Sunday, March 30, 2008

IVF Sucks!

I thought maybe I could sneak through my IVF cycle unnoticed. Just tiptoe past it without it really noticing me. Like the Fellowship slipping quietly through the Mines of Moria. Who knows what lurks in the depths of my IVF, just waiting for something to jar it awake, to make it rise up and kick my ass? I’d best tread lightly.

So I’ve been sneaking through the days, quiet as a mouse. Cut out my acupuncture, so I don’t have to schedule so much. Avoid blogging—don’t want to remind myself what’s going on. A couple of extra pills throughout the day, shots in the morning, a shot at night. It’s nothing, really. Once I got off the evil Pill everything’s been just groovy.

In the meantime, emphasize distraction. Work has been exciting and intense, so focus on that. New kitten in the house (yes, yes, I’ll post more pictures below) to keep me laughing at a time I might otherwise brood and worry. And then a horrible cold, which sucked, but also totally distracted me from my swelling ovaries. Tiptoe, tiptoe, and I’ll be at the end before I know it’s even begun.

And it was working! All the way up until Wednesday, when my RE said “I think we might trigger you on Sunday.”

“Really?” I said, incredulous. “So we could do the retrieval next Tuesday? But that seems so fast!” Almost at the trigger, and I’ve barely felt it. Wow.

Wednesday, I started to feel my ovaries. “Ow,” I thought to myself, a bit smugly. Luckily I only had a few days to go, and this just meant the stims were working.

Thursday, I really started hurting. “Goddamn,” I said to myself, “so glad I’ve only got three more days of shots to get through.”

Friday, and I’m totally crampy and bloated. Back at the RE, and she’s taking the measurements. “These are still pretty small,” she said, “we might be waiting until Monday to trigger you.” Sigh. Fine. One more day. Screw eating healthy—take a pizza home for dinner.

Saturday, and I’m crampy, bloated, exhausted, cranky. Hormonal as hell. And it was tax day. And taxes weren’t going well. Somehow, after about 6 hours of paperwork (including discovery that we paid almost $13K in medical expenses last year), Turbotax is still telling me we owe almost $4K. What the fuck? Horribly anxiety and guilt (because it must be my fault, as I’m the one the does the taxes). Cramping and moodiness. Get J to bring me back evil takeout Italian creamy pasta for dinner.

Sunday morning, and shit, am I starting to resent these 7 a.m. wakeup calls just so I can take my shots at the same time every day. Back to the RE, and again, the news. “The follicles still need a bit more time. Come back Monday morning, but we’re probably not going to trigger for a few more days.”

AARRGGHHH!!! I am fucking TIRED of this. I am sick to death of getting up before 6 a.m. so that I can drive to and from the RE and still make it to the office at a decent hour. I am tired of having to get up early, even on the weekends, just to give myself more shots. And the shots are starting to HURT. What’s up with that? The shot that was barely registering a week ago is now hurting as it goes in and bleeding when I take it out. Is it because I’m cranky? Is that possible?

In the meantime, more eating like crap. Burger and lots and lots of fries, oh and potato skins smothered in sour cream, today. So now I'm not only bloated, I'm getting fat.

And it is only now, now that I’m no longer sneaking my way through, now that my IVF cycle has been startled awake and reared it’s ugly head and looked at me full-on, that I remember that this is what IVF is like. It’s not the worst feeling in the world, but it does suck, and it is persistent. I’m going to just get more bloated and sore until the retrieval. After that, I’m going to be even more sore, and just as bloated, for several more days. And then, even after the transfer, the cycle isn’t over. More bloodwork visits to the RE, and that godawful two-week wait, with the nasty PIO shots in the butt every day. And then, even after that, I’ve seen it get much much worse. Twice. So much for sneaking through, burying my head in the sand, or whatever metaphor I so choose. I’m busted, and now I’ve just got to ride it out.

I suppose you might see more of me now, now that my cover’s blown. I guess that’s an upside. I’ve missed you.


An epilogue, if you will. As I was writing this, getting a good cranky on and banging it out on my computer in the kitchen, J came in with little McNulty. We decided to give him a new toy J’s mom bought for him today. It’s just a plastic loopy curly thing about the size of a thumb. Designed, I imagine, with those pull-off, milk-carton tabs in mind, which all cats love. So we dig one out of the packet and toss it on the floor in front of McNulty, and the kitten goes wild. Three seconds later—no more—the thing flies under the fridge. McNulty looks crushed. J and I can’t help ourselves, we completely crack up. “He only had it for three seconds,” I gasp between giggles.

So J digs it out from under the fridge and dropped it in front of McNulty again. One second later, seriously, not a smidge more, and he’s batted it under the dishwasher. McNulty again looked despondent. J and I totally lose it. Me sitting here in front of my seriously cranky post, J sitting on the floor (because only moments before he’d been down there digging the toy out from under the fridge), and we’re laughing harder than we have in months. Tears were running out of my eyes, and J looked in no better shape. I don’t know how long it lasted, but we were laughing for a lot longer than the moment warranted. I think J might have been unable to stop because I was clearly so far gone. At some point, we dug the toy out, but it ended up under the fridge again in a matter of seconds.

“I could dig it out,” J said, “but what’s the point?”

Luckily, we’ve got plenty of other toys for our little guy. But this toy was worth whatever J’s mom paid for it. It was worth the laugh.

And now, more McNulty pics:

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Meet McNulty

Meet McNulty, the newest (and smallest) member of our household. We were aiming for sweet and timid, but we ended up with a little hellion with a death wish. This kitten is just freakin’ INSANE. At 8 weeks old and 1½ pounds, McNulty's favorite pastimes are:

1. Playing with string. Any kind of string, including shoelaces, zipper pulls, clothing cuffs, and of course any and all wiring in the house.

2. Trying to escape. He's already made one run for the great outdoors and gotten squashed in the door as a result.

3. Jumping on the treadmill while in use. Twice. (No, there is not a kitten-shaped splat on our back wall. But it was a close call.)

4. Running around the house like a pinball, bouncing off of anything solid, then attacking it, be it a shoe, remote control, tissue box, wall, bathtub, my foot. You name it, he's tried to kill it.

5. Climbing our legs, with or without pants. Summer’s going to be interesting.

6. Wailing incessantly when he wakes up, gets bored, or just wants to talk. And he can reach an amazing volume with those tiny lungs.

7. Snuggling up for a nap. He won’t always think of cuddling, but if you wait until he’s asleep (and, like a toddler, he’ll run for hours, then just drop like deadweight for a nap), then start petting him, he wiggles and purrs, and stretches and snuggles in and it is so cute you think you’re going to melt.

Little Valentine (our 12-year-old kitty—and who knew an 8 pound, petite little girl could seem so HUGE? J’s calling her “Gargantua,” which I’m pretty sure she resents) seems to be coping well with the change. There's been an inordinate amount of hissing (on both sides, which is so damn cute it's ridiculous), but she's also done some legitimate nose and butt sniffing. I'm guessing she'll break down by the end of the week. In the meantime, she's out and about around the house, sometimes stalking him. She's willing to cuddle with me, so she's obviously not horribly traumatized. She did swat him down when he tried to pounce on her, which was pretty funny. Mostly he dances around her on two legs, waving his tiny fists like a featherweight fighter, and she just stares him down without moving.


On a different note, I feel weird about the fact that I haven’t written or commented in awhile, and wanted to say something about that. I was all blog-all-the-time girl until about a week ago, then it’s like someone flipped a switch and I just didn’t want to. To be fair, part of this is that my husband has been home evenings (unlike previous weeks), which makes it hard to spend private time on my computer, which is in the kitchen. (And my blog is VERY private. I think he knows I have one, but he doesn’t know what its title is or what I say in it.) But part of this is that I think I just needed a break from the whole infertility thing. Anyway, I felt strange about it because I’ve developed this bond with my favorite girls out there, and I now feel like a bad friend. So I wanted to throw out my favorite line for all such occasions: “It’s not you. It’s me.”

Love you all,



And now, for his adoring fans, more McNulty:

(Note the protective covering on my legs. Critical gear for this type of hard-core x-treme sport.)

And now he's totally wiped out. Poor baby.

And, of course, my favorite picture of all, just because:

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Update: Tentatively Optimistic

You've all been so incredibly sweet to me. Thanks so much. It was such a relief to be able to sit down to my computer at 4 a.m., mid-panic-attack, and bang out my hysteria into blogland, knowing that someone out there understands. Again, thanks.

Quick update: Even after both my nurse and RE said they didn't think my pill debacle would be a problem, I've been pretty worried. Now, three days later, I think it's going to be all right. I did have a full day of pretty heavy cramping on Tuesday, but that seems to have eased off as well. Not a hint of blood, thank god.

So I appear to be back on track. Can't write more (as I'm at work), but I finally felt it was safe to add this update without tempting Fate. (I know, I know, it's bizarre to not believe in God but to worry about fate, but who said I had to be rational all the time?)

Monday, March 10, 2008

A Major Fuckup

I just fucked up. In the stupidest way. And now I’m panicking.

I forgot to take my birth control pill last night. Woke up at 4 AM, freaked out, and took the pill more than 5 hours late.

I’m pretty sure this is a problem. During my first IVF cycle I took one of my pills 45 minutes late. Two days later, I started bleeding—a full-on period. We were at the end of my two weeks anyway, so we ditched the last pill and started me on the stims early. But this is only one week into the pill cycle, and it’s a huge delay. I can’t imagine that this is going to be no biggie.

Goddamnit. This was going to be our perfect cycle. This was it. Last chance at an insured cycle. Last chance at having a baby without taking out the home equity loan and plunking down $22,000 for shared risk. And we have been so unbelievably careful to make ourselves ready for this. No drinking, no smoking, no anything else in almost four months. Major surgery, finally healed. We have been so ready to do this perfect, to take our last shot knowing we did everything we could to make it work.

And now I’ve fucked it up. One stupid mistake, and who the fuck knows what’s going to happen now. I could start bleeding tomorrow. Will I just bleed for a week while I keep taking the pill? Would we start me on stims a week early? Wouldn’t that defeat the purpose of the pill cycle? Would I be risking a lackluster reaction to the stims that way? Am I going to have to just stop this cycle and wait another month and a half to re-set my system for another go? If so, what does that mean for my insurance?

It’s not like I don’t have a backup system in place to remind me to take my pill. I set the alarm on my cell phone for just this reason. Saturday night J and I went to a play and he sat there with my phone on vibrate and my pills in his pocket so that I could take my pill at exactly 10:00, while the play was still going. But then we turned the phone off, and I never turned it on again, and after all that emphasis on it on Saturday night I just completely fail to think of it on Sunday night. So fucking stupid of me. (And I’m mad at J too for not paying attention.)

It’s hard not to blame that shitty little pill for this as well. The pill has fucked me up. All week I’ve been a mess. At first it was just cramps, lower back pain. Which sucked, but wasn’t the end of the world. Then I just started getting fatigued and cranky. By the time this weekend came, I was in full-fledged PMS mode, with all the favorite symptoms: edginess, depression, anxiety, irrational surges of anger, bloating, cramps. And of course, the fog that rolls in and wraps around your senses until all you can do is sit on the couch and eat olives and watch Sex and the City. Well, that fog wrapped right around my brain, and I totally forgot my pill.

After I took my pill, I lay there in bed, fuming. I wanted to punch the pillow senseless. I wanted to find a full-size punching bag and go to town on it. Then I realized I wanted that punching bag to be me. So fucking stupid.


Addendum: The nurse at my RE's office doesn't seem to think this is that big of a deal. She wasn't with my RE a year ago when I had this problem with my first cycle, so I'm not sure she's right. But it doesn't sound like this is going to ruin my cycle, although it will now dog me for the entire cycle. (I also sent an e-mail to my RE herself, to see what she thinks, but I haven't heard back yet.)

So I'll wait and see if I start bleeding. In either event, Panic Attack #1 for this cycle has now been documented. Stay tuned for more hysteria.

Sigh. I used to be much saner.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Three Kinds of Success:

A few things that made me happy this week:

1. I am not an Unfit Mother! J and I are approved to adopt the kitten! It definitely took a web of lies (mad props to my very best friend S, the most devious person I know, who came up with the best cover story and approach to presenting it), but as long as I send in my vet report for my kitty from this Saturday, the shelter lady will be satisfied that we care for our pets. As she put it, J and I “seem like good people.”

2. Insurance preauthorization for my IVF cycle came through in the nick of time! As predicted, my request for authorization was received by my HMO five days later than it should have been submitted. No idea whether this was a fuckup by the billing person at my RE’s office (likely) or on the HMO’s end (also possible). I was freaking last week when the cramping was coming and I knew AF was almost here and I learned insurance was not going to get back to me until Friday. AF came with a vengeance on Thursday, about an hour after the RE’s office closed. So I called Friday morning, expecting to have to beg to pay out-of-pocket for just the sono and bloodwork (usually the RE makes you pay the full flat rate for the cycle of you just can’t start). But the billing person was ridiculously nice and told me that, as the insurance likely would come through that day, I should just come on in and not worry about payment yet. Of course, this leads me to believe that she knows it was her fuckup that delayed my insurance. Then Friday afternoon the insurance came through, without the HMO’s usual “we need to see more medical records” bullshit. So I’m approved! Nice. (This cuts the cost of the cycle from about $13,000 to under $4,000.)

3. AF only lasted 2 days—almost exactly 48 hours. I have had long and evil periods ever since I went off the pill 10 years ago, and now I’m thinking I had the fibroids all that time. Maybe even since I was a teenager. There was some heavy bleeding during those 2 days, but not THAT heavy—certainly nothing like my I-should-buy-stock-in-Tamapax periods of the past. And I had some bad cramps, yeah, but they were pretty easily treated with Alleve. I really hadn’t dared hope that having surgery would improve my quality of life. It was a pregnancy thing, not a period thing. But goddamn! If this is for real, and this is what my periods are going to be like from now on, what a difference it will make! No more losing ¼ of my life to crippling pain, paranoia about bleeding through whatever I’m wearing, and complete exhaustion. Hurray!

All in all, it’s a good place to be when going into IVF. Feeling fairly calm, happy about a few things in my life, and overall hopeful. We’ll see how long it lasts.

Oh, and here's a pic of the kitten, taken by the sweet old couple who's fostering him right now. There are 5 in the litter, and I'm thinking they did one of these "portraits" for each kitten. So sweet.