Archive for February 6th, 2009

So this morning was a complete whirlwind and nothing was going right for the first couple hours of the morning (all of which related to things best n0t discussed on an infertility blog), but things eventually calmed down and I was working from home before leaving for my transfer (this was part of what didn’t go as planned – I had planned to be in the office for at least 2 hours before my appointment…). At some point, I looked at the clock and realized I’d been holding my breath all morning. Nine thirty. They would have called by now if everything had tanked and they were going to cancel. I hadn’t even realized that the thought was on my mind.

I set up a document to print at my office and grabbed a bottle of water, a pan of brownies, my keys, and my coat and went on my merry way. I stopped at the office to pick up the document I needed (a little light reading for the waiting room…whee!), and then headed up to Ye Olde Fertility Clinic. I called J, Marketing Supervisor Extraordinaire, as I was pulling into the parking lot. “So I’m early. Do I go upstairs and sit in the waiting room? Or do I bring you a brownie? You wouldn’t want to risk SuperDoc eating them all, would you?”

“You didn’t really bring brownies, did you?”
“J? Of course I did. I told you I was going to, and I always deliver!”

Needless to say, there was brownie delivery prior to waiting room waiting and document review.

And then my moment arrived… I was whisked back in to the transfer room. Asked to recite my name and social security number a few times, told to undress (waist down) and wait for SuperDoc. No problem. Except at some point I realized that my goal of a so-called “moderately full bladder” had, well, been exceeded. But I was good. Really. For a while. But the clock, it kept a-ticking. 5 minutes. 10 minutes. 20 minutes… Honestly what was worrying me the most was that they’d pulled out my little beauties and decided that they were all pretty useless after all and were trying to figure out how to break the news to a homicidal hormonal fertility patient. And finally SuperDoc walked in.

“So, did you pick a good one?”
“We might have more than one to choose from, but I know which one we’re going to use.”
“I’m just saying, you know, if you pick a good one, there might be some brownies in it for you, because I know that changes everything for you.”
“Well, in that case, we’ll be sure to pick the very best one. Since we weren’t going to do that anyway.”

We talked for a bit about which embryo he was going to transfer, and why.

He then reviewed the “Embryo Disposition Report.
“Okay, 10 retrieved, 9 fertilized, etc. etc. and we’re transferring 8, sign here.”

I. Lost. It.

I mean, all-out, completely hyperventilating, lost it. I told him I wasn’t signing that piece of paper (which CLEARLY said transferring 1) unless he TOOK THAT BACK. No even JOKING about that! Not with that timing.

“Don’t you remember my reaction when you told me how many heartbeats there were?”
“I think this reaction might be worse!”
“I think you might NOT get brownies!”

I made the embryologist get me a picture to prove there was just one. JUST ONE. (I have the picture, but haven’t been able to scan it yet. Will do so later. I assure you, it’s a cute little blastocyst. Early, and not totally perfect, but perfect enough for me. I mean, honestly, it was just a ploy to *get* a picture, but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, right?

(By the way, SuperDoc did note my “impressively full” bladder several times on the ultrasound. Rub it in, doc. Rub it in. See if I ever bring you triple-chocolate brownies again.)

I told SuperDoc after the transfer, “I swear to you, if this single blastocyst splits twice and I end up with monozygotic triplets -“
“-I’ll shoot myself,” he finished for me.
“You might have to fight me for it.”
“And if we only have one gun and one bullet, we might have a problem!”

After my allotted period of “rest” my nurse came in and looked at the picture of George (my blastocyst) and said, “Oh look, they transferred both of them! That’s great!” I almost decked her. Watch out there, or I might change your pseudonym from NurseAwesome to… well, something else. She went over my discharge instructions, and took some brownies (which I distributed all around, I took another for J (Marketing Supervisor Extraordinaire), and sent the rest to SuperDoc’s office (see? I don’t hold a grudge!).

I brought a brownie down to J’s office and bid him adieu. “I’m not back here until the 18th! What will I do without you, Marketing Supervisor Extraordinaire?”
“Oh, I’m sure we’ll be emailing.”
“Aren’t you sick of me yet?”
~dramatic pause~
“Of course not!”
(I’m kidding, there was no dramatic pause, but go with me here, it’s more interesting my way, right?)
“Well, maybe I’ll make my appointment for my beta late enough in the morning that I can bring you cookies.”
“Oh no! I don’t know how I can stay friends with you! I’m going to be 400 lbs!”

I’m thinking snickerdoodles… Yeah, ’cause those are low fat. Ahem.

I mean, there is the theoretical possibility that I’ll get pregnant this cycle and he’ll be rid of me. Right? RIGHT?

Yeah. Um. Seriously? I still can’t say that with a straight face.

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While I do try to keep this particular blog focused specifically on issues of infertility, IVF, cycling, etc. I also recognize that I confuse my readers by posting things without a lot of explanation sometimes. Not all my readers are Jewish, so I get a lot of questions (usually via email) regarding the Jewish terms and customs I allude to. Since my last FAQ sparked two Jewishly-related questions, I’ll post them here, though I’m pretty tired and foggy, so no guarantees on my coherence…

Q: what exactly is shabbos prep? while i lived in a neighborhood with large orthodox jewish population for several years and am familiar with some of the practices, there are a lot of things with which i’m unfamiliar.
So… on Shabbos (the Sabbath), there are lots of things we don’t do. It is a complete day of rest, in which normal weekday activity is suspended. No cooking, no affecting electricity (in other words, I don’t turn on lights, but neither do I turn them off – so it’s not like I’m sitting in the dark all day), no driving, no sewing, computer, no phone, no um, winnowing, no, well, lots of other stuff. So, while I don’t love to describe Shabbos as a series of negatives, go with me here on the set up, okay?

You can imagine that with all of the things that I can’t do, in order to have a day completely set apart from the rest of the week – a day focused completely on my family, my faith, and my community – I have to make sure that my house and my meals are completely ready before the sun sets. I should also point out that the Sabbath is a day of celebration, every week. It is a Holy Day – and it is special. Our houses should be clean, we use our finest china, our nicest table cloths, we cook our nicest meals, we have guests or we are guests at other peoples’ homes (right, because we get so many invitations out these days…but I digress). Anyway, all the cooking for three meals (Friday night dinner, Saturday lunch, and a lighter “third meal” Saturday late afternoon/early evening, depending on the time of year) has to be done ahead of time. Children, if you have any, should theoretically be clean (hah), and changed into Shabbos-clothes (good luck with that) before sundown. At the very least, a tablecloth should be put on the table before you light candles at sundown, but preferably, the table should be fully set (this is brilliant if, like me, you have cats … again, good luck with that. And if you’ve got a toddler in the house? I highly recommend against setting the table before you absolutely must).

So, um, those are the basics. There’s cooking. And cleaning. Oh, and making sure all the lights, etc. in the house are where you want them to be, since you can’t change them once Shabbos starts. It’s always a whirlwind at the end here. It’ll be interesting to see what happens tomorrow when I can’t be lifting my kids, running around, standing in the kitchen, or any of that stuff… But, it’s not like I’ve never been on bed rest before.

Q: I agree that Jewish law regarding embryos is complex, but I’m confused by your saying there isn’t a lot of choice involved because of the complexity and don’t understand what you are indicating.

I’m actually not going to get too deep into this, because everyone’s rabbi poskens differently on this. My rabbi (who has a specialty in this area of halacha) has one very straightforward opinion on the one and only thing that may be done with leftover embryos that are not going to be used for a future pregnancy. I have other friends (both in “real” life and “inside the computer”) whose rabbis rule the exact opposite of my rabbi – but that doesn’t mean that my rabbi or their rabbis are wrong. They simply interpret and apply the halacha (law) differently. Some Jewish legal scholars do not allow embryo donation/adoption under any circumstances. Some allow it only if you can guarantee that the embryo will be donated to a Jewish couple. Some allow it under any circumstances. Some rabbis allow embryos to be donated to research – but others require that the embryos be destroyed and discarded. The reasons behind each individual rabbi’s decisions are, honestly, beyond my understanding. While I spend a great deal of time working to understand the logic and the details behind my treatment protocols and my medical care – when it comes to the halachic details – truthfully, I simply ask for my rabbi’s guidance and leave it at that. So I won’t speak for his answers, I will simply say that I haven’t been left with a lot of choices in terms of the disposition of any leftover embryos once our family building is complete.

But, I’ll point out, I haven’t made any firm commitments on when our family building will be complete.

Anything I missed?

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