Friday, December 31, 2010

The verdict is in...

...and I'm pregnant.  Like, really pregnant.  I took a test two days after that last post and saw a line.  Faint, but there.  The second lines kept getting darker and darker with each new test and each passing day.  I went in for my first blood draw and it came in at 402.  (They wanted to see a number of 100 or more.  I sure showed them!)  Then I went back again the day before yesterday for a routine, 2nd blood draw.  They want to see the first number double every 2-3 days.  I did them one better: I damn near trippled it!  The results came back at 6483.  (If it had doubled every 2 days, it would have been in the 3500 range)

Which leads me to believe that there is more than one Andrea-Jeff hybrid in there.  And let me tell you how glad I am that the number is that high.  Sure, for the obvious reason that it indicates a viable pregnancy, but because my symptoms kicked full-freaking-force in about 2-ish days after that first positive hpt.  I was worried that I was just being a drama queen about the symptoms, but the high level of hCG let me know that it's not (all) in my head.  I know the progesterone shots make me tired, but I was beyond tired.  Like, think of Lance Armstrong doing back to back Tour de France races.  That tired.  

Also, I developed a sixth sense.  No, no dead people involved, but this sense can't be categorized as "smell" because there's a supernatural and superhuman component to it.  For example, I can smell what you had for dinner.

Yesterday.

Ok, not really, but did you know that couches have a scent?  As does paper?  And if I can smell those things, you can be sure that the smell of the dog kibble bin in the garage, the boys' morning breath, the trash can, and egg no*gag* (sorry, I can't even type that without wanting to vomit) are a million times stronger.  I've joked that I want to get a job freelancing as a CSI bloodhound.  I can put those puppies to shame.

And I am proud to report that I have not complained about a single symptom thus far.  Well, I did complain once, but I had a very valid reason.  See, I can't look at an avo*gag*do without wanting to spew.  I was supposed to make gua*gag*amole to bring to a family gathering on Christmas Eve, but the idea of mashing the avo*gag*dos was more than I could bare.  This is so very wrong because I am a Californian and it is a requirement that I love avo*gag*dos.  And I do.  On grilled steak, mashed into heavenly perfection and served with chips, on all Mexican dishes, you name it, I want it served with avo*gag*dos.


Or, at least I did.


But other than that, there has been no complaining.  I'm more than happy to be tired, I'm more than happy to have superhuman smelling powers, I'm even more than happy to toss my cookies about once a day.  My favorite parts about puking (no really, I'm being serious here...I have favorite parts of the event) are when:
1. Mid vom, Jeff says, very sweetly might I add, from the other side of the bathroom door, "Are you ok?  Can I get you anything?"
and 2. When the fun is over and I exit the oval office, he's waiting for me, grinning ear to ear, hand in the air to give me a high five.  I have my own, personal vomit cheerleader.


I love that man.


So anyhow, there ya go.  I'm one of the luckiest people I know and got knocked up (with most likely more than one spawn) on my very first shot (pun totally intended) of IVF/ICSI.  Jeff has to go to China for a freaking month, so my awesome IVF nurse moved up our first ultrasound to the day before he leaves.  We should know how many aliens are in the Mother Ship by Monday afternoon.


Until then, have a wonderful New Year!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Meh.

I don't feel like blogging today, so I've copied and pasted a conversation that took place about 20 minutes ago.  Red = me, blue = dear friend.

9:15am
Woohoo!

9:16am
ysssssss
snowday
so jealous!!!

9:16am
lol
it's not my fault we have an inefficient snow removal policy

9:16am
I wish we had one.

9:17am
So I'm officially crazy.
Well, crazier.
And I'm hallucinating.

9:17am
Um you are injecting hormones (in oil)...that'd make you crazy

9:17am
brb, flipping pancakes

9:17am
what are you crazying about?
ok

9:20am
so I have these STUPID-SENSITIVE test strips
lemmie find link
http://www.early-pregnancy-tests.com/extra-sensitive-pregnancy-test.html
10u of hCG
these aren't your momma's hpt strips
have been testing out the hCG trigger
was out on the evening of 3dp3dt

9:22am
ok

9:22am
and I considered it "officially" out on morning of 4dp3dt
Took one yesterday and nada.

9:22am
meaning that it isn't in your system anymore?
and any hcg would come from a pregnancy?

9:22am
No biggie, nothing appears because Happy and Grumpy are still implanting (fingers crossed)
yes
so I pee this morning
dip for 3 seconds
and again, nothing
but because I'm insane and love to torture myself
ugh, brb, last pancake to flip

9:23am
lol
ok

9:26am
anyhow
I tortured myself by googling "6dp3dt"
and followed a link to this other insane infertile woman
who got a pos hpt
but like, BARELY
like, at first I thought "girl, you crazy."
then I looked at a different picture of the same test and was like
great, now I'm crazy, too because I see it
so I went back to my test (still sitting on the bathroom counter, waiting out the 5 minute thing)
and stared
and stared
and squinted
and I saw something. but don't get excited, because I totally didn't see anything
because I'm insane

9:29am
ha ha

9:29am
and because I want to see something

9:29am
do you have a picture?
no, sometimes you can see the faintest of faint lines

9:29am
no, after about 20 minutes of squinting and rubbing eyes, I flushed the damned thing because it was taunting me

9:29am
i don't think you are crazy
lmao

9:29am
No, really, I think it was the negative image of the control line
so not only was I seeing lines that weren't there, but I was hearing the little, evil voice of the hpt
see? officially nucking futs

9:30am
it's a good sign really

9:30am
what, being crazy??

9:30am
I was at my nucking futtiest when I was pregnat.

9:30am
lmfao
awesome. looking forward to being even crazier than I am on any given day. I honestly didn't think there was a higher level of crazy.

9:31am
I am giddy with excitement for you

9:31am
it's like Dante's levels of batshit crazy

9:31am
just you wait, henry higgins, just you wait!

9:31am
lol

9:31am
exactly!

9:31am
and we TOTALLY do it to ourselves
being infertile is a physical disease AS WELL as a mental disorder
moreso with the latter

9:32am
true

9:32am
ok, I have a wee pancake waiting for me

9:32am
one wee pancake

9:32am
and cold coffee

9:32am
yeah, mine is cold

9:32am
mmm

9:32am
let me know what your test looks like tomororw
because we all know you will be testing tomorrow

9:32am
a sign of a momma...cold coffee

9:32am
:P

9:32am
you bet
of course!

9:33am
hee hee

9:33am
hell, I'd planned on peeing in a cup right before bed tonight

9:33am
:X
well let me know then, too!

9:33am
I do have an arsenal of these things, after all
will do mon capitan
batshit crazy #1, over and out




And to further prove that I am, indeed, insane, here's a picture:

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

4dp3dt

I know it's been a while, but I've got a perfectly good excuse: I've been sleeping.  Yeah, pretty much all day, every day.  Which, I must admit, does make the days go by faster.  (That's a good thing when you're counting down the days.)

So where were we?  Oh yeah, we'd gotten our fertilization report and it was good.  Jeff and I went to the hospital on Friday, I got to take a happy-fun-sleepy-time pill, THEY PUT A FREAKING CLAMP ON MY FREAKING CERVIX and then placed two embryos (one 8-celled grade A and one 8-celled grade B) near the top of my uterus.  Did I mention that THEY PUT A FREAKING CLAMP ON MY FREAKING CERVIX?!  Yeah, that was fun.

Because we had 7 that fertilized, I decided to name them after the Seven Dwarfs.  And because I'm a Pollyanna-style optimist, I decided that they transfered "Happy".  Because Jeff is a Fox News watchin', mechanical engineer, he decided the other one was "Grumpy".  I informed him that if we ended up with a colicky child, he would be in charge of it until it decided to stop crying.

Anyhow, here is the first-ever baby picture of my future spawn.  Happy is the one on the top left, Grumpy is down on the bottom right.



Friday and Saturday were spent lounging in my pajamas, but by Sunday, I'd gone a little stir crazy.  So, my sweet husband asked his parents to watch the kids and took me to see "Love and Other Drugs" and then out for Mexican food afterward.  Let me just say that I hope I don't jeopardize my status in the "girl club" by saying that the movie wasn't great.  Like, at all.  My theory is, the makers of this movie knew that, but decided to cast the very gorgeous (and at times, very nude) Jake Gyllenhaalaaleeyhannnalleenneall and Anne Hathaway.

So here I sit, 4 days past my 3-day transfer and I feel nothing.  Well, nothing but a whole lotta tired.  I am, however, convinced that I am pregnant.  At this point in embryo development, the embryo isn't even an embryo anymore, but a blastocyst.  It has already started to hatch out of it's shell and is beginning to attach itself to the uterus.  I've provided a diagram of that last step, below:


Ok, I might have substituted the boring, sciency labels for my own.  The labels I picked are MUCH easier to pronounce, though.  That, and they make about as much sense as the originals.  But, if you're reading this and your name is Jeff, you're going to want to know what the boring, original names were, so here you go.

Mandy, one of the awesome IVF nurses that was with us on Friday, said that I could come in for a beta on the 23rd, so rather than spend all of Christmas Eve either getting stuck in the veins with a needle and jumping every time the phone rings, I'm opting to go in on the 23rd.  That, and I really don't think what is remaining of my psyche can take any more waiting.

Oh, and if you think I'm even waiting that long for a pregnancy test, you are wrong, my friend.  Very wrong.  In my posession are 19, very sensitive, hpt strips.  They don't detect hCG at 50u, or even a laughable 20u, but 10u.  I've heard of women getting positives on as early as 8dp3dt and because I'm more impatient than my children, I'm so planning to POAS.

I'm armed and dangerous, folks!

PS
Jeff, if you're reading this, I would like to say that I am sorry.  If I ever promised not to POAS before the 24th, I was most likely under the very strong influence of some pretty hardcore happy drugs.  So that makes that promise null and void.  And come on, you knew what an impatient girl I was when you met me.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Fertilization report is in...

...and it's good!  Out of the 23 that they plucked, 10 were "immature" (I'm still shocked that I of all people produced anything that was immature!  I mean, I'm so mature all the time!).  They were in GV stage, or "germinal vesicle" stage.  I found some info and neat pictures online here.  Sounds like they were about as immature as they could get.  Probably putting whoopie cushions on the chairs of the mature eggs.


Punks.

Anyhow, they ICSI'd the remaining 13 and overnight, 7 of them fertilized!  Tomorrow I should find out how many cells each contain (we're keeping fingers and things crossed for grade A,eight-celled embryos!!) and when we need to be back at the hospital on Friday.


As my cousin Emily put it, I'm a mother of 9!  A mother of 9 with a slight (ok, "big") case of separation anxiety.  I mean, not that I want all seven to be camped out in my uterus right now, or to be the next star of some TLC show about moms with too many damned kids, but those itty-bitty embryo thigies are all alone in an incubator in Chuck's lab.  I mean, are they being sung to?  Are they warm and cozy?  Is Happy getting on Doc's nerves?  Is Grumpy flicking Dopey's ears?  (And duh, of course I've named them after the Dwarfs.  Couldn't think of anything more fitting for seven, tiny things.)


Well, I'm exhausted and still hurt like a sonofabitch from yesterday.  With all of the abuse it went through yesterday, I'm not surprised if my cervix is packing up its things and finding another place of residence.  Before I nuggle and nap with Benny, I'm going to try to talk myself out of calling Brenda (my hero) and asking how the embryos are doing.  They don't call, they don't write...I've got to check on them somehow, you know.

Well THAT really effing hurt

I'm on drugs and a tad on the sore side, so this is going to be short.  The bad news?  I woke up during the procedure and it hurt so bad that I cried.  My absolute saintly angel of a nurse wiped my tears away and stroked my head.  For the record, Brenda H. is a wonderful, wonderful woman.

After the procedure, I was given Tylenol with codeine.  Seriously, they gave me tylenol.  Tylenol doesn't do squat for my headaches...how in the hell is it supposed to relieve the pain of the aftermath of the laser wearing shark?  Luckily, I had some percocet at home and it became my best friend as soon as I had lunch.  (Percocet on an empty stomach is not pretty.)

I was in the presence of another saint today.  My husband.  He held my hand, kissed my forehead, carried all of my belongings, remembered to take pictures for my scrapbook, made sure I was as comfy as I could be, told me how excited he was about our babies, tucked me into bed, and even rubbed my tush after he injected it with progesterone.  (You know, the one IN FREAKING OIL.)


Tomorrow, before noon sometime, one of my nurses are supposed to call and give us the fertilization report.  Oh!  I totally forgot to tell you all how many eggs Dr. Thomas (who didn't wear his Santa hat *sad face*) was able to retrieve.  TWENTY FREAKING THREE!  As in one less than two dozen!  Anyhow, a nurse is going to call tomorrow and let me know how many of the 23 were mature and out of those, how many fertilized overnight.

Well, I'm drowsy from pain meds and I really just want to curl up next to my sweet husband.  I'll post news tomorrow, as soon as I have it.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

The last memory I have of writing to you is your standard-issue childhood memory of writing out a Christmas List.  I was at a table, facing a window in the living room.  I wrote to you on notebook paper, and next to my paper, was an open toy catalog.  I remember asking about the reindeer and something about the kinds of cookies you liked and then I remember thinking that "miniature" was a rather stupid way to spell "miniature", but that if it was in print in a catalog, then it must be right.

And don't worry, it's totally fine that I didn't get my "miniature" dollhouse furniture.  I didn't have the dollhouse to put it in, anyhow.  The roller skates that you brought instead were way cooler.

Since then, I've grown out of the whole "writing to Santa" thing and have moved onto a way more awesome phase in life where I get to watch my kids write their own letters to you.  You'll be getting their letters shortly, but Andy really, really, really wants this Lego-Indiana-Jones-Temple-of-Doom-Mine-Cart thing.  (I often ask him to remind me of what it's called, simply because I love to hear him call it a "mind cart".)  Benny wants a bouncy car and world peace.

Yes, world peace.

Anyhow, I'm 30 years old now and here I sit, about to ask for another "miniature".  For Christmas this year, the only thing I want is a miniature human.  A baby.  See, I go in to see my doctor for some blood work on the morning of Christmas Eve and am supposed to get a call later that afternoon, letting me know if the decembryos settled in for a long, winter's nap, or not.  (And a nap that lasts all of next spring and summer, too.)

I just really, really, really want to grow one.  (Or two, your pick, I'm easy.)  I saw a very pregnant woman with a shirt that read I create life, what's YOUR superpower?  I'm assuming that she would not have been impressed with my superpower: the ability to create scrapbooks.  I was jealous.  Like, the kind of jealous I tell my kids that they should never be because they have so much to be grateful for.

And I do.  And I am grateful that I already am a mother.  But that's not what I was jealous of.  I was jealous of her experiences of seeing a greyscale splotch that resembles an alien, on an ultrasound screen.  I was jealous that she got to feel her husband and kids pat her belly and talk to said alien.  I was jealous that she was going to get to push that baby out of her body and feel its slick, warm skin  against hers as the alien sings its first newborn cry.


So, if it is at all possible, please don't fuck up my Christmas with news that I'm not pregnant.


Thanks,
Andrea

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Fan-freaking-tastic!

When I went in on Thursday, I felt great.  When I left the office, I was bummed.  Lots of follicles, but the doc was worried that the e2 would be too high (because it had doubled from Monday to Tuesday).  But I got a call from the nurse later that day and things were great: e2 came in at 1355.  I continued the 100u of Follistim and was told to come back for more blood work and another ultrasound today.

When Dr. Thomas walked in wearing a Santa Claus hat, I should have known today would be an even better day.  I told him that if he wore that hat on my embryo transfer day, I could say that Santa Claus got me pregnant.  He said it would put a whole new spin on the song, "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus".  I was going to up the joke ante by saying something about Santa coming down the chimney, but I behaved myself.  And all you Victorian-era prudes out there don't blow a gasket, there was a female doctor in the room, as well as my best friend, Barbarella.  (She tagged along to learn how to give me my PIO shot when Jeff is gone from the 15th-18th.)

Madames et monsieurs, I am pleased to announce that I have 26 measurable follicles, total.  In case any of you obsess over numbers like I do, lemmie break it down:

Polly was the leader with thirteen (all numbers are in millimeters):
16.1x15
20x12
15.7x15.3
16x8.7
14.6x14.3
13.5x12.9
11.1x12
13.1x11.4
18.2x10.9
16.4x13.9
22.2x12.4
14.7x6.3
13.9x7.5

Heidi was only one away from a tie breaker, with twelve:
15.4x14
16.9x11.7
13.4x10.5
21.1x12.8
14x10.2
22.9x8.7
19.3x18
12.4x11.8
18.4x13.3
10.2x12.1
21.6x13.9
13.9x11.3

From www.inciid.org: Follicles generally need to be at least 15-16 mm to contain fertilizable eggs (although it is possible in rare cases for follicles to be as small as 14 mm and still contain fertilizable eggs).  Follicles grow 1 to 2 mm a day both while taking ovulatory stimulants and after the HCG shot.

So, to sum up, my smallest comes in at about 12mm.  If it grows 1-2mm every day for the next 2-ish days, I could be looking at 14-16mm.  Now, just because I have 26 measurable follicles, doesn't mean the shark is going to be able to retrieve 26 eggs, or that even if it does, all 26 are going to be mature.  (But it never hurts to hope!!)

My uterine lining (because you want to know this) is 9.9 ( they want it to be above 7, so this is great) and my e2 came in at 2975.  Santa Claus, sorry I mean, Dr. Thomas had guessed it would be somewhere near 3500, but this number is good.  

When Dr. Ifeelhorriblefornotbeingabletorememberhername called me earlier this evening, she told me that I would be triggering on Sunday!  WOO FREAKING HOO!  She told me to take 5u of Lupron and my last (hopefully the last one, FOREVER!) follistim shot tonight and then tomorrow at 11:30pm, take another 5u of Lupron and a shot in the ass (no, she didn't say, "ass") of 10,000units of hCG.  Don't freak out, I know it sounds like a lot, especially because I'm only taking 100units of follistim, but the hCG is concentrated or something.

On Monday, I get a shot mini-vacay and on Tuesday, Jeff and I need to be at the hospital at 9:30am for our egg retrieval at 10:30am.  Two awesome things about this: 
1. FREE valet parking.  That's right kids, all we have to do is pull up to the front door of the hospital and they park our car.  AND give it back to us when we're done.  FOR FREE.  Sorry, but when you're shelling out $15,000 for a medical procedure, you kinda lose your mind over freebies.  (Like my awesome, purple, CRH rubber band bracelet!  Oh!  And in the waiting room, all the Keurig coffee you can drink!)
2.  During the procedure, I can't do the fun "hooker toes" (nail polish is a no-no), but I do get to wear my nifty, new Santa socks.  $5 at Target, you can't beat that! 

After Pike babies are made in the lab, they usually hang out for a few days and then two embryos are put back inside the Mother Ship.  At that point, technically, I get to say I'm pregnant.  But don't expect any announcements until Christmas Eve, when I get the results of my beta pregnancy test

Oh, and keep those funky-cool band aids coming!  I'm going to need about 7 more to get me through the PIO shots.  Anybody have any of these?  Send 'em if ya got 'em!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Can't accuse me of being half-assed

When I broke my foot this past February, I really broke it.  I busted four out of five metatarsal bones, one in two places.  I had two screws installed and later removed, was on a scooter, did crutches, had a spaceman boot and everything.  When I do something, I go all out. 

So, when I was handed the task of cranking out some eggs for this IVF thing, I did just that.  And then some.  I have close to (drumroll, please) forty follicles.  And the bloodwork I had done yesterday (e2 was at 474) I nearly doubled today.  837, thankyouverymuch.

However, turns out that this is not a race to make the most as I can as fast as I can.  My nurse called this afternoon and told me to take it down a notch, quite literally.  So, I was instructed to lower my dose of follistim to 100 units tonight and tomorrow night and to come in for more poking and probing on Thursday.

But the best part of my day?  The doc that saw me today was looking through my chart as I was having blood drawn.  She held up the chart to the front, inside flap where a picture of Jeff and I was paperclipped.  (They take a picture of every patient/couple to keep in the chart...I guess it helps keep faces with names.)  She said, and I'm paraphrasing here, "This is the best one of these I've ever seen!  You guys look so happy and so in love!  I really like it!"

Even as I type this, I'm smiling.  I'm just the luckiest girl in the world and I'm savoring every minute of it.  I love you, Jeff!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Like a stuffed turkey

Jeff and I went in for my baseline ultrasound and blood draw on Wednesday the 24th.  No cysts, but I have about 10 starter follicles on each of the "cysters".  (Heidi and Polly, the ovarian cysters...remember them?)  Also, my baseline e2 (serum estradiol) was at 50.  (50 = good)

I started my "stims" (drugs that stimulate the ovaries to make lots and lots of follicles, which contain eggs) the following day.  Yes, as in Thanksgiving.  It was appropriate timing, really.  Kind of like a foreshadowing of how I would feel by the end of the holiday weekend.  It started with "sore" ovaries.  You know how your muscles feel after you run a marathon or go skiing?  Yeah, me neither, but I hear your muscles get really sore.  Wasn't so much of a "hurt" as it was a "tender".

After two days of stims, I went in at the ass-crack of dawn, or "8:30am" as it's known to those weird, morning types, and had blood drawn.  I got a call later that day saying that at this point in the process, they like to see e2 between 100 and 200.  The doc said I was at 159.  See?  Proof that I am nine points above "perfect".  So there.

This morning I had to apply a heating pad to the baby factory because I felt really sore, uncomfortable and just downright crappy.  As I type this at 10:30-ish in the pm, my midsection feels like a Thanksgiving turkey:  Absolutely stuffed!  And just 30 minutes ago, the Crazy-Cryin' Train blew past me.  I'm so glad I've never had one of those ridiculous crying spells in public.  They come on like bad nausea: you can't fight it, you know you're going to end up doing it, it hits hard and fast, and just like that, you're done and feel better.  I'm just glad Jeff was here to hug me until it was over...I just love that man!

Well, I'm taking my gut upstairs and we're going to sleep until the ass-crack of dawn, when I have another blood draw to check the e2.  I should have results by 5pm and am scheduled to go in for more blood work and an ultrasound on Wednesday.  If everything goes according to schedule, the doc should be digging around with a laser-wearing shark by next Monday.  Woohoo!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Duh, you guys...

I thought I'd share a quick story.  A few months ago, I was telling Andy that Jeff and I were going to be seeing a doctor that could, hopefully, help us make a baby.  I told him about the process (if you ever want a challenge, try breaking IVF/ICSI down to a 7 year old's level of comprehension) and the shots involved and the appointments and the shots and the side effects and the shots.

When I had finished explaining the whole ordeal he looks at me, and with a very "you guys are really stupid" look he says, "Mom...why don't you guys just try sex?"

I thought I was going to piss myself, I was laughing so hard.  Of COURSE!  Why hadn't we thought of that before?  My god, could it really be that we'd just never tried that method?  Wait until I tell Jeff that I saved us $15K AND we get to do it!  Win-win!

I just smiled at Andy and told him I'd pass the suggestion along to his dad.

Man, I love that kid.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Side effects



Yeah, they've totally kicked in.  Unfortunately, none of the side effects are of the fun variety, such as hallucinations, an increased urge to gamble or increased sexual urges and/or behavior.  It would absolutely make my day to get a friendly wave from Adam West, riding an elephant.  Anyhow, I realized the side effects had kicked in last Saturday morning.  I told Jeff that I was looking forward to December 7th because I wouldn't have to deal with the cat litter box until 9 months later.  Jeff made a joke about putting the cats in the kennel for those several months, and instead of joking right back and saying something about putting the kids in the kennel, too...I cried.

I felt like a total dork when it was all over, but still...I cried.  I explained it to him like this:  You know when you have that feeling that you're going to puke, but you lay there in bed, trying to psych yourself out of it, you put it off, try to overcome the nausea, but then you hurl all over yourself, and then feel much better?

Totally what it's like when you feel the sads coming on, when you're on fertility drugs.  The headaches and hot flashes (well, mine are only from the neck up...go figure) have also joined the party.  Oooh, and they brought along their friend, "Exhaustion" to crash the party.  I think there was one day this week where I was asleep for more hours than I was awake.

Which is why this blog post is going to be a short one. 

'Night.

Monday, November 15, 2010

One more time, from the top


This cute, LOLdog photo pretty much sums up how I'm feeling right now.  So, remember a few posts back when I said that we were doing IVF because we knew we would love a REAL child way more than those adopted things we have running around?

Yeah, you don't remember that because I never wrote it.  Or said it.  Or thought it.

But here we are, day 6 of Lupron shots and I've already received my first insensitive comment.  This gem comes to us from someone who shall remain nameless, doesn't read this blog and is a friend of the family.  Something along the lines of, "I'm just concerned that she's risking the relationship she has with the boys, because it's going to be different when she has one of her own." 

Give me a minute...must count to ten so that I don't kick the nearest cat.

I don't really even know where to begin with tackling this one.  I guess I'll start by quoting myself from an earlier blog post:

When I got my Happy Fun Time Box (it's what I'm calling the box o' needles...just go with it) in the mail, I sat the boys down and had a heart-to-heart with them.  I wanted them to know that I am so lucky to have them as my sons and that I am so grateful their birthmoms chose J and I to be their parents.  I told them that we weren't doing IVF because we want a baby that looks like us or that shares our blood or because we think we'd love a bio-kid more than we love them.  I told them that we wanted to experience pregnancy and that I wanted us to experience that as a family.  I want the boys to go in and hear #3's heart beat, come with me to an ultrasound, feel my kicking belly and come visit us in the hospital when #3 arrives.  I really tried to stress that we didn't care how we got to be parents again, because blood doesn't equal family, love does.

I'd also like to add that the cost of IVF/ICSI has come down, considerably, and we are in a program where we get four tries for half of what we paid for Andy's adoption fees.  (And just so I'm not misquoted anywhere, I said "paid for adoption fees" not, "paid for Andy".)  Not only would I very much like to experience a pregnancy, labor and delivery, but it's cheaper.  Momma is going to need a mini-van for her child-army, afterall.

Next, I'd like to take on the whole "real child" thing.  Aside from the fact that it implies that adopted children are somehow mystical, magical, imaginary beings, it implies that they are not as part of the family, therefore not as loved, as biological children.  Put it to you this way: If it were possible to love a child more than I love my boys, the universe would implode upon itself. 

To quote the legendary Stevie Wonder, I will love another child more than I love my boys "the day the dolphin flies and parrots live at sea, the day that 8 x 8 x 8 is 4, the day that is the day there are no more, the day the earth starts turning right to left, the day dear Mother Nature says her work is through, the day that you are me and I am you."

And last, the idea that I'm someone who could love a child of my womb more than a child of my heart is just downright insulting.

I need to go kick a cat, now.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Cannot self-terminate

Ok, so you know that one scene at the end of Terminator 2 where they've killed that melty-metal cyborg thingie and then they have to destroy the computer chips and whatnot?  The Governator says to the Connor family, "There is one more chip that needs to be destroyed" and then ever so dramatic-like, he points to his noggin.  Arnie says "I cannot self terminate", (the fact that there is a Terminator Wiki makes me sad) the whiney, emo kid flips out and bad-ass Momma Conner lowers the Schwarz into the molten steel. 

That scene always came to mind whenever I was faced with the possibility of having to give myself a shot.  No matter how great the end result could possibly be, my hand was just not going to thrust a needle into my flesh.  So, when this cycle of IVF rolled around, I drafted several friends to do the injecting for me.

Last night, I thought I'd be able to shoot up by myself, but it just didn't happen.  Unfortunately, Jeff is leaving for 8 days, and I'm going to have to inject myself.  So tonight, I stood in my bathroom, sans pants (of course, only AFTER all of this did I even realize that my window blinds were wide open.  Nice.) and attempted to jab my thigh with a needle.


Ladies and gentlemen, I am beyond proud to announce that I was successful.

Jeff was with me at first, but after realizing that in his attempts to make me feel better, he was only making me more nervous, he left and waited for me downstairs.  As soon as he left, I was able to focus and stuck that puppy into my leg.


I am a bad-ass.  I am a bad-ass wearing a disco-ball looking band-aid on my thigh, but still: bad-ass.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Much better this time around

For Jeff and I, the first round of fertility treatments were not pretty.  We were just a year into marriage, the shots hurt like a mofo and we were very, very sad people.  Fast forward to this evening.  Jeff and I are 12 years into our relationship, solid as a freaking diamond, the first few weeks of shots are all sub-q (infertile speak for subcutaneous shots; under the skin, not intramuscular [IM shots]).  



And the best part of tonight's shot compared to what it was like 8 years ago?  My hands were being held by the hands of my sweet, man-children.

I totally chickened out and asked Jeff to give me the first shot.  A few weeks ago, when I got the Happy Fun Time Box in the mail, I was more confident than a gorgeous, Italian man in a room full of single women.  I looked at the box, and it flinched.  The box shivered in my presence.  But then tonight, the box transformed from silly, little, rectangle thing made of cardboard into Chuck freaking Norris.

My eyes started playing tricks on me.  Instead of seeing the itty-bitty, 1/2" sub-q needle, I saw a 10' steel pole.  Instead of seeing my husband as he really was, like this:

I saw him as this:






After three false-starts, I was poked in the belly with the "ultra-comfort" needle (which, I must say, lived up to its name), injected with 10units of Lupron and then had a Toy Story band-aid slapped on the injection site.

I am proud to say that the needle poke didn't hurt and that the Lupron didn't sting.  There was a teeny-tiny bit of itching about 5 minutes later, but that went away after about 3 rounds of Bejeweled Blitz.  (STAY AWAY FROM MY HIGH SCORE, YOUNG AND CONLEY!!)

And if it's not asking too much of the Fertility Gods, I'd like to put off the dreaded Lupron headaches until after this Saturday.  I have a wedding to go to and already have three, very precious gentlemen on my dance card.  I cannot disappoint.

Monday, November 8, 2010

A whole month dedicated to gratitude

I start Lupron injections in little less than 48 hours and I'm a tad on the nervous side.  You see, I was a kid who, when approached with a needle, had to be held down by an entire brigade of nurses so that said needle could do its job.  I don't know if it was some horrible, past life experience, or my dramatic nature kicking in, but nothing could get my heart racing, stomach churning or lungs pumping like having to get a shot.

So really, the fact that I'm going to attempt to give myself a shot, is quite impressive.

To get my mind off of all things needly and sharp, I turned to "happy thoughts".  After several "happy thoughts" of George Clooney and running naked through a field of cotton candy (you have your "happy thoughts" and I have mine), my mind turned to my boys.  I started thinking about the first few days as their momma, how I'd be forever grateful to their birthmothers, their teeny, tiny little toes and fingers (the boys, not their birthmoms) and how incredibly blessed and honored I am to get to be their mother.

It was then that I realized that it's absolutely no coincidence that National Adoption Month and Thanksgiving share the same month.  I've always counted my blessings and try to keep a glow of gratitude in my heart, but in this month, it all doubles.

When I got my Happy Fun Time Box (it's what I'm calling the box o' needles...just go with it) in the mail, I sat the boys down and had a heart-to-heart with them.  I wanted them to know that I am so lucky to have them as my sons and that I am so grateful their birthmoms chose J and I to be their parents.  I told them that we weren't doing IVF because we want a baby that looks like us or that shares our blood or because we think we'd love a bio-kid more than we love them.  I told them that we wanted to experience pregnancy and that I wanted us to experience that as a family.  I want the boys to go in and hear #3's heart beat, come with me to an ultrasound, feel my kicking belly and come visit us in the hospital when #3 arrives.  I really tried to stress that we didn't care how we got to be parents again, because blood doesn't equal family, love does.

After my Hallmark Channel speech, B asked if he could have a popsicle and A asked if he could play outside until dinner time.  Not sure if anything I said to them stuck, but I tried.


But since you are a rather captive audience, I have more to add.  


See, the first time J and I went through infertility treatments, the process killed me.  It shattered my heart and annihilated my spirit.  I felt like a ghost in my own life; a shadow of the person who used to live in this skin.


But with the birth of my oldest son, I was reborn.  When I first laid eyes on that pink, sleeping, 4 pound baby, my heart began to beat again.  A mighty gale of love and life and gratitude blasted away the sorrow and despair that had taken up residence in my bones.  Life was in color again, and I had this little human to thank for it.


Being in the delivery room when my second son was born was a dream come true.  As a woman, I had always assumed that I would be present at the birth of my children.  So when I learned that my reproductive system was experiencing "technical difficulties", I gave up on all hopes of ever hearing that beautiful, first cry of a newborn.


And then along came K.  This brave girl gave me not only the gift of a beautiful, second son, but she gave me the opportunity of a lifetime and allowed me to be in the delivery room with her.  When that little boy of mine took his first breath and sang his first cry, I felt that familiar blast of love and life and gratitude, and I cried right along with him.


So you see, our choice to take this journey through the IVF/ICSI process isn't because we want a child with DNA similar to ours.  I want to see my husband's face light up when I tell him that we're pregnant.  I want to study an ultrasound screen and figure out where the toes and fingers are.  I want to have my sons press their cheeks to my belly and "listen" for the baby.  I want to pee when I sneeze and laugh.


Ok, so not really so much with that last one, but if it means I get to do all that other stuff, I'll take it.


Well, I am going to go into the boys' room and re-tuck arms and legs and butts under the covers.  I'm also going to sit in the silence and count each one of my blessings, starting with my guys.


Then I'm totally going to bed and dream of running naked, through a field of cotton candy.


Don't judge.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Egg retrieval

I would just like to point out that you can't say, "egg retrieval" without saying, "evil".  I find this to be the most morbidly fascinating step of the whole "makin'-a-baby-in-a-lab" process.  The doctor will use an ultrasound to find the follicles (the little sac-thingies on the ovaries that contain the egg-thingies).  Once the follicles are located, they're punctured and aspirated.  The fluid and eggs are collected and taken back to the lab for a very complicated game of "hide-and-go-seek" with the lab techs.

"But, Fertile Rock Lady, what do they use to go on this follicle hunting and extracting expedition?" you ask?

I will tell you, but it's not pretty.  As a matter of fact, I have a crisp dollar-bill that says this device was most likely used in "advanced interrogation situations" at Guantanamo Bay. Ladies, muffle your midsections with a kitchen towel or decorative throw-pillow so your lady-bits don't hear this: An internal ultrasound probe with a needle attached.

I'll say it again: AN INTERNAL ULTRASOUND PROBE WITH A FRICKIN' NEEDLE ATTACHED.

For those of you lucky enough to never have had an internal ultrasound, check this out.  Once you've finished crying on the floor in the fetal position, imagine that done with A FRICKIN' NEEDLE ATTACHED.

And because I'm me, my demented brain pulled up this clip and played it over and over and over again, in my head.  And, because I like to take things too far, I sketched this out:








The good news is, not only do I get to take a happy pill, but I go under "twilight sedation".  (I'm really hoping that has nothing to do with that weird, sparkly, British vampire guy.)  However, I've heard that if you're really friendly to the anesthesiologist, they have ways of making sure you never remember the whole ordeal.  I think I might bake up an arsenal of chocolate chip cookies the night before.  I have no desire to have any memory, whatsoever, of someone digging through my netheregions with a laser-wearing shark.

If I'm lucky, I'll end up like our friend David, of youtube and laughing-gas fame.  Except, not actually ending up on youtube. 

Did I mention the probe has a needle attached?