December 31, 2008
Egg retrieval for IVF #2 went pretty well this morning.
First, for your listening pleasure as you read the rest of my post, my retrieval playlist (which I played this morning to begin my journey to the clinic, followed by an hour of other Radiohead songs):
No alarms and no surprises please
–Radiohead, No Surprises
For you I’ve waited all these years
For you I’d wait ’til kingdom come
–Coldplay, ‘Til Kingdom Come
I believe in you and me
I’m coming to find you
If it takes me all night
–The Killers, Everything Will Be Alright
I was able to do all of the preparation for the houseguests yesterday (with the help of our housecleaner), except for a few things I finished this morning before leaving the house. The eight houseguests have dwindled to five — the family of four has been replaced by That Guy. The family bowed out because the logistics were too difficult with young children — not the kind of parent that I hope to be, but very typical. Once That Guy realized that most of his friends would be at this party, he just had to join in. When I previously told you That Guy is the kind of husband’s friend that most wives can’t stand, I was so correct. Even though the Other Hosts have room for That Guy, Mrs. OH has decreed that he is not allowed to stay there. In contrast, DH and I welcome everyone. Once you have four houseguests following an egg retrieval, what’s one more person?
Back to the retrieval. A snowstorm started just as we were arriving at the clinic.
Nine eggs retrieved. 111 million sperm, though they only need 9. Not much else to tell. I think I’m getting used to the general anesthesia; I’ve spent the whole day awake (we’ll see how long that holds out during the New Year’s celebration). Not sure if the transfer will be Friday or Saturday.
Unlike IVF #1 at the hospital, at the clinic they let me wear my own socks instead of the lawsuit-prevention socks with the rubber soles.
Needing as much luck as we can get, I decided to expand the sock superstition by giving DH a pair of his own today. He’s been lobbying for cozy socks for months; I bought these for him weeks ago but forgot about them when we canceled Christmas. DH said there was no way he was wearing nothing but these socks during his part of the process. Since we agreed that he could keep his shoes and other clothes on as well, he has become quite fond of them.
By the time we were finished with everything, the snowstorm was in full effect. Our drive home took almost twice as long as usual. Here is a photo depicting the early stages of the storm, featuring the pole outside of the clinic which always cracks me up.
Then, literally as we were backing out of the parking spot to start the long drive home, DH received a phone call from Mr. Other Host, who will be hosting tonight’s New Year’s Eve party. “Good news!”
Can you guess what kind of good news someone who has been married for six months might have to share?
Of course, the Other Hosts are pregnant.
They will be telling everyone in a grand announcement tonight at the party. DH actually has known about the pregnancy for two weeks. Mr. Other Host specifically asked to strategize with DH about the best way to tell me. Because of our decision not to tell any of DH’s friends anything about treatments anymore, Mr. Other Host does not know about the current IVF, but he does know about our fertility issues. It was very kind of him to tell me individually ahead of time rather than ambushing me in front of 20 other people.
As much as I appreciate Mr. Other Host’s sensitivity, when I was put on the spot to respond to his announcement on speakerphone, still groggy from anesthesia and in a lot of pain from post-retrieval cramping, I could only muster the weakest congratulations. DH effusively expressed his genuine excitement for them, but I didn’t share it. I absolutely care about them and want the best for them; they will be good parents, and Mr. OH is one of the most family-oriented people I know. It’s not the same bitterness that I’ve experienced with some other announcements, but I felt and continue to feel no happiness at all for them. Maybe I would have on another day, but today is not the day.
I also feel a bit like they stole my thunder (even though it was secret thunder).
So now, in addition to pretending that I’m not in terrible pain throughout the party, I must get ready for the big announcement and hours of talk about pregnancy and babies. If anyone asks when we’re going to have kids, I swear to you right now, I will say, “Fuck off” and then insult them. Today is not the day.
I foresee the creation of a sub-party in the basement, with DH, single guys, video games, and me. The sign on the door will read: No Breeders Allowed.
But the day hasn’t been only grumpiness. As we left the clinic, I spotted a restaurant and told DH to pull in, famished from having been NPO since the night before. In the midst of the snowstorm, standing outside the restaurant trying to draw customers inside, I saw something which I hope will be a good harbinger for 2009.
Thanks to everyone for all of your good wishes. Happy New Year to all of you.
December 29, 2008
First, the perfect moment: I have never been so happy after an ultrasound.
My follicles are ready for trigger.
2 18mm, 2 17mm, 16, and 15. As I said yesterday, I would have liked to see more follicles, but at this point I just want to get this show on the road. More than anything, I want to stop waking up at 5 a.m. or 6 a.m. for blood draws and ultrasounds. I’m supposed to be on vacation, at least from New Job; I still have to go in to Old Job somewhat. It was comical last night when Old Job boss called me at home (yes, on a Sunday night) and asked for a meeting today; I had to think hard to figure out how to fit him in between blood draw and ultrasound, acupuncture, and possibly driving almost two hours round trip to the pharmacy.
Pending confirmation from the RE’s office, the follicles’ progress means that the egg retrieval will occur on Wednesday. New Year’s Eve.
Usually we boycott New Year’s and all other similar holidays, but for once we do happen to have New Year’s plans. Specifically, some friends (hereafter called the Other Hosts) are having a big party. The party is such a major event that more than a dozen friends from other cities are coming in. The majority of those people will be staying at my house, for several days.
I’m not sure how it happened that two guys staying over turned into two guys, a couple, and a family of four. I wasn’t enthusiastic at the prospect of the family, in part because I’m not always as fond of kids nowadays as I usually am, and in part because small children inherently demand extra effort. The family also happen to be acquaintances more than friends, which makes the effort less compelling.
My first instinct yesterday as I heard DH talking on the phone, warmly exclaiming, “Sure, of course the whole family can stay here!” was to scream “Noooooooooooo!” My actual response was to make wild hand gestures to DH and whisper, “No! Out of the question! I do not want them staying here. That would be horrible. You have got to be kidding me.”
After DH’s abrupt “Uh, I have to call you back,” we negotiated terms. My visceral reaction to children gave way to trying to negotiate the logistics of more than a dozen out of town guests fitting into two houses, ours and the Other Hosts. I succumbed to the collective good, as well as to the visceral reactions of Mrs. Other Host (though they didn’t say this directly, I have a sneaking suspicion that the couple staying with us is banned from staying at the Other house because the woman once dated Mr. Other Host).
Then I fell asleep, catching up on sleep lost to the early morning trip to the R.E. By the time DH returned from the pharmacy road trip, everything had been settled.
So, I will prepare for eight guests’ arrival ahead of time today and tomorrow, and then I will not lift a finger on Wednesday or Thursday. Or rather, I will try very very hard not to lift a finger. I will not be bossy while I order DH around. I will make up some mysterious reason why I can barely move. I will concede all of the locations in my house where I normally recover after such surgeries. General anesthetic makes me sleepy for more than a day afterward, but I will be sweet and cordial while passing in and out of consciousness.
No one can ever accuse me of being anything less than a gracious hostess.
Head to Weebles Wobblog to see more Perfect Moments.
December 28, 2008
This morning I returned home from my 7 a.m. blood draw (plus one-hour drive each way) to discover that an unwanted house guest had returned.
This is what I discovered, in the kitchen drawer for potholders and dishrags.
Why would a bandage from a previous blood draw be in the kitchen drawer?
Only one explanation: Rat Bastard! Or more accurately, Mouse Bastard!
DH’s explanation was that “maybe it fell off your arm and you didn’t notice.” Um, no.
No, what happened was that I threw it away in the trash can. Then the Mouse Bastard retrieved it from the trash, ignoring the many varieties of food in the trash and zeroing in on the delicious bundle of gauze and tape, flavored enticingly with my blood.
There is no accounting for taste.
In the photo you will note the special plastic containers holding the drawer contents. I previously outfitted most of the kitchen drawers with these containers to protect the contents from the bastards who moved in last year. Today, at least I don’t have to sterilize everything inside again.
On the bottom right of the photo you will notice a tiny piece of poo. The contents of the containers may be sealed safely inside, but I am still not happy about poo being in the kitchen drawers.
I have tried to coexist, but my patience for the mouse is dwindling. Maybe I will follow Lori’s lead and get rid of the mouse. I have tolerated it in the walls and drawers, but Lori raised the possibility the Mouse Bastard might visit my bed. I will not stand for that. Do I violate my vegetarian principles and make the mouse go away? If I get pregnant, I certainly don’t want mice in the house contaminating things. Even if I’m not pregnant, I think I am done with the mouse. It’s kind of interesting to see what he will choose from the trash next, but it’s also infuriating.
In other news, the 3rd blood and ultrasound of IVF/ICSI #2 went okay, except for being so early. I’m making progress, but not there yet. I have 5 follicles over 10mm right now, the largest at 16. I actually was hoping for more follicles, but last time I had about half a dozen in the last ultrasound and ended up with 13 eggs retrieved and 10 mature, so it might turn out better than it looks. If not, then hopefully ICSI will fertilize the existing eggs nicely.
What this means is that I need to do at least one more day of injections (Gonal-F, Repronex, and Centrotide). Which would be fine except that I used the last box of Centrotide yesterday. Which therefore means that I must drive 40 minutes to the pharmacy and get more. I had a bit of a dilemma about how many days’ worth to buy. It’s $72 per day. Buy one and risk another trip back to the pharmacy tomorrow, or buy two and risk wasting $72? The nurse thought that I’d probably need two days, but it might be only one day. My acupuncture appointment tomorrow is halfway to the pharmacy, so it’s really about 45 minutes of extra time to drive back to the pharmacy tomorrow if necessary. At this point 45 minutes of my time is worth less than $72, so I’m only buying one.
This is how DH thinks about almost everything, and it is clearly rubbing off.
The real question today is who will be driving to the pharmacy.
In favor of me:
- DH has a lot of work to do today
- I could stop at the shop where I bought the Mojo Socks on the way home and get myself a pair for the upcoming retrieval/transfer (if they let me wear my own socks, which they usually don’t)
- I could stop at a particular specialty market that has my favorite specialty salad dressing; the one in my fridge was thrown out after the ice storm/blackout
In favor of DH:
- I have work to do today too (though it may not get done)
- I already drove 2 hours this morning, one of the hours before dawn
- I slept 4 hours and he slept 8
Wait, DH just came home from the gym while I was writing this post. I told him of the need to obtain the medication. He said cheerily, “Of course I’ll go!” DH is the absolute best.
Mojo socks will have to wait… maybe not for long, though, if I have another unexpected trip to the pharmacy tomorrow.
December 28, 2008
Before I announce the winner of the Creme de la Creme contest, I would like to show you my own consolation prize.
Most nights, after giving myself my IVF shots, I like to console myself with a sweet snack. In so doing, I am breaking the “no eating after 10 p.m. rule” usually followed in our house. When we established that rule, we did not foresee my repeated stabbing with needles.
Here is an example of a consolation snack: 1/4 of a brownie. You may recognize the plate as part of the series that I made using gauze from IVF #1. I don’t use it in the normal dish rotation, but it makes a fine plate for IVF consolation.
And now, the moment you have been waiting for: the winner of my Creme de la Creme contest…
I am delighted that she is the winner. Not only is she wry, hilarious, and strong beyond belief, but she will soon be donating embryos to Dora. A piece of pottery is comically tiny in comparison to that kind of gift, but here it is.
I must include the disclaimer that I did not make this bowl, but I know the person who did. She is a professional potter, and one of my pottery teachers. I will hopefully be able to make a bowl this nice in the near future. I was getting close, until a certain pottery calamity derailed my progress. I hope to resume soon and make some replacements for everything that was destroyed, as well as many prizes for future contests.
Amusingly, AngryCanRN actually submitted multiple entries for the contest. The first one was the correct one, but when I took my sweet time announcing the winner, she assumed that her first guess must have been wrong and tried again. But, since the first guess was correct, I will count it. I’m not sure if the lesson here is to go with your instinct or to try try again.
And so, if you are keeping track, that means that Show and Tell: Bridge was my favorite post this year (and therefore, in the history of the blog to date). Only a few days until we get to see everyone else’s favorite posts at Creme de la Creme. In the meantime, you can enjoy the rest of Show and Tell.
December 25, 2008
First, I am pleased to announce that there is a winner for the second incarnation of the Creme contest. That person knows that she won (and therefore, if you entered but don’t know that you won, you must not be the winner), but I’m going to wait to tell you her identity until we settle on her prize. I meant to close the contest yesterday, but, uh, something came up.
It has been the weirdest couple of weeks. Seriously. Between almost a week of being outsted from my house thanks to the ice storm and blackout, and then upon our return almost two feet of snow in one weekend, and starting IVF #2, and all of the random other stumbling blocks like a fried water heater and a demolished laptop, DH and I are not going with the flow as well as usual.
And now, my grampa has died.
Selfishly Realistically, my very first thought upon hearing the news from my father was that if the timing of the funeral conflicts with the timing of IVF #2, I can’t go.
My second thought as my phone conversation with my father continued, as he described all sorts of emotions and memories about his father and then started crying, was that I didn’t have it in me to be as supportive as I should have been. Sometimes it comes easily, and sometimes I can muster it, but sometimes my emotional bank account is overdrawn. I am a fantastic wife and pretty good friend and unquestioningly devoted future mother, but I am a barely passable daughter much of the time. And that may be the best I can do right now.
And then I thought about how I barely knew my grampa, how infrequently I saw him throughout my childhood and how little of himself he revealed when I did see him. And I thought about how most of my cousins are probably sadder than I am, because most of them knew him better — though I think only a few actually knew him well.
I thought about the deaths of DH’s grandparents and how those affected me so much more, particularly his grandmother. How I’m on the verge of tears anytime I think about the great-grandchild that I couldn’t produce while she was still alive, even several years after her death, yet I have not shed a tear for my grampa.
I thought about the recent version of my grampa, an elderly man who had lost control of his physical capacities and many of his mental capacities. Going back a few years, the younger-but-still-elderly man who loved football and conservative talk radio (and sadly, that is the extent of my knowledge about his interests). The middle-aged grampa of my childhood, much younger than my parents are now, on whose lap I sat once every year or two. The handsome young man in the army uniform, whom I know only from photos.
Most of all, I thought about my loved ones who are far more affected by his passing than I am. My gramma, who loved him with all of her heart and who stood vigil next to his hospital bed every moment of the past week; my father, with his conflicted relationship with his father; my aunts and uncles; extended family that knew him so much better. Everyone for whom future Christmases will be reminders of a deep loss.
I don’t know when my grampa’s funeral will be, but if it occurs during IVF #2, I won’t go; I will have to say that something came up. But, if the funeral is scheduled during the 2WW (or later), I could go. But should I? Most people seem to say it’s okay to fly, but with past pregnancies not having stuck around, I’m uncertain about travel. I don’t actually think it would make a difference, but I also don’t like having something preventable to (falsely) blame if things don’t work out. Personally I don’t need to go to say goodbye to the dead, but it would be nice to go so that I can abide with the living.
What do you think, Internets: Would you fly to a funeral during the 2WW after IVF?
December 22, 2008
Let’s try again with multiple choice.
Via email or comment, select one of the ten posts listed below. You can make an informed guess by reading them, or you can randomly pick a number. The contest will end when someone wins. The first person to guess the correct post is the winner (therefore, you shouldn’t pick something someone else already picked in an earlier comment).
The winner will receive a piece of pottery. That person will also have to provide me with a mailing address to receive that piece of pottery. (The prize won’t be a tiny vase like Lori from Weebles Wobblog and Wishing 4 One received because I don’t have any of those left, but it will be something interesting.)
The following posts were high on my original list of candidates for Creme de la Creme, but each of them was guessed by one or more people already. I won’t include them among the 10 since they’d only be decoys, but they are indeed some of my favorites (and in combination with the above 10, could constitute a Best of 2008 list):
Empty and Frantic
One Night Only
Let the guessing commence! Someone has to get it this time, right?
Note to ICLW participants: Picking a number will be the easiest comment you leave all week!
December 21, 2008
First of all, I will not be posting the winner and prize for last week’s Creme de la Creme contest. Because nobody won. So instead, you should come back in a couple of days for a multiple choice version of the contest. It involves picking a number between 1 and 10 — do you know any other contest with odds this good?
This week for Show and Tell, I offer up an Infertility Christmas Card. Last year I received a literal infertility Christmas card, but that’s a long story that I’ll tell later this week. It’s a story that I want to scream from the rooftops, but I can’t tell people IRL without outing myself as infertile, so instead it’s just between you and me, Internets.
This past week when we were refugees/nomads during the ice storm and subsequent almost weeklong power outage, I spent lots of time in places where I normally spend little or no time. One day I went to a local pharmacy (not a local branch of a big chain, but an actual local mom-and-pop pharmacy) to buy B6 vitamins since I’d left my bottle at home, in my fleeing haste. In the process of browsing the quirky offerings of the store, I came across a small display of boxed Christmas cards. Normally stores have a dozen to choose from, or two dozen, or more, but this little store had only 5. I almost fainted when I read the words on one of them.
Huh? What the hell kind of Christmas card is that? Is someone really making Christmas cards to announce infertility? What?!?
Then my eyes zoomed out and I looked at the cartoon.
Okay, that’s kind of weird. Not an infertile 30-something woman, but a horse. Hmm. Zoom out again.
It’s kind of funny from a neutral standpoint, but from an IF standpoint, it is funny on so many levels. And also not funny at all.
Go enjoy more holiday goodness (and some non-holiday goodness) at Show and Tell.
December 19, 2008
This is what has happened in the last 24 hours.
- Thursday, 3pm: Hurriedly wrap everything up at work and leave early
- 4pm: Arrive at home for the first time in 6 days since ice storm and power outage; everything seems fairly intact; work for a couple of hours
- 6pm: Support group meeting
- 9pm: Clean out refrigerator and catalogue contents; basically everything must be thrown away except mustard (tip for future weeklong blackouts: brie and goat cheese don’t fare well unrefrigerated for a week); we actually don’t have enough garbage cans for everything, so a bunch of stuff must wait in the freezer until the next trash day
- 11pm: DH announces after exercising and trying to take a shower that there is no hot water; I spend half an hour crouching on the boiler room floor trying to fix the water heater; no success
- 12am: DH drops laptop on floor and the guts start spilling out; the limits of his Zen are tested, but my own calm over the computer helps to diffuse his guilt (hint: I’m a lot calmer over computer demise when most things are backed up and just a few files aren’t because the power outage interrupted the nightly server backup that I had instituted after several previous computer catastrophes; I am even calmer when those few lost files belong to someone else)
- 1am: we go to bed; DH is shivering from dried sweat without his shower
- Friday, 6am: wake up
- 7am: blood and dildocam for beginning of IVF #2; DH sits in waiting room, too sleepy to read Newsweek or his book and too disgusted to read the brainless tabloids
- 7:30am: drive 1.5 hours to house where cat was being generously babysat during blackout
- 9am: retrieve cat; DH borrows their shower since they have hot water
- 9:20am: drive back in the direction of home; do work while DH drives
- 10am: consultation with “genius” at Apple store reveals that cost of fixing computer is almost as much as buying new computer
- 10:10am: DH waits in car with cat while I desperately try to locate a bathroom in the mall; after speedwalking the entire length of the mall, I find that the bathroom in the food court is filled with workmen, who vaguely direct me downstairs
- 10:13am: get stuck at escalator behind woman who is gingerly trying to step on (seriously, she stood there for more than 20 seconds); when she finally steps onto the escalator and I maneuver past her, I see that she is carrying a huge waffle cone of ice cream (did I mention that it is 10:13am?)
- 10:14am: discover that downstairs bathroom is locked
- 10:17am: sprint to department store where bathroom is located in the furthest possible corner, past the portrait studio filled with a queue of cranky toddlers wearing Christmas sweaters and dippity-do in their hair
- 10:19am: reach working, unlocked bathroom
- 11am: go to pharmacy and pick up IVF medications; insurance covers PIO and estrogen pills, and the other almost-$4000 is up to me; DH’s eyes bug out of his head
- 12pm: get home, both resume working
- 1pm: plumber arrives, spends an hour fixing water heater (I wasn’t incompetent after all; it really was broken — by the way it’s only a year old, and the damage was definitively caused by the blackout)
- 2pm: file insurance claim; there will be a $1000 deductible, but we’ll still be able to recoup a bunch of expenses, including the plumber, food, hotel, and spoiled Gonal-F — I think
- 2:30pm: I discover that while on the phone with insurance, I missed the call from RE’s office; nurse’s voicemail left only partial instructions; when I call back, they have closed the office due to the snowstorm and aren’t even accepting voicemails; I decide to use my judgment in conjunction with a small slip of paper with a scribbled protocol that Dr. Full Steam Ahead handed me a couple of months ago
- 3pm: blizzard begins
Is there a snow equivalent of “when it rains, it pours”?
We’re fine, really. It’s just a lot for one 24-hour period with no shower; few food options in the house beyond mustard, crackers, and oatmeal; and little sleep. At least the hot water is back now, we got take-out on the way home, and I can take a nap whenever I want.
Stims start tonight!
December 16, 2008
To be added to the list of Things That Wake You Up from a Deep Sleep as well as the list of Ice Storm Casualties:
A proper infertile would have brought the Gonal-F in her fridge along when she fled the ice storm. Maybe the hundreds of progesterone suppositories too, if she could have found room. Or at least left the meds outside the fridge in on the counter, since the house would eventually cool to about 5 degrees Celcius while the fridge paradoxically warmed.
I, apparently, am not a proper infertile. The meds are now useless — or if not useless, at least not to be trusted.
When I woke up with the “Oh no!” realization, DH asked how much it was worth. I said, “hundreds.” I’d forgotten the actual cost, which for the Gonal-F alone is over $700 that I paid out of pocket at the end of IVF #1, not knowing how many more days of stims I’d need. (This, perhaps, is why he was able to roll over and go back to sleep while I got up in a huff and went to blog about it.) This is the very same packet of medication that required so much effort and espionage to hide when DH’s family came to visit. I have removed and replaced them from the fridge strategically a dozen times in the past six months — just not the one time that actually mattered.
I wonder if (homeowners) insurance will cover my lost meds. (Health) insurance didn’t cover them when I got them in the first place!
Did I mention that yesterday I authorized a charge of over $10K on my credit card for IVF #2? $700 is a drop in the bucket compared to that, but on the other hand, arrrrgh!
Zen attitude currently on hiatus… at least until breakfast.
December 15, 2008
Thanks to the ice storm and resulting region-wide blackout, my house still does not have power. (Unfortunately I don’t have ice storm pictures to show you, since I left the camera at home when we fled.)
I have spent the last three nights in beds that are not my own. Tonight will be #4.
Perfect Moment #1: People keep saying, “Oh, how awful!” or “It must be so hard for you.” Actually, no. DH and I are both very easy-going about stuff like this. I always appreciate being reminded of how well we both react to adversity, and what an unusual match that makes us. As far as I know, there’s no damage to our house (unless when we get home we discover a giant tree has crashed through our roof, which happened to people we know). While I’d still prefer to be in my house, the situation has certainly worked out better for us than it has for the people in our town who have been sleeping on cots in the high school gym, thanks to…
Perfect Moment #2. It’s good to have friends. As soon as we realized that the blackout wasn’t temporary, we drove to another city less affected by the storm. That city is well-populated with people we know, many more people than we know at home in fact. Our friends who had spare rooms weren’t available for various reasons, so for two nights, two different guys gave us their own beds and found another place to sleep (it’s not pure altruism, as both of them bunked with a ladyfriend and presumably got lucky, but still very generous). As part of descending on different people’s lives for the past few days, we spent time with some people that we know extremely well, got to know some people better (sleeping in someone’s bed and eating every meal with them has that effect), and met some cool new people. We had way more fun this weekend than would have had at home — either the blacked out home or our normal home.
I won’t go so far as to say that I’d be up for a blackout every weekend, but DH and I are both game for the occasional adventure.
Not sure if the power situation will affect IVF #2. I think that my RE’s office has electricity, but not sure about the staff’s homes. It will work out somehow.
Zen is so much better than freaking out — trust me, I have experience with both.
Head to Weebles Wobblog to see more Perfect Moments.