Saturday, March 25, 2006

Do You Know The Way To San Jose?

In the middle of packing and wishing that D would step away from the TV and start packing himself. Such happenings going on in blogland - I know I'll be suffering withdrawal. I'll be thinking of you all and sending good wishes your way (especially you girls about to go into labor or transfer embryos into your hospitable uteri).

As we used to say at my sleepover camp each Saturday after havdallah: HAVE A GOOD WEEK, A HAPPY WEEK AND A HEALTHY WEEK!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

New Protocol – New World Order

Well, today is cycle day 1. I start bcps tomorrow. D started anti-biotics, as prescribed by the urologist, today. As of now, I think once he has completed the course of the anti-biotics, it’s fine for us to go ahead and do IVF-ICSI. He’s got other issues, apparently, that have to be addressed, but the urologist thought it fine for us to proceed as previously planned. This, of course, really only leaves me with an additional thing to worry about: namely that the antibiotics fix it so ICSI will work. Really, I’m not going to feel good about this cycle until I get a good fertilization report.

And that seems a long way off right now. I’m supposed to take the pill for 28 days, much longer than I expected. I’m to take only the active pills – so skipping the placebo ones for the last week and instead using a new pack. When I move to the new pack I start injecting the Lupron. Then wait the 10 – 14 days for my period to show up, then go in for my day 3 scan to make sure all is well so that I can FINALLY start stims again. So retrieval (knock on wood) is probably due to be the second week of May. MAY for Chrissakes! Oy.

Over the last few days I keep vacillating between thinking that the doctor will be able to fix what ever it is that has prevented us from conceiving for the last 3 years and that maybe we’d actually now be able to conceive without, gasp, medical help to thinking that ICSI isn’t going to work and why are we moving forward at all.

Having suddenly found causes of our infertility has caused us to look at everything differently. Whereas last week I was proud of myself for going to acupuncture and starting to exercise again, now I’m thinking – none of this even matters. On the other hand, D is feeling, and I quote, “misshapen and deformed” and he hasn’t even been told that there’s something structurally wrong with him. Body image problems are NOT just for females.

We leave for Monterey, California on Sunday for our much-deserved vacation and I so hope that D will be able to forget all this stuff and enjoy it. I’m sure that as long as he’s happy, I’ll be happy. Plus, I get to have lunch with the beautiful, intelligent Donna and meet her person! If anyone else out in the Monterey area wants to meet up, e-mail me!

Friday, March 17, 2006

When I Run My Fertility Clinic

When I run my fertility clinic….

  • The moment the female partner is signed up for an HSG exam, the male partner will be required to meet with a urologist specializing in male infertility.
  • If you’re diagnosed with “unexplained infertility” and 7 IUIs didn’t work and you go through IVF and over 6 eggs are retrieved, I’m ICSI-ing half the eggs and leaving the other half to fertilize regularly.
  • There will be a complementary breakfast spread of Dunkin’ Donuts (‘cuz this is MY clinic and I prefer them to Krispy Kreme’s) and juicy, ripe fruit plus decaf and regular coffee, and a variety of tea available to all my patients who are in for their morning monitoring. And real milk and half & half will be available – none of that gross creamer-powder stuff.
  • There will be 2 separate waiting areas for the morning monitoring (each with the above spread): one with a child-play area so those patients bringing their children are separate from those adults that don’t want to see anyone under 20 while they’re cycling. The nurses will know where to find you when it’s your turn.
  • The doctor performing the wanding each morning will always, upon entering the exam room, extend his hand and introduce him/herself or say “Hello Patient’s name” if s/he has seen the patient before. The introduction is then always followed by asking “Do you have any questions for me?” before the doctor even touches the ultrasound wand.
  • After the u/s, the doctor will give a summary to the patient about what s/he’s seen, what s/he’s thinking the next steps will be, and general status update. This will be followed by another asking of “Do you have any questions for me?”
  • Phonecalls will be returned that day.
  • We will accept any insurance plans that cover our services (being out-of-network is stupid).

That’s just the beginning of course. I’m trying to keep it somewhat realistic. But I’m sure you all have your own ideas. So write ‘em in on the comments or make your own blog entry because I’d love to hear what else we could fix.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Beware the Ides of March

So D had his urology appointment this morning at 7:00AM. Poor guy had to get up so early, and unfortunately, it didn’t go well. Silly me thought they wouldn’t be able to come up with any other reason for the failed fertilization. Instead, they apparently came up with several possibilities, and therefore D has to undergo more testing.

He’s quite unhappy. I haven’t really had much time to discuss this with him personally, but I think he’s upset not about having to undergo more blood draws and exams, but for other, more emotional, reasons:

  1. The machismo factor – I think he feels like he’s less of a man somehow.
  2. The husband factor – I fear he feels guilty that all this IF hardship is due to him.
  3. The bad patient factor – if this is something that he’s been living with for awhile, I think he feels stupid about not getting it checked out years ago.
  4. The bad doctor factor – if this is something that he’s been living with for awhile, I think he’s upset that no doctor before this one ever thought to explore the possibility before.

In yet one more example of “Be careful what you wish for,” we now have a possible explanation for our infertility. As much as I wanted a real, hard verifiable reason, I didn’t want it to be male factor. And the reason why I didn’t want it to be male factor is completely selfish.

As much as I truly believe that infertility is no one’s fault, I think that we still tend to place blame. And I don’t mean blaming your partner, but blaming oneself. If you can blame yourself than you don’t have to worry about hurting anyone’s feelings, you can rant and rave at the unfair injustice of it all and not have to worry that every barb you sling is silently hurting someone else, because that someone else can only think “if it wasn’t for me there wouldn’t be a problem.” I think I’ve been blaming myself all along, and D has been my support. If we’re told now that the problem is with D, I fear that our modus operandi for dealing with the grief and frustration of infertility is going to change – has to change. And at this late stage I think it’s going to be quite an upheaval.

I don’t really know what any of this means. D has asked me not to tell anyone, so I’m afraid I can’t share the specifics with you. I don’t yet know if the possible problems mean we can’t do ICSI, or that ICSI won’t help us. My brief googling sessions didn’t bring up any reason why ICSI wouldn’t work, so I’m still hopeful that we’ll be able to go ahead with IVF as planned next month. I’m just worried now that D is going to feel so guilty and/or depressed that it’s going to be much harder for him than last round.

Why, oh why must boys equate manliness with conceiving a baby?
Oh right, women do that too.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Window To My Soul

Well, with not a lot going on with me on the trying to conceive front, I'm putting the links below here in the hopes that you'll all (lurkers too!) participate. I saw it on Manuela's blog first, and was immediately interested in it. But I think what's spurred me on to finally do one for myself, was attending a Remembrance service yesterday for Wendy Wasserstein. Sure, she was a famous playwright, but what came out of all the loving speeches and tributes to her was what made her such a special person and friend. Hopefully, it'll be a long, long, LONG time before there's any kind of memorial service for me, but I'd like to know how my friends (in real life and the blogosphere) think of me now.

Thanks for indulging me.

Mellie's Johari window
Mellie's Nohari window (for the negative too)

Thursday, March 09, 2006


Some random stories I’ve been meaning to share:

A couple weeks ago I called an ex-boyfriend old friend for our bi-monthly (as in every 2 months or so) catch-up call. He is, of course, father to a 15 month-old girl and his wife (now 39 years old) got pregnant soon after they started trying. I had the pleasure of telling him about our failed IVF cycle and our future plans for trying. His response was “Just do it. Don’t worry about the money – spend all you can. Don’t give up.”

I didn’t really know how to respond. I had expected typical assvice from him – after all, when I first told him of our difficulties years ago his first question was “Whose fault is it?” But to tell me not to give up, well, I just didn’t expect that – ‘cuz it’s not assvice really. It was heartening in a strange way. Sure, part of me was all “Easy for you to say,” but if I’m honest with myself I have to admit that I liked hearing it. It was almost exactly what I wanted to hear because I’m not ready to give up yet. I have to believe that if we keep trying one of these days it’ll work. That money isn’t what I should be concerned about; that in the end, it will all be worth it.

So, since that phone call I’ve been constantly replaying his instructions in my mind. Wise words can come from the strangest places.

* * *

And then there’s my D.

He was completely oblivious to what IVF really meant the day before retrieval. He just wanted to know what time his appointment was going to be. When I told him that I wanted him to stay with me he was a little perturbed (he at least had the good sense to know that he landed himself in hot water for that, though he didn’t know why). Then, when we got off the bus the next morning to check-in at the hospital, D started walking towards the clinic doors, and it was than that I realized he had no idea how different this egg retrieval/IVF process is than from the past IUIs we had done. I had to inform him that we weren’t going to the same place as we had for the IUIs, but to a hospital, where I would be under general anesthesia while they pierced my vaginal wall to remove the eggs. I think then he finally realized what a bigger deal IVF was.

The morning after they retrieved my beautiful 17 eggs, as we lay in bed before receiving the bad news from my doctor, we had the most realistic conversation yet about IVF and parenting and pregnancy. It was the first time that I felt like D was invested at all in the outcome of a cycle. He asked what we would do if I ended up pregnant with twins (“keep ‘em and hope they make it) and then what would we do if I ended up pregnant with triplets (“Silly D, I won’t BE able to get pregnant with triplets – the most we’d put back is 2”). We talked about what I should do the day of the beta test (“I’m not telling you the result over the phone. I’m coming to your office ‘cuz either way I’ll need you"). It had been a really nice morning. For the first time, I think D really thought that this would be it.

Then, of course, the bad news came. And he comforted me admirably. That afternoon, as we lay back in bed, he started talking about future tries. He started asking about other options and even brought up donor sperm (“You could use real Jewish sperm!”). I, tearful already because of our failure, and then even more moved that he’d consider such things, could only respond with “I can’t talk about that stuff yet.” And my darling D was, of course, fine with that. He had only been “thinking aloud” and didn’t mean we had to DO anything.

Honestly, I think I’m incredibly lucky that D isn’t dying to become a father, because if he was as equally devastated I’d I feel the need to be brave and strong and I don’t think I could do that.

Meanwhile, he’s got an appointment with a urologist next week. We’ll see if anything new comes of it. I don’t expect it will, but regardless the two things I’m sure of are:

1. I couldn’t have found a better man for me than D
2. I’m not giving up.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Losing Grip

Earlier today I was walking across the plaza to buy lunch while listening to Avril Lavigne (what of it?) on my ipod sing:

You weren't there when I was scared I was so alone
You, you need to listen I'm starting to trip,
I'm losing my grip and I'm in this thing alone

And all of a sudden the tears that I’ve been holding back burst forth. I’ve been feeling sad and down all week, and had been able to brush aside those feelings – but today they couldn’t be reined in. I don’t know what it is exactly, but I suspect it stems from feeling useless.

This is an adjective I’ve used to describe myself to D before – and he always berates me when I say it. But it’s hard not to feel this way. I’ve had NOTHING to do at work for over a week now. I’m not needed there. D makes all the $$ we need anyway, so why do I even bother working? And we all know about my attempts to become a mother - instances where my body really has shown just how useless it can be.

I’m sure this doom and gloom stems from being stuck in another holding pattern. Plus, I’m becoming less optimistic about the results of the next IVF cycle and more scared that ICSI isn’t going to be our salvation. I’d been so good recently about getting myself psyched up – hell, I’ve even been to 3 pilates/yoga classes this week – that I guess I was due for a crying jag.

I wish I could say it helped.