Friday, April 25, 2008


Last night I had a complete meltdown. I was fine until about 10 or so, then completely broke down while I was getting ready for bed. I couldn’t stop crying.

The issue? Not infertility.

Nope, the issue was loneliness.

J has been home maybe five evenings in the past five weeks. And maybe once in the past two months has he been home for four or five nights in a row. So while I’ve been going through the ins and outs of IVF Cycle #3, he’s been … gone.

It’s not his fault. It’s not like he’s out drinking with buddies, or obsessing over some project that he could put less effort into. He’s a lighting designer, and he’s been in tech (the two weeks of rehearsal time before a show opens) on one show after another. This is not something that can be shortened, rescheduled, or ever ever ever missed. Last year, he had a freak onset of “primary cough headaches,” which basically made him feel like his head was going to explode every time he coughed. We didn’t know what it was, so we went to the ER on the only afternoon he wasn’t working. When the doctors wanted to give him morphine, he tried to decline, because he had to go to work in the morning. When they started testing for a stroke or aneurysm or brain tumor, I asked him if he had any backup plan for the next day if this turned out life-threatening. “I can’t think of anything,” he told me.

So that’s the kind of schedule we’re dealing with here. The kind where you can be in the hospital with a brain tumor and you still can’t call in sick.

And it’s not like he can just take fewer jobs. He’s barely eking out a living as it is. I make three times what he makes (thank god!), and we’re still struggling to pay the bills. And now that our insurance has run out and IVF is going to get insanely expensive, we need him to work even more. The truth is, the only way to be a successful lighting designer is to squeeze in as many shows as your schedule will allow. In fact, the lighting designers that have “made it”—the ones J “assists” in the bigger theaters—all travel all the time. These guys are home one week every other month, if that.

So the more successful J gets at his job, the worse our situation gets. This has been a problem for a while now, and it’s getting worse. And last night I realized that it’s not going to work for me. I’m too fucking lonely. I go through my evenings like a robot. For the last month, I’ve actually started going to be earlier and earlier, just because I was so bored and lonely and I wanted to get the evening over with.

Before we got married, almost 12 years ago, I told J that I was worried about this happening. I made him promise me that, if it ever came down to his family (me plus those children I assumed would come along the moment I wanted them) or his career, he would choose me and the kids. But I also figured we would know in about five years whether his job was going to work out. Either he was going to “make it” or he wasn’t. Either I would be able to cope with him being gone a lot or I wasn’t. But here we are, ten years into his career, and he’s just short of what we would consider reasonably successful. And here we are, ten years later, and I’ve just now hit the end of my rope on this lifestyle.

J’s schedule embodies the worst of all work schedules. It is uncertain in advance, it is wholly inflexible, and it eats up most of the time I’m not working. I can’t schedule anything with our “couple” friends, because everyone I know books their social lives several weeks in advance. I have no social life. I don’t go out, because I’m not dating. I don’t go dancing, for the same reason. Consider this: the last time we had company to our house was LAST SUMMER. The last time we did anything social was in January, when we took takeout over to our friends’ house for dinner (best solution, since they have a new baby). And the next item on my social horizon is on July 23, when I’m going to NY for the night. Oh, and we’ve had sex three times since my surgery in December. Three times. Clearly our marriage isn’t what it’s supposed to be.

And I wouldn’t mind this so much if I had some fucking company while I was at home. I like being at home and cooking dinner and watching TV and going to bed. I just don’t like doing it alone. I’m social person, and this is slowly sucking the life out of me. Every year I get older, and I have no one to share my life with.

So I did what I never wanted to do––last night I asked J to consider changing his career. Of course, his next evening home is Monday, and that is our only night together until the following Monday. And let’s face it, I can’t let things simmer for one day, let alone four.

So I wrote him a note and left it taped to the bathroom mirror. Here is what it said:


I think you should know that I’m starting to feel like our marriage is in trouble. I know that I’m full of hormones and am probably a bit irrational right now, but I can’t keep on pretending that things are okay when they aren’t.

I can’t remember the last week you were home. How long have you been in tech now? Four weeks? Five? More? I’ve lost track.

I am lonely. Horribly, desperately lonely. I’m married, so I don’t have the kind of friends a single person has. I don’t go out after work for drinks. I don’t go dancing on the weekend. I don’t date. I have absolutely no social life, nothing to look forward to when the weekend comes around. And if it felt like I were actually married, that would be okay. But mostly it’s like I’m not married, because every night I come home to an empty house. I don’t know anyone else who lives like this. Everyone else I know who’s married at least has companionship.

I don’t think I have ever been as unhappy as I am now. I’ve never been through anything worse than the past year and a half, and the deeper I get into this nightmare the less you’re here to lift the burden.

I don’t think you’re hearing me when I tell you how desperate I am. When I first raised this with you a few weeks ago, you actually told me it was going to be okay, because you have lots of free time every year in February. And in August.

I know you can’t change this overnight. Hell, I’m not even sure you can change it in a matter of years. But you need to know that what is going on right now is not working for me. And I don’t see a baby making that better, only worse. I don’t mean to sound overdramatic—I’m not leaving you or anything. But I can’t live like this, year after year, with only my friends at work to make me feel human. We have to start thinking of alternatives.

I also know that you’re not okay right now. I’m pretty familiar with what depression looks like, and I see it in you. Probably it’s shitty for me to lay this on you right now, but it can’t wait another two weeks.

Honey, do you have a backup plan? If it turns out I just can’t live like this, do you have any other way you can live your life?

I can’t believe I’m doing this to you, just when your career is getting so much better. I hate the idea of you being torn. I don’t have any answers.

- H

Then a tranqued myself out and went to bed.

This morning I woke up feeling sick, and tried to get ready for work. But I started crying again and couldn’t stop. So instead of putting on my makeup (not possible when leaking all over face), I went in and woke J up a few minutes early.

We talked (well, I cried and talked, he mostly listened) for about a half hour. He’s not mad, and I think he thinks I’m right. But there are no solutions to this problem. There is no good outcome. Either he keeps doing what he loves, what he’s been busting his ass for ten years to be able to do, and I get fed the table scraps of his attention for the rest of my life. Or he finds some way to move out of design work, presumably into theatre administration or something awful like that, and he’s given up his dream. (And this is assuming he can even find such a job.)

What’s so cruel about this is that it’s a total waste of everything he’s done. (Not to mention all the money he just spent joining the union last year.) How could we not have seen this coming 10 years ago? He didn’t have to go into theatre, he could have been anything. But now he’s 35 years old with an MFA in lighting design, and only design and techie experience under his belt.

My heart is breaking for him, and I’m the one breaking it. I hate myself for doing this to him. I think it’s why I let this go on so long—I just couldn’t bear the thought of killing his dreams. But I just can’t be alone any more. I need someone to cook for each night, someone to talk to about my day. Sure, it’s been really bad timing—him being gone while I’m going through all this IVF and BFN shit, and sure, that’s affected my outlook on how bad things really are. But that’s the whole problem. Life doesn’t conveniently occur just when he’s home. It happens every day, and I can’t wait until he’s done with a month of tech before I need him. I need him when I need him. And I needed him this last month. And he hasn’t been here.

I will add that I really needed him last September, when I had my ectopic pregnancy and resulting miscarriage. He was gone for that, too. This is my point.

And I can’t be a single mom. I was yelling my head off at the damn kitten last night (he was driving me nuts). Can you imagine me with a baby, all on my own? And what happens when it’s not me having a crisis, but the child? Is J only going to be available for that kid when it fits his schedule?

My husband’s been working 14-hour days for three weeks straight, and he has more than another week to go before this show opens. He just learned that, because of his crappy sperm, we’re going into even more IVF torture we can’t emotionally handle or financially afford. He’s exhausted, depressed, stressed out, defeated. I have never seen him this low in my life.

And I just told him I think he’s going to have to abandon his career—the one thing that’s going right for him.

I feel like such shit.

(Oh, and before anyone suggests couple’s counseling, I will add that I thought of this, but had to abandon the idea. Why? Because where the fuck would it fit into J’s schedule?)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Percocet and Xanax

I’m going to try to write, though I know not what will come of it. Despite all of your well-wishing advice of good wine and frozen margaritas, after several hours of crying I went for a far more potent cocktail—percocet and xanax, in fairly large quantities. So you can imagine how my eyelids feel right now: swollen and heavy and yet the tears still leak out. And you can imagine how my brain feels, as numb as I’m willing to make it, but not numb enough to stop the underlying ache. God, I wish I could get high.

This isn’t the worst thing that’s ever happened to me––my three brands of miscarriage were all worse. But each loss, or setback, or failure brings with it an new kind of heartache. And today’s heartache mostly focuses on my poor sweet babydoll husband, who I think is truly broken.

In many ways, this was his cycle. Sure, we had my fibroid removed, so the chances of carrying a successful conception to term were greatly improved, but our main focus for the past five months has been on improving the quality of his sperm, and thus the quality of our embryos. When we learned that his numbers hadn’t improved he was pretty shaken up. But the fact that we had five good blasts led us to believe that his sacrifices this year meant we were making higher quality embryos, ones more likely to last. And even the crappy ones had managed to get me pregnant twice, so our odds were good, right?

As usual, J is working today. He’s in tech in a show downtown all week, which means he’s around for a few hours in the morning, but doesn’t get home until after midnight. I took two pee-tests this morning, but didn’t look at them until after I got back from giving blood. I just couldn’t bear the thought of going to the clinic sobbing uncontrollably. So I watched the tests for the first few seconds, but when no second line emerged, I quickly hid them away before they were fully developed. So when I got home I checked and saw the single red line, a clear negative. I told J, and he held me while I cried for a few minutes, and then I went off to get my allergy shots and he went to work.

I was still hoping for some fluke positive when the nurse called. I mean, I even had light brown spotting a few days ago that WENT AWAY. How could that NOT be implantation bleeding? How could this, our best cycle, be the FIRST where we’ve gotten a negative? How could this happen to us? So as soon as the nurse called me with the results I called J and left a very teary message. He called later, and I cried some more. He considered coming home, but I didn’t want him to get in trouble with this gig—it’s pretty important, so he decided to stay.

An hour later he had another break and called again. By then my burst of energy had run out. I’d come inside from doing yard work, had a pathetic excuse for lunch, and was just sitting in bed crying. J was calling from the street outside the theater, because he doesn’t get cell service inside, and he was trying to find a quiet place where the traffic wasn’t quite so loud, and I was ready to just get rid of him so I could go take my aforementioned drug cocktail. (Crying gives me unbearable headaches.)

But then J started talking. Finally, after years of me begging him to be a part of this and share his feelings with me, he started talking. “I just can’t take this anymore. I need our life to be about something other than this.”

At this, I lost it. Between sobs, I managed to get out, “Our lives are never going to be about anything else.”

And then he started crying. I’ve seen this man cry only three times in the 15 years we’ve been together. Once in college when his best friend was raped. Once last November when we had to put our 12-year-old kitty to sleep. And then today. And all I could do was picture him standing in some nook between the buildings on F Street downtown, sobbing like his heart was breaking.

“I just don’t know what to do anymore,” he gasped. “I can remember what this was like when we started. We were going to take one last vacation, our trip to West Virginia, our last hurrah. And then we were going to come back and have a baby. And that was three fucking years ago. Our lives are just standing still, it's like we’re stuck in time. And we can’t plan for the future, and we can’t do anything with our lives. And it’s never going to end.

“I know,” I said. “I feel like I just wandered into this nightmare three years ago, and I’ve been stuck in it ever since, and I can’t get out, and just when I think I’m waking up from it I realize I’m still in it, and there’s no end in sight.”

Behind the traffic noise, I could hear him hiccupping and sobbing, and it broke my heart into tiny little pieces.

Then he brought up the idea of donor sperm, which he referred to as “taking [him] out of the picture.” Which stomped on my heart a little more. Having him say that was like hearing the best friend in an old wartime movie saying, “You go on without me.” I don’t want to go on without him. I don’t want to leave him behind. I don’t want to rip him apart like that. Not if there’s still a chance.

We talked a little bit about our options. Our savings are gone—we don’t make a lot of money and we’ve already sunk more than $15K into babymaking. (God forbid something happens to our house or one of our cars.) We have a home equity loan of $30K that we haven’t touched yet. It’s our last-chance-at-a-child money. It'll kill us to pay it back, but we're willing to spend it if we have to. Which means we can do some “smaller” procedures, like FET (which we have little confidence in, given that the superstars of that batch didn’t make it) or even a round of two of IUI with donor sperm, but we can only do the IVF-type procedures if we go into shared risk. And I’m pretty sure you can’t do shared risk with donor sperm. I told J that under no circumstances would I spend "big" money outside of a shared risk program. “We are going to raise a child, one way or another,” I told him. “I don’t ever want to be in a position where we’ve sunk all of our options into a biological child, and we come up empty handed.”

Talking about our options seemed to calm him down. Comforting him definitely calmed me down. But it was weird, comforting him. It was strange, telling him all the things I’ve been saying to myself (and some of you) for years now: This will end someday. This will not be our lives forever. In a year, maybe a year and a half, we will be DONE with this shit and we will never have to do it again. And maybe that comes even sooner, if we find we just can’t take it anymore. This failed cycle doesn’t mean that more cycles will fail, it’s all about the odds, and we didn’t make the odds this time around.

Of course, I’m tormenting myself about not doing acupuncture this cycle. It's the only thing really different between this and the last two cycles, and look what happens. And J’s still tormenting himself about his not-so-clean living for most of his adult life.

And underneath all this heartache is a deep, burning anger. I’m so angry with my body for betraying me like this. Angry that J's twin brother managed to get his wife pregnant while she was on the fucking pill, while J has to torment himself about holding us back. So angry with whatever type of Fate is out there that seems to have it in for me, that finds a different way to fuck me every time around. So fucking angry that I can’t be happy for my pregnant friends, that I’m mad at them and feel like they don’t deserve their children. So angry that I had to spend this beautiful Saturday inside because the sound of laughing children was coming from all sides of my house. So angry that we have to consider cutting J out of the conception equation, that we even have to think about denying him his genetic progeny. So bitter that I have to further withdraw from my social life, become even more isolated, just to keep from crying in front of the wrong people.

I’m pretty sure I’m going to try to roll right into an FET. But I really doubt it’s going to work—I don’t even trust that our two frosties will even survive the thaw. We make shitty embryos. After that, who knows? I figure it’s either shared risk or IUI with donor sperm. Both options suck.

You’d think with a whole percocet and 1½ xanax in my system I’d be unable to cry. You’d be wrong.


Best cycle ever. Most eggs. Most blasts. And all I've got to show for it is a big fucking negative.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Big Papi ! ! !

I was just about to post a comment on Kate's blog (sorry Kate), when my television erupted. Big Papi just hit a grand slam!!!

I'm taking this as a positive sign for tomorrow's testing. If Papi can pull out of his slump, maybe I can hit a grand slam too.


J just called from work, on his break. I told him that Big Papi had hit a grand slam, thinking that this would make his night. You know what he said? "Oh." Long pause. "I didn't start him tonight."

Fantasy baseball strikes again.



Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Woke up this morning to the faintest of light brown spotting. Textbook implantation bleeding, I know. But also the way my period always starts. (And my period is totally capable of starting while I’m on progesterone—it’s done so a few times.)

This means nothing. It tells me nothing more than I knew yesterday. It still could be either PG or AF, and I don’t think there’s any way to calculate the odds for which. So it looks like I'm going to spend another three days of reading tea leaves in my toilet paper.

The only upside, as far as my understanding of anatomy goes, is that this probably means I don’t have an ectopic brewing. (Or at least that, if I’m preggers, one of the little guys is in the right place.) I think implantation bleeding requires the implantation to be in the lining.

I thought I was stressed before, but that was just the calm before the storm. There’s a hurricane a comin’—better board the windows and slink down to the basement to wait it out.

Monday, April 14, 2008

My Baby is Lord Voldemort!

My oh-so-preeety scar, which runs across my lower abdomen, stopped hurting months ago. The area around it remains a little bit numb, which is disconcerting, but otherwise it has been FINE. So what am I to think when, in the past two days, my scar has started prickling, tingling, and twinging at random intervals, making me slap my hand on it and yell “ow!”? Clearly, one of my little embies is Lord Voldemort, or at least a close relative.

What to say about the last couple of days? On Friday I was starting to think the wave had broken and the worst was over. Thursday night, when I did my nightly yoga/stretching, my muscles gave in and I really stretched for the first time in weeks. Before that it had been like stretching industrial-strength rubber bands, and I’d been giving up early and going to bed with my back hurting. But Thursday night the stretching felt really good, as my body finally decided to give a little.

Then Friday morning J walked by me as I was finishing my makeup and asked me how I was doing, and I burst into tears and told him EXACTLY how I’ve been feeling, and all the many ways in which his schedule, lifestyle, and general cluelessness have NOT been helping. He was (predictably) incredibly sweet about it, and made all the right noises. So I felt a lot better. Of course, I had to wash my face and start over with my makeup, and my eyes kept leaking, which made it very hard to apply eyeliner and mascara, but I really felt better.

Saturday was a great day. I slept well the night before, my mood was good, and J and I went out to dinner and a movie and finally spent some time together. Thank god, I thought to myself, crazy lady has left the building. I actually felt like me again. And my appetite was back to normal as well, so I was able to eat healthy both Friday and Saturday. Still chubby, but just being able to control the eating made me feel like that, too, would pass.

So you have to know from the tone of this post that there is a big “but” coming. So here it is: But, I woke up on Sunday feeling crappy again. Not the same crappy, of course. I’ve discovered an entirely different kind of crappy. To be fair, it’s not quite so crappy as last week’s crappy. But it still blows.

I think this new version is your standard, run-of-the-mill, PMS x 10 that you get from any medicated cycle. Cramps (which stress me out), headaches, and exhaustion. Combine that with irrational urges to kill people, and the near-constant obsession about What This All Means. Do cramps mean I’m pregnant? Is that a baby implanting? Or is that AF coming? Do sore breasts mean I’m pregnant? What about being tired all the time? Or is it just a PMS thing? Are PMS things bad, because they mean I’m not pregnant? Or do they mean I AM pregnant, as everyone knows PMS and early pregnancy feel exactly the same.

And THAT brand of crazy is here to stay. At least until the Saturday beta, but maybe far beyond then. Because here’s the kicker: none of this paranoia is going to end if I get a positive beta. I was thinking this over last night and I realized that I’ve never done IVF and gotten a negative beta. So I’m kind of operating under the assumption that this is going to work, at least initially. (Don’t worry, I knocked on wood.) But what then? Do J and I really have the stuff to make an embryo that lasts? Do I have giant gaping openings to my tubes that will suck up another unsuspecting embryo into the dark cave of death? And then, to really make me freak out, that random-but-petrifying thought: dear god, what if I have triplets?

Hope my fellow IVFers (and there are a bunch of us in synch right now) are faring better with their nuttier sides.

I’d end with another kitten pic, but I’m posting from work. I suppose I could attach a brief about the Fair Housing Act, but that really doesn’t have the same emotional impact. Sorry FHA, but you’re not so cute and fuzzy.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Fat and Lonely

I am having a horrible week. Just when it seemed that things were going fine, and we had reason to be fairly hopeful, I’ve hit a pit of depression.

First, I don’t know what the fuck is going on, but I just can’t stop eating. I have to pay pretty close attention to my diet (though I hate the word “diet” because that’s not what I do) to keep myself at a reasonable (i.e. not embarrassing) weight. By being careful and smart (mostly cutting out non-veggie carbs), I managed to lose about 20 pounds in 2007, working my way back into a size 14. Not amazing, but definitely passable. Mind you, I carry ALL of my fat on my belly, making me look—you guessed it—pregnant. In fact, before I lost the 20 pounds, I had several people ask me if I was pregnant. (The only thing worse that being asked if you’re pregnant when you’re not is being asked if you’re pregnant when you’re being slapped the face with the discovery of your increasingly serious infertility.) So gaining weight again is BAD, because it gives me back that horrible baby-bump-without-a-baby.

I think I’ve easily gained 10 pounds in the past two weeks. Not that I’ve weighed myself, because I do that at the gym, which I’m not allowed to go to. But I could tell when I was bloated, and I can tell that most of the water bloating is gone—this is just fat. Which sucks, and makes me feel like crap. And yet I keep eating. I’m just carb-crazed. When I stop I’m starving. And then something happens and I start to cry. And then I start eating again just to stop crying.

Second, I’m feeling horribly depressed and alone. J is a theatrical lighting designer, and he works a lot of nights. And weekends. As in pretty much any time I might have a chance of seeing him or talking to him. This has been going on for more than ten years, and usually it’s not that much of a biggie. But sometimes, like now, when he goes week after week without being home for dinner much than a smattering of times, it really starts to get to me. He’s been gone most of March, and pretty much all of April so far. I see him in the morning when I wake him up to give me a ride to the train station. And I talk to him on the phone a few times throughout the day. But that’s really it—mostly it’s just me, home alone, cooking for myself, doing all the dishes, then just going to bed early because I’m so damn bored.

So this morning, as I was getting my 3 minutes of J-time on the way to the train station, I asked whether he’d be done with his show on Friday. “Not likely,” he said. “But you’ll be home this weekend?” He told me he’d be home on Saturday, but would be starting on a new show on Sunday. Then he proceeded to describe the next three weeks, in which he’ll be home maybe three nights. Then I proceeded to get really upset, but it’s not like we can talk, because I have to get on the fucking train and go to work.

There’s nothing he can do about this. He’s barely eking out a living as it is—he HAS to work these hours if he’s going to work at all. And he booked these gigs long before we knew how our IVF cycle would go. Hell, I feel lucky he was around the day of retrieval so he could donate sperm and give me a ride home. There’s no way he can just stay home because I happen to be hormonal and horribly depressed. Truth is, once he’s booked, he can’t bail out for ANY reason. There’s no one to cover for him.

But the bottom line is that I’m miserable. Lonely and bored and stressed out and freaked out and fucking miserable. When J’s home he’s like a giant sponge, those moods can come off me and he just absorbs them. He’s the ultimate neutralizer. But when I’m home alone all those moods just bounce off the walls and come right back at me. It’s awful.

And it gets worse. Because for the last three days all I’ve been able to think about is how much more miserable I’m going to be when I’m home alone with a baby and no one to help me out. At least right now the workload is manageable. But with a kid? (Or, god forbid, TWO?) And me with a bad back and bad shoulders, after a full day of work, trying to handle it all on my own?

Two days ago, after being unable to shake these feelings of doom, I told J I needed to tell him about my most recent paranoia so maybe I’d start feeling better about it. “I’m just scared that we’re actually going to end up having a baby and I’m going to be all on my own and I’m not going to be able to deal with it and I’m going to hate you for it,” I said all in one breath.

Silence. Then, “Oh, I thought you were going to tell me about an unfounded fear,” he said.

This did NOT make me feel better. Then he tried to help. “Listen, it’s not so bad. I’m home almost all of February, and August.”

This made me feel even worse.

He knows I’m upset with his schedule. He really can’t do anything about it. But I’m also kind of mad that he’s not even trying to make me feel better about it. Doesn’t he know I’m a giant, fat, crazy, hormonal, technically-pregnant-with-triplets mess? Doesn’t he know that I need comfort? Would it kill him to pander to me a bit?

Sigh. Super crappy week. Fat, lonely, depressed. And did I mention my back is killing me? Oh, and my new haircut isn’t working out––my bangs look stringy and the color is fading way too soon and I just had it done a week ago. And I did taxes and we owe a shitload of money (close to $4K), so all of the nice things I was going to do for myself have to be ditched. And my skin is breaking out. And Mike Lowell just went on the disabled list. And my 100 red tulips that came up beautifully last year apparently decided one year was enough; only ONE has come back this spring.

Did I mention that I’m cranky?

This was a horrible whiney post, so I’m attaching a cute kitten picture in a desperate effort to cling to my readers. See how big he's getting? (He's showing off his newfound length in this shot. And no, he never did slide all the way down. Amazing.)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Still Crazy, and Eating for Four

I had my transfer this morning, which went fine. Actually, it went better than any previous transfers, because I decided to drink less water, and start drinking later. This plan apparently was foiled, though, because I got lost in the shuffle and had to wait an extra half-hour for my transfer. My bladder was really starting to hurt, and when one of the nurses said she wasn't sure how much longer it would be, I asked if I could just pee a little bit? She said, "of course!," leading me to wonder why I've not tried this before.

Of course, when you desperately have to pee, peeing "a little bit" is both difficult and really uncomfortable. I probably peed about half my bladder out, because I just didn't want to stop. Then when I got back to my comfy chair they were ready for me! I was a little worried that my bladder wouldn't be full enough, but they said it was fine. The procedure still was unpleasant, but not nearly as painful as the last two. And when it was all over and I finally got to pee, I didn't have that residual discomfort. I felt great.

Then we came home and I tried to go back to bed. But J, who stayed up until 3 a.m. watching TV, also wanted to go back to bed. And I just can't nap while he's there. He wasn't even being loud, but I was fussy. Mostly though, I'm back on a crazy internal rant in which I just lie there and think how much I want to shake sense into him. Seriously, for two hours I lay there next to him thinking about all the things I really want to say to him. And almost all of it was about his weight gain.

Let me start this off with an acknowledgment: J is the best guy I've ever known. He's an absolute doll, and a wonderful husband.

So now into what was making me crazy. What set me off? Well, a few things. First, with the news that his sperm have shown ZERO improvement over the past 4 months, even with him going cold turkey on drinking and smoking, part of me is wondering if, hey, maybe being over 300 pounds has something to do with it? And then I remembered that I actually broke down and had a horrible conversation with him in NOVEMBER about this, in which I told him that he had to start living like a grownup rather than a college student (his job makes him live more the college-student type of lifestyle, but he could make some effort to fight that), and that he really needed to join Weight Watchers or something where someone OTHER THAN ME was telling him what to eat. Because his weight just isn't safe anymore, and I worry about his heart and his health. And he agreed to all of this. He even worked out on the treadmill for a couple of weeks. Then nothing. And recently it's even worse--he's telling me every day "oh, I didn't get lunch, but they had pizza in the break room so I had that." AARRGGHH.

But what really set me off is the fact that *I* am a little food-needy right now. My hormones are all fucked up, and I'm having cravings like crazy, and I'm trying to be good but the truth is I deserve to slack off a little. And I know that *I* will lose the weight again if I don't end up preggers. I have in the past and will in the future. (I'm not thin and never will be. But I'm at a reasonably healthy weight.) But if I'm feeling tired and hormonal and I don't want to cook and we get a pizza, he's not only eating half the fucking thing, he also orders a box of mozzerella sticks that he devours. Then this morning, when we went to IHOP for breakfast post-transfer, I deliberately left two of the five strips of bacon they gave me on my plate. Why? Because I don't need to be eating that much bacon! Not healthy. So J sees them and snatches them up like a starving man. What am I supposed to say? I don't want to be a nagging wife. I don't want to berate him. I certainly don't want him to start resenting me. What if he started hating himself? I could never live with that.

See? After two hours of shouting at him in my head I just had to stop trying to nap and just get up and watch TV. Christ, I'm tired of being crazy.

Oh, final numbers: 5 blasts (three inside me right now), 2 pre-blasts that might make it to freeze (probably not, if history means anything), and a few more that are on their way out. We've never had any to freeze before. If we do, I hope it's a decent batch. I'd hate to blow $2K on a freeze and then have to decide whether it's worth another $6K to do an unlikely-to-succeed FET, rather than just cut our losses and join shared risk right away.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

That Crazy Lady

Today I turned into that crazy lady. The one that visited me when I was in my mid-20s, settling in for a nice nervous breakdown. The one that still makes cameo appearances during the holidays, or when I’m dealing with my mother. The one that shows up randomly during infertility treatment and makes me feel helpless and hopeless.

It’s not like IVF is going badly. But we got some bad news today that has really shaken me. After 4 months of J doing everything he can to improve his sperm quality (other than lose 50 pounds, which I’m sure would help too—says the bitchy and bitter crazy lady), it appears that his sperm have not improved, and might have even gotten worse. My RE didn’t have his old numbers to compare to, but his count was really low. He’s really bummed, and I just feel crushed.

Part of it might be my fault. When a guy with poor sperm ejaculates too soon before he needs to deliver the goods, he can reduce his count (because the spermies have to build up). But if he waits too long, the morphology can get all screwy (because the spermies get bored in there?). Last week, when the RE had told me that the trigger would be on Sunday or Monday, I’d asked her when he should, um…. “Ejaculate?,” she filled in for me? (Love this doc.) She said he should do it Sunday. But then we didn’t trigger on Sunday, and on Monday I forgot to ask again until it was evening and I had no one to ask. So after debating the matter, I suggested that he go ahead and pull the trigger, so to speak. I figured a low count was less critical than poor morphology (because we do ICSI), but mostly I was just guessing. Maybe I guessed wrong. And now I don’t know if the low count is because his sperm are just getting worse no matter what he does, or if it’s because he only had a 36-hour buildup. I know he was really counting on some improvement.

I have to admit, I’m kind of pissed off at him as well. Which isn’t surprising, as I’m feeling angry in general and want to lash out. But why is it MY job to know what he’s supposed to do to make his sperm the best? I even asked him a few times to go see a doc himself about this, maybe even to get a straight-up sperm analysis before this cycle, but it ended up always being me asking the questions, me trying to figure out what vitamins were best, and then me trying to figure out when he needs to jerk off. It seems that I have enough to worry about with my own side of IVF. Can’t the sperm be HIS job??? (If this cycle doesn’t work, this is totally changing for the next cycle. I’m done having to micromanage the whole thing.)

Before you start feeling all horrible for me, let me tell you that my RE actually called with pretty good news. It’s day 2 (if you don’t count retrieval day), and we still have 11 embryos going. Two have dropped to between 5 and 6 cells—I expect those to drop out of the race by tomorrow. But the other 9 are all at between 8 and 11 cells.

So why was this news about J’s sperm such a blow? Because I need something about this cycle to be DIFFERENT than before! If it’s the same, then how can I feel like we’re going to get a different outcome? And even thought this is our first post-surgery cycle, my fibroid hadn’t caused any of my miscarriages. It might have done so if the pregnancies had stuck around for longer, but it just wasn’t a factor. The factors apparently were: (1) embryo quality, and (2) chance. I can’t control chance, but I really wanted to improve the quality of our embryos. Now it seems like we’re just replaying an old script, and I feel like I already know the ending.

I also suspect this crash is more physical than emotional. This happened in both of my prior cycles, but I had blamed it on outside circumstances. Now I’m thinking that the problem is more hormonal than external. There must be some post-retrieval hormone crash, as my body cycles off the stims, gets jacked up on progesterone, and has at least 13 follicles dissolving to create the mother of all luteal phases.

So I’ve been getting agitated for the last two days, and the sperm news pushed me over the edge. To top that off, my car wouldn’t start this morning, and J’s working 18-hour days this weekend, so I’m stuck at home all by myself, staring into space, thinking about how depressed I am, and how much I want to do something that will make me feel better, and how much I wish I could think of something to do that doesn’t involve strenuous exercise or driving anywhere. Tried watching a movie, but I was too agitated. Tried reading a book, but I was too fussy. Then at about 2:00, J called to check in and I just started crying. He suggested that I go outside, but I batted that idea aside. He suggested that I call a friend and I weepily told him that I didn’t want to talk to ANYONE. Then he just sat there feeling helpless while I cried. Yup, crazy lady is in residence.

Eventually I decided to harness the crazy into getting something done. I figured, if I’m going to feel like crap anyway, why not clean my stove? (Mind you, it’d gotten so filthy I was starting to worry about small fires breaking out under the burners.) So I put on some alternative rock, very very loud, and attacked my kitchen. Scrubbed the stove, the front of the cabinets, the area behind the sink faucet, the dish drainer, the toaster, my spice rack—everything in that area. I even refilled the spices in my spice rack.

I’m feeling a little better now. I’m still fussy and sad, but on the upside, my kitchen looks fantastic.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Kind of Blue

It’s 4 p.m., and I haven’t heard from my RE yet today, and it’s somehow got me all weepy. Christ, I hate this shit.

It all started yesterday, when my good mood just evaporated. I was working from home, because it was the day after my retrieval, and I just got so tired and depressed I could barely function. I e-mailed my boss, told him I was taking sick leave for the rest of the day, and went off to bed to take a nap. Just as I was drifting off, I got a call from my RE with the fertilization report. Either 10 or 11 of the 13 fertilized. I’m thinking 10, but I’m not sure, because I was half asleep. Either way, it’s a fine number, so I don’t know why I was feeling so crappy about it.

I called J and told him the news, and he asked about 30 times if I was okay. I guess I sounded off, because I kept telling him I was fine. And I was. Just a little blue. Later in the day I talked to him about it and he said he’d been like that the day before, after he did his sperm thing. Like there’d been this 4-month buildup (not literally!) in which he cared for his body to get the best possible batch, and now he was done and didn’t know what to do with himself.

I guess I feel kind of the same way. We’ve made the embryos. Now they’re gonna live or they’re not. Not much else we can do about it. And it doesn’t help that we’ve never had any trouble getting to this point. It’s after this that things always start getting ugly.

So today I was feeling crappier than ever. I don’t know why, but day 3 after retrieval always hurts more than day 2. And today I really had to put in a full day of work (though still from home—my job is awesome). But I’ve also been waiting all day for the call from my RE. Obviously, I want to know the status of our embryos. But I also want to find out what the number was that I was too dense to remember yesterday. And I have some other questions, like how J’s sperm compared to last time, considering all the effort he’s put in this time.

The phones close at my RE’s office at 4:00, even though they’re often making calls until much later. But the embryo call usually comes in early afternoon. So at 3:50 I decide to call my nurse and make sure I get my call later. But they turned off the fucking phones EARLY! God, that really pisses me off. I left a message, but no one’s going to check it until tomorrow. So am I getting a call today? Have I just been forgotten?

Mind you, there’s nothing really critical about today’s call. I mean, if we were doing a 3-day transfer it would be tomorrow, and she’d definitely have called by now to schedule it. And we’ve always done a 5-day blast transfer, so I would have been shocked (and upset) to learn we had to go to a 3-day transfer this cycle.

But my goddamn hormones are fucking with me. For some ridiculous reason I feel totally rejected and hurt and disappointed. That daily call is all I get during this time. My only validation. So now I’m tense and weepy, instead of enjoying my evening alone. And I can’t take a xanax, or have a drink, or go work out, or do any of the things that might make me feel better. God, I’m cranky right now.

That’s my rant. I’ll let you know if I ever figure out how many embryos I have.


Epilogue: Just got a call from my nurse. She hadn't gotten my message, so it was just dumb luck that she called. She was calling to schedule the transfer for Day 5, which is Monday. When I told her I hadn't heard from my RE, she transferred me all over. My RE swears she left me a long message today, and I believe her, because she's very good about such things, but I really have no messages--makes me wonder what poor unsuspecting soul has my message about my embryos?

Anyway, it is 11 embryos. Yay! And she says (this is Day 2, mind you) that they all look "beautiful." She'll have the sperm analysis and stuff for me tomorrow.

Still feel crappy. But now not so freaked out and crappy. Just crappy.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

I'm Calling 13 a Lucky Number

Retrieval today, and things went soooo smoothly. It helped that I was pretty damn calm about the whole process. I guess it’s because I’ve not only done it twice, I’ve also done the full-blown surgery thing—it makes it hard to get worked up over a little twilight anesthesia and some cramping. (Though it still really did hurt right after. Ow!)

Anyway, broke my own record and got 13 little eggs. I’m pretty psyched about that, at least as psyched as I can be with an achy belly and anesthesia-fuzzy brain.

I also made a fuss about a not-so-nice receptionist at my RE’s office, and I’m patting myself on the back for that. Here’s the story:

One of the problems with being with the same RE for over a year and a half is that the people you love keep taking other jobs. First, my favorite nurse left me. Then the bestest and nicest insurance specialist. Then I lost my favorite blood-drawing nurse (who seriously was my ROCK through two miscarriages—the woman has had 4 miscarriages including one stillborn; she finally ended up with a daughter via IVF and has been a constant source of stability and comfort for me). So yesterday, my RE’s receptionist was replaced. I really liked the old one, at least after I’d broken her in. (We'd had a few spats early on, when I was losing it and irrational she was less than sensitive, but we both apologized and it ended up making us get along much better.) She knew me, knew my history, and was very helpful and sweet to me.

So after my retrieval my RE tells me to go home and go to bed, but first call my nurse to talk about drugs tonight. I first call my nurse from the car, at about 8:30 a.m. The new receptionist answers. I give her my name and ask if I can please talk to my nurse. She says coldly, “You’re going to have to call back after 9:30, when we’re done doing our morning monitoring.”

Okay, not the end of the world, as I still have to get home and eat before I go to bed. And they are really busy in the mornings. Of course, she could have asked my situation, found out if it was urgent, etc, but I’m not letting it bother me.

By the time 9:30 rolls around I’ve finished eating, am in my pajamas, and my bed is calling me--urgently. I call my RE's office again at 9:37. Again, I say who I am and who I need to talk to. Same clipped tone, “I’m sorry, but you really need to call after 9:30––” she says.

I cut her off. “First of all,” I pointed out, “it is after 9:30.”

“It is?,” she sounds surprised.

I go on. “Second, I just had my retrieval this morning, I’m dizzy from the anesthesia, I need to go to bed, and I have to talk to my nurse first.”

I sat on hold while my nurse finished a sono, rather than leave a message. My nurse is a total doll. Once we had finished talking about my drugs, I told her, “just one more thing. I don’t want this new receptionist to know it came from me, but you should know that she was not so nice to me this morning.” I relayed the entire story above (leaving out the part where I wasn’t really ready to go to bed at 8:30 when I called the first time, because why should that tiny fact benefit the bitchy receptionist?).

My nurse was pissed. She told me that this wasn’t going to be our permanent receptionist, to which I said, “oh, then it doesn’t matter that much to me.”

“It matters to me,” my nurse replied.

Hee hee hee. Had this receptionist been willing to listen, I could have warned her: don’t fuck with a woman who just had a giant needle stuck up the wazoo.


Okay, okay, one more McNulty pic. When I showed J this pic last night, he said, "Yup, that's a Devil Kitty."

(Hey, am I going to lose my readers if I ever stop posting his photos? What am I going to do when he gets old an boring?)