Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Much Merrier Christmas

Well, I just got back from my ultrasound, and we got to see the fetus and the heartbeat! The heartrate was 125. Everything was substantially bigger than last week, and it all looked good. I told the doctor that I did not want to do any more labs because it has just been pure torture, and he agreed. He said we would only do labs again if I had any spotting or problems. He said that the reason that he wasn't concerned about the drop in progesterone is because it was higher than normal last time, and now it is in a more normal range. He wants me to stay on the supplements once a day. I go for another ultrasound next Friday. He also said that I am at a higher risk for miscarriage because of the funky labs, but now that we have seen a heartbeat, the risk is substantially less. So, all in all, it is looking good, and I've got pictures to prove it. I will get them scanned and posted in a few days. Everybody have a good Christmas. I know I will now.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Crap Labs

Okay, I'm freaking out again. Today is CD34, or 6w6d. I got my labs drawn again today for beta #5. My hcg only went up to 7217 (from 1979) in 7 days. That's a doubling time of 90.54 hours. My last doubling time was only 52.69 hours. Also, my progesterone dropped from 58.9 to 30.6. That's lower than it has been at any point during this beta hell. Yet the doctor did not increase my Endometrin. My next ultrasound isn't until Wednesday, and I'm freaking out. I'm just so scared, and there's nothing I can do about it. I know that doubling times do slow down as things get further along, but they shouldn't slow down that much, and the progesterone drop really worries me. And people think the 2 week wait is bad. This is pure torture. I'll update again after the ultrasound.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

First Ultrasound

Yesterday, I went in for my 4th beta, @ 27 DPO, and my numbers rose from 220 to 1979. My doubling time for this one was 52.69 hours. A little slower than the last one, but still within a fairly normal range. The numbers are still pretty low, but it may still work out. Today, I went in for my first ultrasound, at 6w0d. We were able to see a gestational sac and yolk sac, but no heartbeat yet. It was correctly placed in the uterus, NOT ectopic, so that's good. We also saw several huge ovarian cysts, which would account for the pain I've been having, and why I feel like I'm 3 months pregnant. The largest ones were on the right side, with the biggest measuring 72mm x 75mm. That's nearly 3 inches across! And there were more that were only a little smaller than that. Hopefully they will resolve soon. I go back for beta #5 on Monday 12/22, @ 34 DPO. Then I go for my next ultrasound on 12/24 @7w1d. Hopefully we will be able to see a heartbeat by then. Brad will get to go with me to that one, since it is on Christmas Eve and he is off that day. I also found out something odd that I didn't know. My Mom went with me to my appointment today, and when she was looking at their website to get directions, she saw the list of doctors in the office. Apparently, one of the other doctors (Dr. Vaughn) was the doctor who delivered me when I was born. Kinda weird, huh? And since my doctor will out of town next week, he will be the one doing my ultrasound. Mom's going to that one too, so she can say hi to him. I guess that's what they call full circle. Strange.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Getting Better

I went for my 3rd beta today, at 20DPO, and in 4 days, it went from 56 up to 220. My doubling time has gone down to 49.14 hours, from 66.68 hours on the last one. It looks like things are picking up speed. My doctor said to be cautiously optimistic. The numbers are still low, but at least they are doubling properly. Hopefully things will pick up even more. I go for another beta on Monday 12/15 at 27 DPO. Then I am scheduled for an ultrasound on 12/16, which will be 6wks exactly. Hopefully we will be able to see something by then.

Friday, December 5, 2008

First Two Betas

I had my first beta on Tuesday. My HCG was 34, Progesterone 43.0, and Estradiol 1130. The doctor's office said the HCG was a little low, but not too worrisome, and the others were fine. On Thursday, I had my second beta. It was much more worrisome. The progesterone was fine at 49.7, but the HCG only went up to 56, instead of at least doubling like it should have. My doctor's office said that the absolute, bare minimum increase would need to be 2/3, and it did go up by two thirds, exactly. My doubling time is currently 66.68 hours, where 48 hours or less is ideal.

So what all that means is that it's a crapshoot whether or not this pregnancy will survive or fail. It could go either way, but a miscarriage or ectopic is probably more likely. I go for another beta on Monday 12/8/08, and that will tell us more. Needless to say, I'm pretty bummed that things are so uncertain, and the waiting is killing me. It's way worse than the two week wait before you find out if you're pregnant. Then you're either pregnant or not, but no life hangs in the balance. Right now, I am pregnant, but the two possibilities are live baby or miscarriage, and that's harder to take. So until Monday, I'm going to lay around the house and eat copious amounts of very chocolatey ice cream, and nobody can stop me or even fault me for it.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Two Lines!

I'm scheduled to go for bloodwork tomorrow, and I swore I was not going to cheat and pee on a stick. However, at work today, the waiting was making me crazy, and the girls at work were like, "Why don't you just go pee on a stick?" So I folded. I have no self control. I went to Wal-Mart on my lunch break and bought pee sticks. I did one in the bathroom at work. There are two lines, people! I'm knocked up! Holy shit, Batman! I'm so excited! Of course, now everybody knows. I do realize that something could still go wrong, and that a positive pregnancy test does not necessarily equal a take-home baby, but this is the furthest we have ever gotten. It is a step in the right direction. So I will go for bloodwork tomorrow, and probably again on Thursday, then probably an ultrasound sometime in the next few weeks to check for the heartbeat(s).

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

New Tortures...

...Because the old tortures just weren't good enough. Yesterday, I was in the shower getting cleaned up for the IUI, when the doctor's office calls to ask me if I can come in for the IUI 15 minutes early. Now anybody who knows me understands that for me to get anywhere even *on time* takes an act of God. But I say OK, and make it there 15 minutes ahead of schedule, as requested. I walk in, sign in, use the restroom, and then sit down in the waiting room... for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes of waiting, my phone rings, and it is my nurse calling to ask if I am coming in for my IUI. I explain to her that I have been sitting in the waiting room for half an hour, and yes, I do still want an IUI. Apparently, the front desk girl forgot to let anybody know that I was there. Ughh!

So then I go back, and she does an ultrasound first, and says that it looks like I probably ovulated 3-5 eggs. All the while she is very sweet to me, probably because of the fact that the waiting room incident pissed me off so bad that I looked like I was going to eat her for lunch. Then she does the IUI, and explains about the newest form of torture they have devised for me. I thought that the next two weeks I would get off scot-free. I was actually looking forward to the 2ww. But no, it can't be that easy. Since I started my period early last cycle, starting on Friday I get to do progesterone suppositories every night when I go to bed. Yuck. That grosses me out worse than the Follistim shots every day. But I really didn't wan't to do the progesterone-in-oil shots either, so I didn't argue. But it won't keep me from whining about the ickyness of vaginal suppositories, either. Blech! I go for a pregnancy test on December 2. Maybe we'll get lucky this time. But hopefully not too lucky. One or two would really make me happy. But I will take what I can get, and go from there.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Cycle Update

Sorry I haven't updated in a while. Things have been kind of hectic, what with doctors visits every three days. So here is the condensed version of the latest visits. On Monday, 11/10, I went back for another follicle check, and I was still showing 18 follicles: Right - 12,10,8,7,7,7,6,6,5,5,5mm Left - 9,9,8,7,6,5,5mm Endo - 12.6. When the E2 came back from the lab however, it had fallen from 68 to 48, so she raised my Follistim dosage for the next three days up to 150, 100, 100 units.

When I went back on Thursday, 11/13, she just measured the three largest follicles on each side. It kind of pissed me off, because she rushed in and out like she had somewhere else to be, and I didn't get to ask the questions that I had. So the measurements for that day: R - 14,10,7mm L - 13,9,9mm Endo 11.1. My Estradiol had risen to 262, so that was good, and my dosage for the next three days was 150,150,150.

Today, I went back for another check. On the right ovary she measured follicles at 21,14,14,10,9mm. On the left, she measured follicles at 18.5,14,11,10,10,9mm. Endo was at 11.6. Not sure about E2. They'll probably call with that tomorrow. She had me trigger with ovidrel at 5:30 this evening. The IUI will be on Tuesday morning. She said that anything at or over 14mm can release a mature egg, so we're probably looking at 4-5 eggs released... hopefully. Yet again, when I tried to ask questions, she was a little snippy with me, and acted like I was an idiot for questioning her. Sorry, but IMO, anybody who *doesn't* ask questions of their doctor is an idiot. Next time, if she's short with me, we'll have a come-to-Jesus-meeting and I'll let her know exactly what I think. Maybe she just has PMS. She hasn't been like this before this week, but if it continues, I *will* come unglued on her. Oh well. I guess I will wait and see.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Let's Party Anyway

On Friday 11/7, I got up at the butt crack of dawn and drove to Austin for bloodwork and an ultrasound. I had the labs drawn at about 7:00am and the ultrasound at about 7:45. It was CD7. My endometrium was at 11.0. My left ovary had 6 follicles that measured 8,7,7,6,5,5mm. And it was the underperformer. My right ovary was being the overachiever again, and had 12 follicles that measured 7,7,7,6,6,6,6,6,6,5,5,5mm. That's a total of 18 follicles that she measured! And I think there may have been a few hiding, as well. And this was with me on a very low dosage of follistim (75, 75, & 50 for the first three days). Can you imagine if she had put me on a standard dosage? Later on, they called with the lab results, and said that my E2 was at 68. I don't know if that is high or low or what, but I am going to verify that number when I talk to them again. I was in a class full of yelling kids when they called, so I could have heard wrong. The dosages they gave me for Fri - Sun were 75,75,50 again. I go in again tomorrow morning for more labs and an ultrasound. I wonder what things will look like then. I have gotten pretty good at this whole injecting myself thing. I did it in the truck in the parking lot of the Golden Wok restaurant last night right before dinner. Easy as pie.

Yesterday Brad and I went to a wedding for a mutual friend of ours. We had a lot of friends there, and it was nice getting to visit with them all. And Brad looks really sexy when he's all dressed up. So I had an ulterior motive for wanting to go. But it was nice. Then we went to JC Penneys and returned most of the clothes I had bought the other day. I have decided that I will stay at my job with the school for the time being. Mostly because the insurance is paying for more than I thought it would, and the leave policy is more generous than most places offer. The pay still sucks, and I am still miserable, but I will put up with it for now. If I stick with it, I will have the summer off, and if I get pregnant this cycle, the baby(ies) would be due in August sometime. That would give me the last couple months of a pregnancy off, which would be really nice, especially if there are any complications. But, usually, planning just screws shit up, so I'd better just stop now while I'm ahead. So that's all for now. I will update more tomorrow after I the doctor's appt and lab work. Now I'm off to eat left-over dim sum. Yum.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Go Wild and Have a Party

Today I went to the doctor for a baseline ultrasound and an injection lesson. For the ultrasound, they had one of the junior doctors do it, with the guidance of my regular doctor. Her technique was kind of weird, and so it was hard to see what was going on. My regular doctor is very predictable, and does it the same every time, so it's always easy to tell what you're looking at. My left ovary had a bunch of antral follicles, but because of the jumbo one on my right last time, there wasn't much going on on the right side this time. The right ovary really looked more like a gray pile of mush to me. So the left will likely be the star performer this time, but who knows, since I haven't started stims yet. I start stims tonight. I'll be using the Follistim Pen. I will do 75IU for two days, then 50IU for one day, then on Friday I will go in for E2 levels, and another ultrasound so they can tell what dosage to give me for Friday and the weekend. I knew that because of the PCOS, the doctor would want to be careful on the dosing, but this morning the exact words that came out of her mouth were, "We're going to take this slow, and go with a low dosage, because you're 25, and your ovaries are scary. We don't want them to go wild and have a party." She has often remarked that I have enough antral follicles to supply the entire office.

After the ultrasound I got an injection lesson, where I practiced injecting a lump of fat-like material. It was easy, but pretty gross. On the first try, I forgot to quit pinching the "fat" before I pulled the needle out, and the fake meds squirted out of the "fat" all the way across the room, out the door, and across the hall. The nurse and I laughed until we cried. It was so hilarious. The Follistim Pen seems fairly easy to use. I don't forsee any problems. The pharmacy that the meds came from was the Apothecary Shop in Phoenix, AZ. The meds were packaged well, and arrived exactly when they said they would, and there was no charge for the overnight shipping, sharps container, or alcohol pads. The only charges were my insurance copays for the actual drugs. They were fast and friendly when I talked to them on the phone, and I would highly recommend them to anyone else.

Well, I'm off to watch election coverage. I voted last week, and I am anxious for all of this election crap to be done with. If you haven't voted, do so. There's still a little time, depending on your location.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Or Just False Hope

So later on Saturday afternoon, I realized that the possible progress was really just false hope. After the initial bit of spotting, I started my period Saturday evening, a full 5-7 days early. Blech. How's that for ruining my weekend? So much for that cycle. Today is CD3. Tomorrow I go in for an ultrasound and an injection lesson. This round, we are moving on to the big guns, since I found out insurance will cover the injectables. The RE's office got the prior authorization from the insurance, faxed the order to the pharmacy, and the drugs should be on my doorstep tomorrow, to the tune of $115 for the cycle. Not too bad, considering it's only $65 more than last month. Hopefully I can get knocked up this time, but not wind up with a litter. And hopefully, I don't wind up with so many follicles that they cancel the cycle. We'll see

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Possible Progress

Since there was some ambiguity as to whether the black hole on my right ovary was actually a follicle or a cyst, my RE wanted me to go in for bloodwork 7DPO to check my progesterone levels, to confirm that I did truly ovulate. That way I would know whether I had thrown away $400 on an IUI the week before. So on Thursday, 10/30/08, I had the labs drawn. They didn't call with the results until the next day, which really pissed me off. But I got the results, and they said I did ovulate last week. So that was good. Now, for TMI. Yesterday evening, when I went to the restroom, I noticed just a little bit of red spotting. Late last night, it was just a very little brown, old blood. This morning, nothing. At 8DPO, that could be implantation, right? A little spotting at the right time is the furthest we've ever gotten. It could be possible progress. I know I'm just getting my hopes up, but it's really hard not to, when so far to date, we've got nothing. It just makes the waiting harder.

Here's a pretty picture of an Austin sunrise- I'll admit, I stole it, but here's the link to the owner's flickr page. I couldn't resist.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Get In, Get Out, Quit F*&%ing About

I had my IUI this morning. It was probably the quickest appointment ever. Wham, bam, thank you ma'am indeed. Hopefully it will produce the desired results (a baybee, in case you hadn't been listening).

I also called my insurance company and found out that they will cover injectable fertility drugs (if the current cycle doesn't pan out). It just requires prior authorization, and that I not be using them in preparation for or in conjunction with an IUI or IVF. Basically, the dumbass insurance company wants to pay for these drugs that will make you ovulate eight eggs, and then they want you to go home and make nookie with your husband so you wind up with a litter. God forbid that they cough up the money to do an IUI to increase the probability of the expensive-ass drugs working on the first round. Or even better, that they ante up the money to do IVF so that you can have a healthy singleton or twin pregnancy, rather than a God-awful expensive set of sickly sextuplets. It's all about the profit NOW, not what's best in the long run. But, if they will pay for the meds, then I will have the doctor fail to mention that I will be having an IUI, since I pay for those out of pocket anyway, and I will go ahead and get them. I'm not saying this cycle won't work; I'm just planning ahead. 

Tomorrow I have a conference to go to at the Texas School for the Blind for work. At least I don't have to do any real work tomorrow. And it will be Friday. And I just realized that even though when I get out of the conference it will be five o'clock somewhere, for the next two weeks, and maybe longer, I will be pregnant until proven otherwise. Arrrrgggghhhh.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Black Hole

I went to the RE today. I had 53mm black hole in my right ovary. It could be one of two things: either a very large follicle or a very large cyst. I have been having mild pain on my right side for about a week, so I wasn't surprised about it's presence, just it's size. The doctor feels fairly confident that it is a large follicle, rather than a cyst, as my uterine lining was at 14mm, which she seemed happy with. So she wrote me a prescription for Ovidrel, and as soon as I am done typing this, I will go pinch a roll of my plentiful abdominal fat and inject myself. I had to go to People's Pharmacy near 38th & Lamar to get it, as they are the only place in the Austin area that keeps it in stock. It is a little bitty place, but they were fast and friendly, and holy shit! my insurance covered the shot! I paid a $25 copay. I was astonished. I wonder if I can get them to cover other injectables. I'm scheduled for an IUI on Thursday morning at 9:30.

I also had a job interview today, out at a vet clinic on Bee Cave Rd., and I think it went well, but even if they call me back, I don't think I will take it. It's just too damn far to drive, the traffic is terrible, and the schedule they are wanting is a little crazy. I'm going to keep looking for something slightly closer to home. So, I missed most of work today, I will be miss all day Thursday, and then I am supposed to go to a conference for work in Austin on Friday. Easy work week, but hell on gas. Oh well. Nice change of pace, I guess. I'm just hoping everything goes right and this 2ww is a successful one.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

How Did I Get So Lucky?

As everyone knows, it is football season. As not everyone knows, I am job hunting. How are these two things related, you ask? I will enlighten you.

Both of my adorable nephews, aged 6 & 10, play football. They both have games today: one here in Bastrop, and one in Round Rock. Once again, what does this have to do with job hunting? I own almost no nice business clothing. In the job I am at now, scrubs or jeans and T-shirts are my daily fare. If When I get a new job, I seriously doubt that my current attire will be appropriate. So I had planned to go shopping today for some business type clothes. Unfortunately, I have no taste. So in this case, a sister is required. My older sister, however, had other obligations: i.e. football games for two little boys.

So ho do we get around this? My wonderful husband, of course. He is taking younger boy to first game here in town, and then is going to drive in to Round Rock and meet us right before the second game so that my sister can take older boy to his game. That way sister and I will have all morning to shop without kids. Because as much as I might want kids, I do not want them while I am shopping.

The question I ask is, "How did I get so lucky?" I got a wonderful husband who is willing to take my nephews to their football games while I go clothes shopping with their mom and his money. I must be doing something right, I guess.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

And The Forecast Called For Galoshes

 
Well, I didn't need an ark for the flood after all. After the cats poked holes in the inflatable life raft, I had to go with the galoshes, and it turned out okay. It wasn't a miserable period like I expected, and my husband survived it as well. I also finished up my new, higher dose of Clomid, and I am trying to maintain my composure in this state of hormonal flux. I am scheduled for an appointment next Tuesday 10/21, to check on Lucy and Ethel, to see if they are behaving like good little ovaries. Knowing my luck, the ultrasound screen will look more like a re-run of the Candy Factory episode. But we can hope that they will behave.
My job hunting continues in earnest. I am so tired of all the nonsense at my current job. Hopefully I will find something soon. Oh well. At least tomorrow is Friday.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Waiting for the Flood

I finished the 10 day course of Provera last night. Now I am just waiting for the flood, and wondering if I should build an ark. Seems like it might be a prudent course of action. Or at least invest in an inflatable life raft. I think we will see how this round of Clomid w/ IUI goes, and if it doesn't go well, I'm going to ask my RE how much it would increase our chances to try injectibles. If it would be a substantial increase in probability, then I will start investigating costs. I don't wan't to do Clomid over and over again if I can help it. I'm supposed to call on CD1, and go in for a scan on CD12. We'll see how things look then.

In other news, I am job hunting. I am still currently employed by the school, but I am also seeking employment elsewhere. I like the *job* but the pay sucks, and the level of BS is amazing. I need one of these. It might get used on people too frequently though.


I have an interview coming up on Thursday. I'm excited.

Friday, September 26, 2008

We Have a Consensus

So far, the logical order for our infertility journey, based on how far we're willing to take things, has looked like this:
1. Clomid
2. Clomid w/ IUI
3. Injectibles w/ IUI
4. IVF
5. Adoption
Currently, we are in phase two of the treatment plan. Unfortunately, #4 is not really an option due to our financial / insurance situation. It is just too damned expensive. Also, to me, donor eggs or sperm seem a little pointless - if genetic material isn't the point, then why not just adopt? Skipping directly from #2 to #5 seems a little premature, but until last night, I have had my reservations regarding #3. This is due mostly to the fact that there is a high risk for high order multiples with option 3.

Wait, let me go back. I am very pro-choice. I feel like all mentally capable people should have the right to make their own decisions when it comes to reproduction. If I have the right to pursue treatment for infertility, any other woman should have the right to pursue treatment for unwanted fertility.


My husband has a different view. He is morally opposed to abortion, and feels it is wrong. He's okay with it in cases of rape, incest, or risk to the mother, but that's it. He especially doesn't like it when it is used by women as a form of afterthought birth control. Although I seriously doubt he would vote to make abortion illegal, he is fairly rigid on the topic. His view differs from mine, but I respect it.

So, back on the topic of injectibles... I am okay with the risk of high order multiples, because I am okay with selective reduction. The risks associated with high order multiples are just too great to ignore. I would not be willing to try injectibles if selective reduction was not an option, which I was afraid that it might not be, because of Brad's views on abortion. I would not do anything that he wasn't okay with, because it's his child, too.

Anyway, last night I finally got up the nerve to ask him about his views on selective reduction, should the need arise. I was afraid to ask, because of what his response might be, but ask I did. We needed to discuss this anyway, just so we could know where we stand. Of course, as usual, my husband never ceases to amaze me. He said that he is okay with selective reduction, because the risks to me and to all of the babies is just too great. Why try to keep six, only to have them all die in NICU when they are born too premature to survive, when you could have made the hard choice early on, and wind up with two healthy babies in the end.

I underestimated him, and he surprised me as always. It just reminds me why I love him so much. Folks, we have a consensus, and along with it a better understanding. I'm a lucky woman.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Yep, This Cycle is Thoroughly Messed Up

Today I went back to the RE. They wanted me to come in to check if the two of the larger follicles had done anything. No such luck. The largest one just peetered out, and the next one in line only grew by about 1mm. My lining was still thick. So my doctor wrote me a prescription for Provera to bring on my period, and raised my Clomid dosage up to 150mg. She said to call on CD1, and come in for an ultrasound on CD12, to see how we're doing. Hopefully the higher dosage of Clomid will work.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Yet Another Effed Up Cycle

Yesterday I went to see the R.E. I typically have been ovulating around CD 16-17, so when I hadn't gotten a positive OPK by CD 16, they had me come in for an ultrasound, since I managed to miss the surge last month (the doctor thinks I did ovulate last month, since I went on to have a period at the right time, but we didn't do any bloodwork to confirm). They said, "We'll see what we find, and most likely write you a prescription for a trigger shot. You go home, trigger Thursday night, and we do the IUI on Saturday morning." Well we got to doing the ultrasound, and the biggest follicle we can find is only at 12mm and the next biggest is at 8mm. At least one has to be 20mm or more to trigger. In addition, my uterine lining was super thick. With one angle she measured it at 18mm, and with another angle she measured it at 23mm thick. That is way too thick for this point in the cycle, unless I already ovulated really early, before I started doing the OPKs. But the estrogen that is making the lining thick has to be coming from somewhere, and she said that it could be an indication of very early pregnancy. So I went in for labwork to test for hCG and Progesterone. The hCG was zero, like I knew it would be, and the progesterone was 0.6, which indicates that I did not ovulate early. So she said to keep doing the OPKs for another 5 days or so, just to be sure, but that I probably am not going to ovulate this month, especially with that weird super-thick lining. And what's really great is that whether I spontaneously start my period or not (which would mean Provera) the thick lining will likely make for a miserable awful period. If I have to do the Provera, of course it will be worse. It always is. And to top that off, they're going to increase my Clomid dosage next cycle. Toro! indeed.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Queen Anne's Lace

So I have cast on for the Queen Anne's Lace shawl. It is a circular knitted shawl that I fell in love with the moment I saw the picture. It is a free pattern available by joining the Yahoo group MMarioKKnits. Here is a picture provided as a sample.

 
I am using a yarn I got at a yarn swap held by our local weavers and spinners guild. It was originally on a cone, and the label on the inside of the cone had some numbers and the words "Made in Peru." It is a light fingering weight, and it is either llama or alpaca. It's a little scratchy, but not too bad, and should soften up when I wash it. Here is a pic of the yarn after I wound it off the cone. It is comparable in weight to KnitPicks Palette yarn. 
 
 
The pattern is fairly straightforward, but it took me like eight tries to cast on, as I wanted to use an invisible cast on. And really, the cast on wasn't that hard, it was getting the eight little stitches distributed to four long pointy needles and knitting the first few rounds without making a tangled mess. I tried and tried, and when I was just about to give in and cry, my knight in shining armor comes to the rescue. The double pointed needles I was trying to use were just too long and unwieldy for me to work with, so my wonderful husband spent hours over a grinder making these:
 
They are short double pointed knitting needles. To be exact, they are US Size 3, 4.5 inch stainless steel double pointed knitting needles.

Here's a comparison of the length of these vs. standard DPNs. Some of my really nice Skacel stainless DPNs are even longer than the Boyes. They were just too long for what I needed to do. So my wonderful husband got out his stash of stainless wire he keeps for making chainmail, and made me exactly what I needed.

I was able to cast on successfully on the first attempt with the shorties. Hallelujah! Here is a pic after round 6:

And after round 8:

After round 13

And my current progress, at round 32. I have slowly been working up from the size 3s, and now I am on a size 7 circular.
I am making good progress, but I haven't really had a whole lot of time to work on it. It doesn't look like much yet, but it will, eventually.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hurricanes and Bowling Balls

Today we took our class to the bowling alley for Special Olympics bowling practice. What normally turns out to be a logistical nightmare turned out to be a relatively pleasant trip. My one-on-one student was exceptionally well behaved all day long. She bowled and got a score of 90, which was one of the highest of the day, and about as good as I would have been able to do. It made the morning go by very fast. It was tiring, though.

This afternoon, we had a pep rally because they moved the varsity football game to tonight in preparation for Hurricane Ike. Tomorrow, they are going to release school early. Our campus will release at 12:30, so that the buses can get the students back home safely, as Bastrop is on one of the main evacuation routes for Houston. While I don't like hurricanes, getting out of school early is cool, and we could use at least a little rain. And I should have an easy day of it anyway, because I think Shelley's mom is just going to keep her home tomorrow, rather than send her for half the day. I think a lot of parents will be doing that, instead of having their kids stuck on a long, miserable bus ride in traffic. We'll see.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Uncontrollable Rage

This is what the clomid makes me feel like. I am the bull. Also hot and cold flashes, and terrible headaches. It is like some crazy Mexican is constantly waving a red cape in my face and yelling, "Toro!"

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Of Tunnels and Hope

I've spent the past couple evenings reading the blog of a fellow infertile Texan. I saw her blog listed on Cyclesista, so I stopped by, and her first few posts caught my interest. I like to have the story from the beginning, so I went back and read her archives from the start, and one of her posts really hit home with me. Her blog is the Happy Not-So-Newlywed, and the post I am referring to can be found here.

The following is the exact quotation that has stuck with me since I read it:

"I have to know that if we aren't successful this month, I can brush it off and say "that's ok, because I know what we're doing next month." If there is constantly light at the end of the tunnel then you are never in complete darkness."

To me, that is just beautiful, and it sums up exactly how I get through this whole infertility thing. I may not be able to control everything, but I can do it one step at a time, as long as I know where I'm going in the end.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Fertility, Friends & Football

I went to the doctor on Wednesday, and had a baseline ultrasound. No cysts, so I started Clomid last night. The Dr. thinks I did ovulate, and we just managed to miss it somehow. She kept the Clomid dosage at 100mg on days 3-7. She did say that my ovaries have the classic polycystic appearance, though. Big surprise there. So I'm supposed to do the OPKs, and if I haven't gotten a surge by CD17 (I usually don't ovulate until CD16 or 17), then I go in for a trigger shot.

In other news, one of my best friends from high school is pregnant. I found out today through her mother, who is like a second mother to me. Her mom and I work at the same high school, so we see each other frequently. This friend of mine lives about an hour and a half from me, and we only talk once every few months, but I still consider her one of my best friends. I'm kind of hurt that she hasn't called to tell me, especially considering that she is already around 20 weeks along. If I were pregnant, she would be in the top 5 non-family calls I would make. I really hope that the fact that I am dealing with infertility is not what has kept her from calling me. I am excited for her and her hubby, whom I have known since we were kids. It's great news, and my infertility doesn't keep me from being happy for her. Jealous, yes, but it's okay. I'm not too fond of baby showers right now, although I never really was, and pregnant ladies do make me a little jumpy, especially when I see them doing things that are not good for their baby, but that's okay, too. I will probably call her in a little while, and tell her a little birdie told me she has good news.

Tomorrow, I get to take the younger of my two nephews to his PeeWee football game. Here in Texas, we start 'em out young. Jack is 6, and it is his second year playing football. And I'm talking full-contact tackle football, not any of that wussy flag football shit. It involves helmets and pads and cleats, and is so much fun. Hell, there are even little bitty cheerleaders. My older nephew, Cole, is almost 10, and he has a game tomorrow, as well, but his is out of town. My sister is taking him to his game, and Brad and I will be taking Jack to his here at home. This is Cole's fourth year of football. The boys love it. It keeps them in great physical shape, teaches them teamwork, and runs out all their energy. Their behavior is so much better during football season than it is during the off season. During the off season, they just have too much restless energy. This year, there is only one weekend (homecoming) where the two boys have their games at the same location, so Brad and I will be doing football duty quite a bit this season. While I love going to their games, these first few games are hell... literally. It doesn't start to cool off around here until at least October... or later. Tomorrow, we are going to roast. The high is forecasted at 97 degrees, and I think the game is at noon. What fun.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

IUI w/ Clomid #2, Round #2

Sorry I never updated at the end of August. I never ovulated, either. At least not that I could tell. I did the OPKs but never detected a surge. Either I missed the surge somehow, or I didn't ovulate at all, so we of course didn't get to do the IUI. Now September will be IUI w/ Clomid #2, Round #2. Today is Cycle Day 1. Maybe this cycle will go better. I am scheduled for a baseline scan tomorrow at 9:30am. What fun. I'm going to ask the Dr. if she wants to up my Clomid dosage from 100mg to 150mg. Maybe that would produce a stronger response. We'll see what she says.

I will admit, I'm starting to get a little frustrated. Well, I was frustrated about a year and a half ago, but now it's getting bad. I don't have a clue where to go from here. We're going to keep trying with the IUI's for a while, I guess, but where do I draw the line? I already know that I will likely never be able to afford IVF, and I don't have a problem adopting, but at what point do I scrap my plans, and say enough is enough? Because here's the deal: I have always planned on adopting. Ever since I was a small child, adoption was part of the plan. Probably because a lot of the people in my family are adopted, it has always seemed like a normal thing, and like the right thing. I know I am capable of loving any child, whether I spit it out or not. But here's the problem: My plan has always been to have two children, and then to adopt two children. Why is this a problem, you ask? Why not just adopt 4 children? Because I want at least one of them to be a baby. But I will not adopt babies. It goes against everything I believe to wait around to adopt a baby from a private agency, when there are so many older children out there in state care who need homes. Let the babies go to the people who are even more infertile than me. There are older children who have to sleep on cots in the Child Protective Services offices at night because there are not enough homes for older children. So my plan has always been to have two babies of my own, and then to adopt two older children, most likely a sibling group.

So, stopping fertility treatments for me would not only mean giving up on the idea of having a child of my own, although that was never really the issue, since I planned on adopting at some point anyway. Instead it would would mean giving up on the idea of having a baby, since I am not willing to adopt a baby. It would mean giving up the first few years of all my children's lives, and not getting to take part in those formative years at all.

I don't know how long I can keep going with the treatments before I give up on them, or the money runs out, but even if they don't work, nothing will stop me from having kids. But I may still slap the next person who asks me, "Why don't you just adopt?" I plan to, but on my own schedule, and if I choose to try to spit out a couple before I do, that's my business.

Ok, rant over. Enough for now.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Blah weekend

This weekend has been a blah weekend. Brad and I have been trying to get caught up on the laundry and dishes that have been neglected for so long. Yesterday, I went to the thrift store and got a few shirts that I can wear to work, as my one-on-one student is hard on my clothes. In the afternoon, it rained like crazy, and it is still cloudy and ominous looking out there now. Not that I am complaining - we have been needing the rain badly. Today we are going to continue to try to clean house, because I start back to work tomorrow. Summer vacation is over, and it is back to the grindstone. I would like to start the school year with a reasonably clean house.

I didn't really get much of a summer this year, as I have been keeping my one-on-one student, Shelley, during the day for the whole summer, while her mom works. It hasn't been great money, but it is better than none. Also, for the past three weeks, I have been keeping my two nephews during the day, as they lost their babysitter.

This past week, I have pretty much refused to do any chores, and it shows. Instead, I have been engrossed in a series of books by Charlaine Harris. The series is the Sookie Stackhouse series, #1-8. They are Southern vampire mysteries, and they are pretty darn good. They're funny as hell. I just found out that HBO is making a TV series based on the books. It is called True Blood, and it premieres on September 7, 2008. The lead character, Sookie, is played by Anna Paquin. Anna is most noted for her role as Rogue in the X-Men movies. I managed to get a copy of the pilot episode a little early, and I'm not sure how I feel about it. I'm not sure if I like the casting, but maybe it will grow on me. It's hard to enjoy a show if you've already got preconceived ideas or mental images about how it should be. We'll see.

In fertility news, there isn't any. We are just waiting around for a positive OPK, so we can do the IUI. I'll post when it happens. I hate waiting. Oh well. Any day now.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Quickie...

Here's a quick update about a quick Dr. appt. I went to the doctor today - everything looks good, no cysts, got a prescription for the Clomid. Appt. took less than 20 minutes from the moment I walked in the front door until I walked out again. Starting to get too good at this. Will start the meds tonight.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Ummm, okay...

I have Google Analytics installed for my blog, to track various statistics, and the latest Google search phrase that directed someone to my blog was this:

cute babies discovered early obsession with boobies


WTF? Why would somebody do a search query like that? It's a little disturbing that it directed somebody to my blog, as well. What does it mean? Weird.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Still not knocked up...

It's official. I am still not knocked up. Today is Cycle Day 1. Aunt Flo has arrived, cramps and all. So here we go again, IUI with Clomid #2. What fun.

In other news, I took my two nephews to Schlitterbahn on Friday. Overall, we did manage to have a good time, but because we had to wait in the lines for so long, we only got to do 3 rides. In my opinion, it was not worth the $100 for the tickets. If we had been willing to spend the entire day waiting in line for the big rides, the most we could have possibly done would have been 6-7 rides. Max. Soooo not worth it. I guess they don't take into consideration that 1-2 hour lines are miserable for little kids (9 and 6), and absolutely unacceptable for their flustered, hormonal, infertile aunt. Uggghhhh. I went on a weekday, for crying out loud. It shouldn't have been that bad. At least the boys had a good time overall. I was about ready to demand my money back. They shut down the entire section of the park we were in, during the middle of the day, for 45 minutes, because they had to clean the water. Apparently, some kid puked in the water on the other side of the park, because he got too overheated, and they had to shut it down and make everybody get out of the water for almost an hour to clean the water. Do they not realize that: 1. little kids spend all day pissing in the water; 2. there is enough chlorine in that water to kill a horse; and 3. Nobody gives a fuck. It is a water park. People want to be in the water. I mean, did they never notice that the water is always warmer in the kiddie pools? That is not a coincidence. I'm all for cleaning up the chunks and letting the chlorine do the rest. Idiots. They let people swim in the water without blood tests, because of the chlorine. Do they really think that anything from a little kids stomach could be more resistant to chlorine than Hepatitis C or HPV, not to mention other bodily fluids? Oh well.

Yesterday, Brad and I laid around the house all day, being lazy bums. We watched TV most of the day. It was kind of nice. I needed to recuperate from Friday, anyway. Now I need to get up and call the fertility clinic to let them know it is CD1, and schedule a CD3 ultrasound. Then, we need to do some work around this house. At least, that is the plan for now.

Monday, July 28, 2008

I don't really feel any older.

So I'm 25. My birthday was on Saturday, and I'm now 25. I don't really feel any older. Saturday morning, I slept in. When I woke up, Brad had already gotten back with my favorite breakfast items - 2 sausage, egg & cheese McGriddles, 2 ham, egg & cheese croissants from the donut shop, and 2 big, gooey cinnamon rolls from the donut shop. Yum. He had also been out garage-sale-ing, and had bought a whole bunch of old Disney VHS tapes. I'm starting a collection. So then we sat and watched my favorite Disney movie, Beauty & the Beast. After that, we got up and got dressed, and headed into Austin. My birthday present from him was a $200 shopping spree. He was my chauffeur and purse-holder for the day. I dragged him all over Austin. One of the things I was looking for was a new pair of black sandals, to go with the dress I was wearing. It turns out that the DSW in North Austin has closed down. Crap. So we went to Shoe Pavillion, where they don't carry anything above a ladies size 10 shoe. I wear an 11.5 wide, but can sometimes get away with an 11, and usually a 12. But, no luck at any of the stores we went to. They discriminate against girls with big feet, big boobs, and big heads. I have all three. Shoes and bras are very hard to find, and forget finding a ladies hat if you have an abnormally large head (It all runs in my family). Bastards.

So after unsuccessful shoe shopping, we went to Ross and I bought new towels for my bathroom. They are a nice sage green, and they do not have that annoying woven band at the end. You know, the one that always shrinks more than the rest of the towel (it's called differential shrinkage). That band is absent. Now my towels fold nicely. Yay! I bagged up the old, mismatched towels this morning, and they are sitting in the donate pile. Woo hoo!

After shopping all afternoon, we went to The Boiling Pot on 6th Street, where we met up with my Mom & step-dad, and my Aunt Jan and her best friend Linda. First we had a few dozen raw oysters, with crackers and horseradish. Then we had a good cajun seafood boil with shrimp, crawdad, blue crab, stone crab, snow crab, king crab, sausage, potatoes, and corn on the cob. They boil all this stuff in one big pot, then dump it out in the center of the table (it's covered in butcher paper) and everybody digs in. No dishes or silverware, just crab mallets and your hands and a roll of paper towels. Oh, and a plastic bib. It's great fun. Expensive, but fun.

Then we came home and watched TV. Yesterday, I bought groceries, and school supplies for my two nephews. Last night we had steaks on the grill. Now I need to go write thank-you notes to my Mom, Jan, and Linda, for the gifts they brought, and for coming to dinner in the first place.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I don't like Banana Bread

Let me start off by saying that I do not like banana bread in general. I know I'm weird, I just don't like it. Having said that, this recipe is excellent. I only made a half batch, as I only had 3 bananas, but I did not cut the vanilla, cinnamon, or salt in half. The rest of the ingredients I did cut in half. I also added a little extra flour (~1T) as the batter seemed too runny. I tasted the batter, and it was everything I could do to bake it, because the batter was so tasty. I followed the directions otherwise, except that I subbed in sour cream for the creme fraiche, and baked it in a bundt pan. Then I turned it out of the pan and topped it with a glaze made form 3T milk, 1 t. vanilla, 1 t. cinnamon, and enough powdered sugar to make it a glaze consistency. Excellent. I'm about to go back for another piece while it is still warm.
clipped from www.epicurious.com

banana bread


3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs at room temperature for 30 minutes
2 1/3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups coarsely mashed very ripe bananas (6 large)
1/4 cup crème fraîche
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/3 cups walnuts (4 oz), toasted and chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 2 (9- by 5- by 3-inch) metal loaf pans, then dust with flour


Sift together 3 1/4 cups flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into a bowl.


Beat together eggs and sugar in bowl of electric mixer at medium-high speed until very thick and pale and mixture forms a ribbon when beater is lifted, about 10 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add oil in a slow stream, mixing, then mix in bananas, crème fraîche, and vanilla. Remove bowl from mixer and fold in flour mixture and walnuts


Divide batter between loaf pans, spreading evenly, and bake in middle of oven until golden brown and a wooden pick or skewer comes out clean, 1 to 1 1/4 hours.

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Monday, July 21, 2008

Waiting... again.

On Friday, 7/18/08, I finally got a positive OPK, so I called the clinic and scheduled the IUI for the next morning. Of course services are 20% more expensive on the weekends, but whatever. Saturday morning we got up at 5:45 so I could get ready and make it to the clinic by 8:00 for the hand-off of the little brown bag. Of course, we don't live within an hour of the clinic, so there was no collecting it at home. We had to drive up there and let him go use their facilities. Then we went window shopping for two hours while they did the sperm washing. At 10:30, I went in for the IUI while Brad napped in the truck. The doctor did the IUI, and I must say, her technique is flawless. Didn't feel a thing. I laid flat on my back for 15 minutes, and we were on our way. We drove to Marble Falls to visit Brad's parents (the most boring people in the world), and spent Saturday night there. I spent most of my time knitting and napping, while they went on and on about shit we couldn't care less about. His parents are both about 70, and have decided that they are old, so they sit at home watching TV, and bickering with each other. That's all. They don't do anything else, or go out anywhere, or visit anybody. Blech. My grandma is 74, and is far from being old. She is always keeping her great-grandkids, or volunteering at the elementary school, or volunteering to drive the "old" ladies from the local nursing home to their doctor and hairdresser appointments, or going out somewhere with her boyfriend. It's like she refuses to get old. And she is one of the most fun people to talk to. She's smart and funny, and sharp as a whip. I would much rather go visit my Grandma, if given the option.

So after visiting his parents, we went and visited Brad's best friend Jay, and his wife Misty. Misty is finally pregnant, after years of trying, and lots of fertility treatments. I'm happy for her, and hopefully I will get pregnant soon, too. For now, I'm back in the 2ww, and I hate waiting. Patience is not one of my strong suits. I may take forever to make up my mind about something, but once I do, I want it right then. Oh well. By nature, this is primarily a waiting game. But nobody ever said I have to like it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ready or Not...

...here we come. After finding out that the doctor does recommend IUI, the next day I called and talked to my nurse. She told me that the IUI would cost $350 ($180 for sperm washing, $170 for the insemination), plus the $150 each for the infectious disease screening, for a total of $650 this cycle, not counting the Clomid and two $35 co-pays. So, I'm going back and forth in my head, trying to figure out what we are going to do, when I think to ask what the chances of me getting pregnant with either method are. First, she tells me that for Clomid with intercourse, my chances of getting pregnant in any given month are 1.5%, because of Brad's low numbers. She then tells me that the Clomid / IUI raises those chances to 7-8%. For me, that made the choice obvious. Here we go with IUI #1. Fortunately, my insurance is willing to pay for the IDS, and my Mom, the co-signer on my truck was nice enough to say that I can get an extension on my truck payment, which pushes that payment to the end of the contract and gives me a break this month. With that help, we will be able to do it this month. Hopefully we will not need to do it again next month.

I went for my HSG on Friday, and got the results yesterday - my tubes are clear! At least that is good news. Brad's IDS results came back, and he's clear, so that's good, too. I had an ultrasound yesterday, as well, and my left ovary is the high achiever this month, with 3 follicles at 13, 14, & 16 mm. The right ovary has one follicle at 11mm. Slacker.

So everything is looking good so far, and she says I will probably ovulate in the next three or four days.

My mood this cycle is not nearly as good as last month, though. I don't feel particularly optimistic, but maybe that will keep me from getting my hopes up so much. We'll see.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Decision Time

Last night as I was plugging in my phone, I noticed that I had a missed call and a new voicemail. I checked it, and it was the doctor's office. The message said that they do recommend switching to IUI, since Brad's numbers were low all around. The problem is, if we switch to IUI, my insurance stops paying. We're broke right now (from all the remodeling), and it will be difficult to scrape up the money. We could wait and see if intercourse will get the job done, and if not, try IUI next month, when we *may* have more money. But it will still cost the same, or more, since my yearly deductible will be reset either in August or September. I also start back to work in late August, and missing work for this stuff makes it even more difficult. I'm waiting to hear back from the clinic about how much the IUI costs. We will also both have to get an infectious disease screening done, and if insurance won't cover that, it's another $150 each. I'm also scheduled for an HSG tomorrow, and I don't know how much that will cost me. I think insurance will cover it, but I don't know how much. I'm just super frustrated and stressed out right now, because I don't know what to do. It could still not work, and we might have to do it again next month anyway.

This is me right now:
I'm so frustrated! Grrrrr! Why does this have to be so hard? It hardly seems fair... if only I had a crack pipe or a prom dress, maybe I could get knocked up...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Thus Far in Round #2

On 7/3/08, I started again with CD1. The next day I went in for a baseline ultrasound to check for cysts. There was one 10mm x 7mm cyst on my left ovary, but it wasn't big enough to make us scrap the cycle, thank goodness. I'm still on 100mg of Clomid, days 3-7. I'm scheduled for a HSG on Friday, 7/11/08, so both Brad and I are on a preventive 7-day course of Doxycycline. We got the results back for Brad's semen analysis, and most of the numbers are lower than normal. Nothing to cause a huge amount of alarm, but not great, either. I'm still waiting to hear back on whether the Dr. recommends that we switch to IUI or stick with intercourse. Hopefully she'll say intercourse, because insurance stops paying if we switch to IUI. She did say that if it should progress to IVF, ICSI would be recommended, because the morphology was the lowest of the numbers. Not that we'll ever be able to afford IVF, since insurance won't cover it. Bastards. On Monday, 7/14/08, I am scheduled for another ultrasound to check the follicles. This shit is *so* not fun. Blech!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Diablo III

Yay! Finally - Diablo 3. No release date yet, but I'm excited about it.
clipped from www.diablofans.com
Diablo III Announced !!!!!
PARIS, France – June 28, 2008 – Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. today revealed Diablo® III, the newest entry in its critically acclaimed action role-playing-game franchise. The announcement was made during the 2008 Blizzard Entertainment® Worldwide Invitational at the Porte de Versailles Convention Centre in Paris, France. A cinematic trailer and an extended gameplay demonstration with commentary from the development team introduced the game to the thousands of players in attendance.

Diablo III will feature a custom 3D-graphics engine to render lush indoor and outdoor areas of Sanctuary with a high level of detail and vivid special effects. The game’s physics-enhanced environments will be interactive and destructible, offering traps and obstacles that create added danger for players and monsters alike. These elements, along with a new quest system and random scripted events, will be integrated into the game’s random-level generator,
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Monday, June 30, 2008

Mad Cow Disease

Why do they call that time before a woman's period PMS?

Because Mad Cow Disease was already taken.

The name Mad Cow Disease is definitely a more accurate descriptor of what I am feeling, though. I guess all of these *symptoms* were just the worst PMS I have ever had in my whole life. Why would Mother Nature choose to make the symptoms of PMS the *same* as the symptoms of early pregnancy? Why? It just doesn't seem right. Sore boobs, awful bloating, terrible mood swings... the whole meal deal. Which I normally don't get nearly so bad. And to top it off, I'm not even knocked up.

No, I have not started my period. I went for the bloodwork today, and the pregnancy test was negative. You know, I'm past due to start my period, and that would have been just as reliable an indicator of a negative. But of course, that would have been cheaper than bloodwork, and Mother Nature is still conspiring against me. I swear, she must have some sort of deal worked out with the doctors so she gets some sort of kickback for fucking with my life. Bitch.

So now I get to wait for the inevitable flood, schedule a CD3 Ultrasound and an HSG for me, and a semen analysis for Brad. Yay - an ultrasonic dildo and radioactive dye up the twat, and romance in a cup. What fun.

So here we go again. Ding ding, round 2. Clomid with intercourse. If his swimmers need help we'll switch it to Clomid with IUI.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

To Pee or Not To Pee...

I am still firmly entrenched in the 2ww, and it sucks. I have HPTs in my bathroom cabinet that are, only through sheer force of will, undrenched. I discovered a nifty little website called PeeOnAStick.com, and I know it is still too early to test, but Dear God, I really want to. Just a few more days... It's driving me nuts... not that I really had far to go, but still. The site has all kinds of cool info about HPTs and OPKs. Still doesn't help with the waiting, though. Gee, thanks, Dr. Google.

I did get news from the blood work I had drawn yesterday. Drumroll, please... The results show that I did actually ovulate. Yay! I knew (hoped) Lucy & Ethel could do it. Good job, girls! Maybe the problem before was that they were jealous of my boobs having names, but now that they are getting some of the attention, they're willing to perform. Apparently, ovaries need love, too. Who knew?

So, on to the *symptoms.* I have *symptoms* - ssshhhhh! Granted, it's probably just PMS, but whatever it is, it sucks. My boobs are so tender it feels like Eddie & Earl are going to fall off onto the floor, and my nipples are killing me. I'm bloated, and exhausted too. On top of all that, I'm bitchy, whiny, and lazy... oh wait, that's normal.

And I've been googling baby clothes and baby names, which I normally avoid like the plague, so I can pretend that being infertile doesn't bother me, because hey, I'm not baby obsessed. No babynames.com or Gymboree in my web history, nosirrrreeeee. Until today. Effin' nesting. So visit my name list and vote. Or look at the disgustingly cute baby girl clothes with me... come on, one hit won't hurt.

I'll tell you a funny story though. Remember how I said my nipples hurt? A bra doesn't help the pain, and my anatomy is such that they poke outwards if they are not restrained. I was in my kitchen cooking a couple days ago, and I reach for the can of Crisco cooking spray, to spray the casserole dish. First, I go to shake it though. It goes successfully upwards, but on the downstroke, I manage to hit my protruding right nipple with the edge of the can of cooking spray. Hard. The thin T-shirt I was wearing did not afford me any protection at all. First, I screamed, then crumpled on the floor in a crying, gibbering heap. It hurt so bad. Brad comes running, and is laughing at me as I explain what happened. His response: "You want me to kiss it?" Bastard.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Welcome to Hell...

...a.k.a. the Two Week Wait, or for those of you who have had to put any extra effort into getting knocked up: the 2ww. I got a positive OPK on Sunday, 6/15/08, so Brad and I have made like bunnies, as per the doctor's orders. I go for blood work on 6/23 to confirm that I did actually ovulate, and then more on 6/30 for a pregnancy test. Now I am in the phase where I am stuck waiting for two weeks to find out if I am pregnant. It sucks. I am a worrier, and very impatient, so this feels to me like marking time (for you non-band-nerds, that means marching in place) in the hot Texas sun, while sweat trickles down my back. It's miserable.

Speaking of heat, this is turning out to be one of the hottest Junes on record. We have been remodeling, inside and out, and the exterior of the house only lacks a few pieces of drip-edge flashing, and a paint job. But it has been too damn hot to go outside to finish it up. This morning at 10am it was already 92 degrees out there. Even after dark, it's uncomfortably hot. It's comparable to being on house arrest. And I can't imagine that it will get any better any time soon, as we still have 10 days left of June, all of July, and August, and most of September before we typically get a break in the heat around here. We are already in a drought, and no rain in sight.

Like I said, welcome to Hell.

Friday, June 13, 2008

A Womb With A View

Yesterday, I went and had a CD12 scan, to find out if the Clomid is working at this level. The doctor actually did the scan herself, and her technique was better than the tech who did it last time. The first thing she commented on was my nice, thick, cushy uterine lining. I think she said something like 14mm, but I'm not sure. I also have a retroverted uterus.

It makes me want to put out a flashing Vacancy sign, and take out a classified ad in the paper:

For Rent - A Womb with a view of the lovely and scenic Vaginal Canal. Recently redecorated with new plush carpet. Beverages on tap and a pool will be installed soon after move-in. Short term leases available, from 7-10 months, with assistance available for move-in and move-out. Frequent visits from maintenance and management will ensure your stay is comfortable and trouble-free.

Then we moved on to the ovaries, Lucy & Ethel, who were both busy and hard at work. The scan showed that the Clomid is in fact making my ovaries do what they should. It showed three large follicles in the 19-22 mm range, coming from both ovaries. The doctor said that I should ovulate within a few days, and possibly release as many as three eggs. She said to start testing with OPKs and make nookie when I get a positive surge, and for a few days after. Then I am supposed to go do blood work 8 days after a positive OPK to verify that I did, in fact, ovulate. At 15 days past the positive OPK, I go again for blood work to determine whether I am pregnant or not.

If we get a negative pregnancy test, or if I start my period, then I will start more clomid, and I will go for a HSG and Brad will go for a Semen Analysis.

If I get a positive, then yay! I am *feeling* positive about all this. Hope has crept in, and I don't know what to do with it, as it visits so infrequently. Brad and I actually discussed baby names last night, which was a first. Usually, we avoid the baby subject. Not because he doesn't want to discuss it, but because I try not to bring it up, for fear that I will annoy him with all of my silly girly chatter. It's really a stupid fear, too, since he is great about humoring me in my silliness. Somehow I get it in my head that since he has an 18 year old son, I will bore him to death with all of my nonsense, because he has been there, done that, and even gotten the T-shirt. I know he's happy and even a little excited... I'm just too dumb to be able to wrap my little brain around it and accept it. Oh well. Here's hoping, anyway!!!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Lucy & Ethel

I completely forgot to post about the results of the actual scan. When I did the scan, they checked for cysts, and I got to see my ovaries on the screen for the first time. There were no cysts, and they were behaving just fine, for once. In my family, all 3 of us sisters are very well endowed in the mammary department (think 36G or 34H). Our boobs are name-worthy. Mine are, even after a breast reduction. My older sister named hers Teddy and Freddy. My boobs are Eddie and Earl. When my little sister refused to name hers, we told her we would refer to them as The Odd Couple if she wouldn't name them. Needless to say, she eventually quit arguing with them being called Laverne and Shirley. In keeping with the family tradition, now that I have seen my ovaries, I feel the need to name them. I have decided that my ovaries shall be called Lucy and Ethel. Grouchy, prone to making odd faces, constantly getting in trouble, and up to no good - this suits my ovaries perfectly.

So we caught Lucy & Ethel on a good day, with lots of follicles (I think they said 7-8mm?) and no cysts. I think normally their mood is more like this. They gave me the go ahead to start the Clomid, and I took 100mg on days 3-7. No problems so far. Just a little bitchiness, but that's fairly normal for me.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Yes, I am screwing my husband.

So I got the situation with the fertility clinic all sorted out. Apparently, they weren't even going to submit the claim to my insurance. They just interpreted my benefits how they wanted to and billed me based on that. They decided that my insurance covering infertility testing, but not infertility treatment, meant that only the first appointment when the diagnosis of infertility was made, would be covered. What a bunch of idiots. And, they marked my chart as 'infertility-unspecified origin' instead of 'PCOS', which is more accurate, and more likely to be covered. I had to explain to them that in the future they needed to mark the reason code as PCOS, and always submit a claim, whether they think it will be covered or not. You never know unless you try, right?

Also, they didn't read the fine print, or didn't read my chart, because my insurance specifically excludes IUI and IVF, but it does not exclude clomid with intercourse. I was trying to explain this to them and they're like, "You're using intercourse? Are you sure?" And I'm telling them, "Yes, I'm sure I am having sex with my husband to try to make a baby. " As if I might be confused about what we have been doing all this time. (I'm pretty sure we have been doing it right, although it's obvious that information from my middle school health teacher can't be trusted. She told the class that girls would get pregnant easily, so she might have been wrong about what hole to put it in, as well.) The nurses said the word 'intercourse' like it was a bad word, or some sort of freaky fetish that they would rather not hear about, instead of the normal way of procreating. I guess working at a fertility clinic will make you forget that not everyone can go for the big guns all at once.

Once I made them understand that I was going to continue to try to reproduce with the normal method, plus a little chemical assistance, they were like, "Oh, well your insurance will cover that! And your next appointment, too! We'll just put it as a credit on your account. Minus the co-pay of course. Have a nice day!"

But I got it sorted out. Insurance will pay. I win. Yay! Now over to google to verify that the information my middle school teacher gave me is correct. Just kidding, I know we've been doing it right. Although I am always amazed by how often people, upon learning of my infertility issues, ask, "Are you sure you're doing it right?" What idiots. Yes, I am screwing my husband, and I am doing it properly. Jeez!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Paying For the Pleasure

So I've been really remiss lately in my posting, or lack thereof. I will try to improve the frequency. On Tuesday 6/3/08, I went to my appointment to check for cysts before beginning clomid. Traffic was hell, as usual, but I made it on time (not early though). I waited in the waiting room for about 10 minutes, and had plenty of interesting reading material. There was a wide variety of magazines: 3 issues of Tropical Fish Hobbyist (which I love), Time, Nat'l Geographic, several hunting and golfing magazines and various others. Blessedly few parenting magazines. One thing I feel it is important to note is that there were no copies of the obnoxious Conceive magazine (check here for more about Conceive - (Maybe If You Just Relax). Another magazine I noticed was missing was Infertile Whore. I bet a fellow infertile stole it.

After waiting for the briefest of times, I went and had my Cycle Day 3 vaginal ultrasound. Yuk! Whoever thought of putting an ultrasound wand there while a woman was on the rag was a brave muthafucka, let me tell ya. And then, they had the balls to tell me that it would be $180, instead of my $35 specialist copay, because my insurance doesn't cover fertility treatments, only infertility diagnosis. So I'm standing there arguing with this lady, trying to make her understand that an ultrasound is a *diagnostic* procedure, not an infertility treatment. And because this was CD3, the conversation went something like this:

Me: An ultrasound is a *diagnostic* procedure, not an infertility treatment.

Scared Billing Clerk: But it's part of the treatment, so they won't pay for it.

Me: Look, how can I explain this. It's not, under any circumstances that I can think of, a *treatment.* Yes, I am undergoing infertility treatment - Clomid. The ultrasound is simply to monitor my health while I undergo said treatment, and to diagnose any additional infertility issues. Y'all can stand around and jab me in the twat with an ultrasound wand all day long, and it will not make me any more fertile. You get my husband in on the action and it might improve your chances a little, and certainly make it more fun, but the ultrasound will not *treat* my infertility.

Scared Billing Clerk: Um, ma'am can you lower your voice? Feel free to call your insurance company and see if they will cover it. Today's total will be $180. Have a nice day.

So I wrote her a check, walked to my truck, and had a nervous breakdown. I sat and boo-hooed til I couldn't cry any more. I was so mad and frustrated. I knew all of this would be expensive and stressful, but from appointment no. 2? And I didn't even see the doctor! If I had been looking to get screwed, I could have gone down to Rundberg & Lamar, stood on the corner for a few minutes with the other working girls, and had somebody *pay me* for the pleasure.

What a bunch of bullshit! Arrrggghhhh!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Trojan Man

Apparently, if I want to get pregnant, we need to use condoms. The nurse called today with the lab results. As I expected, I am not already pregnant, so I am all clear to start taking the Provera. Then the nurse informs me that I need to either abstain from making whoopie, or use a barrier contraceptive, during the time that I am on the Provera. Don't want to accidentally get pregnant while on the Provera, then stop taking it and have a miscarriage when my cycle starts. Abstinence is out of the question, so condoms it is. When the nurse called, I was in HEB, so I thought I would go ahead and get some condoms. I go to the condom aisle, and start looking, and get a little overwhelmed by so many choices. After all, indecision may or may not be my problem. Besides, we have been trying for 2.5 years, so needless to say, I have not purchased any condoms in quite a while. So I called Brad to tell him the news, and ask his opinion on what condoms to get. He says, "Well, I don't know. Here, talk to Michael, he uses those more often than I do." He then hands the phone to Michael, his son. So before I can stop it, and despite my protestations, I find myself discussing the merits of various condoms with my 18 year old step-son. It freaked me out. I wound up having to call my Mom for moral support. She thought it was effing hilarious, and had to share the humor with her husband. After I regained my composure, I picked a box of Trojan Her Pleasure - Warming Sensations, and a Trojan variety pack. Still having a hard time with that indecision thing. Then I go to check out, and as the line moves forward, I realize that the cashier is one of the senior girls from the high school that I see on a daily basis, but she has seen me, so I can't switch lines. Just as I get to the register, I look down and realize that one of the boxes of condoms is open. So I have to have the bagger go exchange it for me, because buying an open box of Trojans would not be prudent. Sort of like buying a sex toy at a garage sale. Just a bad idea all around. So I got the condoms home, but not without much drama. Oh well. My Trojan Man is worth it. And if it gets us a little trojan baby, that's even better.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Whirlwind Day

We went to the initial consult at the fertility clinic today. It was storming and traffic on MoPac was at a standstill. I was only 10 minutes late, and I got chastised by the doctor for it, because she and her other patients do *not* like to be kept waiting. She will from here on be known as Dr. Punctual (unless she does something to merit a different name). There wasn't a soul in the waiting room, and when I tried to call to let them know that I was on my way, but running a little behind, of course I couldn't get a real human to answer the phone. She either needs to give lessons to other doctors in punctuality, or pull the stick out of her ass. I'm so used to waiting for long periods of time in doctor's offices that I didn't think it would be a problem. So anyway, we did the interview/consult, and here is the tenative plan of action: I have to get Brad in to the doctor for a checkup on his diabetes, cholesterol, and blood pressure. He will also have to have a semen analysis, and he will have to quit smoking. Dr. Punctual wanted me to have a couple of labs drawn, to start with, and to make sure I am not pregnant already. Then I will start taking Provera to start my cycle, then 100mg of Clomid, since we already tried 50mg with Dr. Adonis. She will monitor me for a good response, and if the response is not satisfactory, I will immediately start Provera again, and move to 150mg of Clomid. If the response is good with either dosage, we get ovulation predictor kits, and make like rabbits. If the response is just mediocre, we consider higher dosages or extended dosing times. If there is no response, we move on to injectable stims. It sounds like a reasonable course of action, with acceptable expediency. Speed is definitely a factor, since I will be off during the summer, but when school starts again, it will be much harder to do all of this.
After we got through with the appointment, we went to St. David's for the lab work. We had to wander all over to get to the lab, but once we got to the lab, I was in and out within 10 minutes or less, and the service was exceptional and friendly.
Then went to the Social Security Administration, at 9th and San Jacinto. I was so proud of myself to have remembered where it was. We walked in the door, only to find out that the SSA moved about three years ago, and is no longer at 9th and San Jacinto. How annoying. It moved up near I-35 and St. John's. I will say one thing, the new building is a huge improvement from the old one. Gone are the two little service windows and wall fans to try to blow away the odor from the crush of humanity. Instead, there are 24 service booths (with chairs, even) to serve your needs. There is modern air conditioning, adequate seating, and color television, all topped off with a pleasant feeling of cleanliness. I still had to wait for 45 minutes, but that's better than 3-4 hours in the old location. I officially got my name changed (almost 2 months after the wedding), and I didn't have to argue with a single person. The man doing the change was even friendly.
After that we went to the building supply place that once was Calcasieu and got a quote for the materials to replace the fascia boards on the outside of the house before we paint. They were mostly knowledgeable, and completely friendly. The quote was for $600. Then we went to the bank and got a check for $600, with which to purchase said materials. The bank was efficient as well.
Then we went to DPS and I changed my name and address on my driver's license. I even got fast, friendly service there.
Last, we went to my bank and deposited some money in my account. Hopefully my employer will deposit some money in my account tomorrow, and then the government will deposit some more money in said account on Friday.
Overall, we had a whirlwind day, in which we accomplished much, received exceptional service from all parties involved, and nobody pissed me off. Talk about a success. About the only thing that would make it any better would be for the fertility clinic to call and say, "Stacy, all of that was for nothing. According to the lab, you're already knocked up. Go ahead and schedule an appointment with your regular OB/Gyn." Wouldn't that be nice? But knowing my luck, I'll just have to settle for the pint of Blue Bell in the freezer.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Every Journey Begins With A Single Step

I made the first major step toward figuring out this stupid infertility thing. I made the prerequisite 83.2 phone calls to the insurance company, fertility clinic, OB/Gyn, personnel office, and others. The lady at the insurance company was actually helpful and friendly, and told me that I did not need a referral, and provided me with plenty of additional information, because apparently she has done all of this herself. The lady at the fertility clinic was helpful once I got her to return my calls. The hours that the clinic answers the phone are really crappy, and I called a bajillion times trying to talk to a real human. Finally after leaving several messages in several different inboxes, I gave up, as it was Friday afternoon by that point. So I had to wait until the next week to get a return call from them. I finally was able to schedule a new patient consult. Then I had to call personnel to get the time off approved, and then call Brad to get him to put the day on the calendar at his work. Then I called the OB/Gyn's office, and learned that all of those results came back normal, and asked them to send those to the clinic. So, I will have my first appointment with the fertility doctor on May 14, 2008, at 10:00am. Now I just have to make approximately 93.6 phone calls to various other bureaucracies to make sure everything goes off without a hitch. Yay, what fun. One step at a time, I guess.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Paging Dr. Adonis

I went to see my OB/Gyn on Monday. First off, let me just say, good God almighty, that man is FINE. He could eat crackers in my bed any day. That's not the only reason I see him, of course, but if I'm going to have somebody down there, he might as well be good looking. Aside from that, he is the best OB in Austin. My Mom has been a labor & delivery nurse for longer than I've been alive, and if she says he's the best, I believe it. She would know, she works with him every day. She uses him, my older sister goes to him, he delivered both of my nephews. He was at my mother's wedding reception the other day. So I definitely trust him and like him. I never feel rushed through an appointment. When he walked into the room, the first thing he asked was not about my nether regions. Instead, he asked how my sisters were, and how my nephews were, and asked after them all by name. If anybody wants his name, let me know, and I'll send it your way. He is so awesome. And did I mention he was gorgeous? Even Brad agrees.

So anyway, he did the annual pap smear / exam that really had been more like a year and a half since the last one. Perfect technique, as always. I know that's too much info, but that kind of thing matters. I hear lots of women complain about how getting a pap done hurts, and I have had other doctors not be so gentle, but with Dr. Adonis, you hardly feel a thing. So, it was quick and painless. He wrote me prescriptions for a couple of things I was out of refills on, and we talked about the babymaking endeavor. I did two cycles of unmonitored Provera/Clomid/Metformin after the last pap, and didn't have any luck then. He agreed that it is time to start the process at a real fertility clinic. He said he would write a referral for me, and also dictate a letter to the doctors at the Texas Fertility Center explaining my background and what we have already tried.

Tomorrow I'm going to call my insurance company to find out if I actually need a referral to go to TFC. My insurance should cover diagnostic testing, and some basic medication. Then I will call TFC to set up an appointment. Since I will be off of work this summer, it seems like the ideal time to be doing all of this. I'm ready to get this show on the road. If I can just get myself knocked up, then I can go back to see my OB. Did I mention he is FINE?

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