October 6, 2012


My first DE IVF was a failure.

The official beta test day is tomorrow but it was clear to me that the trigger was turning into a negative and would remain a negative.  By 10dp5dt the trigger was totally gone and I knew it was over.  I arrived home Wednesday and asked my home RE for a beta test Thursday and she emailed me the results yesterday morning.  Gah.

I've had a couple of really rough moments but I haven't fully broken down or allowed myself to slip into the darkness that found me after my m/c and mother died.  I just cannot let that happen again.

I can't put off trying again for months on end.  The planning for this ivf took over 7 months.  Screw work, screw finances, screw personal commitments.  I'm planning for an fet in December.  My home RE will do the monitoring and I hope to be able to make an appointment for the transfer the third week of December.

My ivf consultant has asked if I want a post-cycle report from the CZ doctor with his suggestions for moving forward.  Absolutely!  I'm sure included will be my lining issues and a possible hormonal impact of that last minute D&C.  What do I know though?  Maybe even things that appear perfectly "perfect" do not work out.  I think I'd rather buy into that than feeling that my body failed again and/or that I did something wrong.

So, until I get my plans sorted out I'm on austerity measures to afford the trip back.  I suppose there are worse things than a Christmastime visit through Vienna again.

My return to life stateside, work especially, has been a little like death by a million cuts:

  • cancelled flight home (without notice) which resulted in airport crying and many hours delay in getting home.
  • emails to my personal email account from work two days before I was due back.
  • a team meeting 4 hours after being in the office to detail my "top priorities" and a look at 2013's projects.
  • people asking how many emails I had (you know, because the more emails you have that pile up in your absence, the greater your importance).
  • my very pregnant coworker/friend bringing her 2 year old in to visit and playing in my cube (in all fairness, as she is the only one who knows what's going on, she asked me if it was ok first.  What could I say?  It just brought back the memories of when we were ttc-ing together and how now she has a 2 year old and one on the way).
  • another coworker who left for another department coming to visit me yesterday and tell me all about her new baby and how I "HAVE to see the new show Call the Midwife".
  • coming back to the same old shit and remembering how I felt all those months planning this and thinking I would come back pregnant.  
Obviously work figures prominently in my life and I think I've posted before about how this job is unfulfilling, brings me much stress and is soul sucking.  It's all that but it's also the instrument by which I've been able to do all that I have ttc-wise and that is what I must remember.  

I'm going to catch up on sleep today, unpack and try to let go of the rest of the sadness and anger that is bubbling below the surface. I'd rather hope be my driving force.  I have so little reserves left that I must purposely choose what keeps me going every day.  

Thank you all for being so supportive and helpful during this process.  Thousands of miles away I never felt alone.

September 30, 2012

Life Is A Beautiful Bitch

I'm not sure where I heard that line but I think about it often, especially today as my trip is winding down.

I've had a wonderful trip.  The past five days in London have been full of all the things I love - art, music, history and good food.  The weather has been a little chilly but sunny with very little rain.  I've been out and about every day and I've never once not marveled about how fortunate I am to be here and be healthy enough to travel (lots of walking!).

I so wanted to not test until today (7dp5dt) and I met my goal.  My reasoning included needing time to compose myself before returning to work.  Returning to work after vacation is a rough transition in general, but I feared returning from vacation with a bfn would really send me down a deep and dark path.

So, this morning at 7 days past a 5,000 Pregnyl trigger I tested.  I then tested this evening about 12 hours later.  The results are inconclusive.  It could be leftover trigger.  It could be an evap line.  I just don't know.

This is where life being a (beautiful) bitch makes me chuckle. I can't help it.  When I saw the test this morning and read it as a negative I laughed out loud.  All of this, not just this cycle, but all the others, the m/c, the time, the stress, the heartache, the money, the life I've put off having...all for naught.  I can do nothing else but laugh at this point.

I'll test tomorrow but I don't feel anything other than PIO symptoms.

I've also been thinking of another saying that has more to do with prayer, something I no longer rely on much anymore.  The gist of the saying is to not feel that God/the Universe/Mother Nature is ignoring your pleas.

Sometimes the answer is simply "no".  It's always been no.  I've just not been listening.

September 23, 2012

Blasts On Board And I Accidentally Ate Ostrich

My eyes popped open at 4am this morning.  There was no snoozing until my alarm at 6.  It was transfer day!

My appointment was at 9am but I arrived by taxi at 8:20 or so.  I knew I had to submit some paperwork and go over my meds with the nurse to see if I needed anything before leaving.

I was the only one there (patient-wise) and after handing over my originals and receiving photocopies of all my forms the nurse led me to the aftercare area where I was to meet the embryologist.  I was surprised by the size of the clinic.  Although the outside, and structurally inside, it appears to be a late 19th century estate, full of graceful lines and swirls of baroque detail, the inside is gleaming white and modern.

The bright and sunny aftercare room was upstairs and contained three beds which had fluffy duvet covers on them and big square European sized pillows plopped at their heads.  The radiator was set to "toast" and as I waited for the embryologist to come in I considered crawling under one of the duvets and taking a nap.

The embryologist brought with her a spreadsheet of my embryos' life since retrieval.  Today,  day 5, I had two hatching blastocysts and two blastocysts.  Although I had been wrestling with the "how many embryos do I transfer" issue, when she asked me how many I'd like to transfer I quickly answered, "two".  She said the other two were strong and would freeze nicely.  Two as potential backups?  I couldn't even digest that as I was assuming there would be nothing to freeze.

After she finished talking about the embryos and the procedure, the embryologist took from her pocket an object wrapped in paper.  She said she is a painter also and painted something for me.  She unwrapped a shiny white quartz-like rock about the size of a Chapstick cube.  On it she had painted a four leaf clover with each leaf resembling a heart.  She said she wanted this token to bring me good fortune and happiness.  I was taken aback by this unexpected act of kindness.  As I held it in the palm of my hand I could feel the tears pooling in my eyes and had to fight the urge to stand and hug her.  Instead I thanked her sincerely and rushed to the restroom.  Not exactly graceful but I hadn't prepared for that.

Next the nurse came to take me to the "operating theatre" where, when I entered the outside room, I was asked to step on a sticky piece of flooring and leave my shoes placed on it.  I then put on my socks (not lucky ones, just plain ones to cover the horrific state of my pedicure due to travel), removed my pants and underwear and put on a paper skirt given to me by the nurse.  It was more like an apron and it reminded me of the ones Lucy Ricardo wore on "I Love Lucy" (where this odd thought came from at a time like that I do not know!).  I then crammed my size ten feet into the white Crocs given to me by the nurse and shuffled into the theatre.  

The doctor explained the procedure (his English was very good so I think the first time I met him he was just using the nurse-translator for medical terms).  The embryologist came in with the catheter, then left to check it and I was done!  The nurse stood by my side the whole time with her hand on my shoulder and when he was done the doctor said I had a "perfect transfer" with perfect lining, perfect embryos, no cervix problems and no bleeding.  As he was telling me this I felt like he was talking to someone else.  "Who me?  L'il ole me?" *dragging one toe in a circle in the dust*. Also at this time it finally came to me that he looked like a young Dominic West.  This had been bugging me since I first met him.  I could not figure out who he reminded me of.  Again with the arcane thoughts apropos of nothing.

I was then left to rest on the table for 15 mintes after which the embryologist brought me. ACD of my embryos' development.  The nurse then let me change and led me back to the aftercare room where I got my trigger shot in the rear, collected my things and went down to reception to pay 350 Czeck Crowns for my trigger shot (about $16).  A taxi was then called and I headed back to the hotel where I took a short nap.

I wandered to the town square to discover a food festival hosted by restaurants in the area.  For about $1.25 I could buy a ticket to exchange for small plates of food at any of the 25 booths.  I bought 8 tickets and moved from booth to booth sampling homemade potato gnocchi smothered in mushroom sauce, small mountains of garlic mashed potatoes under thick slices if roasted ham and several other delicious offerings.  It was pretty crowded, especially at the last boo, so I stood in line and handed over my last two tickets for a plate filled with two skewers of roasted meat with apples.  I went over to a table to devour the food, marveling at its tenderness and rich flavor.  I got up and moved towards the trash container and froze in my tracks.  There, just after the booth, was a small pen filled with straw which contained two fuzzy and gangly baby ostriches.  They were lurching around the pen, snapping at each other with their beaks and batting their long eyelashes at the kids who were peering between the fence.  I just ate one of their relatives!  I'm obviously not a vegetarian but I didn't expect to see those two adorable creatures after eating one of them!

I then walked back to my hotel where I am now snuggled under a feather duvet watching old episodes of "Frasier".  For some reason this all-Frasier channel is the only English channel.  Kelsey Grammer must be getting even more wealthy from Czech tv!

I feel great and am going to take it easy for the next day and a half.  It's hard to sit still when I've been constantly on the go.  London is my next stop before home.  I am now wrestling with testing.  I brought along some cheapie strip tests.  I just don't know if I want to test while in my most favorite place on earth.  If it's bad news I don't want the two associated.  Like S.carlett, I'll think about that tomorrow.  After all, tomorrow is another day.

September 21, 2012

Inviting Rampant Speculation Because Google Makes Me Cower In Abject Terror

I've received an update this morning from the clinic.  My time it's about 3 days past retrieval (give or take half a day as far as I can calculate.  The status thus far is two-8 cells, one-5 and one-4.  I did a cursory web check but actually developed an upset stomach.  Weak as water am I!

Any ideas from those more experienced?

My transfer is set for Sunday at 9am so it sounds like the clinic expects at least something to make it.

I experienced my first travel bump today.  I stayed last night in a midieval (yet surprisingly well touristed) city.  I got there from Vienna by shuttle van and had a very nice room at a family-run pension.  I was to be picked up by another shuttle company at 5pm to get to the city where the clinic is.  The shuttle driver received wrong pick up info and left without me.  An hour later they sent a driver (who was probably in the middle of dinner and sports on the tv from the looks of it) who drove like a maniac to the closest city with a train station.  He gave me cash back for half of what I paid via PayPal (around $25).  So I get to this town and the mean soup Nazi-ish woman at the ticket office says what I finally realize is that no more trains to the city I need to get to tonight.  I then go across the street to the bus station.  Same results.  So now I'm standing there at 7:45pm in a strange bus station wondering what the heck to do.  Thank goodness for my iPhone!  I found a hotel with availability for about $45.  I hopped in a cab and here I am.  I emailed the hotel where I was supposed to be tonight and promised to pay for tonight when I arrive tomorrow.  I also sent the shuttle company a disgruntled email and they said they would refund the other half of my fare via PayPal.  I won't hold my breath though.  Anyway, standing there in that Communistic era train station I felt rather alone and scared.  I found some teenagers who spoke a little English and who helped me figure out how to get to the busses and how to read the schedules.  I'm so glad now I allowed one "cushion" day before transfer.  Just a minor bump and I think I'll forget it as soon as I leave tomorrow morning. 

September 19, 2012


 Is German for ten.  Thats how many eggs were retrieved from my donor!  European clinics do not push IVF patients as hard as American clinics do so I was not expecting a bumper crop of eggs.  As of late yesterday 7 were fertilized and 6 were in "a prenuclear stage".  Not sure what that indicates.  I havent heard anything later today and i am ok without daily embryo updates.  I think it's wise for me just to let go.  I can't change anything now anyway.

So when I visited the clinic last week I was struck by how different the waiting room felt.  It was its own separate room with multiple tables with chairs around them. It was more like a cafe than a waiting room.  In fact I was even asked if I wanted tea or coffee!  No one else was there so I tucked into some free Internet and waited to see the doctor.  When I was led back I couldn't help but feel like I was in a Scandinavian Design store.  I saw one picture of a baby done professionally and hung in the hall.  I braced myself for a room full of Christmas cards with babies in the exam room like at home but there was only a picture of some zen-esque rocks.  The doctor's desk and computer was at one side of a large room and the table at the other end.  I changed in a little dressing room and then hopped on a chair-not really a table.  It was like a futuristic BarcaLounger with flat paddles instead of one long foot rest.  The machinery was all very modern and new and the scan was quick.  When I came into the room I shook hands with the doctor, who greeted me warmly.  I didn't realize until later, when he was saying things to the IVF coordinator who was also in the room, that either his English wasn't fluent or he was trying to have the info relayed in a non medical way I could understand when translated. After the scan I was able to ask both the doctor and the coordinator questions.  I wasn't charged for the scan and was driven back to the train station by the coordinator.  

I don't know what I was expecting but I admit I was nervous.  I needn't have been!

I left that Wednesday expecting to hear from the IVF coordinator on Friday.  I was to receive word to do a 5,000hcg shot.  When I didn't hear by 7pm I called my American consultant who was able to get the info for me. I think there was a misunderstanding about how to reach me.  The ivf coordinator used text but that wasn't working on my phone. Anyway, minor panic but got word to trigger on Sunday and begin my PIO today.  Done and done!

I wondered why I needed a trigger shot as a DE IVF recipient and was told the clinic has found that it helps the body to prepare as it would naturally.  I'll also get a 5,000 booster on the day of transfer.

I've been reading your blogs but have only been successful at commenting on a few!  I'm not sure what the deal is but I'm keeping up from afar!

I'm in Vienna btw.  I fell off the "no coffee" wagon.  Who can pass up a cup of Viennese coffee and a slice of apple strudel?  Not this girl, that's for sure!

September 15, 2012

Lady In Waiting

I've had some trouble with my Blogger app.  I am attempting this from the site via my phone so just a quick update.

I arrived safely but a bit exhausted.  My travels were smooth save for one militant security woman in Frankfurt.  She went all through my meds and even matched up the doctor's letter to what I had with me. My heart nearly froze after she approved of that and then moved on to my bag of liquids.  I was way overthe limit and explained it was for three weeks.  She tisked at my lack of checked baggage but let me through.

I made it to the clinic in the CZ.  The IVF coordinator met me at the train station and whisked me to the clinic.  I was apprehensive that after the D&C I would have too little lining at that point, even with a hefty estrogen regime. It was 10.5 though and the doctor proclaimed it to be "perfect for transfer".  It was so worth the extra 8 hours of travel that day just to know for sure.

I got an update last night that the donor will have retreival on Tuesday and I'll have a transfer on Sunday the 23rd.  I've had to do some rearranging of my itinerary because I've now got two extra days that I Havebefore I have to be near the clinic.  It's a great problem to have at this point.
I am doing this blog via free wifi at a cafe in the square of St. Stephan's church in Budapest.  It's a lively city and it's beauty has made me tear up a couple of times.  Must be the meds!  All for now but in my next post I'll talk a little about the clinic and my first impressions.

Curious note:  why is it that at home cigarette smoking is repulsive but I'm finding it to be quite sophisticated here????

Please excuse any errors btw.  I can't see what I'm writing for some reason...

September 10, 2012

We Have Lift Off

Literally and figuratively!  My flight leaves tomorrow afternoon and in 14 short hours (gulp) I'll be in Budapest!  It hardly seems real.

My American RE emailed me today to tell me that the pathology report was clean.  No hyperplasia.  I felt sweet relief wash over me.  The feeling was fantastic.  She also said they discovered a small polyp and that it was a very good thing I had the procedure before the transfer.

Unfortunately the CZ clinic could not locate a Hungarian clinic to do a lining scan so Thursday, the day after I get there, I have to take a train from Budapest to the CZ to visit the clinic for a scan.  It's a four hour train trip each way but I guess at this point the inconvenience is to be overlooked.  After all of this my perspective is greatly changed and nothing they tell me to do would be argued with.  It has to be done and so it shall.

I hope to get some rest the next couple of travel days.  This weekend was really rough.  The work event went well but I wasn't feeling 100%.  People commented that I was pale but I wasn't in pain.  I was just exhausted and felt like I was in the Twilight Zone.  Despite all of that, I received recognition for my work and left the office today with everything tied up very neatly.  That too is a great feeling.

As I finish my minor packing details I can't help but look at my small carry on and see my hopes and dreams tucked alongside the clothes, meds and toiletries.  It's a fragile bundle.  Kinda like me at this point but there's no going back now and I'm ready to take the leap.  Thank you for coming along with me.

September 7, 2012

"This Is A Big Deal"

That's what my RE said to me last night after she arrived at the hospital and I thanked her profusely for treating me that night.  It IS a big deal to me and she got that.  I tried not to get too emotional in pre op and I think I did ok.  I felt like I didn't really have the time or energy to get too emotional. 

The D&C was fast and I was in and out of the hospital in four and a half hours.  My RE says everything looked normal and her work had a very light touch.  I woke up very quickly, drank whatever was put in front of me so I could produce the required sample showing I was back to normal, and was off.  It was a bit nerve wracking keeping my friend/neighbor/ride out of my business during check in, etc. but overall, it was an ok evening.

The only thing that could go wrong now (well, the biggest) is that the pathology report shows hyperplasia.  If that happens I'll most likely find out when I'm abroad and the cycle will be canceled and if I go through treatment again I'll have to do an FET further on down the line.  This isn't too likely since I just had a clean biopsy at the beginning of summer and that biopsy followed two other negative ones.  I filed this info away in my "worst case scenario" memory folder.  I just don't have the energy to devote to worrying about this.

I didn't sleep all that well last night.  I woke up really hungry and nervous about the scan this morning.  Needn't have worried as the lining measurement is 3.5mm.  The other RE at my US clinic says all looks good and gave me his best wishes. 

The CZ clinic has already sent me an updated protocol so this morning I started estrogen with breakfast and will start C.etrotide on the 13th.  My consultant is trying to find a place in Budapest where I can get scan before I start the C.etrotide.  If not in Budapest I'll have to go to the CZ for a quick scan.  

My RE said last night that it's often the cycles with the most stress and logistical acrobatics that have the best outcomes.  You hear that Universe?

September 6, 2012


Looks like I am going to miss tonight's big speech.  I'll be enjoying a D&C instead.  Went in for a CD4 scan this morning to see how thin my lining is.  7 is not thin enough to move forward so my RE is going to do a mini D&C tonight.  Is the stable ovarian cyst I've had for over a year just now deciding to kick into gear?  Is the 2cm paratubal cyst I've had since birth choking off something?  Is it the hyperplasia?  My RE doesn't know but God bless her heart, she's leaving her clinic and going to hospital OR to give my ute a gentle scraping tonight.

As I lay there on the table this morning, looking at the screen, I felt utterly discouraged, angry, sad and bitter.  I should know by now not to expect things to work smoothly or at all for me.  I hate falling into that way of thinking but that's where my mind slid.

I quickly refocused and talked thru all of the possible scenarios with my RE.  She ordered blood work, which I had done directly after the scan and will have me see her colleague tomorrow morning for another scan to see where I'm at.  The plan is if tomorrow's scan is fine then I can start the estrogen and then the C.etrotide shortly after.  My body seems to be in hyperdrive, all bursting with readiness to pump out a crappy egg.  She is going to try to stop this cycle and make the time I have left work so I can get enough estrogen in me in time for the transfer.

I will have to pop over to the CZ on the 14th to get a scan at the clinic which I won't mind.  It's not that far from Budapest.  Now, at this point, I just have to let go.  I went to work thinking I would not make it through the day.  It's the last day before my big project kicks off tomorrow and Saturday.  Not sure how I'm going to bounce back from a D&C and hit the floor running tomorrow.  I guess if I can get thru even this, I just may deserve some good fortune.  Is that how it works?

I called my consultant and she was ever calming and helpful.  I'll let her know what the results of the blood draw and D&C are tonight and then I'll pick up with the estrogen tomorrow. Right now I am two days behind schedule.  I hope I can make up this time.  I hope this works.  I hope for a lot of things, but really, I just hope for a fair shake at things.  I knew going into DE IVF abroad there would be bumps along the way but this would have happened where ever I had IVF done.  It makes me mad.  It makes me hungry too.  I haven't been able to eat or drink all day.

I bet my RE had better things to do tonight.  I know I did.

September 4, 2012


"That must be Italian!"~Mr. Parker
Image from  http://www.redriderleglamps.com 
I've been feeling a big fragile since I last posted.  I read and reread each comment (even going back several posts) and held on tightly to your words.  Thank you.

Somehow I got it in my mind that I had totally failed my mock cycle.  That perceived failure, plus all the other real failures stacked up behind it, sent me into a tailspin.  Not a great place or time to take that detour.

My second scan was pushed to this morning.  CD2.  Gah.  Anyway, my RE agreed that my lining was thicker than usual but not abnormal.  She did not feel that the hyperplasia had returned since all cycles before this and after the last biopsy were normal.  She said she'd do a biopsy right then and there but I recoiled and told her I didn't think it was necessary.  Really, I was too scared.  Scared to find out what would come back and scared of the pain.  I think I've justified it in my mind now by thinking I am trusting fully in her and the results of the biopsy just a few months ago.  Her parting words to me were also very reassuring.  She said my measurement had gone from 15 to 8 without any shedding or hormones so with CD2 and CD3 it was sure to decrease even more.  I'm taking that as gold and walked out with a "peace of mind" appointment for Thursday.  I'm waiting to hear from my consultant via the Czech clinic if this third scan is necessary.

So, my whole protocol is set but may change based on today's scan.  The time difference is a bump at this point...wishing I would hear sooner rather than later because I am supposed to start estrogen tomorrow.

Work is still incredibly stressful.  Friday was a watershed moment when I realized that I do not have the support I've thought (and been told I had).  It was blatant and it continues this week.  I decided to stop second guessing myself and just accept this is what I have to work with.  The next several days will be hellish but at least I can focus a bit more on the work and stop thinking, "Is what I think is happening actually happening?".

In good news though, my cat (well, not wholly mine, I co-parent him with the neighbors across the street) has fully recovered from surgery due an abscess he got from an injury by another cat.  He had been missing while I was camping and the several days afterwards.  By the time I found him he was septic and almost dead.  He's sitting next to me right now on the couch, head on his pillow and sleeping blissfully.  

August 24, 2012

Slow Meltdown

It all began with an email from my consultant:  "You're lining was a bit too thick so the doctor wants you to reschedule your next scan to after your next cycle starts."  I got this on my phone just as I sat down for lunch in a busy restaurant with my pg work friend.  I million things went through my mind and continued to do so after I returned to my desk.  It was such a busy day that all I could do was shoot my RE's office an email and request to have my next scan changed from the 30th to the 4th.

Running through my mind in no particular order:
1.  (I lied.  This was number one for sure).  The damn hyperplasia has come back.
2.  I am going to have to have a hysterectomy.
3.  I know my RE's last day before vacation is the 30th. I am not so sure others in the practice will do the scan since I am doing IVF abroad.  I belong to the health group that proclaims to T.hrive yet oftentimes has a very narrow view of medicine practiced outside their dominion.
4.  I do not have the extra money to pay for a scan out of pocket.  Mind you I haven't priced them but I've seen people charged $1200 at the desk when I've been waiting to be seen.
5.  I failed my mock cycle.
6.  The transfer cannot happen.
7.  I cannot reschedule my vacation.
8.  I'm screwed.

I rushed home and Googled the hell out of "lining too thick mock cycle DE IVF" and came up with everything from "mock cycle canceled" to "Russian RE likes thick lining".

(a weepy hour passes)

After a few emails with my consultant I am feeling much better than I was. She explained that most US doctors prefer a thick lining but that the CZ doctor wants to know if my scan measurements (14mm and 15mm) were indeed accurate.  To determine this I have to finish my estradiol and progesterone, shed some lining and then get a scan before I begin taking taking estrogen.

I hope to hear back about rescheduling the appointment on Monday.

Work isn't helping with all of this.  It's incredibly stressful and I don't feel that I get much support, mostly because others are equally overwhelmed.  Still, I'm working on the largest project of the year and I've had so many things thrown at me (other projects, people out of the office, deadlines I've set for others not met, etc.) that I am really feeling scared/anxious/overwhelmed and angry.

I suppose the meds are not helping.  I've never particularly like 400mg of progesterone a day.  It makes me bloated, exceptionally tired and weepy.

I've also been struggling to the point of sleepless nights on how many embryos to transfer.  I've seen studies that with two, the stronger pulls the weaker one along so both typically make it.  I've seen studies where one and one only, make for a healthy pregnancy.  I've done calculations on daycare, looked at places to move so I could afford daycare and rent, read twin pregnancy stories with no hitches and those with some rough spots and some with some major problems.

What to do?  My mind is exhausted and this week has been one I'd rather forget.

Damn! I started planning this whole thing months ago.  I should have evenly distributed my panic and anxiety over the past several months.  I can't handle it all at once!

August 18, 2012

The Awkwardness Of Discovering I Drunk Emailed A Psychic

Well...probably more like "tipsy"emailed really.

I was cleaning out my email inbox yesterday, which is very time consuming as I rarely delete my emails, and came across a PayPal payment for a reading to a "conception psychic".  I felt my ears and face grow hot when the memory of drinking a bit too much Kahlua and cream one night right around the New Year came back to me.  It doesn't take much to make me loopy but I think I was extra sensitive to alcohol that night as I was grappling with the realization I would not/could not move forward with my own eggs.

I don't remember how I found the psychic but I notice the charge was only $7 so at the time I probably thought it was a great investment.  Nothing in the reading seems to relate to me, except for maybe the part about being disappointed (who hasn't been?).  I chuckled at her worry about my "partner" and I think her vision of me having PCOS is probably based on the picture I apparently sent (more ear and face burning).  Hey lady, don't you know fertility meds, taken for months on end, lead to a bit of chubbiness?  Humpf.

Anyway, this find in my inbox reminds me of where I was just a few months ago.  Although the Kahlua might have softened the edges that night, I can now almost immediately touch that familiar place of pain and desperation.  I don't think I'll ever lose those feelings but now I can also see how I have moved through it and on to a hopefully more positive place.

At this point it's too painful to take the entire walk down memory lane and proclaim "it was all worth it", but embarrassment aside, I'm feeling ok about about the last few months (mind you not "ok" enough to forgo digging through all emails from that time period to see who else I had sent my hard earned  money to!).

For your entertainment...my reading:

I hope this reading finds you happy and healthy.  I also appreciate your patience. 

When I connect with you, I sense passion and discouragement.  I feel you are very apprehensive on your ttc journey.  I feel at times you feel it will never happen.  I feel with each cycle, you and your partner at times don’t know what to say anymore when it is a BFN.  I also feel partner took miscarriage harder than you thought he would.  He too is apprehensive and worried.  I do see a positive cycle ahead.  I see some good cycles for ttc.  I feel it is part of your destiny to be a mom.  I feel there will be more than one child.  I see 2 in total. 

As far as fertility, I feel you may have PCOS. I sense issues with ovulation.  I feel as though tubes are open and uterus is healthy.   I feel you have tried fertility meds and they do get you to ovulate.   I do feel you need IUI or IVF in order to conceive.  Is there any issue with partner??

I see March as the month to conceive or find out.  I see a boy.  I do feel it will be an IVF cycle.  I feel you will some fatigue prior to testing, and will just “know” you are pregnant.  I do sense some morning sickness at the start, but feel medications from cycle may make you feel “yucky.”  I feel you will have nausea and heartburn throughout pregnancy, and I don’t see a lot of weight gain due to food aversion.  I see a healthy pregnancy.  Keep your feet up when you rest; I see some swelling in ankles.    

I feel you will go full term.  I see a smooth delivery and a vaginal delivery. J

Good Luck!!  

"$7-richer psychic lady"

August 13, 2012

You Do Know This is Decaffeinated, Right?

"Yes I do, thank you", I said to the clerk through gritted teeth and then turned and slunk out the door of my local S.bux gripping a bag of decaf espresso beans.

The monkey is off my back.  Of course it's now dancing on my brain with its little monkey feet, squeezing my cranium in an iron grip with its little monkey paws.

Someone please tell me to stop this "first world problem" lament.  Seriously.

I'm now caffeine free!

August 6, 2012

Liar! Liar! Pants on Fire!

How convenient that I left off the biggest item on my To Do List.  Ceasing all caffeine intake!  My mind tried to shield me from the horrors of such a task.  Nevertheless, it belongs at the top of the list.

I am a double shot kinda girl.  Specifically an iced skinny single pump vanilla latte kind of girl.  I make my own at home to cut down on expenses and I enjoy it both taste-wise, energy boost-wise and prevention from throttling my coworkers-wise.

I've quit at various point in my ttc attempts and I'll do it again, it's just that I don't look forward to it.  I'm going away on Thursday for a four day camping trip.  Instead of dragging along my campfire espresso pot and accessories I think I will go cold turkey.  Hopefully the lazing about, the clean air and the daily hikes will make the process easier.

Who am I kidding?  Any bears in the area better watch their step because the first couple of days without my fix I am going to turn into a beast in two seconds flat.

August 5, 2012

To Do List

Yesterday was CD1 as I expected.  I am now glad I did not take the BCP before my mock cycle!

I emailed my consultant and she provided me with the clinic's mock cycle protocol which consists of inactive and active BCPs and then a scan to measure my lining on the 20th at which point the protocol may be adjusted before the next scan on the 30th.  I have to say I have enjoyed not doing the injectables involved in an IUI cycle.  I guess "enjoyed" isn't the right word.  More like appreciated not having to do them.  And relieved.

I have been keeping a mental list of things I need to complete before my trip, with the hope that should I return with a bfp, these things would be done and I could relax and *somewhat* enjoy the next 8 months or so.  The first item was to shampoo all the carpets in my apartment and buy a new sofa.  I was not looking forward to that cost or the work involved.  In a very bizarre turn of events, some of my furniture was damaged by rodents (I know, it sounds gawd-awful but I live in an old duplex apartment owned by people who do not maintain their property) so my landlord agreed to pay to have the entire place shampooed and I found a new sofa & free chair on C.raigslist.  It worked out so well and although that weekend was a logistical challenge, finding someone to haul the old stuff to the dump and then transport the new stuff to my place, it's done and I love the new-to-me furniture and my clean carpets!

Another little project involved my backyard which I have really let go in the last couple of years.  I had quite a junk heap growing by the side of my apt. which included a large tub full of water and from what I could see, baby mosquitoes.  Today I spent most of the afternoon cleaning up the yard, weeding, pruning, sweeping and most satisfying of all, dumping.  It needs more work to be the beautiful garden I once had, but it will do for now.

Also on my to do list...lose the pounds I had piled on during my ttc cycles.  I've never been exactly svelte but I was once down to a weight I felt good at.  I wanted to lose these 18lbs before leaving for my trip.  I'm at -11lb now and doubt I'll lose 7 more before the second week of September but I'm not complaining.  Er, maybe I will just a little.   It's been very difficult to lose that weight!!!!!   I don't know if it's my age or where the weight is on my body but it's been a real struggle.  I've been doing my B.ar M.ethod classes 4-5x a week and walking the others days and using the MyF.itness P.al every day (now at 90 days straight!) but I'll be damned if it hasn't taken precision measuring and constant focus to lose this weight.  I realize (and hope) I may be losing to just gain it, and more, back but I have never worked this hard to see such small progress.

Other items on my list, which will not get done I'm afraid, include replacing my car windshield (giant crack that I could have prevented if I had fixed the small chip), painting my bathroom, cleaning my oven and fridge and organizing my linen closet.  There just hasn't been the time.

I am now in the busiest time of the year at work.  It's going to be constant until 4 days before i leave.  I think this is a good thing for it will keep my mind busy and my anxiety focused on something tangible.  At some points during my day though, or when I am standing at my sink washing dishes, or driving on the freeway, I think about what I am doing, what I've been through and what my future may look like and I feel like a character in a book.  Who IS this person I've become?  I hope by the time all is said and done I look back and feel comfortable with my decisions and proud of my efforts.  Right now though I feel like I'm living someone else's life!

July 18, 2012

Rubber Ducky Is Staying Home

The clinic said that I should be fine to take a dip before the transfer but there is a small chance of infection.  That small chance is not one I am willing to take so I'll just be taking the tour of Szecheny Baths and not taking a dip in any of the pools.  Peace of mind is a great trade off!

Since I am not really comfortable sharing my plans for DE IVF with most of the people in my life I've created two travel itineraries.  I feel like a real jerk when people ask me about my plans and I have to tell them the fake itinerary.  I'm not a great liar and although I feel badly about it, I know it's the best way to handle this situation.

Regardless of the version of my trip I share, I always hear astonishment (and pity?) that I am traveling alone.  I've done many trips all over the world, on my own and with groups of one to 8 people.   I am completely comfortable traveling solo.  I actually enjoy it because I can go and do and see what I want.  I find that I stretch my social skills and become a different version of me (normally I'm a bit shy).   Some of my fondest travel memories are those where I've met new people.  

So, in my typical Planny McPlanner style, I am busily filling in my days before and after the transfer, thrilled with the opportunity to see new things and have new adventures.

Here's the real itinerary:

9/12-9/16:  Budapest
9/17-9/21:  Vienna
9/22-9/25:  Brno, Czech Republic
9/26-10/2:  London

I plan to blog along the way (WiFi willing) so I won't really be all alone, will I?

July 17, 2012

To Bcp Or Not To Bcp

With a transfer date of 9/22 or so I was supposed to start bcp on this month's CD1.  This would sync me up with the donor and enable me to move on to my mock cycle which starts with CD1 of August.  I've opted out of this month's bcp protocol because my cycles are never late and never vary and because bcps seem to over suppress me.   I hope this was the right call and CD1 starts just as expected.

I've just emailed my coordinator and asked if I can enjoy the baths in Budapest prior to transfer.  I am trying to keep my anxiety level at a minimum while planning the rest of my trip.  I'll be gone a total of 3 weeks with the transfer happening about 7 days before I go home.  It looks like this is really going to happen.  

"You come most carefully upon your hour." (Francisco) ~ Hamlet

July 8, 2012

Weekend With An Old Friend

Shortly after I got my BFP in 2011 I went to visit a friend who had herself fought a long and hard IF battle.  She was at the end of a twin pregnancy via DE IVF.  She had kept her DE IVF plans secret, even from me, but had opened up about it during my visit.  I remember being hurt about not being in the loop beforehand but it wasn't an issue any longer and I was glad I got to spend time with her and her husband.  The end of my trip coincided with her being admitted for preeclampsia.  Her twins were born a bit early and by the time they were home I had miscarried and for obvious reasons, our lives were full of very different issues.  

After some well-meaning but insensitive comments on her part I pulled away and stayed away.  It was just easier that way.  There wasn't any way I could find to cope with what was going on with me and be involved with what was going on with her.  It just wasn't possible.  I felt the loss of her in my life acutely but as the months passed and I become less shattered I thought that maybe it was better to just let the friendship go.  

In April of this year she called me and left me a happy birthday message.  I was stunned to hear her voice but was also unsure if too much time had passed to repair the friendship.  Communication back and forth reinforced our deep connection and we both felt that our relationship was too important to let go.

Fast forward to this weekend when I was able to spend some time with her and her husband and girls during their road trip.  We kept the conversation light and I just enjoyed spending time with them and doing some touristy things in my area.  Her children are beautiful and all are relaxed and happy.  

I haven't yet shared my DE IVF plans with her and I'm not sure when I will.  It's not that I am hiding it, it's more that I fear a BFN and don't want to drag others through that again.  I also don't want to have anyone feeling sorry for me at future get togethers and events.  Truthfully, I also fear they if they know, I would be really uncomfortable with my ability to carry on "as normal" in our relationship.  

So, for now I am just happy to have her back in my life.  The rest will fall into place eventually and I'm ok with not knowing exactly what that looks like right now.

In the meantime my friend and workmate knows about my plans and is very supportive.  I also have my DE IVF Abroad consultant who is a great source of information and support, along with the NP at my RE office.  She's been amazingly supportive throughout everything.  

It goes without saying of course, that I have my friends out in blogland, whose support and understanding is phenomenally important and amazing!

July 2, 2012

"You've Got the Perfect Little Life"

This is what my father and stepmother said to me last night over the phone.  They had asked me what I was going to do on Sunday and I said I was going to meet my walking group, then take a class, do my grocery shopping and work in my garden.  Ok, so yeah, maybe it does look like a nice life but the next statement was kinda weird, "....no one to look after but yourself".  

I guess this is how they see dependents.  My dad just turned 70 and my stepmother is 12 years younger.  My stepmother's grandson is staying with them this summer and they also have an adopted daughter who is 15 (she is the half-sister of the grandson but different father.  They adopted her rather than see her go to foster care.).  So yeah, maybe my life, without dependents, appears to be perfect to them.

To me however, it's not the life I want nor ever wanted.  Like many I always thought I would have at least a couple of children.  Now that I've been fighting for quite some time to have one, my life is far from perfect and in fact, is quite little (so that part of their assessment in true).  I do not enjoy all of the joys and challenges of having a family.  It's just me, and to them, that's perfection.

I guess there's also a generational difference.  My stepmother had her first child as a teenager so to her children were, have been and will always be a burden.  At this point my dad is too old and has health issues which prevent him from being a parenting parent.  

My dad and his wife have no idea that I have been ttc-ing and I haven't formulated what I will say when/if that time comes.  I know I will not be sharing the donor egg angle and am not sure what I will say about the "father".  Although have a close relationship, it's rather shallow due to many issues from my childhood (a much, much longer story).  

Also part of this disconnection in our relationship is their view of me as someone in suspended animation.  I have not passed through many of the rites of passage that most adults pass through.  My stepmother has never planned my bridal shower, my dad has never walked me down the aisle and I have never attended any family function as a married daughter with my own family.  Thus, they still view me (and sometimes treat me) like a child.  I guess it's only natural under the circumstances but it can be suffocating and irritating at times.  I can only guess that any announcement I am ever lucky enough to make will shock the hell out of them.

I can only hope they will see this as my life and accept my choices and my path.  I can only hope that should I ever become a parent I will do the same.  That's what parents do, right?

June 24, 2012


Shannon's post about Father's Day has been stuck in my mind.  Thinking about all of the possible (typically negative) outcomes that could come of my choice to be a SMC, and a double donor SMC to boot, my anxiety has been getting the better of me lately.

If, perchance, I fall into the statistical category where a BFP from my DE IVF turns into a real live baby, I worry about what my child will face in life.  Will s/he be hurt at school during some genealogical unit of study?  Will my child wonder why I am so much older than the other mothers?  Will my child become resentful that s/he cannot celebrate Father's Day?  These scenarios, plus about a billion more, rattle around in my brain constantly.

I attended a conference last week where a speaker gave a presentation about personal wellness.  His presentation was excellent in that it tied together many practical points on how to balance life at work and at home, as well as how to reframe how one thinks about life and what is important enough to worry about and what isn't.  I found the following quote to be very helpful to my current situation:

“For many this life is a vale of tears; for no one is it free of pain. But we are so designed that we can cope with it if we can live within some context of meaning. Given that powerful help, we can draw on the deep springs of the human spirit, to see our suffering in the framework of all human suffering, to accept the gifts of life with thanks and endure life’s indignities with dignity.”
Gardner JW:  Personal renewal.

I am looking to this quote to reframe the way in which I see my (potential) child's life.  The phrase "context of meaning" is making me look at the future in a different way.

It's up to me to build and support a context of meaning of life that is healthy, supportive and positive for my child.  Should I get to that point I feel that I can do that, especially with the support system I have built and continue to build.

On another note, thank you for the very helpful comments about my friend and how I am feeling about her pregnancy and our relationship.  I took the excellent advice and spoke to her about what I am going through.  She was very understanding.  We've made plans to renew our friendship with revised expectations.  Just knowing she "gets it", as much as a someone in her second pregnancy can, is enough for me.  I will try to be a bit more understanding of myself and my feelings as well.

June 12, 2012

The Post Wherein I Proclaim I Find It Very Hard To Look At Myself In The Mirror

My most closest friend and coworker is pregnant.  Again.

We both started trying around the same time, I was about six months ahead of her and was well versed with temperatures, EWCM, OPKs, Toni Weschler, pre-seed and supplements.  When we compared notes I realized she was doing many things wrong.  She was at the point of making an appointment to be seen by an RE when I shared what I knew.  BAM!  BFP!

It was hard for me, but I buried my feelings and was the most supportive friend I could be.  I listened to the little complaints, went shopping for clothes, looked at nursery stuff, talked about names, was on the shower planning committee (both at work and in real life) and was there the day her son was born. I've been to his naming ceremony, his first birthday and several events in between.

She had an early mc or chemical in January which I found hard too.  How lame is that?  I know that four years ago my friends would have said I was a kind, compassionate and caring person.  I don't think those words fit me now and it makes me sad.

I am trying to be more available for my friend, to listen more, talk more and be normal.  In the meantime I am fully disgusted with myself.  Mind you I am perfectly ok with my feelings when it involves someone I don't particularly like or am close to.  This friend though, this person who has been so wonderfully supportive, kind and caring towards me, I cannot scrounge up enough happiness for her.

I am going to really work on my behavior with the hope that my feelings will change or evolve.   She deserves better.

June 10, 2012

2013 EDD

According to a nifty IVF due date predictor I found online, if all goes well in September, one year from tomorrow will be my due date.  As I looked at dates on the screen I thought to myself, "Just WHO is this cocky little calculator who easily spits out these dates as if to make them true?".  I know that this date represents a lot of things going right, most of which I have no control over. 

Of those things I do have control over:
  • Straws - of the sperm holding kind, not the sipping kind!  I have purchased one straw from a bank in Denmark.  Although I have been purchasing vials from a small local bank, and thought I would want to use it for the DE IVF, the cost of shipping a tank there would be around $3500-$4000 (cue fainting).  So, I found a donor I really like and next week that straw will be on its way to the Czech Republic.
  • Meds - arrived!  I am sure my nosy neighbor was dying to know what arrived in a box marked "medicaments". 
  • STD panel - scheduled.  The clinic requested one within three months of treatment.  I know it's mandatory but I could not help but snicker at my own lack of STD opportunities lately.  As IF!
  • Mock cycle scans - approved!  I belong to a large "HMO"ish type healthcare plan and did not think I would be able to have scans done there since I am not going through this health plan for the DE IVF.  Surprisingly my RE's NP welcomed me back for these treatments.  This is a huge relief as I thought I would be going to (have no idea where I would go) and paying full price. 
I am trying to keep my anxiety at a low roar.  Who am I kidding?  I am a bundle of worry!

May 19, 2012

Slipping Away

The days. Where are they going?  I keep a date countdown (for the day I actually leave) in my bathroom and at my desk at work.  Oh, and also on my iPhone.  Thank goodness for the iPhone app that counts down the days because I would not believe how fast they are flying by my manual countdown!

I should be more excited than I am.  Anxiety and fear weigh more heavily on my emotions than excitement does. At times I have even played out in my mind testing, seeing a one-lined horror and falling apart.  Not sure why I love to put myself through that but I do, usually as I am trying to fall asleep.  I wish I could control my mind more.

Being a pre-planning Type A person, I am pleased that my meds are on their way!  All the way from the Czech Rep.  They should arrive in about two weeks.  The overall cost of the meds was reduced (about USD190) because I have enough leftover C.etrotide from the last few months of failed IUIs.  Now all that's left is the mock cycle, which I hope I pass successfully.

I wanted to share the information about the woman who is helping me through this process.  Check out her site here to learn more about her background and what her business is all about.

May 14, 2012


That seems to be my MO of late.

My last real post detailed my research on donor clinics abroad and promised to touch on concierge services.  When I first looked into "concierge services" (this is not what most refer to themselves as, but since terms vary so widely, I am sticking with this description) my only goal was to learn what I could from their websites and client reviews and then apply that knowledge to my own plans.

I found that services ranged from making travel arrangements, acting as liaison with the clinic to arrange treatment, completing paperwork to providing in-country support.  I was fairly confident in my own travel arrangement skills and thought I could also handle the communication with the clinic.

However I soon discovered that the clinic I was interested in had a waiting list of almost a year. I could "jump the line" and have a wait of only 3-4 months if I signed up with one particular concierge service.  Sounded great but email communication with this organization was disappointing.  I've had warmer, more humanistic emails from S.ears when I requested a service call for my washing machine.

I then came across another organization run by a woman who offered service packages.  I could choose to pay for clinic coordinating services and/or travel assistance.  After emailing and then speaking with the woman on the phone several times I felt confident working with her would be the easiest and most efficient way to move forward.  She provided me with an in depth analysis of three clinics that closely met my needs and I chose one that is relatively new, one I had not even considered before.

Her support and guidance since then has been incredible.  She's kept track of my paperwork, been the go-between with the clinic and sperm bank (more on that later!), provided me with insight on the city in which I'll be visiting (she did a cycle there herself) and has so much first-hand knowledge of DE IVF that I can ask her almost anything and she either knows the answer or finds it for me.  For a mere $600 I have support and peace of mind.  It's priceless really.

I have a transfer date of September 20-25.  An actual date!


May 13, 2012


I am keeping this phrase in mind...

"Breathe deeply and hold your heart with gentle hands."

I found a greeting card at Trader Joe.s with this simple saying on the front.  The inside of the card is blank.  Next year I hope to write the following on the inside...

"I did and it was worth it."

April 10, 2012

Life Goes On

Lately I've been noticing that life is moving pretty fast.  There's work.  There's life.  There's everything in between.  Often I am jerked out of my routine by something that forces me to "walk outside" of my life and look at it from another perspective.  It never fails to shock me, especially with a birthday coming up and my future DE IVF plans.

Whoa...never in a million years would I have thought I'd land here but landed I have and I'm coming to terms with it more and more.  This is only through lots of thinking though (and who knew how time consuming that could be?) which I think has slowed down my blogging.  I can't seem to process and write at the same time!

At any rate, thinking or blogging, time keeps moving forward.  I've been looking forward to my Vancouver trip very much and hope I can hit every delicious food establishment I wrote down.  Donuts with mascarpone cheese?  Oysters and crab?  Coffee? Dim Sum?  YES PLEASE!

March 30, 2012

Friday Mash Up

It's just about the last day of March (how did that happen?).  Although I fell short of my NaBloPoMo commitment, I am glad I found my blogging mojo again.

Current thoughts:

  • I am very sad for Paige.  I hope she is doing ok.
  • My friend and coworker had a heart attack on Tuesday night. She is just 35.  Thankfully she is doing well but it's made me take a hard look at myself.  I guess something like this does make those around the person reflect upon themselves.  At any rate, I need to make some improvements to my overall health.  
  • My guilt at leaving my hairdresser has been assuaged just a bit.  My friend who still goes to him called to tell me he left town after breaking an appointment with her.  A little digging uncovered his license was suspended due to nonpayment of child support.  Perhaps I broke up with him just in time!
  • I am learning to cook with kale.  I hope to learn to like it.
  • It's Friday night and I am doing absolutely nothing.  I worked last weekend and have to work the next weekend.  Doing nothing feels amazing.
Happy weekend!

    March 27, 2012

    Nuts and Bolts of Planning DE IVF Abroad

    I thought I would share my research about going outside of the US for DE IVF.  I only researched Spain and the Czech Republic before making my decision. I did casually look into Greece but the current state of that country's economy made me a little skittish.

    My spreadsheet reflects information I received via email and the prices were quoted to me in the last week or so.  Both countries only offer anonymous donor eggs and sperm.  The clinics will pick a donor for you based upon your height, weight and general appearance.  All agencies will accommodate blood type preferences but in the CR this would delay the process as most of the population has a positive blood type (I was considering a negative donor as I am Rh-).

    Spain readily works with single women and in fact by Spanish law, all women have the right to access assisted reproduction techniques, irrespective of whether or not they have a partner.

    The laws of CR do not allow for clinics to work with single women.  There are ways to work around this law and many (but not all) clinics have a "don't ask, don't tell" approach.  

    The clinics all report using donors from nearby universities and in both countries women are not paid for their donation save for a small stipend.  The CR clinics also reported recruiting women on maternity leave as leave there can be up for four years long. 

    I did a lot of searching through online forums, most of them UK or AUS based to learn what others thought about the clinics themselves.  From those impressions I chose the four clinics below to research.  All are reportedly highly reputable, technologically advanced and up to American clinical standards of RE medicine.

    I also found that there are "concierge service" companies who will shepherd one through this process, helping to choose the right clinic, coordinate dates, make travel arrangements and generally hold your hand through the process, which from such a distance away can appear quite daunting.  There are a few different levels of these service organizations and I'll report on those in another post.

    I have other notes to share as well.  It seems the deeper I go, the more interesting things I uncover.

    In the meantime, I hope the info below can help someone else!

    Currency converter here

    March 26, 2012

    The Times In Which We Live

    Last week I had to order some supplies for a project I was working on at work.  The deadline was tight and with two days to spare I found a well known online merchant with next day delivery for free!  Score!  As I opened the box barely 15 hours after placing the order I marveled (and thought very thankful thoughts) at the age in which I live.

    This whole baby-making project is no different.  Regardless of all the bumps in the road, this isn't a path I could have even taken 20 or so years ago.  I marvel at the science, the innovation and the wide selection of choices I have to make my dream come true.  

    Aside from the mental struggle to accept this alternative, the fact that I can still have a baby with the help of someone else's eggs, simply astounds me.  It's pretty damn amazing and I am so thankful that I live in times in which this is possible.

    You know what else is astounding to me?  The price!  Gah!  I hate how this has a price tag attached to it at all, it seems really odd to have to weigh all these choices and think of money as a huge factor.  A factor it is though and an important one at that.

    I cannot afford the $30-$35k that donor egg IVF costs in my area.  I could save up for it, but time, as they say, is money.  I've wasted enough time and it's more precious to me now more than ever.

    So, I am moving forward with donor IVF outside of the US.  The more I researched, the more sense it made for me.  I'll have to further explore the flip flop of feelings I have had surrounding the known sperm donor and unknown egg donor issue, but for now, at the end of this day, I feel very at peace with my decision.

    My top two choices for foreign DE IVF are Spain and the Czech Republic.  Although Spain would fit my ethnic background more closely, the cost would be $15k for the IVF alone, not counting travel expenses.  A cycle in the Czech Republic would cost $10k for the entire thing, including travel.

    How crass is that, to weight such an important event, quite possibly the most important one in my entire life, on the number of dollars each will cost?

    Realistically though, my decision has to be based in large part on this fact.  And so the decision has been made.  I am in communication with a coordinator to set a date in September.  This is the best time of year for me to take some time off work and by then I hope to be stronger and healthier, both mentally and physically.

    It blows my mind that I have the opportunity to actually do this in this manner.  I hope to someday convey just how amazing this whole process is to my child.  I hope he or she will be just as thankful and impressed as I am.

    March 21, 2012

    Explaining The Difference

    Yesterday I had my employee review with my supervisor.  The organization I work for uses software for developing, plotting and tracking employee goals and improvement.  So, goals I created for myself early last year were combined with my own self eval I did back in December and then weighed and assessed by my supervisor and then compiled in to a report which was reviewed with me.  

    I was absolutely shocked to see my supervisor gave me "exceptional performance" across the board.  She was surprised I marked myself so low in my self assessment.  I was not surprised.  Frankly I thought I sucked professionally last year so I rated myself "satisfactory" or left it "not rated".  

    Today the dept. director asked to speak with me.  She was "curious" as to why there was such a difference in my self assessment and my supervisor's assessment.

    Last year was no joke.  I was doing good just to make it through the day so I could get to my car to cry as I drove the commute route home (for once I was kind of happy I had a longish commute).   So, in a detached way (I hate crying at work) I told her I had the worst year of my life and I was not at my professional best but had found firmer ground and this was reflected in my professional improvement.  She was empathetic and said she understood that people could not compartmentalize their work and personal life but perhaps I had been too hard on myself considering the circumstances.

    Driving home tonight I realized it's been a full year this week.  A full year of some of the worst days I hope I ever have to live through.  But I made it.  

    There is a difference between the me of today and the me of a year ago but the explanation defies any words I could articulate.  

    I can feel it and I am living it, so for now that's good enough for me.

    March 17, 2012

    Spring Forward Mowed Me Over!

    I can't recall a more difficult adjustment to the time change.  I think the combination of this, the last week of BCPs and two very large projects at work caused me to really struggle for firm footing this week.

    I deeply appreciate the comments to my last post. I've had a lot of things running through my brain but this week's craziness has kept me distracted from ttc issues which, let's face it, is a full time thinking job!

    CD1 was yesterday but things are not quite as usual.  My RE told me to take BCPs after my last failed IUI (de rigueur after all of my BFNs due to cysts) but this time I spotted for about two weeks, then CD1 and now nothing.  My body is probably on strike.  There's only so many meds one can pump into one's body before it revolts.

    I'm taking my body & mind to Vancouver, BC next month for my birthday.  I've never been and cannot wait to walk Butchart Gardens.  This is the first cycle where I am not worried about scans, meds, cysts, sperm-carrying tank pick up, appointments, missing work and the heart crushing appearance of a stark white dip stick.

    This feels right.

    March 12, 2012

    It's Time To Consider Going Double D

    No, not this kind (with all due respect to Dolly, I happen to like her very much).

    We're talking double donor here.

    It's been rolling around in my head for several months and I suppose I've gone through all of the "normal" stages that someone at this point of ttc-ing goes through.  Disbelief, anger, denial, fear, shock then right back around to disbelief.  How did I get here?

    I suppose it doesn't matter at this point.  I'm here.

    I still have an IVF consult next week but I seriously doubt the good doctor is going to peer over his spectacles and give me and my decrepit eggs the same odds of success that donor eggs would get.

    I want to be a mother. It's as basic as that.

    "Find out who you are and do it on purpose." ~ Dolly Parton

    March 9, 2012

    Would You Rather Lose Your Blog Or Lose Your Photographs?

    Today's NaBloPoMo prompt made me think of the boxes upon boxes of photographs I have stuffed into bookcases, albums, bins and drawers around my apartment.  These photos are reminders of all the old film-based cameras I had many years ago.  For the last several years all my photos have been stored in digital files.  I've always meant to scan the other photos but never have.  Now I am reminded that I need to do this to gain the space and to keep the photos safe.

    As a whole my photos are reminders of family, friends, trips, projects, jobs, activities and experiences that have made up my life.  Although I do not look at them that often, I am sure I would be upset if I lost them.

    This blog on the other hand, represents a part of my life that number one, I never thought I would experience and two, didn't begin until I reached a very dark place. It's brought me much comfort, community and reflection but I would not be as heartbroken if I lost it, rather than my photos.

    Honestly, the only way this blog would become as valuable to me as my photos is if I am fortunate enough to bring home a baby.  I think chronicling this journey is something I would want to eventually share with my child.

    Now I suppose I should make a plan to get those photos scanned and uploaded!

    March 8, 2012

    Waiting For The Universe To Bitch Slap Me

    I happened to glance at my desk calendar today and realized this time last year I was pregnant and somewhat hopeful.

    I sit here now a different person, not just because of that experience, but others that followed and the aftermath of surviving it all.  I am beginning to feel stronger, to feel that perhaps my life is going to move forward, that perhaps I do have something to move forward to.

    But then I remember the time of year and I shrink in fear.  All my life this time of year, Mach/April-ish has brought with it upheaval and crisis.  This time also happens to be my birthday time so I often do not remember my birthdays but the events that overshadowed my birthday.  Last year was my miscarriage and mother's death.  I don't remember my 10th birthday, but I do remember it was the day my great grandmother died.  The next year my birthday was the date of my maternal grandmother's funeral.  Parents' divorce, mother's revelation I had two siblings I never knew about, moving schools, several other family deaths, and many other events, none of which were happy...all happened within these two months.

    Now at almost 42 I've come to expect it and I'm scared shitless.

    What else can the Universe throw my way?  Should I consider last year the pinnacle of all that could have gone wrong and did?

    Experience tells me I am nuts to feel positive and hopeful that I will make it to May unscathed.  Part of me, the clinical, logical part that loves to dissect and assess, is loving this, sitting back and waiting to see exactly what will happen.

    Only time will tell.

    March 7, 2012

    Tiptoe Through The Tulips

    In a previous post I suggested I might have shot my foot off by telling my supervisor that I was not willing to work outside of my current job description and towards a promotion that was not on the horizon (I have been on this "work the job you want" plan for almost two years!).

    Yesterday the director of my department let me know she was heavily advocating for my promotion and "changes were coming" although she could not make an offer yet.  She also gave me this beautiful tulip plant and the card which read, "Singular Desire, Sometimes it's nice to know you are appreciated - I do appreciate you! Warmly, Boss Lady".

    March 6, 2012

    When Does The Human Experience Cease To Be An Experience And Begin To Be Something To Be Managed?

    Loribeth's post "Gives a Whole New Meaning to the "2-Week Wait"  at The Road Less Travelled made me just as ticked off as the "single mother = abuser" article I read yesterday.

    In a nutshell the powers that be are proposing to make changes to the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual (DSM) to amend the diagnosis of mental illness after loss.  Currently the timeline is two months of "allowable grief time" before clinical depression is diagnosed.  If this amendment is approved the "allowable grief time" will be TWO WEEKS.

    Two weeks of grief and bereavement is apparently all the time one needs.  After that, if you haven't snapped out of it you're mentally ill, clinically depressed and most likely in desperate need of meds.  Ok, I admit it, the last one was a swipe a Big Pharma.  Sorry.

    Shocking!  I had no idea that my grief was on such a tight schedule!  Imagine what I could have been doing in the third week after my miscarriage and my mother's death.  I could have been at Disneyland (or heavily medicated, which I suppose isn't a bad thing when one visits Disneyland).

    Loribeth's post is linked to Dr. Joan's blog, who provides an in depth look at the implications of such a change.  In her words, "This change occurs against a historical DSM backdrop of salient criticism relative to the medicalization of normal human emotion, clinical hubris, cultural incompetence and insensitivity, and ethical misuse of such nosological systems."

    Loss is hard enough to bear. Are we now to be forced adhere to a timeline, and if we don't do so, bury it deeply so we won't be seen as mentally ill?  

    March 4, 2012

    Three Way Standoff in a Cemetery

    The Good
    • My trip last fall was the best of my life. I went with my bestie since the fourth grade and we spent a week in London, a week in Paris and one week split between Madrid & Barcelona.  The highlight was having the opportunity to see G.eorge Michael twice, including a black tie charity show at the Royal Opera House in London.  This was just before he became ill and nearly died so this experience will always be dear to my heart. 
    • On this trip I "came back to myself".  I don't know how else to explain it.  I had been so beaten down, so exhausted and so damn sad that I did not resemble the person I used to be.  Perhaps my "other" self had been somewhere there, wandering the continent and found me when I landed?  Maybe all the candles I lit in those Gothic cathedrals worked?  I don't know how it happened but it did and although I am still a somewhat fragile person, I feel more whole than I have felt in years.
    • In November I began taking classes at a local B.ar M.ethod studio.  The results have been phenomenal, physically and mentally.  I've never been one for yoga or Pilates, always thought that if I wasn't gasping for breath and running around the exercise wasn't "good enough".  Ha!  I still gasp for breath, but the overall mindfulness and strength I've built is greater than any boot camp I've ever done.
    • I received a generous bonus at work this year.  I know nowdays just having a job is the new bonus so I am very grateful for the additional funds.
    • I turned down an offer to teach in Korea this fall (after going through the application process!).  I put this under the "good" section because I took care of myself, realizing that emotionally I am not in a good place to move clear across the globe and set up a new life in such a different place.
     The Bad
    • Since my last BFN I have done several more IUIs (all back-to-back), all BFNs.  In between each one I've had breaks due to cysts, including one stable cyst that has evidently camped out for good. 
    • My RE asked me if I watched the tv show "Parenthood".  Really? 
    • Two years ago I was promised a promotion at work.  Six months later I was then told I "wasn't ready" and that I needed to "work the job I wanted".  About three months after that someone from another site was transferred in and promoted above me.  A week ago I had enough and told my supervisor I was not comfortable working outside of my job description, especially towards a promotion I was likely never to get.  Yeah, makes it a bit awkward now.  Could have shot myself in the foot here.
    • Since the death of my mother almost a year ago, my realtionship with my brother has not improved as I had hoped.  I don't know what to do about this.
    The Ugly
    • I have an IVF consult on March 22.  I turn 42 in April and I am sure the doctor is going to bring up donor eggs.  I don't know how I feel about that and I hate myself for feeling that way, however way that is (I know, confusing to me too).
    • I flat out have a sugar addition.  As I type this I am eating mini Twix straight from the bag.  I think I've been using sugar to cope and I don't know what to do about this either.  Each day I try to stop but the abstinance lasts until oh, about 10am. 
    • There's been a few new blogs lately, authored by women my age (I suppose those catch my eye first when the weekly blog list comes out from Stirrup Queen).  I find myself being "scoff-y", if that's a word. It's certainly an attitude and I hate it.  I feel impatient and jaded at their words of hope and excitement.  This is an ugly part of me I do not like.  I should be offering words of support but I cannot.
    • A few days after my miscarriage last year a good friend of over 20 years who had been through her own IF hell, had twins.  In an email she said something like, "I shouldn't say this so feel free to kick me if it's insensitive but..." and proceded to tell me all about her aches and pains and lack of milk supply.  I told her I needed a break and would contact her when I could.  I never have.
    *blows smoke from the business end of her six shooter*

    Thank you fireworksandrainbows for prompting me to give an update.  I felt very shy about coming back into the blogging arena after all of this time, not sure that I could convey all that I've had knocking about it my head.  There's more of course, but that's another blog or fifty!