Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Do I or Don't I?

First of all, thank you for your wonderful comments of support from my last post.  Secondly, I really want to change the tone of my blog from whiney (about IF) to something more positive... but then something happens again and I have to work through it on the blog... feel free to skip over if you can't take more on my IF woe's.

Today is the day to start my second pack of 'active' BCP's.  I had to call the nurse because the pharmacy said it was too soon to refill the Rx.  She got that worked out but I asked her if she had my EFT (endo biopsy) results back yet.  After fumbling around she found them and started to read things to me... she might as well have been speaking a foreign language.  She said the bottom line was something showed slightly abnormal  and it might be the endometriosis that the CA125 test had indicated was a possibility.

So the doctor wants me to have another CA125 test after this second round of BCP's and then go into yet a THIRD cycle of BCP's leading into my next IVF cycle.  I was crushed.  A third cycle of BCP's, that's 63 days... which would put me into late July before I could possibly start stimming for IVF3.0?  For treating POSSIBLE endometriosis??  This puts me at 5 months in-between IVF's... what happened to No Cycle Shall Be Without A Purpose?

So do I have endo or don't I??  I have no idea.

I asked if I could talk to Dr. T about the test results and the possible diagnosis, even if by phone.  I was informed that Dr. T doesn't "do" phone consults but I could make an appointment.  Of course, I know that means at LEAST 4 weeks before I can talk to her, I'll be in my 3rd cycle of BCP's by then.

I was blinking back tears at the pharmacy this afternoon picking up the BCP's I need because I can't get pregnant... it sucks and it doesn't make sense.

Second Opinion

I had my phone consult with Dr. Su.rr.y at CCRM last week while at the beach.  He does suspect that with my 2 chemical pregnancies (he agreed that's what they were) it's likely an embryo quality issue.  He recommends PGS (Preimplantation Genetic Screening) with my next IVF cycle to get a better idea of my embryo quality.  He also talked about how different labs impact the quality of the embryo.

He also doesn't believe in using the CA125 test to diagnose endometriosis (it is a test commonly used for cervical cancer) and it could mean MANY things, especially given it was barely above the normal threshhold.  Apparently the use of the CA125 test as an indicator for endo started at Wake Forest so he suspected it was picked up by my clinic due to the local connection.  He doesn't believe in using BCP's for endometriosis control, he would use Lupron priming.  He doesn't believe in the EFT (endo biopsy) as it's not validated outside of the Yale research facility.

If I work with CCRM, I would need to travel to Colorado 3 times... 1) Initial evaluation/workup; 2) Egg Retrieval; 3) FET (after PGS results)

There was a lot more to the consult but I'm trying to keep this post condensed.

Do I stop taking the BCP and go to CCRM for my next cycle or don't I?  I have a pro/con list in my head.


  • New lab 
  • New doctor
  • More info on the embryos
  • Moving forward within next 2 weeks
  • Local monitoring (via my current clinic, is that a pro or con?

  • New doctor not as familiar with my history
  • I'm 1/3 through the BCP protocol (should I need to start it again one day, I'll have to start over)
  • Travel/time away from work
  • What happens if my CCRM IVF doesn't work?

In the meantime, I'm at a loss for whether I can schedule a trip with 2 of my oldest girlfriends to celebrate our 40th birthday's... we were thinking late July.  If I stay with Dr. T, I'll be stimming in late July. If I go to CCRM, I'm not sure (depends on when I stop the BCP's) but my ER could be mid-July so we might be able to do our trip (depending on how I swing things with work).

Decisions... I wish someone could just tell me what to do for a change, because I have NO IDEA.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

I'm Sorry, Life is So Unfair

I'm so sorry this is happening to you, life is so unfair.

These are the best words of support you can offer to a friend who is struggling with infertility.  Especially if...

  • you don't know what to say or how to support your infertile friend
  • you have a child of your own
  • you have never struggled with infertility
  • you have been drinking heavily ALL day!

WHAT NOT TO SAY under any of these circumstances (and many, many unnamed circumstances as well)...
  • she needs to take a break for a while and get back to the person you remember her to be (because somehow the months in-between March 2011's IVF2.0 and hopefully July's IVF3.0 is not actually a break?)
  • she should take a break and lose weight
  • tell her she doesn't have any idea how hard pregnancy is and how crazy pregnancy makes a woman (even though she's been swallowing, injecting and inserting thousands upon thousands of dollars worth of hormones over the last year)
  • you didn't know how to respond to the information she was sharing about the second opinion consult she had that morning (the appointment she waited 6 weeks to have, even though she had to take the call from the beach trip) so you kept asking questions about using Facebook during her debrief with the other girls who actually wanted to know what the doctor had just said
  • she shouldn't refer to the spare room in her house as the "one-day nursery" because SHE DOESN'T HAVE A BABY or a NURSERY, it's just a ROOM
  • she should stop trying and it will happen (hello, you know I'm single - plus this happens in 5% of the cases of infertile women... that means 95% of the time, an infertile doesn't get pregnant when you 'stop trying'.)
While you may INTEND for this conversation to be supportive and well-meaning out of concern for your infertile friend, it's not.  Instead, what you have done is...
  • broken your infertile friend's heart
  • made your infertile friend feel more alone than she's ever felt before 
  • made your infertile friend decide she will no longer talk about her infertility with you and other close friends, she will now elect to suffer in silence (other than her online & IRL infertility support groups)
  • made your infertile friend not want to spend time with you (which is difficult since you are currently sharing a room on vacation)
  • made your infertile friend need a second Xana.x in the middle of the night in order to sleep
  • made your infertile friend debate whether she can even write about this on her blog since you have access to the link, although she doesn't think you actually read it (this blog is my safe place and how I process things, especially for support of those who may understand)
  • made your infertile friend have doubts about being able to continue with our annual beach trip tradition
  • made your infertile friend FEEL GUILTY for her hurt feelings because she knows that your intention behind your comments was well-meaning even though the comments hurt her to the core
The struggle of infertility is a tremendous hardship financially, physically and emotionally.  If you have not been through this type of struggle, please keep your "well-meaning" comments to yourself.  

The best way I can describe a fleeting moment of how an infertile feels to a fertile person...
  1. Think about your children
  2. Now think about a time before you had your children
  3. Now imagine someone has told you that you will never have your children, they will not exist
  4. Think about that fleeting moment of fear and your stomach sinking... wouldn't you go to the ends of the earth to get to your children?
An infertile knows their child is meant to be... and she is doing whatever it takes to get to her child!

I'm so sorry this is happening to you, life is so unfair.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Beach Week - Chicken & Grape Salad

I'm seriously unhappy with Blogger right now.  This post was almost done and I accidentally deleted part of it... and there is NO WAY TO GO BACK!

So... the short story...  I'm going to the beach with my girls this week, annual trip.  I'm behind on blogging, reading & commenting because work has been busy.  Hope to catch up soon!

The other part of the story is that my CA125 test (for endo) came back slightly elevated) so I've been told that the standard protocol is 2 cycles (42 days straight) of BCP + Letrozol... I'm about 14 days in.  Based on this, the earliest I will stim for IVF3.0 is late June.  I'm still waiting on the EFT/Endo Biopsy results... which should be in any day.  Once those results come in, I'll talk to Dr. T and learn more about what's going on.

In the meantime, I have a phone consult with CCRM while I'm on vacation.

I'm making my summer chicken salad - the chicken & grape salad - by request again for our beach trip.  I HATE mayo & mustard... will not eat it, will not cook with it.  This chicken salad is inspired by Dean & Deluca...  I've been perfecting it for years and it is, if I do say so  myself, much better than D&D.

I do tweak things every time I make it, especially at the start of each season when I begin making it again.  I must say, I've outdone myself today!

Here's my best attempt at measuring. Play with it and make it your own. Let me know if you add a twist/spice/etc. 
3 chicken breasts (more for a bigger batch)
1 cup OJ
Chopped Pecans or Walnuts
Red Seedless Grapes
1 Orange for zest
1 Sweet Onion (preferably Vidalia)
Celery (4 - 5 stalks)
Brown sugar

Lite House Salad Seasonings (optional, but makes a flavorable difference)

Cut up the chicken, cook in slow cooker with some OJ & Brown Sugar (enough to marinate). Chop celery & onion, half grapes, zest the orange, add nuts. Squeeze the juice from the orange into mixture. Add OJ, brown sugar, salt & salad seasonings (to taste). Note, you don't want it soggy, just moist, so don't over-saturate with OJ. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Blogger Faux Paus

So I had a miscommunication with Blogger on when my 100th blog post was coming up.  Now mind you, I've been watching the post numbers grow for a while... 96, 97, 98, 99...  knowing I should mark some kind of tribute for my 100th post.

What I didn't realize that Blogger was including 'Drafts' in that count.  So my 100th post was actually my 92nd post, the remaining 8 were long-forgotten drafts.

I still stand by my 100th Episode post, even it was slightly premature.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

100th Episode

You may recall that Seinfeld, one of the top sitcoms of all time, put together summaries of their episode milestones.

Courtesy of Google Images

This is my 100th blog post, my 100th episode.  In the spirit of Seinfeld, here is the first 100 posts in review.

Never would I have imagined when I started this blog that 21 months later I wouldn't have my baby in my arms.  I envisioned wacky tales of figuring out how to buy donor sperm, getting inseminated at the doctors office (rather than by candlelight) and the experience of being pregnant, preparing for baby.  I thought that perhaps like Julie & Julia, my unique (I thought it would be unique when I started) blog would get picked up for movie rights, blazing the way for other SMC's (this was before The Backup PlanThe Switch, and The Kids are Alright - we've come a long way, baby).  As I broke into the blog world, I realized that there was a wide-world of SMC's... and later learned more than I ever wanted to know about the in's & out's of infertility.

The Pilot: The pilot episode aired in August of 2009, but it didn't get picked up for the season. It was a good learning opportunity as I connected with my first SMC-wanna-be's and created my Twitter persona to align with the blog.  I had some housekeeping to be done, in the terms to getting back to a steady-corporate income, before things could move forward.

Syndicated:  It took approximately 8 months for me to get things into place and under way.  My blog picked back up in May of 2010, just in time for a hysteroscopy and my first IUI.  I was going to be a mom, a SMC, in 9 months!!  ....only things didn't work out that way...

I didn't get pregnant right away.  I continued IUI's while new SMC friends I had connected with got their BFPs.  I began to deal with the idea that it might take me longer than I imagined to begin my life as an SMC.  And it hurt.

After several failed IUI's I finally went back to work for my former employer, the one that laid me off after 12 years of service, the one with great benefits.  Getting laid off in early 2009 was a big hit to my ego, very much defined by my career at that time and much of the reason my SMC TTC got to such a slow start.  Going back was a lesson of swallowing my pride, in the interest of what is best for me and my future family.  This employer has not only good maternity benefits, it has good infertility coverage as well.

Advancing from IUI to IVF:  My 6th IUI gave me a glimpse of hope, as I had implantation bleeding and a BFP a few days before my beta, but as fast as it appeared, it went away.  I started my period an hour before trick-or-treaters came on Halloween night.  I was actually happy because I had never gotten to this level of success previously, even though it ended in failure.

My 6th IUI also allowed me to hit a milestone I wish I never met, an official diagnosis of "Unexplained Infertility".

IVF1.0:  November/December 2010 was my first IVF.  Surely moving to IVF would get me to my dream of being a mom!    Three days before Christmas my BFN is confirmed.  I was devastated and trying to figure out how to make it through the snowbound family holiday.

Bringing in the New Year was tough, especially when I learned a high school friend announced her third pregnancy the day after her 3 year wedding anniversary.

IVF2.0:  By the end of January I was preparing to start my second IVF.  My response to the protocol was much improved and I had one (of many) HPT that turned positive... that was an afternoon of hope, elation and joy I've not felt in so long, even knowing it was early  

Regrouping:  Sadly, there has been more negativity and sadness in my blog than I would ever have imagined.  As I ventured out of the world of hopeful SMC to the world of a single Infertile woman, things got really difficult.  I wish this were the blog I planned, about a single woman happily becoming a mom, and I pray one day that it can be 'that blog'.

My Bloggies:  The best part about this, my 100th post, is recognizing the amazing women I have met along the way!  We may not be neighbors, but I know I am not alone.  We may not be in the same place on our paths, but your support never waivers.  At times, this blog, and your comments are a lifeline.  And I am happy that at times, I can support you.

Thank you for being with me, during the good and the bad.  It's time for more GOOD.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mothers Day, Different Meanings for Different Experiences

First, Happy Mothers Day to those of you who are mothers and expectant mothers!  I hope you enjoy this day for everything that it is worth!!!

Second, my heart goes out to everyone who has lost their mother or may be estranged from their mother.  My own mother is such a blessing and support, I can't fathom not having my dear mother in my life so I know this day must be such a difficult reminder for you.

Third, I wish for peace to all of the mothers who have lost a child during or post pregnancy.  I have no words to express how unnatural and unfair this is for any mother to endure.

Next, I pray for blessings for those of us who desire with all of our hearts to be mothers but struggle with the pain of infertility.  Today, we must suffer through, endure and survive... (as I did last year) I have HOPE that by next Mother's Day, we'll all be able to celebrate BEING a mom!

Lastly, I leave you with a link to a touching post by Keiko to remember the childless, not by choice.  Her words hold so much truth in how I feel:

We may not have stayed up late when the kids wouldn't go to bed.  But we've stayed up late worrying about our transfers he next morning.  We've stayed up late wondering why the agency hasn't called.  Stayed up late wondering "how on earth are we going to pay for this?"
We may not have endured 20 hours of labor and a natural birth. But we've endured countless hours in stirrups, endless rounds of needles and herbal treatments and painful surgeries. And years of silence and shame.
We may not have brought our child to work but we've sacrificed careers to stay in jobs we hate just to maintain specific health insurance coverage, however crappy that coverage might be - but it's better than paying 100% out of pocket. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

My Resolve

I went to my first Resolve meeting this week (for those lucky enough not to know, Resolve is an Infertility support/advocacy organization).  I was supposed to go to my first one in December, but my IVF1.0 Retrieval happened the same day.   There was no January meeting and I never actually got added to the local group's mailing list so February/March passed.  I reconnected with the leader but I was traveling in April so here it is May... and I finally went to my first meeting.

Back when I was seeing my Infertility therapist, Dr. G, she was a little skeptical about me joining up with the local Resolve group.  She was concerned meeting other women suffering from infertility may not be healthy for me.  Really?

As one woman in the group put it, no one who isn't or has not been through IF truly understands what we feel.  That she wants to talk about IF, with someone who understands, and she wants to talk about it all the time.  She's sad and she's pissed off and she believes she was put on this earth to be a mom.  She said everything I felt, and everyone else in the room.

There were at least 15 women at the meeting.  While it's "scheduled" to be 90 minutes, we were there for 3 hours... and apparently that's pretty standard.  It starts with some informal announcements, then it's an open opportunity for each woman to share what's going on (since the last meeting).   

There were women just starting to seek medical assistance after TTC on their own and there were women who had been trying for many, many years... and many women somewhere inbetween.  One woman was headed to Colorado the next day for her FET, several were in their 2ww, one is just about to embark on her first IVF.  A few of us have begun considering, or down the path of donor egg.  One woman had just... finally (after multiple years)... had a diagnosis that uterus is shredded (after multiple losses, D&C's) and she'll never sustain a pregnancy.

For those who know me, you know I've come to a certain acceptance, even comfort level, of being a single mom.  And as I listened and shared, I was reminded again of the advantages & disadvantages of going at this on my own.

There were stories of supportive husbands who attended appointments, gave shots and offered support unconditionally.  And there were stories of husbands who dragged their feet with every decision, who were ready to give up and felt their wives didn't think that they (the husband) were enough which is why the wives had this unrelenting drive to overcome infertility.  Women were reading the book What He Can Expect When She's Not Expecting to see if their husbands actually did read the book.

A couple of the husbands, not necessarily religious, required that they consult their priest/rabbi, before making decisions about IVF, Donor Egg, Adoption.

While I would love someone to mix my vials and tell me which syringe goes with which drug, even someone who would inject me and hold me when I cry, I am thankful that I, alone, am responsible for my decisions.  I can ponder or move forward as I come to terms with things in my own time, however little or much time as it takes.

I found it enlightening when several of them mentioned how their husbands just don't want them to be in pain anymore and that they are not the same women that they married.  I can relate to that.  I'm not the same person.  Infertility changes you.  You become very much single minded, as you are your own best advocate.  You do everything you can to remain in control of an uncontrollable situation (creating charts, calendars, schedules, etc).

I know I've turned down the opportunity to be introduced to men, because I don't recognize myself... I don't have the energy to focus on someone else, especially someone who wont really know me.  I know I'm still in here somewhere... but this life of ongoing limbo, desperately wanting to move into the next phase without success, this limbo-stranger will not leave until I know my child is safely on its way.  Until I'm able to experience real JOY again.

Other Updates

Endo Biopsy:  One year ago today, Cinco de Mayo, I had my Hysteroscopy to remove my uterine polyp.  Today, I had my Endometrial Biopsy for my Endometrial Function Test (EFT).

My Mom Had Endo: When I sent my mom the video explaining the EFT, she emailed me later and said, I just realized I should tell you, I had Endometriosis.  My mom had a hysterectomy when I was quite young but I was to little to understand what was happening; I just knew that my sister and I had to stay at my Grandmothers house for several days.  How did I NOT know my mom had Endo?  How, in all of these years did I not ask her about it?

But I have no signs of Endo myself.

IVF3.0:  When AF arrives, that will be the start of my pre-IVF cycle.  I'll start Estrogen priming after ovulation.  I had thought I was going straight into Stimulation thinking I'd have the ER/ET the week before Memorial Day.  The good news is, that would have been the same week as my annual beach trip with sorority sisters.  I'm disappointed it's going to be 2 more cycles until IVF3.0, I'm happy I'll get to enjoy my beach trip.

Mothers Day:  I'm not gonna lie, it's gonna hurt.