World Psoriasis Day

Today is world psoriasis day, a day all about raising awareness about psoriasis.  I know that this is technically an infertility blog, so maybe not as focused on fixing all the problems in the world… but since psoriasis is an autoimmune condition and my infertility is too, they definitely go together.

I post here just because I would like you, my wonderful readers, to understand that psoriasis isn’t just an itchy patch of skin, it can be debilitating in so many ways for many people.  We need better and less expensive treatment.  Since I wasn’t actually born with psoriasis, but was triggered by a strep infection, I think we also need to figure out how this stuff works and make it go away.

http://www.worldpsoriasisday.com/

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IVF #2, WTF Appointment

I’ll write this post in two sections — the before and after.

BEFORE:

Tomorrow, we go for our WTF (Why The Fail, a translation for those faint of heart) appointment.  I have some prediction for what the RE will say/recommend:

  • Donor eggs
  • Surrogacy (technically, gestational carrier)
  • Just do it again — it’ll work… eventually.  Blather, blather, 66% of couples, blather, blather, 3 IVF tries.

I just don’t think I’m going to do any of those.  Here’s my reason why, in order:

  • Why would donor eggs help?  It’s my body that’s killing my perfectly good embryos.
  • Yes, surrogacy would increase our chances.   But I’ve only made 3-5 eggs, which means it would be a ONE SHOT deal.  That’d be fine if it cost a reasonable amount of money.  It doesn’t.  We’d be paying completely out-of-pocket, which would be about $50,000 from what I’ve seen online.
  • Do it again?  I don’t think I can.  Emotionally, I’m done.  I have zero hope and positive energy left for my body’s ability to carry a child.  Physically, it’s really hard.  I hate the hormones raging and falling.  I still have lumps in my butt.  My skin is flaring, though thankfully not as bad as last time.  Monetarily, we’re wiped.  I can’t justify spending one more penny on something that has so little chance of success.  We’re not millionaires, and we don’t have money to keep throwing into my ovaries/butt. 🙂

So, there’s where I am today, the day before.  I’ll update once I see the RE tomorrow, though I think not much will have changed.

I have already had my period, which was a relief.  Last time, it took over a week to start and it was REALLY painful.

I’ve also spent hours and hours reading books about adoption.  I am completely overwhelmed.  I can’t even make a basic decision about domestic vs. international.  I have no idea if I care about age or gender or sibling groups.  I don’t know what special needs really means.  I’m not sure how I feel about transracial adoption (I know I don’t have a problem with it, but I don’t know how I think the child will feel).  I wonder if fostering is a terrible idea.
Some days (most of the time, I’m not), I feel really bitter about women who tried for a few months and then got pregnant and never every had to worry about any of this stuff.  Today is one of those days.   See the funny/wonderful e-card to the side.  I’d like to have that message in a t-shirt.  Or, maybe I could have it as a business card, which I could pull out, then slap someone who tells me that I’m not pregnant because it’s not part of some completely f-ed up plan or something equally ridiculous.  I saw that e-card over on JJiraffe’s blog and you can find the link to the card here.

AFTER:

Well, I was right.  Those were the three suggestions.  For the do it again, the RE said that if I did it again, I’d do the lupron stuff in addition to the antagonist protocol. I don’t know what that means.  Also, the spotting I had on both that went away probably indicates that the embryos tried to implant and then stopped growing.  As I expected.

Once we mentioned surrogacy, that was it for the discussion of me getting pregnant.  I really think the RE doesn’t believe my immune system will let me get pregnant.  It’s just stopping anything from growing and developing.  Damn you ridiculous immune system.  Didn’t you get the memo?

Anyway, DH and I talked about the surrogacy option, but it just seems too complicated.  Using an agency is too expensive ($25 – 50 grand).  Finding a family member or friend sounds great, until you think about how that would really work out.  What if she got pre-eclampsia?  What if she blamed me for some issue that was created during the pregnancy?  What if, and this is the big one, we spend another $15 – 20 grand and she still doesn’t get pregnant?  Or miscarries?  What kind of guilt and hard feelings might that create?  It’s just too expensive and too risky.

After a brief, but good, conversation with DH, I think we’re going to move towards adoption and adoption through fostering.  This is a new plan and one that I need to spend more time with, but it’s a plan I feel most drawn to right now.

So… after is just like before, except this time, I feel like I can actually make a plan. That plan may change, my world may take over my plans, but I can at least make a plan and move forward.

Now… to figure that plan out!

 

When you need to drink wine…

So, I’ve been gluten free for exactly 2 weeks today.  Mostly gluten free I should say, since I forgot that there is gluten in gravy and on the french fried onion string things.  But other than that, gluten free.  I’m not doing this for a real gluten allergy that I think might be happening, but because I read something about gluten and psoriasis.  My psoriasis is still completely nuts after those steroids from that IVF cycle back in August.  I’m desperate to do anything to get it back to its usual state of just really annoying.  So, it’s back to bleach baths (mmm, yes, that bleach-y smell you’re smelling, that’s me!) and now I’m adding in avoiding gluten.  If the weather stays nice, I might have to sunbathe in November (yes, one of the many perks of living in the South — this is a possibility).

So, this former beer-with-dinner girl is now a I’d like a glass of Pinot Gringio, please with dinner gal.  See, I don’t really like wine that much and definitely don’t like red wine (if that’s the secret to getting implantation to work, I’m SOL), so the only thing I can stand is really cold Pinot Grigio.  Liquor gives me a headache. Beer is full of gluten (though I hear there is gluten free beer available somewhere). So, wine it is.  I could just not drink anything, I suppose.  But damn, there are babies all over the world (except in my uterus), I have a million papers to grade, my house is a neverending mess, one of my students called two VPs to complain about me not getting back in touch with her (I guess emailing her back 8 hours after she wrote me the first time was too much of a delay), and sometimes a girl just needs a glass of wine.

Speaking of babies, this baby should win the prize for the cutest baby ever.  I mean, come on, even if you are a proud momma and think your baby is cute… you gotta admit, this baby just might be a little bit cuter.  Look at that face!  I’m totally in love with this baby.

There will be time, there will be time

And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window panes;         25
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;         30
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

That quote above is from “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” one of my all time favorite poems.  It’s so sad and so frustrating, yet also so beautiful and lyrical.

I was thinking of this poem because we changed our minds about the IVF cycle and decided to do the March/April cycle instead of the January/February one.  There are many reasons, but I guess these are the main ones:

  • I’m still 10 pounds (instead of 15, yay!) heavier than when I started the first IVF.  That is still about 50 pounds over where I should be and where I’d be happiest.
  • I still have this dream/hope/unrealistic notion that maybe I can get pregnant without IVF, and I’d have only had one chance to try that idea out if we do the January cycle.  Doing the March instead means we have November, December  and January to try.  Yes, I know that I have DOR (diminished ovarian reserve) and that I should be anxious about time.  But I have to also not be too hasty.
  • Partly money.  Doing IVF right now means we’d be completely strapped until February next year.  That’s not comfortable.
  • Mostly TIME.  I’m going to try to graduate in May.  That means I have to collect all my data and write 3 chapters of my dissertation by March and defend BY April.  The sooner the better with all that dissertation stuff though, since potentially, I’ll spend most of March and April in IVF land.  When I think back to this summer, I can’t really remember what IVF was like.  It’s like my brain is refusing to capture all of that. I do remember that it took a lot of time.
“There will be time, there will be time…”  Who knew that time would start to seem so short already, that I’d feel like I’m running out of time for my own life.  I’m 34, not 94, but I still feel like I don’t have enough time in my life for all the things I want to have happen in my life.
 I’ll be  in the official 35 and over category the next time I’m going into that egg retrieval/egg transfer phase and get to hear all the statistics about that.  Probably means she’ll put every embryo that happens back up in there and I’ll end up as the new Kate.  If that happens, I’m definitely getting a personal trainer and a chef.  I wanna look good on E!

3 Days Till Doomsday

I go into find out the news of my bloodwork on Friday.  I’m so worried that the RE’s going to say that I’m so completely fucked up that there’s no help for me.  I can’t even think about what all could be wrong — killer cells,  clotting factors, MTHFR (or something like that), ANA, TNF,  and a whole bunch of other letters that mean my immune system just doesn’t work right.

I woke up this morning and felt like someone had dropped a brick on my head.  Now, I think I have a cold.  Can worry cause you to get a cold?  I bet it can.

Some good reading out there now:  Hanna Wept, Sarah Laughed

And, just because today feels pretty heavy…

Fat Injection

So, I went for my “failed IVF appointment” today (they love the phrase “failed IVF” there). I went in with the negative reviews floating in the the back of my mind, but, really, the whole office was great.  I think the negative reviews I talked about last time are from people who don’t understand the process and that sometimes when we’re all stressed out, it seems like a good idea to think “they should’ve done more” but that may not be possible or reasonable.  The RE was totally nice, offered lots of options, listened to me and was, in general, awesome.

The verdict seems to be that my wonky immune system is striking again.  Because, you know, the gift of psoriasis at age 5 and psoriatic arthritis at age 17 weren’t enough… we have to add this little complication in the mix.

It looks like my body is likely stopping implantation.  I do have “slightly older ovaries,” but my eggs were all metaphase 2 (or something) and “perfect.”  Combined with the 80% fertilization rate, and you have the makings for a good baby…in other ladies.

I have another big round of bloodwork  (my “failed IVF bloodwork,” they call it) coming up, this time looking for Natural Killer Cells (scary sounding, isn’t it?) and other immuno issues.  I have to fast for 16 hours again (such fun)  before the bloodwork, then make an appointment for follow up after that.

Then, depending on what that says, I’ll be changing the protocol next time.  To include:

FAT INJECTION.

No, I’m not kidding.  Next time, I’ll add in having fat directly infused into my body because it’s supposed to help immuno challenged ladies like me.  Who knew?  I didn’t. In all my blog reading and IVF research, I never saw anything about being injected with fat to help get pregnant.  But, apparently, it works for lots of women.  So, now, I have a new search word and new blogs to catch up on.

You’d think, if you saw me, that I already have enough fat cells, but apparently, getting them IV infused is a bit different than just eating 6 Krispy Kreme doughnuts every 20 minutes or something.  Mmm, doughnuts.  Since I’m doing weightwatchers again, I think just writing about doughnuts means I’ve used my extra points for the week or something.