Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Shovelful

On the IF front, AF is knocking at the door. She is peeking through the windows and waiting for the door to open fully so she can blast her way through. After my last cycle was cancelled mid-May, my Clinic had me go back on BCPs (I guess to bridge the gap until we can start the next cycle). I took my final pill Thursday. I hope to leap right back into taking Lupron, but I bet they will have me take BCPs again to overlap with the Lupron.

Meatball epiphany:

After I wrote yesterday's post about the meatball, it occurred to me that the issue I had with the meatball is the exact same issue I have with our outside monitoring clinic (OMC) charging me a $125 "coordination fee" in connection with a simple blood draw.

The restaurant assistant manager tried to convince me that there were meatballs in the sauce, although they weren't what any 6-year old would recognize as a meatball.

The OMC tried to convince me that they perform certain coordination efforts on my behalf, although they can't identify a single act of actual "coordination." That's because there are none. I do all of the coordination. They do fax in/fax out.
*Note: I may not have posted an update about the $125 fee. The OMC called me back and declined to waive the fee that they charged me for doing an E2 blood draw. The labwork itself was $90, which is fine, but she tried to justify the $125 coordination fee by saying "there are people involved who have to coordinate the blood work." Righto. Mhm.

Both the restaurant assistant manager and the OMC stated their cases with straight faces as though what they were saying made obvious sense and it was me who was being unreasonable. What did I hear when they spoke? I heard, "Here, please...take this extra large shovelful of bullshit and swallow it. Now smile and say 'Thank you, that's just what I needed!'"

Give me a break.

Can Someone Please Define "Meatball" For Me?

I am not a picky eater. And I rarely complain about food in a restaurant. My philosophy is pretty much one of endorsement - if I like the place, I'll be back; if I don't, I won't.

When I do have a complaint, I am always very polite, don't ask to have a new meal brought to me, I don't expect to have anything taken off the tab or to get a free dessert out of it. I just tell them because, gee, I'd think they'd want to know there might be a problem. They might want to hear complaints as part of quality control.

My hubby and I went to lunch yesterday with a friend of mine and her family. They selected a chain restaurant that offers Italian food. Not fantastic Italian food, but it's cheap and plentiful.

My friend and I ended up ordering the same dish. The menu roughly described it as spaghetti with chicken, sausage, meatballs and mushrooms in a spicy red sauce. Okay, yeah, not part of my healthy eating plan, but it sounded good.

Food was served. After one or two bites, I looked over at my friend's plate and asked her whether she had any meatballs in her food. Mine didn't. There were a couple strips of chicken, several pieces of sausage sliced into coins, and sliced mushrooms. But no meatballs. She forked through her plate and noted that in fact, she did not see a meatball either.

Our chipper young waitress appeared and asked if everything tasted okay.

Me: Yes, it tastes fine, it's just that neither of us seem to have any meatballs in our sauce, as is described on the menu.

Waitress: Oh, we'll it's ground beef, the meat is in there, but it's a meat sauce, there aren't separate meatballs.

Me: Well, your menu is misleading. It says meatballs.

Waitress: Would you like me to bring you a side of meatballs?

Me: No.

Did she really think I wanted to pay for a side of something that the menu assured me I would already receive?

Shortly thereafter, a young whippersnapper in a shirt and tie came up to the table and introduced himself as an assistant manager (AM). He asked how everything was.

Me: Oh it's fine. It tastes very good.

AM: Was there a problem?

Me: It's just that the menu description says this dish includes meatballs (my friend at this point gratuitously reads the menu description out loud). There don't appear to be any meatballs.

AM: The meatballs are in there, they are not whole meatballs -

Me: So there is ground up meat in the sauce, but -

AM: No. It is not ground up meat -

Me: Oh, well your waitress said it was ground meat.

AM: No, they are meatballs. They are not whole meatballs, but they are in there.

Me: [ Grinning a bit sarcastically at this point] Come on. When you or I say the word "meatball" what image do you think of? You think that you are going to get a whole meatball. Not something ground up in the sauce. That's called "meat sauce." I mean, it's fine, the food is fine, it's just a bit misleading to have the menu say "meatballs" and then not include even one meatball. But really, it's fine.

He smiled as best he could. He mumbled something about making sure he let "them" know so that the menu something something something. Yeah, right. I'm thinking they are not going to re-send 200 menus for reprinting.

Whatever. I really didn't care. I didn't need a meatball and it really was tasty as it was. I just take issue with what I would call false advertising. Any normal person would read "meatball" and think they were going to get a solid ball of meat. The size and number might be in question, but not the actual presence of said ball of meat. In law we call it the "reasonable person standard" - meaning what would a person of reasonable intelligence and experience understand and expect.

Just as a an aside, there was no ground up meat in the sauce. Not one nobule of beef in that sauce to be found. Anywhere.

I told my friend that the next time we go there, we should order the same dish, but when ordering, one of us should say, "Oh, no meatballs please" and see what happens. Will they agree to "hold" the meatballs? Will the two dishes be the same anyway? Will one of us actually get a meatball? Or will they in fact redact the word meatball from the menu description?

My husband thinks it's time for me to go back to work.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Puppies and Plants

Thank you for your recommendations on how to handle asking for time off when responding to a job offer. You all made some excellent points and I feel more confident about it.

I spent much of the morning with my dogs and my mini-garden.

First, dogs. I have to show you pictures because they have been so adorable lately.

Maddy (aka Noodle Head) jumped in the planter box (naughty!) but looked adorable!

Daisy (aka Doodle) looked like a princess when she came back from the groomer (don't let her smiling face fool you....she barks like a ferocious guard dog).

You may remember that I am trying to grow heirloom tomatoes and cantaloupe from seed. I confess to knowing absolutely nothing about proper gardening technique. I g.oogle everything and do my best. I bought a kiddie pool, cut drainage holes in the bottom, filled it with dirt, and transplanted my cantaloupe into it.

I then read online that cantaloupe roots need at least 18 inches of depth to grow. Oops. Kiddie pool won't work. I transplanted them again in front of trellises. I covered the mounded dirt around them with black plastic (per online suggestion) and weighed the plastic down with bricks. Not so attractive, but maybe it will work. I have no idea whether they will get sufficient sun there, but I'm running out of options.

The tomatoes are in larger planters, where I think they will do fine.

Well, the weekend is nearly upon us. If I take this new job, my free time for all this doodling about will soon come to an end. Sigh.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Off to the Hospital...and Maybe Off to Work

My day unfolded not as I planned.

I was up early. Coffee. Dogs. Husband. Newspaper.

I had a business luncheon to attend at noon. I hoped to touch base again with a prospective employer who happens to be the chair of this particular group. But I am nervous. If they offer me a job....what do I do about our upcoming cycle? How will I explain that I will need one or two weeks of time off sometime during the next few months? I don't want to disclose the IF or FET or any of that. That was one reason why I had really hoped to do the transfer last week. The timing would have been perfect.

But, ah, of course, it is Murphy's IF Law. If anything can screw up a cycle, it will.

Anyway, while getting ready, a friend called. It was my friend whose husband had a brain tumor. He had surgery in December. Rounds of chemo and radiation. She was emotional and tearful on the phone. I asked if she wanted me to come. She did. Her husband was admitted to the hospital after having fallen at home, whacking his head on the night stand. I made my way to the hospital and spent the afternoon with them.

Dear God, I don't know how she does it. She is the most amazing person I know. Her husband was unrecognizable (to me). Not the slim, muscular, masculine, strong, athletic guy he used to be. The cancer, the medications, the treatments, the side effects....they have taken their toll. He is incredibly weak. His arms bruised from nurses poking him with needles. His head still bald because he likes his wife to shave it now. He is swollen and pale. But one blessing: he still has his wild, hysterical sense of humor. He had us doubled over laughing at times. He is at times confused, but the sense of humor is exactly who he is.

I was most taken with my friend's gentleness and patience with her husband. It was incredible to witness. She really is my hero. So I spent much of today grasping the reality of my friend's life. How virtually all normalcy has abandoned them. My heart, my prayers, my soul just go out to her. Why do bad things happen to good people?

While I was at the hospital, the prospective employer - the one whose luncheon I ditched to be there for my friend - called. She left a message on our machine offering me the position and saying I can start as soon as I want.

Uh oh. Now what? My DH thinks I should simply tell her that I will need time off in the next few months to take care of some personal business. That it could be as soon as the beginning of July, but we don't yet know. Let her decide whether that will be acceptable. Considering the current financial condition of California, perhaps she will be delighted to have me take time off without pay.

If you have any thoughts about a good way to handle this, I'd appreciate your input.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Friendship Follow Up and Fortunes in Fees

Thank you for the kind, thoughtful comments on yesterday's post. I am so grateful to all of you for gently caressing my wounds, offering advice, making observations and sharing your own experiences.

I guess in the end it is my own feelings, experiences and vulnerabilities causing the slow erosion of my friendships with J and M. I have to accept responsibility for that. I think I've been sensing the erosion for some time. Partly it is because I am consumed with my own IF matters. Partly it is because the issues and topics they like to discuss simply don't interest or stimulate me. I am easily bored when I spend much time with them. As one person said, sometimes the lifespan of a friendship just reaches it's end. I'm sure I will still maintain relationships with J and M. Perhaps I'm just finally aware of how those relationships have been modified.

Now on to other things.

A few days ago I lamented having to pay a $125 outside monitoring coordination fee in connection with a single E2 blood draw. Many of my bloggy friends encouraged me to call the clinic and ask about it - it seems to be an outrageous charge.

I called today. Welllll, no definite response yet. I told the person I spoke with that I thought the fee was quite high and I emphasized that this particular charge for a simple blood draw seemed really unfair and I wondered whether the clinic would be willing to waive it. She said she would ask and get back to me. I guess that's something (we'll see if she actually does call me or if I have to call her back). If they decline to waive it, then I will ask for a written, detailed list of "coordination" services they have provided.

On a roll, I also asked whether the clinic would be willing to negotiate with me on the fee since we will be doing another cycle and my insurance doesn't cover this. Her explanation for the $125 coordination fee is that they discovered they often spent a lot of time tracking down orders from primary clinics, following up with 3rd party participants (like surrogates or donors), and using staff time to obtain information and coordinate appointments. I told her I understood and that made sense, but that in my case, I am the one making sure they receive the orders, and I do all the following up, and there are no 3rd parties involved. I thought it would be fair if they only charged me half the fee. She hemmed and hawed. She wouldn't commit to asking about a lower fee, but I got the administrator's name and said I'd be happy to talk with that person myself.

Then I was really pumped and called our insurance company. I'm on my DH's insurance and his employer switched insurers as of May 1. I decided to call and ask about IF coverage. You know I wasn't expecting a doggone thing. Well, as it turns out, I got the sweeeeeetest woman representative on the phone. I ended up discussing the particulars with her and she was over there checking diagnosis and billing codes for me. She thought some of the costs charged by the outside monitoring clinic might be covered! Okay, not the $125 fee, but perhaps the cost of the U/S's and b/w. Wow! Now that would be something. She showed me where to get a claim form online and is going to have me fax it to her directly. She also encouraged me to find out the billing codes for the FET and I could call her back directly at her extension and she would check those for me too. What a sweetheart!

There's no telling whether one dime will end up back in my pocket from the outside clinic or any of the FET charges, but it's possible! I think I have a fair shot of at least getting some of it reimbursed. And I have you guys to thank for urging me to call and follow up! Thank you, thank you, thank you! I almost feel like I should be paying you a consultation fee! Well....almost. :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Friendship Put To The Test

A friend of mine, J, called me yesterday. I have known J for nearly 20 years and she was the matron of honor at my wedding. We are the same age (43) and her two kids are 13 and 11 years old. J and I go all the way back to undergrad. We've been pretty close all these years, even as the phases of our lives have changed.

Another friend, M, is a personal friend of both J and me. M is a hairdresser and has done J's and my hair for years. M is 60 years old and, like some hairdressers, she is a great gossiper.

Back when my DH and I were first know, when you thought it would just happen and you never considered guarding the information like a secret...I told both M and J that we were ttc. I wondered if M knew of any natural hair coloring products to use during pregnancy (she did not) and I shared the news with J because she was my friend.

It took 8 months before we got our first BFP. During those 8 months, J said all the things infertiles loathe to hear. "Just relax, it'll happen." "Just give it time." "At least all this practicing is fun." M would just ask bluntly, "So are you pregnant yet?"

When we got our BFP, I told J (I never told M). J was happy for me. My first prenatal appointment wasn't scheduled to happen until the 10 or 12 week mark. I forget because I miscarried at 6 weeks.

I miscarried on a Sunday. The day before, Saturday, my DH and I attended an associate picnic at the home of a co-worker of mine. As their 1 year old toddled in the yard, I delighted in her, thinking how in a year's time we too would have a little one.

Early Sunday afternoon, I drove my DH to the airport. He had a week long conference in southern California beginning the following day. I spent the rest of the day home with the dogs, relaxing. At 10 pm I turned off the TV and the lights, locked up the house, and went to use the bathroom to get ready for bed.

There was blood. Enough to worry me. Enough to make me think, yeah, I thought I had been feeling mild AF type cramps that evening. It was 10 pm, I was alone and it was my first m/c. I was panicked. I know, I'm a nurse, but this was personal and I was in uncharted territory.

I called the telephone number of the advice nurse listed on the back of my insurance card. She was so kind and gentle. She let me know that if in fact I was miscarrying, there was no way to stop it from happening. If I bled too much I should go to the ER. Was anyone with me? I sobbed, telling her my DH was out of town. She encouraged me to call a friend to stay with me.

I called my DH who immediately made arrangements to come home first thing in the morning. Then I called J. I cried, telling her I thought I was miscarrying. It was weird. She said, "I'm so sorry" but then she just asked questions. Was I bleeding? How long? Could I try to sleep? Would I be seeing the doctor the next day? Just....questions. I couldn't bring myself to ask her to come over. She never offered. I felt weird about the whole thing.

Alone that night, I miscarried. I cried. I knelt on the bathroom floor under waves of pain. I saw the clots pass. I took care of myself.

The next morning, Monday, I called in sick to work and my DH and I went to see the OB. That was my first internal ultrasound. She confirmed the miscarriage. My DH was wonderful and supportive and everything I needed him to be.

I went to work Tuesday, verging on tears all day. You know, an associate attorney wants to prove how dedicated she is and not take too much sick time. The co-worker at whose home we attended the picnic on the prior Saturday made some joke to me about how I looked fine when he saw me Saturday and I must have wanted to enjoy a long weekend. This was my introduction into the world of incredibly hurtful but ignorant comments.

When I got another BFP just 2 months later, we were less excited and more cautious. We didn't tell anyone. That time, I miscarried at 11 weeks, although that U/S revealed that the fetus had stopped growing at 7 weeks. No heart beat.

Both J and M periodically continued to ask me whether we were still ttc. I told them yes, but ended the conversation there. I never ever raise the issue. I just always felt like their questions were more about digging for juicy bits of gossip rather than supporting me.

So yesterday J called. I cancelled a hair appointment with M that was scheduled for May 23. I cancelled it because we were supposed to have our FET on May 21 and I would be on bedrest through the 24th (of course the cycle was cancelled on the 19th). I did not reschedule the hair appointment because, well, I am going to try (try!) letting my hair grow out and see what the natural, gray-tinged color really looks like. Plus, if we do get pregnant, I don't think the chemicals are good for the baby (although after the m/c my OB assured me they think the chemicals only absorb into the scalp and are not systemic).

Anyway, in yesterday's telephone call, J said she spoke with M. M mentioned that I cancelled and did not reschedule my hair appointment. J said, "M asked me if I thought you were pregnant."

The whole thing bothers me. That M wouldn't have the balls just to ask me herself. That J, who is obviously dying to know the answer too, is asking on the pretense that it is M who wants to know. That J revealed what M probably thought was a private conversation between she and J. That they are both just still digging for something to gossip about.

All I said was, "Nope. Not pregnant." It's true. Although I hope to be soon. I'm sad though, that I don't have much respect for these friendships anymore. That after so many years, I derive so little from the relationships. That whatever it was we had in common has been obliterated by my journey through infertility. That I find them to be shallow and gossipy and uninteresting. And that I find so much more support and understanding and get so much more from my bloggy friends than these IRL friends.

The phases of life, and of friendships, I guess.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day and Musings

First I want to wish everyone a Happy Memorial Day and offer a moment of gratitude for the men and women who have fought and who currently fight for our country. My DH's young nephew is home from a tour in Iraq and due soon to ship out to Afghanistan. I have the utmost respect for these brave soldiers.

Thanks to them all for their decision, their sacrifice and their dedication.


Now, shifting gears.

I told my DH how upset I was over the clinic billing us $125 "monitoring fee" for a stupid blood draw. Usually he hates it when I raise a fuss about things, but in this case he agreed with me - and with you all. So I am going to call the clinic this week to discuss it with them. I'll have to check all my receipts, but I think in total they have charged me $725 for monitoring coordination fees. If they balk or give me a line of crap, I will ask them to provide me a written, detailed explanation of exactly what services they have rendered which are attributable to the fees charged for monitoring coordination. We'll see how it goes.

We were having a wonderfully quiet weekend until our rude, redneck, testosterone-laden, knuckle dragging, idiot, neanderthal of a neighbor and his wife returned this morning from their whopping two day camping trip. Sigh. They own a super-gigantic fifth wheel RV which I call the Aircraft Carrier. It lives on a concrete slab in their front yard right next to our driveway. It used to be partially on our driveway. About 6 months after they brought it home, I hired someone to install a lovely redwood fence exactly along our side of the property line. The neanderthal was positively irate. Although I had given him two months warning that I intended to install a fence, he did nothing until the day the fence went up. Then (idiot) realized the RV would no longer fit on the existing slab. He cursed me out like a trucker (real gentleman). He ended up having to hire someone to widen the concrete pad (now 1/4 of the way across his front yard - very classy) so that the Aircraft Carrier can fit. He never apologized for cursing at me. I guess he assumed my property was his to use as he saw fit and somehow it was wrong of me to put up a fence on my own property. So the loud mouth is home. Sigh.

What else? I am on day 6 of BCP's. I will take them for 3 more days then wait for AF. She usually shows up about 4 days after the last pill. On CD 2 or 3 I will have b/w for an E2 level. I think we want it low, low, low so I can jump into my next cycle. I have to say I feel sort of guilty. I am anxious to get this next cycle underway. I have zero patience (you may recall I admitted in a previous post that patience is not my strong suit). And yet, as I read other bloggers' posts, and see the issues and obstacles they face, and the length of time they will have to wait to cycle, I feel a bit embarrassed about my impatience with my own relatively short wait. Their struggles add dimension to my own journey. I need to learn from this.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Irritable For Cause

I am irritable today. Just downright irritable. The IVF coordinator warned me that as my E2 level came down I might be a little emotional.

I haven't felt emotional, per se. No, not sad, not gleeful, not morose or gloomy. Just irritable.

I am irritable because I received in the mail 2 bills from our outside monitoring clinic. They performed the U/S's and blood draws for my since-cancelled cycle and faxed the results to our primary Clinic. Well, those vampires charge me $125 "monitoring coordination fee" each visit, in addition to the cost of each U/S and blood draw.

On my last visit there, the only thing I had done was an E2 level. I did not occupy an exam room. I did not see a doctor. There was no report that had to be typed up. Just a girl who drew my blood and sent it to their on-site lab. I paid the $90 lab test fee. But they still charged me $125 for the visit! To do what? Send a fax of the lab result?! I'm just livid about it. I think it's highway robbery. Thus far, in 4 short weeks, they've collected nearly $3,000 from me in U/S's, E2 levels and "coordination fees"! That's without any insurance coverage.

I will have to use this clinic again during my next cycle. Part of me wants to raise hell with them about it, but it's not like I have the option to go to a different clinic. This is the place to go. I'm just pissed and feel like they are taking advantage.

And BTW, I don't think they coordinate shit for me anyway. I always have to remind them where I am in my cycle and what we are looking for in each U/S. My appointments are never on time and....well....I'm just angry. And I don't believe for a moment it's attributable to my declining E2 level. I attribute it to a greedy clinic and my inability to do anything about it.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Unloading Pet Peeves

I know. Yesterday I promised an email about walking my dogs in the neighborhood. But a few bloggers recently posted some of their pet peeves. I love reading about pet peeves because I happen to have so many (and you thought I was such a cool, laid back, easy going person...ha!).

So please, indulge me. Sorry this post doesn't have anything to do with IF, just life. Let me get my peeves off my chest. Here are my pet peeves (in no particular order....they all piss me off equally):

* Drivers who, while in the middle lane, suddenly realize this is their exit/turn. Rather than inconveniencing only themselves by simply continuing on and turning around to find their turn, they interrupt the flow of traffic and impede everyone else around them when they simply elect to come to a dead stop (or slow down significantly if on the freeway), turn on their signal and expect the rest of traffic to accommodate them. This results in people all around them having to suddenly stop/slow down because we can't figure out why some idiot would suddenly stop in moving traffic.

* People who fail to pick up their dog's poop when walking on the street or at a park. They know it's wrong. You see the person shift nervously, pretending not to see as their dog craps on someone's front lawn. How ignorant and irresponsible can they be? It makes me want to follow them, pick up the poo and deposit it on the hood of their car or on their front doorstep.

* Working my way through eight levels of a complicated telephone menu, only to be hung up on.

* People who talk on a cell phone while driving (holding it to their ear) despite the law forbidding it. Seriously, they're everywhere. If California wants to solve it's present budget crisis, I suggest raising the penalty for failing to use hands-free phone devices to $500 per infraction. In a single day crackdown blitz, the cops could raise enough money to put the state back into the black.

* Parents who fail to watch their own kids in public. You know, the kids who crawl under tables at restaurants or the little face that suddenly appears, looking up at you from under the partition wall in a dressing room. Love that. This peeve goes hand in hand with parents who think nothing of allowing their sticky-handed, grimy toddler to climb all over you during a visit. The kid refuses to get off or stay off your lap. I especially love it when a two year old becomes fixated on trying to lift up my shirt.

* Too many cars parked along a residential street and especially neighbors who habitually park in front of my house. This may not bother some people, but we used to have neighbors across the street who had so many vehicles that either they or their company parked a car in front of our house every day. I hated looking out the window to see their oil leaking heap outside my window day in and day out. Fortunately, they moved.

* People who totally help themselves to "taste" bulk bin foods. You know, they and their 4 kids take so many cookies/dried mango slices/chocolate covered peanuts/ [insert anything sold in bulk here] that they won't need to make dinner that night. Hello? Can you say "stealing"?

Oh, the list goes on. I'd love to hear some of your pet peeves.

Life 101

Welcome new follower! It's great to have you!

Upon the advice of our RE, we cancelled our FET cycle 3 days ago, just 2 days prior to the scheduled transfer. We could have proceeded if we wanted to, but we elected to heed her advice. The day after we cancelled, the RE emailed me. Among other things, she said, "I am of the firm belief that attention to every detail is key in this business." I agree wholeheartedly and am glad she is a perfectionist.

Why did my E2 get too high? Why did it continue to climb even when the D.elestrogen dosage was reduced? Who knows. I think I am acutely sensitive to medication. I've experienced it before...taking a standard dose of some med and hyper responding to it (let me tell you, laxatives are not a fun way to discover such a fact!). Well, it's no one's fault. Next time they will start with a lower dosage.

For now, I have to wait. Patience is not my strong suit. It's sort of an ironic fate, but life is that way, isn't it? Forcing us to learn the lessons we need to learn. Forcing us to face our weaknesses, our flaws and our vulnerabilities. Challenging us to remain strong in the face of adversity.

So I accept the bitter medicine (time) and do my best to show fate I am learning (not whining and complaining). In the mean time, I just breathe and try to be otherwise productive. I re-potted my tomato seedlings. I wrote three pages of manuscript (I'm trying to write a book). And I took the dogs on a long neighborhood walk. More about the walk tomorrow.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Happy ICLW Week!

Welcome all ICLWers! Thank you for finding your way to my blog.

For new visitors, here is a synopsis of my story:

My DH and I were married in 2006 and began ttc immediately. I am 43 and he is 42. I became pregnant in May 2007. I m/c'd in late June. I was pregnant again by August 2007, but m/c again in October.

In summer 2008 we made our way to an infertility clinic. Final diagnosis was as I expected: DH is fine. I have old eggs. We were lined up to do an IUI in November 2008. Just days before the cycle was to begin, I was laid off from my job. We cancelled the cycle. It's just as well, I had little faith that an IUI at my age would be successful.

In January 2009 I had begun researching embryo donation. It seemed like a good way for us to go. I contacted a clinic located roughly 500 miles from where we live. In a short time we were matched with a small handful of excellent quality, gorgeous little embryos. We soon had a plan in motion.

In April we began our FET cycle. All went according to plan until my first estradiol level came back higher than the RE preferred. Reducing the medication dosage somehow resulted in an even higher blood level. The RE recommended cancelling the cycle. Because we have so few embryos -- essentially one shot at this -- we agreed and cancelled. We will begin a new cycle soon.

If all had gone according to plan, the transfer of my embryos would have been today.

I have to believe we made the right choice. The science behind IF treatments and procedures is not exact. There remains much that we simply cannot control. I want to be sure that those things we can control are optimized so that we have the best shot. I remain optimistic and hopeful that the next cycle will be successful.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A New Day

Thank you so much everybody for your kind words. I feel like I met my girlfriends (you) at an outdoor cafe and you all just listened and patted me on the back and helped me through the day. You guys are great.

If all had gone according to plan, we'd be in the car right now, 3 hours into an 8 hour drive to the Clinic. I'm still glad we made the decision we did, but it's funny how you can second guess each tine at each fork in the road. If we had gone through with the transfer and we didn't get pregnant, I would have blamed the estradiol. Now that we cancelled the transfer, I can't help but wonder whether my estradiol was fine despite the wonky lab results and whether we would have had a successful pregnancy if we had proceeded.

All the "what ifs" for which there are no answers.

To help buffer any looming disappointment about the cancelled cycle, I indulged last night and drank 2 glasses of wine. This morning I had 2 cups of coffee and painted my nails fuchsia pink. I'm going to exercise today and figure out what to think about other than Delestrogen shots and progesterone suppositories.

I think that having to shift mental gears is the hard part. Letting go of a plan-in-progress and suddenly finding yourself standing there not thinking about anything at all. Realizing you had been all-consumed with thoughts of that plan. Remembering that there is life outside of that plan and then trying to get back into the swing of that life.

As I sit here pondering these things, I realize that these next 6 weeks will give me time to focus on my garden (my plants are still alive!), go back to my book that I started writing earlier this year and haven't touched in over a month, have lunch with friends, maybe paint a canvas, exercise, lustily enjoy a few mojitos on Friday afternoons (my favorite summertime alcoholic beverage) and BBQ a steak or two. Holy crap, I have a life outside of clinics and ultrasounds and lab results and medications!

Then, hopefully just a few weeks from now, I will feel more confident and knowledgeable about the FET process and what we are doing when the next cycle begins.

It's a plan. It's just a different plan.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Patience, Grasshopper

I want to thank everyone for their thoughtful suggestions and support. Last night my DH and I discussed everything at length. We weighed the possible benefits and risks of proceeding. If my estradiol levels come down to the normal range and we want to keep the transfer on schedule for Thursday, I had to start the progesterone last night. But you know progesterone starts the clock and then you either HAVE TO transfer or cancel.

We decided to start the progesterone. This morning I had blood drawn at the outside monitoring clinic rather than the lab I had been using. We won't know the results for several hours yet. There is a possibility that the lab we had been using generated erroneous results and that my estradiol level has been fine all along. If my level comes back today at, say, 200 or 300, then the lab's results were probably wrong. If the results come back at 700 or 800, then we have a problem.

But having had time to calm down and think this thing through, we decided that if the estradiol level is unstable, or borderline too high, and if the RE feels that the present circumstances are not optimal for transfer, my DH and I decided we will agree with the RE and cancel this cycle.

We can do another cycle in 6 weeks. We would take a lower dose of estradiol and hopefully attain good levels from the outset. Waiting 6 weeks is not the end of the world. I really want these embryos, and if we lose them just because we are anxious and rush this cycle, we will be back on a waiting list for other embryos for who knows how long. Maybe several months or more.

To me, it's worth waiting for the perfect pitch before we swing the bat. So I am learning patience.

--UPDATE 2pm --

Today's E2 level came back at 599.
Now the question becomes, was the first lab result (939) wrong or are my levels dropping that fast? The RE says if we could prove yesterday's lab result was wrong, she's fine with doing the transfer. But there is no way to prove it. If, on the other hand, my levels are in fact dropping that fast, then I will start bleeding in a couple of days and we will lose the embryos.

Erring on the side of caution, we will probably cancel the cycle. I'll go back on BCPs for 10 days to help regulate my hormones, then stop BCPs for AF, then restart a new cycle (and get all b/w done at the monitoring clinic). The good thing is that we have most of the meds, so the cost won't be quite as huge. It's a little disappointing, but I feel like we're making the safest decision.

We cancelled. I start BCPs tomorrow. I'm really feeling pretty good about this. My gut is saying "good move." I'm learning to trust my gut. Well, it's either my gut or it could also be the wine I'm already drinking! ;)


Monday, May 18, 2009

Teetering on the Brink of Cancellation

Nothing is a sure bet until it actually happens. It is three days before our scheduled transfer and our cycle may get cancelled.

My estradiol shot up to 939 from 791. That's after decreasing the dosage. WTF? Well, the lab result could be in error. After 2 days of problems with that *$#!@^& lab, who the hell knows whether we can trust the results. I am going to have another level drawn tomorrow at a different place.

The RE wanted to cancel the cycle. She feels that even if we stop the Delestrogen shots and bring the level down to normal, the "non-ideal" circumstances warrant cancellation. The IVF coordinator said RE is "very conservative" and likes everything to go perfectly like clock work.

The doctor who actually performs the procedure (and who outranks the RE) feels that if we can bring the level down, we can proceed with the transfer as scheduled, and that our chances of a successful pregnancy won't be adversely affected.

So what do we believe? What do we do? We have five embryos. Three look great. Two are probably not worth using. That means we have one shot. I don't want to waste these embryos on a doomed transfer.

A second considerations is that between the meds and the cost of the outside monitoring clinic, we've spent about $4,000. It would be down the drain if we have to start over. And we'd have to come up with another $4,000 to repeat them, which I'm not sure we have right now. But if we proceed and fail as a result of the estrogen roller coaster, then we've spent $10,000 (including the fee to the Clinic) and end up with nothing.

Suggestions? Thoughts? Even if you're not a believer, please pray that this works out for us.

Waiting, Planning and Dreaming

Thank you everyone for your consolation and suggestions about the IM shots. I'm definitely going to give the ice and heat a try.

Today is another day of waiting for test results. My estradiol level was high on Friday, so we reduced the Delestrogen dosage. I had follow up b/w this morning to see where my level is now.

On the bright side, our RE emailed me over the weekend. She wanted to discuss how many embryos to thaw, to confirm how many we want to transfer, and whether we wanted to transfer the day of the thaw or let them culture over night. It's always exciting to get an email from her because she discusses the embryos and I love reading and hearing about them. Oh, my darling little 3-day, 8 cell A grade, how are you, my love? And little 3-day, 7 cell B grade, I can't wait to meet you! You know, I get all maternal.

Although we haven't yet been given the final green light (because of the estradiol level) my DH and I talked about the trip and what we need to do and things we should do. He said that after the transfer, I need to learn to relax. He's right. For my own sake and for the sake of trying to get pregnant. I tend to be high energy, I am a definite Type A, and sometimes little things that shouldn't be a big deal get under my skin and - ahem - I admit that I sometimes overreact. For his part, he said he would do what he could and whatever I needed him to do to help me. I appreciated that.

He wanted to know when the baby would be born - presuming this transfer works (always the "if" in the back of our minds). Then at some point he asked me at which hospital I would likely have the baby. I said, "Memorial" and he said, "Oh, I wish it were ABC Hospital because it's much closer. And I said, "No...I hate ABC Hospital and I don't trust those people and I want to have it at Memorial." He paused. He thought. He said, "Memorial is downtown do we get there?"

I suddenly realized he's already thinking ahead, worried and concerned about getting us to the hospital in time for the birth. I had to laugh. It was really cute. I said, "Don't worry, there's plenty of time to figure out the route to the hospital and I promise you'll know before the time comes." I like seeing that he's as excited about this as I am.

So today is waiting and planning and dreaming of what might be.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Fly in the Ointment and Male Performance Anxiety

My estradiol level is 791. High normal range is 600. Crap.

How do I know my estradiol level? No, it's not because the lab timely reported the result to my Clinic, even though the test was ordered "stat" and should have been back in 4 hours. It's because I had to call the phlebotomy lab, then call the hospital lab, then talk with a supervisor and demand a call back when the result was done. You see, the machine had apparently broken down, it had been down all day, someone was working on it and hopefully they'd have the test done by Saturday.


I told them this was unacceptable, that a medication dosage was dependent upon this result and I needed the result ASAP. Well, somehow during this conversation, I got the distinct impression that the supervisor thought I was an employee of the doctor's office calling. I did say that I was the patient when I first called, but if they got confused, well, I wasn't going to correct them, especially if it would get my result done faster.

So Ms. Chatty Lab Supervisor pulled my blood sample, put it to the front of the line, and when the stupid machine was finally working again (the problem had to do with calibration of a new control lot), my test was run and I received a call with the result at 5:30 pm.

So my estradiol is too high and we had to reel in the dosage a bit. And then I have to have another blood draw on Monday. But, sh^t, you know, to get anything done you have to take the bull by the horns....and then shake the hell out of it.

Hopefully we're still on track to do the transfer Thursday...but we won't know until Monday.

Meanwhile, my husband has developed male performance anxiety. The problem with this kind of anxiety is that you (me) can't even say, "WTF...get a grip and just pull it together?" because that only makes matters worse. Now the kind of male performance anxiety I'm talking about has to do with my Delestrogen IM injections.

The first shot went fine. The second time, he panicked, and his hand shook, and he bounced the needle off my skin (did you know a needle could bounce?). But he finally did it. Last night, with the new lower dosage, his needle-bearing hand shook like he had the DT's. He stopped because, you know, it's hard to hit a target with a sharp object when your hand is wobbling all over the freaking place. Then he just did it....and holy hurt! But like I said, you can't scold or question because it will only make it worse for next time. For the rest of the night I limped around the house like I had a horse in my ass.

He just said, "Well, I guess I'll never be a neurosurgeon." "No," I said, "I guess you won't."

Friday, May 15, 2009

Almost Like a Vacation

Happy Friday everyone!

I had b/w (estradiol level) and U/S this morning. Hopefully those were the last ones before the transfer. U/S showed a lining of 9.4 mm, which I think should be fine at this point. Waiting for estradiol level to come back. Then final instructions from the Clinic.

I'm totally excited for the transfer. I'm planning, making lists and I'm going to begin a preliminary suitcase pack today. The whole "wow, we could actually get pregnant from this" hasn't quite fully hit me yet though.

I'm also looking forward to the long drive with my husband. We'll be gone 5 days and much of it will be spent in a hotel room. In a way, it's kind of like a vacation. Except we won't go sight seeing, or browse shops or eat delicious food at fun restaurants. No beaches, historical towns, no beverages with umbrellas perched on the rim, no hikes or scenic vistas. No, there won't be any of that. Still, it will be nice. A long drive, time to talk, time to think about possibilities, to have quiet time together without phone calls or his work or chores to do. Something different.

I hope you all have a great weekend, and I wanted to wish EB good luck tonight with her concert! Knock 'em dead!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Making a List and My Stowaway Garden

It's a perfect, sunny, pleasant Thursday. My mood is much improved from yesterday. I want to thank you all for being supportive and understanding of my crankiness, for offering encouragement and helping me through the day.

I have begun making a list of things to bring next week on our road trip to the Clinic. We'll arrive in our destination city on Wednesday, have the transfer Thursday, then I'll be on bed rest until Sunday, when we'll pile back in the car and come home.

I am bringing my laptop for several reasons: so that I can keep up with all of you and write about my experience, because ICLW begins next week, and so that I can look in on my two little dogs, who will stay in a "pet hotel" while we are gone. The doggie suite we booked has a webcam in the room, so I will be able to peek in on those two silly-heads to see what they are up to. Being away from my dogs from Wednesday through Sunday is the hardest part of this whole thing. I am going to miss them like crazy.

I told my husband that one (or, more precisely, two) of the things we have to take with us on our trip is my garden. Well, it's not exactly a garden. Not yet. Actually, I tend to kill plants. House plants, shrubs, flowers, vines, even grass. The only thing I can't seem to kill are weeds. But I love the dirt and I love planting things and trying to get them to grow. I try really hard for a while, but it's virtually futile, and in the end, they almost always face their demise.

Anyway, I got this big idea this year that I wanted to plant heirloom tomatoes and cantaloupe. Two things I adore in the summer. So I purchased some organic seeds. I planted them. I talked sweetly to them. I watered them, I set them in the sunshine during the day, and I brought them in the house at night. I have been doting on them for weeks. During my MIL's visit last weekend, she informed me that it's probably too late in the season for planting seeds, but I'm giving it all I've got! By golly, I'm gonna get at least one blooming tomato off this plant if it kills me!

Here are my little charges: Cantaloupe on left, tomato on right

So now, just when they actually look healthy and like they might survive, we face being out of town for 5 days. They would surely die. I can't really leave them with anyone because we're telling as few people as possible that we're going out of town and they think it's just for the weekend. We're not that friendly with our neighbors and...well, I just want to bring them with us. They're small enough that I figured it wouldn't be a problem. My husband doesn't want to drag them with us, and he said, "Oh, you can just plant more another time." But I'm bringing them! I'll be the one to pack for the trip anyway. He won't even realize they're in the car until we arrive at our hotel and I pull them out. I'll grin and he'll roll his eyes.

Besides, you see, I have it all planned. As I lie in bed after the transfer, praying and visualizing my babies implanting into my luxurious uterine lining, I can rest quietly and watch my garden grow.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sisterhood Award

My bloggy friend Looking4#3 kindly nominated me for a Sisterhood Award. I'm just pleased and tickled to death that my blog, in some way, contributes to her experience as she travels the road of her journey.

I apologize that it has taken me several days to get this post up.

The blogs I follow, and several others that I read regularly, have given me such comfort, encouragement, support and a sense sisterhood. I am so grateful to you all and feel very lucky to have found you. I look forward every day to reading about your experiences and what is new in your lives and sharing with you what's going on in mine. Thank you for being there.

I realize that several of you may have been previously nominated. You may wish to forgo creating a new Sisterhood post, but I wanted to recognize you and acknowledge your importance to me.

Here are the guidelines for this award:

1) Put the logo on your blog or post.
2) Nominate at least 10 blogs with great attitude and/or gratitude. Be sure to link to your nominees in your post.
3) Let your nominees know they have received the award by leaving them a comment on their blog.
4) Be sure to link this post to the person who nominated you for the award.

The blogs I nominate are:

IVF 40+ Path to Parenthood


Bang head here


conceiving life after 40

keeping my head out of the stove…while waiting for a bun in the oven

Invitro Veritas

Happy High Heels

can you imagine?

One Smarmy Mama

Oh, Just a Little Ranting

Today, I feel grumpy. Thus far I hadn't really noticed any side effects of the meds aside from some initial breast tenderness with the Lupron (or maybe it was the BCPs). I thought, cool, I've not suffered any of the miserable side effects I read about.

But this morning, I feel short tempered and grumpy. I've had 2 delestrogen injections. I thought maybe it could be the hormones. So I researched the side effects of delestrogen. Here's what I found:

Abnormal hair growth; breast tenderness; changes in sex drive; cramps; dizziness; flushing; hair loss; headache; lightheadedness; nausea; pain, swelling, or redness at the injection site; reduced tolerance to carbohydrates; stomach bloating and upset; swelling; vaginal infection; weight changes.

Hm, that all sounds awful. Well, as of now at least, I don't have any chin or chest hair, my sex drive has been askew for nearly 2 years anyway what with all the unromantic, timed sex (which is loads of fun on the days you're arguing with your spouse), no cramps, I still have a full head of hair (interesting that side effects include both hair growth and hair loss), maybe some stomach bloating but I had attributed that to last night's dinner, no vag infection and I refuse to get on a scale right now away. So....

It appears that my crankiness and short temper are all on me. Maybe it's because I semi-resent my DH's automatic assumption that I will simply take care of things that need to be done around here (after all, he works and I don't). I have become the home manager, taking care of every phone call, appointment, arrangement, chore and errand that needs to be done. I shop, I cook, I take care of the dogs, I handle the household paperwork, I make sure the bills get paid on time, I follow up on all the little problems that arise and of course, manage all the IF stuff. How did I ever used to have time to work? How will all these things get done when I do go back to work? And why is it so hard for him to say "thank you" once in a while or wash a freaking dish?

This morning I slightly bent the needle when I inserted it into the Lupron rubber stopper. Not much, you know, maybe just 15 degrees or so. But I only have enough needles left to get me through Sunday, which is just enough. I thought, screw it, what can it hurt? I gave myself the shot with the bent needle. I didn't want to have to call the Clinic to get a prescription for one stupid TB syringe.

Speaking of the Clinic, they called to obtain payment in full, which is required before they will do the FET. $6,000+ on my credit card today. My bank account is going to take a big hit when that bill comes in.

I guess I'm just feeling cranky and restless and anxious and I'm tired of meds and shots and I just want it to be next week already. So, in a nutshell, today I am a whiner.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Surviving the In-Laws and Inspired Conversation

Well, the in-law visits are least for now. My FIL is another character all together (The Great Pontificator), but he also lives out of town, which is fortunate for me. My poor DH. These are his own family members and after spending about 2 hours with these people, he begins to look....constipated. Uncomfortable and ready to get the hell away from them. I can't imagine the questions and "you shoulds" that will come out of their mouths if I actually get pregnant and have a baby, but I think I will just develop an attitude of "sorry, that's personal and I'm not comfortable discussing that" or "We have our own ideas about that, which I'd prefer not to discuss." Survival. It's all about survival!

If all stays on track, then a week from tomorrow we will be piling into the car and heading to the city where our Clinic is. The following day will be our FET. The idea that we could actually get pregnant with a viable pregnancy inspired us to have a serious talk about being parents.

My DH and I talked about what kind of parents we would want to be. What we feel is important to being a good parent and what kind of experience we want the child to have. We talked about how we want our child(ren) to grow up and feel about themselves, and how to make that happen. To me, having fun and feeling joyful are integral to a happy childhood. To my DH, not feeling like a burden to your parents and feeling like your parents are happy to make time for you is integral.

Our attitudes about parenting are tied tightly to our own childhood experiences and the things our own parents did. Both good and bad. We remember the mistakes our parents made and avoiding those mistakes rank high on our own respective agendas. The good things they did, or some variation thereof, are things we want to be sure to include. We also talked about our respective weaknesses, and components of our personalities that we worry about.

It was really fun to have that conversation. I already knew in my heart that my DH will be a good Dad, but it was a good experience for us to delve a little more deeply into particular issues and feelings. Things like our own childhood traumas, the hopes we have for our children, and the dreams we have for our life as a family.

Even if I don't get pregnant, or if the pregnancy doesn't work out (I need to keep reminding myself of this to avoid being too know?)...well, I'm still glad my DH and I had that conversation. If nothing else, it taught us a little more about each other and fostered some emotional growth between us. That's a good thing, no matter what.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Wacky P and Madame Firing Squad

I got through mother's day virtually unscathed. Virtually. I must say that Wacky P, my SIL, was not too bad yesterday. Perhaps it was because I felt empowered by all of your encouragement and comments, and I leaped in and said what I thought without waiting for her to deride me.

Reflecting on the day, and discussing it with my hubby, this is the kernel of what bothers me about my in-laws: (1) They don't understand boundaries, and (2) They are disrepectful of other people's time and schedules.

First, let me introduce you to my MIL, Madame Firing Squad. I call her this because every interaction with her makes me feel like I am backed up against a wall and being riddled incessantly - not with bullets - but with questions. From the moment we greet each other until the moment we shut the car door to drive home, she asks questions non-stop.

How did your interview go? When will they contact you? Are you applying anywhere else? Is your mom coming to visit this year? What are you doing with all the spare time you have? Are your dogs any better behaved? Did you take them for any training? Did you put in your garden? How is your back yard coming along? Is it done yet? Are you planning to take any trips this year? (Plus all the "Why don't you's"....Why don't you try doing it this way? Why don't you use that product? Why don't you try teaching your dogs to play fetch?).

I end up with a headache. This non-stop questioning is part of what I mean by not having boundaries. People (me) don't necessarily want to explain every facet of their lives and every reason behind their actions. She has no boundaries and just asks whatever question pops into her head.

Wacky P's kids also have no social boundaries. It's exhausting to be around those kids. They interrupt whenever they want. Last night at Wacky P's house, The Boy went over and started playing the piano - which sits 3 feet from the dinner table. He banged away while the adults were trying to carry on conversation. Meanwhile, The Girl sat down on the floor and launched into a repititous chant of "I want someone to tickle my feet!" until her mother paid attention to her. The Boy ate with the manners of an animal, licking his fork and licking the plate and chewing with his mouth open. It's frenetic and chaotic and definitely not the makings of a relaxing, enjoyable visit.

The boundary thing essentially goes to having no sense that their behavior grossly encroaches into the comfort zone of other people. They are oblivious.

As far as being disrespectful, here are some examples:

* They say they're going to call and then don't. My MIL called my DH mid-morning on mother's day to say she'd be arriving by train, and that Wacky P was picking her up from the station. MIL wanted to stop by our house on the way to Wacky P's.

Oh, crap, no warning! I had an hour to jump in the shower, tidy up the house and put all my meds, syringes, sharps container, refrigerator notes and everything else FET related away. My DH had been getting some work done in his home office, which he had to stop. Well, we got everything set....and then she never called. We sat here waiting for more than 2 hours. When he finally called her at 1 pm, she was already at Wacky P's house and just said, "There was a change in plans." Uh, thanks for the call? My DH grumbled about the work he could have gotten done during that time.

* This morning my MIL called my DH and said she and Wacky P were out shopping and that afterward she wanted to stop by our house. My DH told her that this is a work day for him, so it would be best if they came over during the noon hour since it would be lunch time. They did eventually call, and came over - not during the noon hour - but around 2:20 in the afternoon and stayed for an hour. (So I had another round of stashing my drugs and needles, although this time I waited to get the call first).

I just think these behaviors show complete lack of respect for the other person's time, schedule and plans. They are very "play it by ear" kind of people. I am not. But again, they don't respect my perspective about these things and they perceive me as being "difficult."

The only real "ugh" moment last night was when we were getting ready to leave Wacky P's house. As we stood to go, The Girl (she's 5) said to me, "Happy Mother's Day!" Well, you know, you can't fault a 5 year old, so I just said, "Thanks, sweetie." She quickly responded by saying, "You're not a mother!" Yeah, babe, thanks for that.

So, um, what's the next holiday and when do I have to see these people again?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Not My Day

Today is a difficult day for some of us. Thoughts of might-have-beens and should-have-beens. Thoughts that maybe next year....

For each of you, my wish is that today you feel peace and hope. Peace in what you have lost or have not attained. Hope that this day will be much happier for you next year.

The silent, crushing ache of we infertiles on mother's day is a loud silence indeed.

And soon...just a few hours....I will be off to visit with my SIL Wacky P and my MIL, Madame Firing Squad. Report to follow.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The First Shot and Joy in a Wish Bone

A fellow blogger kindly nominated me for a Sisterhood Award. I am working to put together my list (I am not very technically savvy, so it may take a few tries).

In the mean time, I wanted to tell you that the Delestrogen IM shot last night went great! I found an online video of a nursing student giving an IM shot. We watched it. We practiced. Then it was time. Poor hubby. He really did not want to do this. But he was going to be brave....even if it killed me!

I laid on my side on our bed (it's high, so it was a good height). I drew an ink circle on my hip for him as a guide. I could see him as I looked over my shoulder. I asked him to count to 3 for me. He stood there, poised with the needle in one hand, the other hand steady on my hip. "One...two...three!" and his quite shaky hand came down and did the deed. Once it was in, I said, "Hey! That didn't hurt at all!" And he said, "Really?" I assured him it really didn't hurt. He aspirated, then injected, and it was all over.

Afterward he walked proudly around the house saying, "I gave a shot today!" It was very cute. He was very relieved.

I also wanted to share with you a really touching experience I had this morning.

A while back, probably 2 months ago or so, I bought one of those rotisserie chickens for dinner. I pulled out and saved the wish bone. Well, it sat on the kitchen sill to's been there ever since. We just never got around to it. This morning, my husband suddenly appeared in front of me, holding the wish bone. "Here, let's do this," he said, "it's been sitting there for months." I agreed.

I took hold of one end while he held the other. He was watching the bone and I said, "No....look at me!" So he looked up into my eyes. As we paused to make our respective wishes, looking at each other, I thought and focused. Silently, the words inside my head came quickly. "Twins. Two healthy, perfect babies."

We pulled. He won.

Without missing a beat he said, "I wished for the same thing you did. That way it is sure to come true. I really want this to happen."

Tears sprang to my eyes. Then I felt the rush, and I stood there crying. I said, "That's the sweetest thing you've said to me." And he held me while I cried.

You know, my husband is good and sweet and would do anything for me. That said, however, so often I have felt like this has been my journey. My exams, my blood draws, my ultrasounds. I make the telephone calls and travel arrangements. I have done the research and I found the Clinic. I know he's behind me, but he rarely expresses his feelings about it all. Sometimes I have had the feeling that he was sort of just going along with my wishes. Did he really want this? Is he invested in this? Is he excited at the prospect of being pregnant and being parents? I thought that he just didn't dwell or think about these things much....whereas I can't stop thinking about them.

So today's comment answered all my wonderings and misgivings. He told me exactly what I had hoped for. And it moved me to joyful tears.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Is That a Green Light I See?

I hoped to write a post earlier today, but wanted to include the results from today's U/S and b/w. I left the house this morning at 8:30 am for a 9:00 am blood draw and then a 10:00 am U/S.

Afterward, I waited. Stat lab results are supposed to be back in 4 hours. I checked in with the Clinic at the 5 hour mark. Nothing yet. At 6 hours the results were back, but the IVF coordinator needed to discuss the results with Dr. Wonderful. She said she would get back to me.

I finally got a call back at 5:45 pm. Sigh. Nearly a whole day of waiting. Yeah, yeah, I know....nothing says I have to sit next to the phone all day long waiting for it to ring. Hubby says just to go about my business and if they call while I am out, I can just call them back. But this is my business at the moment. And until I get the call, I can't seem to concentrate on anything else. So I wasted a perfectly gorgeous day watching the clock. I hate that I did that.

In the end, we got the green light. My estradiol is a nice, low 8. My endometrium has thinned out. Ovaries are still clear. I am to reduce my Lupron dosage and start doxycycline, dexamethasone and aspirin. It's also time to start the Delestrogen. Hubby is currently at the gym and has no idea that he will be giving me my first Delestrogen shot in the bum tonight! We have been practicing, but I'm not sure how this will go [gulp]. Next U/S in a week to be sure the lining is thickening up.

It seems we are in the final stretch, heading toward our FET! God, just let those embryos survive the thaw!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Status Update

Welcome, new follower, and thanks!

Today's post is an update on where things stand with me at the moment.

* There was a knock at the door yesterday. AF, so nice to see you! This means we are on track. U/S and estradiol level Friday then I should hopefully start my stims on Saturday.

* My lovely blue-violet bruise (Sunday's Lupron injection that hit a vein) is now a not so lovely shade of yellow mustard. Bleah.

* I got a temporary reprieve from having to visit my SIL, Wacky P. The visit would have been last Sunday. Because of the anxiety of waiting to see whether shooting Lupron into a vein was just fine, no problem...or would result in immediate ventricular fibrillation (fortunately it was the former), my hubby let me off the hook and went to visit by himself. He felt I had endured enough stress for one day. But this coming Sunday his mom will be in town, and I am back on the hook. Mother's Day with the in-laws...I can hardly wait.

* Our outside monitoring clinic (OMC) called and left me a message saying that they made an error in charging me for certain blood tests. They are crediting $130 to my credit card. Okay, THIS kind of thing never happens! I had complained to the Clinic about having to pay for unnecessary tests and they apparently decided to eat the cost. Nice! (although, it was their mistake).

* I have to go to a "thing" tonight to meet-and-greet, listen to a speaker, eat dinner, smile and mingle. I'd really rather not. I don't even know whether any of my suits fit anymore. I am bloated with AF and have been prohibited from exercising. But a prospective employer asked if I'd be I'm going. And I'll smile.

* Our transfer date is 2 weeks from today. This fact alone makes the world a pretty good place at the moment.

Why Fertility Treatments Are Not Like Double D Breasts

Yesterday my husband and I discussed the financial impact of this cycle. I am out of work, after all. We looked at the numbers, did the math, and if this cycle is not successful, we will have to put things on hold for a while until I get a job and start padding the bank account again.

I have seen posted on numerous blogs the huge financial toll IF treatments have taken (as though the emotional toll weren't enough). Each of us uses whatever resources we have, whether it includes bank loans, savings accounts, family inheritances, second mortgages or credit cards. We struggle to find the money for each cycle.

Insurance often covers so little. This is such a huge issue and it strikes me as being so wrong! I believe the position I take is one of reasonableness. I don't think insurance should have to pay for someone like the Oct.omom who already had 6 kids and now has 8 more. It shouldn't be like a shopping spree for babies. But I firmly believe that insurance should pay, when medically indicated, for an adult to have a child. I would include as medically indicated things like male factor problems, endo, ttc unsuccessfully for a year, same sex partners, and age 35 or greater. They could cap payment based on the number of live births to prevent the Oct.omom problem.

But for crying out loud, having a child is simply not the same as other non-covered elective procedures -- such as surgery to increase breast size from an A cup to a DD cup. Having a family should not be put on par with cosmetic surgery, despite the fact that being being childless, much like having A cup breasts, is not a life threatening condition. That said, when someone is disfigured in an accident, even if the disfigurement isn't life-threatening, insurance usually pays to make the person look as normal as possible, including paying for plastic surgery.

Well, for those of us desperately wanting a child, we simply are trying to attain what we feel is a normal life! A family life. I would love to see a federal mandate requiring insurance companies to pay for fertility treatments.

I'm not holding my breath though. Self-induced asphyxia is probably not covered either.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Mommy Instincts

Have you done things that made you think, "I will be a good mom one day because I have mommy instincts"? I had one of those moments last night, around 3:30 am.

[Disclaimer: for those of you who don't have pets, you may find this a bit gross].

Our two little dogs sleep with us. Noodle Head is good girl. She just goes to the foot, lays on her pillow and snoozes. Doodle, however, likes to get between us, she rolls onto her back, snores, and if she wakes before you, you might end up with a tongue licking your morning breath mouth. She is also as sweet as the day is long.

Anyway, last night around 3:30 am, in the darkness of night, the peaceful silence was suddenly broken by a sound every dog owner recognizes: the sound of a dog about to puke. The familiar ratchety heaving sound. You usually get 2-3 heave warnings before the big event.

Heave 1, I was awake and sitting straight up in bed. Heave 2, I was assessing which dog was about to do the deed. By heave 3, I realized it was Doodle and had my hands cupped firmly under her mouth as she deposited the goods. Using no hands, I got the sheets off me, climbed out of bed and made my way to the bathroom to dispose of the goods and clean up. By the time I made it back into bed, my husband was just turning over, and in a half-asleep, foggy voice said, "Huh? What? What's going on?" I said, "Nothing. Go back to sleep."

Yup, I have mommy instincts. The sound of my Doodle needing help jolted me into action. The job was done before hubby even opened one sleepy eye. That's mommy instinct!

Monday, May 4, 2009

First Hurdle

The Results Are In:

All is well. We are on track. U/S is fine. Estradiol is fine. Stopping BCPs.

Now I need to rant a little.

My Clinic - oops - inadvertently sent two orders to the outside monitoring clinic (OMC). They only meant to order an estradiol....but somehow one of the orders included a progesterone and LH level. So of course the OMC didn't call to confirm which of the orders was correct, and of course the OMC drew the labs, and of course they are charging me the $130 for the cost of the two unnecessary labs. Oops. Thanks a freakin'lot. I love spending money for nothing.

See, THIS is exactly when a nice big, full glass of red whine....I mean wine....would come in really handy. But nooooooooo. It's on the forbidden list. (Suddenly, a string of Italian curse words leap to my mind).

Okay, but the news is good. Let's focus on the positive.

Now I need AF to visit....soon!


Clinic called and they have not yet received the results from my outside monitoring clinic (the OMC) yet. I am so impatient! She is going to call the OMC in 10 minutes to see if they have results yet. THEY SHOULD...IT'S BEEN FREAKING 4 HOURS!

Okay, did I mention I'm feeling a little impatient?

HOWEVER, I think it will be good news. The doc who did the U/S said he did not see any cysts at all!!! I actually did a double fist pump when he said the words. It must have been quite a sight...I don't know how the assistant girl kept from giggling at seeing this woman, still firmly positioned in stirrups, virtually lifting herself off the crinkly white paper to double fist pump the air.

The only other thing I need to follow up on is to make sure that the OMC does not charge me for b/w that my Clinic didn't order. You have to be on top of them every step of the way! This kills me! I had to ask the OMC for a detailed receipt today (they don't give me one otherwise), and when they handed it to me, I saw that the b/w included estradiol, LH and progesterone levels. My Clinic told me (and I just confirmed with them) that I only needed to have the estradiol level. So they better not charge me for tests they took upon themselves to do. As it is, they see fit to charge me $125 each visit for "outside monitoring coordination." I'd say they're a little uncoordinated.

Further update pending.......

I am off to the clinic for a follow up u/s to make sure my cyst has gone away, and for an estradiol level. Wish me luck! I will post an update later today.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Update-- I have a bruise in the loveliest shade of blue-violet on my belly.

My husband has been giving me the Lupron shots the past several days just to help him get used to holding a syringe and the feel of poking a needle into flesh. This morning, though, we were running a little late. I decided to do it myself. I swabbed, drew up the 10 units, pinched the skin, poked (ouch...hurt) and when I withdrew the needle, I saw blood. And then I saw the vein I apparently just injected the Lupron into appear as a visible, swollen blue line.

Oh, crap! Now what? Two thoughts: did I just screw up my daily dose, and would I pass out and need to go to the emergency room? A welt began to appear at the injection site - it looked like a bee sting.

I called the Clinic's off-hours answering service. It seemed to take forever until someone called me back. I paced. My dogs seemed worried. My husband was a little concerned, but definitely reassured that five full minutes had passed since the injection and I hadn't had a heart attack, stroke or seizure.

Finally I got the call-back. The very reassuring voice on the other end of the line told me not to worry, it doesn't matter if you hit the tiny blood vessels in the belly, which are very superficial. I didn't screw up the dose and I would be just fine. I might ice the site though to help with bruising. I thanked her profusely.

My heart rate returned to normal. I breathed a sigh of relief. I hate "Yikes!" moments.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

A Single Red Balloon

It rained here today. Which is good because we can use the rain, and also it allowed me to feel a little lazy. Laying-on-the-couch-watching-movies kind of lazy. The only thing we really accomplished today was going out to eat. After a week of super-healthy cooking, I was in the mood for a gigantic hamburger. So off we went...through the rain.

I drove. We were heading down the street in a long line of cars, through the rain. After passing some cars I moved over to the right hand lane. There was a huge puddle along the curb to my right (sounds like the dream I had just a few days ago!). Anyway, there suddenly appeared a single red balloon, floating along, across my lane, coming down to windshield height. I aimed for it! I felt like it was a sign (okay, I'm always on the lookout for signs, and sometimes I see them, or maybe I just imagine they are signs, because they never seem to result in a miracle). Anyway, I thought, I need to hit the balloon! It's a sign that this cycle will be successful if I can hit the balloon.

My eyes were glued to that balloon! I was determined! To hit it though, I had to drive a bit to the right hand side of the road. Through the big puddle. I did. I drove through the puddle and just nudged the balloon. We went under it and I looked in the rear view mirror to see it bump a bit and float upward.

I didn't spin out, end up at the top of a steep snow covered hill, or go sledding (and my hands were on the steering wheel instead of outstretched) but I created a memory. I made the most of the moment.

I turned to my husband and grinned. He thinks I'm a bit of a nut, but he just goes with it.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Enjoying the Ride

I appreciate the thoughtful input about whether I should tell my Mom about this cycle and our use of donated embies. You all make such good points. I'm still not sure what I will do, but I guess the worst thing I can do is stress myself out over it.

It's May. Hopefully when this month comes to a close, I will have little embryos inside me, making themselves happily at home. That's what I need to focus on. That, and making sure I enjoy the time leading up to that day. I don't want to waste these precious days because if all goes well, I want to look back and cherish the time that led up to our happy BFP. Each day of our journey is an opportunity to create a memory. I want to remember the happy anticipation of it all.

Last night I had a dream that I was driving in a line of cars on a long road out in the middle of the country. The road was messy with water, as though a storm had just passed through. I decided to speed up and pass another car on the right. There was a huge, deep puddle in my path of travel. I saw the puddle and thought I could make it through if I just held fast to the steering wheel. When I hit the puddle, I lost control and started spinning out and twirling around, actually off the road and up the side of a steep hill (weird, but it's a dream....just go with with it).

When I stopped at the top of the hill, I was no longer in a car, but standing there. The hill was covered with snow and mud. I had to get down the hill and I considered hiking down through the mess. Instead, I grabbed some kind of plastic sheet (which just happened to appear), sat down on it, laid back, stretched my arms out to the sides, and went down the hill like a kid on a sled.

The people on the road below (now standing there without cars) all looked up at me and smiled and laughed and thought it was great that I had chosen to slide down the hill. I wasn't worried about getting muddy or wet. I wasn't worried about crashing. I wanted to enjoy the ride. I had an opportunity to enjoy the ride, and I took it. It felt great!

When I got to the bottom of the hill, I realized how much fun that ride had been, and I was glad I had hit the puddle, spun out and ended up at the top of the hill.

I'm not sure what it all means, if anything, but I know that I have to get through these next weeks. I could spend it worrying. Or, I can seize the opportunity to lean back, stretch out my arms, close my eyes, and enjoy the rush of the ride. To allow my hopes and dreams for this cycle to be the wind in my face and the stomach-lilting rush of excitement.

I know it could be messy. I could crash and burn.

But I choose to enjoy the ride.