/ The RE's Muse: July 2004

The RE's Muse

After 4 years of infertility, 2 surgeries, 1 miscarriage, and 19 months of high risk pregnancies, hubby and I now have two little women in our lives--one a toddler, the other not far behind. Buckle your seatbelts, it's gonna be a wild ride.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

No news is good news, maybe

Nothing new on the cycle side of things to talk about.  I'm feeling fine uterus-wise, some twingy cramps here and there the past couple days but nothing that's stuck around.  No sore boobs yet which is typically a clear indicator that my period is due any day--as is an overwhelming craving for chocolate and inexplicable crying jags which also have yet to manifest themselves.  Good indicators or not, I don't know.  I'm being cautiously pessimistic but still holding out some hope. 

Good news though--my congestion has begun to clear up, especially after I passed something huge from my nose (via my throat) last night that I won't even go into detail about.  Suffice it to say, it was absolutely disgusting and I hope to never experience that again. Classic raging sinus infection sign says my PA SIL.  Thank god for the Z-pack and her--how I love them both!  Needless to say, my PCP is losing all street cred with me based on his crap diagnosis of a virus.  I bet my RE could have diagnosed me better; hell, even I diagnosed me better.

My lovely husband headed south to the Keys last night for lobster mini-season.  He picked up some dear friends from Chicago at the Miami airport on the way down and today they're on the water while I'm stuck at work.  Sigh.  But that's okay--today is my Friday!  Tomorrow morning I join them with some other close friends (4 couples are we--and as luck would have it, there's another IF in the group--can't wait to catch up on how she's doing/feeling!) for a four-day weekend in Key West--woohoo!  Mini-vacation time for me so I won't be posting for a bit.  Here's hoping AF doesn't grace me with her presence during my holiday--that bitch really knows how to ruin a good time. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2004


Yep, tests confirm the miraculous--I did indeed ovulate this month courtesy of the Gonal-F--yippee, yahoo!  The nurse reported that my 14.6 prog was "good" and "normal" and that I'm to go in on the 4th if no period by then.  Hope springs eternal, damn her. 

The good news is that Monday night's bout of gut-wrenching defecation seems to have been a one time only show and the system was back on track yesterday.  I'm grateful for small miracles.

At the same time, though, I'm not feeling any better...in fact, I feel about the same.  My temperature has not gone away but it has held between 99 and 100 with a few odd forays into 101 territory.  My sister-in-law is a physician's assistant at an ENT's office and she thinks I've got a sinus infection (which would indeed explain the vice grip around my temples that contracts every time I stand up or make a sudden movement of my head).  She was kind enough to give me a Z-pack (zithromax) after confirming that it is a category B medication for pregnancy (meaning no evidence of harm to the fetus in tests on knocked up lab rats but no testing done on humans; still harm not likely).  In the meantime, I'm just waiting for the meds to kick in--in a day or two--and chalking off the days left in my 2ww (7 and counting down).  Also, I'm back at work today though I'm pretty much useless mentally and physically (and that's different from when?). 

Thanks for the kind thoughts and wishes these past few days.  I'm sending the same out to y'all!


Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Can you die from congestion?

If so, hold my space, I'ma comin.'

I have been deathly ill since this past Sunday evening--super congested, fever between 99 and 101.5, joint pains, aches, chills, and so on. I went and saw my primary care physician yesterday and when I mentioned there was a slight possibility I could be pregnant, he promptly stopped writing the prescription he was going to give me and said I'd just have to 'tough it out.' AGGHH! Doesn't he know that I'm a medication freak? That I'm a firm believer in better living through pharmaceuticals? Okay, not really, but I do tend to want to nip infection in the bud through drugs--and I do think this is a raging sinus infection--what else to explain the vice grip that's lodged itself around my cheeks and eyes every time I a) stand up; b) lay down, or; c) breathe.

To add insult to injury, this morning I went to my RE for my progesterone draw, the results of which will be back later today. I asked if they wanted the phone number for my pharmacy should they need to phone in a prescription for prometrium. The nurse replied that 'if the level is too low today, it's too late to augment it now.' Well la di da. They also told me that there is nothing they can give me for this uber-illness that I have--telling me to 'make the best of it.' Hmm...well, let's see now, today makes the second day of work I've missed and I'll have to use my vacation days to account for them--which means that I'm SOL when it comes time to take my real vacation (which, by the way, we'll be doing this coming Friday)--but I'll just make the best of it while I sit at home, watching unwed teen mothers going on Maury, Montel, Ricki, et al to determine just who their babys' daddies are.... Good times, good times.

As if this wasn't bad enough, hope got blatantly induldged when I left the RE's office. The receptionist and wand monkey each pointed out that sometimes getting sick is a sign of pregnancy. The receptionist told me that she herself got a horrendous cold just before she found out she was pregnant with each of her two children. This is beyond horrendous cold though; this is treading into major flu or virus territory.

Of course, after I got home from the appt and back to sitting around on my butt, I had a lovely case of diarrhea--which for me is usually a harbinger of my period coming within 24 hours. Now, I've been known to have a wacky intestinal tract on a regular basis (been diagnosed with IBS, but that could have actually been the endo) so who knows. Hopefully, it's just the sickness manifesting itself in another equally wonderful way or my system's own personal protest over last night's steak dinner.

So, other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?

Friday, July 23, 2004

And now we wait

Lessez les bon temps rouler--"let the good times roll!"--is today's motto of the day.  It's Friday and quitting time can't get here soon enough.  I hate my job but make the best of it because my insurance plan (even though it only covers diagnostic services for infertility--and I'm grateful for that) is what ultimately brought me to my current RE--who hubby and I both love and respect (okay, I love AND respect him, hubby just respects him) and I've got flex time so I can actually take off for the repeated wand rides and blood letting as required.  Those are the only two factors that keep me here.  Fridays are my salvation as are days off (alas, not enough of them).

While I'm feeling pretty up because today is Friday, I'm just embarking on the dreaded 2ww and that is certain to bring me down, way down.  I beg my egg, I plead with my uterus, I cajole my body, I bargain with g_d, I rationalize with myself...in short, I do everything in my mind that I (illogically) think should equate to a BFP come Aug. 4th--if my body even allows me to get that far.  On previous stimulated/IUI cycles, I got AF within 10 days of the insems so I should, therefore, know by July 31st if this is a bust.  I go back on the 27th for a progesterone draw--I guess we'll know then if prog support and goopy panties will be in my immediate future or not. 

The wait may kill me...


Thursday, July 22, 2004

Words fail me

Minutes after completing my own blog entry yesterday, I began my daily round of the blogroll gals I've come to know and love.  No disrespect to any of you equally amazing women, but first up was Getupgrrl--she was the catalyst for me starting my own blog and is a daily inspiration to me in so many ways.  She is one of my heroines and her news was so painful, her grief so real (as is mine for her and her husband) that I simply cannot say anything that would ease the hurt, nor would I dare try to.  None of us infertiles deserve the hand we've been dealt, especially not her and her beloved.  I send my thoughts, my prayers, my hopes and my dreams to them both and can only say that we are here for you, we who you continue to inspire and amaze and make laugh and make cry each and every day.  We are here, rooting for and crying with you every step of the way. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Math, the general state of my cervix , and hot gonads

Another IUI down yesterday, that makes #5 overall.  Today brings us part 2 with another one scheduled for later this morning.  Does that make it #6 or still part of #5?  Hmmm, food for thought...if you have had some IUIs where it's only done once after triggering and others where you have two IUIs done after triggering, does that mean you actually count more total IUIs because of the doubles?  Heck, if that's the case, then so far I've had 7 IUIs with #8 to come today--and yet no BFPs.  Damn, those numbers are sad.  I think I'll go on counting the way I always have (whether or not 2 are done as part of the 'big picture') so this is still only #5--which sounds infinitely more palatable to me than 7 failed IUIs. 

Nothing exciting to report...yet another IUI in which the person doing the procedure (in this case, the nurse) has to navigate the winding road that is my cervix.  TMI ALERT: apparently, my cervix/uterus goes down and to the right so getting a catheter full o'swimmers in there has always been challenging for the lucky monkey elected to do the basting honors.  Hubby went in before me and I showed up about an hour after he left--with a wink wink nod nod shout out to the receptionist upon arrival--I think I have a staff-crush on her, she's always so great to deal with and makes each visit a little easier to bear.  But enough of that mushy crap....

Mere hours after showing up and providing his specimen at the RE, the DH came home (where I was happily on my ass in bed for too many hours to count) from work early with a raging fever over 101 degrees.  Forgive me for not being entirely sympathetic to how he was feeling...all I could think was that he was cooking the boys for today's IUI.  A prompt google search confirmed my fears--ah ha! it is detrimental to them if he runs a high fever and then I searched somemore until I found a site that recommended a small cold pack in a sock on the 'nads to keep 'em cool.  Off I went to the freezer and minutes later, said sock pack was firmly ensconced between hubby's legs while he laid in bed dying.  Miracle of miracles, he was feeling better within a few hours and the fever broke (I'd like to think the 'nadsicles helped but what do I know?).  Let's hope it works...we're back on in a few short hours.  While yesterday saw a very nice 23 million fellers, I'm nervous to see how small the main course of heated up XYs is on today's menu. 

In the meantime, I continue to think positive thoughts, rub my lower belly, pray to g_d (who I turned my back on several years ago), and my dead grandmother (who I like to think has been up there all this time waiting for me to call on her--bubbe, I need your help now more than ever so please put in a good word for us with the powers that be, I've never wanted anything so much in my life).  Bad me, I'm really indulging hope this month; oh how far I may fall come 10-14 days from now.  Wish us luck...we so need it, we so want it.  I mean, it has to be our time soon, right?

Monday, July 19, 2004

Tomorrow...we tango

Okay, so we won't be 'dancing' in the normal fertile/infertile sense of the word tomorrow but we will have my insides basted with a warm garlic and shallot butter infusion--can you tell I'm hungry for lunch already?  Too much thought of food, not enough thought of egg.  Alright, so I won't really be basted with such a delicious concoction.  Instead, I will willingly offer myself up to a traditional basting with warmed, washed semen on both tomorrow and Wednesday mornings.
Getting back to egg, today's u/s revealed a 22 x 20 mm ovarian goddess so she's ripe for the picking.  Her ladies in waiting didn't develop any more than the 10mm mentioned in earlier posts.  Also, today's u/s revealed that my endometrial lining is slightly thinner than they like--hmm, first time I'd heard of that when doing my cycles--what do they do for that?  Does that mean progesterone support or something else perhaps?  I need to turn to the trusted internet for more info on this but I'm hoping one of you great gals out there could maybe shed some light on this as well.
I know a thin lining can be a side effect of Clomid use but I'm not on that so the reason behind my situation is a little unclear to me.  BUT this is also my first medicated cycle after the lap when the doc lasered off some stage II endometrial tissue (before the surgery previous docs had never even thought I might have endometriosis) so maybe that has something to do with it.  Maybe the planetary alignment has something to do with or maybe the fact that I like to breathe air...who knows why my body does (or does not) do things as it should?  Only my RE knows for certain (or does he?) and he's not talking--well, maybe he is but only through his nurse at this point. 

Friday, July 16, 2004

Up to speed

Okay, so I've heard from the doc's office and I'm to do two more night of injections and then return Sunday morning bright and early for u/s and estrogen draw. Today's estrogen was at 66 which I don't think is all that for having one mid-sized folly and some smaller sisters but we'll see what Sunday's results hold--'cause I can think of nothing else I'd rather being doing than leaving the house at 6:30 a.m. on a Sunday to drive 60 miles to the only one of their offices that's open weekends. It'll be worth it though--and I'll keep telling myself thatwhen I don't get enough beauty sleep Saturday night. Until then, positive thoughts. I've decided to indulge hope somewhat this go'round, dontaskmewhywhenIknowwhatI'msettingmyselfupfor....

Down on the ovarian street corner

Well, I'm back from this morning's RE appt to check my follies and it turns out I've got one big crack whore of a folly on my left, this on CD8. 
It seems this bitch has been hogging all of the injectable for herself, leaving the other junior misses on the corner out in the lurch (5 on the R, 1 other on the L, all at 10mm).  Now, don't get me wrong, I'm grateful for that one badass folly (16mm) but really now, couldn't she share while out drumming up business?  I can see her now, bad dye job, rough around the edges, worn from such a hard life.  She's pissed at the up-and-comers, the young'ins who still look so fresh and appealing.  She's a Gonal-F hag and she's making the rest of them pay for it.  I mean, come on now ladies, let's share.  The ole' SA of my dh showed that there's plenty to go around when it comes time for the turkey basting.  Instead, I've got the dominating follicular crack whore on the block and she's just waiting for that next fix, pushing all the other bitches aside so she can be first in line at the prime pick up spot. 
Not until my estrogen results come back in later today will I be able to tell her that more drugs are coming and in what quantity.  Hopefully that will appease her, heck maybe she'll even share with the other gals but I'm not putting any money on it, besides I haven't got any left since our treatment is self-pay at this point. 
I know that all it takes is one follicle--as the wand monkey was quick to remind me this morning--but I was hoping (well well, look who reared their head--argh!) that maybe I'd have two or three based on past injectable cycles (which were while on a different med).  I'm not ungrateful, don't get me wrong.  I know every cycle is different and I know there are women out there who'd be grateful to have just one follicle, including me, so I'll shut up now.  Wish me luck...I'm going to see what kind of trouble I can get my ovarian crack whore and her friend, hope addict, into this cycle.  IUIs could be this coming Monday and Tuesday.  Speaking of IUIs, check out this interesting story.     

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Strangers in arms

So the other night I attended my very first infertility support group meeting. I'd been thinking that it was time I seek out other infertile folks in an effort for me to fully comprehend that I am not alone in this battle. Yes, it's a battle; every day for me is a battle. I battle not to cry and to hold it together, I battle to keep going just one more day, I battle to find my way to what the right things are to do. It's a constant fight and it's taking it's toll on my sanity.

Some days I feel completely "normal" but on others, there's no telling what can set me off. Sometimes it's the random kindness of someone else, or a song lyric, or someone cutting me off in traffic. Others is the obvious ones--like babies in strollers or diaper/home pregnancy test commercials. Yet on other days I'm completely impervious to these things...the sun shines brightly, I am at peace until the next time.

But I figured meeting other infertiles in the flesh would help me get through some of this. And I think it did that night and that it will continue to do so going forward. It was a diverse group for the most part and there was even a husband in attendance. It was nice and I heard so much there from others that I had been through or thought of myself. See...we really aren't alone even though everyone's infertility experience is completely different. We shared fears and experiences, and just good information. As they say, knowledge is power.

I'm trying to regain a sense of control over my physical and mental conditions. The mental is one thing--the physical is something else. Any exercise is currently on the backburner since we're actively cycling this month with injectables/IUI. I'm kinda missing the almost daily exercise routine and can't wait to get back to it but at the same time, I can easily get reacclimated to sitting around on my ass--lord knows, I did it for enough years before starting the exercise thing. I know there are arguments on both sides of the coin for exercising/not exercising (and caffeine/no caffeine, and so on) while cycling but I'd been told by a previous RE to treat my eggs as if I were carrying an actual dozen chicken eggs around, i.e., delicately and without any jarring motions, so I'm not exercising right now just to be on the safe side. I'll ask the doc at my CD8 bloodwork and u/s this week and see what he says.

So I sit around, waiting until Friday's appt., not exercising, not drinking caffeine (so basically I'm jonesing for both) but--best of all--I'm waiting for next month's support group meeting. Can't wait to hear and share more. I'm somewhat reassured that I'm not alone in this even though I feel as though I am most days.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Let the games begin

Well, we're off. With the next cycle that is. Needless to say, all that intercourse two weeks ago was for naught. AF showed up right as scheduled and today I had the pleasure of spending time with the wand monkey (thanks to getupgrrl for that imagery) first thing this morning.

Happy to report (and somewhat suprised to find) that there are no cysts hanging around so all systems are on course for the coming injectable/IUI cycle. This will be my first such cycle with this RE. I'd done two previous injectable/IUI cycles at my previous RE when we lived in another state.

I'm trying really hard to think positive thoughts, even if today is only CD1. I've cut out all caffeine, I've been working out just about every day (except on weekends), I'm really watching my food intake, you name it. I'm even thinking about going for yoga classes or buying a relaxation CD...whatever it takes to maybe up the odds, I'm all for it. I wouldn't normally go to such extremes--I've not done anything out of the ordinary in previous cycles; others I've done a few things here and there. Nothing has working...not one BFP. Ever.

I wouldn't even expect good things out of this if it weren't for the fact that a very dear friend of mine (with a similar medical situation as my own) went to my same RE's office (but under the care of a different RE in the practice) and managed to conceive her son with an injectable/IUI cycle. She had an uneventful pregnancy--she had had two BFPs prior to this one and lost both so it was such a difficult road for her. But yet, she says she wouldn't change a thing if she had it all to do over again. She didn't doubt, only hoped. My world is a better place with her in it. She is my model, what I aspire to be--and not just because she got pg with the RE's help. She's an inspiration in so many ways and she never once lost hope; she simply persevered. I want to be like her and I'm trying, really I am.

So I guess injectables/IUI do work but the odds are typically no better than the conception chances of "normal" fertile couples in the non-medicated world. It's a slim chance but one that I'm still taking, even though the expense and the stress couldn't come at a worse time. I hope I'm up the challenges, whatever end result comes my way this time.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

On the mend...let the countdown begin

Okay, so the protesting cooter seems to have ended her days-old standoff and called off the armed guards. Just in time too as I don't know how much more I could have taken before giving in to her demands (strange, though, I don't know what those are/were).

I went for my progesterone bloodwork yesterday and got a blazing hot 7.2. Ha! Blazing, yeah right. The message left for me on the phone tree by the person who reported the test results said it indicated I had ovulated (which is shocking given that it was without meds) and that I could expect my period any day now. Hmmm, okay, so how does she know that? I mean, couldn't she even entertain the thought that maybe, just maybe--however remote the chance is--I could get pregnant on my own? Could she not have said in her message, 'So, if you don't get your period in the next 7 days, call us to schedule a beta?' Nope, I guess not...and maybe I'm expecting too much anyway. I don't even know whose voice it is on the message--and does she even know me or my history/chart anyway? Maybe it's better that she didn't say that anway. After all, that would just feed Hope and lord knows, she doesn't need much in the way to get her expectations flying high.

Miracle of miracles if I were able to get pg on my own. I can't help but hope; it helps me put the fear away when it comes to thinking what we'll do if/when the doc says that our next step is IVF. The physical and financial considerations of what IVF entails have me terrified on both fronts. And then I get terrified when I stop and wonder what we'll do if it works or if it doesn't work and we decide to adopt. I'm no fool, I know there are no guarantees in IVF but, usually, with time and patience, there are guarantees of a child with adoption. Do we opt for one over the other? How do we decide--especially when the financial side is such a huge aspect for us?

Am I ready for either? Say I did manage to get pg. It's not like I could give it back if I changed my mind. Or if we adopted...either way, my/our whole world would change; do I really want that? Am I ready for it? But then, I remind myself that I shouldn't think that way 'cause it could turn my mind against my body and it then won't work for sure, whichever option we go with. I've then gone full circle in my chain of thought...and still the worry is there--waiting, lurking, ever so patient. All I can do is soldier on and try not to think about the realities of what the next step may be regardless of what our outcome is...I tell myself that we'll cross that bridge when we get to it. Easy to say, harder to do.

So, back to my test results from yesterday, I've left a message for the nurse to ask my doc if he thinks I'll need progesterone support going forward with my next cycle (injectables/IUI #3--but cycle #1 with this new doc since we moved out of previous doc's city). Can't wait to hear what they tell me since I think that some progesterone support is warranted but I'm no M.D.--however I'd like to think that I know more than my fair share about women's hormone levels and all that associated jazz. Alas, why can't my head be filled with happy oblivious thoughts instead of so much medical jargon and info? Oh, yeah, I know why....

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Protesting cooter

Well, it's happened. My cooter is officially on strike. Apparently she is protesting her recent working conditions and decided to act up because of them. With this in mind, the following post will be filled with annoying uses of quotation marks on my part.

As you can imagine, as DH and I go through round after round of treatment, the actual act of "doing it" (aka intercourse for you techno-philes--and who among us infertiles isn't to some extent?) has lost some of its luster. So it goes without saying, however, that we've been trying to recapture some of that spark we once had as young, ignorant (read "unaware of our infertility") lovers. Imagine my drive for "all systems go" when the OPK showed a surge one day last week. Then imagine my added surprise when it showed another surge two days after the first one (with a negative in between the two).

Confound it--which to side with, if not both? I know, we'll just "do it" as much as possible during the four-to-six day window the two tests loosely indicated as "fertile" time. So we did it, and we did it, and then we did it some more. It sure felt good at the time(s) but now...not so much. I think maybe he knocked something loose in there (innane Kingpin reference after Woody Harrelson makes it with a "leggy" older gal). As for my own cooter, one particular part of her anatomy is inflamed, tender, and generally unhappy (at least the suffering is not bilateral--thank goodness for that; this kind of discomfort coming from both sides would be trying to say the least).

So now I try to get her back on the job. I beg, I cajole, and--as a last resort--I ply her with warm compresses and me with chocolate. These make her feel better for a little while but she's soon back to complaining. We may have to enter arbitration soon--damn cooter union! Hey--maybe we could all take a lesson from her: maybe us infertiles should form a union--maybe then the general public would realize that infertility is a medical condition and--even better--maybe insurance companies would mandatorily cover all infertility treatments. Way too many maybes and wishful thinking, I know. For now I'd just be happy with my own cooter calling off the strike. I need her back...at least in time for our next injectable/IUI cycle. She could really screw this up if I'm not careful. Speaking of maybes, maybe no more prolific love-making sessions over the span of a few days' time. Maybe that will placate us both in the long run.

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