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Archive for November, 2008

11dp3dt

Nope.  Nothing good to report.  Negative HPT.  Wish I could just have the damned beta test tomorrow to get it done with, because, yes, I’ll still test each morning, and I’ll keep stabbing myself with the needles of pain each night, and I’ll ingest the fucking prednisone (which prescription I’ll need to renew on Monday so I’ll have enough to safely wean myself off the shit this time.)  *sigh*  Now I’m waiting for my period to show up, because today’s just not been fun enough, yet.  

Ice storm when we woke up, so we headed home a bit earlier than we might have otherwise, which was a relief to me.  I was getting a bit weary of trying to be sunshine-y.  I can’t tell you all what a relief it is to be back online – and thank you for your comments.  It helps knowing that there are people out there who know – from experience in most cases – what I’m going through, and who still manage to say something kind even in the midst of their own shitty days.  Thank you.

Let’s see…sunshine…on the happy side of things, the youngest step-daughter’s party doesn’t seem to have caused any irreparable damage to house or house-parts.  Which is something of a relief.  We had some drama on Friday night when a partygoer accidentally hit the “panic button” on the alarm system & the cops called the boy’s cellphone to find out what was up.  Long-distance hijinks ensued at midnight trying to get other family members over to see what was really happening.  Lots of fun.  Of course, it does look like the party made it all the way downstairs into the master-bath, which is where my meds are laid out on the counter.  Wonder what she and her friends made of the gigantic sharps container on the counter?  Can’t bring myself to care too much, somehow.

See how I managed to bring it back to me and my grief?  I’m good at that.  Ah well.  My blog, my whingeing.  

I spent the trip back to Brooklyn trying to figure out what comes next.  Trying to second-guess what my doctor’s going to say.  Wondering if he’s going to recommend that we give up altogether & move straight to take-out, or if he’ll think that donor eggs might have a better chance of surviving the womb of death than my own crappy eggs.  Tried to talk to the boy about the whole thing yesterday, but he’s spooky about saying such things out loud, plus he’s still in denial-land.  Hell, he still thinks we’re going to get lucky inbetween IVFs one of these times.  Silly boy.  Anyway, I finally got him to tell me what he’s been thinking about a few things – essentially, he thinks that using donor eggs would be “unfair” to me.  You know, related to him genetically, but not to me.  Um, yeah.  I gently explained that I could give a rat’s ass at this point about passing on my immortal Cyrano-esque nose or duck feet.  Human baby is what I’m after here, that turns into a human kid and eventually (and in good time) a human adult.  And if it has a cute little space between its front teeth just like him, hey! Bonus!  

I’m worried that this failure is going to indicate that using a donor egg isn’t even a good option for us.  He’s too old (54) to qualify for a lot of overseas adoption agencies.  Plus, one of his friends adopted a pair of Russian siblings who have had unbelievable problems with FAS & now an autism diagnosis, and that’s spooked us both.  As unsuited as my body apparently is for reproduction, I can’t help but feel that I’d take better care of developing sprog than some young thing who knows she’s not ready to be a mother (even though I suppose someone responsible enough to put an infant up for adoption is probably plenty responsible enough not to be drinking during the pregnancy).  But the thought of adopting and having there be any custody issues ever terrifies me.  The thought of adopting and having a child with some condition that could have been prevented by proper prenatal care just horrifies me.  

And, of course, the thought of never having a child scares me to the edge of bloody screaming death.  

This was a tough weekend.  His family is very close, and very inclusive – they’ve been nothing but sweet to me, and welcoming.  But in a way, it was harder being there in the midst of their family circle, feeling like an outsider both because I haven’t been a member of their family forever, but also because they’ve all got their family around them.  I’m not saying it very well, but it made me feel so vulnerable, like a barnacle clinging to the hull of their boat.  Part of them, but not really.  My husband is 16 years older than I am.  Not a huge difference in some ways and enormous in others.  I will admit that the thought of living the last 20 years of my life alone, with no family at all is a scary one to me, and at holidays like this, that are all about family traditions and the passing-down of family things, it’s even scarier.  

Anyway, a rant of a post, but that’s probably where I’ll be for the next while.  Pondering, waiting for our follow up consultation, waiting to see what happens next.  

And lucky you, since I tend to write while thinking, you’ll be the first to know more than you ever wanted to about the inner workings of sprogblogger’s brain.  

Which should make a nice change from knowing about the inner workings of her womb of death.  

Time to make soup.

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10dp3dt

Not a good day. 

Negative HPT this morning.  By 10 days past my previous 2 day transfer, I was getting a positive, even with my low HCG numbers.  This was 10 days past a 3 day transfer.  If it was there, I would have seen it.  But even using the best, most pristine morning urine, (hoarded carefully all night for just such a use), I got nada.  Zilch.  Scary stark-white nothing.  Not even a shadow that I could argue might possibly, with a lot of wishing and praying, turn into a line in my imagination.

I think I really have to deal with the fact that this didn’t work.  Again.  And since this was my last shot at doing this with my own eggs, I have to deal with the fact – as gracefully as possible – that any child I am given to mother will not be related to me genetically.  I also think I probably need to come to terms with the fact that since we had perfect embryos for this try, and they still didn’t find a comfy home in me, that it might be me that’s the problem here, and not just my crappy eggs.  Which means that donor eggs might meet the exact same ending.  Sprogblogger = womb of death

I had been trying to stay positive – or at least neutral since, last time, anyway, I was taken by glorious surprise.  But this time I also knew a little better what to expect, and I really haven’t had any of the same signs or symptoms.  My chest looked like a green-veined roadmap last time.  I’m a little veiny, but nothing that would make a vampire swoon.  Boobs are a bit sore, but it’s bad-period sore, not “I can feel you looking at them” sore.  And the crampiness is no more / no less than what I’ve felt in the week running up to every period since the miscarriage.  A little achy, a little twingey.  Nothing to wake me up at night, but nothing to make me say, “hey, this is new & different”.  It’s just the stupid fucking PIO.  I knew better.  I did. 

My Beta test is scheduled for Thursday, I think (it might have been for Weds., but I have Thursday morning off work, and am unwilling to take more time off for more bad news.)  Because I am who I am, (read: glutton for punishment) I’m sure I’ll test every single morning between now and then, just on the off-chance.  But that’s what it is, I’m afraid.  Just an off-chance that one of those little perfect embryos is just a slow starter and took too long finding the perfect spot, and so didn’t settle in, in any timely fashion.

I did my crying this morning, as quietly as I could so as not to wake the boy’s sister who was sleeping in the next room.  I tried not to let anyone see how painful it was going through all the kids’ baby-picture books.  I didn’t even wince visibly when my very dear MIL referred to a non-adopted child in a multi-child family as “no, that one’s their own.”  But all I really want to do right now is curl up in a ball and let my dog lick me until I’m soggy.

More later when I’m not quite so soggy around the eyes…

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How to have a happy family holiday.

The main course is, of course, stuffing.  Yeah, yeah, it’s wrapped in a big old honkin’ turkey, succulent breast, plump drumsticks, and all that.  But really, let’s be honest: the point of a family holiday meal is the delectable stuffing which, if prepared right, will take on all the flavors of the rest of the ingredients.   It’s the only real reason we bother.   Well, that and the pie.

The first item of business is deciding which recipe to follow.  Different chefs have different specialties, but the end result should be the same – a family meal that will be talked about forever. This is a big decision, and its importance cannot be overstated.  How many well-meaning holiday cooks have attempted to “just do what comes naturally” and been rewarded with nothing to show for all their hard work except maybe a glow from – ahem – standing over a hot stove?   Some recipes that call for yogic postures (hips over your head!) or deep-breathing (just relax!) techniques are merely folklore designed to impress the untried.  Some time-tested recipes will, however, produce the best possible results when older ingredients are all that come to hand; others will simply attempt to maximize cooking time for a more succulent bird (and therefore, a stronger-flavored stuffing) Whichever specific recipe you follow, the general order of steps will be the same.  Please adjust for personal taste as necessary – marshmallow topping is rarely inappropriate.

Place naked, plucked turkey on adjustable stainless steel platter with drumsticks raised over neck level for easy access to body cavity.  Pink paper gowns with smiling teddy bears or other infantilizing cartoon characters may be used to decorate the turkey platter as long as they are not actually obscuring the open body cavity.  

In order to make more room in the body cavity for the all-important stuffing, remove heart, gizzards, endometriosis, damaged fallopian tubes, misshapen ovaries, fibroids, dreams of anything in your life ever being easy again, etc.  Chop finely and set aside for gravy.  (Omit reproductive organs for milder taste, if preferred).

Flush body cavity with brine to remove any extraneous bits of tissue. If you can accomplish this step without tears, you’re well on your way to the perfect family holiday meal.  However, if you cannot manage such a feat, do not despair. (If unsure whether saline lavage has sufficiently penetrated the cavity, ultrasound visualizing aids are available at your local medical supply warehouse. Although properly trained turkey-basting technicians are more expensive even than caterers, you should consider taking advantage of such opportunities if need be.   Doesn’t your family deserve the very best?)

Successive bastings with Lupron, Bravelle, Menopur, etc. will transform the inner cavity into a more hospitable place, allowing the stuffing to more readily soak up meat juices.  Draw up the basting solution into the bulb of the basting syringe and swirl carefully to mix with brine.  Inject under the skin for the juiciest, most stuffing-ready bird.  Most needle-basters will need to be manually loaded with ingredients like essence of post-menopausal nun pee.  This sounds more disgusting than it is.  Actually, no, it really is that disgusting.  And it burns like hell.  Use it anyway, in whatever fashion the recipe dictates. 

Furthermore, periodically basting the body cavity with pessaries and estrogen tablets dissolved in natural juices allows essential nutrients and hormonal seasonings to be absorbed by the stuffing mixture, and is critical for the success of the holiday meal.

Prepare the stuffing.  Only the best quality eggs should ever be used.   Sub-par eggs will affect the entire meal, so do not be tempted to take any shortcuts here!  In a small glass bowl, mix extra-large, grade AAA eggs with fresh or frozen spermatozoa.  Fold mixture into culture medium and let stand in a warm, secure place for 36 – 126 hours. Cellular mixture should divide, doubling in size at least 3 to 9 times.  If mixture does not rise, repeat previous processes with fresh eggs until satisfactory outcome is achieved.

Once prepared, stuffing should be inserted into the body cavity using a sterile catheter/syringe while wearing medical-grade latex gloves.  Although one of the simplest steps of the operation, this is the most critical.  Keep your eye on the eventual goal of a delicious family meal centered around golden brown stuffing, rather than on the gelatinous, unbaked lumps of dough you are handling.   Dough-lumps are difficult to form an emotional attachment with, but give it your best shot.  Nicknames might facilitate the process. 

After inserting stuffing, place turkey in a warm oven for at least two weeks.  Try not to check on it too often.  It is not that it is as fragile as a soufflé, but rather that since your hopes have already been dashed countless times, you should try not to set yourself up for failure any more than you have to.  Do not, at this point, bother with trying to read the meat thermometer.  It isn’t finished cooking yet.  Trust me.  No, really.  Actually, now it might be done, or conversely, it might be burned to a crisp.  Unfortunately, there’s really no way to know because the oven light just blew a fuse. 

At this point in the waiting game, basting will be required at evenly spaced intervals. Some store-bought basters will come pre-loaded with mucosa solutions derived from the linings of pig intestines.  Believe it or not, basting with this mixture will create a smooth texture in the flesh of the turkey that will help ensure the success of your stuffing.  Ignore any feelings of revulsion or cynicism at the lengths to which you are willing to go, and inject under the skin at 24-hour intervals.  Some bruising may occur. Rub skin all over with ice cubes if this becomes a problem.  Icing probably won’t help, but it might, at least, distract you from the bruising.

If you have a flashlight and perhaps a magnifying glass (not to mention the persistence and rapacious appetite for detail of Julia Childs), you may notice that the turkey’s skin is turning a nice rosy brown, and that the breast meat is swelling enticingly.  This may simply be a result of the intramuscular and subcutaneous basting, but it may, in fact, be indicative of the succulent and delectable condition of the stuffing.  However, since you really won’t know for a while, try not to pay any attention to it.   Have some pie.

It is now time to start making gravy.  Simply chop up your heart and any other reserved innards you always planned to use someday, and sauté over the low heat of self-recrimination and lost dreams until the concoction turns the rich brown of breast-fed-baby shit.  Add sesame oil mixed with progesterone and whisk until smooth. Season with baby aspirin, prednisone, and micronized DHEA.  Serve hot in a gravy boat.

After two weeks have passed, you may (or may not) know if your holiday dinner has a chance for success or not.  After another ten weeks, you are entitled to pick out holiday themed invitations for next year’s presentation.  After another twenty-five to twenty-eight weeks event-free roasting, serve stuffing – against a pretty backdrop of turkey – on your best platter.  Hand-knit heirloom booties and hats make nice serving pieces, but are not necessary.  

If, however, the turkey/stuffing mixture produces a clear, rather than a pink line on the testing strip near the end of the initial cooking period, not only is the turkey not done, but you must start again from scratch.  This is unfortunate if you have people waiting for you to finish so they can sit down to a family dinner.  They’ll have to wait for grandchildren.  And pecan pie, because at this point, you’ve probably eaten it all.   Probably some pumpkin pie in the back of the fridge, though.  You might want to start in on that one at this point.  With whipped cream.

Take-out or delivery – perhaps from China or Guatemala at the time of this writing – may be a more reliable option than starting from scratch at this point, or you could hire a caterer to prepare the holiday feast in your stead, though it will, of course, be too late for anything this year.  Ignore any feelings of self-doubt which taking this direction may engender. Yes, I know that neither your mother nor your grandmother did it this way, but this is the modern era.  These days, not everyone arrives at a family dinner via the same route.  Some go over the river and through the woods in a sleigh, some go via the F train to their clinic’s subway stop, and some simply call a taxi.  The important thing is that you get there in the end.  Preferably before the meal is over and everyone’s already heading home. 

Me?  I think maybe you should have some more pumpkin pie while you’re trying to decide, because pie is never the wrong choice.

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Sleepless.  Vivid dreams.  Breasts getting more & more tender.  Cramps increasing, (though ever since the miscarriage I’ve been crampier than previous.  Also, it sort of “reset” my definitions of cramps, so I’m not even sure I’m remembering last spring all that correctly.  Suffice it to say that my uterus is twinge-y, my lower back is achy, and my bruised belly feels bloatier than mere PIO can account for.) 

And having said that, I’m proud to announce that I did not POAS this morning, though I packed a digital test for Friday AM.  If it’s negative, I’ll test again on Saturday AM.  And that’s it.  I won’t obsess.  I won’t even think about it.

(And if you believe that, there’s this lovely water-spanning edifice that I can get you in, on the ground level…)

Ahem.

However, this is not a whiny post.  For a change.  Instead, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, which – cynical though I am – really is my favorite holiday, I want to state for the record that I am grateful.

Grateful that this cycle has gotten as far as it has. 
Grateful that the side-effects that plague so many women seem to leave me (mostly) alone.
Grateful that we had such a good result from the DHEA. 
Grateful that it was my doctor & not Dr. bigshot doing the retrieval & transfer.  Grateful that I’ve been feeling enough little cramps & tendernesses that I can still have hope that this might work this time. 
Grateful that my husband loves me even when I’m crazy-infertile woman who can’t even have sex because of trying to get pregnant (go figure.) 
Grateful that even though I have to work today & Friday, I get Thanksgiving day itself off, and my mother-in-law refused to let me bring anything (I’m hoping out of kindness and not a dislike of my cooking…) 
Grateful that I’m going to be eating delicious food and being with kind in-laws in Connecticut where the dog can run and I can breathe freely, away from the city.  I love weekends in the country! 
Grateful that the best man-nurse in the world gives me one of my injections each night. 
Grateful that my family is healthy and happy right now, even if I cannot be with them tomorrow. 
Grateful for friendsboth old and new.  I’m also awfully grateful for the support I’m receiving from you all.  Yesterday sucked, but your comments made it a bit better.

Thank you.

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6dp3dt

Crampy.  Constipated.  Sore, but not pregnant sore boobs.  Vivid dreams.  Luteal-phase clear skin. Internets, I don’t feel pregnant, I feel premenstrual.  

Which bums me the hell out.  

And yes, before you jump in to reassure/remind me about the complete inability of an IVFing woman to exhibit anything like rational thought, let alone calmly perform a semi-complicated bit of self-analysis, let me assure you that I have been second-guessing myself – re-reading old blog posts, even, to remind myself of what day I previously managed to get a positive test last time (10dp3dt) and how all the tests before then were negative.  And even about how firmly convinced I was at the time that nothing had worked because I just didn’t feel that different. And then I had (temporary) good news that changed everything.

So yeah, I guess I’m to the point in this waiting game where I’m sick of waiting.  My brain is trying desperately to protect my heart, and reminding me that this procedure is a crap shoot, no more, no less. I’m to the point where I’m trying to pretend that I’m not waiting for Friday for anything at all.  Trying to pretend that it’s a shame I won’t know it’s a negative by Thursday, so I could have some of the most excellent wine my father-in-law is likely to serve at Thanksgiving.  I want it to be next Tuesday, and I want to be surprised with good news (permanent good news this time, please) but what I really want is for the 2ww to be done.  Finished with, one way or another.  

Or, barring that, I’d like to have the freedom to curl up in bed and go to sleep for three or four days, until it’s time for me to test.  

Surely that’s not too much to ask.

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5dp3dt

Another day past transfer, another symptom/sign to obsess over! 

  • vivid dreams.  like dreams that you could walk into and stay there forever, kind of vivid dreams.  coupled with…
  • restless nights.  waking up many times to pee, or stare at the ceiling, or just pat the dog or the boy.  not insomnia, just not too sleepy.
  • boob tenderness is still there, and I’m getting tenderer, but I’m still not sure that’s more than the PIO. 
  • I’m still getting twinges – center of the uterus, pin-prick cramps – every so often.  I know I said I wasn’t going to count them as a symptom, because I recognize my own wishful thinking/hyperawareness, but I am going to count them.  So there.  I’m thinking these were the ONLY reliable symptoms last time, so I’m wishing for them this time, wishing they’ll become unmistakeable

The PIO is bruising me already, but the Lovonox, so long as I’m careful to get the airbubbles out first, really isn’t so bad.  The damn needles aren’t very sharp, though, which pisses me off.  Bad enough to stab yourself in the belly with an awkward, preloaded syringe, but with a dull needle?  Please. 

I’ll be ready to test officially on Friday, though if I’m honest, I’ll probably start testing on Wednesday.  And what the hell – I’ll be honest about the degree of my obsession to you all, since I suspect you’ve been here before!  And really, why else would I have bought a 25-pack of those internet-cheapie HPTs if not to have the freedom to POAS every single time the spirit moved me?  I still have a digital in the cupboard buried somewhere under the massed boxes of drugs, and I’ll spring for a pink-line test next time I’m in a drugstore.  Cover all my bases, you know…

Other than that, I fnid that I’m feeling eager to do baby-things again – look for baby-gear on Amazon, make up a list of books I want to have on hand, start special ordering baby/pregnancy books from the library – whereas for a long time after my miscarriage, I was too superstitious to bear thinking about it.  Yesterday, I finally went back onto some of my favorite “baby sites” and went through the annoyingly complex task of deleting my February due date.  (They really should have a simpler, one-stop, no-grief way of doing that.) 

I’m starting to feel hopeful again, like even if this time doesn’t work, it WILL work next time.  Which takes some of the pressure off. 

Big lie.  Pressure’s on, I’m just trying to find ways to live through this week without losing my mind entirely.  Not that I have far to go…

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4dp3dt

Only important news to report is that the HCG has officially left my system – well, according to the internet cheapie-tests I use for this, anyway.  Which means that from here on out, if I get a positive, I can more-or-less safely assume it’s for real, and not a trigger-shot remnant.  Which, if I can manage to get a positive test, will be a really good thing.  

*gulp*

A day off today, which, unfortunately, I think I have to spend in Manhattan, shopping.  Please note that the above sentence was entirely devoid of irony.  I hate shopping.  Always have, always will.  My “style” is more thrift-store chic than anything else, and weirdly enough, NYC thrift stores are wretched.  Add to that the IVF bloat that really makes me not want to dress up.  Add to that the baby hope that makes me not want to spend any money on clothing that doesn’t have an expandable waistline.  Add to that the unbelievable hassle that is getting anywhere via subway these days.

I really don’t want to go shopping.

But we need things for the house.  And I need a dress for Thanksgiving, and another for Christmas eve and another for Christmas.  Argh.  The bad thing about not being a packrat is that when several “occasions” come up in a short period of time, you’re kind of screwed.  When I moved, I gave away most of my things – including a lifetime’s collection of clothing.  And while I don’t really regret that decision, it would have made today a lot easier if I could just say “Hey!  I’ll wear that cool skirt I got in 1996 and no one here will have ever seen it before!”  The way it stands, they’ve seen my black skirt, and they’ve seen my brown skirt and they’ve seen the black dress I was married in, and I think I need a few new outfits to carry my through the holidays.

Damn it all. 

Obsessive listing of symptoms follows:

  • Boobs tender and nipples darker.  Not as noticeable as last cycle, though, which has me slightly concerned.
  • Oversensitivity to the smell of a really rank guy on the subway.  I’m always sensitive to bad smells (and god, this city stinks!), but I actually had to leave a subway car yesterday.  In between retching, I was feeling hopeful.
  • An ocular migraine last night.  My husband calls these “getting the sparkles” since there’s no pain involved just nifty pyrotechnics behind the retinas.  To me, it looked like psychedelic spermatozoa all honing in on an invisible egg – wriggling and swimming toward the center of my vision from peripheral vision.  I’ve never had that happen before.  It was sort of cool in a clinical way.  I don’t think it’s a pg symptom, though, just a stress symptom.

And that’s about it.  I don’t feel pregnant, but then, I didn’t really feel pregnant last time, either.  Crampiness is inconclusive.  Several twinges, but I think if I’m honest, I’d admit that I feel “twinges” all the damn time – especially since starting meds/becoming hyperaware of my own anatomy.  So, we’re ruling those out as a symptom until they really knock me down like they did last time.

Drinking hot chocolate (my coffee-replacing vice) to fortify me against the evil evil trip into the city.  And we’ll probably take the wonder-whippet to the dog park so she can sprint for two minutes and fall into an exhausted heap at our feet.  She is finally starting to figure out that the dog-door is her instant access to piles of leaves to jump in and squirrels to chase, rather than the passage at Cirith Ungol  (Lord of the Rings reference for you non-geek types), which is what she’s assumed from the beginning.  Our little Nellie is growing up…

Off to read everyone else’s posts & hope for some more good news from a few people!  Babies for everyone!  Huzzah!

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