Monday, March 30, 2009

No, I haven't abandoned this blog

If there's anyone out there reading this, I'll give a quick update along with a promise for more posts soon. I start the stimulation shots in six days, so I'll be writing about that soon.

Last week I had an hysteroscopy and what they call the "trial transfer" -- two tests that must be done between days six and 12. I almost missed them because I showed up at the wrong location of my doctor's practice (they have at least four locations and I typically go to two of them, depending on the procedure, timing, convenience, doctor's availability, etc.). I just flat missed the message about which office to go to. I walked in upset about being 7 minutes late and then I got REALLY stressed when I realized the test might not be possible because my doctor was going into surgery and there wasn't time to drive to the office where she was. Luckily another doctor -- albeit one I'd never met -- was willing to fit me into his schdule at the location where I was. Everyone there was so nice, understanding, and accomodating. I was a bundle of apologies and full of gratitude for their flexibility because that was the last day for me to get those tests done during the 6 to 12 day window -- I was leaving town for a conference that night.

Tests were somewhat painful, caused a few days' worth of light bleeding, but overall, went okay. The hysteroscopy actually involves inserting a camera inside my uterus -- I got to see color images of my insides... Fascinating! Doctor said it was more pink than he would've expected so he prescribed 10 days of doxycycline, an antibiotic, to clear up any inflammation or infection. I asked him what that really means -- what is the impact of the pink inflammation -- and he said it could indicate that embryos won't attach. I immediately thought, "Is this why I've never been pregnant?"

I didn't have much time to worry about it because I left town that evening and four days later, am still at my conference. Two more days to go at this meeting and then I go home Wednesday evening. My $4,000 order of meds should arrive Thursday and I start doing 4 injections per day on Sunday....

More later!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Serendipitous Meeting

This morning -- out of the blue -- I met someone who just last week found out she's pregnant after her first IVF cycle. We were both volunteering at a 10K, cheering runners at the finish line, so there was plenty of time to talk. She was so upbeat, positive, and eager to encourage me. It was interesting to talk with her because her excitement made me a bit nervous and I sensed that my lack of enthusiasm was disappointing to her. I wasn't openly negative, but I'm trying to be realistic about IVF and the chance that it will work. I sensed that she wanted me to be really excited but I just couldn't go there. My clinic's pregnancy rate for 38 to 40 year-olds was nearly 41% in 2008... Oh, I get it now. I just looked up the pregnancy rate for women below 35 for my clinic and it is nearly 67%. No wonder she was excited. She is 31, I think. She goes to another clinic in town but they probably have comparable success rates.

The good thing is, I didn't feel jealous of her. I actually felt nervous, like, ohh, it's still early. I hope it takes. Miscarriage isn't uncommon. But she was so sweet, she got my email address and already sent me a note so we can keep in touch.

Having a support system is crucial. It's so great when women encourage each other rather than criticize. It's nice when you meet a perfect stranger and you have an instant connection. I'm grateful for those experiences.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Yesterday's post

Well, I reread what I wrote yesterday. What a whiner I sounded like! I was right about going to church. It made me feel better, as did getting in front of my Outlook calendar at work today, synching it with my Blackberry, and feeling more in control of all that's going on.

I got my hair cut and colored tonight and that always makes me feel good, too. I just remembered something the IVF counselor said. She talked about incorporating extra "quality of life" activities during the stressful days of IVF. Getting my hair done falls into that category.

Tomorrow is FRIDAY!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I love roller coasters!

Let the ride begin. Yesterday I was so calm and matter of fact about everything. Today, not so much. Yet it has more to do with the rest of my life combined with the fact that I'm about to start IVF than IVF alone. There's a lot going on right now at work and at home and in a couple of my volunteer commitments.

What stresses me out is time away from work. I think I have a work ethic that is well, a bit insane. I have been in my current job for more than six years and have a good relationship with my boss. I have a staff of six people who work with me ,so my being away from the office can impact them if they need me for something. My boss knows what I'm dealing with and is wonderfully understanding about my being out of the office for doctors appointments. A couple of my team members know what's going on, but the others do not, and I'd like to keep it that way. So I say all of that in preparation for my admission that there's really no reason to stress about time away from the office. It's irrational.

So here I am, looking at my calendar trying to figure out when my cycle will start (March 19 or 20 is my estimate) and what all has to happen before I leave town for a conference on March 26: start taking birth control pills for about 12 days, have an intrauterine cavity test and a "trial transfer," as well as a teaching session with the nurse. I also think I have to make sure meds are ordered so I can start injections the day after I get back into town. Or I may have to start them the last day I'm out of town, which would mean they'd have to be delivered before I leave on the 26th. I told the nurse and the doctor about this trip and both agreed that it would not get in the way of starting IVF at this time. I hope they are right about that because I'll be frustrated to have to wait another month.

On top of that, my kitchen is being remodeled and for the next eight days I have no sink, gas cooktop, or countertops. This project started in December but we had some delays and now I'm eager to get this project finished, which means more time away from the office; in other words, more stress. We went today to lay the template of the countertops over the granite slab that we picked. It's going to be FABULOUS! But not until next Thursday when I have to work from home again, possibly all day long, for the installation. And next Friday they are coming to tile the backsplash, reconnect the sink and cooktop, etc. And all of this should fall on Day One and Two!

Okay, I'm going to stop whining. Everything will be okay. I'm going to a Lenten service at church in a little while and that should restore my perspective and give me peace.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

IVF, here we come

After five failed IUIs (intrauterine inseminations), we're turning to IVF. Interesting timing, considering all the news about the Octomom and the my state legislature's consideration of a bill that would essentially put fertility clinics out of business in this state. I was hoping my instincts were right -- that the bill doesn't stand a chance of passing -- and after the hearing last week, it sounds like they were.

We had a detailed consult with our doctor, who is GREAT, a week and a half ago. Then yesterday we had the required meeting with the counselor on staff at the practice. It went fine. No tears, although she made the box of Kleenex readily available to me before we got started. My husband and I looked at each other and laughed.

But our meeting with the counselor turned into a good conversation. As I was talking about my outlook on the situation I explained that I've had a lot of grief in my life already, so I wouldn't say that I've grieved every month when we learned that yet another IUI had failed. You see, I'm not one to stockpile home pregnancy tests in anticipation of the end of the month. I actually never tested at home for any of my IUIs. I've seen friends do that and make themselves crazy over the results. I'd rather wait for something definitive like a blood test and focus on something else until it's time. I'm sharing all of this to help explain that I'm somewhat distanced emotionally from what's going on. I sound as cool as Obama, don't I?

It's really not that easy. I have my moments. But for the most part, I'm feeling okay about all of this. It's either going to happen or it's not, right? If it doesn't, I'll figure that out when the time comes.

So back to what I was saying. As I was talking to the counselor and explaining my "grief history," I told her that it would be pretty easy for me to look at all of this and decide that life is hopeless, but that I choose not to do that. I'd never thought about that so when I said it, it felt profound for me personally -- that hope is my choice. I am grateful to have made that choice.