Thursday, March 24, 2011

Better news

After a very sleepless night, I went running into the RE's office this morning with my positive surge on the ovulation predictor.  They were very nice to me, even when I had to told them that I had accidently - (well not really) taken the Gonal F a couple days early (hmm hmm, not all doctors think alike, but anyway).  When I got home after work this morning, I turned off all my phones and slept a solid 4 hours.  The animal in the wall must have either escaped or decided there were better places to be than listen to me snore.

When I awoke I found that the poor nurse had tried to reach me 4 times.  It seems that I am not about to ovulate after all.  At least for today.  She left Very Strict Instructions...  (Oh what it must be like to have to deal with disobedient patients - I can't be the only one, right?)   She told me to come back Monday for another ultrasound - so there must be some hope.   Yah.. The doctor did look very astonished when I pointed out my FSH of 20, and he said, "you got the positive because you are so old and your hormones are all over the place!" And there was me believing I looked young for 40!

So sorry about my horrible depressed post this morning.  Perhaps in future I should allow my self the therapy of writing the post, but keep it to myself.

You can give this one a miss. Don't read this if you want to have a good day.

One of the less wonderful things about meeting people who are pregnant, is that they often tell you their secret remedies as to why "it worked" for them.  This is something that its good to know - but I noticed myself losing my calm the other day when a young mother told me "Well its because - you know - I started eating really healthy" Thats fine, because I too eat healthily.  Then she told me -  "And I started going to a chiropractor".  Me too.  "Oh and before we decided to conceive - I went to an acupuncturist twice."  Well I have Two acupuncturists and will have had 3 appointments THIS WEEK.  They may have chilled me out  (a little) - but I'm still jealous as hell.

And for some odd reason I decided to pee on the OPK just before going to bed last night (CD day 6).  Why would I do that?  I am still bleeding.  I got that lovely smiley face.  Great!  Now I can't sleep.  What will I do with an egg on day 7?  Put it in storage?  Even if the egg is good - my lining won't be ready.  So now I have screwed up Another Cycle.

And there is an animal in my bedroom wall. Tap tap tap tap tap.  It has even stopped my dog from sleeping.  Any guesses - rat, mouse, bat, squirrel - something worse?

What will I tell them at the RE's office. OK I did start to take the injectables a couple days early.  But two other doctors told me to!  And I tried my best to switch away from this doctor.  Pray to god they don't look at my stomach.  Last night I jabbed myself about 5 times - long story.  Will have to say its acupuncture needles.  I am a crap lier.

I am losing my Faith.  Faith that there is a reason for this life, that good things happen. That people are supposed to enjoy life.  They don't, take a look in Japan.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Still after the Storm

The last few days have been packed with difficulties at work, an ever lasting headache, discoveries, and decisions.  Thankfully - and perhaps due to some acupuncture, I have now found a place of calm and confidence.

If I were to write about the torment I suffered yesterday as I tried to understand what an FSH of 20 means, weigh my options, natural cycle , medications, run to CCRM, invent my own protocol, I think I would drive you crazy.  All I will say is that I came up for perfectly good arguments for each.  But finally I have decided to give the pills a good go (and tweak the protocol a little!)

I was so worried that taking the Femara / letrozol would make my headache worse.  In actual fact it pepped me up - and 2 hours after popping it, the everlasting headache had completely disappeared!

Then I got a very funny email from a SMC who must have forgotten the details of fertility treatment.  She wrote "Congratulations on your FHS of 20 - I am So Happy for you Yah" which started me in a fit of giggles.  Life is so ridiculous, why should I worry about a test which tests something, that I really have no understanding of what it is, and is known to be extremely unreliable.  Even AMH is only 70% reliable. I ovulate, and have some supper fantastic sperm - I still have hope!

Then after lunch the lovely Scott from the sperm bank called and told me I don't have to worry that my donor is - in my terms "butt ugly". He talked me through the "look alike" pictures - and I feel very happy with my choice.  Apparently he has a bad hair cut (in the places where he still has hair) and a high forehead - but I am not going to worry too much about that, as I think I probably have a high forehead too - and its never bothered me!

Then I remembered the rather stunning SMC I met saturday who told me that with her FSH of 18 and non existent AMH she was informed there was no hope.  She got pregnant on her first try!

I was just sitting down to a cup of tea when the RE doctor from the Choice Mom's conference called me - and explained that FSH of 20 means I am going into ovarian failure - but she said, I still do have a very small chance.  I was so touched that she would call.  I am not her patient. I just cross questioned her about early ovulation - until she said "I think you are really quite unusual" - which may not have been meant as such - but I took to be a great compliment!  Her calling me just now reminded me that there really are some wonderful people / doctors in this world. She went on to explain to me that she recently told someone with FSH 28 to do donor eggs, but before their cycle had began she found she was pregnant naturally.

I am realizing that writing a blog is extremely therapeutic.  It helps me process my thoughts, and see where I was yesterday.  And now that there are TWELVE followers - it makes me feel like..... hmm,...... Just so you know... Each one of you is Very Close to my Heart!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Good News Bad News

I too had a fabulous day at the Choice Mom's Conference.  But now I am all UPSET and in a big  Tizwoz!

Today I went to get my day 3 tests done and start a cycle of injectables.  I was really excited to find that for the first time ever, instead of having 5-6 follicles like I did at my first ultrasound,  or 7-8 like at the last.  (The first natural cycles I did were not monitored). This time I had a grand total of 13 - a baker's dozen!  It must be either the Co Q 10 I have been taking or the 6 days yoga vacation in the sun.

I did become rather concerned when after lunch, the nurse had not called me with my blood results and given me the OK to start taking the letrozol.  I was just beginning to worry (that I had been forgotten about - or deliberately overlooked as a result of my trying to leave their clinic) when she finally called, and said to go right ahead.  When I asked about the blood tests - she did not answer - but tried to distract me with details of the medication.  On asking a second time, she told me my FSH is 20.3.  Last month it was 14.3 and a few months before  that 8.1  My initial search on the internet tells me that some centers will not do IVF with patients over 20 - its a "no go area".  I remember Dr Surrey said he didn't want mine getting much higher than 14.

Of course no-one has thought to run an AMH level - which I had realized I should request (thanks to the Choice Moms yesterday) - and got drawn this morning (gives best predictor of number of eggs still up for production). It takes 10 days to get the answer.  The Weekend Doctor seemed very surprised it had not already been done.

Most worrying, was the fact that the nurse said I was to come back for monitoring on day 11 (which is really day 12 because they wouldn't count that my period arrived in the afternoon of the day before day one).  I ovulate on day 11, and last time I took femara I ovulated day 10.  I asked the nurse if I could come in earlier and she said "you don't need to because we are monitoring you".  I said "oh good, when will you do that?" to which she answered "when you come in on day 11".   Then I think I may have said something about using an OPK and letting her know if it turned sooner and she said "oh no - I wouldn't really recommend doing that - because your being monitored!"  I think I must be going crazy!

Does anyone know - does having high FSH mean that the drugs don't work? - Thats what I thought I understood from my reading.  Will 5 mg of letrozol and 75  X  3 units of Gonadotropins do anything for me?

Given that I am so unhappy with my the communication with my doctor.  I think the anxiety alone might finish me off - I have to decide - do I bag this cycle and run to colorado / and miss loads of work short notice. Do I try a natural cycle - where I will get a properly timed insemination - (and then run) - and not subject myself to drugs which probably won't do anything (except that the femara / letrozol will give me more headaches).  Do I take the drugs and pray - write letter to the doctor pleading to bring me in earlier say day 9.  (I have a friend who recently missed a whole cycle because she ovulated day 8 and they completely missed it!)

Now I have to find something to do which will help me Lose my Tizwoz.  Perhaps I could hide it somewhere - for someone else to find? -  I wish I could - Not very nice of me.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Witch in the Andrology lab update

I want to thank everyone for their support and suggestions.  It really means a lot to me to know that guys were there for me!  I would like the record to state that I really did have a little bit too much on my plate today - as well as having a difficult a day at work.  

I wrote a conciliatory email stating the facts clearly to the Witch to see if we could work something / anything out.  I called the nurses line but couldn't get through to a person so had to leave a message.  The nurse took a while to get back to me - it turns out she had been busy speaking to the Witch.  When I asked if I could forward a copy the email to the doctor or leave a message with him (the nurse was actually extremely nice), she said that she would be more than able to convey the message herself ( I did not feel up to being insistent as I could feel there was no hope).  Clearly the Witches Wish is Law at that clinic.  No cycles as No vial would be able to be in place by day three - which is Sunday!

The good news is that my period has started full flow!  No more waiting - and I am going to pop all the pills and potions I can get my hands on!

The Bad news was that I nearly found myself without Any doctor at all!  When I first spoke to the Witch I asked her how long transferring the vials might take.  I did not get a clear answer - other than "forms procedures, ethics etc".  What she did say was that she would SEND me some forms.  I figured I would fill them in - see if I could get everything in place, and if all looked good, go ahead with switching doctors. What She did, in fact was to call my doctors office and inform them that I was leaving their practice - and I have the proof of this (and the lab girl told me)- as she obtained vial freezing dates (and other useless info on that is not anywhere in my notes).  Perhaps she wanted to check the International Stolen Sperm Vial Registry!  Then two days later she refused to accept me or my vials to her clinic.

So this left me in the difficult position of calling the old doctors (like I normally do) to make a day 3 appointment.  Only no one called me back.  This is when I knew something was wrong.   I was getting really worried,   that they were offended because they could see in the computer that I wanted to leave, (it was a friday today - and I have to get the day 3 test done).  Then I got an idea.  I called the head of andrology (at my original clinic), because she nearly always answers the phone, AND she writes really detailed notes which go into the computer!

When I had surreptitiously got a copy of my notes (before getting my second opinion(s)  I had been shocked to see that she had actually quoted (well not correctly) my exact words in her records.  She was out of the lab, but I spoke to her colleague who informed me that Yes the nurses had already called her to ask what was going on with my vials! and they were not at all sure what to do with me. Apparently they were busy trying to contact my (uncommunicative doctor)  who was just getting back from vacation? to explain that I had tried to leave, but now didn't want to (or wasn't accepted by other lab).  So I explained to the lab assistant - how I hadn't been sure if I wanted to transfer  at all - I had never actually made the decision to go ahead - the Witch had instigated the transfer, not me - I had only wanted a second opinion - and how much I love Doctor Uncommunicative - and how she had been so good to me with giving free samples etc.

Two hours later I got a call from Dr Uncommunicative's nurse.  And guess what - I do love her more than ever now- she will still have me as a patient!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Witch in the Andrology lab!

Having found communications a little difficult at my RE's office,  I recently went for a consult with a new doctor (this was before the telephone consult I wrote of in my last post with CCRM). This new doctor is in my home town and came extremely well recommended by a friend.  I really liked the new doctor and the nurses at the new office.  After some hesitations - (I hate doing anything new - even using a new bathroom etc!) I finally decided to make the switch to the new office.

I had wanted to do another natural cycle at the old office - but after failing to ovulate - and losing my patience, I decided to take the plunge and pump the pills under the nurturing and "easy to talk to" care offered by the new office.

I called them to enquire how I would go about transferring to them my vials (of donor sperm).  It turns out, that the head of the andrology lab - is literally Quite Impossible.  Unfortunately when we first tried to connect, she was on vacation, then I was.  After leaving a couple messages, she took two days to get back to me, then a further day and half to email me the forms (I had offered to pick them up)  but she had said "I have other patients to attend to first".  Then she said "I can start the process but I can't promise that we will get them in time for your insemination".

At this point I asked her how long she thought it would take, offering if necessary I could overnight a new vial from the other side of the country, (so they don't have to walk across the road to my old RE's office to collect the vials I already have in storage).  She told me that his would be just as complicated, and she would not accept Just Any sperm mailed to her!  I explained that I could not start taking medication if I didn't know if the vials would be there on time.  She wouldn't even give me an idea of how long this would take other than "We have forms to sign, procedures to go through and standards to achieve, and we are very proud of these at our clinic".

Then the icing on the cake came, when I showed up with my forms signed and notarized the next morning.  (I had to run over to my friendly lawyer at the crack of dawn and explain to him and his entire office staff why own donor sperm vials).  In actual fact it turned out any of the lab staff could have signed / notarized my forms  (but Madam Witch wanted to make it difficult for me).  When she looked at my paperwork she said "you are only supposed to have 3 vials, not five".  It turns out she had already called my old RE's office, and informed them that I was leaving their office, and obtained the individual reference numbers on each vial, without my consent!

I explained to her that my friend had "gifted" me two further vials.  (We have all the paperwork notarized  for that too).  In actual fact the storage fees are so prohibitive that my friend was not sure she could afford to keep the vials frozen (she has just delivered the cutest baby).  Since each vial is so extremely small, and I have a right to store as many as I want - for a set fee,  I offered to store my friends vials for her, while she decides what to do with them.   Madam Witch however had probably guessed what was going on.  She informed me "I can't deal with this. I can't have those vials here, they are not yours.  It is not Legal for her to gift them to you.  I will have to have our legal department look into it before we do anything further with this".

So now, my old office knows I wanted to leave them, the new office won't take my sperm (in any time for an insemination).  And a very well meaning nurse at the new office told me that if I didn't ovulate last month- I probably won't ever get a period!  Apparently I have to take medication for 10 days - and two weeks after that it will give me a period! Lets wait Another month!  And slightly upsettingly,  I just learn that another friend, tells me she just LOVEs (the Witch in the Andrology lab) saying "she has been just like a mother to me"- but perhaps her mother isn't that nice to her?

Perhaps its all a big sign that I need to learn to have patience and pray for a new day - perhaps even a new week or a new month!  It seems like I will be staying with the old doctors office after all, unless I want to battle with the Witch!  It seems accepting a gift has cost me!  I guess I will just have to say something diplomatic at the old doctors office, like "I found out I had better insurance coverage than I realised".

Monday, March 14, 2011

CCRM IVF consult

This is the telephone appointment that I have been putting off for months.  I don't imagine anyone likes to face up to the reality of  having to flush $25 thousand for a baby, when most people get one for free with few good orgasms.

It takes 7 weeks to get a new patient appointment at CCRM, and whenever I had an appointment  - it always ended up being rescheduled (Last time it was my fault.  I delayed because I hoodwinked myself into believing that the reason I was not getting pregnant was psychological - I decided I should rearrange my house to make space for the baby - thinking that then my body would be able to create the space for me to get pregnant naturally!) - Turns out I was partly onto something.  My uterus filled up with junk - a polyp, which has now been removed.
It was a delight to talk to Dr S.  He was so good at answering my questions clearly, and speaking to me so I could understand his thinking.  He told me that although I have not had much opportunity to get pregnant (being So good at getting my past boyfriends to use condoms - why did I ever listen to my mother!).  Considering my situation - age 40, with FSH over 14, and about 5-6 follicles I should begin right away! "What if I were to wait  6 months and you have an FSH of 18" - that would not be good.

If anyone is unsure about whether to have an IVF consult - DO IT.  I wish I had done this sooner.  And It does seem that CCRM are going to do a number of tests that would not normally be done at my RE office.

I was also surprised and quite reassured that the Doc was not overly positive - and seemed quite conservative in his estimation.  This made me trust him.  He said "We just need to talk about getting you one child - I don't know that you would be likely to have any embryos left over to freeze".

When I asked about DHEA, he suggested that I take it - but said I would stop taking it when they start stimulating the ovaries.

However I have decided I will try just one IUI cycle in my home town (with my new polyp free uterus), with either natural insemination or with injectables.  I have to make up my mind soon.  Oh dear oh dear.  I am a little worried that if I do injectables I will get another cyst - and that this will delay me further.  Most importantly,  I am desperate for a fix.  I want to know I have at least the chance to get pregnant SOON.  Sitting out the last 2 cycles (surgery & funky hormones) has been really really hard.

Last thing.  As I am single (and am using donor sperm) I have to have Another psych consult!  I already see a counselor weekly (well perhaps that is a sign I'm crazy) and have also done an independent consult (mainly to reassure my mother). ((And for the record she actually ENCOURAGED me to go right ahead and not waste any time!)) Do they make couples do this too? Or is it because they suspect there is something wrong with a single woman, if no man would wish to marry her?  Surely one has to be more sane to admit that one has not met a husband worth marrying, than many people are when they marry because they are too scared to undo the engagement - or just desperate to get a husband.  And lets not forget that probably 50% of the world was conceived by accident!

I suppose though the Doc is only doing what he thinks is best - or to cover their butts!.  After all I could be OctoMomCrazy - and it might not show up properly on the telephone!  It could of course also have something to do with the fact that I did mention the possibility of selling a baby on the internet if I didn't take to motherhood - But he was the one who said FIRST that said I might be happy with just One baby  - or might find I wasn't so keen on being a mother (not his words exactly, but something to that effect).  Does anyone know - does he have one kid too many?

Friday, March 4, 2011

doubting donor and TTC

I am trying to get in some much needed vacation at my local yoga retreat, and am praying that this will help me shed some newly acquired pounds, thanks to the cyst on my right ovary. 

Immediately that I arrived here, I was befriended by a charming 5 year old boy, who has been reluctant to leave my side ever since.  This of course is flattering but sometimes a tad inconvenient / annoying.   I keep wondering how I would manage if he were mine!   Hope I would have different feelings!

Although I am currently rather out of shape and definitely in need of a shower as I forgot my deodorant at home etc, something is definitely up with the stars. Yoga Centers tend to be places overflowing with women wearing birkenstocks, and hold just a handful of men, most of whom are a little odd, and this yoga center is no different. Something out of the ordinary is going on in my life, because I seem to be acting as some sort of a Bachelor Magnet - in spite of having a demanding 5 year old boy tugging at my hand.

Extraordinarily - when I explain to the Eligible Bachelor - that I am here to get some rest in before my next cycle of donor insemination - He takes it in his stride - like it's as common as ordering a tall double frappuccino at starbucks!  I would have thought this sort of info would "put him off" but no - quite the contrary!   Why is it that men seem to get more interested in dating me when they hear about my desire to get pregnant.  Has anyone else had this experience?  Will they Run Away if I ever do get pregnant?  I just don't understand the psyche of a man.  Do men think wanting a baby will make me desperate?  - or do they think that as I don't need the sperm, I'll be happy to just "have a good time" as I'm (clearly) "not getting any"   

On sharing this rediculous situation with my new room mate / yoga teacher, who has lived happily with her husband for the past 30 years, she began telling me how being a mother has simply been the very best part of her life.  "When the children were little, it was just so wonderful" she recounted.  When I casually asked how her children have turned out as adults, she said "oh, they are a complete disaster, my son is an addict - we got him off heroin a couple years ago, he put us through so much - he stole our life savings - and my daughter...."

My heart sank.  I started to freak out. (Trying to keep my composure - and not look completely horrified) I sat there thinking - What if my children turn out as a complete disaster?  What if they steal my life savings - Could I still love them (No I don't think so).  Are Disaster children born as a result of genetics, bad luck, or bad parenting - or all three? (Worryingly I just found out that I carry a genetic predisposition to becoming an addict.)

I really thought that I had given the single mother thing All Possible Due Consideration, but last night I started to doubt myself.  I kept thinking "It's not too late - I can change my mind - or donor - perhaps I should I get a cuter and more boring donor (less likely to do drugs).  How much money would I lose if I bailed out completely?

When I finally did manage to fall asleep, I awoke just a few hours later to a nightmare, that my donor  had completely lied All Over his profile, and that he had a criminal record. Sadly it is a true fact, that the Sperm bank I chose doesn't even check for a criminal record.  They say that the student population from top schools are unlikely to have criminal records so they don't consider it worth checking.  They don't even have the donors interviewed by a psychologist!

I told the whole situation to a friend this morning, who reminded me that nothing in this world is for certain and that its the process (of life) that is to be enjoyed, more so than the end result. And I might, after all have a child who turns out to be a simply lovely drug addict!  I keep thinking about what the minister says at church. "Risk something Big for something Great".  Not sure though if he is talking about single mothers getting sperm donors!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Choosing a Donor

I guess most single women decide to become a choice mom, and then set about choosing a donor.  But for some reason, I found it easier to select the donor, before I had really decided to go ahead with my "little project".  It was actually quite good fun, joking around with my friends, sussing out their reactions to my choosing someone totally unsuitable and unlike myself!  Furthermore it gave a chance for those people, to give me their unbiased opinions, on my becoming a "choice" mom.

I have to say at this point - I do So Hate the term "choice mom".  I would never have chosen this - if there had been Any suitable man who would have made a half decent husband.  In actual fact my very last boyfriend was wonderful - sadly six months INTO our relationship he told me that he did not want to be a father or get married any time in the next 5 years!

So I chose a donor, who I would have been happy to meet, had he posted a profile on, and took him (OK his profile) to my therapist.  On examining his papers she exclaimed "How did you find a guy like this?"   Then she said "next" and I explained that there were no other contenders.  There was one other, but at age 37 he worked as a part time model and waiter, and I was worried that he seemed a little lost in life - and I wasn't sure if "being lost" would be inheritable!  Another guy was perfect but had all the same health problems that I and my family do, yet another had only two vials left, and a further one was lovely but from a country with whom US has recently been at war- and most of his family were still living there. (In Europe we always say you should only get a nanny that comes from a compatible country - so I figured that a donor would be the same).

My donor was the Only donor I would consider - and in fact I do believe a part of me had sort of fallen for him.  I won't tell you how many nights I fell asleep encouraging myself to meet him in a dream, that I would get on a plain to some exotic location, and find myself sitting next to a handsome man with blue eyes, fall madly in love - and then discover that this was My donor! - (not shared with anyone else of course).  OK so now you all know how crazy I am.  Well to be precise, the two very special people - that are currently following this blog will know how crazy I am.  Thank you for following.  Fairly shortly afterward this, I made the decision to go ahead with finding an RE and getting myself checked out and inseminated.  (I recently learned that cows get pregnant 99% of the time they are inseminated - so my new thing is to make a special effort to "feel" like a cow and "moo" around the house!

Having known myself for 40 years now, I realize that actually I suffer occasionally from bouts of paranoia.  Remembering the story of some choice moms who had a get together some years back - and found that all their delightful children shared some remarkable similarities (including their all having red hair), ((I think we all know the story here - The owner of the bank had supplied his own sperm instead of  that of the donors he was advertising!)) I should say that before choosing my donor - I spent Days researching different sperm banks.  I even called my top three contenders with annoying questions to see which would deal with me the best.   I wanted the bank I would trust the most - so I would be able to sleep at night - and the one that would give the most possible information. The one I found (which I think is the largest in the US) showed the donors' hand writing.  (Not that I consider myself any handwriting expert).  But I did want to be sure that the donor would have better handwriting and spelling than mine!

I also wanted to choose someone that I felt I had quite a good feel for.  So many of the donors only gave the most minimal of answers as though they didn't want to give away any of them self in the process.  I  worried that someone like this might lie by omission, when it came to filling out the health form.  Forget to mention say, that they had a sibling who died as a youngster etc.

As I have green eyes, I could potentially have a child with any color eyes - since my mother has blue, and my father brown, so could choose a guy with any color eyes.  I also thought it would be best if my donor would share some similar heritage so the child would stand more chances of looking something like me.  My mother said "you'd better have a child that looks enough like you, that should you lose it in the supermarket - when you come to collect it at lost and found - they will believe that your are the mother".  That seemed like good advice.

Then I went ahead and bought All the sperm my donor had available - as he had stopped donating - and would soon no longer be available.  For months I would walk around with credit cards that were completely "maxed out" on sperm!  I kept telling myself that it was Not Money wasted (surely a divorce would cost a good deal more) - and as I could still get 50% back on those vials not shipped.  I was just "investing in my future".  An investment is a risk - and one never knows if or how it will pay off!

In retrospect there is one BIG thing I would have done differently.  Since beginning to tell more friends about my little "project", the number one question they ask (if they are not too shocked) is "Where do you store the sperm" - to which the obvious answer is "Next to the chocolate ice cream".  But then they always ask the question that really upsets me.  "Did you get a really cute donor ?"  As it happens I didn't - because the one I liked, wasn't.  Then they say "Well is he At Least, Really Tall" to which I cannot lie.  I have to say NO "just nice, healthy and smart".  Now I have to admit I do worry about this a bit and frequently find myself walk around praying "Dear God, can I please please get very pregnant extremely soon, And please can the child Please not be too ugly".  I guess there will always be something to worry about.

But if I ever have to use an egg donor - she will be as Beautiful, Sporty and Thin as ever- even if she seems like a complete airhead - and I'm not telling a soul except for you!