Monday, September 27, 2010

Life After IF

Or life with IF. What if there is no "after"? What if there is just IF?

I've been doing a lot of thinking the last week about the future. Being benched really takes the focus away from "this cycle" and redirects it towards "what next". Obviously, the immediate future holds another injectibles cycle. But after that?

I'm considering getting a second opinion. My yearly midwife visit is coming up. The visit that got me a referral to the RE last year. I'm going to discuss a second opinion with my midwife and see what she thinks about the fertility center my acupuncturist has been suggesting I check out. Then I'll need to check with my insurance to see if they'll pay for it.

Realistically, I'm 38 years old, my FSH is OK but not great, treatment has not been successful and I don't really know how long I can continue to push forward. Don't get me wrong - I'm not giving up, but I do feel like time is running out and I don't really know yet how far I am willing to go. I don't know where my breaking point is. If the RE suggests IVF, I will likely be fine moving to that step. But what additional issues might IVF uncover? Will we be encouraged to consider donor eggs/sperm or even surrogacy? We haven't discussed these possibilities, but somehow I don't see us going down any of those roads.

What I am considering is what comes next when I eventually do reach the point where I just can't continue with treatments. Professor and I have discussed adoption and we are in agreement that it is not the right path for us. This actually makes me feel a little sad and a little ashamed, but I have to be honest. It just isn't right for us.

And that leaves just us. Child free. I don't think there will ever come a time, as long as I live, when that thought doesn't hurt at least a little bit, but I am beginning to accept that as a possible outcome. I do worry about what (if anything) we will tell friends and family. I feel like we would need to tell them at least the basics. I don't think I could live that big a lie for the rest of my life. I still worry about becoming an object of pity, you know "that poor woman who couldn't have children". I dread year after year having to witness the disappointment and longing on Professor's face as he watches other people living life with their children and eventually grandchildren.

I am facing these fears, and I am beginning to approach a sort of peace with the idea.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Comfort Food

In honor of Fall and due to the fact that I have no cycle news to report, I thought I'd share one of our favorite cool weather recipes -

White Chili.

This is a recipe that I made up based on some chili that I had at a restaurant and fell in love with. Growing up in Texas, I was raised on traditional red chili. Needless to say, I make a pretty mean chili if I do say so. I even won first place in a chili cook-off once!

I know there is supposedly a big divide over whether or not "true" chili contains beans (actually, it doesn't), but ever since my days as a poor starving college student when I had to stretch every ingredient to its fullest potential, I've been adding beans to my recipes.

To chili snobs everywhere, I say: WHATEVER! My chili tastes good! The Professor goes back for seconds and that is a rare occurrence indeed. Anyhoo, on to the instructions:

2 chicken breasts
1 medium white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
6C chicken or vegetable broth
1 16oz can white beans, drained & rinsed (I use cannellini)
1 small can chopped green chiles
1 7oz can Herdez salsa verde (or 3/4C green salsa)
1t cumin
1t dried oregano
1/2t chili powder
1T masa (or regular flour, but masa is better)
salt to taste

You will want to use a large soup pot. I don't use any oil, because I am cooking in cast iron, but you can if you like.

1.  Sear the chicken breasts over high heat until they begin to brown, then reduce heat to medium and chop or shred the chicken as it finishes cooking.

2.  When the chicken is almost cooked through, add the chopped onion & garlic and cook until soft.

3.  Stir in the cumin, oregano & chili powder. I like to deglaze the pan at this point with a splash of bourbon or white wine.

4.  Add the broth, beans, green chiles & salsa verde and stir. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes.

5.  Place the 1T masa or flour in a small bowl and stir in small amounts of hot water until it reaches the consistency of heavy cream. Add this mixture to the simmering chili, stirring constantly. Simmer for another 10-15 minutes. If the chili is not thick enough, repeat with another tablespoon of masa/flour.

This makes four servings. We serve with cornbread. If you are making cornbread from scratch, you can also substitute masa for the regular flour in the cornbread recipe - it makes it that much better!

As far as where to buy masa if you don't live somewhere they sell it in the grocery store, you can get it on Amazon (this is even the brand I use, though I got mine at the store).

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Loss for Words

I don't know what to say.

I'm benched, so no cycle news to obsess over or report. I'll probably start the OPKs this weekend, since I've already got a box of them. Why not...

I'm caught up on all of your blogs. I'm celebrating with you, crying with you, infuriated on your behalf and waiting right along with you. But I seem to have no words.

So I will leave you with the minor details that are pinging around in my skull for the moment:

Work is getting busier. Today was the first day in weeks that it took me until the very end of the day to get through my inbox. No time for wool gathering. This is a relief, as I have really been starting to worry that I'm missing/forgetting some big chunks of my job. I shouldn't be as caught up as I am. Not at this time of year. With our big board meeting coming up, this makes me VERY nervous.

The house plant is not doing well. I bought it some organic plant food, and have been feeding it and watering it (but not too much/often) and keeping it in the sunshine. And now it has only two leaves, one of which is dying. Oh, and the organic food seems to have given it flies. *sigh*

Last night after work, I went to a yoga class for the first time in more than ten years. It was not easy, but it felt incredible after the fact and I'm only a little sore today. My darling Professor even bought me some new yoga gear as an add-on birthday gift! I'm determined to ditch those 18 pounds that have hitched on since we pulled the goalie and I'm worried about my future health. My BMI is solidly in the "overweight" category and both of my parents have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes after lifelong overindulgence and insufficient exercise. I DO NOT want to go there.

We made our last car payment this week. It feels awesome! We're going to redirect that payment to my student loans next and might get them paid off by the end of the year. That will also be awesome!

Happy Thoughts:

I got a pretty new necklace in the mail today.
My boss gave me a nice fat S*bux card for my B-day.
Professor has no immediate plans for travel.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Benched & Back at the Drawing Board

Well, I went in for a baseline appointment this morning (CD4). I started crying before I even got out of the waiting room. I held together so well over this past weekend. If you had asked me on Friday or Saturday, I would have told you that I was disappointed but not surprised that the cycle failed. Yes, I was concerned about the repeated 9 day luteal phase, but I didn't shed a single tear. Until I walked into the RE office this morning.

This appointment was with one of my favorite nurses, and her first question "How are you doing?" set me crying again. After verifying that Confuterus was still in there, she checked the ovaries and WHY HELLO THERE giant cyst on Rightie! Leftie had a bunch of little follies prepping to go, but Rightie had one huge cyst left over from that one huge Follie of Fail.

I had a chance to discuss things with her after I retrieved my pants and my dignity. Benched without question, and depending on estrogen levels, I might need to suppress with BCPs before the next round could begin. She told me that my official RE was in today and would be reviewing my results, but she felt like it was time for me to go ahead and schedule another consult with him. Even she agreed that the plan as it stands would need changing. When my eyes started leaking again, she suggested I avail myself of the free counselor they keep on staff.

Free counselor on staff? Uh... OK. Done.

Another cool thing about my clinic is that whichever nurse sees you for monitoring is the nurse that calls you later in the day to discuss your results and next steps. This means she already knows where you're "at" and it makes the follow up more comfortable. So when she called, she knew what my questions and concerns had been and had the answers ready.

  • Estrogen only slightly high, no suppression needed (relief).
  • Another round of GonalF (dosage tweaked again)
  • AM/PM progesterone supps + oral progesterone (we'll see)

I'm kinda bummed that I'm benched for Leftie's month and will be trying this adjusted plan with Rightie AGAIN. I need to be sure to ask my RE what he plans to do to get a better response out of Rightie next time.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me! (UPDATED)

For those of you who don't follow me on Twitter:

  • Today is my 38th birthday
  • Today is 9 days past IUI
  • Today is CD1

I didn't even get within spitting distance of my beta. My RE has some serious explaining to do.

UPDATED: Thank you all for your comments and commiserations, they have been heartwarming indeed. I have a CD4 baseline scheduled on Monday morning. It's later than they like to see me, but that's the soonest I could get there. It may be too late and the cycle may get canceled. We'll see.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


I've lost so much since we started down the path to expand our family. Innocence, naivete, dreams, one pregnancy, untold amounts of sleep, the ability to plan anything more than two weeks in the future... Occasionally my mind but never any weight. My sense of being valuable as a wife and employee, of being adequate to the task at hand (otherwise known as daily life), my motivation to care for and improve myself...

IF FOUND, please notify me ASAP!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

And It Just Keeps Sucking (Updated)

I have spent almost the entire day in tears. After this morning's monitoring visit, I just don't see how this cycle can work.

The whole point of these treatments is to get more than one mature follie to trigger so that there will be more than one corpus luteum dumping out progesterone so that Confuterus won't just up and flush out its contents at 9dpo.

I have one dominant follie. One.

The blood work indicates that my hormones are taking off. I go back for more monitoring tomorrow.

UPDATED (9.5.10): I still have a single dominant follie, which is now mature. I still don't have much hope for this cycle, but I am less emotional about it today.

When we questioned the doctor (not my usual one) about what exactly this "unexpected rise" in estrogen meant for the cycle and what the chances were for success with just the one follicle, she got incredibly uppity and defensive. She kept repeating that it wasn't a BAD thing and she didn't understand why we were so upset about it. She kept saying "People get pregnant with just one follicle all the time!" and all I could think was that if I can't get pregnant with 2-3 follicles, why on earth did she think just one would do the trick?! It wasn't a rhetorical question - I really wanted to know WHY she felt so confident. She was very clearly put out and annoyed by our lack of understanding. It was like being yelled at in a very hushed tone, and neither the Professor nor I appreciated it. She also described me as "aging", and I've been having enough trouble with my impending 38th birthday as it is.

I did FINALLY get her to understand that we had been so upset yesterday because no one bothered to EXPLAIN the results, or even just to say it wasn't bad. All we knew was that it was "unexpected" and "surprising" and not something they have seen my body do in past cycles. Of course we were worried - especially with the less than enthusiastic ovarian response this time!

Henceforth, I will request to see anyone BUT her for every appointment, and I will also tell my usual RE about this experience the next time we see him. I think I'll call her Dr. Hate, though the Professor had a much more accurate descriptive than I am willing to use here. I bet you can figure it out.

UPDATED x2: Estrogen is still high (for me), LH is beginning to surge. Plan:

Ganirelix + Gonal F tonight
Ovidrel tomorrow
IUI Wednesday
Fingers crossed for the next 2 weeks


I just this moment realized that today was the due date for the BFP that didn't end up being a baby.

I don't know what to think about that.