Posts Tagged ‘IVF’

Fiddle Dee Dee, I’ll Think about that Tomorow


 

Katie Scarlett O’Hara was a bratty little snit.

It’s not her fault. She was written that way.

A few nights ago my husband was working an event late and was not expected to come home, sleepy-eyed, until past 1 am. As I began to feel a mega-early bedtime beckoning me, I saw that “Gone with the Wind” was coming on. Having seen it numerous times, but never in chronological order,I decided to partake. So I set the DVR to record it as it began, because I knew I would make it just shy of the amputation scene before I pooped out. I hate that scene. It really freaked me out as a child, and I was all too glad to have a stopping place for the night.

The next day, as I came in and dropped all my bags on the dining room table, I decided to pick up where I left off. I got to revel in Butterfly McQueen exclaiming that she “don’t know nothing about birthing babies!” Always loved that scene. It’s just so fun to watch Vivien Leigh playing Scarlett, and even better when she gets mad! On this day, however, my Rhett Butler (sans the dashing hat) came home, so I put the old South to bed. (Wish some of these old politicals would do the same thing. But that’s a whole other post.)

So, day three. Sherman has burned Atlanta, Scarlett still looks 16, and the dress made from green velvet curtains has seen the light of the day. Today I pick up at the scene where the men-folk come home, feigning drunkenness to fool the lawman. They had to make sure no one found out that they went to rough up some 1800’s gangster who had been looking to take Miss Scarlett’s “parasol” without permission. (“Parasol” means vajayjay in 19th century speak, by the way. Watch it again, I’m not being nasty, it’s true. It was 1939, after all. Today it would of have been a horrible scene, I’m sure. I prefer the 1939 scene. After all, I actually just used the word “vajayjay” in my blog.)

Soon after, Mellie and Bonnie had gone and died, and Rhett told Miss Fancy Pants that he didn’t give a damn what she did, or with whom. Rhett is really famous for that last zinger he threw to her, but I actually got much more amusement from Scarlett stating that, whatsoever may be unpleasant, “that she would just think about it tomorrow”, or “another day.” My personal favorite is the vague yet decidedly firm, “I’ll think about it some other time.”  Mind you, this is a woman whose problems consist of her city being burned down, her family plantation being demolished, her mother gone, her father acting really, super crazy, the man she loves married to the nicest gal in town, she has none

"The Yankees are after me lucky charms!"

but a carrot to eat, and she is forced to wear curtains to beg for money from a man in jail. Oh, sure, she is bratty and bitchy and all that jazz – but she inspired me tonight! Because after I was done watching the epic unfold, my own (albeit much less serious) was beginning. My unbalanced washing machine was tripping the light fantastic across the laundry room floor. My reproductive clinic sent me a bill for $450 of which I owe nothing, and I found out I have to stop one of my very regular medications in preparing for the embryo transfer. I had to wash towels, walk the dog, think about bills…..I was kind of bitchy myself, and almost started to whine a bit about it all……and then, in the midst of getting my petticoat in a bunch, KSO’s pretty little face appeared before me:

“Just deal with it tomorrow!”

Wow! Procrastination is so much better when you use don’t call it procrastination, ladies! Yes, by sweetly telling yourself you will deal with it tomorrow, you also can feel like you just removed the weight of the world from your shoulders! Like getting an extra half hour of sleep! An excuse to not vacuum! I mean, it won’t give you a 17 and a half inch waist or a sassy name like “Scarlett,” but you can just give yourself one more extra day to get back into your own little melodrama.

So, here’s to Scarlett! Thanks for making me just a little less of a responsible grown woman today.  

"No problem, Sugar!"

 

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Beeker on the Brain


   

It’s almost 1:00 on a Saturday. The day to get stuff done, buy stuff, clean stuff, and complete stuff. So far all I have done is show the unannounced roofer where the leaks were in my ceiling. In my pajamas. Lucky him.  

"My first job today, the girl answered the door in her pajamas! Doh!"

I have seriously wasted half of my day looking for a physical copy of a book on writing training materials. I want it NOW. I have a project that I am working on for work, and although I have a plan and have started research, I thought it would be nice to have a guide. With the exception of ordering online, I cannot find a book ANYWHERE on writing training manuals, writing course materials, etc? The books in the stores get as specific as how to negotiate buying a car at 2:34 in the afternoon on a Tuesday, but they snub the person trying to develop something as common as a textbook or course material. It makes about as much sense as Homer and his pal drinking beer while on a roof. ( I did that once, on my 21st birthday. It ended in injury.)  

I also turned my Lupron alarm off this morning and went back to bed, which means I missed my shot and ended up taking it a few hours late. Is this OK? I was in such a hurry then that I injected it cold, sans the time it usually takes to warm up to room temp out of the fridge. I waited for the possible seizure or anaphylactic shock, but thankfully nothing happened! I’m a mess today. I feel like between starting a new job (which I love) and trying to prepare my uterus for a new tenant, that I end up wasting any time in which I am not required to be working or in stirrups. Here are some ways in which I wasted my spare (not that there was an excess of it) time this week:  

  • I killed a few brain cells by actually watching Jerseylicious. If this is not the most monumental waste of a production crew then I am loath to see what comes out next.    

    Tacky is as Tacky Does

  •  I made homemade ice cream even though I did not have any heavy whipping cream. Beeker from The Muppets would have even been appalled.
  •  I spent an hour looking for a type of book at Barnes and Noble that I knew they did not have.
  •  I read the nasty comments that people wrote online about my past employer on www.jobvent.com. (No, I did not contribute, but it sure was fun!)
  •  I sat in my car outside my house to finish listening to an NPR interview
  •  I spent over an hour trying on clothes for my first day of work and ended up wearing the first thing I picked out

And then there is this post. See, I have been thinking about an interesting phenomenon that I discussed with my friends at their cafe the other day. WHY do we get so much done on the days when we have work, school, errands, etc, but then we do not get anything of merit accomplished when we actually have a day to ourselves? I had some really lofty plans set aside for today and instead I found myself searching Google Images  for a picture of Beeker. (I found a plethora, BTW)   

I am actually kind of miffed at myself because I cannot afford to do this. I can’t afford to miss my shot in the morning. I mean, this is important. Anyone who has gone through IVF knows that you have to stay organized and on top of your game. You can’t watch bitches in hooker shoes battling over whose jungle party was junglier, and you can’t have Beeker on the brain. Does this mean I am just getting used to being on a fertility regiment since it has been so long? I used to have my protocol taped to the fridge and emblazoned on my brain. And it has to be that way, because it is a time consumptive and precise process. What will I be like on the weekends once my baby is actually here? I have waited for him / her so long that I may end up just holding them and starting at them all day in pure bliss that they are finally here.  So, having expressed this sentiment, I now have to go organize my IVF binder, do some research for my course so it kicks ass, and stop wasting your time with a pointless blog post.  

Have a SAFE and PRODUCTIVE Labor Day weekend!  

Peace and Love,  

S  

  

The Wide World of Frozen Embryo Transfers


Oooo, I know! I know the benefits of transferring a 5 day blastocyst!

A few months ago, some of you may have read my post, “IVF 101.” As my husband and I are getting ready to embark on a FET (or Frozen Embryo Transfer), the questions have again started to surface. 

So, what is a FET? Many people wonder if it is related to In Vitro Fertilization, how the embryos are frozen, and why anyone would do something so weird in the first place. So here is your answer – the fertilized eggs are kept in your freezer. I keep mine in an old popsicle box. When you are ready to use them, you thaw them for 24 hours and……yes, I am totally kidding. 

Frozen Embryo Transfer can be the result of a couple things. First, and in my case, you have gone through an IVF cycle but were unable to transfer the fertilized egg or blastocyst. This is usually due to ovarian overstimulation. If you cannot transfer right away, you need to freeze the eggs so you can use them at a later time when you have a better chance of success. You may also have to do a FET if your last transfer was unsuccessful, or you are using a donor egg. There are other reasons, but you get the picture. 

The Freezing 

When it comes time to freeze, you will have either fertilized eggs (embryos) or blastocysts. A blastocyst is a five-day or older embryo that has started to experience cell division. Should they need to be frozen, they are paired up in twos – like at the Ark – and placed in a little cryopreservation tube. This process will cost you a good amount of cash, so go ahead and ask to see the pictures of your embryos before freezing if possible. Also make sure you know how many you have and what each one is graded (meaning quality). It’s nothing weird like naming them or anything, it is just being an informed patient. You worked really hard to get these embryos, so make sure you are comfortable with what is happening. 

When it is time to freeze, the tubes are placed in cyclinders of liquid nitrogen, which keeps them in a static state. They remain alive, but the cells will not continue to divide until they are thawed. It does take some time to get used to the concept, because theorectically you could freeze some eggs tomorrow and thaw them out in ten years time to implant. 

This is NOT how you will freeze your embryos.

 Your mind will start to think about all sorts of philosophical, scientific, religious, spiritual, hypothetical circumstances and scenarios at this time. It’s normal. After all, you are most likely still pumped with drugs. So to clarify, these are embryos. Yes, they are amazing and beautiful, but they are not little humanoid creatures. Just saying. Some people are not sure. WE ARE NOT FREEZING BABIES HERE, PEOPLE. This is not that out there. 

OK. Moving on. 

The Transfer 

Once you are ready to attempt conception, you will begin preparing your body for implantation. For some people that mate normally this consists of a nice dinner at Ruth’s Chris and one too many cocktails. In your case, its time to dust off your trusty dusty needle kit. Yep – you are back to about 4 weeks of shots and pills and shots and pills and blood work and ultrasounds and shots. Oh yeah, and pills. Basically what you are doing is allowing your uterine lining to grow thick and healthy. Without this, and without sufficient progesterone, your embryo will be unable to implant and sustain itself after transfer. And that would just be sad. So you go through a much easier yet still needley version of what you did when you grew all the eggs in the first place. 

Once your uterine lining looks good and your blood work looks good, you are a go! By the way, the normal “compliments” that you used to revel in are not so coveted now. Instead of “cute shoes” (you will be living in flip flops and slippers) or “have you lost weight” (you are going to get some chunk, so just go with it), you now light up when you hear “Your lining looks great!”  

I love you, healthy uterine lining!

At this stage the embryologist will review the egg’s quality with you and choose which tube to thaw. I am actually not sure how they do this, I imagine they just set it out on the counter and head to Starbuck’s, but I have not asked. The morning that you come in for your transfer you will decide how many babies-t0-possibly-be you will transfer. Single Embryo Transfer is becoming quite popular, and if we have a very healthy one we may go this route. Regardless of how many you have decided to use, you will come in that day on valium. This is not so that you agree to go ahead and put 6 back because, hell, they’ll be adorable. This is so that when the embryo is being introduced into the womb you will not cramp. If you cramp, you may actually hurt the chances that the embryo can implant and begin to grow. Think about it – when you are settling down to go to sleep at night, exhausted, and then your spouse hugs you REAL TIGHT you cannot get comfy, right? He may even push you out of the bed. With valium, your body just responds better to a skinny straw being threaded into your itty bitty cervix. 

The Wait 

By this point, you have gone through a lot. In my case, it  took about 6 months to grow the eggs, get them out and fertilized, get them frozen, and prepare my body for our upcoming transfer. Once the embryo / embryos are in, you just have to chill out and take it easy for a couple weeks. I think that AVOIDING the home pregnancy tests would be wise in this case. Often times they take intially, but just as in nature, don’t last more than a few days. So it is better to just bite the bullet and wait for the blod test at the doctor’s office. You can avoid possible heartbreak this way. Either way, having it not work is hard regardless. Nothing about this process is emotionally easy. 

I hope that clarifies what FET is. There is no scary little man in a florescent, sterile lab. Oh wait, yes there is. Sorry. But he’s there to help your embryos grow, so if people ask you about this weird Frozen Embryo process, let them know the deal. 

Peace and Love, 

Sarah

Selective memory is my red bull!


Well hello there, Stranger! I feel as if I am coming out of a deep and contemplative hibernation, and am now seeking to rejoin the ranks of society.  

Is my hair OK?

I hope people still read this – if you are reading this I love you! I think I got tired of waiting for new developments and realized that, if the inspiration does not strike, don’t post anything. And since no one pays me to do this, I can do what I want. Fabulous.  

Today I actually did have a rendezvous scheduled at my fertility clinic. We are finally (insert song of the angels here) ready to transfer one or two of our magnificent little frozen people-to-be into the womb! I have these little imaginings that inside me there is perfect and pristine mini-human apartment decked out with a comfy sofa, a year’s worth of formula, and a bad ass rocking swing, but no inhabitants. Kind of like when that guy woke up from a coma in 28 days later, but much less creepy and without the flesh-eating zombies. So I was really jazzed to go to my appointment today because I thought it would go something like this:  

Nurse Lady: Hello, it has been so long……Sarah, you look incredible!  

Me: Oh, aren’t you sweet!  

Nurse Lady: Everything looks great for transfer, let’s do it first thing tomorrow! And by the way, don’t worry about those sly little charges that come up. It’s just a joy to have you in the office. Now let’s get you pregnant!   

Of course, it was pretty much the opposite. A long protocal of lots of pills, more shots, confusion over which needles and syringes I need, and an ETA of LATE SEPTEMBER OR EARLY OCTOBER for transfer. Am I on that Bloopers show?  How did I forget all these steps?  

So, this gets me thinking….do we subconsciously elect to have selective memory? And if we do, do women do it more than men? Here is why I ask: My friends that have been pregnant tell me about “baby brain” during pregnancy – they sometimes lose the capacity to talk, walk without falling, tie their shoe, or count change.  One of my friends was so entertaining to her husband that he contemplated keeping her pregnant into possible perpetuity. (No, he’s not a sexist asshole, he was just kidding. Calm down.) These friends of mine have mentioned to me that this happens so that women do not remember the whole of the pregnancy experience – swollen feet, things you need Preparation H for, cravings for food that Andrew Zimmern would not eat, and so on and so forth. (Pretty smart thinking, God.) So what if this instinctual and automatic little memory glitch is something we learn to hone, like early man with his evolving stone tools? They just kept getting bigger and crazier and now they’re machine guns. Do we do this so that we can keep on enjoying the awesomeness of being a woman without focusing on the undesirable parts? But wait, men do it, too! Maybe somewhere along the line we all possess the ability to harness this temporary lack of recollection. Like Memento, but selective. You keep going to work every day, because the reward of a paycheck pushes away the fact that your desk chair has been broken since January. So I am going to proactively use selective memory to keep me going. Which is great because you shouldn’t drink Red Bull when your trying to procreate. 

And so I am done being crabby (well, for today anyhow) and am once again getting excited.  I hope all of your journeys are progressing well….keep me posted!  

Peace & Love, 

S

Zebra on 75 North


Wow. I really have neglected my little ongoing ramblings for a while. I started attending my own lecture in my mind tonight about how the longer I go without posting, the fewer people stop by. Even worse, the hits I have gotten in the past week have been from sites like “sex911,” “credit-score -something-or-other,” or really random ones like sites for mechanics, getting your taxes done, and the occasional X Rated site with a very uncreative moniker. All these automatic web hits to try and get me to go to their sites….um, HERE IS A TIP, Mr. “SEX911” –  You Are Hitting On A Boring Fertility Blog.  I am not intrigued by your futile attempts to draw me over to your racy, porno site. You know why? Because people that are trying to get pregnant are actively having sex. We’re not exactly lonely, and we are too busy shooting ourselves in the ass with incredibly large needles to have time to surf naughty web sites.  Sex is not new for us. You missed the mark. Maybe go try to hit on the mechanics site. Know your audience.

After my self-berating, internal monologue died down, I realized it is kind of a good thing that I have not posted lately, kind of a great thing, actually. It means I have been focusing on other things besides pregnancy tests, giving blood, and spending 3 days in a week in stirrups. I have been too pre-occupied with keeping my mind on one track, so I decided to get away for a bit. I took a solo road trip at night from Orlando to Atlanta last weekend and ended up having a series of spiritual experiences. It is a whole blog post of its own, and after I enjoy the alone-ness I am still savoring with it, I will probably write it out all here, for those of you that are interested. The only thing I am going to say is that things happened on that trip that were so noticeable and grand, and their timing so surreal, that I really felt the tight coil inside me fall open in a sort of relief and peace. As a side note, I saw a zebra in a pasture on a random stretch of land on 75N. An actual zebra. Grazing with two horses. Like he did not even know he was a zebra. In Florida. It makes me smile.

We have also just been enjoying the few weeks in-between being re-introduced to our frozen blastocysts. I mean, the waiting still sucks, but we have had some good times. My husband also jumped out of an airplane at 14,000, and I think it was as much as a thrill for me (when he returned to Earth, of course) as it was for him. It reminded me that I don’t want to be so scared of living as I get older. Fear can really hold us back, and the ego will run away with it if you let it. Does that mean that I am going to strap myself to a stranger and throw myself out of a plane any time soon? Hell no. But it reminds me to re-coup some of my spontaneity and joy I had when I was younger. I did many things and went many places when I could have just stood still, so it served as a nice, swift kick in the rear for me. By the way, here is the video. Nice 1:45 intro as to give props to Skydive Deland in Florida, to get things started off. If someone you love is planning on jumping, this is the place to take them. They were awesome.

* Video to come, experiencing slight technical difficulties. 🙂

Keep Truckin’


Last summer I was really grateful to have been invited into a 48 hour film festival group by some friends. Hearing about the project, I was ecstatic because it was right up my alley – but I felt intimidated that I would be joining a group of people that I did not know and sharing my ideas openly. They didn’t know me – would they wonder where I came from and why I was invading their project?

It was not that way at all – these people were fantastic. I got to work on a film project with some trained professionals who opened their doors to me and allowed me to participate. And there were others like me, who just wanted to contribute. It was a memorable experience because it was open. What I mean is that it was welcoming and free. My friend introduced me as someone who acts and writes to a group of people who, for most part, actually went to film school, but they did not judge me. They gave me a place on their team immediately, and gave me a part in their film. I really got to see how it’s “all done” – the lighting, the filming, the editing and camaraderie. It was a blast – to watch people work so hard together just because they have a passion for what they are doing. For what they were collectively creating, and for all the effort and joy that was put in behind the scenes.

That was almost a year ago. I remember that I was trying to work out schedules at the time so someone would be home for my first fertility drug delivery. I was so thrilled to be moving to the “big gun” fertility treatment and was calculating when I would be due, how fun it would be to be pregnant over Christmas, how long before I needed to start shopping at maternity stores, etc. How time flies; now we have lived another year and undergone 3 IUIs and a partial IVF cycle. Not pregnant yet. So much for the best laid plans.

Back to the film project, it seems some of last year’s crew has disassembled. People have obligations and teams don’t just magically unite when you want them to. So my friends that brought me into the group last year decided we should still do it. After all, we have someone who can do the filming and editing, who actually went to school for it – we have someone who is organized and can see the big picture without forsaking the little ones, and we have someone who can write and act. We are pretty jazzed because we have decided to create something. We have decided to keep going even though it will be more difficult, and we are not even really looking at it that way. It gets me thinking, it’s the same premise with the fertility treatment. Here is where I am going to get a bit campy and cliche. Sorry. But sometimes there is a lesson to be learned in keeping your head down and forging ahead. (I know, I did not want to admit it, either.) When I was about 5, we lived in the same neighborhood as my grandmother. Walking to grandma’s house was always a joy -no doubt there would be a hot cup of cocoa in the winter and the basket full of toys she kept waiting for us grandkids. But she lived at the top of a fairly large hill – and my legs were those of an inpatient little girl. Getting up the hill, I used to dramatically drag my feet and whine to my dad, “I’m tired, I’m thirsty, I’m this that and the other…” And dad would remind me what was at the top of the hill and he would always say, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going, Sarah!” Reminds me of what my brother wrote in our guest book when we got married – “Congratulations. Keep Truckin’!”

I have had times since then when I have been really tough. Pulled through some scary situations. And other times when I just wanted to be 5 again and give up, which I did. And I know it sounds really cheesy, but your mother was dead on when she told you that if everything came easily you would not appreciate it as much. Some gifts just find their way to you, and others have layers of circumstance that you have to peel away, slowly, methodically, over time. You have no idea how the story will turn out, but it develops as you go along, regardless of what you thought you’d write.  So yes – it has been a year and I am still waiting. But I am closer – much, much closer. And while I wait, I can create in other ways. The best plots are the ones where you wait in suspense, and then you find your story revealed. And it’s better than you ever imagined.

Santa! I know him!


I need to laugh. I desperately need something or someone to light a firecracker on my funny bone and make me cry silent tears of hysteria. Before that, I am taking just one, guiltless moment to whine about being sick of having to force patience into my daily repertoire. I found out today that, after injecting myself with powders and saline and eye-of-newt, counting down the days of May with bated breath, and finally getting to the point where I believed the stick would turn – aha! One line to two! – I get postponed another month before we can finish this IVF cycle. Come on, now! I know a month is like the blink of an ant’s eye in the grand scheme, but I was not born with that patience virtue. Being on Earth and having to go about life I have tried to mimic it, but I don’t enjoy being patient. It’s like sitting in the hot sun waiting for a bus. Nodding off at your desk and its only 1:00. Waiting for Direct TV to show up between 10:00 am and when Hell freezes over. But I have had to be very patient – I was patient for two years recovering from a nasty illness. And I have been patient now, waiting for my baby. But I need for once to just be an indulgent girl and say that I don’t want to wait another four or five weeks to keep going. It’s more limbo. It’s not the end of the World, it’s just annoying.

So I really need to laugh. I need to share things with you that make me bust out laughing. Some things are just pretty much always amusing. Hmmm…..Will Farrell in Elf is just funny. The scene when Santa comes.Yes, it’s June, but please just watch his face. You might pee yourself a little. If you don’t think he is twisted and funny, you need to keep watching until you see it.

I am feeling so much better. Going to have to keep sharing the love. This next kid puts a massive smile on my face.

It’s a shame that YouTube does not have any good clips of SNL Jeopardy – especially with Sean Connery. I now find myself having wasted well over an hour watching YouTube and Hulu, and I feel much better. It can just be frustrating to realize that you have not been living in the moment, which is so important yet so difficult to maintain. I think the best that we can do is to just stop and try to enjoy what’s going on now as often as we can remember – even if what’s going on now is being able to sleep in late on the weekends, read an outstanding book, or just trying to find ways to laugh. There really are so many things that I have been rushing, or sometimes even just avoiding, because I am almost living from one appointment at my RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist for those of you not trying to reproduce) to the next. It always feels one scan or one shot away from The Beginning of The End.  If you follow this blog because you are in this process, or getting ready to start it, stay hopeful and remember it’s a journey before a destination. If you can write about it, laugh about it, or try to learn from it while your on the hike, you might be doing yourself a really huge service. I guess sometimes it’s easier to give stellar advice than to follow it. But if it gets too huge and the waiting is just too much, take a day off work and off the hamster wheel and try to just enjoy a moment of relaxation – even it’s just a moment.

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