder and said, "It's okay, it's okay, we don't even know yet." I pulled myself together and the very kind nurse practitioner came in.

First we talked, she took some info. Then she put in a speculum and said she could see brown blood, but no fresh bleeding. I thought, yes, there is fresh bleeding in there somewhere, because 6 tissues floating in my toilet are covered in bright red blood. She tried to reassure me that bleeding can be caused by irritation to the vaginal blood vessels from the progesterone suppositories. I just kept thinking - you didn't see how much blood there was.

I laid back and she turned the U/S monitor so that my DH and I could see it. I took a deep breath and stared at it. Sweet woman, she picked up the vaginal U/S wand and started to reassure me that only a short bit of the wand goes in. I smiled and said I was used to those things and having them put inside me had become like second nature. She said, "Bless your heart."

As the wand went in, the picture jumped and wobbled and I was looking.... looking....where is the uterus....where is the black space, and immediately structures of some sort appeared. Before I could wonder or think or be afraid or guess or anything else, she said, "Look, there is one gestational sac, one yolk sac, and there is the flicker!"

My hands flew to my face and I began to sob. A flicker! I cried audibly. Well, when you are lying on your back and you sob, your abdominals heave up and down. The wand was heaving up and down. She couldn't get the image on the screen to stay in focus. My husband was patting me from somewhere beside me. And I cried.

She said gently, "If you can hold still, we'll listen to that flicker...we'll hear the heart beat." And so I breathed and held myself as still as I could and then sound waves appeared beneath the image on the screen and I heard it. A beautiful, rhythmic thump-thump-thump at 133 beats per minute.

She said normal is between 120 and 160, and if folk lore is right, she's guessing it's a boy because according to lore, boys' heartbeats run 120's-130's and girls run 140's-160's. Then she said, "But that's just folk lore and of course we've had girls with lower heart rates and boys with higher heart rates."

"Can we look at it again?" I asked. And she showed me the baby again and put an arrow on the flickering heart. "See, it's right there." I asked her why the baby didn't have a shape, like a bean? She laughed and said it's too early, the baby is too young for it to have shape yet, and the little rectangle is just the way it should look right now. Baby measured 6 weeks, 4 days - right on track. The crown-rump length was 0.73 cm. She got out a tape measure and showed us how tiny that is.

She said I should come for an appointment every week until...I don't know when. I was having a hard time focusing. All I know is that I get to go every week for a while and see that my little baby is there and growing. Some peace of mind.

We thanked her profusely, I got dressed, we made my next appointment and came home. The gushing bleeding has stopped. Just some brown remnants now. WTF was all that? And you know I'm still concerned. But at least we saw that there is a baby. One little sugar plum in there.

Here's my U/S, with the arrow pointing to the flicker:

Thank God for my baby and for its beautiful little heartbeat.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Mrs. Cranky Pants

My first pregnancy ultrasound is Thursday, and I'm nervous as hell. Of course I have been looking forward to it like a kid looks forward to Christmas. Yet it could also be the day I learn that, for one reason or another, my pregnancy is a lost cause. It's a double edged sword.

Speaking of sharp things, I am becoming quite the grump toward my DH. You know, all in an effort to provide a perfect home for our baby. For the baby that might not even be there. But just in case, I'd better get an early start.

Of course, I am nowhere near perfect, my DH is not perfect and our house is not perfect. But somehow I'm envisioning this fantasy, dreamlike world we will bring our baby into, where everything is pastel, gleaming clean and we are June and W.ard C.leaver.

Of course June would never carry on the way I do, but hey, the kid's not here yet.

Here is a random sampling of my rants:

"Honey, you cannot leave a pot handle turned outward like this on the stove. A toddler could reach up and pull a boiling pot of water down. You have to turn the handle inward. Seeeee, like this."

"Really. Could you stop scratching and handling your privates when you talk to me? You know, when the baby gets older, you're going to need to develop some better manners about that."

"Look at your sock drawer! It's a disaster. I hope you know the baby's drawers had better never look this way."

"You're going to have to learn how to wash baby clothes, and I want them soft and smelling good, so don't ever wash them with your gym clothes."

"Once the baby is here I don't want any more swearing in the house. Yeah, I know that includes me. We both have to work on it."

"You know....Could you at least say 'Excuse me' when you do that? It's gross and rude that you take such pleasure in making noises like that."

I'm sure I've been quite the peach to live with. Note my sidebar I say that my DH has the patience of Job. It's true. He just sort of rolls with my crankiness. Which is good. But I still wish he'd say "Excuse me."

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Dumb and Klutzy

I hate when I do dumb things. I actually roll my eyes at myself.

Yesterday I went to the grocery store. I grabbed a cart and rolled through the aisles and ended up in produce. Stupid plastic produce bags. You know the thin plastic bags you pull from the roll to put your tomatoes, broccoli or apples in? Yeah, we'll I can never get them open. There is some electrostatic property about those bags that seems to cause the two sides of the bag to stick together. And for the life of me I can't separate them. This is a regular frustration for me. So there I am, standing in front of the hothouse tomatoes trying repeatedly to get the darn bag open. I try blowing on it. I rub the bag furiously between my palms. I try using a fingernail to pry the sides apart. I can't do it!! So, ultimately, I did the worst thing possible. I licked my thumb. Oh, it got the bag open in a jif, no doubt about that.

But then I stood there, realizing that I just licked a thumb that had been touching a grocery cart handle. I guess I might as well have licked the cart handle itself.

Now I'm not usually a panicky, freaked out germ-a-phobe. I typically abide by the 4-second rule (if you drop food on the floor at home and pick it up within 4 seconds, it's okay to eat) and I don't think ingesting a little dirt, dust or dog hair ever hurt anyone. If you've got a healthy immune system, you should be able to take most things in stride.

But things are different now. Now I am pg. And now the swine flu is on the rampage around the world. Have you ever seen those TV shows where they swab grocery cart handles....and demonstrate all the bugs and germs that live there? I wanted to spit, right there in front of the tomatoes. It bothered me all day that I did that (lick my thumb, that is - I didn't actually spit).

It quit bothering me so much when I did something klutzy AND stupid.

These are my progesterone capsules.

Last night I was preparing to take the final capsule of the day - right before bedtime. I was already sleepy and while shuffling about in the bathroom, I knocked the vial of capsules onto the floor.

The cap flew off and capsules scattered all over the floor. That vial was 2/3 full. I don't know if it was the 4-second rule that was running through my mind or just getting them off the floor, but I began quickly scooping them up and dropping them back into the vial. Aaarrgh!

I suddenly realized that by putting dropped capsules back into the vial I'd contaminated the entire vial. So I quit doing that and put the remaining capsules I picked up off the floor into a tissue. The ones that rolled under the cabinet and up against the wall went into the trash. I stood there not knowing what to do - still half asleep.

Then thinking about having contaminated the vial, I dumped out a bunch of capsules, trying to undo the contamination (yeah, right). When I finally prepared and inserted one, I thought, this is really freaking great. I just put what is probably a horribly contaminated capsule way up there in my cervix and those horrible floor germs are going to jump off the capsule and reach out to the baby, infect it, and now it will be born with some terrible defect. All because of my klutziness and stupidity.

When I came out of the bathroom and told my DH, he said, "It'll probably be all right. You can order more meds, right?" Yeah, of course I can get more meds, but that didn't relieve my anxiety any. I couldn't fall asleep for hours just thinking about it. I really hate when I do dumb things.

Friday, July 24, 2009

That Explains A Lot

This is an update to my previous post.

First, those of you who commented are absolutely right about the fact that I should not rush this pregnancy. I don't want to rush it either, for all of the reasons Cindyhoo and others pointed out. I think I was just sitting at the crappy luncheon staring at that pregnant woman and my mind wandered.

Second, the tomato hornworm is no ghost. Last night my DH and I grilled steaks and corn on the cob on the BBQ. While I tended to the food, I asked him to please check my plants. I have a potted red bell pepper plant (although growing, the peppers are still all green) and I suddenly noticed that the plant had virtually no leaves! It wasn't like that in the morning. My DH reached down, pushed away some of the dry pine needles I use as mulch, and picked up a giant hornworm! "Here's your culprit" he said.

"See the horn on it's head, that's why they call it a horn worm," (he's inordinately into bugs and insects because his dad was an entomologist when my DH was a kid). I said, "Uh, yeah, great. Now get rid of the thing." He ended up dropping the worm in our green waste container. Let it feed in there for a while.

So the worm mystery is solved. It never occurred to me to look down in the dirt. My eyes are now open for these critters.

But the poor pepper plant! It has so few leaves left! I don't know if it will make it and my DH said we should just pick those peppers now (but they're not red!)

As for my neighbor's truck getting broken into, when I told my DH he said, "Well, the neighbor leaves his truck unlocked and the windows down all the time." What? Who would leave valuables in an open vehicle with the windows lowered? Okay, we live in a residential, suburban neighborhood, but still, anyone driving by with the least bit of an opportunistic theft urge would surely be drawn to a rolled down window on a utility truck. Not that I think it's right, or that our neighbor "asked" to be robbed, but it's not like the thieves smashed the windows and pried the door open. I think people need to take ordinary precautions to protect their belongings, like locking doors. Duh.

Anyway, I woke up this morning and the world makes more sense. Which is always a good thing.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Snap Me Out

Today has just been a weird day.

At C Lo's suggestion, I went outside this morning to look for green worms on my tomato plants. I admit I was a bit apprehensive and thought I might be really grossed out if I saw one. But I looked and looked and it's like they're ghosts or something. I didn't see a darn thing.

I went to my awkward luncheon today. The presentation (all about making and being a female partner at a law firm) seemed nothing more than a bunch of hot air to me. And of course one of the presenters was 8 mos pregnant, so all I could think about was, "Lucky month to go." The presenter whom I formerly worked with was the biggest airbag of all. Talking about how to have balance with family and work. Yeah, right, she's got no kids and recently split from her husband. I guess the whole "balance" thing didn't really work out for her. The only good thing about the luncheon was running into a good friend from law school whom I adore. She and I agreed we must meet for lunch at least once a month to talk and laugh and cope with the insanity. She's doing family law - divorces and custody hearings - which sounds like hell in a court room if you ask me. She thinks she's getting an ulcer and she's barely 30 years old.

This afternoon my neighbor came over and rang the doorbell. He and his brother live together in a house left to them by their grandfather, who was the original owner. The guys are in their early 30's. The older brother has a utility work truck. You know, like a pickup but with lockers or cabinets or whatever along the sides of the bed, to store tools and things for his construction work. Well, at 3:20 this afternoon, the one brother looked out the kitchen window and saw some guys ransacking the utility truck, which was backed into the driveway! They got robbed in broad daylight while at home! He saw the car, but it had no license plate on it, so he presumes it's a stolen vehicle. He was pretty freaked out and upset. Uh, yeah, me too. We certainly don't live in a "bad" neighborhood, but crimes of opportunity seem to be on the rise.

So, I'm just in this weird place at the moment and waiting to snap back into a feeling of normalcy.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Just some random thoughts and observations today.

(1) One Mean Pie.
Remember I said I had to find things to do with my time? Well, a friend of mine has a plum tree that puts out these amazingly sweet, juicy plums. She called to say the plums were ripe, if I wanted to come pick some. I did. A huge bagful. Nobody can (nor, for the sake of their digestive system, should they) eat so many plums. But they were really, really ripe. So I peeled and cut up about 20 of them, added some blueberries, and made a homemade pie! For added measure, I made a some homemade vanilla ice cream. I swear I only eat one piece of pie a day!

(2) Squirrel Aid.
I mentioned that it was 106 degrees here the other day. You know, that's pretty hot. The dogs and I went outside only briefly for quick potty breaks (well, them, not me) and quick splashes in the kiddie pool. Because of the big tree in the middle of our yard and telephone lines, the place is a veritable squirrel super highway. Well, I tell you what. The squirrels have been hot too. Now I don't like that they rouse the dogs and make them bark like maniacs. And I don't like that they eat the persimmons from our tree long before they turn orange. But I feel badly when it is so doggone hot. So I take the hose and spray the base of the tree to cool it off. The squirrels will come down (once the dogs are back in the house) and lie flat-bellied in the dirt or on the cool bark of the tree in the shade. It's really quite an odd to see them splayed out like that if you've never seen such a thing before, so I snapped a few pictures which are not very clear since I had to super-zoom from inside the house. The squirrels in these photos will lie still, in these positions, until the dogs go back outside and chase them up the tree.

(3) Wacky P reaches new heights.
So the other day my DH was on the phone with his mom and I heard him say, "Wait till I tell BWUB about that!" Wacky P lives only about 10 minutes from us. Apparently she is having a squirrel invasion as well, and the varmints are working over her garden. She got her husband (oh, I'm sure it was her idea) to get a BB gun and shoot the squirrels. No shit. Now look, if you live in the country and you have to shoot wild animals to protect yourself or your property, I totally get that. But we live in the freaking suburbs! So first of all, I'm just flabbergasted that they're shooting and killing the squirrels. But wait. It gets better. Can you guess? Oh yeah, I think you can! What would one do, after all, once they have shot and killed a squirrel in their yard? Why, they cook it and eat it, of course! No, I am not kidding you. Wacky P is serving roast squirrel to her children for dinner. This throws a whole new light on my sil (gag).

(4) Awkward luncheon.
Tomorrow I am going to a business luncheon. I used to go every month, but did not attend the past two months. Tomorrow's presentation will be given by three women who will discuss how to make law firm partner. One of the presenters is a woman partner at the law firm from which I was laid off. I worked closely with her on a few cases. I think she is mean, micromanaging and a snob. I know from the lips of a senior partner that none of the associates like working with her because she is so horrible to people. could be awkward. But it won't be. Know why? Because I'm pregnant and I'm happy and I know that the reason she is so mean is because she is insecure and unhappy in her life. I'll smile and eat my vegetarian polenta quietly.

(5) Mouse poop?
Can anybody tell me what these little nubby things are on my tomato leaves? They look like tiny mouse poop or something. I just flick it off or hose down the plant first thing in the morning. But I'd like to know what I'm dealing with.

That's about it for today.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I feel kind of sorry for people who work at fertility clinics. Kind of. I mean, they have to deal with people like us. Okay, okay, I won't drag you into this. They have to deal with people like me.

People who have been ttc for a long time. Who obsessed during every 2ww. Hell, back during the sex-to-make-baby days the whole month was nothing more than two distinct 2ww's! Wait for AF and wait to try again. They have to deal with people like me who research every relevant symptom, hormone level, medication and procedure per Dr. Google. People who have put their heart on the line more than once, just to have it ripped out. People who are told they will have to wait 6 weeks (or for some, 6 months or a year) before they will be able to get the ball rolling. People who have been stripped of their pants, skirts, undies and dignity time and time again as they "assume the position" without even being asked anymore. People who spend a lot of money but who are constantly at the mercy of others - doctors, RE's, nurses, lab people, donors, etc. People like me who want answers and who are tired of waiting for what has already seemed like an eternity.

You know, all of this has turned me into a driven, pointed, let's-drop-the-niceties-and-get-down-to-it kind of gal. I mean, why waste time beating around the bush? I still try to be polite. I say "please" and "thank you." I smile. But inside I'm thinking, "Just do what I want, NOW!" And I have no qualms about asking for what I want.

Last week I received two wonderful beta values. 194 & 559. What more could a girl want?

Something. Yeah, I want something.

You can't just say, "Congratulations, you're pregnant, here are your values, now go away and hang tight for two weeks." Whaddya mean hang tight for 2 weeks? Yeah, okay, I still pop a couple of pills (vitamins and aspirin), I insert progesterone suppositories 4 times a day (no big whoop anymore) and my DH gives me a shot of Delestrogen twice a week. But I'm addicted now! You strung me along on U/S's and blood draws. You fed me a regular diet of medication increases, decreases and modifications. You teased and tickled and drew me in with all of this and then culminated our intimate relationship by inserting a catheter full of embryos into my most private nether regions!

But now, like the morning after a one night stand, you won't really look me in the eye and seem to not want me to call you anymore. You haven't called either. I miss chatting about all our plans. I miss being at your command, doing whatever it is you asked. I need you!

So, like the monster you created, I came calling. You told me that after 2 good betas, you don't normally do more testing until the U/S (mine is scheduled for the 30th). I wouldn't stand for it. Using my best "please," I asked if you wouldn't mind ordering me another beta this week. You know, some peace of mind. Cantcha give a sister a break here? I'm like the addict just starting to go through withdrawal and begging for just one more fix.

She caved. "Fine. I'll order it," she said, "although it won't tell us anything." I greedily accepted. I went for the blood draw this morning. Finally, late this afternoon, she called with the result, told me the number flatly, and reminded me that "it doesn't give us any additional information."

I gushed a thank you and hung up, clutching my fix.

Today's beta (20dp3dt) is 7,664.

If the numbers merely doubled every 48 hours, I was hoping for a beta of 4,472. So, okay, maybe it doesn't tell me that there will be a heart beat, or that I won't miscarry, or that my baby will have freckles. But it tells me that for today, I am still pregnant. That's something.

The monster will now kindly leave the clinic alone (for a while).

Monday, July 20, 2009

For Each, A Season

I pamper my garden. Yesterday, I excitedly showed my DH the 4 peach-sized cantaloupe that are growing. As I watered the plants in the late afternoon (after having watered them in the morning), my DH shook his head and said, "You baby those plants so much....will you be able to bring yourself to eat the fruit once it ripens?"

Hey, first of all, it was 106 degrees yesterday. Potted plants dry out. Second of all, what else should I be doing with my time? It's a valid hobby, and yes, as a matter of fact, if anything ever actually ripes, I will eat it! He wasn't really picking on me, and in fact, I think he secretly likes watching me nurture the plants and our dogs. But there is a reason I spend so much time looking after those plants.

I have been out of work now for 8 months. It's a long time without a paycheck and unemployment benefits don't cover much. The FET, drugs, and monitoring clinic costs had to be paid in full. While I consider the time I have had at home to be wonderful - allowing me to plan our FET, to relax, to spend time with the dogs, etc- lack of funds severely limit the ways in which a person is able to spend that "free" time.

We won't be taking a vacation anytime soon. We won't have a romantic weekend getaway for our anniversary in September. We won't buy a new couch, replace a fence that is about to topple over or buy a new refrigerator to replace our current one that hums constantly, has warped seals and drains water in a way that sounds like it's peeing. The money for those things was spent on all things FET. I think it was a good way to spend that money and I'm not sorry about it.

But I still need to find things to do with my time. Theater, shopping, museums, household repair projects, salon appointments and even a Sunday drive cost money. There will be time in the future for all of these things, but for now I have to be content with being a homebody. I'm perfectly happy to poke about in the back yard, inspecting tomato leaves for bugs, peeking at growing fruit and tying up cantaloupe vines. Then I let the dogs splash in the pool, and if it's cool enough, I relax under the umbrella on the patio with a book. I watch the occasional butterfly flutter about and I am thankful for all that I have.

Life is a series of seasons. The seasons change, each bringing new adventures and challenges. I know the current season of my life won't last forever. In some ways I'm happy about that. But I also know I'll look back on this period in my life and remember it fondly.

I hope that whatever season your life is in currently, that you are able to find moments of joy and that you feel a sense of adventure. Although you may be constrained as to what you can do and what you can have, I hope that you are preserving fond memories that will bring you happiness in years to come. Even if those memories include something as simple as an unripe cantaloupe or time with someone you love.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Dealing with Mom

Yes, Yes, Yes! You guys totally got where I was coming from in my last post. About not telling and trying to enjoy the pg. And I really do want to enjoy it. I know that nausea and swollen ankles are not fun, but just like life itself, we have to bear the difficulties and try to enjoy the daily wonders and blessings.

I guess I was thinking about the "not telling" part because I have a sister who discloses virtually nothing of her life to family. We all live in different states, spread across the country, so communication is by phone or email. My mother thinks that it was inadvertence that my sister let it slip during a phone call that she had planned a 2 week trip to England/Ireland. She left 2 days ago. She apparently had no intention of telling anyone where she was going, how long she'd be gone, the flight she was taking or how to contact her in the event of emergency. Now at least we know which countries she is visiting and how long she plans to be there.

My mother said to me, "I don't know why your sister feels she has to be so secretive."

I know why. It's because our mother can't simply be supportive and encouraging - or at least acknowledge our choices as adults if she can't bring herself to be supportive and encouraging. No. She has to comment, advise, ask annoying questions and say things to make us feel uncomfortable and sorry we said anything at all.

I reminded my mom about the time, so many years ago, when my sister was a teenager and had her first job. One day my sister went shopping and came home with a package of new underwear. Mom jumped right in and asked, "What did you buy? Why did you buy underwear? Don't you have enough underwear? I thought I just bought you underwear at the start of the school year? What happened to those underwear? I don't know why you would buy underwear if you don't need it. Do you think you need more underwear? How much did you spend?"

And on it went. I mean, it was ridiculous. I said, "Mom, for crying out loud, she bought a $5.99 3-pack of underwear. Why does it have to be such a big deal?" When I reminded mom of the story, her comment - even now - was, "Well, I just wondered why she bought underwear."

This is how our mom is - whatever the situation.

My sister's reaction has been simply not to disclose the facts of her private life. That way she avoids all the unwanted harassment. As for me, I tell my mom enough to keep her from asking about other things I'd rather not discuss.

It's not the kind of relationship I wish I could have with my mom, but it's the only one I'm comfortable with.

What's so kooky is that our mom herself was not close with her parents and kept her own life private from them. So you'd think she would understand a little better about not prying and nagging. I guess she is not able to recognize her own behavior as being so similar to her parents' behavior.

Anyway, when I think about telling my mom about what we've gone through in connection with our IF - the testing, the clinics, the monitoring, the drugs, the embryos, the travel and everything else - I know her first question will be "my God, BWUB, how much did all of this cost?!" and then she will freak when she hears the answer.

I'm 43 years old and I'm still not quite sure how to deal with my own mom. I love her. She did a lot for us kids as a divorced parent in the early 1970's when being a divorced woman was not easy. I know she means well and I know she loves us. I also know we can't change other people, we can only change ourselves. I guess I need to be brave enough at some point to be able to tell her what it is I want from her, what I need from her, and what I don't want and won't tolerate from her. That ball is in my court, and I hope someday I have the guts to make the play.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Reservation of Rights

Stillhopeful hit the nail on the head in her comment to my previous post: at the moment, I feel like an imposter. I have virtually no symptoms, I don't feel pregnant (I am hoping that the "presence" sensation kicks in soon) and all I have are a couple of numbers and several pee sticks to rely upon. I just can't force myself to believe it until I see a baby with a heartbeat on ultrasound. I feel like I'm playing "let's pretend I'm pregnant."

I had a friend Debby who I'd known for 15 years. We were pretty close, and in fact, she and her husband let me stay with them for 3 months before I left the state to be a traveling nurse for 2 years back in 2000. Debby was part of a larger circle of friends. We'd all get together on major holidays, birthdays and frequently just for dinner or to hang out.

For Christmas 2003, we all met at a friend's home for a party, dinner and to exchange gifts. We played the "gift exchange game" where everyone picks a number and then people go in order to either select a wrapped gift from the table, or to steal a gift previously opened by someone else.

We gathered around the table to begin the game. At some point it was Debby's mother in law's turn. She selected a gift from the table and opened it. It was a framed picture, although rather than a nice, elegant frame, the frame was rather juvenile. She squinted at the picture and said, "It''s..." Another friend, Julie, who was sitting next to her, grabbed the picture from mo-in-law's hands and shouted, "It's a's Debby's sonogram!" I, sitting next to Julie, grabbed it and looked. Yep, sure enough, it had Debby's name on it and a pretty good image of an 18 week old fetus.

I was shocked, and to be honest, I was hurt and angry (although I kept these thoughts to myself). Debby was my good friend. How could she be could she be trying to get pregnant....and not even tell me?! Last I knew she didn't even want a kid and now...she was due in just 4.5 months! WTF?

Sometime later I learned from her mo-in-law (who has a big mouth) that Debby had had 3 or 4 miscarriages prior to this pregnancy. I obviously didn't know about those either. I was incensed. How could she not share this kind of information with me?

As her pregnancy progressed, we all were supportive and encouraging and of course we threw her a lavish baby shower. The whole time, until the day that kid was born, Debby was a big downer. At 6 or 7 months pg, she would say things like, "Well, nothing is certain until the baby is born." or "Anything can happen and I'm not getting my hopes up until the baby gets here."

I just couldn't understand her doom-and-gloom attitude and chalked it up to attention getting behavior. After all, once a person is out of the first trimester, what can go wrong? Everything would be fine and she was just being a big drama queen. At least this was my belief (thankfully I never let on that this was how I felt).

The baby was born and all was well.

Fast forward to my own miscarriages in 2007. My own infertility struggles. My own unexpected and not-so-welcome early conversations with friends/family about IF and IVF. And the fact that I am now approximately 4 wks 5 days (but who's counting?) pg with a donated embryo. The only people who know are my DH, you all, and one IRL friend.

Now I understand. I understand Debby's reluctance. Her unwillingness to share her plans, m/c's or her pregnancy until she felt absolutely ready to do it. And I also understand her ongoing doubts and fears that clung to her until she was holding that newborn.

I get it at last.

And I know that - presuming all goes well and this baby hangs around - I will have some explaining to do to family and friends about why we didn't tell them sooner. I really want them to understand and not to feel the hurt and dejection that I felt when Debby announced her pregnancy. I want them to know that I couldn't tell because of my own fears, and not because I don't love them.

But once we do tell, hopefully upon successful completion of the first trimester, I want to try to enjoy this pregnancy, revel in it, and feel joyful. I don't want to be a case of walking doom-and-gloom the way Debby was. I know that anything can go wrong, and I know that there will be lingering doubts in the back of my mind. But I hope I can push them aside, seize this great gift, and enjoy it to the fullest.

Now then, I just have to get to the end of that first trimester. Until then I retain in full, without reservation, all rights and entitlements to worry, be paranoid and freak out about every little cramp, twinge and/or absence thereof.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

In A Holding Pattern

Thanks to everyone for their congrats and support.

And yes, now I'm back in a 2ww. Two weeks until my U/S to hope I don't screw things up.

Yesterday, in 102 degree heat, I emptied the water from the hard plastic kiddie pool that our dogs use. I use a bucket and a "scoop and toss" method that requires a lot of squatting and twisting. Afterward, my belly felt a little strained. I was hoping it was simply my abdominal muscles protesting (I've been a little overprotective of my belly lately).

Okay, girl, time to be careful and to THINK before acting.

Oh, no job interview today either. About 2 hours after the woman called me to set up the interview, she called back to cancel it. She mentioned that there is a list of surplus employees (the laid off state workers) who they must first consider. [Me, thinking, um, yeah, I knew that - didn't you know that when you called me?]. She asked whether I was on the surplus list. No, I am not. Which it seems to me they should have realized. I submitted an application and a resume, which clearly shows I worked for a private firm and was not a state employee. So the interview is off. Until the list is cleared, apparently, I cannot be considered. I wish one hand would check with the other to figure out what is going on before calling unemployed hopefuls.

Nevertheless, I am going to make today a good day. I hope you all have a good day, too.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

My Morning and My Beta #2

This morning has been a whirlwind.

I went early for my Beta #2 blood draw.

I came home and got online to check email. I had some breakfast. I checked on my garden. To be honest, for the first time I was feeling anxious and worried about the Beta. Any mild pg symptoms I was having a few days ago seem to have faded away. I hate feeling anxious. All the "what ifs" began to plod their way through my mind.

The phone rang. Did I want to go for a job interview tomorrow? Sure! The whole job situation is kind of strange right now because I have applied for numerous attorney positions with the state, but you see, the State of California is in crisis. State employees, including attorneys, have been laid off from various departments. Those people (and rightly so) have first dibs on any state attorney positions that open up - presuming the person qualifies.

Since I was not a state employee, I am kind of in line behind these people. I am happy that various offices are interested in me, and there appear to be new positions opening up virtually every day. So my hope is that I outlast the list of laid off/rehired employees and find a spot. So, I set up an interview for tomorrow morning.

Then I called the Clinic about my progesterone level. It was finally back and the level is fine. A relief.

I made some phone calls then got back online. I need to research the specific office with which I have an interview tomorrow.

The phone rang again. It was the Clinic. I have no idea how my Beta #2 result came back so quickly, but it did.....

Beta #1 = 194
Beta #2 = 559

Relief! I am "more" pregnant! Thank you, God, for prayers answered.

I know that my result is good...and according to, my doubling time is 31.44, but I don't understand the implications of that number. What is this supposed to tell me?

The Clinic wants me to have my first pregnancy U/S in 2 weeks. I was able to schedule it with my regular OB office, which I am happy about. My U/S is scheduled with the same kind, gentle nurse practitioner who did the U/S when I m/c at 11 weeks. I saw the baby bean then, and thought all was well until she softly told me that there was no heart flicker. I know that when I see her again, I am going to sob like a big baby.

So, there is much ado!

In addition to all of this, I must congratulate, at the top of my lungs, my friend BB at Clean Slate for her BFP and Beta of 322! I am so happy for you, BB!

Wishing you all a good day, and special thoughts and prayers for EBand her beloved kitty cat. Her kitty has fallen quite sick and is in the animal hospital, fighting for her life. I know all too well the pain of losing a beloved pet and I hope EB will not have to know that pain right now.

Once again, there is joy and sadness.

A Lesson

Just remember, if it's your ball game, you'd better keep track of what's going on and not count on anyone else to do it for you.

As we all know, progesterone supplementation is crucial to supporting a pregnancy. I had a progesterone level drawn yesterday at the same time as my beta. When I called the Clinic at 2pm yesterday to ask them to please call the lab to obtain my results, my beta result was back, but the progesterone level was still pending.

The gal I spoke with at the Clinic said that when my progesterone level came back, she would only call me if there was a problem or my dosage needed to be changed.

I did not receive a phone call from her.

So, what would you do?

(A) Presume all is well, your level is perfect, and go merrily along, or

(B) Call again to inquire

You had better go with option (B). I called the Clinic this morning to ask what my progesterone level was, on the pretense that I log and keep track of all my numbers (which I do). She went to look it up and.....the result never came back.

She said she would call the lab to find out the result and get back to me. That was about 10 minutes ago. Something is telling me that they didn't even run the test, but maybe that's my skepticism settling in.

Nope, don't trust them. Follow up. Confirm. Ask and be sure to get an answer. And don't feel the least bit guilty about it. I don't think my new pregnancy is in immediate jeopardy, but only because I took the initiative to call and follow up. I am both pissed and relieved - pissed that the Clinic didn't follow up with the lab yesterday, and relieved that I did.

-----Brief Update ----
Clinic called me back. My gut was right - the lab did not run the test. The lab told the Clinic they run the test in "batches" and would call the Clinic in an hour to let them know when my test would be run. I won't go off too much here other than to scoff and say (1) What? They run batches every other day? and (2) They don't even know when they run batches and will have to call back when they figure it out? The level of service and competence floors me.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Beta, Beta, What's the Beta?

By the way, this is my 101st post! My, my how time flies.

Thank you for the gardening tips and happy notes.

Well, as usual, I had to call the Clinic and ask them to please call the lab to see if my result was back. The lab never seems to get around to sending the result. So the folks at the Clinic just sit around, twiddling their thumbs, assuming that of course the lab will notify them. But, as you know, I can be quite pushy and by golly, I want my result!

So, without further delay:

Beta = 194.

Whaddya think of that???

Methinks there's a babe in there!

I go back Wednesday to make sure all is well and the numbers are properly doubling (and thanks to those who explained and pointed me to websites to figure out the numbers).

You all have been such a great support to me, and this first leg of my journey would not have been nearly as joyful without you. Thank you, friends.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Tiptoe Through the Garden

This morning I went for my first beta. Someone will get around to calling me with the result several hours from now.

I came home from the lab and took my dogs for a walk. Here is a photo of us I took with my cell phone (I was intrigued with the shadow distortion):

As I wait for my beta, I thought I'd share with you the current state of my garden. I think you can click on any of the photos to make them larger.

The single tomato is growing by leaps and bounds.

And more new tiny tomatoes have finally appeared (for a while I thought I'd end up with just the one after all this work!). See how I'm always peeking up inside to see what is going on in there?

There have been some casualties. Some feasting and mysteriously disappearing parts (in the second photo, notice the arms with nothing attached to them!).

Some yellowing and unexplained breakage.

But overall I'm pleased with the progress.

My bell peppers are deliriously happy. Peppers popping out everywhere.

The cantaloupe has been my biggest challenge. Managing the vines. How much water to give. Not stepping on them. Waiting for fruit. The other day - finally - I noticed that some of the flowers have swollen little bellies beneath them. Fruit? I think so! They are barely bigger than a green pea, but hey, we all have to start somewhere!

My cilantro bit the dust. I'm wondering if I can lop off the top mess and replant in the ground for better results. The flowers took over and then the leaves died off.

I haven't harvested a single piece of fruit yet, and already I'm thinking and planning for what I want to plant next year! I think I've become a garden addict!

There is Blood, But No Panic

You all calmed me down yesterday and forced some reason into my brain. You reminded me that the deed is done and what will be will be.

It is a good thing we had this talk yesterday, because today (I think I am now 11dp3dt) I went to the restroom at 11:30 am and here was brown blood. Quite a bit. Wiping produced more. And more.

Uh, I would have thought any implantation bleeding would have shown up like 4 or 5 days ago. I also noticed some cramping today too. Not really AF cramping, but definite cramps.

Nope, I did not panic. Instead, we went out to lunch. If it is implantation bleeding, well, it will do its thing, finish up and all will be fine. If it is a sign of impending doom, well, there is nothing I can do about that. The good news is that the pee stick was definitely darker today.

So, amazingly, I am calm. Tomorrow's beta will be a number, but the real information will come with Wednesday's 2nd beta. Number up or number down. Someone will need to remind me how the doubling works. The only beta I ever had was with a m/c, so I never knew the "doubling rule" calculation.

With this lab, I NEVER have results before 2:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon. So it's going to be a long day's wait.

Thanks, all, for helping me find and maintain my sanity.

I also wanted to congratulate Lorraine at Elderly Ovary for her positive pee stick (hurray!) and also Cindy at Bang head here
for making it to the head of the DE line and choosing an egg donor so that she and her partner can prepare to begin her cycle (yippee!). Best of luck to you!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Worry Sets In - Updated

This morning, bright and early, I POAS. The second line was not any darker than it was yesterday. Still faint. There, but faint. Shouldn't the line be getting darker each day?

I went back to bed and considered how I felt. I cupped each breast and assessed whether they were still as tender as yesterday.

No sensation at all coming from my belly.

I guess this is the downside to POAS. The constant self-analysis doesn't end, it just gives you one more piece of information (the faint line) to analyze.

Did I get pg and now the baby(ies) have stopped growing?

Can we really support a pregnancy artificially with shots of estrogen and capsules of progesterone? Is it enough estrogen? Did the progesterone capsule leak too much? Shouldn't I be having blood tests every day to be sure?! My baby is on life support. And I'm afraid I could inadvertently trip over the cord without knowing it and pull the plug.

And so, after feeling myself up and down, analyzing and worrying, I finally just got out of bed. Of course now I am obsessed and am waiting for the stores to open so that I can go buy more pee sticks -- the cheap kind -- to see if there is any difference.

This, folks, is called Self Induced Manic Lunacy. Welcome to the show.


Exhale. I am better. Thank you.

The other thing that was bothering me this morning was that about a half hour after my morning progesterone suppository, much of the "goo" had leaked out. My prog level was 20.1 and my Clinic said "Anything over 20 is just fine." Well, heck, I figured I've only got 0.1 room for error! So with half of it now soaked into a panty liner (sorry, TMI), was I now in progesterone deficit? So I put in another suppository. Then, when my DH finally got out of bed, he asked, "What's the risk of taking too much?" So you see, between the progesterone and the pee stick, I was a mess.

A call to the Clinic and I was reassured that taking an extra suppository was fine.

Some quick google research and I found out that it is not uncommon for the pee stick color density to remain light.

I am breathing now. But I am still going to buy more pee sticks! Once on the insanity roller coaster, it is hard to get off.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

9dp3dt - So I Told My Husband

Well, men are men, aren't they?

I found the adorable onesie stashed away, folded it and put a note on it that said, "Think you can learn to work one of these things, Daddy?" I put it into a manila folder along with the PREGNANT pee stick. I taped the three open sides of the folder shut and slid the folder into a large envelope and wrote my DH's name on the outside.

After dinner and when we were a bit settled, I said, "Oh, something arrived for you today." I got the envelope and handed it to him. He pulled out the folder and tried peeking between the taped portions. "Just open it!" I said. He opened one side and slid out the onesie with the note. He read the note and unfolded the onesie, remarking that it was cute.

Then he set them down and looked at me. Blankly.

"There's something else in there," I said.

He reached his hand inside the onesie, feeling around for something. Did he think the baby was going to be inside there?

"No, not in the folder!" I said (while rolling my eyes).

He finally found the pee stick. He looked at it and asked, "Are you pregnant?"

Well, did he think I bought it that way? Honestly, sometimes men are so dense. So much for the BIG surprise. I had to spell it all out for him. Yes, honey, I am pregnant.

"Congratulations!" he said. Then he hugged me. I thought that telling your wife "congratulations" was an odd thing to say. I don't know. I guess my fantasy about his reaction was much grander than reality.

But, whatever. He spent the rest of the evening in his man-cave drinking beer, setting up a stereo and listening to music. He hardly came out until 9:30. So much for celebrating the news together. I felt like the kid who invited his whole class to his birthday party, set up the decorations and balloons and cake and games...and then no one shows up and the kid is sitting there by himself, wearing a pointy party hat.

But, whatever. Maybe he doesn't quite know what to say. Maybe he is worried. Maybe he comes from a dysfunctional family that never knew or learned how to show love and support to other family members (oh so true).

In any case, I am happy and the celebration lives inside me. And then I got back online and found the inundation of love, support, joy, happiness and well wishes from all of you. So thank you for coming to my party! It means the world to me. I also know that after time passes, and if we are lucky enough to reach the initial "safety zone" of completing the first trimester, the other people IRL will definitely be excited and happy too.

My only real concern now is that my progesterone level (drawn one week post transfer) was 20.1. It seems like other people have much higher levels. I checked in with the Clinic and they said 20.1 is a great level one week post transfer. Okay. I guess I'll go with that for now.

I POAS early this morning and was relieved to see a slightly darker second line. At least now it is somewhat visible.

Thank you all again for your kindness and outpouring of support. I know that for some, it is not entirely easy. Thank you.

8dp3dt - Quite a Day

There seems to be a problem with Blogger. I've tried to leave comments on a few people's blogs, but when it comes to typing in the verification word, the screen won't let me. But I'm reading!

I need to come clean with you guys. Yesterday I went to the store and bought half a dozen pee sticks. First I researched which are the most sensitive. Then I bought 6 of them.

I peed on a stick yesterday. The reason I didn't tell you is because, well, I wasn't sure what I saw or didn't see. I carried the used stick into the glaring, blinding sunlight. I turned the stick this way and that, rotating it up and down. Was there a second line? No, it's white. Well....maybe. There definitely was NOT a line. There did seem to be a shadow. Do shadows count?

Then I reasoned that there must be a chemical in the white pad that is triggered by the pee. When the control stripe is triggered, the chemical absorbs the pee and turns pink. There must be a second stripe of chemical waiting to be triggered by HCG. Maybe I was looking so closely, that I was seeing the shadow created by the chemical.


Today I went for my job interview. I left feeling the way I did after law school final exams. I had no idea how I did - maybe it went great, maybe it didn't. But I would love the job because (1) they work on really interesting and important stuff, (2) it took me 7 minutes to drive there from my house, and (3) free parking. Well, a few other reasons too. The guy I interviewed with said it would be "a few days" before they make a decision. At least he didn't say "a few weeks."

So I came home and called my husband and got online and had some lunch and waited. Then I had to do it again.

I peed on another stick.

Stupid super-sensitive, early detection, expensive sticks. it a line? Is a a shadow? Is it anything?????

Here it is:

Then I remembered that I had bought a box of like 17 OPK tests at Co.stco a while ago. Of course all the OPKs are long gone, but it came with a single pregnancy pee stick. I went to get it (it was hiding in a back closet from the last time we had company over). It was a digital!

Thankfully I had peed in a cup. So I swished the digital stick in the pee.







(sorry for the suspense)

P! BFP! BFP! Holy Tamale! It wasn't just a shadow of chemical.

I guess we'll know more on Monday when I have my first beta, but it looks like I'll be going back Wednesday for a second beta. Last night my husband asked me how soon we would know how many babies there are in there. I smiled and said, "You're so sure, aren't you?" And he said, "Well, yeah." Looks like he was right.

He doesn't know yet! I want to surprise him. One time I bought an adorable onesie as part of too-many-gifts for a friend's baby shower. I kept the onesie. If I can find it, I should get it out and hand it to him sometime tonight and say, "Think you can work one of these things?" The glow of my face ought to explain everything.

I know I have a long road ahead and many hurdles to clear, but this time I am optimistic because the egg and sperm that made this baby were donated by proven donors.

I want to thank you all for all of the support, love, encouragement and joy you have given me over the past few months. I know some of you are on the threshold of your own cycle, and I am praying and hoping and wishing that you get your BFP.

I also want to say to all of you that I love you all for being the best cyber sisters a girl could have. I am heartbroken for my friends Looking4#3 who recently lost her pregnancy and Musicmakermomma who just today got a BFN. I so wanted everyone's dreams to come true. Even in my joy, I feel sorrow.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

7dp3dt - Labs and Jobs

Despite my preoccupation with an upcoming beta, there is a whole lot going on right now to occupy my brain.

First, progesterone b/w this morning. I have been stuffing suppositories like little Agustus stuffed candy into his mouth in the original Wi.lly W.onk.a movie. Let's hope I get a good number! I'd hate to have to do this more often.

Second, my new job. Remember? A while back I got a job offer and they agreed to let me start after my procedure? Welllllll....there's been a glitch. Let's just say I am currently "on hold." I have been in communication with the boss, who is still excited to hire me, but a few unanticipated obstacles have cropped up that are delaying things. It appears I will likely still get the job, but who knows.

Third, while I await word on the job, I received a phone call for a job I applied for in early May inviting me for a job interview. Um, okay. I am still technically unemployed and looking. This place wanted to interview me last Tuesday - the day we were on the road traveling to the Clinic. So they rescheduled me for this Thursday at 12:30. I think they are jamming me in during the lunch hour. But it would be a very cool job. This of course might pose timing issues with the other position, but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. At any rate, in order to prepare for the interview, I will spend much of today doing my homework and researching the agency.

Fourth, I have only gained 3 pounds since the Clinic forbade me from exercising - it's been since April! I was scared to death to step on the scale, but I did it yesterday and the number surprised me. BUT - those 3 pounds and everything else has sort of shifted. I never had a round, poochy belly. Round hips, yes. Belly? No. Now it seems I have a rounder midsection than I used to. I have one skirt suit that will fit, but only if I suck it in the whole time. Oh, that's going to be comfortable!

So you see, by the time I exhale and peel myself out of that suit, why, it will nearly be Friday!


No, there is no implantation bleeding yet. Then again, according to some widespread list I found on the internet, today my baby(ies?!) should be continuing to implant and HCG won't begin to be produced, even in trace amounts, for 2 more days. I don't really have any symptoms at all, to be honest.

Am I jumping the gun, or what?

My beta is scheduled for Monday the 13th.

Since I do not live in the same town as my Clinic, and because I REFUSE to go to the OMC and pay an additional $125 fee in addition to the cost of the blood test, I will be going to a regular lab here in town. It's a bit of a pain though. They will draw my blood, and then it will SIT THERE for maybe an hour or more until a courier comes to pick it up and transport it to the hospital where the actual equipment resides. Then, at some unknown time, they will run the test. At some point after my test is finished, they will call or fax the results to my Clinic. Someone from my Clinic will then call me with the results. It's going to be quite a day.

Of course I'll see either a + or - pee stick before then. The cat will already be out of the bag. By Monday, it will just be about confirmation.

I hope they don't lose my vial of blood. Or have the machine break down. Or run the HCGs at 10 pm. Or drop and break my vial. Or mislabel it and mix it up with someone else's. Or forget to calibrate the machine. Or....

I really have quite a creative imagination, eh?

Monday, July 6, 2009

What Are You Waiting For?

One thing about cycling is that you just keep waiting for the next milestone. Starting Lupron. Starting estrogen. Stopping Lupron. Blood tests. Ultrasounds. I never did IVF with my own eggs or DE, but I know the list of milestones is even longer.

It's not that we are wishing our lives away. It's not that we can't enjoy moments that occur during our cycle. It's just that ever since we first began ttc, it seems that we do a lot of waiting. We have to wait for appointments. Some have to wait for their name to come up on a list. Some wait for donor matches. There is the well known 2ww that we've all suffered in some form or fashion. We wait for phone calls and test results. We wait in waiting rooms and we wait in exam rooms. If things didn't turn out as we hoped, we wait to figure out what to do next.

Now I have lists of things I am waiting for. Not actual, written lists. But I can reel off a number of things at any given time for which I am waiting.

I am waiting for my single tomato to turn red.

I am waiting for other tomatoes to appear (I actually look up the skirts of the flower petals hoping to glimpse newly emerging fruit).

I am waiting for my cantaloupe to do anything that looks remotely like bearing fruit.

I am waiting for my DH to come home from the gym.

I am waiting to get dinner started shortly.

And now...I am waiting and looking and checking for implantation bleeding. I am also waiting and debating when to pee on a stick. If I do it too early, of course it will be negative, but the BFN will cause stress anyway. So, I just keep thinking about it as the days tick by one by one. Waiting. Waiting.

In a way, this is a good wait. There is hope. There is anticipation. But as always, there is also the looming trepidation of potential failure.

Hope and Fear. Two sides of the same coin.

What is at the top of your waiting list?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

How Are Things Going?

On the 2ww front, I'm in a state of constant self-assessment for symptoms. It feels like something is going on down there! Oh, but wait, maybe it's just gas. Maybe it's hunger. Maybe it's my breakfast digesting. Maybe it's a full bladder. Good grief. The wondering, the doubts - they just don't cease. Last night I was 2 hours late with my dinner time progesterone suppository and had a mini-melt down. I simply forgot about it. One more thing to worry about. I have a progesterone level on Wednesday, so we'll see.

Yesterday, mile by mile, we made our way back home. We arrived in town at 3 pm and went to pick up our dogs. We got home at about 4. I took the dogs into the back yard while my husband unloaded the car.

I really wanted to see my plants. How many would be beyond resuscitation? How many would be drooped and wilted, yet perhaps could be saved with loving care and lots of water? How was my single, pearl earring tomato? What about the plants that didn't have access to any water while we were gone? With a bit of trepidation, I glanced around the yard, then walked to each plant to inspect.

I simply could not believe what I saw. Everything was not only alive, it was thriving! Like, better than when I was hand watering them. Could I have been doing too much? The self-watering system worked great!

The cantaloupe vines were several inches longer. And there is a pepper plant in the front that looks much healthier than when I left it.

My tomatoes and the red bell peppers are big and green and happy. The flowers of the cilantro went berserk, are now 3 foot tall and look like shaggy hair, but everything else is just happy as can be!

I had some additional cantaloupe planted in a large wooden planter, amid some flowering shrubs. You know, I just put them in there because there was space. What the heck do I know? Now, everything has grown WILD and is all intermingled:

Oh, my pearl earring tomato! Remember? Here's how it looks now:

And the red bell peppers have new babies too!

I tell you, I don't understand it. But I'm happy about it. In the first photo above you can see the upside down soda bottles full of water. I think I'm going to leave them in place for a while. They seem to be doing a better job than I!

Definitely glad to be home. :)

Friday, July 3, 2009


I am up and around a bit. But I'm still very cautious. I know the embies can't really fall out, but you know, irrational thinking tends to take over in times like these.

Prior to the transfer I had all kinds of crazy thoughts. I imagined the doctor walking into the OR with the catheter loaded with my embies, and tripping over a shoelace, stumbling to the floor, embies flying out of her hand and crashing against a wall.

I wondered, hmmm, maybe there are no embies at all. Maybe they'll just carry in an empty catheter, and show me stock photos of human embryos. Maybe they'll go through the motions of a transfer, but not really transfer anything at all. Like a huge medical scam where they dupe dozens of couples into paying for the same batch of embryos.

Okay, I know, these are entirely unlikely scenarios. I mean, the Clinic has a good reputation and must report success rates to the CDC. Nobody is likely to trip. I'm sure there is no fraud. It's just....when you want something badly, and you've come close to getting it in the past, only to have the dream ripped from your hands and heart at the last moment, it seems you can't help but think about what could go wrong. A thousand mishaps waiting to happen.

Soon enough, I remind myself, soon enough we'll know.

In the meantime I have kept myself occupied with the T.wilight marathon on TV. I brought books to read, but my thoughts are too scattered to be able to focus on a book. TV, naps, food and the internet. Overall I feel pretty good. Belly fullness and twinges continue, but that could simply be progesterone at work. Who knows.

Tomorrow we head home. I can't wait to get there.

I can only mention these thoughts now that the transfer is complete. Not that I am entirely rational yet. I'm not.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Thanks for the outpouring of support!

About my transfer yesterday:

Once we got the call and arrived at the Clinic, we waited in the waiting room 15 minutes. Glad we rushed out the door.

They had me change into a gown, blue OR bonnet and blue booties. The doctor came in with the microscopic photo of our embies. Four of 5 survived the thaw. Number 4 looked all frazzled though, with lots of fragmentation. Two looked really good and the third was so-so with a little bit of fragmentation. So she pointed and said, "We'll put these 3 back." Yup, let's do it!

One of the girls drew my blood, took my blood pressure and asked if I was nervous because she could give me a X.anax. What? And be zoned out for all the fun? I wasn't the least bit nervous, just excited. Besides, I've never taken X.anax and with my luck, I'd have some kooky reaction. So, no thanks, I want to be alert for the whole thing!

Finally they had my DH leave and took me back to the "OR." I put it in quotes because it was not a white, cold, austere room. Not at all. The walls were a dusty shade of heather pink. The room was dimly lit and WARM. The embies like it warm, so I (who don't like being cold) felt cozy and happy and mellow.

Up on the table, knees in stirrups. The same gal who offered me the X.anax did the U/S. I gulped 3 or 4 glasses of water before leaving the hotel room, so by now my bladder looked like a huge 10 pound black bowling ball. She said, "Wow, your bladder is SO full!" Um, yeah. Uterus was nice and flat.

The doc explained that they have you fill your bladder so that it sits on the uterus, squashing it down flat. On the U/S, it looked like a horseshoe that had the long arms pressed flat together. This way, the vagina and cervix become one long, straight pathway to the uterus.

The doc was great and pointed out everything on the U/S before we began. I don't know what gets into me...but sometimes when I'm excited or anxious, I get this weird sense of humor. The doc uncovered me to begin and all of a sudden, two or three more people came into the room. They were in OR attire, but nobody said, "Hi, I'm so-and-so" or "Hi, I'm one of the techs" or anything. One of them said to my U/S girl, "Oh, Kaela, you're in here, I was wondering where you were." And I turned my head and said, "Yeah, we're having a party in here. C'mon in!" The doc, from between my knees, says, "Yeah, and tell all those other people in the hall that they can come in too." And then I said, "Sure, everybody pour yourselves a drink and make yourselves comfortable." I am a dork.

So those of you who have done this before know that you have a speculum inside pushing pressure outward, and you have a person pressing an U/S wand on your belly really hard. And you have a full bladder. So I was sort of puffing and holding my breath alternately. Not because anything hurt, but just because I was trying to hold in my bladder. Kaela said, "Are you okay?" and I said, "Yes, I'm just puffing so I don't pee on the doctor." One of the several observers in the room giggled.

It was quite a show, I'm sure. So finally the doc gets the catheter he wanted (which at first nobody could find the size or shape or whatever it was) and then at last the other doctor came in with the embryos. I watched on the screen as a white line (the catheter) snaked its way up the canal almost to the top of my uterus. Then he withdrew the catheter and it was over. The other doctor went to look at the cathether under the microscope to be sure none of the embies got left behind. I had a hard time not blurting out, "So, doc, thanks for knocking me up!" Like I said, weird, silly stuff tends to pop out of my mouth when I'm giddy. Instead he shook my hand and wished me luck and I thanked him ever so much.

I had to lay there for an hour, but the room was so nice and dim and warm that I almost fell asleep. Sweet Kaela brought me a bedpan so I could relieve my bladder. They even gave me my Delestrogen shot before I left (which made my DH very happy).

My orders are 24 hours strict bed rest, lying flat on my back as much as possible. Okay, THAT is uncomfortable. Muscles aching. The bed rest is the worst part of it all. Then I have 2 more days of limited activity.

My belly feels...strange. I feel weird little twinges from time to time. I'm really looking forward to sleeping on my side tonight.

My pg test is scheduled for July 13. I will definitely be peeing on sticks before then. I don't like surprises.

Strangely, though, since the whole procedure was relatively easy, and because I didn't really feel anything aside from a bulging bladder, it's hard for me to think that there really are 3 little embies in there right now. I can't seem to quite grasp the concept. I'm hoping for symptoms. I'm hoping that as the days go by, something will happen so I will know.

Just like in Dr. S.euss's "H.orton Hears A W.ho", a little voice from my embies saying, "Hi, Mom, we're here, we're here, we are heeeeere!" would be most appreciated.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


After waiting, waiting, waiting...I broke down and called the Clinic at 11am. Well? What's the status? Waiting.

At 1:06pm, they called us. Transfer is today. 2 pm. Can you be here at 1:30? Oh, you mean in 24 minutes? Sure.

Off we went. I'll write more details tomorrow, but it was actually really easy. Except for the 10 pound bowling ball which was my full bladder. For now I'm supposed to be flat on my back. It's hard to type this way.

3 embies transferred. 4 of the 5 survived the thaw. Entire procedure itself was less than 10 minutes.

Details soon.

Thank you all for your kind wishes, thoughts and prayers.

In Limbo

We're in the hotel room. I hardly slept last night. I was up at 6 this morning and logged on to the webcam at the pet hotel so I can watch my two little dogs play with each other and snooze in their designated room. They actually have a flat screen TV up on the wall in there that runs doggie cartoons to entertain them. Or maybe it's just to shield the noise of other barking dogs.

Anyway, this morning, we wait. The RE is going to call to let us know whether the transfer will be today or tomorrow. I guess she won't know until the embies are thawed. She said once they are thawed, she hopes she will be able to tell right away which are the best 3. If she can make that determination, we'll transfer early afternoon today. If she can't, then she will culture them overnight and it will be tomorrow.

My DH got up early this morning too and said he had transfer dreams all night. Dreams that didn't make sense but had to do with technicalities of the procedure. Last night at dinner in the hotel restaurant, he was asking me all kinds of questions about the embies and the transfer and such. This is really the first time he's been so interested. Finally!

Anyway, we wait. But I am excited and appreciate musicmakermomma's blow-by-blow account of her transfer yesterday so I'll have some idea what to expect. Now all I can think is: C'mon, embies! Wake up, wake up, wake up!