Tuesday, January 31, 2006


In an attempt to thwart Catastrophe I’m laying out all the things I’ve been or currently am afraid of happening during this cycle. I hope that by the same principal that stops rain from falling if you bring the umbrella this will insure a problem-free cycle. And let me state now, I fully realize that most of these are ridiculous concerns, but that hasn’t stopped them from occurring to me.

1. I had been afraid of not calling someone or not filling out some required paperwork and therefore being postponed. So far that didn’t happen, but I did forget to return my signed consent forms today (since they didn’t take them when I did bring them last week, because I need to sign the research consent form at the same time as my husband with a witness present).
2. I was afraid I’d have an ovarian cyst and be postponed.
3. I’m afraid we’re mixing the wrong dosages. (Though I confirmed with the IVF nurses today that it is indeed 1cc of dilutent for the 2 vials of Repronex).
4. I’m afraid we’re using the wrong needles.
5. I’m afraid that something happened to the refrigerator (because D seems to think it went wonky for a bit) and it ruined the Lupron and Follistim.
6. I’m afraid that D is shaking the Repronex too much instead of “gently swishing” the vials.
7. I’m worried that D will continually forget to take his Doxycycline twice per day.
8. I’m afraid that D will not be able to successfully give a sample on retrieval day.
9. I’m afraid I’ll hyperstimulate.
10. I’m afraid I won’t produce any eggs.
11. I’m afraid I’ll run out of medication or needles and be left in the lurch.
12. I’m afraid we’re injecting the drugs too late in the evening – or at not a consistent enough time.
13. I’m afraid we’ll mess up the HCG shot and I’ll end up ovulating on my own before retrieval.
14. I’m afraid I’ve forgotten to take too many of my prenatal vitamins over the last month.
15. I’m worried that none of my eggs will be fertilized.
16. I’m afraid of having no embryos to transfer.
17. I’m afraid of getting blood during the PIO shots.
18. I’m afraid I’ll have spotting or bleeding before the beta test.
19. I’m worried about taking the call from the nurse with the beta results while at work, in an office I share with my assistant.
20. I’m worried that everything will go perfectly and it’ll still fail.

I am not afraid of the needles, the shots, or the thought of it actually working.

Meanwhile, I’ve gone through two nights of stim drugs, and jeez, my thighs are not holding up like I thought they would! I don’t know why the Gonadotropins are different then the Lupron, but I got to say each of my thighs is now bruised and feeling battered. Walking is a reminder of each injection. I’m thinking about moving the shots to the abdomen, but I can’t imagine that’s going to feel less painful.

And I got the results of my real day 3 blood draw and it’s all encouraging:
E2: 16
FSH: 3.9
LH: 3.4

So, that’s something. And I’ll get a call this afternoon with today’s results and further instructions.

Everything is moving right along. There’s nothing to be scared of. Right?

Friday, January 27, 2006

Sunday Is The New Thursday

So, because my clinic is so damn popular and because there are so many women currently cycling there, I’ve been assigned a “New Day 3.” While in reality the 3rd day of my current cycle was yesterday, according to my clinic, Sunday will become my real cd 3 for the IVF cycle. This is because with so many women they want to make sure that there won’t be too many having retrievals on the same day. Starting last night I reduced my Lupron dosage to .1cc and will add the stims on the 29th.

I figure, what’s another 2 days at this point? Plus, D & I are going to see Fountains of Wayne Saturday night, and I was worried about getting home before 11 to do the shots. I figure since I’ll only be taking the Lupron it won’t be as big a deal if we’re a few minutes late. And I’m not really worried that it affects the outcome of my cycle – I know I’m being suppressed and that the docs know what they’re doing. But if anyone has any reassuring research on the subject I’d certainly love to read it.

Meanwhile, I refilled my Lupron prescription because on Sunday I’ll have been taking it for 14 days and will therefore be out of needles – if not the actual medication. I can’t believe I’ve been doing this for 2 weeks already! For some reason, time is flying. I guess I’ve been fortunate in that I haven’t had any side effects. Well, that’s not exactly true. I’ve been consistently waking up in the middle of the night to take off my shirt because I’m so bloody hot, but maybe that’s just because my apartment suddenly heats up and not because I’m having a hot flash? And the fact that I started crying because this story on the radio made me cry because, well for no reason really, is probably an indication that I have some hormones running through me. I think the tears stemmed from missing my mom, or wanting to be a mom, or who the hell knows? There really wasn’t a reason. So yeah, maybe I’ve had some side effects.

In other matters, my boss has a new favorite phrase, which, I swear, he says daily. When we’re trying to prevent someone from getting too attached to an idea or too attached to a specific actor or whatever instead of saying, “getting too attached,” he says, “getting pregnant.” As in, “We better find out now if Diva is a possibility before the director gets pregnant with that cast.”

I know it’s a metaphor. I know it makes sense linguistically. But every time he says it I squirm.

Hopefully, one of these days, I’ll be squirming because it will be me who’s actually pregnant.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Return Of The Wand Monkey

As I commented on Lori’s blog today, life is about ebb and flow. I feel like the last 4 months when there was no real trying to conceive going on – and probably the last 2 years with just failure after failure - were one big ebb. Ever since I attended the IVF class, the tide turned, and things are a flowin’. I know that the ebb will happen again; I just hope it isn’t in 4 weeks because of a negative beta.

For now, the future looks bright. Today was cd3 and IVF cycle #1 (and hopefully only) began. I arrived at the clinic at 8:15 and shortly thereafter was called up to confirm all my contact and insurance info and pay the $8,900 upfront. Then it was on to meet with an IVF nurse who drew today’s blood, instructed me in the ways of the Follistim pen, and outlined the next steps of the cycle:
1. Reduce Lupron to .1cc
2. D starts taking his antibiotics
3. Start the Follistim and Repronex

I met with the research coordinator and went over all the consent forms. I learned about the current research being done at the center. Then, of course, it was time for my reunion with the wand monkey.

I was shown to my exam room, but given no instructions. Being the wand monkey veteran I am, I certainly didn’t need any, but I wondered about the poor soul who might have gone straight to IVF – would she know what to do? I closed the door to the room, undressed from the waist down, sat myself at the edge of the table and covered myself up with the gown provided. The doctor knocked on the door and I answered – but no one entered. Then I heard the jangling of keys and the door opening. I said “Did I lock you out?” and my lovely doctor joked “Yup – that’s mistake #1. You only get 3 then you’re kicked out of the cycle. It’s a good thing I like you, or I’d have the bouncers in here now.” And then he told me the best news of the day – my u/s looks great: lots of little follicles and I am cyst-free.

So barring some crazy FSH number or some other blood bad news (and there’s no reason to be fearing that), we’re off and running.

Friday, January 20, 2006

To My Fat Thighs:

I am sorry for how I’ve treated you. In the past I was a little ashamed of you, perhaps a bit embarrassed. I did not understand how it was that you could contain these pounds of fat, when the rest of me was rather lean. Why was it (back when I frequented the gym), that no matter how many lunges I did or minutes ran on the elliptical trainer, your circumference never diminished? In the mirror I would see those craters of cellulite and heavily sigh. For years now I’ve done my best to conceal you in tights and cute skirts. During the summer my bathing suits were not sexy bikini bottoms but athletic board shorts. You were my nemesis; the one body part I’d choose to change if given magic powers. But now I sing a different tune.

I love your ample heft now. The way you so easily receive the daily sub-q shot is inspiring. How I wish I had thought to use you back in my IUI days! I love that I can stab the needle into you, and you easily and painlessly hold the syringe straight while I press the plunger in. You have made it so that I no longer rely on D for the nightly injections. I have no doubt that your cushioning will make even the added follistim and repronex shots next week effortless.

Thank you, thank you. Fat thighs, I rejoice in thee.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Martin Lupron King Day

(with thanks to Avonlea for the title)

Well, not only is it Day 1 of Lupron (Day 20 of my cycle), this is also my 50th post. A momentous occasion indeed. I've gotten e-mails from friends saying they're thinking of me, and I spoke with my parents who both also expressed their excitement and happiness that the day has arrived. I made brownies earlier to celebrate (well, really to have as a reward after the shot). Somehow, today has become a minor holiday - and not just because it's MLK, Jr. 's birthday.

I suppose the start of Lupron deserves the same recognition at least as starting a new job. Congratulations are probably in order. This could be the start of a life - and therefore it could be the start of a life-altering event. There's a Hebrew prayer called the Shecheyunu, which my family throws in when we can't find or remember the proper prayer to say at a specific occasion. Off the top of my head, it translates roughly to Blessed art Thou, oh Lord our G-d, King of the Universe, for allowing us to reach this day.

I've always liked it because, to me, it's a reminder that any day can be a special day - worthy of a prayer. I'm not a real religious person, I go to shul on the high holidays and light the Shabbat candles when I remember. Plus, I married an Atheist goy. But I think tonight, as D is preparing the Lupron, a little Shecheyunu might be in order.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Excitement Builds

Something strange happened last night. One of those annoyingly cute, smiley-face icons made me feel unusually happy. I might as well have a blinkie name on the bottom of this post, and sprinkles of baby dust attached to my every blog comment, because when my ovulation test showed the happy face, I became elated. I tried to take a picture of the test. I ran around not wanting to put the damn thing down.

The elation was possibly because I was relieved I wasn’t going to have to shell out another $35 for another ovulation kit; possibly because it indicates that my cycle seems to have reverted to its normal schedule. But surely the elation is because it means I start taking Lupron next Monday (and I’m feeling lucky that I start Lupron on a day off from work (MLK day)).

I don’t know why the optimism is running rampant in my house right now. D & I have begun talking like I’m going to be pregnant in 6 weeks, no question. Last month I was feeling quite positive that IVF wouldn’t work the first time – but I’d learn what the problem is. I was sure they’d find that my eggs’ shells are too hard for the sperm to penetrate or something that can only be diagnosed through IVF. Now I’m thinking, even if they find something they’ll be able to compensate for it. I borrowed the book The Couple’s Guide to In-Vitro Fertilization and I just keep remembering the statistic she quotes that 70% of couples take home a baby within 3 tries.

And last night I dreamt that I was pregnant. It was like, 2 days after transfer, but in the dream I knew it had worked. Of course, in the dream a close friend who is not close to ttc and my mother were also pregnant, so it’s not like I think it was a prophecy or anything. But I remember feeling so happy knowing a child was due.

So, yeah, I’m excited. There’s this song from the Ahrens & Flaherty musical, A Man of No Importance that’s been running through my head all morning. The song is sung by a bunch of community theater members who are presenting their crazy set, costume and prop ideas to the play’s director. Their point is that while these things may not look like much now, give it some time and they’ll be fit for the stage. In other words, as the song goes, “A week and a half from now this will be art.

Indeed. A week and a half from now this will be ART.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Isn't It Ironic

“I don’t wish to be single in the way that I expect to wish to be childless.”

The above is a direct quote from D uttered over dinner last night. Don’t worry, I don’t want anyone to get all indignant on my behalf. It was part of an honest, hopeful, crazy conversation we had.

We were on a veritable date (dinner in a restaurant followed by the IMAX version of Harry Potter) and having a real discussion, as opposed to eating-in-silence that’s become the norm at home. I had brought up how I know he’s pretty terrified at the concept of having kids, but that in the end, I think he’ll be okay with it. As an example I pointed to how he would have been content to not get married either but because I needed it we did, and that’s turned out okay. And that’s when my lovely D hit me with the above sentence.

I heard him and I laughed. The thought of wishing to be childless is so foreign to me, that the realization that the man I love with all my heart feels it is funny. And I mean not sad-funny, but happy-funny. Because even though he doesn’t want kids himself, he’s going through this process with me now and has comforted me sufficiently through it in the past. Not because this is something he wants but because he cares about me. In some ways that makes me pretty fortunate.

After I laughed and told him that I thought his line was brilliant, I said “So, the last 2 ½ years has been a lucky reprieve for you then?” and without a second’s hesitation he responded “Yes.”

This, shockingly, sent me into a full-fledged laugh attack. The kind where no one else around you understands what’s so funny, but you have tears streaming down your face. Fortunately, it was a loud restaurant so I don’t think other diners even noticed, but I laughed and laughed for a long time in a way that I really haven’t in awhile. It’s funny, no? These last 2 ½ years, which have been hellish for me – certainly the most difficult I’ve ever experienced, have been a welcomed stay of execution for my D.

All this to say, I must be in a good place. I know there have been times when I would’ve responded to D's admissions with tears and anguish and cries of “How can we be right for one another?” or “Why don’t you understand?” Instead, the thought of IVF working has me happy that D & I are still together even though we’ve got such different desires, and hopeful that D’s reprieve will be coming to an end.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

2006 - The Final Frontier

I know the IF-rollercoaster analogy is nothing new, so forgive me for indulging in it. You see, I’m in line now for a ride on the biggest one in my amusement park yet, and I’m just nearing the head of the line where I can count forward and figure out just what car I’ll be sitting in.

Yesterday D & I attended the clinic’s IVF class, received and discussed my protocol and had all the necessary tests done to get our records up to date. We are now officially doing IVF. (We were supposed to go in for the class before Christmas, but the NYC transit strike messed that up. In the end, it didn’t matter, but at the time it was another stinkin’ reason to hate the transit union.)

While I feel quite over-educated in regard to all that transpires during an IVF cycle, I still found the class (complete with power point presentation and a video clip of ICSI) reassuring and informative. I know D was bored and stressed about missing work, but spending the 2 + hours there made me feel like it’s for real now. I’m excited and hopeful and scared and pessimistic all at the same time.

My protocol: beginning yesterday (cd 8) I’m to monitor for my LH surge. Once the opk gives a positive, the Lupron shots begin 7 days later. Stimming will (knock on wood) consist of 150 iu of Follistim and 2 vials of Repronex. I got the prescriptions for everything, sent them off today and expect to get my box o’ drugs next week. Last night I purchased the strangest combination ever: the $40 clinic preferred Clear Plan Ovulation Kit and a box of condoms. How ironic is it to have to use the 2 at the same time? Meanwhile, this ovulation kit is the digital kind, so there’s no room to misinterpret the results. No judging of color shades – when it detects the LH surge a smiley face appears in the display. I’ve been thinking that perhaps some baby dust will also burst out the tip, accompanied by a musak-y rendition of Let’s Get it On.

Anyway, it’s about here. We’re beginning. I’m not at all worried about the shots, the blood draws, the retrieval or transfer. I’m just petrified at the thought of it not working and the doctors not learning anything new.