Wednesday, March 29, 2006

I love a freaky pregnancy story

Monday, March 27, 2006

Canceled. Again.

You know what's even better than getting sucky news? Getting up at 6 a.m. to make it to the clinic by 7:30, then waiting for an hour and a half, then getting sucky news. That's awesome.

US this morning showed a single 15 mm follicle. On the left side. Where I have no fallopian tube. Fuuuuuuck.

Dr. S. says that, given that my response to Clomid has not been so outstanding, he'd recommend trying very low dose injectibles--very very low dose, to try to get just one follicle. Either that or go straight to IVF, with single embryo transfer. He wants me and my husband to come in for a follow-up so we can discuss all the options at length, without being rushed like in an early morning monitoring appointment.

I don't really know what to think or feel. I need to do more research on injectibles before I can feel comfortable with that option, considering that with my uterus, we need to avoid multiples at all costs. On the other hand, I always knew that IVF was in the cards, was an option out there--but I always thought of it as a last resort. I thought there would be a lot more options to exhaust before I got there. Even though, in a sick way, I've experienced "IVF envy"--the feeling that women going through IVF are the "real" infertiles, that I'm just playing at IF somehow--now that IVF suddenly looms much closer, I'm terrified.

I also have a consultation with Clinic B this week and Clinic C two weeks from today. So I suppose I'll see what they say, too, and then make some kind of decision. Somehow.

Thursday, March 23, 2006


Lining: 9.5 mm
Ovaries: multiple<10 mm

(Dear ovaries: Please join the party. Thank you. Love, electriclady.)

I said my goal for this cycle was to not get canceled, but it's not looking so hot right now. I'm supposed to go back in 4 days to see if anything happens, but I'm not optimistic.

Dr. S. was very chatty today, and he kept kind of waving the wand around looking at stuff ("Hey, your bladder is full! But you didn't need me to tell you that"). Maybe he felt like he had to do something, since he didn't get to measure any developing follicles. He did mention, after taking a pass at my uterus, that it doesn't have a "typical" UU appearance--"It looks much fuller, which is a good thing." That's nice to hear, I guess. He said that if nothing happens by Monday, next cycle we will go to 150 mg of Clomid. He also suggested doing very low dose injectibles, which is interesting considering that during my post-MRI followup he said he would recommend skipping injectibles altogether and going straight to IVF with single embryo transfer, given that we want to minimize the risk of multiples. I'm happy to try another step before IVF, but I would feel a lot more confident if he were at least consistent in his recommendations.

Oh well. I have consultations with two other clinics before the end of this cycle--one next Thursday, and one April 10. I'll be interested to see what these doctors recommend.

Today is my wedding anniversary. Nice to have disappointing news on your anniversary. We are also having a phenomenally shitty week, bad news wise, so I was really hoping for something good to come out of this.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

That's my bush

According to a new book, Laura Bush took fertility drugs to conceive the twins. Sounds like she tried Clomid, then moved on to injectibles ("Laura was given a shot of gonadotropin to adjust her hormones to help her conceive"). Here's the stunningly inaccurate description of the whole process from a "friend" of Laura's (as quoted in the NY Post):
"Her temperature went up on a Saturday, indicating she was ovulating," Laura's close friend Nancy Weiss told Kessler. "On Monday, she had the shot. Within a few days, they believed she was pregnant. When Laura took the second medication, it worked immediately. So the twins were miracle girls. She obviously was not able to carry children without the hormone adjustment."

Let's see, how many inaccuracies can we count? (1) if her temperature went up, she had already ovulated and any drug intervention at that point would be useless, beyond progesterone; (2) she had one shot, two days after she had already ovulated? yes, that's exactly how injectible gonadotropin therapy works; (3) "Within a few days, they believed she was pregnant." Unless George and Laura made super duper speedily implanting embryos, there is no way she could have even the slightest pregnancy symptoms after only a few days. (4) "She was not able to carry children without the hormone adjustment." Sigh. So many things wrong with that sentence.

Apparently this book was written with White House cooperation, so it's probably at least somewhat accurate. I wonder, if the injectibles hadn't worked, what would they have done? Would they have moved on to IVF? And what would they have done with their totsicles, had any remained? Donated them to be snowflake babies? (We know that George would not have donated them for scientific research.)

This could be a really good opportunity for Laura Bush to talk about infertility and reproductive medicine, to help normalize fertility treatments in the eyes of America. Unfortunately, I don't think this will happen. It'll get written about in a lurid way in the tabloids (as in the link above), and Laura will remain steadfastly silent. And a great opportunity to examine GW's policies on reproductive health in light of his family's own experiences will pass, unheeded by the press.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

15 things

I was going to write a 100 things post, but I was too lazy to think of more than 15.

1. I watch way too much TV. I think the TV is on for at least 5 hours a day in our house. I’d like to cut back when I have kids, though.

2. I have traveled all over the world but have only lived in three places: the Midwestern suburb where I grew up, the Northeastern college town where I went to school, and the Big City where I live now.

3. I am double jointed in all of my fingers and have hyperextensible elbows and knees. That means I can gross you out by making my arms bend the wrong way.

4. I’m a voracious and speedy reader, and I average about 5 books a month. (My all-time land speed record: In college, I read Jude the Obscure--a 400-500 page book, depending on your edition—in 3 hours. Then wrote a paper on it.) I love contemporary fiction (usually by women writers), historical fiction, and biography. I also will get really into a topic or theme and read a whole bunch of books on it or related to it--history of Big City, the wives of Henry VIII and Tudor history, transgendered identity, true crime. I also love a juicy chick lit read.

5. I am very bossy. If we all have certain lessons that we must spend a lifetime struggling to learn, being less bossy is mine. Sometimes I literally have to restrain myself from making “helpful” comments to strangers. I am working very hard on not bossing my husband.

6. Growing up, I never used to cry at books or movies. Oh, I cried plenty in my personal life, but I’d sit there dry-eyed at Life is Beautiful or what have you. About 5 years ago, though, it was like a switch was flipped, and now I cry at everything. Books, movies, TV shows--I've even cried at episodes of Sex and the City. And ever since I got married, I cry at every wedding I go to. I’m such a mushball.

7. I had a dog growing up, but I am definitely a cat person now. I love my cat. (Well, technically she’s my husband’s cat.)

8. I quit drinking soda and caffeinated coffee 10 years ago. Now, on the rare occasions I do have something caffeinated, I get so jittery, I swear I’m having heart palpitations.

9. When I was younger, I had a mild form of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Everything had to be “even”--like, if I scratched one side of my face, I’d have to scratch the other side to even it out. I never told anyone about it at the time--I didn’t realize it was unusual--and I only figured out it was OCD when I was in my 20s and read an article about OCD.

10. I used to be in a rock band. In fact, that’s how I met my husband--he was in the band, too. We were really good but our lead singer moved away and the band broke up.

11. If I had a million dollars, I would buy an apartment here in Big City. Sadly, a million dollars would only get me a two-bedroom apartment, and barely cover the closing costs. Maybe there would be a little left over for a few rounds of IVF. If I had two million dollars, I would buy an apartment, get IVF, and travel the world, first class, with my husband and my babies.

12. I prefer very dark, bitter chocolate. I can’t stand milk chocolate. It’s too...milky.

13. I don’t have a middle name. I’ll probably give my children two middle names each to make up for it.

14. I didn’t get my ears pierced until I was 18 years old. My parents thought piercings of any kind were barbaric and wouldn’t give me permission. On my 18th birthday, guess what was the first thing I did?

15. I’m very organized but also a total slob. So everything has its place, but “its place” usually means spread out across the kitchen table or strewn all over the bedroom floor in 87 organized little piles. My husband is very neat--he hates clutter of any kind--but leaves crumbs and spills everywhere. Somehow we balance each other out and our apartment is habitable.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Split personality

I've been experiencing a weird mix of optimism and pessimism about this cycle. Optimism because technically, I've never made it to insemination, so it's like this is the first one! Who knows, it could work! Pessimism because, after nearly two years of TTC and 6 months in treatment, I have nothing to show for it but two canceled IUIs, and why should this cycle be any different? And the profound lack of trust I have in my doctor and his staff at this point doesn't help either. How could this guy possibly get me pregnant?

So I find myself, for example: Not buying any new spring clothes, or even a desperately needed new pair of pants, because I might be pregnant soon and those cute skirts won't fit. Deciding not to make plans for a big summer trip overseas because if I'm pregnant, I'll be high risk and likely will not want to fly even if my doctor says it's okay. Even--and I hesitate to say this, because it's so ridiculous--eating pineapple.* But also: Making an appointment for an orthodontic consult (I really need braces), which will almost certainly require full dental x-rays, for during my 2ww. Researching new REs. Lurking on the IVF Connections message boards. Thinking about how I will feel when my coworker announces her pregnancy six months from now and my uterus is still a barren wasteland.

Hmm, I guess the pessimism might be winning out a little, huh?

*On the whole, though, I've pretty much dropped all those rah-rah-pregnancy habits. I do drink green tea when I drink any tea at all, but that's maybe once every two months. I've had a fairly vigorous vinyasa yoga practice for over a year, and when I got started I went to the Yoga Journal website and printed out a list of poses that are "therapeutic for infertility" and tried to incorporate them into my practice, and I would lie in savasana and try to visualize my pelvis full of a healing white light, welcoming in a new life. Don't do any of that anymore. I still do the yoga, but I don't have any illusions that it will accomplish anything magical for me.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


Lining: 7 mm
Ovaries: multiple<10 mm
Meds: start 100 mg Clomid tonight

And here we go again. My goal for this cycle is to not get canceled, unlike my last 2 attempts at IUI. You know you are in the thickets of Infertility Island when your fondest wish is to have the opportunity to have your husband's, er, plastic-cup product lovingly introduced to your uterus via catheter. Please sir, may I?

Typical clusterfuck at the RE's office. I had to call 3 times yesterday to speak to a nurse about when I could come in for baseline US--left messages at 10 am and 3 pm, getting increasingly anxious because I know they only check their messages between 9 and 4, then at 4:45 called the secretary and forced her to get a nurse to speak to me NOW. Perhaps I am too high-maintenance, but I don't think it's too much to ask to actually be called back once in a while.

Then this morning, I was given a stack of forms to fill out to have bloodwork done in preparation for IVF. Uh, but I'm only doing a Clomid cycle, say I. "Yes, this is just in case you end up doing IVF, it's our new policy." I tried to get out of it--it's not that I have any objection to having the tests done, it's just that I don't plan on ever doing IVF at this clinic (not telling them that) and I'd rather not have 7 vials of blood drawn if I don't have to, you know? But no, I must, they said. I did manage to get out of the genetic screening panel, because my husband and I actually had pre-conception genetic counseling (thanks to my issues) and have been tested for everything you can think of and a few things you can't.

I asked about getting copies of my records, too--I have a few pieces for my "go bag" (tm Moxie) but want to have the whole shebang for the consults I plan to have at two different clinics. They say it will take 2 weeks. Grr. I wanted to tell them, hand me the file and I will go down to K!nko's and photocopy it myself!

What else...for my get-me-the-hell-out-of-here consults, I have narrowed it down to two clinics (not the top 2 in the city--neither of them take my insurance--but both in the top 5) and a doctor at each. You know how I was so lazy about switching REs because my current place is a 3-minute walk from my office? Turns out that one of these new clinics is a 10-minute walk away, and the other one is RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET. I kid you not. I really need to stop whining about things being inconvenient--there are a lot of people who only have one ART facility in their whole state, for crying out loud, and I'm complaining when there are 3 top-tier clinics within a 10-block radius of my office? I'm also incredibly lucky to be living in the same city as one of the top IVF clinics in the country, so I do have lots of options available to me. I can't promise I will stop whining about other things, but the quality of medical care in this city will not be one of them. (The quality of medical care provided by specific incompetent or uncaring medical professionals, however, is free game.)

That's all for now, I guess. Over the weekend I ran into a woman I HATE and found out she is pregnant, but I'm over it now. Mostly. I got most of our tax information in order for our accountant. Nothing much else of interest, or at least nothing I can talk about right now. Will say more when I can.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

How the other half lives

Earlier today I was chatting with a coworker of mine. She's probably the coworker I'm closest to--not that I'm particularly close to anyone, having only been there 6 months, but our offices are next door to each other, we are the same age and close in title and job area, and have been married for the same amount of time, so we have enough in common that we talk a lot. Anyway, another coworker who's on maternity leave (one of the approximately 8,736 people I know who had a baby in the last 6 months) had brought her baby in for a visit, and we were all cooing over how cute she was (very very cute). My office neighbor was saying that it made her want to lobby her husband for another kid right now (they have a 15-month old son). I said, "He's not ready for another baby?" She replied that no, he was, but they were trying to plan it so they had a spring baby, since it was such a bummer last time to be trapped inside with a newborn in the middle of winter. Also, she said, if they started trying now the baby would have the same birthday as their son. Notice: not "might" have the same birthday, but "would." No doubt in her mind that she would get pregnant right away.

I nodded, smiled, and got out of there. I wasn't angry, or offended...just a little bit sad. Wistful, I guess is the right word. It's hard to be carrying this secret around next to my heart, to not be able to just say, "Oh yeah, good plan" or even "Yeah, that is, if you get pregnant right away," in a chatty way, because I'm afraid my true feelings will spill out. I've resolved that if/when I do get pregnant I will tell everyone--well, not total strangers, but people who matter in my life, including everyone at work--how long it took to get there and what I had to go through, because I think it's important that infertility not be this scary closeted thing. But here, in the middle of it, I'm not prepared to tell anyone, other than a few close friends, and it's hard to keep it guarded.

But mostly I'm just wistful that I will never have that kind of confidence in my own ability to build my family. I never had it, I guess, and I wish I could know what it feels like.

Even the spirits have assvice

Last week I went over to a friend's house to have my tarot cards read. We do this about once a year--she teaches a college course in the field I work in, so every year we do a trade, I come in and speak to her class and in exchange she reads my tarot cards. My husband likes to point out that I am getting the raw end of that deal, but it's fun for both of us to hang out and catch up, and frankly I would probably speak to her class for nothing anyway. (And she actually charges about $100 an hour for readings, so you could make the argument that I am getting a great deal too. Not that I would have my cards read if she weren't doing it for free.)

(Disclaimer: I have a healthy amount of skepticism about tarot cards, astrology, and the like, and approach it all in the spirit of harmless fun. If you are someone who believes that I am endangering my mortal soul by playing with such things, let's just agree to disagree, shall we?)

Naturally I wanted to know about the whole baby-making process. Would this whole thing really work? (We also talked about some other stuff happening in my and my husband's lives--his mother is very sick right now, for one thing--but it felt a little creepy to submit that stuff to the tarot.) Overall, the outlook was positive. Strong vibe of May-June and also August, though no way of knowing if that means when I might get pregnant or when a baby might be born. (Pregnant in August and deliver in May? That's a LONG time away.)

Should I switch doctors? I wondered. The cards (as interpreted by my friend) say that my current doc won't do any harm, but that it might be a good idea to at least investigate the possibility of finding someone with whom I click better. My friend also said that the cards indicated I am doing everything I need to be doing, treatment wise, and I just need to keep taking care of myself. She said acupuncture or TCM or consulting a naturopath might be beneficial, too. All stuff I've been considering, so nice to hear.

Then she started saying stuff about yoga, meditation, letting events unfold as they will. She said the cards indicated that whatever happens will happen, and that pushing and being aggressive about making them happen (beyond pursuing excellent medical care) won't make them happen any faster.

Dude, I think the universe told me to just relax.