Thursday, April 27, 2006

One down

I did my first shot this morning and true to form it made me cry. Not from the poke itself -- that tiniest of pricks -- but from the holy-crap-we're-doing-this-again-and-who-knows-what's-going-to-happen panic. I wish that vial of Lupron was laced with a bit of val*ium. (What a marketing idea that would be.)

While the first-day panic is the same, overall this cycle feels very different than the last one. It's the nature of the fear that's different. At the start of IVF#1 I feared the process -- the needles, the dosages, the bloodwork, what the retrieval would feel like, how much my butt would hurt from the PIO shots. This time I fear the outcome. Will I respond to this protocol? Will I have enough follicles to make it to retrieval? If I have eggs to retrieve, will they be any good? Will I have any embryos to put back? How much will my butt hurt from the PIO shots ... okay, that last one hasn't changed.

So, even though I know the drill -- the injections, the monitoring, the bloodwork -- in many ways IVF#2 is scarier than IVF#1. I wouldn't have guessed that there would be more unknowns in this cycle than in the last cycle, but there are. We've learned what can go wrong and we're wary.

But tonight I'll do another shot. And another tomorrow. And another. You know the drill.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

And away we go

My suppression check was yesterday and for once my ovaries have decided to play along. No cysts. Eleven antral follicles (which for me is pretty good). There was no bad news. J and I weren't quite sure what to do with ourselves.

I start microdose Lupron tomorrow morning, followed by stims on Saturday. Crazy.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Tag, I'm it

By now I'm sure you all know the drill. I've been tagged by Mary Ellen (and her 9 lovely embryos) and by Beagle. But just to keep things interesting (since this game has been going around for a while now) I've added one lie to the following list. Any guesses?

1. I subconsciously mix up the colors green and purple. My eyesight is fine, but due to what must be some seriously crossed wires deep in my brain, when I see purple I almost always say it's green.

2. I won the state spelling bee in 6th grade.

3. I'm a snooze-aholic. I hit the snooze button 5 times every morning. At least.

4. I spent 4 years on the same college campus as J but never met him. We met 5 years after graduation in a city 2500 miles from the campus we started on.

5. I once ate raw shrimp that was so fresh it was still twitching.

6. I like my toilet paper to roll from the top.

Just about everyone on my blogroll has been tagged, so I'll let this leg of the game die a graceful death with me and hope that by doing so I won't incur any break the chain letter type bad luck. Thanks for the all-IF-all-the-time respite.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

My Follistim pen goes to 11

Nigel Tufnel: The numbers all go to eleven. Look, right across the board, eleven, eleven, eleven and...
Marty DiBergi: Oh, I see. And most amps go up to ten?
Nigel Tufnel: Exactly.
Marty DiBergi: Does that mean it's louder? Is it any louder?
Nigel Tufnel: Well, it's one louder, isn't it? It's not ten. You see, most blokes, you know, will be playing at ten. You're on ten here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you're on ten on your guitar. Where can you go from there? Where?

Apparently my doctor is a Spinal Tap fan. He certainly doesn't feel constrained by the artificial limits of a lousy Follistim pen, that's for sure. Follistim pens max out at 450 units. What's my dose for IVF#2? A whopping 525 units. When I naively asked if they make a Follistim pen that goes to 525, he just laughed softly and shook his head.

That means I get two Follistim shots a day -- one at 450 units and a second at 75. Add to that the Menopur and twice daily microdose Lupron injections and I get the pleasure of 5 shots every day. Ah, the sweet life of a poor responder.

A question of etiquette

I have a question for all of you in bloglandia. When I set up my blog, I neglected to include a list of other blogs I read. It's time to rectify that oversight. But here's the pinch. Is it standard blog etiquette to ask before you link, or do you just recklessly go ahead and link without explicit permission? What's the bloggerly thing to do?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Heartbreak Hill

They ran the Boston Marathon yesterday. I remember going to watch it as a kid. We'd stake out a spot along the side of the road, eat ham sandwiches and drink iced tea until the first runners rounded the corner. I loved to see the front runner, that intrepid soul setting the early pace. I cheered hard for him (but secretly worried that with no one ahead of him, he might wander off the route and find himself lost). Always close at his heels was the pack - a blur of pounding feet and swinging arms that stretched for miles. Unlike my attention span. I would eventually get tired of the clapping, the bodies flying by would make me dizzy, and I'd wander off to look for interesting rocks along the side of the road.

That's the story I was thinking about last week when the counselor reminded me that my IF journey is a marathon, not a sprint, and that I have to learn to pace myself. A marathon? Pace myself? How is the girl who got bored just watching the race supposed to learn how to run it?

And then there's Heartbreak Hill. Twenty miles into the marathon the runners reach the final climb. Under normal conditions, Heartbreak Hill is not particularly tough (so I'm told), a gentle 1/2-mile slope. But after 20 miles of racing, it's do-or-die. Those who make it to the top are spurred on by the congratulatory refrains of a marching band and the knowledge that it's all downhill to the finish line. Those who don't crumple to the pavement and are carted away.

So it is that after 3-1/2 years of trying to get pregnant, I find myself staring up at my own Heartbreak Hill. My legs are weary, my heart is pounding, the Power Bar I ate sits like a rock in my stomach. But on to IVF#2 I go nonetheless. I will try to remember to pace myself. I will be grateful to those who have gone before and now show me the way. I will cautiously accept the cups of water and orange wedges the spectators along the way offer. I will keep running until I can't possibly run another step. And then I'll run some more.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Care package

I went to see a counselor at my clinic yesterday. I've been feeling a bit, well, fragile of late -- like I'm one of those big chocolate bunnies that are all hollow inside so that if someone wrapped their fist around me and squeezed hard enough, I just might implode and shatter into a million chocolaty pieces. (How's that for a timely metaphor?)

The counselor told me I need to put together a care package to get me through this next IVF cycle. By care package she means the collection of things I need physically and emotionally to stay sane through the turmoil. My first thought was a nice hazelnut ganache to fill up my hollow center. You think I'm still speaking metaphorically here, but I'm not. I really like hazelnut ganache. It's tasty.

The care package idea resonated with me and I've been busily thinking of things to fill it up. Here's what I have in my IVF care package so far:
  1. A freezer full of ice cream.
  2. A spoon.
  3. Hours of America's Next Top Model episodes on my Tivo.
  4. No grumbling from J when he's forced to watch hours of America's Next Top Model.
  5. My iPod.
  6. Cute t-shirts and my comfy black yoga pants (elasticized waistband means easy access to belly fat for shots, also ensures comfort after consuming gallons of said ice cream).
  7. Permission to let myself cry.
  8. A nice bottle of wine or four. Drat.
  9. J's steady hand to help me with the shots.
  10. A kind ear from my friends, virtual and otherwise.
So tell me, what do you have in your care package?

Friday, April 07, 2006

Happy birthday, Mom

Today is my Mom's birthday. I know sharing your infertility journey with family can be a risky proposition, but I have to admit to being one of the lucky ones. My mother -- my whole family, really, but mostly my mother -- has been a tremendous source of support throughout this ordeal. She hears everything, every last gory detail, and is never squeamish, never judgmental. Growing up my mother always told me that I would never fully understand how much she loved me until I had my own child. I know it grieves her just as much as it does me that that day has yet to come.

The other week I told my mom about my blog. I don't know if she'll decide to read it, she said it would feel like an invasion of privacy. But I hope she does. I hope she's reading this very post.

So, Mom, if you're here, welcome. And thank you.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Aw, shucks

This isn't the sort of blog that gets a gazillion comments. That's fine with me, I don't aspire to mega-blog status. But it means I cherish every comment I do get. Which is why it was so lovely that no sooner had I posted yesterday than the faithful returned to say hello. Talk about making a girl feel special. I didn't realize how much I needed the lift. Thank you from the bottom of my blog.

On a totally unrelated note, why is it that the blogger spell checker doesn't recognize the word blog?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Breathing room

I've been away from bloglandia for a while. In part it was because J and I were traveling and meeting with designers trying to figure out what to do with this pink monstrosity:



But that's only part of it. I've been home for several days now, and truth be told, I had my laptop with me while traveling so I really could have posted any time I wanted. But I didn't want. After that last failed cycle I needed some time. Some breathing room.

I'd like to say I'm back with a vengeance, but that would be an overstatement. It's more like I'm back with a sigh of resignation. I have my calendar for IVF#2. I'm encouraged by Fisher Queen's truly out-of-this-world response to the micro-dose Lupron protocol that I'll also be trying. But I find my anticipation muted.

So for now, I'll probably continue to hang low. My cycle doesn't really get going until the end of the month anyway. In the meantime, I'm working under the assumption that the large amounts of alcohol I'm consuming now will inspire some witty and pithy posts once I finally do get back on the blog-wagon. So, where did I put that corkscrew?