Friday, March 30, 2007

Happy VSTB Day!

IUI #2: Done, and done.

We reported to the
Sperm Laundrette just a few minutes late for our 7 am appointment. We fully expected Nursky Ratchetskaya (a truly terrifying woman who looks like the Heat Miser and has the bedside manner of You Know Who) to chew us out for our tardiness, given her tantrum last time over a host of completely imaginary deficiencies on our part. To our astonishment, she was, if not actually cordial, at least subdued.

An hour and a half later, after a delicious greasy spoon breakfast (after which Atomic lovingly dubbed me "Baconhead" due to the lingering aroma of crispy pig flesh in my hair), we picked up the Precious Bodily Fluids and headed over to Kaiser.

They put us in a room . . . and then in walked good old
Mr. Magoo. Atomic and I gave each other a look, knowing that we were each having the same thought: Lord help us, she's going to squirt it in my ear.

Fortunately, with only a minimum of guidance, Nurse Magoo managed to locate the proper orifice, and in went the swimmers, off to find their quarry.

Now comes the hard part -- nothing to do but wait.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Git Along, Droopalong

Well, Ricochet Rabbit is still zooming. He's all "Ping ping ping! Hey, look at me! I'm 23mm!" He's huge. He blots out the sun. He is a bowling ball among marbles, all of which are making my left ovary in particular feel like it might burst.

His slightly sluggish sidekicks, the Droopalong Coyotes, are slogging along at 15 and 17mm.

Damn slowpokes. We're going to give them ONE MORE DAY to catch up. Grrrr. That means we trigger tomorrow morning and go for the VSTB (Very Special Turkey Baster, a clinical term that I made up all by myself, thankyouverymuch) on Friday.

Meanwhile, I've postponed a training that I was supposed to present tomorrow, because I thought we were going to VSTB tomorrow. I've been waiting months to give this training, and I'm feeling all kinds of guilt about letting my client down. Gah! This fertility business requires much improvisation.

The good news is that I'll be all trussed and basted well before my friends' wedding, and several hours (gods willing) before the rehearsal dinner. Because god knows, even a proper clerical collar and a certificate from the Universal Life Church wouldn't make up for the sheer awkwardness of having to preside at a wedding with my feet in stirrups.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

My Buddy Ricochet

If the IVF cycle was the saga of Cecil the Turtle, this IUI cycle, at least by contrast, requires the introduction of a wholly opposite character.

I confess that my first candidate was Speedy Gonzales, with his cheerful "Andale! Andale! Eeehah!" and his bongo-accompanied footwork, but, however innocently I enjoyed him in my youth, he is a bit of an offensive stereotype, so much so that the Cartoon Network has permanently deep sixed the poor critter.

And so, here begins the tale of Ricochet Rabbit:

I started stimming last Monday, and by Friday I had a rather pushy dominant follicle measuring some 16mm. That's super fast for my heretofore sluggish ovaries. There were a couple of others in there as well, but the NP who did the wanding this time around -- I'll just call her Mr. Magoo -- may have missed some.

So, they had me start injecting antagons, which hopefully will help slow little Ricochet down a bit so the Droopalongs can catch up.

We'll know more tomorrow.

Ping! Ping! PIIIIIING! Ricochet Rabbit!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

We Now Return To Our Regularly Scheduled Program, Sort Of

Tra la la.

'Twas a wonderful weekend camping in the woods with the bride-to-be and her friends, tra la la.
They're all fabulous, strong women and we also had a few dogs thrown in just for fun.

We drank, tra la la. We ate, tra la la.

We hiked. A little.
We ate and we drank and we drank and we drank and we ate and ate and ate.
And we talked and talked and laughed and laughed, all in the beautiful woods.

Tra la la.

And now I'm back on the IUI bus,
Getting poked and poked and poked and poked with needles and dildocams, tra la la.

Seven little follies, mostly on the left, with one already starting to grow, tra la la.
Not bad for one with my FSH, and the age and the blah blah blah.

We'll see what occurs as I hit 'em with the meds and the herbs and the tra la la.
Who knows? Maybe now's when the perfect little egg will emerge tra la la, tra la la, tra la la.

Monday, March 19, 2007

A Joyous Task

We interrupt the regularly scheduled infertility kvetching for an important announcement and some profound pondering.

My dear friends are getting married, and they've asked me to officiate at their wedding.

What a mind blowing thing.
What an honor.

I am totally in love with the couple getting married. They're both incredibly smart, sexy, compassionate, and passionate people who are So. Freakin. Right for each other. They do what people in love should do -- they sparkle and sizzle when they're around each other, and they make everyone around them fall in love with them, too.

I also have a special place in my heart for them because, like Atomic and I, they found each other after they'd become fully realized grownups.

To be perfectly honest, my first emotion when they asked me to officiate was fear. I blurted out, "I don't have enough gravitas for that!" I mean, when I think about someone conducting a wedding, I think of someone, well, older. But that's obviously my bias, not theirs, and I'm grateful to them for showing me that.

Now, I am not religious, per se. In fact, I think that most religious dogma is built on equal parts fear, fairy dust, and bullshit. But I am committed to bringing a spiritual and ritual aspect to this wedding. I want my friends to feel utterly blessed, and I want everyone there not just to witness, but to participate in the making of a sacred pact.

This whole fertility business has, in a way, put me in touch with the divine (in a non-dogmatic way, of course). I talk to my ancestors. I look for and respect the spark of divinity, in myself and others. There's a lot of goddess magic floating around me, offered by so many loving members of our extended family. And maybe that has something to do with why I'm officiating at this wedding.

I recognize that officiating at a wedding is not just a ministerial duty, it's a spiritual task. I recognize that whatever challenges we have before us, we can't face them alone. I have learned that the good thoughts and intentions of others can hold us up when we'd otherwise be falling down.

And now it's my task to tap into that well and bring the sacred. As a newly-ordained Spiritual Priestess of the Universal Life Church (Sole tenet: do what is right. I'm down with that.), I intend to fulfill that task with honor and with great joy.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The A Team

Given Alexandria's warning about the encroaching crazies in response to my last post, I hesitate to let you all see the depths of my madness. Aw, screw it.

As long as I'm introducing new characters to this drama, let me introduce you to my Ace Team of Acupuncturists.

Okay, they're not really a team, strictly speaking. In fact, I'm trying to make a choice here and if those of you in TV Land have any opinions on this, please just blurt them out.

ATeam Member #1: The Venerable. She's famous in certain circles. Published a book. Photos of her miracle babies cover every available surface. She was pleasant enough, but a little bit cold. She has an on site herbalist who mixes rather tasty powdered herbs for each patient.

Upsides: Great success rate over all, good herbs.

Downsides: You only see The Venerable about once a month. Her young assistants take your pulses, look at your tongue, write stuff down, jab you with some needles, and then come back 40 minutes later and take them out.

ATeam Member #2: The Hippie. I've been going to him since last August. Since then, my FSH has dropped, my antral follicle count went from one to four to seven, and I've responded really well to meds. He practices a somewhat unusual type of acupuncture known as "Five Elements," which involves a lot of moxibustion (burning herbs right on the skin until the skin warms) and only momentary needling, with frequent re-checking of pulses. He has an off site herbalist who provides a pretty generic liquid herbal mixture. He's not a fertility specialist, and on a social level his boundaries are somewhat lacking, which makes me a little uncomfortable.

Upsides: (1) Whatever he's doing seems to be working. (2) Treatment is very individualized, not one-size-fits-all.

Downsides: (1) I might get better results (like, you know, an actual healthy pregnancy) with a fertility specialist. (2) The somewhat creepy factor. (3) I kind of hate the moxa.*

ATeam Member #3: The Auntie. She's very personable, and has done wonders for several friends of the friend who referred me to her. She does only fertility work, and has a calm, reassuring presence. Like the Venerable, she does the more standard Eight Principles type of acupuncture, leaving the needles in for at least one full circulation, and also showed us some massage and acupressure stuff. She has a lot of rules, some of which I think are ridiculous but all of which I'm trying to follow on the off chance that avoiding all delicious things on earth will demonstrate to the universe that I've got enough self-discipline to merit a baby.

Upsides: Experience, good track record, the reassurance of the traditional.

Downsides: (1) Her herbs are in capsule form, which I don't like; (2) she had me order about $200 worth of nasty supplement powders and wants me to put them in a shake every morning. They're completely disgusting, and frankly I hate the idea of consuming supplements instead of actual food. (3) The rules are a bit much.

Of course, I could always try someone new.

What do you all think?

*Not to be confused with moxie. Moxie = good. Moxa can sneak up and burn you if you don't pay attention.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

We Now Add To Our Cast Of Characters

In previous episodes of "As the Womb Churns," we met a few of the caricatures and authority figurines that populate my medical landscape, such as Dr. Glass Half Full, Dr. Droopy Dawg, and Dr. Really Nice.

This morning we met Dr. Rollupoursleeves. We like her. A lot.

A quick ultrasound showed 7 resting follicles -- more than I've ever had before. Dr. Rollupoursleeves thinks my chances of having a baby with my eggs are no different from those of any 39-year-old, around 25-30%. That's still not great, but it's twice as good as we thought before. She agreed that we should give ART our best shot for another year before we go to plan B (donor eggs), and also thought we should take another look-see at the weird little dip in my ute.

So, here's the plan. We're going to move ahead with an IUI in March. If that doesn't work, we'll do another hysteroscopy in early May, and if the dip looks biggish, they'll snip it right then and there. If the dip looks like it's not a problem, we'll do IVF in May (or more likely June, since we're actually GOING ON VACATION in May). Then, we'll have a baby and live happily ever after.

That's my plan and I'm stickin' to it.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Keeping the Faith

As we shimmy through this limbo period, it's sometimes difficult to be mindful of the present moment, to let ourselves enjoy just being on this earth with each other and all of the wonderful people who surround us.

I've been ambling around in a bit of a funk. A bit of a fog. A foggy funk, but nothing as cool as a funky fog. Every now and then, I look up, and I appreciate the fact that our loved ones, and random strangers, and the weather, and the universe itself all seem to be conspiring to pull us out of it. To wit:

Exhibit A: In this notoriously foggy city, there's been nary a cloud in the sky for the last several days, and the sun has been warm and plentiful. Even the evenings haven't been chilly. It's hard to maintain a personal fog when the sun is so actively trying to burn it off you.

Exhibit B: The other day I was running to catch a bus. The driver had already started to pull away from the stop. He saw me and stopped to let me on. (That may not seem like an unlikely occurrence unless you live here. Trust me. I should have called the newspapers about this.)

Exhibit C: It's suddenly wedding season. We haven't been to one in a year and a half, and suddenly, we've got two coming up in the next month. It's a lovely reminder of the radiant joy and hope we had at our own wedding not quite two years ago. Plus, my friend's bachelorette party is going to be a camping trip. It's hard to be in a foggy funk when you're camping in a beautiful place and celebrating a good friend's happiness.

Exhibit D: It was impossible to watch the herds of kindergartners dressed up like adorable piglets for the Chinese New Year parade and not grin like an idiot.

Exhibit E: I idly broke open a leftover fortune cookie the other day. The paper inside said, "A short stranger will soon enter your life with blessings to share." I suppose that could signify a vertically-challenged postman, but maybe not.

Exhibit F: My mom sent me this.

I rest my case (and reserve the right to present rebuttal exhibits if necessary, so don't screw with me, world).