Wednesday, May 31, 2006

6 facts

A long, long time ago, I was tagged for the 6 facts game, twice even.
I knew I would need some distraction right about now, so kept it on ice until now.

1. I don't drink Coca-cola, nor Pepsi cola or any other cola. This is not my way of protesting against the neo-imperialism of multinationals, I just don't care for the taste very much. Actually, I very rarely drink any lemonade/soda's. I decided to quit them when I was 16, because I don't enjoy their taste enough to bother drinking all those calories. Switching to light was not an option, because I detest the taste of most sweeteners. Not that I've ever been a calory-counter, I never had a problem with endulging in beer and wine (with moderation, I promise).

2. Diets are not my thing. I've refused to engage in fad diets promoted by women's magazines. Because most women's magazines focus on diets and being thin, I've been boycotting them for the past 10 years. Do you think they've noticed?

3. I hate shopping for clothes and shoes. With a vengeance. Most major clothing stores only carry clothes up to 1 or 2 dress sizes too small for me. What is up with that? It's not like I'm not morbidly obese or something. When I look in the street, I see many women of my stature. Haven't they heard of the laws of supply and demand? Or is this just a scam to force me to go to the expensive special sizes stores? The clothes those stores sell are usually hideous, you know look like a tent, with out-of-control prints in fluorescent green or pink.
And shoes? I have large feet. Again, little choice is available. I currently have two (3) pairs of shoes that I can wear to work. I don't have any suitable sandals right now, but that's okay since the weather is sooo cold and wet. It feels like late winter. :-/

4. I love Lego blocks, always have, always will. Give me a box of lego's and I'll enjoy myself. Maybe something to remember if I ever have bedrest imposed. So, I can't wait to have a kid, so I can take him/her to Legoland.

5. I love cats but don't own one. I think a cat should have room to play outside, okay, I'm too lazy to clean a litter box and don't want to sacrifice the furniture.

6. I'm an absolute Firefox fan. Turbosurfing!

Now, I'm not going to tag anyone. This game has gone past its sell-by-date, I think.


Saturday, May 27, 2006

The deed is done

In 3 words: it went well.
Beta day is June 12th, or CD 28.

For those who want to know the tall and short of it, here goes.

Early this morning, DH got up to do his bit, comfortably in the privacy of our own home. I had hoped sleep a little longer, but I was too nervous. I did stay in bed, because I didn't want to cause any more stress for DH by pacing around. I was relieved when he drove off to the hospital to deliver the goods. First hurdle of the day taken.

Since I couldn't sleep, I rummaged through the house, tried to tidy up a bit, but I hardly made a dent in the chaos. Oh well.
I was glad when it was time to get ready and go to the clinic.

We arrived well on time, and after only a few minutes waiting outside our dr. arrived on his bicycle (the Tour de France, Vuelta, Giro racing cycle kind). Cycling to work is not uncommon here, but with his cycling gear on, it looked like he was making a little detour in his leisure time to pop round the office to see us. It didn't annoy me in the least, I found it rather endearing. With a job like his, he's entitled to all the leisure time he can get, if you ask me.

First thing he asked us was whether we had picked up the sample. Erm, no, we weren't told to do so. Luckily, the lab is just around the corner, so off we went. There, we were handed a little tube with DH's name written on it with a marker. I really, really hope the lab tech wasn't distracted.

Fast forward back to the clinic. I was kindly invited to assume the position. DH stayed in the adjoining consultation area. This seemed like the normal state of affairs, since the dr. didn't hint that he should come over. DH happy, me happy, everybody happy.

The procedure itself went without a hitch, it was a teensy weensy uncomfortable, but not painful at all. The dr. even remarked how easy it went. Afterwards I was told to lie down for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, the dr. rinsed out the the test tube (or perhaps the pipette) onto a glass slide and put it under a microscope. After a quick look, he declared that the swimmers looked good and invited DH to have a peek.
This was right beside me, but though I was exposed (and freezing), the tinkering part was over so it was ok.

Then the dr. left us to our own devices and DH kept me company while I waited. It was really chilly, probably because the heating isn't turned on in the weekends. Next time, I might bring a blanket, if not for during the procedure, for after it.

When the time was up, I went over to have a look through the microscope myself. Sure enough, there were a bunch of lively swimmers to be seen, though I found it a little disturbing that they were all going in circles. :-/ Of course, after 15 min. the best swimmers were long gone, never to be heard from again. Or so I tell myself.

So now, there is nothing left to do for me but twiddle my thumbs, wrestle with the fabled 'p*ssy pops' and hope for the best. Right now, I'm feeling ok, but we'll see if I can keep my cool as the 2WW progresses.

To be continued. :-)


Friday, May 26, 2006

Poke, prod and prance

This morning I got up early to prance around half-naked in my the doctor's office. From my previous post you know just how litterally to take that.

For those of you too busy to read the comments, a quick overview of possible Modesty Protection Measures and their applicability to my clinic:

- Separate room to undress in: No
- Curtain to undress behind: Yes
- Dimmed lights: No
- Paper gown : No
- Sheet or towel: No
- Dr/Tech out of the room while you position yourself: No
- Self-inserting the wand: No

While I don't relish the exposure, by now I've gotten a little used to it. I wouldn't bring it up any more, but for one thing. Up to now, DH was not present to witness the display. When it's just me and the dr, I don't find it too hard to kind of dissociate myself from the somewhat embarassing position I'm in. After all, I'm just one of the many patients he has. But I don't think I could pull that trick off with DH present. He'd be watching another man tinker with my lady parts. It makes ME feel akward.

So what to do about the IUI procedure? Do I ask him to stay home alltogether? Do I ask him to stay in the adjoining consultation area out of my field of vision? I honestly think I'd be more distressed by him being in the room than it would benefit to have him hold my hand. And come on, it's not like we can pretend this a romantic way to conceive anyways. Of course I won't know for sure how I feel untill the time comes. Also, if the procedure proves to be very painful, I might want some handholding.

Is that crazy? What do you do with your partner in these situations? I don't know if any of my visitor's are flying solo, do you bring along some support?

I would guess that almost everyone feels a little akward the first time. Perhaps I'll get used to this too. And just so you know, DH is not the jealous type. So territorialism isn't really the problem.

Back to business. My follicle is ready. (Cue microwave bell) Ping! I forgot to ask for the measurements again, but it was noticeably bigger on the screen.
2 days ago, my E2 was 80 (I don't know which units). The dr. said this was on the low side, which is why he changed his mind about seeing me again. Tonight, I trigger. The doctor's secretary just called with today's lab results: the IUI will happen on Saturday.

After the doctor's appointment, I decided to do some shopping. Unwittingly, I walked into IF hell: I K E A on a school holiday. The place was packed with families. Big kids, little kids, tiny babies, loads of them, everywhere I looked. It was taken aback a little bit, but at no time did I feel a meltdown coming on. I felt pretty much ok. It's not that I'm confident or optimistic that this cycle will be the one, but I do feel my odds have never been better. I see possibilities.

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Poke and prod #2

Firstly, thanks for the warm support. I needed to hear that, and that, and that. :-) I'm feeling better today.

The poke and prod session this morning went well. I wasn't feeling as nervous as first time, I knew what to expect. Even the doctor was more cheerful than last time and chatted a little with me. The blood draw didn't go better, this time he did take my suggestion to try my hand, only he used the regular big needle (ouch). Perhaps I should bring my own stock of little needles (aka butterfly's?). Well, he does his best and to be honest he is gentle.

The u/s showed the one dominant follicle on the right. My left ovary was playing hide and seek, cue prodding in the abdomen. :-/
This time I was awake enough to ask for the measurements: 16 mm.

This morning the doctor told me the IUI would be this weekend and that I didn't need any more wandings, just a blood draw tomorrow. If I started ovulating on my own, IUI would be Saturday, otherwise on Sunday.

This afternoon, his secretary called again, and said I needed to come back for a third poke and prod session on Friday, and to skip the blood draw tomorrow. I'm assuming my hormone levels are lagging behind in comparison to the size of the follicle (?). It didn't occur to me to ask for the actual levels. To be fair, I was in my office, which I share with two co-workers. I doubt she had them in front of her anyway. Besides, one thing less for me to obsess about. :-)

A question about modesty at the RE office (a contradictio in terminis?). Do you get a paper gown to cover up for the u/s? Or do you get a sheet or towel? None of this at my doctor's office. There is a curtain to undress behind but that's the only concession afforded to modesty. While I appreciate it, I do wonder what the point is, really. Everything is in plain view once I'm in the stirrups.

Perhaps I should bring my own towel*. Now a plain white one wouldn't do of course, I would need one with an appropriate print on it.
What do you think of these:
- X marks the spot
- Men at work road sign
- A map of the female reproductive system
- Vacancy

Any other suggestions?

* For those wondering, I am joking.


Monday, May 22, 2006

By the book

The first check went well. I have one dominant follicle on my right side. I didn't quite catch how big it was, probably because I wasn't fully awake at the time. On the other side there were a number of tiny unmeasurable follicles.

The doctor drew some blood (did I mention before that this is pretty much a one-man show?), quite painful actually. The veins in my arms are well hidden and he didn't take my hint to try my hand. I'm guessing he didn't have the right material in his office.

This afternoon, his assistant called me with the instructions. I'm to keep going with the same dose, and come back for another check on Wednesday.

I guess these are text book results. I have an appropriate response to the stims, meaning not nothing and not wildly out of control. One dominant follicle means very low chances of having twins, and still a reasonable/moderate/acceptable (?) chance of success.
So, I should be happy, right? Except I'm not particularly. Perhaps I was bracing for drama and the lack of any was a bit of an anti-climax. Also, getting up an hour early, getting dressed and ready, only to undress again and on top of that to be prodded and poked made me grumpy. Finally, I'm not feeling very optimistic.

This is how I feel now. I'm sure it'll get better ... and worse ... and better ...


Friday, May 19, 2006

Tour de France, Vuelta, Giro, ...

About cycling. No not that kind.

There is one important feature missing in blog syndication programmes (Bloglines, etc.). There is no easy way to tell who is in the midst of cycling or waiting to find out the outcome.

Meg, from Journey to the Centre of the Egg, has launched a dedicated blog to track who is cycling in which month: Cyclesista.

Anyone who wants to be added can contact Meg by mail.


Calling the shots

I'm calling today's shot nr. 2. Yesterday's was 'OMG-I-can't-do-this,-why-me,-it's-not-fair,-hey-look-I-did-it'.

There are no injection classes here. What?! You can get a nurse to come administer the shots at home, but I didn't want to be dependant like that. So yesterday I drove over to my experienced friend who talked me through the process. Today I did it all on my own.
It isn't too hard, but I can't seem to get all the tiny air bubbles out of the syringe. I have visions of blood clots and embollism. My friend just laughed.

So what other fears do I have? In no particular order
  • Bad response: will I develop any good follicles?
  • Too much response: will I have to cancel? will the dr. want to reduce the nr. of follicles?
  • Twins: I'm aware of the risk, and clearly am willing to take it to a certain degree. But my preferred outcome is a BFP with a singleton. It's in the best interest of all involved.
  • High-order-multiples: No! No! No! I want to minimize this risk as much as possible.
Of course, by just mentioning a BFP I've just jinxed the whole deal, I suppose. And then there's Murphy's law, which states that I can't have a BPF in the same month when a co-worker's partner is due to deliver. And to top it off, my rational mind says the odds for this treatment just aren't that good.

The naive anticipation is wearing off, can you tell? I just know I'm going to feel like a fool for hoping so much when this cycle is over.

First u/s is Monday. I want to know what's going on in there.


Monday, May 15, 2006

The green light flashes, the flags go up

I didn't expect it so soon, but the rest cycle is OVER! I can't remember the last time I was so excited at seeing my period. I'm frightened, nervous and happy all at once.

Last week I was worried about being put on hold. Going forward comes with an exiting new set of worries. But more about those in a later post. For now I'm going to enjoy the intoxicating feeling of naive anticipation. We're trying something new!!!


Thursday, May 11, 2006

Green light

My pro.lactin levels are NORMAL! I am so relieved! The doc gave us the green light to go ahead with the stims in the next cycle.

In other news, SIL#2 had her baby. A boy. I'm grateful everything went well. Happy for them. We're waiting till they get home to go visit.

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Monday, May 08, 2006

Mixed emotions

I've just had my second appointment with dr. A. It went reasonably well, I guess.

He still hadn't bothered to request my file from dr. Sunshine. I expected as much, but wasn't glad to be right. I know cases like ours are thirteen in a dozen to him, but does he have to make it so obvious?
I didn't take him up on it, but did ask him how he could assess possible male factor if he doesn't have the SA results. What about high white blood cell count? They might have tested for it, but without the file, who knows. (He asked his secretary to get it this time.)

The blood test he ordered last time shows no insuline resistence. Good. Does this mean I don't have. PCOS? I forgot to ask. :-/ Common sense would say that irregular ovulation alone does not make a syndrome.

What did come up is an elevated pro.lactin level. It was 40, whereas 24 is normal. I don't know what the units are. He said pro.lactin is a stress hormone and the stress of having blood tests could explain it. To know for sure, he wanted me to have blood drawn 4 times in one hour. Oh joy. I went to get it done straight afterwards, and now have 5 punctures on my hands, covered by just two small bandaids. Lovely.

If I fail the pro.lactin test, I will need to take per.lodal, possibly for months. There would be no cycling for an indefinite amount of time. This one cycle wait is tough enough, I don't know how I would cope with more. No wonder I have elevated stress levels.

Apparantly there are two kinds of pro.lactin: biologically active and inactive. Only the first kind would require treatment, if I understand correctly. Fingers crossed.

Then he asked about my weight. Excuse me? What of it?
Have I been watching it? Let's see, gorging on good food in Canada, several family dinners, and rest cycle marinated in beer and wine. No, I haven't.
He didn't exactly tell me to last time either. He said then if it was stable, then it was fine. But now he suggested I try to change my metabolism's gears from gain to loss. He's got to be kidding. There is no reverse on my metabolism, honey.

I told him I refuse to engage in women's magazines diets. I've refused to since I was a teenager. I don't jojo. I am prepared to see a professional nutritionist, and I will. But I am not going on some strict diet whilst doing fertility treatments. There will be times when floor cake is required, or do.ritos.

To be honest, it would do me good to lose some 10 to 15 kg's (that's 22 pounds/1.5 stone to 33pounds/2.3 stone). And though I accept that this is probably a factor, I don't believe this is the cause of our IF. There are many women like me who have kids without a problem.

The fact that the dr. brought it up like this makes me feel he's clutching at straws. He doesn't know what's wrong (not surprising without the medical history) and is slowly running out of tests to run. All he can offer us is the standard trial and error approach. I was prepared for this, I didn't expect any answers, but it sucks all the same. For all we know, we're wasting our time with ART.

I know, I know, it could be worse, some of you are blowing money by the bucketload on ART. Up to now, most of our treatments have been covered by National Health Care. But before you get jealous, please note that 50 to 55% of our income goes to taxes, the VAT (value added tax) rate is around 20% and our employers pay 200% on top of our incomes to the state for social security. I'm not complaining, it's the price of basic solidarity, but that's a discussion for another time.

Finally, I also got the schedule for the IUI/inj cycle (subject to passing the pro.lactin test, not overstimming etc.)
CD 1 call him to say we're on board.
CD 2-6 Meno.pur, 1 vial a day
CD 7-12 u/s every other day and adjustment of dose if necessary
CD 12 (approx.) Preg.nyl trigger shot
CD 15-29 Utro.gestan

There are no injection classes. I'll have to make do with the booklet that comes with the Meno.pur 'starters kit'. I'm sure can find a video online. I remember reading about them on someone's blog.

I won't order the stims until I get the results on the pro.lactin test. I don't really know when to expect CD1. If the Clo.mid is still lingering, sometime next week, otherwise two to three weeks from now, or even later. Perhaps it's time to start temping again.

During the last cycles of Clo.mid, I was eager to move on to the next stage of treatment. Now that it's coming closer, I'm having mixed emotions. I don't want to do injections and get up early for u/s. Do I really want to jump through all these hoops? Just so I can get my own ungrateful spoiled screaming brat. Why is there no pill to remove the urge?

Oh well, I already know I'm going to jump the hoops anyway.


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

A non event

The evalution appointment was a non event. Literally. Due to a scheduling snafu, my boss didn't have time to see me. Typical.
All that anxiety for nothing!

Now I've been bumped to the back of the line, so it could take weeks before it's my turn again. Which actually suits me rather well.
Who knows, by then I may have a totally new outlook on life, great expections, wink wink nudge nudge.

The bad thing is that the secretary will only notify me a day in advance of my next eval. appointment. What?! Like I don't have enough appointments floating in the air. I will cancel the eval without a qualm if it interferes with the cycle. I have my priorities straight.

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