So here’s a thing:
Last night I was at dinner with a friend and said, parenthetically, “…since I’m not having children…” which really makes it sound like, well, I’m not having children.
I’ve made similar statements, to friends and to myself and I’ll be the first to admit that there are times when I have not just noted that I am childless, but reveled in it. The quiet car on the train is nice, y’all. It’s quiet. And less crowded. I have this pretty nice life, sans a child. Especially now that I’m not miserably in the midst of trying to create said nonexistent child. I’ve spent a good bit of time this summer with people who also don’t have children and are not trying to get/have/make any right now. It’s…. nice. Actually really nice.
And yet. This morning I was having coffee with another friend – Sophie’s mama if you must know – who mentioned in the context of something else that she’d gotten pregnant at 42. And my first thought was, “well, damn, I’ve got two years left!” And then I rolled my eyes at myself. Because: no money, no sperm, no embryos left. You’ll all (two of you) remember that. But, still, my first thought was that I still had time.
This is not some “Woo! I’m Trying Again!” post. Because I am not. It’s more a “How Can I Hold Two Seemingly Opposing Feelings At The Same Time?” post. But who’d title a post that? Not me, clearly.
A couple weeks ago, I was at the beach (oh, the beach….) with a bunch of other gay people. Wow, the beach. So great. And yay! Gay people! Gay people who are not now, nor ever were, trying to have children. And, wow, was that a nice and unexpected bonus of the trip. I said as much, I think. And, still, I’d catch myself watching the children on the beach, sometimes wishing one of them was mine. I didn’t say much of anything about that. It was so great to be there and not have a child with me. It was hard/sad/something to see other people having a thing I always thought I’d have.
There’s no conclusion to this post.
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. It has been a day. A good day, mind you, but A Day, all the same.
School was damn good, for a Wednesday, and I made it to staff meeting “on time” which is supposed to mean that there is just enough time to run a load of laundry through the washer and dryer. Today, I realized this is a false assumption. I stayed 15 minutes late and it was still not dry. Oh, well. But! All in all, work was good.
Then I drove to RIC to pick up a friend who flew in to see her sister’s new baby and, well, RIC is far. It’s an easy drive and I’m happy to do it, but it’s far. And then we went down to Nelson County to see said new baby and her equally appealing older sisters, and, of course, then we had to come back to Starrhill. All of which equals late. So worth it. But sill late.
And it’s not over! This afternoon I got the funeral information about another friend’s mama and the service is tomorrow. So I set about scrambling to find a sub and tried to figure how late I could leave school in cville and still make it to the church in Southside and then I had to organize a car, just in case the scrambling-for-a-sub worked out, because I’d loaned mine out for the next few days and then I had to get said organized car, which my visiting friend obligingly helped out with, and then, well, it was late. Like 9:30 or something. Which isn’t late for getting home for lots of people, but it is for me.
And the trash still had to be put out and the recycling and the fire had to be started because it’s damn cold all of a sudden. Lucky for me, my housemate fed the cats, else I’d have lost a limb when I finally arrived home.
And then I did some math involving time and realized that I could scramble a little more to get a sub to go to this funeral, because, for real, ya’ll: it’s funeral. You just go, as my father always says. My uncle, my dad’s older brother, flew from the west coast back east for every damn family funeral in my life time. He’d often stay with me and he’d always arrive with a bottle of George Dickel and we’d have drinks on the porch in the evening and breakfast from the bakery in the morning and then he’d pick me up from school so we could make it to whichever country church it was that go-round. Mostly he was here for a day or two, but he’d sometimes fly in on the red-eye and then out on an evening flight. And I’m fretting over a drive to Southside? No. My subs are in order; my funeral clothes are out and ready to be carried to school; I have my dad’s truck and I am getting to that damn church on time. May all your people who are no longer with you rest in peace.
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.
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.
Now, see I sort of wish I’d been better about blogging my first IVF because then I’d have something to which to compare this one. As it is, my memories of that summer are hot and tangled at best and so there’s little to go on. Maybe this one is moving along at the same rate as the last one? I really don’t remember. Three years is a long time ago, y’all, and there’s been a lot of emotional water under this proverbial bridge.
So post Tuesday’s mini break down(s), I opted to take a friend up on her offer of “whatever you need” and I roped her into going to this morning’s appointment with me. Bonus: she’s a nurse! It’s nice to have company! I’d forgotten. I used to make cho-girl (damn, she hasn’t blogged since before Facebook bought Instagram) go with me all the time and Red Row Farm was a driver several times for transfers in Richmond, but mostly, I’ve gone by myself to appointments. The doc today (wow, better) totally addressed my friend as if she were my Partner and the Other Parent-to-Be, which cracked me up. Also, it was great. I wish I wasn’t pleasantly surprised by such things, but I am. Anyway, today’s wanding was much better.
Numbers! I haz them:
Endometrium (that’s uterine lining to you, kid) – 7.4 mm (the .4 is a guess – I can’t really remember), for those of you new to this particular game, they are looking for things to be at least 7mm at the time of the trigger shot, so I’m good to go in this arena. One thing I do well is grow endometrium.
Right ovary – 10+ follicles: 2 over 10mm, several hovering around 8mm
Left ovary – 10+ follicles: 2 at 12mm, at least one at 10mm plus some also-ran little guys who the RE said “might not participate” (he laughed at my jokes about participate – winning!)
E2 – 502
So. That all looks good! The message from the doctor this afternoon is that my estrodiol is rising a little fast for his tastes, so I am to cut my dose back to 412 IU tonight. That’ll be a fun number to find on the syringe. He also wants me to start cetrotide, which makes me hopeful that I’m only a few days to retrieval. Not to count any embryos before they are assisted-ly hatched.
And I am to come in tomorrow am for another wanding. Here’s hoping it’s either Nice Doc from today or Dr. Hot.