Monday, June 29, 2009


We had a BBQ over the weekend to celebrate our friend Angela's birthday, our friend Mr. Fantastic's birthday and Elizabeth's dissertation defense.  Usually it rains when we plan an outdoor party, but for the first time in about 3 years the weather held out.  We crammed over 20 people into our tiny patch of dirt of a backyard, including 4 kids.  I went overboard and made 3 kinds of ice cream cookie sandwiches- chocolate chip cookies w/ vanilla ice cream, peanut butter cookies w/ chocolate ice cream, and chocolate cookies w/ strawberry ice cream.  They're so easy to make, but everyone is always very impressed by them.  Some of the guests ate one of each!

Overall, it was a great evening.  There was just one teensy awkward moment.  Our friends Kelly and Janelle asked Mr. Fantastic if he would consider being a sperm donor for them.  At the party.  Right over the potato salad.  Talk about putting a guy on the spot.  First of all, Mr. Fantastic is VERY guarded about his private life.  Just watching him clam up was uncomfortable.  He is not the type of guy to casually discuss sharing his DNA in front of a large group of people.  The whole thing was made even more inappropriate because this was the first time Kelly had met Mr. Fantastic.  He used to live in the area and is close with Janelle, but he lives out of state now and only visits a few times a year.  Kelly had known him for about 20 minutes when she asked him if he'd consider donating.  He's a good looking guy, and Kelly was obviously picking him apart from the moment she laid eyes on him.  She kept going on about how handsome he was, and that her jaw dropped when he walked into the room.  Mr. Fantastic responded with a quick, "We'll have to talk about this later" and then walked away.  

I hate to feel like a bad friend, but I hope that he says no.  Sure, some of it stems from the fact that Kelly and Janelle don't even live together yet, and that their relationship is a bit rocky. Some of it is because Kelly's biological clock is loudly ticking, but Janelle is unsure if she wants kids.  But the biggest reason why I hope he says no is also the most selfish, and hardest to admit.  

About 3 years ago, out of the blue Mr. Fantastic told Elizabeth that if we ever wanted kids that he'd be OUR sperm donor.  We were ecstatic.  For the next two years we imagined our own features combined with his, dreamt of how wonderful he'd be with children, etc.  So a little over a year ago when we decided that we would start trying soon, we reminded him of his offer.  He didn't reply for months.  Elizabeth finally checked in with him, and he told us that medically, he wasn't able to be a donor.   We both respect his privacy, and didn't press the issue or ask for details, but there was always a part of me that wondered if the "medical reasons" excuse he gave was legit or just a way of trying to let us down easily.  So if he does end up donating to Kelly and Janelle, Elizabeth and I will both be hurt.  I think Elizabeth will be upset mostly because one of her closest friends wasn't truthful with her.  I think I would be most upset that he chose another couple over us- that he decided we weren't worthy but they are.  

I know I'm getting way ahead of myself and assuming the worst.  I want to give Mr. Fantastic the benefit of the doubt and believe he was honest with us.  If Kelly and Janelle do pursue the matter further, I'm sure he'll say no.  I was just unprepared for a conversation like that at our party, and unprepared for how I'd feel about someone else swooping in on the guy who was almost our known donor.  The whole thing was just a little bit awkward.

Friday, June 26, 2009

An apology to Elizabeth

And now for something completely unrelated to TTC...

We're moving in about a month, so I thought it would be a good idea to begin clearing out the freezer. It's full of little unlabeled containers of this and that. I thought I'd remember what everything was, but the contents of a number of the containers remain a mystery. I hate to waste food, so I decided to give the mystery containers to the dog, who will happily eat anything. So today I put a half portion of kibbles in her bowl, and topped it off with a small container of what I thought might be a butternut bisque.

Nope. It was curried chickpeas.

I got to leave for the safety of work as the dog was gobbling it all down. But Elizabeth- my poor Elizabeth- is stuck at home with the dog and her stinky puppy farts all day. Sorry honey.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Elizabeth (a.k.a "cupcake" by a select few) defended her dissertation today.  I'm pretty sure it went well.  I tried to meet her outside the building with flowers, but she was heading out to lunch with her committee and couldn't give me any details.  

I am so incredibly proud of her.  She came into this PhD program without a Masters Degree and still managed to get her degree in 5 short years.  She's way ahead of anyone in her incoming class- nobody else has managed to complete their dissertations in such a short amount of time.  She's also managed to do a lot of teaching while writing, present papers at conferences, and get an article published.  She's one of the smartest, most driven people I've ever met.  Ok, I'm done bragging.

The completion of the dissertation has also been a bit stressful. The last 5 years of our lives have been built around this moment.  We left a community we loved to come to this school.  Elizabeth busted her ass to complete her dissertation early.  Just in time for the stellar 2009 economy.  The academic job market is always tough, but this year is particularly bad.  It's not uncommon for there to be upwards of 300 applicants for a single position.  Highly overqualified people are applying for entry-level assistant professor jobs.  This doesn't bode well for people like Elizabeth.  She was just a few months away from officially having her PhD when schools were hiring for the 2009 / 2010 academic year.  There's no way a new grad can compete against someone who already has a book out.

Elizabeth did get few interviews- some at really good schools- but no job offers .  It's been really tough on her self esteem.  She's also freaking out that she'll have to work at St.arbucks or Bar.nes and N.oble in order to have income this fall.  I'm hoping that she can get a last minute adjunct job at one of the many universities nearby.  Maybe working part time and getting some more articles published would put her in a better position for jobs next year.  This is definitely not where we planned to be upon Elizabeth's degree completion.  But I suppose if I've learned anything over these past few months it's that life rarely goes exactly as planned, and you've just got to roll with it.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

It's not you, it's me

 Since I've decided to switch clinics and sperm banks for my next cycle, I've got some breaking up to do.  This is harder than I thought.  I really loved the little sperm bank we were using.   The director knows us by name, and was always friendly and helpful over the phone.   Everyone at the OBGYN we used for the last two inseminations was wonderful.  The doctor performed the IUIs for less than half the price of the fancy clinic.  The nurse / receptionist bitched out our insurance company for denying us coverage for fertility treatment.  It was the first time anyone has gone to bat for us.
So what do you do when you break up with the nice girl?  You lie through your teeth.  I am a chickenshit coward.  I've told the clinic and the sperm bank that we're going to take a break from trying to get pregnant.  That's the oldest breakup trick in the book.  Tell 'em you need a little break and then slip off to the shiny new lover.  I feel guilty, but I have to do what's practical.  When I started TTC, I felt so strongly about staying away from fertility drugs, using the sperm bank with ID release at 3 months, etc.  But I supposed I'm a fair weather lover, and I've cracked under the pressure of multiple failures.  So... sorry little sperm bank and friendly OBGYN, but I've got to say goodbye.  It's been fun, but dragging this out any longer would only hurt us both.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

You're a bit early, ma'am

On Friday night, 9 days after my IUI, I noticed a little spotting.  "Aha, the elusive implantation spotting", I thought to myself.  But by saturday morning, the spotting had picked up and AF showed up in full force later that evening.  That means I had a 21 day cycle this month.  

I want to thank everyone who commented on my last post, it's been truly helpful to me as I decide where to go from here.  The 21 day cycle has me really concerned.  As nice as this new doctor is, infertility is not his specialty.  He scheduled my progesterone test for a full week after the IUI, which seems a bit late to me.  So now I'm crawling back to the fancy clinic with my tail between my legs.  Even though it felt like I was on a conveyor belt there at times, I realize that 9 failed attempts means that I really need the services they offer.  

The big issue with going back to the fancy clinic is that we won't be able to use the sperm bank that has ID release at 3 months.  It's been very hard to give that up, and I've spent a good part of the weekend feeling guilty.  On the flip side, it has been exciting to look at new donors.  I always feel a renewed sense of hope when I change things up.  Still, it's getting harder and harder to muster up that hope.  9 failures is a lot.  I don't know of anyone who has had 9 failures and still managed to get a BFP without switching to IVF.  There is absolutely no way I can afford IVF.  We can't switch carriers and try to get Elizabeth pregnant at this point because she's on the academic job market.  Nobody wants to hire a pregnant professor.  I am hoping beyond hope that changing donors and a little help from the clinic will be just the thing we need to get a BFP.

I feel pretty

Notice anything different about me?  Nope, I'm still not knocked up, but my blog is so pretty!  I've been trying to make my own header, but had no luck as my computer skills are virtually non-existent.  Then I noticed that all of the loveliest blogs had a little "header by calliope" button.  So I finally put 2 + 2 together and clicked on the button.  Before the weekend was over, I had a lovely custom made header.  I highly recommend her to anyone who wants a really unique blog design.  

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The next station is...

I'm not sure where to go from here. Do I get off the train or keep on riding? I'm nearly a week into TWW #9, and I'm already pretty sure that this cycle is a bust. In my previous 8 attempts, I feel like I've always had a clear plan of attack in the event that I got a BFN. But now that I've gotten through 9 attempts (if you count the current) without a single BFP, I wonderif it's time to re-evaluate.
In a nutshell, here's what I've done so far:

Frozen Donor #1
*2 un-medicated IUIs
*1 un-medicated home insem
(switched at the urging of the clinic due to low-ish count)

Frozen Donor #2
*2 un-medicated IUIs
*2 un-medicated home insems
*2 IUIs with gonal-f

Am I crazy to think this will ever work for me? Should I just quit this TTC madness before I drive myself further into debt?

One of the lesbian conception books (I can't remember if it's Pepper or Brill) says that sometimes a woman and a donor are perfectly healthy and normal, but incompatible with each other. I'm not quite sure if I buy into that, but I am thinking of switching donors. If I do give up onthis donor, I will most likely have to give up on my sperm bank as well. I'm having a hard time giving up on my sperm bank because they release the identity of the donor when the child is 3 months old, which is something I was really drawn to. Sometimes I think I need to tough it out with this sperm bank because I'd love to give my child the opportunity to know his or her father from the beginning. Othertimes I tell myself to get practical and do what it takes to get the job done, even if it's not how I originally envisioned things.

If anyone wants to weigh in, I'd love to hear from you. How attached are / were you to a particular donor or sperm bank? What makes you stick with it or switch things up? I'm especially interested in hearing from some of the ladies who are taking the local train to Conceptionville. How many tries would you / did you give the guy to get the job done?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Going Solo

Round 9 inseminations complete.  Elizabeth is teaching two classes during summer session at the university, so this is the first time she was unable to come to an insemination with me.  I was a bit nervous about getting there, since the new doctor is about an hour away, and I hate driving.  But I had our brand new GPS with me, so I figured everything would be okay.  

About 1/2 way into the trip, I realized that I would be making it to my 3pm appointment by the skin of my teeth.  The new doctor likes us to have the sperm thawed when we get to the office, and I knew there wouldn't be time to start the thaw in the parking lot.  So I pulled into a rest stop, right behind a pickup with a McCain Palin sticker and began fumbling around with the nitrogen tank.  As clouds of nitrogen began filling the car, I am sure that the person in the pickup assumed I was a terrorist.  I used the socks I had in my purse (because you never know when you'll be in stirrups) as gloves and removed the vial.  Once again, I momentarily forgot that cars have windows and everyone could see me, I tucked the vial into my bra to thaw.  

As I sped off, I remembered that Elizabeth and I had switched cars before the appointment, and she had the car with the E-Z pass.  I was rapidly approaching the toll booths, and as usual had no cash on me.  So I tried to dig around in Elizabeth's messy car and find enough change for the tolls, all while keeping my eyes on the road and making sure the sperm didn't slip out of my bra.  Fortunately I managed to find enough change for the tolls, but as I was slowing down for the toll booth, the sperm began to slip in my bra.  So once again, I momentarily forgot that cars have windows and everyone could see me, and I stuck my hand in my shirt and began re-adjusting the sperm.  The people who had slowed for the tolls around me probably thought I was trying to save time by doing my monthly self exam while commuting.  

I made it to the doctor's office just in time, and was able to hand my just-thawed sperm to the nurse.  It was a bit strange to have an IUI done without Elizabeth by my side, but at this point the procedure feels so routine that I don't quite need the support like I used to.  I think she feels much worse about it than I do.  And so begins TWW number 9.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Bat boys and frat boys

I looked out the window at work this morning, and saw what looked like a leaf fluttering in the breeze. I looked a bit closer and realized it was an injured bat. I know, most people think bats are gross or creepy, but I like them. Maybe I’m just odd, or maybe I’m such a champion of the underdog that I have to like the weird animals. Anyway, I instantly dropped what I was doing and ran outside with a cardboard box to try to protect the bat from being trampled by passersby. It looked like someone was about to step on her, but then he stopped and helped me get her into the box. I can tell I’m ovulating because as he was helping me I thought, “Hmm, he’s nice, he’s tall and good looking, I’d buy his sperm.” The bat is currently chilling in the box near my desk, waiting to go to the bat rehab center.

And on a completely different note...the university where I work lets staff take classes for free, as long as the classes don’t conflict with their work. So this summer I’m taking a theater appreciation class. I’ve always enjoyed going to the theater, so I thought it would be nice to learn a bit more about it, even if it is an intro level class with a bunch of undergrads.

Anyway, last night the entire class went to a play. The instructor was not there, as he had already seen the play. There was one scene in the play where one of the main characters kisses another man in a club. There is about a 2 minute flirtation scene between the two men. From the back of the theater, there was a loud outburst of laughter when the two men kissed. This was not mean to be a funny scene. Throughout the rest of the scene, there were very loud groans of disgust when the two men interacted. I was in the front of the theater, and the (very distinctly frat boy) laughter was coming from the back. True, it was a small theater, but I could still hear him loud and clear. I am absolutely positive that it was someone in the class who was making all the noise. I am sure I can’t be the only one who was offended.
So now I’m unsure of what to do. Part of me wants to tell the professor, because it was incredibly disrespectful to the actors and audience. If this class is about theater appreciation, this kid needs to learn how to behave in a theater. The other part of me feels like I’d be an immature tattle tale if I made a big deal about it. My next class isn’t until Monday, so I suppose I have time to think about it.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Yesterday afternoon I went to the new doctor’s office for a follicle scan. I have been doing 150 IU of g.onal F for the past week, and this was my first scan for this cycle. The new doctor is much more laid back than the fancy clinic, and doesn’t do excessive testing. The fancy clinic made me go in almost every day for u/s and bloodwork. I have to admit, after going for a whole week without checking my progress I was nervous that my results would be on either end of the extremes. Either my ovaries would be on the verge of explosion, or I’d find out that I hadn’t responded to the meds at all. Fortunately, I was right in the middle, with about 4-5 good looking follicles. The largest one was 20mm, and the others were in the 15-18 range.

He told me to trigger or on Wednesday morning, and go in for the IUI on Thursday afternoon. The fancy clinic always had me trigger at night, so I’d shoot up and then go to bed and not think about it. But triggering in the morning is totally different. I usually have trouble focusing at work, but today is especially bad. I’m going crazy trying to see if I can feel anything from the trigger shot. I know, it should take at least 24 hours for ovulation, but I’m impatient…and bored at work.