It’s hard to wait, as we often say in my classroom.
Part of the issue, maybe, is that I have no structure to my days now that my stint at summer camp is over. The ttw for this try exists in this limbo state between work and travel and while that seems smart on some levels (rest and relaxation) it seems foolish on others (lack of structure, lack of distractions). Anyway! That’s how it is.
The part that becomes the easiest to obsess over is the timing of the beta. My old and dear RE, in combo with the Richmond RE, always did betas at 14 dpo, or 14 days after retrieval. The cheater RE has scheduled one at 16 dpo, in which “o” means retrieval. Which is sort of ok and sort of not.
I mean, I guess I feel them with wanting an unambiguous number, but if there’s an early miscarriage – sorry, I mean a “chemical pregnancy”, then that’s useful information to have, in my mind.
On the other hand, in this case – i.e. Last Best Hope – who the hell cares about useful information?
The other Issue At Hand (you can tell I’m bored by extra capitals), is that I’ll be doing the aforementioned traveling when it’s 16 dpo. Hell, I’ll be doing the aforementioned traveling when it’s 14 dpo. But there would still be enough time for a quick trip to the lab before I get on the plane.
I’m of two minds about the testing day:
- make a fuss so they will write me a slip for a beta 14 dpo because knowing shit sooner is better.
- go for the 16 dpo one, even though I’ll be out of town because then I can assume I’m pregnant for two extra days.
Y’all. I have gone back and forth about a million times.
Then factor in whether to order more PIO….. (There is enough to get me a couple days past a 16 dpo beta, but it has to be compounded and then shipped, so one needs to order in advance and I’ll be, well, traveling.)
And do I try to get a progesterone check thrown in there, too? Because I love labs?
There were some fun pseudo-symtoms earlier: cramps (that’s the only one I can actually associate with prior pregnancies, well, that and crying), crazy tired (which could be just my general state), some bloating of sorts (my clothes fit funny at least) and the need to pee all the damn time (decidedly *not* normal for a preschool teacher).
But those all disappeared a couple days ago and were probably just the giant dose of HCG I gave myself before the retrieval.
Now I’ve got nothing but tiredness and being teary over the million novels I’ve been reading.
Or not. Not the little dog, too.
As of around 5 this afternoon, there was one lone “classically fertilized” embryo left. Which is one more than I had at this time last week, so that’s something, right? Right.
Let’s rewind to this morning, after my second shot of PIO (yes, more liquid hurts more, also a mile walk does not equal a serious butt massage with a hot wash cloth; yes, I am still sore; yes, I still like this better than prometrium) when my boss appears on the playground and waits around, patiently, for me to be done dealing with various children and their attendant parents. Turns out she’d gotten two phone calls from the lab because they couldn’t get me on my phone and so she was there to take my place on the playground so I could got find out what the fuck was going on.
Not much. That’s what was going on. The head lab guy reported that two eggs had fertilized and looked good, that four or five were not really acting like they were going to do anything, but that maybe they might, if pigs could fly and hell froze over. And did I want to do rescue ICSI on those eggs? Well, no. I don’t. Thanks, though. That’s thousands more dollars and if there are sperm in any of those four or five an extra sperm being injected into them would send them to their proverbial graves. I made clear that I understood what was going on and that I was willing to take my chances.
So then I went on about my day and awaited the afternoon phone call that had been promised. And I missed it. Because I am still weirded out enough by having a phone that it is often not on and so I missed the lab guy’s call. His voice mail said to call him on his cell phone. Or at home. He really is very nice. Did I tell y’all he’s married to my kindergarten teacher?
Turns out one of the two good looking embryos had taken a turn for the strange and developed three nuclei instead of the usual two. Part of me is all “whoa, shit – that’s amazing!” But the other part is “uum, huh. That doesn’t bode well,” which is the more appropriate response because it doesn’t bode well. For normal development, that is. But since there is only the one other good one left, Old Three Nuclei is being left in the petri dish to see if by some miracle, it chances course and begins to move in a more normal direction. Meanwhile, the 4 or 5 Miss Congenialities for whom I’d refused ICSI were showing no signs of cleaving, which might have won any one of them the honor of second runner up, but they also weren’t dead, so they are also being left in the petri dish. The nice lab guy says it’s stressful for them to be taken in and out of the incubator, so he’s going to leave them alone until Saturday.
So cross your fingers that The Good Looking one keeps on keeping on because that’s all there is.
Right. I forgot about this hurry up and wait bit towards the end. Not fun.
At this morning’s appointment, things looked a little bigger – by things I mean follicles, you know. Yesterday’s over-achiever, the 16 mm wonder, held on to herself and stayed at 16, which Dr. Soap Opera says is “good” because it will allow all those other kids to catch up. So yay?
Funny, I’d have thought they’d have grown more than they did considering I have been able to locate my ovaries inside my lower abdomen since this morning. There are citrus analogies to be made here – lemons as opposed to grapefruit, thank the tiny baby Jesus – but I won’t make them. I realize now I was really hoping there would have been a lot of massive growth and that I’d trigger tonight, but no.
I have not so conveniently forgotten how plush my endometrium is today – I want to say 14 mm, but that seems absurd, even for me. Who knows.
As per the message line, my estrogen is continuing to rise and is now at 1832. (I could have told you that based on my skin and how I smell – hint one is great and one is not. Estrogen is weird.) So more gonal-f tonight, same dose, and an other 20 IU of hcg and a vial of cetrotide. And they will see me in the morning. The current thought is trigger tomorrow or Tuesday and then retrieval Wednesday or Thursday. I’d rather Wednesday, if there’s anyone reading who has control over such things.
The troubling news of the day was that, according to the IVF nurse, who is dear, the earliest I would do a beta is the 25th. Which is 16 days after trigger if the trigger is Monday, aka tomorrow. And is a day after I fly to the west coast. Yes, I know there are places to get blood draws out there. But I had been counting on knowing what the fuck was going on before I got on the plane. Also, 16 days? I honestly don’t remember exactly, but I think for the previous IVF I got a beta 14 days after trigger? With the million FETs it was 14 days after I started all the meds. I think. See, now I am doubting my memory. Maybe I am just impatient? I don’t want to wait 16 days. Clearly, I am impatient and whiny.
So that scheduling revelation made me cry in the car. Or the truck rather, since I am borrowing my dad’s truck. All of this has happened before. Is the take home here that I should not go to the Cheater RE alone (cried both solo trips this week) or that I should not drive my dad’s truck? Who knows.
ETA: While I blogged very little of the previous IVF, I did mark appointments and such on my calendar. The Richmond RE wanted the first beta exactly two weeks after retrieval. Which would be the day I leave if the retrieval is Wednesday. It seems like the Cheater RE counts the day of the trigger as day zero and the Richmond RE counts the day of retrieval as day one. Lord. My kingdom for some consistency.
Anyway. Bah. 16 days post trigger. This clinic seems to enact policy based on fear (they do ICSI with sperm bank sperm because of one failure years ago and, damn, there was another example, but I’ve forgotten it) and I wonder if this is the same sort of thing. Do they do betas at 16 days past trigger because then a “chemical” pregnancy (you know what I think of that stupid term) is easier to miss? One would still be on the progesterone, though. A mystery. I will ask again, don’t you worry. And I’ll ask for an earlier one before I leave if it comes to that. I’d expected to get the repeat beta in California, but…. Well, there isn’t a but. Just trying to control shit I can’t control. Bah.
And? To add insult to insult, I need more meds. So far I am a grand over the top estimate that the Cheater RE gives. I think rates have changed and they haven’t updated their info. Which sucks. Because an extra grand is a lot. Lucky for me, these large checks just keep arriving via the USPS (so many reasons to love them), but I gave my Generous Friends a figure that is turning out to be wrong. Ugh. Plus, I can’t order more meds today and I will need some tomorrow. Bah.
Well, it had to get less fun at some point, didn’t it. Maybe things will look better in the morning.
Also equals crying. Right. Fake hormones do this to me. I’d forgotten.
Since Saturday night (between 6 and 9, though honestly closer to 9), I’ve been shooting up 450 IU of gonal-f and 20 IU of low dose HCH. (Do I need to say low dose when I am putting down the actual dosage? Idk.) The mixy-mixy part is pretty fun: take the bariostatic water and inject it from it’s glass-looking hypodermic needle into the little vial of gonal-f powder and – presto! chango! – its 600 IU of ovary amping liquid! Then get 20 IU of HCG from it’s nice little vial, which you’ve been warming to something above fridge temp in your bra or armpit, as the case may be. Then! Combine those two syringes of medications into one other and slightly larger syringe and then with some fancy needle switching foot work and buy yourself a headache that lasts more than 24 hours! And a lot of trash. What I’d really forgotten is how much medical waste there is in This Journey.
Ok, for real, it’s not so bad. The headache could be something else. I am prone to them.
But the crying. Bah. I went for monitoring today and didn’t see Dr. Hot, which is fine. The other guy is fine. And they got me in and out of there really fast, which was good because I was racing the children to camp. But. But it was really fast. And I didn’t get it together to talk about the headache or to check in at all really. There was a resident, to whom I was introduced, and whose presence was cleared with me, sort of – it was so quick, I’m not sure how it would have gone down if I’d said it wasn’t ok for her to be there. And the wanding was honestly one of the more comfortable I’ve had. And the Other Doc (this is really the cheater RE, the one who left my old and dear RE at the other hospital to start this private practice) kept the screen tilted so I could see and narrated what he saw and laughed a my (one) joke. But he didn’t count noses, as my old and dear RE used to say when counting follicles. He didn’t look at my lining, which obviously isn’t the issue at this exact moment, but I’d still like to know what it’s doing. He just said that things looked good. I want details. And the nice IVF nurse was nice and combined my partial vials of gonal-f into one vial so I have an extra day of meds for (sort of free), but she didn’t do my blood draw and the nurse who did wasn’t so nice – not mean, but barely made eye contact. (Y’all, I get it. It’s also my job to make nice to people all day and sometimes it doesn’t happen, and she was perfectly civil and it didn’t hurt… but I just wanted… well, I wanted my old lab people. That’s the long and the short of it. I miss my old lab people.) And it was all so damn fast. Which was great for getting to work, but also, it sucked.
And so I cried a little in the elevator leaving. For all that I was one person inside the huge system of the big public teaching hospital before, I never felt like I was anything other than the only and most important patient of whoever (intake nurse, RE, lab tech, receptionist even) was taking care of me. And here I am at the fancy private clinic and the appointment is all moving so quickly I can’t catch my breath to think if I have any questions. I mean, I’ll be better prepared Thursday, but yuck. I guess I was spoiled. Which is sort of bullshit, because people should be treated like I was treated anytime they go for medical care.
For the record, Dr. Hot has so far always given me her full attention at appointments and I wonder if it would have been different with her? I wonder if part of it was that I dislike the round-robin of doctors model? (Am I using that sports-related term right? Even google can’t tell me.)
Anyway! I have 4 days worth of 450 IU of gonal-f in my system! That’s… maths… 1800 IU. Another wanding on Thursday morning!
Damn that’s a lot of exclamation points.
So, yeah, not pregnant. And now out of embryos. You’d think I’d feel worse.
I mean, I did. I did feel worse. I started to cry on the phone with the nurse. I sat on the couch and cried while alerting the media that this trip was motherfucking over, man. I felt sad and lost and alone (wow, the alone part…. yeesh) and disappointed and weepy and then stuffy from crying and sad and really sad and really, really sad and shocked and a whole host of other things that I can’t come up with names for.
And then I got in bed. To hide, briefly.
And then the troops began to descend. A friend showed up and put me in her car and we got treaty coffees and then walked and took pictures and talked and I said lots of things I was feeling and she said lots of things that were very wise and then we got drenched in a summer storm and the sun came back out in the rain and it was like we were in some tropical-rainforest-paradise made up by a theme park only it was real life, y’all. Real fucking life. Better than you knew, right?
And then I went for fancy cocktails with another friend, and we didn’t talk about my infertility shit at all. By design or no, I have no idea, but it was pretty great.
And then a whole mess of my girls came over, which had been scheduled for a while, so it didn’t feel, thank you baby Jesus, like a pity party, but was really just great. Popcorn and whiskey for everyone! Well, they had wine.
Meanwhile, the internets kept checking in, which really does help. It does, internets. So thanks.
For the moment, I really think I am ok. No idea what happens now and I am certain the sad/alone/lost/etc will come and go according to no schedule at all. But, right now, I think I’m ok.
Now with bonus picture:
I’m not pregnant. Really, this is the norm, so why stray from it?
Lest you worry overmuch, I am doing ok. It sucks but I am ok. Either that or the steroid euphoria hasn’t worn off yet.
Oh, camp… I can’t even remember what day it is….
Oh, yeah, day 8. Teaching. Um, well. That’s what I do. For work, that is. And also because I generally love it – the money’s not good enough to make anyone stick around; you have to love it at least a little bit. Or, if you’re me, you also stick around because you have no other marketable skills. My kids are two, and don’t yet read (although they are great a picking their noses), so blogs mean very little to them.
Shall we play catch up? We shall.
Day 7. I don’t think I have a favorite for any meal – weird, considering I also had no guilty pleasures. Wow, do I love food blogs, though. And, yes, I would totally write one if I had enough motivation to do anything at all. Note my tumblr, which is all about lunch and hasn’t been updated in forever, and the last post wasn’t even my lunch. Maybe I should get back on that… or you could! You, too, could half-ass-ed-ly fulfill your food blogger fantasies and log your lunch!
Day 6. I never try new things because I hate new things. For real.
Day 5. Ummm…. I don’t know what I like best to do on my birthday. (See why I need to be kicked out of camp – can’t answer the damn questions.) Usually, LB and I have a party of sorts, because our birthdays are so close together.
Day 4. Being an adult surprises the shit out of me daily. What is this leaky pipe and why do I have to deal with it? Where did these bills come from? And who are all these damn cats and to whom do they belong?! I think the world of blogging has taught me about generosity. How to have it and how to be on the receiving end of it. Thanks for that lesson, Cali. For real.
Oh, well, hello there!
Are you even still here? Did you think I’d given up on having a baby? Yeah, me, too. But no! I didn’t! Why give up when I can torture myself more? Woo and hoo!
So a week or so ago, after a big, long break, I had a “counseling” session with my re, who was his usual great self. He wanted to recheck my thyroid* and was cool with my plan to put off the mega-pricey battery of auto-immune tests. If I hit the magic number of three miscarriages, my insurance will shell out mega-bucks. As I’m just one blood-bath short, I think I’ll wait. If this next try works, score! No need for testing! If it fails, well, at least I get the million mega-pricey battery of tests for free. See? Win, win.
Anyway. My thyroid checked out just fine, thank you very much. (Now, let us sing the praises of the lab people. Who not only remembered my name after all this time, but also remembered that I like a bit of gauze and a piece of tape rather than the big, stupid colored wrap that is the norm these days.) And so I was cleared for take off. Note the metaphor. It’s a Journey, y’all.
Here’s how it’s all going to shake out: oral estrogen starting on CD 2 (Have I missed counting cycle days? No, I have not.) and then prog (By vagina! Because that’s how we roll.) and some wandings and one blood draw and then off I toddle to Richmond to get one of my ten – yes, that’s 10 – embryos popped back up in there. There being my uterus.
So let’s beat this motherfucker into the ground this time. Hand me my stick.
*What? You didn’t know there’d been thyroid trouble? Well, that’s a story….from the Fall When Everything Fell Apart And Then My Cat Died. But we are living in the now, y’all. The. Now.
Yesterday, there was a random knock on my front door. Now, things have been pretty shit around here, and I didn’t really want to answer the door, but I did. Cause it’s rude not to and why compound misery with rude?
Anyway, it was this older guy, smoking a cigarette, with some story about being hired to rake some lady’s yard, but she didn’t have a rake and his was at his house across town and he didn’t want to walk all the way home to get it and did I have a rake he could borrow?
It seemed maybe sketchy. But I do have a rake so I told him to meet me around back and I gave him my rake, which has been much neglected of late and he thanked me and swore up and down he’d bring it back and went on his way.
It wasn’t real generosity on my part; it was an attempt not to snap at him and refuse just because of my own unhappiness. It didn’t make me feel particularly better and I did wonder if I’d see the rake again.
When I answered the door just now, it was him. With my rake and and offer of a few dollars, which I refused. He asked God to bless me and I replied, “you too, sir” and what I meant was that his stranger’s blessing was enough for my atheist ass.
I love a thesaurus, don’t you?
IVF 1.0 failed. Or, rather hung on like a tenacious fire ant whose betas won’t rise and then flamed out brilliantly in a painful hour of horrid cramping bleeding that I like to call a miscarriage. The medical world likes to sugar coat it with the name Chemical Pregnancy, but that sounds a tad formal for something I’m so up close and personal with, don’t you think?
It’s been a particularly crap past couple weeks. I’d like a do-over.