Double Post

So, I’ve had two posts floating around in my head for the past couple of days, and rather than choose between them, I’m going to combine them, kind of like on Wheel of Fortune, when they have a Before & After category, except these two ideas aren’t really related.

Part 1: Steel Magnolias: 30 minutes of wonderful, or a lifetime of nothing special.

For those of you who have seen Steel Magnolias as many times as I have, you know the scene I’m talking about already.  For those who don’t, here’s a recap: Shelby (played by Julia Roberts with absolutely gorgeous hair), who has severe Type 1 diabetes, has been advised by physicians not to have children as the pregnancy would stress her circulatory system.  Because of her chronic illness, she’s not able to adopt because “no judge is gonna give a baby to someone with [her] medical history.”  I don’t know that either of these options are in any way realistic, but let’s move on.  So. Shelby, who is young and newly married, in a relationship with a man who is quite different from her family, gets pregnant anyway since having children will make her happy and potentially help her troubled marriage (we don’t know why it’s troubled, except that Mr. Shelby is “outdoorsy,” and his family is rich and weird).  Her mother, played by the wonderful Sally Field, is upset, knowing that this baby could cost her daughter’s life.  Shelby tells her mom that for her, the risk is worth it, because she’d rather have “30 minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special.”

What’s interesting is that the older characters seem to present the idea that having children might not be all that special.  Ousier (pronounced Weezer and played by Shirley Maclaine) says she’s had the “three most ungrateful children” in the world.  Truvy (played by Dolly Parton) says her boy is no-good, and scoffs when M’Lynn tells her that he “turned out fine, just a bit scary is all.”  We think that Clairee has kids, but they don’t seem to be around much.

What’s my point?  Well, I watched this movie again recently (I love it, especially the scene where Clairee tells M’Lynn to “take a whack at Ouisier”), and that scene with Shelby and her mom played so differently to me this time. Instead of just watching and accepting her rationale, I wanted to step into the  tell Shelby that she didn’t have to make that choice, that it’s not an all or nothing deal, that there are so many ways to have something special without choosing to only have 30 minutes of it.

Tall enough for me.

Part 2: Die Trying

I read an article on NPR a few days ago about Tom Cruise playing Jack Reacher, who is a character in a series of books by Lee Child.  Now, you all probably think that I read this because it was about a book.  I’m a book-y type of person.  But, the real truth is that I read it because of Tom Cruise. I love Tom Cruise. I know he’s crazy in real life, but I just don’t care since I’m never going to meet him or interact with him.  As far as I know, believing in ridiculous stuff like aliens isn’t the worst thing in the world (I like aliens, too, Tom, in case you’re reading), and having bad relationships with others, well, again, I’m not going to meet him.  He’s fun to watch, and, therefore, I like to watch him.  Plus, I care not that he’s 5’7″.  I’m 5’6″ so he’s still tall enough for me.

So, I started reading the books.  I’ve seen them on Ama.zon and Aud.ible and thought about trying them out before.  I’ve read two so far, including the second one Die Trying. In that book, Jack Reacher’s former boss says that Jack will do the right thing or he’ll die trying to do the right thing.

This made me think about us and all of the money and time and emotional energy and physical devotion we put into trying to get pregnant or to adopt children.  We really are willing to give it everything, and it’s hard not to feel like we’re dying as we’re trying.  My friend IRL told me the other day about New Hope Fertility in NYC.  Apparently, they do Mini-IVF, which is more affordable and less physically stressful than real IVF.  They also work with older women.  She’s 41 and had her first baby after trying for 4+ years.  She’s doing a series of 3 mini-ivf cycles right now, and she really thinks that I should try it out.  (Cheap flights, take the subway and the bus, etc…)

I listened and discussed with DH.  But, I just can’t do it.  The financial piece is a setback, but I know if I was really dying to try, I could find the money somehow (begging, perhaps?  Serious e-baying?  4 jobs?  Someway…).  The real issue is that I’m emotionally bankrupt on the idea of me getting pregnant. I can’t even imagine it anymore. I don’t even consider it to be a possibility.  I think I’m not like Jack Reacher, I’m not willing to die trying.  Or, maybe it’s that the IVF stuff isn’t the right thing for me.

Either way, I do think that what’s she’s doing is interesting, and for anyone up closer to that way, you might want to check it out.

IVF #2, 10 dp3dt, Don’t Ignore Infertility… or Present It in a Stupid Way

I think it was Mel from who recently wrote a post about infertility being like a video game. I say think because I read about it on another person’s blog, and I can’t remember whose blog it was — this person had written a funny response about how each level of infertility treatment you go up another level.  (If anyone read that too and can remember, please send me the link so I can update here).

I mention this because today I reached a whole new level of infertility crazies.  Yesterday, I was so upset by the practically nonexistent spotting (which was seriously not much) and the negative pregnancy test yesterday.  Today, I woke up and the last 2 HPTs I have left in the house were calling my name.  DH is gone to work for the day, I’m at home working, so no one would even have to know… I was sitting here thinking about how it couldn’t be THAT big of a deal if I used one today and one tomorrow.

Then, I remembered yesterday.  Lying in bed.  Crying.  Texting DH that it was over and that I was never going to be pregnant.  Then, no more spotting.  Nothing for the rest of the day.  Still feel the same as I have all week.  Absolutely no way to tell if this is or isn’t happening this time or not.

So I went into the drawer, opened the HPTs and dipped them in leftover tea and put them in the trashcan.  Then, I cleaned out the fridge, dumping all the contents on top of the dipped-in-tea-HPTs, and took the trash bag outside.

So, yeah, I think I just won the Crazy Things You Do While Dealing with Infertility level of this game.

************

The rest of this post is about the NIAW week for bloggers.  This is the post I’ve been wanting to write for weeks, and I saved it up for this week.

NIAW is about how we shouldn’t ignore infertility. I totally agree with this and this cycle, I’ve been much more open about what I’m going through (with selected friends and family only) because I think it’s good for these people to know that I’ve not exactly been having an easy time of it lately.  So, I completely agree that ignoring infertility is a bad thing.

But, even worse than ignoring I think, is presenting it in a really stupid way, like we see on shows like Glee — where the 50+ woman gets pregnant on her first IVF using eggs she supposedly froze in 1970s and kept in a freezer at Kroger.  Or, maybe on Big Love, where multiple women were “tricked” into IVF procedures where they didn’t even know that they were being impregnated and only had to take one shot in the leg.  Or those stupid Hallmark movies where the woman, infertile of course, is so desperate for a child that she steals some other lady’s baby.  Or those so completely overused plot line about the adopted child who spends years and years dying to find their birth parent.  Oh, and in Once Upon a Time, with the adoptive evil stepmother and the birthmother who has to save her child.

These stories are just awful.  They’re not real.  They’re not helpful.  They’re hurtful.  What’s the reality?  Sue Sylvester would have had only about a 10% with her IVF cycle and would likely have had to do multiple cycles with DONOR EGGS.  The Big Love plot was so dumb that there is no real version of it.  Infertile women are not baby stealers.  We want our own children and we work hard to get them, through ART or adoption.  And, while I’m sure that adopted children are curious about their birth parents, I’m even more sure — since I’ve known adopted parents and kids alike– that adopted children love their adopted family and are more like Steven Jobs than the tired plot used over and over again in TV shows  and adopted parents are most of the time wonderful, loving people who love their children — not evil witches.

So, for this week, I think we should focus on not ignoring the VERY REAL elements of infertility… like the crazy stuff I did this morning and the terrible feelings I had yesterday and the wonderful feeling we’re all looking for… like Belle over at Scrambled Eggs is having.  I’m so happy for her and Pip.

IVF #2 6dp3dt (6 days past 3 day transfer)

So, I’ve felt terrible today.  I woke up from a nightmare where I was driving a Jeep with my baby in my lap.

Except that my baby looked like the creature from Little Big Planet (I’ve never played the game — only seen the commercials).  And, the baby was hungry but I couldn’t feed it… because I was driving down a mountain in  a Jeep with a baby on my lap.

Is is too early for Pregnancy Nightmares?  Are pregnancy nightmares a real thing?

After that auspicious beginning, I’ve felt cranky, nauseous, tired, constipated, and bloated for the rest of the day.

Damn the Progesterone!  I guess my hormones levels are changing or being off the higher doses of steroid, or just a general feeling of overwhelmedness has taken over.

I’m trying to stay focused on positive thoughts and happiness outside of this process and as part of the process.

I would also like to write about post about NIAW, about not ignoring infertility, but honestly, all I want to do is ignore it right now. I think I need a nap.  I bet a nap would make everything all better… unless I have the dream again about the little big planet hungry baby!

IVF #2, 3dp3dt

I’m watching Tiny Furniture and loving it.  Lena Dunham is a genius and lovely. I love that she made the movie without makeup and with makeup and in ill-fitting clothes and uncomfortable conversations and irrational reactions.

I can’t wait to start watching Girls on HBO.  It’s going to be like S&TC, but better.  And realistic and stuff.  Though, I’m guessing, based on the movie, that she’s not going to be real like the kind of real where people worry about paying their bills and going to work, but more realistic like where we get a glimpse of what it’d be like to be privileged and part of an artistic world and still have problems, though not like the kinds of problems that the average person would call a problem.  Maybe it will be like a less depressing Sylvia Plath  or Girl, Interrupted.

I’m watching this movie because I can’t sleep.  I can’t sleep because I’ve taken 60 mg of prednisone and 16 mg of medrol and feel like I could run a marathon.  Except that I can’t because I’m not supposed to do any aerobic exercise.  I have a mild headache and my heart is racing, but not really.

Other than that, 3 dp3dt is terrible.  There’s no way to know anything. I meditated today and went to acupuncture and took a nap and made enchiladas, beans and rice and then I made monkey bread and this morning I did a ton of work… but the day IS STILL HAPPENING!  AAAAAH!

How am I going to make it through 10 more days if all the days are this long?  10 days seems a bit excessive, yes?

IVF #2, Retrieval Day — Deja Vu

Retrieval went well today. I feel great, just a little crampy and uncomfortable (especially when going to the bathroom).  Only one stick today for getting  the IV started (yay!).

And… we have 5 eggs.  Just like last time.  I’m so glad that we have 5 since that means we’ll likely have 2 or 3 to transfer on Tuesday.  I’ll get the fertilization report tomorrow.

Tonight, I start Medrol and continue the doxycycline.  I won’t start Progesterone tomorrow night.

IVF#2, Stim Day 11, Day before Trigger

I’m starting this post with a little image that I saw on another blog because right now, what we’re running on is hope.  I hope I have eggs in the follicles on Saturday.  I hope the eggs are mature.  I hope they eggs fertilize and become embryos. I hope the embryos keep growing.  I hope they implant.  And, then, of course, I hope that I get pregnant and have a sweet, wonderful baby this time around.  That’s the biggest hope.  My Circle+Bloom MP3 tells me to let myself hope and think of how the positive outcome will happen — this is what I’m chanting in my mind and trying to direct to my ovaries (and eggs and then embryos).

So, I decided to go ahead with the cycle.  The RE thinks we will get to transfer, even with just 5 follicles, so we are moving forward.  This AM, I had 6 follicles (I think — it all starts to blur as soon as the ultrasound pics show up on the screen).  The biggest one is 21 mm and the smallest is 9 mm; the rest are between 12 and 17 .  There was some discussion about triggering tonight because of the worry of regression, especially with that big one, but my estrogen (E2) levels are still rising, so one more day of stims, then tomorrow night: TRIGGER.

I have no idea how ladies make it with 20+ follicles and eggs.  I’m sore with just six.  The trigger tomorrow night will make Friday an especially fun day. I’ll have to pull out the yoga pants for sure.

In other news, my latest TV obsession is the new season of Glee.  There’s much that I don’t like about Glee, but Blaine is not one of those things.  He is so cute and wears adorable clothes.  The bow tie even works on him — sometimes.

IVF #2, Stim Day 3

ETA:  If you’d like a 15% off coupon for Circle + Bloom, email me at eighteenyearsblogger at gmail dot com.

Today is Day 3 of Stims.  I went for the ultrasound and bloodwork on Saturday morning.  All systems were go.  So far, things are going well.  I will have been stuck with or stuck myself with 11 needles so far by the time today is over.  It feels like more.

Here are the medications I’m doing now:

Morning:

  • 225 IUs Gonal F (3 vials), given intramuscular IM
  • 50 mg DHEA
  • 2000 IUs D3
  • PNV with 1 mg Folic Acid
  • 2.4 mg Folic Acid
  • 81 mg ASA (1 baby aspirin)
  • Doxycycline

Evening:

  • 225 IUs Gonal-F (3 vials), IM
  • 15 IUs low dose HCG
  • Metformin, 50 mg
  • Doxycycline
  • Flax seed, fish oil, tonalin (all healthy oils)

So far, I feel fine, just keep getting hot when no one else is complaining of the heat.  I’m almost completely off caffeine (1 small tea today, will be down to none tomorrow).  I’m drinking tons of water too in hopes of staving off some of the terrible bloating that happened last time.

I go for another check in tomorrow — more bloodwork (another needle stick!) and a visit with Wandy, oh, how Wandy missed me.  The RE reminded me last time that we want quality not quantity.  I have to think though that all these medications, including the pretty high dose of  the Gonal F indicates that we’re trying for quality too.  I have to do the Gonal F IM because I think that they worried my body was using up the medications too quickly (last time I did 3 vials of Follistim, only in the afternoon, subcutaneously with the low dose HCG).

I saw my rheumatologist yesterday, who thinks it’s highly unlikely that Medrol had anything to do with my flare last time.  He thinks that dumping this much hormones into an autoimmune disease person like myself is bound to lead to all kinds of wacky stuff.  So, I hope the prednisone/medrol combo will combat some of that.  I wish I knew an easy way to find other folks with autoimmune conditions who are doing/have done IVF.  Dr./Mr.Fixit Google is letting me down on that one.

I’m also going to download the Circle + Bloom meditation files I think and listen to those at night.  It will be good to have something positive said to me to block out any worries that might creep up.