Thursday, March 10, 2011

Elisabeth Rohm Opens Up About IVF

Elisabeth Rohm's IVF Confession
I appreciate Elisabeth sharing her story...further lessening the taboo nature of IVF/ART.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

No Sausage???

I received an email from a friend who is aware of my struggle with infertility. The email was titled “Happy Holidays” and included the following message and pictures:

How could we have missed it? March 15 was Penis Day in Japan. Here are the photos. The actual festival is called Honen Matsuri. Celebrated every March 15 in Komaki, a town about 45 minutes north of Nagoya, Japan, this is the time of year where folks haul out a large wooden penis to give three cheers to fertility and renewal. The custom is an old one that is connected to bringing about a good harvest and having babies.

After initially laughing at the pictures I decided it reminded me of Ravens "No Sausage" haiku.
Here are my observations:
1) Why is the penis the symbol for fertility? Really all the penis does is deliver the sperm to the proper receptical. They should be carrying giant wooden testicles (hair and all), or a uterus and ovaries.
2) Why is the reporter in one of the pictures holding such a long microphone?
3) Who decided it would be cute to have a penis hanging off their nose?
4) If you look closely at the white 'sperm like' costumes of the people carrying the giant wooden penis down the street I think you'll see D@ve from FT.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Legend of Spike

The narwhal named Willy Ramrod Dickhole Monodon Monoceros (more commonly known by his badboy nickname Spike) was appointed the patron saint of male infertility due to his genealogic relationship with the sperm whale and his phallic shaped horn/tusk/spike. While one would commonly think that the sperm whale would be a better choice, there are a number of reasons that Spike won this battle. The sperm whale while having the largest brain of any animal was not appropriate as we know that men don't think with their cranium brain, but the their other phallic one. As we have recently learned from Spike’s action figure packaging, his white battle horn “shoots blizzard beams" which is how he freezes sperm for later occasions and donor needs. His white battle horn also “freezes time” which we only wish he could do for our eggs when we were younger. He only eats Swedish fish (other jelly candy cannot be substituted). He has genetically adapted to perform deep dives that our males’ sperm should emulate when diving into an egg. He may dive more than 15 times in a day, and stay down for 25 minutes at a time. If only our men could perform that well! As he lives in the artic, he think cold showers are the best wake up calls!

Some little known facts: Spike is a NARcoleptic which is why he is sometimes asleep and unable to guarantee fertilization. He is also addicted to NARcotics, which helps him empathize with all of us infertile women who are willing to shoot ourselves up with anything as long as it could get us pregnant. He is NARcissistic, but then again, most of the men we know are! He believes every good story has a strong NARrative which is why he is allowing Raven to write up his tale. He hates NARrow-minded people and dismisses them with NARy a thought. However, he truly appreciates a good sNARky comment.

A bit of history from Wikipedia is enlightening:

In Inuit legend, the narwhal's tusk was created when a woman with a harpoon rope tied around her waist was dragged into the ocean after the harpoon had struck a large narwhal. She was transformed into a narwhal herself, and her hair, that she was wearing in a twisted knot, became the characteristic spiral narwhal tusk.

Some medieval Europeans believed narwhal tusks to be the horns from the legendary unicorn. (You see there IS a connection!) As these horns were considered to have magic powers, such as the ability to cure poison and melancholia, Vikings and other northern traders were able to sell them for many times their weight in gold. The tusks were used to make cups that were thought to negate any poison that may have been slipped into the drink. During the 16th century, Queen Elizabeth received a carved and bejeweled narwhal tusk for £10,000—the cost of a castle (approximately £1.5—2.5 Million in 2007, using the retail price index). The tusks were staples of the cabinet of curiosities.

Make sure your men know that vitamins and wheatgrass only go so far….they need to be paying homage to Spike as well! Tell them to take a cold shower and eat some Swedish Fish!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Perspective and Such: The Screams of A Mother

I ate lunch with my husband today in the cafeteria of the children's hospital which is a part of the medical center where he works.  It's a relatively small cafeteria and has wide double doors which stay open to the hallway.

Shortly after we sat down, we heard, over the din of cafeteria employees serving food, patrons eating and talking and other cafeteria sounds, a blood curdling scream.  At first we weren't certain what was going on, and most (if not all) of the people surrounding us seemed unaffected or unaware.  That initial scream was followed by the most primal, uninhibited, from-the-depths-of-the-soul wailing and screaming that I had ever heard.  It went on for about a minute, maybe until they moved this mother to a more private, sound-proof room. 

It quickly became clear to my husband and me that a mother had just received devastating news.  I don't know if she had just found out that her child had died or if she had just learned that her child was going to die.  But we sat in silence, just looking at each other...thinking about how this life, these lives had just been changed in the most dreaded and terrifying way.

"Sobering" doesn't even begin to describe the feeling in those moments.  I know this isn't exactly and directly related to what everyone is going through here...but I did think of you girls and wanted to share this with you.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A whole lot of suck going on- ectopic questions

I'm sorry I've had trouble updating the community here and the "Who Shot my Stork?" But the last month has been crazy. I went through my IVF, had two perfect 8 cells. Started to feel symptoms in the 2ww. Tested early and my hpt was negative. Tested again and had 3 positive hpts. Beta #1 was only a 14, and I knew that was bad news. I was devastated. I tried to make my peace with it.

Beta #2 was 4 days later and it was a 36. So, we thought it's over for real now, we tried to make our peace with it finally.

Beta #3 was 4 days later and the number quadrupled to a 160. We all admitted confusion and wait to see what was going on.

The day after Beta 3 I started spotting, and 3 days later I bled a lot, with clots. I had some wine that night, took some Advil, told friends who knew it was over. We cried and made our peace with it AGAIN as best we could.

Beta #4 was 4 days later and my beta is now a 552. My uterus is still clear, but it would be you usually can't see a sac until it's closer to 1000. They told me they were concerned about progesterone (why? Isn't this over???) and to double my dose. They aren't sure whether it is:

- an ectopic (still not visible)
- a miscarriage (betas still haven't come down somehow)
- small chance of viability- how with passing of clots I don't know. It would have to be a miracle in my opinion. Lots of people are posing the "lost twin", i just don't know and of course don't want to hope for something soooo far off.

But after going through so much, I can't think it's anything but over and hoping it's NOT an ectopic.

I have heard some of you ladies have had an ectopic in the past?? At what point, does it start becoming dangerous? I mean, it can't rupture a tube if my beta is still only in the hundreds, and if they can't see it yet, correct? My doc scheduled my next scan and bloods for Thursday. They do not feel it's dangerous yet, but told me to be on the lookout of course.

This just plain old, flat out, SUCKS. It is the most draining and maddening part of my fertility experience so far (and that's saying something, after 2 other m/c's and 2 other IVF's.) I just want to be able to move on, and even that can't happen.

Any advice is appreciated...Thanks for listening to my tale of woe. I am not the miracle child of IVF, sadly.

Monday, June 14, 2010



I found your blog yesterday and spent all day poring over it. I found it at just the right time, because I really need to be part of this conversation! I have been feeling very isolated for a while now with my IF experience.

So, here's a little bit about me: I am 34 years old, and my husband and I have been trying to conceive for over 18 months. We tried naturally for about 9 months, but in that time I had some very negative experiences with doctors that made me paranoid in general about being dismissed and under-diagnosed, and probably led me to worry and seek intervention sooner than I might have otherwise. I had a high thyroid test (Hashimoto's hypothyroidism) but had a number of doctors tell me that things were fine, that I didn't need medication, etc. Since I had already been ttc for 7 or so months at that point, I was already feeling uneasy, and that's when my self-diagnosis on the Internet began. Reading about links between thyroid and conception/infant health just made me very mistrustful of my doctors, with whom I also had some truly horrific experiences I won't go into in detail right now (I was screamed at by an RE to "Stop thinking I could control everything... I could end up with a kid with Autism; we're not robots! We can't control nature!") All of this is just to say that I started my IF journey feeling at times that I was "hysterically" inventing the problem, and having a hard time getting any acknowledgment or support that something might actually be wrong.

I eventually found a good Endocrinologist to treat my hypothyroidism, and then a fertility clinic here in NYC where one doctor accepts my insurance (RMA: Since September 2009, I've been going to RMA regularly. My RE there diagnosed me immediately with PCOS, although I do not have all the "classic" symptoms of pcos (it was something that had been overlooked by other docs). I do have polycystic ovaries on an ultrasound, but I also do get regular periods (albeit long cycles - 32-34 days) on my own, and I'm fairly sure that I ovulate at least most of them time during those cycles. Although my doctor likes to refer to my "erratic, irregular cycles," the truth is that my cycles were not all that irregular before I started intervention; they were just on the long side. My experience with RMA has been that they are competent and efficient; the nurses return calls and results swiftly, and they are always open. But my doctor - who is well regarded and well published in the field - very clearly sees me as a statistic and an age category. His treatment of me is technically proficient, and may in fact be the best option, but I don't get a sense that he really thinks about me as an individual case. At all. He definitely needs to re-read my chart every time he talks to me, and then makes a decision based on the information in front of him. He is not very interested in my thinking, and after my failed IVF, did not arrange to discuss with me, but just said, "Ok, when do you want to do your FET?" My biggest complaint at this point is that he doesn't provide me with ANY information, just "solutions" (which so far haven't worked). He seemingly has zero curiosity about why my IVF failed when everything looked perfect throughout the cycle.

So, here's my treatment history, all at RMA: I had 4 cycles of Clomid (various doses) with IUI's -- all BFN. I had one cycle of Gonal-F injections with IUI, in which I had 4-5 eggs -- BFN. I just had my first IVF in April/May. As they could have predicted (and perhaps better planned for) I "overstimulated" and had 47 eggs on extraction! I was completely thrilled when 20 of them fertilized. We transferred two beautiful day-5 blastocysts (Grade A) -- BFN. I was really devastated, as I had thought of IVF as my "last resort." I also kind of thought, pragmatically, at least it will show us something. If my eggs don't fertilize, at least we'll know they're terrible. But that didn't happen, and everything looked so good! (btw, my husband's SA is fine -- borderline low morphology, but his sperm count is consistently extremely high). On both my Gonal-F IUI cycle and my IVF cycle, I am pretty sure that I felt some "pinches" or "twinges" that I am now suspecting were implantation pangs. On my IVF beta, I had trace amounts of hcg in my system, enough that they re-tested me two days later just to confirm. The nurse said this maybe suggests that something started to implant, but then stopped dividing. Now I am wondering if this is the issue -- that my eggs do get fertilized, but just can't keep dividing. My lining always looks great on the ultrasound, and though I've had borderline low Progesterone tests in the past, I'm always on the supplements or POI shots, and the numbers are high. My progesterone test with the IVF was around 27. So I don't think the problem would be inability to implant, but maybe there's a genetic factor or something else that might cause the embryos to arrest or stop dividing? This is something I need to ask my doctor about, I guess.

We are now moving into a second IVF cycle. Although we have five frozen blastocysts, we are doing another fresh cycle this summer, partly because I am a teacher and can not go through that during a school year again, and partly because we want to exhaust my insurance benefit on the more expensive treatment before we do the FET. Once that insurance benefit is gone (after this fresh cycle) we will be paying for everything out of pocket, and I don't think we are able or willing to do much of that. We don't really want to spend all of our "adoption money" on treatments that may or may not result in a child, so I think one FET would be our last intervention before moving on to adoption. So, as I move into a second fresh IVF, I am hoping you all can help me figure out which very specific questions to ask my doctor (I am going to call and schedule an appointment just to review my treatment this week). I am hoping to impress upon him that this is likely our last shot, and that I really want to explore possible reasons for why the first IVF failed. If my embryos are not dividing, why is that? Is there anything we can do to get a better outcome? Are there specific tests I should be asking for? This is really the time to do it!

I am currently on Provera to bring on my period, as this cycle after the failed IVF is stretching on quite long (I'm on day 32, but bloodwork last week on day 27 showed that I wasn't even close to ovulating). I'm hating this provera, but hoping it brings on my period sooner rather than later. Once that comes, I'll go into bcp and lupron, and hopefully start stimming again end of July. Part of me wanted to try and switch clinics because of the impersonal, "one size fits all" treatment at RMA, but Cornell doesn't have any appointments until end of summer, and I really just want to move forward with this. I suppose if things fail again, we may try to move on to Cornell, but at that point we'll be out of money, so I'm not sure.

Well, this is getting long, so I'll end it here. I will just add, though, that despite my truly wonderful, sensitive, supportive husband, K., I feel very alone with all this. My best friend got pregnant in October after 2 months of trying, she's due in 2 weeks, and this has basically ruined our friendship, at least for now. My cousin is also due at the end of the month, and over the last year and a half I've watched everyone around me get pregnant, have babies, and move forward with their lives while mine stands still. I feel like time moves on and changes happen for other people, but I am just stuck in cycle after cycle of stagnation and disappointment and heartbreak. I feel like I've fallen off the wheel, and the consequence has really been that I hide away, hang out with my husband, and avoid social situations as much as possible. I just feel like I can't relate to anyone, and they definitely can not relate to me.

Thanks for reading this, and I really do look forward to "talking" with you all! Please do comment if you have some suggestions about what I should ask my doctor now...

Thanks so much,

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

To Tell or not to Tell that is the Question

I posted this over on the Stork site and wanted to share here. It was a response to another post where we were talking about how we feel sharing our IVF journey.

(all sorts of things mentioned - just a warning)

This is so hard to explain isn't it? How we feel about discussing and not discussing? The other night I was with a bunch of girlfriends - my friend who has done everything ART under the sun that we have done and haven't done, plus waiting for adoption (she knows my whole story) as well as my friend who is 6 months pregnant with her 3rd, a single gal friend who at 44 feels she won't ever have the chance to try for a baby, and a married friend who does not want children. They were asking me about where I was with my IF procedures and what was next, etc. I wanted to be offended at first like "how dare you ask me about that", but I thought, they genuinely want to know and genuinely want me to have success. I gave them the latest and didn't feel that pity feeling you sometimes get from people. I just felt support like I do here. I think that is what I hate the most - that "awww, you poor infertile little thing" feeling. I feel I can't look the fertilies in the eye sometimes. Especially those with child or a newer baby. I am afraid I will cry, give them a dirtly look or I don't know what.

Even though I absolutely know this is not my fault, I can't help but feel like my body is broken in a way that says I am somehow less than a woman. There I said it out loud. That is how I feel. Factor in being 41 and I've added that I'm also old to the mix. I'm old and broken and less than a woman. When there is a woman around who can remind me of that by showing me how unbroken and whole she is with her baby/pg I resent her at least a little. Even if she is my friend and I care about her. Does that make me a bad person? I feel that sometimes that it does. Sometimes I wish I was one of those happy all the time, glass half full, silver lining people, but I am not. I can't always just feel happy for other people. I get a bit bitter - hell sometimes a lot bitter. All I can do is deal with me and how I feel and figure out how I will keep moving forward towards success or more failure in my quest to become a mother. One day at a time.

I started a fertility yoga class last night. Small class - only 2 other girls there - both skinny and 10 years younger and I instantly had a 'tude like oh yeah, like you bitches have anything on me. I should know better than that after being on these sites. IF does not just discriminate against age or weight. We were making introductions and I told my boohoo story first and thought "top that mo-fo's". One girl said she had one child, but had some cysts and couldn't get pg with #2. I really thought oh poor you, you already have one. What a bitch I am! And then, the other girl proceeded to tell us that she had a m/c in 2009, got pg again, carried to term and 6 WEEKS AGO her son died during childbirth. WTF?!!!!! 6 WEEKS AGO! Yet there she was ready to try again and sitting in this yoga class. I shut my mouth up pretty fast and had to keep myself from crying thinking about how the hell she got her butt to this class with a smile on her face after only 6 weeks of mourning. I would be in a mental institute.

One of our cohorts mention that we should all be proud of ourselves for going through all this. I totally agree. For trusting some strange doctor with our bodies and putting ourselves through hell physically, mentally and emotionally to achieve our goals; not everyone has the cojones to do that.

Also mentioned were the snarky comments after IF stories in the news (i.e. Kelly Preston & Celine) That somehow we are IF and don't get pg because it is nature's choice. Oh, but the crackhead whore who leaves her baby in a car while she strips - nature's cool with that one? I don't believe that. That's when I question if everything really happens for a reason - wtf reason would that be?

Anyway, wanted to share as this is the area that I am growing the most lately. I'm starting to lose some of the bitterness the more I go through. I started high and optimistic, fell to devastated and bitter and now I'm hopefully rising to contentment one way or another. That will be the longest journey no matter what the outcome.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I Get It Now

I was active in our school’s theater arts program all throughout high school. The program was run by a very pretty but tough-as-nails teacher, “Ms. Q.” Ms. Q had taught at the school for years, and was in her very late 40s by the time I was in 9th grade. She was both feared and respected by most of us I would guess, and certainly by me.

Even though she lived a good hour and a half away from our school, she was there day in and day out, holding rehearsals till after 11 at night and working us to death on the weekends. Pleasing her was not an easy feat. She took note of every mistake we made and held us to answer for each, through yelling or not -- it didn’t really matter. Sometimes you could hear her screaming at some poor bloke even if you were in a closed classroom down the hallway. Sometimes she’d just lose it and go off on everyone and everything, and lord help you if you were there to hear it.

For the most part though, I think we all knew that she did these things because she had high standards and wanted us to be the best. And if you heard her chuckling during your comedic performance it made you feel like a million bucks. If she ever told you you did a good job, you felt like a billion bucks.

I really, really liked her.

Of course, it wasn’t “cool” to like Ms. Q, so when my classmates would go off on her, I’d partake dutifully, dramatically recounting her latest crazy antics or adding my two cents to the Ms. Q topic du jour.

But the truth was, she was always exceedingly nice to me. I always felt like an outcast at the school and particularly in the theater department, so when I received approval or accolades from Ms. Q, it always meant a lot to me, more than she could have possibly known. Sometimes, during some down-time, I’d be in her office doing some work for her, and she’d let out a joke or a laugh or a warm smile or talk about her husband, and I thought to myself, “She’s really a sweetheart and a nice person, everyone’s so wrong about her.”

But there was one thing that I always thought was very strange – she didn’t like babies or kids. When former students would come visit her with their babies, my friends and I would ooh and ahh and coo over them, but Ms. Q would be stand-offish, with a look of aversion on her face that said, “Eww, babies? Weird! Gross!” Same with other teachers – they’d bring their newborns or little kids to show off, and while us students would gather round to see and maybe get to touch the cute things, Ms. Q seemed revolted. Which only lent credence to her reputation of being a cold bitch.

When it was my graduation day, I gave her a small gift (I think it was something stupid like candles), my way of letting her know that despite my troublesome ways, I really loved her and very much appreciated all she’d done for me. A short time later, I received a very sweet thank-you card from her. In it, she said “you are my children and it is always hard to say goodbye…”

A couple years later, I heard that Ms. Q had quit teaching and had given birth to twins.

Strange, I thought – she hated kids! Huh? Well, good for her, that’s pretty cool! (IVF and fertility treatments were nowhere near my radar or knowledge at that time, so I just thought hey, she got knocked up at that age, rad!)

Now, of course, it all makes sense. All of it. I get it now. I think back and feel like I know her better now than I ever did then. My heart hurts for that teacher of all those years ago. For how much pain she must have been in. How she must have had failed treatment after treatment all that time. For the jabs to her heart when her colleagues popped out babies and went on and on about them while they were all hanging out in the teachers’ lounge. How she said we were her “children.” How she must have gotten the bfn calls while she was at school. Why she’d lose it sometimes. Why she acted like she didn’t like babies. And how incredibly happy she must have been to finally become a mother.

I never thought I’d ever have anything whatsoever in common with Ms. Q. Kind of weird that now I do.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Journey to Egg Donor

I think I’m the first one of our small group to go with an egg donor. So I thought I’d share my journey if it could help any of you. I sincerely hope that you never get to this point.

It isn’t a snap decision to move forward with an egg donor. Being that I started my fertility journey at 42, it was mentioned as a possibility from the start. I think the clinic doesn’t regard it is that big of a deal….and it certainly helps their success rates. But to me, it was a very big deal. I wanted MY child. I wanted it to be connected to my family and carry down the awesome traits that my parents gave me. When I see kids who look like their parents or show the same personality traits, I’m jealous. I already had to compromise my dream and go for a sperm donor since Mr. Right never showed up. But in many ways, it was so much easier to pick a sperm donor. I didn’t have a picture of Mr. Right in my head, so I could look at the donors almost like a dating site (which I’ve done for years!). However, on the female side, I did know who should be the genetic mother of my child…it was me! And I don’t have a twin or sister to turn to. I kept hoping through all of my treatments that I’d finally have the month with the “golden egg” and I’d get pregnant. But when my first PGD came back with all 4 embryos being genetically abnormal, I had to face the fact that maybe all of my eggs were abnormal. (Does anyone else remember the scene of Young Frankenstein with the brain from Abby Normal?) It was one of the worst days of my life. That was over a year ago. But I’m certainly not a quitter. Last summer, when I had another PGD come back with all embryos abnormal, I asked myself the question: When do you give up on your own eggs? I didn’t have an answer. No one I asked had an answer….and I asked a number of women who had gone to DE and the counselor at my clinic. The counselor pushed hard for me to move onto adoption or DE so I wouldn’t be wasting my time. I started reading a book on Egg Donation. It made me cry. However, I still wanted to get one lucky month. I still desperately wanted a child who was genetically linked to me. I even got one month where my I had a “normal” embryo. It was BFN. But it egged me on (pun intended) to try again, which I did. However after 6 failed cycles…I knew that I couldn’t keep giving my body that level of drugs and hormones on the infinitesimally small chance that I might get a “lucky egg”. 6 is the number of times they’ll let a donor donate. 6 felt like the right amount of times for me to try. I’m very lucky that I could try that many times and that money didn’t hold me back. (Heck, you can earn a lot of money on the way to 44 when you aren’t spending it on kids or a husband!)

When cycle #6 failed in February, I knew in my head that my eggs were done. That my body was done. That I couldn’t put myself through that emotional torture again. However my heart was something different. I had to grieve for my eggs. I cried a river of tears (and I still have crying jags now). I ate comfort food (lots of chocolate and alcohol) and gained 7 pounds. I faced that big black pit of depression. I gave myself a month to do nothing regarding fertility. After a month, I knew I wasn’t getting any younger and if I wanted a baby, I had to start looking for a donor. My clinic had given me a list of recommended donor agencies. I agonized about looking at them. When I had a strong moment, I started to look up the agencies online. Most of the agencies had donor libraries that you could look at for free. For most you had to register, but that was non-binding. The libraries include photos and a profile. What struck me first was how few had “my nose”. I actually never liked my nose growing up. It is a bit big. But as I’ve gotten older, I like it. It is straight with no hook or bump. So many of the donors had cute button noses. I just couldn’t go there. I tried to tell myself to just go for smart and pretty, but I want a child who looks like they could fit into my family. I gave up looking after a couple of hours…but congratulated myself on taking the first step. Didn’t really like any of the women I saw, but at least I was moving forward again. It was a couple of more weeks before I had the strength to face the websites again. I expanded my search to a couple of more agencies online. Then it was April and I had turned 44. If I want a chance at a baby by 45, I need to get my ass in gear. So I spent a Friday night curled up with a cocktail and my computer looking at donors. I was primarily looking at “proven” donors, those who have had previous donor cycles. Heaven forbid that I go through all of this and get an infertile donor! I also decided to expand to include those who have already had a child and so are also “proven”. After staring at too many women and being non-plussed about them all, I finally stumbled upon one who looked like a possibility….she had my nose, or at least was pretty close to it, she had my forehead, my hair texture, my smile, my skin coloring…but not my hair color or eye color. And she is a doctor…so that ranked high for the smarts requirement. She had a child at 20. She is now 30. She looked like someone I could be friends with. When I called the agency the following Monday, I found out that she was available.

Next step, get an IVF lawyer. I put out requests for estimates from 3 which were recommended both by my clinic and the donor agency, and decided on one. She charges a $700 flat fee to go through all the legal contracts and spent an hour on the phone with me. Then I went to the donor agency and put down my good faith contract money and signed the initial papers to get the process rolling. That fee was $5775. The second fee is $7000 and that is the fee that goes to the donor for her “time and effort” gradually as we go through the process. Those fees don’t include the medical costs. I chatted with my clinic to find out what all those costs are and what, if any, of them might be covered by my insurance. Overall clinic costs are around $11,000 (not including drugs). I have enough insurance to cover the majority of that, but then I’ll hit my lifetime max. Since I already hit my lifetime max for fertility drugs, I’ll pay for those as well. However as the donor is young and healthy, I won’t have to pay for excessive amounts of drugs like I took. I wouldn’t be surprised if the total DE process equals $30,000 with maybe insurance covering $7-10k. This is not a cheap endeavor...especially coming off of my past 6 cycles where I spent over $30,000 of my own money beyond insurance.

If I wanted to, I could meet my donor or talk on the phone with her. I’ve decided against that. I’m too scared that she’d find something wrong with me or I’d find something wrong with her and I don’t want to put another roadblock up. I’ve said that if she wants to meet me I will, but I don’t think she is requiring it. So while I’ve seen the 24 photos online, this donation will remain anonymous. She has agreed to let the child contact her once the child is grown. It was one of my wishes as I have the same agreement on the sperm donor side.

The donor went for her initial medical screening with my RE yesterday. My RE sent me an email saying, “She is great.” I cheered out loud when I got that email. The nurse called to tell me that the donor’s antral follicle count was 12, she has above average ovarian volume, and that they really felt like she was confident about going through the full cycle. It is a huge relief to get over this first hurdle. Now we just wait for my period which should come in the next week or so and then the donor and I will align our timing with BCPs. If all goes well, embryo transfer would be late July or early August.

So, how did I know when to give up on my eggs? I knew when I couldn’t fathom doing another cycle. I just couldn’t do it to myself again both emotionally and physically. However the grieving process took months and I’m still not over it.

How did I know when I found the right donor? When I knew that I didn’t want anyone else to pick her before I could.

Why didn’t I decide to try adoption? This is more complicated. I think adoption is great. If I could sign up and get a great healthy baby in 6 months or a year…I’d do it. But that isn’t how it works….especially if you are single and 44. Nobody is going to pick me as the ideal mom instead of a great couple in their 30s. I’ve heard my fill of horror stories of wait times, international screw-ups, developmental problems, etc. And finally, I would like to be pregnant and give birth to my child. Therefore, donor eggs seem to fit better for me.

However, as with any IF plan, there are so many tough hurdles ahead. All the normal IVF issues of: Will she have a good response to stims? Fert. rates? Good quality embryos? Beta? Etc.

Feel free to ask me any questions you have regarding the process.

Friday, May 28, 2010

When IVF Works: Things the RE doesn't tell you

I want to highly recommend the site in the link (just click on the title of this blog post and it will take you there) because it's very calming during the 2-week-wait (and I assume early pregnancy as well). It's like an anti-anxiety remedy with no side effects.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Birthday Girl

I’ve never been the type of person who advertised or was excited about her birthday. Well, maybe up until I was 21. But after that, I never really cared – it was just another day spent in school or at work, and I was too busy with life to make a fuss or have a fuss be made over me. If my family wanted to take me out to dinner, that made me happy enough.

I thought turning 30 was soooo cool; I loved my life at that age. When I was 31, oh I had a fantastic year. I was even proud to say I was 32. Sure, I’d have my moments where the acceleration of the passage of time would hit me: “OMG I can’t believe I’m already in my 30s…man I’m OLD! Wasn’t it just yesterday I was stumbling home and puking my brains out after having too many Patron shots in celebration of the end of final exams?!?!”

(Yes I still get drunk, and yes I even occasionally puke – but you get the point.)

Well, I recently came upon my 34th birthday. And when the day arrived, I woke up, stayed in bed, and sobbed…and sobbed…and sobbed. And sobbed again. My phone was busy with happy birthday calls and text messages – all of which I ignored. It wasn’t a “happy birthday” at all. It was a horrible birthday, the worst birthday I’ve ever had.

Now, I have NEVER cried about getting older. But this birthday – this day – I was bonafide depressed, and couldn’t get out of it. Not because I am getting older per se, but because I am getting older while the rest of my life remains held back and on hold. I can’t move forward in my career – the career I so badly wanted. I turn down work because it will interfere with an IVF cycle. I can’t plan trips with friends. Hell, I can’t even plan a damn spa day with girlfriends. I avoid certain people and places because I am sick of putting on an act when the “So…when are you two planning on having kids?” question comes up. My husband never knows when he should request vacation time. The prior vacation times he’s received were wasted because we were stuck in town awaiting treatments.

My last birthday, I was still a happy person. Everything in our lives had fallen into place. True, by that time we were in the care of an RE, we were “infertility patients,” and all three IUIs had failed. And though I was terrified of IVF, and didn’t want to be one of “those people” who had to use IVF to get pregnant, I still had hope – no, CONFIDENCE – that IVF was going to be the answer. Because hey, we were “young,” and they couldn’t find anything wrong with us, so IVF was sure to work.

At least I’d finally have a child, and would be able to move on with my life.

And fit in.

And not feel like an awkward outcast at every social situation where the mommies would cluster together and I’d be left out.

At least I’d have a 2010 baby.

At least I’d have my first child before 35.

Hell, maybe by 34, I’d be pregnant again with #2.

So when I turned 34, 365 days later yet not one step closer to being pregnant, not only with no answers, but more questions instead, it hit me hard. I am one year closer to being in the next box, the 35-and-over box, the box where they say my chances of ever conceiving, even with the most advanced treatment medicine has to offer, plummet. If my chances were so good over the past year and it didn’t work, why should I think that it will work during the next year? Do I give up when I turn 35? Do I give up now?

I am now ashamed to admit my age. Now, when people think or say, “You should hurry up, time’s running out!” I have to agree with them.

Thanks a lot, IF.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Thinking of you, BabyWarrior

* * Hope your US is going/will go/has gone well. * *

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Checking in...

Hey. Ok so I know I haven't been around in forever except for one random I hate mother's day post. My new job is going great. I'm delivering medicines for pharmacies to nursing homes. I run a regular route that leaves at 7 at night & depending on which route I have, I'm usually home by midnight. Then I also get calls during the day (and sometimes at night) for emergency deliveries. I've worked every night since I got the job 3 weeks ago except for last night. I don't mind working that much though because I'm really enjoying the job & we can use the cash. I just hop in the car & turn on my music & sing really loud & go. It's actually fun.

Anyways, we leave for our vacation tomorrow. Yay! My goal was to loose 20 lbs by the time we left, but I always said I'd be very happy with anything over 10. So... the final total is... drumroll... 14 lbs. lost. Yay! I'm so excited! I feel so much better. I've been getting lots of compliments in the last 2 weeks with everyone noticing how much I've lost. Makes me happy. It helps that I have this new job & I'm ALWAYS on the go... so I don't have time for snacking. I think that was my biggest issue. Also, I've been trying to stick with the South Beach thing as much as possible.

So, when we get back, it looks like we'll try our one last cycle. If it doesn't work, I think we may look at adoption, but we may just decide to try to enjoy our freedom & not think about kids anymore. I know this is weird to say (but aren't we all just slightly off anyways???), but I'm going to be ovulating during our vacation. Maybe??? Just wishful thinking... Wish I could quit doing that.

Anyways, I love all you gals. I'm off to do some packing & last minute cleaning... We have a friend coming to stay with our 4 furry kids while we're gone so I want the house to be nice for her!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Okay, so I am still in shock...
I just took two pregnancy tests and I FINALLY saw two lines. NEVER, EVER have I seen two lines before.
But, I am soooooo crampy. Like I am going to start AF any minute. This is crazy. How in God's name am I pregnant WITHOUT IVF??????

OMG. I just had to share the news with someone. Right now, I think I am going to have a stroke. I want to post it on Facebook, I am sooooo excited. But, it is too early for that. I haven't even had a Beta test, yet.

But two lines. Holy smokes....

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I'm getting my hopes up... Very dangerous!

Hey, girls. I need you all to reign me in a bit. BTW, sorry I haven't been around. I have been trying to focus on me, my weight loss, etc... Also, my father-in-law died a few weeks ago, so that took up lots of time and energy.
So... I am now 21 days late for my period...yikes. My period is always a few days late (I run on a 30 to 36 day cycle), but I always get one.

The weird thing is, I have been getting cramps (especially after I run), irritability, tiredness: Classic PMS for me. Except it has been going on for a week!

Now, I am 99.9% sure I am not pregnant. How could I be? After 4 IVFs and a bunch of IUIs, in which the environment was as perfect as you can get it, why would I spontaneously get pregnant on my own?

I am trying not to get my hopes up. Could this be because I have been exercising more lately? (Though I have not done anything the past two days b/c I am totally wiped out.)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

I hate mothers day

Ok so I haven't been around in a while. Been super busy with new job. So I know it's random that I just pop in to say I hate mothers day, but I think you gals are the only ones that will know.... I mean really know... What I mean. I love my mother. I hate mothers day.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

To You, Oh World of Fertiles, On Mother's Day

Read this CNN blog post from Nia Vardalos, the star of the hilarious "My Big Fat Greek Wedding."

If you don't have anything nice to say on Mother's Day...

Nia Vardalos

On May 9th, overpriced flower arrangements will brighten homes, and restaurants will serve multi-calorie brunches. Reminders will be whispered: “hey, be nice to your mom for a minute.”

Sure, Mother’s Day feels a tad manufactured. But if I can get a gift out of this bogus holiday, I’ll take it. Admittedly, I am a giddy idiot on Mother’s Day. I’m also a hypocrite because for a long time I avoided the day as hard as I could. Just the drugstore greeting card rack would make me queasy. I loathed May.

For years, at Spring social gatherings, some women would innocently ask why we didn’t have children. Others would overhear and exclaim what a great father my husband would be, so why on earth didn’t we have kids? When I would give a tight-lipped answer: “we’re trying,” they would not go silent.

They meant well, but they would loudly persist with up-beat advice: stories of this sister or that friend who had tried forever, and then a “miracle” had happened. Others would overhear, and join in. I would instantly feel forehead, upper lip, and low back-sweat from the sudden attention. All I’d wanted was a snack. Now, crudite in hand, I was up against the food table, being advised by pretty, chipper moms bouncing beautiful, pudgy babies on their hips.

A lot of “You Should” advice came my way. From the “latest technique in Europe,” to “just adopt from China” – everyone weighed in. I understood it all came from them wanting to help. It was meant with goodwill. But it was a painful, overwhelming subject for me. I just wanted to throw dip in the air and run. Those were the nice women. Some women were, um, well… they were turds.

The success of my first movie coincided with some awful events in my quest to be a mom. I’ll keep the details private, but quite frankly, it sucked. I was emotionally and physically exhausted.

During this time, I would run into The Coven – a group of not-nice-women. These women had, at one time, been actresses. Now they were married to men in the film industry, or their husbands were in our social circle. They made me nervous.

We all know the type of woman I’m talking about here: the ones who say nasty things to women. The Coven seemed stymied by the fact that they were not working actresses and I, far less attractive, appealing and talented than them, was. Often, I can tell when I walk in a room how people feel about themselves. To the optimist, I represent hope of what is possible. But to the pessimist, I represent the stench of their own perceived failure. I will be the first to admit, wow, I stepped into some good fortune with my first movie. I don’t consider myself particularly special. I got lucky. These women would wholeheartedly agree with my assessment of myself. Sadly, they were not secure women. When they saw me, their mascara’d eyes would shoot daggers at my skull.

Now, as the gossip leaked out that I was struggling to have a child, while these women were on their second and third – they realized they had something over me. They could breed. And I couldn’t.
So, at a casual backyard barbecue, where all were invited to celebrate Mother’s Day, the women of The Coven would surround me, the barren one, to squeal about how “amaaaaazing” their pregnancies had been. How their husbands had looked at them with “awe and gratitude” as they gave birth. How breastfeeding was a “gift.” One woman actually made fun of my anatomy while proclaiming how her body worked “perfectly.” It was sad how they needed to make me feel inadequate, and yes it hurt. And sure, I could have innocently asked: “…did pregnancy hormones grow your moustache, or did you have it before?” But I didn’t. Not because I was so evolved and took the high road… nope, I was scared of them so I would escape as quickly as I could.

Women like this are missing out on real female friendships. Okay, maybe it’s just shoe shopping and cellulite talk, but I value it. I was happy for these women who got to be moms. Why couldn’t they just be kind? It was Mother’s Day after all.

No matter where I went on this day, I was an easy target. If I drank anything non-alcoholic, there were women who would pat my tummy and say “when are you due?” A small social guideline: don’t ask a woman if she is pregnant, unless her water breaks on your flip-flops, a baby arm dangles out of her vagina and she asks you to cut the cord. Then, and only then, may you ask if she is having a baby. Otherwise, shut up.

So, for years, I avoided venturing out on Mother’s Day. I feared the entire day and the feeling of failure it would bring. I would call my sisters, sister-in-law and mom on that day and wish them well. They had the grace and kind-heartedness to never admonish me for not trying this technique, or that plan. My sweet family and my good kind friends never pried. They would always listen when I asked for advice, or when I lost it after the latest route or adoption had fallen through. One good friend even quietly handed me a prayer card.

My own mother is kind, compassionate, ironic, focused, optimistic and above all, discreet. Sadly, some of our friends have lost their mothers. I am thankful for every day I have with mine. My mom possesses all the values I cherish and look for in my friendships and relationships.

And, when my husband and I told our family and friends we’d been matched with our perfect daughter through American Foster Care – their elation was profoundly moving. They welcomed our then three-year-old daughter with a joy and happiness that was beyond anything I could have imagined. There is no limit to the amount of attention, kindness and warmth our families and friends - the “aunties” and “uncles” - shower on our daughter. Over a year later, she is thriving in an environment of love and care.

Some of these people are not parents. Often, at parties, especially on Mother’s Day, these friends and family are the target of the well-meaning questions or downright spiteful comments I myself once endured.

Please, on Mother’s Day, have some compassion. If you see someone without kids, do not ask them why they don’t have children, why they don’t just adopt, or if they are pregnant. Please be kind. Be quiet and pass the dip.

I am writing this for the friends and family who listened, didn’t pry, and above all stuck with me on my quest to be a mom. If I am happy on May 9th, it’s largely because of these people’s quiet empathy and unending encouragement. And, if I am happy on this day, it’s because I am in love with being a mom and so grateful for the circumstances, as painful as they were, that led me to my wonderful daughter. Happy Mother’s Day everyone. I hope you buy some flowers, eat a fattening brunch, and laugh all day.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’d like to go call my mom.

Editor's Note: Nia Vardalos is the National Adoption Day Spokesperson

May is National Foster Care Month. There are 500,000 children in American Foster Care waiting for a family. 129,000 are legally available for adoption. U.S. Foster Care does not discriminate against potential parents for reasons of income, age, marital status or sexual orientation, and is virtually cost-free.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

You guys MUST check out this video!!!!

I have been reading a lot of blogs this week in honoe of NIAW and I came across this post:

It was so moving, I had to share!

It's amazing how infertility has brought so many of us, both near and far, together.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Baby steps (no not an actual baby)

I am starting on my new IVF cycle! Without my blasted period! The doc scanned me and did b/w and u/s, and decided I could start on the bcp as my body is still all sorts of confused from my canceled cycle. The good news is no cysts!

So here I am. I will be on bcp until 5/7. (Anyone else cycling any time near then?) And hopefully will be able to start stims on 5/10...

I will be doing the Antagonist cycle for the first time. I also will be using only Menopur as a stim, which is new and different.

Feeling nauseated and cursing the bcp, but only a tiny bit, as they are a means to an end.

I have a little bit of hope, but you know, it's not like I am shopping for onesies or anything.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Iron deficiency and infertility

Hey girls,

More advice please....

I went to GP yesterday and iron level came back as being 13 (norm range 15-200) which means I am iron deficient. When I did bloods 18 months ago I was 14 so GP told me to take a supplement, which I did every day, but it obviously has not worked seen as I am worse now than I was before. Now I have started with a "proper" iron medication ie from a pharmacy not a herbal store.

So of course I got straight home and started the google search for a link b/w iron deficiency and infertility. There seems to be some link however everything seems to be. I swear there will be a study soon on finding a link b/w farting and infertility. Oh and I found info about iron deficiency and heart palpitations (once again link b/w everything on google). No wonder I feel like I have no energy all the time.

Does anyone have info for me?