Saturday, March 31, 2007

Photo Friday: Before & After

I have gushed before, I believe, about my nephew's striking resemblance to my sister as a baby. It touches me so much because seeing him brought up visceral memories I didn't know I had. I was 3 when she was born and I have plenty of memories, but holding S., kissing his bald head, and seeing his little face scrunch up in tears touches something deep inside.

So here is Before: my sister the day after her birth in November 1977. My mom propped her up against the lion to show how tiny she was at 5 lbs. We're sitting in my bed. (We were both born at home.)

Sisters


And here is After: nephew S. at about one week old, in October 2006.

One Week Old

Co's Details

Charlotte wants details. Not sure how many I have actually.

No, I have not cried, well, except for all day Monday after I got the negative HPT after being suspicious that I might actually be pg for about a week, but that's a whole other story. Just to let you all know, on Monday, not only did I get a negative test at 14DPO, but I also felt mildly crampy and was convinced my period was on its way and the only reason it hadn't yet come was the hoo-ha bullets. I was so freaking wrong.

I am happy, in shock and a little scared, although Friday's beta makes me feel a little better. But it is comforting to know that there is nothing I can really do at this point, except take care of myself. Whatever will be will be. And for once, the odds are in my favor that it won't be unfortunate news, so my inner statistician can try to beat back my fears. I was looking forward to "odds in my favor" if we did IVF, since my R.E. told me the odds of me getting pg via IVF were 60% given my age. The idea of having the odds actually in your favor is such a nice thought.

I don't mean to sound melodramatic. I have absolutely no rational reason to be so worried. All looks well. But I was raised by my Italian grandmother who was very superstitious and had many miscarriages. She always scoffed when others had baby showers. It was counting chickens before they hatch, she would say. (No offense at all to any of you who choose to have them. It's just how my people are.) Jews are quite superstitious as well about this, according to Lo. They don't have baby showers either traditionally nor do they reveal the name of a child before its birth. So, I think both of our tendencies to hold back a little are deeply ingrained.

I have been struck by a few things that have happened recently. I woke up Wednesday morning and knew I was pregnant. I didn't wake up knowing that on Tuesday morning. The first time I wake up the morning after a major life event is very big for me--maybe it is for a lot of people. I remember the first mornings I woke up after someone I loved had died. There is a split second realization where I know, as I awake, that it really happened. It wasn't a dream. Of course, waking up that morning, it was a good feeling that it wasn't a dream.

Speaking of which, tomorrow is the anniversary of my father's death and my brother's wedding anniversary. When my brother told me he and his longtime fiancee had set a date and he told me what the date was, I paused and said, "Um..." He said, "I know. I know. I just want a good memory on that day." Further evidence that my brother desperately needs therapy. Not to mention, who wants their wedding anniversary to be on April F*ol's Day? (And yes, my father commit suicide on April F*ol's Day.)

Don't get me wrong. I am all for trying to exorcise the ghosts of the past. I once ran a race on the anniversary of my father's death called the Backwards Mile. It involved running an entire mile backwards, which is no easy feat. Not only does it work different muscles in your legs, but it also is quite a challenge not colliding with other runners. But it was fun. And I made it to the finish line without getting dizzy and falling over, which did happen to quite a few runners. The t-shirt I got for running that race says ELIM on it instead of MILE. But I digress...

I will share this detail about my trip for my Tuesday beta, after I'd gotten a positive HPT. My R.E.'s office staff, when it's not busy, often asks if you cheated when you go in for a pregnancy test or they ask how you feel. On Tuesday, I signed the sheet and no one spoke with me until I went back for my blood draw. Then the nurse went to check on what exactly I needed to have done today. She thought I needed an u/s, too. So, the Sunny Receptionist came back and asked, "Are you here for an ultrasound?"
Co: "No, I don't have my period. I just need a beta test."
Sunny Receptionist (who is pregnant--I didn't know until recently but she's started showing big time): "Okay, just a beta test."
It's funny. I am sure they were just busy, but I also felt like they kind of acted as if it was assumed that I was just in there to fulfill some sort of baseline beta requirement (as I always have been before), not because I might actually be pg. Maybe they're just so used to me not being pg that it didn't occur to them it could be otherwise (I doubt they think about me that much though). Maybe it's because I wasn't jumping up and down excitedly or telling them I'd cheated or I felt different. I was playing it pretty coy, although I told the nurse that it was the first time I thought I might be getting good news after the test. So, anyway, I thought it was funny that I kind of walked in, waited, had my bloodwork done and left, all the while keeping a little secret all to myself.

I was a little somber for my Friday beta too, largely because I was really anxious to get a good number. That was in stark contrast to another woman, also there for a second beta who was gushing in the waiting room about being pregnant. She also had to explain when she went to the ladies' room, "Oh, you know, I'm just peeing all the time now." She really irritated me.

We went out for a celebratory dinner last night. We were an hour late to meet our friends because I was trying to meet a deadline (I feel really guilty about our tardiness but I had to meet that deadline) and the doctor's appointment for the second beta cut into my work time. We had fun though once we actually got there.

See? I'm lame. I have no great details. But I am very happy, if still mired in my worrier princess ways. :-)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Lo's Thoughts

Today just as I was coming up from the subway station, the five-year-old boy who lives in our building passed by on his way home from school with his mom. He wanted to hold my hand as we walked to the building, and he wanted to use the key to open the front door. As we walked, he asked, "Where's your wife?" I said that she was inside. His mother said, "Now I don't know why he said that. M., they could be roommates! I'm sorry if he's saying something that's wrong." I told her he was right.

He knows. He won't be surprised if/when we have a baby.

I am having trouble believing this is real. It just feels like another optimistic moment, like when Co responded well to the injectibles, when our IUI was well-timed...I keep saying, "Yeah, it looks good!" and the few people we've told keep saying "It doesn't just look good! She's really pregnant!"

I will feel much more settled after Friday's beta, I think.

According to FF she is 4 weeks pregnant. That is bizarre. (Also, according to FF, she is a "graduate." Good Lord.)

We haven't told many people. (Only the whole blogosphere! Ha ha ha.) Seriously...those who have followed us on our journey will always receive every hiccup of news. But other than a few close friends, no one else will know for a while. We haven't chosen an exact time of disclosure yet.

So this disjointed, numb post is an accurate reflection of where I'm at. I'm happy, of course I'm happy! But it's a guarded happy.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Photo Friday: Maggie Models

So here it is. Really, what else did anyone expect us to do? Below, Maggie models one each of her mommies' boulder-holders. (The white one is Co's, the blue one is mine. I have to admit I trotted out my prettiest bra for the event...most of mine are far more pedestrian, not to say grayish and stretched out.)

Maggie's Lingerie


In other news....

Parents: We just got home from a weekend with my mom, taking care of her after her surgery (which, thank God, resulted in a clean bill of health for her). She's not easy to take care of, but we left her with groceries in the fridge and a clean kitchen. We saw my Dad on the way out of town and she didn't find out! My own personal parent trap averted, at least this time.

We also saw nephew S, now 5 months and truly the cutest baby in the world. I was nervous that I would not fall in love with him, but the connection is powerful and he happens to be a winningly beautiful, precocious, and perfect baby.

Co is writing a post with our TTC news (which is really all about our conjectures, hopes, and fantasies, rather than actual science, but hey, if there's no blood yet, that's license to dream). Today is 13 dpo.

I leave you to contemplate the cuteness. Careful -- you may need sunglasses.




Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Lucky Penny



There is a penny sitting on my dresser. I found it in the street on my way to the IUI on Monday (3/12). My mom used to recite the rhyme I'm sure many of you have heard: "Find a penny, pick it up, and all the day you'll have good luck." It was a bright, shiny one too, like in this picture; and it was heads up. My mom never specified that the penny had to be heads up, but I picked that additional superstition up along my way.

That night I found it in my pocket and went to put it in our loose change jar, as I normally would....but I ended up leaving it on my dresser instead.

I saved the vials from our at-home try, too. I didn't save them, so much as I just intentionally didn't throw them out after setting them on the edge of a bookshelf during the, uh, procedure. My friend W. teased me and said I was planning on putting them in the baby book. Which, as she well knows, is not entirely a joke. I'm a sentimental fool, such that it's a darn good thing we have a storage unit in our co-op.

Of course, I threw away the vials when the blood came. Am I going to feel as grim about that shiny penny when we get the BFN? Should I toss it in the jar now so it doesn't mock me later?

I probably won't.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Whiling Away the TWW: Funky Sock Exchange!




A friend of mine has drawn me into this delightful chain. It's an old-fashioned snail mail chain letter, though also easily done over email. It works like this:

1) You receive the email from me, and send one pair of cool/funky/comfy/whatever socks to one person.
2) You forward the message (through email or snail mail) to at least 6 more people.
3) You receive up to 36 pairs of cool socks!!

I'm sooooo in.

Anyone want to join me? Leave a comment and/or email me (familyo at earthlink dot net).

Get those feet stylin'! Do I detect a future Photo Friday topic....?

Monday, March 12, 2007

IUI #4 (Insem #6): Yellow Fish



Not one but two yellow fish said hi to Co at the clinic this morning. Later as we walked to the subway we saw two adorable dachshunds (to which we said hi, of course). Portents, we wonder???

After the IUI, I, with my insatiable thirst for knowledge, asked Dr. Quick my pressing but two probably silly questions (is is true that you can't get pregnant if the IUI hurts? Is it okay that her cervix is low today?, to which, of course, the answers were no and yes respectively). I think he found me entertaining. Co, ever the prude, found me embarassing. Knowledge is power, I maintain.

Once again, Nerdy Science Guy came through with a count of 40 million and a motility of 92%. I am in awe.

Co is having more pain than she's ever had before, which is no surprise, since we're estimating she popped about 4-5 follicles this time around. So we're cuddled in bed resting, and shortly we will commence our mini-film festival of The Night Listener and For Your Consideration.

So, now we join our blogfriends in the two week wait...as well as our dear friends in their thirty day wait. We're both feeling hopeful, and we wish all of you lots of hope and luck as well.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Photo Friday: Mug Shot

The summer before I went to college, I worked at a bank. This mug (below) was one of the ones in the staff kitchen/break room. I LOVED it. I thought it was the funniest thing I had ever seen. My colleagues were amused, I guess, and gave it to me as a going away present at the end of the summer.

Now it's chipped on the edge (which you can see in this picture) so we use it as a pencil cup, since it's not safe to drink from. But I will never give it up!!

Lo's Mug

And of course, there's this mug, from our honeymoon in St. Croix.

St. Croix Souvenir

Friday, March 09, 2007

Decision

So, I had an u/s today. Probably about 12 follies, most still not nearly mature. Three are very close to maturity or are already mature. If we trigger tonight, we could do an IUI on Sunday and have 3 eggs. That's the same number I had during my first Clomid IUI, so on the one hand, that's disappointing because it feels like I'm not going to get better odds than I did with a cycle that didn't result in pregnancy (although it's not an apples to apples comparison obviously). On the other hand, I'd feel a lot less terrified with only 3 eggs in the mix.

But there is a potential issue... A LOT of my follies are about 15 mm right now. So, while we wouldn't expect them to grow enough to pop, my R.E. said that it's conceivable that one or more of them could pop by Sunday. Which could lead to scary multiples.

If we waited until Saturday to trigger, I'd probably have 10 mature eggs, which is way too many for an IUI.

On an unrelated note, our friends picked up a baby from their adoption agency last night who will hopefully become theirs very soon. I was oohing and ahhing over the baby, who was being mildly fussy, and thinking about how I so don't want to ever have to consider selective reduction or anything like it, but also about how I so don't want to have more than one baby at a time if it can be avoided.

I asked Dr. Quick if switching me to IVF was still an option. He said it was. And we talked about it for a while. It seemed to me that if I might well get 10 eggs instead of 3 eggs by waiting one more day that I should think about maybe doing IVF this cycle.

So, call me crazy if you want, but I have decided that I want to do IVF this cycle. Lo is supporting me in this decision. I am really too terrified of scary multiples to do an IUI with such a crazy number of follies (even though in reality, I'd probably only get a BFN). And if our IUI didn't work, I would have to go back to Clomid IUIs (which haven't worked for me yet) or move on to IVF anyway (because I don't think an IUI with injectibles is a good option for me). Since I am lucky enough to have IVF covered by my insurance, I am going for it. Wish me luck. Tell me horror stories or "it wasn't so bad" stories, if you've done it. Whatever.

I don't know if I'm making a mistake or not, but I feel much more comfortable with this decision than I have been feeling about doing an IUI with this many follies (in case my hysteria wasn't apparent in my last post). Only time will tell, I guess, if I made a good choice.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

I Didn't Expect It to WORK!

I went into injectibles like... yeah, why will this work for me? Natural cycles didn't. Clomid didn't (okay my first cycle on Clomid was good, but my second only produced 2 eggs from very slowly growing follies, which I was led to believe was not a good sign). I may as well try injectibles just to say I tried everything. That was my attitude.

I didn't expect it to work. I really didn't. Now I'm kind of terrified. But um... it is really working.

My E2 levels on CD6 were over 500 (way high), which explains why they started suppressing me with the Ganirelix right away.

I had 5 follies between 13-16 mm yesterday.

Doctor Quick brought up switching me to IVF this cycle because of the risk of scary multiples. Yesterday, he thought I would get 5 mature eggs out of this cycle. He leveled with me and said that it was unlikely that I'd face scary multiples. I mean, I once had 3 mature eggs likely released and I didn't get pg. So, 5 eggs doesn't mean I'll end up with triplets or quads, or even a positive pg test. But he told me I needed to consider the possibility.

Um, it is STILL working. They are not slow growing on the Follistim.

Today I had 8 follies between 13-17 mm. Augh! I can't give you exact measures because I started wigging out after he counted 4 follies on the right and everything dropped out of my short-term memory.

Dr. Quick thought it would still be okay, and said we would do an IUI probably on Sunday, since I told him I don't want to convert this cycle to an IVF cycle.

I feel kind of stupid that I didn't seriously consider the risks of scary multiples before starting injectibles. I think a large part of it was that I truly expected to get such a lackluster response from the injects, so I didn't even think about it. Me? Get a lot of eggs? I should be so lucky!

Um, I am.

Lo and I had a long talk about selective reduction. I realize this is jumping the gun. I am fully expecting, despite having several mature eggs and thusly several chances to get pg, that I will get my requisite BFN at the end of this cycle. But I still think it's important to know where we stand about selective reduction before we go any further. Lo and I are in synch with how we feel about it.

As for IVF, I don't feel able to get my head around it enough to switch to it mid-cycle, even though Dr. Quick said that was a possibility (a possibility that would allow us to avoid scary multiples, by only transferring 2 embryos if I wanted). But I really feel like before I could ever do IVF, I would need to be mentally prepared, and I'm not psyched up for it right now. But now that I know that injectibles could actually WORK for me, I think I am unwilling to risk an injectibles IUI after this one. I would feel a lot more comfortable if we could limit the number of eggs we're dealing with, and IVF is one way to do that. Another way would be to go back to doing Clomid IUIs. I am so not doing an injectible IUI ever again. This is too nerve wracking.

But I can't believe that I am seriously considering trying IVF after only 4 IUIs, especially since that notion seemed so ludicrous to me a short while ago and I was so grateful to all of you for agreeing with me. It didn't help that Dr. Quick told me that for someone my age, the odds of getting pg with IVF were 60%. Can you imagine having odds that are actually IN YOUR FAVOR for getting pg? I can't. I also learned that up to 3 IVF cycles will be covered my health insurance (feel free to throw rotten tomatoes at me now). Combine that with the fact that injects seem to work for me and well, I am going to seriously consider IVF now. I'm not saying I'll do it. But it's a serious consideration.

I can't believe the things I am willing to consider. If you'd asked me in July if I would ever consider doing injectibles, I would have laughed at you. Sure, Clomid, maybe. But injectibles? No way. Too hard core for me. It's incredible how much I've changed.

It's also incredible how bloated I am. I can't wait to trigger. Going back to the R.E.'s tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Nurse Lo, Lesbians at the Gyn, and Advice, Please

Now that we've been giving Co injectibles lo these many nights (okay since Thursday), we've become experts. Last night, however, was our first time with Ganirelix (the oh-no-don't-you-ovulate drug), thus, two shots. After the second injection Co felt a bit faint and had to sit down on the bathroom floor. (Please note that this did not happen tonight, and Co tends to get faint when giving blood or even getting blood taken for testing, so all is well).

However, I panicked and offered repeatedly to take her to the E.R. I woke several times and poked poor Co to make sure she was still breathing. No worrier, I...

------------------------------------------

As Co mentioned, I like our potential new Ob/Gyn. I hope we need her more for the Ob and less for the Gyn. I have always found paps and examinations very painful, and have more than once needed ultrasounds because the doctor couldn't get a clear sense of my ovaries from the exam. This doctor told me that my hymen was intact (I never really thought about that; I mean, not to reveal too much, but there's no reason it wouldn't be, though I thought if you rode a bike a lot as a kid....). She also said that she wouldn't be able to do an IUI or an HSG on me because my hymen was intact, though she did say that you can get pregnant with a hymen.

Maybe the REs are more skilled at, uh, bypassing the hymen? Or will that be a problem?? I am mighty confused.

--------------------------------------------

Finally, some family advice. Here's the situation:

My mom is having surgery next week to have her ovaries removed. She had breast cancer 8 years ago (and has been cancer free for, I believe six; yeah!!). The doctor found a cyst on her ovary that they want to remove and biopsy (though she says many doctors have said they do not believe it is cancer) and will be taking out the ovaries while they're in there. Because she is post-menopausal (and the ovaries aren't doing much) and has had breast cancer, it's a good preventative measure, since ovarian cancer is linked to breast cancer. (Being my protective mom, she did not tell my sister and I any of this until she had made the decision and could assure us that there is little to worry about.)

But it's scary, and of course I want to help out, so Co and I are going up to be with her after the surgery, while her husband is away. The surgery is laparoscopic (sp?) so I'm not sure how long the recovery will take but I'm sure she can use the support.

My sister lives ten minutes away from my mom so she will come by and share nephew S. with us.

This is all fine. The complication is that there's a good possibility my dad (who lives three hours away from mom & sis and six hours away from us) will be in town the very same weekend. This is very, very bad, because:
a. I am not going to leave my recovering mother's side to go have brunch with my dad and his New Family. That is really, really, really wrong.
b. My dad cannot come to my mom's house (though were I to share the situation with her, which I will not, she might well offer that option in her typical martyr's fashion). That is really, really, really explosive.
c. I cannot lie low and have my sister lie for me (tempting though it is) because that is unfair to her. She and her husband run a community theater which will be producing a play that weekend (that's why my dad might be in town), plus she has baby S. to care for pretty much alone while her husband is consumed with the play, plus she will want to see me. Adding Dad to that and juggling the timing so he doesn't know I'm around....too much.
d. What might, Gentle Reader, seem to you the most obvious solution has come last because it is so ludicrous to any Daughter of My Dad: no, he would not understand. If only.
My whole nuclear family in one place is, well, nuclear. The train wreck that was our college graduations is making me cringe in mere anticipation


Any thoughts?? God, I hope he chooses another weekend.

Monday, March 05, 2007

CD6: So Far, So Good with Edit

So, on CD6, I already have a 14 mm follie on the right and a 10 mm follie on the left, plus smaller follies.

In fact, I may be responding so well to the Follistim that they may be lowering my dosage. I have to wait for the nurse to call me and let me know after she sees the results of my blood work. Since I am doing an IUI, we don't want too many follies to grow, which is why we might lower the dosage. I am also starting on Ganirelix tomorrow to prevent me from ovulating early.

Next appointment on Thursday--more blood drawn and another u/s. Hopefully, things will continue to go well.

And I totally get what Cali said about how she liked Follistim better than pills because it makes you feel like you have more control. I definitely feel more in control this cycle, and that's been so rare in this process. So, I'm going to enjoy it.

The headaches continue. But I'll live.

EDIT: So, after seeing my bloodwork results, I have been told to reduce my Follistim dosage, start the Ganirelix today (not tomorrow) and go back in in on Wednesday (not Thursday).

So, now I am curious about what my estradiol levels were, not that I'll understand them. I'll try to find out on Wednesday.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Glass Chewing, a Pregnant Purim, and A Request

I watch drinking glasses in our house like a hawk. Any time I see Lo or a guest place a glass in a precarious place, I insist on moving the glass to a safe location. This is not because I particularly value our glasses. It is because we never are able to get every last piece of the glass up into the dust pan after it breaks (some always falls into hidden locations, small enough for only one very low to the ground to find). It is because a broken glass in our house subjects me to weeks of chasing around after Maggie the dachshund and taking shards of glass out of her mouth.

Why oh why does our dog like to chew glass? I shudder to think what Charles Darwin would've thought of the little beast. She doesn't swallow it ever, for the record. She just chews it, which is dangerous enough. And it's not as if she doesn't have several options of dachshund-appropriate chewable items sitting right next to her while she chews on the glass.

Despite my vigilance, one of our glasses broke the other day, so I spent this morning taking shards of glass from the dog. She had climbed onto our bed to chew them at one point, so I also spent time picking small pieces of glass out of MY SIDE of the bed. Why of why is my dachsie trying to make me bleed? Don't I bleed enough already?

Speaking of which, the Follistim injections may be giving me headaches. Or it could be caffeine withdrawal yet again. I was so depressed during my involuntary L*estrin-filled break that I didn't limit my use of my favorite drug, caffeine. Either way, I have headaches pretty much non-stop these days, Tylenol or no, cup of coffee or no. Annoying.

I go to the R.E.'s tomorrow to see how the Follistim is doing.

While at Purim services yesterday, I saw a couple of obviously pregnant women. I admit it. I was envious. Really envious. I don't begrudge any woman, whether she's had an easy time or a hard time getting pg her pregnancy really. But I want to be them so badly that I can't help feeling some envy.

Although not always. While Lo and I got our hair cut yesterday, I learned that the receptionist there is pg again. This woman has an 11-year-old child, and no other children. She has had about 1 miscarriage per year every year since her child's birth. So, she was not working but was instead at home resting and ironically, taking aspirin (her OB/GYN suggested that the miscarriages may have to do with her blood clotting around the growing embryo, the body treating it as a foreign object, and removing it, so she is taking aspirin as a blood thinner). I can't imagine having 9 miscarriages in a row and being pg again. That must be so hard and so scary. So, if you're inclined, say a little prayer for my hairdresser's very nice receptionist or hold her in the light or whatever it is you are inclined to do.