Thursday, January 28, 2010

Short and Sweet

I promise to write something more interesting soon. I am just:
  • Still digesting the good news so far (belief is now at 85.2%)
  • Celebrating KB's best birthday present ever yesterday ("Lookit, honey: I got you a tiny human in my uterus!")*
  • Celebrating our best wedding anniversary ever this weekend (3-day weekend mini-vacay!)
  • Plowing through a metric shitload of work that I am trying not to stress over (I'm a delicate flower; I might wither).
 Bullet points, man. Efficiency at its finest.

* Actually, I got him this:











A frakkin' sous vide oven! Top Chef KB. Hell, yeah.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Double Take

If Paranoid Boob Smash is an Olympic sport, I am a gold medalist.

Tatas mighty sore. Mild nausea in effect. Pretty tired.

So, apparently, I am still a pregnant person.

My second beta is 170. [whew]

Monday, January 25, 2010

Girl You Know It's True

Well, bloggy friends.

It's confirmed.

I am a pregnant person.

My beta is 89.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Unambiguous

Holy shit, y'all.


Friday, January 22, 2010

Masochist

I peed. On a stick. This morning. And saw this faint sign of hope:

Monday cannot come soon enough. Big bucks, no whammies.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Are We There Yet?

Somebody please shoot me with a tranquilizer dart. Or two. Or more. This week is too goddamned long. For serious.

I don't even know how early I can start peeing on sticks to get a first response (hence the name!) without measuring the residual trigger shot...maybe Thursday? Tomorrow? Every single time I have to pee (which is often, thanks to the lingering effects of hyperstimulation)?

Ay-yi-yi.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Schrödinger's Cat(s)

It's like cosmic, reproductive roulette: I am (technically) pregnant, yet I am also not (yet) pregnant. Will we end up with 2, 1, or 0 babies (we are not entertaining the prospect of 3, thank-you-very-much)? Will we finally get a beta number that is a real integer and a 5-week ultrasound, or cramps and a Trip to the Prom with Carrie?

One or both of our 8-cell transfers should be blasts today, ready to hatch from their little zonas and burrow into their new digs. I don't know what's become of our 4-cell transfer -- whom we've named "Wonky" -- but I sure hope s/he is having a ball with his/her brother(s)/sister(s) up in my lady business while it lasts.

My expectations remain in decent check, mostly because of the immense distractions of this past week, but the reality that I could reasonably start peeing on absorbent objects in less than a week and get a result is not lost on me. I probably will. I mean, it's been months since I've golden showered a plastic stick and I am jonesin'.

One week. One week. One week. Obsess much?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Three Amigos

We transferred two grade A, 8-cell embryos and one 4-cell embryo this morning. Get comfortable in there, kids.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Mysterious Ways

There's light at the end of the dark tunnel that has been this month.

Of the 7 eggs retrieved yesterday, all 7 of them were mature.

Of the 7 mature eggs subjected to ICSI, 4 fertilized.

We have 4 embryos.

We have hope.

This Is the End, Beautiful Friend

KB's dad passed away this morning. If we have a son we will name him for his wonderful grandpa.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Lucky Number Seven

Sucks if you're on a hot streak in craps, but totally acceptable if you're hoping for a few mature eggs. Fingers are crossed.

Last night was rough -- we thought it might be "it" for my father-in-law, so KB drove across town at midnight in the snow to be there, and it turned out to be a false alarm (although he has clearly taken another turn in that direction). Neither of us got any sleep. My part today was to lay on a gurney, get knocked out with an iv-full of liquid nap, and then get stabbed repeatedly in the vagina (but darvocet to the rescue!); so I am okay. I don't know how KB managed to do his part under these circumstances. He is my hero.

Now we wait for the call tomorrow morning. Back to the sofa with me, to watch whatever TiVo intuited I like. TiVo, you really get me.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I Wanna Be Sedated

24 hours to go....

Saturday, January 9, 2010

How Do I Loathe Thee, Let Me Count the Ways

Oh, dear bloggy friends, I do not mean you! I mean the asscows who stole my oxygen in the RE waiting room this morning. See:
  1. Annoyingly peppy bitch thumbing through a parenting magazine and holding it up to her husband, open to baby pictures -- "Oh, honey, look at *this* one! These pictures make me want to cry!" Gag. Okay, first-timer, let's see you on your third cycle with track marks lining your arms and belly, clutching your hyperstimulated pelvis in vain attempts to get comfortable sitting immobile in your chair, staring at an incomprehensibly chipper couple gurgling across from you at 6:30AM with nothing but REDRUM on your mind. Catch you then, sweetness. Good-day.
  2. Somebody-or-another's husband coughing up a mothereffing storm and sucking back phlegm every 5 seconds like he's going to succumb to consumption right there in the waiting room. Your wife is here for some bloodwork and an ultrasound, right? Stay the fuck home, Typhoid Mary. I think she can manage one day without you. And I swear on a stack of waiting room pamphlets, if you gave me something contagious just days before my retrieval and transfer, so help me, I will manhunt you and end your misery and mine. Please-and-thank-you.
  3. Chatty-Cathy McJabberJaw repeating everything the morning news anchor says and cackling over it loudly with nonsequitor commentary. Let's break this down: A) You're annoying and your comments are unoriginal and trite to say the least; B) GOOD FOR YOU that you're a morning person, but I am not and as long as you grate on my last nerve you take your life in your own hands; C) just shut up already, for the love of all that's good and holy. Crikey.
The waiting room was a cattle call today. After I mentally murdered all of the annoying people, complete with contemplation of how much jail time was worth it and also whether my iPhone might have an app for shanking, a perfectly lovely woman came in and sat next to me. Now, I usually emit enough of a piss-off vibe at the RE office that no one dare sit next to me, but this was literally the last seat available in the waiting room. I decided in that moment that I would [gasp] start a friendly conversation with a fellow infertile in the RE office. Who me? Turns out she is delightful, but before I could even get her name (unrequited lurve bonded by shared infertility!) the nurse called me back for my ultrasound. In my mind, if it was meant to be we will meet on the observation deck of the Empire State Building in 10 months -- although I may have forgotten to tell her about the plan to run away together before I was whisked into my usual room. (No placard has been erected yet. I keep waiting.)

It seemed like almost every woman it the waiting room had her husband with her, and all I witnessed them doing was shuffling behind their women to the lab for the customary blood-letting, then shuffling behind them to the exam room for an ultrasound. Why? I asked KB to come with me to 1) the initial consult, 2) the retrievals (and only because I can't drive home, although I bet I could, and because the embryologist needs his seed), and 3) the transfers (mostly for decision-making purposes, but I suppose also for moral support, 'cause he's cool like that and right handy in a crisis).

So, ladies of the internets, riddle me this: does/did your husband accompany you to RE appointments? Willingly, or because you told him to? For why? I'm quite curious.

[Don't know where my violent tendencies come from this morning -- not enough sleep, pelvic distention, too much going on in my head, maybe...but never fear, bloggy friends, I would never nip at you!]

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Work-Around

Or, How to Avoid Using a Known or Suspected Dull Needle

 
Step 1: Reduce, reuse, recycle sterile packaging of a Follistim pen needle to squirt contents of prefilled antagonist syringe into makeshift "vial." 
 


Step 2: Draw contents into sterile, SHARP, 30-gauge needle and syringe and inject into a pinch of flab (preferably the least bruised available, if remotely applicable).



Step 3: Profit!





Trigger will be tomorrow. My loins ache maddeningly, and not in the trashy-romance-novel way. My E2 isn't that high, so I find it hard to believe this could be OHSS; but I have read somewhere during my postdoc at Google University that antagonist cycles can give untrustworthy E2 readings in OHSS evaluation. Sweet.

Next up in our ongoing series of simply fascinating How-To Guides:  The Reach-Around (Or, Best Case Scenario in IVF $$ Analyses)

The Daily Show

Dr. Horrible: I had the "other" RE this morning, the one who likes to recap my entire shitty reproductive history and give me a didactic lecture on just how fucked this cycle probably is -- you know, given my shitty reproductive history -- while he's shoving the wand up my cooch. Also, today he marveled at how fast I had dropped trou and landed on the exam table with my paper sheet tucked nicely around my bare ass before he breezed into the room. Without knocking. Stay classy, doc. He did give my uterus high marks for form and function (I magically went from an 8 mm lining yesterday to 11 mm today -- either someone is just eyeballing those measurements on the sono screen, or my uterus is truly amazing.) We had quite the Socratic discourse this morning, really. And I have to go back again tomorrow and Sunday. I should have a room named for me with a placard on the door and a nameplate on the table.

The bottom line is that I have to stim an extra day. Ooph. My left ovary is ripe with 2 follicles on the verge of catastrophic eruption, while my right ovary is being lazier with the lion's share of 4 or 5 follicles that are taking their motherfucking time. Gawd. Everything below my nipples is so uncomfortable right now, I wish I could premedicate with a fistfull of darvocet and that lone valium and wash it down with some vodka. Mah ovureez ar ezploding. Halp!

In Other News: My father-in-law is at home now, resting somewhat uncomfortably in his fancy new hospital bed and his favorite recliner. I guess the phone is ringing off the hook there, and my mother-in-law feels compelled to answer it every. single. time. it. rings. She will even converse with telemarketers. (I, on the other hand, give them the verbal finger and threaten their children with bodily harm if they do not remove me from their call list.) So the poor guy isn't getting enough sleep. We're all taking turns going over there daily to hang out with him, and try to occupy some of my mother-in-law's time so he can catch a few catnaps.

My mother-in-law told me that he said his last wish is that KB and I will have a baby. This breaks my heart. I wish that, too. And I wish he would be here when it happens. I wish he could be the first family member to hold his new grandchild. I wish the universe worked differently than it does sometimes. Like right now.

Golden Retrieval: So I think we are set for surgery on Monday. I just want to get this over with, get to transfer next week, and then ride it out. KB and I have so much else to think about right now. He said to me in bed last night, just before we fell asleep, "I guess I need to buy a black suit for the funeral." Heart = pieces.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Alpha and Omega

I am stressed today. Here are my still-unpregnant bullet points:
  • RE nurse called to say my thyroid is misbehaving; we are doubling the Synthroid dose midway through the cycle
  • My erstwhile calm in this cycle gave way to concern that my fucking thyroid may have sabotaged me (and I would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for that meddling RE!)
  • I stuck myself while hunting for virgin flab to inject and now have a half-inch, 30-gauge puncture wound in my thumb
  • I started the antagonist tonight and those goddamned prefilled needles are DULL -- it feels like I'm injecting my skin with an unsharpened pencil and it effing HURTS*
  • My father-in-law has metastatic colon cancer and is down to comfort care; I talked with his doctor today and it is not good
  • I got a call from a pregnant friend and as soon as she asked how I am doing, before she could tell me about the tiniest minutia of her perfect second pregnancy in two years, I laid it all on her; now I feel kind of mean
I feel guilty for trying to balance my concerns and hopes for this last IVF cycle while confronted with my father-in-law's declining health and probable mere weeks to live. And I am also saddened that, even if we get pregnant, he may not be around long enough to know, let alone meet his second grandchild. I am just all kinds of sad. And yet trying to be hopeful. It's one big shit stew right now.

That optimism I was bragging about? Hanging on like a thread. But hanging on nevertheless. You know what, universe: I know you're not gonna cure his cancer, so could you throw us all a bone here and give us something to believe in? Besides the Rock of Love. Give our family something we can rally around. Please?

* I don't ice. That's for pussies. After three cycles you go pro.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Begrudgingly Optimistic

This morning, after 5 days of stims, we saw 6 uniformly fat follicles measuring 12-13 mm and 5-6 slackers around 10 mm or less. Not bad. That's more than we've seen at this same time on the two previous cycles. And for once, a decent number of follicles are growing at the same rate. Hallefuckinglujah. Yeehaw.

We have also learned that KB's progressive motility has doubled from 3 Mil/mL to 6 Mil/mL. That's still shy of normal (10 Mil/mL), but it's evidence of improvement on the spooge report card. Kruger morphology is now a whopping 1% normal, up from the only slightly more dismal 0% we've entertained for the past year and a half. Well, Clomid, you hath not wrought miracles, but you helped a metric microtad. Hopefully our fertilization next week (next week!) will benefit from my spiffier-looking eggs and KB's shiny new sperm.

I had some "me" time while waiting in the exam room, so I bring you photographic evidence of my visit:

What does this button on the sonogram machine do exactly? I mean, I covet a machine that can probe my vag and also pop a champagne cork, because that's obviously all kinds of awesome, but I'm not sure how the mini-saw fits in. Literally. Is that a magnifying glass or a beer bottle opener? Is my RE going to shiv me? I think this machine might be one tampon string and a Bic pen away from becoming a MacGyvered nuclear device.

In the battle against crotch rot and/or sonogram gel dribble...Prevail! I appreciate that it's now made with cotton, but it does leave me wondering what it used to be made with...burlap? cork? bamboo?

What bonus features make this a "Plus" glove model? Jazz hands?

Lastly, this is what we're working for...a photoshopped stock baby photo superimposed over an empty sono scan. Of my left ovary. No wonder I can't get knocked up. There isn't enough room in my left ovary to carry a full-term baby and a bottle. And an adult hand to hold the bottle. Goddamn, reproduction is hard.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Great Year Ahead, or the Greatest?

Nevermind the Myrrh: My husband is the best. No use arguing with me, ladies. He's really the best and he's spoken for. Among my lovely Christmas presents from him this year was this:
 
I know, right: whah? Quick history lesson: KB and I met playing in a band together years ago. He joined as our new drummer and we became bandmates, friends, and then...the rest is history. The band broke up in late 2008 after our guitar player injured his arm and sustained permanent ulnar nerve damage and then freaked out, had a midlife crisis, and divorced his wife (who was our keyboard player). We got Yoko'd! Sort of. Messy. Before KB and I knew that making a baby would become a science fiction odyssey, we decided that I should beef up my guitar skillz so we could form a new band in 2009. We have plenty of musician friends, so it seemed easy enough. And then infertility stopped us in our tracks this time last year. The band became another thing I put on a shelf. So, you see, KB's gift has serious significance -- no more shrugging off every other goal because one hasn't succeeded. And now I have a kickass new amp for my beautiful swamp ash Les Paul:
  
I also have a renewed mission to stop putting my life on hold for an elusive dream. We had fun playing dive bars and local benefit shows for ~7 years; 2010 is the year we can get back on track doing something we love and miss. Michigan bars go smoke-free this year, too, so no worries about if, or when, we do get pregnant.

Also, I am going to take golf lessons (again) and actually make it to a (par 3) course this summer. Two years ago KB gave me a set of clubs and shoes for my birthday and I have never made it past the driving range. Since Tiger has left a leader vacuum, here I come!

Planned Parenthood: I am oddly at peace with this being our last IVF cycle with my goods and services. For now, anyway; that's subject to change with each passing day. I do feel better about the fact that, if this doesn't work, we have a Plan B ready that is sound and justified. I have shitty ovaries, so I may need someone with better reproductive materials to donate to the fund, if that's what it takes. I get it. And I think we would choose the über-expensive but practical shared risk donor program, to give us multiple attempts and a refund to cover adoption fees if all else fails. We could start home study and adoption processes during donor egg IVF cycles. We could ensure that we will have a baby on the way in 2010.

I am determined to take back control of my life this year. I am sick of feeling like a victim of poor reproductive potential, with every decision revolving around whether or not I am tethered to a cycle calendar or an ovulation prediction; I am choosing to focus on the fact that I have options rather than limitations. This alternative path to parenthood isn't what I planned, but it will be what I make of it.