Tuesday, May 31, 2011

T minus one week to egg retrieval

I can hardly believe that, in all probability, our donor will have undergone egg retrieval in just one short week!  Wow.

I had my second monitoring appointment today, and my lining is already at 7 mm, which is the minimum St. Mungo's requires for transfer.  From what I've read, it's unlikely that my lining will shrink; actually, it should continue to thicken as long as I continue to take estrogen.  So I will probably have a more-than-adequate lining when I have my "final passing" u/s at St. Mungo's a week from today.

My ovaries were "quiet," too, as they should be, so I guess the Lupron is doing what it's supposed to.  In fact, the Lupron has done such a good job that I get to stop it now!  Yippee!  No shots for a week!  And maybe now this tight feeling in my chest will go away!

(My P4 level was 0.82, low like St. Mungo's wants it to be.  For some unknown reason, there was a delay in finding out my E2 level, but our nurse said it didn't matter since the u/s showed that my ovaries are quiet and my lining is where it should be.)

Next up: our donor's monitoring appointment tomorrow morning.  I hope those follicles are busy growing some good quality eggs!  :-)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Our thank you

I've given a lot of thought to what to give our donor as a gift.  I've read a lot about what other DE mothers-to-be gave their donors for a gift, and I've thought about what I might like to receive if I were in her shoes.  (I should note here MM doesn't think we should get her a gift at all, as he feels that the $7000 she will receive for her time and effort is sufficient.  Hmm.  OK.)

I decided that I didn't want to give jewelry or anything permanent.  Although we feel like we know the donor from her profile, we don't really know her.  Gifts of that nature are very personal, and I think people sometimes feel burdened when they receive a gift they don't like which is intended to have sentimental value.  I know I do.  Also, we are the sixth couple for whom she has donated, and she is committed to at least one more cycle after ours.  If each couple gave her that type of gift, that's a lot of jewelry!

I also thought of a gift card or spa products, but there again, we do not know her tastes.  I know I have received lots of spa products over the years that I didn't like and never used, and I've received gift cards to places I don't shop, too.  If we could get something we knew she would like, I think this would be a good option.  But since we can't know for sure, I've ruled this out.

Ultimately I decided that we would just give our donor a large bouquet of fresh flowers on the day of the egg retrieval, along with a thank you card with a heartfelt note from us inside.  I figure almost everyone likes flowers, and if she is sentimental, she can save the card.  Really, our gift is intended to express our gratitude to her more than anything else because it's true that she is being compensated for her time and effort.

Here is what we plan to write inside our card:

Words seem wholly inadequate to express our gratitude to you for the gift you are giving us.  Both of us have wanted to be parents for as long as we can remember, and it was devastating to us, both individually and as a couple, to discover that this might never be possible.

We have both been blessed in our lives with loving families, friends, education, and good health.  Yet in spite of all this, we feel that our lives would be incomplete without the opportunity to experience parenthood.  Your generosity will, we hope, give us that opportunity.  It will also give MM, an only child, the chance to continue his family line and to finally make his parents grandparents.

Should we become parents through your assistance, rest assured that we will love our child unconditionally and do all in our power to help her become the person she was meant to be.  We will treasure each experience with our child and never forget that his very existence is possible because of you.

With our sincere thanks,
MM & S

Friday, May 27, 2011

And away we go

I just got word from St. Mungo's that our donor's baseline appointment today went well, and she has been cleared to start her stims tomorrow!  She had ~40 follicles, low progesterone and estrogen, and no cysts.

It feels weird to be sending good vibes and positive thoughts to someone else's ovaries, but that's what I'll be doing over the next several days.  She will be seen for her next monitoring appointment next Wednesday and then again next Friday.  I have my next monitoring appointment next Tuesday, so next week will be a busy one in terms of communication between St. Mungo's and me.  :-)

It is still sometimes hard for me to believe that we are really doing this, but hearing about this makes it seem much more real.  (So did paying St. Mungo's today, ugh.)  It's not like me to put my trust in another person for something this important, particularly a stranger. . . . but I trust that our donor is going to follow her instructions to the letter and do all she can to provide us with some beautiful eggs in less than two weeks.  Really, what other choice do I have?

My nurse mentioned again today how much she likes working with our donor and how great she is.  I love hearing that! 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Meds & a gut feeling

Our donor's medications were delivered to St. Mungo's today.  (St. Mungo's requires that they be at the clinic two days prior to the donor's baseline appointment.)  Another step.  Assuming our donor is appropriately suppressed, she will be starting those medications on Saturday.

It's hard to believe that, at this time in two weeks, we could have embryos growing in the lab at St. Mungo's.  When I think about it, I am very excited.  A little freaked out, too, but mostly excited.

Physically I'm feeling pretty good today.  I still have that tight, anxiety-like feeling in my chest that comes and goes--which, the more I think about it, is entirely physiological and not related to my mood or state of mind at all, strangely--but no headache today and no other problems.

I forgot to mention: MM told me the other day that he has a "gut feeling" that our cycle is going to work . . . and that we are going to have twins.  Yikes.  He thinks his gut feelings tend to be reliable--I don't know, because I can't remember his ever sharing one with me before--so we shall see.

I know a lot of people think twins are cute/fun, and I don't totally disagree.  We will be ecstatic to be parents to either two or one, but the nurse in me can't help but think about all the increased health risks that come along with a twin pregnancy.  Not to mention the challenge of parenting twin newborns.

Oh well, one step at a time.  As our counselor pointed out to me, the amount of control we have using ART--ability to choose a clinic, when to cycle and, in our case, a donor--gives us the illusion that we can control everything.  Obviously we can't.  So it's in the hands of the gods.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ready to go

My hormone levels are where they should be, and I have been cleared to start my est.rog.en tonight!  I will also be reducing my Lupron dose.  I'm sure the combination will be good for me.  (BTW, my headache is 90% gone now, after three doses of medication and two sodas.)

Fingers crossed that our donor is also suppressed when she goes in for her baseline appointment on Friday.

Another baby step. . . .

EDITED TO ADD:  I just got an email from my friend N.  Her cerclage was placed without complications, and she is now home on bedrest.  The next few weeks are crucial to baby W's survival, so I hope you will still keep them in your thoughts and prayers.  Thanks.

Maybe I spoke too soon

After having only dull or no headaches over the weekend and yesterday, I woke up just after 5 this morning with the beginnings of a migraine. . . my first since late February or early March, I believe.  Ugh.  Ibu.prof.en got rid of about 80% of it for a while, and I've just popped some Ex.ced.rin, as the pain is starting to increase again.

Again, I don't know if I should blame this on the Lupron.  The fact is, I've gotten migraines since I was 15.  I do find it more than a little suspicious that I hadn't had one in almost three months until now, but again. . . not unheard of for me.  I do sometimes go long-ish periods with no migraines, only to have one start up with no real rhyme or reason.

I am at my office with the lights out and the blinds drawn.  Really looking forward to a day filled with mostly document review--NOT.   ;-)

I had my baseline appointment this morning, but I'll wait to post about that until I get the "official" results from St. Mungo's this afternoon.  Suffice it to say, my ultrasound was fine and things looked "quiet."  Here's hoping my hormone levels are where they should be, too.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Menopause preview

So based on what I've read about the effects of Lupron on hormone levels, I figured that this past weekend--while I am off BCPs and on Lupron only prior to starting estrogen tomorrow evening--would be like a preview of what menopause will be like.

If that's true, I must say. . . I'm no longer dreading menopause.  Aside from a couple of mildly unpleasant hot flashes and a dull headache Saturday afternoon, I really haven't had any symptoms.  (I have had kind of a "tight" anxiety-like feeling in my chest all week, but I can't quite parse out whether that is a medication side effect or simply due to anxiety related to all we have riding on the outcome of this cycle.)

I stumbled across a blogger's tips on minimizing Lupron side effects (I apologize; I didn't save a link to the blog to share here), and one thing she suggested was getting regular intense aerobic exercise.  So to that end, I went to the gym twice this weekend.  I ran on the treadmill Saturday (interspersed with brisk walking) and did the elliptical trainer yesterday.  Maybe that helped.

In addition to fearing the storied Lupron headaches, I thought I might be moody and have difficulty concentrating.  So far, I haven't found either to be the case.  Actually, my mood has been better: MM did a couple of things yesterday that normally annoy me and can cause me to snap at him.  I found myself more, not less, able to shrug them off.  I've had no trouble reading the non-fiction book I'm into at home, and at work my concentration has been fine.  It's actually better today than it's been lately, probably because I am working on things which interest me more.

Hmm.  I guess I have been pretty lucky.

[By the way, I just have to share this because it's so odd.  In addition to being used to treat endometriosis and for fertility treatments, not only is Lupron used to treat prostate cancer, it's also used to treat chronic adrenal disease in ferrets.  A little trivia courtesy of wikipedia.]

Tomorrow morning is my baseline appointment, and I've got my fingers crossed that all my lady parts are suppressed and "quiet" as they should be.  We are so close, I'd hate for anything to come up to delay us now.

Friday is our donor's baseline appointment.  I hope everything is suppressed on our donor's end, too.

Friday is also the day we have to pony up the dough for our cycle package fee and the donor's fee: the bulk of the cost of the cycle.  (I have already paid for my meds and the donor's meds, and I will have a couple of co-pays for my local monitoring, not to mention travel expenses.) 
It feels really strange to be paying St. Mungo's almost as much as I paid for my car (when it was new).  Especially when I know that, although the odds are in favor of this working, there are no guarantees.  I have seldom in my life spent this much money on anything in one fell swoop--only my car and my house come to mind, and I didn't pay the total cost up front for either of them--let alone something which is really just a CHANCE at the desired outcome.  A year of law school tuition cost less than our cycle package fee.

Pshew.  The things we do to try to become parents.  No wonder I've had a tight feeling in my chest for a week!

I figure six months from now I will either be thinking of this money as some of the best I've ever spent, or bitterly writing a check to pay off the last of the credit card balance for our failed cycle.  Only time will tell which it will be.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Prayers for N and Baby W

A friend of mine (in real life) needs your prayers. (I am referring to her and her baby by initials only, and not linking to her blog, to preserve her privacy.)

N has been married to R since before I met them both when we started law school together ten tears ago this August. Though they married young, like many couples, they waited to TTC until they had finished school and started their careers.

After stopping BCPs and TTC unsuccessfully for a while, N was diagnosed with PCOS. She and R were told they had a less than 1% chance of conceiving naturally. They beat the odds, though, and their adorable son was born in March 2008.

When they decided to TTC #2, they weren't as lucky. This go-around, N went through several failed treatment cycles and a surgery before "finally" getting pregnant from injectibles and IUI. They were, of course, very happy to have another child on the way.

N let me know after her NT scan that everything looked normal. And then days later, N had bleeding. She went to the doctor and was told her baby no longer had a heartbeat. Needless to say, she was devastated.

After taking misoprostol at her doctor's instruction, N went in for a follow-up u/ s . . . . which revealed a baby with a beating heart. N was understandably shocked, thrilled that her baby was alive, and very concerned about potential damage from the misoprostol.

Since then, things had been fine. N had seen specialists who reassured them that the baby should suffer no harm from the drug. A normal anatomy scan revealed the baby's gender: girl.

I was hopeful that the rest of N's pregnancy would be healthy and uneventful. But I got a text from her yesterday that the doctor noticed cervical dilation Friday. She is currently in the hospital, and they are planning a rescue cerclage for this evening.

She is only 22 weeks.

I know many of you pray, and I would ask that you pray for N and Baby W. The next few weeks are especially crucial to W's ability to survive outside the womb. N and R are wonderful people and terrific parents.

Thank you.

Friday, May 20, 2011


MM and I were talking last night about how we are alternately excited and freaked out about our cycle.  Our donor has her baseline appointment a week from today, so I emailed St. Mungo's this morning about arranging for payment (it's due the day of the baseline appointment, assuming the donor gets the all clear and is ready to start her stims).

As I sit here thinking about the fact that our egg retrieval is less than three weeks away, I have butterflies in my stomach.  I so hope that this works!

I was very proud of MM last night.  He decided he would give me my Lupron injection.  (I explained to him that the technique for the progesterone-in-oil shots, which have to be given in the muscle, will be different than these shots, which are subcutaneous, but he wanted to try anyway.)  He actually didn't do too badly for a first effort.  (I only let out one yelp of pain when he pulled the needle out at an odd angle and nicked me.)

Given that in prior cycles MM has literally left the room as soon as I started preparing my medications, I'd say this was a HUGE step for him!  I am going to get him some oranges and extra syringes this weekend so he can practice "darting" in the needle.  :-)

I got a text this morning that my dear friend had her second baby early this morning.  (Her son is my godson.)  She had a little girl this time, and I'm looking forward to stopping by the hospital on my way home from work to meet her!  I'm excited for my friend, especially because the baby is a girl.  I mean, the birth of any baby is exciting, and I was excited about her son's arrival, too. . . . but this is her husband's sixth child (previous marriages) and first daughter.  I think that makes it extra special.  :-)

Took my last BCP this morning.  Another tiny milestone.

EDITED TO ADD:  So far, still no concrete Lupron side effects.  I had a dull headache yesterday afternoon/evening, but I think the hair clip holding my bun was too tight because it mostly subsided once I took my hair down.  Thank G-d Dr. Dumbledore OK'd my continuing to take Ad.vil & Ex.cedr.in up until transfer!

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Last night I had a strange dream.  The first thing I remember is that I had taken three home pregnancy tests, and they were all positive.  Faint second lines--I understood in the dream that I was testing early--but clearly positive tests.

As I looked at the tests, it became clear to me, in a kind of flash-back fashion, that we had done IVF to achieve this pregnancy.  IVF with my eggs.  In this dream, I knew that we had had a failed fresh IVF cycle with my eggs where we had transferred two embryos with no resulting pregnancy.  The BFPs I was seeing were the result of transferring our one remaining frozen embryo.  On some level, I understood that this IVF cycle and subsequent FET hadn't cost us anything, though I don't know why.

In my dream, I had taken these HPTs early in the morning, and I waited for MM to wake up to share the results.  When he saw the tests, he was not excited.  He just told me, in a very matter-of-fact way, "I'll believe it when you've had a blood test and we see an ultrasound."  (Note: this is contrary to the reaction MM had in real life for my one-and-only-ever BFP in August 2009.)

I remember feeling so happy that we could now use the money we'd set aside for a DE cycle for other things.  We could give my in-laws back the money they had given us to help with our cycle.  My happiness was so genuine that when I woke up and realized this was a dream, I had a moment of disappointment.

One thing that is clear from this dream is that IVF and pregnancy are very much on my mind, even my subconcious mind.  One thing that isn't clear to me, though, is why my subconcious mind apparently thinks pregnancy with my own eggs is still an option (let alone IVF with my eggs).


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Just keep swimming

First, I'd like to thank all of you who commented on my last post asking for your experiences with Lupron.  Your comments really show how everyone is different in her response to these medications.  I am hoping for the best.

So far, I haven't experienced anything that I can pinpoint as a true Lupron side effect.  I had a headache yesterday afternoon, but it developed while I was sitting through a 3-hour continuing education course on ethics in legal practice, so that certainly could've been unrelated to the medication.  (heehee)  And I had a little local irritation at the injection site last night--redness, hives, itching--but it subsided within an hour.

Because most of Lupron's side effects are attributed to a drop in estrogen levels, I think the real test will be the three four-and-a-half days between when I stop BCPs on Friday morning and when I start my supplemental estrogen after my baseline u/s on Tuesday.  So it could be a difficult weekend; we'll see.

I looked at a calendar yesterday and realized that, in less than a month, we will have had our embryo transfer!  We have been talking about, and planning for, this cycle for so long that in some ways, it seems like we've been waiting for ages. 

On the other hand, now that we're in it, it seems like it came on fast!  Actually, from our initial consultation to my starting Lupron was exactly two months.  Given all the things that had to be accomplished in that timeframe--committing to a donor, all our infectious disease testing, meeting with our counselor, my mock cycle, my SHG--I'd say we moved pretty fast.  (The original estimate our clinic's third-party coordinator had given me for the shortest time from initial consultation to embryo transfer was 10-12 weeks, and ours will be just over 12 weeks.)

I'd say this is pretty much in keeping with MM's and my personalities.  We may deliberate for a while about things, but once we decide on a course of action, we commit to it and move forward, no more delays.

We've been fortunate, too, in that things have gone smoothly.  The donor we wanted was available.  Nothing came up in any of our testing, or our donor's testing, to delay us.  My mock cycle went smoothly; I actually built the lining they wanted a week faster than expected.  My cycle and the donor's were already close to being in sync, so it didn't take much to get us on the same schedule.

There has been an occasional hiccup, what with communication and coordinating between St. Mungo's and our local clinic, but no real bumps in the road.  Fingers crossed that things continue to run as smoothly as possible.

Oh, and I got some unexpected good news yesterday.  The pharmacy which is providing our donor's medications called me for payment, and I was pleasantly surprised that all her medications were only a little over $2100!  Truth be told, it made me wonder if something was missing from their list. . . . but I don't know for sure because I don't know exactly what has been prescribed for her.  (I have emailed our nurse to double-check, just in case.)

I was also thinking this: I know our donor has required exactly nine days of stims in her past four cycles at St. Mungo's prior to trigger.  Our nurse told me that the average time on stims for donors is 10-12 days (and I have heard of donors stimming as long as 13-14 days).  Maybe our donor's meds were cheaper because she won't need to be on stims as long?  I don't know.

[EDITED TO ADD:  I heard back from our nurse, and nothing is missing.  The lower-than-expected cost is primarily due to the donor needing less stims than average.  Bonus!]

As anyone who knows me, either in real life or through this blog, can probably tell you, I'm not usually a "live in the moment" zen kind of person.  I am doing a pretty good job of "just being" at the moment, though.  Sure, I think ahead to "what if this works?" occasionally--and MM and I talk about it, which is unprecedented for him in the last 2+ years--but for the most part, I'm just taking each day as it comes, putting one foot in front of the other.

Here's hoping that this path is the one which will lead us to parenthood.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Share your Lupron stories

I start my Lupron for my cycle tonight, and I'm interested in hearing about others' experiences with this drug.  Reading a list of the potential side effects is scary!  The side effect that scares me most are the headaches/migraines, since I get these even without drugs on board.

So for those of you who have taken Lupron. . . . how did it make you feel?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Help for Jennepper & her family

For those of you who read this blog via feed reader, or who just haven't noticed the new addition, I wanted to point out that I've added a badge in the sidebar --------------> which will take you to a blog where you can help an ALI blogger in need.

The blog will tell you more, but in short, Jennepper has been blogging about infertility since 2007 and has been an active member of the ALI community.  Her writing style is laugh-out-loud funny.  She has been in my thoughts a lot ever since her identical twin girls were born early a few months back after a complicated pregnancy.  One of her daughters was stillborn, and the other remains in the NICU.

This effort is going to allow me to help her out with more than positive vibes, thoughts and prayers, so I can't resist the opportunity.

Anyway, if you'd like to help, click the badge.  Thanks!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

My 400th Post

I wrote a terrific post on Thursday to publish today about how wonderful it has been connecting with other people going through infertility during the 2+ years that I have written this blog.  For reasons that aren't clear to me, Blogger didn't save my writing, and when I opened it to put on the finishing touches, everything but the title was gone.

Sadly, I don't have the inspiration or the time to recreate the entire post.  So I will just say thank you to this community for commenting on what I write, sharing your own experiences and cheering me on.

Never thought I'd get to 400 posts and still not have a baby of our own. . . . but here I am.

P.S.  Thanks to Blogger's glitch in deleting, and then restoring, a post earlier this week, this is now actually my 401st post.  But anyway.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Blogger is acting wonky

Yesterday's post about my anxiety due to not hearing from my clinic has disappeared into the ether.


Edited to add:  Now the post is back.  Guess Blogger fixed the problem.

Fabulous 50, Part 2

26. What do you normally smell like?  Soap and whatever hair product I used that day.

27. Do you like Carrie Underwood?  She's OK.

28. Been to “The Vegas”?  Yes, many times.

29. How far away do you live from your parents?  I am a little over 300 miles from my father and over 2000 miles from my mother.

30. Are you happy with your job?  Most of the time.

31. Where do you work and what do you do there?  I work for a private law firm as an attorney.

32. What did you get in the mail today?  Nothing yet.  I usually only get pleas from charities for my hard-earned money.

33. How do you like your steak cooked?  Medium to medium rare, depending on my mood.

34. Britney Spears…is she back?  No.

35. What do you usually order at Taco Bell?  I don't eat there often, but when I do, I order chicken soft tacos or a bean burrito without onions.  Unless I'm being really "bad," and then I'll get nachos bell grande.

36. Have you ever sat all the way through Gone With the Wind?  Yes, but only once.  I also read the book.

37. Have you ever been to Mt Rushmore?  No.

38. Is it just me, or was The Marine (w/John Cena) a really horrible movie?  I don't know, I never saw it.

39. Are surveys/memes like the cocaine of the internet?  They seem to be.

40. Where is your favorite place (that you have actually been to)?  Maui.

41. What is your favorite candle scent?  Vanilla, rain or ocean.

42. Do you believe places can really be haunted?  Yes.

43. Do you smoke cigarettes?  Nope.  Tried 'em twice when I was younger and (thankfully) did not like 'em.

44. Have you ever been to NYC or LA?  Yes to both. 

45. How many states have you been to where all you saw was the airport?  Hmm, none.  I've visited 37 of the 50 U.S. states at last count, and the ones I haven't visited, I haven't ever flown into.

46. Do you think 50 questions is enough?  Sure.  Do you?

47. Are you currently planning a trip?  Nope, not unless you count trips to our fertility clinic.  All our disposable income plus more is going toward our DE IVF cycle.

48. Is Ryan Seacrest gay? Should anyone care?  Don't know, don't care.

49. Do you take anti-depressants? Sleeping pills?  No.  I must admit, I am very fortunate in that insomnia has never been an issue for me.

50. What do you think about space travel?  I think it's cool!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Our calendar

As we've been getting closer and closer to doing our DE IVF cycle, I've obsessively google'd "sample donor egg IVF calendar" several times to get a little "preview" of what I might expect once our treatment cycle started.  I didn't find too many examples online (except this one), so I'm going to share mine here in the hope that it might help some other obsessing woman like me some time in the future.

  • Stay on active BCPs until 5/20
  • Start Lu.pro.n 5/16
  • Stop BCPs 5/20
  • Baseline appointment (AZ) 5/24 - start estrogen if all is suppressed
  • Ultrasound (AZ) 5/31
  • Ultrasound (St. Mungo's) 6/7
  • Estimated egg retrieval 6/7 - 6/10, embryo transfer 3-5 days later (We are hoping for a 5-day, blastocyst transfer.  Our donor's embryos have made it to 5 days in all five of her previous cycles.)
Our donor will have her baseline appointment on 5/27 and start her stims on 5/28 if she is suppressed.

    My "zen" has left the building

    Something is bothering me, and I thought writing about it here would get it out of my head.

    As you know, we are about to start our DE cycle at St. Mungo's shortly. After my SHG last Friday, our nurse and I discussed a tentative calendar, taking into account "blackout dates" provided by our in-house donor. Our nurse emailed me a tentative schedule later that evening, saying she would get back to me with the "official" calendar, prescriptions and instructions on Tuesday.

    It is now Thursday, and I have not heard anything more. I wasn't too concerned when I didn't hear from her Tuesday; I figured it wasn't that pressing, and she might just be busy. (In any event, she never has time to call until after their post-lunch team conference because she is with patients in the mornings.) I wasn't particularly bothered because the tentative schedule didn't have me starting any new meds until next week.

    But now that it is two days later than I expected to hear from her, I am starting to wonder if I should be concerned. Our donor has cycled at St. Mungo's five times before and has been described as "very reliable," so I'd be surprised if the hold-up is due to her not getting back to them to approve the "final" calendar. I know there is nothing left on our end which needs to be taken care of.

    I don't know. Actually, MM is the one who has raised these doubts in my mind. Last night he said that, since we will soon be paying the clinic a boat-load of money, he would expect them to "be on top of things." The last thing we need at this stage is to have a loss of confidence in our clinic and its ability to manage our care.

    I emailed our nurse after 10 last night (email is the primary method of contact with her), thinking that she might get the email first thing this morning and respond.  I have heard nothing.

    The lack of contact from St. Mungo's, coupled with MM's remarks (which I know weren't meant to alarm me; they were just an expression of his own thoughts and concerns), has me feeling anxious.  I hate this feeling.

    Wednesday, May 11, 2011


    I mentioned to MM over the weekend that google reader says that 150 people subscribe to my blog (well, actually 151, but one of those is me).  He shook his head and said he couldn't believe that anyone would be interested in reading about "all this stuff."

    And now this morning when I logged onto blogger, I see that I am now at 100 followers.  Thank you all for following my story!

    I was hoping to post my "official" calendar for my cycle today, but I didn't hear from our nurse yesterday as expected.  I am assuming she was just busy with other things and didn't have time to get in touch with me.  According to the tentative calendar she sent me last Friday, I don't have anything new to do (aside from continuing BCPs) until starting lu.pr.on next week. . . . so hearing from her isn't urgent (though I'm looking forward to it!).  If I don't hear from her today, I will call tomorrow.

    Trying to be "zen" and relaxed about our cycle. . . .

    Tuesday, May 10, 2011

    Fabulous 50, Part 1

    I snagged this meme from loribeth.  Part 2 coming soon.

    *** *** ***

    1. Introduce yourself.  In the immortal words of Simply Red, "If you don't know me by now, you will never, never, never know me."  Or if you're new to the blog, follow the links in the sidebar to my profile and my introduction and TTC history pages.

    2. If it’s Wednesday at noon, where are you usually?  At work.

    3. What kind of laundry detergent do you use?  Tide

    4. What brand of shampoo is in your shower right now?  I like to mix it up.  Right now I have two kinds: Matrix Biolage Color Care and Garnier Fructis (the huge Cos.tco-sized bottle)

    5. Did you ever get into a bar and drink before you were 21?  No.  I will admit I drank before I was 21, but never in a bar.

    6. What countries have you been to?  The U.S. (duh!), Mexico, Canada, Ireland, U.K.

    7. Do you watch MTV anymore?  No, not unless MM turns it on (and he likes to be "funny" and try to force me to watch shows like "16 and Pregnant.")

    8. What do you think about Oprah?  I admire her and think she is a wonderful example of a true American success story.

    9. What color are your bed sheets?  Cream, dark brown (chocolate-colored).

    10. You need a new pair of jeans: what store do you go to first?  Gah, I hate buying jeans!  If I'm trying to save money, Macy's or Old Navy.  If cost is no object, Nordstrom (such great customer service there!).

    11. Did you ever watch The O.C.?  Never.

    12. What kind of car do you drive?  2005 Toyota Prius (and yes, I have a good chuckle when people complain about the rising prices at the pump)

    13. Honestly, is that car insured?  Yes.

    14. Do you like sushi?  Love it!

    15. Have you ever been to Tiffany & Co. or Saks 5th Ave?  Yes, I've been to them, never bought anything in either store, though.

    16. Did your parents spoil you growing up?  No.  My father, who raised us from when I was 9, was actually fairly strict, and we only saw my mother twice a month and on school vacations.

    17. Do you like roller coasters?  Yes.

    18. What magazine(s) do you buy regularly or subscribe to?  I only subscribe to O, the Oprah magazine.  MM subscribes to Rolling Stone and Sports Illustrated.  I will sometimes buy US Weekly or People, but only to read on airplanes; I don't allow myself to read those types of magazines regularly, but they are one of my "guilty pleasures" when I fly somewhere.

    19. Do you remember the WB show “Popular”?  No.

    20. When you go out do you prefer to go to a dance club or to a bar?  Um, really, neither.  I prefer someplace quieter where I can talk with my friends, and I don't drink, so. . . .

    21. What do you think about gay marriage?  I'm in favor of it.

    22. Who do you think Obama will run against and, if he does, will he be re-elected?  Who knows.  Two years is a long time away, and a lot can happen.

    23. Are you registered to vote?  Yes.

    24. Do you own an iPod?  Yes, I got the iPod Touch for Christmas.  It's my second iPod; I had an iPod Nano before the Touch but gave it to a young friend when I got the new iPod.

    25. Is your bathroom filled with beauty stuff?  No.  I'm not very "girly" and usually only have necessities.

    Monday, May 9, 2011

    Post-Mother's Day post

    So you may have noticed I didn't write a post for Mother's Day.  This Mother's Day is the third one that's passed since I started writing this blog, and I've never written a post for Mother's Day here.

    Truth be told, I've never been very fond of Mother's Day, even before infertility.  While I love my mother, we have an unconventional relationship, and at times over the years, especially when I was a child, that relationship was strained to one degree or another.  As I've mentioned here before, my parents divorced when I was 9, and thereafter I lived with my father and paternal grandmother (who was more of a "mother" to my sister and me, in the typical way in which that word is meant, than our actual mother was).

    My granny was Irish and had lived in Ireland all but a year so of her 69 years until she came to live with us when I was a toddler.  She didn't believe in what she called "made-up" holidays; only religious holidays like Christmas, Easter and various saints' days where important to her.  (And Mother's Day doesn't even fall on the same date in Ireland as in the U.S.)  So honoring my granny, who really was the one who filled the role of "mother" in my life, on Mother's Day wasn't seen as necessary in our household.

    Mother's Day got even more awkward for me when my father married my stepmother when I was 18.  I was a college sophomore at the time, and as such, I never lived at home with her as my "mother". . . . and yet her expectation has always been that I should remember her on Mother's Day.  I have long thought this is ridiculous, given that she has her own children and grandchildren (and now even a great-grandchild), but after a few years of resistance, I gave up and started sending her a card and calling her for Mother's Day, just to keep peace in the family.  (As a side note, my own mother doesn't care and wanted me to remember Stepmom; she has her own stepdaughters and knows what it's like to be ignored on holidays by them.)

    So now I have the pleasure of enduring two difficult card-buying experiences every Mother's Day: a card for my mother which doesn't talk about her selflessness and sacrifice--and let me tell you, these can be hard to find--and a card for my stepmother which doesn't actually use the word "stepmother" (which she dislikes) and yet does not refer to her as "Mom" or "Mother" (because to me, she is neither).  Mother's Day is one time of year when my usual joy in going to a Hal.lma.rk store is significantly diminished.

    Actually, buying a card and/or gift for my MIL--who I really like and think is a wonderful mom--is a walk in the park compared to buying cards/gifts for my own mother and stepmother.  How sad is that?

    I think that adequately explains why I dislike Mother's Day and why that dislike long predates my infertility.  ;-)

    Maybe it is because of my dislike of the holiday that it has never particularly been a hard one for me to get through, even being childless and infertile.  Sure, I have been annoyed on occasion when someone has wished me a "Happy Mother's Day," when the holiday doesn't apply to me at all.  But I have taken these comments in the spirit they are intended--much as I suppose a cheerful non-Christian would react to being told "Merry Christmas"-- and now that I don't attend church on Mother's Day, the opportunities for that are actually fairly limited.

    Likewise, I haven't ever spent much time thinking about how wonderful it will be to celebrate Mother's Day when I finally *am* a mother.  So I'm sure that's a factor, too.

    I hope all my readers had an enjoyable and peaceful weekend, whether you are mothers in fact, expectant mothers, mothers who have lost children, or mothers thus far only in your heart.

    Saturday, May 7, 2011

    Post-SHG update

    To cut right to the chase. . . my SHG was normal, and we are a "go" for our cycle.

    I got my calendar, and our estimated date of egg retrieval is June 7, with an anticipated embryo transfer five days later. Our nurse said our donor has stimmed for exactly nine days prior to trigger in each of her last four cycles, so I hope her body follows that same pattern this time, too. Or whatever produces lots of good quality eggs; we're willing to have to change travel plans for a good outcome. ;-)

    OK, I hate typing on my iPhone, so that's all for now. We fly home this afternoon.

    Wednesday, May 4, 2011


    I read a book over the weekend that I thoroughly enjoyed: The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  I found the book a quick and easy read.  The book appealed to me for a number of reasons--some of which are likely obvious to anyone who has read my blog for a while--and I ended up enjoying it even more than I thought I would.

    The basic premise of the book is that the author realizes one day that she is happy with her life but perhaps not as happy as she should be, given all the good things in it: a job she loves, husband and children, material comforts, friends and family.  She decides to spend a year trying various things to see if they increase her happiness and not wait for a time when she is in crisis to truly see the good in her life.

    The author stresses that a happiness project would look different for each person because everyone's tastes, interests and passions are different.  What makes one person happy might not make another happy.  I see her point. 

    On her blog, the author talks about how to start your own happiness project if you feel so inspired.  I like the idea of doing things to enhance my happiness--and let me be clear: like Rubin, I am generally very happy with the life I have--but I think I would struggle with one of the earliest parts of the process.  I think I know in a general sense "what brings [me] joy, satisfaction, and engagement, and also what brings [me] guilt, anger, boredom, and remorse" . . . . but I don't know that I know this in enough detail to fully flesh it out into a workable plan. 

    One thing she suggests in the book is to think back to when you were 10 years old and remember what you did for fun.  I must admit, beyond reading, watching TV, roller skating and riding my bike, I'm stumped.

    Oh, and I'm also kinda busy at the moment with work and getting ready to do our DE IVF cycle.  So there's that, too.  ;-)

    I know that many of us who are struggling through infertility can find it very hard to find the joy in our present lives, so I thought this book was worth sharing with my fellow friends in the trenches.

    It has prompted me to think about a few things in my life from which I derive great enjoyment: petting my dogs and watching them play; spending time with my sister or friends; exploring a new city; reading a good book; hiking; cuddling with my husband; hearing my nephew's laugh; getting a massage; waking up refreshed without an alarm.  In a perverse way, I enjoy taking on a new challenge or mastering something new.  (I say "in a perverse way" because I sometimes find these things frustrating while I am in the thick of them but ultimately find them satisfying.)

    I'd like to find more things that bring me pleasure.  I'm sure there are lots of other things I either haven't tried, or tried in the past and have forgotten, that I'd enjoy.

    What about you?  What brings you joy, satisfaction or engagement?

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011

    A to Z of TTC

    Jumping on the bandwagon here. . . . the A to Z of TTC

    A. Age when you started TTC: 37

    B. Baby Dancing or Sex: Sex.

    C. Children wanted: We will take whatever we get!

    D. Dogs/Cats/Fill in Children: Two dogs

    E. Essential Oils/Vitamins/Snake Oils: I currently am taking a daily prenatal vitamin, Vitamin D, Vitamin B complex, magnesium (to prevent migraines), and fish oil.

    F. Fertility Meds I’ve taken: Clomid, Ovidrel, Pregnyl, Crinone, Follistim, Gonal-F

    G. Gain: I weigh about the same today as I did before we started TTC

    H. HSG (Hystosalpingogram):  had one in January 2009, 100% normal.

    I. Infertile Pet Peeves: Gah, there are so many!  The dumb things people say like "well, you can always adopt," "you're lucky; my husband just has to look at me and I'm pregnant!," "enjoy your sleep while you can," or "you want kids?  you can have mine!" . . . . just to name a few.  ;-)  Oh, and spending all my disposable income (plus) on fertility treatments.

    J. Job title: associate attorney

    K. Kids' names you’re afraid will be taken by the time you can use them: yeah, no way I'm going to post our names on here.  And we don't care if they're "taken," we plan to use them anyway.

    L. Length of time TTC: Three years

    M. Miscarriages: One chemical pregnancy in August 2009

    N. Number of times you’ve switched OB/GYNS, REs, FSs:  same OB/GYN (but I never received any fertility testing or treatment there), we are now on RE #2 out of state.

    O. Ovarian quality: No known problems, but our local RE was convinced I had "poor egg quality" related to age.

    P. POAS or wait for AF: I stopped POAS (I actually pee in a cup and dip) after cycle #7 or so.  I wait for AF or blood test if ordered unless the RE orders me to test at home.

    Q. Quote from an obnoxious fertile: see I, above.

    R. RE, OB/Gyn or other? RE

    S. Sperm: count & motility normal, low morphology

    T. Time you tried naturally:  one year from April 2008 to April 2009, all cycles (except one) in between treatment cycles, and now since July 2010.

    U. Uterus quality: No known problems.

    V. Vagina: Normal

    W. What baby stuff do you already have?  Two onesies & a hat.

    X. X-tra X-tra Hear all about it! How many people know the ins and outs of our crazy TTC journey? Everyone who reads this blog, obviously (which includes three friends in real life and my sister).  My in-laws and my mother know almost everything, too, and I have shared a little with a few other friends who I know are discreet.

    Y. Yearly Exam (do you still go in even though someone sees your lady parts most months?): yes

    Z. Zits: rarely

    Monday, May 2, 2011


    I've noticed that some of my behavior in approaching our upcoming DE IVF cycle has been uncharacteristic of me.  Usually I want to know everything I can about how a process will work as soon as I can know it.  Given that this is my usual m.o., one might think that I would already know exactly what medications I will be taking for our cycle, including the doses and how long I will be on them.  But I don't.

    I do have a vague general idea that I will be taking lu.pron, est.rog.en, and prog.est.erone, as well as perhaps some other medications, but I haven't asked our nurse any questions so far about what exactly I'll be taking and when.  I have an appointment at St. Mungo's this Friday, and I figure she will tell me then.

    Also, although I think of the SHG I'm having Friday as something of a formality--I've never had any identified uterine abnormality in the past and have no reason to think I have one now--I realize that it is a prerequisite to starting our cycle.  So I imagine St. Mungo's doesn't see the point in spelling out the entire medication protocol for the cycle before we know for sure that it's a go.

    Usually I crave control, and one of the ways I try to achieve at least the illusion of control is by having a lot of information.  In this situation, though, I don't have a lot of specific information.  I am being very "go with the flow," and it's quite unlike me.

    I think I've just decided that the time has come to let go and accept that I can't control this process.  To the extent that I was able to influence the outcome at all, I have already done so in the ways I could actually control.  I did a lot of research to find a top clinic.  I have educated myself fully about what using DE entails, both in the short and long term.  I am doing everything I can to optimize my health: losing weight, exercising, getting enough sleep, taking supplements, meditation (sort of--I'm using circle + bloom).

    I guess I've just decided on some level that I've come to the point where I have to trust that the decisions I've made that have led me to this place--to DE IVF, to this particular clinic--were good decisions.  And now I have to rely on the clinic and doctor I have carefully chosen to take care of the rest.

    I am also feeling optimistic that this cycle will work, and sad to say, I think this is also uncharacteristic of the mental attitude I've had toward our past treatment cycles.  No matter how much I tried to keep a positive attitude before--and even though I always had SOME hope they would work, or I wouldn't have been doing them--I'll admit that I was anticipating failure much more than success.  Blame that on my logical, rational mind which FAR outweighs the emotional part of me: when I'm told something has a 10% or 20% chance of working, I immediately conclude that there is therefore a 80-90% chance it WON'T work.  And it would be illogical to think that something which is 4-5 times more likely to fail than to succeed is actually going to work.

    I understand that clinic success rates don't mean much to an individual patient.  A pathologist who was an expert witness in a case once told me that looking at success rates can be misleading.  (He was talking about cancer cure rates, but the same logic applies.)  Even if a certain stage of cancer has a 99% cure rate, that doesn't mean much to each individual patient.  Rather, it means that if you look at 100 people with this diagnosis, 99 of them will be fully cured.  So for each of these 99 people, the cure rate is actually 100%, while for the 1 person in 100 who isn't cured, the cure rate is 0.

    Intellectually, I get that the same argument would apply equally to IVF success rates.  All an 85% success rate means is that, if you look at 100 couples doing this procedure, 85 of them will achieve a live birth.  A DE IVF cycle will either work for us, or it won't.  As to us specifically, the success rate will be either 100% or 0. 

    But I find it easier to believe that something that works for 85% of people will work for use than that something that works for 10-20% of people will.  (There's that logic creeping in again.)

    Although I am optimistic, at the same time I do have an occasional thought of "What if this doesn't work?"  I truly don't know where we will go from here.  I do know that it will be a miserable several months paying off the money we borrowed for this cycle before we can even realistically consider any other options.

    I hope the fact that I am approaching this cycle in an uncharacteristic manner bodes well for its success.  We shall see.