Friday, October 23, 2009

All dressed up but not quite ready to go

Thank you.  Yeah, you.  Your support and kind words meant so much.  It was probably the only thing that kept me from curling up in bed and hiding under the covers for a week.

I had braced myself for the worst at my consultation on Wednesday, but overall I think it went well.  My doctor thinks that I responded perfectly to the protocol they used.  The real problem was in the fertilization.  Apparently, it took a long time for my eggs to fertilize.  Some of them didn't fertilize at all, most likely because they had been sitting around in the petri dish too long.  The eggs that did fertilize grew slowly, and were on the small side even when they reached blastocyst stage.  My doctor does not believe that this is a sign of poor egg quality, but that I was triggered too early.  Even though the follicles looked big on the ultrasound and the hormone levels came back at the right level, my eggs are just a bunch of teenagers with fake I.D.s.  They might pretend to be mature, but they're really not.

I am frustrated that my eggs were retrieved so early.  Back in the day when I was doing unmedicated cycles, my follicles were in the 26-28mm range when I got a positive OPK.  At my first medicated cycle, I was told that I'd trigger when I had a follicle at 16- 18mm.  I questioned the doctor twice about this and reminded her that my follicles got much bigger than that.  But she insisted that 16 was mature, and I figured that I wasn't one to question the experts.  Of course I've spent the past few days wondering if my IUIs failed because the doctors have been triggering me too early the whole time.  On the other hand, I'm really hoping that the immature egg theory is the only reason why I'm not pregnant yet.  That seems easy enough to fix.  

Today, I went in for my day 3 scan and bloodwork.  Around noon I got the call that everything looks okay.  So tonight, I took a birth control pill and started IVF round 2.  Bring it on.

Monday, October 19, 2009

I need ice cream

You know that kid who can't seem to knock a single bowling pin down, even when there are bumpers in the gutters?

 Yeah, that's me.  

I've been hesitant to write this post, because nobody wants to be a Debbie Downer.  Everyone  in blogland has been so sweet, cheering me on.  I'm saddened and embarrassed to say that I've hit BFN #11.  Even when doctors take my eggs out of my body and dump 'em in a dish with sperm, then put the embryos back into my body , I can't seem to make a baby.  This was supposed to work.  I don't know what went wrong.  I made 18 eggs and the saline sonogram shows that my uterus is in great condition.  Sometimes, I worry that I keep getting negatives because I'm a bad person- that this is some kind of punishment because I forgot to give to NPR or something like that.  (I'm not religious, so I don't know who or what I think is doling out these punishments.)  

I was lucky enough to get a follow up appointment with my doctor for this week.  I hope she can shed some light onto why this happened.  Gonna go eat some ice cream now.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Questions answered- part 2

Bao in the oven asked:

Because I'm also partnered to someone who will eventually (fingers crossed) have a PhD, my question is about how the two of you see your careers relying on each other's. In other words, will y'all move wherever her career takes her? Are there places she won't even consider because you couldn't find a job or wouldn't want to live there?

I've let my career take a back seat while Elizabeth worked on her PhD. I always figured that I would decide what I want to do once she's gotten a job somewhere. I think part of the reason I've been hesitant to explore what I really want to do job-wise is because I don't want my career needs to conflict with hers. It would be hard if I found an ideal job here, but she was offered a tenure track position in California. Our plans to have a family together have a huge impact on where we're willing to live. She's not applying for jobs in places like Alabama or Oklahoma because we don't want to deal with laws that would be hostile to our family situation.

what is your favorite food memory?

Favorite food memory #1 is every Thanksgiving with my family. It's 3 days of non-stop eating. Every time you turn around, someone is putting out a dish of marinated long stem artichoke hearts or good cheese, etc. When Elizabeth and I were trying to figure out how we were going to handle spending holidays together, the only thing I wanted was Thanksgiving. I told her that we could spend every single other holiday with her family as long as we got to do Thanksgiving with mine.
Favorite food memory #2 is when Elizabeth took me to Blue Hill at the Stone Barn Center for my birthday 2 years ago. First we had a tour of the beautiful grounds and had the chance to sample tomatoes and green beans straight off the vines. Then we had lunch in the restaurant. During the summer they just bring you plate after plate of whatever is good and fresh that day. Everything we ate was grown / raised on the property, and every bite was perfect.

What's your dream vacation?

I would love to be one of those people who just sells her house and spends a year traveling the world. Of course, this is very much a dream because I don't even have a house to sell!

and a question from Libberal:

What are you favorite foods, and why?

I particularly love trying food from different places because I think it's so interesting to experience different flavor combinations and cooking methods. When I was about 10, I was visiting a nearby city with my mother and we passed an Ethiopian restaurant. I asked if we could try it, but she already had dinner plans. I continued to pester her for over a year to go to the restaurant, but she always said no. Then one day, she went with some friends and decided that she didn't like Ethiopian food. I gave her the cold shoulder for a week because I was so mad. I knew that without my mother to give me a ride, I'd have to wait until I got my drivers license to try Ethiopian food!
I love almost all food. Sometimes when I'm bored I'll go through the alphabet in my head and try to come up with my favorite food for each letter. I love dosas and vada and bhel puri and rasam. I love pho and tiny rice noodles with bbq pork and mint. I love pad kee mao and red curry. I love black curry and kotthu roti and and chicken biryani. I can stuff myself silly with rice and peas and plantains and oxtail. Tamales and tacos al pastor make me swoon. I love things that are terrible for me, like rillets and salumi platters and duck confit and cheese. You would know there is something wrong with me if I ever turned down ice cream. I love raspberries because there were raspberries growing in my yard as a child and I think they taste like sunshine. If I had to make a very general statement about my preferences, I'd say that I lean towards Asian and Latin American / Carribean food, and I like bold flavors.

Justine from Figboiler asked:

*what's on your to-do-before-40/ 50/ death (you name the deadline) list?

Besides having a baby? I would love to lear how to play any kind of musical instrument. I want to own a home.  I want to find a career that I love.  
My silly, and very doable to-do-item is to eat an ice cream cone with at least 3 scoops of different flavors.

*if it were all expense paid, where would you go on vacation?

I'd probably go to India, since it's so different from anyplace I've ever been and I know I'd like the food. Or maybe I'd bum around Europe for a while like all the rich kids do after they graduate.

*what's your favorite: dinner, treat, splurge, standby dinner? included recipes will be happily accepted!

My favorite dinner is anything that anyone else cooks for me. It's not because I'm lazy, but because I think cooking for someone else is a very loving thing to do. It makes me so happy to think that someone cares about me enough to put the effort into cooking. My favorite treat is good cheese. After each BFN, I buy myself little consolation prize of raw milk cheese. My favorite splurge is truffle salt. It seems like an insane amount of money to spend on a tiny jar of salt, but a little goes a long way. If you sprinkle it on popcorn with some butter and freshly grated parmesan cheese, people will think you're a genius. My standby dinner is red curry. I always have coconut milk and curry paste in the house, so it's a good way to use up any veggies or meat left over in the fridge. When I do parties, I tend to cater to the least common denominator since some of my friends are very picky. My turkey burger sliders (some of my friends don't eat beef) always go over really well. The secret is crushed chipotle peppers and worcestershire sauce.

*what are you doing with your days/ nights now that you aren't allowed to use google?

I saw a play the other day and did lunch with my brother. I went to a birthday party for my friend's son. I made caramel apples, and I am trying to figure out my halloween costume for the party we're throwing.

Journey Towards Our Baby asked:

1. Who is your favourite artist, and if you have one what is your favourite piece of art.

I don't have one favorite, but I love anytime art comes out of the museum and into the community. It can be anything from the orange gates in Central Park to a dragon made out of sand at the beach in San Francisco. I love anything that breaks the monotony of everyday and makes you think or smile.

2. If you could see any musician in concert, alive or dead, who would it be?

As odd as he was in his later years, I really wish I had gotten the chance to see Michael Jackson. When he was good, he was really good and you can't deny that he was incredibly influential. And I think his music will always be associated with our generation. I imagine my children will be shocked to learn that I never went to a Michael Jackson concert.

And last but not least, a question from Poppycat:

- What are three things you always have in your kitchen Gayby?

Like you, I always have a dog waiting for anything to fall on the floor. I always have lots of condiments- Elizabeth will put hoisin sauce on anything. I always have a giant hunk of parmesan cheese for grating.

- Describe your favorite pair of shoes and and tell us why you love them.

Ok, here's a picture of my favorite shoes:

I love them because I think they're cute, and I get compliments on them whenever I wear them. They have also led me to other pairs of shoes. They may be cute, but they are horribly uncomfortable. I made the mistake of wearing them when I was in London last year, on a day when we were doing a lot of walking. When I couldn't take it anymore, I just walked into a store and bought a cute pair of flats!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Your burning questions answered, part 1

Because inquiring minds want to know...part 1 of your questions answered!

From alimis:

You have mentioned that you job is not your ideal job, so I am curious, what is your job and what would you rather be doing every day instead?

My current job is in an academic library.   When Elizabeth got accepted to grad school, I needed to find a job quickly to support us both.  I had library experience and this job was available.  I’ve stuck with it because the benefits are good.

I’m not really sure what my ideal job is.  I didn’t have much direction in college, so I always worry that I don’t have the right background to get a better job.  At the moment, I think it would be really cool to do one of the edible schoolyard projects or maybe something with urban agriculture.  The only problem is that I have no experience in agriculture or education, so that's not an option unless I go back to school. 


From Metalstork:

How did you meet your partner?

We met in college.  She was a sophomore transfer student and I was a senior.  I would see her in the living room or the dining hall of our dorm and thought she was cute.  I tried to get any information I could about her from mutual acquaintences.  Everything I heard about Elizabeth made her seem like someone I’d really like.  Suddenly I turned into a shy middle-schooler.  I made a blabbermouth mutual friend of ours tell her that there was someone who was interested in her just to gage if she was interested in being in a relationship.  We had a coffee date a day or two later.  I was smitten, but I didn’t know how she felt.  It was the week of Valentine’s Day.  On Valentine’s Day eve, Elizabeth and I were studying in the living room of our dorm with about 6 other people.  After Elizabeth went to bed, I put a bouquet of flowers and a card outside her door letting her know that I really liked her.  I thought she’d find it in the morning, but she found it later that night and came running back down the stairs to the living room.  I wasn’t ready to deal with rejection in the event that she wasn’t interested in me, so I pretended to be asleep on the couch.  She shook me “awake” to make plans for a second date.


From Adventures in BabyMaking:

What did you both want to be when you grew up? How many siblings do you have?

I wanted to be a writer.  My favorite subjects in elementary school were reading and creative writing.  I thought that because I wrote really long stories, it meant they were very good.  Elizabeth wanted to be a singing hairdresser.  I’m not sure how she thought that would work out.  Elizabeth can NOT sing.  I'm not kidding.  Even when she tries to hum a tune, I can't tell what it is.

I have 1 brother who I grew up with.  We’re a year apart.  We fought all the time as kids, but get along pretty well now.  My father had an affair when I was about 5, and got another woman pregnant.  (my mom promptly kicked him out) So I also have a half sister who is 6 years younger than I am.  She lived with her mom and my father about ½ hour away from us until my sister was 4.  Then my sister and her mother moved from Connecticut to Indiana.  I used to see her about 1 or 2 times a year, but then it became clear what a jerk my father is and he would only pay to have her fly out about every other year.  I have trouble staying in touch with my sister because she moves around a lot and doesn’t always give me updated contact information.  She’s struggling a lot, because she has never had a strong adult in her life.  Her mother is very unstable.  The whole situation makes me very sad.  

Monday, October 12, 2009

3...or is it 2.5dp6dt

After the nurse told me that they got 18 eggs at my retrieval, I spent the rest of the day floating along on a fluffy little cloud of optimism.  The next day, I got the call that there were 6 eggs developing normally.  (I've been hesitant to put that number on my blog, because posting it makes it real, and it depresses me to know that 2/3 of my eggs were just no good)  Still, I tried to stay optimistic.  Fine, I won't be the next Michelle Duggar, but I can match the Bradys.  If they all stayed on track, 2 embryos for the upcoming transfer, plus 4 to freeze wouldn't be too bad.  The following week was torture for my impatient self.  Patients at my clinic are told in writing not to call and ask about the progress of their embryos.  I hated not knowing if my embryos were good quality, or if there were any embryos left at all.   
At my transfer on Saturday morning the doctor whizzed into my curtained off area, handed me a photo of 2 embryos and said, "that's all there is, we'll do the transfer in just a few minutes" and then he was off.  The transfer itself was uneventful. But the doctor left just as quickly as he came in, so I didn't get to ask about the quality of my embryos.  Given that I went from 18 eggs down to just 2 embryos, I'm concerned that the quality is not so hot.    
I realize that I am very lucky to have made it to the transfer stage of the game.  I know that not everyone gets there, and I should be a bit more grateful.  Try as I might, I can't fight the pessimism.  It doesn't help that I don't have any symptoms yet.  I'm driving myself crazy by googling 3dp6dt, where I find nothing but women talking about how they all had horrible cramps by now.  And I've been googling blastocyst pictures, comparing mine to the ideal specimens featured on IVF websites.  I'm convinced that mine look strange.  I'm going crazy.  
In order to prevent a google induced meltdown, I'm going to copy some of the other bloggers out there and beg for distractions.  If anyone out there has any questions they want to ask, feel free to ask away!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Update....with no information!

I've had a very difficult time getting any information from the clinic about the IVF process.  It's getting quite frustrating.  About 24 hours post retrieval, the nurse called and told me how many eggs were developing normally. I asked if there were any other eggs that had fertilized and stopped developing already, and she said she didn't know, but I could ask after my transfer on Wednesday.  The nurse said that on Wednesday morning before 11, I'd get a call letting me know what time to come in for the transfer.   

On Wednesday, the clinic finally called Elizabeth's cell phone at 11.  The told her that my embryos were doing well, and my transfer had been pushed back to Friday for a 5 day transfer.  She asked the nurse how many embryos were left, and the nurse said she had no information on the matter, but that we could find out after the transfer.  

So today, I got up nice and early.  I took a pregnancy test to make sure the trigger shot was out of my system.  And then I called out "sick" from work.  This is something I rarely do.  I especially hate calling out sick on Fridays because I know it looks suspicious.  But what can I do?  I relaxed and had a leisurely morning at home with the dog.  By 10:00 I was getting very excited for the impending phone call.  By 11:20, I was frantic.  I was sure that all of my embryos had arrested.  At 11:30, I finally called the clinic to find out what was going on.  Apparently my embryos are still looking okay, but are a bit slow to self select.  I have been pushed back to a 6 day transfer.  I tried once again to find out how many embryos are left, but the nurse had no information and said I could find out at the transfer.  

Between not knowing how many embryos I have, how the embryos are doing, or when the transfer will take place, I am very frustrated with the lack of information from the clinic.  Patients are not allowed to contact embryology.  We live in a world where people can monitor their pets at doggy daycare via webcam.  I don't think it's too much to ask to get an update on my potential future children.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Retrieval Update

I had my retrieval at 11 this morning.  I was a bit freaked out that all my follicles would have exploded or dissolved before I made it to the clinic.  When the nurse took my vitals before handing me over to the anesthesiologist, my pulse and blood pressure were WAAAAY higher than normal.  Elizabeth and I waited for what seemed like an eternity in my little curtained off hospital bed.  Great, plenty of time for me to get even more nervous.  

Finally, I was called into the procedure room.  I remember the anesthesiologist putting an oxygen mask over my face and telling me to think of my favorite place.  I remember him putting the drugs into my IV.  I remember looking at the light overhead, and thinking "I hope this doesn't take long".  And then Elizabeth was standing over me in the recovery room.  

As soon as I was conscious, I felt some crazy need to prove how alert I was.  While I was waiting to go into the procedure room, I had heard the people in the beds next to me, groggy and mumbling after they woke up.  My control freak self said that I just couldn't be one of those crazy mumbling women.  So I made a point of being super chatty with the nurse, which probably just made me seem like a weirdo.  

Overall, the retrieval was much better than I expected.  I haven't felt any pain or nausea, and was up and ready to go within 1/2 hour of being wheeled out of the recovery room.  And they got 18 eggs!  Now I am waiting on pins and needles for the phone call on Monday, when I find out if any of them fertilized.

Lucky duck socks in the recovery room

Friday, October 2, 2009

Knock me out, knock me up

I'm tired.  I've been getting up extra early each morning for the cattle call b/w & u/s appointments to check my response to the IVF drugs.  My follicles have been plugging along nicely.  Initially, I was told that my retrieval would happen between the 5th and the 8th.  So you can imagine my surprise when I was told to trigger Friday night for a Sunday (the 4th!) morning retrieval.  It's all happening so quickly.  For the first time in months I'm feeling excited and optimistic.  It's a very guarded optimism though.  I know that things can fall apart at any moment.  Just because I made a few eggs doesn't mean that any will fertilize, or implant.  

I'm nervous about the retrieval.  I've always been weirded out about being put under.  When I was 12, and the dentist told be I'd need to have my wisdom teeth pulled someday, I freaked out.  I was worried that, like people in sitcoms, I'd start talking and divulging secrets while under anesthesia.  At 12, my biggest fear was that I would somehow reveal that I was gay.  As if the moment my eyes closed, I'd scream "I love titties!"  So while I'm no longer a closeted kid worried about coming out while drugged, I'm still a control freak.  And the idea of being knocked out still makes me a bit uncomfortable.  It's like being drunk in front of a group of sober people.