Saturday, December 29, 2007

Pills vs. Pokes

If mom knows, she didn't give any indication of it over the holidays. And I appreciate that. There's something to be said for bourgeois suppression of emotions.

Got a call from the clinic the day after Xmas to let us know our donor is in tip top shape and began her protocol on the 27th. I was relieved to hear that we'd only be ruining her New Year's Eve and not her entire holiday. I really was.

Me, I'm just poking along. Literally. A daily morning injection of lupron now supplemented with estrace in pill form. You know the routine. First 2 mg, then 4, now 6. And after several "oh sh*t! the pills!" moments in the first few days, I think I am finally on a pill taking schedule that I can remember and follow.

Why is it that, even though the pills are just as vital to this whole process, I see them as less important or rather, easier to forget than any injection? My body's alarm clock is fine tuned to jump out of bed in time for my morning shot yet twice this week the afternoon has whiled away before I remember to take my lunchtime dose of estrace? I could blame the holidays and the disruption in my routine. Or, I could admit that I am just like scores of cancer patients who are not as timely with their meds as they should be.

I was not surprised by an article entitled, "Use as Directed" in the Fall issue of my Cure magazine.
Therapy in a pill has recently freed many people with cancer from an I.V. pole, giving them the ease of treatment already available to those with heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and other conditions. But with convenience comes a phenomenon long known in other fields: Treatment that is easy is also easy to forget.
Too true! The article states that costs and side effects are among the top reasons that patients neglect or choose not to take their oral meds but also
sometimes, when viewed through the prism of surgery, radiation, and hours in a recliner watching medicine drip into your veins, a little tablet can seem inconsequential.
I am fully aware that taking/not taking those little white pills is not inconsequential. And I will have ultrasonic proof of that come January 4th. But I do understand the dilemma. I even remember seeing my switch to radiation therapy from chemo as a sort of "down grade" when it happened so long ago. (How ironic, then, that radiation has caused so much more permanent and irreversible damage than chemo ever did). In a way, I am almost relieved that I didn't have the option of chemotherapy in pill form when I was in treatment. It would have been that much more for me to screw up.

So, to recap:
me and our donor are doing just fine.
She with her meds; me with mine.
I promise not to forget.
And in two weeks we'll be set
To start jamming that PIO in my behind.

I hadn't meant for that limerick to happen. It just did. Sorry.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


My mom is on Facebook.

I know because she sent me a "confirm how you know (me)" email.

And I did. And then I went through my own facebook page with a fine tooth comb to see if there was anything incriminating on there. By incriminating I don't mean photos of me drunk and stupid; I mean IVF-maybe baby-fertility plans incriminating....

There was one hyperlink that, if she chose to click it, would have taken her to another online project that I am working on (not, thank goddess), which would have spilled the beans.

How savvy is mom with hyperlinks?

We'll see, won't we?

Next question: how good is she with google?

Now, it's not terrible if she puts two and two together and figures out that we are trying to have a baby. It's not terrible at all. But we chose NOT to tell mom or dad because if you recall: a.) they were in the process of selling their house, moving and relocating to a new state, all with more than a little bit of trepidation and we didn't want to muddy the waters; b.) I don't tell my parents much; c.) I don't tell my parents much because they worry and fret and bug the shit out of me until they are assured everything is ok.

I know that we have a long road ahead of us that will be tough enough without daily calls and goddess-forbid, visits to check up on me. I would have rather had a great "guess what??" moment in the spring. But so it goes.


Friday, December 14, 2007

Old Habits Dye Hard

I woke up this morning from a bad dream to a splitting headache, a huge zit forming on my right cheek and later, a dizzy spell that made me want to puke. Thank you, lupron.

Needless to say, I was feeling neither attractive nor functional. Useless. To myself and others. What could I do to get myself out of this nasty funk? I knew. Oh, I knew.

I broke open the bottle.

Oh no she di'nt.

Oh yes, she did.

And now my hair is a lovely dark chestnut brown for the holidays. Ms. Clairol, you saved the day, like you always do.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Shut 'Em Down

Even though my husband attended the same orientations, sat in the same little square room as me several month ago, he still gets confused over which injectable is for what purpose, what magic elixer will produce which results.

When he saw me prep for my lupron injection this morning he asked, "so, now, are you starting up or shutting down?"

"Um, shutting down, I suppose."

And then he proceeded to perform his version of Public Enemy's Shut 'Em Down. How sweet. I'm guessing I'll get my share of the Rolling Stones next week when I begin adding estrace to my daily routine. Start me up, baby. Don't you ever stop.

So it's day 6 of lupron and aside from feeling pretty lethargic and short tempered, which, let's face it, could be me on any day, I'm doing just fine.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


My fortune cookie from lunch this afternoon:
It could be better,
but it's good enough.
Haven't decided how to interpret that just yet. Any readers want to offer theirs?

First Lupron shot of the fresh cycle - tomorrow morning at 8 am.
Last glass of wine with dinner - tonight. Oh and it's a good one.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Count Down to Shoot Up

  1. Schedule received: check.
  2. Calendar to track timing of shots, blood draws, etc hung back on wall of my little "shooting up room": check.
  3. Meds for me and donor ordered and paid for: check.
  4. Credit cards pulled back out and maxed again to pay for cycle: check. Meds will be delivered to our door on Monday morning.

Ok, so, everything is in order. On track to start again, all over again, on WEDNESDAY. Just found out that in her last donor cycle, our donor had 23 follicles, 16 of which matured, and although it didn't result in a pregnancy, that lucky couple now has 12 embies on ice to try again with. Twelve! Recall that our first donor had so few follicles that we canceled the cycle. Twice.

All of this, fantastic news on top of the last set of great news. So why is it that I am a second away from sobs?

I've been in a funk for a few days now. You'd think I was already on lupron by the way that I have had no ability to focus, let alone work. Useless. I have been useless. And I think I have finally pinpointed what my problem is:

I am scared.

How to explain. The first few times, honestly, this felt more like an experiment. Like, wouldn't it be cool if....But now. Now, dammit, I am invested. I am hopeful. I am wanting. And I am near tears every time I think about the possibility of it not working. Am I willfully setting myself up for a heartbreak that I might not be able to bear?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Super Great News

Great News #1 - I start lupron December 5th thus marking the beginning of a new DE cycle. That's just a little more than a week away. Good lordessa, has anyone been so eager to begin a daily routine of needles and pins?

Great News #2 - Remember way back when I told you about this scholarship fund for young adult cancer survivors? And how the application involved all kinds of paperwork and essays and the like? Well, I just got off the phone with Sam from the SAMFund and it turns out I am one of this year's recipients!!!!

They received three times the amount of applications this year, which was completely unexpected. Their funding rate dropped from 60% to 38%. But luckily, thankfully, blessedly, I was among the 38%. The scholarship fund allows you to apply for up to $5000 for fertility-related expenses. I will (or rather, my clinic) will be receiving $2500!!! Just in time to help for this cycle.

What news. What great, great news. Happy Thanksgiving indeed.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The First Snow

...of the season is falling as I type.

Meanwhile, I am finally recovering from a weekend long snot fest and hubby is now shivering in bed - looks like he is just about ready to begin his. FYI - I have a much higher tolerance for discomfort than him. Oh yes, and my bedside manner is much worse. I think we would both rather it be me that's the sicky.

Ah winter. I love it, but then again, I don't.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


First and foremost: thank you, ladies, for your sentiments and soothing words for my friends and my fears. They were very appreciated. And you are right. If I am lucky enough to get pregnant, I know that I will probably panic with every random bleed, bump, and belch. But I have to tell you how overjoyed I was to see that H had her baby this week. It's like a little beacon in the distance for me, letting me know that it can happen. Maybe even for me.

Now, on to the random.

I've been home sick since Friday morning. Actually, the sickness started mid-morning on Thursday. Snot started pouring out of my nostrils, sinuses started swelling and all has just now started to cease. This condition has given me ample time to start reading my current fem book club's selection and watch some movies with hubby.

The book is pedestrian. And that's being nice. It's not even chick lit; it's matron lit. Less like reading and more like being guided through a non-stressful sitcom or made-for-Lifetime movie starring Jean Smart or Carol Burnett or some other way-too-talented-to-be-doing-that woman.

So why am I reading it? Part of it is obligation. I am hosting the next Sunday gathering and it will probably be my last hurrah before beginning attempt #3 (which will really be attempt #1 if we make it to transfer). I also have a feeling that some other members will boycott this book entirely since it's not our normal kind of read. And the reason we chose this book in the first place was because it was suggested by a young woman in the group who hadn't suggested anything yet and it was suggested timidly and with a confession of "I'm not really sure it or I am feminist enough...." Which, of course, had our wine soaked selves guffawing and saying "oh no! sister!" Your book is the book we choose! We are all feminists! All books are worthy of a read!" I dutifully got it out of the library and started the chore.

But damn it if I'm not lapping it up like its candy. I'm 100 pages deep already and show no sign of stopping. It's hokey. It's corny. But I can see how one could find it inspiring or empowering, I guess. All I know is that my head hurts right now and its not making it hurt worse so I am all about it. And since I don't have to think so hard as I read it, my mind has been wandering to all sorts of feminist thoughts:

Do I lose all street cred if I confess to you that I love Carole King? I am listening to Tapestry right now and with every song I just want to say, "damn! now that's a woman." I nearly got into a fist fight with hubby when he suggested that she hadn't written one of the songs.

Is there anything funnier than Madeline Kahn's Lili von Shtupp in Blazing Saddles? How can her humor be so subtle and so over the top at the same time? Now that's a woman.

Are there women more mysterious than Persian women? Have a look and see what Josh Moore, an American basketball player who was temporarily playing in Iran, has to say and who he thinks really runs shit. Hubby turned me on to this blog (I count on him for my non-fertility internet news) and I love it. It is honest and sweet and offers perspective that one usually doesn't see.

So, there you have it. Some non sequiturs for your Saturday evening. Now, if you'll excuse me. I've got some reading to do.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A Confession

Warning: Sensitive info here about miscarriage and loss. Please don't read if you think it will upset you. It might.

I got a text Friday morning from one of our dearest friends. "Call me. Its important."

And so I did. And that's when I learned that he and his partner (who also happens to be hubby's cousin) would most likely be meeting at the emergency room in a few hours. They feared she had a miscarriage the night before. They were right.

This has consumed our weekend. Long talks with our friend, who at 40, was shocked, then thrilled, then absolutely thrilled at the prospect of becoming a father for the first time. The pregnancy was not planned, but not unwanted. The pregnancy and miscarriage has left them both reeling, uncertain of their next steps or of their future together. I am just sad. So sad.

While some of this is not really my story to tell, hubby and I are inextricably linked to it. He is one of our very best friends; she is a blood relative. We introduced them. We watched him as he pined for her from afar. We made it a point to include them both in group outings to give her more confidence in him. One day, they went out without us. For months, we heard little from them, which we interpreted as a good sign. And it was. They were falling in love and making plans to be together in a permanent kind of way.

Then, the bomb dropped. "We are expecting!" I cried. Happy tears, I think. I was so moved by the idea that two people in love really could create another. What a fucking concept, hey?

We helped them move into their new place together, I looked through baby books with her. But I think both hubby and I could sense that things seemed to be moving way too fast for these people who are both notoriously independent and self-reliant. While we had our doubts about their future together together, there were no doubts that the baby was wanted.

But things happen. She began to spot, then bleed, then cramp, then....

And before you know it, our friend is calling at midnight, after hours at the ER with a simple message: "We lost the baby." He cried. I cried. In fact, I have had a hard time not crying all weekend.

Why am I feeling this loss - which is not my loss - so acutely? Because I love my friends? Yes, of course, that's some of it. But it doesn't explain it all, I think.

He called me yesterday to apologize profusely about the midnight call. Hubby filled him in on our situation when he told us theirs. He woke up thinking that he had upset me terribly talking about the miscarriage. God love him. His world is falling apart and he is worried about hurting my feelings. I reassured him that he had done nothing of the sort.

But still, my heart is breaking.

I think because a miscarriage is my greatest fear. When I think of "worse case scenario" in this adventure - that is it. Not a bad retrieval. Not no embryos to freeze. Not a failed transfer. Not even a BFN (big fat negative). I fear a successful transfer that results in a miscarriage. Because then the loss is real.

Please understand. Up until the point where my womb is occupied, pregnancy, motherhood, all of it, remain theoretical concepts to me. Never in my adult life had I ever thought these were possible. Never. Even now after thousands of dollars have been charged, hormones injected, donors chosen, none of this is real for me. Because right now, I have nothing to lose. I am no worse off than when we started. We are no more childless than last year or the year before of the year before. Some of it is cognitive dissonance and a desire to stay sane, stay functional, not get too excited about the possibility. But this is all a pre-pregnancy state of mind.

When hubby and I first discussed donor eggs, I was so wary. And this was the reason: what if it works and then it doesn't? Then, I think, I will be worse off than when we started.

I know so many of you have already experienced this loss, have mourned like my friends are mourning. I hope I haven't offended anyone with my post. I just want you to know that in this moment, I am just a little bit scared of the future.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

So this is what happens

When I go away for a few days. You're all pregnant!

Ok, I've known about Kami for a while, but Rae's announcement took my by complete surprise. This morning's perusal of some of my favorite blogs has left me smiling. Looks like you are all A-ok. Pam and Dmitri are days away from retrieval. Sweet Daisy is counting the days until her transfer, which coincides with Thanksgiving. WifeThereOf is transferring TODAY. Drowned Girl, Peep and StacyB are full of baby goodness. And H at Mi Historia is ready to pop any day now.

I've followed H's pregnancy so intently because her experiences seem to mirror mine. Childhood cancer survivor, never ever assumed that pregnancy was something that she could experience, until the concept and practice of egg donation matured and became a viable option. After a few scary moments in the beginning (in which I swear I cried as if it were happening to me), she and her mate are eagerly awaiting the arrival of their baby girl. I can only hope that our paths continue to parallel (minus the scary moments in the beginning).

Spring Forward. Fall Back.

As I was sleeping late this lovely Sunday morning, hubby jumps on the bed and says, "I have good news: a.) I love you. [awwwwww] and b.) today is daylight savings time and you actually aren't sleeping in at all. It's only 8 am! Enjoy."

And with that, I curled up a little tighter, smiled a little wider and enjoyed a few more minutes of sleep.

But then I started thinking of all the things I could do with a whole extra hour in my day (like, catch up on all of your blogs and comments that were neglected last week) so I got up and started doing them.

And then I started thinking, hey, this is great, as if the wait until December isn't long enough, I've just been given one MORE hour delay to begin the next egg donor cycle.


And then I got a little sad.

But I know that mid-December will be here before I know it. I know. For anyone who's counting, there are probably about 45 more days until we try, try again.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Happy National Infertility Awareness Week

Anybody having a party?

[That was a joke.]

What's no joke is the fact that according to Resolve: The National Infertility Association, there is a 1 in 8 chance you either know someone with infertility or you are experiencing the challenges of infertility yourself.

Wowsers. I encourage you to visit the Resolve website for ways to "celebrate" November 4-10. I'm starting a day early.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Where You Been?

I dig fall.

Hubby is out at a football game with his dad and won't be home until the wee hours of night. Here I sit in my fuzzy vest and boots (boot season! finally!), sipping a freshly brewed cup of mulled wine, writing and stockpiling some articles, blog posts and other bits of words for when I am away next week at my work's annual conference.

You see, I have been a writing machine. You just can't tell it from here.

In addition to a little rock-n-rock blog that hubby, me and some of his pals have begun, I have also accepted a gig blogging about fertility in a much less personal and exposed way than here at Maybe Baby. That blog actually has my whole real name on it. Yikes. AND somehow hubby and I landed the job of "nightlife insiders" for our city's local rag. All that in addition to our day jobs, which are both fairly full of words, words, words.

So, all of that has been awesome, fantastic, wonderful! And proof that the world really does keep moving even when time seems to be at a standstill waiting for the start of the next DE attempt. If anything, these side projects are making the clock move a little faster towards December.

I dig fall, but I am not so crazy about Halloween.

When I was younger, I didn't mind it. Candy is awesome. But my costume was never as cool or as clever as I wanted it to be and our dad always managed to dig way deep into our stashes and eat the good stuff before my brother and I got to it. So, Halloween. It wasn't my favorite, but I didn't hate it.

Hubby, on the other hand, loathes it. Hates the idea of the holiday - both pagan and religious forms of it - is disgusted with the idea of kids begging for unnecessary items, isn't crazy about sweets and most of all, cannot stand a night where wearing masks and disguising your identity is encouraged and rewarded.

As you can see, it causes real existential pain to him.

Yessir. That's my hubby.

Meanwhile, here I am blogging about identity issues while trying to keep track of no less than 4 google accounts and as many log ons for various projects and publications. I don't think I could take one more layer of anonymity. I just might implode.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Ain't I a Woman?

Just because it is now a physical possibility to conceive using someone else's eggs doesn't mean the mind is so willing to make that jump.

If you haven't read Kami at Are We There Yet, I strongly recommend you check out her latest post and the comments that come with it.

I have been struggling with the N.G.E. (not good enough) vibe for a while. Even before the idea of trying to have a baby popped into our minds. Crazy how reading more feminist literature and trying to get more in tune with my female side has resulted in more feelings of inadequacy than I ever experienced in my misogynist Henry Miller-reading- I-don't-hang-out-with-girls- knee-jerk-anti-feminist- reactionary days of college. Funny how so many of our new feminist writers begin their tomes based in our wombs, in our eggs, in our ovaries. From here, everything begins. True, to a point, but what happens when those things, those things that by their very essence, make us female, aren't working? Aren't there? Aren't responding to our female brains?

Does that make us less female? Am I less of a woman? Are you?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Funny Stuff

Last night I met a very cool girlfriend after work.

As part of my feminist book club, she is "in the know" as far as the whole trying to have a baby thing. I came out to them earlier this week. A handful knew (well, 2), but I was feeling kind of bad about whispering updates to them in the corner while other women in the room didn't know. Plus, another one of our members was recently diagnosed with PCOS and has been very open about it. Her honesty about her feelings and call to the group for support made me feel like a bit of a heel for not sharing more of myself with this group of women who came together in the first place to give each other a little bit of peace and moral support and fun and reasons to frolic and laugh on Sunday afternoons.

Oh yeah, we read sometimes too.

Anyway, me and one of the kegelettes (as we call ourselves) were sharing an afternoon drink and she asked for clarification on the whole egg donor process. I explained, "it's just like IVF but with someone else's eggs."

"Oh! So it's just like Taylor and Nick in the Bold and the Beautiful!" And then she gave a hilarious and succinct summary of the storyline thus far.

And I said, "um, yeah, but without the multiple divorces, remarriages, life threatening diseases and scheming ex-wives and eggs of said ex-wives."

Other than that, it is exactly the same.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Feng Shui-ing It Up

The Second Happiness Challenge comes at a very good time: October our most stressful month at work due to a huge conference at the end of it and a boss that thrives on procrastination and pressure. And it seems we have some time on our hands until our cycle begins. All the more time to get our minds and bodies prepared.

Still struggling with meditation but I think I've found the book for me. Mark Thornton, author of Meditation in a New York Minute, promises me that I "can be super busy, super successful and super calm at the same time." I am down with that.

I am sure that meditation purists will cringe at that statement. But hey, I am willing to give it a shot - at least a read.

In the meantime, I've decided maybe I need to get some more positive chi flowing. Not only through me but our apartment as well. Hence my recent library acquisitions regarding feng shui. So far, it's all a little too new-agey for me, but there are definitely some pieces of it that make sense. De-cluttering and always making the bed are a good things. Trying to avoid dark corners, sharp edges and dampness - cool. Before I start balancing the ying and yan in my living room, I am just going to work towards this goal:

"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
-William Morris

I started on the kitchen this morning this morning. Now I'm taking a break before I continue feng shu-ing it up. At the very least, I hope to use the exercise itself as a type of meditation. Freeing up space around me to hopefuly air out some dark corners and sharp edges in my mind.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Happy New Year?

We got a call from the clinic yesterday morning. Our new donor is on board! Great news.

But it turns out that she won't be available until December with a retrieval and transfer scheduled around the 13th of January.

That's so far away!

I begged and pleaded with the nurse yesterday to see if the cycle couldn't be pushed up to a sooner date. She said no and cited schedules, clinic schedules, holidays, the donor's recent transfer to another couple, yada, yada, yada.

So, I was excited, but not.

My Nurse called today to give me some actual dates and her reasoning behind them made a lot more sense. Turns out our donor has gone back to school and she can't miss any more classes this semester. The December schedule is to accomodate her winter break.

Well, why didn't you say so? I can't hate on getting knowledge, can I? You go, girl. Go get your smart on.

And then please come make us some smart eggs.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Meditation, Take Two

Ok! Now I am ready!

I realized pretty quickly that meditation was not innate for me. I need some help.

Luckily, hubby is a huge fan of the public library and has been known to make several trips there in the course of one week. I took advantage of his lunchtime stroll today and placed a TON of books on hold for him to pick up for me.

Among them:
the Joy Within - A Beginner's Guide to Meditation
Chakra Breathing Meditations - 3 Guided Practices to Unify Body, Breathing and Mind
Two books on Feng Shui

And Wikis for Information, Work and Collaboration, but that's another story.

What a haul! And that's not even counting the handful of CDs he picked up for himself. I am still waiting for the book that I want the most - Meditation in a New York Minute - that comes tomorrow.

I heart the library.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

If It Feels So Right....

Sometimes, I freak myself out a little bit thinking too hard about the whole ART thing.

Have you ever seen Gattica? There's a scene in it where the parents of the protagonist are meeting with their geneticist to discuss their second son (their firstborn, the protagonist, was a product of a natural conception and birth - unheard of in the future!) the geneticist was mixing and cutting and pasting their genetic material via computer screen to minimize disease, maximize potential. The parents were pretty freaked out. As were we as we watched the scene and realized how similar it was to how we felt when we had the mandatory meeting with the geneticist in the previous weeks, drawing family trees and thinking back to any defects or disabilities anyone in our family may have had.

The whole concept of human intervention in the most sacred of acts, reproduction and conception does bother me if I let it.

But then I remember that human intervention was the reason that I'm going down this path in the first place and I'm like, "F*** you you F***ers. [to no one in particular] You OWE me. Big. Letting me borrow an egg or two is the LEAST you can do. "

I've had far too much time to think between our last canceled cycle and our next attempt (still waiting for an update. Call me! Dammit!) so these are where my thoughts stray.

But then we get paid a visit by some of our most favorite people in the world, who happen to bring their little 8 month old son in tow. This beautiful little thing is the product of IVF, after several failed attempts.

We babysat the little one while our pals went to a concert Saturday night. They were thrilled to have a "date." We were thrilled to see if we could actually manage a baby by ourselves.

We could. We did. We kicked a**.

Ok, so it wasn't as uneventful as our first babysitting attempt, but this one was much more fun. Sure, he woke up from his nap totally disoriented and bothered that his parents weren't around (I probably would have too), but we improvised, we entertained, we found a middle ground (no, we are not going to go for walks all night long, but we can hang out on this bench for a while since you seen to be so fascinated with cars). It was awesome.

So, the parents came home late that night and found their little one sleeping in the Pack-n-Play we borrowed from hubby's mom and us, glowing, because the apartment was still in one piece and we had gotten him there with minimum effort. We did it!

Spending the weekend with this sweet thing made us realize, yes, we can handle a baby ('cause, sometimes I do wonder if we romanticize this whole endeavor) and dammit, despite what I think about ART and IVF and all those male doctors in white coats, if they can make something like him happen, how can that be wrong?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Late Night Reflections

So, I'm sitting here, playing some video games with the person I love the most in the whole world. Perhaps I've drunk a few too many beers. We are listening to album after album, staying up late on a work night. Just because we can. We are listening to an old Manu Chao album, which inevitably makes me a little teary and reminiscent. And so happy about the life we have had together and the life we have had so far. Together.

And you know what? If we have a baby, that would be the coolest thing ever.

And if we don't.

Well, it will be ok.

It will be ok.

I can't think of having a better life than the one I have now with the person I am with right now.

(Unless, of course, that meant sharing it with someone else. Someone small and cute.)

But if that doesn't happen....

Dammit, I am still one of the luckiest girls on earth.

Tu no tienes la culpa mi amor.....

Um, ohm?

So there I was, sitting here in my little sun room this morning, trying to be a good blogger and participant in the Second Happiness Challenge, and, well, shit.

I don't think I know how to meditate.

I mean, 10 minutes is a really long time, don't you think?

I'm not really sure what to do with my Self.

If I start thinking about work, do I need to start over? If I start thinking about blogging, do I need to start over? Does it not count if I have a cup of coffee next to me? If I get bored can I do some stretches or sun salutations or something? Do I have to be still?

Can I just go hang out on my back porch with my cup of coffee and be quiet? Does that count?

Oh man. You already know I'm not down with the yoga, and I think I am pretty self-focused and aware (perhaps a little too focused?), but I really do want to give this a shot. Any helpful sites or sources I should look to?

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Trying to Stay on Track

I think I said yes to one too many orders of cheesy fried goodness this week.

Hubby and I eat well at home but we tend towards the tastiness and convenience of all things fried when we go out. This week, it seems we were out almost every night - a plate of nachos while commiserating with an out of town co-worker about how crazy our boss is, mozzarella sticks with hubby's mom playing trivia on Thursday, some Irish nachos while waiting for the games to come on....

My gosh, and I am wondering why my pace on the elliptical is not what it was a few months ago?

I have to keep reminding myself that just because nothing is happening right now, doesn't mean something won't be happening soon. [We are waiting for our donor to have her period, then we'll start working out a schedule, which I think could find itself prolonged due to holidays and work schedules.] I owe it to myself to be as ready as possible when the phone call comes, the medications begin and it is too late to start stressing about being 10 lbs. over the normal BMI range. This post at Wifethereof and this recent article served as gentle reminders.

And I am not the only one trying to shed those final pounds. Jade is starting Jenny Craig for the same reason.

I've been toying with the idea of doing the South Beach Diet again - it really helped hubby and I jump start our fitness frenzy back in the spring. But then I worry that I would be doing myself a disservice by eliminating so many whole grains and fruits that seem so necessary to get the right fix of folic acid for pre-natal health. Sure, I'll start taking the pre-natal horse pills (aka vitamins) again soon but I'm just not convinced they're as effective as simply eating right in the first place.

With that in mind, hubby and I spent our Saturday morning running the trifecta - a shopping trip which took us to Wegmans, Giant AND CostCo. My fridge is filled with fruits and veggies. My pantry stocked with beans and grains. I made this yesterday afternoon and it was fantastic. Today, I hope to spend an hour or so in the kitchen prepping some pots of ready-made snacks and lunches so that I have no reason to reach for a handful of dark chocolate chips when I need an energy fix.

By my watch, I still have a month or so to get myself in shape before daily doses of lupron and estrace begin and I start using that as my excuse for my elliptical laziness. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Strangest. Dream. Ever.

Any analysts out there?

I woke up this morning completely out of sorts. Why? Because in my dream I had just birthed 4 little mice.

Out of my right nostril.


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Welcome to Fantasy Island!

Hubby loves stats. He makes spreadsheets for everything and anything. Has been since he was a young 'un. He'd make charts to track all the high schools' sports scores for our entire state. He would (and still does) make charts to explore new ways to organize present sports franchises, how many national parks we've visited, which country's reported GPA is most closely aligned with it's capita's quality of life. On and on and on. Most of this is for his own perverse entertainment.

Hubby loves stats so much so that he's actually secured a gig at my office as an independent consultant for all things spreadsheet-related.

I like to call him Stat Boy.

What does this have to do with me? Besides making me the sometimes unwilling contestant of the million quizzes he fabricates based on said stats, this week I found that I was the subject of his latest spreadsheet.

Hey, like what are the odds that our donor is actually your biological sister?


No, I mean, if you had to guess, what are the odds? 1 in what? A million? Gajillion?

See, this is how it starts. I can never tell if he is leading me into a quiz or if he actually knows the answer. But he gets so sad when I don't guess. So I do.

Um, I dunno. Let's assume donor is from our state. I was born in our state. Let's assume my birth mother stayed in this state.....Let's say one in a million.

Wrong! Try 1 in 350,000 - and that's assuming your birth mother only had one additional daughter. ...if she had two....

OK. Wait. Wait. Wait! There are a lot of assumptions going into this here equation. But let's assume (and make an "ass" out of "u" and "me") as I mentioned before, donor is strikingly like me from what I can gather, except for test scores, college, etc. But as hubby pointed out, his mom has hideous, I mean awful, SATs while 3 of her older brothers were Ivy bound. Still, she is our most favorite trivia partner ever. I digress.

Let's say that my birth mother did have another daughter and they did stay in our state. By calculating the number of women between the ages of 20 and 30 instate and removing all ethnic backgrounds not us, he somehow came up with the magic number of 1 in 350,000.

Well shit.

That's a lot better than my odds of winning the lottery on any given day.

Gosh, I never thought of it like THAT

Here’s a fun game to play with your partner – let’s try to pick out all of the things that thankfully won’t be acquired by your maybe baby since you won’t be using your eggs. For me, the obvious is my Hodgkin's Disease, which hasn't proven to be hereditary but then again there's no proof that its not.

But it seems that those traits also include:

  • My crooked nose
  • My bad temper
  • My bizarre body shape which includes a lack of a waist that no amount of exercise seems to affect
  • My snaggletooth

Hey! Isn’t this interesting and fun??

Fun for, like, a minute.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Psstt...C'mere. I gotta show you something...

There's a baby in my house!

This is the first time our little 2-month old niece has been left with a sitter - In this case sitters. We are armed with stroller, car seat, booby juice, diapers, blankets and about 10 sets of extra clothes.

Her mom is going to be gone for an hour. Tops. But best be prepared I suppose.

We are all doing fine. Baby E is quiet and content. Couldn't be happier.

Yeah, she's sleeping and has been since she arrived. So what?

Try Again

Well ladies, you've done it again.

I have read your comments over and over and over again this week and I think I am finally seeing things with a bit more clarity. Thank you, so much, for sharing so much of yourselves in your words to me.

After long conversations, which included much of what you wrote, hubby and I are moving forward with a new donor. Here's how it all went down:

Just as I was getting ready to call Nurse and ask her about the status of two maybe donors who are in the middle of cycles right now, she called me. "Have you looked at -------?" she asked.

It turns out that a very successful donor (2 previous donations resulting in 2 successful pregnancies) had just finished her retrieval and Nurse felt pretty strongly that this just might be the match for us. At first I was dubious, thinking that she just wanted to connect us with someone who wouldn't have the same "what ifs" that made us cancel the last two attempts. And I am sure that's part of it. But then we pulled out the notes that we had taken during our last visit to the clinic. There she was. Definitely on our short list. My hereditary background. Same coloring, same size (ok fine. about 20 lbs lighter) than me. Sounding as sweet as can be.

We called Nurse back to ask a few more questions, the first one being, would she even be willing to donate again? Nurse preempted us by saying she hoped we didn't mind, but she had already taken the liberty of asking. The response was a definite Yes.

There were still some doubts. We can't remember if she was athletic at all. She didn't finish college but she is rising in her professional career. But as you all so aptly put it, who wants a mini-me anyway?

Some of those doubts were washed away yesterday morning when I was, of all places, at a memorial service for the father of a friend and co-worker. The ceremony was one of the most beautiful I have attended, pre-planned by the deceased and meant to be a celebration more than a time of mourning. There was music and quiet meditation and more music, mostly jazz, some inspirational.

Now, you may or may not know, but me and God haven't really been on speaking terms for a while and I have gotten into the bad habit of rolling my eyes when anything too spiritual comes my way. But this service was so peaceful, so loving that I let my guard down and by the time that a song called "Try Again" by Dave Boyer was piped into the system, I was totally unprepared. The words - a simple repetition of "Try Again" with some variations, none of which were written for me but somehow fit our present state, kept striking my spine like a lightning bolt.

Don't get me wrong. I did not find Jesus. My faith is not restored. But who the hell am I to look a sign/omen/revelation in the mouth? I took the words at face value and we are, well, trying again.

So now, we are waiting. Giving the donor some time to rest and recuperate from this last transfer. Not sure when our new schedule will begin in earnest but it is definitely in sight. And that feels good.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


Genes matter.

They do. Why else would we be spending money we don't have trying to ensure that at least a little bit of us (partner and me) is recreated? Why else would we spend hours upon hours with strangers' genetic components spread out in front of us (blue eyes, brown eyes, dark hair, red hair, fair complexion, freckles, 5 foot xx inches, maternal grandmother had diabetes, and on and on and on......) searching for the ones that could best replicate mine?

Genes matter. Because every time I talk to/look at/interact with my adoptive parents, I think (sometimes out loud) thank god I am adopted. I was left on the doorstop. Found in the reeds. No connection whatsoever to the people that never cease to frustrate and puzzle me with their (lack of) reason.

I have based my sanity and my identity on the concept that there are things inside of me that no matter how badly my adopted parents screwed up (in my mind), those traits would still be intact. I know for a fact that if my adoptive parents were my birth parents, hubby would have thought twice about a lifelong union with me.

Part of that is a crutch. Most of us dread turning into our mothers and this is how I convince myself that it will not, cannot happen to me. Because we are simply not the same. We don't look the same. We don't value the same things. And there is nothing innate that will morph me into my mother over time. It's just not there. Those pieces are missing.


Please tell me I am right.

As we sat in front of the donor profiles again the other week, hubby and I were both struggling trying to find answers to questions we didn't know how to ask - at least not without sounding like assholes. If people were computers, what components would be hardwired and which would be malleable? What's the software? What can be upgraded? To put it nicely: what pieces can be Nurtured and which are just straight up, ain't no getting around it, it is what it is Nature?

As a teenager and young adult, when friends would prod me about trying to find my birth mother, I would resolutely say, don't worry about it. In my mind, she is a princess. The most beautiful woman on the face of the earth. And that is all that matters. Who could I find that would live up to the glorious pedestal she stands on now? And that was enough for me. For at least 30 years.

But I am/we are so perplexed about the nurture vs. nature debate that I am seriously considering looking for her. Am I a carbon copy of her? Does she laugh like I laugh? Do I have her eyes? Does she like the same things I do? Or would we be complete strangers? Could it be these things I have credited to her really are the result of my parents' parenting? I need to know.

All of these questions are coming to bear because dammit we just cannot decide on a new donor.

Should we focus on physical characteristics? Test scores? Athletic ability? Just because we like how someone answered the questionnaire, does that, in the end, matter? Will that personality or intellect transfer down into those pretty little embryos I hope to carry? Will choosing a 5' 2" donor guarantee a maybe baby will never be a basketball star? If we settle for a 5' 10' beauty who had a C average through high school, will we blame her every time a maybe baby struggles with his/her homework? Are we being fair by setting aside all the donors with certain professions in their families because those are not ones we would want to have? It was so easy to think I wasn't biased until these choices were laid out in front of me in a binder.

So, which one will it be?

You can't tell me genes don't matter. But I would appreciate someone telling me which particular genes matter more.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

It's Oh So Quiet

I know. I'm sorry. After my flurry of posts last week, I feel like an amateur boxer who comes out swinging and is totally spent by his second round. Of course, we all know that's when a killer left hook comes. Right when your arms are down.

Remind me to stop watching The Contender just because there is nothing else on.

It's quiet because I am feeling very quiet. Like something's bubbling to the surface but isn't quite there yet. I might be in the midst of an existential crisis. We spent hours at the clinic last week poring through donor profiles, trying to think through next steps and I just don't know what to say about it just yet. I'm still chewing on my cheeks, furrowing my brow and trying to think through, what matters? What really matters?

More on this later.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Will She Ever Stop?

I am a blogging machine.

What is this, the third post today before noon? Ridiculous. But I have news.

We go tomorrow to look for a new donor at our clinic. If we find someone we like, we'll stick around. If not, I'll brush off my tango and start sharpening my incisors to handle all that Argentinian beef.

I am hopeful and excited. Where are those darn emoticons when you need them?

Thank You!

To lift my spirits even more, I saw that wifethereof nominated me for a Rocking Girl Blogger. Well, gosh. Thanks! This happened before the cancellation so I don't even consider it a pity vote.

I think that it is now my duty to nominate five more women as Rocking Girl Bloggers. Here are my votes:

1. Drowned Girl - currently carrying twins (and a little nervous about it) thanks to donor eggs. DG is constantly supportive and encouraging and shares a slightly different twist on the process since her donor is actually a friend.

2. Daisy at Behind Schedule - Because she is assertive and understanding at the same time, and still on track to start her DE cycle soon.

3. H at Mi Historia - Because I am a wanna be earth mother too!

4. Stacyb at Why Not Me? - This fellow survivor and DE recipient has finally broke down and bought some maternity clothes. That's not a jinx; it's the only legitimate reason I can think of for grown women to wear adorable jumpers! And lastly,

5. Julie at A Little Pregnant - Because dammit, when I grow up I want to write like her.

I'm OK

Really I am. I feel like hubby and I have talked and talked about this possibility, we were not completely surprised by it and now we are ready, so ready to move forward in search of a new donor. Since the cycle was once again canceled before retrieval we are not financially hung out to dry - there's still some in the kitty that we can use towards our next go 'round.

I'm ok, but you women are awesome. Thank you for your comments, emails (and phone calls!). I couldn't ask for a better support group. Although the one that Kami has created at her clinic sounds wonderful too.

Hubby walked into my home office this morning and asked me, "So, how does it feel to not be tied to the needle?"

It's ok. It's funny. You can laugh. I did.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


Cycle Cancelled.

8 follicles for our donor but only 2 seem to be maturing. Estradiol level below normal. Doctors recommend we stop all meds, consider this cycle a no go, regroup and reassess. So we will.

On the bright side.....

Now we know. that nasty little what if that lingered after the first failed cycle is gone. It is now an ain't gonna happen.

My nurse can be counted on to be punctual, particularly if there is bad news involved, which I appreciate.

I now have a reason to look into airfare to Argentina. A place that I love and would gladly return, even if I couldn't drink the wine or espresso. Recall that Rae from Broken Eggs (site down for some maintenance) mentioned this as a much more affordable donor egg option.

I am still in sync with our my dearest friend who is also trying to have a baby (the traditional way - they're like, doing it and stuff). Now that this month is a no go for both of us, we can go back to dreaming about having babies at the same time that will grow up together and go on to conquer the world (insert maniacal laugh and hand wringing here. mwah ha ha ha har). Shhh. Don't tell anyone.

I have a full week of vacation scheduled for mid-September. I snuck it on the calendar in preparation for a transfer. But I could just keep it on there.....

Our next donor's response will be higher than this one - it can only get better, right? What are the odds?

And most importantly, I am SO FRIGGING GLAD we did NOT tell my parents that we were doing this back in June. Because they would be bugging the living sh*t out of me right about now. Phew. Good call on that one.

I do feel bad for our donor, who I know feels bad for us, who are feeling bad for her. We're all feeling bad for each other. But at the end of the day, I feel good knowing that someone like her exists and is willing to share herself with couples who cannot conceive on their own. I feel even better knowing there are more women like her out there.

So dear donor, whoever you are, thank you. Thank you for being willing to try not once, but twice, to try to help. I am so sorry we probably ruined your Labor Day weekend with pin sticks and appointments, none of which led to good news. Please don't think we are mad or angry or anything like that. Just a little sad that we couldn't carry a little bit of you in me.

With a Capital M

Who knew the Maybe in Maybe Baby was going to have such a long prologue and such a capital M?

Just returned from the clinic with no conclusive news. My lining is a little thin at 6.9, which I expected since I have only been on estrace a few days. So we'll probably up that dosage as soon as my blood work gets processed from the lab and we heard what my levels are. Meanwhile, donor's estradiol level was around 300 over the weekend. While they were hoping for closer to 500-600, its not the end of the world, or at least this cycle, at least not yet. She, too, is getting blood work and another ultrasound today. If there are follicles developing, will we continue the cycle towards retrieval and transfer?


Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.

Hubby and I have been prepared for less than stellar news. Now the questions become: if there are fewer than average follicles, are we willing to continue or do we cut our losses now, end the cycle and go in search of a new donor? how few is too few? How many would it take to make it worth the effort, expense and emotions of continuing? How much is enough?**

No one said it would be easy, did they?

But, I have to keep reminding myself, as hubby does, that we are still further than we were six months ago. Because now we know what is possible. Six months ago, we were still thinking we could never ever have a child of our own. All that has changed. What remains to be seen is how far we are willing to go to do it.

**Dear sisters, I am very much interested in your opinions here. In fact, I am asking for them. If this were your (or your donor's) cycle, how many follicles would it take for you to give it the green light?

Monday, September 3, 2007

Oh If Only.....

Good lordessa, if only it were this easy.

I was totally fine with this post full of helpful tips on how to get pregnant (#1 stop birth control) until the last "helpful tip" which reads like this:

5.) Pray, Pray, Pray. Don’t listen to doctors when they tell you that you’re not able to conceive. God is the only person who can determine that. God will give you a baby when he thinks you’re ready for one. He is there to give you all the support you need. Have faith in him and when your time comes you will be blessed with a beautiful baby.

I know that we are all of different faiths and inclinations and I am truly not trying to offend....

But reading that brought my blood to a boil. Because only good and faithful people have babies, right? The world is filled with good and faithful babies who turn into good and faithful leaders and that's why the world is so great, right? And only bad people die from cancer or other diseases or, gasp, can't naturally conceive. It's all about deserving.

Pregnant = blessed. Infertile = cursed and unworthy of a christian god's love, unless of course its in a pitying, charitable way.


We get up bright and early tomorrow a.m. to find out whether or not we are deserving of continuing this cycle. And um, I am probably going to listen to what the doctor tells me.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Have You Ever Done It in a Van?

So, as I was perched precariously in the back seat of a rented van, pants down to my knees and peeking out the window to make sure my father-in-law didn't reappear, while all around me, tens of thousands of tailgaters were grilling sausage, drinking beer, playing games and waiting for the first football game of the season to begin, I was wondering.....

What is the weirdest place/situation you have had to give yourself an injection?

Mine was just a tiny Lupron shot and since we left the house at the crack of dawn, I had to bring it along with me to administer it at the right time. Like many of my fellow sisters seeking fertility, only a few friends and family know about it and the processes involved. The rest, like my FIL, are in the dark and will stay there until there is something to report. I know that I am not the only person to be leading a little bit of a double life, pretending that life is totally 100% normal while toting along needles, pills, patches and lucky rabbit's feet.

So let's have it. 'fess up. I did it in a van in the middle of a cow pasture in the shadow of a massive football stadium. You?

Friday, August 31, 2007

Wish Me Luck

I just completed my application for the Surviving and Moving Forward (SAMFund) Grant. Wish me luck!

Of course, there are essays involved. Here is one of mine:

Tell us about yourself and your experience with cancer. What is unique about your particular experience? If you are a childhood cancer survivor, what do you remember about your experience and how has it affected your life?

I am a long-term childhood cancer survivor and I remember everything.

I found a lump under my left armpit as I was just turning twelve. After a traumatic attempt at aspiration and an eventually surgical biopsy, my mother received the call just as I was leaving for the beach for a long Memorial Day weekend. She was told by phone that “your daughter has cancer.” And that’s how it all began.

As soon as I returned from the beach, the tests began and before I knew it I was in the hospital for a full abdominal biopsy and spleen removal that left me with the ugliest scar a med student ever sewed. (It’s ok. The surgeon admitted he didn’t do it.) It was the end of my seventh grade school year. I wrote a letter to tell my friends at school and days later, there was a huge card that everyone signed in my hospital room. A lot of my friends came to visit; a lot didn’t. I had planned to skip eighth grade and go straight to high school, but this changed all of that. There was no point in attempting to begin a new experience when there were things that needed to be finished first.

Hodgkin’s. Third Stage. We had a choice of two treatments: a heavy dose of chemo (MOPP) or a combination of chemo (ABVD) and radiation. We chose the latter, because we were told should the cancer ever reappear, we could attempt the stronger chemo. There was no “fall back” if we tried MOPP and it didn’t work.

I spent most of the summer getting chemotherapy and I was so proud that my hair didn’t fall out immediately. When I look at pictures now, I look ridiculous. But at the time, my comb-over was my strength. My mom was a hairdresser and we tried every conditioner, salve, concoction, she could find. I got a wig but I never could pull it off (meaning, keep it on), I was so self-conscious about it. About eight months later, we were told the chemo was over. I could take a break, and then radiation treatments would begin. They seemed so much easier at first. You mean I just lay here? No needles? No burn? But I was way too cocky and soon had to quit trying to go back to school after the morning sessions were over.

I got the official “remission” stamp on March 21, 1988 – a date my whole family still celebrates. 19 years cancer free – that’s me.

As a teenager with cancer, I had the opportunity to act as a representative for my pediatric oncology clinic as well as several local charities that helped my family in our time of need or funded cancer research. On numerous occasions, I appeared on telethons; spoke with potential benefactors; met with students raising money at marathons. All I did was tell my story and why what they were doing mattered. I loved it. (I loved it even more when my hair grew back.) From those experiences, I realized that the most effective communication is true and spoken from the heart and there should be no fear or nervousness if you believe in your subject matter. I can’t help but think that these lessons led me to my current position as the Communications Director for a statewide nonprofit association.

What is unique about my particular experience is that I survived at a time when freezing eggs from a young girl before she underwent treatments was seen as total folly. I distinctly remember my mom asking my doctors because she had heard it could be done. No, no, they said. It’s untested. Inconclusive. Invasive. And very expensive.

They weren’t lying. In 1988, who was thinking of freezing eggs, transplanting embryos, preserving something before it was lost? No. The best they could do was move my ovaries behind my uterus during that abdominal biopsy to shield them from the radiation I would receive to my pelvis.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

What makes my situation unique is that the price of my survivorship is infertility. Although I menstruated before that fateful Memorial Day weekend, I never would on my own again. After a full year of not regaining my menses, doctors did ultrasounds and tests to go in search of those lost ovaries. They found one – “shriveled like a raisin.” The other – M.I.A. Or, inaction, I should say. If I want to have a family, there is no other option besides egg donation or adoption.

Having cancer has had innumerable affects on my life. Some have been positive (greater self-awareness, confidence, a joy of living bordering on intolerance to anyone not making the most of life); others not so nice (strained relations with my younger brother which are only now healing, debt for my family, and, of course, infertility). My entire adult life I have been resigned to the idea that I would never have children with the man I love. But within the last year, I found Fertile Hope, we found a Fertility Clinic that we like and trust and we found an egg donor that we want to help us have the child we always wanted. And that brings us here….

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Do You Have That in Blue?

Our donor seems to be responding to the new protocol, showing an estradiol level of 119 - right on target (between 100 and 200 is the norm). This time last cycle, she was showing a level lower than her baseline of 37. This time last cycle was when flags started to turn red and eyebrows started to raise. Things seem to be different this time.

If my post seems overly calm, its because I can't let myself think this is going to work just yet. Just in case it doesn't. Talk to me tomorrow after her first ultrasound. If there are more than just a few follicles then I just my let my joy get the best of me.

You know, drowned girl had an omen before her successful (and then some) transfer. Perhaps this is mine?

What If

Sometime this morning, in the midst of meetings or perhaps this afternoon while I am frantically on the phone trying to pull a piece of print together for tomorrow's deadline, my cell phone will ring, I will look at the screen and see Nurse's name. I'll discreetly find a quiet place to take the call. And then I will find out whether or not to cancel the ultrasound and blood draw I have scheduled for Tuesday.

My donor comes in for a blood test today to see if this round of stimulation is working. Recall that this is our second attempt with a donor who failed to respond to the first round of stim drugs. We are trying a totally different protocol this time around in the hopes that last time was just a fluke.

I understand the odds. I also know that we are not ready to march into the clinic and say "just give us someone, anyone, fertile." Not yet. That feels like sleeping with the first person you see after breaking up from a long relationship. And we all know how well that works out.

Our donor is anonymous, but so similar to hubby and me in so many ways, it is hard to think of trying with anyone other than her. So I am not going to think about it until I have to. Which I hope I won't.

Even if today's news is not what we want to hear, the "what if" will be laid to rest. And that's important to me.

Here's to hoping.

Monday, August 27, 2007

And We're Off...

Our donor's baseline is today. She was right on time. Stim will start this afternoon or tomorrow.

I'm supposed to call Nurse as soon as my dear aunt sally arrives so we can get a baseline blood draw and get right to work on ingesting some estrace and building a loverly womb.

I feel like I should be running around with a pocket watch on a chain mumbling, "I'm late! I'm late, for a very important date!"

But I'm not. I'm right on time. And if I can trust what my body is feeling like today, my flow will begin any second now. Funny. If you're trying to get pregnant, aren't you usually hoping you don't get your period?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Free Drugs!

I don't know how they did it and I don't even care to ask, but my clinic was able to secure most of my donor's meds for this cycle at no charge to us.


What great news to start a Friday. I take back any frustration I have ever expressed about them.

Waiting for my lupron bleed. Donor is waiting for her normal bleed. Both expected next week. Then we are off to the races.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Sound of Music

I was going to write a post today about how different being on lupron this time around has been - it hasn't made me loopy or stupid, no headaches, blurred vision, no mood swings.....

Then I plugged my mp3 player into the radio as I made dinner. Switched it to shuffle.

And every single song had me flying high or on the verge of tears - like high-school-lost-crush- drowning-in-my-own-self-pity-but-loving-it tears. Every house anthem had me ready to rave. (Bring on the strobe lights!) And every Afghan Whigs song made me want to go in search of a creepy yet hot stranger to go make out with and regret later. It was like I had a surge of being-nineteen-ness into my body. It was awesome.

Hormones are great.

And honestly, a whole new life experience for me. I haven't produced my own since age 13. How early is that menopause? But that's exactly what it was: Ovaries shut down and/or gone missing. No estrogen for you! I know hubby is looking forward to the doses of estrace which will begin in about a week. Apparently, my body temperature actually normalizes when I have some estrogen in me. Otherwise, I'm nicknamed the "heat miser."

So, to recap, day 6 of lupron. Waiting patiently for ms. donor to flow. I'll be getting bloodwork in a few days and then begin estrace. In the meantime, I'll chuckle for a few more days as I take my birth control pill along with my pre-natal vitamin. Is that funny to anyone else?

Or just me?

Hormones are great.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Wow, that's a long post....

I am swimming in a sea of post-it notes! Gone cross-eyed from the chessboard that is my calendar. Up to my ears in projects, tasks and good intentions spanning work, personal and baby-making life and getting absolutely nothing done.

Sometimes (when it suits her) my boss will sigh and say, perfection is the enemy of good. As in, we try so hard to get something just right, we end up not accomplishing anything at all. This happens a lot in my office and alas, I think its a habit that I have acquired. In my quest to wax literary about all the good things happening lately, to turn them into sweet little vignettes both poignant and funny, it seems I am left staring at a blank page.


All of this to say, sorry for not posting. Here's what's new:

Hubby and I jumped in the car after work last Monday and drove down to Slower Lower Delaware to assist my folks in assembling their computer, look for a house and oh yes, get some sun. The first night there, I got myself worked up about the perceived cold shoulder I felt I was getting from the clinic and couldn't get back to sleep. First thing the next morning, I sent Nurse a very plain email - What's up? Call me!

And she did.

And that started a flurry of phone calls from her, the clinic, the pharmacy, the financial person at the clinic (of course) and before you know it, I am on day five of lupron injections, trying to get back on the wellness track (more exercise, less beer. more pilates, less stress. happy womb, happy womb.....) waiting patiently for our donor to have her monthly flow.

Once she bleeds (which should be within the next week or so), we will begin a whole new protocol using ganarelix and follistim - one that will allow the docs to know right away whether or not she will respond to artificial stimulation. While last time felt planful and almost too leisurely, this time, if all goes well, we are looking for a retrieval and transfer around 14 days after she begins stim. Wow.

Let's assume her period is regular, my uterine liner gets all plump and juicy and her follicles are in a frenzy to produce, that would put us around Sept. 15th for the transfer, approx. two months after we had originally planned.

So, yes, it's been a busy week! We only had a few days at the beach since we had to get back to work on Thursday. Friday we provided moral support to hubby's cousin who had an informal high school reunion and Saturday we spent mingling with 70+ members and 4 generations of hubby's family at a good ole fashioned family reunion. That was humbling.

You see, our families are pretty used to hubby and I making big announcements. PS, we're moving to another country. Oh yeah, we're quitting our jobs and traveling for a few years. Hey, we're writing a book. (I'm cringing at that last one as it is among the pile of post it notes). But this time around, our lips were sealed.

"So, what's new with you guys? Anything exciting in the works? Any big plans?"

"Um, no. Nope. Things are pretty quiet these days." and then we would slink off to find more food. It was like Easter dinner all over again.

But besides that, the reunion was good in some ways, not so good in others. We all had a good time while we were there and hubby and I even stole some cousins for a night out on the town. But Sunday saw hubby's mom super sad and missing her mom who passed away a few years ago, his dad drowning in self-pity since his family now consists of us and his one aunty whose health is failing, hubby in an all around funk and me pondering questions of identity, definitions of family, the relevance of blood lines and genes both for myself and my future maybe baby. There are no easy answers, are there? Thank goodness there are books.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Is it me??

I bet you'd like to know what my schedule will be. Gosh, so do I.

I finally emailed Nurse on Friday since I had been expecting her call since Monday, when the clinic said she would call. I thought I sent a pretty benign email asking the usual questions, hi, how are you, do you have any info on my cycle, and by the way dr. somebody called me last week and said that you would call.

Her curt response surprised me. She said, yeah, ok, I'll get back to you next week. You know her [the donor's] protocol will be different this time. Re the doctor's call she said this:

Yes the doctors want to make sure you want to use this donor because of her lack of response. We don't know if she will do any better with another protocol. You have a great weekend too.

Just me, or were those sentence completely unnecessary?

Just in case the several hour consult with our Doctor and the half hour call from the Other Doctor didn't drill into our head that this new protocol may or may not work, Nurse needed to throw in her two cents as well.

Now, in working with Nurse, we have come to realize that she is a glass half empty as opposed to half full kind of gal. But I have never thought of her as being impatient or insensitive and this email struck me as both. And that hurt my feelings. 'Cause I'm sensitive.

And my glass is half full.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Are you Sure?

It is so funny how pieces of life randomly collide. I got a call from my old social worker yesterday morning (old as in, was my social worker 20 years ago when I had cancer). He had seen my testimony on TV and couldn't stop talking about it! Not only that, but he shared it with my pediatric oncologist and all of my old nurses, one of whom is apparently in charge of the statewide association for pediatric oncology nurses. Besides all of this being very sweet and surprising and flattering, he extended an invitation to come speak to the nurses association - about my current line of work and also about survivor issues.

Are you sure? I said. Because I have a lot to say.

This same social worker couldn't remember that the last time we talked was back in March when we were looking for recommendations for egg donation programs. In fact, he sounded surprised and pretty fascinated when I gave him a quick update of where we were in the process. I am sure it was probably too much information for him, but hey, I wanted to give him a preview of my talk with the ladies.

So, a completely unrelated incident that just happened to be televised has just opened the door for me to work with pediatric oncology nurses to help them try to understand some pretty serious issues facing childhood cancer survivors - infertility being #1 on the list. I am pretty stoked about that.

Re: dinners, I will be hosting one tonight at our house. It's my dad's birthday and my parents are in town after a brief stint at the hospital for dad. Pneumonia. Perhaps I haven't mentioned but my parents' health is not great. Dad's lungs are absolutely shot after 4 decades of chain smoking. Frankly, I was shocked that he made it through all of this moving business without ending up in the hospital. This bout struck while he was in Delaware, moving some stuff into storage down there and relaxing for a few days in their temporary home. My last call to him interrupted him flirting with the nurses at his favorite clinic. Reason #33 for them to move to Delaware. Apparently, the hospital food isn't too shabby in this clinic either. Anyways, his birthday gives us a nice reason to get together while they're in town. And I prefer to control the menu. My place it is.

Lastly, got a random call from a doctor from our clinic last night. One that we hadn't worked with before. Apparently, she is part of the "committee" that met yesterday to discuss our decision to move forward with our donor after a failed stimulation attempt. She wanted to hear again our reasons for doing so, so I gave her the run down - the same one you've read here. Perhaps I came across as defensive, but I wanted her to be clear that we were clear. We understood the risks and appreciated their desire to be sure that we were sure. I asked her if the committee had reservations or if they as medical professionals had information or knowledge that we didn't. Basically, I asked, did they see this as a fool's errand?

She said emphatically not and the committee was surprised that the previous cycle hadn't worked since the donor is otherwise healthy and the mother of two healthy children. After we talked, she said she was glad we had the conversation and that they had worked out a new protocol for our donor, one that would let them (and us) know almost immediately whether a stimulation would be successful or not. I am expecting a call from Nurse this afternoon to review the new protocol and schedule, which, of course, I will post as soon as I know.

Friday, August 3, 2007


Oh friends, its been a long, long week. But ultimately, productive, eventful and dare I say, fun? I was even on TV! Ok, public access but still. It's not every day that a good hair day and new pants are saved for posterity, right?

I had to testify (can I get an AMEN?!) no, no, not that kind. In front of a legislative committee yesterday. I was nervous and that was probably a good thing because I prepared like I was facing some hardcore midterm exams. That was fortuitous because those old white men grilled me. And you know what? I aced it. I really think I nailed every answer in a way that was truthful, not defensive and conveyed the points my organization was trying to make. And I actually looked like I knew what I was talking about. (I've fooled them all! ah hah hah....insert more maniacal laughter here). As you can see, I am still flying high.

In other news, the house that I grew up in is now in the hands of strangers. Closing was Tuesday. My parents are relieved. In fact, could my dad have located his sense of humor and ability to be happy? Those things have been lost for quite a while. Was debt so overwhelming that that was what made him wish for death for the past few years?? My god. I guess we all deal with it differently, don't we?

After a few frantic days of last minute packing and cleaning, we all (me, hubby, brother, his g-friend, mom and dad) went for a celebratory dinner Tuesday night at a place where bro and I served as line cook and waitress respectively. It was awesome. Bro and I amused with tales of steaks and girls gone bad. My mom got totally tipsy on a frozen concoction. I overindulged in a baked sweet potato with cinnamon sugar and other things I don't usually eat. My dad just looked happy.

My dad looked happy. It was a moment.

They still don't have a permanent residence, but hell, if they aren't stressed, I'm not either. They both seem to be basking in the idea that they won't have to panic come the last week of every month or every time a new unpaid hospital bill appears in the mail.

All I can think of is that perhaps it was really, really a blessing that this last cycle didn't follow the original schedule. Sure, I know we all say that when things go wrong/not the way we planned. But seriously, there is NO WAY I could have done the things I've been doing this month with something trying to grow and be nurtured in my belly. I am bruised and sore and my muscles have been working overtime. I've never done so much heavy lifting and cleaning with toxic stuff. My thoughts have been elsewhere. Anywhere but focused on the creation of a happy womb. My time will come. This time is for my parents.

Here's the best part of the story. Today is Friday and my favorite band is playing tonight.

Happy weekend y'all.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

H*ll, that's not so bad.

PrideFest took over our city this weekend. We drove past the riverfront celebration on the way to my parents house. It was rocking! Of course, there were the predictable protesters perched across the street, but not nearly as many as years past. One particularly pinched and angry looking woman held a sign with an arrow towards the laughing and amiable rainbow-swathed crowd. It said:

This Way to Hell.

Well, hell, hell looked pretty fun. And if hell has a beer tent and live music, I don't feel so bad about skipping out on church for the past, oh twenty years.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Hey, but what about...

My friend sent me this article the other day on long-term childhood cancer survivors. Not bad, but other than a fleeting mention on page 2, it is missing one critical piece. The "probably sterile" one on page 10.

I'm not angry. I'm not bitter. I am just hopeful that as the circle of survivors grows and becomes a powerful demographic and social voice, those of us with the fortune to survive and the misfortune to do so before freezing eggs was even a possibility will be more than a footnote or one sentence in an eight page article.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Occupational Hazards

Things to remember when working from home:

  1. When you are writing an email and fuming over yet another last minute assignment/deadline that your boss has just given you, make sure you hit "forward" and not "reply." ***
  2. Shades or curtains in a bathroom really are necessities. This is easy to remember when you are dashing to the bathroom and find you have to hold your pee because workers are waving hello to you as they fix the drainage pipes (har har) on your building.
  3. Phone headsets should be removed before attempting said dash to bathroom. Failure to do so could result in toppled computer equipment, headsets tangled in hair and potential damage to earrings, clothes and other jewelry.

***Luckily, I was able to reach my co-worker who has access to my boss's inbox before the offending message was read. (we think). Thank you, L. You are the bomb.

Moving Forward

This weekend started at 4 a.m. Saturday morning when hubby woke anticipating the 5 a.m. alarm. We drove in the dark to meet my brother and a ridiculous amount of stuff strapped down to a huge pick-up truck and flatbed trailer that we three had loaded the night before. We waited in a long line of cars, got ushered to our spots and then began to unload, praying that we would at least sell the larger or more unwieldy items so we wouldn't have to figure out how to get them back on the truck again.

Ah yes, friends. It's flea market time.

It's one more week 'til closing on my parents' house and my brother thought we'd try to lighten their (and our) load and get them a little more cash to use towards movers, storage, incidentals, etc. Brother and I were the main wheeler-dealers. Hubby, a few of my brother's friends and even mom and dad stopped in and played supporting roles. And as shocked as I am to admit it, as reluctant as I was to spend my weekend at this task, here is where I say,

We had a great time!

Hell, we even made some money.

My brother is a pro. A sight to behold. He can sell anybody anything. We were all awed watching him in action. Dad even remarked he was in the wrong business and should take up sales. Hubby had his weekend crossword and coffee so he was fine. Mom brought a little lawn chair and stuck it on the flatbed so she wouldn't be in the way. She struck a pose as some sort of redneck queen lording over her possessions. At least in my mind. Dad, it seems, LOVES flea markets. He said it at least five times. We calm him down when he starts talking about making it a regular thing because yeah, meeting crazy people is fun (I guess) but he's not the one doing the loading and unloading of all this gear. Let's not get carried away.

So a good time is had by all. We half the amount of stuff we started with and find a neighbor to hold the rest until brother and I can do this again (ONE more time and that's it. I swear), we come home sunburned as hell and start to count the money. Just as we are getting ready to leave my parents house my cell phone rings and I know who it is. The clinic. I casually saunter back to the bathroom to take the call privately. Remember, folks don't know boo about this. I try to be casual and friendly to the nurse but I am dying to know, did she say yes??

She said yes.

She said YES! Our fabulous donor is willing to give it another go. So, we wait out a cycle to clear both of our systems out and then start our regimens again in about a month. Hubby knew the good news as soon as I emerged from the bathroom. We said our goodbyes and quickly drove home to celebrate. We popped open a beer, made some burritos, stuck a movie in

And promptly fell asleep on the couch.