Wednesday, April 29, 2009


We're still trying to figure out a way to have an IUI and use our sperm bank of choice.  Our first plan of attack was to beg the clinic to help us find a way around the red tape that prevents them from working with sperm banks that take gay donors.  That went over like a lead balloon.  

Plan B was to find a midwife or OBGYN who would be willing and able to help us out.  Elizabeth made tons of phone calls late last week, and found a midwife who might be able to help.  Unfortunately, the midwife is swamped with her other clients right now, so she has yet to hear the details of our situation.  Even if she does get back to us, her office is 1 1/2 hours away, so it will be a bit of a challenge to work with her.  In the meantime, Elizabeth found a local OBGYN that sounded promising.  She says they were very friendly on the phone.  "Sure we do IUIs!" the receptionist assured her.  So we went in tonight, relieved that we had potentially found a solution.  

The OBGYN office was very small, and the receptionist was friendly.  But that's where it ended.  When we went back to the doctor's office we were greeted by a man who can best be described as Joe Pesci in "My Cousin Vinny".  He seemed utterly confused to see two women walk in to his office.  "So which one of yous is the patient?" he asked.  I identified myself, he shook my hand and then didn't acknowledge Elizabeth.  We had to interrupt him and introduce her.  So we told him our situation, and that all we needed was another place that could do a sperm wash and IUI.  So he pulls a pad down from his shelf and starts to write us a referral for another local fertility factory.  "I used to do IUIs here a few years ago", he said "But it was too expensive so I don't do that anymore".  

So that appointment was just a big waste of time.  $15 co-pay to get a referral to a place that we already know won't see us.  The giant fertility clinics aren't going to go anywhere near us because of the sperm bank we're using.  We can't do an IUI ourselves at home because our sperm bank only has unwashed specimens.  Hopefully the midwife will come through for us.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

You think I'd be used to this by now

My beta was supposed to be Monday morning, but I started spotting on Saturday night.  That brings me to a whopping 7 BFNs.  I thought that it wouldn't hurt as much this time, that I should be used to failing, but it was still so hard.  This was our first cycle with injectables, and our first cycle trying acupuncture.  I had so much more hope for this round because I felt like we were doing so much more to ensure it was a success.  
Now that I've failed, I feel guilty about all the money that was spent.  Our insurance doesn't cover us at the clinic, and a fully medicated / monitored cycle isn't cheap.  Elizabeth and I aren't rich by any stretch of the imagination-  she's still in grad school and doesn't even have a real salary yet.  My credit cards can't handle much more, and I hate driving us into debt.  But the absolute worst part of BFN #7 is that I was going to POAS today, Elizabeth's birthday.  I've spent the past two weeks imagining the look on her face when I handed her a positive pregnancy test, wrapped up like a birthday present.  
The very small silver lining I've been able to find in AF's early arrival is that I don't have to go in for the beta at the clinic.  I hate getting bad news from someone else.  So I'm going to try not to mope.  I'm going to have fun today and celebrate Elizabeth's birthday, even though I couldn't give her the present I really wanted to.  I'm going to eat a big bowl of ice cream, and maybe have a glass of wine.  Tomorrow, I'll dust myself off and figure out where to go from here.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


I'm a little quirky when it comes to pregnancy tests. I know there are many people who can't wait to POAS, but I prefer to wait for AF and let my body tell me whether the insemination worked or not. I don't like to get bad news from someone else. The old school - 2 line pregnancy tests aren't quite so bad. You get to determine for yourself that there is no second line, and that waiting another 5 minutes won't make a line magically appear. The digital tests seem a bit harsher, telling you in actual words that you will be moving on to another cycle. But the worst of all has got to be the blood test. Fortunately, I have always gotten my period before the scheduled pregnancy test at the clinic, so I've never actually had one. I cringe when I think about getting a phone call from one of the nurses feigning sympathy as she gives me the bad news.

This time around, (try #7) was my first cycle with injectables. I did the trigger on day 10, and the inseminations on days 11 and 12. The clinic wanted me to come in on what would be day 25 for the pregnancy test, but I managed to get it moved. The latest they would go is day 28. Since I'm on progesterone, I just know that AF will be late this month. I'm pretty sure that attempt number 7 is a failure. I'm at 12dpIUI and do not have any early pregnancy symptoms yet. I'm considering calling the clinic the day before my test and telling them I got my period, even if I haven't yet, just so I can avoid going in. Does anyone else hate testing as much as I do?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Drop a bomb on me

When our plans to use a known donor didn't work out, Elizabeth and I had an immediate backup plan.  We had found a very unique sperm bank online that releases the identity of the donor when the baby is just three months old.  This way, the child can grow up knowing who their father is and maybe even have some sort of relationship with him.  While it might be a bit awkward for us to enter into this sort of relationship with a complete stranger, we both thought it would be a good idea for the child.  At the very least, they would be able to go on their first date without worrying if the person they were about to kiss was a half-sibling.  I know this kind of donor arrangement wouldn't work for everyone, but we see it as the next best thing to using a known donor.  

So far, we've been incredibly happy with this sperm bank.  They are attentive, friendly and offer very personalized service.  So we felt like a bomb had been dropped on us when our clinic told us last week they could no longer accept shipments from that sperm bank.  Apparently, there is a problem with the sperm bank's FDA certification.  The bank has a state certification, but not a federal certification.  Why no federal certification?  Because they openly allow gay men to be donors and the FDA donor policy is homophobic.    

Now, we're not sure about how to proceed.  It's been 11 days since my IUI, and I haven't experienced a single symptom of early pregnancy.  So I'm thinking that this cycle is a BFN, and it's time to start thinking about the next cycle.  It's hard to think about giving up on this sperm bank.  It's not like we're using a traditional sperm bank and they just sold our of our top choice donor.  If we stop using this sperm bank, it will fundamentally alter the way our child(ren) grow up.  So these are the possibilities we came up with....  

*Home insemination, which I'm not wild about because we've tried that 3 times without success.

*Pleading with our clinic to find some loophole that will allow us to continue to use this sperm bank.

*Switching to a traditional sperm bank, because thousands of women use them every year and manage to raise normal, well adjusted kids.

*Flying cross country to the sperm bank.  (shipping myself rather than the tank of sperm)  The sperm bank does perform IUIs, but this would be expensive and logistically challenging. 

That's all we've come up with so far.  If anyone out there has any brilliant ideas or insight, we're open to anything!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Is this good luck?

I had another acupuncture appointment the other day. Elizabeth drove me there since I feel too relaxed to drive afterwards. The office is in a semi-residential neighborhood, so she brought the dog so they could both go for a walk while I was in the appointment. While they were walking, a bird crapped on Elizabeth's head. Isn't that supposed to be good luck? Please say it is. Or maybe we just tell people it's good luck so they won't feel so bad about having poo in their hair.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Ahh, Memories

One week of the 2ww down, one to go.  I've gotten good at waiting and the time has gone by fairly quickly this time.  My attitude has changed completely since the first 2ww.   Get ready to go back to the beginning, and hear the story of my first ever attempt to get pregnant.

*December of 2007, when I was at my annual physical, I told my doctor that I'd like to try to start a family.  She referred me to a local fertility clinic that would be covered by my insurance.

*Jan 2008, I have an appointment at the clinic for a consultation.  I am hoping to get a bit more information at this point, find out about the possibility of using a known donor, yada yada yada.  The doctor tries to give me catalogs and have me choose a donor that day.  We are not ready for that.  We had hoped to start trying in the summer, so that the baby would be born AFTER Elizabeth finished her PhD.  We are paired up with a nurse at the clinic who tells us that all we have to do is come in the morning after we get a positive OPK.

*Feb-March 2008, we complete bloodwork, HSG, and all of that other fun testing.

*April 2008, we are still waiting to hear from the potential known donor we asked a few months ago.  He's the only known donor we're considering.

*May 2008, potential known donor says he's unable to be our donor.  He's a very private guy, so we don't ask questions or press the issue.

*June-Sept 2008, we look at lots of profiles and  find a donor we like.  We start temping, doing OPKs taking prenatal vitamins, and waiting for the perfect time to start.

*Sept 2008, my OPK is about to turn positive, so we place our first order for sperm.  We go to the local (satellite office) clinic to have a follicle ultrasound.  The doctor confirms that everything looks great, and tells us we can do the shot, and head to the main clinic for our IUI.  Shot we ask, what shot?  It turns out that the procedure at the clinic is not quite as simple as "get a positive OPK, then come in for your IUI".  Somewhere along the way, someone was supposed to give us a prescription for o.vidrel.  No problem, one of the nurses has some extra o.vidrel in her office, so she injects me and we're on our way.  
We drive an hour to the main clinic, and I am greeted by the receptionist who asks "signingoffonlabels?"  I look confused so she repeats herself.  I still have the deer in headlights look, so she asks again, slowly this time "are. you. signing. off. on. labels."  No, I tell her, I'm here for an IUI.  She smirks in a way that tells me she LOVES confusing the first-timers who don't know the lingo.  She explains in an annoyed tone that before I can do the IUI, I have to go to the andrology department and sign off on sperm, bloodwork, etc.  
After the signing off is dealt with, I wait about an hour and then am called in to the exam room for the IUI.  There are barfing butterflies in my stomach.  The doctor who performs the IUI does not speak a word to me.  After he removes the catheter, he literally slams my legs back together and tells me to leave the door open when I'm done lying down for 15 min.  I am amazed at how unremarkable the procedure seems, and how tiny the vial of sperm was.  Still, Elizabeth and I are hopeful and optimistic.  
When we go to the front desk to sign out and confirm our next appointment, the receptionist tells us that the financial coordinator wants to speak to us.  The financial coordinator informs us that there was a slight change to our insurance, and now we have absolutely no coverage for their services because I have no proven infertility.  She tells us we're going to have to pay $3,000.  I am silent, and almost start to cry.  The financial coordinator then realizes that we did not have a medicated / monitored cycle, so we're only going to owe $800.  This is a bit better, but still hits us hard.
The next day I go in for IUI number 2.  It's pretty much the same as the first, but now I know about signing off on labels.  I also have to sit in the waiting room for 3 hours.  
We were so hopeful after that first round of inseminations.  TV and movies had me prepared to be puking the very next morning.  I kept looking for other symptoms to appear.  Since most people report breast tenderness as one of the first signs, I kept folding my arms across my chest when I was at work in a sneaky attempt to see if I was sore yet.  I was convinced that smells were much stronger than they'd ever been.  The progesterone suppositories gave me a slight woozieness that left me even more convinced that it had worked.  The inseminations were all I could think about or talk about.  
Around the 2 week point, I get my period so I call the clinic to let them know I won't need to come in for the pregnancy test.  The woman on the phone mentions something about the 4 extra vials of sperm we have frozen there.  We're confused, since we only ordered enough for 2 inseminations.  We call the sperm bank to find out what is going on.  It turns out that there were instructions with our tank, the tank that was shipped directly to the andrology department, that said to use THREE VIALS PER INSEMINATION with that particular donor since his count was a little low.  So the idiots at andrology didn't pay attention, and used only 1/3 of the sperm they were supposed to.
Fortunately, since that time we've gotten better about making sure there is communication between the sperm bank and the clinic.  We're better about staying in touch with our nurse and asking questions.  And six failed attempts have made me a little less hopeful, but far more patient during the dreaded two week wait.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Those are NOT jellybeans!

I had my post IUI progesterone test today.  My level was low-  only 5.3.  Even though our nurse says that the progesterone level is not an indicator of whether or not the egg was fertilized, I can't help but feel defeated.  I feel like my body is not doing what it's supposed to do.  
So now I get to go back on the progesterone suppositories.  I'll be taking them not once, not twice, but three times a day.  Yuck.  I hate progesterone.  The pills look innocent enough- almost like jellybeans.  
Who knew they would be such horrible little things?  I hate the mess.  I hate that it mimics the symptoms of early pregnancy.  Most of all, I hate that it throws my cycle off.  The first time I had to use progesterone, I didn't know that it could make my period come a few days late.  I was so excited when I made it through day 28, 29 and 30 without any signs of AF.  But then, just as I was about to test, AF showed up.  I had gotten my hopes so built up, only to be disappointed.  I can only hope that being prepared for the side effects of progesterone will make it easier to deal with this time around.  

Friday, April 10, 2009


    The doctor thought I had at least 3 good looking follicles on Thursday morning.  Last night I went for acupuncture, and then gave myself the trigger shot.  IUI #1 of this cycle was done at 9 this morning, and IUI #2 will be tomorrow at 7:30am. 
     I called out "sick" from work today which is something I rarely do.  Because I live so close to work, I'm sort of housebound now.  I can't exactly go out for lunch or walk the dog because I run the risk of bumping into someone from work.  I discovered very quickly that daytime T.V. is horrible.  So I spent the day reading, taking a nap, and making papier-mâché eggs filled with candy to give to my family and friends.  

    I'm just glad that neither of my IUIs fell on Sunday.  I'm supposed to visit my grandmother for Easter, and she doesn't live anywhere near the clinic we're using.  Plus, one of my other cycles had me going in for IUIs on New Years Eve and New Years Day.  I felt so bad for all the people working at the clinic on a holiday, especially those who had to be up at the crack of dawn after New Years partying!

TTC Timeline

All the cool kids are doing it, so here's my TTC timeline:

9/08- Two IUIs at the clinic with frozen donor #1. BFN

10/08- Ovulated early, missed cycle

11/08- Two IUIs at clinic with frozen donor #1. BFN

12/08- Two home inseminations with frozen donor #1. BFN

12/31/08 -1/01/09 - IUIs at clinic with frozen donor #2. BFN

1/09- Two home inseminations with frozen donor #2. BFN

2/09- Two home inseminations with frozen donor #2. BFN

3/09- Skipped cycle so our nurse at the clinic can get us discount injectables.

4/09- Two IUIs at clinic w/ frozen donor #2. This time we have extensive monitoring and 75 IU g.onal F for 1 week. BFN

5/09- One home insem & 1 IUI at the new doctor w/frozen donor #2. Weekly acupuncture, no meds. BFN

6/09- 1IUI & 1 home insem with frozen donor #2. Injectables (150 IU g.onal F), and minimal u/s monitoring. BFN after a 21 day cycle.

7/09 - 2 IUIs with frozen donor #3.  Extensive monitoring and injectables (150 IU g.onal F).  BFN after a 20 day cycle.  

8/09 - sitting out a cycle while waiting for a consult with our doctor at the clinic.  Hopefully she'll have some idea why the high doses of injectables give me really short cycles.

9/09-  Our doctor recommends we enter the big scary world of IVF

10/09- IVF cycle with frozen donor #3.  18 eggs retrieved.  Only 2 make it to the day 6 transfer.  BFN

11/09- IVF cycle with frozen donor #3.  26 eggs retrieved on Thanksgiving day.  Once again, only 2 make it to the day 6 transfer.  I begin spotting the day before my blood draw.  I know the cycle is a wash, but I go in anyway.  I get the surprise of a lifetime when the clinic sends an email and says that my beta is 148 at 14dpo.

12/12/09- beta #2 is 324!

12/19/09-  beta #3 is 5046.  My first ultrasound reveals 3 gestational sacks and 3 yolk sacks.  I am floored

12/29- beta #4 is 66,700.  The ultrasound reveals 2 definite heartbeats.  The doctor is unsure if the third sack has anything in it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

All my eggs in one basket

Yesterday I went in for a follicle scan and had 4 measuring between 12-15.  I think that's a pretty good response for 4 days with a low dose of injectables.  The clinic we go to is a bit cautious, and does not like to do inseminations if there are more than 5 follicles.  I have to go in tomorrow morning for a second scan, so hopefully I won't have developed more than one additional follicle.
Also, all of my large follicles are on the right ovary, which is the side that I've used for all but one of the injections.  I wonder if it's just a coincidence, or if I should have been injecting on alternating sides.  
In other news, Elizabeth had an interview today for a two year visiting professor position.  Fingers crossed!!!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Shooting up

   This is my first cycle with injectables.  For the past 4 nights I've been anxiously watching the clock, waiting for the time when I can jab a needle into my belly again.  I think I've been so excited about giving myself injections because it makes me feel productive.  I like anything that makes me feel more in control of the situation, whether it's drinking some crazy tea blend or gorging myself on pineapple after each insemination.  Even wearing lucky socks to my appointments makes me feel as though I'm helping to tip the scales in my favor.  I've always been a bit of a control freak, but now I'm becoming a superstitious control freak.  
   The clinic has had me on 75 IU, and they'll raise or lower the dose based on what they see in my follicle scan tomorrow.   I haven't been feeling any different since I started the injections-  no crazy mood swings or horribly swollen ovaries- so I am a bit concerned that I might not be responding to the drugs.  But the sooner I get off this computer, the sooner I can get to bed.  And the sooner I get to bed, the sooner I can wake up, go to my appointment and find out. 

Friday, April 3, 2009

Iowa oh ooo oh, Iowa oh ooooh ooo oh I-Iowa

Holy crap! Iowa just became the third state to make gay marriage legal. C'mon California, you can't be less liberal than Iowa. I guess this also means that Elizabeth and I can expand the job search.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The cool table

For the past few years, I've put a good deal of effort into avoiding the world of blogs/f.acebook/m.yspace and the like. I've seen too many people get sucked in way too far, and forgo actual face-to-face socialization for the sake of working on their blogs, or chatting with f.ace book friends.
All of that changed for me when I realized that this process of trying to get pregnant was going to take much longer than originally anticipated. I suddenly felt an overwhelming need to find community. I needed to know that there were other people out there who were as frustrated with the insanity of this process like I am, so I found some really great blogs that I began to check religiously. Then I started my own little blog. I admit I'm still a bit inept when it comes to blog culture and etiquette. Sure, I could make a blog, and I could read lots of blogs, but how could I actually connect with people through blogs? It felt a bit awkward to post a comment to a complete stranger on a matter as personal at TTC. I finally worked up the nerve to post a comment at Amy and Melissa's Baby Blog . So the next day when I was browsing blogs at work (during my lunch break, I swear- I would never waste company time) I saw my little blog listed under TTC on Amy and Melissa's Baby Blog. It felt like I was in junior high, and had just been invited to sit at the cool kids table.