Monday, April 28, 2008

Chunky or Smooth?

Betcha think I am going to ask about your peanut butter preference.

Actually, I want to know about what type of applesauce you enjoy. I used to be strictly a smooth savorer and imagined the chunks in the "chunky" variety to be dead worms. Yum...

Don't you miss having that child-like rationale for things? Of course now I know that they are just chunks of *apples. So this past weekend when perusing for fruit to pack in my lunches, I grabbed the chunky variety and have enjoyed the bits of mush that-are-not-dead-worms as I taste a spoonful...

While we are on the topic of chunky and smooth, I want to tell y'all that I am not looking forward to "chunky butt" that comes from the PIO shots. I have enjoyed having my "smooth butt" for the past few months--no raised bumps from the injection site, no bruised surfaces. (let's not even talk about the other connotation for chunky butt...that's an issue too)

Ahhh, we can tie this right back into applesauce! From my extensive research on production of the sauce, the very substance is created from bruised/dented apples. So while I've always been a fan of my smooth butt, I gave chunky a try--and said "yes" to PIO injections for our first IVF and the FET.

Me no likey. Hell, I can put up with the needles, even the pain...but it gets a bit awkward trying to sit down for a meeting in someones office doing the "pregnant-lady-sit." You know the one--when a woman has the belly that causes her to lean back and ease ever so slightly down into the chair. Well it's not so cool when 1. I'm not pregnant and 2. my ass feels like a pin cushion.

So my questions are this: should I stick it out with "chunky butt" or ask for suppositories this time around? What are your experiences with the suppositories? If you have gone from one to the other, which do you prefer?

"Kate" the IVF nurse, isn't partial either way--well, she really won't give me a straight out answer--I may be very straight forward and tell her I really would like to know if one is better over the other. I do have a confession to make: I initially chose to go with the injections because I believed that the PIO got into my system faster--a silly superstition? Maybe. Maybe not--Ive read that suppositories work just as fast (if not faster) And my progesterone levels have always been good, so I don't want to jinx anything!

Your thoughts/suggestions are much appreciated! And don't forget to tell me what type of applesauce you prefer...

A few housekeeping things: I have removed the word verification thingy---getting SO annoying. Others have agreed. All comments are open--it will just go through moderation to prevent spam.
Also, yahoo mail seems to be the biggest spam monster with my e-mail: please check your spam filters before emptying! Especially those who have left a comment/emailed me about the Braces Bunch! And lastly, Mook says "thanks ladies" for all the feedback--we should have his SA results soon as well as the infectious disease panel (more about the "lady that saved the day" later...) Karyotype will be back in 2 weeks...that's the biggie.

*Really, you can tell me--it really is dead worms, isn't it?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

What I learned for $40

Mook here with the most recent rendition of our topsy-turvy ride we call: gettin' knocked up...

So, I'm a pretty laid back guy. It takes a lot to get to me and even more to really piss me off (these factors will be handy for any empathy with the rest of this story). There are also a few life lessons listed below that you ladies might want to share with your hubby.

Being the ever prepared woman I fell in love with, JJ made a list of questions for me to ask this new "guru of the junk," making sure to include every detail since I really have no idea what have of the abbreviations mean. Of course, to calm her nerves, I had to call the main office number to confirm that A) the office closest to my work was available for the appointment and B) that all of the previously mentioned tests and analysis' could be performed with the utmost speed of a ninja. All of which had a residing positive response. JJ's mind was now at ease.

Well today was one of those days. The time had come for my prearranged "male private time in a public place." So, giddy as I was, I made my way across town to the newly recommended "peni handler".

Lesson number one: say no, no to any new docto'; Stick with what you know...

I filled out all the new paper work, sat in the impossible-comfort chairs, read the four month old magazines (which all seem to be female themed), and paid my waiting dues to the respective waiting room of said new doctor. About 30 minutes into my comfort seeking, my name was called. I made my way back to the exam room. (There's just something completely unnerving about sitting on a paper covered table/bench/bed/leaning post. - I was going for a combo, resembling that of the infamous cafegymatorium...but alas).

Anyway, my man shows up about twenty minutes later. Behind him was the intern. That's right, the intern. I have no problem with people learning, especially in the medical profession; but really, why today? Why me? Is my crotch odd in appearance or was I just the absolute perfect male specimen who was having his twig and berries checked out???? (I opted to believe the latter of these scenarios).

We then go through the normal questions that everyone gets with a new doctor. The doctor asked what kind of trouble I was having. "Well doc, my boys don't seem to like to swim." Dazed and apparently clearing an inner ear issue, the doctor just gazes over at me and responds, "Have you been seen for this before?" A little confused myself, I told him yes, and I explained again that this was a follow up visit for more current numbers and blood work since I had done all the "romance in a cup" and blood samples before and the only reason for my visit with him today was to accomplish those tiny sample provisions on JJ's provided checklist. He proceeded with some small talk and asked me to drop the shorts for a little examination. I did the ole turn and cough bit thinking how easy this was gonna be. Boy was I wrong...

Lesson number two: Never under any circumstance think a visit to a urologist will be easy.

Next he murmured, "Now turn around and place your elbows on the table." At that point I knew... The dreaded test was a comin' my way

Lesson number three and four: Never shake a doctors hand but always make sure the hands you aren't shaking are small...

Then he blew me away with the response, "Well, none of those tests can be done here. You'll have to go to another office with a lab for that." This was my second point of (pardon the pun) irritable bowl syndrome. I mean I did, in fact, make a phone call to this particular doctor, at this particular locale to be sure that all of these items would be handled at this particular appointment. Had I been mislead?? Luckily the receptionist was nice enough to make some calls and found a nearby lab for just such things.

Unfortunately, when the order was faxed for my requested test profile to the new place, neglect and disarray fell on me yet again. Here I was with a freshly filled cup of man juice and no protocol for what was needed. So I went back into my spiel of infertility and the need of some current data. Fortunately, the lab lady was a great person with a true connection to this Infertile-Myrtle lifestyle and she saw the look of discomfort and frustration on my face and took pity on me. She took all my bodily fluid samples and that was that. "It'll all get straight somewhere. Don't you worry about it." I love nice people!

So $40 later and a whole new meaning to the term "taking one for the team," I think I'll start drawing up plans for my own paper-free cafegymatorium...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Movers and Shakers

That's what my clinic should be re-named: they are on top of it.

It being this next IVF cycle and all the bits and pieces that go along with getting started. I'm not the least bit disappointed, just feeling a bit...overwhelmed? But in a good way-it's just all happening a bit fast-and it's revving up that four letter word: hope.

So without a doubt, cycle day 1 ended up being on Monday. She came in with a force too! My theory is that the spotting may have been due to the not-trying-to-make-a-baby-sex we enjoyed this past month--ooo I know, you are probably blushing: but hey--those are the facts, Jack :0)

We are back from the land of relaxation--and can you hear my sigh of restfulness from here? It was lovely-and great timing too since I was able to get in for day three blood work this morning!

I got my results back before lunch from the Movers and Shakers and here are the results:

FSH: 5.4
LH: 2.15
Prolactin: 6.3
TSH: 0.57

I am well aware that these are good (if not great) results. I have to be honest and say my heart started racing a bit faster when she told me the FSH--because less than a year ago it was 4.9
I immediately asked her if this was bad-to which she said, "Time is the enemy here" So again reinforcing in my mind that while I am grateful for the results I got, I know we need to get on the wagon and get moving.

My LH last year was 3.3, my Prolactin was 13.3 (quite a change here). I don't have my TSH results from last year in front of me--Ill have to look tonight.

Tomorrow Mook goes in for his big round of testing: a repeat semen analysis, the infectious disease panel, repeat hormone tests, karyotyping and I have some other questions for him to ask. I have a little cheat sheet all ready to go-I know he's going to love saying "My wife told me I had to ask all this crap..." So please keep Mook in your thoughts and prayers tomorrow--I know he's a bit anxious.

Even though we have known for quite some time that we are dealing with male factor, I know that it will still be hard for him to get these results back. We will have to wait about two weeks for the karyotype results to come back-and hopefully we will get the other results back in a few days.

In the meantime, I start birth control tonight (always the strangest part for me) and I already know what medicine I will be on--I don't have the protocol yet, but the Movers and Shakers have already analyzed my test results and they are putting a game plan together while we wait for Mook's results.

I will be on slightly different medicine this time: no sniffing the Synarel. I'm happy because this means no taste of hairspray in my mouth and nose for weeks. But that also means I will start shots earlier since I will be on Lupron this time--which I have never used before. Other meds I will be on: Menopur and Bravelle (same as last time) and Ovidrel, which is a new one for me.

And this whole loot of activities will all come down to Mook's test results: we will have some big decisions to make if the karyotyping gives us certain results--or any of the other tests. So I'll stay on BC pills until then, and if all goes according to plan I will start stimming on May 31st.

So here's the part where I look at you all with big puppy dog eyes. I get a bit miffed when someone says they could use help, but don't ask for it-so I'm going to ask for it. All you can do is tell me no, right? Our insurance continues to laugh in our face when we ask for assistance...

Last year the lovely Sarah and Jamie so willingly gave me some left-over meds, and I am forever grateful to them. If anyone has any leftovers that won't expire before the end of June, would you be willing to share? I promise to compensate you in whatever way I can--I'll come clean for you, cook for you (that's not the best choice), give you a back rub, etc.

I'm going to finish up the cheat sheet for Mook, and just continue to hope that we can move forward!

P.S. Old and New Bunchers: Im working on e-mail for you--I've not forgotten you!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Out of Office

I'm so excited about re-vitalizing the Braces Bunch and the 2nd generation of bunchers! I will be responding to those of you have e-mailed me/left a comment in the next few days. For now, please excuse my delay as I am currently "out-of-the-office" trying to clear my mind before the fire-storm of cycling begins.

A quick update: my AMH came back at 3.1--my IVF nurse "Kate" (we call her this because Mook thinks she looks exactly like Kate from Lost) said this was perfect. So I'm always happy to hear that. Here's where the problem is: my cycle seems to be a bit out of whack this month. Of course I had to tell "Kate" that it has been "spot-on" (ha, pun intended) for the past many-months. So Wednesday night, which was CD 23, I was spotting--bright red. Then it stopped, then it started again Thursday night, and this pattern has I am still planning on going in for my day 3 blood work tomorrow at a lab out of town so I don't run the risk of missing the window. I may have to end up going back later this week when I am back near my clinic.

This also proves to be difficult in the feminine maintenance department while near bodies of water with sharks...

Back to doing this:

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Happy Braces Bunch Day!

This time last year I was feeling a bit like an outsider in the infertility community due to our male-factor diagnosis. I needed to write a post explaining that I greatly appreciated the support I was finding through other blog-buddies, and felt the need to explain why I felt a bit disconnected.

The best way for me to express these feelings was to compare it to the time where all my friends were getting braces. Thank goodness I never had to have braces, but being a young pre-teen girl, I wanted to do what all my other friends were doing.

After one of my close friends complained after having her rubber bands tightened, I blurted out that I was jealous that she got have braces in the first place: “You always come back with the coolest color rubber bands, and it makes your smile so pretty!” I’ll never forget the look on her face of complete shock, and then her answer: “Why would you ever want this pain?”

Why would I want that pain? I felt that experiencing what my friends were experiencing would create a bond between us. But looking back, I know there were plenty of things to bond us—crushes on boys, clothes, music, school. I didn’t need to be exactly like them to gain their support and friendship.

I realized that although we may not be dealing with female factor issues that so many of my blog-buddies are facing, that I would still gain support and bond with many fabulous women (and men!)

So the Braces Bunch was created. (the original post can be read here)
The Bunch started with around 12 members, and has grown to 35 incredible women. We have exchanged supportive notes, letters, birthday cards, a Secret Santa! We have cheered successes, and sympathized with hard times. I have loved opening my mail box to see a card from one of these women—it’s so much better than getting a bill! Thank you to each buncher for the support and bond I have created with you!

Today I would like to offer an invitation to join the 2nd generation of the Braces Bunch! You can read that original post, or email me for details. If you love snail-mail and creating stronger relationships with those going through similar situations as you, this is the place for you!

Some of the 1st generation women are going to be busy (or already are!) with wee-one’s to look after, so they have graduated from the bunch. Just to reiterate, there is no cut-off or requirements to be in the Bunch. You can be in treatment, waiting for treatment, pregnant, or a parent after IF.

Wontcha be a buncher?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

My Garden

This past weekend was a peek into what spring is like in the south: rainy and cold in the morning, clouds then full sun by the afternoon, crisp evenings.

Mook and I spent both Saturday and Sunday cleaning up our yard (in layers of clothes as we dealt with the chill, then the heat!) and pruning the shrubs and trees that needed tidying. This year we decided to add something to our yard-duties...

We've lived in our house for four years, and when each spring approaches, Mook asks if I want to plant a garden. I always laugh and remind him that I do not have a green thumb--it's more of a brownish-black color--I have never had luck keeping plants alive indoors or outdoors. So this weekend was the perfect time for him to ask the question yet again: "Do you want to plant a garden this year?"

Except this year my answer was different: "Yes, I would love to have a garden." After I reassured Mook numerous times that I was not joking, we got out a piece of paper and mapped out the location, what we would plant, and took off for Lowes to load up the truck-bed.

I love my new garden.

It almost sounds silly to admit, but I find myself thinking about it numerous times a day--I'm proud to say I have a garden. Are the tomato's going to grow? Will I have plums this year? When will the blueberries be ready? Part of my joy comes from the work that Mook and I put into the garden together: it was our sweat, blistered hands, and aching backs that planted this garden that will grow and provide us with fruits and vegetables. Of course I worry that my brownish-black thumb will keep us from enjoying these "fruits of our labor" later this summer, but if I hadn't planted them-we would never know.

I've looked at our next steps in a very similar way. If I say: "No, I don't want to try again right now": I don't have to worry about a failure, I don't have to worry if our embryos will grow, I don't have to think about what they would grow to become.

So when our RE asked me at our appointment yesterday, "Do you want to try again?" my answer was: "Yes, I want to try again."


I've mentioned this before, and I am still very pleased with the service and attention we get from our clinic. I was jaded after our failed cycle, thinking that if I just move clinics and doctors, I'll be sure to get pregnant! But at this point, I love that it's small, they know us by name, and they are dedicated to making this work for us. As I mentioned here and here I was so nervous to even pick up the phone. I had to leave a message for our IVF nurse, but she was back to me within the hour and had set up a meeting directly with our RE-for an hour and half appointment to discuss our questions and concerns.

During the meeting we discussed the following:
  • the concerns we had about chromosomes/PGD
    • I was not aware that there really isnt a "blood" test that we could do to cover chromosome questions-other than cystic fibrosis testing. He was very honest and feels like we do not need to worry about this. He even thinks PGD is a stretch for us-he agrees if we want to use it as a way to decide on whether or not to do a 3rd round, it may be a good choice. So I'm looking for any ass-vice/suggestions/feedback on my PGD'ers out there--even if I've heard from you before--now that we are looking into really going forward with IVF again, I want to weigh this very seriously. I am undecided, and Mook does not want to use it.

  • The program we found out we do qualify for with our clinic: 2 more rounds of IVF. If the 2nd one were to fail, we would get another cycle "for free" Its similar to a shared risk program, but structured a bit different because they are a smaller clinic.

  • Further testing: Mook is getting another SA done next week--he hasn't had a true reading since February of last year. This time our RE referred us to a male factor urologist--so I'm anxious to see what he says. Mook will be asking about herbal supplements as well--since the last go round we had with vitamins did not prove to be too beneficial. We do not need to repeat his hormone level panel though--just the SA.

  • I had my AMH tested. They did not do this for me last time--I wasn't even sure what it was. You can read about it here. Basically reads deeper than an FSH test. If this test comes back abnormal (results on Thursday), we may not qualify for the program any more. (fingers crossed!)

  • And the biggie: we are on the books to start IVF numero dos on May 31st. That is in 45 days, 1088 hours and 65,335 minutes. Holy crap.
    If we decide this date is too soon, we will push back the start of numero dos until October--there is too much going on for any other start date until then.
Mook and I went out to dinner last night to have a nice long chat about everything we were told yesterday. One very important thing I am thankful for out of all of this is the bond we have created over this journey-just like in planting that garden, we are willing to put our blood, sweat and tears into making our family grow. We still have some discussing to do-particularly about finances. Umm yea-that's a big part of this whole crappy situation, isn't it?

This post has gotten long enough for now--I have lots of thoughts swirling around for sure. I'm scared, sad and upset that we have to even be in this situation, but we are both willing to "plant the seeds" and hope to God they grow....

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

an unfulfilled birthday

I got out your picture this morning.

I remember the first time I saw the two of you--by far, the prettiest thing I have ever seen! A part of me, and a part of your dad all nestled together; growing into these tiny forms of life.

Riding home from the doctor's office, your dad and I talked about the amazing people you would grow up to be--of course we promised we wouldn't pressure either of you into becoming a doctor or a rocket scientist--just wanted you to be happy.

I talked to you both every day for the time you spent living in me--I told you how much we loved you and how thankful we were for giving us a chance to become your parents.

Your dad and I sat in your room for a long time the day we found out we wouldn't get a chance to meet you. We held your picture, and imagined what life would have been like in nine months...

I've missed the time you would have spent growing inside me...I've missed not planning for your arrival. We miss you often, but especially today...

Today is your birthday, Pearl & Jam. It's a tough day for your dad and me-we wanted so much to be holding you today. We will spend time tonight in the same room we sat in nine months ago; we'll have a glass of wine, put on some music and we'll tuck you back into our memory-box.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Mexican Memories

Every Tuesday night during our senior year of college, Mook and I cleared our calendars to head over to the local Mexican restaurant for Margarita Pitcher Night and $2 tacos.

I loved this tradition--we were still in the very beginning of our friendship (not dating), so there was never any lapse in our dinner conversation. We talked about everything: ranging from the class we dreaded going to the next morning, the kind of music we loved, and the silly questions people who are flirting ask, like: "If you could make-out with anyone right now, who would it be?" (I was silently praying he would say ME)

We would stay for hours--and I never got tired of hearing Mook laugh at my jokes, touch me lightly on the arm or ask me what I was doing after we left dinner. We usually ended up going back to my apartment to watch "Office Space" (Hi, Peter. What's happening? We need to talk about your TPS reports) I hated when Tuesday's ended. I had to wait a whole week to spend the evening with someone who I realized meant more to me than just a friend.

The last Tuesday we spent together before graduation, is one that is etched in my forever-memory. I remember what we both wore, what we talked about, and that feeling in the pit of my stomach that made me never want to leave that restaurant.

We did leave the restaurant, and we left college-without each other. Thank goodness our friendship had developed enough, that we kept in touch at least every few weeks by e-mail or a phone call.

After some time had passed, we realized we couldn't keep denying pitchers of Tuesday night Mexican margaritas their consumption! What a waste! We just had to be together for the sake of those tortilla chips and salsa...the $2 tacos....and that fantastic dinner conversation.

On Friday night, when Mook and I went to our current favorite Mexican locale, we did our typical rescuing of the margarita pitcher and as we went through 2 baskets of tortilla chips, we took a moment to rewind over our Mexican memories. Then our conversation shifted to present day-and we ended up discussing how different our topic of thought for the night wa from our "make-out" talks years before. But a few things haven't changed: our openness with each other, and the time we take to listen to each other's thoughts. The topic for the night being: our next steps.

We are going to look into doing 2 more rounds of IVF--the big questions to answer before committing are: 1) should we do chromosome testing to rule out doing any more treatment at all, 2) skip the chromosome testing and just add PGD to the IVF, 3) what do we do about our adoption feelings in the mean time. Those are 3 heavy things that has taken us 3 months to get to, so the phone calls will get done this week, to see where we go from here. I am so nervous to open this door again. What if we do have chromosome issues, what if we don't have any embryos that make it through PGD? Are we prepared for the answers we will get?

So while our lives have changed so much in 5 years, he still laughs at my jokes and touches my arm to let me know he's there. Our conversations are still fun and I get that feeling every time I look over the table at my husband.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

it's winsprifall outside

A bit of winter. A bit of spring. Now it's 45 degrees and grey. Holy crap-no wonder I feel like I've been run over by a truck. The weather around here has not made it easy for me to recover from whatever crud has inhabited my immune system.


Just wanted to say :thank you: to everyone who voted in the REDBOOK poll. This helps not only me, but the lovely people at REDBOOK to know how to make the Infertility Diaries be more user friendly. For those 4 of you who said you didn't know where to find it: shift your gaze to the left of the screen, and you'll always be able to see the most up to date post in the little box. The most recent post will be listed at the top. (like right now it's "under the weather")

:thank you: for watching the film we submitted for the 4th International Infertility Film Festival. If you haven't seen the others, be sure to go here. A combination of making that film, and what I talk about here, have caused the wheels to start spinning again. Still formulating thoughts I'll want to share later.

I'm jumping on the bandwagon to encourage and support the U.T.E.R.U.S. (Union To Expedite Relief Until Self-Fulfillment). I know how much support and love this community has to offer: we received such an outpouring of support through Shop to Make Mom or Pop and it warms my heart to know that our community continues to charge "Full Steam Ahead" to help a wonderful person, like Calliope.

There was more I wanted to say, but my med-head has completely washed away whatever it was I wanted to mention. I will say that I have gotten quite good at Guitar Hero--I have mastered playing guitar while sitting on the couch, blowing my nose, and sipping hot tea. There is no sexier rocker-chick out there.

For those of you who asked if I ended up eating all the Krispy Kreme's from my unattended meeting: I had help. The help's name is Mook.

So for now, since my brain has gone to lunch, I want to share a quote with you that my lovely Aunt Cristi sent me in an e-mail this morning (Hi Aunt Cristi!) She has been an incredible cheerleader for us, and I have leaned on her for her wisdom and support. I know you all will appreciate this just as much as I did...
What I like most about change is that it's a synonym for 'hope'. If you are taking a risk, what you are really saying is, 'I believe in tomorrow and I will be a part of it.'