Sunday, April 29, 2007

Welcome to Cranksville. Population: You.

Man am I ever cranky! My poor hubby has quite a handful with me these days. I’m assuming this is one of the oh-so-pleasant side-effects of the progesterone—either that, or I’m just bitchy. (Wait, perhaps the two aren’t mutually exclusive?)

But, since there's not too much going on in the land of doggie, hubby, and SB, here are some random thoughts 7dpiui #4:
  1. I’ve heard a lot of horror stories about progesterone suppositories—that they slide out or melt and make a big ‘ol disgusting mess. Well, I’m happy to report that, aside from the aforementioned crank, the ones I’m using aren’t so bad. It’s actually a gel of some sort, so there’s no leaking or melting or anything else horrible. So, assuming that my RE hasn’t just given me a placebo to shut me up about my short luteal phase, I highly recommend this gel over anything with the potential of melting…

  2. My boss finally finished his “investigation” of the total bullshit accusations that that member of my team launched against me after his poor review. Unsurprisingly, he found that none of the accusations had any merit, and that my team is well-managed, that my evaluation was fair, etc. This is, of course, good news. But I’m still ticked about the whole thing. The entire thing has been a nightmare. And I guess my boss had to interview other people on my team, etc. So I can only imagine what the water cooler chat is like these days. Ugh. Also, my direct boss is the CEO, so this guy has nowhere to appeal, except to actually file a formal complaint or sue us. I wouldn’t put any of that past him, so I guess we just need to wait-and-see now.

  3. This is totally random, but I had an all-day meeting yesterday (good times) and, on the train home, I had to sit behind the worst example of a spoiled, rich princess. She was clearly a college student, likely from a snooty school not to far from where we live. Anyhow, she came blazing into the train with three of her friends, and took up one of the four-seaters, but banished her “friends” to sit elsewhere so she could have all four seats to herself. Then, when the train got crowded, people went to sit down at one of the FOUR (!!!) empty seats, and she told them she was “saving” the seats. (Of course, a lie.) Oh, and her friends got squeezed in between three other people, and the princess wouldn’t let them come sit in her 4-seater. Then, there was a man three rows back listening to his iPod a little loudly—not awful, though. And she made her friend ask him to turn it down because she just HAD to sleep and couldn’t possibly with that noise. How entitled is that? Carving out an enormous space for yourself, then bitching that other people are bothering you! (So, since I was sitting right behind her, I took my iPod out and turned it WAY up. So, I guess I am kind of a bitch. It’s not my fault, really. I have no patience for spoiled self-centered princesses to begin with AND I’m on fertility treatments right now. I think she got off easy.)
So, that’s it. Really exciting stuff chez sticky bun this weekend.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Goin' back to Cali

So, I know that I’ve mentioned that our birthday is coming up—next weekend (also known as D-Day for IUI#4). And, I’m impressed that nobody’s yet asked why the hell I keep calling it “our birthday.” Perhaps we’re so in love that we share everything, even birthdays?

No way! I’ve always been a big fan of birthdays—it’s the one day that gets to be all about you. You get to have your favorite meal and people you haven’t talked to in a while call to say hi. You don't have to do the dishes and you can eat chocolate Munch*kins for breakfast. It’s fabulous.

Sadly, though, hubby and I have the same exact birthday. Yup, that’s right. Same day, same year. We are exactly 2 hours apart. (He’s older. Ha!)

And, I know what you’re thinking—aw…how cute? Nope. Not cute. It means that you have to compromise on your birthday. And who wants to do that? I mean, it’s my birthday, so I shouldn’t have to be the one that does the early morning dog walk, right? Not so much when it’s hubby’s birthday, too. And, well, hubby and I don’t have the same favorite meal. And he LOVES going to the movies on his birthday, but I don’t have any desire to do that. So, who wins?*

To avoid such complications, we typically try to go away for our bdays. In fact, we’ve been somewhere else for all but one of our birthdays. And it’s always fun—it’s a new special birthday tradition. So, this year we’ve been trying to figure out where to go. The challenge though is that these fertility treatments are kind of kicking our pocketbook, if you know what I mean. (Of course you know what I mean!) So, we thought we’d try to do something practical—something that didn’t involve spending a lot of money.

Then we said screw that! It’s our birthday, damnit. So, we decided to go to San Francisco for a long weekend. (Okay, okay. It's kind of practical…my brother and sister-in-law live there, so we can stay with them. How economical, you say? Yessirree.) And, it’s the perfect plan, really. I mean, this way, if IUI#4 is a bust, we can drown our sorrows in a beautiful vineyard in Sonoma. Genius!

So, we leave one week from today. I’m really looking forward to it. I haven’t seen my brother and sister-in-law in a while and I love SF. Also, this is providing a nice distraction from the 2ww…not that I’m complaining about the 2ww. Nosiree, Bob! No complaining here. I can wait and wait. Hear that AF? NO HURRY! Stay away!

*I keep trying to convince hubby to change his birthday to November 6. That’s our half-birthday. I thought it would be totally reasonable. No dice. Damnit.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Milestones

As I mentioned, yesterday was our three-year anniversary. (And thank you for your well-wishes! I really appreciate it!)

It was a beautiful day, so we took the day off and went wine tasting along the New England coast. (I think you can all appreciate how bittersweet it was for me to be able to do that.) We had fun, and I was mostly able to muster up the energy to get positive and focus on what the day should be about: me and hubby and how lucky we are.

And we are. I was never a believer in soul mates before hubby—sure I believed in love, but I didn’t feel that there was that one perfect person out there. I thought that “true love” boiled down to a combination of timing and circumstances. That’s not to say that I thought people who got married weren’t in love. Quite the contrary. But, I had dated people I cared about in the past and wondered, “if we had met later, when I was ready to make a commitment, would he have been the one? Does marriage on some level come down to timing?”

Then I met hubby. And he made me throw my cynical, practical notions of love right out the window…right from the start. He’s not at all who I thought I’d end up with. And yet, he’s the perfect match for my soul. We compliment each other in the most beautiful and unexpected ways. And I really can’t imagine fitting together with another person the way I fit together with hubby.

But, while we did have a good time yesterday, there was definitely an air of melancholy that permeated the day. While it was great to celebrate us and be together, it was also hard because we always thought that by our third anniversary we’d be starting to think about having a second child, not still trying for our first.

And, while I know by now—and all too well—that you can’t plan these things, that wisdom (ha!) doesn’t make it any easier. And these milestones—birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, etc.—end up serving as a reminder of what we don’t have, and of all of the heartbreaking months that have passed us by.

To make matters worse, I’m beginning to feel like there is no end in sight to this IF nightmare. Every passing month, I lose another piece of the vision of our family. And every month, the “end goal” seems farther and farther away. And while I’m really trying to stay positive—for this cycle and for what comes next—I’m also just sick of trying. Sick of trying to get pregnant; of trying to keep my head up; of trying to remain hopeful; of trying to figure out what the hell is actually wrong with us that’s keeping us from having a family of our own.

Thankfully—and going back to the point about hubby complementing me really well—hubby is optimistic about this cycle. I don’t know how he does it, staying optimistic month after month, but I’m glad one of us is.*

And, of course, I won’t stop trying. I’ll still try to muster up the courage to feel positive about this cycle, and I’m nowhere near stopping this journey to parenthood. And, most of all, I'll do my best to remain hopeful that one day very soon we’ll be able to pass one of these milestones with the joy of knowing that we’re on our way to being parents.

*(btw—it doesn’t help that I feel guilty for being negative. All of those “power of positive thinking” people out there have crept into my subconscious and make me feel like I have to be a Pollyanna to get pregnant. As if positive thinking will magically make fertilization and implantation happen. Bastards.)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Monday, April 23, 2007

Pandora'a Box

As I sit on the precipice of my final IUI-induced 2ww, I’m left to think—again—about our friend hope, and whether I have any at all for this cycle. I feel like between all of us, we’ve said all there is to say about hope. And yet, as I do during every 2ww, I feel like there is more to say. More to think about. More to explore.

But, I couldn’t think of anything original to say…or think about…or explore. And so, as I do when I’m looking for a quick answer, I looked to our ever familiar friend, Dr. Google. And I learned something really interesting from the doctor. As it turns out, the myth of Pandora’s Box is at its core a story of hope, which I found really ironic and oddly comforting. Here’s how the story goes:

The gods created a woman—Pandora—to compliment man, Epimetheus. They made her to be soft where he was hard; her to be strong where he was weak; her to be wise where he was foolish. She was meant to be the opposite of man; a companion and a complement.

But, as she was given the gifts of love, of beauty, of intelligence, so was she given the complements of each of those gifts. As such, the god Athena gave intelligence along with an overwhelming curiosity.

Zeus asked Athena why she gave that pair—intelligence and curiosity. She replied, “Though they seem to not be the opposite, they truly are. For as much as curiosity can lead to knowledge, curiosity eventually leads to the loss of that same knowledge. While knowledge is good and strong, it can be weakened by the need to know too much.”

When Epimetheus found the god’s gift to him, Pandora, he was pleased. She did complement him in extraordinary ways. She was able to master quickly that with which he had long struggled, and together they were stronger than either of them would have been individually.

But, Zeus ultimately grew bored of being constantly praised by Epimetheus for giving the gift of Pandora. So, Zeus called on Hades: “Listen, I want you to go to the dark places you know so well and gather what you find. I want the sprites of disease, hunger, hopelessness, cruelty, and the rest. Bind them into a strong box and bring it to me.”

Later, Pandora and Epimetheus saw a man walking up the road with a heavy box. They offered him a drink and he sat down with them to rest. After a while, he realized he would need to continue his journey, and he asked if he could leave his box in their care. They accepted. But, before the man left, he warned the two not to open the box or there would be dire consequences.

After he left, Pandora was mesmerized by the box. She would admire it everyday and wonder what was inside. One day, she heard voices coming from within. They were crying to let them out. So, she opened the box and the evil spirits of every vice in the world came rushing out and began to hurt her. She tried to close the box, but the spirits were rushing out too quickly and causing too much pain. When she was finally able to close the box, only one spirit remained inside.

After the spirits hurt her, they left to inflict their worst on Epimetheus. And she wept as she heard him in pain.

Then, she heard one last voice from inside the box asking Pandora to release it. “Why should I—didn’t you see what the others just did,” she asked?

“Of course I did, they are my sisters. But I can assure you I am not like them.”

So, feeling that all was lost, she opened the box and a beautiful sprite, hope, emerged and gleamed in the sunlight. And, as the sprite touched her pain, it was gone. The sprite then moved over to Epimetheus to relieve his pain as well.

Then, exhausted, the sprite drifted back, and “Pandora watched as she drifted painlessly into her flesh and took up residence in her heart. She knew she had been given the gift that, even though it could not erase the pain she had brought to the world, could make that pain easier.

She smiled a soft smile knowing there is hope, and hope is sometimes enough.”

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Where am I going to find 50 million uteruses?

Highly fertile IUI nurse: Hubby had a count of 57 million/ml with 90% motility.

SB: Huh—you’re usually over 100milion/ml. Guess we shouldn’t have gotten it on 7 hours ago?

Hubby: Well, yeah, but that’s still 57 million swimmers. That could be 50 million kids right here and now. … What, you don't think I could? All I need to find now is 50 million eggs.

SB: well, yeah. That and 50 million uteruses.

Hubby: But where am I going to find 50 million uteruses?
_____________________________________________________

So, just a few updates from the weekend—another red-letter weekend in the land of sticky bun infertility.

As you may have guessed from the above, we had our 4th IUI this morning. But, as seems to be the case with all of our IUIs, there were a few glitches.

First, I think I forgot to mention before that my insurance actually did not cover this IUI. It seems that our insurance coordinator got it wrong. We got a call on the second day of my injectables protocol letting us know. So, we could have stopped everything, but by that point I felt that we were pot committed, so we just kept going with it. Plus, I’m on the lowest dose, I actually had meds left over from my last round. But still, covering the IUIs and monitoring is several hundred dollars I wasn’t planning to spend this month. Damnit.

Second, unfortunately, I YET AGAIN ovulated on my own before the trigger. I think I’ve basically done that each month, so there’s some question about how effective each of my THREE previous IUIs have been. To recap: the first month (when we were on Clo*mid), I got a positive OPK, they had me trigger that night, and I had the two IUIs the next two days. (arguably too late, since you ovulate about 24 hours or so after your own LH surge, and we all know the window of opportunity for fertilization is small, to say the least).

For IUI #2, I didn’t do an OPK. (It was an injectables cycle, and they said that they were monitoring me more closely, so I decided to just go with it, figuring they’d know better than my OPK when I’d ovulate. Ha! Lesson learned.)

It’s unclear whether I ovulated early for IUI#3. I didn't get a +opk, so I suspect I did not. Although, I do know that my estrogen dropped before I triggered. So, something was going on there...

This month, they didn’t tell me to track with OPKs, but I wasn’t taking any chances (especially because we are PAYING, and it’s the last one we’re doing before IVF). So, I go for monitoring on Thursday, get a call from the nurse saying to do two more days of 75 ius and come back in Saturday morning for another u/s. I wake up Saturday morning, and get a +OPK…again (on CD9). That means, of course, that I should have done one of our two IUIs on Saturday and Sunday, because my ovaries were already starting to ovulate. Instead, they sent me home Saturday, told hubby and I to get it on and come in for one IUI on Sunday.

Now, I can see at least two logical flaws in their thinking. First, why the fuck would you cut it so close month after month when I clearly trigger ovulation early on my own?!?

Second, if having S*EX got us pregnant, do you really think we'd be here?

Argh.

So, hubby and I have been….um…how do I put this delicately…well...screwing like bunny rabbits for the past two days. You see, it appears that hubby’s count is still fine even with lots ‘o sex. (We got it on twice on Saturday—once less than 7 hours from the IUI, and his count was still 57 million for the IUI. Not too shabby.) Also, apparently the IUI is optional, since the RE just sent us home to get it on rather than actually doing the second IUI. Curious. And, we figured, we better throw everything we possibly can at this cycle in the hopes SOMETHING sticks (so to speak).

So, there you have it. I start progesterone tomorrow. 2ww #23…and we test on our 32nd bday. Good times.

Oh, also, I took the photo down. I didn’t realize until I started commenting on a few blogs that my photo was going to appear both on my blog and on every comment I left. I decided to spare you all from that. That’s just more SB than anyone needs. ☺

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Eyelift

I bought a new computer the other day. You see, hubby and I have been relying on our work laptops to do just about everything, and I’m starting to worry that we’re mixing too much. So, we finally broke down and got a Ma*cBook. You see, while I’ve always been a PC user, hubby is a M*ac evangelist and now I guess I’m among the converted.

Among the cool new features of the new computer is a built in camera that has all kinds of fun features you can do with the photos it takes. You can make them look like pop art (think An*dy Whar*hol), like you’re standing at the end of a tunnel, like you’re looking at a fun house mirror, etc. Anyhow, we were playing around with the camera function last night, and when I started looking at the pictures we had taken, I came to the most disturbing and startling realization: I’m getting wrinkles around my eyes!!!

I’m horrified. Let me put it this way: I just know I'm not going to be one of those women who ages gracefully. You know the type—they’re usually very zen-like and can actually do all the yoga poses without breaking a sweat. They let their hair grey and it still looks great with fabulously natural salt and pepper tones. They get wrinkles, but it somehow adds to their beauty and charm and they still look beautiful.

That ain’t gonna be me. I’m going to be the haggard woman in the corner who’s still coloring her hair at 90 because the grey has come in in stripes or something and who has so many wrinkles you assume she must have been a smoker (I’m not) or a tan-orexic (again, I’m not. The sun hates me.). So when at 31 I’m already starting to see wrinkles, needless to say, I’m incredibly disturbed. And all I could think was: I wonder what an eye lift would be like?

Don’t worry, I’m not actually going to do it, mostly because I also don’t want to be one of those women (think Jo*an Riv*ers) who looks like a handbag because of all of the plastic surgery she’s had. But you better believe I’m going to buy expensive eye cream tonight.

Anyhow…because I can’t (and don’t want) to get an actual facelift, I decided to give my blog a subtle eyelift this morning. You see, I’ve always admired how much cleaner everyone else’s blog looks—how your profiles* actually appear on your blogs and how your links are all neat and well-organized—alphabetically and with categories and everything. All this time, I thought you were all just masters of html.** But, today I discovered that if you just upgrade your blog template, blog*ger does all of those things automatically. Go figure! So, there you go. It's still a work in progress, and I realize it’s a pretty subtle difference, but again, I wasn’t looking for dramatic reconstructive surgery. :-)

*The picture might have to go, though, I can’t decide. I love that many of you have photos on your profiles so decided to post one to try it out, but I’m nervous about it because I like to be cloaked in my own anonymity. I mean, if someone I knew ever popped over, they’d sure as hell know it was me if there were an actual picture there…
**Of course, you may still be masters of html, but I’m happy to learn that I’m probably not the only one who isn’t.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A much shorter post...

Thanks to everyone who had to suffer through my excessively long posts over the past two days. It was funny, I don't think I realized how much I had to say about both topics until I started typing away...but what a catharsis! Getting it out does make me feel better. If it weren’t for this online community (and the anonymity and honesty it affords), I wouldn’t have an outlet for these thoughts and struggles. And, your support and well wishes mean the world to me!

Of course, I can’t quite say that I’m feeling optimistic about the prospects of this IUI, but I guess, I’ve gotten myself back up to the “no matter what IF throws at me, while it will inevitably have its ups and downs, it’ll all be okay in the end” stage—whatever “okay” turns out to mean.

So, that’s where I am right now. It’s not okay…yet…but it ain’t over. There is much to hope for in the long run.

Speaking of hope, I’m really hoping for Bumble and Tam who are both nearing the end of their 2ww. Bumble’s beloved Sgt. Rock seems to be working his ass off to keep AF at bay—go l’il Sgt!!

And, all of us IUI ladies are really hoping to see a bfp from Tam, both to restore our faith in the process and to end her IF struggle. We’re pulling for you!

So, back in for another u/s and b/w tomorrow. We’ll see how the follies look…it's a little like déjà vu, no?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

On prayer

I consider myself a cultural Catholic. I was raised Catholic, went to Catholic schools my whole life (including college), and have a specific devotion to Catholic schools, particularly those that serve inner-city youth. But, I’ve actually never been a particularly religious person. I’ve long since stopped going to church (actually, as soon as I didn’t have to anymore, I stopped), and I can’t say that I have a strong sense of faith.

I know that sounds counterintuitive: how could I spend all that time in religious schools without being dogmatically Catholic? It’s actually not as antithetical as it sounds. I actually love Catholic schools, despite my questions about the church. I love their focus on values and on treating everyone with mutual respect. I love their focus on social justice—something about which I feel really strongly. I love that they are small, and it is essentially impossible to be anonymous in them. I love the feeling of community they provide that goes well beyond the schoolhouse walls.

To be sure, I’m certain that not every Catholic school in the county is like this. But mine were. I actually transferred to the local public high school my sophomore year because they had more robust advanced honors and AP course choices, and I thought I’d get a better education there. And, I probably technically would have. But there is so much more to education that book learning, and the Catholic high school was such a better fit for me personally that I transferred back. It was, in every sense of the word, a community.

And, that’s what drew me to work in Catholic education after college (though I no longer do). I think community and social justice are an essential part of education, and was extremely fortunate to work in two different schools that had a very clear sense of community and shared responsibility. And, I was very fortunate to have worked at a school comprised of people who had a wonderful sense of selflessness and humility. The high school where I taught, which served inner-city and suburban poor and minority youth, the vast majority of whom were not Catholic, was probably the best place I’ve ever worked. In fact, in the years since I’ve left, I’ve never found another community that is as cohesive and positive as that school was.

I attribute this to several things. First, the people were fabulous. Fun, funny, energetic. Some of them remain some of the closest friends. Second, the principal. He was also fabulous and probably the best boss I’ve ever had. And he brought a wonderful sense of calm and commitment that rubbed off on everyone he met.

But, I think for me personally, one of the things that really forced me out of my comfort zone and made me really grow as a person was being surrounded by a group of people my age who had such unassuming faith and spirituality. Most of the so-called religious people I had met up to that point were outlandishly pious or judgmental. But the teachers I worked with were thoughtful and deeply spiritual, but so wonderfully open minded. They had strong beliefs, but always questioned those beliefs. They were always searching for a deeper understand of teachings and beliefs of the church, and they worked tirelessly to live what they believed.

I always admired their ability to so openly grapple with their relationship with God and to put their faith in the power of prayer. To them, prayer was both a way to deepen their relationship with God, but was also meditative. It gave them a chance to reflect and re-center themselves. Up to that point, I had thought of prayer as this kind of stilted process that relied mainly on the recitation of memorized lines. These teachers showed me that, to them, that wasn’t prayer at all. To them, the main reason to recite the formal prayers—which they didn’t do all that often—was that citing something that you’ve memorized and recited so many times is in and of itself meditative. It becomes like a mantra that helps you clear your head and refocus your energy.

I found this to be a transformative way to look at prayer—one that was so much less repetitive and so much more powerful.

Yet, because I’m fairly stoic, while I’d admired the relationship my friends had with prayer, I never felt that I was able to get there. I’m a cynic, after all. And, type-A at that. Much as I’ve always wanted to become a zen-like spiritual person, I’ve never quite been able to. (I’ve actually tried meditation, and my mind always races too much. Nice.)

Lately, though, with everything we’re going through with IF and beginning to grapple with some pretty tough decisions, I’ve been pining for that sense of community and spirituality. Mostly because I’m losing faith in our bodies and in western medicine, and because of that, I wish that I had my faith to fall back on.

And, from reading many blogs, I can tell that many of you have a sense of spirituality and do have a relationship with prayer. I admire that. But for me, I feel like developing one now would be, I don’t know, childish or hypocritical. How typical: to turn to prayer after being gone for so long just because you want something. (I realize that’s not how it works, it’s just all part of my struggle right now.)

So, yesterday, I called in the troops. All evidence in this blog to the contrary, I don’t talk about IF that much. Or really ever irl. I am proud to a fault, and I am uncomfortable showing vulnerability. And, I hate it when people pity me. So, I don’t talk about IF much because I don’t know anyone (other than hubby, of course, whom I do talk to) who can really empathize. So, instead of trying to explain the unexplainable, and instead of feeling like I have to constantly put on a brave face, I avoid the topic. But yesterday, when I was feeling particularly overwhelmed, I finally got up the nerve to email my parents and ask them to pray for us.

I know it sounds ridiculous: why the hell would that have been hard? I why would you have emailed? Well, for so many reasons. First, because I’m not sure where I stand with this whole prayer/faith thing. And because we’re Irish Catholic and by nature not very demonstrative. But mostly, because to ask for prayers was to finally admit that we’re getting to the point where I need to put some of this in someone else’s hands. That I need help sorting it all out. That, on some level, I need to let go.

To be sure, I need to face and make the tough decisions. But, I need to realize that there are some things that are out of my control. And, if I can’t let go of those things, I’m in for an even longer, harder ride than I’ve had so far.

So, on some level, I think emailing my parents was my way of letting go of some of the things I can’t control.

But, true to my stoicism, I ended the note to my parents by saying, “I don’t really want to talk about this. Any of it really. I just need to know that there are people helping us put our faith in God. Because as you know, mine is tenuous at best.”

And I got the most wonderful note back from my dad—a note that really reminded me how lucky I am on so many levels, and that, no matter how low I feel, we really need not face this alone:

First, I don’t consider your note the least bit sappy, or hypocritical or anything like that.

Second, although I’m not at all sure that my prayers would have any more influence than your own (I consider you a very good person….. with probably greater “pull” upstairs than I) …. I certainly will pray for you both in this matter, etc, as suggested . And this should not be a surprise for you ….. I already have been.

Third, I am very proud of you for asking this (I know it is not easy, for lots of reasons….).

Fourth – I actually had been thinking of asking whether you had considered steps of your own in this direction (prayer, etc.) …. but did not for three reasons: First, I assumed you already were. Second, although I never hesitate to say prayers, etc., asking for things for me, mom, you, Billy, etc. – I also realize that doing so doesn’t always guarantee results (nor should it; I think that Truman Capote had some insight on his side in saying that more tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones. And I also think that sometimes the answer comes in ways you can’t appreciate until much later…). Third reason: I could easily see the reaction to such a suggestion being negative – seeing it as an attempt to take advantage of a difficult personal situation to try and impose my own preferences.

Thank you for asking. I feel very fortunate to have a daughter with such a wonderful sense of what’s important and such a good approach to such matters. My prayers will include acknowledging how blessed we are no matter what the future brings. Consider me “signed up”!

(No further discussion required, but I am always available! Difficult enough for you guys to deal with this, and to make this request.)

Love,

Dad

Monday, April 16, 2007

Under pressure

First, many thanks to all of your for your words of support. That you really truly do understand what this feels like, and that you are there to hope for me when I am having trouble mustering any whatsoever means the world to me. Thank you!

Here’s the 10 second* update: I’m CD4. I went in for my ultrasound and blood work yesterday morning—honestly, why does it always fall on a weekend so that I have no hope of a sleep-in? I have one cyst, but it’s not producing hormones, so they aren’t worried about it. So, I began my gon*al-f ritual last night. I go back in tomorrow morning for my second u/s. It seems like they’re going to be monitoring me more closely this cycle, for whatever that’s worth.

The doc has also decided to put me on progesterone during this 2ww. Whatever. I guess that’s good. Why he hasn’t before isn’t clear to me. And, whether this is a calculated decision or just a “let’s throw everything including the kitchen sink” into this cycle is also unclear. I’m having a really hard time feeling any hope whatsoever this cycle. I guess it’s stupid, really. At the outset of our IUI journey, hubby and I told ourselves that it could easily take 4 months. And this is our 4th cycle. (And the first cl*omid cycle really doesn’t count for sh*t, since my lining responded so poorly. So, we’re really in our third cycle at best.) So, there probably is reason to hope. But I’ve got to be honest; I’m not feeling it. I feel like this is a waste of a month before we start IVF.

The problem, though, is that I really don’t want to face IVF. The doctors make it seem so easy, but it’s really a bigger deal than they let on, I think. I mean, suppressing hormones then jacking you up with synthetic hormones to put your ovaries into hyperdrive is a big deal. Putting you under and using a needle to retrieve your eggs is a big deal. Fertilizing as many embryos as possible, then choosing the ones that get transferred is a big deal. Deciding how many to transfer is a big deal. Freezing embryos for potential use later is a big deal. (Especially because the hope is that you won’t need them, because you’ll get pregnant the first time. So, then what do you do with the frozen embryos?) It’s a lot to think about.

What makes this more complicated is our 5+ weeks miscarriage. You see, that “baby” was really nothing more than one of the embryos we’ll be transferring, or freezing, or disposing of. So, how can I at once grieve for the embryo I lost naturally, but then not grieve for the many that might not make it through the IVF process? And, how can I choose which or how many to transfer? Will I always wonder what would have happened if I chose the others? If I only transfer one and it doesn’t work, will I think I made the wrong choice? And should we only attempt to fertilize the number of embryos we’d be willing to transfer so that we don’t have these hard choices to make? But, then, aren’t we really not maximizing the entire process? (Especially if those few we choose to fertilize end up not being suitable for transfer?) But, how will I feel if I have excess embryos that don’t get used? My doctor says I can donate them for research. But, I really, really don’t feel comfortable donating our children for research. And, that’s what they are: our children. As much as it was our child that we lost last April.**

But, our insurance will only cover this one last IUI. Then, it’s on to IVF, or pay for IUI out of pocket. And, when I hear stories like Bumble’s and Sarah’s, I wonder if we’d just be throwing our money away on IUI. I mean, if fertilization is the problem, the only way to diagnose is with IVF. And, potentially, the only way to have a child (if fertilization is our problem) is with IVF.

So, here we are. Near the point where we’ll be stuck between a rock and a hard place. Near the point where I’ll have to decide whether our desire for a biological child is stronger than my questions about IVF. And, truth be told, I already know the answer to that. I know they are stronger. I know that, if faced with no baby or IVF, I’ll choose ivf. But, I’m scared. I’m scared about how I’ll feel with every decision along the way. And I’m scared about how I’ll feel if it doesn’t work.

And, all of these thoughts just put so much pressure on this cycle. Too much pressure. The last time I felt this much pressure for a particular cycle was in December—our last cycle that gave us a chance for a BFP before last Christmas. I had said to myself for so long before that, “as long as we’re pregnant by Christmas, it’ll all be okay.” So, when that last cycle came around, I felt so much pressure for it to work. And I was just so very disappointed when it didn’t. And I feel like I’m right back there again. I feel that we’ve come to yet another crossroads, yet another milestone that I just did NOT want to cross. And I know that if we just got pregnant this cycle, all would be right with the world. (Well, assuming we’d stayed pregnant.) But, that means that I feel a sense of unhealthy desperation for this cycle. And I just know that that isn’t good. And I feel that, because of that desperation, this cycle is doomed to failure.

So, here we are. Stuck between a rock and a hard place so soon. And, what’s worse is that I feel like we’re ticking off our options one by one. That’s the other terrifying part about jumping into IVF. I mean, what if THAT didn't work?

So. Much. Pressure.

Oh, and the punchline? Assuming everything goes this cycle as it has for the past three, and we trigger on CD10, our IUI would be on our third anniversary, and our test day will be on May 6—our 32nd birthday. As if there weren’t enough riding on this cycle.

So, yeah. Feeling crappy. Happy Monday.

*I honestly did intend for this to be a 10 second update. What a laugh, huh? Apparently I had more to get off my chest than I thought.

**I realize that I'd actually be LUCKY if our big problem during IVF was that we had too many embryos that all looked fabulous. But still, bear with me as I vent my fears.

Friday, April 13, 2007

An open letter to AF

Dear AF,

When I said that this 2ww felt agonizingly long, I should have been clearer. I did not mean to imply that I wanted you to show your ugly mug three days early to end the wait. Instead, I was hoping to find creative ways to pass the time more quickly. And, frankly, I was hoping you wouldn’t show up at all. In the future, I will prevent myself from complaining about the wait and instead will look for creative ways to keep you at bay, preferably for somewhere around 9 months.

Fighting for hope amidst repeated failure,
SB

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Keeping busy...

Honestly, this is the slowest 2ww known to man. I know I'm close(ish), but ohmygod! 10dpiui today...and yet, it feels like a week and a half has gone by since my post yesterday. *sigh*

Thankfully, Dianne from Flutter of Hope found some games to help pass the time. It turns out my mind is 61% cluttered and I'm only 45% normal (see below).

Also, Kristen from the StickyBean Preconception Journal discovered a reggae artist named Lady Saw who has a song about her struggles with IF and repeated miscarriages, "No less than a woman." I actually teared up at the part of the video where the woman shows her hubby the positive pregnancy test (and later miscarries). I found it really powerful, you should definitely check it out.

Other than that, I'm just looking for ways to pass the time over the next few days (and keep the HPTs away!)...all hubby's been able to come up with is dinner with his parents. I don't know that dinner with the in-laws is my favorite way to kill time, but at least I won't be thinking about cycling, that's for sure!

You Are 45% Normal

While some of your behavior is quite normal...
Other things you do are downright strange
You've got a little of your freak going on
But you mostly keep your weirdness to yourself


Your Mind is 61% Cluttered

Your mind is quite cluttered. And like most clutter, it's a bunch of crap you don't need.
Try writing down your worst problems and fears. And then put them out of your mind for a while.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Random thoughts...

I don't have anything particularly interesting to report, so apropos of nothing, below are an assortment of random unrelated thoughts rattling around in my mind today (only 9dpiui--man is this 2ww going by slowly!!)
  1. So, my posts about visiting DC this weekend made me realize just how many of us either live or have lived in the metro-DC area. I’m beginning to wonder whether the Shady Grove Fertility Center put something in the water to keep us coming back for more. Their radio commercials—-which I swear still run on repeat in my head from all of the days I spent hearing them on my commute. I mean really, how much air time did they buy?!—make them seem so nice and helpful, but I’m now suspicious.

  2. The IF blogosphere is really amazing. I was thinking the other day about the fact that we’ve all been brought together, from literally every corner of the world, by our common struggle. I find that amazing. Also, since many of my bloggy friends are actually a day ahead of me—I note this every time I surf my blogs at night and Baby Blues’s date and time tracker shows me that she's a day ahead of me—I’m wondering if you can keep me posted on what happens this cycle. You’ll be my soothsayers. And, I’d prefer good news next Monday. No pressure.

  3. I don’t abstain from coffee and wine anymore. There, I said it. When we first started trying, I didn’t cut back at all. Then, after several months and our miscarriage, I cut out both coffee and alcohol out figuring I should cut out whatever *might* be impacting our fertility. But, then, after about 9 cranky-ass, tired months after which we were STILL not pregnant, I said screw it. Clearly that wasn’t our problem. And, my two favorite parts of my day are my latte in the a.m. and my glass of red wine at night. So, if I have to be infertile, I might as well enjoy a good cup of Joe.* Plus, for better or worse, my doctor things that stress is probably playing a role in our IF. So, he’s always encouraging my hubby to buy me a great bottle of wine around ovulation. Man, is he ever my kind of doctor!

  4. Remember that work nightmare I mentioned the other day, well, it looks like it’s going to get worse before it gets better. Apparently the guy who works for me met with my boss while I was away, ostensibly to continue complaining about how awful I am and to launch all kinds of far-fetched accusations about all of the terrible things I do to him. And, word around town is that the meeting descended into shouting and crying. Yes, that’s right, the grown man started crying during the meeting after shouting about me for about an hour and a half. Yikes. Goood times.

    So, now my boss has to go through an “investigation” where he decides whether the accusations and concerns are valid. (I assure you they aren’t.) I have to say, though, the whole thing makes me really uncomfortable. I mean, I know that I’ve always acted professionally and fairly, but I don’t think getting into a bitter he said/she said is ever good. I guess my boss has to give the guy a written evaluation of his investigation by next Friday. So, between now and then, things are going to be awesome at work. Remind me again why I want an even more stressful job?

    Also, I actually just feel kind of bad for the guy. Whatever his issues are, they clearly are not all about me. He's obviously working through a lot--probably personally and professionally--not least of which is probably the fact that I was hired over him to be his boss, and he was never happy about it. Our work relationship was set up for failure from the get-go. (To be sure, a more stable person would have come to terms with it and not lashed out as he has, but whatever. My point is, I have to believe it's not all about me...)

*Okay, okay, I DO cut back. I don’t have a glass of wine every night during the 2ww. And, I basically cut it out completely after about 7-8 dpo, figuring that’s when the little bugger would implant. But, damnit, I’m having my coffee. (Okay, fine. It’s only a half-caff. But that’s as good as I’m ever going to be! Stop it with the third degree!)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

On looking forward...

I’m back from DC. We had a fabulous time, but I’m actually glad to be back. After spending the better part of the long weekend going out to my old haunts (read: bars) and playing pool and darts, I am reminded that I am indeed done with that part of my life. It was fabulous, and I had a wonderful time, but I really am ready to be a mom. So, I guess, to answer my own question from the other day, no, I don’t want to go back to be the person I was pre-IF. I want to move forward and be the person I’ll be post-IF.

In that spirit, I’m 8 dpiui today—moving into the danger zone of should I test/should I wait? Is that a symptom or is it AF?

And, speaking of pregnancy symptoms/PMS, what kind of wicked twist of fate is it that the two are almost identical? What a cruel joke for we infertiles of the world! And yet, every month, I fall victim to the “oooo…wait, maybe this is slightly different this month.” To whit: I have sore, swollen breasts. I get this symptom EVERY month, without fail. And yet, EVERY month, I wonder whether it’s a sign of an impending BFP.

What can I say, I’m not that bright.

Also, Hubby again thinks we’re pregnant this month. He's chalking last month's incorrect feeling to our RE's screw up. So, here's hoping. Only one week before either AF shows her ugly mug, or we get good news. And, two weeks until our third anniversary. Here's hoping for something else to celebrate by the 24th!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Missing those carefree pre-infertile days...

One of the questions from Sarah’s shuffle game was “would you really want to go back to be the person you were before you ever thought about infertility.”

I guess the mature answer would be, no. Through adversity, I’ve learned about myself and about hubby, our bond has grown stronger, and we’ll be all the more appreciative when we are finally blessed with a child.

But, let’s face it, I’m not all that mature (hence the rollerblading—I apparently think I’m still a teenager). Sure, all those things are true: I have learned a lot, hubby and I have been brought closer in a way you only can when things aren’t all sunshine and roses, and I will certainly be appreciative if we are ever blessed with a child. But, I can’t say that I’m thrilled with learning the painful but important lesson that, sometimes, life is just unfair. To be sure, it’s more unfair to more people who have gone through or are going through worse than I, but having any taste of the unfairness just reminds me that, not only are things not great right now, but they could get much, much worse.

(I told you that optimism from the other day was transient.)

What’s bringing all of this on? Well, I’m down in DC for the long weekend. Hubby has a conference, and since I desperately need a day off and desperately miss all of my DC haunts and DC friends, I decided to come along for the ride. And, I’m having a great time (and I haven’t even been here for 24 hours yet), and I really do miss it.

What I can’t figure out is what I miss more: DC and my friends, or my pre-infertile self. You see, part of the reason hubby and I moved up to New England from DC (after I had lived here for 9 years and really did feel that it was my home) was that we were ready to start a family (and had in fact already started trying). And, both of our parents and the bulk or our family is in the tri-state/New England area. So, we thought that having kids up there would be ideal. They would be near the grandparents, and they would know their cousins, and we would be able to afford an actual house with room for a swing set, and all would be right with the world.

Unfortunately, we never realized how hard having said child would be. It honestly never occurred to us that a year and a half after taking my job, we’d STILL not even be pregnant.

And, it’s hard. Here in DC, only one of our friends has kids. The rest are either single, engaged, or married with no kids. So, coming back here is like the greatest break from infertility. Nobody even asks about it. It’s so totally normal here to be married and not have kids that people just assume…well, I don’t know what they assume, but we certainly don’t stick out like a sore thumb like we do up in suburbia.

So now when I think about the question—would I want to go back to be my pre-infertile self?—I can’t decide. I miss how carefree I used to be. I miss the feeling that, whatever I wanted, as long as I worked hard enough for it, I could get it. I miss having people around who are in the same place as me, and who I can call at the 11th hour to meet me for a drink or a pedicure. Mainly, I miss the naïveté that comes along with not knowing how hard this was all going to be.

I do realize, of course, that even if I were back down here, that things wouldn’t be as they were. We do, in fact, want to start a family. And, I assume we would have been just as infertile in DC as we are in New England. And, none of my friends down here is going through the same thing right now.

But, I do have to say, not having toddlers and infants running around at every friendly get-together (which is what happens up in suburbia) would likely have made the ride one helluva lot easier.

So, what’s the lesson? None, I guess. I suppose I don’t want to go back to my pre-infertile self, because we do, in fact, want to start our family. And, truth be told, I don’t think if we knew then what we know now we’d have done anything differently. Our jobs turned out to be great career moves. We sold our place in DC right before the condo market collapsed to pre-our buying a condo levels. I have enjoyed being closer to my family. And, we never would have gotten our fluffy dog had we stayed in DC.

But, still. During our 22nd 2ww, it is hard not to miss it all…

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Along for the ride...

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but hubby and I have the greatest dog in the world. He’s sweet and smooshy and fluffy. And, he’s spectacularly well-behaved. No thanks to us, I might add. We got him when he was 10 months old. He had been a show dog, but had grown ¼ inch too tall for the breed standard, so the breeder had to get rid of him. But, since she had trained him as a show dog, he was well socialized and behaved, really good with kids, etc. So, we really hit the jackpot. In fact, since we got him in October, we’ve just been afraid we’re going to screw him up somehow.

So, in an effort to not screw him up and to keep him happy, hubby and I got rollerblades on Sunday. (Oh, yes, she’s going somewhere with this…) Here was our thinking: our 2 mile walks each day wasn’t entirely wearing our dog out. And, a tired dog is a happy, well-behaved dog. So, what if we were on wheels. Then the dog would have to run to keep up with us on our walk. Surely THAT would wear him out.

And it does. But, here’s what we didn’t anticipate: hubby on wheels. Oh, it ain’t pretty. There’s flailing. And screeching. And a lot of running into parked cars.

And, as it turns out it’s a bit more difficult to rollerblade with a doggie in tow. He’s pretty good and just runs along side of us, but he’s a dog. So, as he’s running alongside of us, sometimes he strays out into the middle of the road. (And we have a retractable leash, which allows him to go pretty far out into the middle of the road.) Then, every now and then, when we’re rolling down the middle of the street and a car comes (which, in our neighborhood, is actually not that often), hubby and the dog cruise over to the side of the street to get out of the way. Except that they cruise over to opposite sides of the street. So that if a car did drive by before we pulled doggie--or hubby--onto the right side of the street, it would catch the leash and drag poor little doggie.

What can I say, we’re not that bright.

But it turns out that all of these little ups and downs makes rollerblading quite fun. It kind of makes you feel like a kid. You actually voluntarily climb up the hills just so you can pick up tons of speed on the way down. And, I find that I actually look forward to the ever so slight feeling of being out of control and of scrambling and having something really mindless and silly to focus on.

It's kind of made me think of one of my favorite scenes from the movie Parenthood. Gil (Steve Martin) is having a rough time of it all--life is complicated and messy, and he's complaining about it, and wondering how it's all going to work out. And, grandma walks in and says:

Grandma: You know, when I was nineteen, Grandpa took me on a roller coaster.
Gil: Oh?
Grandma: Up, down, up, down. Oh, what a ride!
Gil: What a great story.
Grandma: I always wanted to go again. You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together! Some didn't like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it.

So, on this 1dpiui, here's hoping that we all get past IF so that we can one day look back at the ups and downs as part of a wild and unique ride to parenthood.

And, speaking of the ups and downs, be sure to pop over and lend some support to LJ and the oneliner who've had (or are having) quite a couple of days with lots of ups and downs and need some love.

Monday, April 02, 2007

2ww #22

The IUIs went well. As usual, hubby’s swimmers shined. (He had greater than 100 million and 90% motility both days. Hard not to think I’m the problem here, huh?) For yesterday’s, though, I have to say that the dr. had one helluva time getting the catheter through my cervix. And, it got me to thinking: if HE has a hard time getting the swimmers up there—with TOOLS and a light, for peet’s sake—then how the hell are the poor little guys ever supposed to do it on their own? No wonder we can’t get knocked up—you apparently need a degree from Harvard med just to find my uterus.

The doctor of course assured me that this has nothing to do with our ability to get pregnant. (The cervix issue, I mean. He hasn’t said whether the “no degree from Harvard” is our problem. But that’s my fault, really, since I’ve never asked.) Of course, since they haven’t found anything that suggests we shouldn’t have five kids by now, I’m starting to develop my own opinions about what is and is not working.

So, here I am. It’s my 22nd 2ww (not including those months at the beginning when I was carefree and not paying close attention to the 2ww). Good times. Sadly, the NCAA basketball tournament ends tonight, so I won’t have that to obsess over anymore. And, it looks like I’m going to finish a pitiful 33 out of 40 in my pool. At that point it would have been better to come in last. The person who comes in last (affectionately known in my family as the super-loser) gets her money back. Drat! I can’t win OR lose… It’s like a metaphor for my life, really.

In other news, the doctor did bring up that we should start thinking about doing IVF. He said that, if this cycle doesn’t work, we could do one more IUI if we wanted before moving on to IVF. Or, we could just move straight on. Ugh. I’ll take “decisions I don’t want to have to make for $100, please.”

What’s funny about all of this is that, back in January, when we were contemplating doing clo*mid for the first time, I was really having a hard time with it. I was lamenting having to take a pill and get monitored, etc. Ha! Now I inject recombinant human follicle stimulating hormone (and, more than that, I know what recombinant human follicle stimulating hormones are) and practically have the path from to my cervix and uterus mapped out on my own! “Now, doc, you’re going to have to curve that catheter a bit to the left to hit my cervix properly.”

Life’s funny, ain’t it?