The funeral was good, y’all. I love them. For a while, I tried to couch that love in more acceptable phrases like “it was as good as such things can be” and “it was lovely” and “it’s an important right of passage” but more recently, I just admit I love them. A little group-emotion-solidarity? Yes. Some ritual? Yes. Talking about the best parts of a person? Yes.
From an email to Bionic:
****’s dad is a preacher – it was his wife who died – and when everyone stands and greets each other with “peace be with you” he came over to the side of the church where a bunch of us were standing and only doing a little greeting and peace-ing and said, hanky (yes, hanky – I’d brought one of my grandma’s to give to **** and good thing I did because she gave it to her dad in the middle of the service) in hand, “for those of you are are not as familiar with our traditions, peace be with all of you” which was the most moving part of the whole deal. ****’s family really is delightful and I am so glad I went. Totally worth the 4 hour drive. Also, rural Virginia. Be still my heart.
It’s possible that one could just read my emails to Bionic (Did you really need a link again? I didn’t think so.) and Uberbutch and skip this blog entirely.
Friday I went to (another) birthday party that involved a viewing of the Topp Twins documentary and a spin in a sauna. I was exhausted from all the driving over the past couple days, and because I am a wimp, but it was an awfully nice birthday party. There was cake:
Wow, that’s not such a good picture. Sorry. Now, I’ma be honest here, since it’s my blog and all, and tell you I don’t love the sentiment on the cake. However, the birthday recipient loved it as did the host who commissioned it and the cake itself was delicious, so I’ll call it a win. Plus, all the other pictures have people in them so this is what you get.
Then Saturday (y’all, this is just like a diary!) I went to a baby shower. Yes. For my dear friend M who worked long and hard to get this baby. I had sorted through a box of baby things that a friend gave me years ago (cho-girl hid it for me in her house for a long time and then it lived in the shed and then it was just time for it to go) and I gave the bulk of it to some other friends (who might have a girl), but I saved some plain and lovely shirts and a little pair of pants for M (who knows she is having a boy). And gave her two tiny hats that were the only baby things I’d ever bought for myself because I knew she’d treasure them and also just use them. There is only so much standing on sentiment that one can do on some hats. Now, I was… unsettled? bothered?… by a number of things at this shower, but they were things that don’t relate to infertility and so from that point of view the shower was great. I am really glad I went, just to make this retelling of my friend’s shower all about me.
Last night I did nothing. It was heaven. There’d been too much time away from home and my internal organs were starting to shrivel up. I ate left overs and watched trashy tv and polished my shoes and my roommate’s shoes with my grandpa’s shoe shine kit. There was a fire. In the stove. Unrelated to my grandpa’s shoe shine kit.
This afternoon, I’m going to Red Row Farm. Five years ago, when they still lived in Starrhill, W yelled over the fence early in the morning that L’s water had broken and so we spent that drizzly Saturday walking around Starrhill and 10th & Page trying to get labor started. A little less than 24 hours later, A arrived and I fed his mama ice chips that I think she still claims are the best thing ever, and watched as they encouraged A to nurse and became a family. I left them at the hospital and came back to Starrhill and got the nicest hug from L’s mama who had just arrived from NJ. It was a pretty great day.
Y’all, the cheater RE is a private hospital. My old RE was in an endocrinology clinic in the public hospital. I knew all this. I’d compared and contrasted public and private medical establishments when I went to the Richmond RE for IVF. It was fancy pants. The button to call the elevator was normal elevator-call-button sized, but the marble (!) inset around it was bigger than my head. The elevator call button at my nice old RE’s sometimes had a piece of paper with an up arrow drawn on with ballpoint pen. (For years – yes, I was there for years – it was forbidden to take said elevator to the 3rd and final floor there. So it was mysterious! One of the nurses told me it was just full of old chairs, but it was still full of mystery to me.)
I went for lab work Friday. So, yay me, right? Right. But, wow, did it make me miss my old lab people.
At the old RE’s, the lab was clearly a Lab. Not just because Amir and Michelle and the other nice lady whose name I wish I could remember wore white coats. But because there were Science Things in there. Not just a red bio-hazard sharps container and boxes of gloves, either. There were those racks where you stick everybody’s blood vials, and important looking notes stuck to the walls, and millions of drawers that were filled with More Science Stuff, and stacks of papers around the computer where they sent out orders for pick up and processing like “STAT”. (For real. Remember that? No. Because everybody who read my blog then is dead because I’ve been doing this for so damn long.) There was something of a partition so two people could get stuck at once, and there was a random hard chair by the door in addition to the chairs with the giant funny arms for the stick-ees to rest their arms on. Sometimes you’d even get to see the courier people come in to pick up all the bloods! So exciting! It was all Science! and Medicine! and Lab! But also they were so nice there, Amir and Michelle and that other nice lady. They always remembered me, even when it had been over a year since I’d seen them. And Amir once sat me down and gave me a very serious pep talk, drawing parallels between football and ttc, saying things like “you just have to stay in the game” and “you might be tired and feel like you are loosing, but keep playing – stay in the game.” Those are not direct quote, but you get the idea. Anyway. My lab people. Winners.
Now, if you’ll consult back to the top of this (already rather long) post, you’ll see that the new cheater RE is at a private hospital. This was pretty apparent at my first visit with Dr. Hot (whom I saw two weekends ago at the farmer’s market with her husband, whom I mistook for an adorable, tiny butch lesbian at first): fancy water cooler, matchy-matchy upholstered chairs, etc, etc. But it was this recent trip for blood work that really hammered the difference home. Y’all, the walls in the little “room” where I actually got stuck (by a nice blonde 12 year old – really, she was 12) were painted not one but two colors and the upholstered chair in the corner matched both of those colors. All the Science was hidden away somewhere else, but there was a chair that matched the walls. Who was supposed to sit in that matchy chair, I don’t know. I certainly didn’t get stuck in it – no blood on the goods! As we used to say in the costume shop. Maybe it’s for if you bring company into the lab? But it’s too far away from the chair where the business gets done for any hand-holding to take place, if you were the sort who needs hand-holding. Weird. And matchy. For all the (obvious?) care taken in the decoration of the little “room” it was strangely devoid of feeling. Or, rather, it’s feeling was empty. There were other little “rooms” off of the tastefully painted hallway from the (second) waiting room, so I guess the idea was confidentiality and comfort? But it was really not very comforting in there. And I could hear the chatty lady in the next “room” perfectly well. So really, I don’t know what they were trying to achieve.
It was fine, of course. I’m a bloodwork rockstar. The 12 year old who stuck me laughed at my jokes. She was good – it didn’t hurt at all. I got paper tape and gauze rather than a big itchy wrap bandage. But, wow, I missed my old lab people a lot.
There’s a funeral happening today, right now, in fact, down in scottsville and I am on a train headed to dc. I hate to miss a funeral. And while this one if for a man who I really didn’t know well, his passing looms large in my heart, marking the end of an era.
Sidney Tapscott died last week. I can’t claim that he was my friend, but he was a constant presence in my adult life and his absence is marked. Time was, there were fewer people on the downtown mall, and it felt like we all knew each other. I was very young, and more on the fringes of that scene than I probably thought at the time, but it felt like we were the whole world. There was art of all kinds happening and there was always somebody to talk or sit near. Some huge percentage of buildings were empty, but there was no feeling of emptiness. There was just a sense of possibility, which is, I suppose, what youth is.
And there was Sidney, far from young, with his push broom balanced awkwardly in an old grocery cart, sweeping the bricks in front of Miller’s or hitting up somebody at Bizou for ice cream. He’d ask every girl he recognized for a hug and got away with it. He wore sweatbands on his wrists and on his head, and if it was hot, he wouldn’t wear a shirt under his overalls. He kept at least one watch buckled over those sweat bands. His hair stood up crazy all over the place and I often couldn’t understand what he said to me. He was remarkable in that he was an old man in the midst of a group of bright and creative and young people and we saw him and cared about him He was not invisible.
Sidney, may your service today be full of the people you loved. May your wake at Blue Moon be full of music and stories. I am glad beyond words that you had a friend to hold your hand as you died. May we all remember you. Rest in peace.
Shit, I am late for camp. What a surprise.
So let’s play catch up, shall we?
Day 1 – Provide a photo or sketch or dramatic rendering of the space where you normally blog.
Home. I usually blog at home. Sometimes when I travel, but mostly at home. In the chair by the fire, or on the couch or on the porch swing that you can almost see in the far right of the above picture. I don’t think I have ever blogged at my desk, which is really more storage space than work space. This picture is from long ago, before I ripped out all those bushes and the droopy fence.
Day 2 -What were you like in high school? What extracurricular activities, if any, did you take part in during high school? Did you consider yourself a writer?
What *was* I like in high school? Umm…. much like I am now? Short, sort of brown, but without any tattoos. Nice, I hope?
I didn’t really take part in any extra-curriculars. A lot of my friends played field hockey, so I went with them to games because it was fun. I was the manager. Sort of. That meant I braided everybody’s hair and stored their jewelry on my person during games. I did some costuming, which sort of started by accident when the husband of the woman who taught me to sew was brought in to direct the school play one year and she was the costume designer; she had me help her with alterations and then the next year I sort of stuck with it. Otherwise, I spent a lot of time with my friends, doing things I probably shouldn’t commit to permanent record.
Oh, summer camp… now can we sing songs by the fire and then go make out in the cabins?
Yes, friends, that’s a doubling time of 77.something hours or a little more than 3 days. Not great, but not nothing.
So. You want to hear about my IVF cycle? Yeah. I know you do. It’s a riveting tale of drugs! and money! and my bruised belly. Money! Drugs! Bruises!
Okey doke. Now that you’re all settled in and ready, let’s see if I can make this some sort of coherent narrative….
Sometime back in June, I started Lupron (meds and jabbies courtesy of one of the ever generous members of the IVP). Oh, it was fun at first! I had to draw up 10 units of liquid into my little syringe and then pinch up some belly fat and jab it right in – 90º angle! – and then push the plunger in and it fulfilled all my medical fantasies. So fun! I was so hardcore! I could stick myself with a needle every night and not care! Woo and hoo! Lucky for me, I had really no side effects from the lupron – maybe menopause will be a breeze?
And then it started to get old. The injection sites would itch a bit and I gave myself one good sized bruise and the sheer waste of using a new needle every night…. I mean, I was and am grateful that I pulled together the money to do this and I tried to keep my proverbial chin up, but sheesh…. The constant jabbing seemed like adding injury to infertile insult.
Ha! And it wasn’t over! Once I hit cd 1 again, things really started getting good. I added – yes! – more meds! more needles! Now, let’s pause a minute to note that I really, really don’t mind needles. I have a mess of tattoos; I like to watch the lab guy do my blood draws; I pierced my own ears several times as a teenager (maybe we all did?). But the repetition of these all these IVF needles…. well, it was, as I said, getting old. So the news meds kicked in, one after the other: stims to rev my ovaries into overdrive, menopure to help with the overdrive and bump up the LH and then finally the big gun of the trigger. Looking at my protocol, I think I may even have been on the light side, in terms of the number of things I had to inject into my gut, so really, I know I didn’t have it as bad as other folks, but again, sheesh…
I was just… tired of it. Old, as I said. Do I seem to be repeating myself?
And in among the ritualized jabbings, there were wandings and bloodwork and phone calls. Oh, the phone calls. When you combine the new RE’s necessarily crazy schedule with my lack of a cell phone and inability to take calls at work, well, there was a lot of phone tag. See, for this IVF thing, I have become the proud owner of not one but two – yes, 2! – REs. My very dear doc here doesn’t have the facilities to do IVF, so he sends the serious infertiles to another RE in Richmond. All wandings and bloodwork are done here, retrieval and transfer in Richmond. There are, by necessity, a lot of phone calls and faxing. Anyway, it seems to be, in most cases, a very fruitful partner ship. My dear RE here very quietly quoted me a success rate that’s so high I don’t even dare to commit it to the internets.
So there were jabbed meds, there were wandings and bloodwork and phone calls and I threw acupuncture in there for good measure. And was it ever the best part of the whole deal. I really don’t want to sound too whiny here. I know other folks have a far harder time. It’s just I was, well, tired. From the meds a little, but more from five fucking years of beating my head against the same damn wall.
Um… where the hell are we in this “narrative”? Oh, yes. The trigger. For those lucky ones of you who haven’t been to infertility boot camp, trigger is the lay term for a big ass shot of HCG (that’s human chorionic gonadotropin to you, mister). In one’s ass. See, all those other jabs were in my belly, just into the nice layer of fat that’s there. But the HCG needs to go into the muscle. Fun times! I had a friend come over and do it for me. It’s too hard to stick your own self in the ass. At midnight. Because that’s how the Richmond RE told me to roll.
And now we get the the good part! Settle back into your seats, kids. Now we are at the egg retrieval part. This is where is starts to suck. Not in terms of outcome – go back and read the stats from the other day – but in terms of how I felt. Even with the tiredness and general blah of infertility, I never really felt physically bad. But, whooeee, was I a mess after the retrieval. Let’s tell it like a campfire story:
It was a bright and sunny day…… cho-girl and I left her house early so as to get the the new fancy pants clinic at my appointed time. I had, as instructed, neither eaten nor drunk anything at all since midnight. I was hungry. And I missed my bff, coffee, so bad it hurt. Poor me!
After getting almost lost and very certainly intimidated by the grand lobby of the fancy pants clinic, I was put in a gown and given cute socks and and allowed to pee and hooked up to an IV and then rolled away to the OR. I remember nothing after the rolly bed left the room. The drug guy, let’s call him Frank, as that’s his name, was good. And then I woke up. Still in the rolly bed, back in my room, where cho-girl had cued up the post egg retrieval playlist from the gf, who couldn’t be there herself. And then I was a little weepy. I think anesthesia does that to me? But otherwise ok. The clinic folks were so nice and they gave me crackers and ginger ale and continued to laugh at my jokes. Then they wheeled me out to the waiting Subaru to be taken home.
Oh, let’s make this a cliffhanger, shall we? This post is long enough as it is. Tune in later to hear how the aftermath went. Titled, “Hydrocodne and I Are Not BFFs.” or, “How About Some More Hippie Gatorade?”
6/18 – 7/11 – 10 units lupron
7/2 – 7/8 – 225 follistim
7/8 – 7/9 – 250 follistim
7/10 – 7/11 – 200 follistim
7/6 – 7/10 – 1 vial menopure
7/12 – 1 vial HCG
7/14 – 21 eggs
7/15 – 12 fertilized
7/16 – 6 graded (4, 4-, 3, 3, 3-, 2)
7/18 – 1 or 2 transferred
Hold on to your hats.