Two Good Eggs

Two cracked eggs find the sunnyside (and funny side) of trying to conceive

IVF pioneer Robert Edwards dead at 87 [copied from USA Today]

The Nobel prizewinner’s in vitro fertilization research led to the first test tube baby.

LONDON — Robert Edwards, a Nobel prizewinner from Britain whose pioneering in vitro fertilization research led to the first test tube baby and has since brought millions of people into the world, died Wednesday at age 87.

The University of Cambridge, where he was a professor, said Edwards passed away peacefully in his sleep at his home just outside Cambridge.

Together with Dr. Patrick Steptoe, Edwards developed in vitro fertilization, or IVF, which resulted in the birth in 1978 of the world’s first test tube baby, Louise Brown. At the time, the two were accused of playing God and interfering with nature.

Since then, more than 4 million babies have been born using the technique, which creates embryos in the laboratory before transferring them into a woman.

“(Edwards) was an extraordinary scientist,” said Dr. Peter Braude, emeritus professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Kings College London, who was at Cambridge when Edwards and Steptoe were developing IVF.

“There was such hysteria around the kind of work he was doing,” Braude said, noting that Edwards stopped his research for two years after he published details on how he had created embryos in the laboratory. “He wanted to work out what the right thing to do was, whether he should continue or whether he was out on a limb,” Braude said.

Braude said that Edwards collected donor eggs from Oldham, where Steptoe worked. Edwards then put them into test tubes which he strapped to his legs to keep them warm before catching the train to Cambridge, where he would attempt to fertilize them in the laboratory.

After Brown was born, Braude recalled a celebration at Cambridge, where scientists toasted Edwards and Steptoe’s achievement by drinking champagne out of plastic cups.

Braude said public opinion has evolved considerably since then.

“I think people now understand that (Edwards) only had the best motivation,” he said. “There are few biologists that have done something so practical and made a huge difference for the entire world.”

In 2010, Edwards was awarded the Nobel prize in medicine for the development of IVF. Steptoe had already passed away; the Nobel prizes are not awarded posthumously. The Roman Catholic Church denounced the award, arguing that human life should only begin through intercourse and not artificially. The Vatican said Edwards “bore a moral responsibility for all subsequent developments in assisted reproduction technology and for all abuses made possible by IVF.”

In 2011, Edwards was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II “for services to human reproductive biology.”

Other scientists called Edwards a visionary who forever changed the lives of people helped by IVF and the medical community.

“(Edwards’) inspirational work in the early 60s led to a breakthrough that has enhanced the lives of millions of people worldwide,” said Mike Macnamee, chief executive of the IVF clinic that Edwards and Steptoe co-founded, in a statement. “It was a privilege to work with him and his passing is a great loss to us all.”

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press and copied from USA Today.

THANK YOU to Dr. Edwards.  Though IVF has not worked for us yet, I know his work has helped many miracles happen and allowed many dreams to come true.  Hopefully one day his work will introduce me to my second little miracle.

How as Dr. Edwards’ work helped you?

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Research: Infertility is Painful

I’d like to thank Ria from www.fillmynest.wordpress.com for introducing me to this very interesting article. Please check out her blog. She has a beautiful, spiritual, positive perspective on dealing with the harsh reality of infertility.

The Bible and The Pain of Infertility by Kimberly Monroe & Philip Monroe 

A few poignant excerpts:

“In one study, 63% of women who experienced both infertility and divorce rated their infertility as more painful than their divorce. In another study, women who experienced either chronic or life-threatening diseases ranked the emotional pain of infertility at similar levels to that of terminal illness.”

Amazing. Sadly amazing, but it makes me feel as though we are not just getting “all worked up” over something minor. I wish this information was better known. As I mentioned in Suggestion Box at Maximum Capacity, if people better understood the struggle, we wouldn’t feel so isolated and different.

“One unique thing about infertility is the hope/despair cycle. At the beginning of her monthly cycle, a woman has great hope. I’m going to get pregnant this month. I know it. The month ends. No pregnancy. She despairs. The next month comes. Great hope again. But no pregnancy. Hope careens down to despair. When she’s in treatment for infertility, the woman has hope. She forces herself through the process, trying more things, doing more things. She hopes. But, the higher the hope, the deeper the fall. The despair side intensifies after each failure to conceive.”

Isn’t this the truth!? Everything is a cycle for us. The neat thing is we keep getting back up, rising to the occasion, and opening ourselves to possibility with renewed hope. Although many of us have whispered (or screamed) the words “I can’t do this anymore,” we continue to fight and, in turn, strengthen our bonds with each other.

“Hormone crazies. On the upside of your cycle, when you have estrogen, you’re moving along, thinking clearly, and acting with purpose. You’re on top of things. But on the progesterone side of the cycle, you react in a different manner. It’s hard to think, easy to get stuck, and easy to be depressed.”

Thank you, science. I wish I had found this statement long ago. What we feel and how we act is just a magnification of our hormones’ natural properties. It’s not just because we are struggling to conceive. Sure, our emotions and anxieties are elevated, but infertility is not the only culprit on those days when we feel helpless, frustrated, and in despair. Oh, the beauty of hormones.

“Grief. No funeral. No burial. No flowers. No cards. Yet there is a death: the death of hopes of the wonder of a child emerging from your love.”

This is a tough statement to read, but I think it gives a fairly accurate overview of the darkness we feel when another month passes and pregnancy is not achieved. It’s something few understand. It may seem morbid, or even naive, to compare our struggles to death, but the emotions are eerily similar.

Here is some supporting research:

Many Couples Struggle with Infertility in Silence

An anonymous epidemic 
Having difficulty getting pregnant can cause as much grief as losing a loved one, says Linda D. Applegarth, Ed.D., director of psychological services at the Perelman Cohen Center. “But it’s different. It is chronic and elusive,” she adds. “There’s a fear that life will be eternally empty. Some feel a sense of damage and brokenness; it goes to the heart of who they are.” The result is the dread and shame that Applegarth sees in her waiting room. “Patients slink around and sit in corners because they don’t want to see anyone they know from their work or social circle,” she says, “even if it would mean they would know someone going through the same thing.” Only 5 percent of patients use the psychological support services their clinic offers, despite data showing how helpful they can be.

Because no one wants to discuss infertility, “nothing gets done about it,” says Lindsay Beck, founder of Fertile Hope, a program run by the Lance Armstrong Foundation in Austin, Texas, that supports cancer patients whose treatments threaten their fertility. “Infertility is where breast cancer was in the 1970s — completely in the closet.” Beck’s treatments for her tongue cancer and its recurrence aged her reproductive system by possibly a decade; she ultimately had five IVF procedures and two children. She’s undergoing fertility treatments again in hopes of conceiving a third. “In my experience, it’s a much lighter atmosphere in the cancer waiting room than in the IVF waiting room,” she says. “Cancer patients talk about anti-nausea drugs and what worked for them. They look at each other as a means of support. For some reason, fertility patients tend to ignore each other in the waiting room.” Beck says that “the cancer card” makes it easier for women to talk about their difficulties trying to get pregnant — and to find financial assistance to pay for treatment — after chemotherapy, radiation or both have ravaged their body. “Everyone relates to cancer and is supportive of helping cancer patients,” she says. “For the average fertility patient, there is no united front.”

The Psychological Impact of Infertility and its Treatment 

While the causes of infertility are overwhelmingly physiological, the resulting heartache may exact a huge psychological toll. The physical and emotional ordeal of infertility treatment often make matters worse.

Many women who have been through it and some of their male partners have said that infertility was the most upsetting experience of their lives.

Other research has suggested that women with infertility feel as anxious or depressed as those diagnosed with cancer or hypertension, or who are recovering from a heart attack.

Men tend to report less distress than women. However, one study found that men’s reactions may depend on who is diagnosed with infertility. When their wives or partners are infertile, men do not report being as distressed as the women do. But when men learn that they are the ones who are infertile, they experience the same levels of low self-esteem, stigma and depression as infertile women do.


Research: The Relationship Between Stress and Infertility

The psychological impact of infertility can be profound and depressive symptoms are more common in the infertile population than in matched fertile women.Approximately 10 percent of infertile women meet the criteria for a major depressive episode, 30-50 percent report depressive symptoms, and 66 percent report feeling depressed after infertility treatment failure. The majority of infertile women report that infertility is the most upsetting experience of their lives. Infertile women report equivalent levels of anxiety and depression as women with cancer, HIV status or heart disease.

…the findings of a 2000 Harvard Medical School study, which showed that participation in an infertility support group can actually increase a woman’s chances of conceiving in a given menstrual cycle over 50 percent, jumping from 20 to 54 percent. Dr. Linda Applegarth, Director of Psychological Services at the Center for Reproductive Medicine, explained that not only are support groups important for women to find common ground with others and a safe space to share their feelings, but they can also be a wealth of knowledge regarding appropriate information about where to go for good infertility treatment.

Check out this link for more infertility related research:
Infertility and the Mind/Body Connection

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Those Chinese may be on to something…

I am not sure what the next two weeks will hold, but I am officially back in the TWW.

As I mentioned before, we ended up taking November off from IVF treatment due to a variety of reasons that we felt were pushing us to take a break.  I have been visiting an acupuncturist, and have altered my diet a bit to reduce hormone-affecting food, as well as added some herbal supplements to aid in fertility concerns.

As promised, I’m including at the end of this post the dietary and herbal supplement recommendations that my acupuncturist provided.  Disclaimer – I am NOT a doctor, and can only speak on behalf of what my practitioners recommended specifically for me.  Before you try any new treatment that could affect your health or fertility, please consult your own doctors, therapists or other practitioners.  This is info-sharing only – not a prescription.

As for me, this cycle I’ve been taking the following daily:

  • 2 prenatal vitamins
  • 1 iron supplement
  • 3 25mg DHEA pills
  • 1 Co-q10 pill
  • 1 Acidolophilus pill

From a dietary perspective, I’ve eliminated:

  • all diet coke and soda
  • all artificial sweeteners in beverages
  • a significant amount of enriched flour and white carbs
  • cheese
  • a significant amount of other dairy
  • non-organic meat

Did it help?  The verdict is still out.  But, I feel very certain that I did ovulate this month.  In fact, I’m positive I felt it when it happened, which gives me hope that it was a strong O.  Sometimes I don’t feel it at all.

And, (TMI alert), my CM this month arrived in copious amounts.  For the past year, I have regularly had 1-2 days of EWCM; and even then, I usually have to check internally to find it in its limited amount.  This month, it made its appearance known externally in my britches, and required multiple wipings  during the potty visit.  And, it lasted for FIVE DAYS.  Whaaaat?!

Additionally, I’ve been going to acupuncture twice a week, and I can truly feel energy flowing to my uterus and groin areas during those sessions.  Whether or not that helps is yet to be seen, but I do think it’s stimulating the area to increase bloodflow and make a happier environment.

So, regardless of whether we get pregnant this month, I truly believe I’m making good choices and creating a less hostile environment.  So, if we do have to turn to IVF again in December, maybe my body will be more receptive.

I’ll keep you posted.

Any other success stories from following a similar routine?

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If God was holding court, I’d clearly be the court jester.

I’m convinced that one of my purposes in life is to be comic relief for God.  I envision God sitting up on his cloudy throne, surrounded by his “good” old boys, watching me go through my crazy journeys and saying “Hey y’all, watch this.  I wonder what she’ll do!”

Sort of like Adam Sandler in “Big Daddy” throwing sticks in the paths of the roller bladers.

My acupuncturist highly recommended that I start taking low-impact stretching yoga twice a week in an effort to help increase blood flow to my uterus and ovaries, re-channel energy and overall de-stress.  She specifically told me to use this time to clear my mind, stop thinking about baby making and just release my stress.

Monday, I tried this for the first time.  I went to my first yoga class since we began trying to conceive.  Now, I’m no stranger to yoga.  I’ve done it plenty in years past.  I’m familiar with most of the common lingo.  Relaxation pose.  Downward Dog.  Upward Dog.  Cat.  Even Cow.  I was ready to make this yoga my bitch and leave refreshed, with a clear mind.

I joined the class, and laid down into relaxation pose.  Nice, nice.  Deep breathing, I’m relaxing.  Mind is clearing.  Wonderful.  Remember to thank doctor later.

The teacher asked us to move from relaxation pose to sitting pose.  We begin stretching our necks, sides, getting warmed up.  Transition to downward dog.  Cow.  Cat.  Ahhhhh.  My back feels great!  My breathing is deep.  I haven’t thought about anything except stretching.

Then the teacher says, “Assume Happy Baby” pose.

Say.  What?

Assume.  HAPPY.  BABY.  POSE.   Seriously?

I had never heard this before, and looked around to see what my classmates were doing.  Sure enough, they all looked like happy effing babies.  You know how in cartoons when a character is hungry, they envision their friends as giant, walking turkey legs?  Yeah… so, my classmates all looked like this:

But all I saw surrounding me was this:

Breathe, breathe, breathe.  This is an odd coincidence.  Keep breathing – don’t lose focus.

So, I became a damn happy baby, and kept breathing.  We stretched our legs and back in this position, rolled over onto all fours and awaited further instruction.  The teacher broke her silence with, “Now, roll into embryo pose.”

What. the. $*#!

Again, having never heard of this pose, I look to my classmates for example.

Here come the giant turkey legs again.

Seriously?  SERIOUSLY?

Before I can even process this, we’re back to

At this point, I’m almost laughing at the irony of this.  Here I am, doing everything I can (against my nature) to release and let go – take things naturally, cleanse my mind and THIS is what greets me.

I am convinced that God was the puppetmaster for the yoga instructor that day.  I hope that my yoga class at least made Him smile.   I’m just trying to figure out if he was having a little fun, or trying to tell me that this may actually be worthwhile.  Maybe both?

Do you believe in signs? 

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Rotten eggs, sharp objects and renewed hope

I apologize for being MIA for a bit.  When we last met, I was awaiting the results of my first IVF cycle.   A bit has happened since then.

First, I went in for my 4-day scan and learned that I was not responding to the meds.  Cyrus the Cyst was gulping all the meds and my follicles were unimpressive.  They turned my IVF into an IUI, and before the end of my TWW, the evil witch cackled her way into my bathroom.

I thought I had prepared myself emotionally and mentally for the likely unsuccessful first attempt.

I was wrong.  It hit me pretty hard.  I was devastated.

Then, I spoke with my doctor on Monday to find out next steps, assuming I’d get a ray of sunshine and a little “hang in there” pep rally.  Notsomuch.

Turns out, after the increased stim dosage my estrogen should have ‘risen exponentially’.  Instead, it actually DROPPED.  I asked what causes this.  He flat out said, “Bad eggs.”

That hurt.  Bad.  I was broken.  My body is broken.  My heart – broken.   He tried to polish the rough edges by saying that my reserve number is still normal “for my age”, and I do still have some good eggs.  It’s just that the proportion of bad eggs to good is high.

Next steps:  Try a much more aggressive protocol.  THE most aggressive protocol.

We were toying with the idea of taking November off from IVF because all of the shots would be scheduled for the week of Thanksgiving.  With family in town, and a 12lb gobbler in my fridge, the idea of hiding 14 boxes of shots behind Tom the Turkey was less than appealing.  Plus, the stress of entertaining, etc., was getting to me and I just felt like we might need a break.  Then, like Captain Hook, I heard that incessant ticking of the clock chasing behind me like a crocodile.

The day before we were supposed to go in to learn the “most aggressive protocol”, we got a call from the financial manager at the fertility clinic.   They’re receiving some conflicting information from our insurance company.  After being assured by the insurance company directly that our treatments were 100% covered, the payments are coming in at 50%.  Until they could get it ironed out (which they “hope” to do this week), they are required to collect 50% at the time of consultation “just in case” the insurance doesn’t come around.   Translation – they required $4,000 at our appointment the next day “just in case”.

For those who don’t know me personally – I do NOT have a money tree in my backyard.

We need more than 10 hours notice to come up with that kind of money (especially after expecting that our treatments were covered).  We decided this was a sign that we should, in fact, take November off from IVF.  Give the doctor’s office a chance to reconcile with the insurance company, get our finances in order “just in case” and just relax a little.

So, I took a cue from Sunnyside and scheduled some acupuncture last week.  First time I’ve ever gone, and I freaking loved it.  My acupuncturist specializes in fertility issues and did more than turn me into Pinhead.  She talked to me about my diet -not in a “you should drop a few pounds” kind of way (lucky for her).  Rather, she enlightened me regarding how certain foods contribute to ovulatory issues, some chemicals raise your estrogen too much, some supplements reduce inflammation in your uterus, etc.  I was totally intrigued.   So,  my personal treatment plan for the next month is as follows (please understand this is a VERY abbreviated summary of the detailed information I received)

  • eliminate ALL diet coke (I may die)
  • eliminate ALL cheese (inflammatory food)
  • eliminate as much dairy as possible (inflammatory, and estrogen-adding)
  • begin getting 90% of my protein from organic vegetables; any meat protein should be organic (non-organic increases estrogen)
  • eliminate at least some of my white carbs (too many white carbs (like the diet coke, too) cause your body to not use insulin correctly, which can affect egg development and ovulation)
  • switch to a food-based prenatal vitamin
  • add DHEA 3 x day (25mg each)
  • add Co-q10 1 x day
  • add acedolphilus pearls 1 x day
  • drink herbal tea and water
  • twice a week acupuncture for the next 4 weeks
  • twice a week yoga

I have a lot of information on WHY all of these suggestions were made (based in research at Harvard, as well as doctor/patient testimonies).  I’m happy to scan and email to anyone who is interested.  It’s very intriguing, and makes a lot of sense.

Also, she recommended a book called, “Making Babies – a proven 3-month program for maximum fertility“.  It shows the correlation between natural treatment (like Chinese medicine, herbs/supplements, acupuncture, etc) and improved fertility.    I can’t vouch for it yet, but I’m currently reading it.  I promise to do a book review of it when I’m done, as well as an update on how this new diet/program is affecting me personally.  If I find that the book is valuable, expect to see it in a giveaway soon.

So, that’s where I’ve been.  And where I’m going.  It feels good to have something different to focus on, so that we don’t feel like we’re pushing pause completely.  And, it feels good that what I’m doing now is addressing the insurmountable stress that has been building over the past year, and more specifically, the past 3 months.

I don’t know where this path will lead.  If nothing else, maybe I’ll be healthier.

Have any of you had success with acupuncture or such dietary focus?  I’m interested in all of your stories – successful or not.

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Suggestion Box at Maximum Capacity

Deciding how and to whom we open up about TTC and fertility problems, and how we will deal with the responses is a real and difficult part of struggling to conceive.

I’m a very open person. Yes, I understand that’s a bit ironic since I’m writing under a pseudonym. 🙂 I find comfort in conversation, but this topic has been a tricky one for me.  Like many women, talking it out makes me feel better, but for some odd reason people squirm, avert their eyes, and blurt a hackneyed phrase as soon as the words “We have been trying for a while” leave my lips.  It’s as though I have told them I’m growing a tail and will be featured in a Discovery Channel documentary with my new appendage. “Weird Science: Woman grows tail, but no baby.” It’s SO awkward. Why? Millions of couples are struggling with the same thing, but if you talk about it in real life, you’re quickly led to believe infertility is a rare, horrible condition and you’re served a fat platter of pity and poor suggestions. Thank goodness for the blogosphere to keep us sane and help us realize we’re not alone or (completely) crazy.

I appreciate the genuine, heartfelt suggestions and words of encouragement, but they can be easily lost in the giant pile of crap dealt out by the majority.  Just when I think it’s safe to bring it up, it backfires and I want to shove feet in everyone’s mouth, including my own. After nearly a year, I’ve learned the hard way to keep my lips zipped more often than not. It’s unfortunate, really.

When someone shares a job loss, death in the family, or serious problem in their life, the responses are generally sympathetic, despite the sensitive and unfortunate nature of the situation. We listen, take pause, and carefully craft a loving, albeit brief, response. We often hear or say:
I’m so sorry. What can I do to help?
I’m here for you, no matter what.
What do you need right now?
Will it help you if I give you some space or would you like to talk about it?
I love you and I know you’ll get through this.
You’re a very strong person, but lean on me as much as you need to.
Do you want to go somewhere and get your mind off things for a while?

Why is the topic of infertility not dealt with in a similar fashion? I think any of those responses would be received well by most men and women struggling with conception.

Now, lets talk infertility. You share your story or mention your struggle to a friend, coworker, or family member. What do you hear in response?

Have you heard any of these?

I’m sure it will happen soon. 

At least you can have fun trying. 

Ooooh, fertility treatments are expensive. If you can’t afford that, how do you plan to afford a child?

Maybe you’re just thinking about it too much.

Maybe you’re trying too many things. 

Sometimes it just takes a while. Be patient. 

Have you thought about changing your diet? Exercising? Relaxing?

You guys are young. I’m sure nothing’s wrong. 

Are you sure you want to have kids? 

Are you sure he wants to have kids?

Why is now a good time to have a baby? 

Your job is too stressful. 

You can’t plan your whole life around TTC. Let it happen naturally. 

Oh, that sucks.  Did you see Suzie’s new baby? So cute!

You know being a parent is going to change your life, right? 

I know how you feel. I had an abnormal pap once.  It was so scary. (WTF?!)

Ugh! WHY do people think this is a good next move??

You’re lucky. I totally wasn’t expecting this pregnancy. I’m so busy already. 

Some people try for years and years. Why are you so stressed already? How are you going to handle it a year from now if you’re still not pregnant?

It’ll be okay. One day. At least you can sleep now. You won’t later. 

You can have my kids!

 

WHAT?! Can you imagine a variation of these statements being offered to someone who lost a job or loved one? I’m not saying that death is the same thing as infertility, but there is a common emotional thread that runs through both. We experience a degree of sadness, denial, anger, frustration, emotional outburst, failure, stress, loneliness, and a sense of loss with infertility, death, and job loss. I wish others better understood the emotional correlation. I know who to lean on now, after much trial and error, but maybe if people were more delicate in their approach, I wouldn’t be so reluctant to speak up. Until that time comes, my suggestion box is at maximum capacity. I can’t take another “just get over it, no big deal” offering. I’m at my limit.

What are your thoughts? (My suggestion box is wide open to you guys!)

(I just said my box is wide open.)

(Thats what she said.)

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Entropy: Quiet Chaos & Questionable Optimism

I have found myself navigating a labyrinth, the turns and dead ends pushing me to think openly, though most importantly, realistically. I try to cling tightly to a philosophy of “sunshine and rainbows,”  but as our attempts continue to fail, the skies become overcast and the hues are a little less brilliant. I’m in denial and, frankly, I’m exhausted by the endless optimism that pours from my lips as I cry inside. If I admit defeat or struggle publicly, it is momentary and whisked away swiftly by a smile and feigned hope. I have become two people, one who speaks and denies her emotions, and one who feels and fails to speak.

I’m living in a false utopia in which I fantasize about tiny toes, tired tears, and swaddling blankets, and consciously ignore the poor test results, delays, expensive treatments, and realistic probabilities. “It will get easier,” I lie, knowing very well this climb is far from its apex. I refuse to accept reality and I am therefore trapped in a state of entropy.

At the beginning of this journey, we were faced with what can only now be described as foreshadowing. I became pregnant rather quickly after we decided the time was right, only to be relegated to a statistically insignificant woman who miscarried. “It’s very common.” And so are car accidents and cancer, and I would never deny that pain.  “But it was early on.” Not too early for me to spend hours crying in the bottom of the shower. “It just wasn’t God’s time for you.” No comment. I thought that would be it. One disappointment. A single lesson on loss, desire, strength, and togetherness. I was mistaken. Taking into account all the lessons we’ve learned the hard way,  it is safe to say we have minored in Disappointment, and that first instance was just a glimmer of what was to come.

And so the process repeats, month after month, with no success. Each new path or method presents itself under a bright spotlight, shining with possibility and interpreted as promissory. I fool myself, once again, into believing we’ve found the golden ticket only to uncover Pandora’s Box. The road forks and the dichotomy deepens. Surely, this will better prepare me for motherhood, the uncertainty, commitment, selflessness, and fatigue. I believe it’s already begun to make me a better friend to other women. A new sense of compassion and understanding is emerging, but the impatience for my own desires has not faded.

No one really wants to talk about the loss or our struggle, and those who do offer guarded platitudes, often rich in misunderstanding. We have reached a point where relaxation, diet, and timing are no longer key elements to conception. Now, the horizon is full of needles, medication, intervention, and paper gowns. I’m scared. And now, more than ever, is the time we need support and understanding, but I’m hesitant to genuinely accept the words of others even though I so badly want to be nestled in their comforting embraces. I speak up and regret it. I stay silent and want to reach out. Entropy.

I’m struggling with the optimism that serves as the the foundation of my personality, and the recurrent unfavorable news that should crush my resolve, but does not. I wonder if I’m actually living in the moment. Am I dealing with this properly? Attitude makes all the difference, they say, but maybe I’m avoiding reality by remaining positive. It’s my defense mechanism. Smiles triumph over defeat. Or do they? Perhaps, smiling is a bandage that covers the wound until the adhesive wears weak.

Until I figure this out, if I ever do, I’ll keep a smile plastered on my face as the chaos brews deep within. Fake it ’til you make it, I guess. It seems as though so many parts of my life are just a big question mark right now. I just want some resolution. How do you deal with uncertainty and road blocks?

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I think my oven’s broken.

Have you ever tried to bake a cake, and knew with 100% confidence that you followed the recipe to the letter, only to have it turn out like this:

That’s how I feel after my first follicle check.  Inexplicable failure.  I think my oven’s broken.

I did all of my shots to the letter.  While traveling and juggling a crazy schedule away from home.  I went for my follicle check after 4 days of Follistim and Menopur shots.

Left side:  EMPTY.  Zero.  Nada.

Right side:  one teeny tiny follicle hanging out sad and alone, because a MONSTER cyst had reappeared and was sucking all the meds for its own nourishment.  A cyst, mind you, that had just painfully been drained a week before.

Bastard.

I felt so defeated.  My doctor told me that this could go one of two ways, and it’s too soon to tell yet which way it will be.

1.  The cyst could just be a nuisance, and it may be too soon for the follicles to have developed (some people are slower developers than others); or,

2.  The cyst could be hogging all the meds and cannibalizing the follicle development.

If it’s number 2, we have to kill this cycle and wait another month before trying again.

My doctor has increased my dosage to see if he can stimulate the follicles over the next couple of days.  I’m going back on Saturday for an ultrasound to see if Cyrus the Cyst is still at the all-you-can-eat buffet, or if he’s spreading the love to his little follie friends.

I’m praying that the follies are getting their drink on right now, because I already feel so defeated.  If I have to kill this cycle and wait another month to even get started, well… that’ll just take the cake.

The shitty, floppy, inedible cake.  From my old, broken oven.

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Wine, needles, hotel room floors and belly buttons

Would you believe that airport security was not nearly as interested in my infertility issues as I am?   Hrmph.  🙂

Now, I have my drug paraphernalia all sprawled out inside my hotel room fridge.  That might explain why the only housekeeping service I’ve received is having my bed made… the poor lady won’t even touch my bathroom counter or desk!

I geared up to do my first shot on Sunday night, and admittedly nearly got drunk before I did it.  Two beers and three glasses of red wine were my pre-cocktail cocktail.

I stumbled back to my room and mustered the courage to try this first shot alone in my hotel room after a cocktail hour and before a business dinner.  I had a 15-minute window before I had to be at another event.

I spread out my gear on the hotel room floor (surely, that’s the most sterile location, right?) and began to sweat.  Half from nerves, half from the wine.  I take one last gulp of wine and pinched up a hunk of belly fat and cringed with closed eyes at the thought of piercing my belly with this needle for the first time.  I exhaled and took a look at the injection site, and snorted in laughter at the reality of what I saw.

Here I was, chicken-shit to stick this little needle into my skin a mere 2 inches away from my  [formerly] pierced belly button.   A piercing that took a needle three times as long and twice as big in diameter, and went all the way through to the other side.  A needle that I paid good money to stick through my body – while sober – when I was fresh out of college.

When I realized how ridiculous this was, I pushed the wine glass aside and stuck that bitchass needle into my belly.

That’s not to say I didn’t have another glass of wine on Night 2 … let’s not get crazy.

 Two shots down, two to go til first ultrasound to check follicles.

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Do I look like a terrorist to you?

I used to freak out about whether or not my travel-sized shampoos and lotions would send the airport TSA agents into red alert.   Never did I imagine I’d have to explain the 10 hypodermic syringes, 10 Q-cap needles, additional multi-gauge needles, plus 12 vials of questionable liquids and powders as I walk through the screening area of my local airport.

Oh, and did I mention I’m on a direct flight to our nation’s capital, as well?  Awesome.

As luck would have it, our first round of IVF coincides with a business trip and I have to do my injections from a luxurious hotel room overlooking National Harbor.

I have my plan all figured out.  I plan to march right up to the first TSA screener and declare my infertility issue to him and all of the commuters within hearing distance. I plan to fan my Rx papers that match my name to every vial of questionable substance and flash my pearly whites and baby blues and dare him to question my allegiance to my country.

I may or may not have “America, the Beautiful” queued up in my iPhone ready to play in case of emergency.

Watch the news tonight.  My true identity may be revealed 🙂

I’ll update you soon on how Operation Shoot Up goes tonight.  Wish me luck (and courier me some wine)!

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