Tuesday, November 16, 2010

P!nk or Blue?

Congratulations to P!nk and her husband--they're having a baby! It sounds like she's due around the time I am expecting Pepita. I was patiently waiting to hear what celebrity's pregnancy I'd be tracking with my own. I'm glad it is someone like P!nk because I doubt she'll be over the top. She seems reasonably normal and down to earth. I'd invite her to join my play group if she lived nearby.

I'm hoping she shares her pregnancy work out tips. Less exciting will be to see how quickly she loses the baby weight.

She too said she won't find out if it's a girl or boy. Raise your glass to being surprised!

Royal Pain

Congratulations to Prince William and Kate Middleton on their engagement. I don't envy Kate. On the news they addressed her as the oldest woman to marry into the royal family as though she's an old bat. She's only 29. Then they went on to talk about how the world will expect children right away. Three years ago I would have said, what's the big deal? Everyone loves babies! She'll have all sorts of "help" and all the finest baby necessities. Why wouldn't they have a baby right away?

Now I know better. First, it's no ones business when a couple is ready to have children--even if they are to be the King and Queen. Second, biology sometimes doesn't behave. Talk about pressure.

I suddenly became so thankful that not only am I not in the public eye but that my family has never put pressure on me to have a baby. I am very self-conscious of the fact that many people stare at my belly these days. However, who can blame them, it looks like I ate a grapefruit whole. I am pregnant and I dislike the stares--because I'm not "out" to the world yet. I can't imagine what it would be like if all eyes were on my belly for the last few years while we were trying.

Yet another reason why I wouldn't make a good Queen-to-be.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

13th Week Update

I found this on one of the blogs that I follow and decided to "steal" the idea and add some of my own categories:

How Far Along: 13 weeks and 4 days

Next Big Appt/Milestone: Level II Ultrasound/Nuchal Screening tomorrow

Weight Gain: a few pounds since starting treatments 2+ years ago but no weight gain since BFP

Physical symptoms: still nauseated but less than before; always hungry but unable to find food that sounds appealing; trouble sleeping but was never a good sleeper

Cravings: Anything with fake cheese flavor--like Pirate's Booty; Applesauce; pasta

Food Aversions: Meat and chicken; yogurt; ice cream; vegetables

Maternity Clothes: I bought my first pair of maternity Citizens of Humanity jeans. I plan to live in them the next few months as my current jeans are all getting too tight. Otherwise, struggling to keep my secret at work by wearing clothes that are comfortable but not super loose.

Exercise: None other than the occasional walk with a friend

Gender: Not finding out...at least that's the plan for now, no promises

Who I've told: My parents; Max's brother and his wife; our priest; a few friends that have also struggled with infertility; random people I don't know like the lady at the maternity shop, the lady coming to measure for curtains, etc.

Who we'll tell next: Max's parents next time we see them; my boss if all goes well tomorrow; all other friends; and, last but not least: my sister at Thanksgiving

How many people have asked me if I'm pregnant: 1, and I changed the subject

Number of belly stares I get each day: about 100

Emotions: Still scared but a little less anxious with each week that passes

How Max is doing: Seems to be doing great--rubs my belly a lot and talks about Pepita constantly; jokes about how he'll be sleeping in the new guest house one the crying baby arrives

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Meet Pepita!

The ultrasound today put me more at ease. It's hard to go three weeks without seeing the little pepita. It's easy to worry about everything. Nausea becomes extreme hunger--is that normal? I don't wake up to pee in the middle of the night--does that mean something is wrong?

Little Pepita continues to grow and move around in my belly. As you can see in the photo to the right, "she" (we won't find out her sex but given the nickname we refer to her as a girl) has arms and legs. Heartbeat was strong at 152. She was dancing and doing somersaults so it was hard for my doctor to take measurements. She's measuring on target and looks happy in there.

Next week I'll have the level 2 ultrasound for the NT screening. I'm happy to get a chance to see her again soon.

My baby belly is definitely more obvious now but still keeping things mum.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

IVF and the Misconceptions

Today while driving to work I listened to my normal morning radio show--Fernando & Greg on a Bay Area station. I enjoy their banter and perspective on the world as two gay men--especially when it comes to celebrity gossip. They are open-minded, hilarious, and seem like genuinely nice people.

This morning, however, I found their show less amusing. In the "celebrity scoop" they read a story about Mariah Carey and the pregnancy rumors. Apparently, there are reports that she is pregnant after undergoing IVF. The djs' responses were that of surprise and jest because she's married to Nick Cannon--a guy in his early twenties. Why would she need IVF? Maybe she was just too busy with other things was another comment.

It's probably safe to say that Fernando and Greg know very little about IVF. Husband is too young to have issues in that department? If only age was the only culprit. She's too busy and so she decides to do IVF? That is what set me off...are you kidding me? IVF is like a full-time job for must of us. The number of doctor appointments, calls to insurance, ordering meds....the list is endless.

While I don't believe Fernando and Greg meant to be judgemental or hurtful, I wish that story had read differently. Maybe something like:

Congratulations to Mariah Carey! She's pregnant after a long journey of trying to start her family. Like many women, she went through IVF. You go girl!

This really reminded me that people have all sorts of misconceptions about IVF and there's so much to be learned. I appreciate people like Giuliana Rancic and Celine Dion for talking openly about their struggles to conceive and taking some of the stigma away.

Hopefully more people in the public eye will help get the word out--maybe even Mariah?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I just received the greatest text message--my dear friend just got a positive test result after struggling with infertility for years also. It's the message I was praying I'd get this week. It's hard to explain but in a way I felt like I was waiting for my own result because I know so well what she's been going through.

I hope she can put the fear and anxiety aside for a bit and enjoy this amazing feeling. I struggled with that. I jumped for joy when I got the call and then my fear took over. I wish I could feel what other "newly pregnant" women get to feel--shock but incredible excitemet and wonder.

Sadly, infertility does make us extra anxious. We've worked SO HARD to get to this place that we don't allow ourselves to get too excited. We know too much. We think too much. We've forgotten what pure elation feels like.

The good news is that we will feel that pure elation when we hold our newborn babies in our arms.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Took your advice...

...we told my parents our news over the weekend while visiting DC!
We were unsure if we would since it's still very early (9 weeks tomorrow!)but our ultrasound last week confirmed everything is right on track.

At dinner Saturday night Max ordered a bottle of cava (Spanish version of champagne). Only three flutes arrived. The fourth came moments later filled with Sprite for me. I told my parents we were working hard to practice our Spanish as we only have 8 months. Then I handed my mother an envelop with a picture of our latest ultrasound.

They were thrilled! My mother promised to keep our secret but we are doubtful that she'll be able to resist telling.

Our next announcement will be on Thanksgiving at my sister's house. Otherwise, we've decided to let me growing belly spread the word.

Other updates: my first OB appointment is on Monday; morning sickness continues but some days are much more bearable than others; my belly is huge by night-time; lastly, "Pipa" is now "Pepita" because Max learned that pipa is something you smoke unless it's plural--then it's "seeds".

Monday, September 27, 2010

Belly Stares

I'm starting to get questioning looks. A girl at work complimented my black dress today and her stare lingered at my belly. The dress is plain and I've worn it a bunch of times. Hmm....

It doesn't seem right that I'm still not in the "clear" but my belly is starting to spread the news. Despite only being 7 weeks along, it looks like I swallowed an eggplant.

It is definitely time to implement the "decoy" (see entry from last week).

I haven't started waddling yet but I'm sure it's only a matter of weeks.

To Tell or Not To Tell?

We are headed to Washington, DC this weekend. He has to go for work and since he's my injection administrator, I bought a ticket to go with him months ago--in case we were doing another round of shots. Luckily, I'm hopefully done with injections for a while and can just enjoy a fun weekend away with him.

I convinced my parents to come spend the weekend with us. Since they live in New York and we live in California I welcome any opportunity to see them outside of the regular Christmas and annual summer visits.

Last month, I kept thinking, "Wouldn't it be great if we had news to share with them in DC!" I could tell them in person, which otherwise would be a rare opportunity.

Now that I have good news to share I'm conflicted. Max would prefer that we wait because next weekend I'll still only be 8 weeks along. However, he's leaving it up to me. Part of me thinks that if Friday's second ultrasound goes well, I may spill the beans this weekend. The other part of me thinks it would be hilarious to wait until Christmas when hopefully my belly will speak for itself.

Talk about extremes! The middle ground, and what we'll probably choose, is to skype with them on Thanksgiving while visiting my sister and her family. That way we can tell everyone together and no one (except us) will need to keep a secret.

That brings us to my husband's very large family--he's the youngest of eight; there are a dozen nieces and nephews on that side; and, we're the last hope for more babies. I'd rather tell them all at once too to avoid a game of "telephone" where the story is that I'm now having quintuplets. It sounds like we may need to host a family dinner in early December after I tell my family on Thanksgiving.

And, what about close friends and coworkers? Can I tell them before my own parents? They see me everday and if they haven't already, they'll start noticing a growing belly. But for now, I'll keep chomping on pretzels and saltines and hope no one asks me inappropriate questions about my growing waistline.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Two Against One

They said it would happen. I hoped they were wrong and that I'd be immune. The morning sickness has settled in and like an annoying relative sleeping on your couch, she's not showing any signs of leaving anytime soon. She lingers around day and night and is only appeased with saltines and pretzels.

Yes, overall this is a welcome feeling. It reminds me that I am finally pregnant. It's real! It gives me comfort that things are happening in my body--some more pleasant than others.

I try not to complain about it. As Max reminds me when I "report" on my nausea, we worked so hard to get to this place--dry heaving and all.

Last night the ravenous belly struck again. It usually happens as I climb into bed upon returning from the ceremonial middle of the night pee.

Last night I was desperate and couldn't handle the hunger pains so I bumped my way to the kitchen, tore open a new sleeve of saltines (like an addict pushing her way to her drug) and returned to bed.

Max is very tidy. Max DOES NOT support eating in bed....ever. He insisted that I get out of bed and eat in the kitchen or another approved eating location.

I refused and said, "It's two against one now. We want crackers and they are staying."

To which he replied, "It's starting already?"

Yes, Pipa is already taking my side and Pipa loves snacks in bed.

Monday, September 20, 2010


For the last two plus years of trying to conceive I've been thinking about a great trick to outsmart co-workers that suspect pregnancy.

In our work bathroom there is a tray of tampons and maxi pads near the sink. Starting next week, whenever there are other people (that I know) I am going to reach for a tampon before heading into the stall.

C'mon, isn't that brilliant?!


Today we saw Pipa (pronounced pee-pa) and its heartbeat. Sigh....
I feel some relief. I also feel more nausea. Not that I'm complaining...yet.

Pipa is measuring well based on the calendar. We get to see her/him again October 1.

BTW, Pipa is what we call our embryo since it means fruit seed (or pit!) in Spanish. Someone told me that language is discernable in utero. We have been speaking more and more Spanish in our home in hopes that Pipa can start learning it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Long Wait

I'm finding that waiting for my first ultrasound is much harder than the 2ww. It's hard to not get ahead of myself and think about a due date, a baby-moon, maternity leave, strollers, etc.

Then there are the fears--should I have insisted on a third beta? Is this cramping a bad sign? Why don't I feel nauseated today?

I try hard to "forget" that I had two good betas. However, the frequent peeing and the cramping remind me.

I'm starting to understand why Tom Cruise had an ultrasound machine at home while Katie was pregnant. I'd be peeking at the little orange seed every day to say hello.

I'm praying we get good news at Monday's ultrasound and that some of my fears will be relieved.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Stock up and Save!

When I was about 13 years old I became obsessed with store circulars that come in the Sunday newspaper--especially those for drugstores like CVS, Walgreens, etc. So many things on sale!

It is here that I learned the wonderful concept of "stock up and save". You could pay half price on staples like toothpaste and toilet paper--only catch, you had to buy half a dozen.

I remember being a teenager and wondering why do home pregnancy tests go on sale? Stock up and save on home pregnancy tests? Since when are HPTs "staples"? That sounded like only something promiscuous girls would find to be a great bargain.

Some context to help you: I was a very sheltered child. In my pea-sized brain, one (usually a teenage girl) bought a home pregnancy test because she was "late". No one ever hoped the test would be positive. Positive results were always feared.

Fast-forward 15 years: The store circular obsession continues and I still consider "reading the paper" to be thumping through the circulars to see this week's deals. However, over the last few years I raced to the "feminine" section of the flyer hoping ovulation predictor kits and home pregnancy tests were on sale. Unlike the teenage girls, I prayed I'd get a positive result. Home testing kits have become a staple in my house.

For the first time last night, I used an HPT and got the result I had been wanting for years. Yes, I had already had two beta tests which showed positive but I peed on a stick for the ceremonial aspect.

I danced into the living room and showed Max the stick. We squealed with joy and took pictures of it. It wasn't exactly as I had fantasized (since we knew the answer) but fun nonetheless.

I'll probably still continue to buy HPTs when they are a good price because I think they have a long shelf life.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Dumb Luck

Today I got good news. I passed! This first round at least. We have a few more big milestones ahead. Just knowing that I can get a positive beta is a big step for me. We've had no reason to believe that could happen and ample reasons to doubt it. I'm trying to remain cautiously optimistic.

For the cermonial aspect, part of me wants to rush into the bathroom and pee on a stick. I've never seen one go positive (except ovulation sticks but they don't count) and feel like it's a necessary step and one that I may regret missing. For once I'd like to scream, "It has two lines! It has two lines!". But, I'm refraining. I'm also refraining from screaming out in the streets like I predicted I would when I finally got good news. Trying to remain cautiously optimistic.

Back to the test taking analogy: remember that annoying classmate that used to say she was so sure she failed a test and then turned around and got an A+? Don't worry, I don't feel like her today. I feel like the stupid kid that happen to get really lucky in guessing most of the questions on the test correctly. The kid that knows that luck may or may not follow him to the next test and therefore isn't applying to Harvard just yet.

Monday, September 6, 2010


The night before a big school exam did you ever have that dream where you show up to the test without a pencil? Or, you're two hours late and the test is long done? Or, the teacher hands you the test and it seems to be written in gibberish because you don't understand a darn thing?

Or, you're just plain unprepared and know there's no way you're going to do well? That's how I feel tomorrow's beta test will go. I feel unprepared. I did all that I could but I'm still doubtful that I'll pass. I have no pregnancy symptoms and all the symptoms that AF is near.

There's a lot riding on this test. But, I've come to terms with the fact that I may need to prep some more and take a redo in a few months. If I do fail tomorrow's test I'll know that it wasn't due to lack of effort or not wanting this more than anything. I'll know that I have the support and determination to try again and not accept defeat.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

When I grow up...

I wanna be famous
I wanna be a star
I wanna be in movies

When I grow up
I wanna see the world
Drive nice cars
I wanna have groupies
("When I Grow Up" by the Pussycat Dolls)

Even though it's not my dream to be famous and have groupies, I love that song!

I thought of it this morning as I was getting ready for another day at the office. My current job is definitely NOT what I sang about when I was young. I work for a technology company in Silicon Valley. I don't have much to complain about, I'm employed, I make a good living, my hours are good, and I *sometimes* feel like I'm adding value. Mostly, it's a paycheck that I can't pass up.

As a child playing with dolls I never dreamed of working in Corporate America. I played school. I played library. I played "store". I was intrigued by jobs where one would scan things and use a register. Another dream job was to follow in Malibu Barbie's footsteps and have a dozen kids that I'd shuttle around town.

Post-doll playing years and after graduating from college, I still always thought my job would be to be a mom--just like my own mom. But unlike her, I'd probably be less Mrs. Cleaver and more Mrs. Brady. I'd work for a while, save some money, get married and have babies. Depending on my financial situation, maybe I'd work part-time, maybe I wouldn't work at all while the kids were young.

Because I moved to San Francisco at 22 and wanted to be finanically independent, I opted to stay in business instead of following my teacher/librarian/store clerk dreams. I also knew this business job would be temporary so it worked "for now". Needless to say, I've been in this job two years too many.

Having a baby isn't my "out" of a bad job. Having a baby means I get to start my dream career. I liken it to Max's job. What if he went to med school, did his residency only to find out he then had to wait indefinitely to get his dream job. No one could tell him why he couldn't get a job, he just had to be patient and HOPEFULLY one would appear.

Granted, babysitting is not nearly the preparation that medical school is, but you get the idea. I'm not asking to be a professional athlete or singer--jobs that I know are very hard to obtain despite great talent. I want to do a job that many people get to do every second of every day--willingly and not. I want to do a job that biology says I should be able to do. Biology aside, I am qualified for this job and think I'd love it.

Instead, I'm going to work every day while I wait--waiting for the day I get to start my real career. I do my current job well but there's no question that my aspirations to climb up the ladder here are limited. I see it as a paycheck, medical benefits (although fertilty benefits have just run out...sigh), and something to do. Boy, I hope my boss doesn't read this...

I considered leaving my current profession last year when I got laid off. It seemed like a good time to re-evaluate my career goals and find a job I was passionate about or to stop working altogether. It was a sign. But, we had just bought our first house, we were one year into trying to conceive, and I got tempted by an offer that was too good to pass up...financially, at least. Eleven months later, no baby. Still in the same crappy cubicle.

I feel very fortunate to have a husband that supports me in my career choice. He has a hard time understanding why I stay in a field that I'm not passionate about but that's because he's in a job he loves. Proof of that is he would do his job for free--and has! I would NEVER in a million years volunteer to do my job. In fact, I probably wouldn't even take a pay cut. Max has told me to quit if that's what I need to do. He has encouraged me to find something that will be more enjoyable. He is also supportive of my decision to become a stay-at-home mom (or work part-time) when the time comes. We are lucky to have saved our pennies and that his job can support us both, if needed. Given the high cost of living in the Bay Area, I appreciate this much more than Barbie ever did. Frankly, she probably took Ken's job for granted.

I know that many women feel that becoming a stay-at-home-mom puts women at risk of being financially dependent on men. In some cases, I would agree. For me, I'm happy to have that as an option while my chidren are young. Being financially dependent on Max doesn't worry me. He's dependent on me now and will be even more when we have children. We have a partnership. Plus, if necessary, I would go back to work and know that I would be able to provide for my family financially--though it may mean moving to a different town.

For now, I'll sing:

When I grow up
I wanna be pregnant
I wanna be a mommy
I wanna be in playgroups

When I grow up
I wanna see the playground
Drive nice strollers
I wanna have babies

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Art of Optimism

In middle school I was part of the Forensics team. No, not studying crime scenes. I wish. It was basically a public speaking team. Yours truly was never much of an athlete but boy can I enunciate! That's right, we competed on how well we could recite or read speeches, stories, etc.

One of the speeches I memorized and then recited (all 1,000+ words of it) was entitled "The Art of Optimism". At the age of 12, I probably chose that speech from the pile of options because it was the shortest, certainly not because it was interesting. It wasn't. Ironically, despite committing it to memory, presenting it and winning a trophy at an early age none of it stuck. I've grown up to be a pessimist.

I prepare for doomsday. I live in a world of "just in case". At home I stockpile food in the event of an earthquake; at work I always explore the worst case scenario and how someone might find a way to sue us; I bring an umbrella with me on every trip, just in case; on the plane, I carry several meals--what if the plane is delayed and I miss dinner!

I like to be prepared. I hate surprises.

Sometimes this over-preparedness is a positive quality--and maternal, in my mind. However, most of the time it prevents me from living in the moment. I am always worried about the what-ifs and therefore spontaneity is hard to come by. It also means that I'm always thinking about negative things--those worst case scenarios. Wow, don't I sound fun!

This personality trait has certainly reared it's stubborn head during my struggles with infertility. Each month I fear the end of the two week wait (2WW). Most women can hardly wait to pee on that little stick. Not me. I dread it. I know what the stick is going to say. It's always said the same thing. I prepare myself emotionally and get the sadness out of the way a few days before I'm due to test. It doesn't mean I'm not devasted when I do finally pee on the stick and see the answer. It means it's not really a surprise. It means I fully expected it to be negative. The only surprise would be if it were positive. For someone who hates surprises, that's the best surprise I could ever get. Other than when Max proposed in Paris years ago...that was by far the best surprise of my life.

This 2WW is especially excrutiating because it's my first IVF cycle. I have no symptoms that indicate the remote chance of a good surprise next week. This cycle was it! We brought in the big guns. It's high stakes.

I know I need to try to stay positive for Thing 1 and Thing 2 so they will be happy in my belly and unstressed. However, I also need to get ready for next week's bad news. If I lead myself to think there's a good chance I'll be pregnant, I'll be even more crushed. Somehow spacing it out over time makes it seem less painful.

One way of coping is by having the next thing lined up. When a vacation is about to end, thinking about the next one that is planned months away keeps me positive so I can enjoy those last days. Similarly, before each cycle ends I need to know what our plan is for the next one. Knowing there's a plan, knowing we're prepared is comforting because it means we can avoid wasting time. I'm learning that fertility doctors like all doctors (Max included) like their patients to think about things one day at a time. Let's not rush to conclusions. Let's not jump to Plan B until we know it's necessary.

For me, it's a coping strategy. I'm already looking at the calendar to see when I may be able to start my next IVF cycle (October?), if there is to be one.

Let me give something new a try:

I will be pregnant on Tuesday when I have my beta. I am pregnant now. And, when this little baby is born I will be forced to live in the moment. Despite my efforts, I won't be able to plan everything. I will be late to appointments due to unexpected events like an over-sleeping baby; I will sometimes forget to pack goldfish when we go to the park; I will forget a change of clothes and baby will have to wear a dirty shirt. And, everything will be perfect.

Fingers crossed that this pessimist will be reformed once and for all...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mirror, Mirror On the Wall...

...which is the fairest embryo of them all?

How fitting that as my embryologist was judging my embryos post retrieval, Miss Universe was being crowned this weekend.

There were a few standouts in the beauty category and some of my embryos did better in the talent competition than others. A few divided to eight cells by day three but, most did not.

On Tuesday two of my prettiest and most talented were crowned with the ultimate honor of embryo transfer. I affectionately refer to them as Thing 1 & Thing 2.

Here's hoping that just like Miss Mexico, Thing 1 & Thing 2 fulfill their duties as beauty queens. Miss Mexico will proudly wear her sash as she "helps people" and my embryos will implant nicely in my womb.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

If You Build It, They Will Come

My field of dreams is my backyard. Last summer we bought a pretty little house a few minutes away from Stanford University. The perfect first house--a short bike ride commute for Max, a beautiful yard for children to play in, a grove of Redwoods to shade us from the warm California summer, and most importantly potential to expand as our family would. We knew (hoped) we'd outgrow it quickly so we decided to expand our three bedroom house by building a guest house in the backyard. A casita for my parents when they visit from New York, an office for Max to escape to when the kids and I won't let him do his work, or maybe even a house for a future Spanish speaking au pair.

Construction started the same week that my stimulating hormones began. How appropriate! Remember how I love signs? Building a house, building a baby...makes sense to me.

Our house currently has plenty of room for a baby (or two) but maybe this is what we needed for "them" to come. I am praying that "they" do come this cycle--maybe one, maybe two of the little embryos that we implanted this morning.

P.S. I bet Max will be very impressed by my "baseball movie" reference.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Superstitious? Me?

Yes. Very. I won't fly on Friday the 13th. I refuse to walk under scaffolding due to it's resemblance to a ladder. I blame my unexplained infertilty on having chosen children's names years ago. I spend my days reading signs, over-analyzing possible meanings and how to prevent doom.

So, you can only imagine my disappointment upon hearing today's news report about a major egg recall. What??? Bad eggs?? Please tell me this is a joke.

My 11 beautiful (we hope) eggs are warming and growing under lights as we speak. Please don't let this be a sign.

No worries, the news report didn't rattle me completely. After the initial disbelief, I went back to feeling optimistic and light as a feather.

Literally, light as a feather. Relatively speaking. After months of feeling bloated and puffy, I had a skinny day. That alone is reason to celebrate.

Here's praying my eggs don't get recalled tomorrow morning during my fertilty report.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Dozen Minus One

Yesterday's egg retrieval went much better than I imagined. When I woke up I feared the day would never end.

Keeping our sense of humor even in the most stressful of situations we joked that it was a good thing we were the only retrieval of the day so there wouldn't be opportunity for a mix up.

As expected the worst part for me was the IV. No, I still haven't gotten used to being picked and prodded. After some whimpering I let the nurse do her job. I was ready for the meds!

My husband, Max, was with me until it was time to do the procedure. He knows (and most importantly, likes) the anesthesiologist that was assigned. That comforted me greatly. It was probably a bit awkward for Max since he operates with him often and Max (like me) has kept this journey a secret at work. For the first time I felt the benefit of switching to an RE department at his own hospital. I suddenly became calmer...or was that the drugs?

The last thing I remember before going under was the burning in my arms from the propofol. The first thing I said when I woke up was "Did I snore?" I repeated that several times. For some reason I was really concerned that maybe I had. Interestingly enough, I'm not a snorer--just s sleeptalker.

A dozen eggs were retrieved. A dozen!!! Eight wasn't enough--my ovaries decided to sprout a few more. We did a 50/50 split ICSI and natural.

Early this morning we were awakened by a nurse calling with our preliminary fertilization report. Eleven eggs were fertilized! One of the ICSI eggs didn't make it. We were very happy with that yield. Hopefully they will survive the next few days.

I know the journey is far from over but I got good news today. That good news had me giddy all day. For the first time in two years of being labeled infertile for unknown reasons, I feel like I got answers, or the beginnings of answers. I do have eggs! Now the next question that will be answered once and for all.....ARE THEY ROTTEN??? The quest continues....

Thursday, August 19, 2010

All Systems Go...

Transfer is scheduled for Saturday! I dreaded the transfer from the day I heard what it entails.

Strangely enough, just getting the opportunity to have an egg retrieval feels like a success. It's been two weeks of ups and downs--fewer follicles than expected, low levels of estradiol, slow growing follicles, finding an additional two little follicles, having good lining. The possibility of haivng the cycle canceled was devastating after so much waiting, after so many injections.

After 6 ultra-sounds, 13 days of stimulating hormones, 41 injections, 3 blood tests...I'm ready!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Can You Keep a Secret?

Apparently I can and have been for two years.

When I started this infertilty journey I learned that I could keep my mouth shut and come up with very convincing excuses for just about anything.

In general, I don't like secrets. I don't want to know that so and so is proposing next week or that someone is getting a divorce. I rather be in the dark--not because I don't want to share in the joys or be supportive during the sorrows. Sometimes it's too much responsibility to be in the know. Will I accidentally leak something? Will I not act surprised enough when the news is public?

For the first time I have a big secret. I haven't been able to get pregnant in two years of trying. I have a bloated belly covered in injection marks and bruises from the meds. I am not always as happy as I appear. I'm jealous of the girl at work having twins. There, I said it!

Hopefully, I'll have a happy secret to share very soon.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

No good very bad day

It started out okay...I was excited for my first u/s after having started my injections to see the progress. The eight follies are still there but not responding as we'd hoped. Sounds like they haven't grown much at all since last Thursday. My doctor wasn't available today so I had one of the others from the clinic doing my u/s. I felt super rushed and she didn't do much explaining--just said I need to get blood work to determine next steps and someone would call me this afternoon.

I went down to the lab and the day just got worse. The lab technician was the worst ever! I warned her that I'm very squeamish because I've been known to faint or turn green. She pricked me a bunch of times, said the vein was collapsing, threatened to have to do a second draw and left a huge bruise on my arm.

I'm hoping we don't have to cancel this cycle. Next u/s is Friday morning.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Eight Is Enough?

Yesterday I had my first u/s of this cycle and learned that I have 8 follicles--4 on each side. This number sounded low to me given what I've heard from other people that have done IVF. My doctor was also surprised based on my age. At 32 she would have expected closer to double that number. In general, eight of anything sounds like a lot to me--my husband is one of eight kids which sounds like a ton of work for his dear mother, eight day vacation seems long enough, eight cups of water in a day is a lot to consume for me, etc. But, yesterday eight sounded really measly. I had it in my head that she'd find twenty plus follicles since I've responded well to medicine in the past and my FSH levels are good. She said that eight is not a poor number but is on the lower side. There's a small chance that there are itty bitty follicles hiding from the u/s wand but I'm not holding my breath.

Yes, it does only take one but given the odds are stacked against me I need as many rolls of the dice as I can get. Plus, I'd really like to freeze some little follies for future use to avoid having to do more than one retrieval.

Eight will have to be enough. My body has decided that's all it wants to give me this cycle. Maybe they will all be all-stars. For now since there's not much I can do I will try to stay positive and pray they all do well over the next 10 days of stimulation and through the fertilization process.

I start the dreaded three injections tonight. I'm learning that I am much stronger than I thought I was but I still wail like a baby each time. I'm sure my neighbors are wondering what is going on every night at 10pm...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Do I Get A Lollipop If I Behave?

I hear some doctors reward their pint-sized patients with sweets. I don't remember getting lollipops or treats when visiting my doctor as a child--maybe just a toothbrush from the dentist. I certainly don't get now.

These days I get instructional videos on administering injections, sperm collection containers and the occasional consent form to sign. Interestingly enough, I look forward to my RE appointments despite the crappy giveaways. For some odd reason seeing what is going on inside my uterus is comforting and exciting. Maybe it's because it gives me a sense of control in what is a seemingly out of control situation.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Facebook, I Love/Hate You.

I admit, I'm a Facebook addict. I change my status only a few times a week but am on Facebook several times a day reading what other people are doing/thinking, seeing vacation photos and keeping in touch with long lost childhood friends. It keeps me entertained and connected.

While in Spain a few weeks ago we found a wallet in the street belonging to Molly, an 18 year old girl from South Carolina. Within minutes I was contacting her and her parents via Facebook letting them know we had her wallet and she could come pick it up at our hotel. I had never met this girl before but I knew her name and knew that she probably had a Facebook profile. Luckily, her parents are hip enough to have profiles too and I was able to reach out to them too. Facebook told me where her dad works and I left him a voicemail at his office. All within literally minutes. Molly had her wallet back within an hour or so.

Privacy concerns aside, the immediate sharing of information and ability to reconnect with old friends is awesome. However, at times Facebook makes infertility that much more difficult. It feels like every week, one friend or another is announcing pregnancy news. New belly photos are posted weekly. Updates on doctors visits are given. Baby name ideas are shared. And then the baby comes...baby's first day home, first trip outside, the list goes on. For the average person these bits of news are sweet and joyous. For someone that can't get pregnant despite many tries, this news is bittersweet--excitement for my friend, hope that I may be next, jealousy that it's not me...yet.

Unlike my pregnant friends, I can't really share news from my doctor appointments as a status update on Facebook. Well I suppose I could, but: "I had three good size follicles on the left side but my uterine lining looks a bit thin" doesn't have the same ring to it as: "I'm having a baby boy!". Plus, who wants to read depressing things on people's status updates? I'm sad to hear when someone's loved one is sick or dies and am eager to reach out to comfort them. But, infertility still seems "silent". It's not something I share with my 300+ "friends" on Facebook. Only a handful of my close friends know about our struggles. My willingness to share early on led friends to open up and I soon found that several of my friends were having trouble conceiving too. I wasn't the only one. It has been helpful to find support among friends. We keep each other positive and encouraged. Still of those friends, only one knows I'm trying IVF. I haven't even shared the details of our attempts with my parents or sister. They know we are trying and that's enough for now. There are times that I want to share more with my friends and family but I'm not ready yet. Unfortunately, you can't tell someone something and then hope they forget it when you decide you want it to be a secret again.

I applaud those that can share openly about their experiences with their loved ones and the world. It reminds me I'm not broken and that this condition is much more common than we all think. I religiously watched Giuliana & Bill (the reality show) each week because I could relate to their struggles. I even convinced my husband to watch with me. I remember watching Giuliana getting her HSG and thinking, "Hey, that's what I had last week!" Her openness to discuss her hardships in conceiving propelled her to the top of my favorite celebrities list. She has helped make this journey less scary for me. I don't know if she's conceived yet but I wish her all the best. Maybe she'll be the pregnant celebrity that I share a due date with!

If I had a reality show (and my husband and I often joke about it because we think our lives are hilarious) maybe I would use it to help infertilty become less taboo. But, until Hollywood calls I'll keep writing this blog and sharing anonymously. Maybe one day I'll go as far as sending this link to family and friends. I'm not ready just yet.

I doubt I'll ever open up about infertility on Facebook for the world to see. But hopefully I'll have a happy status update sometime soon that goes beyond what delicious meal my husband made for me or what awesome pants I bought at Lululemon!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Why this beef with eggs?

They've been a sworn enemy all my life. I refused to eat them as a child. I refuse to eat them still today. The consistency, the smell, the science...it all turns me off.

I remember the stink of eggs for months in my dad's car after it got egged on Halloween when I was five years old; refusing to eat my mother's Spanish omlette or cheese souffle because of the oozy egginess; and of course waiting until I was in my late twenties to crack an egg for the first time because I found no value to adding it to a recipe. I must have been desperate to make a cake...

My hatred of eggs continues. Only this time, it's my own eggs that I fear are rotten. Is that why we haven't been able to have a baby during our two years of trying? We've ruled out other possibilities and other than a luteal defect, we're both in good reproductive shape. We'll learn more as we go through our first cycle of IVF in the next few weeks.

I decided to start this blog because keeping my feelings and perpectives in a journal seemed drab. Yet, I feel the need to express myself during this very difficult time. I have found other people's blogs about infertility to be very helpful--especially when it comes to realizing that I'm not alone. I was warned about reading too much on the internet regarding the topic but I can't help myself. I'm in front of a computer all day at work and it's too tempting. Plus, what I've learned has helped me feel more in control of this situation where science is in the driver seat, not me.

As much as I hate eggs I'm learning I hate needles even more. I've always been afraid of them and panicked everytime I had a simple blood test or shot as a child. My fear has grown with age and in this case, practice hasn't made perfect. Each night my husband administers all of my injections. He's not only a very patient man when it comes to dealing with my nervous squeels, he's very talented and quick. He's a surgeon and has clearly had much practice. Good thing we're not both squeamish, I'd be doomed.

I've been on Lupron for a week and will start Menapur and Follistim on Friday. The idea of three daily injections is enough for me to want to vomit but I'm trying to take it a day at a time. I learned a technique during my last round of injectibles (with IUI). If I scream during and shortly after the injection I can tolerate the pain better. Again, good thing I have a supportive husband.

I know that this is all for a good cause...I'm trying to stay hopeful that this will be the time it works!