Monday, July 31, 2006

Tethered

The getaway weekend is over. Sigh. Though it was a nice break from routine, I can't say I got very far away from IF. I just can't put it out of my mind for more than 10 minutes at a stretch. Literally.

The BIOALE was grand, there was singing (not by me) and dancing (plenty by me), we laughed, we cried, we sang kumbaya around a bonfire. I went to bed in the small hours of the morning, and now I'm going to be tired and grumpy all week.

For those of you curious to know about those recreational activities we were going to enjoy with reckless abandon, we did, only without the recklesness. I had to call my dr. for the blood results on Friday evening anyway, so I asked him if we needed to be careful. "No" was the answer.

Fast forward to today's u/s:
RO: 19 mm, others dwindling
LO: lone follicle still shrinking

This morning the dr. was optimistic I could trigger soon, but my blood results must have indicated otherwise. I'm to keep stimming and go back for an u/s on Wednesday. Another two days should allow the dominant follicle to grow to 23mm. That would be the size I had the last two times.

Which reminds me, I need to go take my meds. ;-)

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Friday, July 28, 2006

The incredible shrinking follicle (edited)

Just a quick update:

LO: 11mm

RO: 13mm, 11mm, 10mm, 9mm, 7mm

Yes, the one on the left is shrinking. Well, remind me not to harbor too much hopes for LO pulling it's weight if we ever do an IVF.
RO is overcompensating, if you ask me. DH shouted out 'quintuplets' when I told him (shudder). My dr hopes two will mature.

Probably, I won't need to come back for another u/s until Monday, which would be excellent. My blood levels were on the low side the last time, we'll see what today's results say. Just in case, the dr. told me I could go to any hospital nearby of the BIOALE on Sunday for a blood draw.

See you on the other side of the weekend.

Edited to add:
Katty asks an excellent question: how many is too many? Before the first IUI, the doctor said that 3 mature follicles is the maximum, but puncturing some beforehand was an option.
It didn't occur to me to ask, now that it is a remote possibility. The past BFN's must be clouding my judgement.

The doctor didn't tell us to abstain, or to use contraception (ha!), so I'm going to enjoy the weekend's recreational activities with reckless abandon.

Just how remote do I think the possibility of success is?
  • On Wednesday, I almost injected pure saline(?) solution. I noticed the unopened Men0pur vial just as I was going to stick the needle in. Oops.
  • Yesterday night, I almost forgot to set my alarm clock to go to the u/s today. It slipped my mind! And I go to bed right after my injection. Sigh.
  • Right now, I should be waiting anxiously for the call with my blood results. Only, I left my cell phone in the other room, where I can't even hear it. 1 missed call! ... Not the clinic, thank goodness.


All I have to do now, is forget to pack my medication for tonight and tomorrow. Watch me.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

IUI vs. BIOALE: the score

The first wanding of IUI/inj #3 revealed that my left ovary has finally decided to join the game, but rather reluctantly. That's not stopping right ovary from playing as well.


LO: 13mm

RO: 11mm, 10 mm, 9 mm, 7 mm.


My doctor is happy with this, and says there is no need to worry. I'm assuming he means about multiples. That worry crossed my mind, though it seems a bit absurd with my track record.


This response is rather different from last times. RO produced 1 dominant follicle, LO seemed not to do a thing (it keeps hiding, so I'm not really sure).


I asked the doctor's advice about my dilemma IUI vs. BIOALE. He was very sympathetic and said I was right not to let IF get in the way of absolutely everything.
It looks like the actual IUI will only be after the weekend. Compared to last time, the largest follicle is 1 day behind, which would bring us to Monday. That just leaves the last wanding/blood draw in the air, but that might be doable.


Next visit to the doctor is probably on Friday morning (depending on the bloodwork results). Then I'll make a final decision. I had more or less made up my mind for option C (skip IUI if it's in the weekend), but now I'm hoping it won't come to that.


Let's see where this takes us.



And now, for something completely different:

There's been a lot of talk in the blogosphere about the U.S. government's stance on stem cell research.
The EU has been debating whether to continue funding such research as well. Note that this debate is NOT about prohibiting such research, that is up to the member states.


They've reached a compromise on the issue: EU research funding can be used for actual research on existing stem cell lines, but not for the creation of new stem cell lines. This could be viewed as hypocritical. However, in EU-speak it means to each his own, the member states can continue to determine their own policy on the matter, with only minor impact on EU research funding available to researcher institutes located there.

And no posturing with babies here. ;-)

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

The best laid plans of women and mice

** This post was written yesterday, but didn't get published until today due to a technical problem. So, CD1 = today. **

The period has arrived. Kind of. A long TMI story short: tomorrow is CD1.
When I wanted to be sure my doctor would be back from holiday by CD6, this is not what I had in mind. He came back to work yesterday.


Not this weekend, but the one after there is a Big-Once-In-A-Lifetime-Event (BOIALE) that I really, really want to attend. For my and DH's comfort, I decided to make it a little weekend getaway in a hotel, leaving on Friday-night, returning Sunday evening.

You know where this is going, don't you.

Extrapolating from IUI/inj #1 and 2, there's a real risk of the next IUI falling squarely in BOIALE weekend. Lovely, just lovely. So, of course I've been pondering what to do. Here's what I've come up with so far

a) Skip this cycle.

I considered this for a second, but no. There will always be scheduling problems, and I still want to get this over with. Not an option.

b) Attend BOIALE, but without the comfort of the hotel.

This would work if on BOIALE day all I need is a blood draw and a wanding early in the morning. I can make it on time to BOIALE, and go back home late at night/early next morning. If the next day is IUI day, that would be tough, but possible.

IUI on BOIALE day would be near impossible. Unless I want to miss the grand opening, which I really, really don't.

c) Do the cycle, but skip the IUI if it falls on BOIALE day or the day after.

While we're having our little getaway, we can try the old-fashioned way. That might sound rash, but the added value of doing an IUI in cycles with injectibles is debated amongst experts. So, it might not make that much of a difference to our odds.

I'm actually leaning towards option c) right now. A big reason is that I'm a little fed up with IF dictating my life (so soon, I know). Why would I try to move heaven and earth to do a treatment with such low odds?

I'm thanking my lucky stars that my health care plan covers most of the costs for this treatment, so the cost isn't really an argument in one direction or the other. Need I remind you that by lucky stars, I mean heaps of taxes? No? Ok.

The problem is there's no way of predicting of how it will turn out. If my period had arrived after 4 days (like last time) and not 8, I would have been all done before BOIALE. At least while I'm fretting over this, I'm not worrying about something else.

So what do you think?

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Monday, July 17, 2006

I need a brainwashing

The period? Still not here. I'm not amused. So, how long do I wait untill I ask for Pr0vera?

It's BBQ season, and believe it or not, DH and I aren't too fond of BBQs. This weekend we did agree to go to a friends BBQ. It was one of those mixed affairs, where you know half of the people there, but the others are strangers. As any other IF worth their salt, I worried how high the PG rate would be. What if the hostess turned out to be PG? I hadn't seen her in a while, and they had just moved to a bigger house with garden...

We live the furthest away, so naturally we arrived there early. Except for one couple that lives even further away, and was there first. Of course the woman has to be the obligatory PG women present. Great. Now, as preggo's go, she wasn't the worst. No incessant belly rubbing, no endless baby talk. But to be honest, it hardly matters to me. She exists, it hurts. And since kid#1 was running around there too, I doubt she had any trouble achieving her enviable status. Sigh.

I tried not to think about it for the rest of the afternoon, but didn't really succeed. The dreaded question was asked of course. 'So do you have kids?' Me: 'No we have cats/dogs/goldfish/computers/random object/...'.
I cowered when I heard my friend, the hostess, mentioned kids rooms in their new house without a second thought or an if or a maybe. How I Iong to be that oblivious.

IF isn't like a pinching pair of shoes, that you can take off after a hard days work. I wake up with it and go to sleep with it. I can barely manage to check it at the door at work, even though I try. I feel it's ruining my life and much worse, that I'm letting it.
Why can't I let go of IF for an afternoon and just enjoy the company?
Why can't I take the involuntary childfree time to work on my career?

The only answer I can think of is that IF is such an emotional shock, it's hard to cope with and takes time to move past. I have to give myself time, even if it's more than I would like. And if I can no longer be the overachiever at work, so be it.

Is there a brainwashing program to speed up the process, you think?

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Saturday, July 15, 2006

Watch me switch gears

Thank you so much for all the kind words of comfort. It means a lot to me.

I was talking to my friend Irina just yesterday, she was very sweet, trying to cheer me up and telling me not to lose hope. All I could do is shake my head warily at such blissful ignorence. I thought, sweety, no one has hope between a BFN and the next period. Hope might send a post-card by the first u/s from wherever she's camping, but she doesn't show up till much later. At my house at least. But how does one explain that to outsiders?
I'm not complaining, just observing.

She also said I need to keep hoping, because how can it work without hope? Dunno, it's a question of biology and luck, if you ask me. Tying failure to lack of hope implies that it is all in my head and that it's all my fault if it doesn't work. I don't buy it. Mainly because I don't want to believe it's true, I suppose. But if you want a pseudo-scientific argument here goes: if hopelessness/pessimism would adversely affect fertility, the world should be populated by Pollyanna's. It isn't last time I checked.
I know I'm being oversensitive here, but that's an IF's prerogative. To be honest, I was very blue the last couple of days, more so than the last time. It feels like every failed cycle adds a nugget of despair to my basket. Soon, I'm going to have to get a barrel. And I've barely outgrown the IF newbie stage.

Speaking of prerogative's, I'm putting the diet on hold until my period arrives. I'm enjoying my Abs0lut IF as I type. Note the word 'until'. For the past three days I've been hoping my period would not arrive, in order to fit my doctor's schedule. Now watch me switch gears (I drive a stick shift, you know) and start hoping my period arrives already. Let's get this show on the road.

Now for some trivia: 99% of cars in Europe are stick shifts or manual transmission cars (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stick_shift). There is a simple reason: money. Cars with manual transmission use less gas, and gas is wildly expensive here.

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

17 of 20, take 2

The results are in: BFN.

My HCG value was 0. It can't get much more negative than that.

I'm very disappointend again, but still not crushed. I feel numb.

Why can't I say to hell with it, and go for childfree living? Why can't I give up on the bio route and adopt?
These are knee-jerk reactions of course. If anyone else would dare ask me those questions, they'd risk a slapping. But right after a negative, that is what I ask myself. HOW MUCH LONGER? HOW MUCH MORE?

You may remember that my doc is on holiday until next week. So at our last meeting I discussed with him how I should proceed in case of another BFN. I have his leave to start stimming again right away, well after my period starts. He did insist that he wanted to see me on CD6, which should work if my period takes another couple of days to show up (now I bet it'll show up immediately just to ruin my plans).
I don't really see why CD6 is so important. What's wrong with CD8? If there are no follicles, then the cycle is a bust. If there are too many, the cycle is a bust. But we'll still know in plenty of time. If I've been stimming, he might as well take a look at what's cooking.

My plan is to do this next IUI cycle, then request a consultation after the next beta to discuss options. How many more IUIs, change of protocol, which hoops to jump before IVF, ... I suppose there is a waiting period before we can start IVF, if we make 'reservations' ahead of time, we might fit in another IUI and/or a break while we wait.
Of course I expect these plans to get messed up in no time, but that's par for the course.

So much for the great conception story. NEXT!

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Sunday, July 09, 2006

Dark clouds

Today, I very narrowly avoided another meltdown. This afternoon we attended Nephew #1's baptism.

First off, the whole idea of the baptism irked me, and would have done so without my being IF.
Why do people who never go to church, and haven't even bothered to get married, baptise their kid? Because it's tradition? Because they're going to raise their child as a practicing Christian? I doubt it.
For the record, it also irks me when otherwise non-practicing Christians get married in church with full pomp.
Though I must say this is very, very commonplace in my corner of the world. People only go to church for baptisms, confirmations, weddings and funerals.

Sitting throuhg the baptism service was excruciating. Nephew #2 was there too. Of course I would want to be able to let go of my feelings of jealousy, bitternes, anger and sadness for half a day, and just be happy for them. But that's all fine and dandy in theory, but how does one do this in practice? It took me every ounce of self-control I could muster (and all the relaxation techniques I learnt) not to bolt or burst into tears. I came close a couple of times, but managed to hold it in. I really, really didn't want to become the center of attention on their big day. I was very relieved the service ended half an hour later and I could get out for some fresh air.

Of course, that was not the end. Next came hours of slow torture, I mean a garden party with mediocre food, weak coffee and no booze (not for me at least) with two adorable infants at the center of everyone's attention. And I couldn't even manage to plaster a fake smile on my face. I just couldn't. Not my finest hour.

I feel so wretched right now, that I really would prefer never to see them again, or at least not until we have a kid of our own, say a bouncy 5-year old. It's an awful thing to say, because they're not at fault, but then am I? I'm not beating myself up about it. Because you know what, my in-laws are welcome to walk a mile in my shoes any time.

IF is the pits.

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Thursday, July 06, 2006

Service announcement

I like to check out the blogs of the people who leave a comment on my blog at least once. Oftentimes, I leave a comment too. Sometimes there are obstacles and that's why I have some messages of a practical nature:

To Damona from Baby Dust Diaries: your blog says 'This blog does not allow anonymous comments. Please login to leave a comment.' I'm reluctant to make accounts all over the place, I keep forgetting the details. I'd try to mail you, but can't seem to find an address mentioned anywhere. So if you read this, good luck with the cycle.

To torahumaddachic from Hungry Hungry Hippo Girl: your blog does allow comments from fellow Blogger users, but I don't know if you're comfortable with getting comments on your cooking blog that will leave a trail towards an IF blog. So if you read this, those recipes sound scrumptious. Perhaps I shouldn't read your blog since I'm on a diet. ;-)


While I'm writing, I might as well tell you how I'm doing. I've been keeping myself busy. No more meltdowns at work or anywhere else. For the first time I've tasted what retail therapy is like for you guys (I hate shopping, remember). I went to the first day of the summer sales (crazy!), but targeted just a few shops that I knew would have nice clothes in a decent size. I came, I saw, I shopped!
Yesterday, a shoe-aholic colleague dragged me to the shoe stores (ok, I told her to drag me) and I found nice sandals for my oversized feet (so hard!).

I have a lot of things planned for the upcoming days. Anything to get my mind of the looming beta. I'm not particularly hopeful. To wit: I keep forgetting the Pr0gestrone supplements. Bad, bad, bad IF.

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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Meltdown

Today I had my first meltdown at work. Tears, hysterics, the works. All right, it was actually just tears, but that's bad enough.

What I had been dreading for two weeks happened: the Moron's baby arrived. It wasn't the news itself that made me crack, but the way it was delivered. I had been steeling myself for an e-mail with the joyous news or a group announcement. I'm pretty sure I could have handled that.

Of course, that's not how it went down. The Moron* chose to visit each office space separately, so he could experience his time in the sun not once but many, many times over. I could hear him coming from many offices away. A murmur 5 doors away, then 4, a chatter 3 doors away, then 2, a conversation 1 door away. Gulp.

As he moves closer to my office, my discomfort rises. My emotions start to mill out of control. "I won't manage to congratulate him with a straight face, or make appropriate conversation. That patronizing tone he always uses will make me want to smack him. I CAN'T DO THIS!"
I decide to bolt to the second floor, into the office of two colleague-friends of mine (Irina and Marissa). For a minute, I think I'll be ok, but then I start trembling and just lose it. Reduced to tears.

Irina knew right away what the problem was, since I confided in her a few weeks ago (thank goodness). I had been waiting for the right moment to tell Marissa, but it hadn't come yet. This was a little more drama than I had planned. Anyway, the two of them wisked me out of the building safely through the back entrance and consoled me until I calmed down. I'm very lucky with such good friends.

After that episode, I hid in one of our side-buildings and kept myself busy there.

Now, as far as meltdowns go, this one wasn't a total disaster. The only witnesses were friends I trust. It was bound to happen someday.
My sudden disapearance may have seemed odd to the person I share my office with. I offered no explanation, and none was asked, or due for that matter.

I see I need to work on my relaxation exercises some more to prevent this from happening again. Though I doubt anything less than a levitation trance would have done the trick.

*I don't want to go into any detail, but this guy has earned his nickname. He's managed to alienate almost every one of my colleagues in record time. That says enough.

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