The squeaky wheel gets the. . .

Well . . .things have not gotten much better on the fertility clinic front since Tuesday. I hoped that following the confusing e-mail exchange between Nurse T and I (and her promise to loop the FET nurses in) that I would hear from someone on Wednesday. And then I didn’t. So I sent another e-mail on Thursday asking if she had passed the information along.

“yes, and they will be calling you with dates soon. have you started your period?”

I told her that no, I hadn’t, but was spotting so expected it today and I really needed to know what the plan was with the FET, given the lab closure. “They’ll call you first thing tomorrow.” She responded.

This morning I started my period, and so I called the line just like I’m supposed to . . .expecting I would get a call back from Nurse T or one of the FET ladies with my information. Then I recieved an e-mail from Nurse T:

Hi Andie-
I have dates for you!! The FET team is having a very busy week but promises to call you as soon as they can and provide you your FET calendar. In the meantime they have provided dates so that you can start planning better.  Please do let me know when you start your period full flow.
Birth control pills – start 6/3 – 6/23 (do not start before)
Start Lupron 6/19/14
FET day 1 7/2
FET with Dr. Awesome  7/17.
I hope this helps. Again they will explain the details of what this means and give you specifics. J They will call you no later than Monday.
So, this e-mail indicates a couple of things:

1) Clearly she didn’t bother to check the line, or she would have known I started my period.

2) Despite being told I would get a call from the FET team ON TUESDAY, I now won’t get one until MONDAY?

3) Although I get why the date thing maybe had to happen no one could bother to tell me what or why or WTF is happening?

So, I sent a rather terse e-mail back and then called the main office, where I left a message asking for Dr. Awesome and requested to talk to the practice manager. When she got on the line, I made sure she understood 100% about the uterine testing experience, the lack of phone calls, the frustration and confusion. She was nice and apologetic (of course she was!) and said she’d talk to Dr. Awesome and figure out what was going on.

I just got a call back and Dr. Awesome explained that she had talked to the FET nurse on Tuesday and let her know that, after looking at things closely, there was simply no way to do the FET before the closure. This would involve doing a protocol without any lupr.on, and she just didn’t feel ok about that. Unfortunately, that conversation didn’t get conveyed to me. The e-mail from Nurse T was, as I had suspected, akin to a form e-mail that gets sent out following completion of all of the pre-FET requirements. The FET nurse just . . .didn’t call me. Not that day, and not after repeated e-mails to Nurse T asking for an explanation.

So, I’m still pissed, but it sounds like an end of June transfer is just not in the cards. So, we are currently scheduled to do the FET on July 17th. 7 weeks. Almost two months. In this world, for-fucking-ever. But, it is what it is, another set of possible dates that I spent enough time dreaming about to get my hopes up.

In between now and then, I’m hoping to do whatever I can to rinse the salt from this wound. My IVF consult was on Dec. 3rd – so it will be 7 months into this whole process that we will, hopefully, be pregnant. Today I’m going to grieve that, knowing that tomorrow and the next day, it will all probably feel much more ok.

UPDATE: Clear as Mud

So, at 2:30 I got an e-mail from Nurse T (my IVF nurse, not who I was expecting to hear from) subject line: embryo transfer! Felt excited/confused.

Body of the e-mail says: 

“We have a plan for transfer! All of your uterine testing and your follow up vitamin D levels look great.  Dr. Awesome has provided us your transfer instructions. Please pull your nuva ring tonight. You should start a period in the next few days (probably by Friday) give us a call and then we will get a FET calendar sketched out for you for your calendar. That typically consists of birth control pills overlapping Lup.ron then the lining preparation of est.race and eventually progesterone. With that phone call comes me transferring you to the FET team of __ & ___. So excited for you.” 

 

Sometimes this happens and I feel confused. Because this e-mail doesn’t really seem to acknowledge my complicated and tearful interactions with DR.Awesome, and doesn’t really clearly state which of the possible scenarios is happening. So, I responded:

Hi Nurse T,
Thanks for your email and excitement.  I hate to belabor a point,  but does this mean we are looking at going right into the FET schedule and are aiming for a transfer prior to the lab closure?

Thanks so much!  We are so excited!

 

Because I am a direct person and I like direct answers and given the excess amount of feelings happening about this (and expressed this morning) its important for me to understand. Then Nurse T responded:

Sorry I’m not sure as only the FET ladies handle the exact transfer schedule. I can ask them this week though.

Whaaaat? Either communication is failing (totally possible) or she’s only allowed to say so much (also totally possible) or . . .? I don’t know.

So, while I don’t have a 100% clear answer (YET?!) I am assuming we are good to go for Plan B (Operation:High Estrogen) RATHER than Plan A (Operation:Tearfully Wait Until Mid-July) because, as I understood my conversation with Dr. A this morning, Plan A would involve me changing out the nuva.ring and Plan B involves me going right into a FET after pulling the ring and getting a period. Of course, Plan C (Operation:Spend the Entire Summer Languishing About Not Doing a Transfer Until August) would ALSO involve pulling the ring and waiting for a bleed. So, its either best case OR worst case scenario and how could you not know which one it is?! 

So, I guess its back to . . .WAITING. Of course. What’s new?

Just keep waiting

 

 

 

Image

 

I spent most of the long holiday weekend looking forward to a half hour consult this morning. I’m not sure if I’m embarrassed by that or not, but its the truth. My lovely lady was out of town visiting her mom in Florida, and I didn’t have a whole lot to do other than finish my recovery from the Sinus Infection from Hell and get excited about how close to the next step we were getting.

On the other side of the appointment I am . . .exhausted. And ambivilent, generally. Although I am also so very grateful for my doctor, again. 

I waltzed in (late. ugh) in excellent humor. Things are good! We have four embryos! The nuvari.ng comes out tomorrow! I will be pregnant so soon! Dr. Awesome was also in good spirits. She talked about our embryos and gave me the full report on them, talked about wanting to transfer only one, and asked about choosing the sex (we don’t want to choose, but we do want to know.) She said she’d look at the embryology report and then let me know which she would be thawing for transfer. Then she explained the FET process – birth control pills, lupr.on, estrogen patches and pills, HCG shots, progesterone in oil . . .and started doing the math in her own head, then looked worried, grabbed a piece of paper, and shook her head.

“The embryology lab is closed for two weeks in July for cleaning and maintenance. I think your transfer might fall during that time.” She clarified that I still had the nuvarin.g in, got out her calendar, counted, muttered, and then said. “yes. you’re going to have to wait.” WAIT? AGAIN? “How long?” The tears were, of course, flowing full force by now. “Another cycle. I’m sorry.” “So . . .what does that mean? August? September?” Suddenly the Grief of Lost Expectations, the hallmark grief of infertility and trying to conceive, a grief I have not had to deal with so much in this process, flooded me. All of a sudden The Plan was getting moved. Again. “August.” She said. “I think.”

I was confused. I didn’t understand. Late June, Nurse T had said, or maybe July. Maybe. But August? Somehow two whole weeks felt unliveable. Two weeks more felt inpossible, incapacitating. I asked her to explain, over and over. How many bleeds? And why? And why couldn’t birth control, supposedly the magic wand in RE world, fix this? Why did we have to wait an entire month?

Finally, she said that MAYBE . . .maybe the week after the lab opened again they could make it happen. Rather than taking out the nuvarin.g tomorrow and waiting to bleed, I would just switch one ring for another, wait a few weeks, then take it out, bleed, and start the FET calendar. That made sense. Ok. End of June was off the table, middle of July was a possibility. She cautioned me that, depending on what was already scheduled for that week, it might not happen. “Then it would be the next week, the 23rd maybe?” And even that, just 10 days from August, felt more possible. 

She told me she would talk to the FET Nurses and one of them would call me today to tell me if they could do middle of July, and if so, how it would work with the nuva.ring process. It still felt . . .well, crappy. But who could I blame? The lab closes every year, its mandatory. And the doctor had excellent reasons for the process, even if I didn’t understand them. 

So I drove the starbucks and ordered a giant americano with fancy syrup and drove around town crying for a while before going in to work. And while I was doing that, Dr. Awesome called.

“Hi Andie, how are you?” Of course I lied and said, “Oh, fine!” “I think I might be able to make it work for us to have you start the FET process this month . . .we might be able to get you in before the lab closes.”

She explained that, IF she could make this happen, it would mean manipulating my estrogen so that it was higher than usual. And that, she said, might make me feel kind of crappy – kind of crappy in a post-retrieval way. But, she might be able to make it work. Was I willing to feel crappy to save a few weeks?

Should I be embarrassed that I said, “yes. I think I’m fine with that”

Was she really testing my sanity?

So, she said, once again, she’d try and work things out, then have a nurse call me by the end of the day. 

And so, right now . . .I am waiting. And maybe, I will keep on waiting. And maybe, I will wait less. The Hope of Expectations is back, but its dulled. Knowing that the very worst case in August, and the better case in mid-July, and the maybe-best case in still the end of June . . .well, maybe that was all I needed to at least not feel crushed.

And, as a cherry . . .when I apologized for, you know . . .losing it in her office, Dr.Awesome said, “I gave you bad news, on something that is already difficult, after pumping you full of hormones for months. If anyone should be apologizing, its me. And, in that circumstance, I could hardly expect you to do anything but sob.”

So, Dr. Awesome is, in fact, the appropriate pseudonym for her. 

Update forthcoming, but if you could keep some things crossed and say some prayers to whomever/whatever you pray to, I sure would appreciate it. two weeks shouldn’t mean the world, but right now, it does.

You don’t always get what you want . . .

This post isn’t about fertility or pregnancy or anything even remotely related except that, of course, you don’t always get what you want when you’re trying to get pregnant, either. 

For the first time in 10 days, I can smell things and dob’t have a wedge of mucous plugging my face, so predictably I’m in the foulest mood yet. Not entirely sure what’s up with that, but I’m just trying to accept where I’m at.

Two things happened, one to me and the other to Hero, that have the same lesson, just learned in different ways. And that’s what I’m thinking about. By which I mean, how easy it is to see the point of life in someone else’s hardship, but not necessarily your own.

So, Hero* (who has not, until now, had consistant pseudo blog name – this is my bestie who has won a lot of money gambling and I went to Vegas with last spring and who has been an all around Fertility Girl Friday) and I have been friends for 10+ years now. During this time, Hero has had two significant GF’s, and two significant break-ups, both of which were catastrophic life events for her. She is a brilliant, kind, wonderful human but also kind of co-dependent (and, if you’re into enneagram stuff, she’s SUCH A TWO.)** She is generally a serial monogamist, and La and I have been trying to get her more into the casual dating scene as a sort of life-coaching exercise. In between catastrophic break-ups and co-dependent relationships, she has had a couple of casual things with some of the most bat shit crazy women in Colorado. One of them she has continued a friendship with, despite it continuing to be just plain weird, although they aren’t dating or sleeping together, so I guess it technically isn’t a problem. 

A few weeks ago, Hero was out for drinks with this woman (we’ll call her CC for Cray-Cray,) and they ran into a friend of CC’s most recent ex. The woman joined them and they all ended up having a lovely time. When they left, New Girl, who I’ll call Smokey, sent a text to CC asking if Hero was single. CC, because she is cray, immediately begin flirting with Smokey. But, Smokey only had eyes for Hero, and thus CC was swiftly eliminated as Smokey persued Hero. I was excited about Smokey because I have been trying to get Hero to quit engaging with CC for a year to no avail. Plus, Hero deserved to be treated well *AND* getting laid, and it seemed like Smokey might be the one to have both of those things happen. 

Alas, it was not to be so. I won’t go into the details, but suffice to say that Smokey and CC might make the better match. After a few weeks of ooey-gooey sacharrine love during which Hero was completely MIA, Smokey began pulling some serious mind-fuck business on my bestie, which lasted another few weeks. Bringing us to last night, when Hero showed up at out house at 11:30pm asking if she could stay over because Smokey had been a real asshole and she needed a place to stay.

This morning, Hero was sad but also relieved to be rid of the manipulation. But, she said – she wanted closure. Smokey had done a 180 attitude change last night and launched into some form of crazy that Hero didn’t understand. Hero wanted to understand. “You are NOT going to understand” I told Hero. There will be no closure. 

***

Today, I had a call with the funder of my program about my renewal request. This funder has, for the past three years, given me drastically different feedback and direction about my program with every annual report. To be fair, the ‘funder’ is actually the coordinating foundation for a group of other funds coming in, which makes them less murcurial and more middle-management. At every turn, I have been responsive and cheery about changing things up. I feel like I have whiplash from the amount of times they have ‘changed their strategic’ direction, but I keep playing along because we need the $150K they give my program. We applied for another three years of funding, and were told there were ‘concerns’ about whether we’d met our goals. Which is absurd. We’ve met our goals. By which I mean, I said we will do X and then we did X. But, whatever. As I was preparing for the call, during which I knew I was going to have to set mid-year benchmarks, because they were going to split our funding (basically, cut one check then, if we are meeting goals, cut the other) my colleague came in and asked about it. What do you need to feel ok about it, she asked, so you can move on?

“I just want them to be accountable to having co-signed on everything we’ve done. I want them to admit we have met our goals, we just haven’t met the goals they might have hoped we set. But they approved it. And everytime they said jump, I jumped. Every time they said change direction, I turned on a time. I just want them to admit if this is a ‘screw up’ that they screwed up too.”

And she said, you’re not going to get that. You are not going to get closure. 

Ah yes, the intersection of learning. I’m so pithy and blithe telling my friend to get over it. Not so easy when its my turn, is it? Oh, I have convinced myself that I am better at letting things happen now, thanks to this great journey into powerlessness known as infertility. But its much easier to relinquish power when its your ovaries not ovulating. When people don’t do what I think they should/I am owed/what is right . . .well, that’s a whole different story.

The call went fine, by the way. They liked my benchmarks and congratulated me for my work. I continue to feel confused. I continue to want explanation. I will continue to NOT GET IT. Me and Hero. And you. All of us.

I just hope we do, actually, sometimes get what we need. Cause otherwise, seriously, F the Rolling Stones for lying. 

 

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

*I’m calling her Hero because her last name sounds suspiciously sandwich like, and Hoagie seems kind of frumpy, don’t you think?

**If You ARE into ennegram stuff can we talk? Cause I so am! If you’re NOT, check out the link because it is the best ‘personality’ classification system EVAR. I’m an eight, by the way. 

OMG. I wrote a lengthy and (I think) enjoyable post yesterday and then wordpress said some BS like ‘function not allowed’ when I tried to post it, and then claimed it saved a draft but actually didn’t. So now, not only is that post lost to the internet gremlins, I will absolutely not be able to recreate and that makes me mad. I also tried to leave a bunch of comments on y’all’s blogs and got some other weird error. Clearly, despite mercury travelling in the correct direction, technology was not on my side yesterday.

Because I now have yesterday’s post to capture as well as some new things, I’m going with bullets!

  • Sickness: After watching my beloved begin the ascent to recovery and even seeing some of my symptoms lessen late last week, I felt confident that this weekend would be sickness free. Unfortunately, my body had other plans. I took a nosedive for the worse on Saturday night and could hardly get out of bed on Sunday. Being knocked down for a week is not typical for me, so I made the decision to see my GP to see what was up. Going to the regular doctor when you are in the midst of infertility treatments is weeeeeird. After all, I have been to the ‘doctor’ more in the last year than ever before in my life, which has made it strangely normal. But also, IF medical stuff is, in many ways, quite different from other treatments. In any case, it was strange to have so much comfort and not fully be able to conceptualize why. I saw a doc in my GP’s practice, since my doctor (AwkMD) was not available. And new doc was *awesome*! She was straightforward, kind, and quick. She peeked into my ears and nose and throat, took a quick listen to my lungs, and then pronounced that my viral cold had grown bacterial legs and become a nasty sinus infection. She asked me how I did with antibiotics, then prescribed the one least likely to give me a yeastie (which I have a tendency to get when I’m on the bug killers) AND gave me a paper script for difl.ucan just in case. THAT is good patient care! After two days of antibiotics, I have regained some sense of smell, although I continue to have swollen and snotty sinuses. Hoping things clear out fully by the weekend. 
  • Uterine Testing: From the GP, I raced across town to make it to my previously set appointment for uterine testing – the last box to check before the transfer can happen. I am super glad my clinic has this piece in place – required trial embryo transfer, doppler ultrasound and hysteroscopy – because I really don’t want any of those precious embryos going anywhere that isn’t perfectly suited for them. But damn! so many things to do! I was hella nervous for the hyst because I had such a wretched HSG and imagined that a camera had to be 1000X worse than some stupid dye. Luckily, I was wrong. It was painful, yes, but if the HSG was an 8 on the scale of 1 to scratching my own eyes out, the hyst was closer to a 6. But, the ol’ ute got the all clear – good blood flow, just one little curve and then straight forward, and no polyps, adhesions or scarring! 
  • Losing My Shit: Before the hyst, and before the all clear, came the losing of the shit in the lobby of the fertility clinic. Let me provide some context by saying that my experiences with my nurses, doctors, techs and phlebotomists at the clinic have been EXCELLENT. I have felt cared for, treated as an individual, and all around appreciated at every turn. The same cannot be said for the financial and administrative staff. At one of our IUI’s, La reported to me that the front desk ladies were talking shit about patients while she waited for me in the lobby – something we were then able to overlook since we were only sort-of patients for that IUI. Then, after my first IVF cycle was cancelled, I received an e-mail from the financial coordinator that pretty much just said “you owe us $1000 before you can start again.” No, ‘sorry about the cancellation’ no ‘we understand you have so much to think about in this time, this is a gentle reminder that the balance due is XX’ no understanding in general. But, whatever. Generally, the only admin/front desk person I like is the girl at the Denver satellite office who might also be problematic, I just haven’t witnessed it. But back to Monday. So, I show up at my appointment sick, on an imposed caffeine break that has left me a sobbing mess, and exhausted from my haul from one side of the metro area to the other. I’m also anxious about the myriad things that are going to be shoved into my vagina. I check in and the girl at the front desk tells me I owe $350. I tell her I don’t think that’s right, since today’s procedures should be included in my IVF package, which was already paid. No, she insists, you haven’t paid your day 3 balance. Yes, I tell her, I have – I paid it in March when I started IVF #1. She looks confused then says she’s going to call the financial people. The financial lady comes out and tells me I oew $350. I say, really? cause I thought it was included in the package. No, you need to give us $350 today. At which point the sickness/lack of caffeine/general IF anxiety kicks in and sends me down the rabbit hole of “omg what if this delays the transfer and omg what if I have to go another 72 hours without even decaf coffee and what do I do because omg I lost my wallet last week and I don’t even have a credit card.” So, I start sobbing. And I tell the lady that 1. I lost my wallet and don’t have a way to pay the fee and b. no one, in the approximately 5 messages I received about this appointment, mentioned that I needed to pay this amount and c. Since I had paid them thousands of dollars they could trust that I was good for it. The lady was unmoved. She didn’t care. And then the front desk girl rolled her eyes at me. At which point I truly lost my shit. I reminded them that they were in possession of 5 of my embryos, and so it was highly unlikely I wouldn’t pay my bill – at least as long as those embryos are outside of my uterus, and furthermore, I felt like I could probably be trusted to pay the bill – since I had already forked out thousands of dollars – but that no one had told me I owed this amount, and their chart was confusing, and also maybe the staff could be a teensy bit more understanding about the complexities of fertility treatment and not be all weird about money? I mean, in what other context do you pay that much to be treated like a deadbeat when you can’t instantaneously produce even more? Finally, perhaps just to shut me up, the financial lady said she’d “let me be seen” as long as I could commit to paying my bill by the end of the week. She’s just lucky I didn’t punch her in the throat. I fully plan on giving some feedback to my Dr. at our FET consult this coming Tuesday. 
  • Death: This week, two major contributors to my community died, leaving a pretty significant hole in the Denver social justice world (in my opinion): Dr. Vincent Harding, a professor of mine from graduate school and general bad ass, who taught me the significance of stories and living and loving into community even when its terribly difficult. Dr. Harding and his generous spirit and ability to teach difficult ideas to damn near anyone will be deeply missed. As he taught us to introduce ourselves: My name is Andie, my mama’s name is Cherie, and my mama’s mama was Mary Margaret. Thank you for the gift you left the world. Another huge loss was Matt Kailey, a trans* activist, author, and community advocate who challenged what it means to be gender non-forming and welcomed all kinds of ideas of transition and transience into his life. RIP, you marvelous, marvelous men. 
  • AYFKM? The Duggers: I don’t think I’ve gone into my psuedo-obsession with The Duggers (of “19 Kids and Counting Fame” if you somehow are unaware) here, but that’s only because I haven’t had good reason. I am simultaneously fascinated, disgusted and intrigued by The Duggers and The Quiverfull Movement of which they are the most obvious poster-family. While I’d like to think this obsession is academically based (I did, afterall, get a master’s degree in theology and social change) its probably more true that there is something weird and unsavory about the attention I give the Dugger’s. In any case, did you all see this? The Dugger’s went to a ‘fertility doctor’ (actually a high risk MFM ob-gyn, so, you know, not exactly the same thing) to talk about how they can have their 20th kid (for the record, Michelle is 47 years old and has now been not-pregnant for three whole years – the longest she’s ever gone since she started reproducing.) I struggle with this because, here’s the thing: I think everyone should be allowed to make their own decisions when it comes to reproductive care – whether that is access to information about terminating an unwanted pregnancy, preventing pregnancy with birth control, or getting support to have children. But this definitely runs along my edge . . .so, y’know, talk amongst yourselves.
  • No-Fetus Fun: I’m trying to get in as much deli meat, sushi, soft cheese, wine and roller coaster riding as I can before the transfer. yesterday we did mid-day sushi special work lunch, which I think can/should happen at least once a week until the FET. 

 

That’s all, friends. The ring of fire comes out next Wednesday, FET consult with Doc Awesome on Tuesday, and then hopefully a FET calendar soon after . . . the waiting is still happening, but it might be coming to an end soon!

Snot, My Wallet and Time Machines

Oh my god. I wish I could describe in the detail necessary for you to actually understand just what a whiny sick baby I have been for the last two and a half days. But I can’t. Its simply not possible for the level of shitty-babyness to be articulated. La is also sick, and is equally whiny in her sickness, which could have spelled some relationship woes for us but, luckily, we just conceded that we couldn’t take care of one another, as sucky as that was, and went on whining from our respective couches. 

My snot is beginning to thin out enough to at least be taken care of, and while that means that I’ve developed a cough as well, it is also a good sign that I’m on the upswing. I’ve also made it through almost an entire workday without verbalizing how sorry I feel for myself. So, I’m definitely on the mend.

Compounding the sickness, I somehow managed to lose my wallet between getting coffee with my co-workers on Monday and stopping by the store to buy nyquil and OJ on Tuesday afternoon. My wallet is a huge thing, like, bigger than some women’s clutch purses. I am also religious about keeping things ‘in their home’ (La will attest to this and also tell you how it impacts her life negatively.) So I’m still unsure how it got lost. When I realized I didn’t have it on me (while at the check-out to buy the nyquil . . .and an old neighbor happened to have been in front of me in line and when she heard what happened quickly jumped in and paid for my groceries! Because the universe was definitely looking out for me!) I assumed it was in one of a few places. But it wasn’t! It hasn’t been in any of the places it could have been, but also, NONE of the cards were used, which should maybe restore my faith in humanity but actually makes me believe that it is still just hiding somewhere.

I have cancelled and reordered all my cards, went to the DMV this morning for a new license, and mourned the loss of my 10% off coffee and pastries at the best coffee shop near work card. So, probably that means my wallet will end up being found now. I should also add that it was a Coach wallet, which I could never, ever afford on my own, and was a gift from my friend, SH. Sad days, friends. SAD. I’m also pretty fucking nervous about the fact that ALL the things with my name, address and other vitals were in that wallet. Like, seriously, probably everything someone would need to open credit cards in my name and stuff. Damn. Any advice on protecting my identity? 

In my final non-update of the day, a friend posted an article from NPR about Tori Amos last night, and because I spent from roughly 15-25 in a slightly Tori Amos obsessed state, I of course used spotify to listen to like every album she’s ever put out (not really, because if you are a TA fan you will know she is so prolific and it would take way more than one day to listen to all of her albums!) including the rare B sides I used to own but were stolen from my car (along with all my other tapes and CDs) and which I cried over for days. I’ll be honest that Tori has dropped off my radar of late – the last time I saw her live was in 2007, probably the same year I last bought an album – but I still have a deep, deep love for her early stuff and have found I really like some of her newer songs as well. Still, nothing can put me back into my red VW bug (1972), crying over unrequited love on my way to Larkspur, Co. to work on the cast of the Renaissance festival faster than “Little Earthquakes.”

And yes, you read all of that correctly and I am totally that gay, woo-woo, Tori Amos, witchy, ren-faire loving girl you are imagining. or I was until I maybe got some better style. I read an article about the types of college roommates you could have, and one genre was the Tori Amos listening depressive lesbian. And then I realized that I had been someone’s personal stereotype. And I’m ok with it. I threw in a lot of Morissey, The Cure, Depeche Mode, and New Order, too. As you may have guessed, I was a true ray of sunshine in my adolescence. 

Speaking of rays of sunshine . . .tomorrow at 3pm begins my 72 hours sans caffeine. Who wants to bet if it’ll be headaches, unrelenting sobbing, or both this weekend?!

Chromosomes!

I managed to pick up a pretty nasty spring cold thanks to my lovely La. This means we are both sick, which is really the worst part of catching sickness from one another. La is a beautiful, amazing, brilliant caretaker. . .when she is well. When she is sick, she is bratty and needy. And this is fine when she is sick and I am well, but doesn’t work out so well when we are both down for the count. Needless to say, when people ask if we ever want to get pregnant at the same time (which happens ALL.THE.TIME.), the answer is a resounding NO. (I did just find a blog of two women who DID get knocked up simultaneously – doing reciprocal IVF for them both, which is quite poetic, and seems to be working for them. So, its not a universal eye roll) 

So I was awake but hating life at 7:45am when the clinic called with the results of our PGS screening. I could also hardly talk through my dry mouth and snot filled head, but that’s ok cause I didn’t have to talk much.

Of the 8 embryos sent for biopsy, four came back normal. FOUR. This seems like an awfully high proportion of good:bad, but once again, no one* seems to be worried, so I am trying to also not be worried. Of the four that are normal, one of them has a lower ‘confidence rating’ on an abornormality, which means, according to the embryologist, ‘that wouldn’t be the first one we put in’ but that it also didn’t mean we wouldn’t transfer it. Of the four good embryos, two are XX (one of which is the lower confidence embryo) and two are XY – meaning because we are not choosing, our chances of getting a boy (or, I should say, a baby with XY chromosomes who is likely to be assigned male at birth) are slightly higher. My mom probably doesn’t need to know that.

Of the four that were abnormal, one had so many problems it almost certainly wouldn’t have even implanted, one had trisomy 21, and the other two had other trisomies that I wasn’t familiar with. All abnormalities came from the egg – which of course will give you a complex even when the embryologist tells you this is common since the egg is older and a more complex structure in which more things can go wrong.

So, mostly I am glad we did the PGS, since without it we had about a 50/50 chance of having an embryo transferred that would have miscarried or had some other issues. The attrition in this process is astounding though. From 53 eggs retrieved, 29 mature eggs, 21 of which fertilized, 12 of which grew to day 5, 9 of which were able to be frozen, 8 of which were biopsied, four of which are chromosomally normal. 7% of the harvested eggs turned into (we hope) viable embryos (if my math is good. so, maybe less actually)

Now, I’m going to finish some e-mails and try and blow some snot outta my brain.

Hurdles Jumped

Driving away from my meeting this morning, I realized that I had successfully crossed the final hurdle in many weeks worth of them, and I was finally looking at a whole lot of nothing-pressing in my life for the next small while. I took a big breath and felt so very fine. I also enjoyed a moment of being impressed with my ability to get through the marathon in rather good spirits. Life is feeling pretty awesome right now.

In addition to producing and having almost 60 eggs harvested from my body (which turned into a mere 9 embryos . . .I have feelings about that when the numbers are so clearly laid out), I also wrote a submitted a grant proposal for my organization’s largest chunk of funding, prepared for and sat through a day long site visit with that same funder, wrote a 20 page report on sexual health education in one of the state’s largest school district, including extensive recommendations, sat in a meeting with the administration of said district and docilely handled their critiques and edits of said report, hosted a happy hour event attended by an NPR reporter, and drove a few hours to another big school district to successfully court their participation in my program. I’d like to say I’m not bragging but I’m totally fucking bragging. 

And I’m bragging because I have not always been able to manage my work life and my infertility life quite so well, at least not in conjunction. Because I can only remember last summer as one long, hot, weepy season of disappointment and while I’m sure I showed up to work and half assed my way through it, I couldn’t tell you what I managed to actually accomplish during that time, except feeling extraordinarily sorry for myself. I’ve tried not to dwell or beat myself up about this because, well . . .it happens. And sometimes we can’t be on the ball about every thing, and sometimes our jobs take the backseat to our feelings. But I’m glad that things are different now, and I hope I can continue to show up to all of the parts of my life. 

There is nothing to report on the baby making front . . .maybe in a week and a half when I get my uterine testing done, I’ll have something to report back on. Right now, my primary thoughts are: 1) please let me continue to be a good person while on the nuva.ring and 2) what in actual fuck do you mean I can’t have ANY caffeine for 72 hours before my uterine testing? 

 

Report Cards

I’m gonna talk about a few things, in this order, so you can decide if/how much you want to read:

1. Embryos

2. Bleeding

3. Poop

Consider that your ‘trigger warning’ but let’s get real, this is a blog about invasiely trying to get knocked up, so there is no “TMI” bitches.

 

#1. Embryos!

We got the call this afternoon that a total of 12 of our 21 fertilized eggs kept growing to Day 5. Of those, the best 8 were biopsied and vitrified this morning – results from PGD should be back by the middle of next week. The remaining 4 are being allowed to grow another day, and then will be frozen if they look good. The 8 vitrified embryos were graded BD (5), BA (2) and AD (1) which makes them firmly average. I’m gonna be honest that I have never seen so many D’s in my life and it makes me feel both nervous and disappointed. But, both the embryologist and my nurse seem pleased as punch with the embryos – both number and quality. So, who am I to argue? 

We took informal bets about the number of Day 5 embryos we’d have and NO ONE guessed 12! Which makes me sad because I really wanted to give this to the winner:

Image

 

But I might still order some because AMAZING! I have been a huge fan of the Giant Microbes for many years, and find them both hilarious and an invaluable teaching resource. 

 

#2. Bleeding

I am. Which is good, if unexpected, news. It shouldn’t be unexpected, since Nurse T told me I was likely to start by the middle of this week, but I’ve grown accustomed to my period not showing up when I want it, so I just assumed it would be a while. This fast appearing menses is thanks to the Lupron trigger, and is another reason why PCOS/OHSS and fresh transfers don’t go together so well. I go back on the nuva.ring on Wednesday for 21 days, during which I will have additional uterine testing – doppler, hysteroscopy and trial transfer. Assuming the embryos get the OK from the PGD lab, we will start with the FET protocol late this month/beginning of June. Nurse T thinks we might be able to do a transfer as early as the end of June, or at least early July. They have some protocol that shuts the lab down for 10 days in July which could bump us out, so I’m keeping all the things crossed we can do it before that happens. Being a non-ovulator on birth control will likely help make this happen. 

In exciting and disgusting news, I have to continue with the dost.inex I was prescribed post-retrieval. Which I take vaginally. And its tiny. Kinda messy but Nurse T assured me I should continue. Good thing I still have my crunchy punk cred.

3. Pooping

You may recall from previous entries that I tend to run on the slow side, alimentarily speaking. While I knew to expect some back up from the stims + anesthesia + pain meds, I thought I adequately prepared by keeping my water intake up and steadily popping stool softeners. But by Saturday, I was staring down the barrel (colon?) of 5 days with no poop, and life was not so good. This + the mild OHSS = misery. Finally, yesterday after more than 30 minutes of concentrated effort on the toilet, I produced what can only be called a poop baby because of its sheer size and the effort undertaken to get it out. I immediately felt better, but was horribly disgusted with myself. Things are definitely still running slowly, but I think the worst of it is over. If God is kind and merciful, it will be over. This has strengthened my resolve to keep up on the stool softeners and osmostics during pregnancy though, because I never want to have that experience ever again. 

And that’s all, friends! I’m super excited about our good news, less so about the waiting that stands between us and transfer. BUT there is a visit to the amusement park and a camping trip planned between now and then. I’m hoping even more distractions will be set up as well. As my friend just pointed out, our transfer should be near the time Season 2 of Orange is the New Black comes out, so that’s a score for bed rest post transfer!