Thursday, January 26, 2006

Borrowed words, borrowed feelings?

The other day, an acquaintance of mine said "blogging is just another hype, what could be more boring than reading someone else's diary".
He's both right and wrong.

This blog is boring*. My scribbling doesn't qualify as literature, not by a long shot. If you're looking for a good read, a page-turner, insightfull essays, then move right on along, nothing to be seen here. There are other IF blogs that qualify, for sure. Or visit Project Gutenberg.

My blog is therapy. A hybrid between self-help and group therapy.
There is nothing new under the sun to be found here. Thousands of women have gone before me and, sadly, thousands more will probably follow.

In fact, my experience with IF, my emotions, my symptoms, my treatments, are so standard that I'm part of a niche market. And clever marketeers are on to it. Those fertility monitoring microscopes look suspiciously like repackaged kid's chem set microscopes to me.

And don't get me started on the crappy books they churn out.
Good IF books are few and far between. I'm highly sceptical of the
"Miracle Diet to Get Pregnant For Sure" type books. Yeah right.
They can do better than that, how about "Fertility Aromatherapy"? "Homeopathic IF remedies"? "DIY Acupuncture for Hands On Fertility Control" ?

I got a second hand book on IF from a friend who is now 5 months PG after IVF#3. It has medical info - with pictures - the obligatory testimonials, and as a special bonus input from psychologists.

This particular book rubs me the wrong way. Things start to go wrong in the foreword.
This book is not a plea for fertility centers and the treatments they provide. To us it is clear, a smart gal starts her family on time. ...
... This book is a guide for women that - even if they started on time - experience trouble in starting a family.
That one is below the belt. I'll be sure to tell my single girlfriends this gem.

During an HSG exam, an X-ray is taken while contrast fluid is injected into the uterus. ... The exam is done without sedation. Many women do not feel much discomfort, while some suffer cramps similar in nature to menstruation cramping.

Is that sugarcoating I sense? What about the women that suffer agonising pain? Hm? Not worth mentionning?

Irene and Jack have been TTC for a year now. Irene is disappointed that she's not PG yet.

And? Disappointed is a bit tame.

Both are worried it might be their fault.

No. Really. You think? (Rolling of eyes)

What about depression, anger, bitterness, apathy, and all those other lovely emotions that come with IF? Disappointed. Hah.

When it comes to dealing with the emotional baggage that comes with IF, nothing comes close to the blogosphere. It's all there: satire, comedy, tragedy, parody, documentary, mockumentary, sappy story with happy ending, ...

If I had stuck to IF books as my sole source of information, I would still be feeling as depressed today as I was 6 months ago. And today, allthough nothing much has happened on the IF front, I'm feeling a lot better. Not lucky-go-free, but ok. And I attribute this improvement all to you.

Starting this blog has given me the space I need to let it all out. Good, bad and ugly. But it would never have worked without some vocabulary lessons.
The u/s probe? Dild*cam!
The u/s technician? Wand monkey! Snatch, cooter, twat, ...
Who can help but smile at those words? Ok, grimace at least. No, really?

So thanks for letting me borrow your words, I needed them. The feelings are all my own, if they were borrowed, I'd have returned them by now. ;-)

* I'm not fishing for compliments here. I'm not thinking of quitting either.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Sticking your nose in

Last weekend me and a group of girl friends from college got together to visit. On this occasion, we visited one of my friends second baby. I'm out of the closet with this group, it went well.

Since becoming aware of my IF and then obsessively reading up on the subject, I've learned a lot of things. I've been looking at lists of symptoms and seeing if they fit me. Endo, no. PCOS, not convinced. ...

It has also changed the way I look at other people. Of this group of friends, only three of us are in a relationship. One has two kids, one is now PG after IF and then there is me. The others are single, and I can only wonder what they think about my problems. I could imagine that some think I don't have it that bad. And in a way, I don't.

One of my friends, lets call her Melanie, is a portly woman. She's somewhat overweight. (I should talk). But either it was the light playing tricks on me, but I thought she had some facial hair that was, how to put this delicately, out of place. I hadn't really noticed this before. My first thought was, "oh dear, that's a symptom of PCOS". And the thought stuck with me.

A recurrent theme in IF blogs is fair warning. Ornery was just telling the story of how she consulted a doctor in her teens about problems with her cycle. She was given BCP and sent on her merry way, without a hint of trouble to come.

I'm not prepared to use my Google M.D. on my unsuspecting friend Melanie. There are so many other explanations, perfectly innocent ones. Most likely being that I'm IF and am seeing IF everywhere, even where there is none.

What is the point in worrying her on shaky grounds at best?
But maybe I'm passing up an opportunity to give her fair warning. What do you think?

Friday, January 20, 2006

Question: Clo*mid between day 3-8 or day 5-9?

After a mere 2 phone calls to Dr. Sunshine I now have an appointment scheduled for an HSG.
Because the other doctor is at a conference next week, the appointment is as late as CD 14.

I know HSG's are always performed in the first half of a cycle. I've heard (on the grapevine) that preferably they're done before CD 10. So I was a bit surprised, but I'll trust their judgement on this.
Dr. Sunshine specifically asked me to confirm that I have rather long cycles. Without medication, I have cycles of 36 days on average. With Clo*mid my average has been 31 days, with ovulation on or after CD 15. So it is cutting it fine.

Twice I forgot to ask Dr. Sunshine whether I should skip Clo*mid this time around. I'm assuming she would have told me if that were the case. Nonetheless, I'm in doubt of what I should do. I could take the tablets a little later than usual, CD 5-9 in stead of CD 3-8. Wouldn't this delay ovulation a day or two? That would suit me much better. It would allow me some time to recover before it's time to get back into the swing of it, so to speak. I don't think freshly radiated nethers are particularly appealing to DH.

I'm reluctant to deviate from the doc's instructions. But it's not like I'm doing IVF. Clo*mid is such a mild stimulant that it is sold over the counter (?!) or prescribed by GP's that don't bother with u/s monitoring. The drug leaflet instructs use between CD 5-9, so how wrong can it be?

What do you think? Have any of you been told to take Clo*mid from CD 5-9? Or is this practice out of date?

I want to thank you all for the encouraging comments. I'm glad to hear that I have a good chance of not suffering too much pain.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Did you see her go?

Whoosh. Hope dashed out the door this morning, just after my temperature dropped to the BBT cover line. I now declare this cycle officially over. I'm 'celebrating' with a glass of wine. My actual period will show up tomorrow, I suppose.

I've decided to ask Dr. Sunshine to schedule the HSG now, not after the next cycle. For one, I will be out of the country on business when the next cycle ends. Scheduling an HSG may become too difficult then. I'm frightened of the HSG, since I've heard such wonderful things about it on the internet, from friends, books and Dr. Sunshine herself. But it has to be done and I don't want to wait untill after Cl*mid cycle 5. After all, I've also read that there is a moderate increase in PG rates after the HSG, something to do with flushing out those tubes, removing debris etc.

Tomorrow, Dr. Sunshine isn't open for business. I'm not ready to call her on her day off. I'll lock horns with her the day after.

I half expect her to try and talk me out of it, or to back out of her promise. Or even better, to hear that in truth an HSG can't be scheduled on short notice, but must be booked weeks or even months in advance. Pessimistic, moi?

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Big sigh of relief

The hours leading up to the in-law dinner turned out to be more stressful than the dinner itself.
I had a little meltdown in front of DH. The night before he had hurt me by being so dismissive of my feelings. I asked him if he would be as dismissive of my distress if I had cancer. (I think he would be very upset.)
The waterworks sprung into action, and though I don't like it, it seems that tears are the only thing that impress him of how IF is affecting me.
We discussed some more on what to tell the in-laws. I pleaded that we should tell them we were struggling if anyone asked us The Question directly. He still wasn't too happy about this, but if I thought it would make seeing the in-laws easier, he could live with it. Good enough for me.

Fast forward to the in-law dinner. It went ok. No drama, no big scene. I was a good DIL.
The fact that nephew#1 and his parents were missing for a good chunk of the evening may have contributed to that. I also picked out a spot at the table furthest away from PG SIL#2. From there I could safely not look at her and her bump without being overly rude. I caught myself steeling glances though. Every time I did, a Little Voice Inside My Head (LVIMH) chided me, "don't look, you know it's not good for you". LVIMH gave a running commentary the whole evening. Now I must say PG SIL#2 was as good as gold. She didn't talk about her PG, complain about symptoms or even rub her bump.

I was enjoying dessert (chocolate tiramisu) when BIL#1 and Nephew#1 arrived.

LVIMH: "The evening has gone well so far. Now comes the real test."
Me: This plate of tiramisu is fascinating.
LVIMH: "Try not to look".
Me: He's coming over, wants to wish me a happy new year with customary pecks on the cheek, while holding the baby, more like thrusting it into my face.
LVIMH: "Well, he's moving on now, calm down."
Me: Ahem, and sitting down right in front of me. A two-week-old is so tiny, why can't ...
LVIMH: "Don't go there, not now!"
Me: IF sucks.

Later in the evening, SIL#1 finally arrives. Meanwhile Nephew#1 is being passed arround to MIL, FIL and SIL#3. DH and I are sitting on the couch with BIL#1, the proud father.
BIL#1: "You try to name one other thing that you'd happily get up for several times at night".
Me: Oh no, here comes the sales pitch.
BIL#1:"Being a father is wonderful. You guys have been maried for a while now. When are you guys going to have kids. Don't wait until you're ready, you'll never feel completely ready."
Me: He asked The Question, he asked The Question!
DH: "All in good time".
Me: What? That's our old line. And it clearly doesn't cut it.
Me: "It's not that easy for everyone, you know."
BIL#1: "Huh?"
Me:"Come on, you must know couples that are struggling."
BIL#1 (taken aback): "Oh, why yes of course."

At this time my MIL needs me on the other side of the room, so I leave DH and his brother to their devices.

This performance wasn't great, but ok considering my heart was pounding and my stomach tightening. I didn't spell it out to him, this only qualifies as a hint. I bet he'll still ask me The Question again next time I see him. Oh well, by then I may be able to control my nerves and tell him like it is. It's a start.

No one else heard this little exchange, and since they didn't ask, I didn't tell anyone else. Perhaps next time. The rest of the evening went without incident.

On the cycle front, I estimate that today is 12 DPO. I'm expecting my period in two days. The tension is mounting, I can tell you that.

Please go and visit PI Jill, who has been dealt a bad card and faces a worrysome time.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Evasive manoeuvres

Hope has got me in her clutches. I thought I was going to escape her this round, but alas.
She's wispering sweet nothings in my ear. Tender nipples? "Third time's a charm", she says. Second slight temperature hike? "BBT is very reliable, you know." The smallest hint of a symptom is definitive evidence if you believe her.
"But no spotting" I retort. "Not everyone has that" she says with a grin.

Have I been behaving hopeful? Well, not really. So far, I've taken antibiotics for a UTI, eaten some camembert made of non-pasteurized milk, had some wine last weekend and have been drinking my regular dose of coffee. And I haven't been taking my folic acid either. So there.
In a twisted way, a little taunting of fate could be considered hopeful behavior, I guess. I just can't win this, can I?

Tomorrow is the in-law family dinner. PG SIL #2 will be there, and I suppose 2 week old nephew will be there too with his proud parents in tow. I'm seriously dreading it and DH doesn't get it. I told him I was feeling stressed out, but he just laughed it off. Thanks a lot. My scowl tipped him off that he made a mistake though. Like I haven't been dreading this for weeks. I've considered feigning the flu, seriously.

Since the first SIL announced her PG, I've been dumbstruck at the in-laws. All my energy is focused on not falling apart, nothing is left for conversation. As I've said before, I can't keep this up forever. Especially since MIL has been jokingly asking me why I don't like to visit with them any more. There are only so many ways to evade that question.

We still haved resolved our discussion on whether to tell the in-laws or not. Giving more explicit hints is on the table though, at least it was a few weeks ago. But I'm not confident I can say something non-committal like "not everyone can just DECIDE to have a child, you know" without bursting into tears.

I am so not going to help DH pick out a gift for the baby. My mother offered to do it for us, so as to spare me, but DH declined. Then it's his problem, I warned him.

I'd better go practicing my meditation routines now.

Monday, January 09, 2006

IF, the next generation

A while ago, Robber Barren wondered where have all the cowboys gone? Many of the pioneers of IF blogging have moved on to greener pastures, most with babies (bio or adopted), some on their own. Most bloggers on the mother of all IF blog lists have followed in their footsteps (thankfully).

For me, reading the blogs of these women was an eyeopener. I am not alone. My feelings of hope and despair are perfectly normal. And there are women who can articulate the trials and tribulations of IF in eloquent posts. Women who can put their finger on where it hurts. Women who come up with brilliant retorts to assvice. And all this with a healthy dose of humour to boot. Come on, assvice? dildocam? wand monkey? LOL!

But like Robber Barren, I would also like to find more bloggers that have only recently embarked on the ART roller coaster. Women who are still fairly new to wand monkeys and their fickle ways. Women that are still learning what it means to be your own health advocate.

In the past weeks, I have discovered a number of new blogs. You'll see that my blogroll keeps growing. Some of these women are fairly new to IF and/or ART. Some are not so new to IF, but are new to blogging.

I've decided to add a new subdivision in my blogroll: ART (pre IVF) and ART (post IVF).
For lack of a better criterium, I'm going to use IVF as a dividing line. This has nothing to do with the Pain Olympics or counting Pain Points. This is about forming ghetto's within the IF blogosphere. (Kidding!)

I will continue to read a variety of blogs, but I will seek out women in situations similar to mine as well.

So, here is an incomplete list of my 'homeys':

I will modify my blogroll in the coming days.

On the reproductive front, no news. Another tedious 2WW. ETA of my period: a few days after the in-law pow-wow and a few days before a visit to my good (uberfertile) friend and her newborn (second child, of course). Excellent timing!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The B-movie that is my life

Remember when I said this yesterday:
Small detail, DH is going out this evening for a new year's dinner with work. I sent him an SMS a text message telling him not to get too drunk or stay out too late. We'll see what happens. Well, at least he's in town.

I stayed up untill 1 in the morning (reading blogs) and then gave up and went to bed. Just as my head hit my pillow, I hear fumbling at our front door. Keys are dropped, more fumbling. Yes, it was DH.

First thing he did was go out to our terrace to smoke a sigarette. Usually he's very quick, but after ten minutes he still hadn't come back in. So I get up reluctantly, to see what on earth he's doing. To my dismay, I see him swaying on a chair, seemingly asleep. Turning on the lights got his attention and he came back in, or more accurately wobbled back in. Stupendously drunk. S.e.x was not an option.

He crashed on our small couch and slept there all night.

I was angry, but there was no point in arguing with a semi-comatose man. Mostly I felt defeated, deflated. That gorgeous follicle was going to waste. Another cycle lost.
If I wanted proof that he's not experiencing IF as I am, well I got it and then some.

I was upset and couldn't sleep. Lucky for me I could work from home the next day, and start a little later. Not-so-DH slept in until noon. That was fine by me as I didn't particularly want to see him right then.

We've talked a bit about this, and he says he's angry with himself too, but I can't forgive him just yet.

I feel this cycle is totally wasted. In reality this is not necessarily so. I knew he was having a boy's night out, so we had s.e.x. the night before. Theoretically that should be enough (every two days etc.) but forgive me if theory doesn't carry much weight with me any more. In theory I should ovulate on day 14 of my cycle and in theory I should have gotten PG within a year of trying.

Bring on the IUI. He doesn't have to be present for those.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

All systems go

The consult with dr. Sunshine went well. This won't be a coherent post, just some things I need to write down, so I can go back to work and concentrate.

She was about 45 minutes late, because she was delivering a baby (some people are so lucky). Good thing I brought a book along to read. Their magazines are utterly boring.

During my consult, she divulged that she was pregnant. I blinked, didn't even congratulate her (how rude!). Wasn't the idea here to get ME PG? She didn't tell me to taunt me, it came up in relation to HSG and radiation.

But first came the obligatory wanding. Dr. Sunshine does this herself, no technicians here. (And by the way, what on earth are Nurse Practitioners? Something evil I gather. Doctor wannabes?)

It turns out my right ovary was sulking the past few days. It has clearly succumbed to the mighty powers of Clo*mid and has produced a fine 2.5 cm follicle. Lining is good too. So we're all set to go.

Small detail, DH is going out this evening for a new year's dinner with work. I sent him an SMS a text message telling him not to get too drunk or stay out too late. We'll see what happens. Well, at least he's in town.

I did ask dr. Sunshine about the next immediate steps in my treatment. One good follicle does not a PG make (see cycles 1 and 2). She's very happy with my response to Clo*mid, this is exactly the result she's looking for. She would like me to continue with another 3 cycles, without any further monitoring. (This is two more than the initial 4 I had agreed to).
The next step is doing an HSG test. Generally, she does this herself, but in her blessed state she can't. However, she can refer me to her colleague in the same practice who is an OB/GYN specialized in IF. I don't have to wait until the last Clo*mid cycle to do the HSG. I told her I would probably get in touch with her after cycle 4.
We didn't really go into what happens after the HSG, it all depends on the results. The terms IUI and IVF were dropped (cue ominous music).

This cycle is much better than cycle 2 and resembles cycle 1. I think doing another 3 cycles is doable, if I can get the HSG over and done with in the mean time. Having the IF OB/GYN do the HSG is as good a way as any to make his acquaintance and perhaps move on into his care completely.

My head was spinning a bit when I left the doctor's office. An lo and behold who was waiting for me at the door, (no not DH), it was Hope of course. She's chattering away at me, "this will be the one, you'll see", has reinstated Prohibition and struck coffee off the menu all in the course of a 10-minute bus-ride back home. Nothing a quick visit to the Pharmacy can't cure, I didn't get val.ium or pro.zac, not at all. The customer in front of me had a toddler, the one behind me a preschooler and of course the lady behind the counter was visibly PG. Oh, and I told you even my doctor is PG, right? Feet landed back on earth firmly. PG abounds, but only elsewhere, I get it.**

Hope is a persistent little thing. She's pounding on the door, pleading with me to let her in. I'm doing my best to ignore her for now, but I'm sure she'll slip in when DH gets home. It doesn't matter, I should try to enjoy the highs, because I have to endure the lows anyway.

** I stand by my right to be cautiously pessimistic.
I should get this book: "The Positive Power of Negative Thinking: Using Defensive Pessimism to Harness Anxiety and Perform at Your Peak". Oro talked about it on her blog once.