Archive for the ‘The Waiting Game’ Category

A comment today on this post reminded me that there’s a bright side to being at the last resort after all. I mean, the last resort is Ganirelix. Which means? No Lupron.

Admittedly, I don’t know a lot of women who’ve done an antagonist protocol, and even fewer women who have done a Lupron protocol followed by an antagonist protocol (most women I know who’ve done ganirelix have simply started out there), so truthfully, I don’t really know how the side effects are going to compare. Maybe they’ll still suck. But I’m guessing that I’m not going to be describing headaches that slice through my head like a piece of broken glass. I mean, that was pretty graphic and gruesome, wasn’t it? Ick!

It’s bound to be better than that, right?

Admittedly, starting the Ganirelix protocol requires me getting my period at some point. And my dear, sweet period is still MIA, which, I must say, is definitely not amusing.

Honestly, there simply *must* be something interesting to say about waiting, but there just… isn’t.

Hey, so, have any of you out there used Ganirelix? More importantly, have any of you who have used Ganirelix also used Lupron in the past? How do they compare (specifically with regards to side effects)? I’m thinking of posting this question to the LFCA in my copious spare time, but, um, you all know about me and my copious spare time. I’ve got so little copious spare time that I haven’t even managed to put one of those handy dandy little buttons in my sidebar that says “post my news in the LFCA” which would make it super easy to just go and do it now, wouldn’t it? And in the space of time it took me to type this little paragraph about how I don’t have time to go post this in the LFCA, I could have popped it into Mel’s google spreadsheet. Or picked up the phone and called Mel and told her I’m too lazy to post it in the LFCA and could she please do it for me? But no. I’m not as industrious as Mel. I, as they say, am lazy.

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I took Provera over a week and a half ago for five days and… nothing. Well, nothing except some really visciously bad PMDD-like symptoms. And now I wait.

At the end of this week, in all likelihood, I’ll call Ye Olde Fertility Clinic back and ask WTF is going on and they’ll tell me to come in for bloodwork (you know, to make sure I’m not pregnant – don’t worry, I’ve already POAS’d to make sure, and well, I’m not… duh). And after the bloodwork I imagine they’ll give me more Provera. Which theoretically will induce a period, at which point I can start BCPs.

And if it doesn’t induce a period… well… I don’t know what then.

And I’m tired of waiting. I’m tired of the schedule changing. I’m tired of recalculating when stims might start and, consequently, when my hypothetical retrieval and transfer could be. I’m tired of thinking things like, “Well, as long as we start by X day, it shouldn’t interfere with Rosh Hashana.” For heaven’s sake we had an extra month’s lead time to avoid the High Holidays! This was not supposed to be a problem this time. You know, just like Passover wasn’t supposed to be a problem. Or Shavuos. Or, you know, Shabbos last cycle.

I get it. I get that I’m not in control. I don’t need to be reminded of it at every turn.

As I wrote to a friend this morning I’m having a hard time looking forward with a lot of optimism…

“Even SuperDoc doesn’t seem particularly optimistic about this upcoming IVF cycle. It’s pretty disheartening when the doctor is the one that isn’t super optimistic.

He said if I’d asked him in January what he thought my odds would be going into my fourth initiated cycle (which is essentially where I am right now by HIS count… my count is a little different, but I know where he gets his number)… he said he would have given me about 80% odds of a successful pregnancy back then. But now that he’s seen the outcome – two failed cycles, and one canceled due to low response (he’s not counting the one that didn’t get to stims)… he doesn’t have that kind of optimism. He said he’d maybe give me about 30% odds on this cycle.

He said, “I definitely think we’ll learn a lot from this cycle, and it’s going to be key to your ultimate success.”

I paused, took a deep breath, and thought about the implications of that statement.

And he said, “I mean, of course hopefully you’ll just be pregnant at the end of this cycle…”


I’m not trying to be a negative nelly about it – I just… with the IUI cycles even though I technically had more at stake (having never had a successful pregnancy before), none of my negative cycles hit me the way these do. These cycles? No matter how much I prepare myself for the failures, no matter how much SuperDoc himself prepares me for them to fail? They’re devastating. Even though I have four beautiful children at home. Maybe because of it.”

I admit, I much prefer his honesty to meaningless platitudes. I don’t want to hear him just blindly say, “I know this is the one” without scientific basis for saying so. But I admit I’m growing weary. I’m beginning to wonder if I’m the patient that keeps going despite a doctor who secretly thinks there’s really no point. I don’t think I’m there yet. But … will I be there soon?

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Because it’s fun for me, every time my husband is trying to annoy me (even jokingly), I say, “No! You can’t do that! I’m gestating!” And I melodramatically throw myself down on the couch, clutching my abdomen protectively, to ensure the safety of our precious morula.

All joking aside, this exchange belies my true feelings about this cycle. Usually, I’m skeptical that a cycle could have worked, but there’s always a piece of me that can’t resist interpreting every twinge, every smptom, every sign. Usually, even though I won’t say it out loud, there’s a piece of me that is shocked when I inevitably cave, pee on a stick, and see a sea of white where there *should* be a second line. Even in my sixth IUI, when no one, not even my doctor, thought it was going anywhere – the cycle that was doomed to fail (but resulted in an HOM pregnancy instead) – even then, I thought there was a chance, even though I wouldn’t admit it out loud.

But this time I simply cannot wrap my brain around the possibility that this cycle has any possibility of ending well. I don’t have even the smallest bit of hope. SuperDoc is heading out of the country for 2 1/2 weeks, and he’s leaving before my beta happens. I’m devastated by this, which is ridiculous, but there you go. I never claimed to be rational, and I’m sure the copious amounts of estrogen and PIO aren’t helping matters. Anyway, I’ve made an appointment for a follow up consult with SuperDoc for the first week of July – right after SuperDoc gets back. I figure that way we can talk about where to go from here, because clearly something’s gotta give.


I hope I eat my words, but I just… I’m not counting on it. I’m really not asking for platititudes. I can’t handle them, really. they won’t make me feel better. All I need now is to just … get from point A to point B.

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Day 10 of BCPs. Nine more days until Lupron. Gawd. Stupid Lupron. My head is hurting just *thinking* of the Lupron. Except, the last two times I took the Lupron my head didn’t hurt that much, so I should have known that something was wrong, right? Yeah. So I’m torn. Maybe I should wish for the earth-shattering headaches. Um. Yeah.

Anyway, there’s seriously nothing going on here, except that I frickin’ hate BCPs. I get all stupid and cranky on them (why should today be any different than any other day?) and I feel sick and, yes, my head hurts (different than the Lupron headaches – just an exacerbation of my normal migraines).

But it’s SO BORING.

Seriously. Is this what I’ve come to? I’ve come to a life in which stabbing myself with a sharp stick is actually more interesting than the life I’m currently leading? Seriously? Taking a little blue pill isn’t worth writing about? Heck 10 years ago, little blue pills were worth writing about. Today? You hardly ever even hear about little blue pills anymore!

Gah. It’s not helping that I have pretty horrific cramps right now, and, um, HELLO? I’m on Day 10 of the pill! There is no good reason why I should be having cramps of all the damn things!


I told you there was nothing to see here.

Move along.

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I have another go at my Lupron Evaluation in the morning. I have a weird feeling that nothing will have changed, though I’m not really sure why I feel that way. Le Sigh. Stupid body. Stupid Lupron. Stay tuned…

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Thumb Twiddling

Not much to report on the fertility front. My head is pounding AND I have a toothache. This is not making me very happy. I am not thrilled about this development. But the toothache, I’m sure, has nothing to do with my fertility (or lack thereof). Though it might have to do with the fact that I’m constantly clenching my teeth from the throbbing in my head. Sigh.

Still hate Lupron. Shocker.

Received a good response from RESOLVE after I wrote to them asking if they knew anything about the Maryland Personhood Amendment:

RESOLVE has a policy statement on Personhood bills and amendments, and can be found here:http://www.resolve.org/site/PageServer?pagename=ta_pap_personhood

There are actually about 13 states that have some level of Personhood legislation in the works. To be honest, we have heard from a number of sources in Maryland that this bill will not go anywhere, however, we really should update our website and let folks know what is going on. We have a very small staff and with so many states taking action on a variety of issues we have had to pick and choose how we spend our time. We have been working on 2 other bills in Maryland that improve the current insurance mandate, as well as other bills in GA and MO that are directly affecting infertility treatment. If we get information that a bill is not going to go anywhere, we know we can put it aside and the outcome will still be favorable. I realize that is not going to please everyone, but all of our advocacy work is done by me and a handful of volunteers scattered around the country (about 3-4 people). I don’t have any designated staff person on advocacy, and I try and do the best I can while running the organization as well. The legislative session can be a very busy time for us – especially this year with so much outrage regarding the Octuplets and now the personhood issue popping up in more states.

Thanks again for contacting RESOLVE. If I find out any further information about this bill I will let you know.

Other than that, not much going on here in boring Perky-land.

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Yeah, so enough about politics and ZIFT and whathaveyou. Really, this blog is allaboutme! Duh. Though, really, you wouldn’t know it, because there’s seriously nothing going on here in PerkyLand. Still taking the BCPs. Still getting honkin’ huge headaches. Shocking, I know.

I almost cancelled this cycle. Er, postponed I suppose would be a better word. Anyway, I had an absolutely ridiculous week that involved one child in the hospital, one car getting rear ended (with me and another child in it) and another car breaking down (with my husband stranded). Seriously, you can’t make this crap up. It was a bad week. It didn’t seem particularly prudent to be looking down the barrel of that gun they call Lupron Week.

But hey! Lupron week isn’t until next week! And I just know that if I put this off, I’ll be kicking myself later. There’s nothing I abhor more than a break. Nature abhors a vacuum; Ms. Perky abhors a Treatment Break. God Love Tertia and I loved every single word of her book, but the one piece of advice I didn’t find myself nodding along with in her final words was to take breaks between cycles. Not me. No way. No how. Nuh uh. Nosirree. Maybe I’ll be eating my words later and tweeting her with my tail between my legs, but I doubt it. I just think we’re all different. Me? I need to push forward. I’ll be miserable if I don’t.

I just thank HEAVEN that I was not taking Lupron this week. Because if I had been? All hell would have broken loose.

Meanwhile, I have horrifyingly bad cramps. I can’t help but notice that ever since I started the pill I’ve had pretty sharp pains in my right ovary. I have a tiny (growing) voice in my head that keeps wondering if maybe it’s a tiny (growing) cyst. Can you feel cysts? I hope not. Is this all in my imagination? Golly I hope so. But I do definitely have cramps. My period is imminent. As soon as I stop these BCPs, I’ll be getting it, no question. I start Lupron (whee!!!) on Wednesday. Can you imagine if I’d already been on the Lupron during Hell Week? Dear Heavens!

Given all the stress this week it seems a reasonable time to address Lori’s question (and barren’s followup comment):
Have you ever considered adding some stress reduction techniques to your next cycle? I know how stressed you were last time. My clinic believes so strongly about it they have their own stress reduction program.

It is rarely the cycle itself that stresses me out, just so you understand, but rather that my life is so frickin’ nonstop (I know, I know, like having another kid is going to make that any easier?). The truth is that until this past December I was actually a pretty relaxed, calm(ish) person, and then my life kind of went to hell with the successive disasters of several of my friends. One friend had her house burn down with her triplets inside (the triplets, thank heavens, are fine now, but were in the ICU for several weeks). Another friend lost her infant daughter to SIDS a couple weeks later. Another friend’s father was diagnosed with incurable cancer (he died this week). Auditors showed up at my workplace. Then my kids got the plague. Then a set of quintuplets were born nearby and I started helping them because I’m insane. More auditors. Then I got sick. Then the IVF cycle started. Still more auditors (this is normal in my field of work – not a sign of anything bad happening, but does mean an increased workload). Then the IVF cycle failed. Then my daughter went into the hospital (she’s out now, and fine), I got rear ended, my husband’s car broke down, you know, things just haven’t stopped for us, really. Actually, now things are pretty calm. We’ll see if they stay that way. Here’s hoping.

Now would seem like the perfect time to take a break, now that I think about it, wouldn’t it?

Except that it’s NEVER a good time to plan a pregnancy. It’s never the perfect time. And if I wait until my life calms down? Well, forget about it.

So what about stress reduction in the meantime? Well, funny you should mention it. My birthday present from my mother in law was a 60 minute massage. I loathe massages, actually, but I’m going to give it a go, at a strategically placed point in my cycle (I haven’t figured out when that is – suggestions welcome). As for other stress-reduction thingies… I actually do a lot of directed imagery, breathing exercises, and biofeedback techniques throughout my day, paritcularly when I’m in the middle of a cycle. I went through years of biofeedback training as an adolescent because of my migraines and it worked wonders (less so now, but still does an amazing job if I catch a migraine early enough and can take the time to really focus in on the techniques).

My clinic also does feel very strongly about state of mind/state of being affecting cycles, so they have recently established an afflilation with a center for alternative therapy – accupuncture, yoga, various nutritional voodoo, etc. They are a wonderful center that does a lot of wonderful work. So don’t think I’m knocking the suggestion.

I won’t ever do accupuncture because it makes me feel terrible. I tried accupuncture a few times for migraines and it made me feel like I was going to throw up every time. I did give it a fair go, but I felt awful and it left me with this horrible ICK feeling all over when it was done for HOURS. And Yoga. Don’t get me started on Yoga. Yoga does not relax me. Yoga makes me feel fat and awkward and dumb and I spend the entire time wishing I were somewhere else. But breathing exercises? Focusing inward? Personally working toward an inner zen? I’m all for it. Finding a therapist? Might even be all for that. Listening to music before and after my IVFs? Frankly doesn’t make a difference to me whatsoever and wouldn’t ever make me feel like I was doing anything proactive at all. Stabbing myself in the stomach (or bum, as the case may be) feels far more proactive, personally. But to each his own. I think everyone has those things that work for themselves. Me? I could use some good book recommendations for the waiting room. Got any?

Finally, do remember that part of what happens in the blogosphere is that you hear/read what gets transmitted in writing. I don’t spend my whole day focused on the minutiae of my cycle, but when I sit down to write a post about it, that IS, of course, what I’m focused on. Truthfully, I was pretty zen about the whole thing right up until transfer day when SuperDoc said he was going to transfer 8. (he was joking) That sort of broke my zen.

But it’s all good.

Hey, what’s the worst thing that happens, right? The worst thing that happens is this cycle doesn’t work and I’ve blown some more money, some more time, some emotional collateral, and some more energy baking cookies for SuperDoc, SuperNurse, and J, Marketing Supervisor Extraordinaire.

That’s not so bad, right? After all. That would still leave me with one covered cycle on my insurance before having to switch back to The Hatchery.

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The Good News: I have permission to switch my pill to the OrthoCyclen. I’ll note that I did this without permission anyway, knowing that it would be fine, but it is nice to know that it’s all fine.

The Bad News: My head still hurts like a bitch, which you can tell by the fact that I’m swearing like a sailor (which I rarely do in print, though I usually do in person).

The Good News: Despite my head hurting so much, the nausea is gone. I no longer feel like I have perpetual morning sickness, which is good, because if I have to have morning sickness, I damn well better be getting a baby 9 months later.

The Bad News: I have terrible, awful cramps, which makes no sense, because, hello? That should be over by now. But it’s not and I am not amused. In fact, I am quite ticked off at my effed-up body right now. In fact, the pain I’ve been feeling is quite severe and I am not enjoying it. I’ve been having visions of getting in for my Lupron evaluation (which isn’t for another several weeks, btw, so it’s not like it’s looming, or anything) and having SuperDoc say, “You are benched, Oh Perky One! Look at those Ginormous Cysts on those seriously un-Perky Ovaries of yours!” But I’m sure it’s all in my head, and due largely to the copious amounts of painkillers I’ve been swallowing for the aforementioned throbbing head and now very crampy ovarian region.

The Good News: Only two more weeks of BCPs.

The Bad News: I start Lupron March 11th. More headaches to come.

The Good News: IVF #2 is looming.

The Bad News: IVF #2 is looming. I am petrified of failing a second time. I know this is ridiculous. I can’t not bother starting just because I am petrified of failing. That would be ridiculous. For some reason, though, I was really okay with IVF#1 not working. As hard as any negative cycle is to swallow, I was expecting it and I think I handled it with my characteristic grace and humour. I haven’t even gone out and gotten stinking drunk yet (don’t think I haven’t thought about it). The thought of IVF#2 failing is absolutely petrifying. Please don’t just say, “Oh, but this one will work.” No one knows that. It either will or it won’t, and clearly right now I’m not in my happy, perky place. Maybe I’ll be there tomorrow. But right now? I’m not. Right now I need to work through what I’m going to do if it doesn’t work (aside from the logistical obviousness of – duh! I’ll do IVF #3… my last cycle covered at Ye Olde Fertility Clinic before I return to The Hatchery where I’ll have approximately 2 cycles covered under my husband’s insurance, good heavens, I hope it doesn’t come to that).

The Good News: I’m getting way ahead of myself.

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Before my first IVF cycle, I took Ortho Cyclen for about 5 weeks (Maybe longer? I’d have to go back and look at my calendar, but whatever, it was a while). My last two weeks on the pill I cried every day. Multiple times a day. I thought that pretty much sucked and I didn’t love it. But you know? I could live with that, especially since I’m only slated to take BCPs for 3 weeks this time. I mean, really, the crying didn’t start until week 4 last time, so maybe I’d miss out on side effects all together this time, right??

Think again, Oh Perky One.

Last time the BCP was prescribed by The Hatchery before I knew I’d be switching to Ye Olde Fertility Clinic. But then I switched clinics while I was already on the BCP. No matter, I just stayed on the BCP while we got all my ducks in a row. No proplem, I had plenty since The Hatchery had planned on me being on the pill for at least 5 weeks anyway.

This time SuperDoc prescribed the BCPs. And he ordered Nortrel. No problem. I mean, seriously, what could possibly be the difference, right? Of course right.

Think again, Oh Perky One.

Since starting to take it my migraines have been out of control. Did I mention that birth control pills are actually contraindicated for hemiplegic migraines? And that I’m actually not supposed to be on BCPs at all? And here’s another lovely side effect for you: I wake up every single morning completly sick to my stomach. I picked up one of my monsters yesterday and almost dropped her because I thought I was going to throw up, it was that bad.

So… what to do? Just switch pills since I happen to have an extra pack of the Ortho Cyclen laying around? Or ask permission first? SuperDoc is out of town right now, but of course my nurse is around and could talk to a different doctor if need be. What to do, what to do…

In other news, my celebrity status has been revived!

J, Marketing Supervisor Extraordinaire, called me yesterday and asked if I would mind being interviewed by a newspaper for a story on eSET. No problem, I said. Anything I can do to help. (But I swear, next time I’m holding out for free cryopreservation for all the good press I’ve been giving them!).

Er, not that I had anything to freeze last time, so not that I can count on anything to freeze next time…

ANYwhozit. The point, as if I ever had one, is that I got interviewed by a reporter yesterday. She wasn’t the crispest cracker in the box, if you catch my drift, and she spent far more time focused on the HOM factor instead of the eSET factor for my tastes, but I think I did a great job bringing her back en pointe, if I do say so myself. She did ask the ever-present question on every reporter’s mind: “So after this one, will you be done??”

You know what? I don’t know. And I don’t have to know that yet. It’s a decision that my husband and I will make when we get there, but right now we know that our family isn’t complete yet.

And she chose that context to bring up the Octo-mom. In any other context, I’d have understood it. But you know? It felt a bit like an unfair and accusatory comparison. I don’t have six kids already. I am not transferring six embryos (au contraire! her story is on eSET! hello?!). My husband and I both have full time jobs. My clinic, the reporter has already acknowledged, has some of the best eSET success rates in the country. How can she possibly compare my choices to those of Ms. Suleman’s?

Argh. I cannot begin to understand Ms. Suleman’s choices. I am not even trying to judge them except inasmuch as they are reflecting so poorly on the choices of every woman who seeks fertility treatment and every mother of higher order multiples out there. But it is so unfair to compare ME to HER.

Anyway, hopefully the story will turn out to be a very balanced and reasonable story on the value and benefits of eSET. I hope that it will. And when it is published, I’ll be sure to let you all know about it, because I’m sure it’s bound to be entertaining at the very least. And the best news is – it was a print interview, not a film interview – so no cheesy shots of me walking down a long halway just for the sake of me walking down a long hallway. 🙂

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Onward and Upward

Today is Cycle Day 1. So tomorrow I begin BCPs again. Wha-frickin’-hoo! And around and around I go.

I admit that I did have an irrational fear that CD1 wouldn’t rear her ugly head after stopping the PIO and that I’d be waiting weeks and weeks before drawing a progesterone level, starting provera, and all that torture. It does happen to some women, but given how I was feeling, it was a completely irrational fear.

Anywhozit, irrational fears be-damned, CD1 is upon me, BCPs start tomorrow, and onward and upward it is. Which I suppose means I’m in the waiting game for IVF #2. Wow. I guess there’s a piece of me that never really thought I’d get that far. Well then. Gosh.

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