Thursday, June 29, 2006

What's yellow-green with purple spots?

I'm glad you're all laughing WITH me about our mad adventure. Actually, I'm still not laughing, though I'm not crying my eyes out either. Give me a little more time.

This would be a great conception story to tell, I agree. Though in my mind that makes it even less likely this round will work. Come on, it's too good to be true. The stuff of movies. And we don't want to add another urban myth to the arsenal, now do we? Just mess up with the sperm delivery, ...

I spoke to dr. A on the phone. He assured me that I could cycle again straight away. Truly a load off my mind. The only condition is that CD6 falls after his return from his holiday. That can be arranged, at least if he sends me that Pr0gesterone prescription he promised.
Having a plan B in place makes me feel a lot calmer about the 2WW.

I realized I never told you how it went at the nutritionist. The official 'score' is -1,2 kg. That's considerably less than I thought previously, but still very encouraging. Especially because I didn't have the feeling I was starving myself.
Now all I have to do is keep going.

Oh, and what's yellow-green with purple spots? The lovely bruise on the inside of my elbow from the last blood draw. I LOOK like a junkie, now where's my baby? ;-)

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

You've got to be kidding!

Did I not specifically request no surprises, except really good ones? I distinctly remember doing so. Bad idea.

Just minutes after DH had left for the hospital, the phone rings. Uh-oh.

It's DH.
DH: "Small problem, I seem to have taken a wrong bus. It's an express service to WayOutOfTown."
Me: "Shall I come get you?"
DH:"I could take the next bus back into town".
Me: "Shall I come GET YOU?"
DH:"Yes. The first stop is in MiddleOfNowhere."

My heart sinks, but I don't panic. I grab the bare necessities: cell phone, GPS-tracker and navigator, handbag and jump in the car. I only have a vague idea of where he is, luckily the navigator is content to take me to MiddleOfNowhere, without knowing an exact address.

Ok, so I drive a little crazier than usual, and use the phone in the car without a handsfree set (big no-no).
5 phone calls later ("Where are you? How do I get there? WHERE?") I retrieve DH.
He's so shocked by his misadventure that he even lets me drive back. The GPS guides us straight to the clinic, and I manage to keep it together all the way, even through a grueling 5 minutes of slow traffic on the highway.

While I park the car, DH goes to the lab to finally deliver the goods, after 1 hour and 15 minutes of travelling. According to DH, they said it would be ok. I'll have to take his word for it.
I tried calling the dr. for advice on how to proceed, but he didn't pick up so I left a message on his voicemail. Is there any point in doing the IUI?

Now, you're either cursing at DH or laughing by now (I know I'll find this funny some day). But honestly, I can't be angry with him. I told him he could take a bus, any bus that starts with the number 97. That's what he did.
I told him to ask the driver whether the bus went past the clinic. He did, but the bus driver mumbled something and shook his head in some way, which DH took as a yes. Apparently, that should have been 'No'. An honest mistake, which could have happened to me (except I'm a more experienced bus traveler). What should he have done? Held up two signs in front of the driver with "Yes" and "No" and ask the driver to point to one? Helping customers find their way is only his job, even if it's tedious. Ugh.
Express lines are generally marked 'Express', but DH said he didn't see it. It looked like any other bus. The older models just have a sign in front, which are easy to miss if you're not looking for it. The newer ones state it loud and clear next to the number. And it hadn't occurred to me to warn him about express buses.

Oh, and the odds of this happening?
6 buses with line number 97x go to the clinic. Only 1 doesn't. That's roughly a 14% chance of taking the wrong bus. Compound that with getting a non-reply from the driver (rough guess 25%). You're left with a 3,5% chance of taking the wrong bus.
Compare this to the odds of success with IUI/inj: 15%.
Can you see my frustration here?

Next time, DH said he'll be taking the car.

I'm just surprised I didn't get pulled over by the police. That's all that was missing to make this the perfect skit for a comedy movie. Who was the blogger had this happen to her, only to be escorted to the hospital with sirens wailing?

Fast forward two hours, time to go back to the clinic for the IUI. I do take the bus, the right one, so no problems there. The lab hands me the sample without a fuss (they don't even ask for ID, or my husband's name for that matter. I checked the vial though, his name was on it.). I go to the clinic and am told to take a seat. After a mere 5 minutes my name is called, but by a woman I don't know. Dr. Albatross isn't available as he's doing surgery (so that's why he hasn't called back yet), but he asked her to fill in. I'm glad he found a replacement, but I had hoped to see him and ask him some questions. Dr. StandIn said I could call him tomorrow morning during consultation hours.

Beta day is July 11th, but I think I'm going to declare this a non-event. So I am now in a non-2WW. Right now it's pessimism galore. What do you want with those odds.

I hope your day went better.

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Monday, June 26, 2006

Ping! Done.

My follicle is done: 23 mm. Tonight I trigger, tomorrow I go for the IUI.

DH won't be coming along this time, he'll be at work. I told him he could. He will of course be making his contribution earlier in the morning, and will be dropping it off at the clinic. Thank you.

I have a lovely bruise in my elbow to show for this morning's blood draw. The dr. was pretty proud of finding a vein, "solely by touch". I almost didn't have the heart to ask him to order some of those tiny butterfly needles to draw blood from my hand, but I did anyway. Perhaps I'll regret it later, when he starts wielding one of those things.

This is a rather boring post, but I'm glad I posted the details on the last cycle. I hadn't written them down elsewhere. And of course I want to compare both cycles, as I'm still so new to this.

Tomorrow, I want no surprises, except really good ones.

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Friday, June 23, 2006

By the book #2

No need to write a new post, I can just link back to this one.

For those of you too lazy to click the link a recap:
- 1 dominant follicle (15 mm) on the right side, again.
- Continue with same dose, which is the same as the last cycle, 1 vial of Men0pur.
- Difficult blood draw, again, BIG needle in little hand vein.
- Come back on Monday.

I'm content with these results. Not optimistic, but content nonetheless. I have a chance.


The injection went better yesterday. I numbed the skin with some ice. I pinched the skin a little harder and plunged the needle in with a little more determination. Went in like a knife into butter, or should I say margerine? Faltering confidence was the biggest problem, I think.

I was ready to blame it on the diet, losing all that fluff to work with (Pamplemousse, I love that term!). I took the opportunity to weigh myself at the doctor's office this morning (since I don't own a scale), and if I remember my last weight correctly I've lost 2 kg. That would be nearly 4,5 pounds. We'll see what the scales say on Monday, when I see the nutritionist again.


Thank you for the encouragements and the needle tips.

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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Pin cushion

I believe I'm getting worse at self-injecting and not better with experience. Perhaps I'm losing my nerve.
The first round, everything went fine. Now, it's as if the needles aren't as sharp any more. The needle make a dent, but doesn't go in, or just barely breaks the skin. And when I do get in, it hurts. For the first time, I numbed my skin, and I still couldn't get the needle in. I look like a pin cushion.

I'm a bit nervous for tomorrow. What if there's nothing there?

Meanwhile, a worry has settled into the back of my mind. If IUI/inj doesn't work, like 6 times Cl0mid didn't and 18 months of trying on our own didn't, doesn't that mean Something Serious (TM) is wrong? Something that can't be fixed. I try not to think about it, but the thought is nagging me.

Where did I get this idea?
- I'm a worrier, it came naturally.

Is this idea contributing to my stress?
- Yes, duh.

Is it true?
- IUI's just have a low success rate. This doesn't predict outcome with more advanced treatment.

What idea is there to replace it with?
- Let's take it one step at a time. IUI might work. IVF might work.

Don't mind me, just practicing my cognitive restructuring, to break those nasty negative thought loops.

According to some experts (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/5098454.stm) that's all it takes to get PG anyway. Thanks Oro for pointing this gem out ( http://birchandmaple.blogs.com/birch_and_maple/). More research is good, there are way too much unknowns in the reproductive process, but hearing that it's a) all my fault for being overweight and b) all in my head REALLY relieves my stress. NOT!!! And isn't it rather inconsistent to say that it's due to being overweight AND just in my head? Which is it?

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Sunday, June 18, 2006

Red flag, green light!

I should have complained earlier. Yesterday afternoon my period arrived. The red flag is flying, the Russians are in Paris, Aunt Flo is here, ... If you're bored, Google for 'euphemisms menstruation' ( http://www.google.be/search?q=euphemisms+menstruation). Hilarious!

Today I called the doc, half expecting him to waive the rest cycle at me. Thankfully, he didn't mention it. He did ask me to remind him what treatment I was getting. It didn't occur to me to say IVF at the time. Maybe I could have gotten away with it, who knows.

Tomorrow I start injecting again, same drug, same dose. Friday is my first appointment. In comparison with the last round, everything has moved up a day in the schedule. Fine by me.

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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Never around when you need her

I haven't gone down the deep end, I was just out of town for a few days. But Meg, I'm touched by your concern.

Thank you for all the kind words. It's like having my own gang of supporters.
And I don't even have to wear shorts, run after a ball only to kick it away again. :-)

I'm still twiddling my thumbs here, waiting for my period to show up. I took the last dose of Pr0gesterone on Monday morning. That's 4 days ago. Shouldn't it be out of my system yet?

I wouldn't mind so much, except I'd like to squeeze in another cycle with dr. A before he leaves on holiday in July. Especially now that I spoke up for the privilege. The doctor mentioned that sometimes the Big Clinic takes over his IUI patients while he's away, but said it was a bit of a hassle to organize. I don't need much in order to fret, so that's exactly what I'm doing.

Some of you had some questions for me:

Is the next step IVF?
No, not yet.

Does the health care system require a specific number of IUI's before moving to IVF?
Not that I know of. However, I suspect that doctor's have a general obligation to try less invasive and less expensive treatments before moving to other options. Makes sense.
In the case of IF, trying a few rounds of IUI's in case of unexplained IF is standard treatment. The important word being 'few'.

What's my limit? After how many IUI's do I want to move to IVF?
At the first consult, the dr. said he generally does 3 to 4 IUI's. This is a number I can live with. Of course, I can imagine he would want to do some more if I keep responding appropriately. I won't make a decision without listening to his advice.

What about a second opinion?
At this point, I'm pretty confident I wouldn't find a dr. willing to do IVF with us. I realize IUI is the sensible thing to do in our situation, though that doesn't make me any happier about our odds. Also, I'm not dissatisfied with my dr.

Is Abs0lut raspberry a good sauce for dark chocolate ice cream?
Definitely!

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Monday, June 12, 2006

17 of 20

If you take a random group of 20 women undergoing IUI, 17 will not get PG. I'm one of those 17. A BFN.
Am I devastated? Crushed? Can't say that I am. I'm deeply disappointed though, that's for sure.

The success rates for IUI are rather low, which makes me wonder why I'm doing this. Because it's standard protocol of course, but why is that? Is it a rite of passage? Is it a test of determination? Needle training?

Have you ever been to one of those new-fangled amusement parks? They don't just make you cue endlessly in a maze of ropes.
No, no. First, there is the maze of ropes, but it has a decor matching the attraction you're queing for. Then there's an antechamber, with not only a decor, but sound and video effects to keep you occupied, or even a poor employee who has to repeat the same 10-minute script over and over again. After these 'appetizers' you finally get to the real deal.
Translated to the exhillerating world of ART, Cl0mid is the rope maze, IUI is the antechamber, IVF is the real deal. I'm eager to leave the waiting area, and get down to business. Alas, there are no shortcuts.

So when can I cycle again? I innocently assumed immediately with the next cycle. Not so according to the doc's receptionist: "the upcoming cycle is a rest cycle and after that you can try again". Excuse me?
I protested that this was news to me, the doctor had never mentioned rest cycles between IUI's. And we had discussed an upcoming cycle and if that would collide with his holiday plans.
She said that was how they usually did things, but would ask the doctor. True to her word, she put me on hold for a few minutes, then gave me the doctor's go-ahead. Fabulous! I was pleasantly surprised by such efficiency.

I'm glad I stood up for myself. The mere thought of another rest cycle makes me want to scream. And, come on, what do I need a break from? The low dose of stims was just a nudge for my ovaries, nothing exhausting.

So now there is nothing left for me to do but wait for CD1 to roll around. Meanwhile, I'm forgetting about my diet for a couple of days, to wit: spaghetti bolognese, dark chocolate ice cream and Abs0lut Rasberry. Mmmmm!

Thank you all for the well wishes in the past few days. It meant a lot to me.

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Sunday, June 11, 2006

Nerves and 5 things

As beta day comes nearer, I'm getting more nervous. Sometimes, it makes my stomach turn. And yes, the queasy feeling in my stomach is definitely nerves.

I haven't experienced any symptoms. The least I had expected was to experience faux PG symptoms with the high progesterone dose, I guess it's another hormone that causes those. Though I know that there are no reliable early PG symptoms, the utter lack of any is not encouraging.

I probably won't POAS beforehand. For the moment, I just want to stay in denial a while longer. A large part of me is expecting a BFN. I'm a pessimist that way. But I'll still be disappointed.

On to something more fun.

5 items in my fridge:
- V8 (tomato and other vegetable drink)
- Sparkling white wine
- Abs0lut vodka x3 (regular, vanilla, raspberry)
- steamed chickpeas
- homemade 'salsa cruda'

5 items in my closet:
- power drill
- waffle iron
- bicycle lock
- I K E A wrench
- unassorted screws

My clothes closet contains just that: clothes.

5 items in my bar*:
- real Cuban rum
- raspberry liquor
- peach liquor
- cherry liquor
- wine

*It should have been car, but there's hardly anything in it, except for dust and grime.

5 items in my purse:
- brand spanking new cheap cell phone
- lemon & sage body butter moisturizer (scored from a hotel visit)
- lip balm with sun screen
- chip and pin cards
- sun glasses

So, by now you all think I'm a regular alcoholic. Don't worry, I have been staying out of the bar like a good girl. I'm not making any guarantees for Monday night though. Diet be damned. ;-)

Picking people to tag makes me slightly uncomfortable. It must be some high school trauma.
Here goes my completely arbitrary choice:
PI Jill - http://perfectlyinfertilejill.blogspot.com/
InDueTime - http://in-due-time.blogspot.com/
Larissa - http://waitingwomb.blogspot.com/
Kattie - http://kattypuss.blogspot.com/
Ann - http://ladybug74.blogspot.com/

If you've been tagged before, just ignore this. If you don't feel like it, ditto. No pressure.

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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Rabbit food

Before I tell you about my little aches and pains, please go visit Thalia (http://thalia.typepad.com/thalias_fertility_journey/ ) and Pamplemousse ( http://mypamplemousse.blogspot.com/), who are both having a wretched time.


My previous post on jealousy struck a chord with many of you. I had expected everyone to just say 'duh'. ;-) Well, if anyone needed proof they're not alone, there you go!


On to the real topic of this post.

You may remember that dr. A suggested I pay attention to my weight, and I agreed to see a nutritionist.
So I did just that, the other day. I'm going to call her Dolly, because she looked a bit like one. Young, skinny and well groomed.

I must say I found the whole thing a bit awkard. The start of the consult illustrates why:

Dolly: How can I help you?
Me: I'm actually undergoing fertility treatment, and my dr. suggested I work on my weight. This is a very stressful time for me, so I'm not too ambitious.
Dolly: Ok, let's me start by asking you a few questions.
Dolly: What's your name.
Me: Lut.
Dolly: Are you single or do you have a partner.
Me: I'm married.
Dolly: Do you have kids?
Me: ?! Erm, no.

"What do you think the fertility treatment is for?" I thought to myself. I know, I know, there is such a thing as secondary IF, but her tone revealed to me that it hadn't crossed her mind. Oh, to be oblivious of such things, how I envy her.

Next she started asking me about my eating habits. As I suspected, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with what I eat. There is no low hanging fruit to cut out of my diet (junk food, deep-fried foods, ...), except for one thing. She suggested I stop drinking alcohol. I blinked my eyes a few times. Then I said no.
Ok, then why don't you cut back to every other night, she added. I answered that I'd already cut back to two weeks with (after BFN) and two weeks without (2WW). She'd forgotten about the fertility angle again, though I could see the wheels were starting to turn.

To make a long story short, the bottom line is that she wants me to try and eat 500 cal a day less than I do now. (I guess that should be kcal?)
For normal patients, she suggests a daily schedule with kinds of food to eat. By the end of the consult, she realized she needed to scale down her ambitions. We agreed I'm going to work on a few things now, and we'll see how well that goes.

Don't get me wrong, I don't blame Dolly for not knowing much about IF. What outsider does?
She wasn't purposefully hurtful or anything, eventually she even asked how long we'd been trying.
It just means the burden is on me to tell her what's what. The mere thought makes me tired.

So I'm off to go count calories.
Tomato juice = good.
Do.ritos = bad

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Monday, June 05, 2006

On jealousy

I'm jealous.

I'm jealous of the PG women I cross in the street.

I'm jealous of my friend who effortlessly had two lovely kids, perfectly spaced apart.

I'm jealous of my friend who effortlessly had an adorable baby, quickly followed by an equally adorable oops baby, even though she's now going through a messy divorce.

I'm jealous, in the deepest corner of my heart, of my friend who got PG after a long journey through IF.

I'm jealous, but there is no malice involved. That's why I don't feel guilty about it, because such feelings are normal under the circumstances. With time, I hope it will fade.

To anyone who doesn't understand this, I have only this to say: You're warmly invited to walk a mile in my shoes.
And when you've done that, remember that my shoes are still pretty easy to wear in comparison.


Why am I stating the obvious?
Karen from the Naked Ovary (http://thenakedovary.typepad.com/the_naked_ovary/2006/05/dear_readers.html ) has had a turbulent blogging week. Someone who claims to know her in real life told Karen she was offended at the jealousy she expressed towards her PG friends on her anonymous blog. At least, that's what I've pieced together from here and there.


One more week till beta day.

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