Monthly Archives: March 2012

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OMG – FET cycles were so straightforward.  I forgot how fucking annoying IUI cycles are.  First, I forgot that you have to wait until CD 21 for a baseline, which means that you pretty much lose a month.  Second, I forgot how fucking non-responsive the patient contacts are for this.  I just had the most frustrating conversation EVER with a patient coordinator at my RE office.  It’s like “Waiting for Infertility Godot”.

I first explained to her that I haven’t decided that I want to do this cycle, another FET or an IUI.  I want the opportunity to consult my doctor to find out what they recommend.  And I want to make sure that I have had all of the testing possible to make sure there’s not something else potentially wrong that we haven’t looked into yet.  (And what I didn’t say is that I should have the opportunity to have a doctor recommend a treatment.  I should not have to figure it out myself.)

“Well, if you are doing an IUI cycle, you won’t start anything until CD 21 anyway, so you have plenty of time.”

“Wait, why do I have to wait until CD 21?”

“That’s how the providers here do it.”

“I understand that, but why?”

“I don’t know.  We just do.”

“Ok, I hear you, but I need to understand WHY I am losing a month here.”

“If you are looking for the medical reason or explanation, I can’t tell you.  I have no idea.  That’s just how we do it.”

(I am certain my frustration is becoming tangible at this point – hers certainly is.)

*sigh*  “Ok, but what if I want to do FET?  I need to talk to the doctor.”

“Ok, well the first appointment I have available is Wednesday, April 4.”

“Won’t I miss some important things that might need to happen in the interim if we wait until then to do anything?  I am on CD1, shouldn’t I start BCP on CD3?”

“No.”

“Why?  I have started BCP on CD 3 every other FET and IUI cycle.”

“Hold on.  I only coordinate IUIs, I don’t know anything about FET.”  (She is so clearly irritated at this point)

She comes back.

“Ok, if you want to do FET start BCP now and then you can come in for a consultation Wednesday and decide from there.  But if you decide to do an IUI, this will back up your IUI cycle.  You will take the BCP this time and then you will have to get your menses and then we will wait until the next CD 21.”

“Hold on…I need to start BCP today?  On CD1, not on CD3?

“Yes, today on CD one.”

“And this would back up my IUI another cycle because?”

“That’s how it works.”

“OK, I know you don’t know me, but I have been through a lot of this and what you are telling me just is not in line with my experience.  I have never started BCP on CD1 and I have definitely taken BCP directly leading up to an IUI injectible cycle.  So, I am at a real loss here.”

“Hold on.”

She comes back.

“Ok, you should start BCP on CD3.  Come see the doctor on Wednesday for your consult and if you decide on FET you can do a baseline.  If you decide on IUI, the BCP are no problem.  You just overlap them with the Lupron.  And we’ll do your baseline around CD 21.”

“Ok.  I will take the Wednesday appointment if you will call in a prescription for BCP for me.”

FUCK – what if I didn’t know more than the nurse or coordinator or whatever she is?  What if I were new at this and she would have totally screwed up a cycle by giving me incorrect medical advice?  Oh, I would have been so royally pissed.

Ok, I need to take a deep breath and drink a beer or 6.

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Holy Mother of Menstrual Cramps, Batman!

I have a theory.  It’s my uneducated guess.  When my nurse called and told me that the HCG had dropped and to go off the hormones, she said that I would get my period in a week or two.  So, I got it yesterday.  Approximately 1.5 days after I stopped the hormones.  Here’s my theory:  I had low progesterone.  The endometrin wasn’t enough and potentially that’s why the two chemicals in a row.  Seems like the progesterone was out of my system really way too fast, so I now have this theory.  If we do another FET, I’ll use PIO.

Oh, and I just called my RE office to schedule my next appt. since it is CD1, and I have a new nurse coordinator.  I’ve never met this one.  I can’t believe how much I’ve been bounced around between nurses.  It’s no wonder no one knows what the hell is going on with me, there’s always a new nurse!

And in other news, my co-worker told me today that she knows someone who might want to give us her baby.  She’s not sure, but she thinks it might be a possibility and she’s trying to figure out a way to talk to the woman about it.    I’m not getting my hopes up, but it’s an interesting idea, anyway.

In Memoriam

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My favorite poet died yesterday.  And it’s not just that she was my favorite poet.  Adrienne Rich  was an iconic feminist and…and well, the New York Times article probably says it about as concisely as I could.  She was a “fiercely gifted, award-winning poet whose socially conscious verse influenced a generation of feminist, gay rights and anti-war activists.”  I’m part of that influenced generation they reference.

I never connected with her poetry on an anti-war level, but I was introduced to her writing at a pivotal time in my life.  I was struggling with my identity as a lesbian, and what that meant in terms of how I belong in the world.    How I move through space with this “difference”.   How do I exist with grace in a society where I am largely regarded as less of a person, or somehow despicable, simply by virtue of the fact that I love differently than the visible majority.  These were major struggles for me.

And her poetry hit me like a brick wall as I was challenged with these very real questions of identity and presence.  She explored all of the themes I was struggling with and I got great insight from her work.  And then I studied her life and I came to respect so much about the way she lived and spoke and represented her beliefs.  She became a role model for me.  She had somehow captured the essence of existing with grace and strength, through adversity, and through prejudice.  And she used her voice, in so many ways, to help pave the way for other women who were to follow her.

She was one of the first women who I really connected with on a historical level as well.  I realized, as I was struggling with my own issues of identity and social awareness, that for me to even be in a position to be openly acknowledging that struggle, so many women had to come before me.  So many.  And you know this on an intellectual level, but for whatever reason, something about the way she used her voice, and the impact of her writing, gave me a real emotional connection to appreciation and honor of those who came before.  All that they gave.  All that they endured.  All that they fought for – so that we could stand where we are now.

And that also ingrained in me an obligation, out of indebtedness to those that came before and their struggles, and indebtedness to those who will come after us – to fight the wrongs I see in society and to use my own voice in the ways that I can, to ensure equality for all people.  To never sit quietly and watch women’s rights being rolled back, or to stop fighting for equality for gay people.   I, and many people I know, may never have such a loud or influential voice as she did, but many quiet voices make a loud cry.  And it’s voices like hers that inspire our quiet voices to come together into a rallying cry against intolerance and hatred.

As I was scouring my books looking for a perfect quote form her to post online to honor her passing, I came across this one:  “There must be those among whom we can sit down and weep and still be counted as warriors.” ― Adrienne Rich

As I am trying so hard to pull myself back together from the most recent failed pregnancy attempt, this quote was so resonant.  I struggle with allowing myself the space to feel what I feel and let my guard down for fear I will appear weak and not in control.  And that quote just spoke to that struggle and made me re-think my approach to how I am dealing with the losses and treatments and such.

So, it is with much sadness that I honor her passing.  Her life and her work have been, and continue to be,  incredibly influential on me.   Thank you for a life well lived.

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So, this cycle is over, officially.  And I’m relieved.  And sad.  And angry.  And bitter.  But it will mostly pass.  It always does.

When the nurse called with my results today, she asked if I had any questions or needed anything else.  So, I told her I wanted to know what was next.  She fumbled in my chart and said that I have some frozen embryos left, which I confirmed.  I also reminded her that I have a single vial of sperm left from the same donor that my son was born from.  And she asked if I wanted to do an IUI, I told her I was considering it.  She pretty much said that I could do whatever I want.  She offered me injectibles, femara, clomid.  Really?  Well, I’ve been at this for long enough, I can come up with my own treatment plan.  But seriously, Clomid?  Come on, I am not even ALLOWED to take clomid again because I had such intense visual side effects, some of which have turned out to be permanent.

But here’s the thing.  I shouldn’t have to come up with my own treatment plan.  And nobody should be offering me Clomid or Femara.  We moved past those ages ago.  I should get to consult the doctor.  I might call and ask to consult with the doctor – I am really, really annoyed.

But, I need to let go of all of the negativity I’ve been living with for the past few weeks (8 days?  12 days?  I don’t know – feels like a year to me).  Anyway, I need to be better and more peaceful.  I am just drowning in the negativity and bitterness and I can’t live like this.  I have to regroup.  Maybe now that we are truly done with this one, I can start to try to do that.

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It’s over.  Today’s test came back with a lower number.  No more hormones.  I am sad and relieved, at the same time.  I am going to rant about my doctor’s office later when I have some time to write, but for now, this is all.

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I had my third beta this morning and am just waiting for the results to come back now.  I don’t like surprises though, so I POAS this morning.  I used one of the crappy Target ones because that’s what I have, and it was negative.  Not a hint of positive.  It is a weird thing to feel completely relieved and disappointed at the same time about the same thing.  Disappointed that I am not going to be the third person on the great big internet to report a beta miracle…but relieved because there’s no way I am going to be the third person on the great big old internet to report a beta miracle – and the best thing that can happen is for this to resolve itself quickly.

I still have to wait for the blood test to confirm this, and certainly the blood tests have not totally been what I was expecting to this point, but I am ready to be moving on now.

Not OK

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So, I suppose technically I am still pregnant.  I peed on a first response stick yesterday mid-day, almost hoping for it to be stark white negative.  But it wasn’t.  It had the “squint and hold it up to the light” positive result.  Which was worse, I think, than a negative would have been.  At least if it had been completely negative, it would have maybe meant that it was resolving itself.  That barely positive result means there’s something still there and still not doing things right.  There’s no miracle happening.

The worst part is that I DO have pregnancy symptoms.  Hunger being the biggest one, and occasional bouts of nausea.  It’s so not fair.

At least, at least, at least – for the first time my wife acknowledged that there is something going on with me.  This round has not been particularly good for our relationship and I haven’t been sure what to do about that.   Last night I mentioned how I have just been craving protein and she said, “That might be related to what’s happening in your body.”  I almost fell over, that she acknowledged that I am dealing with something here.  Regardless of how it ends, at this moment in time, it is my life and I am having to deal with it.  And some acknowledgement that it was happening was nice.

I’m getting exhausted trying to just act like everything is ok all the damn time.  And if I fail at acting like everything is ok, I also don’t want to answer, “What’s wrong?”  Really?  What do you think is wrong?  Do I have to repeat “chemical pregnancy not resolving” 10 times in a weekend?  I know that no one else has to live it every minute – but I do.  Not a minute passes that I am not living with this – with the hormones, with the certainty/uncertainty, wondering what is going to happen to me in the coming days.  It takes everything to have all of that going on and still have to live and be a part of the world, with a smile and patience and empathy and all of the other things it takes to look like nothing is wrong.

I’m tired and I need a little space, at some points in the day, to just be not ok.  Because I’m not.

 

 

4 Does Not Count

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Beta is back.  HCG on Monday was 8.77.  HCG today is 13.04.   An increase of 4 and some change.  Which means that I have to stay on estrogen and progesterone and have another repeat beta on Tuesday.

The nurse who called me is not someone I know, and she clearly does not know my history with repeated losses.  She was upbeat about this result.  Trying to be encouraging, “It’s going up!  You might just have a slow starter…”

Or I might have another blighted ovum.  Or an ectopic.  Or it might still be just a chemical.  I explained that I know it needs to be doubling, and she agreed but still tried to force feed me some optimism.  She was nice, very nice, actually – just clearly not up to speed on how battle weary I am at this point.

Also, if I want the IVF clinic to draw another beta, it’s going to cost me $110.  If I go through my medical group (whose results are reliably SLOW to come in), it will be covered by my insurance.  IF I thought there was any chance this was something, I would spend the money and have the draw at the clinic.  But really, it went to 13.  I’ll be going to my medical group and just waiting for the results.  I am not throwing away any more money than I have to on something that is not happening.

There is no cause for optimism here.

Self Indulgent

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I’m being self indulgent today.  I read online that the Target brand tests are notorious for giving a false positive, so, even though my beta numbers should be back in a few hours, I took my ass to CVS and bought a pack of first response.  It has one regular and one digital, so I grabbed the digital, came back to work and proceeded to test again.  Negative.  Which is what I was expecting today, so I guess maybe now I can stop hanging on a thread of hope and get some work done until I get the call to confirm it.