Monday, May 30, 2011

In limbo

Phone and internet do  not work yet in the new house. We still have internet in our old apartment, which I should be emptying and cleaning right now since I have to turn in the keys tomorrow.

So I really should not be blogging, I should be hurrying up with everything else that needs to be done and did not get done on time due to a bad cold and sprained back (me), leg injury (the spouse), and an idiotic mistake at the pharmacy that was supposed to supply my syringes so I could start injecting FSH yesterday.

I wasted all Saturday writing desperate emails, making phone calls and biting my nails at the pharmacy. But thanks to the new RE and her availability over email it kind of got sorted out. I did not get exactly what she prescribed, but at least I was able to start shooting up.

Which reminds me again how grateful I am that my doctor is willing to get in touch through email, and the fact that she was available during memorial day weekend.

I hope everyone else had a better use of their time during this holiday. I will start reading blogs again and making comments as soon as the phone/internet conundrum is solved.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The childless four

T is not pregnant. This was her last attempt at IVF. She kept very quiet about it and only after a second email told me the result, stating that she will be incommunicado for a while. And I gave her a brief reply saying that I love her and know very well that there's nothing I can say to make her feel better, sent her my hugs and said I was sorry.

And I truly am. We have two other friends, also from college, who are also childless. D got  pregnant a year ago, and then miscarried at 12 weeks. She had to undergo a D&C. And then there's O. She's never been married, though she's been with her boyfriend for the past 17 years. They have never moved together and they do not want to start a family. But O confessed to me that she sometimes yearned for children. Here's the four of us, at one of the weddings.

I know I don't have the right to blog about other people's lives. And yet, these three friends, and a few others, feel like family to me. At some point, we were all roommates. Little by little, our periods became synchronized. Pheromones, maybe? Coincidence? Who knows?

I do know that it is a tragedy that none of us is a mother. In this case, I know there is no biological connection. It's just coincidence. A very unlucky one.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Feeling excluded

I've been trying very hard to stop worrying about everything. Some days are easier than others. The spouse is very supportive but he also is under a lot of pressure. At least we are not exploding at each other. I try to explode in private and my previous rant was one example.

I feel better now in spite of this little sign that was placed by the mailboxes in our apartment complex yesterday. Sometimes they organize events for the community, usually potlucks and the like. But this time they're doing something they've never done before: They are offering spa treatments... to "moms".

Though it is targeted to mothers, I am pretty sure that, had I shown up, nobody would have denied me my skin treatments, but it would have been a little awkward. We've been here more than five years and everyone in the leasing office knows very well that we do not have kids.

Even if this had not had been targeted at Moms, I would not have participated, given my eczema issues (right now I have a big flare on my left hand, for example), so I really should not care.

Nope, I really shouldn't.

Why then do I feel the need to make a comment? Should I? Or should I just forget about it? After all, we are moving away in less than a week.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Things I should not think about but I think about anyway

Divorce. The spouse dying. Me dying. Having another miscarriage. Bleeding to death during that miscarriage. Having a very ill baby. Not having a baby at all. Death again. Never seeing my family again. Not wanting to see my family just now. Not even wanting to talk to them. Cooking squash for tomorrow's lunch. Not wanting to cook but too guilty not to. Guilt about eating chocolate. Guilt about not giving the yellow dog a bath. Guilt about falling behind with the packing. Divorce again. I have to pay the plumber. I should call the general contractor again. I should get the gas turned on. I should call the power company about the vines on that post. Why bother? I don't even want to live there anymore. I want to stay in this apartment forever, and eat lots of chocolate, and never deal with moving, contractors, or infertility again.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Paradox of Choice

That is actually the title of a book I read a few years ago. And here I am, faced with the decision of what brand name to choose for my FSH: Gonal-F, Follistim or Bravelle.

I like the name Bravelle. It sounds like a brave woman. And I really need my courage, since these days I am thinking of chickening out of this. It's not the injections that worry me, I don't mind needles at all. I just find myself thinking constantly of the many ways this can go wrong. More than anything else, I fear another miscarriage. But my train of negative thoughts is also quite creative at bringing all sorts of birth defects into mind. I am, after all, 41 years old, and my chances of having a healthy child are not as good as that of a 22 year old woman.

Anyway, Bravelle is a simple method: There's the solvent, there's the powder, you mix them together and you inject them. Straightforward and familiar. Although if I need large doses, I will end up mixing the contents of several vials. Sounds cumbersome, but the volume to be injected stays the same at all times.

Then there's the Gonal-f, which according to their website is preferred by two out of three patients. It also says that "The Gonal-f® RFF Pen has a visual confirmation scale that lets you know the precise dose you set is ready to inject, reducing the chance of dosing errors." If I am reading it correctly, several doses are provided in one Pen. I prefer throwing away syringes after using them. Also, If I am mixing the doses myself, I don't think I have to worry about dosing errors. Still, there must be a reason why people prefer this method.

Finally, there's Follistim, which comes in vials, which can be used with syringes,  or in cartridges that hold more than one dose and can be used with a Pen. As the cartridge empties, you may be left with an incomplete dose and need two injections for one dose. Not a big deal. Can this happen with Gonal-f too? I see less potential for mistake with this type of pen compared to the Gonal-f pen, where there's the potential to pull the plunger and then realize that you have entered the wrong dose.

Well, there they are, my three choices. I am inclined to choose the Bravelle, simply because I like the name and the injection method is familiar. Follistim could also be injected with regular syringes, but larger doses probably mean larger volumes. Plus, refrigeration is a must with Follistim and Gonal-f. Not that I should worry about that, but I did grow up in a third world country where power outages were not that rare.

What would you choose? If you have used any of these drugs, do you have any comments to share?

Monday, May 16, 2011

No septum!

That is the good news. There is, however, a small indentation on the top of my uterus. The new RE insists this is not a problem and we should go ahead with the next cycle.

But first, we need the spouse to get tested for a bunch of infectious diseases, that is California law. How then, is it that Dr. Mediocre performed two IUI's and scheduled another three without ever getting the spouse tested? One more point against him.

Not that we have anything to worry about. We've been tested over and over thanks to immigration tramits.

I took two vicodins before the hysterosonogram. I cramped a little bit, and right now I have some mild discomfort, but nothing like the torture I underwent during and after the hysterosalpingogram. I will never know if the pain level is different for those two procedures or if the vicodin made the difference.

Or maybe it was the socks. This particular pair always cheers me up.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Waiting time for T

My friend T kept very quiet about her latest IVF cycle until now, a week after transfer. She is now waiting for her first blood draw and trying very hard not to pee on a stick.

As we chatted about it I told her about my upcoming hysterosonogram. She said hers was as painful as the hysterosalpingogram. Oh no! I was told it was not that bad.

Oh well, I still have lots of leftover vicodins. This time I'm prepared.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Good news

I got an email from the new RE, explaining that the test results came back. All are normal except for the enzyme that metabolizes folic acid. Not necessarily the cause of miscarriage, but it might have played a role. In any case, this is easily overcome by taking 2000 ug of folic acid per day. Not bad at all.

But what has really boggled my mind is getting an email from my doctor. No doctor has bothered contacting me by email ever before.

I like that.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

It's that dreadful day again

Today I am staying home, avoiding the dreadful hoopla going on everywhere. Surfing the internet may not be the best idea, Still, I want to share  this article that I found by chance. It is very well written by a childless British journalist. It portrays the sadness of missing on motherhood, and the stupid assumptions other people tend to make about it. Very insightful.

At the end of the article, it talks a little bit about freedom: "So when I’m invited on a last-minute hiking trip to the Highlands, I can say yes. When a friend says: ‘Let’s climb Kilimanjaro for charity,’ I can say yes."

Indeed, not having kids sometimes gives us opportunities we would not otherwise have.

A friend called a couple of weeks ago at 4:00 pm with free tickets to the opera that same evening at 7:00 pm. Would we care to go? Of course we went, and had a great time.

Only now do I realize that, if DS were alive today, that would not have been possible.

Sadly, I don't feel any better in writing this.  It actually makes me feel guilty, as if somehow there could be anything good about infertility or miscarriage.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mommy brain

I posted a few things on freecycle to give away, and someone contacted me stating that she wanted them. I emailed her back but she neither called me nor emailed me again.

A week later I sent a reminder, wondering if she still wanted them. She apologized and explained that "mommy brain" had taken over. We all know what that means: between taking one kid to soccer, another one to ballet, making sure they are all clean and fed, that they made their homework, brushed their teeth etc., she never had the time to write me back. I totally get it.

I can't help but think that, if I were to say that between pills, injections, doctor visits and scheduled intercourse I forgot something, I'm not sure I could simply sum it all up as "infertile brain".

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Have you ever...

Been pregnant? Had a miscarriage? And so on and on... I hate those medical questionnaires. The spouse and I were filling ours out, and at some point he said out loud: "Have you ever experienced seizures or convulsions? Well, only when filling out these forms."

I dream of a medical passport that contains your whole medical history. You just hand it in and they can have access to your medical misfortunes without you having to be reminded of them.

But it's over. I had my first appointment with the new RE thanks to a last minute cancellation. She seemed very thorough and also willing to listen. The timing was perfect. I was going to have my first birth control pill of the cycle this evening, so they were able to do the bloodwork today (ouch, 11 test tubes). And, since I am starting again on the pill, they had more freedom to schedule a hysterosonogram. She had access to my hysterosalpingogram and the MRI that they performed last year after the miscarriage, and she agrees that my uterus is heart-shaped and that there does not seem to be a septum dividing it. But she wants to get a better idea of what's going on.

Funny, she said at some point that I have all symptoms for PCOS except ovarian cysts. I had to remind her that I do get ovarian cysts regularly, and the only reason I did not have them today was thanks to three months of BCP. I hope she's not the kind of doctor who forgets things and you have to remind them to her over and over.

Anyway, the important thing is: No cysts! Yay!

Oh, and I decided not to go with the blue-gray socks. Even if they had some specks of colors, they were not loud enough. I wore these ones instead: