Thursday, July 31, 2008

6 Embryos!!!

Got ahold of Nurse M this morning, shortly after 11am. I was actually doing such a fab job distracting myself with work, that it took my boss pestering me at 11:15 to get me to make the call. Of course, M was on another call with yet another lady on hold, so I just left voicemail. She called back in about 5 minutes with the good news.

Of the 8 eggs they retrieved yesterday, all 8 were mature, and 6 fertilized. Picture above is not of one of ours, just a stolen pic of a 24-hour-old zygote. See the happy little male and female in the middle, mixing it up and getting ready to start dividing? It's like we should all turn away and give them their privacy, huh?
I don't know if 6 out of 8 is good or not good, but it sounds good to me. We have MFI. But I was secretly harboring this fear that my eggs would all be dried up and useless. So, even though I know I could still have a putrid acidic uterus or a billion other issues, I'm still happy that my eggs are good. They can be fertilized. Now, I just hope they don't fall apart, that they stay round and stuff.
I'm back at work today, totally fine from the retrieval. I slept for a few hours yesterday afternoon, but otherwise felt normal. This was seriously less trauma than AF. So, I'm super pleased with that.
I don't know what I can do to take my mind off of this before I get to check the message system tomorrow around noon. I'm hopeful that they will continue to divide and grow and be healthy little embryos. But I want to be prepared, emotionally, that there is still so much that can go wrong. At the same time, after a year of appointments at RE's office, a cancelled IVF and two failed IUI's, its exciting to be here. It feels really good to have gotten this far. I think this emotion I'm feeling, its rare, and its scary, but I think its H.O.P.E.
My friend, K, whose progesterone dropped and started supplements will return to her OB tomorrow for an ultra sound. We're hoping she can hear the heartbeat at this appointment. So, all prayers for her would be appreciated. She has calmed down some since the initial call, and has learned that p4 levels vary throughout a pregnancy, and even during the day, so she's less freaky, but I'm sure she's anxious for this appointment.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

T & A + 8

Well, we had our egg retrieval this morning, and Dr. VW was able to retreive 8 fabulous little eggs. Okay, I admit, I won't know how truly fabulous they are until tomorrow when we know how many fertilized, but for today, they can be fabulous.

I am not allowing superstitions to seep into my being. Although it does make me tempted to freak out when I have to go #2, sneeze, or do anything else that involves abdominal muscles. For some reason, that makes me feel weary, like something's getting pushed out. But if I was going to be superstitious, I would choose to believe that 8 will be a lucky number for us, just because we so enjoy Jon & Kate Plus 8! And now we have 8 eggs of our own!

I tried not to worry about the procedure going in, and I'm glad I didn't because it was truly no big deal. I understand that not all clinics are as fabulous as mine in this regard, but we do get to go to a surgery center and be knocked out. And they have one single nurse who takes care of all the IVF patients. She was very informative and friendly. Everyone was friendly. It was like my day to be pampered or something!

I woke up about 45 minutes later, a little sleepy, and a little crampy, but less cramps than I normally have with AF. These cramps, so far, are even less than I've had with my IUI's (I have cramps after inseminations). So, I'm feeling pretty good.

DH is home with me today, he's working in the dining room. I've even taken a couple of calls for work - with my laptop here, I can look at people's computer screens and help them, which never ceases to amaze me or them.

All in all a positive experience. Now, I just need to find something to distract me until 11am tomorrow when I can call for our fertilization report. Wish us luck!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Egg Retrieval Scheduled!

So, after today's appointment, nurse M thought I would be doing one more day of drugs, but she called back this afternoon, and we will have our ER on Wednesday morning!

She counted 13 follicles, but they are thinking only 10 will be retrieved that day (read: mature, but not overbaked).

All my girlfriends, plus everyone at work and online has been so super supportive, that I'm getting caught up in everyone else's excitement. I've never been this far in an IVF cycle before, never had this high of a chance, so it IS exciting. Even though I know none could fertilize, none could implant, or we could miscarry (seriously, there is SO much that could go wrong!). Even still, I'm excited for this opportunity, for the odds we have today.

That being said, I am still trying to stay detached and remember that things can change in a moment's notice. I should really re-name my blog. What do you think of this: How do I know what's going on in there? Because that's how I feel most of the time. There's something growing and stretching my skin and poking my bladder so I have to pee every 10 minutes. It's just weird.

So, trigger shot here in a few minutes, and then ER on Wednesday.

In other news, my BFF K (if you're a long time reader, she's my friend who has a 1-year old but has recurrent miscarriages and whose last miscarriage was the week before her birthday in April) is about 8 weeks pregnant. And her progesterone dropped at her appointment on Friday. Doctor called and left her a message at work today to tell her the news, so she didn't get to actually speak to him. She's going on a progesterone supplement (oral) tonight, but is really worried. Everything she's read online says that this is a sign of bad things to come, and she's already had a ton of bad things with all of her miscarriages.
So, I'm worried about her. Not sure what to tell her, and wishing I could be near her to just listen tonight. Seriously?! Hasn't she suffered enough already? Hopefully this is a false alarm and all will be well. But her babies just don't seem to stick and no one can tell her why. If she loses this one, it will be dead baby #3 or 4, I've lost count. And I think its way too much for one poor woman to bear.
Perhaps this is why I can't let my guard down with my own cycle. There are just so many things that could still go wrong. IF is such a raging bitch!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Slight Change of Plans

So Nurse M called with my afternoon message....and my next appointment will be tomorrow instead of Tuesday.

I'm guessing it is because my E2 jumped to 1,639. Up from just 758 on Friday. And yes, she counted a bunch of follicles today, but certainly not 16 in the right range.

And even though those four little letters were never mentioned, but because I am brilliant (or perhaps paranoid) I have figured out that they are probably watching me closer for concern for OHSS.

So, I am now on red alert and will be spending the rest of my stim phase on the toilet with a bottomless glass of water.

3rd Check Up

DH and I went together to check up #3 this morning. Nurse M said she was "pumped" about how the cycle is going as she waved yards of follicles snapshots at me.

We currently have two follicles that on the right that are above 16. And a bunch more that I didn't even bother counting (but assuming we have the same number we had on Friday, that would leave 6) in the 12-15 range. So, we are stimming for two more days, at least, and will have my fourth check up on Tuesday morning.

I'm feeling very bloated and impatient to get on with the process, but am delighted that everyone is seeing a nice, even progression. M showed me my chart and you can see a steady line of solid growth and more follicles jumping on the bandwagon. I worry about stimming too long and losing those two on the top of the chart, but this is where all the books say my RE's office will earn their money, so I'm not going to worry about that. Or at least try not to worry about it, since its completely out of my control and my knowledge base.

I have been happily distracted from the cycle by fun events with friends, which is helping to pass the time. Today, DH and I have some foster-care-related home improvement projects to tackle, as well as about 80 more pages to read from this week's homework!

And then, there is the problem of what to wear this week to work, since a) its only going to get bigger in my tum, b) I'm already a fat cow and 3) the soonest ER we could have would be Thursday. Hmmmmmm.......

Friday, July 25, 2008

2nd Check Up

Had my second check up this morning. Not a tear was shed. I wasn't even tempted.

I have 8 lovely follicles, all in similar size range with zero lead follicles. Still just two on the left. Picked up one more on the right. Uterus is fine. Estrogen 758, up from 460 on Wednesday. Nurse M says that everything is just truckin' along like it should.

Nurse M also tells me that the reason my follicle count was so low during IVF#1 in the fall was that they were not evenly sized - there were lead follicles on each side and then the others were all sporadic, not clustered in any size range. And THAT is why they encouraged us to cancel that cycle. Not JUST because there were so few, but because there were so few that would need to be triggered at the same time. So, I'm feeling better and better about our own little T&A+8.

I can definitely feel all 8 of them pushing against my uterus, bladder, and sciatic nerve. I have been popping the Tylenol today. Am getting a pedicure with friend S this evening, then going to see Momma Mia. Tomorrow, I've got an appointment for a massage in the morning, then its lots of reading and vegging out in pajama pants for the remainder of the day. Off to a pool party tomorrow night, where I have warned my friends that because of my distended, bloated lower abdomen, I will not need a floaty!

We're headed back to the RE on Sunday morning. For me, this is reminiscent of our last IVF cycle, because we had our heartbreaking appointment and had to decide to cancel it all on one horrible Sunday. After which, DH had to go to work so I was home alone with my tears. But this time, its totally different, and even if they encourage us to cancel, I know I can get through that. I have lived almost 9 months since we cancelled the first one.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


So, if you're like me, and you really like to procrastinate online, you're going to love Wordle. Wordle is the fabulous site that has helped me to create my new banner (see above). Turning my blog into art. Which I totally stole from Glow in the Woods.

Some of the nursery furniture arrived today, so DH and I can put that together tonight. Just the crib and dresser though, not the mattress or the rocker and ottoman. I'm hoping it looks as good in person as it did online. Pretty please with sugar on top!

DH and I did some foster care homework last night, after I watched White Oleander. I had read that it was about foster care. Um, let's just say it is not the "Feel Good Movie of the Year." It was rather disturbing and didn't make me cry. Why would anyone want to watch something that wasn't uplifting, and did not give them a good, cathartic cry? Seriously?! What's the point?

Also, my pants are beginning to become bothersome due to the extreme bulgy-ness of my tum, so I dug out an old suit from the back of my closet, and the crotch hung down to my knees all day. But at least it wasn't binding. Tomorrow is jeans day, and again, I will be sporting some super-sized clothes at work. If only they would institute that pajama day I've been talking about...

If you hadn't guessed already, I'm kind of bored. Ooooh, here's a big accomplishment - I made it through the whole day without crying. Praise God! Never fear, I go to RE's office tomorrow morning and will probably make up for it then.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

7 Puny Little Follicles

So, U/S this morning showed a healthy uterine lining. E2 was 460. And only seven 'measurable' follices - two on the left and five on the right.

So, starting tonight, my dosage is up from 150 to 225 IU of Follistim in morning and 150 Menopur in evening, plus I start the Cetrotide tomorrow morning (I *think* this is to prevent ovulation since I didn't have to have Lupron this time). Upping the dosage is supposed to perk up the tiny itty bitty little follicles that were so small they didn't measure them today.

Today was a very weepy day. I cried when Nurse M left the exam room. I cried when my friend Lynne called to check up on me. I cried when my friend Steph sent me a picture of us from last weekend. Three moms, Three kids, and me. Ouch.

I made it through the day at work, well, most of the day, I just wasn't feeling it by afternoon, so skipped out about 30 minutes early. I have a headache, and just wanted to veg out at home. So, I'm watching Date my Ex: Jo & Slade. Sad, I know. But it doesn't require much thought, which makes my headache hurt less.

Next U/S and B/W is Friday morning at 8:15.


I was a little disappointed with only 7 follicles. That's about how many we had when we cancelled our IVF last fall. And the protocol change was supposed to give me 'better' results and these are the same results.

So, I don't know how many follicles would have made me happy. Maybe 10?! Not sure.

Anyway, Nurse M made me feel a lot better, that maybe no matter the meds, maybe 7 or 8 follicles is all that my body will ever produce. Whcih made me a little less disappointed in the protocol.

She also said in my afternoon message that everyone at the center thinks that my cycle is going well. (Who is everyone, I wonder?) My friend Denise told me that she watches a lot of Discovery Channel and women are pleased with that number of follicles. But I want more. Nurse M assures me there will be more on Friday. I know a lot can change day to day during a cycle, so maybe there will. What do you girls think? Should I be disappointed???

Also, Nurse M promised me as soon as she saw me this morning that she has been showing my 'new' picture to everyone in the office. Seriously, they must think I'm nutso!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Well Read?

I'm not sure I've mentioned it before, but I'm a pretty big reader. DH and I are together, because we both read and were impacted by the Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. Lately, (read: since the advent of Tivo) my reading has been abyssmal. I can't keep up with the paperbacks my boss loans to me. But every once in awhile, I catch up on my Tivo, and will finish an entire book in a day or a weekend.

This is a picture of my 'to do' pile. It includes the Bible (3rd from bottom because of size, not importance). Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich, which I'm reading right now, and it's hilarious, lest you worry she ran out of Grandma Mazur antics in the previous 13 editions! The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, which I must admit I am only reading because I read in People a few months ago that Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wendt were reading it, and I thought it sounded good. And by good, I mean, depressing. But mostly, its just boring me right now. Above that is Hannah's Hope (IF). Above that, Baby Proof, which I didn't feel like reading because one of the main characters doesn't want a baby and the other does and at the time I got this book it just all seemed too depressing. And from there they get smaller - mostly mysteries or crime dramas loaned to me by my boss. God bless her reading addiction and her penchant for sharing!

I read classics, mysteries, and chick lit. I even read non-fiction when it suits me (IF is a popular topic these days). And I 'feel' like I'm well read. I can usually get all the jokes in the Simpsons or the Big Bang Theory, and a lot of times I feel like you have to be well read to catch their inferences. But I read this list below, many of the books I had never heard of, and I feel kind of ... well ... not-so-well-read. Like maybe I've been reading too much Janet Evanovich and not enough Jane Austen.

In my defense, my poor little brain can only think so hard when mucked up with stims and other random hormones. Alas, the list of movies I've seen is longer than books I've read, at least with this list. I still think of myself as an intellectual. But perhaps need to add a few of these titles to my amazon wish list. So, without further adieu...

I stole this meme from Busted.

Here's how it works:
1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline (or mark in a different color) the books you LOVE - mine are in red
4) Reprint this list in your blog.
5) I am adding a new rule, because its my blog and I can, I'm going to mark the ones I haven't read, but I've seen the movie in green. And if I've read the book AND seen the movie, well, then it will be BOLD and Green.

The premise of this exercise is that the National Endowment for the Arts apparently believes that the average American has only read 6 books from the list below.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible - ok, I've read some, so if I could, I would make this partly bold.
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery (seriously, makes me cry every time!)
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson (this is the only book of his that I haven't read!)
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath (again, wish I could half bold this. I've started it, but never finished it!)
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom (no, but I have read Tuesdays with Morrie)
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery (In French, no less, shouldn't I get extra credit for this???)
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Few More Pokes...

So, I've got a few more pokes under my belt. Headaches started almost immediately, but are generally tolerable once I take the edge off with some Tylenol. Yes, I've given up the Ibuprofen for now. But if AF comes back.... My next U/S and B/W are Wednesday morning. So, until then, its anybody's guess what's going on in there. Hopefully, no lead follicles, only perfectly proportioned and healthy eggs, and lots of 'em.

Nurse M warned me again during my appointment on Friday that because of my age, they will only likely transfer 1-2 embryos. Which I know. But little do they know that I am going to see how 'I' feel come transfer day, what the embryo report looks like, etc. Because I can't afford to do this again anytime soon. We haven't had to incur any debt, everything's coming out of savings, but by that, I mean E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. from our liquid assets. I don't want to take on credit card debt or refinance our house or dip into our 401(k). That's a level of risk that I'm just not ready to assume. So, I'm thinking 4 if that would leave us at least two to freeze. But shhhh, don't tell. Because I might change my mind. But seriously?! with two failed IUI's under my belt and all my money gone, I'm thinking I want my money's worth out of this deal.


The foster care child's room, which I am calling the 'nursery' is all painted and beautiful. DH helped me with the second coat of paint yesterday. Mysteriously, I timed this perfectly so the first coat was drying when he got home. I'm sure he sees right thru me, but it was nice to have his company and his long arms on the project. We also ordered furniture - convertible crib, mattress, dresser w/changing table, and super comfy overstuffed rocking chair with ottoman with super comfy microfiber slip covers. This is also dipping into the funds right now, but we have to have everything read to be licensed. And no foster care child of mine is going to be sleeping on an air mattress!

After returning the blech-y creme brulee bedding, I have found a suitable unisex replacement, which is My First ABC (picture below). Everybody loves pictures, right? So, I'll just post as many as my bandwith will allow. Enjoy!

The Crib Converted to a toddler bed

The bedding package which is way cuter in person. I wish I had a better picture, because the bumper says one word on each side, like 'nap' or 'dream' or 'sleep' and has adorable little animals by the letters.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

One Poke Down

First stim injection is done...bunches and bunches to go!

I'm a little worried about the headaches this time around, because I was already having sinus headaches yesterday. Hopefully, its just from the paint fumes.

Ah yes, I primed the nursery last night with some help from DH. The color before was this super bright yellow, and now it will be a nice muted khaki. We like to call it fisherman's net. Well, actually, that's what the manufacturer calls it.

Yesterday was a super stressful day for little ol me. Started with my baseline appointment first thing in the morning. There was a dreaded cyst on my right ovary. So, they added estrogen to my bloodwork. When I left, I was expecting a call that would say estrogen is okay, so we can proceed or estrogen is not okay, and I would need to go back and have that cyst aspirated in the office.

Ok, so a little panic on my part. I had meetings all day across town for work. And, um, this little aspiration procedure is the same as an egg retrieval. Lest we forget that for ER we get general anesthesia in a surgery center, and we get a couple days of bed rest after that. So, seriously, I was a little worried about what the pain would be, whether or not I would be able to or want to go back to work, and whether or not I could drive myself home. But on the other hand, I was kind of looking forward to having an ER preview, so I would know what I was getting into.

So, I went to work and prepared a co-worker in case I would have to leave. RE's office closes at 11:30 on Fridays so I knew that it would be in the morning. I tried to remain calm, but I'm sure I appeared flustered and was talking super fast. Got that all set up and left to drive across town to my meetings. But the building where my meetings were at has horrible cell service. It's like cell blocked or something. So, my phone never rang, never rang. I finally called RE's office and they had tried to call, which made me feel like less of a pest!, and got the good news that my estrogen was fine and I would not need to come back! Whew!

So, I continued my day of meetings. After work, I stopped by Home Depot, picked up the priming supplies, came home, and spent the rest of the evening taping, taking down wall plates, and priming the nursery. DH came home and helped with the second coat.


Today, I have a 3-year-old birthday party to attend. Which would be nice, except its a strained situation. My friend S, is the mother. Her ex-husband, C, is an a** who doesn't realize that we all despise him and is always sentimental when he sees me like he misses me so much. And he's a toucher, so I'm bound to get a hello and a good-bye hug. Ish. In addition, and for sure the worst part, is I have this former friend, who chose C's side in the divorce, who I haven't spoken to since the fall, who will be there. A.W.K.W.A.R.D.

She and I were friends before me and S. She was my first friend in Wichita. We were couples friends, and played softball with S and C. She introduced us. But when C cheated on S with another mutual friend, this woman who will be there today, stayed friends with C and had secret meetings with him that she hid from the rest of us. And I kind of didn't like being lied to so I just stopped talking to her. I mean, I told her why, and I gave her a chance to repent, but she was indignant and angry that I cared. Um, seriously, what woman doesn't just intrinsically know that when a divorce occurs, you have to choose sides? You don't get to keep both friends. There is a lot more to this story than I will bore you with today, but she just did some crappy things to me and to S and so none of us have been talking for about 6 months. Anyway, because she is still friends with C, she gets invited to the party, and anyway, I will go because S didn't choose this. She's not friends with this woman either, so it will be difficult for her, too. But I'm only doing this for S. Otherwise, this is totally an event I would skip. And if it becomes too anxiety-ridden, then I will do the old 'stim headache' fake out. But I want to be strong, so I hope not to cop out.


And now, what you've all been waiting for. At the end of my baseline appt yesterday, I was going through my list of questions for the nurse, and when she asked Is that all? I whipped out a very flattering photo of myself stating I brought you a new picture for my file. Yes, I'm sure, she thinks I'm insane. But she took it and gave me the bad one, but not before joking that she had already posted it on youtube. Funny, funny, miss M. I could hear laughter coming from the nurses as my blood was being taken, and I can only assume that they all think I'm crazy, too, but in a totally normal, what woman wouldn't be self conscious sort of way. I hope.

So, for your viewing pleasure, I now present to you, a most unflattering photo of a photo of me that will no longer taint my permanent IF file. Drum roll, please.....

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I'm ready ... or at least I'm getting there...

I have been wondering whether or not I was ready to begin a new cycle. I mean, I've been so distracted with living and living it up during this break from cycles, that I really hadn't had much time to think about it. And I was wondering whether or not I could get back. But now that AF has reared her ugly head, I can feel it creeping back in. I can feel myself getting into this cycle, getting hopeful, getting interested in bloodwork and my protocol. I can feel myself slowing down.

Here's one for you: I only had two feminine products in the house, because each month, I only buy enough supplies for that month. I guess that means I have hope. Or I'm cheap. I just think that maybe I won't be needing these for awhile, so maybe I'll just get the one. But this month its totally biting me on the bottom. I'm down to one. I have cramps and don't feel like going to the store. I'd ask DH and I'm sure he'd be willing to buy them, but I never have asked him in all of our years together (8) and even if I did send him, he'd probably buy the wrong kind. I'll be okay. I'm about to go dig through my briefcase to see if I've got any stashed in there. And I used to have an emergency supply in my trunk, but I drove my company car home. Seriously, I'm kind of a mess.


I got home from a day trip out of town for work and have been making up my to do list for my weekend, and my list of questions/information for tomorrow's baseline appointment. I want to be sure I'm reading my protocol right - it looks like follistim in the morning and menopur in the afternoon for 5 days. That's a new one for me. I also need to swap out that nasty pic of me and DH in their file, so I've got that stuck in my spiral notebook. If you're lucky, they'll give me the 'bad' pic and I'll post it here tomorrow. Wish me luck! Because seriously, who doesn't love a horrible picture of someone else?

But I also feel myself slipping back into the symptom side of this, as well. I have cramps today, which I have been treating with ibuprofen. I know, I know, I shouldn't do that. But here's my reasoning. See if you can follow - For one, they hurt so stinking bad and I had to run these meetings today, and I seriously could not explain to these dudes that I was doubled over at the table, breathing through my mouth and clenching my fists because I can only take Tylenol and my uterus was falling out. Secondly, aren't baseline appointments supposed to be on CD3? Well, I got my period today, so tomorrow would only be CD2, so I thought the ibuprofen might expedite the thinning of my lining so its super thin for tomorrow's appointment. Kind of a jump start to make it appear more like CD3 on the vag cam....

Enough rationalizing, you probably don't hate me for taking ibuprofen, but I've obviously got guilt. Back to the symptom management. I have had serious hunger today, so I've ordered a pizza and plan to lay in bed watching Tivo and eating it. Don't worry, I called DH and ordered him one too, which he can enjoy when he gets home from work later on. I'm an equal opportunity sloth.

In other news, I called the center with our deposit today. Yikes! That number always scares me. This better work! But I also got my refund check from insurance today for the meds that arrived last week. With my plan, I get my meds from Freedom and put it on my credit card, then submit claim to my insurance and they reimburse me in full. Yeah for insurance paying for at least some of this!

The other items on my IVF to-do list include the purchase of carbs for the stim phase - Coca Cola and Honey Teddy Grahams are staples for me during stims. I haven't decided what else yet. Last time, I had non-stop cravings for swiss cake rolls. I also need to be sure I've got plenty of entertainment. Alas, the book I borrowed from the library sucks, so I need to actually go to Barnes and Noble and buy a book in preparation for bed rest. I ordered some DVD's last week that still have not arrived, but bed rest is at least a week away, so I should be okay there. I've still got my meditation CD's that were recommended to me by Pee Sticks and Stones forever ago (read: April). I'm kind of looking forward to getting past the first one! And last but not least, I've got plenty of 'light days' for the CM that is sure to be flowing.

I think that's everything, isn't it? This has all creeped up on me and I feel like I'm forgetting something....

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

First Foster Care Class

We survived! Our first foster care class was a raging success if I do say so myself. Here are the players:

N - instructor. Awesome! Love her! She shares great stories and really wants us to be prepared. I trust her, and know she has our best interests at heart.

S & L - S is the husband, L is the wife. They are older than us, have grown children and grandchildren. DH noticed her snorting laugh. I noticed that she was a Know-It-All. They currently have a kinship placement of a 2-year-old who they have fostered since April, and have decided they want to know more about being foster parents, and get a foster care worker since they're acting as foster parents for family. S is quiet. L shares a lot. I like them both.

D & A - D is the guy, A is the girl. They are not married. He has disgusting black gums. She has piercings that mysteriously disappear into her skin with various facial expressions and then pop back out. Some of her hair is pink. They are younger than us, and do not have any children in their home. I haven't figured out yet why they are interested in fostering, but hope to get to know them better about how they got here. A doesn't like to talk. D doesn't seem to know much, and asks a lot of basic questions. Its slightly irritating, because I wonder how he got here, but I also learn a lot from the answers because N adds a lot of stories to her responses.

I felt very comfortable with everyone, probably because I was in my own home, and they didn't intimidate me. A was a little standoffish when we talked about the foster care topics, but made conversation quite easily. I told DH that we were the coolest in the class, but there wasn't much competition. He replied, "There never is." I guess we're kind of full of ourselves when it comes to the 'cool' meter.

After class, I worked on some of the profiles we have to complete about our childhoods, and our current home life. It's a lot to remember - like how were you disciplined from ages 0-6, or how did your family express frustration? That made me realize how much my upbringing has impacted how I react and respond today. In my family, we talked about everything ad nauseam. My answers for almost every emotion included 'discussion.' We talked about everything we were feeling. Just a little awakening about that for me.

The nursery bedding arrived today, and despite how cute the picture was. Sigh. Alas, it is crappy in person. So, I will be returning that this weekend, and the search begins again for the perfect unisex bedding set.

Still awaiting AF. Cramping is intermittent. More of a nuisance than anything. Anxious for B/W and U/S on Friday. I need to review my protocol and be sure to make a list of all my questions tonight, so I don't forget anything.
We pay our deposit tomorrow. Yes, I put it off charging those thousands to my credit card until the absolute last minute, because I don't want to have to pay interest and it always seems to take at least one month to get all the paperwork so we still end up paying one month of interest.
I also got a picture of DH and me printed that I need to pick up at Walgreen's so I can trade M for the horrible mutant photo of me they have in my file!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Monday night in Garden City

Sorry, I've been absent. My grand finale before IVF social calendar has kept me offline. Only a few more days before I hang up my beer mug/wine glass/coffee cup for gonal-f and follistim.
Thursday night, I was in KC with my friend Steph. I enjoyed a stoli doli at the Capital Grille. Seriously, you have to try one if you're ever there. And then, I tried sushi for the first time. Yes, I'm 31 one, so I'm a late bloomer I guess. But I loved it. My favorite were the spicy tuna roll, the Philadelphia roll, and the Wave roll. Anyway, I think I deserve mad props for trying something so scary!

DH and I enjoyed a fab weekend with the fam in Iowa this weekend. Hung out with my sister, older brother and their families. Went to a street dance with my siblings and my BFF from high school. Saw people I hadn't seen since graduation (ahem, 13 years ago). Like my nerdy 7th grade biology teacher who made me write so many sentences I think I could sue him for carpal tunnel! And he's still a huge nerd. DH was supposed to drive us home, but he had been playing golf with my brother and drinking all day, so I ended up being sober cab on my last weekend of fun before the IVF cycle. I see lots and lots of foot rubs in my future!

Took final BCP yesterday. Early signs of AF already tonight - light lower abdominal cramping. Lovely! Scheduled for baseline U/S and B/W on Friday morning.
First foster care class will be at our house tomorrow night. Me and DH, two other couples, and the instructor. I will be driving home from Garden City, KS tomorrow afternoon (yes, again!) and will be obsessing about what fabulous snacks I might serve our guests to make a good first impression. Expect a full report on Wednesday.
The last time I was here was Mother's Day. The drive out here is when I heard the call to be a foster parent. It's interesting to look back on the time since I was last here. I'm proud that we've started this journey, and strengthened by the memory of how this trip last time changed my life. It almost makes the boring, flat, stinky drive more meaningful. But I digress...
DH and I completed our 117 pages of reading on Sunday. So far, we have done all of the homework together - one of us reading to the other one out loud. I'm feeling pretty lucky that my husband is so into this process. While I'm out of town on business again tonight, he is installing a new lock on our hall closet door - so we can store all our meds, chemicals and sharps in there. He also remembered all on his own to get a vaccination report on our wee little dog when picking her up at the kennel today. He normally is super forgetful, so I can tell he is excited. Yeah!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

My blog is becoming kind of bi-polar - part foster care, part IVF. I don't really want to compartmentalize my life any more, so I'm going to continue this way. I hope y'all don't mind!

So far, since getting the go ahead on our basement, I have accomplished the following:

  • Ordered unisex baby/toddler bedding online (I admit this is premature, but it was on sale, and I was afriad they might discontinue it, and I really had a difficult time picking something that I liked that would work for a boy or a girl.) Oh, you want to see a picture? Ok, I'll attach it. Just this once. I should have it in 3 weeks!
  • Purchased and installed outlet plugs throughout the house (>50!!)
  • Purchased 4 smoke alarms which hopefully, my DH will install sometime soon.
  • Started gathering ordinary chemicals that have been strewn around the house under various bathroom sinks, so I can keep them in one centralized area which we will keep locked.

In IVF news, my meds arrived yesterday. I've never been one to take a picture of all the drugs, so you won't find that here. But trust me, I got 'em. I also ordered myself the second season of the New Adventures of Old Christine on DVD to watch while I'm ill with headaches, or home on bed rest after my ER. And requested some books from the public library, also for bed rest entertainment.

Not much else is going on right now. A whole lot of 'incremental' progress as I like to call it. Oh, I guess DH and I started reading our 'books' that we have to read for our foster care class. We got through about 10 of the 100+ pages we need to read by Tuesday. Hoping to finish the rest of the assignment on our road trip this weekend to see the fam in Iowa. So far, I'm enjoying going through the process with my husband and discussing the issues. I think it will be a good journey for our marriage, an activity where we can connect and really talk about how we see things.

Sorry this is so boring. Nothing funny or anger-inducing is happening this week, I guess.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Foster Parenting ... here we come!!!!

For all of you on pins and needles, wondering about the fate of our wretched basement, well, I just can't keep you waiting any longer. We can totally have foster kids! Yeah! Wahoo! Seriously, totally relieved.

As the Foster Care Worker explained it when she saw our basement tonight, we just need to tell the state that we won't allow the children to play down there. Seriously? that's it? Why couldn't people just tell me this crap over the phone??????

We are totally switching agencies. After this lady, N., came to our house tonight, she said all the right things. They just seem more connected with all the parties involved, and so interested in having 'good' families, not herding people through licensing like cattle.

There is some bad news for you all because of this switch. I'm sorry to say. Instead of starting public classes tomorrow, we are going to start Deciding Together classes next Tuesday at our house with two other couples. So, for real, we don't even have to leave our house! And we will be done sooner, because DT classes are 7 weeks (the first of which counted tonight) and the PS-MAPP classes take 10 weeks. But how does this become bad news for you, did you ask? Well, on the downside, we won't have really bad foster-care-parent-applicants to pick apart. Maybe we will, but I imagine this intimate little class at our house being filled with people just like us, in it for all the right reasons, from a similar socio-economic background, and perhaps, you know, sisterhood of the traveling pants kind of friends when we're thru. Sorry bout your luck, dudes, but I'm stoked about this turn of events. Did I mention Wahoo?!

We have some work to do in the next few weeks to get our house ready, and to get ourselves approved.

I won't bore you with the whole list, but its basically child-proofing your house if you were totally and completely paranoid and anal.

So, I'm going to start plugging through the list of crap we need to do right away. I'm thinking of starting small - like, maybe I will go around and count all the outlets tomorrow, and then put in outlet covers tomorrow night. Wouldn't that be fun and make me feel like I'd accomplished something? I mean, something I can control?!

I really need to paint the bedroom for the little one which is currently yellow and is being painted a dull green/beige but I won't have time this week. Maybe next week, after work one night. I kind of need to get this done before the 18th when I start my IVF cycle, because by then I will either be exhausted and nauseas the deadly combo of stims and paint fumes, or not want to be around paint fumes for fear of the risk it might cause my 'could be' pregnant self. So, definitely that is my biggest deadline - have bedroom painted before the 18th! No excuses!

EEEEEeeeeeeee (imagine high pitched squeal of delight!) I'm so excited. I am so excited. excited!!!!!!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

you cannot run away from infertility

So, this weekend was our annual pilgremage to the holy land, or mecca, if you will. Of course, you're right. Minnesota! We go every year to visit my friends from college, and the townies I befriended. We had a fabulous visit, full of lots of highs. Boating. Shopping. Parade. Fireworks. Backyard Barbeques. Reunion. Beer Garden. Eating. Sleeping. Visiting. Sunshine.

Got to see my BFF's who I hadn't seen since April. As my BFF/T said, "We drank ourselves into sobriety" meaning we drank, and drank, and drank, and never felt drunk. Which makes me feel really old, but in a good, responsible way, not a lame way. I didn't have to apologize to anyone, be reminded of anything I'd done, said, or eaten. And I definitely was happy to not have a hangover on the 9-hour drive home today. T and I were separated at birth, I swear it. And I am just tickled whenever we're together, so pleased that time and distance cannot sever the strong friendship we once had. It's like I never graduated, never moved away.

But just because I was on vacatation, does not mean that infertility, my dear friends, was not along for the ride.

Thursday night, my BFF/K's mom, in her drunken stupor, was not picking up what I was throwing down (if you will) when I eased out of her grip, avoided eye contact, and repeated at least 50 times, We're Fine as she grilled me for details about our IF problems and professed her daily prayer habit in my honor. Truly, these are sweet sentiments, but totally uncomfortable and icky when she's drunk. She then proceeded to tell me quite loudly during a lull in the bar music about all the horrible wisdom that she had imparted to her daugher K during and after her recent (recurrent) miscarriage (i.e. she already has her miracle baby and wasn't meant to have another. Yes, I'm not making this up. From her mother. Ouch!) She, of course, was proud of her motherly advice, but was quite insensitive as her daughter, K, sat across from us at the table. I didn't want to be rude, but didn't want to stay for this either. Luckily, K and I are also totally on the same page. About 30 seconds after her Mom asked me if we were having marital troubles from the IF, K chirped up that we should go meet our friends (wink, wink) at another bar. As soon as we hit the door, we were both apologizing all over the place for her D-RUNK mother. And all was well, I think. I mean, her mom says hurtful things, so I'm sure that stung, but I tried not to dwell on it. But seriously?! A.W.K.W.A.R.D.

I also met a little girl who seriously needs to be rescued from her mother. She loves her mom and wants her mom to make good choices, but her mom spends her child support checks on alcohol, lives in a hovel, and dates a really dumb, really mean, drunk. But I was so proud of myself, and so confident that foster care is the path for us, because I wanted her mom to be better for her as well. Of course, I wanted to take the daughter away, but not forever, just until a professional could whip her mother into shape. I also knew she loved her mom and she was disappointed that her mom had brought this man into their life. It was another awkward situation, sharing the weekend with these random people (family of my friend T's new boyfriend), but I felt sorry for all of them. The mom. The drunk. And the girl. They all needed help. And while it broke my heart, I felt like it was another sign from God, reinforcing our choice to pursue foster care. DH and I had some long talks about it. I am so pleased we are on the same page with this. I'm so lucky that he agrees, that we agree, that its our plan.

Top 5 things I am looking forward to this week:

1) Foster Care home visit Monday night. There will be a full report here tomorrow. Watch for it!

2) First foster care class on Tuesday night. Again, a full report which will no doubt include shallow, horrible judgemental things about the others in our class.

3) Going out in Kansas City with my friend S on Thursday night. There will be woo hoo'ing.

4) Seeing my family in Iowa next weekend. Can you say, Baxter Fun Days?

5) Catching up on some sleep, and letting my liver heal from this weekend!