After years of infertility and IVF, we've finally seen light from the other side. I knew it could happen, but certainly didn't think it would be us ... our new life with twins. Gulp.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Love in a Bathtub*

The simple idea of it sooths me. It warms me, in these months of cold, when no matter the setting on the thermostat, it’s still not warm enough. It is escape, quiet, time alone. My mind doesn’t wander to problems most difficult and to-do lists full of tasks. In there here and now, I’m also deep in someone else’s life. Or in a place far away. Yet still at home, in my bathtub.

Oh, the bathtub. Ever since I was a child, it’s been my refuge. An option for entertainment when boredom strikes. A vehicle for procrastination. As a teenager, I’d spend hours, literally, in the tub with a book. The water started out steaming hot, and as it cooled, I’d alternately let some of the cool out and then refill with fresh, hot water. I’d emerge a wrinkly raisin, shriveled by satisfied.

I’ve had different bathing phases throughout my life. Once off at college, there was no option. No tub in my shared, suite bathroom, for the first three years. Finally, the senior year apartment had a nice white tub … almost new. My roommates thought me crazy, but whenever I could grab a few spare moments, that small room was all mine. Let them all use the powder room … that bathroom was reserved!

Post-collegiate apartments contained bathrooms that were afterthoughts of penny-pinching renovationally-challeneged landlords. I suppose the few square feet of floor space that a tub takes up were put to better use … in the crappy galley kitchens? No. In the almost non-existent laundry closets? Nope.

And then … salvation! J and I bought our house, just before we got married. It’s an early 1900s row house, and had been subject to some horrendous renovations. But the former owner did do one good thing. He left in place three original cast-iron clawfoot tubs, all full sized. Plus one mini clawfoot tub residing the backyard, under a leaking downspout. Add to the mix one tan laminate tub-shower-wall cubicle combo in the unfinished basement Not installed, mind you, but hooked up to a hose for water, and another hose leading into a floor drain. And not in a bathroom, per se, but just floating in the middle of the room. Apparently, he lived down there on occasion. I won’t even go into his other creepy habits that we later learned about. Freaky.

For years, I loved those tubs (the full size clawfoots). While they were dingy, marred, nicked, painted and wallpapered (?) with questionable taste, they are just the right size to hug your body. Not enough space to squirm around too much, but enough to be comfortable. They are just the right size for an across the tub rack that holds a drink and book. What more could a water-loving nymph like me want?

We renovated that house a few years ago, and oh yes, I discovered what more I could want. Namely, a little more space and some kick-ass jets and bubbles.

Winter always finds me in the bath, almost with daily regularity. I’ve been so cold lately, and it’s one of the only ways I can feel good. Just plain, old good.

The ingredients for my perfect soak include:

*A stack of magazines or catalogs, or perhaps a delicious novel
*A cool drink (in the past it’s been wine in the evening, but now I’m digging ginger ale)
*A small snack of some sort (one must be careful when selecting a snack, because occasional overboard experience do happen. Have you ever seen a gumdrop floating in bathwater? Take my word for it … ugg.)
*A concoction for the bathwater … bubbles, salts, whatever’s available. Today it will be a bath bomb fizzer.
*A kitty cat.

Running water always draws the attention of my two little felines. They love to drink from the sink faucet, so the bathtub water is simply fascinating. Once the water reaches a higher lever, Sweet White Kitty positions herself on the tub surround. Her body flattens, inches forward, and one paw reaches down towards the reflective pool of water. Usually she undershoots it, and has to reach down even further, which makes me so nervous. Eventually, paw makes contact with water, and licking and grooming commences. Not such a good idea if bubble bath has been introduced into the mix, but she usually figures it out.

If small food pieces or bottle caps are in the immediate area, soccer wannabe Sweet White Kitty starts her match and things start flying into the water. Which is why I know about sticky, floating gumdrops.

I’m starting to feel nostalgic. It’s been 24 hours since my last visit. I can wait no longer … I’m off to take a dip now. Ta ta!

*with apologies to Sujata Bhatt

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Sevens

Goodness .... I was tagged by Jen. This took an awful long time for me to complete - it was harder than I thought. Maybe you'll learn something new about me. I did.

Seven things to do before I die:

  1. Spend some time hanging out in Thailand (where I was born) and in neighboring Laos
  2. Enjoy my grandchildren
  3. Get back to pottery, and have my own little studio someday
  4. Help my sister get her life going, and hang out with her kids
  5. Continue to write, and get better and more disciplined at it
  6. Explore the Grand Canyon (this is more J's wish than mine, but by default, it's mine too.)
  7. Attempt to enjoy and master a competitive sport.

Seven things I cannot do:

  1. Enjoy a game of chess
  2. Touch my nose with my tongue (but I can round up my tongue like a crescent roll!)
  3. Control my obsession with "Flavor Blasted" Cheddar Goldfish
  4. Master the inverted balancing poses in yoga. Or even hold them for 2 seconds.
  5. Keep sucking in my stomach any longer
  6. Multitask while cooking, without getting frantic
  7. Stand flat on my feet, without rolling them outwards

Seven things that attract me to my spouse:

  1. Gorgeous eyes
  2. His faithfulness
  3. His small, but very cute, butt
  4. His love of me
  5. His earnestness
  6. His confidence
  7. The cute way he's so technologically-challenged

Seven things I say most often:

  1. "Whatever"
  2. "Good morning, *&(*&((" (insert name of my business here)
  3. "Is there anything I can help you find today?" (See above)
  4. "Hiiiiiiiiiiiii........" (even if I've been in the same room with the person for a while. Just to break the silence. I don't dig silence.)
  5. "Yep, it's twins. Yep, I'm excited."
  6. "Thank you." (I try, so hard, to be polite, even when I'm feeling like I want to bite your head off.)

Seven books I love:

  1. Anything by Ellen Gilchrist, most especially I Rhoda Manning Go Hunting and Fishing with my Father.
  2. The Fourth Hand by John Irving
  3. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  4. The older Patricia Cornwell books. The new ones simply suck.
  5. Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott. I'm currently reading this, and can see it becoming a favorite.
  6. My whole library of infertility books ... they gave me much needed information, stories of women like me, and comfort that indeed, there is a possibility of a child in my future. Perhaps I'll write a bit later about these books. I have a ton.
  7. The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook. I know, I know, you either love Martha or you hate her. But this is my go-to book anytime I need help with cooking or am in need of a cool recipe.

Seven movies I watch over and over again:

  1. The Abyss
  2. The American President (just like Jen!)
  3. Mother, May I Sleep with Danger? (Oh gawd. Tori Spelling on Lifetime. But I just can't turn it off when it appears. Why? WHY?)
  4. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (SJP and Helen Hunt back in the day!)
  5. Watcher in the Woods (another fun one from childhood)
  6. African Queen
  7. The Poseidon Adventure

Friday, December 23, 2005

The Little One

I did it! I managed to get this whole wireless thing set up - presto chango! And I spent an entire late evening / early morning on the couch, checking in on every single person on my blogroll. Wow, lots has happened in the past few weeks, and I was waaaay behind.

We babysat our 2 1/2 year old nephew the other night. Usually, we visit at his house, so we get him in small, controlled doses. This was a different story ... I'd forgotten how crazy wild little tots are. Thank goodness we had some activities planned, or he would've had us all a mess!

After a very fun dinner of grilled cheese, we moved on to work on the Christmas tree, which was lit, but not decorated. Little One took his job of the swirly paper ornaments very seriously, so seriously that he hung all twelve ornaments from one branch. There was no way to encourage him to spread them out, he thought they were perfect just how they were. And they were.

Wrapping presents, what fun, I thought! I can get some real wrapping done, and he can "pretend" wrap some smaller ones. No such luck. We all know what is more interesting to little boys ... the big, empty boxes. One large carton became a sled, a fort, a house, a spaceship, and then an Extreme Home M*akeover house once J was finished with the scissors and duct tape. Quite a creation!

And then, popping popcorn. I realized that most kids now get their popcorn straight out of the microwave, so I thought we'd have a lesson in the Amazing World of Air Popped Corn. It's so much more fun to watch, and when nearing the end, you can take the top off and watch the last few kernels pop all over the kitchen. It was a true success.

I suspect my poor kitties didn't feel the same way about the evening. They're not used to kids, and the Little One was a bit of a terror for them.

After much tail pulling, laying-on, screatching, and whippings with the fishing toy, they discovered the cardboard boxes that were still standing and full of fluff and tissue, and made their ways for safety.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Swerve: Big Decision Ahead

Oh, I am so torn. I have a huge decision to make, pretty much over the weekend, and it’s a fairly huge decision. Or at least I think it is. Is it?

I am part-owner of a small business. I’ve been in it for about five years, and I really love it. It combines my skills (marketing, public relations, organization) and my loves (shopping, homes, beautiful things). It’s been a big part of my life, and has given me amazing opportunities, freedoms, responsibilities, and learning experiences.

But owning a business is hard work. If an employee doesn’t show up, guess who must cover? If a customer is crazy and unhappy, guess who has to spend all the time taking care of it? When the holidays roll around, guess who’s here at all hours? Who goes on all the business trips, deals with all the vendors, and runs the day to day heart of the business? Moi.

The above factors can all be positives, but they can also be negatives. And I can’t do a job half-assed. So if I’m in for good, I’m in full-force. If I’m out, I’m out. No part-time, reduced-responsibilities for me.

I have a meeting on Tuesday with my partner. I need to let her know what my plans are – in or out. For me, there really is no in between. I like to think that there could be, but I’m a bit of a control freak for starters, and a partnership needs to be equal in terms of what you put in and what you take out. And I wonder, with two at home, can I give 100% like I do now? And do I really want to?

It may seem pretty far ahead to be making this decision, but it's not just quitting a job - that would be easy. It's dissolving a partnership. It's potentially changing the face of a business. It's a whole different way of life.

So with this, I put it out there: Do any of you have experiences or thoughts about staying at work vs. staying at home? Regrets? Good decisions? Anecdotal stories? Hard statistical evidence? Just wondering.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

On Line ... Almost

I'm so excited! I've almost figured out how to make my laptop get wireless access! I can't wait to read your blogs from the comfort of my couch or at the kitchen bar while I eat breakfast (or lunch or dinner ... or Oreos at midnight).

In my circle of friends, family, and coworkers, I am one of the most technologically knowledgeable.

But amongst the world of bloggers, I am ignorant ... Completely! So I will sit this evening, surrounded by my boxes of gidgets and gadgets, and hope to get it all set up correctly. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

It Takes All Kinds

I watched a cool special last night about adopting children from China. I'm a Video on Demand junkie, and it was new, so how could I resist? It was very much a homemade, how-to kind of program, but I'm a big fan of how-to kinds of publications and shows, so I really enjoyed it. It took you step by step (very basic steps) through the process, explaining each level, from choosing an agency to deciphering referral information and pictures and on and on.

Ever since I realized that adoption was a possibility for us, I've tried to incorporate the idea into my mindset. I've read about adoption, just like I've read about IVF. I enjoy talking to people who have, or will, adopt. I love reading your blogs. I hope I am one of those people who is genuinely interested, instead of tentatively curious, about adoptions and adoptive children.

I have a friend who will be using a gestational surrogate this spring, if all goes according to plan. I had no idea what an arduous and intense process it will be. Not only does she have to manage finding, interviewing and deciding on a surrogate, she also has to go through the first part of IVF, with the stims and retrieval.

I know that people who have experienced infertility are often more educated about and willing to talk about these subjects. But I love that as women, we really do have so many options available to us. And for the most part, we don't have to hide in the shadows as we decide and manage our choices. We can speak with pride about what we're doing, knowing that there is no shame for us, that we are making the right decisions about our bodies, our futures, our families. Sure, some may not agree with medical intervention, adoption and surrogacy, but we know that it's the right choice for us.

In my own little world, I know people who are making all these decisions, and I love the simple fact that we can. Just think about how many women are making these choices every day.

I've been reading a lot about pregnancy, birth, child raising and the like (big surprise, right?), and I've noticed that in more recent books, there is almost always a decent reference or specific information about all of these options. How you came to have your child absolutely does affect how/if your pregnancy progresses, how your early days with your child will be, and choices you might make in raising him or her.

A family member gave me the copy of What to Expect ... that she read in the mid-1990s. There is little to no reference to ART, IVF, adoption, or surrogacy. At all. And that lack of information certainly mirrors what kind of information and acceptance was out in the general public around that time.

We live in a good time. Sure, I wish more states had mandatory infertility coverage. I wish it was easier to adopt children, and there was less bureaucracy and paperwork. I wish the cover-your-ass legalities involved with any of these options were simply not necessary. I wish people didn't feel the need to over-analyze, criticize, and judge the choices of others, without knowing the facts.

But all in all, we do have choices. And to steal from Martha, that's a very good thing.

Hypochondriac in the Making? I Think Not.

In my life, I've always been a pretty healthy person. Basic illnesses, a bout with mono, a kidney infection that I'll never forget, regular colds and flus. I've learned so much about my body during these past three years, and I feel much more in tune with any aches and pains and what my body might be telling me. Too, in tune, perhaps, now that there are real, live babies inside.

I sneezed last night, laying in bed, and experienced the oddest, strongest pain in my groin. It was so odd, and so scary at the same time. Not like a punch in the belly, not the bowling-ball in the gut like after retrieval, but sharp, yet widespread. I know in my head that this must be normal, right?

I hesitate to call my doctor for something that must be so normal - I don't want to be as annoying as the patient she told me about. The poor woman was so uptight about causing damage that she literally called daily with questions like "I walked by a store where they were repainting. I'm sure I breathed some fumes. Did I hurt my baby?" I am determined not to be that woman. I'm all for asking for help when help is due, but I'm certainly going to have to be able to figure some things out on my own, right?

Doctor Google came to the rescue and assured me that it's just ligaments stretching. Which seems odd, because you can't even tell I'm pregnant. By looking at my belly, that is. Which I also find odd at 12-weeks with twins. Shouldn't something be showing? No worries, it will come soon enough, I'm sure.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Keeping Up with Room Service

They're still there, and apparently, they plan to stay. La Utera de Laura is a hospitable residence, and they seem to be happy with the room service. The maitre'd brings them their meals accordingly, and even though it's been more McDonalds than they might prefer, they haven't penned any complaint letters. The room service has been so good that they're actually measuring a little bigger than they should, which is great. Because their host, moi, has dropped a few LBs in the process.

The spa services have been a bit rumbly lately, as the hosts belly has been acting up, but it all makes for interesting entertainment for them. They would shout and scream with delight and the crazy, bumpy massages they're receiving, but they just read that voices only travel through air, not fluid. Even though their vocal cords are developed, they have noone to talk to. Poor little ones. Imagine, being able to talk, but not being able to talk ... what torture! Instead, Baby B demonstrated delight by doing a little side-roll-arm-raising demonstration while on Candid Camera.

They've spoken to the hotelier about securing their reservations for the next five and a half months or so, and have been told that as far as the establishment can tell, the room will still be available for them. As long as they don't throw a crazy kegger and get kicked out.

* * *

I'm finally experiencing a slight respite in the holiday chaos that is my life right now. The miracle of part-time employees is a blessing, allowing me to attempt to think about my holiday shopping and such. Quite frankly, I think my friends and family are sick of getting gifts from my store, so I'm trying to branch out a bit.

* * *

I feel challenged sometimes in how to talk about this pregnancy, and the circumstances surrounding it all. I was pretty open about doing treatments and IVF while it was happening, and certainly don't feel closemouthed about it now. I was out with a group of college girlfriends the other night, and when one of them asked "Oh, do twins run in your family?" I had no problem whatsoever saying, "Oh no, we did in vitro."

With friends and people near my own age, I feel so comfortable talking about it, and when talking to that particular girlfriend, I followed it up with a brief conversation about how I don't mind talking about it, because I wish I'd known some more people to talk to and help me when I was going through it. And that it's something I wish more women would talk about. Also, I suspect this friend might be having problems, and I wanted to let her know about me.

On the flip side, last night we told a group we're involved with at church. Many of them, I know well, some of them know about our IVF and such, and I don't mind talking personally to in a more intimate situation. They are all wonderful people, and I don't take their questions to be rude, just interested, but at one point, I just didn't know what to say. Practically all the ladies - ranging in ages from 30 to 70 - asked if twins run in our family, were you taking fertility drugs, etc. etc? I just said no, smiled, yes we're excited, and on and on.

I didn't feel totally uncomfortable, just unprepared. However, two women in the group have twins, and I'm so looking forward to talking to them. And another woman spoke to me afterwards, and just said "I'm so excited for you ... I know how long you've wanted this." It's all she needed to say. She didn't need gruesome details, didn't really care, which I loved.

* * *

I had no idea how lucky I was with all these ultrasounds. I didn't realize that with a regular, singleton pregnancy you usually only get one, or maybe two, ultrasounds. I've already had three...and counting. I feel so lucky, I can get this fix, the little bit I need to keep me going. I can see now why those private ultrasound studios are popular, and although I think he's totally whacked, I can begin to understand why Tom C. thought it important to buy a machine just for he and his child-bride.

The babes have three and a half weeks before they make their next on-screen appearance. Maybe somersaults or thumb-sucking is in the works?

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Tis the Season

If anyone out there works in retail, you, too, realize that the chaos has begun. And if your business happens to be in the home decor retail industry, you know that the chaos is in full swing, as eager holiday-goers search for the perfect wreath, the idea accessories to decorate their mantels, and the most gorgeous ornaments to adorn their trees.

This has been my life for the past two weeks, and will continue as such for the next three or four. But this week, in particular, is the craziest, as we participate in a huge, much-anticipated holiday bazaar-type event, as well as maintaining the store in regular fashion.

So, I've been missing from my blog and yours, and am looking forward to January when I can do some catch-up reading, and check in on your progress and your life. Actually, J & I spend the first week in January skiing in this small god-forsaken town a few hours west. I'm going to refrain from skiing this year, knowing that while I'm a pretty decent skiier, I also like to challenge myself, which means that I fall alot. And falling is not what I need to be doing right now. Perhaps I can figure out how to take my laptop? Will it work in that decidedly low-tech, backwaters ski town? Anyone? How do I know?

In terms of baby updates, it's been really fun to tell people the news. I see alot of people at this time of year whom I haven't seen since last holiday season, so when they ask if we have kids yet, I'm enjoying the answer.

I have an appointment on Monday, which I'm excited about. I'll finally get to meet with my doctor, and as I've said before, I'm so excited to be able to finally talk to her! I believe my ultrasound is going to be done my the maternal/fetal specialist, which is very cool. The last ultrasound was rather unsatisfying, as they were hours behind, rushing everyone through, and I never got to see any of the individual baby closeups, just the long view of them together. (Which was lovely, but I'm jonesing for some details!)

My dear friend K gave me "The Pregnancy Journal" the other day. I'm not typically a big fan of these types of books, but this one is full of such interesting info. Did you know? Over the next three days, the babies fingernails will begin to grow. Ahhhh, the better to scratch me with!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Are You a Believer?

Do you believe in karma, fate, fortunes, whatever? *

I don't have a lot of faith in these types of things, but I do believe in coincidence and plain indecipherable mystery. However, when the fortunes are directed positively towards me, I'm all for it - sign me up!

I've been waiting to reveal these mysterious proclamations, just in case they managed to reverse themselves and prove me wrong.

Some coincidences or signs, if you will, and excerpts from my pre-retrieval desperation :

A woman I've known for years, casually, told me that months ago, she had a dream that I was pregnant with twins. She had to ask some mutual friends if it was true, because she wasn't sure if she dreamed it.

I read over at Cecily's about this online tarot card thingie, and I thought, what the heck, I'll give it a try. Some excerpts from the answers to my question "Will this IVF be successful?" include:

  • "... become aware that while something in your life is dying, something else is nearing its time to be born."
  • "You are bing challenged by overflowing abundance and fertility ... You may be pregnant with so many new creations that you are having trouble focusing on just one."
  • "You will find yourself emptied out, clean, and ready for the next stage of your journey."

My sister recommended this horoscope site. My monthly horoscope for October revealed the following:

  • "You have now reached the most important month of the year. This month brings two eclipses, two weeks apart, on October 3 and 17." These were the dates of my retrieval and beta test.
  • "If you need surgery, you are likely to get the right medical help and have reason to believe you can reach the desired outcome. October 3...even more reason to expect good news about your ideal time to schedule exams or procedures."

These are just the highlights from the tarot and the horoscope, but there was much more info that simply inspired me. At that point, I had little hope, a negative attitude, and an overwhelming feeling of pessimism. I took the printouts of both with me to the retrieval, and I read them over and over as I waited to get started. It gave me the hope that I couldn't quite muster on my own.

So, if you don't have inside of you the kind of hope that can get you through a hard time, look for it externally. From a good friend who believes unwaveringly. From your church. From signs and coincidences. From whatever will work for you.

* With apologies to Karen. I promise I wasn't copying ... I've had this post in my drafts folder for ages, and the time just seemed right to finish it up. But it sounds like coincidences do happen for lots of us!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Life is Good

Uggg... I just wrote a long, lovely post about today's ultrasound/doctor's visit. All kinds of wonderful detail and prosaic thoughts about the little ones inside, infertility, friends and more. But one ill move with the mouse, and -POOF!- it's gone.

I don't have the energy to go through it again, and will hope I feel up to recreating it later.

For now, the Cliff*notes version:

*Ultrasound wonderful
*Sweet little fluttering heartbeats
*Possibility of a third yolk sac that didn't develop
*Reminding myself that I'm so happy to have two inside!
*All is good, in me, in life.

And for your viewing pleasure:

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Devil Made Me Do It

Is there a taste or scent that reminds you of a specific point in your life, and can almost take you back to that place and time?

I have many ... White Rain hairspray, the thick and almost gelatinous goop that helped me achieve huge bangs and blown-out "wings" on the side of my head. One whiff of White Rain, and I am instantly transported back to seventh grade. Not a specific instance, but the year in general ... the girls bathroom at school, primping for a party or dance, the smell of my bedroom.

Salsa is a tricky one for me. A grade-school incident involved eating gobs and gobs of the stuff, resulting in an uncomfortable evening spent on the floor in the arms of the toilet. Now and days, I never know if the taste of salsa will catapult me back to that tragic night, or if I'll enjoy it fully.

The smell of pot, I must admit, sends me back to a college boyfriend and his room in the fraternity house, playing the guitar, late nights.

Last Friday, I had a revelation. I had to, I must, I was practically required by some force greater than myself and my ability to reason, get myself to Dunkin Donuts and pick up a vanilla cream-filled powdered donut.

I can't tell you the last time I've had one (it must have been a good time, for sure), and the closest DD is easily 15 miles out of my way and in an area of town I rarely frequent. Already late for work, I drove in the opposite direction, full of anticipation and delight at the prospect of filling my mouth with that icing-like goodness.

I was desperate when I got to the counter, realizing that I had no cash, and how could I buy just a donut with my credit card. How pathetic! So I upped my order to two donuts and a bag of coffee, and hurried the cashier through the transaction. I had a donut to get to.

With napkins covering my lap and donut in bag, I headed off for work, opening up the bag at stoplights, I devoured that thing in three minutes. I relished the creamy texture and the sweet bread holding it all together. I had flashbacks of happy times (what times, specifically, I'm not sure, but it did take me to a "happy place") as I stuffed my face, managing a few sips of water in between bites.

Before I'd made it to work, it came over me. The total body-encompassing feeling of disgust and straightout grossness. I might as well have swallowed whale blubber, for as nasty as I felt. There was no way I could look at the second donut, as a feeling of bloated, nauseous illness came over me.

I sheepishly made my way into work, careful to wipe the powder off my cuffs, asking "Does anyone want a donut?"

Monday, November 14, 2005

Rest Stop

On the road trip that is infertility, then pregnancy, this is the very long, straight, stretch of highway that seems to be going nowhere, though you hope that it eventually will end at your chosen destination.

It's a boring time, frankly. It's been ages since I've seen a doctor, and I'm feeling a bit of withdrawal. I miss all the nurses, and even my doctor, in a weird sort of way. Someone was keeping check on my life, in very minute detail, and now I'm just in limbo. I'm noone's responsibility except myself. And wow, that's a big responsibility for lil' old me.

I'm sure I'm not the first person to say this, but I don't feel pregnant. What does feeling pregnant feel like, you may ask? Well, you're asking the wrong person, cause I have no idea. Tired, yes, and a bit queasy, but pregnant? No, not so much.

My boobs are still sore, but not as much since I switched from the progesterone in oil injections to the pill/suppositories. Although J says they are much bigger, I really can't tell. But who am I to argue? He must be right!

I've been using this long stretch of highway to do, what else, but read and research. I've been very good about not buying any more magazines, but I have been delving into the vast archives that I managed to maintain during the e past three years. They will tide me over for a bit.

I never let myself buy pregnancy books while we were in treatment. It just seemed to real. Magazines were okay, they are less permanent, just informational, and could be tossed away if upsetting. So while I've got shelves of magazines, the books are slow in coming. Mom just passed along an interesting one by J*ane Seymour - you know, Dr. Quin*, Medicine Woman. But I'm always looking for more ... maybe a trip to the bookstore is warranted this afternoon?

We'll finally be getting off at a rest stop on Friday for a visit with the nurse practitioner and an ultrasound ... I'm looking forward to getting some more information about where we stand, and where this roadtrip is headed.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Who's Your Daddy?

Today is a new day. I've separated myself from all the stuff I shouldn't be reading at this point, and I realize that I was getting waaaaaaayy ahead of myself in yesterday's post. I mean, really, let's just deal with the here and now, and let tomorrow (or nine months from now) take care of itself. It's a problem I have. "Hi, I'm Laura, and I'm a chronic plan-aheader." Forgive me.

However, there is one issue that's really been on my mind, just cause of it's strangeness:

My due date is the same day as my RE's birthday.

Is that creepy to anyone?

I keep thinking that it's gross, being that he's the one that actually made the babies happen (I know, with some help from us and the embryologist). He mixed it all up and put it there. And their birthday could be his birthday. Yuck.

Noone else thinks it's creepy. I think it's creepy. Real creepy.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Turning Green

Poor J. If I snap at him again, I think he's going to take the kitties and leave me forever. Actually, he'll probably leave me the cats, but he'll be gone.

He just can't do anything right, in my eyes. Every step, every breath, every move, it's all wrong. I wonder, does it mean something that I actually recognize my poor behavior? Maybe so, but hell if there's anything I can do to change it. Or want to do for that matter.

We work together, so the days that we're both in the office have been a alternate version of hell for him. Some excerpts from our oh-so-blissful time together:

"Stop chomping your gum in my ear ... it makes me want to puke." Said from fifteen feet away.

"You want me to what? To answer the phone? What gives your the right to tell me what to do?"

"Don't. Talk. To. Me."

"No, I don't like my pad thai. Stop scooping it off my plate. Stop! Stop! Stop it now, do you hear me? It's mine."

"You've got the sheets all inside out. Why can't you do this right? This corner goes here, this one here, this one..." collapsing into sobs.

Composure regained. Sniffle, pittiful smile. "Could you get me a ginger ale? I don't feel so good."

While happiness abounds in our household, my sheer exhaustion and on-again, off-again upset stomach is turning me into a real ogre. I've got to get it together before we have a whole household of marathon-running out of town guests this weekend!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Feeling Good, Finally!

I’m back in the swing of things! With glee, I went to the bookstore last night and chose a book about multiples, and took practically started devouring it in the parking lot.

This, of course, only intensified all of the logistical worries that have been plaguing me since receiving the news. I’m very much a “by the plan” kind of girl, and while infertility has led my plan far off its original path, this most recent news takes me onto a whole new highway.

The logistical bumps in my highway right now include:

  • The medical questions, obviously. I really don’t want a c-section. Really really. And I know that just because there are two babies, it doesn’t necessitate that option, but does increase it by a good percentage. Breastfeeding … again, something I really want to do. Do I have the willpower (and the boobs) to do that for two babies?
  • The nursery. We have two guest rooms, one very small and one very big. Logically, the small one was to be the nursery. Hmmmm… not sure how two cribs would fit in there.
  • Work. I own a business with two partners. Two of us (both pregnant) really run the day to day operations, and now I’m not sure where I stand. Where I want to stand. If I want to stand at all, or if I just want to sit at home. One plus work seemed manageable. Two plus work seems totally out of control. Which kind of lifestyle is more important to me? Hard to know until they’re here, but I’ll have to make some big decisions way before that day comes.
  • One of my dearest friends is getting married mid-May. Will I even be able to go? And if I do make it, will I be so horrifically bloated that I won’t want to show my face?

    I am so very aware that I am getting ahead of myself. But I’ve always had a pretty clear picture of how it would all work out, and man, this was NOT IT!

    On the very positive side, last night I took my last PIO shot. My blotchy, welted, lumpy ass is very thankful that Dr. Pleasant gave me the option to switch to a pill. A pill that’s inserted, not swallowed, if you get my drift, but infinitely more pleasant.

    And, I was able to get an appointment with my OB/GYN’s office in just two weeks! I won’t actually be seeing my OB/GYN, but a nurse practitioner, which sucks, but it does mean another ultrasound! I’ve been going to this OB/GYN for years and years, and I really think she’s the best. She’s so level headed, warm, a genuinely nice person, and only works part time so she can still be with her family. She was so understanding throughout our initial bouts of infertility, I can’t wait to show her the good news!

    I actually had a visual image of myself walking down the street, holding the hand of a child on either side, and they called me “mommy.” I’m almost crying as I rewrite this. I can’t believe it … I’ve never actually thought of myself as a mother in those very real terms, in a real visual picture, with real children with real faces. But I did, and it was just natural. I’m so happy.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Ultrasound Update

And then there were two...

Shock. Glee. Tears. Delight. Fear. Crazy fear. More tears. Two.

More to come soon.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


I don't feel anything.

Well, I feel pretty exhausted, and yesterday I felt like hugging the toilet in nauseous desperation, but inside, on an emotional level, I'm blank.

I am devoid of emotion and excitement, and quite frankly, I'm disappointed in myself. I expected the nervous excitement of being pregnant, of having the very real possibility of a child in my future. Yes, I know we're probably having a child, but in my mind's eye, I can't see that child, I can't imaging holding that child, I can't work him or her into my everyday life and schedule.

I'm excited in front of J, and my family and friends who know, and on a certain level it's authentic in nature, but not in volume. Maybe this is normal, and I just expected too much. Maybe I figured that the amount of pain and emotion involved in the effort should equal the amount of enthusiasm and emotion involved in the end product.

With baited breath and anticipation, I approached the Pregnancy section of my local chain bookstore. All of these possibilities awaited me ... I could browse these books if I wanted, and even buy one! No more Women's Health section for me, I'm in the big leagues. The section I often wandered by, glancing surrepticiously at the titles, but continued to pass by. Imagine my disappointment when nothing, NOTHING, appealed to me. I didn't even want to sit and stay awhile. So I left, because this section wasn't for me.

A nurse friend is currently working at the city health department clinic and just treated a young woman who is expecting twins. She has no support, no family, and none of the supplies that she'll need to get life started with the little ones. When my friend asked for help rounding up some gear to give to the young woman, I was gleeful. A mandated trip to the baby store! Where I could meander among the strollers, bop through the bassinets and dally at the diaper aisle. And get to buy baby things, but not jinx myself!

The trip was a downer. I had no desire to browse. I obligatory checked out each aisle, but with no anticipation and idea of how this place would apply directly to me. I chose a few receiving blankets and some sleep sacks in yellow and green, and loved the way the soft fabric felt on my cheek. I imagined how good it would feel on her babies in the coming cold weather. But I left quickly, as this store wasn't for me.

These experiences are the radical opposite of the beginning of our IF treatment. Still full of expectation that one good HSG to clear out my tubes, or maybe a hit of Clomid, and we'd be on the train to Parenthood. I frequented the Pregnancy section at the bookstore, and often went to baby stores to browse, just because. Just because I was sure that I'd be back, lickity-split, shopping for myself. But once things got more serious, I abandoned these joyful spots, just knowing I would jinx myself, that being so presumptuous would work against me.

I am still the IF patient, not the pregnant woman. I am happy, I am thankful, I do feel the potential for joy and excitement. Just not now.

Guilt overtakes me as here I am, the wife of infertile, who got lucky, yet still manages to feel negatively. How gross is that? But really, I just feel blank.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Comedians, We're Not

I’m exhausted. Every sentence is punctuated with a yawn. (Yawn.) Every move is made with a heavy foot. My brain seems to be working on a limited capacity.

At least I’m not throwing up.

* * *

Mom called last night, just so we could do the routine we’ve been perfecting over the past week. “Guess what?” I say to her.

“What?” she replies, with innocence.

“I’m pregnant!” I say, enthusiastically.

She responds with shock and surprise, along with a healthy dose of delight and joy.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

J, myself, and my (pregnant) SIL were out and about this weekend. He often has a hard enough time dealing with the two of us together, but add on the hormones and general silliness, and he might go crazy.

We're crossing a busy street, and SIL and I have jumped ahead in front of J. He's back on the corner as we're braving the traffic, when he yells "Hey you four, be careful crossing the street!"

It doesn't sound funny till we stop and realize what he said. Yes, the two of us are really four (or five or six, only the coochie-cam will tell).

We spent the whole weekend referring to the two of us as the "four of us," and on occasion, the five or six of us. We were hoping that passers-by would overhear and think us psychotic, perhaps overrun with multiple personalities, but alas, noone seemed to notice. But the three (or five or six or seven) of us got a real kick out of it.


I'm in absolute agony waiting for this darn ultrasound. I thought it was to happen this week, but no.......not until next Thursday. Progesterone refills arrived this morning, so I'll keep on keeping on. (By the way, the mail-order pharmacy I'm using is awesome! I called in the refill last night at 6 p.m., and 10 a.m. this morning I had my meds. Many states away, too!)

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Limbo Land

It’s a situation we’ve all been in. The incredible torment you feel when you hear that a friend or acquaintance is pregnant, when you are filled with an envy so painful it might start oozing out your pores. I know how to deny my feelings, smile, and pass along my congratulations.

I don’t know how it feels to be on the other side … to announce a pregnancy, unknowing that the person I’m directing my news at is experiencing infertility. There are so many of us out there, I’m sure it will happen. Actually, I take that back … it has happened. Another young woman in my group at church is having difficulty, at what level, I’m not sure. She congratulated me earlier this week, and I could see the wistfulness that I know so well. I still feel it myself. She said she was going to really start in on treatment now, and without asking for details, I told her I’d be happy to help in any way I could.

I’ve talked a lot to others about our issues, with the hopes that people would talk back. Infertility simply isn’t a subject most people are comfortable discussing. But it should be okay … just like talking about any other medical condition that may be central in your life. It requires as much treatment, or more, than many other diseases, and becomes so central in life, so emotional, as well as physical. There shouldn’t be shame, there shouldn’t be bashfulness. So many women have reached out to me, both infertiles and regular folks. I hope, with all my heart, that I can be as helpful to just one woman out there.

I have many sisters-in-law. Numbers One & Two don’t have problems conceiving and all, but Number Three and I share some similar circumstances. She’s done a few IVFs, many years ago, and has one child. I think she might do another soon.

SIL Number One just told me how hard it was to knock on SIL Number Three’s door and announce her second pregnancy. How she cried and cried when sharing her good news. I wonder if it got easier when she had her third and fourth? This is a woman who I’ve always thought to be so strong and infallible, and the fact that making this announcement to an infertile was hard for her, shows me a whole different side. She also told me that SIL Number Two was very, very nervous about how to tell me of her recent pregnancy. We haven’t really talked about it, but I did send her a note, telling her how pleased I was for her, but too excuse me for a bit, because good news can hurt, too.

I wonder, how will I feel when people assume that I got pregnant like most everyone else? You know, the easy way? Will I shout out “People! This was the product of careful calculation, measured dosages, and exacting timing; not of a bottle of wine under the stars!” ? Will I exhibit Tourette’s like symptoms, blurting out rapid fire statements? “IVF!” “Bad Sperm!” “Petri Dish!”

Women are comfortable asking about the details of conception, when they ask “Were you trying long?” I hope that I won’t cower and cave in, that can answer honestly and with enough information to perhaps open people’s eyes to what I, and so many women and men, deal with.

Where is this going, you may wonder?

I feel weird about being pregnant. I feel odd that I got so lucky. Because much of it is luck, I feel. Did I pay my dues? Why me and not some other deserving person whose been after this elusive goal so much longer? As has been discussed
over here, I feel some “survivor’s guilt.” I’ve never felt shameful about our infertility, although I know J. has.

But I feel a little bit of shame, in this community, that IVF worked. I’m feeling caught in a limbo of sorts … where do I belong?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

There's a Robber in the House

Infertility and it's accompanying treatments rob us of privacy, spontaneity, and much of the joy that goes along with trying to have a child.

Privacy is obvious ... there are three (or more) people in the bedroom. In the beginning, that Third Wheel may be a book, as you casually consult the chapter on properly timed sex for maximum fertility. As you continue to try, and fail, that Third becomes some ovulation predictor sticks. Not a crazy intrusion, but you have to pay attention to it and it influences your relationship in it's own way. The Third morphs into a computerized fertility monitor, and you report to it with daily diligence, waiting for the little black egg (or "the olive" as we call it) to pop up and instruct your sexual life.

The Third eventually turns into a human being, and you've opened yourself up to instruction, criticism, analysis, physical examination and more. It may be your regular OB/GYN, who will probably brush you up on the finer points of ovulation and baby-making, but if you've followed those first steps, you're pretty well versed. The Third magically becomes a specialist, and now there is a whole crew of doctors, nurses, and office staff in bed with you and the man.

It's at this point that privacy is thrown right out the window. Your early optimism maintains the excitement for your visits and treatments. A few pills and instructions on when to have sex don't seem that bad. You finally get to the point where you feel like you need The Third's permission to have sex. He tells you when, where, how. Eventually, sex isn't even involved in the baby-making process, just drugs, catheters, surgeries, and stirrups.

You're planning your wardrobe according to office visits (a skirt and slip-on shoes makes the whole process so much simpler), and The Third has become an integral part of your closet, your career, your marriage, and your entire life.

We totally renovated our house a few years ago, and were crazy enough to live here while construction was going on. During that year, I felt like the architect, the contractor, the carpenters, and the rest of the subs were a part of my family. At any given time - I could be tromping down the hall to the shower, or making my way to work - there they were. They overheard our private conversations, and were privey to our comings and goings. They were in my life all the time, and I've come to feel pretty similar (but in a more, ahhmm, private, way) about my RE.

Spontaneity has left the building, along with it's good friend Privacy. Baby-making sex is on a schedule, and at certain times, even just-for-fun sex must be regulated. You want to go on a vacation, or for a quick weekend getaway? Well, let me check. I may be ovulating and have to go in for the IUI at a day's notice. Friends call and want to meet out at local bar for a night of debauchery? Sorry, no can do ... gonadatropins are my cocktail of choice these days. Folks invite you over for an impromptu dinner party? Well, my RSVP is contingent on whether I know you well enough to keep my big old syringe of PIO in your fridge without too many questions.

For as long as I've been even contemplating the idea of having kids, I've thought about being able to surprise J with the happy news. We would be hoping it would happen eventually, but never really knowing how or when. Maybe I would do a test, find out about a pregnancy, and maybe even keep the secret to myself for a few days (or a few hours). I'd pick a time and place that he wouldn't expect. He'd be so taken by surprise, he'd be speechless. We would keep our little secret just to ourselves for a few weeks or months, and be able to shock our family and friends, who wouldn't have even realized we were trying.

Those scenarios haven't been in my head for so, so, long. Instead, we both spent a paranoid, uptight day, waiting for the magic phone call. We weren't joyous, we were short with each other, we made a contingency plan for what we would do if it was negative (note: it involved the hot tub neither of us have used for the better part of a year, and a refrigerator full of beer).

We waited for the message that I'd asked the nurse to leave on my cell phone. We sat closely on the couch, our arms and legs intertwined, as we set the phone on the table with the utmost reverence. Our faces were set in stone as we listened to the first message, as the nurse told us she had the results, please call her as soon as possible, and nothing more. We fumbled and mumbled to each other as we accepted that it was over. We nervously realized that there was another message on the phone. I expected it to be the nurse, calling again to remind me that there was no longer a need to continue with the PIO shots.

With baited breath, we pressed "play" to listen to the remaining message. We were silent and shaking as she reported that they were about to close the office, but wanted us to know that the test was positive, quite positive.

We clenched each other. We laughed and smiled. And then we cried.


Today I bought a pregnancy test. I've seen so many negatives, I can't even count, but suffice it to say, many a trashcans were filled up with discarded tests and discarded dreams. I want some of the spontaneity that regular people get. I want a momentary burst of surprise and delight, of unexpected joy. I beamed proudly when the screen read quite clearly "Pregnant".

I walked downstairs, with my hand hidden behind my back, and said to J, "Hey, guess what, sweetie?"

He replied, barely tearing his eyes from the television. "What?"

I jumped in front of him ... "You won't believe it ... you're going to be so surprised. I'm pregnant!"

He grinned, and we both laughed at the ridiculousness of it all.

And then, of course, he bugged me about wasting money on a pregnancy test. If only he knew how much they cost ...

Dream a Little Dream

My sweet white kitty is meowing in pain. That's right, she's pregnant and about to give birth to her little litter. The scene is hazy, slightly foggy.

So we take her to the bed, and she proceeds to give birth in the same position that people do ... legs up, etc. She meows and grunts, pants and groans, and finally ... it's a baby! A human baby!

Sensing that something is wrong, I pull the baby out, probably a little to forcefully. So forcefully, in fact, that the umbilical cord rips away from the mother (who, don't forget, is my little seven-pound cat).

But the baby is fine, and he's remarkably adult-looking. I don't find it odd that my feline friend gave birth to a human child.

The scene again becomes foggy. It's later. I go in to check on my kitty and her baby, and alas! The circumstances have changed. She's now with her litter of tan and white puppies. Because, of course, cats give birth to puppies.


I haven't been sleeping well ... can you tell? For the past few nights, I've been waking up at 3, at 5, for no reason. I'm not tired, but I still want to go back to sleep. And I do.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

All is Good in This House

It's been a very happy house, these past few days. Happier than I can remember in recent times.

Today's beta was 677, so more than doubled.

As I went to the clinic this morning, I entered not with a heavy heart as usual, not with dread and sad anticipation, but with optimism and joy.

When the nurse asked what test I was there for, I got to report "Second beta, ma'am!" And the other doctor came in while I was having blood drawn and said with a sly grin, "Aaah...second beta. Very nice numbers" and congratulated me. On the way out, I spotted Dr. Pleasant, and in his not-too-excited, not-too-sad, very-middle-of-the-road way, he smiled, congratulated me and said he'd see me soon. And he even made the follow up call this evening to remind me that I need to continue the PIO shots.

As if I could forget. I'll admit that I was starting to feel quite proud of myself. I've given myself sixteen or so of those injections, and have been so pleased with the lack of pain or problem. Well, sister, let me tell you, those days are over. My hips have accumulated a connect-the-dot pattern of pinpricks, and the general soreness makes me feel like my hips are five times wider than they actually are. I feel like I'm going to run out of spots to puncture.

But life is good, so I'll keep it to myself.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Oh, wow. I mean, OH WOW!

With the enthusiastic optimism of a first-time-ever-pregnant person, I'm putting a number out there:


With the cautious optimism of a fertility patient/IVFer who knows that things often go wrong, I'm saying YAY!

I can't believe we're this lucky. Why would this work on our first go? Because all the previous drug cycles and IUIs didn't, I suppose. It makes sense, I suppose, as all the problems seemed to be with the sperms and not the eggs. And those problems were bypassed by IVF and ICSI. So that makes sense.

But knowing that this is a numbers game, a game of chance, a potential percentage, a shot in the dark, or what have you, it shouldn't have worked.

Who am I to argue??

Next beta is Wednesday, with fingers crossed.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Wash, Rinse, Repeat

I will not pee on a stick.
I will not pee on a stick.
I will not pee on a stick.
I will not pee on a stick.
I will not pee on a stick.

I will not pee on a stick.

Actually, I don't think I will. You don't have to convince me. This whole cycle has been so darn, well, medical, and I'm going to finish it up that way. I've been really good about not letting my emotions get the best of me (with the exception of kissing the framed picture of the little blobs), and damnit, I'm sticking to it.

Beta is Monday.

I've scheduled my day so that it's super-busy. Dentist first thing. Next to the clinic to get my blood drawn. Lunch with a friend. A meeting in the late afternoon. So there are just a few hours of mid-day time to kill. For those of you who may be wondering, I don't live a life of leisure, I just don't work on Mondays. Not that there's anything wrong with the LoL, I'm hoping for one soon.

The one bump in the road is the doctor's schedule. For some reason, of which I was not privy to, all of the doctors will be out of the office on Monday. A conference or perhaps a fabulous IVF-research cruise to the Caribbean? So, who will call me? When will they call me? Will they have to do a ship-to-shore call to deliver my news? Or will a nurse be given the privlege of my tears or my shouts of delight? It's my first time, people, so I have no idea.

J. and I spent Friday afternoon together, as we both had a half-day. It was so wonderful, and much needed. We walked to a nearby shopping area, spent a few hours searching for fall clothes for him, then stopped at our local chocolate/candy store for some goodies.

We headed home, jumped in the car, and went to the movies. Had a delightful time with all the blue-hairs at the matinee, while we enjoyed our contraband candy. We hit our favorite Mexican dive with a friend and his new girl (yes, we approved), then hit a martini bar to meet up with another friend. Of course, I was sorely lacking on the martini part, but a sip of J's was just enough to satisfy. And then home for the 10 p.m. shot in the rear, and another movie in the basement.

For some unspoken reason, that day was so important to the both of us. We laughed like we haven't in so long, had conversations that didn't revolve around babies or IVF, talked like friends, goofed around, held hands, and kissed a lot.

The reason, as I know realize: It was our last day together before the Big Answer. (I'm at work today, and he's out of town on Sunday). Our last day before our lives change with a new addition. Or the last day before sadness, sadness, and persistence. Either way, our last day.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Press On

Comfort, enveloping warmth, hope, support, openness. All of these I felt so strongly.

J. and I have not been secretive about our trials and tribulations, but certainly don't go shouting it from the rooftops to the passers-by. It's private, but to those we know and trust, we share what's going on in our lives, and this is currently a big part of our lives.

Our religion is the same way. We don't shout out about it, but people who know us know what we believe. And we're pretty involved in our church. We both sing in a choir, I have a great group of young women that meet, and J. helps out with the teenage group. We've been at this church for five years ... it's where we chose to get married, and stayed. We've made some wonderful friends, and feel good when we're there, and when we're with people there.

I talked a little bit before about how a few people at church know about our infertility situation. The group of women I'm in knows about it, and they've all been so supportive. I let her know about our retrieval, and She asked if she could share it with a few of the clergy and staff, and of course I agreed. The more people putting positive vibes, whether in the form of prayer or good thoughts, have to have some effect on the universe, and hopefully on the outcome.

We showed up at an event on Thursday night, and I was overwhelmed. Throughout the course of a very long evening, I had so many people coming up to me offering their good wishes, their prayers, their hopes for us. They were all people that I'm comfortable with them knowing, but it's something that's hard for me to bring up in conversation. She made that easier for us, let us skip the awkwardness, yet allowed us to share in the blessings that come with knowledge.

So many friends, men included, spoke up to us, said they knew what was going on and wanted this so much for us. No one gave any assvice, they knew not to go there. We smiled about it, spoke seriously, even laughed and giggled as someone blessed the "fruit of my womb."

We wrapped up the evening with the most wonderful sense of grace. Since then, I've felt so at peace. If this works, there are so many people who will celebrate with us, as She said. And if it doesn't, there is a whole group who will grieve and cry along with us, and help us to press on again.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Oh, no.

Please direct some thoughts and prayers to Ova Girl and C. I suspect they could use them.

How to Stick Yourself in the Ass With Finesse & Grace

There are so very many ways to do this, and I read up on the techniques of many experienced women. This is the Laura Technique. Feel free to copy, imitate, and share with your closest friends.
  • Remove the progesterone from the fridge, and lay out with other supplies (needles, alcohol pad, sharps container) in the location where you'll administer the shot. I like the bathroom with a counter and mirror.
  • Place middle finger on your hipbone, and stretch your thumb back to encircle your hip. This is the spot. Circle it with a pen if you like. I like pink marker.
  • Grab your favorite bag of frozen vegetables (I seem to favor sliced carrots), and secure them in the waistband of your pants, with the pressure on the injection site.
  • While your bum is on the cooling cycle (allow 10-15 minutes for this), load up your progesterone, switch out to a new needle, and set the whole apparatus in the room where you"ll be injecting.
  • Walk away. From a purly psychological standpoint, I find that staring at the offending needle just impedes my progress and brings my nerves to a dizzying high.
  • Spend a few minutes straightening up, feeding the cats, or working on a distracting task. Take care that the circle spot is getting plenty frozen. It may be uncomfortable, but is sooo worth it in the end.
  • Return to The Room, and run the syringe under hot water for a few moments.
  • Pull down your pants, and swab with alcohol. Turn so that appropriate butt cheek is facing the mirror. Twist backwards.
  • Using your left thumb, stretch down the skin just south of the the circle
  • With the needle in your right hand (assuming you're a righty like me), take a deep breath, and quickly plunge it into your skin. Aim for the bullseye.
  • Exhale. You're almost finished.
  • Depress plunger. It goes much slower than your other injections.
  • Once the juice is all all out, just leave it in for a second. Pull straight out. Press tissue on spot to absorb any blood.

In addition to achieving the functional goal of delivering life-nourishing nutrients to the potential child within, administering this shot to yourself does have additional benefits. For micro-managing control freaks like me, it preserves my sense of independence and power in a totally out-of-my-hands situation, and is a real ego boost.

When confronted by a Smug Fertile, chatting on and on about her "Ooops" pregnancy, you can remind yourself that while she would flee with terror at the mere prospect of sticking a huge needle straight into her tucas, you did it just fine, and with a smile on your face, and the expertise of a surgeon.

Monday, October 10, 2005

It's a Two-Post Kind of Day

My thoughts have been scattered all day, so bear with me, as I try to get them down.

Oh, dear IF Blogging Ladies, I'm so sad. It seems like emotions go up and down on a whim, and as J puts it so eloquently, he's not sure I can handle it.

Well, of course I can handle it. But this whole process of trying to have a child, while a long one, is dependent on a series of short steps, one at a time. Finish one task, move on to the next. And the next, and the next. One day at a time, J says. Start each new phase of your quest with a blank slate, says one of my favorite IF guru-authors.

But I am a planner. I like to know my schedule, both immediate and long term. I utilize the daily calendar on my Palm and log in daily to-do lists, but you bet I print out the six-month-at-a-glance pages at the same time. To check my progress. To make contingency plans. To find time for the things I want to do (although it doesn't seem like much of that lately).

So it was with hopeful anticipation that I phoned Dr. Pleasant's office for news on my three remaining embryos. If they made it to blastocysts, they would be frozen. None of the buggers made it.

"This isn't really unusual," Dr. P says. "That's why we transferred the healthiest three." Dr. Pleasant with no undertone of hope, or of disappointment in his voice.

"Focus on the positive ... have hope ... have faith." These are the words from my dear, sweet husband when I approach him with tears. "It doesn't matter what happened to those three ... we have these three." Where does his hope, his faith come from, I ask?

I've had hope. I've had faith. Faith in God, faith in science, faith in my body, faith in fate, faith in patience. And every single month for the past two and a half years, faith has smirked and said "Nope, none for you."

Perhaps faith will pull through, and next Tuesday I will receive the news I've been dying for.

Or she'll deliver a swift kick to the ass, and I'll be back to square one. No backup plan with a few blob-sicles waiting to find a home inside my body. We will not pass go, we will not get to draw a bonus card, but we will be sent back to the beginning of the game board, and have to start all over again with the entire cycle.

Could I be more of a pessimist? Yes, I think I could. Because I also possess a great amount of hope. I finally read past the IVF chapters in my IF books, to the "Pregnant after Infertility" chapters. I carry the framed pictures of my three blobs around the house with me. I talk to it, and touch it carefully. Yep, I even kissed it. I leaf through the baby and pregnancy magazines that litter my house. I watch "Birth Day" and "A Baby Story" with anticipation.

Hope is there. She's just afraid to show her face, lest she be told to go back home.


Inconceivable. The show. I watched two episodes and am not hooked, but still morbidly curious. Since I was confined to my bed, I checked in on Friday, but it wasn't on. I checked NBC's schedule for this week, and it's not on again. Any news? Was it cancelled? Would I be sad about that? Not really.


I have taken custody of the right butt cheek, and J. gets custody of the left. He's not the greatest at the PIO injections, and I suspect he hit my tailbone two days ago, so I'm claiming rights to the side I can reach. I found some great info on message boards about how to give it to yourself, but my own way just worked...I think it depends on your body, quite honestly. I'll post more later.


I made a delicious dinner tonight, if I do say so myself. J said so, as well, but I wonder if he was just pumping my ego a bit. A butternut squash soup, and a portobello stacked salad. I'm not going to post recipes, but if anyone's interested, I'm happy to share the details. It was deeelish!


If you made it this far ... thanks for reading. I'm feeling almost as emotional, sensitive and generally-whacked-out as I was when on all the suppression/stim drugs earlier. But not quite.

Victory is Mine!

It's in these times of uncertainty and rollercoaster emotions that you sometimes need to take a break to give props where props are deserved (or will make yourself feel good).

I've given myself three of the progesterone shots, on my own. It's something I was convinced I couldn't do, but I did. Yay for me.


It's finally feeling like fall (how's that for a tongue twister?), and I was so excited to wake up and dress in a sweater and jeans. I've spent the past three hours on the front porch, people-watching and reading a wonderful story.

I've got all the goodies for a butternut squash soup recipe that I found in Cooking Light (one of my favorite magazines), and am excited to make a real meal tonight, for the first time in what seems like forever.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Tres, Drei, Tre, Trois

Or as we say, three.

Thursday afternoon we transferred three embryos, and I am scared to death.

On the one hand, I am full of hopeful anticipation. We've done everything right, I'm healthy, only 30, the transfer went well, I'm doing all the PIO shots, we want this so badly ... why wouldn't it work?

Then Mrs. Pessimist rears her ugly head to play devil's advocate, as she is wont to do quite frequently. You know the statistics. You know it's all numbers and chance. You're probably mentally and physically stable enough to go through this again ... and again. Your life has been really good so far. Why would this work?

They say the transfer went well. We had six fertilized embryos, and although we'd previously discussed transferring two, once the time came, Dr. Pleasant encouraged us to transfer three. Which makes me think that everything wasn't so great.

Once they brought in the picture of the three best (graded 3+, 3-, and 2+), I just puddled. Dr. P told us they rated them 1 to 5, with 5 being the best. In consulting my own personal fertility library, I see that most clinics rate in the reverse order, with 1 being the best. Anywho, he said they rarely see a 5, so our little globs of cells were right average.

And although he "hates anecdotal stories," he proceeded to tell me that their most recently pregnant patient got pregnant with a Grade 1 embryo.

After making the decision to go with three, doctor and nurses did all the prep work (you know, the glamorous stuff - stirrups, speculum, etc) and called for the embryos. Cue drum roll.

Fulling expecting yet another masked figure to arrive bearing a syringe of the goods, I was flabbergasted when the female (very nice that the newest stranger in the room was a woman) embryologist wheeled in an incubator. Like what you put a newborn baby in. The irony was not lost on me, but filled me with hope.

After asking me to repeat my full name, she let J. look through the microscope at the blobs. I eagerly asked him to tell me what they looked like ... details, please! "They're real small," he says. When pushed for more info, I got "Like I said, they're real small. Not much to see."

The transfer itself was much like an IUI, but performed with many more spectators and much more care. I kept the photo of the three blobs on my chest, with my
Chinese jade necklace resting on top. My father gave it to me years ago, for luck, as I embarked on a long trip.

Thus, I've spent practically every moment since Thursday afternoon in my bedroom, laying around. This is my first venture from the bedroom, and it feels nice to actually see out the window. My time in bed is probably excessive, but once you've gone this far, why take chances.

In another consultation with my personal fertility library, I read that implantation after a Day 3 transfer usually takes place 48-72 hours after transfer. Which would be now.

So I'm moving slowly with care, gazing longingly at my blob's first, and perhaps only, pictures; resting my hand on my belly, trying to send "stick" vibes to those within.


Wednesday, October 05, 2005

A Smitter-Smattering of Things

First of all, many thanks for your kind comments. When I managed to drag myself out of bed and over to the computer, it was a delight to see your notes. Just a few more people out there in the world rooting for us.

I had a wonderful conversation yesterday with a relative who had also gone through IVF, years ago. She kind-of knew what was going on, but not the specifics. It was so nice to chat with her, and have someone to commiserate with. I also spoke with an acquaintance who will be undergoing a retrieval in a few months. Alternatly, it was nice to be able to provide a little advice and offer of help, if needed.


We did the first PIO shot last night, and voila! It wasn't horrible. It wasn't even bad. (I better watch it, I may be jinxing myself). There are a few times when I'm going to have to give it to myself, so I'm trying to get all psyched up about it.


One day at a time ... One step at a time ... I'm trying not to get ahead of myself, but it's hard. All I can think about is that we might not have enough embryos to freeze. And then I'll have to go through this again.

I need to focus on *now* and think positive thoughts for the transfer tomorrow. Im trying to come up with a talisman or visual or object or something I can hang onto tomorrow, to keep my thoughts focused and positive during the transfer. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Bowling, Anyone?

Picture it ... you're enjoying a night out of bowling with friends. Maybe you've had a few beers, you're having a great time. Maybe it's even one of those cool Disco-Lanes flashing neon kind of bowling allys.

Slow motion: Your friend winds up for his big strike ... arm back and fully extended ... swings forward with bowling ball in hand ... and somehow it slips. The 12 pound ball flys through the air, and somehow connects squarely with your belly.

That's about how I felt all yesterday afternoon, curled in my bed in the fetal position, making love to my heating pad.

But all in all, the egg retrieval wasn't that bad.

We arrived at 8:15 yesterday morning, and after the requisite questions and answers from the nurses, the paperwork, and the pep talks back and forth between J & I, then I met my new best friend: Frank, the anesthesiologist.

A wonderful, father-like man, he put my fears at ease. The IV was in the crook of my left arm, and it was probably the most painful injection-type procedure I've ever had, but it wasn't that awful! He then gave me a "sample" dose of the meds to make sure I would react okay to them, which I did. Kind of like a glass of wine. A happy feeling. He told me that I wouldn't be receiving general anesthesia, but a "concious sedation" and that I'd be pretty out of it.

Dr. Pleasant came in and went over the basics of the procedure with us. Then Frank returned and gave me the big dose of drugs. I was determined to use the breathing exersises I'd been practicing to calm me. Breathe in -2-3-4-5 Breathe out -2-3-4-5. Yea right.

I started crying a little bit as they wheeled me out of my room down the hall. I remember entering the procedure room, and that is was more "sterile" feeling, but nothing like an operating room. I was shocked when they attached the big, blue stirrips to the table. I had been under the impression they'd be using the regular ones like in the exam room, but no ma'am, these were the big huge labor & delivery ones. Spread eagle. Big time. Thank goodness one of the nurses draped a small sheet over me, just for the time before the procedure.

I remember scooting down on the table, too far, not enough, back, forward. I remember making a concious effort to not look around the room for fear of seeing the needle that I dreaded so much. I never even saw my doctor. Boom. I was out like a light.

Someone shook my shoulder, repeating my name. "Okay," I said. "I'm ready, let's get started."

J. laughed at me, as I looked around and saw we were back in the recovery room. Frank walked in to check and see how I was doing, and I promptly told him how much I loved him. Bless you, Frank.


Nine mature eggs. We'd seen twelve on the ultrasound last Saturday. I was kind of disappointed, but it fell into the 5-15 range that Dr. Pleasant was hoping for.

I spent the afternoon and evening in bed, laying on my side, which is the only position that was really comfortable. Oh, yea, the little white pills helped too.



I just spoke to Dr. Pleasant. Six eggs fertilized. Only six. "Six is a tricky number," he says. Typically, this is when they'd freeze any extra embryos. But with six, they don't want to do that now, just in case the rest don't make it.

Thursday morning, we'll transfer two or three, depending on how they look. And if there are any left, they'll be frozen.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Total Bitch?

Or just a little-bit bitch? You tell me.

So, retreival is scheduled for tomorrow, Monday, at 8:15. Dr. Pleasant did call me back quite quickly, which is nice. What is not nice is that I was in the produce section of my grocery store, and interpreting his questions and trying to answer them, all while ensconced in a large metal building that doesn't favor cell phone reception. Picture me, yelling (while hiding behind a large rack of nuts) "You want to know what? When the last time we had sex was? Oh, yea, it was yesterday, right before we saw you!"

That's all set, and I'm really looking forward to meeting the anesthesiologist. And becoming his friend.

So am I a total bitch? Today J's sister called to tell us she is pregnant. With her second. The day before our egg retreival. For our first baby. For which we've been trying for more than two years.

Perhaps you couldn't see the genuine happiness I felt, what with my tears and hysterical ranting. Of course I'm pleased for them. I'm insanely jealous. I'm mad at the world because life just isn't fair.

Saturday, October 01, 2005


It's 4 p.m.

Do you know where your RE is?

Well, I don't, and he's supposed to call me by 5 for instructions to either (1) trigger or (2) continue Follistim/Lupron and come in for another US/bloodwork tomorrow morning.

He said, yesterday, that if I didn't hear from him by five, to look him up and call him at home, if need be. I can't believe he actually meant that. Did he?


It's 5 p.m., and I think he's on the golf course.

Well, maybe not the golf course, but clearly in the pursuit of something sporting. Needless to say, the wife seemed perplexed that one of his patients was calling him at home on a Saturday evening, especially since he wasn't there.

But now I, the lucky infertile that I am, am in posession of both his home number *and* his cell phone numbers.

I am also in posession of his assurance that we will indeed do the retrieval on Monday, and instructions to call him back by 8:30 (only if I haven't heard from him yet, of course) to discuss the exact time and details.

This better work, or he can expect years and years of my nasty 3 a.m. calls and annoying hangups!