Sunday, August 30, 2009

Empty Nest

As I wait for either on-time (I will also accept early) bleeding or for next weekend to arrive (at which point my RE will proceed to stim with Mother Nature in absentia).....I am obsessed with home improvement projects. It started as a budget bathroom remodel (almost done!) and has escalated to new indoor and outdoor lighting, new mailbox installation, and some other odd jobs around the house (in progress!). My husband is so pleased with this (sarcasm!). He is training for a marathon and just loves coming home from long runs with honey-do chores awaiting. Sorry, babe, but I need to nest.

 

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Better Late Than Never

Finally. My cheap-ass PIAC o-sticks told the truth and I start estrogen priming tonight. AND, since I let my control freak-flag fly this morning, I learned that if Mother Nature falls down on the job again (i.e. I don't bleed like a mofo within 11 days), I can go in for an ultrasound and just get started. So, technically, this little hiccup didn't delay me by more than a few days. All is right with the world (except the bit about how I have to shoot up with fancy drugs and make sweet love to an ultrasound wand and a catheter to have a baby which I still do not have. Except that.)

 

Monday, August 24, 2009

For Serious?

Slight hitch: I haven't ovulated yet. Today is day 19. Motherf#@ker. This is a first for like-clockwork me. I go back for bloodwork on Thursday to check again. This delays IVF cycle #2 by AT LEAST a week, and maybe more if my body decides to continue to backfire. Great. *deep breath, teeth clenched, happy smiles*

Update: Who was I kidding? I could not fight temptation, so I broke down and bought an OPK. Actually, I was hasty and bought the wrong one. The reason the kit I purchased is cheaper is because instead of "POAS," I must instead "PIAC" - pee in a cup. Gross. But, since infertility has left me virtually devoid of any type of humility with regard to all things ladyparts, pee in a cup I shall. And the cheap-ass strip shows two lines. Hard to tell if the test line is exactly as dark as the control, but it's damn close, which means LH should be effing surging and my ovaries (one of them, anyway) should be about to drop it like it's hot. Thursday will tell.

 

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Because I Said So

First appointment of the second IVF cycle is tomorrow morning, bright and early. It's only a blood draw to check luteal phase hormones, nothing fancy. No romance with the ultrasound.

I have decided that this cycle is GOING TO WORK. Because I said so. So there.

I will get an afternoon call tomorrow with the green light to start estrogen priming. I hope to dear Jesus that I will take it orally; all the recent blogging about shoving little blue pills into the delicate caverns of ladybits sounds rather un-entertaining. After tomorrow, I just have to wait ~1 week for the bleeding to begin so we can start stimming on day 3. I've got a fully-stocked fridge-pharmacy, giant bag o'needles, and bruise-free belly at the ready. Sing it with me, Paul McCartney:

When I find myself about to cycle, my Aunt Flo, she comes to me
Bringing cramps and bloating, let it bleed.
And in the week of priming there is estrogen, orally
Before we start the stimming, let it bleed.
Let it bleed, let it bleed, let it bleed, oh let it bleed
So I can start this cycle, let it bleed.


 

Friday, August 21, 2009

Busy Bee

Things That Are Keeping Me Busy And (Mostly, Okay Somewhat) Angst-Free:
  1. Putting sweat equity into a budget remodel of the master bath. Stripping wallpaper, painting, contemplating a new sink.*
  2. Ordered a dozen books from Borders to finish the catalogue of Pynchon and Huxley novels I have long wanted to read.
  3. Thinking about (but not following through with) going back to the gym and actually doing something to lose my Infertility Flab. Does thinking about it burn any calories?
* The sink I want costs about the same as 1.5 cartridges of Follistim. This may be a convenient way to benchmark pricing now. "How much was that purse?" - "Oh, it was on sale for 3 vials of PIO." "How much are U2 tickets going for?" - "Well, we paid 1 box of Menopur."

 

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Stuck in the Middle with You

I am in the middle of an extended "what's the use"-apalooza right now. Since I've already spent nearly $6000 on designer drugs, occupying their own special shelf in the fridge, I guess I am committed to the next cycle by default. (The few non-refrigerated Rx have their own space in the cupboard, and the giant bags o'needles have a drawer or two. Gee, it's not like infertility has made its fucked up self at home in every corner of my life and my house, right?)

Of the 10 or so bloggers I followed frequently when I started my first cycle of IVF, most are now pregnant; all but one of them are expecting twins. I really wanted to be one of them. Any of them. And I'm not. And it runs through my head at least a dozen times each day, "I might never be." I want to have a baby. And it's not up to me. And I hate that. We turned to IVF because we have severe MFI and were told it would work, that ICSI would solve our babymaking problems. And then the drugs didn't work the way they were supposed to, and my youth and good reproductive health stopped mattering and we got too few, too lousy eggs. Now I am assured that a new protocol will do the trick. Like Mulder, I want to believe. I really do.

One week until we start all over again. I want to be that positive woman who thinks, "It will work this time!" but today, I just can't go there. Here's hoping I get from here to there soon.

 

Thursday, August 13, 2009

SERENITY NOW!

It's starting to pile up a bit. I thought I did a pretty good job of keeping stress to a minimum during cycle #1, but there are some shitty crossroads of stressful things right now threatening to hitch onto the start of cycle #2 in a couple of weeks. Let's dissect. For posterity.

Work is fine. In fact, it's rather boring most of the time and any frustration is pretty transient. I get paid to write scientific documents, from my home office, and it's a decent living. I gave up a job in management and changed jobs (and companies) before we started IVF, in part to have the flexibility to work from home (to accommodate my ultrasound habit and any bed rest requirements). There's a ridiculous story about the old job involving personal information and HR privacy, another reason I left, but that's for another day. For now, I am in comfy clothes, in my kitchen, with a flex schedule. Check the box.

Body is fine. A little break from all the ass-stabbing is nice, and I've started getting back on the treadmill a couple of times a week. I am nowhere close to dropping the umpteen pounds gained since this whole trying-to-make-a-baby-and-taking-lots-of-pills-and-potions thing began, but I figure that pregnancy will just make me fat, anyway, so I will focus on health (not weight) for now and then hire a svelte personal trainer after any mythical baby is born. Check another box.

Speaking of ass-stabbing....my poor dog jumped a very pointy garden fence on Tuesday and speared herself on the, how to say delicately, dog-taint. I heard an ungodly yelp from the kitchen, registered that it was her in some horrible predicament, and scrambled outside to find her. And find her, I did. With her ass hooked on a fence post. FYI, I put myself through college and grad school working in hospitals and ORs, so I am not squeamish (except when it comes to tracheotomies, that grosses me out). But this made me nauseous and every inch of my skin crawl in an instant. I had to "unhook" her hiney and toss her in the car as I called the vet to alert him to possible surgery, etc. Turns out she didn't even need stitches, but she does to get to sport the Cone of Shame for a while. Every time I look at her I feel so sorry for her. That awful whimper and the sight (someday I'll remember it as funny, I suppose) of her dangling by her butt on that fence...ugh. I'm not a crazy lady who dresses her dog up like a child and has tea parties with it or anything, but it does break my heart. We'll leave this box blank.

My family is batshit nuts. This is not news to me, but sometimes it causes me more stress than others. I have a cordial relationship with my sister and father, but I wouldn't say we're close. They know nothing about IVF or even that we're trying to get pregnant. Honestly, they will be the last to get an announcement (if that day ever comes). My mother is a whole different flavor of crazy. She and I don't speak. Rather, she leaves insane messages on my voicemail, and I ignore them. If iPhones permitted blocking a number, it would be done. The delusional thought that we might be closer (why do I let myself think this?) to getting pregnant makes me worry about how I will keep the she-wolf at bay, since I really don't intend to give her a second chance to ruin another kid's life with her special brand of cuckoo. Long story, no need to tell. Mommy Dearest just isn't good with the mothering skills per se, and lacks self-awareness of the same. No check, this box will remain permanently blank. In contrast, my in-laws are great, and we have told them about the IVF cycle-a-thon. I wasn't sure how they would feel about it, as fairly devout Catholics, but they have been praying their asses off for us and have been very helpful. Check that box.

Lastly, the drug bill this month was 150% of the first cycle's. I get stressed about money. I think the first cycle ran around $5000 after the cost of drugs and coinsurance was factored in. It may have been a tad more, who knows. But this time...the drugs alone are $5600. Sweet, fancy Moses. After the coinsurance (and there may be more of it, since monitoring may be stepped up with an antagonist protocol) we will be in for at least $7000. I KNOW I should be drawn and quartered for complaining about these costs, since our insurance actually pays for the bulk of the IVF/ICSI expenses. But I present these facts to you. We live in Michigan. Where the economy is not just flat, but falling off the earth. Our house is now worth marginally more than what we owe for it (and we had a huge downpayment; that's how much property values have dropped). So if we had NOT discovered, to our surprise, that our insurance pays for infertility treatment, we could not have reasonably refinanced our home to cover the cost, even for a shared risk program. Severe male factor infertility also complicated participation in some shared risk programs, but that's another thing. We are lucky (TRUST ME, I know how lucky) to have most of the costs covered, which is how and why we can afford IVF at all. But the remainder of costs (which are nothing to sneeze at) are coming out of pocket and maxing out credit cards. My husband I are fortunate to have better-insulated jobs than many while the economy circles the drain; however, he works for a bank and I work in the pharmaceutical industry. No financial troubles in those sectors, right? So, we spend our savings and rack up credit card balances, and we worry about the debt and paying it off as quickly as possible. Can't really justify retail therapy right now, which is a shame because I could really use some. No box-check. Can't afford it.

Could there be a residual hormone-driven, maybe ill-timed PMS, ingredient in this overcooked stress stew? I think, maybe. I know I have to get it under control so I can maximize our chance of success with the next (and hopefully last...there I go again, optimistic beyond reason) IVF cycle. I am a worrier and a planner and sometimes control freak, which all blends nicely with IVF, right? Without simply turning to the bottle, I have to calm the hell down. Deep, cleansing breaths...

In IVF news: estrace starts in 1.5 weeks after a luteal phase check, then stimming starts once the stay at the Red Roof Inn commences. I want to get this show on the road. Moving forward makes me happy(ier).

Thanks to any who successfully endured this mental purge. This rant was brought to you by the letters I V F.

 

Monday, August 10, 2009

Photojournalist's Edition



Notes from vacation: Vegas was fun, but less so when the spotting started the night before the beta test and I basically knew that the cycle was a wash AND that I had missed out on a lot more fun the previous few days thinking (like a fool) that I might be pregnant. Saugatuck and Lake Michigan were fun, but less so when we shared a small cottage with another couple and their baby. I could elaborate on this, but I believe it is clear on twenty-seven levels. At least I got out of the house and had some distractions. (I work at home, and pity parties are always on the agenda unless I am super busy...distractions are GOOD.)

And now.....more pictures!



!!!



Ha.



I believe the look on her face pretty accurately reflects my mood much of the time. But gotta keep on truckin'....placed the order for even more expensive drugs today. Round 2.

 

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Sloppy Seconds

We are a go for another cycle. As soon as the promised-to-be-heavy period starts, we start counting until day 19 (luteal phase), and then we begin estrogen priming. THEN...we are switching to an antagonist protocol (like my use of "we" - in the communal sense, as if my RE is going to jump in and help? Maybe she'd like to come over and give my injections). Apparently, the professional medical consensus is that I am A) NOT a poor responder BUT B) DID have an aversion to lupron (over-suppressed, under-stimmed, therefore too few mature eggs to do much with). Lupron was my least favorite drug of the bunch, anyway. And it causes osteoporosis. I already got bonus hypothyroidism from this mess; I would prefer NOT to receive any additional diagnoses, especially of the life-long variety, please and thank you. We (the royal "we") will start stimming in early September and be done with retrieval and transfer by mid-September. I still get to go to my U2 concert September 12 in Chicago, and we can keep our vacation plans in Austin at the end of September/early October. Not too shabby. I was warned that we are going to begin the stim with ginormous doses out of the gate, and pull back if needed, so I will probably enjoy a great deal more bloating and discomfort. Bring it. Do your worst. Just get me pregnant.

 

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

So here's a list of the pros and cons of being unpregnant and not currently on an IVF cycle:

PRO:
No needles.
Caffeine.
Booze.
Sex.
Can work out again.

CON:
No baby.

And there you have it, people. I am consulting with my RE tomorrow morning to find out where we go from here. I actually don't care what protocol she recommends, I just want to know when we will get started.

Now, back to my regularly scheduled programming: daydreaming about (1) hunting down OctoMom and punching her in the face, (2) telling my friends with babies via Facebook status that they can suck it, and (3) alternately, either purchasing a crib and onesies to stock the future baby's room or renting out the room to a drifter just to occupy it.

 

Monday, August 3, 2009

(-)

So that's that.

I have an appointment Wednesday morning at which I will plead my case to do a second cycle back-to-back because A) a month off will make me both insanely sad and sadly crazy and B) there is virtually no protocol modification (longer, shorter) for a cycle that includes a month off that would not force me to cancel a trip my husband and I make every single year, or force me to wait 2 months to begin a new cycle (refer to part A). Something in this goddamned process needs to be on my terms.

I'm glad I got lots of work done this morning because I am useless now. Although I do need to pull it together as I have a dentist appointment this afternoon. Perfect timing.

Fuck.

 

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Beta Eve

Dying. Of. Anticipation. Expecting the worst. Bracing for a Very Bad Day. I've done alright at staying positive over the past month, even when things haven't gone as perfectly as planned, but this is hard. I keep thinking, it might end tomorrow. I could find out for myself. There is a single HPT left in my bathroom cabinet, but I am leaving it there, unpeed upon. I already made up my mind a week or so ago that *if* I get good news tomorrow, I can whiz on it afterward for grins (and to create a souvenir). But I am worried there will be nothing to smile about. I have no evidence one way or the other, really, but I just don't know. Ugh.