Monday, October 31, 2005

Day 1 of Stims

I have two shiny 600 IU ampules of Follistim AQ at home in the "utility" door of the refrigerator waiting for me to get home.

Today's bloodwork/scan on CD 3 revealed the following:

Estradiol level was 18.
FSH was 4.9.
Endometrial lining was 3 mm
17mm cyst on left ovary.

I have no idea what any of this means, what is "normal", etc. but nonetheless, I'm good to go for this evening. I'm to use 150 IU for the next five days. I go back in on Friday a.m. for a followup bloodwork and ultrasound. The IUI is projected to be Monday, but by Wed. at the latest. I had no idea it would be so fast.

The thing that I am the most grateful for - is that my insurance picked up the entire cost of the Follistim less only a $25 copay. (I also had a $25 copay for the Prometrium, and a whopping $1 cost for the syringes for the HCG - although I just realized I have no clue how much the HCG itself is costing me). I am incredibly thankful that the insurance is picking up nearly the entire tab for this.

The R.E.'s office gave me the Follistim from their stock, and the HCG and 30 tablets of 200mg. prometrium are being shipped to me from Schrafts tomorrow.

All day I kept expecting something to go wrong, and so far - it hasn't.

Friday, October 28, 2005

A-R-T Lifestyle

Floor Cake*
Motorcade of Infertility (2005)
A-R-T Lifestyle

Well, Your Ampule Collection Looks Shiny and Costly
How Much Did you Pay for Your Bad Follitropins?
And How Much Did You Spend on Your IVF Packet?
Is It Your or Your R.E. In This Income Tax Bracket?

Now Repronex Injections and Progesterone Pills
Sometimes For Protocol You Haven't Even Heard Of.
And How Much Did You Pay For Your Follicular Scan?
That Proves You Were There,
That You Counted Them First?

How Do You Afford Your A-R-T Lifestyle?
How Do You Afford Your A-R-T Lifestyle?
How Do You Afford Your A-R-T Lifestyle?
Ahhhh, Tell Me.

How Much Did You Pay For the Painful HSG,
The One Ruthlessly Injected At The Beginning of the Cycle?
And How Much Will You Pay for a Rising HCG,
One Begged and Prayed For At The End Of Another Cycle?
And How Long Will the Nurses Keep Cycling You Again?
As Long as Your Credit Cards are Open, Free and Willing.
And How Long Will the R.E. Keep Cycling You Again?
As Long As Your Credit Cards are Open, Free and Willing

Aging Ute, Ovaries And Hospital Bills
Tube Removal and Dozens of Pills
Your Bits Pay Dearly Now For Youthful Magic Moments
But Conception is Possible Now With Extracted Components

How Do You Afford Your A-R-T Lifestyle?
How Do You Afford Your A-R-T Lifestyle?
How Do You Afford Your A-R-T Lifestyle?

Excess Ain't Rebellion.
You're Injecting What They're Selling.
Your Hyperstimulation Doesn't Hurt Them.
Your Barenness Won't Convert Them.
They're So Happy To Treat It.
You'll Never Really Cure It.
Yeah, Excess Ain't Rebellion
You're Injecting What They're Selling
Yeah, Excess Ain't Rebellion
You're Injecting
You're Injecting
You're Injecting What They're Selling.

* With sincere apologies to John McCrea and the real "Cake", a band I love dearly. Obviously, my mind is not on work, and I need to go home.

Hello Monkeyface

Some of our closest moments have been snuggled on the couch under a big blanket watching old movies and eating popcorn and junior mints (and yes, you must eat them together - as in mix the junior mints into the hot popcorn. Trust me, I didn't believe it either, but it turns into a salty chocolately melty wonderful mess). For the holidays last year I bought him a big box set of old Hitchcock flicks, including Suspicion with Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine. Cary Grant's character has a line where he says "Hello monkeyface" to Joan Fontaine in the flick, and after hours of laughing and repeating the heavily accented phrase over and over and over, somehow I ended up with that nickname. I also use it for him upon occasion - although he is usually relegated to just "monkey." Our cats (and occasionally me) are known as "kittenface" and he is often "muffinface." It's a ridiculously sappy life we lead, I tell you. I could make you really ill and tell you the remainder of our nicknames for each other, but I'll spare gagging you.

This morning, I got a Land of Nod email in one of my typically unused mailboxes, and I have no idea what in the HELL possessed me to open it as I usually try to stay away from cutesy baby stuff somewhat like the bubonic plague. But I did open it. And I fell in love with an item, and -ohmygod- ordered it. I have been staunchly opposed to buying anything for as a yet unconceived child, because well, obviously I realize it may never happen. I used to shake my heads in wonder at women who had a secret stash of things hidden away in their closets, I wasn't that strong. I was too bitter, too jaded. It may never happen, I kept telling myself. And then what - how sad would you be when faced with these things that you've lovingly kept for so long? I was set to go with the Jewish tradition of waiting to buy anything for the baby until it was home safely from the hospital.

But I folded today and bought the cutest things on the planet.

Hello Monkeyface.

Hello hope.

-------- updated ----------------

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO (that's me wailing). The R.E.'s office just called, and the doctor absolutely does not want to set me up with injectibles until the CA-125 results are in (I had the blood drawn Wed. a.m.). My period decided to surprise me early, and for the last two days I've been debating - Is this it? Is this spotting? Today is arbitrarily going to be counted as CD 1, but they will only let me start on CD 4 at the lastest - which is Monday. And that won't happen unless they get the blood results in today and the levels are low enough.

Please, please, please, please let the results come in. I've now been charting for THIRTY-ONE cycles (admittedly we haven't been trying for all of them) but please. $*#@!

----------updated (again) ----------------

thankyouthankyouthankyou. I don't know what deity or fate or muse to thank - so I'll just thank them all. Ganesh, Jesus, Jehovah, G-d, Mohammed, Allah, the patchouli scented chick with dangly earrings who offered to read my palm for a mere $40, the guy who preached at us with a bullhorn in New Orleans, St. Anne - did I leave anyone out? If so, uh - it was unintended.

The nurse just called and she's been trying all day to get in touch with the lab. The antibody tests aren't in yet, but the CA-125 came back at a "6." A "6" is o.k.

I am set for 11:00 a.m. for labs and sonogram on Halloween. We are ready for lift-off.

Countdown may commence now.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

They will tell you no, and you will tell them...

When I got home yesterday, Michael had dug five new flower beds for tulips and daffodils around the house for me as a surprise. He said he wanted me to have something to look forward to after the barreness of the winter. He's not really into gardening, but he built terraced beds for the front yard, and worked the hard clay soil into something that held promise... he fertilized and supplemented and the soil was rich and loamy.

He said, I want you to have something to hope for. We sat side by side, our knees pressing into the newly turned earth, planting close to six hundred bulbs before the sun slipped below the horizon and our hands became numb. Today, we will plant around four hundred more.

Spring has always been my favorite season... cliched - yes, perhaps. But I adore that feeling of rebirth - of new opportunities - new beginnings. As each tulip, hyacinth, crocus and daffodil breaks free from the frozen earth, as each tree cloaks herself in bright hope of flowers - hinting at the promise of fruit, I feel my own sadness dissipate as the world slowly shrugs off the brisk touch of winter and moves on. Spring is a prelude, a constant seduction of growth and renewal.

The R.E.'s office called yesterday - and asked that I drop by this morning for more blood work. Lupus Anticoagulant (?), ANA, and some other test, I don't remember the name of in addition to the CA-125. The nurse asked me if I had ever miscarried. Yes, I said dismissively, but it was very early. It was a chemical pregnancy, it hardly counts. She sighed, and said - honey it counts. They all count as lost dreams. She then explained what all the tests were for, and I explained - I'm spotting, red - on CD 24 - five days early.

They had me code the lab sheet, and the insurance codes were submitted as ovarian endometriosis, female pelvic pain, and habitual aborter to have the insurance pick up as large as a portion of the cost as possible. We discussed whether to move forward with this cycle, given the extenuating health issues. The doctor told us it's up to us, but that he would advise a cautious approach.

This morning on the way to the lab, my windshield was frosted over. The landscape looked as if it had been cloaked in tiny diamonds, the frost sparkling in the first streaks of grey dawn.

I am not ready for the emptiness and the grey flannel skies of winter. I am simply not ready to acknowledge the slipping temperatures and the cold north wind blowing against the windows. I don't, logically - emotionally - spiritually - believe that this cycle would work. Everything seems stacked against it. Rationally, I realize that I am perhaps being irresponsible. I fully acknowledge it would be better to wait, to have concrete answers and plans.

We have been waiting so long, another few cycles really are not that important.

I remember a Nike ad that used to hang on the inside of my closet when I was thirteen. I don't remember the exact words, but it went something along the lines of:

All your life you are told the things you cannot do. All your life they will say you're not good enough or strong enough or talented enough; they will say you're the wrong height or the wrong weight or the wrong type to play this or be this or achieve this. THEY WILL TELL YOU NO, a thousand times no, until all the no's become meaningless. All your life they will tell you no, quite firmly and very quickly. AND YOU WILL TELL THEM YES.

We are moving forward. I will start this cycle, barring any blanket prohibition by the doctor.

Monday, October 24, 2005

In Sickness and in Health

Remember the "clueless infertile" with season tickets next to us? Well, apparently she's given birth to a perfect baby boy after a completely uneventful and smooth birth. Michael was making small talk next to the new father at the game, and congratulated him on the birth of his son. The new father was absolutely beaming, and showing us pictures of his son. He asked if we had any children.

To which I quickly snipped, "No." and to which Michael said somewhat longingly "No, not yet" as he lovingly folded my small hands into his much larger ones and then brought them to his mouth and kissed them. Mucho mucho good husband points.

We went driving yesterday to look at some lake front acreage that we're thinking about buying. We need to sell some farm land we own first to do it, but I think it's an investment that - properly leveraged - will be quite beneficial for us. And, we could then have a vacation/lake house built on the land, and later subdivide a portion of it if we choose.

We were laughing, talking hopefully about baby names. We've had the two middle names for a boy picked (two middle names are a family tradition) for maybe three years and we had finally agreed to a first name for a boy. Michael says that for a boy I keep neglecting the "playground factor" as the names that I've picked out are too "sissy" and the child will end up in therapy because of the merciless taunting that will inevitably occur. So we agreed, finally, with a family name that is sufficiently masculine. We also finally reached a consensus about a girl's name that was not too "trendy."

We were just enjoying the scenery - the changing leaves blowing across the road as we took a detour through a particularly picturesque stretch of farmland and saw a flock (maybe 20 or so) of wild turkeys.

During the drive home, I had three seizures. I've had maybe 12 within the last two weeks or so, after a relatively calm period of six months or better. We don't know what's causing them.

In my last year of law school, I was driving to grab a bite to eat when I had a seizure - and blacked out. I hit my head against the steering wheel, and thankfully during the 'fit' I managed to slam the gear shift into park and halfway jumped a curb. Somehow during the madness, I bit my tongue rather forcefully - almost straight through it - and my mouth quickly filled with blood. Thankfully I was on a side street - and I managed to coast slowly into a gas station where I promptly fainted. I got a nice sized bump on the head from the fainting spell, but was otherwise o.k. When I finally made my way back to school, I walked in to Michael's office and told him what happened. He wanted to go to the hospital immediately, but I begged him not to take me. We went home instead, and I promptly fell asleep for about fifteen straight hours. I went to a cardiologist the next day - and was immediately whisked from specialist to specialist. The next few days were a blur of EKGs, EEGs, x-rays, MRIs, and a great deal of bloodletting to check on blood sugar imbalances, hormones, etc.

During the doctor's visits - I realized that I've always had these little "spells." Growing up, my great grandmother said someone was walking over my grave when I did it. Sometimes I could feel them coming on, but not always. When I did, they were preceded by a tightness and pain in my chest and back - and a feeling of pressure as if I was being crushed. My vision always tunnelled immediately before it happened and the sounds of life around me grew strangely quiet. I also had a completely indescrible feeling of great anxiety that something bad about to happen, but I could never place what it was, and words can't really do it justice.

Afterward, there was always a peculiar metal taste in my mouth - like sucking on a spoon - and an overwhelming desire to immediately go to sleep. Sometimes - when they are really bad - my arms flail out (sometimes one, sometimes both) and I will involuntarily strike out at someone. It can be quite embarassing at times - sort of a physical Tourettes. My back clenches up and people who have seen it say that it looks like I think I'm falling and am trying to instinctively brace myself. Milder versions cause me to just space out a little. I can hear people talking around me - but their voices sound very far away - like the muffled conversations of people living in the next apartment drifting through air vents when I was in college.

As I have had previous brain surgery (when I was two months old) to remove a cyst/tumor, the doctors thought it may be either a recurring tumor or possibly scarring of the brain tissue. During one of the trips to the neurologist, after yet another brain scan, the doctor told us that in all likelihood that it was epilepsy or multiple sclerosis. I sobbed. Michael cried. It was the one - and only time that I've ever seen him cry. No swimming, no bathing or showering without the door open and someone in the bathroom with me, no driving, no cooking, no being alone - period - under any circumstances for nearly four and a half months. I couldn't do anything. And I felt awful. I felt like a failure as a wife. I was only 23, and my husband was being forced to care for me around the clock like I was an old woman. It was heartbreaking. And then the doctor told us that we shouldn't try to have children. I needed to go back on the pill.

I was poked and prodded and sent to every specialist they could find. They ruled out epilepsy and we rejoiced. They ruled out m.s. and we cried with joy. But they never found out what the problem is. Stress, exhaustion and alcohol seemed to exacerbate the problem. Of course, since I was studying for the bar at the time, two of the three were a little difficult to control (and in fact I had a 'medium' seizure during the middle of the exam). I have never had another grand mal seizure like the one that finally spurned me to go to the doctor. I have had hundreds of other - small ones - but have accepted it as part of who I am. They seem to cluster at a time - and it's been a while since I've had one. I was told that I could slowly start incorporating my "regular" life back into my schedule.

You have no idea the bliss of being able to shower in privacy. Of just driving to work - even in traffic. I would never go into deep water alone. I would never drive extremely long distances alone. I stay away from excess alcohol and try to get plenty of sleep.

I have been basically symptom free for the last six months or so, but the last two weeks have been a nightmare. As an attorney, I realize the liability inherent in my driving, so I will have to give that up. I don't want to be like this again. We were supposed to start the injectibles on CD1. Now, I'm afraid to - afraid that until we have a better grasp of what we're dealing with - that perhaps it's not a good idea to move forward.

As he held me last night, he told me that he would be there. That he would help me through this, that he would take care of me and love me no matter what.

I woke up this morning and felt his hand stroking my cheek in his sleep. He has always been so giving, so incredibly strong, so loving. It isn't supposed to be like this. Given our age difference, I was the one that should be expected to spend time taking care of him.

I feel as if my body is failing me. I feel as if I am failing him.

I cried last night as I thought about giving up my independence, of not being able to drive, of not being able to bathe alone. Of him having to meld his schedule around mine to watch over me. Of our plans for a family - tentative at best - potentially sidelined for an indefinite period of time. I am so incredibly scared.

And for a change, it looks like I'll be spending a significant amount of time with doctors who won't ask for me to take my pants off.

Ask and ye shall receive

First, thanks for those of you who came out of lurkdom to say hi. Second, thanks for those of you who have been commenting in the last few months. It helps to feel that I'm not alone. Third, thanks for those of you who keep coming back and supporting me through the rough spots - for Toni, for Dee, for the rest of you. It's people like you who make this so much more bearable.

Now... on to your questions.

The Lovely Pru asked whether I have "big hair." Growing up in Texas (and *gasp* I cannot even believe I'm admitting this) being an ex-pageant queen, you learn that a woman's hair is capable of enormous proportions with a little coaxing with hot rollers and hair spray. If you knew me in real life - that would be terribly funny, as I am about as far away from the typical "pageant" zombies as you can get. Unfortunately, I have a tremendous amount of hair - I have to get it significantly thinned every time I get it cut, and it's wavy/curly so it appears larger than it is. So, in a way, yes, I have big hair. I do not however own hairspray anymore, so my hair is pretty tame and is not purposefully large. It's sort of a running joke though, that when we go home to visit my family that my hair starts expanding in girth.

T also asked about the big hair, and asked if I'm an Astros fan. I grew up outside of Dallas, so I was raised a Rangers fan. I went to high school with one of the pitchers for the Cubs, and ended up married into a Cardinals' family. Living in Miami, we had season tickets to the Marlins - and went to a World Series game - which was very exciting. But I probably consider myself a Cardinals fan more than any other team.

T also asked if I was related to or affiliated with the Insane Clown Posse. No. Underwater Clown Conspiracy was just a name that Michael and I came up with.

Donna asked why we moved from TX to the midwest. I actually did so via a 5 year stint in Miami. Michael wasn't thrilled about moving to the midwest, but it was for family reasons and the opportunity to work for a great firm, and to buy a much larger house. Days like this though, where it's 36 degrees when I leave for work make it difficult to rationalize why we left living on the beach and 75 degree year round temperatures.

Sadly Nico, I am definitely not a golfer. If anything I am the "anti-golfer." I have never even so much as picked up a set of clubs. Michael would love it if I would pick it up, but then again, he would probably also love it if I hadn't sold his clubs! (I may redeem myself by buying him new ones for the holidays).

Sassy asked (1) what the happiest moment of my life is. Michael and I eloped, and were married in St. John barefoot on the beach at sunset. I had the big princess poufy dress and he wore a tuxedo, but we were all alone on this little cove in Hawksnest Beach. We told no one what we were doing, and it was wonderful. While we were saying our vows (which is sort of funny, because neither of us have any idea what we said because we were so nervous) a brilliant rainbow arched out over the water. At that time, I thought never in my entire life had I been so happy. But every single day, I find something else to fall in love with him for all over again. And nearly every day that I've known him - he asks me to marry him. And every time, my answer is yes. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Sassy also asked if I won a million dollars what would I spend it on. Definitely a house. We're still looking for the "right" house, and I'd love to be able to upgrade, or buy a vacation home. Or - buying a boat would also be nice.

VHM Princess made a comment about southern sweet tea - which reminded me to pass along this little tip. If you're trying to make sweet tea, make it with simple syrup - granulated sugar doesn't dissolve well into tea without a little coaxing and simple syrup makes it so much easier.

Erin, I didn't win the lottery either, after searching for 40 minutes for a gas station that had tickets. I hope whoever won it in Oregon enjoys it.

Blue asked if I enjoy John Grisham novels, or if I have trouble with suspension of disbelief. The Grisham novels tend to be stuff that is outside of my practice, so it's interesting to me because I know little to nothing about the area. If you like Grisham, I'd also suggest Scott Turow - he has a new book coming out this fall.

As far as legal t.v. shows, we're somewhat addicted to Law and Order. In fact, watching nearly back to back episodes of Law and Order is partially how Michael studied for the bar exam - and it worked, he passed (of course, being valedictorian of his class probably had a smidge to do with it too). The funny thing is, I had never seen Law and Order before maybe 2 years ago, but I think I've seen nearly all the episodes now. Every once in a while, both of us will yell - "that's not admissible" or "you can't do that" but for the most part, Law and Order tends to be pretty good as far as the actual law being portrayed accurately.

Cricket asked if I was born in April or how I got my name. Actually, no - I was born in July. My mother (and this is a really cheesy story) and father couldn't agree on a name for me. When I was born, I was very ruddy complexioned (still true - the joys of being a redhead) and my mother said that I reminded her of her favorite flower, which bloomed in April. And thus, my name. Growing up I lived on May Lane. (Yes, the next street was April)

Leggy asked if I am in a better place - and the answer to that is an undoubtedly yes. Don't get me wrong, there are times when it's incredibly hard to deal with infertility (and life in general for that matter) but I am much happier than I've been in a long long time. Leggy also asked how Michael and I met. I was a year ahead of him in law school, and met him there. I was a Dean's Fellow and was teaching classes twice a week to the class under me to prepare them for exams. He came to both sessions, every week - and with a 4.0 g.p.a. he certainly didn't need to. We were friendly - and then around March or so started talking more. At the time, I was dating someone else, but realized that I kept thinking more and more of him. I broke up with the guy I was dating after final exams, and we started dating in May. Less than a week later we were engaged. By August we were married. I feel in some ways that I've known him my entire life, and he's the best friend I've ever had. He's wickedly funny, the most brilliant man I've ever met, and just a genuinely good, honest person.

Millie asked what I like to read. As I scratch my head and realize she means something other than blogs, I guess I'd have to say my favorites are: The Unbearable Lightness of Being (Milan Kundera), Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (Tom Robbins), One Hundred Years of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez), Oranges are Not the Only Fruit (as well as Written on the Body and Sexing the Cherry) (Jeanette Winterson), hmmm.... also a big fan of poetry - e e cummings, Sylvia Plath, Amy Lowell, Rita Dove, etc. I love to read, but just haven't alloted much time to it lately.

Dee asked if I like my new midwestern locale better than my old one, and whether I will ever return to Texas for good. In some ways, yes. I do love where I'm at now better than Miami. The housing market is much more affordable, the people are genuinely nice (I've been here three months now and haven't had anything stolen, a definite improvement from Miami), the weather is seasonal (although the jury is still out on that one), and I am entralled right now with seeing the leaves change. The neighborhoods are full of charm and I'm also in love with having a basement. I horribly miss the beach though, and palm trees, and last night Michael had to bring in all the plants because there was a freeze warning. I also miss black beans and plantains and Too Jays' Killer Cake. And yes, I still obsessively check on those of you in Florida whenever a hurricane is near. I doubt that I'd ever move to Texas (all of my family is there) but I think I'm pretty content where we are right now. Of course, ask me that again in January, and I may have a different answer.

So there you have it. Ask and ye shall receive.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Temporary interruption to your reguarly scheduled snark

We apologize for this temporary interruption to your regularly scheduled snark.

First, a few housekeeping note: 1) keep posting on the previous entry. I love getting to see who you all are. (Yes, yes, I admit I'm a comment whore.)

Second, I'm going to try to consolidate all the answers to your questions in my next "real" post.

However, I just had to interrupt with this breaking news story - apparently all the money we're spending on ART is a joke, and we need to just get a bunch of us together and pay David Copperfield to "magic" us pregnant. I mean, that sounds like a completely plausible plan, no?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Getting to know you, getting to know all about you...

Or me, as the case may be.

Given the amount of traffic I have on a daily basis, I'm surprised that I don't have more people commenting. Don't get me wrong, I love that you all visit, but I'd like to get to know you a little better, and find out what it is that brings you back. Maybe it's the Texas girl in me, but why don't you guys bring up a chair, and I'll pour some lemonade (or something stronger if you'd like).

So, as I routinely do from time to time, I'm going to ask (and no, if you don't want to - obviously you don't have to... you're still welcome to lurk) those of you who are occasional or frequent readers to just pop in and say hi. Tell me how you found me, what you enjoy reading, what you wish I would change... etc. etc.

And yes, taking that initial step from lurkdom to commentor seems kind of scary at first, but trust me - that's how I've been able to find such a wonderful support system via blogland. At first I worried, what if I say something stupid? What if I offend someone? What if they don't like me? The best relationships (friendship and romantic) are those built on long conversations I think. So rest assured, it's o.k. to disagree with me, provided you do so civilly of course.

And whether you're a frequent or occasional commentor or a lurker, if there's something you want to know about me feel free to ask away. The floor is yours, and I'll try to answer it all in my next post.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Not so much.

Should I have a little girl, rest assured that she will not be receiving this.

$47,000, not including linens of course.

Now, don't get me wrong, it's beautiful. But somehow I think that buying your child a $47,000 bed may be setting expectations a wee bit high.

Sunday, October 16, 2005


We went to dinner with Michael's mom and her husband this evening, and (rather unexpectedly) about twelve people who they regularly play bridge with. After listening to the other bridge players go on and on about how many grandchildren they have for about an hour, and how their daughters in law are having to cut back on work, because well, you know - she has two small children at home now - I just couldn't take it anymore. I gave Michael the look. The if you don't get me out of here right now, something very bad is going to happen very quickly look.

As an aside, it was so uncomfortable to see how they were trying to "one up" each other with news about grandchildren. And how sad I was to see my Mother in Law sit there silent, without being able to offer stories about her nonexistent grandchildren.

We came home, and I made a quick jog (figuratively, I've been uber lazy lately) to the grocery store to pick up a few things. For the most part, I'm happy with the grocery store that is by my house. It's maybe - maybe - three minutes away, but it always strikes me as odd that it's in another state. I was strolling through the store, actually smiling at people who passed. I went to pick up a loaf of bread (why I'm not really sure because we never eat bread and it always goes stale long before we eat it) and as I'm turning onto the aisle where the bread is at - when it hits me like a ton of bricks.

The sweet scent of baby powder - of baby shampoo - of baby wash.

The grocery store keeps diapers and baby products on the same aisle as the bread. I know it must sound stupid, but it was like a giant slap in the face. Yet another reminder of what I don't have. Yet another reminder of what I can't seem to be capable of accomplishing.

Yet another little mundane part of life that reminds me that I am defective. broken. less.

Sometimes, the little reminders are so much harder than the large ones.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

And I didn't pass out or anything

Injection class c-o-m-p-l-e-t-e!

Woo - I have my handy dandy follistim pen, and am all edumacated about injecting myself. I mean if this whole infertility thing doesn't work out, I can now say that I've got a promising career ahead of me in heroin.

We'll start, pending the CA-125 levels on my next cycle.

There were six other women in my class, of varying ages. Everyone was very quiet, no one wanted to make eye contact - and I kept thinking to myself, do I know any of them? Do they know about this amazing support network that's available online? Do you read my blog, or one of the other lovelies that I've grown to love and lean on for support online? But instead, we all sat there stoically, refusing to acknowledge each other - some even refusing to acknowledge that they were there. It was awkward to be in a room with women who were, in some form or fashion, going through what I was and be unable to talk about it.

I was, of course, the troublemaker in the group. First, I questioned the protocol of prometrium orally vs. PIO or suppositories. Then I stabbed myself with the mixing needle for the HCG shot and got blood everywhere.

I'm so nervous. So incredibly nervous. But so happy too.

Has anyone used Schraft's pharmacy in NJ for your meds? My RE "suggests" using them because apparently none of the local pharmacies keep the drugs reliably in stock.

And then they told us that in the event selective reduction is necessary, that we'll have to travel to Chicago, or Denver or Dallas as no doctors here will perform it.

I am trembling with anticipation. Absolutely trembling. And the best part, Michael will be thrilled to know that he doesn't have to perform on demand at the clinic for the IUI. Instead, I'll only need to bring it in with the medium they provide within SIX hours of ejaculation.

This may actually work. I'm not counting on the first cycle, or even the second but Hope has come blasting back in and I'm not - just not - going to throw her out right now.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

the exploding straps

That would be a good name for a rock bad eh? Remember back in February the debacle I had involving an exploding bra, and rather amused window washers? No, well, take a second and go read it. These types of things could only happen to me, and yes - it did happen. How could I have made something so ridiculous up?

Well, today I'm at lunch with a male friend from work, and as we sit down - there is a loud popping sound. He looks at me and asks, innocently, what the hell was that? I'm wearing a turtleneck, and I can feel the strap creeping up over my shoulder - yelling - FREEEEEEEEEDOMMMMMMMMM. Now, I'm a rather well-endowed girl up top, so going braless is simply not an option. I blushed rather furiously and muttered that I had a wardrobe malfunction, and that I would need to excuse myself for emergency repairs. Of course, I have nothing with me to fix it this time, so I'm walking back with a rather large knot under my snug turtleneck in the back where I had to tie the bra in a knot to get me through the day. It looks like a giant tumor growing out of my back.

Do they just not make bras like they used to in the old days or what? Why am I so hard on these things?

Monday, October 10, 2005

Progesterone questions

If you're one of the hundreds of people who reach this entry because you're wondering whether the side effects that you're experiencing due to progesterone are normal, or o.k. - please note that this is *not* in any way shape or form medical advice. If you are concerned about potential interactions with the medication you've been given, please contact your health care provider.

I am just a lowly blogger who is dealing with infertility. I welcome you to read as much as my site as you would like, but remember - every situation is different and every woman can react a little differently to the medication depending on the form and manner it is administered.

Now - that disclaimer out of the way - and a big wave hello - let's get you to what you're really here for.

I for one, ended up taking 400 mg. of Prometrium (200 mg. 2x a day) orally. It has made me emotional and very tired thus far, along with incredibly sore breasts and deep headaches.

The R.E. told me that he will be prescribing Prometrium to be taken orally to help boost my progesterone levels after the IUI and through the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

From most of the other blogs I've seen, you're either taking progesterone via suppositories/pessaries or via progesterone in oil intramuscular shots. Does anyone have any information as to whether a particular form of progesterone therapy is more effective?

If you're taking progesterone via a certain method, would you be so kind as to describe what level you were taking, how long you took it and your thoughts on it (side effects, practical problems with administering it, etc.).

I'm anxious that we are putting so much into this that I don't want to overlook something that may be a better source of treatment.

I know, I know. He's the doctor - but I like being a well informed patient, and I don't have time to get my minor in progesterone from Google U today.


Wood ducks and Anita

My maternal grandmother died of cancer when my father was only 11. He was the oldest of three children, and became the mother figure - doing laundry, cooking, cleaning. It was an incredible responsibility thrust upon him at such a young age. When I was born, my father was only 20 years old, and he named me after her. Thankfully, I was bestowed with her middle name, which she preferred, to her first (Mildred).

Yesterday, Michael decided that he would teach me how to throw a football. Considering that I am perhaps the least graceful person in the world, it was quite an undertaking of love on his part. We went to our favorite park, a sprawling place with open greenspace to enjoy the first touch of fall.

We grabbed a bag of bread on the way to feed the ducks and geese at the pond, and headed off with just a few hours of daylight to spare. We spent a few minutes picking up trash after other people (by the way - it's not that difficult to just put your trash in a trash receptacle. Littering in my humble opinion, should be considered a deadly sin). We sat tearing up the bread, throwing it to the sparrows under the trees and the mallards and canadian geese on the side of the pond.

Then she approached. I don't know what made me brighten and smile at her as she passed. She was nearly 82 years old, a mere wisp of a woman - with a perfectly coordinated grey suit and hat, with a pretty grey pearl silk scarf. We exchanged perfunctory greetings, and then I invited her to sit with me. Her name was Anita. I learned of her life growing up in Italy, then in Switzerland and Austria, of falling in love with an American soldier by chance in Cannes during a holiday that she left for without changing Lira for Francs, without so much as an overnight bag. Something, she told me, something powerful told her she had to go to Cannes, and it was there she literally ran into him. They corresponded for years, lovely letters she said helped her hone her understanding of English. He came back to Italy and married her and brought her back here and they have been married around 50 years. He is a philosophy professor and she - her eyes twinkling - said she is just a student of the world.

They had a daughter, but she said with tears in her eyes, that she never sees her. She had great difficulty conceiving her, and then had to have a cesarean to deliver her. She told me, back then that was a serious surgery... I nearly died, she said. But it was worth it to have her. Her daughter lives in Portland and they never talk. It's very sad she said, so incredibly sad to live without children. She said, I never thought that I would have to feel this emptiness in my heart.

I nodded, with tears in my own eyes. I know.

She patted my hand and said, "dear child, trust in fate. good things will come to you with time, you just have to open your heart to the possibilities."

As her husband was walking back around the edge of the pond, clasping his rabbit headed cane, she said, well, I must go. Please promise me that we can see each other again. this meant a great deal to me.

I will. I said. I will.

The autumn sun was sinking low on the horizon, and Michael walked up to me and said - do you realize you've been talking for nearly 2 hours? He said, that was a wonderful thing you did for her though, she was so happy when she walked away.

I cannot rationalize how I felt this closeness, this bond to a woman 55 years older than me who I had known only for the space of an hour, but I did. It was real - and it was delightful.

And I said no, it was a wonderful thing she did for me.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

8 1/2 x 11

Yesterday evening, I got a reminder letter from my R.E. that my injection class was scheduled for next week. After I opened the letter, I sat on the couch numbly playing with the side of the torn envelope flap staring off into nothingness for a few minutes, and I realized my hands were shaking. I was afraid of 8 1/2 x 11 inches of plain white paper sprinkled with a random spattering of black ink. I picked it up, scornfully noticing that the letter was folded improperly, the creases wildly askew and loudly incongruous like my great grandmother's makeup when I was a wee girl. At first, the letters swam - and then, slowly I was able to make sense of what it said.

Simple, pointed, the letter told me the what, where, when, and how. And my heart trembled. My fingers shook as I read it a second time. I realized, I alone knew the "why."

Hot, stinging tears came pouring forth, tears that I couldn't decide if spurned by anger, fear, grief or by the feeling of release... of hope that this - this could finally be it. The weight of over two years of failed hopes came crashing down at once and I felt so confused, so disjointed from reality that I actually gasped just to make sure I was still remembering to breathe.

I've been struggling a lot in the last few days, about grieving the loss of innocence, about the loss of the chance of a surprise pregnancy or even just becoming pregnant by making love to my husband. You would think by now I would be o.k. with it, that I would have accepted it. But I still feel like less of a woman than the sixteen year old behind me in the grocery store rubbing her rotund belly. I still feel that I have utterly failed as a wife, as a woman. I still feel that this too, and every medical option after it will fail. Perhaps it's a coping mechanism, by setting my expectations low I am trying to cushion myself from the inevitable failure.

And part of what makes the pain so unbearable is that I know what it feels like to have a spontaneous, unplanned pregnancy. I know what it's like to have morning sickness. I know what it's like to tick days giddily off a calendar toward a due date. [Yes, I have been pregnant before - twice actually, seven years ago at 19 - you can read about it in my August 2004 archives - but please, your condemnation of me will not bring you closer to the pearly gates, so I don't need to hear it. I have found my own peace]. Michael and I have apparently been able to become pregnant, although for fleetingly brief moments - chemical sounds so clinical and harsh.

And part of me is so afraid to hope... so afraid to keep wasting our money on the unattainable that I seem to be self-destructing, botching my chances. My CA-125 test, necessary to rule out endo? Still not taken. I keep coming up with excuses as to why I can't make it to my injection class, which is still a week away. I thought back to the time (oh back in June last year I think) where I had a clomid prescription waiting on me at the pharmacy and drove to pick it up but never went in. I couldn't face the pressure of failure with assistance. It felt even more pitiful than when we failed on our own.

Part of me, the small rational part that is not the stereotypical redhead and who thinks calmly, knows that this is, statistically speaking, our greatest chance at genetic progeny. Then there is the other part of me, the diva with a penchant for the macabre and martinis who pushes her way clumsily - loudly - into the spotlight, melodramatically clasping the back of her hand to her furrowed brow who cries out beseechingly - "why us?"

I keep rationalizing that it won't work, so I should wait until after the new year so that I don't have to pay out the $1200 deductible again before insurance coverage kicks in.

I keep rationalizing that I don't want to deal with a failed cycle (or two) during the holidays.

I feel so raw, so vulnerable. I am afraid to hope, and yet - at the same time - I am afraid that if I give up that hope that I will have nothing left.

If you excise hollowness from a person, what remains?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Further sign of the Apocalypse

Yes, ladies Katie Holmes is pregnant by the tightie whitie wearing, medicine and science disavowing, heterosexuality questionable freak Tom Cruise.*

When Britney Spears got pregnant before me, I joked that the end of the world was nearing.

When she had her baby, I realized nine months had gone by and I was still barren.

When I found out that Katie Holmes is pregnant, well - I have to say that I no longer think that the end is nigh, it's pretty damn certain that fire and brimstone will be coming soon.

* And no, this is not a shot at homosexuals. One of my best friends, Jason who is subsequently in a committed relationship with Josh remarked awhile back that Cruise was "too flaming for me, and that's saying something."

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Call for tailgating recipes

I'm so over talking about the neverending gush, that I decided to talk about something different and completely off topic for a change. And no, I never did test... stupid I guess but I just didn't want to know. I've only been that late before with a previous chemical pregnancy - so it just wasn't something that I really wanted to deal with. I wouldn't be surprised if it happened again. The RE said that I wouldn't be able to carry a pregnancy on my own without medical intervention.

But anyway... on to more exciting things.

This weekend we're headed to a giant rivalry college football (gridiron for my lovely non-American readers) game and we're going to be tailgating before the game, during half time and after the game too for that matter. We're getting together with a group of 10-20 people for tailgating, and we're all just pitching in a hodge podge of items. Now, I'm a pretty good cook (one of my few redeeming qualities) but just wanted to see if anyone had recipes that they would like to share that meet the following criteria:

1. The game is about 2 and a half hours from our house so if it's something that has to be kept warm, please send along ideas as to how to keep it that way. I've got a few insulated thermal 11 1/2 x 14 casserole dishes, and a round 9 inch too I think that have the carriers that will supposedly keep them warm. I don't know though if they will keep them warm that long though. Would a crockpot that was on "high" be kept warm on the drive long enough?

2. I don't care about the complexity of cooking, but I need things that are easy to serve and that aren't going to be too messy.

3. I really need breakfast ideas - as I've somehow been nominated for that part - but lunch & drink ideas (other than just beer in a cooler) are also welcome. I'll probably be bringing a couple of thermoses of coffee & kahlua and spided cider with buttershots & hot damn, but other recipes are more than welcome.

4. Weather is supposed to be hovering around 45-50 degrees when we start, and will warm up to a high of 62 - so warm foods may be the way to go. Remember, this is the coldest weather I've had in 5 years so I'm going to be a popsicle.

We're bringing a grill & supplies, and I have (or will excitedly buy) any necessary kitchen implement.

So give me your best stuff. What fun or delicious recipes/ideas do you have?

Monday, October 03, 2005

Tide - Stop F'ing Rolling Already!

First, I offer a sincere apology to any University of Alabama alum.

Second - WTF?!?! The exuberance of the crimson tide is getting way out of hand. Tide - you can stop rolling at any time, and sooner would be preferred to later. I have now soaked through three pairs of knickers (something I haven't done since I was probably 12 years old and caught unawares), a pair of pants, and two skirts in the last two days. Mind you, at all times I was wearing a super absorbency tampon and a damn panty liner. And yes, all three of these things happened within an hour of changing out the tampon. An hour.

Thus bringing to an end the 35 and 1/2 day cycle, instead of my usual 27-29 days. Considering I ovulated on day 15-16, that was a long long time to wait for the inevitable.

This is so not cool. Vicodin was my friend yesterday and helped alleviate the "oh god this hurts so bad I think I'm going to vomit" cramps. But today - I'm at work and drafting something important so that's not going to fly.

On a good note, our home is finally ours alone - well aside from some of her shit still hovering in the basement. We spent all Saturday morning (yes, while I was gushing like the fucking red sea mind you) helping her move out. Do you think we got even so much as a thank you? For being the only ones suckered into helping her move? For housing her rent and bill free for over two months? Ha ha! Of course not. Nope. not a single thank you. And when we went downstairs to the basement, what did we find? Um, twelve of my glasses (all dirty) and more dirty dishes piled up. Oh - and did I mention the entire basement reeked of cat urine, or that there was cat shit smeared on the basement floor? Smeared ladies and gents - and left there for god only knows how long.

But - it's over. At least mostly over. I just want my key back now.

On a good note, I called the RE's office Friday with a stupid question, and left a message assuming they'd get back to me sometime between now and oh never - and a nurse called me back within THIRTY minutes. I nearly fainted.