31 May 2007

Are we there yet? How about now?

It's dpt 5,834 of my captivity...

Ugh, for the love of sushi, I can't believe it's only been two days. I wasn't this crazy with waiting last time. The emotional rollercoaster seems to be speeded up and it's making me naseous. One minute, I'm (slightly) optimistic that this is all going to work, the next I'm terrified of getting a negative. The next minute, my heart is racing thinking about what if we get a positive and something (G-d forbid!!! ptu ptu ptu) goes wrong? Seriously. Last cycle, I thought I'd be sad if we get a bfn, but this time I think I'll be crushed like peat moss under Sasquash's feet. Up, down, up, down.

Meanwhile, I was tagged last week by Nearlydawn, but I was too caught up in swabbing, stabbing, keeping pressure. Oh, and getting stabbed by every Tom, Dick and Hairy. Er, Harry. Being tagged offered me an opportunity to kill 300 seconds, so here we go, here are 8 arbitrary things about me:

1. I have teeny, tiny toes on my feet. Honestly, they're little mutants.

2. My best friend from when I was 9, with whom I lost touch when she moved away, found me on the internet two years ago. We still haven't seen each other, or talked on the phone, but we email each other like idiots!

3. I have a photographic memory. I memorize things by taking a mental picture, then when I need to remember it, I imagine the picture. Like, a quote from a book, for example. I "take" a picture of the page in the book, and then recall the page and "see" the quote on the page. It's how I remember where things are, too, like keys and stuff. I "see" the keys hanging on the hook. Which is why I go batshit when somebody (ahem!) doesn't put things back in the right spot. My brain shuts down. I don't know how to actually *look* for things.

4. I've had all sorts of weird jobs. I was once a "crowd rallier" for midnite screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I'd get up on the stage and get other people to come up and dance the Time Warp, spin the globe, throw toilet paper, etc.

5. Because I've moved around so much, I don't have a best friend. Other than Hubby, of course.

6. I love rodents. Not roaming freely in my kitchen, mind you, but some of my favourite pets have been my gerbils. I once found a newborn mouse in my house and tried to keep it alive. I don't know what happened to the mother, but I couldn't find her anywhere. I wasn't a good substitute mouse. I was also godmother to a ferret, whom I adored.

7. I think it is so unbelievably cool to be Jewish, and to say prayers that were written over 3000 years ago. To learn the same Torah that my ancestors learned thousands of years ago. To live by - and break ;) - the same commandments. And, thousands of years later, to still be discussing and arguing what certain passages mean. The Torah's not an old, dusty, meaningless book. It's a living work that is forever open to analysis.

8. I have hairs on my chin that embarrass the hell out of me. I pluck 'em, I dipilatate 'em, I bleach 'em - all to no avail. I'm no Rosie O'Donnell

I tag
Lut C
Rachel Inbar.

I have a hard time keeping track of who is at what stage (I can't seem to take a mental picture of blogs), travelling, running an empire, etc., so no pressure folks.

Whadya know! That killed 483 seconds! ::sigh::


30 May 2007

Alphabet soup

With all the excitement I completely forgot to talk about something.

(this may be TMI for some people)

The empty bowels.

It was stressed to me so many times that in order to reach that left ovary, my bowels had to be empty, and of course, since after an u/s the RE throws all the information at you, then says good luck and good bye, I completely forgot to mention to the RE and nurses that I have IBS. Probably because I forgot, myself. That in itself tells you how focussed I was on my ovaries; my IBS never lets me forget that it's always there, lurking in the background.

So I dutifully ran out to get a laxative (big no-no with IBS). After speaking with the nurse in the afternoon, who repeated the EMPTY bladder admonition, and then told me to eat lots of vegetables and drink prune juice, I was frantic trying to think where I could get prune juice.

Finally, I came to my senses. If I had eaten only veggies, and had prune juice, I'd STILL be in the bathroom, followed by not going to the bathroom until 2008. As it is, the laxatives ensured that I was empty, hollow, wasn't nuthin' left in my gut, because I spent the entire evening before retrieval in the bathroom. And the morning of retrieval. I was a little panicked that I'd have to use the bathroom in the middle of retrieval. Can you imagine? Oy.

Anyway, I was fine during retrieval (thank G-d!), and now I haven't gone since. So now I have super-sized, tender ovaries and I'm on progesterone. And we all know how progesterone gums up the works. ::sigh::

IVF and IBS. They just don't go together.

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Making the grade

Wow, I totally did not feel this bad last time around. I can barely stand upright, and I'm popping back the Tylenol like the M&M's I'm also popping back (nurse's orders. honest!).

So my embies won't make the honour roll, but they'll get into a good college:
Number 1 embie was stage 4, with a grade of B
Number 2 embie was stage 2, with a grade of B+

What? You guys couldn't work a little harder for an A?

Both emblets were hatched. All that's left is the praying. And let me tell you, I'll be praying HARD.

Funny, last cycle, we had 3 eggs retrieved, 2 ICSI'd, and 1 embryo. This time, we had 4 eggs retrieved, 3 ICSI'd, and 2 embryos.

Beta is June 13. Maybe I'm going to have to force myself to learn to knit.


29 May 2007

Report: fertilization

lalalala. Hmmmhmmmmhmmm.

We're having pasta for dinner. We'd have it with peas, but we don't have any peas.

lalalala. hmmmhmmmmhmmmm.

Wonder what's on tv tonight?

lalalala. hmmmhmmmmhmmmm.

What? You were expecting maybe a fertility report?

Oh, okay.

Two little eggies divided! A third might have some action, but we'll see how MB Slow Start fares tomorrow. The fourth egg wasn't mature. Hubby says that comes from his side of the family. Hubby also pointed out that we are 100% improved from last cycle, where we only had one embie.

Transfer is tomorrow at 10:45am.

And I already can't stand the 2ww.


28 May 2007

What a funny world

Still waiting...

While I'm waiting I've been pondering what a strange world Infertiles live in.

- We start off our procedures to get pregnant by taking...birth control pills.

- We have to take STD tests, because even though we've just committed to spending thousands of dollars on fertility treatments, and are basically not allowed to have sex during nearly the whole damn process, and we're INFERTILE, we could still somehow get pregnant because somebody, somewhere, is having unprotected sex.

- After spending two years or whatever avoiding caffeine, raw fish, bad nasty drugs while we were foolishly trying to get pregnant using sex (how silly were we?), we then proceed to spend two weeks injecting ourselves with superhormones and various other things that are bad for a fetus. But hey, at least we can drink.

- We take drugs to keep us from ovulating, then take more drugs to make us ovulate.

- After spending however many years listening to people tell us to "just relax" and biting our tongues to keep from spitting that we could relax until we turn into a friggin' Dali painting, it still ain't gonna get us pregnant, right before retrieval, the nurse tells us to "just relax."

- After retrieval, in the hopes of a fertilized embryo and successful transfer, we start plying ourselves with progesterone, the drug that was used in birth control pills. The drug that encourages the shedding of the uterine lining.

Go figure.

Meanwhile, in a fit of optimism, Hubby said if this cycle is successful (lalalalala, I can't hear you, lalalalalala), he looks forward to the day he can tell this imaginary child, "I didn't get your mother pregnant. But I watched."

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27 May 2007

Act II: The waiting room

Thank you!! I appreciate all the support; including the suggestion to punch out that doc. While not something I could bring myself to do, thinking about it made me feel better.

After much poking, pushing, manuevering, 4 eggs were retrieved. The RE who did the retrieval has a bit of a grumpasaurous rep, but he's a nice guy. And he practically cheered at the results. And said we made the right decision to not cancel.

Now I'm home, lying down, letting the effects of the way cool drugs wear off and basically enjoying hubby fussing over me (at his insistence). Watching the end of American Idol (amazingly, I've managed to avoid hearing who won!), Supernatural, listening to my new Martin Sexton CD, playing on the 'pooter, reading.

Oh yeah, and davenning my butt off that those 4 little puppies fertilize. And then settle nicely in my waiting empty uterus. And then not want to leave for nine months.

Phone call tomorrow, if any of these buggers fertilize, transer is likely on Tuesday.


25 May 2007

Here's the facts, Jack

The RE who did my u/s yesterday started off by announcing numbers that were smaller than the day before. I said, "they're smaller than yesterday?"

He says, "they're not growing. That's the problem."

Turns out, he was looking at the wrong ovary.


Yesterday, the buggers went from 14.5 and 15 in the right ovary to 18-ish. The left ovary is, once again, playing hide and seek. Actually, it's stuck to the top of my uterus. Thank you, vestiges of endometriosis. I guess it's better than before my endo surgery many years ago. The doctor got in there and couldn't find my left ovary, because it was all twisted up in my intestine. Might explain all that pain I had been feeling during ovulation.

So I got the speech again. "Four follicles, can't guarantee we'll be able to get to the left ovary waaay up there, good possibility of no eggs, blah blah." Just for fun, he threw in "donor eggs," too.

Again, we decided to go for it. Why? Got me.

No, actually, it's because I've been jabbing the hell out of myself for two weeks. I'm miserable, uncomfortable (how the hell do you women who get LOTS of follies deal with the discomfort?!) and tired of stabbing myself. We've already paid for the meds, and yes, we'd save an awful lot of money if we cancelled, but the follies are there. What if there ARE eggs there? It's not like we can do a different protocol; I'm already on the most aggressive one. So, what the heck, let's go for it.

Today's u/s was just weird. Today's RE starts totally downplaying any possibility of reaching the left ovary. I have to face the fact that we're pretty much working with two follies. And at that size (20 & 22, left were somewhere in the 17 or 18 range*), there's a good chance there are no eggs.

Um, what? Because my follicles are TOO BIG, there's a chance there are no eggs? A) how is 20 & 22 too big, and B) knowing I was going ahead with this cycle, why did you let the two most likely follies get "too big"?

I left there with orders to take laxatives and keep my bowel empty. Empty. EMPTY! to improve the chances of reaching the LO. And with the very distinct impression that I was pissing her off by going ahead with this cycle. On the other hand, the nurses and staff were all hugely supportive, wishing me good luck and telling me to stay positive.

So, the good news is, I get a Jewish reprieve - no retrieval on Saturday! I trigger sometime tonight, and retrieval will be on Sunday. That is, assuming there's anything to retrieve. Wish us luck.

*Oh, and 3 follies under 12mm suddenly popped up today in the RO, so maybe a miracle will happen and they'll be big enough on Sunday. It could happen.


I'm not from around here

Heh, in answer to Miriam's question, I'm not happy unless I'm miserable. ;)

Why do we live so far away from everything? Because we moved here before we were Shabbat observant. And then we got a dog. And now it's hard to find something we can afford that will allow us to have Fido that's in the neighbourhood near the shul.

Normally, it's not a big deal. If I have to go to the mikvah on Shabbat or a Yom Tov, we find someone to stay with or walk one way and bus it the other (before or after Shabbat or the Chag, of course, not during). This time, though - I just can't walk it now with the wet bag of seedless grapes. And, being a two-day holiday means finding someone to take poochie for 2 days, being someone's houseguest for 2 days, finding meals for 2 days. Too much of an imposition for me.


The prepaid taxi arrived right on time. There were other people getting on the elevator the same time as us, and getting off on our floor. The wonderful staff jumped all over each other offering to write my name on the ultrasound board, and afterwards, call a cab for us. The only near-glitch was going home, after explaining about having prepaid, and the driver calling in to confirm this (and I heard him get the confirmation), he still handed me a credit card slip and asked me to sign it, "just in case." He was cool, when I explained why it was prepaid in the first place, and that I couldn't sign anything. The driver and I had a lovely chat about faith and religion on the way home.

Of course, the driver decided to take the route that took us right past my shul. It was kind of funny when I ducked down so I wouldn't get recognized by anyone walking into the shul! There's an issue with giving the wrong impression - like wearing a kippa while you're in eating in a non-kosher restaurant (some Jews who keep kosher will eat in non-kosher, strictly vegetarian restaurants. Others will eat only vegetarian in any restaurant.) You could give an unsuspecting Jew the impression that the restaurant is kosher. So seeing me in a taxi could give someone the impression that it's okay to take a cab on a holiday. Or, it could lead someone to speak Lashon HaRa about me. Or I just didn't want anyone to see the ugly shmatta I was wearing that day.

Enough of this jabbering. Onto the good stuff...

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22 May 2007

Oh, yeah, one other thing

I forgot about this one: So, as if having an u/s on Shavuot, and looking at the very real possibility of retrieval on Shabbat wasn't enough, my mikvah night is Wednesday.

I can't do it. I know you're not supposed to delay the mikvah, but I just can't make all those arrangements to manage to be at the mikvah (also an hours' + walk from my home), so I'm going Thursday. Hubby actually suggested I wait until Thursday before I said a word, bless his heart. I can't believe I'm voluntarily giving up a day of hugs and hand-holding (nookie? Forget nookie. Who can have nookie while lugging around a belly full of wet [seedless] grapes?), but I just cannot do it.

Of course, being after a chag, I can't go to the mikvah until nearly 11pm. And of course, my RE is talking about me triggering Thursday night. And of course, triggering is pretty precise. And you JUST know, I'm going to wind up having to trigger at the mikvah.

Should I have anything to trigger, that is.

*Apologies if this post leaves you scratching your head, wondering what the heck I'm talking about. I'm happy to answer anybody's questions and explain anything - feel free to ask.

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Seedless grapes

So I had my date with dildocam and he didn't even buy me dinner. And his conversation was most unpleasant. I give him my time and my energy, and all he could bring to the table was 4 measly follies.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen (are there any gents out there?)! Four.

What am I now - CD11? I don't have my numbers yet for today, but Ms. Right Ovary displayed 2 follies, 15 and 14.5 (I'm assuming mm). Madame Left Ovary revealed 2 at about 12 each.

Not exactly Zigfield worthy.

We were given the option to cancel (option??), but if we choose not to, I have to have another u/s on Thursday. Yes, on the holiday. Given the size of RO follies, there's a very good possibility, if we don't cancel, that we'll trigger Thursday night. Which means retrieval is on... you guessed it: Shabbat!

oy vey ist mier

Hubby and I decided not to cancel. Last cycle, at this time, we had 5 follies, got 4 eggs, 3 were good and were ICSI'd, 1 fertilized and was transferred. We're one follie shorter this time, but there are still two days, so who knows? I'm not optimistic, but I'm not ready to throw in the towel just yet.

I am, however, ready to throw a brick at the RE, who, for some unfathomable reason, kept pointing to the big red letters on my chart: MESA, and repeating, "there's no other way for you to get pregnant."

F*CK ME. You don't think I know that?! How is that supposed to help me decide whether or not to cancel? Damn.

On a positive note, the tech was able to get blood out of an elbowpit vein, and I only got a little bruised.

Chag Sameach to those who celebrate, and well, happy Wednesday and Thursday to those who don't. See ya Friday.


21 May 2007

The pen is mightier than the sharpie

Regarding the Gonal f pen: it's awkward and cumbersome, and not reassuring. I never feel secure that I'm getting the right dose, since I don't have control of how much goes into my tummy.

However, I love how little waste is created with the pen. Rather than disposing an entire syringe each time, all I'm throwing out is a little teeny needle tip. The environmentalist side of me really appreciates that. So much so, that I'm putting up with the awkwardness and lack of confidence, and am continuing with the pen.

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Double or nothing

Well, since the clinic gave me the wrong meds - not the wrong meds, actually, the wrong way to administer the meds - I called them. I do the regular needle injection of Gonal f, and they gave me the pen. I've never used the pen, so, facing a long weekend, I panicked about having to start the pen on Shabbat, when I wouldn't be able to call the clinic.

Got a hold of a nurse, who explained how to use the pen. Then I figured, while I had her on the phone, anyway, I'd ask about the numbers. My results for CD7 were 439. While that's not great, it's nearly double what my CD8 numbers were last cycle, 262.

Updated to add: I went for another blood test this morning (CD10). The results were, as to be expected, low. 1005. IVF Connections has a good chart showing the comparisons. I forgot to ask about CD10 numbers from last cycle. My RE wants me to come in tomorrow for an ultrasound, so we'll have a better picture then.

Yay. Finally, I warrant a date with the dildocam. Gosh, I'm so lucky. Dildocam's so dreeeeamy.

Meanwhile, we're still dealing with how to manage an ultrasound/bloodtest during Shavuot when we live so far away from the clinic (to walk, not drive). I can barely walk to the car with the wet bag of grapes I'm carrying in my belly. Now that we don't even know for sure if we'll have to have a U/S on Shavuot - it might be Friday - we're going back and forth with our posek (halachic expert) in NY. Thursday would be better than Wednesday, because Wednesday is the Torah holiday, Thursday is the rabbinic holiday, so there's more room for leniency. Of course, Friday would be best; it's not a holiday at all.

Please let all these headaches be worth it.


19 May 2007

Never let a man do a woman's job

I had to have the clinic call Hubby because I wasn't sure I'd be in my office when they called.

Hubby finally decides to tell me they called, and this is what he says:
"They said keep doing what you're doing for Sat and Sun, and come in for a blood test 8am Monday."

Um, what? What were the numbers? Was it low? Okay? Low-ish, but they're holding out until Monday? WHAT???

After having our first cycle nearly cancelled because of my low response, I can't believe he didn't think to ask.

He didn't even ask about an ultrasound. I have nothing.

Of course, he is calling them back. You didn't think I'd let him get away with that, did you?


18 May 2007

Little prick #2

Oh, jeez, holy swollen toad, mother pluck me, ow ow ow ow.

I had a blood draw this morning for my E2*. We all know how cooperative my veins are, so after trying my elbowpit after I said don't bother, the tech went for the back of my hand. After wiggling that sucker around for a little bit (OW!), she caught the vein.

Now, first of all, why do they tell you to put pressure on the insertion point after they withdraw the needle, and THEN tell you to go pay for your drugs, come back with the receipt, blah blah. How are you supposed to hold on to one hand with the other, pick up all your bags, take the scrip, open your bag, take out your chequebook, write a cheque, take the receipt, get your bags, go back to the nurse, hand her the receipt, take the bag with your meds, and put your coat on, all the while holding on to one hand with the other???

Argh. In the time it took for me to take the scrip and pick up my bag and walk the few feet to the bookkeeper's desk, my hand ballooned up and turned purple. I've never had that happen before. Fun.

Meanwhile, this morning, I finally started feeling weird in my gut. Now, I have IBS, so it could just be that. But this feels different. And not like last cycle, either. I don't have the heaviness in my belly, it's more a sense of something inside being puffed up or swollen.

Or maybe it's just an after-effect of the too-many Bloody Marys I had Wednesday night. I'm too old to handle hangovers.

I hope my blood draw being a day early doesn't mess with the results too much. The lab person made a point of reminding the techs a few times that my test is early. Hopefully, I'll get a chance to blog my E2 results before Shabbat. Otherwise y'all will just have to wait til Sunday. Which would really suck if they're low again, because, since I wasn't blogging yet last cycle, having support this time around would be nice.

*Bea - I was too lazy to go your blog and hunt around for the link, so I Google'd "bea infertility acronyms." Your acronyms post was the first link on the page. You superstar.


Little prick

Diary of a stabber

Day 1 am: No problem! Injection went smoothly, needle slid in like buttah. What's everyone whining about?

Day 1 pm: Bit of sting. But, no problem!

Day 2 am: owee.

Day 2 pm: owwwwweee.

Day 3 am: What the hell? I've only had 4 injections, whaddya mean, there's no place left to stab?! ::sigh::
Gonal in the left of me,
Lupron in the right.
Here I am,
sticking my middle again.

Ow ow ow ow ow. That Gonal F really hurt going in.

Really looking forward to Day 3 pm.

Weirdly, after all the excitement and anticipation, starting injections has been a real non-event. It's like popping vitamins. I don't feel like I'm on anything. I don't feel different - no mood swings (!), no collapsing into tears over stupid things, no screaming bloody murder because the washcloth wasn't hung on the hook properly.

Last cycle, I remember my gut feeling heavy. Which was why my low E2 numbers were such a shock to me. I felt like I was carrying little bags of nectarine in my belly, but the numbers said I was just carrying a raisin or two.

Maybe this bodes well? Dare I even think that? Nah. I learned last time not to believe in bodes.


17 May 2007

Don't sit on the toilet seat, either

Hubby and I have to take HIV/heptatitus tests*. When Hubby asked one of the nurses why, she said it's because, since we're presumably having unprotected sex, I could get pregnant.


What does an SA of 0/0 mean to you?

*And why do we have to take these tests just because we might get - oh, jeez, I can't even say it -? Other people who don't go to fertility clinics who try to get pg don't have to have these tests. Argh.

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15 May 2007

And a good time was had by all

Miriam raised an interesting question in the comments of this post: Is it okay to say B'sha'ah tova (lit: in good time) to someone starting a cycle?

It's an expression typically used to convey congratulations when you find out someone is pg. Rather than saying mazal tov (good luck), which for superstitious folks, is like inviting the "evil eye." Also, there's no "luck" involved in getting pg (::snort::), because ultimately G-d (and the RE) creates life.


Every time I discuss our struggles with infertility with someone, they say b'hatzlacha (success). I'm thinking I like b'sha'ah tova better. What happens if we don't have success? Is the opposite of success failure? If we don't succeed at a cycle, does that mean we failed? The cycle failed? The embryo failed? The clinic failed? The mind boggles.

I appreciate the sentiment being conveyed with b'hatzlacha, but I think I'd rather hear b'sha'ah tova. In a good time. If this works, it will be a good time.

Of course, what I'd really like to hear the most is "you have a BFP." But I'll take whatever you're offering, and thank you kindly.

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14 May 2007

How was your weekend Part II

I got a new laptop today! Yay! I'm not using it at the moment, however, because Hubby is playing with it. My computer died a horrible death (What's that? Did I have a backup of my files? Um, no. What's that? Yes, I am an idiot, thank you for noticing.) and I've been suffering with Hubby's "I refuse to produce the 's' you keep trying to type" laptop, so this makes me very happy.

So, as you might have gathered, I started injections this morning! Woo! Ah, it was like riding a bicycle. Pull the needle full of air, blow it into the Lupron bottle, suck back the Lupron, jam it in my gut. Good times.

So the long story of Friday was, I got my period - more than spotting, but not quite full-on flow. I called the clinic, left a message. They called back, but apparently, we had somehow turned the ringer off on the phone. So by the time I got the message, which didn't address anything, it was too late to call the clinic back.

Hubby used some magic power of his to get through to one of the secretaries, who called him back, who then ran and got a nurse for us to talk to, after Hubby explained the whole not being able to call on Shabbat thing. Kids, don't try this at home. I got all the relevant info from the nurse, was full-on flowing on Shabbat, so I started shooting up this am. Called the clinic to let them know and got Nurse Waytoochirpy. Couldn't stand her last cycle around, can't take her this time, either. She's way too effusive and uses ridiculously flowery language. I'm a plain, simple gal. If I ask you if I need to do a blood test in the morning and the time doesn't matter, just say, "whatever time is convenient" rather than "whatever suits your lifestyle." Not having a blood test at all suits my lifetsyle, ya twit. I'll save the story about how she told me about my BFN for another time.

And no, the irony of starting my injections today of all days is not lost on me.


And how was your weekend?

Firstly, I think I need to clarify something. I'm afraid my nonsensical ramblings the other day led to some misconceptions (ha! Seriously. There's no pun there.). Infertility is not an exception to Halacha (Jewish law). There are some laws that can be broken, under the right circumstances (said circumstances to be identified by a rabbi when they occur), in the right environment, for the right reasons (said reasons to be identified by a rabbi). I can't decide that I can ride an elevator on Shabbat. A rabbi can decide that I can ride an elevator on Shabbat IF that is the only way I can get to the medical office, IF I absolutely have to go on Shabbat.

Case in point: I need to go for bloodwork 7 days after starting injections, which means Shabbat. The rabbi wants to know if it is absolutely necessary to have this bloodwork on Shabbat, or can the doctor get the relevant information if I have the blood drawn one day earlier or later. RE says one day earlier is not ideal, but acceptable. Rabbi says no bloodwork (which entails using an elevator, in addition to all sorts of other issues) on Shabbat. Had the doctor said it absolutely must be done that day, Rabbi would have helped me figure out the least-Shabbat breaking way of doing this.

I hope this clears stuff up. And sorry for being obtuse and ramble-y. What prompted that all-over-the-place post was I knew I'd get my period on Shabbat, meaning I'd have to break Shabbat to call the clinic, but it was too late to call my rabbi to find out if that was acceptable. Since I started spotting on Friday, I called the clinic on Friday, explained about the whole Shabbat thing, and was told if I was "full flow" on Saturday, to go ahead and start injections on Sunday.

That's the short story, anyway. Long version to follow.

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11 May 2007

Sometimes it's okay to break the law

Dear G-d:
What we have here is a failure to communicate. I tell you what I would prefer, and you ignore me. I have a husband for that, why you gotta throw down in the ring, too? I'm willing to go along with all your rules, just - please make things easy for me. Is that so much to ask?

Still no go Flo. With my luck, I'll get my period tomorrow. That would be a pain, because this is where that being an observant Jew and doing IVF start to clash.

Shabbat poses certain difficulties for a variety of reasons. There are a variety of rules about what an observant Jew can and cannot do on Shabbat, such as turn on electrical items. We can use electricity, we just can't turn it on or off, therefore most OJ's use timers for lights. Shabbat is supposed to be pleasant, and sitting in the dark all day is not pleasant.

My rabbi, my posek, has agreed that IVF is a treatment for a medical problem. This is pretty much accepted by most rabbis. Therefore, because I have a medical condition, I can receive treatment on Shabbat. BUT, ideally, one should take care to avoid breaking Shabbat as much as possible. It is acceptable to take a taxi, if the procedure dictates (ie, after retrieval, when you really shouldn't be walking much), but if you can walk without harm, you should.

So. Let's look at what happens if I need to contact or be at my clinic, on Shabbat. On Saturdays,

- my clinic doesn't answer the phone. You have to leave a message. This means using the phone, which is a no-no on Shabbat.
Even worse, I call, leave a message, they call me back. Now I have to answer the phone. What if it isn't the clinic? Do I hang up on the person calling? Do I talk to them? Last time, we asked them to call our cellphone, so we could see it was them. They called home anyway. Since I was waiting to hear if I should be at the clinic for transfer at 9am the next morning, I answered the damn phone. But it's okay. For this medical procedure, my rabbi says it's okay.
- my clinic is elevator access only. Using an elevator is not allowed on Shabbat (with the exception of special "Shabbat lifts" that automatically stop on every floor, so the person riding the elevator doesn't have to push any buttons).
My clinic doesn't have a Shabbat elevator. Someone will happily meet me downstairs and push buttons for me. If I call and let them know I am coming. So which is worse - calling the clinic, or pushing the buttons on the elevator myself?
- causing yourself to bleed is not allowed on Shabbat. Accidently doesn't count.
My last few days of injections last cycle caused my poor, over-poked belly to bleed a little every time. And now, I've got twice as many injections each day.
Well, maybe I won't get it tomorrow. Maybe my period will wait til Sunday, and all of this rambling worrying will be for naught.

For more on Shabbat and infertility and picking rabbis, I have a post from last year, and Robber Barren had a post last year, that included a really great description of the issues in the comments.

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10 May 2007

No go Flo*

*Not to be confused with this.

Still waiting. *sigh*

Why is it when you want your period to start, it doesn't, and when you don't want to see hide nor hair of it, WHOOP! There it is.

/thumbs twiddle twiddle twiddle

I wish I could knit. Maybe that would help pass the time.


08 May 2007

Stim diet

Those needles are mocking me.

Here's my protocol, because I know you all are waiting with bated breath, gnawing your nails to the quick, unable to accomplish anything else until I tell you. I'll let you get back to your real lives now:

- No BCPs. I didn't even have to argue with the doctor; it never came up after our initial conversation. Maybe because the study is no BCPs, my RE wants to keep this cycle similar? Hm.
- No folic acid, instead I'm taking a vitamin called PregVit. More on that later.
- No date with the dildocam yet.
- Pay the clinic in full.
- Microdose Lupron flare - .2ml twice daily, starting CD2.
- Gonal F - the good ol' 225iu twice daily, starting CD4.

Why yes, that is 4 injections a day, thanks for noticing! Kind of ironic for someone who hates needles as much as I do. I was so proud of being able to do my own injections when it was one poke, twice a day. Can I handle two at a time? Aich.

Ah, PregVit. (warning: be careful when clicking that link; there's bb's and happy mums and such.) PregVit has. the. worst. packaging for infertiles. The pills are pink and blue, there are pink and blue teddy bears all over the package, and yes, there is the pink happy baby with the happy mommy. Is very hard to look at morning and night (you take two pills a day). They are identified as being for prenatal and during pregnancy. Which just makes me guffaw. I do my best to ignore it all - and the fact that the packaging also looks like BCPs which is even more ironic - because my clinic thinks this is great stuff, and much better than just taking folic acid. Maybe I can draw mustaches and devil horns on all the faces... Take that! you teddy bears!

So, depending on when my no-longer-predictable period starts, first dose of Lupron should be before the weekend!

Anyone else do/doing Lupron? I was on Gonal F and Repronex last time around. Any comments, thoughts, suggestions, reflections, etc.?


Some people decorate with candles*

Here's what's on mine at the moment:

Note 1: I had this whole neat image thing I was going to do, but my computer is dead in the water, and I don't know how to use the image program on my work computer yet. Feh. Was related to Hubby's comment that we had "Cup O'Needles - to nurture your inner crack whore." Funny Hubby.

Note 2: Those are alcohol pads to the left of the q-tips. And the q-tips should be cotton balls. But you get the idea.

Note 3: There were no monster-size needles accidently included in this batch! Yay!

Note 4: I'll try to remember to post my protocol tomorrow.

*Updated: I changed the title of this post, because the old title sounded a little too "neener, neener, neener" to me, which OF COURSE! is not at all what I meant. I hope nobody took it that way.

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04 May 2007

Preaching to the choir

"Women will have babies - if they can."

Damn straight. There was an article on Canada.com the other day about a study of the costs of reproductive technology, and the relationship between ART being covered and birth rate.
The study, New Scientist magazine reports, theorizes it's because Denmark has a high proportion of babies born through artificial reproductive technologies (ART), including in vitro fertilization (IVF) - 4.2 per cent of births in 2002 compared to 1.4 per cent in Britain that year and 1.2 per cent in the U.S. in 2004..."In Denmark, IVF is widely accepted, heavily subsidized and waiting times are short."
So, in other words, if a country subsidizes the costs of IVF, more women will pursue these technologies, and more babies will be born, resulting in a higher birth rate, which ultimately means more taxpayers for the government coffers.
In short, why is it easier - and more politically correct - to import babies, than to produce them?
There are quite a few interesting theories in the article, including a discussion of general public reaction (read: discrimination) to infertiles and medical coverage of IUI, IVF, etc. I must admit, many many years ago, when we were first hearing stories of women having 6 babies and finding out they were on fertility drugs, my reaction was, "why should I have to pay for these women? If they need drugs to have kids, they shouldn't have kids."

Yeah, I know. Slap me with a dead fish. I've learned. I've grown. Even before I faced fertility issues myself, I understood better and changed my attitude. But having had that attitude, I can understand that reaction from others. But how to change it? How do we get people behind this issue, and get them to change? And, more importantly, get them to write and call their representatives to get IVF covered here in Canada.

Read the whole article here.

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03 May 2007

What's up, Doc

I hate doctors.*

I have a long history of chronic annoyances that can't be cured, and can't really even be treated; I just have to live with them. Whatever. But this has been going on for 25 years. After a quarter of a century, I know my stuff. I know all the technical terms for what ails me. I know the body parts, I know how things work, I even know what my test results should be.

Every time I have to switch doctors, and I explain my history, I get treated to the most patronizing comments. Even after I give all the details, using all the proper terminology, I still get treated like I'm a 5-year old moron.

Yesterday, I'm at my new doctor's office for the pap smear, and after I pointed out that I've been having paps done for 20 years, she proceeded to tell me that the scary silver thing was a speculum, there was going to be "pressure," she was going to have to scrape my cervix, etc.


Now, I don't want her to just jam the thing in there without letting me know, I just think there has to be some happy medium between not saying a word, and treating the patient like an idiot.

Aside from the fact that the waiting room (which was filled with 9/10 elderly people), only has Family, Your Toddler and You, Parenting Today, Baby, and every other kind of "you ain't got this" magazine, and every exam room has the same cute picture of a robust baby in a pink fluffy thing, Doctor New really impressed me when she asked if my fertility clinic had checked my ovarian reserve. Um, what the- ? AND she assumed that I was the cause of our infertility, and started talking about PCOS and other ovarian issues. I shut her up with one word: Vasectomy.

Then, hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha, she asked if I'd ever had an ultrasound.

Oh. my. gosh.

I had to bite my tongue to keep from telling her how I did it with the dildocam many many times. Oh, yeah. And I'm gonna do it again. And you can't stop me.

I don't expect family doctors to know the details about what goes on in a fertility clinic, but c'mon. At least know the basics. And at least take my blood pressure, when you know I have a family history of hypertension, dammit.**

*Make that some doctors. I have had some amazing doctors in my experience, one in particular who went out of his way for me on numerous occasions. Like when we thought I had endometriosis, and I went to, I think, 6 different gynecologists who all insisted I had a bladder infection and tried to give me antibiotics, even though my white cell count was absolutely normal and I presented no symptoms of bladder infection. My doc kept searching for a gyn, found one, I went, he advised surgery. After the surgery, the gyn said he wished he had taped the procedure; it was so complicated, I would have made a great teaching case study. I loved that doc. I'm sure, though, that with HMOs, he no longer has the time, nor can he afford, to spend that much time on each patient these days.

MSP, BC's healthcare, does not cover physical exams. Basic stuff just ain't done anymore. Apparently, they've never heard of "preventative care" here.

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02 May 2007

You can't win if you don't buy a ticket

Well, here's a place I honestly never expected to see myself on. Yay Cyclesista! What an awesome idea, and kudos to Meg, Beth, Bea, Jenny and Lut who maintain the site.

In other news, here's where I wish I had more readers, because I think this important. When you visit your clinic, ask to meet with the financial person at the clinic. Ask them if they give any kind of discount. Hubby just recently discovered, in a conversation with one of the RE's who is part owner of our clinic, that they will, at their discretion, give discounts to patients who show a need. The clinic doesn't advertise that fact, and they don't volunteer that information to patients, but when Hubby was mentioning our frustration at having had to wait because we just couldn't afford another cycle, and then brought up our problems with not finding work, etc., our RE told us to speak with the financial advisor.

Based on our 2006 taxes, the clinic has given us a bit of a discount. Because of that discount, we can now afford to do a fourth cycle, if we need to. Hubby was told we would have qualified for a bigger discount based on our 2005 taxes. Now, lest you think to yourself, "why didn't they say anything?" we did. Sorta. We said it was too expensive to do another cycle. We said we didn't have the money. How many times do clinics hear that every day? But we never fully explained our situation, and WE NEVER ASKED FOR A DISCOUNT.

Ask for one. Explain your finances, and then ask for a discount. What's the worst that will happen? The clinic says no? So what? They might just say yes.

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01 May 2007

Random ramblings

Some random things that are buzzing around in my head right now:

Why do some people arrive at a bus stop, somehow not see the 30 people already there standing around waiting for the bus, and just stroll right to the front of the group (nobody queues here. They just sort of form a wriggling mass that somehow funnels onto the bus.) so they get on the very full bus, and the person who had been waiting politely for 15 minutes doesn't make it on?

Why do people not know/understand how to queue?

Why are some people so unbelievably rude, and other so incredibly nice and gracious?

Why does my left shoe squeak in the rain?

I still watch that otter video and go, "awww."

What the heck is going on on Heroes, and how did Sylar get to be president?

I don't think they should count last week's votes for American Idol. I'm guessing there were some people who just called so AI would get that big donation, and maybe they weren't so careful about which number they called. Speaking of which, I stayed up way too late last motzei Shabbat and watched SNL until Carrie Underwood was on. Awful outfit, but she was amazing.

My Hebrew is getting so much better, but I don't have any one to practice with during the week. Hubby wants to learn more before he'll try conversing, although I am getting him to at least say short phrases like, "ani rotzeh l'echol" (I want to eat). Hopefully, he'll be more comfortable trying it soon.

There's something I do every week that's my own special thing. I was feeling like I couldn't trust my instinct about whether or not I like something, and this helped me realize that I'm not mistrusting my gut, I just haven't had anything to feel really good about, or get excited about in a long time. I also teach a class once a week, and I thought was something I really wanted, but I haven't been enjoying it at all, so I kept thinking, maybe I'll enjoy it after I've been doing it a little while and it got easier. Nope. I was so sure it would be something I would enjoy, I had myself convinced I was really enjoying it, I was just tired. Or not feeling well. Or not well enough prepared. No, it just turns out I honestly don't enjoy it. And I learned that from doing this other, special thing that I just love and enjoy so much.

I had to have another blood test yesterday, this time for my glucose. The tech person bitched at me because I thought "no food or drink" meant no water, as well. I know water makes no difference with my veins - you can't find 'em whether I'm hydrated or not, but I had a heck of a time convincing her of that. Ah well, she finally went in the back of my hand (ouch) and got what she was looking for. So looking forward to my next blood tests. *sigh*

When does Jonathan Kellerman's latest book (Obsession) come out in paperback. I keep checking at all the stores, every day.

(Ha. Get it?)

All this is to keep me from thinking about the fact that I need to go pick up my drugs, and I start, Gd willing, in less than two weeks.


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