Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Go Big or Go Home

As I walked out of my HMO following my IUI today, a number of things occurred to me. First, I realized that this is likely the last time I will step foot on that campus. After a year and a half, 6 IUIs, thousands of dollars, and one brief pregnancy later, it is very likely that I will walk away empty handed. While I previously prepared myself for this, I'm venturing way too close to those inflated expectations again. It's hard not to do with the outcome of this one. After going all out on this last hurrah, the final stats were:
  • 4 mature follicles (a 5th *almost* there)
  • 12 mm lining
  • First pre-wash Semen analysis for IUI on Monday: 75 mil, 50% motility
  • Second pre-wash SA for IUI on Tuesday: 43 mil, 30% motility
If numbers alone were a factor, I'd be bracing myself for quads. But as we all know, they're not.

The other thing that dawned on me was that if this IUI is not successful, there will be no question in my mind that I have undiagnosed and unexplained female factor infertility because after Mr. S's miracle pills, he is floating right smack dab in the 'normal' range. In essence, his IF seems to have been 'cured' for the time being. Mine, not so much. A lot of people have asked, 'why do you always say you have female factor in addition to male factor?'. True, no doctor has ever given this diagnosis and true, all of my labs have come back normal for two solid years, but in my heart I've always known that I was infertile, even before we were diagnosed. I know that seems crazy and I know you can't diagnose on 'gut' feelings, but I also strongly believe in intuition.

What difference does it make anyway? I mean, IF is about WE not ME, right? Well, like other unexplained IF cases, just because a problem has not been found doesn't mean that one does not exist. I feel that as long as it goes undiagnosed, it will go unsolved, thus diminishing our chances at expanding our family, at least through fertility treatments. The chances are great that I will never have my answer.

So, as I take my graduation walk, I'll try hard not to get my hopes up, but when your nurse practitioner is unknowingly being cruel by telling you that she 'feels really good about this one' and that she thinks you won't even need that IVF after all, you need to start bracing yourself for the crash and burn at the end cause this BFN, folks, just ain't gonna be pretty. And you think I would have learned by now...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Last, But Not Least

It used to be that when an IUI was around the corner, all of my sights were fine tuned to that direction. It was the big event of the surrounding months, one that much of my mental energy was devoted towards. My daytime thoughts often included, "oh, just 10 more hours until I pop the c.lomid!" or "just 5 more hours until I trigger!" Now, as I approach IUI #1,000, er, #7, I'm barely remembering to shoot myself full of drugs each night. I laughed when the pharmacist gave me the option for a consult, thinking, "lady, you have no idea what an IUI pro I am. I have a PhD in insemination, bitches!"

Our IUI is a double one this time: double the injectable meds, double the insemination, and likely falling on Monday and Tuesday of next week. We're going hardcore. But it actually took me a moment to recall these details. Despite the fact that I've been down this road a million times before, I should remember because as it stands, this is the end of the line, the last straw before turning to IVF. I did this cycle knowing that when I looked back, the 'what ifs' wouldn't be there to nag me, that I wouldn't be able to wonder whether I had blown through tens of thousands of dollars before riding the lesser procedure well into the sunset. Well, the sun is almost below the horizon now and it's clearly time to move on. This IUI is my graduation walk.

I have very few expectations, I guess mostly because I have so much of my emotion devoted to my upcoming IVF. But I must say, I accomplished the goal I set out to reach. After we miscarried in June, I promised myself that I would do an IUI in both October and November and look into a December or January IVF. I did better than that. I somehow managed to throw an IUI into December as well. 3 cycles, back-to-back, without taking a breath. Make that four if you count our upcoming IVF, which we'll begin immediately after the BFN from this one. Ok, so meeting this goal isn't exactly getting the Nobel Prize in Literature, but it was gratifying nevertheless and seemed to have saved my sanity by mimicking forward motion. For a girl itching to take off, running in place is a better option than sitting, I suppose.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

2008: The REAL Christmas Letter

I have been somehow fortunate enough this year to not have received any of those annoying ‘year in review’ Christmas letters from the few families I am still in contact with. You know, the ones detailing their many vacations and achievements and decorated with pictures of smiling happy kids on beaches, at dance recitals and holding soccer trophies? You know, the ones that silently mock, “haha, this is not you, yet again”? I have long considered sending out one of my own to rail against the unspoken practice that these letters are reserved only for families with kids. But then I realized that:

1. I am way too cynical to do something like that and not have my bitterness come screaming across the letter and
2. What would I say? "Oh, yeah, and in June we lost the baby we had been trying for for 4 years and now we’re going into debt for IVF"? That’s the real story, right?

Really, even with those smiling happy families, Christmas letters are scrubbed clean of strife, but because so much of my year has been composed of this, any attempt at a letter would read nothing like a fairytale (unless Grimm was involved) or rather, would read like pure fiction. So, I’ve been wondering, what would the unedited, fa├žade-free version of my letter look like? Well, I would guess, something like this:

2008: The Real Story

Hello friends and family! Wow, what a year 2008 was for us! You see, it kind of sucked. No, it really sucked! Sure it was punctuated with some saving graces, but generally speaking, the highs were breathtakingly high and the lows were digging through the dumpsters, crying on a nightly basis low. I guess bipolar would be a word used to describe it. After riding the roller coaster of 2008, I’m frankly glad to see it come to an end. What an understatement!

Just after ushering in New Years 2008 surrounded by wonderful friends and the love of my life, I was struck with a deep foreboding about the year that lay before me (please ignore the smiling faces). Now, don’t get me wrong, friends, I am not psychic, nor do I really believe in most supernatural occurrences, but I knew that especially in the middle of a celebration, one shouldn’t feel so unsettled about their future, but I was. Don’t let the picture fool you. Around the same time, Mr. S. was spending many sleepless nights, grey hairs, and 3 weeks out of each month traveling for a job he despised. Our start to 2008 was shaky at best.

Shortly after the New Year, we were given the news that our landlord was going into foreclosure and we had 6 weeks to vacate before the bank took over the property. Good times! In the middle of packing, a move that would signify the 7th in as many years, we went through yet another ‘procedure’, which was a miracle considering Mr. S’s traveling schedule.

Now, as you might have noticed, after 8 years of marriage, we are still without kids. It might not come as a surprise to you then that we are animal-collecting infertiles who actually spend all of our energy and money on achieving something that comes naturally to most couples. January brought yet another failed attempt at a life that I know of only through your Christmas letters and gray stirrups in a doctor's office.

Meanwhile, we were hit with more real estate news: the house we own in Idaho that was supposed to have renters in it until mid-March was vacated early and the renters defaulted on their last month's rent. So, we sent the case to small claims court, put the house on the plummeting market and waited. And waited. Meanwhile, Mr. S. quit his job in disgust and somehow by God’s grace, found another. And then, we moved. Mind you, all of this happened by the end of February.

And then, something entirely miraculous happened in April. File this under a breathtakingly high moment, a true saving grace. We found out that our 4th procedure of this sort was successful…we are pregnant! But unlike others who happily announce the news at birthday parties, we are quiet and cautious, especially given that our first week of pregnancy is spent on ‘miscarriage watch’ because of our low progesterone levels and our 3rd week is spent wondering whether I was exposed to Chicken Pox (I was not and am miraculously immune although I don't recall having it). However, our little bean pulls through and we are able to see a strong heartbeat. I am completely unfazed by the fact that our house in Idaho still sits empty, collecting dust and hemorrhaging money, because I am happy in the little secret that I am pregnant after all these years. But come Friday, June 13th, a day before my long-anticipated 30th birthday party, and 10 weeks into our little one’s short existence, that heartbeat disappears. File this under the lowest of the lows. It’s likely you were invited to that party, which was eventually canceled, and yes, this was the back-story. I am now terrified that this is the closest I will come to a birth announcement in a letter of this sort.

While your family was busy barbecuing and watching fireworks, I was sitting at home on my couch just a few weeks shy of watching my dream die, alone and numbed, eating too much and having also been rejected from the 4th of July party I was looking forward to whose invitation it took enormous courage to accept to begin with. At that moment, I had never felt more alone, so I made a choice and found Open Path where I met my very first 'infertiles', live and in person. And guess what? They're REALLY normal! Actually, they’re amazing! No horns, no green, scaly skin. I know that’s hard to imagine as a fertile person, but it’s true! I started an infertility blog soon thereafter. After connecting with several women traveling similar paths through these routes, I found unlikely and amazing friendships.

And after figuring that I'll never be able to have a baby, I gave my SUV to my Mom (who needed a car) and bought a completely impractical 2 door convertible that symbolizes my total lack of hope for a child at this point and is probably more expensive than what we should have gotten, but by then, I didn't give a shit about anything. In fact, Mr. S. and I got our first tattoos together to signify our loss, our hope, and our united front.


July also brought a trip to Vegas where we were able to forget about our grief for almost 2 seconds- a 2 second time period that was likely fueled by yard-long Margaritas. And yes, I did double-fist 99 cent margaritas as well. I don’t remember much of the trip for this reason. It was great! In August, I got a new job, scaling my previous commute from an hour to 6 minutes. Oh, and I conveniently forgot to mention that over the course of a few months, I managed to gain 10+ pounds.

In both October and November we were visited by two more failed attempts at your Christmas letter life and attempted to host Thanksgiving at our house with disastrous results. We should just stop pretending that we’re normal already, right? Our small claims court case against our former renters was finally settled, but once again, they defaulted, this time with the court. Our property manager is now after their wages, we took the house off the market and rented it out again, at a loss. Awesome.

Finally, we’re in December, a place I must say that because of my steady distancing from people as a result of our failed pursuits for a full family, I am visited by very few happy smiling families on the Christmas cards in my mailbox. Thank you for that. It is only more reinforcement for me to hide away. As I force myself to listen to Christmas music and decorate our tree, I am reminded that I will soon be borrowing a huge hunk of money to increase our efforts to build our family. I am both excited and terrified by this pursuit. I wonder to myself what it will be like to pay that bill each month if we are unsuccessful, but try to step into the new year with bravery and hope. Despite all that has happened, both good and bad, Mr. S. and I still have each other and in the face of such loss, our union is strong. Despite everything, I am more than ready to move on to a New Year and hope the next one will bring us all better fortune.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

DH's Guest Post 2

The Stink Eye
When we first got our kitty, Willow, Luke, our rat dog, was obsessed with her. I'm talking Single White Female obsessed, or maybe even Kathy Bates in Misery obsessed. Our poor little Willow was a scared, itty bitty kitty, and Luke would just not leave her alone. In Luke's defense (even typing those words left a bad taste in my mouth. This was the dog that would eat light bulbs, CD's, and a whole fallen hamburger in a single bite) all he wanted to do was just sniff her, but we just wanted to give Willow a chance to adjust to her new surroundings.

Remember the scene from Jurassic Park where the Velocoraptors would cock their head from side to side to show the audience that they were learning? Luke gave that exact same look when he'd figure out a way around a new obstacle we put in his path in order to separate the two. Just like the movies, the camera zoomed in on us, and I fearfully whispered "He's Learning!" Eventually, I sprayed him with a water bottle every time he approached Willow. It didn't take long for him to associate Willow with getting sprayed in the face. So much so that long since then he would take these long, carefully plotted arches around her just to get where he was going, giving her the stink eye the whole time.

What does this have to do with IF? EVERYTHING!

Much like Luke and the spray bottle, Infertility also conditions us. We take these long and round about paths to reach what should be a simple thing that comes naturally to so many people. We're still in the middle of our long dance, but even then, IF has conditioned us. We've learned a new vocabulary, new medical procedures, and creative ways to pay for things and deal with the stress. We've also learned that it can change every part of life, relationships, and even simple moments.

Almost Perfect, isn't
Shelby and I go to this Mexican food restaurant that serves the best margaritas. Ever. I know you're about to ask if I've ever tried the margaritas at your favorite restaurant, but don't bother. The only thing that make yours better would be if they were delivered by non-English speaking buxom vixens where the only language they knew was of the non-verbal variety, and if that were the case, I doubt my last blog post would have existed because there'd be a porno about it. (Never mind the fact that the cheap SOB wouldn't have picked it out anyway, but I digress.)

Things are almost perfect at this moment. We're sitting on barstools that have been used so much that their golden varnish has faded to white, and the tables are beginning to match. It would be a crime to replace them, they just fit. We're enjoying our second round of margaritas, and enjoying each other's company. (Ok, I admit it, it was my second, and I already lapped Shelby).

We're enjoying our drinks, chips and salsa, but there is a heavy air around us. Infertility is an interesting and cruel animal. All its victims are cursed with its eye of providence. It's all seeing, almost omnipotent. Things should be perfect right now. I'm drinking too many margaritas with the love of my life and we're enjoying each other's company, but the curse of IF reminds us that not all is right in the world. It's unfair. I'm angry that I have to say "almost perfect" and not "perfect." It dominates all aspects of life. How are we going to afford it? When do we stop? What if our IVF doesn't work? What if it does!? These are questions that only have answers when you're forced to answer them. I'll be happy to answer the last question, others, not so much. I worry about these questions as I take another gulp of margarita. Maybe the stars aligned, or maybe the drink is just strong, but it's cool, sweet, and salty taste made me realize something. While IF is always there, there are times where things aren't heavy, depressing or stressful. There are these rare and unexpected moments when IF grants us a reprieve.

AF, BFN, CD, DH, DPO, OMG, WTF!!!
It must be our unconscious mind helping us find ways to cope. Because there are these times where you just have to laugh, try to be light hearted and enjoy each other's company while talking about how ridiculous this path we've been conditioned to walk really is. I'm thankful for these moments. No matter how hard another negative test is, or swiping my credit card for expensive medication, I am reminded that I have power in this too. IF is not killing us, it's making us stronger. Our relationship is transforming into an even stronger bond, and sometimes, just sometimes, instead of focusing on the worries, pains, and trials, we talk about the ridiculous, almost funny parts of our journey. It's only a discussion that people who suffer this road know.

As we sit in this crowded Mexican restaurant, drinking margaritas, our conversation turns lighthearted. We start trying to stump the other person with the abbreviations that are common in this world. I impress Shelby with my IF vocabulary. I notice a few glances from people around us wondering what the hell we're talking about, but we go on. As lighthearted as it is, it is still unfair. I shouldn't have to know what AF stands for, I shouldn't have to know BFN, and I shouldn't have to be drinking margaritas because of ANOTHER BFN. As unfair as it is, IF doesn't win this time and drag us down. It doesn't sour my mood, or cause the many concerns over money, stress, and pain to bring us down. My mood is still light and the laughter of my wife as she's trying to get me to remember what "DPO" stands for is like a drug. IF does condition us to walk a long path, but it's still our legs that carry us through it. We've seemed to exhaust our knowledge of abbreviations around the same time Shelby sips her last bit of margarita. I fear that the lull in conversation will bring the heavy IF clouds, but we still have a reprieve. With IF terms being exhausted, I begin to recount the other things that I've learned in this world of infertility.

Salsa Seems Less Appealing When Discussing AF
There are things that I shouldn't have to know, and then there are things that I didn't WANT to know. I liken it to dating. When you first meet someone, you do everything in your power to woo the other person. You talk on the phone until 1 AM, you see each other every chance you get, you buy flowers, you hope to first base. Eventually, the formal "dates" taper off, the flowers are less frequent, and first base is just means to a home run (hehe). You can't point out where the transition took place, and soon there is no such thing as first base stopping at first base. The line between shouldn't and didn't is like that. IF has taught me many things, and most are things I shouldn't have had to learn, or know.

I shouldn't…

· … have to bang on the reproductive clinics door at 7:30 in the morning in order to be let in so I can watch bad porn and try to produce

· … want to correct my last blog post and state that the Asian porno was actually called "Slanted Eyed Honeys"

· … have to tell a doctor that I had sex yesterday and my count may be low today

I know…

· … it's really true that women who hang out together eventually get similar cycles

· …the dates of said women's cycles and that they are only a few days different from Shelby's

· …that there are ramifications to taking progesterone and that they can last up to two days after stopping.

· … AF's flow and consistency vary every month

· …and, in detail, what this month is like

· …and more importantly, it's not very appetizing to dip a chip into salsa while discussing it

I also know that there are so many more things that Shelby goes though that I cannot fathom. It's hard on me, but I can't comprehend how hard it is on her. What I do know, however, is that we're strong and even stronger together. We're using every opportunity to become closer, more in love, more connected to each other. We're conditioned, but we're also conditioning ourselves to become better.

Spray Bottle
Infertility conditions us; it's the spray bottle with an unlimited water source. We've been conditioned to walk this long arching path around every aspect of our lives. Our relationships, behaviors, and even, at times, our self esteem is forced to take these long and careful paths around our dream. It's unfair that I resent my cousin's newborn baby because, oops, they weren't even trying and got pregnant. It's cruel that I know the look on a doctor's face when you find out your baby has died. It's vicious that my wife hurts so badly and I can't make it better. How can I compete with that?

Luke was obsessed with Willow because she was so close but out of reach. He just wanted to introduce himself and get a good sniff in. That's all I want too. The scent of a newborn was once so close, but is still out of reach. We've been sprayed in the face so many times; you almost forget what you wanted in the first place. Disappointments, BFN's, changed relationships, it's just become the norm.

All I can say is to remind you that each of us has a spray bottle too and it is stronger than infertility. I know that infertility will never conquer the love I have with my wife. I know that as long as we have that, we have power too.

We'll find ways to forget the constant beat downs;

We'll find ways to come up with money;

We'll find ways to keep trying.

Infertility does not wield all the power. It will never be stronger than my relationship with Shelby. It may have conditioned us to walk this long arching path, but there have been rewards given to me regardless of why we're down this road. It's making me a better husband, stronger person, and if we're lucky, a much stronger father than I would have been without these trials.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Steel Magnolias

I am sitting here just a week shy of my infertility brain post, where I waxed on about being miserable and such, and have come to realize that this is a true illustration of IF's roller coaster for me. One minute you're up, one minute you're down. I happen to be 'up' in this very moment, but find me in a day, or perhaps even 30 minutes, and you might find my roller coaster plunging it's way down into a dark tunnel.

I'm fully expecting my beta tomorrow to be yet another BFN. Why? Oh, I don't know, it could be that my HMO completely missed my ovulation or that I logically grasp the odds of 1:1,000,000. We however, did not miss my ovulation, but conception with just drugs and intercourse alone would be a flat out miracle for us. For that matter, conception with just IUI would be a miracle. Screw that. Conception with IVF would be a miracle and boy howdy, I'll take it any way I can get it. Even if it means forking over our life savings and then some *gag* *cough* (still clearly reeling from the price tag over here). And although I am expecting this BFN tomorrow, it will certainly be yet another story of the downward ride. Some BFNs are worse than others (I'm guessing this is especially true after IVF), but each and every one of them suck just the same, reminders that what I have been fighting and longing for is just that much farther away.

I must say, the more I ride this roller coaster, the more I realize that women who can survive infertility and live to tell about it are some of the strongest women on Earth, true s.teel magnolias (which I was in during high school-as Dolly Parton's character-ha!). If I am among them at the end of this ride, that is, if I'm not sitting in a psychiatric ward babbling to myself about failed cycles, I'll be pretty damn proud of myself. Speaking of which, I met with some of my lovely sistas in crime today for what has become an almost weekly Sunday brunch/lunch meeting during which we loudly and publicly discuss sore boobs, messy Progesterone suppositories, panty liners and REs positioning their heads too closely to our nether regions. It is fantastic! I always try to spy the look on the faces near us, but so far I haven't caught anyone looking curiously in our direction. If I do, I'll just have to laugh, but I won't even begin to censor my words. First, that's not my personality, and second, this is too good of a thing to edit. They are all my true saving grace nowadays.

If you'll recall a while back, October 15th was National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, a time during which we were all asked to light a candle in memory of the little angels lost to miscarriage or still birth. I believe we don't need a designated day to remember or to speak up, especially as the time calls for it. As I leave you, I am hoping that you'll light a candle for a dear IF buddy of mine who just miscarried after an FET last month. This was her first little angel and I am praying, the last little angel she'll have to say goodbye to. Keep her in your thoughts.

Can I Send My Parents the Bill for My IF Treatment Now?

I didn't just grow up in a house of smokers, I grew up in a house of CHAIN smokers. The consequences? Well, both of my parents have severe emphysema, my Dad is on an oxygen tank, and THIS makes you wonder long and hard. As a child, I always promised my parents I would one day become the president of the American Lung Association. If I didn't have enough motivation to do so before, I might now.

(dang. the above article got pulled. in short, it was a study linking second hand smoke exposure as a child/young adult to both infertility and miscarriage)

Friday, December 12, 2008

HOPE

There is just something about having a real, solid IVF plan in place with your doctor with actual dates and numbers that makes a girl feel more hopeful and less...infertile, if you will. Today, I met with my new RE and felt really good about everything. I spent some time freaking out over costs and plans, but at the end of the day, we have a chance. We have a real, solid chance of bringing home our child. Of course, there still exists that great big if, as nothing is ever a guarantee, but at this moment in time, it feels more likely than it ever has. Even if this feeling is only fleeting and even if it turns out to be misleading, let me bask in it for a moment.

I will 'throw' in an IUI in a few weeks and after that BFN (don't ya love that positive thinking?), I will immediately starts BCPs and head into a long L.upron protocol, with an estimated mid-February retrieval and transfer. We've elected to buy a package of 3 fresh and 3 frozen (s.hared risk), with a guaranteed 70% back if we don't bring a baby home, which will leave us enough to turn around and adopt. Of course, if we bring a baby home before using all tries, we're out that money, but I would be happy to have this problem. Financially, this will be a hurdle, but one that I am more than willing to make sacrifices for. Today, I feel like the universe gifted me something I've been missing for some time: hope.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Somehow Even More Blasphemous Than the Last

How is it that THIS woman is able to get pregnant and have a baby and I am not? Seriously. The universe keeps mocking me.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Infertility Brain

I have started and re-started this post about a dozen times, each time in hopes the next attempt will sound less negative than the one before it. I'm sorry, but I will fail again. I find that I go through periods of time when I am standing solid, feeling supported and ready to take on the IF beast and I can safely say that this is not one of those times. I'm tired. Disappointed. At times, hopeless, and my head is cloudy. For Murgdan's F*%&^%n Fertile Friday, she posted about a colleague's claims of pregnancy brain and decided that she would lay claim to this as well, even though she herself is not pregnant. Brilliant. I read this and thought, "that's it! that's what I have! infertility brain!" It is a very real thing people. Believe me, I know. The fact that I somehow messed up pancakes this morning when the only ingredient needed was water should serve as solid and disturbing proof. Mr. S. spent half the morning laughing at my sad culinary fumblings.

Speaking of Mr. S., I realized that I have yet to comment on his post. First, one thing that you might not know is that he edited that...a lot, and I mean edited in the sense that what you see is PG 13, but he was definitely rocking the R rating at one point in time. Offending people is something we both do well at times, but I must say I'm rather proud of his solid self restraint. He toned the color commentary WAY down, especially when he gave me more specifics on the porn. Second, this post still makes me laugh. Mr. S. is just as funny in person, if not more so. But unfortunately, everything he wrote was not an embellishment for comedic purposes. I've been in that clinic (luckily our HMO switched their contract to a more reputable place) and it smelled just as foul and the receptionist was just as brusque as his post illustrated. In fact, I remember walking in to collect the sample for IUI #2, being slapped in the face with the odor and then barked at by the Russian secretary to present my driver's license. At a time when I was at my most vulnerable, I felt unwelcome, almost shamed, and shivered to think what it would be like if I were asked to 'perform' in such a place. Luckily, after slipping the sample in my bra, I wasn't made to go out the back door (which became the policy after the clinic was sued by someone who ran into an ex in the waiting room...so lame).

I am of the belief that not only is stress relevant for a woman's reproductive response, but a man's as well, so after being in that environment, I was sure our sample numbers and motility were even crappier. Boy was I right. Funny thing is, his numbers and motility have gone up since our HMO switched to another clinic, but he's also now taking supplements. Perhaps a bit of both? Anyhow, I am looking to commission Mr. S. once again for the male perspective, but he's at a loss for what to write. I'm sure it'll come to him...someday.

In the mean time, I am looking to find any way to survive the holidays without turning into a deranged and infertile Scrooge. I went as far as *forcing* myself to buy a tree, hanging Christmas lights and purchasing Christmas music on iTunes. It also helped that the support group I met with last week assured me that it was perfectly OK to skip a family get-together on Christmas in which Mr. S's cousin's newborn would be involved. I was all ready to skip Christmas with the family altogether, bite the bullet and go off with Mr. S. out of town for those days, until he told me that his Mom (best MIL in the world, seriously) let us know that she would arrange the family get-together with the new parents and baby on another day, a day we 'unfortunately' could not attend. And thus, my Christmas was saved.

And yet still, all I can focus on is January 6th. As I was hanging ornaments, I was thinking to myself that this shouldn't be so physically easy, hopping up and down chairs, inching between the tree and the wall. I should have had a round belly that made reaching and scooting and hopping difficult and I would have been so grateful for that discomfort. I should have been able to buy that 'my first teddy bear' I saw at the store the other day and I should be thinking about nursery placement rather than IVF funding. But then, this should be the case for us all. We should all be dealing with morning sickness or poopie diapers rather than follicle sizes and daily injections. I feel supremely disenfranchised, shafted by the universe. Ok, let's call it. I feel sorry for myself. I feel sorry for all of us. And while I spend my energy trying to count my blessings, trying to be positive, the universe (also known as Tara) gifts me a surprise, reminding me that I shouldn't throw in the symbolic towel after all.**

**just in case you're wondering, Tara has very generously offered some leftover Menopur that will save me HUNDREDS. Super duper awesome.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Pretend 2 WW

I am beginning this "2 week wait" (and I put this in parentheses as it's really more of a joke) with a strong mocha in hand to signify my complete lack of belief in this cycle, which is truly justified this time around. Of course, the last time I had this same lack of belief, I helped myself to a Martini during that 2 WW and discovered that I was actually pregnant after all. That was very naughty, but when you're lying on the table after the baby batter injection and your nurse is patting you on the shoulder, looking over your piss-poor, barely-there semen stats and advising you 'do not pass, do not collect $200, go straight to IVF', well, a lemon drop Martini sounds pretty logical. A positive pregnancy test does not. Go figure. Hence the mocha.

Nurse 'Dumber than a bag of rocks', or Nurse DTBR, the one solely responsible for my wasted IUI, gave nothing but a sheepish smile and no explanation for my beefcake, likely already-ovulated follicle, terming the procedure as a 'late IUI'. Oh, do you mean, a 'useless IUI' that you completely f$%&ed up? She didn't seem at all moved by any of it, so I will respond with a strongly worded letter to the powers that be, something I know I can accomplish seeing as how I'm completely useless in person. The lady is lucky I came down off my homicidal, c.lomid-fueled state otherwise she would have met the same fate as the Bev Mo lady.

Nikki mentioned something about the big ass follie being a possible cyst. That is an issue, and one that was considered, but both doc and NP DTBR (in her infinite lack of wisdom) did dismiss this given that a cyst would not have continued to grow at the rate my follie did. They both concluded that this was an unusual circumstance in which my body had already chosen a dominant. So, how do we avoid this in the future? Well, no longer seeing nurse DTBR is one way. And another? If I have ANY reservations about a cycle, I'm canceling. I will not waste any more time, heartache, or money on chances that equal zero. I did that for years. It's time to move on.