Friday, April 28, 2006

Looking For A Date

Hey - if anyone out there is interested and can meet me in Times Square tomorrow afternoon, I have an extra ticket to see this musical. Seriously - email me and we can coordinate a meeting time.

Going Forward

We’ve moved on. Or, we’re moving on. I’m back to my blasé state about this IVF cycle.

As it played out, the urologist called back both D and me Wednesday afternoon. I had called there and didn’t take the “Emily Gilmore” approach of berating and yelling at the assistant who answers the phone and can’t tell me anything, but rather the “please be nice to me and help me because I’m on the verge of tears and will really lose my mind if I can’t get answers” approach. He’s a very nice man, and did his best to appease me.

But what it comes down to is that, since we don’t have the results of a recent semen culture (NOT analysis – which is what the stupid lab had done), we don’t know what D’s white blood cell count is, nor if there’s an infection present. It very well could be that the antibiotics wiped out the infection and his wbc count is normal – in which case ICSI should certainly work. Of course, that may not be the case. But, the urologist went on to explain that although D’s wbc count was high at 2 million (normal is 1 mil.), there are actually some people who think that having a wbc count between 2 – 4 million is good – so just having an elevated wbc count is not reason enough not to move forward with IVF-ICSI. In addition, the lab at Cornell that did D’s first semen culture that gave us the 2 mil. wbc count, doesn’t stain the cells – so in reality some of the 2,000,000 wbc could actually be immature sperm cells because immature sperm cells look like wbc. Can you even follow all this?

None of this, of course, factors in the possibility of the infection still being present in the semen. He told me that there appeared to be some streptococcus (or some such coccus or other) in D’s last sample – and if it’s still present, it may or may not be eliminated from the new round of antibiotics D is currently taking (normal IVF protocol calls for the male donor to take doxycycline leading up to retrieval, but the urologist is having D take erythromycin instead). Furthermore, even if some bacteria remains, there is no conclusive evidence one way or another to prove whether or not ICSI will work. The urologist’s gut feeling is that it won’t be an issue. And so we slog ahead, none the wiser.

Meanwhile, Wednesday morning we arranged to deliver another sample to be tested - this time to the regular old Quest lab not the Cornell lab. I brought it there myself, along with the paperwork that the urologist’s office had faxed over. When dropping it off I made sure that they understood which tests were to be done – at which point the lady taking everything looked closely at the prescription I had brought and said she didn’t know whether it was a “semen culture” test or a “semen analysis” since the doctor had only written “semen” on the script. I pointed out to her that below that there were specific instructions for various cultures – so didn’t that mean it was to be the culture and not the analysis? To which she replied – “Oh no – those tests are done by swab at the doctor’s office or from a urine sample.” And so I call my new best friend, the urologist’s assistant and explain that the lab can’t understand the instructions given. She, of course, needs the doctor to call and explain but he’s in with a patient, but she promises she’ll have him call the lab to explain. So I wait. And wait. 45 minutes later I call again – he’s still with a patient. The only reason I’m okay with waiting is because I’m pretty confident that the sample needs to be cultured – and therefore timing is not of the essence. If it was supposed to be a semen analysis I would’ve been screwed. 10 minutes later the lab gets a phonecall and the urologist explains to the lady – who was very nice to me, just apparently didn’t know all that she thought she did – that indeed it was to be a semen culture and that all those specific cultures listed can, in fact, be tested from a semen sample. It seems that I spent an hour at the lab because the lady at the desk was wrong and created a problem when there really shouldn’t have been one. But in the end it got straightened out – no harm was done and we should have the results next week. Not that the results really even matter given everything I wrote above.

SO…our second ivf cycle is here. Today is considered Day 5. I’ve been taking my 200iu of Follistim since Wednesday night. This time around I’m giving myself all the shots and this time I’m just doing it in the abdomen. It’s been okay. My numbers from the Day 3 blood draw were good:
E2: 18
FSH: 3.2
LH: 1.2

It’s all going to come down to how the fertilization goes. Maybe I should start a blog pool – you know, the person who comes closest to guessing how many viable embryos for transfer we end up with could win all my left over medication! Anyone want to wager a bet?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Not Good


Apparently the stupid bloody lab didn’t do the right test on D’s sample. So we have no freaking idea whether or not his white blood cell count is high or not. And if it is, D’s urologist says that it may be an indication that the DNA integrity is sub-par and therefore, even if ICSI worked and fertilization occurred, normal growth of the embryos might not follow.

So where are we at the moment?

We don’t know what D’s wbc count is.
If it’s bad I don’t know whether or not to try IVF right now.
I’m furious with the urologist’s office for not ensuring that D’s sample got tested properly. I’m furious with the lab for not performing the right test. I’m upset with my RE for many, many things:

1. Telling me the result showed it was still high (what was he looking at if the test wasn’t done correctly?)
2. Why does he seem to think that ICSI will solve all the problems if the urologist says differently?
3. Why, oh why, didn’t he refer D to a urologist years ago?
4. Why didn’t we ICSI some of the eggs last time?

Shouldn’t my RE and the urologist be discussing things and presenting a unified front? I tried to arrange a conference call between the two of them and D and me for today, but of course, the urologist is “in the lab this afternoon” so that isn’t possible.

And none of this takes into account what’s going on between me and D. Remember how when we first found out about D’s diagnosis I knew it was going to alter our modus operandi about how we deal with all this treatment? It certainly has. Not only am I upset about all of the above, D’s anger is probably threefold. So, who’s there to be the calming, soothing influence? No one. And when D is going off on his rant, I have to try very, very hard to not take it all personally. It’s hard for me to recognize that he’s not mad at me – even though I’m the one that chose the clinic and the RE.

But Jesus Christ – it’s Cornell. Isn’t this supposed to be one of the best places for IVF in the country? What else can I possibly do to see that we’re getting all the attention we need.

Monday, April 24, 2006


I am surprisingly lackadaisical about this cycle. I’ve been taking .2cc of Lupron nightly since 4/13, but haven’t been so particular about the exact time of injection. In fact, twice last week I went to the theater and knowingly missed the allotted window of injection by, up to maybe, a half-hour. Whatever. I highly doubt that it impacts my chances of success at all.

I had been spotting pretty consistently the last week on birth control pills. But I really wasn’t concerned. Yesterday was day 3 and I reported to the office for the obligatory day 3 ultrasound, blood draw and of course, the upfront payment of the money. While waiting an hour for all of the above, near the end there was one of those women who brought her adorable one year old into the waiting room. There were 2 women sitting near me who were quite upset about the child’s presence. I understood where they were coming from, as I’ve felt that way too – but I didn’t yesterday. Yesterday it didn’t matter. I was all “Whatever.”

The results of yesterday’s visit were fine: E2 less than 20, lining @ 4, between the 2 ovaries the wand monkey revealed at least 8 follicles less than 10. So on Wednesday I add the Follistim. I am excited to be starting again – finally – but whereas last round I had so many fears (of which #15 came true – so at least I know they weren’t unfounded), this time I only have one: #15 of course.

Yes, we’re doing ICSI so that shouldn’t happen. But D gave a new sample last week (post his 3 week antibiotic course), and it still showed a high count of white blood cells. While my RE says that ICSI will compensate for that, we haven’t yet heard that from the urologist (because getting him the test results is way harder than it should be), so until I actually hear that we’ve created fertilized embryos, this is all just a big whatever.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Fight the Power

Excuse me for indulging in a little political activism. Below is text from and a link to the NARAL Pro-Choice America website. Please take a moment to support the Senators in their action to help FINALLY get approval of Plan B passed.

President Bush recently nominated Andrew von Eschenbach to be FDA commissioner, giving us a unique opportunity to finally end the FDA’s politically motivated delays in approving the morning-after pill for over-the-counter sales.

Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and Patty Murray (D-WA) have declared that they will block von Eschenbach’s nomination until the agency decides whether to approve Plan B® for over-the-counter sales.

Today, you can help support them in their stand. Thank Senators Clinton and Murray by clicking on this link and sending them a letter of support.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Stupid Genes

Thanks everyone for all your kind comments. They really made me feel better.

I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday weekends, whether or not you were celebrating Passover, Easter and/or Patriot’s Day. I went up to Boston on Wednesday to celebrate the Passover seders with my family, and even got to take in an excellent Red Sox game at Fenway Friday night. I spent Saturday in CT visiting my pregnant best friend. All the while I was hoping that dearest D would find a way to emerge from his cocoon by the time I arrived home on Sunday. Alas, it was not to be.

I will admit that his head has poked out from time to time, and some laughs have even ventured forth, but he’s still sad, sad, sad about his life. I find that when the person I love most in the world is sad, sad, sad about his life, I can’t help but feel like it’s my fault. I mean, aren’t I supposed to be his light and soul and all that romantic stuff? Isn’t my love for him supposed to be enough to make him feel like he can conquer anything? Shouldn’t the strength of our relationship and the deep feelings we have for one another be all that he needs to feel that life is good? Alas, it is not be.

Instead, poor D feels like his life sucks and that his genes are crap. So strongly does he feel this, that he asked me to consider whether or not we should use donor sperm. Not because he thinks his sperm won’t be able to do the job (in fact, he said “it’ll probably work this time”), but because he doesn’t want to pass on Celiac Disease to his children.

I was floored. My immediate reaction was a big, huge NO. D is the man I chose to marry. It’s his genes I want mixed with mine. Then I thought, maybe I am being too Pollyanna about the ramifications of this disease. I started to feel selfish for saying D has to pass on his genes. Maybe it would be extremely traumatic to a kid and to us to have a child with Celiac. But in the end, I want a child that is mine and D’s. Just as we both hope our kids have my hair, not D’s, we’ll hope that it won’t be gluten-intolerant.

We both really do think this IVF cycle will work. D’s infection should be cleared up and they’ll ICSI all the eggs. We’re so close now to getting what I’ve wanted for so long I can taste it. I began Lupron last week, and take my last BCP tomorrow. Stims should start next week. If we decided we wanted to use donor sperm, I think it would mean having to skip this cycle – I doubt we could figure out that procedure in the next 3 weeks – and that makes me even less inclined to contemplate it. But, mostly, I don’t want to think about having a child that’s not biologically D’s. For the last couple of weeks I have been imagining our family – me and D and a child that has Celiac Disease. I’m okay with that. I know I could take care of him/her. I’m going to learn how to take care of D. If he’ll let me.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Back to Life, Back to Reality

I’m sorry I haven’t posted in a bit. Since returning from vacation things in our household have been kinda, well, tense. I’ll do a post later on the vacation itself, particularly on getting to meet the gracious and charming Donna, but for now I need to write about our current situation.

Last Wednesday D found out that he has Celiac Disease. He is not taking the news well. I don’t really know what he’s thinking or feeling because he won’t – or can’t as of yet – talk to me about it, so I can only surmise what he’s feeling. And I don’t think it’s that he’s just upset about never drinking beer or eating a bagel again – from short quips that he’s made I think he’s not doing well with thinking of himself as being sick. He doesn’t suffer from any of the digestive symptoms of celiac, so in his most pessimistic moments he thinks that switching to a gluten-free diet isn’t really going to help him feel physically better. But the more I think about it, I think D’s going through a kind of identity crisis.

He has almost always prided himself on being healthy; he became a vegetarian when he was 18 because he thought it was healthier. He reintroduced fish and chicken into his diet in the last couple of years because he thought it would be healthier for him. He exercises regularly. So I think between his eventful visits with the urologist, and now the internist deducing he has this hereditary disorder, he’s feeling like someone else. He’d already been complaining about feeling too old, so if you add in all these pills he has to take and the large number of doctor appointments he has to make, I suspect he’s feeling like his body is acting like that of someone much, much older than his 35 years and he’s feeling cheated. And now that I write all of this out, I suppose I can’t really blame him. Which is a bit of a surprise, because for awhile over the weekend I definitely was.

My poor D.

And none of that even takes into account the possibility that our infertility problems lie within him. It’s no wonder he’s retreated far, far into his cave. I just hope he comes out soon.