/ The RE's Muse: September 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, September 30, 2004

Evening news

Jupiter, FL -- Power comes back on this evening at 5:30 p.m. (EDT) after five days without. Local 30-something woman does a jig in the road, then suggests to hubby that they both go down the road to where the utility workers are and give them all a round of BJs in gratitude even though A) both are happily married and wouldn't stray and B) hubby is not gay. Hubby politely declines saying if he ain't getting one, nobody's getting one so wife respectfully retracts offer.

In other related news, sorry to report, Pazel, that the knights in shining armor for this neighborhood were not from PG&E. Instead they came in chariots of orange emblazoned with the shield of CSVP (where the heck are they from?). Regardless of their point of origin, the out-of-state crews are heroes to all who were stricken by Jeanne's winds and water. A peaceful night's sleep will be had by all now that the drone of generators has ceased.
(okay, but seriously, a round of BJs? nope, not gonna happen but, hey, it's the thought that counts, right? plus I couldn't think of anything else that a man would really appreciate as a thanks--I mean, getting a thank you card or a plate of homemade brownies just doesn't do it for them like it does for us gals sometimes, ya know?)

The end of an era

Well, not really but *sniff, sniff* today I felt those old familiar twinges, harbingers of red.

And then there it was, brown, on the tp. Tomorrow will mark 5 weeks after the D&C and tomorrow AF should make a full-blown appearance--yea, happy anniversary to me! I haven't seen her since early July, what with the pg and miscarriage and all. Now she's back and I'm kinda sad to remake her acquaintance.

I'm hoping she's bearable; I've heard that post-D&C periods can be heavy and painful, especially when you consider that I had a suction D&C so no actual endometrial lining was ginsu'ed out of there. I'm sure the pg made my ute a comfy pillow for embie--which means all that cushy goodness must now come out. I'm gearing up for a monumental blood-letting this go'round. I sure hope not, we still don't have power and are only running the well pump at home periodically to conserve gas. I'm a clean freak, mind you, and ice cold showers to clean the hootch and the bod won't be too fun.

One plus to this is that I now know to expect my next period during the last week of October--when we'll start the next injectable/IUI cycle, given that I have no leftover cysts to interfere with the plan. I really hope that the corpus luteum cyst I had hightailed it out of town after the baby was no mas (mas = 'more' in spanish--yep, I busted out the espanol on y'all). I hate when things don't go according to plan--which means that if you're playing along at home, I really hate being infertile (and who among us doesn't?). It has really truly fucked up my plans, as I'm sure it has for you as well. But I guess life is what happens when you make plans... For now, I plan to pop some NSAIDs (or should I take the leftover perkies?) and ride AF out. I have a feeling it's gonna be a long next few days.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Got the time?

Time...hmmm. Let me ponder that one. Time is that thing that crawls by interminably regardless of where you are in IF. It is also that thing that hurtles by as you grow older every day. Depending on your 'method of choice,' you can be waiting for CD1, waiting to start your meds, waiting for a surge on your OPK, waiting to trigger, waiting for your IUI/retrieval/transfer/home study, waiting for just the right time to do it the old-fashioned way (haha, that was a good one; silly me), waiting for test results, waiting for two weeks...and so many other forms of waiting, all of it linked by the wait for good news at every point. Yep, I agree Marla, time really does suck sometimes.

Speaking of waiting, I am waiting for good news of another type myself. Since I am currently on a D&C-inspired 'wait' (with an impatient wait for AF on top of that), I am waiting for good news in the form of "when the hell will we get our electricity back?" Florida Power & Light (FPL) estimates it could be up to 3 weeks. Aghhh!

Jeanne did, in fact, whollop the shit out of our neck of the woods. At my house, we lost the majority of our remaining roof shingles, down to the plywood here and there, and have two good-sized leaks--one in a guest bedroom, the other in the famliy room. The storm was definitely stronger than Frances by us. Yesterday, hubby, BIL and I spent a few hours on the roof tarping it. I'd say more than half our roof is tarped. And just think, almost two weeks ago, I spent 4 hot south Floridian September summer hours in the yard picking up all the shingles that Frances chucked. Shit, I should have just left them all there and got them done in this round. That's a chunk of time in my life that I'll never get back (kind of how I felt after I saw the movie 'Interolerable Cruelty'--and my apologies to those of you who actually enjoyed that film).

I won't complain too much though. Many others suffered much worse. But do you know just how effin' miserable south Florida is in Sept.? The heat, the humidity...and now the standing water--which equals mosquitos, lots and lots of the hungry bastards (whose fertility, may I add, is awe inspiring--I mean, we're talking about millions of eggs they can lay in the moat that now surrounds our home).

But, alas, Menita, relocation is not an option for us *sigh.* We relocated back here in February because this is homebase; both hubby and I were raised in these parts. This hurricane crap was a lot easier though when we were kids and our parents were the ones who had to deal with this. We simply got to play in a lot of standing, stagnant, mosquito-infested water after the storms passed (BTW, what the hell were we thinking? That's just nasty).

Our insurance adjustor is/was scheduled to come to the house today to assess our damage from Frances. We don't know if he's still coming though because there is no phone service (land or cell) at our house. Can you believe that we may have to pay a second deductible on our insurance if we claim additional damages from Jeanne? I won't even scare you with how much the deductible for one storm is--getting coverage is already costly but, on top of that, there's no flat rate deductible for hurricanes. The hurricane deductible is two percent of your home's value (on some policies it's as high as five percent) and you can get a rough idea of that amount if you've heard anything about the price of housing in the tri-county (Dade, Broward, Palm Beach) area.

On the positive side, we do have an 8,000 watt generator that dear SIL and her husband let us borrow. It is large enough to run most of our house (except the AC) if we want. However, we've only wired up a few essentials--like our bedroom (fan, TV, clock), our bathrooms, and our fridge. That way, we conserve the gasoline needed to run it. Gas is at a premium by us because not many stations have power in order to pump it. We do not yet have running water at the house either because we live on a well and the pump that runs it is a 240 volt. The generator is 120. Hubby bought an adaptor today so we're hoping to have running water later so we can actually bathe--a novel concept in our parts right about now (so I guess it's a good thing that AF did not show up in recent days!).

So, I'm posting this from work which has power and is fully operational, though the AC on my side of the building has taken a dump. It's stuffy, hot, and I'm not inclined to get any work done (hell, who am I kidding? When am I inclined to get any work done in this job? My sole salvation here is that I can 'steal time' to read your blogs on a daily basis!). I just hope our dogs are okay at home today. It's supposed to be a record scorcher today and we turn off the generator while we're gone. It's gets mighty hot without it--and quickly. Opening up the windows is not an option while we're out because A) our dogs are crazy and would jump out through the screens and B) someone would probably try to steal the generator (really, it's quite common after a storm) though, if that happened, C) the unfriendly one of our doggy duo would eat their arms off or, even better, their peckers. This, however, would be a blessing because we all know that STUPID PEOPLE SHOULDN'T BREED (though they either can't or won't realize this).

Thank you all for your concern. We are alive, we are fortunate, but mostly we are hot (this heat is doing wonders for my already uber-oily face), getting fragrantly ripe, and waiting for our power to be restored. But we are optimistic, and we shall pick up the cracked pieces and soldier on--yet again. This seems to be par for the course of our lives these past three-and-a-half years. I don't have the time to look back, only forward...let's hope I see the FPL man there soon.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Just when you thought it was safe

to take down your hurricane shutters, back comes Jeanne. And it seems she's hell bent on following the same path as Frances. Lucky me, lucky us. Ah, life in paradise. Today I waited almost 45 minutes to get gasoline, yet again. And it will only get worse in the next two days.

This time, I'm not sticking around these parts. I'm heading down to dear SIL's house in Broward county; hubby wants to stay here with our fertile friends with whom we shared our previous hurricane experience three weeks ago. I simply cannot subject myself to that torture again...at least not so soon. So I will go 90 miles south of home tomorrow night with our dogs and vital belongings (fertility meds, sharps, prenatal vits, legal documents, medical records, and so on) while he stays here to have quick access back to assess any damage. Gee, and just think--there's only 68 more days left 'til hurricane season ends (Nov. 30th--also, not so coincidentally, our wedding anniversary--we got married that day 'cause there was no way I was going to do it during 'season' and let a hurricane ruin a perfectly good party).

I'm still waiting on AF to show up. Tomorrow marks 4 weeks post-D&C and I know it can still be up to another 4 weeks for that bitch to make her appearance. Today though I could have sworn I felt some inklings of cramps here and there, maybe 5 or 6 times in all. But you know those 'precursors,' don't you? They show up a day or two beforehand, quietly zing you from time to time, and then go away when the big boys show up. Today I also had--and brace yourself for way TMI--two horrible diarrhea instances--one at work (let's hear it for the bathrooms farthest down the hall that no one uses--yea!) and one later at home. Now, for me, that's usually a sure sign that AF is on the way. Apparently, all that progesterone is really good at clearing out the old pipes.

Once AF makes her appearance, I can figure which weekend we'll be going up to see friends in Atlanta next month. Then I can also estimate when our next cycle will begin, the one in which we get back up on the horse, start the dildocam footage and Gonal-F shots again, the one in which Hope makes her triumphant return. I picture her like Lady Godiva, naked and astride a horse, sitting tall, doe-eyed and beckoning me to join her for the ride.

I do believe that I have become a Hope junkie. One taste of success, one +HPT, one BFP, and I'm wanting that back again. Now that I know I can (kind of) do it, I want a shot at it again. Maybe next time will be it, maybe next time the baby won't be chromosomally abnormal, maybe next time I can dare to dream again. But, just in case, I'll take it one day at a time from now 'til ?

To that effect, I bought a scroll-type 'placard' at Hallmark the other day and hung it where I can read it every day. It says:

Have hope,
Be patient,
Take courage,
Find peace.

Personally, I think it may have been the best 98 cents I ever spent (it was $3.95 marked down 75%--score for the day!).

So, even though Jeanne is coming this way, I'm going to try to live that mantra. And even though there's no guarantee I'll ever get pg again, I'm still going to try to live that mantra as we go forward with the next cycle. I'm not going to look farther ahead than that 'cause you never know what might happen next time.

You are a part of the reality behind that mantra...that placard. Thank you all for giving me courage and helping me find peace. I hope I don't let you (or me) down.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

East meets West...on adding more needles (berries and bark) to the mix

Yesterday I had my very first acupuncture appointment. We went over my medical history, my infertility, my miscarriage, blah blah blad ad infinitum. The acupuncturist said she would like to work on my energy level by decreasing my stress level--much of which, she said, is due to stress from my infertile state (well, yeah, no duh--it is a vicious cycle!)--and then work on getting my ovulation healthy, my uterus healthy to support life.

After this consultation (which actually was much more thorough than I made it appear here), I had my first acupuncture session. Have to say it felt pretty nice, definitely very relaxing. I do know that I fell asleep on the table and only woke myself up when my arm slid off the table and startled me awake--namely because I was afraid I had dislodged the needles and/or the clippers attached to them that was conducting the electricity through the circuitry of that arm. But I digress.

The potential problem with this acupuncture treatment is that the good lady wants me to take Chinese herbs (in pill form) in conjunction with the sessions...she says this will cleanse my liver and my kidneys and help get my body back in sync. I don't know how I feel about this.

Given my polycystic status, and the fact that my RE is watching my liver function tests closely because of the metformin I'm taking, I don't know if adding herbs to the mix is such a good idea for me. Heck--with names like dung beetle and eye of newt (okay so that's not really what they consist of but they might as well be for all I can make of them), I don't know if I want to add something that is not FDA-approved to the mix. Hell, I can't even pronounce these herbs let alone wonder how my body might handle them. And the acupuncturist wants me to take 20 of them a day--10 at breakfast, 10 at dinner.

I feel like if I go in and tell her I don't want to take the herbs, she'll blacklist me, accuse me of not taking the treatment seriously, of not trying hard enough...of not wanting a baby enough (lord help her if she goes there). But I just don't feel comfortable taking them. And really, I wanted to do the acupuncture for its relaxative effects not for the herbal component. Several gals in my infertility support group swear by it for relaxation but one of them did tell me to be sure to take the herbs with it--that another IF patient who was polycystic got pg after taking the herbs in conjunction with acupuncture, this after several unsuccessful cycles with an RE. *Sigh.*

So what am I to do? Do I take the herbs and risk messing with my RE's plan and perhaps my body's functioning? Do I lie and pretend to the acupuncturist that I'm taking the herbs (which would thereby necessitate me continuing to buy said herbs from her on a regular basis--at $10 for bottle of 200 pills)? Do I simply tell her the truth--that I am a firm believer in better living through pharmaceuticals and not in an "ancient Chinese secret, huh"? Or do I scrap this acupuncture thing altogether and just sign up for a yoga class instead?

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Results are in

Thank you each for your comments on yesterday's scenario--all of you made very valid points for and against a little evening delight and I appreciate it. Know that hubby and I did, in fact, have a little late night lovin' but I'm not expecting anything to come of it pg-wise.

Now, bear with me please, long post ahead with a call for some possible answers from your collective coffers of knowledge.

The results were back in when I went to the RE's office today. But before I expand on that....

The best part of my day was when Dr. Rub (a new moniker for him that I'll explain later) came into the exam room to see hubby and I (note that I was appropriately draped in cloth and sitting on table awaiting a ride in the stirrups for obligatory post-D&C look-see) and, after exchanging pleasant greetings, said, "I can do you with your husband here." Tee hee. To which I replied jokingly, "That might be kind of strange but..." and girls--he laughed and blushed. I made my doctor blush...what talent. *Dreamy sigh...I lurve Dr. Rub....*

I will admit it was kind of strange having Dr. Rub between my legs with a speculum and the ever-popular Super Q-Tip with my husband at my side. But there's a first time for everything. After that portion of the show was over, we moved on to Dr. Rub's well-lubed fingers in the hootch while palpating my uterus to make sure it was where it should be and okay size-wise. All while keeping up a lovely stream of conversation--what talent on everyone's part in the room, all three of us--about how we fared in the hurricane (alas, Dr. Rub still does not have cable back and was without a phone for over a week--somebody, get BellSouth and ComCast to his house STAT!), how many hours he works (typically 80 a week), and so on. Inane banter.

Getting back to the results on our 'product of conception'...and I'm quoting directly from the report here: 68XXY minus 14. Extra haploid set of chromosomes with 1 chromosome 14 resulting in hypotriploidy associated with fetal mortality.

Essentially, gals, this means we had a boy, a son who would not have lived very long had the pregnancy progressed to term. Most babies born with such a condition, if they manage to survive the pregnancy, are typically severely malformed and/or retarded and don't live longer than a few hours or days. It was very hard learning the baby's sex today. He didn't tell us this info at the visit; I called back later to check on exactly what the results were (so I could promptly research the crap out of it) and his nurse read me the report verbatim over the phone. A boy, our son. *Sniff...plop of big tears*

Dr. Rub said the cause of this chromosomal abnormality can be from any one of three things (or a combo): poor egg quality, poor sperm quality, or two sperm fertilizing my egg and that the loss was nature's way for babies who wouldn't typically survive. He also said odds of having this happen again are the same as they would be for anyone else, 1-2%. I'm to wait for my period and then we'll try again at my next cycle. He was very happy with my response to the protocol and will not be changing it for the next cycle. The goal is to get me to ovulate and, as he reminded me, we only need one egg for that and he does not want to run the risk of multiples or OHSS with me.

Regardless, hubby and I were promptly sent for karyotyping today just to be sure we have no genetic issues to contend with that may have contributed to this. It should be a few weeks for the results. I hope and pray that both come back okay although I know that they can be completely normal and we can still potentially have future losses. I also got the added bonus of an extra blood draw to check my DHEAS levels which were elevated at my last draw, hence why I was on 2.5 mg of prednisone until 5w of pg.

Also, when I asked him if he was concerned about my elevated fasting glucose level (116) the morning of the D&C, he said he hadn't seen the results but that he was absolutely concerned about it. He thought it was definitely something to bear in mind and decided then and there that, given my history of elevated fasting glucose, we'd start me on 1000 mg of Glucophage XR per day immediately. My glucose levels have been elevated (between 102-109) for the past almost two years now but this past June my fasting glucose tolerance test with insulin fasting came back completely normal, which I think slightly flummoxed both he and I. 116 is the highest my glucose has ever been though and, considering that diabetes is diagnosed at 126 and above, I'm slightly worried.

I realize this is a long post but he hit with me so much info today. I've done some preliminary research on some of it but I have a few questions I'm wondering if any of you could help me with:

What exactly is "hypotriploidy?" My research has found numerous references to triploidy but nothing to it in a 'hypo' form.
Also, what does the lack of one chromosome 14 mean--what part of human formation is chromosome 14 directly responsible for?
Could my age and CD3 FSH level (8.49) have anything to do with the m/c/hypotriploidy/egg quality? The nurse said FSH below 10 is good so mine is perfectly fine--what have your REs/practices told you about FSH numbers?
And, lastly, are there any medical conditions you're aware of that would prevent my egg from doing whatever is necessary to prohibit two sperm from fertilizing it (i.e., zona pellucida abnormalities) ?

Any insights y'all can provide would be most appreciated. I do my best to be a well-educated patient. Today my husband wondered aloud if there are some doctors that just cringe when their patients ask them questions (like I do). He wonders if some of them think to themselves, "I'm the doctor here, let me do my job" or something to that effect and if still other docs are pleased to know that their patients are doing their homework. I like to think there are more of the latter than there are of the former and I do think Dr. Rub appreciates me being informed; that way together we can make educated decisions about my care and treatment.

(Oh, and Dr. Rub's new moniker -- formerly he was Dr. Blood -- comes from the fact that at the time he told us our baby would not make it, he rubbed my arm kindly, hugged me, and then rubbed me some more when he came back in the room after giving us some time alone. At today's visit, he rubbed my arm when he saw me and later when we were standing in the hallway before leaving, he rubbed my back. He has nice hands, surgeon's hands, caring and compassionate hands and that, my friends, makes for a damn fine rub--almost as good as one from my husband.)

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Whaddya think? Vote now!

Ladies--I have a small, yet interesting, dilemma on my hands today that I'd like your feedback on. Yesterday, I noticed an increase in cooter discharge, of the 'normal' garden-type variety. Earlier today, I noticed a ton of normal discharge--we're talking (TMI) a four-inch swath of moisture gracing my hot pink cotton bikini panties! WTF?!? (But, I digress, that's not what I want your feedback on.)

While I don't typically ovulate on my own every month, some months the ole' body surprises me and does what it should (most recently in June when CD21 progesterone test showed I had done it w/o meds). This could again be one of those months.... If I'm doing my math correctly (mind you, I was an English major), I am presently 20 days post D&C. From what I've read here and there in my quest for mc info, one can theoretically ovulate anywhere from 2 + weeks onward after a miscarriage/D&C. So, all of this discharge may, in fact (or fiction), be me ovulating or somewhere close to it. Hmmm....and I'm feeling slightly horny which is a bit out of character for me on a day-to-day basis.

So my dilemma is this: do I go home tonight and take an unprotected romp with the husband with gleeful abandon and possibly cover our bases if I am ovulating soon/ovulated recently?

After all these years of trying, I've been conditioned to make sure we do it at my (HAHAHA) most fertile times...oh wait, I guess I don't really have many of those that don't involve meds and monitoring. Okay, here and there I do but it's not exactly like clockwork. But I still feel like I should be trying even now.

And, for the record, I don't magically think that getting pregnant again will make the reality of my mc any less or make it go away. It happened and will always be a part of me. Getting pg again (if I'm so lucky) would not replace what we lost, nor would it help me get over it any quicker. But it would feel so good to know that joy...and when you get right down to it in all its stripped glory, that hope. That 'what if we actually did it this month (and without medical intervention to top this month off) and it worked.'

Adding fuel to the fire is that I've also read that getting pg (not that I expect this to happen 'cause that's not exactly how my life works) too soon after a mc isn't good for one physically but then I've read other things that say it's okay if one was to conceive soon after miscarrying, that it just makes calculating the due date a little tricky. There are a lot of other pros and cons; I'm a fairly well-educated gal so I'm pretty comfortable with the reality of them all but...infertility has made me question everything I thought I knew anyway so why not this as well?

FYI, as I've mentioned previously, tomorrow is the follow-up with our RE and we hopefully will know where we're going next. He only told us no intercourse for two weeks after the D&C, he never said anything about it being protected or otherwise.

But, for right now--today, I just want to know if you think I should get freaky with hubby 'just in case' or if I should 'just say no.' Whaddya you suggest? I know which way I'm leaning but your votes count...majority rules. But damn, there is that horny thing rearing it's head again even though I know there are other 'ways' of scratching that itch besides slapping bods. I'll be checking back in later today to tally your votes and figure out if hubby's getting lucky tonight or not so VOTE NOW--polls close at 9 p.m. EDT!

Hope's got me in her trigger sight today...and she's asking if I feel lucky, punk, well do I?

Monday, September 13, 2004

Getting Hope's room ready

Now I've done it. Gone and bought myself a fertility monitor. What's that you say? Surely a gal with PCOS who rarely ovulates without medical intervention could find better things to spend the money on--like crack, wine, or chocolate, perhaps?

True, true, all of it but hope has been showing up around here again. Recently, I've begun to realize that I want to feel healthy again, and that means I've gone back to really watching my carbs (for the record, no, I'm not one of those bandwagon jumpers--my former RE in Atlanta recommended I go low carb, which I did back in January 2003, as a means of helping with my PCOS and insulin resistance) and working out almost every day. Since going low-carb and regularly working out, I lost 60 lbs. but stopped there since we were actively cycling and the state of my overall health and low-carb living was one less thing for me to worry about. So it fell slightly by the wayside but I'm happy to say that I slowed down on the highway of life and picked it back up last week, and my buddy Hope was with her too. Hence, why I bought the fertility monitor--I figure if I can lose the rest of the weight (between 15 and 30 lbs--i.e., I'd be happy with 15 but would really love to lose 30), perhaps I can ovulate on my own again and the monitor can help determine if this is the case.

One blessing of Hurricane Frances was the fact that I was able to get in and see a therapist who specializes in infertility last week. She was wonderful. She herself is an infertile gal (realized she wanted kids when she was 45 years old but the doctors, unfortunately, could not help her) and was so knowledgeable, and empathetic, and just generally wonderful. And apparently, my RE's practice sends a lot of patients to her though she's never actually met the REs on staff (5 partners). She knows firsthand--and secondhand too, I guess--so much of what I'm thinking and feeling.

More importantly, though, she opened my eyes to new beginnings. You see, back in 2000, hubby and I up and left all that we had known of life in south Florida (both raised here from an early age) and moved to Atlanta for hubby's work. We started our infertility journey with an OB/GYN idiot while there, and then progressed to two different REs, necessitated by a change in our insurance. While there we underwent two clomid/IUI cycles that were both BFNs.

In early 2003, hubby's job transferred us to Birmingham, Alabama. I won't bore you too much but we immediately found a reputable RE there and underwent two injectible/IUI cycles that were BFNs. Fast forward nine months (coincidentally, I assure you) and my husband gets the opportunity to transfer back to south Florida--goodbye B'ham, hello home. Thank you sweet jesus (um, not really since I'm not a believer, but you get my drift).

So here we are--getting back to new beginnings. We find an RE that is supposedly THE one to see for infertility in south Florida. I lurve him, he is a down-to-earth, compassionate doctor who seems genuinely caring and determined to help us reach our goal. I'm not a name and number (plus with our last name, which is actually an acronym for an male factor infertility treatment option, well, I'm sure he can't forget us/our name each time he sees us in the office--which is actually kind of funny in a strange way--and hey, I'll give bonus points if any of you can figure out or guess what our last name is--and no, it's not ICSI, but--a hint--it is four letters long).

We started seeing this wonderful physician in April. After a battery of tests that month, I have a lap/endo resection in May, we do our first injectible/IUI cycle in July and get our first BFP. Sure, we lose it 7 weeks later but, you see, he got us farther than we had ever gone before. And, on the day of the D&C, when he came in to talk with me at the hospital before the procedure, he said what had happened to me choked him up and he looked it, and later went on to say that he was "confident he could get us there again." Not a promise, per se, but it gave me hope on what was the bleakest day of my life.

So, the new beginning came in April, the therapist says. Don't look back at anything that happened before then. Don't count the failed cycles--they don't matter. You weren't home, you weren't happy, you weren't near your support system of friends and family, you weren't with a RE that you and your husband both like and trust--a physician who has done more to help you in 4 months than any other RE before him. Now you are, she said.

And this, my friends, is my new beginning. The glass is half full and I can't wait to drink from the fountain. So here I am, one successful cycle down, hopefully more to come. And I'm getting Hope's room ready for her permanent, yet transient, stay. You know how she likes to go out boozing and doesn't show up for days, weeks sometimes, but yet she always returns home when she is needed. Welcome back, friend.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Stereotypical bs

Okay, I'll admit it. I have a guilty pleasure -- ah, hell, what infertile doesn't have one or many? But mine involves the mindless show that is Nip/Tuck.

Well, last night's episode found Julia (wife of Dr. McNamara--from whom she is currently separated) going under the knife to fix the facial cuts she suffered blah blah blah. While under anesthesia, she has an 'alternative' life experience to the the tune of what her life would have been like had she not dropped out of med school and had she married Dr. McNamara's partner, Dr. Troy, whom she's had the hots for since college.

In the midst of this 'dream' sequence, she asks her life coach (who's leading her ride through life B) why she and Christian (Dr. Troy) never had children. She's told that this has happened because, basically, she chose herself and her career over family. Her reply to this news was (and I think I'm recalling this correctly), "Great, now I've become one of those cliched barren women forced to go the IVF route." This...made...my...blood...boil.

This show just bought in to the old stupid adage that women who choose to have careers, to finish their education, and so on, are being 'punished' somehow for those decisions. What the f*ck? Where does this bullshit come from? No one asks to be given infertility, and it doesn't just affect career women who've waited to start building their families. ARGGHHH, I could scream at this unfair, unrealistic, one-sided portrayal.

The show then went on to show Julia at a 'reproductive specialist's' office (or some other such vague clinical title--seriously, couldn't they have gone with RE if they wanted to be technical and, thereby, accurate) getting hormone/fertility shots. A few other times during the episode, Julia made comments to the effect that she had to go get hormone shots--a completely inaccurate portrayal of the IVF process because, realistically, she and/or her partner should be capable of giving her her own hormone shots during the cycle (and she's supposed to be a doctor in this alternative life sequence?).

I am so incensed by this stereotypical portrayal of infertile women. It is this bullshit that shapes how the general (read unknowledgeable) public perceives infertility and infertile couples. Essentially, we're to blame; we're being 'punished' somehow for our decisions. Maybe it's a little extreme but I'm so pissed that I'm thinking about writing the producers (Warner Bros. Studios) or the network (FX) and letting them know how unfair and inaccurate their portrayal was. Even if you don't watch the show, I encourage you to consider doing the same. I know it's not much, but...damn. I'll get off my soapbox now.

And I think I'm done watching the show. Time to find another guilty pleasure.... Any suggestions?

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Today's thanks goes to Benjamin Franklin

To the genius who harnessed electricity--thank you, Ben for your incomparable discovery. And I'd also like to give a big thank you shout out to the good people at Florida Power & Light who somehow managed to get power to our block (note that we are the only block in the area with power so I'm sure the folks on either street to our sides hate our guts right about now). At the same time, though I am home, bored silly 'cause my work is still without power and, therefore, closed. I hope we get paid for the time off 'cause we personally helped up Home Depot stock prices last week and that AMEX bill's gotta get paid somehow.

Today I waited an hour-and-a-half to get gasoline. Yep, you read that right, an hour-and-a-half. Made all the longer by the fact that I did not have anything with me in the car to read. It was a pretty long time but I made it pass by people watching, a favorite pasttime. Interesting to note that there weren't many kids and no babies, especially interesting since school has been cancelled here until next week.

On the positive side, I used the at home time today to surf the 'net and managed to find a therapist who specializes in infertility--no small miracle--in my county through the directory over at ASRM.org (I'd link it here but left my linking instructions at the office and I'm too much a bloggin' newbie to muster the task on my own). Miracle of miracles on top of that, she's actually on my insurance plan. Add a third miracle to the mix--I called her and she, OHMIGOSH, answered her own phone and--hold your breath for this big one--actually has an appointment open for tomorrow since someone in more dire geographical straits than myself had to cancel. Her loss is my gain. She sounded nice and I'm excited to meet her tomorrow at 2 p.m. I'm hoping she can help me get to feeling like myself soon but I think that's slowly beginning to take shape on its own too.

For one, I'm really looking forward to next week's RE appt and finding out how long we break for until we get back on the ART road. Also, I've recently noticed I have breakthrough moments of hope, like sun rays coming through the clouds, and it's a small celebration when they come. But I also have crashing lows. For instance, after the hurricane had (FINALLY) left us, hubby lost the keys to my car. We were at the friends' house with all those kids in attendance and I broke (luckily outside away from everyone), began to cry, to panic, over the fact that my keys were gone and we'd have to stay there any longer. DH (= dumbass husband) had put the keys in my purse without telling me. Crisis averted, departure possible, fertiles left behind, sanity salvaged...for now.

I wish I had something witty or clever to post more often. A lot of folks (good people, fools, idiots, or some combination thereof) tell me I'm a funny gal. One friend, a stand-up comedienne, suggested I look into doing stand-up myself. But IF has made me bitter, taken away my funny edge; now I'm just sarcastic and caustic. I hope if I have kids (biological or adopted) I manage to regain my sense of humor...I hear tell it that kids are actually pretty funny--intentionally or, more often, not. Maybe keeping their company on a daily basis one day will rekindle that humor in me. Until then, I'll try to find it but can't make any promises. But damn, I miss it. Just when the hell did I stop laughing so much?

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Jesus Mary and Joseph

It was the longest two days of my life. But here, for your viewing pleasure are my top three hurricane highlights, in no particular order.

Highlight #1: One 4 year old + two 2 year olds + one six-month old + five dogs + six adults (two of whom--can you guess who?--are not parents to any of the children in attendance) + 1,700 sqaure foot house with no electricity = pressure cooker. 'Nough said.

Highlight #2: Announcement from newscast--103 family members along with 54 maternity patients admitted and 6 babies delivered (and counting) at St. Mary's Medical Center as of yesterday. Um, thanks dickwads. Just what this infertile pissed off stressed out bitch needs to hear right now.

Highlight #3: As the eye of the hurricane passed over Jupiter after midnight last night and the skies temporarily cleared, I decided to go outside and get some cool air (vital need as a result of situation noted in highlight #1). I went outside with fertile friend #2 and commented about how it felt so good out since I was so hot. Her reply: "It's probably your hormones. I'm sure they're still all out of whack." Um, thanks...bitch.

So, we've been without power since 10 a.m. yesterday, without phones since 3 p.m. yesterday. They tell us it may be 5-7 days before we get power back. After two days in that house with all those fertiles and their screaming offspring, we had to get out. We are down at my dear SIL's house--who, at 90 miles to our south, still has power and, thank you sweet jesus, air conditioning. Note to self, I love the man--James Carrier?--who invented a/c; give that man a posthumous Nobel peace prize.

Our house made it through Frances relatively unscatched. We lost all our native trees (palms, gumbo limbos, etc.) but the crappy pines made it. Ugh. So we've got lots of yard work to do. We also lost a lot of roof shingles but we don't seem to have any leaks. But for now, we'll live each day like we're camping out. Hmmm...exactly why I wasn't a girl scout (okay, that and my family couldn't afford to send me).

Thank you each for thinking of me during this incredibly stressful time. I can say that this has been, without a doubt, the worst week of my life. But it's over now, time to move on. In fact, I'd say it's all over but the crying...and I've cried enough the last week as it is. I still have more crying to come, I know, but for now I need to focus on getting me back to normal. So, in my ever-selfish state of mind, I'm hoping this hurricane doesn't mean my 9/16 post-D&C appt is cancelled. (And thanks, Marla, for the clinical info--at least now I'll have an idea what I can possibly expect at that visit--or my missed ab may mean it'll be a while before I get potential info. Great...more waiting, as an IF, the wait never ends--we wait for periods to start--or not to, wait for call backs, instructions, test results, wait wait wait, story of my life.)

So I hope to post again soon but, if we head back home tomorrow, I've got no power. I can't wait to get back up and running and find out how each of you is doing. I'm lost without my infertile sisters!

I'm sending love to each of you--and thanks for all of your kind thoughts, prayers, and words. Now that Frances has passed, time for me to go back to agnostic living! Unless Ivan heads this way--and if that's the case, know that I'm getting the fuck outta dodge. No more of this shit for us. I've had more than enough this week, thanks. There's only so much a girl can take before something snaps, you know. And I don't want that to be my sanity...not yet, at least.

Friday, September 03, 2004

This is getting old...fast

So we watch and we wait and we wonder...just where the hell is Frances going and when the hell is she finally going to get here? We've battened down the house and are presently preparing to head to our friends' house. Maybe she'll get here tomorrow morning, night, or Sunday. I just wish she'd get here already so I can worry about my future cycles (such rich ditties as -- was this one BFP IUI cycle the only time we'll ever see the elusive second line? What are the odds we'll lose another one? Will my doc change my protocol? Will we do more IUIs? Will we move on to IVF? And, more importantly, what did the testing on our "product of conception" reveal, if anything? Lovely term. What asshat came up with that one?)

The one good thing about this storm is that she's taken my mind off of my pathetic state of affairs. I actually went almost a whole day without crying--almost. Now we're heading out, disconnecting the computer so I'm really going offline now. I'll post when we're back up and running and, in the meantime, y'all be good to yourselves...you deserve it.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Hasta la vista....

She's a'comin.' F--that bitch--no, not dreaded Flo (though who knows when she'll next make her appearance in my post-D&C world) but Frances--many thanks to Sugarblossom for the clever relevant reference.

Depending on Frances's final landfall point -- which is looking dreadfully like it'll be close to my hometown -- you may not be reading/hearing from me for awhile (what's that? Hallelujah, you say?). Out where I live, the power goes out if one of my dogs fart so I'm expecting complete darkness come Friday night or Saturday, whenever this bitch roars her ugly mouth at us.

I am not taking this lightly--the jokes/sarcasm are my way of dealing with the overwhelming terror that is my world right now. At the risk of possibly offending some of you, know that I am not religious in the least. I am -- as I will sometimes joke-- a lapsed Catholic. In truth I am probably agnostic. But I guess I'm a hypocritical lapsed Catholic/agnostic because right now I am praying so hard that the roof does not blow off, that the walls do not cave in, that no one I know and love (or even strangers for that matter) are injured or killed--realizing that may be a futile hope (that bitch never really leaves, does she?). But mostly I pray selfishly that my world, my little piece of the world as I know it--my husband and two dear furboys--come through it with me unscathed. They are all that I have right now and I don't know how I could go on if something were to happen to them.

So if you're religious or not, please pray for us, all of us in Florida, especially southeast Florida because it looks as though our 12 year run of 'luck' has finally come to an end. If you can't or won't pray (and I can't say I blame you), please send us all the good vibes, wishes, thoughts, etc., you can. The terror is real, the fear is so palpable you could cut it with a knife and I am only one of millions.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

What fresh hell is this?

I am scared. No, I am terrified. In addition to the crap hand that I've recently been dealt (sorry for the pity party here), we now are contending with the very real threat of Hurricane Frances coming our way. At the risk of outing myself somewhat to those who may know me in the 'real' world, I live in Jupiter, the northernmost city in Palm Beach County, Florida. Luckily, our home is not in a mandatory evacuation zone but, not so luckily, it is a wood frame home--meaning that it is not likely to withstand the onslaught of 140+ mph winds. Add to the mix the many tall trees on our acre and a half lot and you've got a recipe for potential ruin. The way it is looking now, we will be staying with friends who live about 2 miles from us in a concrete block home with hurricane shutters, built to much more rigid codes that were put in place after Hurricane Andrew, but still no guarantee that we will be okay.

I went through Hurricane Andrew in 1992, while living in the southernmost city in Broward County (south of Palm Beach). While what we got in Broward was nothing like what the folks in Homestead, Florida City, and Kendall went through to the south, it was still one of the most terrifying nights of my life. I swore I'd never stay through another storm. But now I'm a homeowner, and I don't want to stray too far from my house, my memories, my everything. My husband says we can just leave, take the dogs and get out of town. But I don't want to do that, simply for the fact that it will be that much more difficult to return home and survey the damage.

Tonight we will begin preparing our things--pack up vital documents, over the counter and prescription medications (including my prenatals, gonal f, and medical records--don't want those getting destroyed now do we?), bag our photos and put them in a cabinet for safe-keeping, and so on. The list is endless. My husband needs to buy plywood for the windows since we don't have hurricane shutters--and plywood is becoming scarce in these parts. I am beginning to panic.

Just getting out of bed these past few days has been an undertaking that requires every ounce of my energy. I cannot do a thing, it seems, without my husband nearby--he wakes up with me, gets me motivated to get in the shower, promising to be right back after he irons his shirt. I have no will right now, no strength. He is giving me all of that and then some. I feel pathetic, like I'm being too clingy but I simply cannot do it without him. I am terrified to go on, to face each day. I cry each night when we turn out the lights and it is time for bed--great wracking heaving sobs--because I am afraid of the next day. I want to be distracted, to keep the TV and the lights on and fall asleep to them, because then I do not think about losing the one thing that I wanted so very badly...the life that we created that is now gone.

Tomorrow I meet with a grief counselor. Maybe she can help me make my way back to living because right now, all I want to do is curl up in a ball and make it go away. I've talked with or e-mailed 'real' world and cyber friends who've gone through similar loss, and it has helped some. They tell me I'll get through this eventually, with time and love. But this has been a hit that my somewhat already fragile mindset was not prepared for. I battled with clinical depression back in 2000 (before we even knew that infertility was a part of us) and am afraid that this may put me back there. It was a dark time and I don't want to be that person again. I want to see the sun again...I just want to laugh and to smile and to hope. Is that too much to ask for?

Oh, and since I'm asking for stuff today, I'd like to ask that bitch Frances to keep the fuck away from the southeast Florida coast--I've had just about all the shit I can handle heaped on me for one week, thank you very much.

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