Friday, February 27, 2009

Entering the IVF Funhouse

The IVF Funhouse is a place where there are no answers - not until you finally get out, anyway. One stumbles in, wanders from one room to the next hoping for some direction, some "straightening out", only to be pushed to the next room where things are just as warped as they were in the room before.

It never fails, every time I go into these ultrasounds, I still believe somewhere deep down that I'm going to walk out with something definitive...which never happens in the Funhouse. You're perpetually told by Nurse Nightingales and Ultrasound Techs that you'll need to wait for the next phone call, the next bloodwork, the next ultrasound, etc., etc.

Our ultrasound today wasn't as bad as I thought. L., who has read an ultrasound or two in his time, said that my ovaries looked good - there were numerous follicles, just not big enough to measure yet. I feel a little better because per his medical opinion, my ovaries are nowhere near prunes yet (admittedly, I wonder if he would tell me if they were....).

In fact, I have two measurable follicles - both around 10.5 mm, with about 6-8 close in size, right behind them. E2=381. Not a huge number of follicles, but promising nonetheless. And, certainly more promising than the dark room I wandered out of on Monday.

So, the plan: another ultrasound on Sunday because Dr. A. is concerned about those 10.5'ers growing into the magic 13, which is when Cetrotide becomes a part of the med regimine. She doesn't want for me to ovulate early and wants to catch the magic window as soon as it gets here. Gee, I appreciate her attention to detail here.

Of course, in typical Funhouse Fashion, I am a little confused about whether this is good or bad - I mean at least we have two follicles who look like they're taking off, but I'm worried about them taking over and keeping the others from growing - which seems to be my pattern.

Who can tell?

No choice but to sit back and see what Funhouse Fun awaits us in the next room. Stay tuned.

Monday, February 23, 2009


Why this is all happening is a question I ask myself countless times a day. I know there are many people in my life who believe L. and I are "too preoccupied" with having a baby and that if only we would destress, slow down and relax, a baby would magically appear.

Of course, I know this isn't the case, and I also know damn well that the scientific odds are stacking up against us every day.

Especially today.

Today, I got the go ahead from Dr. A. to start stimming tomorrow morning. When I asked the RN about my antral follicle count, she paused, took a deep breath and barreled forward. I could tell it was a question she didn't want to answer.

She said that I have "3 or 4" follicles on each ovary, a number well below the average for my age. This was also the case last month, something that I didn't want to look at or think about, so I just didn't.

I suppose IVF is sort of like Pandora's Box that way - one learns things that might have been best unsaid, unknown. We are proceeding with this cycle, come what may because Dr. A. doesn't think the numbers are going to get any better, and we're moving forward under much less than ideal circumstances.

I can't say I'm looking forward to this, and I can't say I'm even hopeful. I don't understand how we got here. I had convinced myself that my ovaries were okay, but today I learned that they are "sluggish" and "working really hard to produce a small number of follicles".

Not a good sign.

Menopur every morning; Gonal-F injections every night. First ultrasound: Friday.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Close Encounters of the Jackass Kind

On Friday I started spotting and called the Clinic, fearing that we might miss our window if I actually waited for red blood flow like a normal person. Thus, Dr. A. wanted me to drive up for an ultrasound on Saturday.

Fortunately, my sister came into town on Friday afternoon and since L. was working, we made the drive together on Saturday morning.

I lost track of the speed limit somewhere between discussing her latest male conquest and the injustice of her friend who got a girl pregnant during their 2 month relationship which has subsequently ended in paternity testing and attorneys (EERRGGHH!! Stories like that drive me mad!!!).

When (20-something) Mr. Cop Jackass pulled us over, I began inwardly perseverating over how long he was going to detain us and whether or not I would make the appointment on time.

Mr. Cop Jackass: "Good Morning. Where are you ladies headed this morning?"

Me: "We're going to the Clinic."

Mr. Cop Jackass: "Oh, well, what takes you to the Clinic?"

Me (Seriously consider telling him it was none of his damn business, before my fear of a $200 ticket in addition to the $300+ for today's ultrasound overtook me, making me a bit of a pansy ass.): "Ummmm, infertility treatment."

Mr. Cop Jackass: "Oh, so nothing emergent."

Me (Uhhh, dude, I turn 35 less than 3 months, so it sure feels emergent to me): "Well...actually, it is pretty emergent."

Mr. Cop Jackass (with only the faintest flash of embarrassment): "Well, I'm going to let you off with a warning this time, but you need to slow it down."


I'm sure Mr. Cop Jackass was inwardly applauding his own virility, thinking IF would never happen to him and his super masculine sperm, but at least he found it in his heart to let me get to my appointment, without adding another $200 to the debt pile.

The ultrasound showed that my lining (12) is too thick for meds, and it needs to shed.

A.F. swooshed in around 11 p.m. last night.

I'll call for next steps today, but I'm sensing re-entry into the IVF Funhouse.

Monday, February 16, 2009

IVF: The Hard Sell?

On Monday I called IVF Clinic #3, an operation that just opened in town. The Clinic is new, an offshoot of a larger clinic about an hour away, poised to take over this City because the clinic here (IVF Clinic #1, whom we fired long ago) truly sucks. (Our Clinic is 2 hours away, and going there was a very calculated decision after much consternation and research).

I called the office manager simply to ask if this new Clinic would be willing to take care of my monitoring. My empty uterus is tiring of hanging out in the OB waiting room alongside at least 20 pregnant bellies, all belonging to starry-eyed fertiles anticipating their magical moment ahead with the vagina cam.

Clinic #3's office manager, Michelle, was more than happy to respond to my request.

Before I knew it, Michelle spawned into a female version of Herb of WKRP fame, trying to sell me a used car. She proceeded to insult my current doctor, insisting that it would be "so easy" to fire Clinic #2 and use her clinic instead for our IVF cycle.

Me: Well, I'm not sure how we feel about switching at this point in the game, and our Clinic has a really renowned reputation.

Michelle/Herb: You know, Leslie, you all have dealt with a lot of setbacks with this. Maybe it was all meant to be - we're up and running and would be much closer to you. Maybe you were meant to go through IVF with us.

Me: Again, I just wanted to talk about ultrasounds and bloodwork. And, my husband is working late tonight. I'm not going to make any decisions without him.

Michelle/Herb: Really, Leslie, I can get you in with one of our docs first thing in the morning. Let me go over our price list with you.

Me: Goodbye.

I hung up the phone feeling violated. What kind of an idiot do you think I am? We spent months researching Clinic #2, and yes, Nurse Nightingale made a critical mistake last cycle. But, how stupid (and vulnerable) do you think I am?

Okay, I may be vulnerable and infertile, but I'm not an idiot.

Needless to say, looks like we're sticking with the OB-GYN.

Seeing the shrink tomorrow, and looking forward to it.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Weekly Highlights

1. I received an e-vite to a former coworker's baby shower. Ummm, no.

2. The obligatory work baby shower: I supervise a girl who is pregnant and was asked by another staff I supervise when we were going to start planning the shower.

My response: "Thanks for volunteering."

3. A former staff decided to pop in to show off her newborn baby. I pasted a smile on my face and forced myself out of my office to ooh and ahh about how wonderful she looks and how beautiful the baby is. As talk turned to the great tax break she got for her newborn child (apparently, the government loves fertiles too), she said, "Hey, do you girls mind if I breast feed?"

Ummmm, seriously?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Officially Lapped

Back in November, I went to coffee with a good friend of mine who I was sure was going to confirm what I already knew - that she was pregnant with #2.

The confirmation didn't come that night.

The evening was uneventful, and in the days that followed, before I knew it, two months had passed since we had spoken. This was previously a very close relationship, - we just seem to have less and less in common lately. It just feels like we don't fit anymore.

Nonetheless, I received the following e-mail from her last week:

Dear Leslie,

First of all, I apologize that I am writing you this in an email - please don't misunderstand it as impersonal or a lack of courage. I know that I can only try to imagine how you are feeling right now, but I think that I would prefer to receive these news in a way where I get a chance to digest it and do not have to make a happy face to my friend's bittersweet news. I guess, in the end, there is no perfect way to say this...

I am writing you today to tell you that I am pregnant. I know how hard it must be for you to hear yet another pregnancy announcement right now and how much it must hurt you. But not telling you wouldn't be fair either. Please do not feel like you have to react to this email right away. I am also not expecting you to sound excited when we do talk. I understand. I just want you to be yourself and say what you're feeling. Let's get together for coffee soon. Just let me know when is good for you.

I'm sorry, Leslie.

I have been so pained by this that I haven't responded, and I'm struggling with what to do here. Yes, I realize that it was incredibly thoughtful of her, and she is a very special person. I do not want to lose this relationship.

However, I don't feel like I can handle this right now. "Not talking about it" would be like ignoring the elephant in the living room, and sitting there across from her at coffee would be so painful for me. I remember when she told me she was pregnant with #1 - we had just gotten married and were getting ready to start trying ourselves. It's amazing to me that here we are, almost three years later and we're still running in place.

I'm interested in your thoughts and opinions about this before I respond.

Is it possible to take a Friendship Holiday?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Gremlins in My Back Seat

Approximately 10 minutes into my session with the Infertility Shrink today, she stopped me and said, "You've already given up on this, haven't you?"

I sat there in disbelief that this woman deciphered my soul in all of a few minutes. (Damn, I'm one complex chick.)

And, I admitted it: "Yes, I've decided that IVF isn't going to work for us."

She responded by saying, "You're not ready for this then."

Then she broke it down for me: I have "befriended" all of the painful disappointments over the last 27 months: Every month of negatives, every failed treatment cycle, every pain at someone else being pregnant (again), every moment of utter hell this experience has catalyzed. These failings are all sitting right behind me. And, I spend a lot of time nurturing these little "friends", feeding them, caring for them and in general, feeling sorry for myself (which I absolutely will not deny).

In turn, they're holding me back and prohibiting me from looking forward.

I argued with her at first, telling her that I'm not into this positive thinking stuff because, come on, IVF is anything but a rainbows and butterflies kind of experience.

And, she agreed with that. However, she said that IVF is moving forward, and it's the movement toward our dream of becoming parents that we want. Meanwhile, the Gremlins in my backseat are tugging at me, begging me to stay back with them and have a few drinks. And, frankly, I find the Gremlins hard to resist - the pain of infertility sucks, and there's just nothing like a little self pity to take the edge off.

However, my IF Shrink says that I need to be in a better place if we're going to proceed with this cycle. And if I keep looking backward, hanging out with my Gremlin pals, I'm not going to be able to move onward.

I knew last week that I needed to get a grip on my perspective. My Shrink says that I have to accept that this is our experience, and that it is independent of everyone else's pregnancies, babies and children.

She said that I also have to accept the timing element of this thing (and the lack of control I have over it). If we haven't come through an IVF cycle yet, then the timing wasn't right, and when it is, we will move through.

And, I need to learn to squash those dumbasses in the backseat.

Monday, February 2, 2009


I had the privilege of overhearing these "gemstone conversations" at work this week:

1. Girls at Work: "Yes, my sister had her baby this weekend. They're planning to have another one in 2010 because they've had one in 2008 and 2009. Isn't that funny?"

In My Head: Ummm, Ha. Ha. I can't believe people (i.e. bunny rabbits) actually plan this baby thing like planning a vacation or buying a new car and that it actually comes to fruition.

Cannot identify on any level.

2. Girl at Work (who incidentally happens to be aware of my situation): "My husband and I are going to try and start getting pregnant this year. I'm telling you, I don't dread labor and delivery - I dread that first 3 months of pregnancy. I just don't even know how I'll make it through all the morning sickness that my mother had."

In My Head: Ummm, excuse me while I throw up at the grotesque superficiality and naivity of this little gemstone of a comment. This statement is from a girl who is totally aware that I am begging my doctor to allow me to inject my belly with a hormonal cocktail. Need I say more?

Again, cannot identify on any level.

It's amazing how IF has changed my perspective. I suppose these are things I would have laughed at or commented on three years ago. Now, I just shake my head and get the hell out of the room as quickly as possible.

And, if I hear one more thing about the octuplets...

Damn good thing therapy is scheduled for Thursday.