Patience & Sarah

My mom told me when I was little about a Native American tribe that had a tradition of giving children a middle name with a virtue they needed to work on. She bestowed me with the middle name “patience”.

(Off topic: have you read that book? Not the best book I’ve ever read, but it’s about lesbians in a puritan/old-timey setting, and y’all know how much I love old-timey settings.)

I’m 39 weeks today and my emotions are…complicated. Obviously I’m in considerable physical discomfort. My back hurts. My stomach aches from cramps and contractions. I can’t poop anything besides tiny little nuggets after the largest effort you’ve ever seen (yeah, I said it), I can’t sleep for more than a few hours – at most – at a time, I can’t get comfortable, etc etc blah blah.

Emotionally I’m all over the map. I’m excited, I’m nervous, I’m exasperated, I’m irritable, I’m short tempered, I’m weepy, etc etc blah blah. One second I want to murder the cat because he won’t stop trying to jump in the pack ‘n’ play and the next second I’m cuddling him and leaking tears over how his life is going to change once the baby gets here and I won’t have time for him anymore and *sob*.

Phew! Time for a palate cleanser.

kitten-situps

I told Tammy the other day that I feel like a five year old waiting for Christmas combined with a person suffering from odontophobia knowing they have an appointment at the dentist soon but no one will tell them when that appointment is. It could be sprung on them at any moment! Out of nowhere a dentist looms toward them with the mask and the scary light and the instruments of dental torture!

dentist 2

I never thought I’d make it as far as I have. Even knowing that first time moms tend to go a little over their due date, I was sure, deep down in my bones, that this baby girl would come early. I still technically have a week until my due date but the constant cycle of hope (“could this be it?!”) to defeat (“nope. fuck.”) brings up uncomfortably depressing memories of the two week wait.

I’ve been having regular, time-able contractions since this past weekend. Most of the time they’re about 10 minutes apart, but occasionally they spread out to more like 15 or 20 (or even 30) minutes apart, of they get closer together – like 5 minutes or even 3 minutes. I’ll get all excited about the 3 or 5 minute apart contractions but until a few days ago changing positions or eating/drinking would make them go away. HOWEVER, yesterday walking around and/or eating didn’t make them go away – and plus they were getting stronger and more intense. After days of having my hope crushed I allowed myself to start to think that maybe, possibly, could be…and then it wasn’t. They spaced out and got more sporadic – some 8 minutes apart, some 15, etc.

unimpressed cat

We read in our Lamaze labor and delivery book that this is classic pre-labor. It was comforting and exciting to read about my symptoms as being normal and generally part of the overall process, but I nearly threw the book across the room when I read this could continue for days or even weeks. What do you mean weeks, Lamaze book?! Weeks is not an acceptable word to use in this context!! These contractions are mostly not too terrible – just uncomfortable. Every now and then I have one that ups the ante on the ol’ pain scale and takes my breath away. But then they go back to being uncomfortable.

wtf is that

Honestly, I do feel like I’ll make to delivery physically OK, but mentally?

kermit dance

Your bet is as good as mine.

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Things that Irritate Me Today

ITEM:
The fact that I take a fist full of vitamins daily. I’m too paranoid to stop taking them.Vitamins(clockwise from the top red one: prenatal + DHA, fish oil, estrace, colace (I *heart* colace), royal jelly, CoQ10 x2)

ITEM
The fact that I can’t remember if I took my estrace this morning. And I’m having an internal panic – do I take another one just in case I DIDN’T take it? Can you overdose on estrace? Do I NOT take one in case I DID remember to take it? Called my nurse but she hasn’t responded yet. Grump. Anyone have any suggestions?

ITEM
The fact that I had this email waiting for me when I got to work (excerpt):

Over the past couple of days they have had “heavy” coverage of [redacted] issues on their web site and also, I noted in the “paper” edition of this morning.

NO. Just NO. Your quotations license is revoked. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

ITEM
The fact that my clinic starts counting the two-week wait when you have your transfer, not when the embryos are made. So REALLY I have a two-and-a-mother-fucking-HALF week wait.

The Pirate has Commandeered the Mother…Ship

The transfer went well yesterday. The appointment was set for 9:15, but we had to be there at 8:45. Due to the general suckitude of the traffic, we decided to stay in a hotel 1/2 a mile from the clinic, and that was an AWESOME decision.

Tammy has to travel for work more often than we’d like, but the upside of this is that she has hotel points. Cashing in those suckers was SUCH a good idea. We didn’t have to pay for the room (which is good, because we have no mas money after paying for all this IVF shit), got to sleep in, had an awesome breakfast at the hotel, didn’t have to sit in traffic, and got to the clinic in literally 3 minutes.

When we got to the clinic, I was told to put on booties (AGAIN WITH THE BOOTIES) but didn’t have to change into anything else. Except take my pants off. (Isn’t that a given?)

booties

They made Tammy put on booties as well. On one hand, I don’t really understand WHY we had to put on the booties, but it made it seem more sanitary (I guess? Like are they worried they’re going to drop the blast on my dirty foot?).

I got another ID wrist band.

wrist ID

And then the doctor came in and ran us through the stats:

23 eggs retrieved
18 mature enough for ICSI
15 fertilized normally (I found out an additional one fertilized abnormally – WTF is that? I didn’t even know that was a THING)
Day 1: 14 in the 2-4 cell range (GOOD) 1 at 7 cells (BAD)
Day 2: 14 still growing at the appropriate pace
Day 3: Down to 12 – 2 have slowed down and don’t have as many cells as they should
Day 4: No update, they just leave ’em in the incubator (MY BABIES ARE ALL ALLOOONNNEEE)
Day 5: 5 at the transfer/freeze stage (blastocysts), 5 more just one step behind that they’re going to watch until Thursday and potentially freeze.

The doctor strongly (STRONGLY) recommended that we transfer 1. Tammy and I had discussed this ad nauseum, and were still somewhat divided. (HA! Get it?! I made a cell division joke! Divided?! Cell division?! Nevermind…) We decided to wait and hear the doctor’s recommendation to help make our final decision. My waffling decision making on this issue looked something like this:
Transferring 1
-Same pregnancy success rate at my clinic as transferring 2 (60%)
-Would be easier on my body to carry 1
-Would be nice to be able to focus on one baby at a time
Transferring 2
-Would get the whole “having babies” thing out of the way in one go – only have to go through this (emotionally, physically, financially) once
-It would be fun for our kids to have a friend to grow up with that was their age.
-The “luck” factor. If my chances are roughly 60% with this IVF, what if we transfer 1 and it wasn’t THE one? What if it was the unlucky embryo? Wouldn’t transferring 2 give us more of a shot?

But like I said, the doctor STRONGLY recommended that we transfer 1. And Tammy was STRONGLY leaning in that direction also. The doctor got me to agree by telling me how much higher the miscarriage rates are for twins than a singleton. Now, I know as much as the next person that miscarriages can happen regardless of how many are in there. But having experienced one, I’m fairly desperate not to go through that again (my heart goes out to all you RPL ladies. You are so strong and it is so unfair. I’m so sorry).

So one it was. And it was a beautiful one.

Perfect Blast

Internet, meet Captain Jack Sparrow. It is currently chilling (hopefully NOT chilling – get to WORK young man*. We’ve got IMPLANTATION to do) in my uterus. They put a picture of it on a TV screen while the embryologist brought it in. Tammy’s first comment was “look how big it is!” Mine was “look how tiny!”

Speaking of wee, you must have a “moderately full” bladder for the transfer. And by “moderately full”, they mean HOLY GOD YOU ARE ABOUT TO PEE ON THE DOCTOR LOOK OUT. I actually asked the doctor if anyone had ever peed on her during transfer and she said only once, but the woman was under sedation for the transfer and didn’t have control over her bladder. Then she told me she used to be in obstetrics so a little pee and a little poo don’t faze her. “Now VOMIT on the other hand, I don’t do so well with,” she said. (Duly noted. I will aim my vomit on the nurse.) I only had a FEW panicky moments when the damn nurse pressed on my stomach with the ultrasound wand, but I was distracted by the small flash of light in my uterus, which was the moment the doctor ejected Captain Jack into my uterus. You can’t actually see the blast, of course, but the flash is the fluid surrounding it.

After 5 minutes of laying still, and about 5 minutes of blissful peeing, I went home and I climbed into bed to do my 24 hours of bed rest. Normally I enjoy nothing more than some downtime to laze around and read or watch movies. But yesterday I was bored as hell. Apparently sometimes I can be a wee bit stubborn and contrary. Just a teeny tiny bit.

The next two weeks are going to be agonizing.

*We both for some odd reason think it’s a future boy. NO idea why. But IF this sticks, and IF it’s a girl, well, Captain Jack Sparrow is still a badass name.

Family Business

My parents are visiting this week. They’re staying through Thursday (or maybe longer, depending on the snow storm that’s coming tomorrow night).

I’m very close with my parents, and they have known about our attempts to conceive (and give them their first grandchild!) from the beginning. When I was a kid, I talked with my parents a lot about wanting to having kids when I grew up. Now, especially with my dad being a biologist, I value their input and advice in something that has turned out to be a lot more complicated than I had originally planned on.

We had a good discussion yesterday about IUI and IVF, and my (lack of) fertility. Keep in mind that my parents had their own weirdness with fertility. They tried for a few years to have my older sister, but they were only trying for a few months each year. You see, my mom is a college professor and wanted to have the summers off to bond/take care of a baby. She was having kids before FMLA* or any kind of guaranteed time off, and the dean at her college had only promised her a weekend. A WEEKEND. Can you even. So she figured she would time her pregnancies to coincide with the end of the spring semester. But with my sister they didn’t have any luck for a few years. Now with me, I was conceived on the first try, apparently.

Anyway, my parents are convinced that I wasn’t receiving proper care at our old clinic. They think the doctor was too young and inexperienced (true) and that I shouldn’t have been on Clomid in the first place as my lining started out on the thinner side (true) and they think I should “re-set” my counter and ignore those 8 tries at the old clinic (no can do).

I understand why they want me to do that: they think I need to stop thinking of myself as broken or having some problem that needs to be fixed. And my Dad thinks I shouldn’t be so quick to jump to IVF. While I understand and appreciate their suggestion, I’ve done this 10 times now, and yes, all 10 times count. At some point I have to re-evaluate my options and decide where our remaining money is best spent. I know I have some readers in the UK, and I have no idea how the cost of IVF/IUI with the NHS works, but here in the US unless you have insurance coverage (which almost no one does for infertility treatment) it’s all out-of-pocket. The cost breaks down this way (it varies a little bit by clinic and location):

Natural cycle IUI: $400 for doctor fees, $700 for 1 vial of sperm
Clomid cycle IUI: $1,500 for doctor fees, about $150 worth of medication (clomid + trigger shot) $700 for 1 vial of sperm
Injectable IUI cycle: $1,800 for doctor fees, about $750 worth of medication (injectable stims + trigger shot) $700 for 1 vial of sperm
Fresh VF cycle: $9,500 for doctor fees, about $3,000 worth of medication, $400 for 1 vial of IVF sperm (less expensive, woo!)
FET transfer: $3,000 for doctor fees.

As you can see it’s farking expensive and adds up quickly. So we need to choose wisely. And I think it’s time to move on to IVF.

Finally, my last comment in this meandering post, the Hope Monster has reared her ugly head. Remember how I was pretending this whole thing wasn’t happening? That all went out the window when my dad casually dropped into conversation that he think’s I’m pregnant. And then Tammy chimed in to say she ALSO thinks I’m pregnant. WHAT?! Guys, I had JUST gotten to a good place where I had moved on from this cycle and was pretty much only thinking about IVF. Now I’m right back in the trenches, praying to the pee stick gods at dark o’clock every morning, holding my breath and waiting for a miracle.

*Can I just interject that our FMLA is complete and utter bullshit. 6 weeks unpaid? Are you fucking kidding me? Every single other developed and/or wealthy country in the WORLD does better than that. It’s pathetic.

Trying to Look Busy in the Two Week Wait

So remember in my last post how I said progesterone made me crazy dizzy? Well, just to make liar out of me, my body decided to NOT be dizzy on progesterone this month. Last month at this time, I was having to hold onto my desk multiple times a day due to my extreme vertigo. Now I’m just coasting along without any side effects (other than the disgusting ooze).

I’ve been working really hard to minimize my expectations for this cycle. Yes, I’m doing the progesterone and yes I’m taking my prenatal vitamins, but other than that I’m doing my best to ignore the whole thing. I did buy some pineapple to snack on at work, but when it got kind of funky I tossed it without buying more. Previous cycles I would have dropped everything and run straight out to the store to buy more. MUST EAT PINEAPPLE. I COULD BE IMPLANTING RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE ZOMG.

I don’t have high hopes because a) I only have one mature egg and b) why would this cycle work when nine others haven’t? And the one that did work only worked for a little while?

So I’m gearing up for IVF. I’ve been trying to figure out what protocol I might be on: birth control for two or three weeks prior to stims?  Or Lupron/other drug to keep my ovaries quiet? One thing I’m worried about is the timing. Tammy’s brother is getting married at the end of April and we’re both in the wedding. If my calculations are correct I might be starting stims around the beginning of April (that leaves two weeks to be on BC). Would that be enough time to stim, go to ER and transfer?

Ugh. I hate uncertainty, and I hate not having control. Which is why infertility/sub-fertility shit is such a perfect match for me!

Extreme Sexiness

The IUIs went well this weekend. Copious egg white cervical mucus was confirmed by the doctor performing the second IUI; enough for a host of hungry brunch goers. He also patted my foot upon completion. I felt a bit like a dog. Hopefully I’ll be a pregnant dog! Woof.

I started the progesterone this morning, which I absolutely hate. Besides the fact that I walk around feeling like you have a yeast infection for two weeks, I get dizzy and crampy. As much as I try to relax (haha! Yeah right) during the TWW, I can’t ever forget about it because of the nastiness that is being shoved up my lady business twice a day. It could be worse though; I could be dealing with the PIO, which I have heard horror stories about including one woman who heated the oil too much and it ended up burning her from the inside out. Holy crap balls. Maybe my yeasty suppositories aren’t so bad after all.

ABC