Thursday, June 26, 2008

Various and Sundry

Hi ladies,
Thanks for the commiseration, advice and support you offered during my blue Friday last week. I'm still having ups and downs but overall, I feel better. I had an appointment with my therapist last Saturday, and it's so nice to be validated and reminded that yeah, Husband and I are dealing with a lot and we're coping with it the best we can. Worth every penny of that $40 copay :)

Surrogacy update: We had the nurse education class and psych eval today. It honestly was probably the best appointment we've had there so far. We had to wait only a few minutes and we got out only 15 minutes late. Not bad! It was good to go over the schedule with the donor coordinator. It's sort of weird because they are treating me like I'm my own donor LOL, so they are planning my cycle as if it were a donor cycle, only I'm the donor. I think we still have some details to work out, but it sounds like I will be stimming in August...possibly early August but more likely mid-August. I can deal with that. The unknown is still how/when we handle my cycle since I'm an infrequent ovulator. I won't be on lupron before I start stimming, which is interesting, but instead I'll be on an antagonist protocol, which is familiar to me since that's what I was on at clinic #2. I have an appointment on July 10 for the RE to meet my endometrioma and decide what he wants to do.

The most surprising news is that we apparently no longer have a male factor issue. Husband gave a sample yesterday, and his numbers were very good. Our problem with him had been slightly low motility, but it's back in the normal range. I guess that's why they recommend having more than 1 sample tested if there's an issue. As far as SCSA, Husband argued with them about it since the RE left us with the impression that if we didn't want to use donor sperm if there were a problem, we might as well not get the test. He told them they could pay for it if they really wanted it, and they are!!!!

The psych eval was odd. Well, more accurately, the psychiatrist was odd. He kept staring at us and not asking questions, and we had that uncomfortable urge to talk to get rid of the silence. Ick. I think we *passed* but IMO, it was so totally NOT worth the $185 it cost.

Summer school: I started summer school last week, and it's keeping me busy. I go to class every day for 3.5 hours and drive an hour each way. Class is in session until July 10. It's a good class, though. It's on services marketing, and since I work in the marketing department for a service company, it's very relevant. I created a blog for my coworkers in marketing so we can discuss some of the stuff I'm learning. It makes for a long day, though. I get to work at 7, work until noon, and then drive to class. I'm in class from 1 - 4:30 and then drive home. Read a chapter and do homework. Rinse and repeat. This week is the longest week b/c it's a full week. The next two weeks are only four-day weeks, so that helps. Long story short, I probably won't have a chance to update much in the next couple of weeks.

Work: It looks like there is some work drama about to start with my former boss from when I was in another department, and I'm trying to keep an extremely low profile since the man hates me (who could hate me????) and a paranoid coworker says the shit is about to hit the fan, and the former boss will likely be lashing out at a lot of people. Apparently, he might even be monitoring web usage and email (!!!!), so forgive me if I don't get to your blogs regularly in the next few weeks since I'll be avoiding doing so from work (bad me). Hopefully it will blow over without me being dragged into it.

So, things are progressing. We booked our beach vacation, and it will happen the week after summer school ends, which is suddenly right around the corner. I'm tucking the idea of cycling in mid-August in the back of my mind. I don't won't to get my heart set on the dates since dates change so much, but I think we're close. Maybe. Hopefully.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Will we ever get there?

Husband and I met with the doctor at the clinic on Wednesday. Our appointment was for 3:30. Despite there being no one in the waiting room, we weren't called back to the office until 4. Another 10 minutes of waiting and the doctor walked in, greeted us, and was promptly called back out. Forty minutes later he deigned to rejoin us and didn't even apologize for the fact that we had been sitting there twiddling our thumbs for almost an hour. However, I have heard about this doctor from local women, so I was prepared for anything.

The meeting was good but a tad frustrating. I think my biggest problem was that he wouldn't LISTEN to what we were saying. He's trying to get us to have SCSA done on Husband's sperm, but said if the results are bad, we could use 50% donor sperm and 50% Husband's sperm but wouldn't tell us if bad results would mean little or no chance of pregnancy. He said if we were determined to use Husband's sperm regardless then he wouldn't do the test. you require it or not? Do the results matter or not?

And it looks like we are facing more delays. When he found out I was on BCPs, he told me to stop them immediately and that he wanted me off them for a month before we cycle. I told him about my endometrioma, and he said he wants to see it for himself in a couple of weeks and then he would decide whether to treat it. Glad I waited 4 hours for the ultrasound a few weeks ago! It sounds like he treats it using a type of sclerotherapy. He will drain out the gunk and then bathe the area with acohol or something.

He wants to sync me and our GC starting with the cycle after I've been off BCPs...ok, problem is that I don't ovulate regularly (like I need more problems?!?!). He said we could use Provera to get me started. Great. Sometimes with provera it takes me 7-10 days after the last pill before I get a period. I think the best idea is to use our GC's cycle and plan around it. Her July cycle should be late July, so maybe we can get started then. And that will dovetail nicely with the end of the 1 month requirement. But argh. There are so many variables to consider. Will they want to put her on BCPs for a couple of weeks? If I'm not on BCPs, will I go straight into lupron? What if I do ovulate but it's weeks before our GC has her July cycle? Will that delay us another month?

At this point I am thinking we'll be lucky to start cycling in August. My brain knows that August isn't very far away, but my heart and emotions are impatient and tired of waiting.

Oh, the pathology report on my moles came back the same day, and they were diagnosed as abnormal. Not benign. Not malignant. Abnormal. How was this communicated to me? Via a postcard in the mail!!! I freaked out and ran upstairs to Google it. I think I'm ok. I think it means that the moles don't look normal but they aren't cancerous and may not even indicate an elevated risk for melanoma. Nothing like being told you are abnormal via the mail!

I came in and cried and cried. I cried out all the frustration I have been feeling, and it felt good. In some ways, my attitude towards the cycle has changed. A few months ago, I was thinking that surrogacy just might work, and now I'm thinking that the hurdles are so high that of course it won't work. All the delays are just salt in the wound. But at least I feel more stable now that my emotional levels have been reset.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

And so it begins

Today is our bloodwork appointment at the clinic. I thought I had my bloodwork done a few weeks ago, but it turns out that I need more. So off we go. Last time they drew blood I had an ugly bruise for over a week, so I'm not looking forward to that. It will go nicely with the ugly bandaids for the two moles I had removed last week. Oh, yeah. I had two moles removed last Wednesday. I went in for my bi-annual skin check and left two moles lighter. The good thing is that now I can resume annual skin checks. I celebrated by promptly getting sunburnt on my arms at a meeting held outside a few days later. Sigh. I have fair skin, and I really do try not to get sunburnt. I have accepted the fact that I am not meant or able to tan. Please keep your fingers crossed that the moles are cancer-free.

I called my father to wish him Happy Father's Day, and he asked for an update on the surrogacy situation. I updated him, and he replied, "I don't even know what to say. I don't mean to sound discouraging or like I don't approve because I do, but I just don't know what to say. I hope it works." Um, yeah, me too! It was just an odd comment from him because he has been super interested in surrogacy since we told him and my stepmother about it. However, my father is 64. I'm sure this situation is freaking him out a little bit. Plus, he wasn't informed of my previous cycles until afterwards, so this is his first time.

I walked in the local Komen Race for the Cure with some coworkers on Saturday. It was my first time participating, and I was glad I did. It was sobering and inspiring to see the various messages people wore. I hope to do it again next year.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Coming Down

Happy Friday the 13th! I love it. No triskaidekaphobia or Paraskevidekatriaphobia here! I am so glad this week is almost over. Husband has been involved in a huge project that has reached its peak this week, and thankfully it ends on Sunday. I'm training a student intern, and I really just want to be left alone this week.

Coming down. Husband and I talked about it and decided that I should wean myself off my antidepressant before we cycle. I wasn't thrilled with that idea b/c I'm not sure now is the best time to do it (stress, anxiety, etc.), but at the same time, I don't want to have anything in my system that might impact egg development. I know that the likelihood of that happening is low, but if my egg production is crappy or we have crappy embryo development, I'll always wonder (but nobody is taking away my wine). So last week I started my decreased dosage, and boy do I feel emotional. It's like pretty bad case of PMS. I also feel a little blue. It amazes me to think that changing my dosage could affect me so dramatically already, so I wonder if I'm just stressed overall. I'm sure I'll adjust soon, but I'm trying to be aware of my moods and manage them before they get out of hand.

My book club read Jeffrey Eugenides' novel Middlesex for our June meeting. I had read it before, but I really enjoyed it the second time around. It's yet another one of those before and after books. I read it 5 years ago before I know about our problems, and reading it now was interesting. I promise that I don't go around finding IF relevance in everything I read. It is just a coincidence that it happened with back-to-back books.

Anyway, the main character of the novel is a hermaphrodite or intersexed individual. She appeared to be a girl at birth, so she was raised as a girl, but she is genetically male. Her condition is an accident of fate and genetics. The novel has a lot to say in terms of gender roles and what makes a woman a woman and a man a man. Callie doesn't discover her true gender until she is 14, and until she does, she feels out of place because she isn't developing like other girls.

That's a very quick and dirty summary, but the bottom line is that I identified with Callie and her struggle. Having a uterine anomaly, I understand feeling like you've lost the genetic crapshoot. Feeling like your life would be SO different if only you'd developed normally. And thanks to my uterus, I often feel like less of a woman. I'm not whole. I'm not saying I feel like a man, but I don't feel like a woman or like much of a woman. I'm sure that feeling is one that many of us have felt as we have struggled with IF. Ehhh, not very profound (I haven't finished my coffee yet), but I certainly didn't expect to find commonality with a hermaphrodite!

Send good wishes and congratulations to Samantha, who received long-awaited and much-deserved good news at her beta yesterday.

Monday, June 9, 2008


Ok, contract has been signed and notarized by us and mailed off. Our GS should receive it today or tomorrow. I almost had a breakdown on Friday when we were pushing getting the 4 copies printed out before the bank closed at 5:30 (where we were getting notarized). Husband had originally set out on Friday to buy ink for the printer and ended up with a great deal on a new laser printer. The only problem was that he didn't return home with it until 4:15 and then had to set it up. Thankfully, everything worked out.

Our GS was also able to make her appointments today. Her blood work, ultrasound and endometrial biopsy will be July 1. It's a little later than I'd like, but she has to be at a certain place in her cycle, so it's out of our hands. We should know that day how everything (other than blood work which I'm not concerned about) checks out. Even though that date puts us most likely transferring in early- to mid-August, I am feeling calmer than I have. We have a date on which I can focus. We can plan our beach trip with a degree of certainty. I have a frame of reference. It's a good thing. I feel like I can exhale the breath I've been holding as I've raced to get everything else in order.

Please keep Kymberli in your thoughts as she and her IPs await the numbers from a 4th beta.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Signing and Notarizing

Today is a big day. First of all, it's Friday! Woo-hoo! And it's hot as hell here. It's supposed to be 99 degrees today. Yuck.

It's a big day because Husband and I are signing and notarizing the surrogacy contracts today. Then we will mail them to our GS for her and her husband to sign and notarize, and then we will be official! It's been around 9 months (isn't that auspicious) since we met her and definitely 9 months since we seriously started considering surrogacy, and it's great finally to be at this point. Now our next big hurdle will be making sure her uterus is as perfect as it was declared to be last year before she became pg with surro baby #1.

I finally got the results of my CD3 labs. Turns out I could have called the patient system for it. Too bad I didn't know that since I wasn't given a card with instructions! Oh well. Anyway, the results were pretty good. E2 was 19 and FSH was 7.3. My FSH is a bit higher than I would like, but I bet that the endo-covered right ovary has something to do with that since I've read that cutting away some of the ovary can reduce that ovary's functionality. But now I'm wondering what those 7 other cysts are. They clearly aren't estrogen-producing. Are they brand new endo cysts? Are they cysts that are in the process of resolving? Guess I shouldn't worry about it too much.

My friend K with the newborn returns to work on June 16 after only a 6-week maternity leave. She works for a small company and is ineligible for FMLA. She has 3 weeks of paid leave via sick/vacation days and 3 weeks of unpaid leave. I feel bad for her. I had diligently saved my sick leave in order to have my 12 weeks of FMLA paid, but that was before I knew about our IF. I suspect that surrogacy will be treated like adoption here, so I'm eligible for 6 weeks of paid leave via my sick leave and the other 6 weeks will be either unpaid or paid via vacation days. It sucks because here I am with all this sick leave I won't be able to use for my own maternity leave, and many of my friends barely get any maternity leave and have to return to work after so little time. I hate how maternity leave is handled in this country.

I'm starting to worry about jinxing myself. Ladies, I'm a worrier, and I often worry about silly things. I'm so excited that we are making progress finally, and I've updated friends and family who are in the know about the latest developments. Now, however, I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. I'm waiting for her uterus to be declared unsuitable. I'm waiting for the cycle not to work or for me to have a horrible cycle and not produce decent (or any) embryos. I'm trying to tell myself that 1) it's ok to have hope (really? me? hope?) and 2) it will be a relief just to be actively doing something because even if surrogacy doesn't work, we are journeying down our path.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Shifting Perspectives

In my other life, my non-IF life (ha there such a thing?), I have a blog I started in January of this year to keep track of the books I read in 2008. So far, I'm up to 39 (almost 40) books. My goal is at least 52, so I'm on track. You can access it here if you'd like. Through this blog and other book bloggers I found, I'm participating in a group read of Anne of Green Gables this month to celebrate its 100th anniversary.

Anne has always been a favorite of mine, especially since I have red hair also(though not as red as hers!) and was a lonely only child with a vivid imagination (that's what happens when you are forced to entertain yourself). It has always been a source of pride for me that people who know me who have read the book or seen the movies tell me I'm like her. To use Anne-speak, Anne and I have always been kindred spirits.

As I reread the first few chapters of the book, I was shocked by how I reacted to a few parts. In case you don't know, Anne is an orphan who hopes to find her forever home at Green Gables. Adoption and responses to adoption are prominent. A lot of the impressions of adoption are hurtful...Mrs. Lynde asserting that an orphan boy will burn down the house or put strychnine in the well and the idea that a child from a certain geographic location is preferable. As an IFer, I was really bothered by those comments, and I was unprepared for how it cut me to the quick. And as Anne recounted the rough early years of her life, I hurt for her. I just wanted to give her a hug and assure her that she was lovable, especially when she discovers the Cuthberts preferred a boy. She's exactly the kind of daughter I hope to have: charming, smart, adorable, quirky.

When I read the book when I was younger, obviously I didn't relate to the orphan/adoption aspect of the story as much as I do now. I felt bad for her and wanted her to find a home, but her life and indeed the book have an entirely new meaning for me now that I am coming to the book as a 30-year-old who will move to adoption in the next year if surrogacy doesn't work. I think that being able to relate and find meaning in a book in different ways throughout the years as one's life changes defines a classic. Anne of Green Gables is definitely that.

Monday, June 2, 2008


I hope everyone had a good weekend. If you are in the South like I am, you probably had a very hot weekend. I wanted warmer temperatures so I could wear cute summer clothes, but wow. I don't know if I was ready for 90 degree temps.

So, we are making progress. I have scheduled appointments for Husband's labs and SA as well as our nurse education class and psych eval. We met with a new doctor at our clinic last October, but it seems that he doesn't work out of the local office anymore, so I decided it would be a good idea to meet meet with the main doctor in order to go over my protocol and at least say, "hi," so that appointment is made as well. I've asked my surrogate to make her appointments as well, and I'm waiting for the clinic's billing department to call me back so I can set up billing info for our surrogate's testing.

Day 3 happened to be on Saturday, so I made my way to the clinic bright and early and was there at 7:45 am. I had my blood drawn for E2/FSH as well as the IVF labs by 8:30, but I insisted on an u/s because I wanted to check out what was going on with my ovaries--specifically my endometrioma--and I'd rather know the situation now before we start cycling than discover something heinous after I've already had a few injections and have to cancel the cycle. So I marched back out to the waiting room and sat and waited. And waited. And waited. And waited. They were really busy that day, so I thought that maybe they made me last. Finally, at 11:30 when the last cycling patient had been seen, I asked if I were still going to have an u/s. Funny how they got me back so quickly. It may be silly, but I was determined not to leave. Yes, I was there for 4.5 hours, but I wanted that u/s. And I think I'm finally at the point in my treatment history where I'm going to make sure I get what I want. And I wanted an u/s.

As for the u/s itself, it revealed that my old friend Fred the Endometrioma is still hale and hearty at 26mm. He would make an excellent follie. The somewhat surprising news is that my right ovary also has 7 cysts. I guess normal cysts...not endometriomas. How can I have cysts when I have been on BCPs since October? I've even had a few months where I've done back-to-back BCPs. Huh? The nurse thinks they'll resolve, but ugh. Maybe they explain what that pinchy/pulling pain on my right side has been. Luckily, my left ovary is perfectly clear. It better be ready to pull its weight and then some.

It felt a little weird to be back in a clinic's waiting room for a monitoring appointment again. It's been almost a year since I've been in that place. It was a familiar feeling, though, even though it was a new waiting room.

I sent the 3rd draft of the contract to our surro, and she had a question about the compensation schedule that we are working out. Hopefully we will get that settled today and then we can have the attorney update the contract, and we will be ready to sign and notarize!!!

Husband asked his mom if it was ok with her to have her listed as the person designated to take custody of the baby if we both were to die while the surro is pg. Her response was an enthusiastic, "I'd love to!" before she quickly qualified that by saying that she of course doesn't want us to die. LOL. I'm glad that MIL is happy to have the responsibility if necessary.

And I'm still slightly panicked by all the stuff we need to do. I'm a process-oriented person, so I need to just let go and breathe.