Monday, November 30, 2009

A Birthday of Sorts

It’s one of those days outside where you can’t tell if it’s 10am or 4pm. This transitional haze seems to coat everything. Still I feel like it’s a BIRTHday of sorts! Today is the day of our IVF transfer.
This will be our 3rd and I am cautiously hopeful that the day will go well. Our first transfer was a bit of a debacle. The attending RE was cruel and insensitive and kept yelling at me not to talk or move through the procedure. I felt like a chained animal. So primal and frightened. I heard later from the nurses that he’s been known to lock ladies out of the bathroom so they keep a full bladder for the procedure. He might be a brilliant Dr., but I hope someone pees on him one day!
So Crazy MD recommended that I be “knocked out” for transfer #2 so I wouldn’t cause any more havoc in the Operating room. I couldn’t agree more with the concept of sleeping through a very vulnerable experience and waking up slightly high and happy. Unfortunately, they forgot to tell me to have some water before I arrived, and when they tried to administer the IV they had to stick me 14 times before I made them stop. There was blood all over the floor and my husband was turning blue.
I opted for valium.
MMMMMMMMMmmmmmmm! Valium. Now I know what they mean my the term mother’s little helper!
Luckily the IVF Dr. #2 had soft and gentle eyes and was wonderful. He kept me distracted and I was able to get through it. I also realized after round 1 that I can’t have my husband in the OR with me. I just feel too vulnerable and get very self conscious.
I really liked the Dr. who did the retrieval this week. Everyone at BWH Boston was awesome and I felt very well cared for. At times I tried to pretend I was at the spa (wishful thinking ) and they were working on my energy from the inside out. I hope the transfer Dr. will be equally kind and ease me through this.
At this point of the IVF journey, you have had so many people in your “business”. You don’t think twice when you are prodded and poked in your naughty bits. But that transfer is the hardest part for me. It’s like a reunion with hope and these little bits of life that I love so much! Fate is back in your hands, and even though much of it is out of your sphere of influence, a bit of life is re-deposited inside you. 
Each time you have to go through another doorway on this journey- sex for fun to sex for baby making, talking to a specialist, testing, clomid, IUI,IVF, etc….you find this immeasurable strength that you didn’t know you had before. Two years ago, I never imagined that I would choose to do IVF. Now I am on my 3rd try and I thank g-d for the gift of modern science. 
Women are strong, we keep on going. I love that.

Wishing you the very best….

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Three Little Stockings

18 follicles at time of retrieval. 8 developing embies as of yesterday. I hope hope hope the numbers stay good and we have some strong little ones for the transfer tomorrow.
I’ve been so restless today. I can’t sit still. It’s a gorgeous day in Boston and I had to take off and get lost in TJ Maxx, only to buy a ton of stuff I don’t really need. I felt a little twinge as I walked past the children’s christmas pajamas. Even through I will NEVER dress my future child in sparkly gingham and lace,  it felt a bit like a them vs. us moment.
I did do something unexpected. I bought 3 Christmas stockings. Quite remarkable for several reasons:
1. I am  Jewish!
2. We already have some tacky holiday stocking somewhere in the basement.
3. There are only two of us, right now…..
I just couldn’t help it. They were surprisingly lovely. Heavy gauge sweater knit and crocheted in  beautiful patterns. For The Bear- a cream colored stocking of gorgeous cable knit with gold trim. For me, a funky stripe of red, pink, lime green and white. And for XXXXX, a sweet little red fairisle with red pom poms.
I thought it might be interesting to mount all three on the mantle. To fill the little one up with wishes and notes that we could save until there’s a new person in our family to read them to. Notes of love and wishes that they come into our lives soon.
On a different note, I have discovered a “cycle buddy” all the way in New Zealand. We write to each other and send some good energy across the pond. It’s Egghunt! Check out her blog. And if you are cycling with us, drop us a line. It’s been nice to stay connected.
I wish everyone reading this peace, love and good fortune.
Shell & The Bear

Friday, November 27, 2009

Sexy Drawers and Egglets

17 egglets as of Wednesday. Pretty exciting news. The nurse on the phone was so sweet, filling us in on the details and telling us about our 2am HCG shot. I even wore cute underwear for the shot. I know it’s stressful for both of us, and I figured having sassy-pants on would at least make us feel a little more like US ! So I got out of my frumpy pajamas when the Bear was setting up the shot, and put on my cutest pair of drawers that he hadn’t seen before. I bent over the pillows and “assumed the position”— for the intramuscular injection that is! The needle looked HUGE. It usually helps me if I sing or try to laugh or cough while it’s going in. (I learned that from my acupuncturist). For some reason, I just started saying “Ho,ho,ho,ho,hoooow!”. I sounded like an S&M Santa !
I don’t know if it was the relief that the shot was over, my new lacy drawers, or my sexy Santa impersonation, but the Bear started getting a little amorous. Of course, then we start laughing hysterically because we CAN’T do anything about it, since we have a pact with the RE to go 3 days before the transfer without any lovin. We are just cracking up because of the irony of all this. Me saying, “what’s another few hours, they’ll never know! I’ll only need 17 of your guys on friday!” The Bear saying he wants “optimal results and we have to wait.” Obviously he’s “driving the car” on this one and who am I to mess with the laws of science? It’s just silly that you have to NOT have sex in order to make a baby through IVF, but I know he takes his numbers VERY seriously. Funny nonetheless. I think I won’t forget that soon!
The first time we ever tried to do the HCG trigger shot (for IVF#1) we were in a skybox at the Boston Garden. My friend had given us 2 tickets to see the Celtics Playoffs on the Bear’s birthday. It was a great night, surrounded by friends and drinking free beer in the skybox. We went in the bathroom at 8:30pm, and my friend kept watch at the door. It turned in to a nightmare! The HCG vial had somehow broken in its paper box and the powder and glass were everywhere! We rushed to the hospital hoping the Center for Infertility would have a spare vial in the Hospital pharmacy. For 3 hours, the physicians in the ER called everywhere, trying to procure a tiny replacement. I thought I was going to loose all my eggs. Then, around 11:30 pm, the pharmacist from a Village Pharmacyhad unlocked his lab and hand delivered another vial. I can’t tell you how I cried! The next day I sent him and his staff 2 dozen cookies and became a fan forever!
So this time was obviously better than HCG#1, although the Celtics game WAS fun! I think this experience, as daunting as it is, has brought me and the Bear closer together. I am glad to have him here with me through this process.
So instead of writing about how I am scared and anxious about today, I will say that I am THANKFUL for the opportunity to try to add on to our family. I am THANKFUL for our dear friends and family who have supported us through this journey. And I am THANKFUL for love, and for fate, which has brought me to this moment.
Fingers, crossed, chest, out, tail-feathers high!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Make it a Dozen!

I have 10 egglets so far! Just little seedlings of things to come but the RE said it’s very promising. They lowered my stim meds because my estrodial level was soaring too quickly. They called me a high responder? Sounds like the nerdy kid at the front of the classroom with her eager  hand up in the air  (yes that WAS me! Nerdy girl).
I just wish that the quality of my old eggs matches my body’s enthusiasm.
To have found love at 40 and be trying to conceive at 41. It’s kinda crazy. I have colleagues at work with pre-teens with body hair. But hey, I always imagined I’d be successful and unattached, travel the world and have many lovers. I was lucky in the regard that I DID get to live the life I longed for. I checked off many of the boxes on my life-list and eventually I decided to rewrite my list. I remember telling a friend, who was struggling in an unhealthy relationship, to figure out where he wanted to be on the day he died, and work backwards. I realized I needed to heed my own advice and decide what stories I wanted to have at the end of my life. 
That story led me to where I am today. 
If I am indeed “working backwards” than I know intuitively what I hope lies ahead. I don’t know how I will get there yet, but I am happy to be on this journey toward a deeper truth.
So my 10 little egglets are making their way in the world. The Bear came with me to the ultrasound today but I couldn’t stop laughing when it was time for the dildocam. There’s something about your lover seeing you with your legs in the air and a plastic probe under your gown that really makes you self-conscious (you THINK!!!!). And the gown- Jeezus- that’s the first thing I’d like to redesign! How bout something RED and fabulous for all of us strong, mighty bitches out there!
(I mean bitches in the nicest way- if you are on meds I am sure you know that!)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Golden Goose

On the way to the Hospital to get a bloodtest, I watched a flock of geese navigate the busy highway. One would expect them to fly across, ascending the swiftly moving cars that were in their way. Maybe they were lazy, but they chose to walk across. All twenty of them! Chests out, beaks pointing upward.
Obviously if you had to pit a goose -even twenty geese- up against a swerving, angry car, the geese would, in all probability, get creamed. What goose in their right mind would CHOOSE to waddle across a Boston thoroughfare at rush hour! But here they were, sachaying proudly toward their destination, the last patch of green grass in the city square.

I feel like one of those geese today. Chest out, walking briskly towards the hospital. Sachaying towards ....what? Perhaps the odds are not in my favor. Maybe the machine of fate and infertility is bigger than me. But still I'm walking!!! Confronting it head on.  And now I have sisters.I have lifelong girlfriends and my own sister as well as new partners I've made on this journey. We're all golden geese crossing the highway together. Prancing around with our RubyFeathered tails.

There is strength in numbers.
Faith trumps Fear.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Child's Play!

Good news!
blog a wonder_woman
We had our first girl-power mixer for the RubyFeather Social Club last night and it was AWESOME. I never met so many  women who I would totally love to be friends with. It was wonderful to hear the stories of others and share strengths and support. I believe that everyone left energized and hopeful, really feeling this if they had sisters on the journey toward motherhood.

In addition to that I can proudly say I DID IT!  I gave myself the menopur shot this morning. Yes, I was still sweating and a little nervous, but I played some Joss Stone tunes and did a little power dance before I plunged the needle in my belly. Hooyah! I can't believe it, but I felt EMPOWERED! I had control over something for once. I think I am going to take the syringe away from my husband, and do it myself more often.

On a funny note, the Bear left me the HCG needle instead of my teenie 30 gauge one. I was mixing the solution and getting ready to add the needle when I thought- Cruel joke! What was he trying to do? Kill me???? Once I found an appropriate sharp (a wee dwarf of the HCG needle,) it seemed like child's play.

A big thank you and cyber hug to everyone who has left me a comment. IT'S HELPING!!!!!
Go ladies go! Let's make some cute babies around here!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sleepy Hollow

I have so much to do today, but I need to “get this out”. I am not sure what words or patterns will form here, but I need to open the padlock to my hope chest and set a few butterflies free.
I tried to call my RE to postpone this IVF cycle. With the passing of my Uncle and the stresses at home and work, I just felt like it was all too much right now. I went over timing with the nurse and it’s pretty impossible to just push it out a month because their lab closes for the holidays and they have cutoff dates in November. If we wait until January we have to get approved again from our insurance, and our deductible will be HUGE.
blog woman_cryingMy body and mind need TIME, but there is now way to barter for time right now.
So we began the basline tests yesterday. I went to the Ultrasound lab at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and tried to send a little good energy to the ladies who sat near me in the waiting room. I need to reach out with a smile and a whisper of “good luck” to my sisters on this journey, because I know how desperately I flourish under the support and kindness of others.
We started the Gonal F last night and now do menopur in the am. That sh!# burns! Tomorrow I may have to give myself the injection (and it scares me). Me, in my seemingly professional power-suit, sweating and shaking over the kitchen sink with a needle in my belly. The image makes me want to cry…
Breathe, kiddo. That’s about all you can do right now.
Gosh, I could use a hug (or a valium : ) )!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A View from the Ceiling

Still in Florida. My Uncle is still in a coma. Yesterday, the Doctor in the ICU described his condition as a "catastrophe". He said Uncle might remain in a "vegetative state" and that he had bleeding on both sides of his brain. He said we had to be prepared, and that they were doing more CAT scans to confirm their assumptions. If we took him off of the ventilator he would not breathe on his own. If we waited, and the tests confirmed there was no brain function, we could keep him alive, attached to machines and feeding tubes for the rest of his existence. "Or".....I dare not go in to the or as it is a decision I hope no one in the world ever has to make. At least the "Or " would provide an end to his suffering. That long elusive word, "dignity" hung around his neck like  an invisible rosary.
There were more than a few moments when I felt as if I had left my body and was floating above the conversation, hearing everything through a muffled blankets.

I spent half the day floating around the ceiling. I stroked his hair and caressed his arm while I told him stories of my baby niece and my new husband. My dad was grieving in a silent, tormented way. He was telling his brother to wake up or he would sell his new television.

We met with his social worker to understand (and help translate) all that we heard. I was supposed to be in charge of the meeting so my dad could breathe and absorb it all, but I couldn't hold back my emotions. My Uncle'scase worker told us that if he did not improve, we should decide if my Uncle would wish to stay on life support or pass on. She said no one would rush us to make that decision. Then she told us about a thing called Hospice.

It was difficult to sleep last night. Dad and I tried to take joy in simple things- We spotted a pair of iguanas in an empty lot by the beach. We ate an abundance of Jewish pastries. It brought the term " carbo loading" to a whole new level.

We went back to the hotel to extend our lodging and push out our flights. I spent a few hours trying to get my husband a ticket to join us. I have been married a year and it is still hard for me to accept support from those that love me. The Bear will be a welcome addition to ourcoterie in the coma ward. He is steady and loving, and he's studying medicine (a plus in this case). He has a certain distance to the situation, and hisunwavering care and concern will help steady me through this.

On the computer in the hotel room, struggling for a signal. Then it's "ooooooooh, ooooh, eeeeeeeewwwwwwoooohhh" through the walls as a couple started to bump de bump for what seemed like HOURS. Mind you, I am sharing a hotel room with MY FATHER and this woman is SCRRRRREEEEAMING at the top of her lungs.

Talk about awkward.

I wanted to bang on the wall and say "Get a ROOM!" But isn't that what they did???? Could I blame them?

Impossible to sleep. Worry kept me awake. And then the 2am redoubt of the opera of moaning next door. It sounded like they were killing chickens in there! Dad snoring, lady coming and all I could think of was GET ME OUTTA HERE!!!!!!

But the sun comes out in sunny florida and today was a different story. Yes, they were still at it at 6am, but we left quickly for more carbo loading and a trip to the ICU. Uncle's new CAT scan revealed that his brain was doing better than expected, but he was experiencing seizures every time they tried to pull him out of his coma. The Doctor said there was a glimmer of hope. I asked her what she recommended and she said, let's give him time. "Time is all we have right now," I replied.

Let's give him some time.

This is one of the most important times of my life. This is something that changes you and once you pass that doorway and experience something like this, you cannot go back.

It just makes me realize how precious family is. I hope my Uncle knows how much I love him.

That's enough for tonight....
Sweet dreams and love to you, dear reader. Thank you for listening.