Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Nearly had a freakin' heart attack...


So today was the ultrasound to see if I responded to the Femara for reals this time (remember Friday was too early to see anything).  She rooted around my left ovary for quite a while, and I asked her how we were doing, and she shook her head.  My heart sank.  Then she said, “it’s not looking any different from last time,” which is the sentence I’d been dreading for weeks.  I started cursing inside and outside, and imagined the next few months and what the hell I was going to do…then she shifted over to the right ovary and there it was, a gigantic, and I mean gigantic, black mass, something I’d never seen before.  “Oh, here we go…”  A 21 mm follicle.  Just one, but one’s all I need.  I can’t even describe the relief. (btw, this pic is not my ovary, but it looked a bit like this)

So normally I’m used to seeing my ovaries with lots of little gumball sized black masses on them.  This was like a jawbreaker.  She assured me 1-2 ready follicles is normal at my age, so I didn’t have to worry about being an underachiever.  Now of course is the issue is there a viable egg in there…?  The question of “how could this possibly not work this time?” is answered by “the egg may not be viable.”  Considering the stat they gave me last time that a woman my age only produces about four viable eggs a year, I guess actually the odds of this time failing are pretty good!

Tonight I trigger; a friend graciously offered to come over and shoot me up.  I could do it myself, but if I can get the help, I’ll take it.  The clinic offered to scan me again tomorrow for free to make sure we don’t miss my ovulation (IUI is scheduled for Thurs AM, but who knows, I could ovulate tonight and miss it if I wait that long) so I’m taking them up on that one!  I’m glad they’re being so proactive – I feel confident that short of a bum egg we’re covering all bases to make sure this try is successful and no mistakes are made.

Seeing that massive follicle today solidified for me that I for sure didn’t ovulate in April.  I would have remembered seeing something like that.  April I remember looked like I always look – lots of little gumball follicles (probably in the 5-10 mm range).  But this time something is for sure happening.  Thank God for technology!  Maybe they’re offering to scan me for free because they know they screwed up that time.  Whatever the reason, don’t mind if I do.

Now as the planner (read: anxious personality) I am I am thinking one step ahead, so I feel like I have a plan (and thereby create the illusion of being in control of any of this).  When I go in Thurs I will ask: if this IUI doesn’t work, can I do the next one just like this one, as in, Femara + trigger shot, being as the drug does work for me?  Can I delay my next period by taking progesterone for a few more days so I’m not out of town during my next cycle?  As it stands as you know end of June, July, and August may be out if I don’t manage to delay my period a few days.  So hopefully there’s a way to push things back a few days so I can keep trying. 

Spent another weekend engaged in my Tribal Activities surrounded by men talking about music, so was pretty oblivious to all this stuff for a few days thank goodness, other than nightly check-ins on my favorite app, What To Expect.  Lots of interesting stuff in the Fertility Treatments group page, in particular discussions about “mini IVF” which is of interest to me if I continue to fail at this whole medicated IUI thing. 

So I danced (a little), sang (a lot), contemplated my event (a lot), networked, and kibitzed with a drag queen who subsequently friended me on Facebook and sent me a note that she “loooved my turban” (I was in a 40s fashion  show).   

Last night I had awful dreams – one, that I was headed for IVF (shudder); the other about a married man telling me I can come visit him from time to time and he can pretend to not be married.  Yuk!  I’m sorry, Freud, but I refuse to believe dreams are wishes.  If that were true I’d be having dreams about being a parent, not this crap.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Survey says...


Kind of inconclusive.  Which is not a bad thing – my CM (or lack thereof at this point) indicates I won’t ovulate until mid-late next week anyway, so the fact that the lead follicle today is only 11 mm means this is about right for timing.  But it’s just too early to be able to say, “ok, trigger on this day.”  They want me to come back in on Tuesday for another ultrasound.  With no CM yet I am confident that won’t be too late.

She did say I responded to the drug – that it “looks better” than last month’s Day 12 ultrasound; there are about five follicles on my left ovary; once again couldn’t really see the right.  So there’s activity, it’s just a question of, will they mature?  Will they produce a viable egg?  Who knows.  I guess my worst nightmare would be going in on Tuesday and seeing the same 11 mm follicle.  But unfortunately that’s a possibility.

The good news is I don’t have to cancel my trip nor try to shoot myself up while in a sweaty bathroom at a dance venue as I’m about to go on stage and sing.  So that’s a relief.  If I get to trigger at all it will be in the comfort of my own home and (hopefully) with someone’s help.  So I can fulfill my obligations this weekend, not spend any more money changing flights around, and not piss anyone off, and then deal with all of this when I get home.

I had sincerely hoped all the doubts would be resolved today, but I kind of knew going in that since the CM had not arrived yet that ovulation would in no way be imminent, so all we’d see is some small developing follicles.  I have had several cycles that indicate ovulation as late as day 16 or 17, so that’s not unusual for me.  So they can’t tell me it really worked, not yet.

She mentioned I have “cystic” ovaries – I asked if she thought I had PCOS, and she said no, but I do tend to produce cysts.  Worst case scenario (and she was reluctant to tell me this) is I produce cysts that don’t contain viable eggs.  Not sure what happens at that point.  She also asked if I had had any side effects on the Femara, and I said no, and she said good, because she’d seen people become suicidal on Clomid.  Yikes!  Glad I dodged that bullet!

So the summary is a) I appear to have responded to the drug; she said the follicles not growing any more is unlikely but is an outside possibility, you never know, b) it looks way better than last time when I didn’t ovulate, and c) hopefully the Day 14 ultrasound will show appropriate growth and I’ll trigger that night.  This should all be considered great news, but I am of course still worried and a little let down, just because I wanted this all to be resolved.  But really it could only have gone one of two ways – this way, which is the “you’re going to ovulate later” scenario which doesn’t mess up my weekend but does make me wonder if it’s going to work, or the other way, which is “you’re going to ovulate sooner” which screws everything up for the weekend and puts me in a really awkward position.  So I guess just five more days of anxiety and then I’ll know all (to be followed by an IUI, and then two more weeks of anxiety).  Good times!

PS – got stuck waiting outside of the locked clinic with what could only have been a donor.  Awkward!  Then on the way out saw a cute lesbian couple with their tank o’ sperm for the weekend.  This time I did wish them luck, and they thanked me.  Just spreading that good mojo around!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Resolutions


Was reading Shannon’s lovely post about what a difference a year makes – when a year ago she was recovering from a crushing miscarriage, and today she’s looking at her newborn baby.  This has really stuck with me.  Because like all hopeful moms-to-be I think constantly about what I could be doing in a year, or two, or three – I sit on the couch and wonder what it would be like to look down at a cooing baby (or a big belly); I stand at the stove cooking and wonder what it would be like to have a little kid with a dirty face come running in wanting to help measure the spices; I look at my pool and wonder what it would be like to teach a little baby to swim with me.  Could all this be in my future?  Or in a year or more will I be doing exactly the same thing I’m doing now – blogging, childless and not pregnant? 

Found another blog in which a woman lists having a baby along with her resolutions.  I of course had this as my New Year’s resolution for 2011 – but on Facebook I simply wrote “start composting”.  As of nearly June I have accomplished neither.  I wish I could be more honest about my TTC plans – it’s particularly tricky with this trip to Seattle coming up this weekend, and right now thinking I may still have to cancel the whole thing or come home early after already leaving late; how am I going to explain that to the several people who will be negatively affected?  But I still believe it’s best to keep my mouth shut.  Because I just don’t know how I’m going to feel if I have a miscarriage or never achieve a pregnancy at all.  I have a hunch I may not want everyone knowing these two things, if it they happen.

So as I had a paranoia about getting my period early and it ruining everything (it sort of did), now I am having a paranoia I’ll get the CM early which will be an indicator that ovulation will happen over the weekend.  In a way it kind of doesn’t matter – I mean, so what, so I cancel the trip, piss everyone off, and have the refund my airfare to the woman who bought it for me.  At least I’ll get to try, right?  It’s certainly better than being told June is a bust.  Part of me really doesn’t want to do this trip for a variety of reasons; I remind myself of this whenever I have a sudden panic that I’m going to ovulate on Sunday or something.  But I do find it odd that since I have no 2ww yet to panic about my brain is formulating other things to panic about.

Speaking of panic, my trigger shot arrived via Fedex yesterday.  So there’s a box with two vials in it – one a powder, one a liquid – a syringe, some alcohol swabs, and a second needle.  Also a piece of paper saying administer as instructed – with NO instructions.  I mean, not even a hint of any guidance, anywhere.  Thank God for the internet, because I don’t know how to use this stuff, WHERE to inject it, how to inject it, how to prepare it, ANYTHING.  Looked up several YouTube videos which at least showed how to use a syringe (don’t even know that) and mix the liquid, but most don’t tell you how or where to inject – mainly because the person videotaping (the partner) is the one doing the injection, so they always shut the camera off right before anything happens.  This annoys me on several levels.  I don’t mind admitting I had a minor freak out just looking at the needle.  Now, I’m not inordinately afraid of needles – I’ve gotten used to them after all my blood tests.  But something about the whole thing just got to me and I got very nauseated and light headed for a couple of hours and had to lie down.  I think it hit me on some primal level, because I’m not consciously bothered by it – I mean, it’s just an injection, it’ll be over in a second and is no big deal.  I may have a friend over to administer it (if I get to do it here in town – if I’m in Seattle I’m on my own).  Still I freaked out.  It just scared me, I’ll be honest.

Didn’t sleep well last night.  I am seriously dreading the next three weeks of my life, even if the news is good and I am given the green light to continue.  How the heck am I going to do this?  How am I going to survive another 2ww, especially when this one will be LONGER and more uncertain because of the freakin’ trigger shot which gives false positives?  I have six pregnancy tests that were sent to me in error when I ordered opks from Amazon once – I think I’m going to use them up in a kind of homemade “trigger shot challenge” which I read about online, by which you start testing early to see if you get a negative to show the hcg is out of your system.  One thing I don’t understand, though, is do the tests just stay positive if you’re pregnant, or do they go negative and then positive?  The tests I have are not early detection ones, they ask at least two weeks before you use them.  So is it possible to get negatives for a few days and then positives?  Should I even bother torturing myself with all this?  I figure hey, it’s something to do, right?

I so wish I could just resolve to be calm and cool this time, but I know already that’s impossible.  So maybe the best way to look at the next few weeks is to understand it’s going to be tough and just be in it.  Embrace the torment.  It’s better than trying to fight it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

(hopefully)


Was writing in my journal today and noticed how often I use this term – hopefully – sandwiched between brackets.  It kind of makes me sigh in a sad, longing way.  So many hopes, so much at stake, and so out of my control.  Especially when I think of how hopeful – elated, really – I was back in April for my first IUI, and how that was all bullshit; that we all know I probably didn’t ovulate at all that month, and that the clinic just screwed up and wasted my time and money.  Thinking about that makes me cringe.  However, that will never happen again.  Now I know there are problems and will be much more vigilant about insisting on monitoring.  Nearly everyone I read about has weird issues like this where things went wrong or mistakes were made, so I guess I’m not alone in this.  There’s bound to be plenty of mistakes along the way.

Not much to report today, just waiting on my Day 10 ultrasound on Friday.  I hope it’s the last thing I have to do that could stop everything – I hope if I get the ok Friday that there will be no more surprises, no more, “oh wait, we have to check this one more thing that could stop everything down another month.”  The clinic is famous for throwing me these curve balls.  I hope if I get the ok Friday that I just trigger and then we go.  (hopefully)

Today I took this very interesting survey.  If you’re in the “thinking” phase and don’t have children yet, I highly suggest taking it.  It just takes a few minutes and is pretty fascinating.  The purpose is to gather what women think about having children in today’s world, what we know about fertility, attitudes about age & child bearing, etc.  You see the link to it here.

I thought I would continue on with my poetry series by copying over this poem, another of my favorites from my youth.  Since first reading this there is hardly a time that goes by when I pass someone on the street and don’t think, ‘I nod my head to you and, smiling, scream.”

A Screamer Discusses Methods of Screaming

By James Schevill

We all scream, most of us inside.
Outside is another world.
A neighbor fills her television dinner
With too much pepper and screams.
One woman stabs her door with a sword.
Another, overweight, steps in the shower
And screams, 'Fat! Fat! Fat! '
A man who takes flying lessons
Soars high in the clouds to scream.
Another dives to the bottom of his pool
Where he screams underwater.
A friend cleans his gun, screaming, 'Assasin! '
I like an interior, smiling scream.
When you walk past me on the street
I nod my head to you, and smiling, scream.
You never hear me through the smile.
The inside scream has no echo.

*I found it more than ironic that the web site I copied this poem from had a big Ann Taylor Loft Maternity ad next to the poem, depicting a smiling pregnant woman in a pretty blue dress.  I scream.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Two week wait terror

Today was my last dose of Femara.  So far have had no side effects whatsoever.  Also got the call from a pharmacy asking for my credit card number to send me my hcg “trigger shot” that I will hopefully get to use next week.  It arrives Thursday.  That’s another $90.

Much of the last week has been spent dealing with how much I want to be able to go forward with this IUI.  Naturally I’ll be crushed if on Friday I find out that for some reason I can’t proceed – especially because of what it means (probably having to get more aggressive, also probably having to shut down for the entire summer due to timing issues).  All of this would be terrible.  However, I’m also having a secondary issue – that is I am terrified, and I mean terrified, of having to endure another two week wait to find out if the IUI worked.

I read some fellow bloggers in this situation right now and can’t believe how cool and calm they are.  I hope this can be me – I hope I can be zen about it.  I was for a short while during my first (and last) tww; the first week was ok because I knew there was no way I’d get an accurate test result.  And I had a singing trip in between which distracted me.  But as those last few days kicked in it was absolute torture, especially after the negative test at 10 dpo.  And that was just the first IUI, which I knew statistically was unlikely to work, and back when I thought it was just a numbers game and there was nothing wrong with me.  Now it’s a whole different deal.  Oh, it’s a numbers game all right, but to my pocket book!  Still I was completely blindsided by how devastated I was by the negative blood test and the horrible, crushing depression that followed (and again, this was when I thought I’d be able to try again in just a couple of weeks!  Little did I know…).  I guess that whole process really woke me up to how much I want this and how much failure is not an option.  Which is kind of scary, when it’s something you have no control over.  I used to mock people who put all their hopes on something you can’t control – like getting a prize job or winning a dance contest.  I guess now I get it – sometimes you just want something really bad and you can’t pretend you don’t.

It’s so interesting how this whole “biological clock” thing really is biological, and not mental and rational as I used to think.  I always thought you’d “decide” to have a child, because it was a good choice for you.  Now I know having a child really isn’t a good choice for anyone – none of us can afford it, are truly prepared, or are at the right time in our lives.  And yet that urge to procreate comes from somewhere so deep and primal that it can’t be denied.  It just has to happen – it just has to!  Having a kid will mean no more traveling for me, probably cutting back on lots of my activities, always worrying about money (more than I already do), and a lot of stress and sleeplessness.  And you know what?  I don’t care.  Because this just has to happen.  I have to have a little red headed mini me running around.

So I guess the only thing I can do to prepare for my next tww (if I even get to have one!) is to understand it’s brutal and give myself every luxury I can.  Wish I could sit in the hot tub; that one’s out.  But I can lie around and watch movies, I can hug the dog until her eyes pop out of her head, I can have some S’mores pop tarts.  I can watch the Metallica documentary again and revel in its message of triumph over adversity.  I can watch Mob Wives and cackle with glee at the next Drita vs. Karen “hold my baby”-style hair-pulling match.  Got to get your pleasure where you can, right?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Quick Fix vs. Prolonged Drawn-Out Nightmare


So, this is the week of The Ultrasound.  The ultrasound that determines if the Femara will be the quick fix I hope it will be, or if this is now going to turn into a prolonged, very expensive and drawn-out nightmare.  I’m at yet another point of my life when I’m sitting here thinking, wow, in just a few days I’ll know my fate.  It’s crazy.

Friday I go in for the Day 10 ultrasound, and I’m cautiously optimistic that everything will be fine and I’ll be able to do the IUI sometime the middle of next week.  As mentioned before the odds of my being unresponsive or having some weird reaction are pretty slim – I figure it’s about 90% that I’ll be able to proceed as planned.  But there is of course that chance that something will go wrong and I’ll be benched again.  Don’t really know how I’m going to handle that news, to be honest.

Because either this is going to work or it isn’t.  Either the Femara will be my Magic Pill that gets me a baby or it’ll be the first in a series of treatments that failed.  Again, I look at some of my fellow bloggers’ timelines and all that they’ve been through and am completely amazed – all the failed treatments, all the canceled cycles, all the disappointment.  I don’t know if I’d be able to keep going year after year like that.  I wanted to quit after one BFN!

I’ve been trying to formulate some kind of plan so I feel more in control.  I figure, ok, if I don’t respond to the drug, there’s no point in continuing to take it (apparently there isn’t a dosage issue like with Clomid – either it works or it doesn’t) – so that means expensive injectables.  Which I’d do…but I can’t do any time soon, since I’ll need more monitoring and so much can go wrong and make me end up in the hospital.  The smart thing to do would be to just shut down all operations until September, the first cycle where I won’t be traveling right in the middle of everything.  So that’s the plan if the Femara fails me.  Injectables, and not until September.  I don’t like this plan at all.

Then there’s the Femara works but the IUI doesn’t issue.  Part of me – the na├»ve part – thinks, how could this POSSIBLY not work?  I mean, if you produce follicles, if you have the trigger shot to guarantee ovulation at a certain time…how could it not work?  But plenty of people have done this protocol and it hasn’t worked.  So then what?  I guess if I respond to the drug then maybe I can keep taking it a couple more cycles.  One idea I had was, since I’ll be on progesterone anyway and progesterone supposedly delays your period, I thought I would continue taking it (I have five suppositories left over from last time) past a BFN to make my cycle start four days later which would then shift the timing enough that I could still try end of June & end of July.  As my cycle stands right now I’d have to miss the next two months (possibly three).  Maybe I can manipulate them?  I’ll ask the clinic what they think. 

So, that’s the plan.  I am standing on the threshold of this being just a simple fix and moving on to motherhood, or this whole process getting bumped into the expensive/difficult/scary side effects arena, which horrifies me, but hey, you do what you have to do.  Not one of us SMC’s thought we’d end up taking months, years, to have a baby once we decided to try, nor thought we’d have to spend thousands or chemically alter our bodies to make it happen.  None of this was part of the plan!  But now that I’m in it I’m just dealing with it, step by step.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Un date-able


Last night I went to see a stage production of “Kiss Me, Kate” which was mindless good fun, especially the number “I Hate Men”.  This has kind of been my mantra lately.  And you know it all comes from just pure jealousy, anger at being rejected, and sadness.  I don’t really hate men.  But I have to admit every time I see some hipster guy on the street who appears to be under 40 the first thing that pops into my head is “douche!”  And the sad thing is, I hate to tell you this – most of those guys probably are douchebags.

There’s a great Louis CK bit where he talks about being old and fat and not caring when beautiful young women walk by anymore.  When he was younger he’d try to suck in his gut and look cool, but now he just mentally gives them the finger and thinks, “you can go off and f*ck some other guy – I’ll jerk off to you later and probably have a better time.”  This is how I feel now when I see young hot guys.  I just think “F you.  You never wanted me anyway, what does it matter if I shave my legs or wear cool hipster outfits or get a cool haircut?”

Lately some friends have been talking about setting me up, and I just tell them, “I’m retired.”  They have NO idea what I have in store for them!  And I personally couldn’t possibly start dating someone with this single parent plan in mind – well, of course if he were someone completely AMAZING who amazingly didn’t mind I was trying to have a baby with a stranger’s donated sperm and who would hold my hand through the whole process, then, sure.  But considering my entire history with men since the 1990’s has been men saying “this has been fun, let’s get together again,” and then never calling, somehow I don’t see Mr. Amazing in my future.  I often comfort myself with the thought that, you know, even if I were married, I still wouldn’t be ovulating.  So no matter what I’d still be going through all this infertility crap.

I had a funny experience this week.  There’s this guy I’ve known about 20 years who I’ve always had a little crush on.  I’m not sure what his story is; I think he’s one of these “confirmed bachelor” types – he’s in his late 40s, never been married, and I think never really dated anyone that I’ve seen.  He’s just one of these nerdy, shy types who just never really got off the bench (I seriously doubt he’s gay – although I do think he must have serious emotional issues that prevent him from dating).  I tried to hit on him a couple of times but he didn’t respond at all so I gave up.  So he mentioned he was playing “Words With Friends” on his Iphone, so I whipped mine out and asked what his username was so I could start a game (I’m addicted to this).  He gave me a username and I initiated a game.  Then a few minutes later he tells me he made a mistake, this isn’t his username.  So now I’m playing Scrabble with a complete stranger.  I don’t know why, but this freaks me out.  I only play with friends.  I wonder what this person thinks – who the heck am I?  But they’re playing with me anyway.  Here’s the funny thing, though – my friend just thought it was funny that I was stuck playing a game with a stranger, and never initiated a game with me to make me feel better or to make up for the fact that he gave me the wrong name and now I’m stuck in this awkward position.  Maybe this sounds petty to you, but to me it said a lot about his character.  If it were me I would start a game with the person to show I meant well.  But he just doesn’t give a shit.  Why?  Because he’s been alone for 47+ years, is selfish as hell, and just doesn’t care about anyone else’s feelings.  He’s not a candidate for a relationship, ever.  I can’t even imagine being married to someone like that.  He’d be the kind of person that would finish dinner before you and get up and go do something else while you sit there alone staring at the wall; he’d get out of the car and start walking away while you were still getting your stuff together; he’d always do those little things that say “I come first”.  A long time ago I realized despite my silly crush that this person is totally un date-able.  My little Words with Friends experience only confirmed this for me.  At least some stranger is nice enough to play with me.