Words to Live By

Happily married. 41. Infertile/perimenopausal. TV and iPod addict. Transplanted Canadian living in California. {Warning - abundant sarcasm and frequent *gasp* profanity lie herein.}

Monday, October 25, 2004

Cry Me A River

I can't stop crying. No, not literally or continuously. It just comes over me at odd moments. Like in the grocery store, nowhere near the baby food/diaper isle, I'm tearing up over cottage cheese and cold cuts. I hate this feeling. Like I don't have control over my emotions. Like a crazy crying woman has taken over my body. How can I be this sad? I'm not even at the "real" end of the road yet, I still have the one Miracle Cycle left, where we put all the guns together and take one last good whack at it.

And if I'm this sad now, how am I gonna get through it when I'm really at The End? Am I going to be one of those women who can't be around babies? I know lots of people who have lost a child. Some through miscarriages (every bit as gut-wrenchingly awful as any other type of loss), others through car accidents, suicide, stillbirth and SIDS. All devastating.

It just occurred to me that I've just past the 20 year anniversary of my due date, had I chosen to carry my baby to term. It was actually about a month ago, but that's about when all this craziness started, when I was about to start my first injectibles cycle. I had been thinking this whole time my heightened emotional state was because of all the extra hormones, and then the disappointment of having the IUIs cancelled. Every year I grieve a little, but this is different. Jesus, I didn't even WANT that baby! And I don't think it would have survived even if I hadn't terminated the pregnancy. I hate that a decision I don't regret is still causing me guilt and pain. The irony is not lost on me either.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Nursery Rhymes

For those of you actually looking for a rhyme or two, sorry, that was just my attempt at a clever post title.

We've spent much of the last two days putting down a new floor in an upstairs room that was originally an office, then a child's room during the tenure of the previous owner, then an office again until a couple months ago. Now its being transformed into my dressing area. White-washed pine laminate floor and purple walls. I'm glad to have something accomplished, but...


Yesterday I cried on and off, I haven't (yet) today but still feeling very sad. The thought even crossed my mind to just stop right now and not even do the final Clomid/Gonal-F/IUI cycle. I've already paid for and received the meds. In the end I'm sure I'll go ahead with it, I'm just glad I don't have to make that decision today. My poor husband. I'm not much of a companion right now.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Political Segueway

In an effort to pry myself away from the infertility topic for just a few minutes, I wanted to link an article that is the best representation of my thoughts and beliefs on the current political mess we find ourselves in. This was written by a journalist in North Carolina who has been a staunch Republican advocate in the past, but who has changed his position.

As a Canadian citizen living in the United States, I'm often baffled by the vehemence at which the U.S. denounces or rallies against certain issues while simultaneously ignoring others that, at least in my book, are far more important. The attempted constitutional amendment against gay marriage would have been laughable had it not been so desperate. I'm not able to vote, so I sit on the sidelines and join the ranks of millions who can and don't. Don't even get me started on the Electoral College system.

Its sadly unfortunate that John Kerry isn't the Democratic candidate that we all wanted, but at least he's not Bush. I'll take Big Ketchup over Big Oil anyday.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Step One

I just posted at my forum about stepping down as host by the first of the year. This makes me very sad, but I know its a step in the right direction. I've let this quest take over too much of my life, I've let it change me, I'm being eaten alive by it.

I was lucky enough to have lunch today with a friend that I met through my forum. She's become a good friend, and I never would have met her otherwise. I am grateful for all the knowledge and relationships I've gained (two have turned from cyber to "real life" friends), but I find myself more often than not gritting my teeth to send yet another condolence message when a cycle ends, and its even more difficult to send congratulatory messages.

I fail to understand how anyone else's success -- no matter how unlikely, miraculous, or similar to my situation -- helps me ANY. Its been proven to me again and again that this is a science of trail and error, and results or protocol for any individual do not have any bearing on any other individual's chances.

See, this is what happens...I start off on this topic and soon enough, I find myself being bitter, angry, suspect, condescending, sarcastic and flippant, none of which are characteristics you want in a host of a forum for women TTC over the age of 35. Oh, and one other thing, I'm the oldest person posting there, and the person who's been trying the longest. I don't want to wear the Crown of Persistance.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Stepping Back & Moving Forward

Oooo, don't you just love a witty turn of a phrase like that? I'm noticing that I feel like I have to come up with something clever to name each entry, its like a chapter title in a novel. I actually stress about this. Its a wonder I can function at all with all the worrying I do.

After my recent big bite of reality sandwich (see Cycle Day 9), and hearing one of my new friends from cyberspace talk about taking a step back from this day-to-day obsession, I realize that I also need to do this. I'm working on a post (in my head, of course) for my forum letting them know that I won't be on 24/7 anymore and that, one way or another, they are going to have to find a new hostess soon. One of two things are going to happen by the end of the year: 1) I will be pregnant; or 2) I won't be TTC anymore. Either circumstance renders me as an inappropriate hostess for a TTC forum. I'm dreading all the well-wishes and "don't leave us" messages, but I have to do this.

I feel like I am already starting the grieving process. If I go into these last couple of cycles with the attitude that it won't work, I will be better steeled against the crushing defeat and depression. Cuz if "wishing made it so", I would have had 3 kids by now. I don't buy the notion that a positive attitude does anything to increase my chances. With my diminished ovarian reserve, advanced maternal age, high FSH, endometriosis, history of sexual abuse and abortion, its a wonder my doctor hasn't tossed me out the door already. Bracing for impact, getting ready to fail, whatever you want to call it, I'm passing through that door. My only solace is it will be for the last time, at least with regard to this issue. Helmet and flak jacket are at the ready.

Monday, October 18, 2004


The title says it all. I don't think I've ever been this consistently exhausted. Ever. For days on end I've been dragging my butt around. Today I barely made it to the drug store (gotta have my drugs) and the grocery store. The only food I bought was prepared, either frozen or eat-right-out-of-the-package. Even heating something up for dinner sounded like too much work. I might have to have cereal. Damn hormones.

Speaking of drugs, my next round of black market Gonal-F will be here on Wednesday, from NYC. This time we got two multi-dose kits, in case Dr. T wants to up the dosage, although I will be taking Clomid as well. I don't know if I can handle a higher dosage...between the ovary pain and the extreme fatigue, this is really kicking my old butt.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

A Little Panic Goes a Long Way

HA! My brain says, just to prove myself wrong, I'm gonna bring on a panic attack this morning.

After making a good faith effort at the "old-fashioned way"last night, I woke up this morning to a very sharp pain in or near my right ovary. My groggy brain immediately thought "oh, something has ruptured" and I went into panic mode. Nausea, dizzy, heart racing, the whole she-bang. Devin talked me down and used a cold washcloth to regulate my temperature. Now I look like hell, and I feel like hell. A matched set. I love being me.

Friday, October 15, 2004

The Thumb-ometer

Yes, it is Cycle Day 12, but given the circumstances I don't feel it necessary to carry that forward.

Now, to explain the title...when I was 18, lo all those 22 years ago, my boyfriend dropped me off at the business school I was attending. He drove a piece-o-shit station wagon and in an effort to close the door properly, I somehow ended up with my thumb on the inside of the door and slammed it shut. While it was shut in the door I felt nothing, but as soon as he opened the door from the inside I feel down on the pavement, almost passing out. I spent several hours in Emergency waiting to be looked at, and passed out as soon as the doctor touched it. Thankfully he did whatever he needed to do while I was out, and it wasn't broken. The nail fell off eventually and it never grew back correctly. Since then the nail has been in varying states of bumpiness, splitting and general fucked-up-edness.

Part II of the explanation...as a very young child I was a chronic nail-biter. Often to the point of bleeding, several times to the point of infection. I know now that I was inflicting physical pain on myself to mask the emotional pain that I was constantly in. My household was a thriving den of demons -- infidelity, drug use, sexual abuse, mental illness -- and this was how I dealt with it. Eventually I overcame the nail-biting, and now I have lovely (albeit unpolished) nails on 9 out of 10 digits.

The thumb, however, remains as a marker of my emotional health. When things get tough, the tough get to destroying what is left of the nailbed. For the last 6 months or so, its been so bad that I've taken to putting on a band-aid whenever I'm out in public. This prevents me from picking at it and also prevents me from having to hide my left hand from view.

If it weren't for Zoloft, I think I would be back into full-blown panic attacks. I feel like its my lifevest. When you jump into water wearing one, it doesn't prevent you from going under, it just pops you back up to the surface after a couple of seconds. I've cried a lot in the past few days, but when I'm not in the middle of a crying jag, I feel strangely calm. Medicated. Go figure.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Cycle Day 11 (Part II)

I've been renamed. I am now officially a "poor responder".

U/S today showed no growth from yesterday, and no new follies. E2 was an abysmal 196. The rest of the cycle was cancelled.

I know that there are two (supposedly) high quality follies in there, and I will probably ovulate on my own, so we can try on our own. Do it the old-fashioned way. Although that does sound like more fun than back-to-back IUIs, right now having sex isn't exactly at the top of my To Do list.

I asked about Reponex, he said I only need FSH. The only other thing he could recommend was a combo Clomid/Gonal-F cycle. So I'll call when I start again and we'll, well...start again.

Devin seemed willing to go ahead with another injectibles cycle right away, saying that now we had time to shop for meds in the next couple of weeks. No reason to wait. So that's the plan for now. Right now I need a drink.

Cycle Day 11 (Part I)

Yesterday's U/S was profoundly disappointing. One good thing, my lining was really good, at 10mm, I think that's because of the baby aspirin I've been taking, and haven't even told my doctor about. Bad Donna! But, only 2 small follies, one at 9 and one at 10mm. Hardly big enough to measure. So he sent me home and said to take all 300iu of the pen I received, then come back today and see where we're at. No pressure, but if they haven't grown, then the cycle gets cancelled.

Devin made me a wonderful dinner, which was ready when I got home from work. Even though we didn't discuss my emotional upheaval from yesterday in great detail (he knows better than to try to have a rational conversation with me while I am upset), we did agree that we would come to a decision together what the best course of action would be, and would try to take one day/week/cycle at a time. Because I know that adoption is out of the question, I take the idea of the end of the line personally, I know there isn't anything else beyond this.

The shot last night was the worst one yet. The needle was fine, didn't really feel that, but it was so much fluid going in that it stung. Then after I got these weird pains in my upper thighs, almost like I could feel the hormone as it moved around inside my veins. Feeling OK this morning though. Now we wait for the little buggers to grow and go back in for another U/S at 4:30. $160 please.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Cycle Day 9

"If a second one doesn't work, I think you need to seriously prepare to accept defeat."

And with those words from my husband, my world crumbles. A second injectibles cycle, he means. I don't know why I am taking this so hard. We agreed from the very beginning of this frigging circus that IF we could figure out a way to afford injectibles, that was as far as we were willing to go with TTC.

We were trying to figure out when and how to use up his vacation time, before the end of the year. Of course, my first thought is -- what's going on with my cycle? -- on any given day. He said if this cycle isn't successful we won't have enough time to get the meds we need to do another one right away, so we're going to have to wait a month. That opened up some time in November (again, assuming I don't get pregnant this month - yeah, right), but then...

The Quote Above

I know I tend to jump to conclusions, but I know he's right, there does need to be an end. For both of us. I just never put 2 and 2 together and got the sum of YOUR TIME IS ALMOST UP. Tick-tock, lady, put up or shut up. Usually I am a glass-half-empty kinda gal, but for a brief moment in time I allowed my old nemesis Hope to push Regret aside and reign supreme. Damn expectations got raised from doing the shots. Now all I can think about is HOLY CRAP, I MIGHT NEVER BE A MOM. The sense of failure is swallowing me up right now. The unfairness. I can't even put this into words. And its hard to type when tears are blurring your vision. I need to get myself together and keep it together for the next couple of weeks, this cycle is too important to let my demons stomp all over it.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Cycle Day 6

After talking to my resident expert last night (who did 4 rounds of IVF), I feel better. I'm going to try to trust my doc, and unless I start having a lot of pain or a fever, I'll wait until Wednesday for the U/S and B/W. I seriously doubt that I could produce so many follies that my cycle would have to be cancelled. I didn't respond that well to the highest dose of Clomid, and he doesn't have me on a ridiculously high dosage of Gonal-F. Breathe. In. Out. In. Out. Try to do one day at a time.

We moved my vanity into the bedroom and pulled up the carpet, carpet pad and baseboards today in the upstairs room. We already have the Pergo but now we need to get all the staples out of the floorboards. Its good to have the project started anyway. It will be nice to have a newly decorated room for a dressing area. One of these days, if the stars align just right, it will be the nursery. But, I'm not decorating it for that purpose. Whitewashed pine floor and a delightful purple color called Lilac Love for the walls. Its a whole lot darker than any color I've seen labelled "lilac" before, but I kinda like the name anyway.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Cycle Day 5

First shot hurt a bit going in, but that's because I was really nervous, I think. I iced the injection site longer last night and I didn't even feel it! Yippee! Now I don't have to worry so much about the rest of them.

However, being that I ALWAYS need something to worry about, now I'm freaking out because others are telling me I should be monitored more closely, especially since this is our first injectibles cycle. I'm not going back for another U/S until next Wednesday, when I will have gotten 6 out of 7 shots. Others have told me they have had injectibles cycles cancelled after 2 or 3 shots, due to hyper-stimulation. Also, I just don't get how he could know up front that the doses he prescribed to me for those 7 shots are going to be all I need to take. So, what happens if I go in next Wednesday and I have NO follies? Or TOO MANY follies? Seems a little bit too hopeful for my liking to expect that I will have just the right amount and everything will be perfect. That's not been my experience so far in TTC Land.

On the other hand, if I call on Monday and push for an "extra" U/S, that's $160 for 30 seconds and him saying, "Yup, everything looks right on target." I just don't know enough about this to know if I'm in any real danger by waiting the extra two days. I find it hard to believe that Dr. T would purposefully put a patient in danger, it seemed like this was his normal protocol, not like he was being sensitive to my financial concerns. Same thing with Marie, his nurse, when she made the appointment for a week later, that seemed very normal.

I think I'm just being overly cautious...reading too much...listening to others' concerns. I just don't know.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Cycle Day 3

For those of following along that closely, nothing happened on CD2.

Got the all clear from my gratis U/S this morning, the cyst was completely gone. Dr. T was happy with my lining and my ute and ovaries. I got the 30 second injection lesson from Marie, but since I'm not the one whose going to be giving the shots, I didn't really pay much attention. I brought home the nice 4-color pictoral guide, passed on the video. Yes, there really is a video. I'm sure its riveting.

So tonight hubby gets to start to play the part of Dr. Injecto, and not just on TV! First 2 days at 225iu, then 5 days at 150iu, which uses up all the Gonal-F I have. I'm still not clear on what happens if at my U/S next Wednesday my follies suck...I guess if we have to shell out full price for a couple more amps we can swing that. Always looking for ways to stress myself out even more, I'm really good at that!!

As I told my online friends, if we get pregnant this cycle, and "all" it took was 7 lousy shots and an IUI, part of me is going to be pissed that this isn't the first thing we tried, all those many moons ago. But, if that were the case, I wouldn't now be sitting here with many more friends (cyber and real), not to mention enough knowledge of my reproductive system to speak at seminars and enough acronyms to write entire paragraphs with just a few pronouns and punctuation marks. Skills I will have for the rest of my life.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Cycle Day 1

After an extremely nerve-wracking weekend that involved a recovering dog (he's doing fine, thank you) and a negative home pregnancy test, here I am at another CD1. Yes, the red tide of womanhood is upon me. The good news about that is I had an appointment to see Dr. T this afternoon on what turned out to be the first day of a new cycle, which is exactly when he wanted to see me. Funny how small victories can make all the difference in an otherwise shitty day.

As usual, something I never guessed has come up to put a monkey wrench in The Plan: I have a rather large cyst (mean of 26mm!!), so its possible I might not be able to start injectibles this month. But, Dr. T is hopeful it will resolve itself in the next 48 hours, he said my lining is still pretty thick -- I assume meaning I haven't released much of the endometrial layer yet -- and he wants to do another U/S on Wednesday morning. Gratis. Mighty nice of him. I showed him the box of Gonal-F I purchased myself (no RX required!) and he seemed a little surprised when I told him I had bought it from a stranger who had extra meds, but impressed when I told him I had only paid $300.

I asked him if I should buy more, since the multi-kit only has 14 doses, he said we could get 16 doses out of it, and that they would tailor the injection schedule so that I wouldn't need any more. I don't really understand that...if I don't respond well and he has to keep increasing the dosage, isn't it going to get used up? But, he's the doctor. Until told otherwise, I'll hold onto my hard-earned cash and try to put the hex on this cyst.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Stay Tuned for the Next Medical Crisis

In hindsight, we should have noticed how bad it was before...Thursday night we were clipping Tucker's nails and noticed one on the front left paw was split back from the nailbed. It seemed a little sensitive but not more than usual (he hates having his paws touched). Yesterday I went to work and Devin calls to tell me he is taking Tucker to the vet because he isn't putting any weight on that paw. Long story short, they kept him overnight and removed the nail and bandaged it up, Devin brought him home today with a nice yellow bandage and two bottles of antibiotics. He seems his normal frisky self, a little stressed since he can't figure out why he can't go outside and play ball. I cried three times yesterday just thinking about how much pain he was in. Damn hormones!

After stressing about timing on the baseline bloodwork and ultrasound for the injectibles cycle, I finally talked to Marie at Dr. T's office and she said CD3 is fine and made an appt. for me on Monday afternoon. I could have sworn last time I spoke to her she said the baseline stuff had to be done on CD1. Oh well, at least that's taken care of.

I probably didn't sleep very well last night, with only one dog in the house, but that doesn't really explain why I have been sleeping on and off all day. Dare I call it a symptom? My temp went up this morning, a perfectly legitimate temp too, at the regular time and just as I woke up. No spotting of any kind, still, I just went to the loo and REALLY looked. Nada. I'm still waiting for the big crash, but Hope is struggling to get out of the straight-jacket I keep her in.