Show and Tell: Pink

November 30, 2008

Yesterday while tidying up I found the Vogue magazine that I had been reading in the hospital before my hysteroscopy. When I picked the magazine up, I found some photos tucked inside that I’d never seen before.

Can you guess what they are?



Did you guess?

No? I’ll give you a second to think about it…


They are photos of my uterus — from the inside! Something I never ever expected to accidentally find lying around the house. Never ever ever.

I knew that Dr. Full Steam Ahead showed the photos to DH, but I didn’t know (since I was unconscious at the time, and DH never mentioned it) that he gave us a copy to take home. And therefore I also didn’t know that DH tucked the pictures into Vogue. Surprise! No, that’s not a Dolce & Gabbana maxi dress, it’s your empty womb!

DH was 100% right when he described the photos simply as pink.

Randomly discovering photos of your uterus… one of those moments that only infertility can deliver.

If you’d like to see what else people have brought for Show and Tell this week, head over to Miss Lollipop’s circle time. It’s a pretty safe bet that no one else brought a uterus. If someone else also has internal photos of their reproductive organs, I would be so embarrassed! Embarassed at the duplication, not at showing the world pictures of my hoo-hah. That is no problem, obviously.


November 28, 2008

Be optimistic!
Don’t you be a grumpy
When the road gets bumpy
Just smile
–Shirley Temple, Be Optimistic

(I haven’t watched this since I was a child; the other kids are a little creepy, but Shirley is, as always, a doll)

After more than 7 years, I am back on The Pill.

Just for a few weeks — don’t worry, I haven’t given up TTC. It’s the pre-cycle before IVF #2, which will start in mid-December. Finally!

This week I saw Dr. Full Steam Ahead for the post-op appointment following the recent hysteroscopy. I’ve never seen him so optimistic. He all but guaranteed a baby from this next cycle. It was encouraging, but at the same time it’s a little hard to believe. He is aggressive, obviously, or he wouldn’t be named Dr. Full Steam Ahead, and I don’t think he’s the type to make promises that are flatly false. But, after so many big and small letdowns, including the first injectible+IUI cycle this year where I was sure something would finally work after all these years and then M/C #2 after IVF #1 this summer, it’s really difficult to put my whole heart in it. But I am somewhat hopeful that it may finally work, perhaps if not with IVF #2 then maybe with the FETs that follow, or IVF #3… optimistic, but not overly optimistic.

I had no reason to be over optimistic,
But somehow when you smiled
I could brave bad weather
–The Who, 1921

The plan:

  • Now: Birth control pills (instead of Lupron which I used for IVF #1)
  • Mid December: Gonal-F + Repronex, then Antagon
  • Late December: IVF with ICSI
  • Then: Progesterone in Oil (Designated Husband transforms into Designated Hurter + Doting Hugger)

This one’s optimistic
This one went to market
This one just came out of the swamp
This one dropped a payload
Fodder for the animals
Living on an animal farm
If you try the best you can
If you try the best you can
The best you can is good enough
–Radiohead, Optimistic

Care Package?

November 27, 2008

I will not be writing about Thanksgiving today. Not that I am not thankful for many things, but we are not doing Thanksgiving this year. At all.

Instead, to make it easy for ICLW commenters and also to make it easier for me to do a good deed, I would like to enlist the help of the Internets. I’ve seen so many of my infertile bloggy friends on bedrest for weeks or even months, so some of you may have firsthand experience, and the rest of you are full of good ideas, I’m sure.

One of my relatives just had major surgery. He’s going to be okay, but he’ll be immobile for a while.

So, if you were going to create a care package for someone who will be stuck at home, essentially unable to move, for a couple of months, what would you send? I will start the list out with the obvious.

  1. DVD of Rear Window

Feel free to go wild with your suggestions, since I am the one paying rather than you. 🙂

Thanks in advance!

Gallows Humor

November 26, 2008

DH and I just watched this week’s Law and Order: SVU. (By the way, the episode, “Persona”, talks a lot about fertility and reproductive rights — try to catch it online or when it gets rerun; by then you’ll forget my spoiler.) A couple in their 60s are talking separately to the detectives. The husband says that they weren’t able to have children and that the wife was diagnosed infertile. The wife says that she was secretly on the pill the whole time (it sounds horrible, but it makes sense in the context of the plot).

DH: How could the husband be so blind for so long? Any husband would know she was on the pill that whole time.
Me: She could hide the pills, easy. That’s what I’ve been doing all these years! (I begin rolling around laughing, literally.)
DH, stony faced: That is the least funny thing you have ever said.

I think it’s hilarious. You?

Show and Tell: Mojo Socks

November 23, 2008

Earlier this week I told you about the saga of my demolished pottery projects, oh so many demolished projects… sigh…

Yes, so anyway, back to the task at hand. So, I told you about how, to console myself, I wandered into a local fair trade clothing boutique. I stumbled upon socks that bestowed peace upon me, because I realized that I could bring someone else a smile and hopefully some good luck in an upcoming cycle.

First, I present the socks.

Mojo Socks

They are hand-crafted in Vermont by The Sock Lady of Solmate Socks out of recycled cotton. They are purposely mismatched — which seems especially fitting for those of us for whom things haven’t always gone as expected. They are really cuddly. I can’t vouch for the fit because I didn’t want to try on socks that I’d be giving to someone else, but the saleslady said they’re extremely comfortable.

And now, the winner…

The worthy recipient of these socks will be Miss Conception. She was nominated by Merlot from Swimming Against the Tide. Here’s a little summary of Miss Conception’s history, in her own words.

We have been trying to conceive since 2000, have gone through 6 IUIs, 2 fresh IVFs, and 2 Donor Embryo cycles. We managed to get pregnant with twins but lost them at 8 weeks last December 13th. We got pregnant again in April, but lost that pregnancy 8 weeks later. We started to pursue adoption in 2005 and are waiting for a referral from China sometime in 2011. We were considered by a birthmom in the summer, but she chose the other couple in consideration. It’s been quite a rollercoaster ride.

Miss Conception is past due for some good luck. Please join me in wishing her all the best in her upcoming FET and beyond. Thanks also to Merlot for nominating such a worthy recipient.

If you’d like to see what else people have brought for Show and Tell this week, head over to circle time.

Behind the Scenes

November 22, 2008

One nice thing about having a blog is that I have an audience to whom to relate the special moments of my life, even when they don’t relate to IF.

I was just in my local upscale supermarket (largely organic, locally produced when possible, etc.) and was surprised to round a corner into an aisle and almost walk straight into a cameraman. He was filming a mother and her 5-year-old son “shopping.” I assume they were filming a local television ad for the market. From what I could tell, the mom is a regular shopper, not an actress. She was going about her shopping, but she was playing up certain things for the camera. The boy was entirely being himself.

Mom, unusually articulately and with a blank smile not seen since 1950s family sitcoms: “Which cereal would you like to try this week? There are so many here that you love.”
Son, oblivious to camera and therefore stepping on cameraman’s foot to access his selection: “This one! This one!”
Mom, to cameraman: “Uh, sorry.”

As they were setting up for the next shot, the cameraman made an offhand observation.

Cameraman: “Wow, this stuff is really expensive.”
Mom: “Ugh, tell me about it!”

My instinct tells me that certain scenes may end up on the cutting room floor.

Show and Tell coming soon… Happy ICLW!

Perfect Moment

This week’s Perfect Moment was hard won.

Recovering from Friday’s hysteroscopy meant that I had to wait until Sunday to head to the pottery studio.

When I arrived, two of my pots had finished going through the glaze fire. I’d used both to test a new glaze, so when they ended up ruined (bubbly glaze that had run and stuck the pots to the shelf), I wasn’t concerned. Then I realized that another piece I’d done should have been fired too, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. Then I realized that another piece was missing. And another. And another. Consulting the detailed notes that I keep on each piece, there were at least half a dozen that had disappeared. Several of them were fantastic pieces that I’d been working on for months; some of the best work I’d ever done. I’m a very inconsistent potter, and plenty of my stuff ends up being total crap, but several of these could legitimately be sold professionally, for a lot of money (though these were all intended either for me or as specific gifts).

My first thought was that someone had stolen them all. Because of work and travel, it had been a few weeks since I’d been in the studio. In that time, someone must have recognized their brilliance and snatched them! They only left the two mangled testers. Bastards!

The dream I’d had about all of my pottery being gone when I got to the studio turned out to come true! Well, almost — there were some unglazed pieces left. But some of the very best ones ever, including the replacement for the wonderful pot I broke a few months ago, were gone. With some of the others, I had tested and expanded my limits as a potter. Some of them were pieces I’d attempted half a dozen times before finally succeeding with this one. Many of them involved literally hours of finishing work such as hand-carving designs. And now, they were gone. All gone.

I was absolutely livid. I called the pottery teacher at home, but no one answered. I was bursting with rage — it has been years since I have been this angry.

I was so pissed that I could not bear to stay another minute. What if everything else I make will also get stolen someday? I packed up everything and headed out in a huff. On my way out, I thought I would mention it to the lady at the front desk (who has nothing to do with what goes on in the studio), just to document the outrageousness.

Me, shockingly calmly: I can’t find a bunch of my pottery anywhere. I can’t imagine where all of those pieces would have gone.
Lady: Oh, were those part of the kiln fire that got destroyed?
Me: Huh?
Lady: It was awful. The entire batch was totally destroyed. All of the shelves collapsed and I guess everything got crushed.
Me: Oh.

It wasn’t malice after all, it was… human error? Mechanical failure? Random chance?

I have written before about my Zen non-attachment to individual pieces, which applies whether the damage occurs through my own error or
someone else’s. But it’s never happened before that so many pieces shuffled off this mortal coil, all at once. I had exceeded the limits of my Zen non-attachment.

I was no longer angry, but still very stunned. Unfit to drive, I walked into a nearby boutique that sells free trade clothing and gifts. I’d bought a gorgeous handbag there a couple of months ago (vegan leather, but you’d never guess it!), and thought I’d calm myself down with some retail therapy.

And then I found the socks.

Delightful, hand-knitted socks made from recycled cotton. So soft and comfy. Beautiful color combinations. Whimsical patterns. My first thought? Good luck socks for an IVF or IUI!

But not for me, for someone else… one of my bloggy friends!

In this act of altruism, so much of my negativity dissipated. I spent at least 10 minutes carefully choosing a pair. Imagining someone else’s delight at receiving them. Visualizing the socks shuffling down the hallway of a hospital or clinic… a brave woman wearing nothing but a hospital gown and these socks. Hoping that these lucky socks might indeed turn out to be lucky for their wearer.

And slowly, a very very imperfect moment became a Perfect Moment.

Were these meant for you? Or maybe someone whose story you’ve been following? I would love to send these socks to someone who will be doing a cycle in the near future. I’d like to hope that they’re carrying some good karma after all of this. Please nominate yourself or another blogger in the comments — or by email [babysmilinginbackseat at gmail daaaaht com] if you want to keep the nomination a secret. In case there are multiple nominations, to break the tie please include a guess as to the color scheme I picked out (there are several colors represented, so just name a couple of colors). The other tie-breaking factor is that I’ll need to get a mailing address from the recipient, so if you nominate someone who does not consent to receive them, that person will un-win and I’ll have to give them to someone else.

I will reveal the socks and the recipient at Show and Tell next weekend, so you have until Thursday night 11/20 at midnight Eastern time.

Postscript: The socks didn’t entirely cure my mood. When I got home, I explained the day’s horrors to DH. He declared that pottery is never supposed to be stressful, because that is what I do to get away from stress. We decided that maybe I should create my own studio at home rather than working in a public space (still thinking that over). He was sweet, kind, attentive, fun, helpful, encouraging — even moreso than usual. Call it Perfect Moment #2 — I have Perfect Moments with my husband literally almost every day, but this time he was truly exceptional.

Head to Weebles Wobblog to see more Perfect Moments. Let’s hope that everyone else’s days were more unequivocally perfect.

Show and Tell: Cherimoya

November 16, 2008

This week’s Show and Tell is a fruit that many of you may be unfamiliar with. I present the cherimoya. It is a bumpy green-gray fruit indigenous to the Andes. You’d never pass by a display of cherimoyas and think to yourself, “Yum, I’ve got to have one of those!” But I’m letting you in on the secret.


I ate my first cherimoya several years ago at a farmer’s market. At that point, it was difficult to find them in the United States. I believe that I paid $11 for that first cherimoya.

Imagine my surprise this week to find it in my local grocery store. It did cost $5 — the price has decreased, but it still shocked DH when the cherimoya popped up on the cash register. I assured him that if I keep buying them, the price will go down.

DH: Do you know what economists would call someone like you?
Me: A maven?
DH: Chump.

It’s totally worth it. The cherimoya has a texture like custard or sherbet (which is why I recommend scooping out the flesh with a spoon, as if you were eating pudding inside a fruit skin). The flavor reminds me of a mild kiwi. Wikipedia calls the flavor a cross between a banana, pineapple, and strawberry. The flavor has also been described as a combination of mango, papaya, banana, and coconut. Mark Twain called it “deliciousness itself.”

To be honest, this cherimoya wasn’t as good as others I’ve had. I was so concerned that I would wait too long to eat it and it would spoil, that I suppose I erred in the other direction and ate it before it was entirely ripe. But if you can get the timing right, you’ll rarely eat a better fruit.

Just don’t eat the seeds.

Cherimoya interior

If a child brought a fruit to Show and Tell, they’d be laughed out of the classroom. This is why we have Show and Tell 2.0.

Post-Op Quotables

November 15, 2008

For a surgery in which I had nothing to report, the last post about my hysteroscopy was ludicrously long. Here is a relatively short post — within the limits of my verbose nature.

  1. Overheard through the curtain between another patient and a nurse — I was actually trying not to listen and just read my Vogue, but when other people are having a conversation at full volume and the only barrier is a piece of fabric, eavesdropping is inevitable.
  2. Nurse: You’ll need to take (dosage) of aspirin.
    Patient: How about Excedrin? I have Excedrin at home.
    Nurse: I think that is aspirin, but I’d have to look it up. Why don’t you just go to the pharmacy and buy regular aspirin on your way home.

    (Really? First of all, I was shocked that a nurse wouldn’t know the ingredients of one of the most basic over-the-counter medicines. Though, to be fair, there are now more than half a dozen versions of Excedrin. But still — I’ve never taken Excedrin and I know that regular Excedrin contains acetominophin and caffeine, but that some other formulations also contain aspirin. Excedrin is “The Headache Medicine,” thanks to the caffeine — since a huge number of people have headaches due to caffeine withdrawal. Yes, yes, I realize I know far too much about over the counter medications, especially for someone who almost always refuses to take painkillers and has never experienced caffeine withdrawal in her life, but still. I find it bothersome when I know more than people whose job it is to know something, and I start to wonder about the implications for how they might treat or mistreat me.

    Second of all, really? She couldn’t take a minute to look it up or ask someone? If it had been just plain aspirin, such as Bayer, it would be pretty dumb to make a patient stop at the pharmacy on the way home from surgery to either spend needless money or find out that the trip was wasted.)

  3. After I’d regained consciousness.
    Me: Did Dr. Full Steam Ahead explain everything to you?
    DH: Yes. He also showed me some pictures of the inside of your uterus.
    Me: Ooh! Were they fascinating?
    DH: Um… no. They were pink.


November 15, 2008

Hysteroscopy went well! Nothing to report really — no abnormal findings, no endometriosis, no fibroids, no structural problems. No news is good news, right? I kind of hoped that he would find something because maybe that would have been the true reason for the years of infertility and the two miscarriages and then we could have fixed it, but I guess it’s better not to have anything actually wrong, even if the term “unexplained infertility” is so infuriating sometimes.

At yesterday’s support group meeting, I heard many horror stories about hysteroscopies, and went from no-longer-too-concerned to rather freaked out. Of course, most of the members with horror stories had also had laproscopies, which probably explains much of the difference. Based on having the same RE as some of the members but a different RE than others, it also seems like Dr. Full Steam Ahead, as aggressive as he may be in many ways, is also judicious. He doesn’t order extra medications that happen to sometimes have terrible side effects, just to cover his own ass in case something goes wrong. Score one for Dr. Full Steam Ahead.

Of the three times I’ve had general anesthesia, this was the quickest wake-up and least groggy aftermath. The anesthesiologist told me beforehand that he’d be administering agents that would specifically allow for quick wake-up. Score one for nickname-less anesthesiologist.

Even so, I wasn’t fully awake most of the day — not coherent enough to blog, anyway. Lori can attest that she received an email from me with no punctuation, no capitals, and plenty of words and parts of words missing. Most of that resulted from typing with one hand, supine, rather than incoherence, but I was certainly not at 100% mental capacity.

Dr. Full Steam Ahead talks very quickly and proceeds with treatments quickly, so it should have been no surprise that he performed surgery quickly. Apparently I was in the OR for less than 10 minutes. The whole experience took more than 3 hours, though.

I was sensible enough not to bring work with me to the hospital. I did spend most of the morning before the surgery working — in part after a phone call home from one of my bosses who urgently needed me to check over his changes to a project that’s been hanging over my head all week and which I had finally finished in the wee hours on Thursday night/Friday morning. But I turned around a quick response to him (“All of your changes look wonderful, thanks, all set, let’s proceed [and now you can stop bothering me]”) and moved on to less brain-intensive work. I haven’t checked any of my work email accounts all day — I figure that by now, nothing is so urgent that it can’t wait until Saturday or Sunday; plus, can’t a girl get a day off to have surgery? Not that anyone from either job knows about the surgery (or anything about IF at all — except for the lady from HR).

Instead of bringing work, I brought an issue of Vogue to occupy the pre-op waiting hours. Because of my work schedule I’m an issue behind, so I got to read all about Valerie Jarrett on the campaign trail with Obama, coincidentally on the same day that she was named White House Senior Advisor (though I didn’t know it yet in the hospital). I also read all about fashion trends that have already passed.

(Side note: I bet you didn’t think I was the kind of woman who read Vogue cover to cover every month, did you? Yeah, well neither did I. I received a subscription as a gift, but have been enjoying the feature stories and even-handed, fairly feminist journalism very much. The fashion I can take or leave, though I guess I do like increasing my familiarity with the top designers for the sake of being even more well-rounded and capable of talking to almost anyone at a cocktail party. That is the same reason I watch a single episode of many reality shows, just so that I don’t have to stand there mute while everyone else goes on and on about that sassy Santino or Cloris Leachman’s joie de vivre or Gary Busey’s latest Buseyism. I already don’t want to talk about child-bearing or -rearing topics, so I need to keep my other conversation options open.).

The other event of note was an answer in terms of whether I’d be able to start the month of BCPs for IVF #2 (whenever my period arrives — once I figure out how to distinguish post-op bleeding from my period, that is), complicated by the need to wait for insurance authorization. I’d delegated this task to DH since I assumed that Dr. Full Steam Ahead couldn’t make a determination until after the surgery, at which point I might be entirely loopy and incapable of medical decision making or full sentences. Several days ago, after my long phone call with the RE’s office about health insurance, I explained and reexplained the issue to DH carefully. DH wrote down the questions he was supposed to ask verbatim — including things that weren’t part of the actual questions, such as “because you will be unconscious and can’t ask the questions yourself.” (“Enter Laughing,” anyone?). When we got to the hospital, DH recalled his assignment but realized that he had forgotten his notes. In hushed tones in the waiting room, we went back over the questions until DH had all the details memorized.

Then, it turned out that DH didn’t need the notes nor the cramming session at all. I got to ask Dr. FSA the questions myself, when he came to check on me before surgery. He said that as long as I didn’t have any endometriosis there would be no problem in starting the BCPs immediately. This is probably a different stance than some doctors, and also as I understand it quite different for laproscopies or any surgeries where, for example, structural problems are addressed. Anyway, Dr. FSA said it was fine to start the cycle immediately, and I had to grab him (verbally — I am not in the habit of grabbing anyone physically, plus I was hooked to an IV rendering one arm immobile) to ask more questions about the chain of events that had to do with insurance. Excessively long story short, he agreed to give me the prescription on my way home so that I could start the BCPs whenever my period arrives, even if insurance isn’t sorted out yet. Score two for Dr. Full Steam Ahead! There is no way I would ever have gotten the prescription out of the nurse before the insurance authorization was finalized. It’s actually pretty sensible bureaucracy in this case, but Dr. Full Steam Ahead knows that the IVF cycle will get paid for one way or another. And he’s the boss, so he wins.

I was a pretty good bedrest patient after IVF #1, but since I haven’t been in much pain, I have been up and about more than last time. DH drew the line when he discovered me in the process of installing a curtain rod — I managed to mark up the future holes on the wall, but he insisted that I stop as I was on my way to get the power drill. There are a lot of things I can and do “delgate” to DH, but handyman tasks are not among them.

I had originally planned to go to the pottery studio tomorrow, but since I’m not supposed to drive (nor do strenuous physical activity, which pottery can certainly be depending on the task), maybe I’ll do some light work from home on Saturday (even though I’ve been trying to keep Saturdays work-free for the past few weeks) and instead satisfy my Pottery Jones on Sunday.

Finally, lest I paint DH in an unfair light, I will point out that he was fantastic all day long. He told me repeatedly how brave I was. He was affectionate and sweet. He waited patiently (armed with laptop and wifi, plus a spare book in case the wifi hadn’t worked out) the whole time at the hospital, and on the way home he even called my favorite soup restaurant to see if they were serving the flavor I was craving — despite being almost-late for a work phone call that he had to make as soon as he’d gotten me settled at home (I was out of luck, so instead I had a different soup flavor at home). He made my meals, and he went to the supermarket when I felt like eating something that we didn’t have at home. He watched the TV shows I wanted to watch.

Most IF bloggers seem either silent or fairly positive about their partners (perhaps because most of the partners are reading the blogs?) but the support group yesterday was full of griping about how husbands don’t understand what we go through and aren’t helpful and don’t take enough time off work for RE appointments and don’t know any of the abbreviations or terms and did we mention that they don’t understand what we go through? There was audible surprise when I mentioned DH making a phone call (a relatively minor task, he and I both agreed, but one that was stressing me out and neither stressed him out nor took more than 10 minutes of his time) that one of the ladies was describing always making entirely on her own, over and over, despite the stress. I got the impression that no one else in the room could depend on their husbands to do the simplest of tasks (unless the women who didn’t mention much about their husbands were just too sheepish to flaunt their supportive husbands — personally, I would rather set the bar high and have someone go home and demand what she needs from her husband with me as an example).

DH and I share the perspective that if I’m going to give myself shots multiple times a day, go under the knife repeatedly, be rendered out of commission for days at a time, and wake up several hours earlier than usual on dozens of occasions for dates with a dildocam, it is entirely reasonable to expect him to make a few phone calls, go downstairs to put something in the microwave, drop by the pharmacy, and yes, produce a “sample” a few times. I knew that I have the Best Husband in the World long before we experienced infertility, but the nomination is definitely clinched now. Thank you, Designated Husband!!! He prefers to think of DH in a sports context rather than as the usual Dear or Darling — not that he minds being called dear nor darling. My dear, darling, dapper, droll, determined, dependable, dynamic, dedicated, delightful, Designated Husband.

Thanks also to the commenters for all of your reassurances and well wishes, and to silent lurkers who may have mentally sent positive thoughts in my direction. As your reward, tomorrow you can look forward to a Show and Tell that has nothing to do with my uterus.