That’s how many eggs were retrieved today. Good lord. No wonder my ovaries felt like they might pop through my abdomen yesterday.
Contrary to my dream last night, I arrived at the cheater RE’s right on time this morning, maybe a little early, even, thanks to D. Funny, how when one is told that one cannot eat or drink, one is terribly thirsty and hungry. For the record, I am never thirsty.
So anyway, we arrived and found the correct door, helpfully labeled “IVF Room” or some such and then as bonus sign insurance, there was a picture of a 8 celled embryo. Just in case you…. forgot what you were doing there?
So in we went and it was fucking freezing, but that’s how that particular cookie crumbles and they had warmed my gown and footies, so it wasn’t so bad. The very nice nurse asked me why I was there, which made me give her a funny look when I answered “egg retrieval?” And then she told a story about how that question seriously alarmed some woman once and the nurse had to clarify for her that it was to be sure that the patient knew why she was there and that the staff already knew. “Like a test!” I said. And then I asked if I had passed. And she said yes and then the needle she was trying to put in my arm promptly broke. (Ok, not promptly – there may have been some other chatter and some paper work in there.)
The broken IV needle isn’t as dramatic as it sounds, because I’m an easy stick and so I offered her all my other options, which she sweetly didn’t want to use because they are all bruised up from me refusing the weird wrap thing they do with blood draws now. She was dear and didn’t want to stick me where I was already bruised. As she started examining my hand (saying she hates to do hands because she feel like they sting more with the meds) the anesthesiologist came in and, very pleasantly, took over. And stuck my hand. Which was fine.
And then they ushered D out and wheeled me though a door and there I was in the OR.
And then there I was back in the little cold room (which had a great view of the mountains).
Predictably, I cried and D was sweet and comforting and then I was ready to eat my crackers and drink my ginger ale. Then they let me up to pee, which they said was A Good Sign and so then the nice nurse took out my IV and I could get dressed. There may have been more lying in the bed being sniffly than I am remembering, but really for the most part, it was all pretty fast.
I will admit not a small amount of pride in how I gave myself my first PIO injection. The nice nurse and I had a little teaching session (that is, she gave me A Lesson for the Montessori in you) and then she insisted that I dose myself then and there so she could watch to be sure I got it. And it was so fine. Not a big deal. Whew. My boobs got in the way a bit, in terms of the sight lines to my ass, but my friend M later said she used to do hers lying down and that took care of that problem. Tomorrow’s shot will be of a larger volume – same sized needle – which will change things some, but so far I feel like I am much happier with the shots than with the various pessaries and creams and goos and such.
And then I toddled off, well was driven by D, to acu. Which was it’s usual fab self; there were some needles, there was some moxibustion, there was a rub down with liniment and there was the surprise revelation that my acu guy likes si-fi!
My aforementioned friend M, of “lie down for your PIO shot” fame, picked me up from acu (I didn’t want to take up all of D’s day, although she offered several times to stay at acu with me) and treated me to extra strength tylenol, gatorade and a liverwurst bagel. All this after I almost threw up in her car. Y’all, my friends are nice. There was a quick and unpleasant round of nausea as we drive home – I had to ask M to pull over – but once it passed I felt pretty good. Like when you throw up when you’re drunk and then you’re all “I feel great now! Let’s have another drink!” It was weird. Aside from that brief spell of nausea, things were easy. I was good about staying on top of hydration and pain, which I think I wasn’t last time. And there were 17 eggs this time, not 21, which also may have made a difference.
The doctor on today wasn’t Dr. Hot, much to my sadness, but that all ended up ok, too. It was the guy I like least, but he was friendly and more accessible than he was the other day and damn if he didn’t do some loaves and fishes magic with my follicles so I am warming to him. And then we saw Dr. Soap Opera in the elevator as we left, so that was entertaining.
So hooray, the part I was most afraid of is done. (Well, I still have to take some meds that might make me vomit if I don’t take them with food, but that will be ok. It will.) Fertility report tomorrow. Transfer Saturday or Monday.
Oh, I forgot to tell you about the hospital grade pad they nicely put out for me in the bathroom at the Cheater RE’s and my not-pad-friendly undies. You’re welcome.
Ways In Which The Cheater RE Is Not Like Richmond:
- no ipod dock in the room, which was smaller and more sterile looking in general
- nasal cannula was inserted before the meds took effect – I had no idea there was one used on me in Richmond
- sticky monitoring things were stuck on after the meds – in Richmond, they put them on me before I even got to the OR
- my ride/handholder was sent back to the regular waiting room to wait – I think in Richmond, she stayed in the very posh room that was “mine” for the duration of the procedure
- no clock to look at the in OR, while counting down as the anesthesia does it’s thing
- nice view of the mountains (no mountains in Richmond, duh)
I dropped a syringe, full of a little hcg and a lot of gonal-f and a good sized air bubble, into the sink, cap off, and bent the needle a bit. Then I tried to straighten it out. Which sort of worked. I wondered if I was having an experience akin to what a serious IV drug user would have if out of needles. Then I tried to push out the now-giant-seeming air bubble and lost some of the medication. Probably less than I feared? Who knows. I don’t know how to convert droplets to International Units.
And the cetrotide was its usual pain in the ass self: while it dissolved pretty easily in its bariostatic water, I couldn’t get the last bits of it drawn up into the syringe with the (giant) mixing needle and so I swapped for the (smaller) injection needle and it still wouldn’t all come up and then I said “fuck it” quietly and to myself and gave up and went to push out the (huge-looking) air bubble and lost what felt like a million IU of the medication. Like in the movies when they hold the giant syringe up and squirt out a waterfall’s worth of liquid from the needle before giving a shot? Yeah. It was like that. In my heart it was like that. For real, it was just a little.
So I am going with the “I sort of fucked all that up tonight and that’s just a little too bad because there is nothing to be done about it now” mode of coping. N.B. how “relaxed” I must be to have such an attitude. Surely this will all work out because I am so fucking relaxed and that’s all it takes.
I roped LB into going to the cheater RE with me today. I know she was anxious to see my ovaries on screen. (They are like tiny film stars, y’all.) Actually I think she has simply known me long enough to realize the my faux-casual “you could come if you want” masked a marked desire for company. Mind you, this was something I didn’t even realize myself until she asked if I *wanted* her to go for company. Ahem. And so she got to experience the wonder of a fertility clinic on a Saturday morning. She poetically described my ovaries as looking like dried lotus seed pods. She’s got a way with words, that one.
Any damn way.
You’re more interesting in stats. I know. Here you go, cribbed from an email to Bionic, who loves a plagiarizer with her entire heart.
5 + follicles on either side. Biggest on the left 16mm. Biggest on the right 14mm. Lots of “synchronized follicles” hovering around 13. Apparently once things get to 16mm then they are certain to “participate”. New info FTW! So more meds tonight and they will see me in the am. It should be Dr. W, who D**** and M***** call Dr. Soap Opera because he is so handsome. I like him. Also, Dr. Hot was in her scrubs today. *swoon* I think I should lobby for her to do all my procedures based on how I feel when looking at her in scrubs. Raised libido helps, right?
Honest, y’all. A woman in glasses with a voice of authority and some compassion does it for me every time.
Clearly, I forgot to record the thickness of my endometrium. It was something like 10mm. E2 came in somewhere over 1000, which is good. Once all those synchronized follicles get to 16mm or more, then I can trigger. Mid-week transfer, I hope.
For the first time in days (4? 5?) I don’t have a headache. I am blaming the gonal-f. And I’m really glad not to have one. The cetrotide makes me a little itchy at the injection site, but not too bad. Everything is manageable, but…. I’d forgotten that this last stretch is not so fun. I am still remarkably cheerful for the most part though.
So I had a Saline Sonogram on Friday. I took the entire day off for it, which was a great plan, not because the procedure was bad, but because – woo! – day off! Dr. Hot wanted to get a look-see at my ute to be sure everything looked normal post the miscarriages.
She was as cute as ever and it was easy and everything looked normal. Yay, right? And all my new and re-done bloodwork looked normal, too! Yay! Right?
Sort of. Everything normal means that there is still no known reason for my infertility. No easy fix to something that got overlooked before. No clear “you will never carry a pregnancy past 10 weeks, so don’t even try”. Honestly, I was really hoping for one or the other.
There is one test for which I have not yet received results. Dr. Hot seems as into genetics as Dr. E (nice old RE) was into auto-immune. She ordered a karotype test that will be back in a few weeks and will, to quote the paper for from the cheater RE’s, be “expensive”. Oh, yay. There is a 5% incidence of chromosomal abnormalities in cases where there have been at least two miscarriages. Heck, I hit that number three summers ago! Anyway, Dr. Hot is interested in my genetics, it seems. If I do IVF again, and, wow, is that ever a big if, she strongly recommends PGD (yes, that’s a wikipedia link – it looks legit). She even gave me the name of a guy in New Jersey so I could look him up – which I should do, at some point – because he is at the forefront of genetic testing. Which sort of gives me hives, because that sort of thing is a slippery slope, I fear. But. But.
But it’s so highly unlikely that I’d do IVF again. It’s just so damn expensive. And I am barely holding my financial head above water from the transfers I did, all willy-nilly, over the past
two three (Jesus.) years.
Let’s break it down:
- basic IVF package price is $8,400 – that’s $5000 for the clinic portion and $3400 for the Laboratory
- the average cost of meds is $2,500 – ouch. Last time I got these for free from the ever generous IVP
- cryopreservation of bonus embryos is $470 and then storage is $150/quarter and $470/year. If memory serves, storage at the Richmond RE was cheaper, but maybe prices have gone up everywhere.
You do the math. Don’t forget to add something huge for PGD. Although, wow, I feel sketchy about that. And not just because of the (unknown amount of) money.
If I had a million dollars, I’d do it in a minute. I respond well to the meds; I make a shit ton of eggs; it was unpleasant but not terribly so (and it might be better if I wasn’t unknowingly at the beginning of the end of a relationship). But I don’t have a million dollars. The cheater RE has some sort of payment plan (pay some amount at the time and then pay monthly for a year), so I guess I will call to see the ins and outs of that.
Then there’s the option of making this the summer of IUIs. Dr. Hot wants, if I do any more IUIs, to throw my old friend femara as well as gonadatropins (with whom I has a short fling back in 2009, thanks again to the ever generous IVP) into the mix. More targets, as Dr. E, the nice old RE, would say. I can’t find the price list for any of that, but let’s guess around $600 with the meds? Damn. I wish I could find that page on the cheater RE’s website. I swear it was there.
Then there’s buying sperm. So factor that in. Let’s call that – wait, I can look that one up – let’s average it and call that $700. That’s without shipping.
Then there’s throwing the towel in.
I’ve decided on one option or the other about 50 bathousand times in the past two days. Heck, I’ve decided on one option and then another forty-eleven times writing this. Each ones seems equally valid and perfect and equally wrong. Ugh.
My wise friend Susie said to think about how I would feel if I tried and failed. Which is good to remember. And why it’s so hard to decide. If trying again was a sure thing, then that would be the obvious answer.
I’d love to farm this decision out. Can’t somebody decide for me? Dr. Hot has refused, for the record.
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:
Oh, hello there, as my grandpa used to say. Hello. It has been some time hasn’t it? It has. And guess what? Three guess. First two don’t count. Yes! You got it. I’m still infertile.
But that’s boring, old news. Boring and old. Entertainingly, there is little else going on that is new and interesting. Maybe I’ll make y’all a list! I love a list.
- school: was good, challenging in the full sense of that word, but good. Challenging like cho-girl and I took a deep breath at the end and said “whew.” And also said, “damn, us, we do some good work, gold Montessori stars for us.”Also, I am working camp some this summer. Until noon, so it almost doesn’t count. The paychecks also almost don’t count either.
- home: also good, if less challenging. One of the remaining chickens went broody for damn near three weeks in June and so egg production is for shit. What this boils down to is that they aren’t getting the fancy organic local food this summer (see also paycheck as mentioned above), because I’m not going to spring for that shit if I don’t get enough eggs to give away. The cats are shedding with abandon, except for dear Louise who manifest her grief for her late brother by over-grooming rather horribly. Poor Louise. The kittens are big, but still kittens and Fifi is old and just as hateful, though sweet to me.
other random things:
- Super CLAW was last month and there are lots of other places on ye olde internete that talk about it, so I’ll just say that it was fab. And I got a shirt. And another shirt to send to my cousin, who is an official for roller derby
- Speaking of my cousin, I went to LA and it was great. Saw my afore mentioned cousin and we laid around in bed together taking and drinking coffee and she braided my hair for me everyday, like her mom used to do for us when we were little girls and we went to the beach.
- I had The Spring of Company, which was pretty much the biggest treat ever. In order of arrival, not importance: Anna with her delightful tiny fam, the Bionics, who have already blogged the trip, if you want deets, Hard Girl and her not so tiny fam, and then trailing at the end of May, aj , who sadly didn’t stay with me, but did come over for whiskey. Yay! Company!
- I am on the train for a super secret trip to Brooklyn. Well, not really secret, bt I didn’t tell lots of people I was coming up. Just a couple folks. I am going to lay around and read and eat and visit and not make myself crazy trying to see fifty bah-thousand people. But I’m going to go to the bra store. Woo! The bra store.
What else? Is that enough catching up for y’all? And by “y’all” I mean “the two of you that are still reading”.
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.
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?