Saturday, February 19, 2011

A bad news, good news story

I was very sad to learn last night that Egghunt's FET was a bust. She had been waiting since the summer for this FET and finally all the stars had lined up just right for it. And it's a BFN. Words can't express how sad I feel for her. Please consider going over to her house and leaving her a little love.

Two more IF-related pieces of bad news came my way in the last 24 hours from two dear IRL friends. One is in her early 40s and trying to conceive on her own with a donor, and this month brought her another BFN. I feel discouraged for her, as her clock is ticking so loudly (her birthday is coming up at the end of March). I also remain hopeful, as life works in weird and wonderful ways. I have told her of R's and Kelly's recent BFPs, which have made her hopeful. Like many of us, she will be a wonderful mom when her child finally makes his or her way into her arms.

And this morning, I received an email from a friend who has been struggling with IF for about 3 years. It appears that her last fertility clinic completely missed intrauterine scarring from a past D&C and she has been doing IUIs and trying naturally for two years without success. She was going ahead with IVF at a new clinic when they recommended a sonohysterogram to see if everything was looking good. Which it wasn't at all. She obviously is not too pleased with the previous clinic, and also devastated about all those wasted months. I am sending her so much love and healing thoughts. I really hope that surgery will be successful at making a spacious, cozy place for her baby to grow.

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In the good news department, Sattva started her suprefact yesterday. She wrote to say it was making her feel a bit spacey, but otherwise she felt ok.

The other good news is that I got a date for my Ph.D. defense. It's going to be on March 30th, in the middle of the 2WW. What the hell am I going to do to remain calm under those circumstance? I do not know. I told Mr. A last night that I was freaking out. He laughed and said: "when are you not freaking out?" I guess I'm one of those women.

Send any and all thoughts as to how we are going to keep me on the CALM program, despite having to stand before an examining committee of 5 while they grill me with questions about my thesis.

Thinking of Pumpkin and Roccie, living it up in Chicagoland.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Infertility never leaves

"Did hope not make it hurt less than usual?" he asked.

Sadly, the answer was no.  Not at all.

That was Mr. August and I at around 8pm last night, after a very good weekend together, a weekend that ended on a low note.

The birthday extravaganza was really fun. I took Mr. A cross-country skiing at this place close to where we live. We like to pretend that we met there skiing before we actually met in 2004. We both used to ski there quite a bit and it's fun to imagine our paths having crossed before they officially did. The day was sunny and not too cold, and the snow conditions were ideal. We were flying! I then took him out for a late lunch to a restaurant that sources their ingredients locally and we both really enjoyed the feast. In the evening, we babysat Sattva's darlings while she and her hubby went out. We relished every second of it, clearly. Ginger was her adorable self and Anne, her older sister, was sweet and fabulous. She really took to Mr. A, and he successfully made her giggle all evening long. We had a fabulous time with the girls. We even got to hang out with Sattva and (hum, what shall I call him) Crow and that was really nice. It's been great to get to spend more time with them than we use to.

Sunday was pretty low key, as it usually is for me. I need to recharge the battery before heading back to my intense job on Monday morning. I made brunch for Mr. A and I, and gave him his birthday presents. I was glad that he really liked them. We went for a shorter ski where Mr. A farms, and then ingredients for supper. Well, Mr. A was planning on going to Simple Soup on Sunday* but I tend to avoid this beautiful community tradition these days. In the end, Mr. A. decided to stay home and have supper with me.

Before that, I knew I had a tough task to face. My friend had summoned me for tea, specifying that it should be before or after soup. That smelled like a pregnancy announcement from a 10 mile radius. She was going to announce it at soup, and was wanting to tell me at about the same time, but not in the group format. My friend is very sensitive and I appreciated that she gave so much thought to how she was going to tell me (she was friend from example #1 in this post). I was resigned. I knew I had to go through it and even if I wasn't looking forward to it, I had to just go and do this. I knew this poor friend would be feeling nervous about telling me and probably wanted to get it over with.

So, after much skirting around the issue, she finally told me. I expressed the appropriate joy at the good news, which I did feel in part. She acknowledge that if our DE IVF failed, it might be hard for us to continue to be friends, which I appreciated. My friend is nothing if not pragmatic, and she's seen how far I've pulled back from other couples who have had babies recently. We sipped our tea, ate our carrot cake (yes, with gluten and dairy, which gave me a bellyache). I asked all the appropriate pregnancy questions. I prayed for it to end.

While I managed to put a good meal on the table after that, I pushed the plate away halfway through and started to cry. I just wish it was different, like Mr. A said that hope would have transformed my reaction to pregnancy announcements. It made me feel selfish to cry and be so absorbed by my own sorrow, instead of being able to celebrate. Or at least being able to continue peacefully with my evening. I turn this one around in my head a lot: the one where I am happy for others, feel distressed for myself and feel guilty for having my own feelings. It always creates this conflict inside, where the range of emotions are like poorly matched dinner guests who are going at each other with their lobster forks.

The truth of it is that our friends just had sex and got pregnant. If they have a miscarriage, they can try again and will likely get pregnant. We have to drop 10k and hope with every fiber of our being that we get embryos and that they implant, and then grow. If that doesn't work, what will there be? Years. Years of waiting to adopt. Another 10k. Another bout of depression.

Thank you for indulging me in my morose state. Infertility never leaves. Even when there is so much to hope for at this stage. I continue to want to commit my heart to hoping. But I also have to face that we are doing a high trapeze act without a net below us. If it works, our hearts will be a flutter and the crowds will roar. If it doesn't, the thump on the circus floor will be followed by a hard silence. The crowds will go home, mumbling to each other something about those trapeze artists and their broken bones.

*Simple Soup on Sunday is a little tradition that folks in our community of friends have started a year ago. People sign up for a Sunday, and they make soup for everyone. It's meant to be brief, but a time to all come together and catch up before the start of a new week.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Why, that's a very nice lining you've got there.

On day 10 of 4mgs of estr.ace my lining was at 4.5mm. After 6 more days, and a bump up to 6mgs, my lining was just a bit over 6mm. Nice. All Dr. RE wants is 7mm for the transfer and he said we achieved it (in his adorable eastern European accent) in August 2009, on 8mgs. At first he thought out loud that maybe he would push back the cycle to keep testing my lining, and then he quickly realized the foolishness of such a proposition: My lining, unlike my ovaries, is most cooperative.

So we are on track to start the cycle. The estimated date of egg retrieval is set for March 15. We all understand that this is likely to change. But in the mean time, it gives me something to get excited about.
That and Adele's 574.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tuesday's list

a) I think 6 mgs of estr.ace is fanfreakintastic

b) I put all the plastic plants in the closet.

c) I bought a live plant! It is, I believe, a type of arrowhead plant. Gorgeous!

d) I moved the furniture around in my room so there could be yoga sessions in a quiet, private space in the house where I'm staying.

e) U/s for a lining check is tomorrow at 8am.

f) Today is Mr. August's birthday and I feel sad not to be home to celebrate him.

g) Scheming for my Saturday belated birthday extravaganza for Mr. A. It will involve cross-country skiing.

h) External committee member agreed to take on the role last Friday. My nth set of revisions were submitted on Sunday. A date for my defense should be set...I don't know when.

i) Keeping all my fingers crossed for Egghunt. I think her FET was today!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Considering ourselves oriented to DE IVF

The big orientation was a on Wednesday. Our appointment was at 8:30am, and the big ass storm was coming overnight from Tuesday to Wednesday. Sattva and Mr. August took the train on Tuesday night and joined me in Fertility Treatment Town (FTT). The weather Gods were trying to mess with our fertility plans, but we said pashaw, that's already been screwed up. We slept at Mr. August's parents' house, also in FTT (just to keep you appraised of everything: Fertility Clinic, Fantastic Job, Mr. August's parents = all in FTT. Sattva, Mr. August, grad school, Chicken, my heart = all in Pleasantville). I loved picking them up at the train station. When I was looking at them both walking towards me from the train platform, I felt a wave of emotion. It's going to take all three of us to make a baby.

The storm roared its terrible roar and gnashed its terrible teeth, but when it was all said and done, it was less than the foot of snow they were threatening. We drove to the hospital and got there only 10 minutes late.

And then, the marathon really started.

I was surprised to see our nurse when we arrived. It is the same nurse we had when we were going through the IUI. The last time I spoke to her was on October 1, 2009, when I was weeping inconsolably on the phone because there was no response from my ovaries and it meant the end of the line. I always wondered if I would run into her during one of my visits to the clinic, but that never happened. And I wasn't sure if she would be our nurse case manager or if she would pass the baton to someone else. I'm glad we get to work with her again. I always quite liked her and after Wednesday, I like her even more.

Sattva went in first to give her medical history to the nurse, and then all three of us went in for the full orientation session. We went through in fine detail what meds would be taken when and by whom. Mr. August came out pretty easy in that part. By 11am, we had reviewed all the steps and Sattva had practiced injecting the skin simulating foamy block with her Gon.al-f pen a few times. But this was only the beginning.

We then had to meet with the psychologist again to sign all the consents and review what conversations we had since our meetings in early January. That was pretty straightforward. I like the psychologist, so it feels pretty comfortable to chat with him. And he is starting to be more familiar with us, so he was teasing Mr. August about his hypothetical questions (Mr. A is quite a divergent thinker who likes to think of all sorts of hypothetical scenarios just for the fun of it. You can imagine that with third party reproduction, there are many scenarios to run through, and his mind just lights up like a Christmas tree).

Mr. August and I then went to the business administrator's office to talk about moulah. Quick and simple. We have to have all of it paid by the time she starts the stims. I just paid for half of it on that day, and we will pay for the other half in the next few weeks.  

After Sattva and I fantasized about eating Thai food for lunch, they told us that our RE couldn't see us until after lunch, but since we only had an hour, cafeteria food was our only option. It wasn't bad. We were all very hungry so even cardboard would have worked.  

 After lunch, our stamina somewhat restored, we went back up to the waiting room. Our meeting with Dr. RE had two specific goals: discussing the time line and addressing a question I had raised during our time with the nurse. The question was one which stirred strong feelings inside. They wanted me on sup.ref.act and I could not understand why. Why would a hormonal system that is nonfunctional need to be suppressed. My hypothalamus, sadly, does not produce gonadotropins. I would like it to, but it doesn't. Dr. RE came into the appointment knowing that I was taking exception to this prescription and initially responded by saying basically that: "it's the protocol". He supplemented this by saying that we couldn't take the risk that my system all of a sudden wakes up and starts to ovulate. Oh. Was that a pig flying out that window? I persisted in my questioning, ready to suck it up and take the freakin meds if I needed to, but determined to understand why I would do that. "If I am taking the sup.refa.ct to block signals from my hypothalamus to my ovaries, but we already know that the receptors on my ovaries do not respond to gonadotropins (425 iu of meno.pur a day and still nothing), then what will it accomplish". In answering this question, Dr. RE convinced himself that I did not need to take it. Case closed. I felt pretty happy to have stood my ground on that. So, Sattva will be the one taking all the supre.fact in this round.

Next, came the question of timing. Sattva was on CD4 on Wednesday, which meant that we had lost the opportunity for CD3 blood work for a whole month. Our nurse wasn't sure Dr. RE would allow us to jump onto this cycle, or have to wait for Sattva to complete another cycle. Our beloved nurse made all the calculations for us to start on this cycle and quickly had Dr. RE convinced that we could go ahead. YEAH!

Next was a little vag cam action for Augusta. I was on my 10th day of estr.ace and they wanted to see what my lining looked like. And what do you know: 4.5mm. Not bad!. And he even FOUND one of my ovaries this time (they don't usually find my ovaries because they are so minuscule). I got a phone call today that they are increasing my est.race as of today to see if how much my lining can be increased in preparation for next month's cycle, the one where theoretically, a couple of embryos will be invited to make their home inside Augusta's fleecy endometrium.

The marathon appointment left on a high note. We are moving ahead with this cycle right now. Sattva starts her supre.fact on Feb. 18 and then probably starts her stims on March 3, depending on how things look like on her March 2 ultrasound.

Augusta = cautiously, positively hopeful