Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Progesterone is a Jedi Mind Trick

The last words of Suzie Angel Nurse keep ringing in my ears throughout this blasted two week wait (By the way, I'm convinced this woman was part of a Divine Intervention the day of our IUI. She was so perfect, I'm not sure she's actually human):

"Now, don't get too excited if you start having pregnancy symptoms this month. Progesterone is what the body produces when you're pregnant, so you might start feeling some things that make you think you might be, and I don't want for you to be disappointed..."

So, while AF is on hiatus, probably laying on a beach somewhere laughing her evil laugh, relishing the thought of resurfacing in our lives in a couple of weeks, the Jedi Mind Trick is here in full force.

Now, let me reitterate, I have NO idea what it would "feel like" to be pregnant. After all, the closest I've been to being pregnant in my 34 years was when I lost my virginity and spent the next 5 weeks obsessing that my period wasn't going to start.

However, this stuff is a crazy-making drug. I can convince myself (more easily than usual) that I'm feeling things I've never felt before, and that maybe, just maybe, this is it.

But, let's get real. AF is rolling over to get some sun on her ass about now, and she'll be ready to swoop in as soon as I throw in the towel with these suppositories.

On a completely unrelated note, I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving. One of the things I am most thankful for this year is all of you who take a moment to read my rants.

I don't know how I dealt with this beast of a disease before I discovered the blog world.

You all rock.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Coffee & Getting Lapped

I'm going to coffee (decaf of course) this evening with my friend who has been avoiding me lately.

I think that she's getting ready to break the news that we've been "lapped". She has a beautiful daughter who will be 2 in February, and I know they've been working on Number 2. Given that the first child was conceived after 3 sexual encounters in one month, I am sure that Number 2 is right around the corner.

I'm feeling sad about the friendships in my life that have been tested by infertility. I know that she's dreading telling me news that should be so joyous and wonderful for her to share, and I hate the way I feel about it.

L. & I moved here over three years ago, and I encountered several girls who I became very close to in a relatively short period of time. My struggle with IF has threatened those relationships in ways they would have never been tested if only we had conceived along with everyone else, when we first started trying.

And, now here we are over 2 years later, still trying, still struggling. Again, it feels like everyone is moving along ahead of us, and I can't help but feel angry about the fact that their relationships with each other were never tested the way mine has been with them - simply because I've been dealing with an issue that they cannot understand. And, really, they can't understand.

I suppose it is simply easier for them to be friends with someone who connects with them as "new moms".

On the other hand, and more important, I am grateful for the way IF has cemented so many other relationships in my life. I have a renewed appreciation for my mom, for my old friends and for my entire family. Struggling through this with the people who stick with you gives the relationship a whole new layer of history.

That's a better perspective, isn't it?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Seriously? Part II

In another "Seriously?" moment, today I'm wondering what kind of world are we living in when a "man" can get pregnant TWICE in less time than it takes for me to see even a faint glimmer of two pink lines?

I consider myself a pretty liberal thinker, but I can't believe I'm actually jealous of a man who is with child.

IF is making me crazy...or maybe it's all the progesterone.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

IUI #3

Another two-week wait is officially underway.

IUI #3 went well on Sunday. We had an amazing RN. She spent the first 10 minutes post-IUI reviewing all of the things we should feel good about (i.e. thickness of my uterine lining, follicles, sperm count, etc.).

She then went through a visualization exercise about what we hope is going to be happening over the next few days (i.e. that sperm and egg are actually going to meet up down there, start dividing and find a safe spot they like in the uterine lining). And, yes, I posted the pictures she gave us on our bathroom wall.

Currently, I'm enjoying a week of no ultrasounds, no anxiously jumping out of my seat during meetings to take "the call from the clinic", no post-phone-call-breakdowns with L. and Mom and, last but not least, progesterone suppositories.

And, it just doesn't get any better than progesterone suppositories...twice a day no less.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Curveballs and Searching for Opal

After a couple of days to reflect, pray and nestle into the cocoon of supportive blogger and in-real-life friends and family, I'm ready to get back on the saddle.

Thank you to everyone who followed my blog, text messaged, called, and emailed. I can't tell you what it meant to feel surrounded by so much love during this time of great disappointment.

On Wednesday I felt like someone had snatched tickets to the World Series out of my hand and replaced them with admittance to a minor league baseball game. I was deeply moved this week by an e-mail message from a good friend of mine: Even curveballs produce homeruns, you know.

So today, we head two hours north for an IUI tomorrow morning.

Final numbers:
3 (measurable) follicles (20, 20, 16.5)
Trigger shot last night.

Praying for the best and a little Opal Optimism in lieu of my good friend Debbie D.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I Hate to Be a Debbie Downer, But...

...I am.

E2 = 278
Follicles with hope of maturing = 3

We're screwed for this cycle. We're going to do one more ultrasound, and then they're recommending IUI on Sunday with plans to reconfigure my meds "if we don't conceive".

Please. The jig's up, let's face it.

This is probably related to my long stint on Lupron thanks to my beautiful cyst. At least, that's what I'm hoping. The Debbie-Downer part of me is wondering if this is some sort of sign that there are some other horrible things at play here. My RN doesn't seem to think so, and neither does L., but frankly, I think I have a right to be Debbie-Downer today given that I'm dealing with this news with massive amounts of hormones floating around in my body...needlessly, I might add.

Not much else to say except that life really sucks today.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Jumping Hurdles on Hormones Really Bites

Okay, so this is a lot harder than I thought it was going to be.

Frankly, this IVF hurdle thing is my own little personal version of hell. Just when you think that you've accomplished something, another hurdle appears in front of the one that just zapped all your energy. And, I'm living through all of this under the influence of drugs that make me weepy about absolutely everything. (Clomid might be evil, but these hormones are enough to make me wonder how I'm going to get through my next work meeting without tears streaming down my cheeks because my pen ran out of ink.)

So, ultrasound #1 is history. Since my clinic is two hours away, my OB-GYN offered to do my monitoring. While I was grateful to not have to return to the fertility clinic here in town (a place which I detest passionately), undergoing ultrasounds amongst the pregnant may not have been the best choice while these hormones are swimming around my body. Also, it took my doctor's office way too long to send results to the Clinic we're using, which really almost pushed me over the edge today. Obviously, I'm going to have to discuss that with someone there tomorrow to keep it from being an issue on Wednesday.

Nonetheless, results from the world's most thorough ultrasound tech (I've never had a longer ultrasound):

-14 follicles total - 4 are currently measurable (10, 10, 10 1/2 and 12).
-Estradiol = 90 (A little low, according to my RN. I'm wondering if this could be attributed to my extended time on Lupron and will be consulting with Hannah the acupuncturist about this tonight.)

And, of course, I am now obsessed with estradiol and have googled it at least 10 times in the last 2 hours. And, with that, my next hurdle was born: PLEASE INCREASE!!!!

On a positive note, as I was awaiting my ultrasound this morning, a pregnant woman sat down beside me and overheard my conversation with my RN I had to call from my cell phone. When I hung up, she asked if I was doing IVF with the Clinic. I said yes, and she said that she did as well. In fact, while her first fresh cycle was not successful, both of her children were the results of Frozen Embryo Transfers from her original cycle. In a word where I literally feel surrounded by the easy-breezy pregnant, it was nice to hear that this morning.

So, that's today's story. I have a completely renewed appreciation, respect and deep admiration for all of you who have gone through this IVF thing and lived to tell the story. I thought about each of you many times as I sloshed through this day.

Acupuncture tonight, more shots tonight, and tomorrow night. Next ultrasound Wednesday.

On to the next hurdle...

Friday, November 7, 2008

Let the Stims Begin!

After a visit with Hannah the acupuncturist, tonight was Stim Night #1.

The Good News: It wasn't that bad. And, fortunate for everyone around me, I'm sure it will take awhile for the evil side effects to kick in.

The Bad News: We realized we're probably going to have to buy more medicine. We hadn't really looked at what they sent versus the dosage. And, well, last night we did.

However, today I am focusing my energy on healthy follicle development.

Mental Note to Self: Every ounce of nervous energy is energy that needs to be rerouted to the healthy, beautiful follicles.

Not easy for me, but I'm working on it.

First ultrasound is Monday.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Hurdles and Shrinking Cysts

When we first decided to "do IVF", I mistakenly (and naively) thought that we would go through the process and quickly reach D-Day when we would receive a call from a nurse telling us whether or not it worked.

I was so wrong. I look back on that presumption now and realize how ridiculous it was.

I am quickly learning that IVF is a succession of hurdles, and making it to Transfer Day is a huge accomplishment by itself, regardless of the ultimate outcome of the whole thing.

Yesterday, Dr. A. granted us access to our next hurdle. The Incredible Shrinking Cyst (which by itself has added roughly $1000 to the pricetag of this whole thing) is now half its original size, so we can proceed onward.

Great news.

However, despite receiving news worthy of celebrating, L. actually had to stop me in the parking garage of the Clinic to remind me to take joy in this. It took my mind literally less than five minutes to frantically move on to the next worry.

This weekend I am concentrating on taking a moment to enjoy that we actually received good news yesterday. IF can be a journey of crushed hopes, friends who disappoint, slamming doors, mean nurses and quirky doctors, and it is so very important that Oct. 31, 2008 be recorded in our story as a good day.

Halloween 2008 was the day L. smiled as he looked at my "healthy ovaries" on the ultrasound, the day we were met with a warm, genuine nurse (we love our new Clinic), the day we were told that the Incredible Cyst was indeed shrinking, and the day that we learned we have "lots of nice looking antral follicles" to stimulate.

Ultimately, it was the day we jumped another hurdle together.

Stims begin next week.