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Archive for the ‘blithering’ Category

The Good News: I have permission to switch my pill to the OrthoCyclen. I’ll note that I did this without permission anyway, knowing that it would be fine, but it is nice to know that it’s all fine.

The Bad News: My head still hurts like a bitch, which you can tell by the fact that I’m swearing like a sailor (which I rarely do in print, though I usually do in person).

The Good News: Despite my head hurting so much, the nausea is gone. I no longer feel like I have perpetual morning sickness, which is good, because if I have to have morning sickness, I damn well better be getting a baby 9 months later.

The Bad News: I have terrible, awful cramps, which makes no sense, because, hello? That should be over by now. But it’s not and I am not amused. In fact, I am quite ticked off at my effed-up body right now. In fact, the pain I’ve been feeling is quite severe and I am not enjoying it. I’ve been having visions of getting in for my Lupron evaluation (which isn’t for another several weeks, btw, so it’s not like it’s looming, or anything) and having SuperDoc say, “You are benched, Oh Perky One! Look at those Ginormous Cysts on those seriously un-Perky Ovaries of yours!” But I’m sure it’s all in my head, and due largely to the copious amounts of painkillers I’ve been swallowing for the aforementioned throbbing head and now very crampy ovarian region.

The Good News: Only two more weeks of BCPs.

The Bad News: I start Lupron March 11th. More headaches to come.

The Good News: IVF #2 is looming.

The Bad News: IVF #2 is looming. I am petrified of failing a second time. I know this is ridiculous. I can’t not bother starting just because I am petrified of failing. That would be ridiculous. For some reason, though, I was really okay with IVF#1 not working. As hard as any negative cycle is to swallow, I was expecting it and I think I handled it with my characteristic grace and humour. I haven’t even gone out and gotten stinking drunk yet (don’t think I haven’t thought about it). The thought of IVF#2 failing is absolutely petrifying. Please don’t just say, “Oh, but this one will work.” No one knows that. It either will or it won’t, and clearly right now I’m not in my happy, perky place. Maybe I’ll be there tomorrow. But right now? I’m not. Right now I need to work through what I’m going to do if it doesn’t work (aside from the logistical obviousness of – duh! I’ll do IVF #3… my last cycle covered at Ye Olde Fertility Clinic before I return to The Hatchery where I’ll have approximately 2 cycles covered under my husband’s insurance, good heavens, I hope it doesn’t come to that).

The Good News: I’m getting way ahead of myself.

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Infertile Enough?

Because Infertile Myrtles aren’t neurotic enough, we like to find ridiculous things to obsess over. In my first go-round with fertility treatment, I often thought about the fact that I really just didn’t have it all that hard. I have a relatively simple issue to correct – anovulatory PCOS – which does seem correctable with the right combination of gonadotropins and hCG trigger.

My original (evil) OB/GYN ridiculed me – telling me if I just lost weight and took Clomid, I’d ovulate and get pregnant in a jiffy. I should just exercise more and eat less and I’d be pregnant in no time, she told me. I tried that, and I took her five prescribed cycles of Clomid, unmonitored, I might add, which I now believe to have been a dangerous course of treatment, but no pregnancy. I listened to her lectures. I took her berating stares, believing that this was really all my own fault. I discarded the facts of the case, I ignored the truth, which was that I had gained much of this weight not through my own fault but quite suddenly – sixty pounds in five weeks, due to a metabolic shift in my body that was out of my control, and the rest due to years on migraine-controlling medications such as Depakote (known as Depabloat, for a reason). I took upon my shoulders, instead, the guilt and the shame that she placed there, knowing that my simple problem was my own. If only I hadn’t done this to myself, I’d be pregnant.

Eventually, though, I realized that I needed more than stern lectures, and exercise pep talks, and cute little white pills for five days a month, and I self-referred to Ye Olde Fertility Clinic, where I met with a wonderful doctor who told me that this wasn’t so much my fault, that I had, at least on the surface, a common issue, that would likely be relatively simple to fix, but that Clomid was not my answer any longer. My OB/GYN at the time was pretty pissed at me for self-referring. She, herself, would have had me take one more round of Clomid before referring me over to YOFC. “But no worry! This is such a straightforward case that just the teeniest little dose of the heavy duty drugs and you’re going to be pregnant in no time!”

Nearly a year later, a couple dozen vials of blood, an HSG, many ultrasounds, and four IUIs later, I was, indeed pregnant, and in need of an OB. No way was I returning to that doctor. No. Way. So I got a referral from my RE to an OB who was actually even more convenient to me and (as it turned out) someone who a bunch of my friends see, and I was off. Three months later, I miscarried that baby, and I became thoroughly convinced that I had made the absolute right choice in doctors – he handled the situation with care and empathy and concern for my welfare. And back to YOFC I was, only to find my RE on maternity leave – and when she returned to work, she didn’t return to the office convenient to my home and work … but to an office far out of the way for me. So I switched to SuperDoc.

Even then, a piece of me felt that I just wasn’t that interesting or complicated a patient. I have this theoretically simple issue. I don’t ovulate. I have PCOS. Give the girl some drugs, give her an hCG trigger, a quick intimate moment in a doctor’s office in stirrups with an IUI, and bada bing bada boom – pregnancy (theoretically). Not a complicated case. I knew then, and I know now, that I don’t suffer many of the indignities of infertility that a lot of my fellow infertiles suffer. I don’t have thrombophilia. Er, not exactly anyway (I am borderline on one test… but not quite enough to make anyone worry). I don’t have recurrent miscarriages (yet, and I hope never to be able to say that I do). I don’t have natural killer cells. I don’t have fibroids or stage IV endometriosis (though it’s been suggested that I might have very mild endometriosis which does not in any way interfere with my fertility). I have never had uterine, cervical or ovarian cancer. At the time I had a completely unremarkable HSG with patent fallopian tubes. I do not have premature ovarian failure. I was able to do something that many of my fellow stirrup queens had never been able to accomplish – I had been able to get pregnant. And with only the “low tech” IUI, at that! I knew, really, that I had nothing to complain about.

I’ve written about it before, but for the sake of completeness of history, I’ll tell you the story again… I remember sitting in SuperDoc’s office at my second consult with him after another 2 IUIs and saying that I knew that compared to most women with infertility, I have it pretty easy. I have carried his answer with me ever since: He looked at me earnestly, paused, and said, “Let’s just say you’ve handled your burden with extraordinary grace.”

I shrugged it off at the time, as I am prone to doing. I wasn’t, after all, one of the “real” infertiles. I wasn’t hard-core yet. I’d never done IVF. I hadn’t suffered multiple losses. I’d only been at this baby-making business for about four years. I’d only had six IUIs at that point, for a total of 11 medicated cycles. After all – there were so many out there who had been through so much more.

Two weeks later I found out I was pregnant. And two weeks after that, I found out I had HOMs a-brewin‘. I felt exposed and vulnerable. And once again, like I wasn’t a “real infertile.” Why, I was so fertile, I’d gotten knocked up with more than I’d bargained for. WAY more than I’d bargained for.

But it DID start changing my perspective on infertility, quite accidentally. Because being pregnant with HOMs makes you the poster-child for infertility. Suddenly everyone assumes you’re an infertile. (Oh I feel so sorry for anyone who is pregnant with spontaneous HOMs – for they must forever be explaining that “No, these were a total surprise!” like it’s anyone’s business) I began to realize that at any stage of infertility, whether it’s someone who’s been trying to get pregnant for just one month without success, or someone who has given up trying after months or years of treatment (or anyone in between) – they have a story to tell, and their own burden to bear. People would come to me and say, “I know I haven’t been through as much as you, but we’ve been trying to get pregnant for six months, and…” And I tell these women that they should never believe that they’re not “infertile enough” to be legitimate in the infertile world. Each stage of infertility has its own burdens, trials, and tribulations. Each stage has its own challenges. And each set of challenges must be met with its own level of grace and humility. But we have a right to rage against each stage – to express our hurt, our anger, our outrage. We have a right to wonder, “Why me? Why now?”

And now? Now that I’ve been through IVF and probably failed a cycle, do I feel any more “legitimate” in the world of infertility? No. I still know that I have this pretty simple problem. This problem that should be pretty simple to solve. (Oh, except I do now have that blocked tube on the left side that may be real or may have just been a spasm, so who knows?) I have this problem that should be a simple case of “injections, IUI, bada bing, bada boom, BFP.” But nothing is that simple, is it? Most people do IVF because IUI doesn’t work for them. I’m doing IVF because IUI worked too well and I can’t take that risk again.

I don’t regret my infertility as many do. I know there are days that I am on medication when I am not the sweetest, kindest person I could be – and I regret those individual days. But by and large, I have reaped the benefits of infertility far more than I have suffered from it. I have met amazing women, experienced great joy, been introduced to a wealth of knowledge, learned about a plethora of intriguing scientific, ethical and moral issues that many people never even think about. I have become a stronger, healthier and ultimately happier person overall. I have become more sensitive to the needs of others, and recognized that you never know what is going on beneath the surface of another person, and I try to live my life accordingly. I know that the reason I’m going through this again is because I recognize the true gift and blessing of my children – and I know that (for me) I cherish them at least a little bit more for having had the wait (note, I don’t mean to imply that fertile myrtles don’t cherish their children, I only mean that I, personally, know that I view my children differently because of my experience)

I also know, now, that infertility is never about fault. I know now that infertility is a disease of the reproductive system. And I’ll never again let a doctor tell me again that a legitimate disease is my own fault.

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A Fair Question

Anonymous asks, re: my post about PIO counteracting my Allegra…

Could you actually be allergic to the PIO?

I could be, sure. But it’s unlikely. I’m not displaying symptoms in a way that would suggest that. First, my allergies are at their worst when I’m in my house. Around my cats. Coincidence? I think not! Second, if I had an allergy to the PIO, it is unlikely that it would come across with symptoms similar to seasonal and cat allergies.

More likely, I’d be reacting to the sesame oil. But, though I don’t care for sesame a great deal, I’ve never had a reaction to sesame in anything. But if I were to have a reaction to the sesame, I’d probably have an on-site reaction at the injection-site first. It would be itchy, possibly red and swollen. If it were a terrribly bad reaction, I imagine I could even have a systemic, anaphylactic reaction. But – thank heavens, I am not allergic to sesame.

As for the progesterone … according to the all-mighty pharmacist in my household, the progesterone in the PIO is derived from potatoes. Or yams or something. I don’t know, I’d like to say I was hanging on his every word, but something about it’s easier to derive from a plant substance than to weasel it out of a human being or whatever. So, unlikely that I’m having an allergic reaction to that either, unless there was some kind of impurity in it from the manufacturing process, but that’s unlikely, and again – the symptoms I’m having are unlikely to be the result of this kind of allergy.

Now, there is some evidence of estrogen and progesterone allergies, but those are with naturally occurring estrogen and progesterone – and those “allergies” are linked with menstrual-cycle-related asthma and migraines. Neither of which I have (I do have migraines, but mine have no relationship to my menstrual cycle whatsoever).

Dr. Beer suggests that there is evidence of a progesterone allergy, stating: Some autoimmune women develop allergies to their own hormones, including progesterone. The antibody which they have produced can be detected by looking for progesterone antibodies in the blood or by doing a skin test that shows the allergy to progesterone. These antibodies further decrease the levels of progesterone in the blood. The cells responsible for this are the CD 19+5+ cells. By 10 weeks of pregnancy these cells are usually suppressed to normal numbers and the progesterone allergy is less of a problem.

But, again, there’s no suggestion that this should, say, make me sneeze.

Truthfully, it could just all be coincidental. But I think there *might* be a relationship. When I was pregnant, my Allegra all-out stopped working and I was miserable for months until *boom* it started working again. And I know that “they” say when you’re pregnant, allergies are often exacerbated. So I suspect that there is *some* correlation between the worsening of my allergy symptoms and the high levels of progesterone in my system right now. My guess is that the Allegra just isn’t able to counterbalance it right now.

That’s my theory anyway. And we all know my theory is worth exactly what you paid for it.

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I found an excuse to bug my nurse for the cryo report. For the sake of shalom bayis I must know the disposition of those struggling little blastocysts! Honest! For those of you who don’t want to click on the link, shalom bayis is literally “peace in the home” – it is the concept of peace and harmony in the household and good relations between husband and wife. In this case, I realized that if there was anything to freeze (again, I think not), then I’m likely to get nailed with ~$1500 bill for freezing and storage (it’s a little less, but just go with me, okay? And actually, it it was just one, it’s significantly less). A girl’s gotta prepare her husband for a bill like that, right?

So, for the sake of domestic tranquility, I emailed SuperNurse and said, you know, I hate to be nosy and all, but does she know the disposition of my struggling little life forms? And really, she wouldn’t want our marriage to be in jeopardy, right? It’s for the sake of our marriage! Plus, after all, enquiring minds want to know! This is front page news! Sort of.

Okay, not remotely, but I’m sure all of you are clamoring to know. Right? RIGHT?

Ahem. All righty then. So it’s just ME that wants to know. Yet another way for me to pass the time. The endless, boring time stretched before me. Another eight, looooooooong days before my beta. With nothing to do but sit here and whine, complain, bitch, blither to you about the mundanity of life when there is absolutely nothing interesting going on in my life. Absolutely nothing worth blogging about.

Nothing to see here, move along. Move along.

Oh! Hey! If there was *nothing* to freeze, maybe I can convince the man that since he just saved $1500 buckeroos, he should take me out to dinner next week to celebrate! Or, um, to console me in my um, sadness. That’s right. Because I’ll be all sad that we won’t have anything to save and therefore won’t have to pay out of pocket for freezing, storage and FETs that the insurance won’t cover… Yeah. Sad. That’s right.

(ooh! And Score! I totally bought a pile of HPTs. They should arrive on my doorstep tomorrow or the next day! They aren’t my beloved FRER’s, but I’m a girl on a budget now. And this should support my habit for at least a little while, right? Just, um, don’t tell my husband, okay? Oh for crying out loud, honey, they cost LESS THAN A DOLLAR EACH! And, no, I did not buy 300 of them. Just 297… KIDDING!)

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4dp6dt

bored now.

very proud of myself for not having purchased any HPTs yet. Not that they’d show anything, but you’ve gotta have them ready, right?

Bored.

Really, really, really done with this 2ww stuff.

Every one of my previous cycles I always had in my back pocket my exit strategy. So the 2ww never bothered me. I always knew that the cycle hadn’t worked (yes, I’m a negative nelly), so I was just twiddling my thumbs until the next CD3. I was completely surprised the two times it did work (and completely pissed off at the miscarriage the first time). But I always had the exit strategy: CD3, back to the clinic, start stims, keep going.

But I actually don’t exactly know what happens this time. PIO will keep CD3 from happening, so until I come off of it… no cycle start. And even if I do, what then? I don’t know if there was anything to freeze (I think not), so which is it, fresh or FET? Let’s assume fresh. If fresh, then what? I know you can’t move straight into another fresh cycle, but what does that mean? Does that mean straight to BCPs? Or does that mean waiting a month before BCPs? This is the missing piece of the puzzle piece for me. I think it means straight to BCPs. So 21 days of BCPs, Lupron on Day 19. Lupron Eval. on CD 2 or 3. Start Stims if it’s a go. I think. And I know SuperDoc said that this go around we’d be increasing my Follistim by 100IUs to start.

So is that the plan? I need a plan! I *always* have a plan, and right now, I’m a girl without a plan! This is not okay!

I *could* just make an appointment with SuperDoc to discuss said plan, but: 1. odds are good I won’t be able to get a consult appointment with him before my beta anyway, and 2. if I did, I’d feel ridiculous demanding a plan before I even get to a beta and then end up with a positive beta, as happened last time.

This is my fault. Normally I ask what my exit strategy is ahead of time – but I forgot that it’s all different now.

Now, see, I never used to be high maintenance. And then I went and had this super-high-risk, HOM pregnancy. And I *hated* to be a bother, but they put me on all this home-monitoring stuff and make me talk to a nurse three times a day and hauled me into the office twice a week and put me into the hospital a few times and, well… I learned how to be high maintenance, you see. And now?? I’m really good at it. So I blame the medical field for this. It’s all their fault.

Anyway, I’m not actually going to be high maintenance to them – I’m just going to be high maintenance here in my head. Oh wait, I’m typing all this out loud, aren’t I. Okay, fine. I’m going to be high maintenance publicly, to the blogosphere. But no one twisted your arm, put a gun to your head and forced you to read this blog. So, really? You asked for it!

Did I mention I’m bored?

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I swear, I am convinced that PIO makes my Allegra stop working. I cannot breathe, my eyes are all itchy, I’m sniffly, I’m stuffy, I’m teary-eyed, I’m sneezy, I’m ucky, I’m whiny (okay, that has nothing to do with Allegra except that when I feel this way, I get whiny). It’s like I have no allergy medicine on board. It’s as though the progesterone totally inactivates the Allegra. It’s completely ridiculous.

I cannot find appropriate google terms to bring my theory to life, but allergies can be aggravated during pregnancy – though this seems to be a phenomenon that is most severe in late pregnancy (29-36 weeks) so my bet is taking a few PIO shots is not the culprit. But, um. I still say the PIO is to blame. Because what else am I going to blame?

And I am getting too many darned migraines, which I know is the fault of the progesterone. And my screwed up body. Thanks for nothing.

And just think? If I get pregnant (hah!) I can stay on this stuff for EVER!

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