Free To A Good Home

I’m a registered organ donor.  I’m a registered marrow donor.  I give blood.  I’ve considered being a kidney donor.  If I can help someone else by donating something that I have that they need, I’ll do it.

But, when it came to the question of whether to donate our remaining frozen embryo, I was initially dead set against it.  I couldn’t bear the thought of our potential child being out there without me knowing about it.  I never thought of my embyros as children when we were going through IVF, but now that one of those embryos actually became my child, I can see the potential for this final embryo to actually become a child. The thought of that child being out there in the world not knowing who we are and we not knowing it was not acceptable to me.

Thing was that Mr. X and I both knew that we would not be using it.  The main reason is that there is just one and we did not want to go through all of the procedures for a FET with just one embryo.  And, we did not want to do any more invasive procedures to have another child.  Once we had Rex, I was pretty certain that I didn’t want any more children.

That left the question of what to do with this last totsicle.  Mr. X first raised donating it to an infertile couple.  I rejected this, multiple times, but he was his usual kind and patient self, letting me get to my own conclusions on my own time.

Then, a friend needed embryos.  All of a sudden, I wanted to give her that totsicle.  Because I knew that she and her husband would give that child, if there was a child, a wonderful home. I would also know how the child was doing and growing.  In the end, my friend ended up not taking our totsicle.  But, by then, embryo donation became a much more viable and feasible option for me.  I did a little research and learned that there was such a thing as open embryo adoption.  I knew that I could do that.

I have no qualms about our potential child being raised by someone else.   As long as I can pick the family and know in my heart that the child will be raised with love and stability.  We’d love to be able to keep in touch, particularly so that Rex can meet his brother or sister.  But mainly to see how they are doing in this great wide world of ours.

Little Do I Know

A few years ago, when we were well into the infertility and miscarriage slog, but Rex was no where in sight, I happened to look out my window at home and see a touching family portrait: mom walking her little girl in a stroller while sporting an obvious baby bump.  As usual, my blood boiled and I mentally cursed the universe for subjecting me to this scene at such a low point in our lives.  I didn’t know the neighbor, they had moved in a few months before. All I knew was that they had one kid and were on the way to having another and that was more than I had or could even imagine having.

That second child was born in October of that year, right around the time of both of my prior due dates.  Mr. X and I happened to be taking a walk one afternoon, shortly after the new baby came home and we met him, being borne around in the arms of his proud papa.  I made all of the right congratulatory noises even though I was still just as pissed inside.

If I had known then what I know now:

That their first child was the product of IVF.  That the second child was an oops only 8 months after the first one since they didn’t think they had a chance of conceiving naturally.

I found this out from their next door neighbors (really, in our neighborhood, there is no such thing as a secret, depending upon who you talk to).  Their daughter also dealt with infertility and just had a baby through a surrogate, using IVF.

I could have learned this information much sooner if I had been more outgoing during our struggles.  But, I didn’t want to talk to anyone, least of all mothers of small children.  They would be just like all the rest of the fertile population – blissfully unaware of the difficulties of life and telling me that having kids has been the greatest thing they could have ever done with their life, blah, blah, blah.

Oh, how we are own greatest enemies.  I could have found additional support from these ladies (well, maybe not the lady with the grown daughter.  She was a bit …. much).  I could have seen that the world isn’t nearly as black and white as I had made it out to be – and me being a lawyer, too, for shame!

But, that time is gone and I’m glad that I do know, even if it’s a little late.  I was able to share with this neighbor our struggle to have Rex and how we too benefited from IVF.  She got it, even though we both have the families that we wanted, she still got it.

And I learned that it’s never too late to reach out.

image: Steve Took It

On the Chopping Block

Ah, the best of intentions.

I made myself so many promises of delayed gratification – if I could just make it through the in-between period, I could have made it to the promised land, the land where all my dreams came true. I could have been proud of myself for sticking it out, for making it through the inevitable rough patches.  I could have held my accomplishment aloft for the impressed gazing of others.

But, today, I quit. 

Obviously, I am speaking of this foolish pledge upon the auspicious celebration of my birth:

silly resolutionCan you guess which one it is?

Need a hint?

It’s not No. 27. Silly people. The quilt is almost finished and I’ve already contacted a lovely organization that will take it.

Nope, it is No. 28 – officially on the chopping block as of today.  I can’t stand it anymore, which may be inversely related to the increase in the temperature as we hurl our way out of May into hell that is June.  The thing that makes this so funny is that I knew myself when I made that pledge. I knew I would reach that point where I would want to chop it off and I made the pledge to push through. So, what changed my mind?

Two words: hair drying.  It has become a PAIN.  And, as the hair grows, so will the pain of drying it because I have uber thick tresses that require a maximum blast of hot air multiple times over to dry.  The time to get ready in the morning which is already inching upwards will continue to inch, and I will begin to resent the locks that I so lovingly dreamt about.  I will also get very annoyed when I am drying said hair in an already humid bathroom on an already humid morning and will be sweating while drying my hair when I haven’t even finished drying off from the shower.

I gave it the college try and feel no guilt about jettisoning this particular pledge.  Quitters may never win, but at least I’ll look damn good with my new short do.


Last Friday, I informed Dr. Salsa that I wanted to get started on a new IVF cycle.  And, just like that, my anxiety and indecision vanished.  I couldn’t remember what I was so undecided about.  It seemed like the most natural decision.


Four days later, two birth control pills down, the water still feels really good. 

I pick up my schedule on Thursday. 

image: Felipe Skroski

Taking the Plunge

It’s CD 2 and I have a decision to make.

Do we take the plunge and get on the IVF calendar for June or do I sit it out another month?

cobalt123-2I’ve found that the decision process is lot like getting in the pool when the water is still chilly.  First in goes the toe, which is then immediately yanked out because the water is way too freaking cold.  You stand around for a few moments debating if it’s worth it since if the toe is frozen, there’s no telling what pain the rest of the body will be in.  Imaging simply jumping into the water leaves the body with chills, which does not help the debate. 

But, the water looks so good and inviting.  And, was it really that cold?  Toe is then reinserted, this time for a few seconds hving been acclimated albeit for less than a second, before once again being extricated.  It wasn’t as bad. 

You get bolder.  Now all toes are being inserted and the foot soon follows.  Eventually, you make your way up to both feet wading in the water.  It’s easier now that the legs are being immersed, but when the water gets to the bathing suit bottom level, there is that sudden whoosh of cold and you scurry back to the (now warm) shallower water.  Wading process begins again, with the venturing and retreating. 

Eventually, you either suck it up and go under completely or get out and lay in the sun waiting for it to warm the water.

grakenI’m leaning toward sucking it up and going completely under. I want to feel the sense of accomplishment in overcoming my fear of the cold water and the unknown. I don’t want to wait because I’m too apprehensive about the discomfort.  I don’t want to put off something that could potentially change our lives because I’m scared or anxious about what might or might not happen.  The excitement at the thought of once again taking positive steps toward potentially getting pregnant is beating out the anxiety about potentially getting pregnant again or potential failure.  Part of this is because I’ve now survived both the negative and the miscarriage.  I know that I can do it if I need to. 

But, most of all I can still visualize the glittering prize. The triumphant breaking through the water after taking the plunge.  Seeing the sun shining overhead. 

images: cobalt123 (top left), Graken (bottom right)

Sneak Preview?

Despite having been pregnant twice, I can honestly say that I have never had a positive home pregnancy test.  In fact, I think I’ve peed on a stick all of maybe six times in my life and each time the absence of the second line mocked me. 

tony-newellMy streak continues. 

As of 9dp5dt, Brand X HPT refused to show that second line. 

I’m doing surprisingly ok with this information as it confirms the lack of symptoms that I’ve had (boobs have been annoyingly calm and uninflated or sore) and likely spares me the chance of a D&C in April.  It also resolves the angst which has been building since Monday.  And, I have to admit that I’m a little bit relieved (although not like last time), which means that I was probably almost ready to really be pregnant again, but not quite. 

I’m sure the anger and frustration will come eventually, but it hasn’t hit yet.  Forewarned is forearmed.

Beta is on Friday (the 13th!), still leaving me the opportunity to suck down some booze this weekend whilst eating herbed brie and chugging a Diet Coke with lime.  

I will ask one favor, though – please do not drop the S word (‘sorry’ or any version of ‘sympathy’). Instead, feel free to use other ‘s’  words (shit, suck, shitty shitty bang bang) and tell me what your favorite thing to do is after a failed IVF cycle.  I’ve got a whole weekend coming up that will likely be filled with that three letter BFN combination, so I need some ideas!

image: tony newell

Catharsis *updated*

Even before I made the decision to start interviewing other doctors, I knew that I needed to tell Dr. Uterus why I was searching for greener pastures.  He deserves to know and I deserve the opportunity to lay it all out for him.  What I didn’t fully understand was that I also needed the release of telling it like it is. 

Because, before now, I had been too polite, too forgiving or too preoccupied to mention a concern here, or a tear there.  And, how many times did I want to turn my head to the side and ask him in a rather conspiratorial whisper-y tone, “why did you think it was a good idea to share your practice with a high risk OB?” As if, just between us doctor and patient, he would admit, that yeah, maybe it wasn’t a great idea.  Of course, I wanted to ask to be able to tell him how much it bothered me.  I could really care less about his answer.

Initially, as I began to write, I had difficulty not allowing my pent up feelings spew forth onto the page. Pretty quickly I knew that there was no way getting around it, so I let myself throw the words on the paper and then gave them some time to cool down.  Several days later, I went back to visit them and knew that the words needed to be said, but didn’t need to be read.  And, while I took out the more pointed passages, just the act of putting the words down on paper, ostensibly to the person who needed to hear them most, was incredibly cathartic. 

I have finished the letter and I think that it has the right mixture of honesty, detail and feeling.  It isn’t ugly or accusatory or angry.  No bridges were burned or even mentioned.  I simply laid each instance out methodically, like a grocery list, and said, this is how it made me feel.  Whether it changes anything for me or for other patients, present or future, I doubt that I have that much sway.  But, I do know that I was able to tell it like it is and that felt really, really good.    

Now, all I have to do is send it.

Update: I printed it, folded it carefully, placed it in the addressed envelope, sealed it up, put on the stamp, marked it “Personal & Confidential” and walked it those 20 yards or so to the box where it now sits, waiting patiently for the mail delivery lady to swing by and swoop it away on its journey.  He should get it in a day or two.  I wonder if he’ll call about it.  Maybe he’ll apologize, but it’s too late for that, I’m afraid.

Luck Be an 8

We are on track for our FET tomorrow and the 8’s are just piling up around here.  Of course, tomorrow is 08/08/08 and we have our transfer.  I also realized that we are on our 8th porcedure to get pregnant and the Man and I have been together for 8 years (and some change).  Of course, none of this means squat really – what will be will be and the fact that it happens to land on the most auspicious day in the calendar is neither here nor there.  I think that the effect is more psychological.  It’s exciting that we are at a confluence of the luckiest number.

As for the sordid details, I swung by the IVF lab today to fill out the paperwork and we once again had to read all of the dire predictions and agree that we absolve them of any possible scenario in which our embryos do not make it into my uterus, I don’t get pregnant or – and this is my personal favorite – I get pregnant and deliver and then claim that the IVF lab should raise them.  And, just for good measure they start off with this lovely sentence:

Due to circumstances of the impossibility of achieving conception through ordinary means, we Mr. and Mrs. X hereby authorize Dr. Uterus and Dr. Freakout to thaw, culture and transfer our embryos to Mrs. X in an attempt to treat our infertility.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am infertile and just in case there was any confusion, the intake paperwork listed diagnosis for admittance as INFERTILITY. Yes, it was in all caps.  And, then, I was told cheerfully that the lady there was new because her predecessor was on maternity leave.  I found this highly amusing. Silly IVF nurse, don’t you know what not to say to infertile ladies – at the IVF Lab!? 

I also got my one Valium – yes, Dr. Uterus only gave me a prescription for one.  I don’t know if this will have the desired effect – I had a Valium for my Lasik eye surgery four years ago and it didn’t do jack shitsky to get me relaxed.  Of course, that could have been because I was super nervous about having a giant laser poked in my eye.  But, Dr. Uterus is afraid that anything more would turn me into this:

Not pretty.

And, now, it is my last evening before I am With Embryos.  I celebrated with a wonderful glass of red wine, and walked the pooch, tried to train said pooch in the “leave it” command only to find that he is one sneaky little hungry hippo and this is going to take some time, and watched Nanny 911 to see how not to parent the children that may or may not be produced from this cycle (lesson number 1: letting children eat off of the floor is not a good idea).

I am not particularly nervous or excited – tomorrow is just another day.  I’ll probably be feeling a little differently once we get there (and we are assuming that our little totscicles will thaw and be good quality.  Depending upon my Valium haze, I’ll try to post tomorrow with the final report.

images: holeymoon and lejoe

A Lot of What IFs

Forgive me for being dense lo these many years, but it was just this morning – yes, this morning – that I realized that the abbreviation for infertility IF is also the word ‘if’.  Not much gets past me! 

I’ve had a bad case of the IFs this week.  What IF this works? What IF it doesn’t? What IF I have a third straight miscarriage? All of these questions have arisen out of my mental thrashing this past week about whether I am *ready* in that euphamistic way to really have a legitimate shot at getting knocked up again.  I mentioned it to Dr. Uterus when I saw him on Monday, and he immediately offered that we could postpone things.  But, my answer was ‘no’ and that I was more excited about the prospect of getting pregnant than I was fearful at the prospect.  I’m not excited about the 2ww, the beta agony or the any of that – but the idea that I have a real shot at the big P again? Yea, that’s still exciting. 

In retrospect, this is still an extraordinary thing – it’s like saying that the last two times I put the gun to my temple, pulled the trigger, and I was shot, but I’m still hopeful that this last chamber will be empty. 

Hope is a drug, I firmly believe.  And, I’m still addicted. 

But, it is what allows me to continue this journey, continue to traverse this rocky road with the dream of making it out on the other side, with my sanity intact carrying my child. 

I still hope more than I fear.  And, that is the only way to go forward. 

image: Poagao

As Easy As S-H-G

What a difference a weekend makes. 

When I learned that I had to have a repeat SHGfor this upcoming FET, I was understandably annoyed as my last go round with the saline catheter AND dildocam all shoved up in the hoo-ha at the same time did not go so well.  So, when given the choice by Nurse to a T as to when to have the SHG – Friday or today – I did some important calculus taking into account the following variables:

1) Friday morning is the time when ALL of the big bellies are in the office for monitoring with the high risk OB with whom Dr. Uterus shares office space and

2) The office closes at 12 on Friday, so there is usually a really large rush to get everybody in and out, and

3) I was crazy busy at work and Friday was not going to be any different, but

4) If I had it done on Friday, I could enjoy my weekend without the Spectre of the SHG hanging over my head, OR

5) I could do it on Monday morning, thus prolonging when I would have to show up for work, and

6) There was less chance of a big belly dance.

All of this dizzying calculation was done in a split second – even though it took a lot longer to type it out – and I chose Monday AM.

It turned out to be a good choice.  I was relaxed from my weekend, after having decided not to think about or worry about the SHG procedure, rather just enjoy my weekend, and I had a leisurely morning before my appointment.  By the time I got to Dr. Uterus’s office, I was pretty calm, and – bonus! – only one bulging belly was in the waiting room.  I had a good book and my iPod just in case, but in the end just enjoyed my book.

The procedure itself was still uncomfortable, with a few ‘ows’ on my part, but nothing like last time where I went home in tears (more out of frustration than anything).  The best news: my ute is cute! Well, there are no abnormalities and everything looks great.

I also had a lovely sit-down meeting with Dr. Uterus to discuss the details of the FET.  He has approved my request for Valium which apparently is not done routinely for transfers (I certainly didn’t have it for my ET with my IVF), so that was very nice.  We will start with a thaw of three embryos and depending upon the number that survive and the quality after thaw, we may then go thaw the other three.  We sent five As and one B+ into thaw, so hopefully, they will reemerge with still good quality.  Ideally, he wants to put back 4 which I am ok with.  All of this is still dependent upon the results of the biopsy, but assuming is ok, we’re on track. 

We have a tentative transfer date of 8/8/8.  An auspicious date if ever there was one as my favorite number is 8.  I have been popping my Estrace pills since last Wednesday and will start the butt injections on Aug. 5.  Never a dull moment.

And, just for a little infertility humor, I shared with Dr. Uterus that glorious news of the expansion of our family through adoption.  I merely told him that we had adopted – his eyes got very wide and surprised, but he recovered quickly to tell me congratulations.  I began to describe our newest addition: 6 years old, gold hair, brown eyes… four legs.  He had been had and he knew it. 

Final score: Dr. Uterus: 0, Me: 1.

I am so wicked, it hurts.