Thursday, May 28, 2009

Will our good luck hold?

Last night after we settled on our TTC #2 plan, Brad said he was concerned about me. "Why?" I asked. "Because," he said, "you won't have anything to worry about."

I jokingly told him that I would think of something. Today, after having an odd, local rash for several months, I finally went to the dermatologist. It was asymptomatic so I wasn't really in a hurry to get it checked out. When the dermatologist suggested a biopsy and said it might be parapsoriasis I wasn't worried. I knew it was nothing, but I was tired of it hanging around and not going away as expected.

Then I got home and googled parapsoriasis. Now, I don't know if I have parapsoriasis. The dermatologist doesn't think the labs will be back for two weeks, when we should know more. But if it is parapsoriasis, it could be early stage (or lead to) cutaneous T-cell lymphoma which can't be good. It could also be one of those things that just goes away on it's own.

Damn Dr. Google and damn the two week wait.

After a quick break to take a call from the dermatologist I saw today (chosen at random and I really like her, thank goodness), I have some more information. The most important being that it is more likely than not to not be malignant and either way it is possible to treat it (in most cases) and continue with our plans for a sibling. If it is malignant, it is likely very treatable with no loss in life expectancy.

Years ago, I don't think this would have freaked me out so much. Years ago, I didn't really believe (even though I knew) that people died or that plans get horribly derailed. I am particularly possessive of our TTC plans as those dealing with infertility will likely understand and appreciate.

I have also been feeling very lucky lately. Our lives have completely turned around for the better since LB was born. It is hard not to be possessive of that and be extra vigilant toward anything that may threaten our good fortune.

I guess the good news is that I have enough information to keep me feeling positive and I have gotten pretty good at the two week wait. Additionally, as I type this, LB is just outside the back door banging the dog's water bowl on the deck. It is a delightful sound and I am looking forward to scooping her up and seeing how much water she has gotten on herself.

Now, if our good luck will only hold.

Edited to add that my FSH results came back within normal range (8.2 for those who like details). The good luck is holding so far.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

We have a plan!

I just got off the phone with my RE and we have made a plan. It is right, it will work and no one will have to get nailed to anything!*

We will do the FET as planned in June. We have one frozen embryo with about a 70% chance it will survive the thaw and a 30% chance I will get pregnant if it makes it to transfer. I will not cycle with my own eggs - this cycle.

If this FET cycle works and we get a real live baby out of it, we will have the two kids I have always wanted and we can put TTC behind us forever. I won't get that one last one-last-chance with my eggs, but I will be as ok with that as I have ever been (I was going to say 100% ok, but it is probably closer to 95% - that's just my nature).

If this FET doesn't work, I will cycle with my eggs along with the donor (Belinda - the same one who helped us with LB) in September. Hopefully that one will work. If not, we move on to any frozen we might have from that cycle. If those fail to make a baby, we still put TTC behind us forever and be happy with our Little Butterfly.

I still haven't heard about my FSH levels so the plan may change soon, but for now it is decided and I can forget about it for awhile.

It's a good day. Thank you to every one who has told me what I wanted to hear supported me.

*A nod to Douglass Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to The Galaxy. Any fertility gods who just thought, "I will show her who has the right to make plans!"; relax, would ya?

Crazy talk

Since my last post I have mentally composed several "I am going to cycle with my eggs" posts as well as "I'm not going to cycle with my eggs" posts. I am so bad at making these kinds of decision. Pathetic.

Here is where I am at right now. I want to do it. Even though it doesn't make sense. Even though it may not help in the long run in terms of closure. If I was reading my blog, I would be telling myself it let it go and move on.

So I pick up the phone to call my clinic to let them know. And then I put it down again realizing that I am too embarrassed to tell them. Of course they know I have been thinking about it, but until I commit, I can preted it was a moment of weakness. "Oh that?! That was just crazy talk. I never really want to cycle with my eggs at 41! Ha ha ha!"

Maybe that is why it has been so hard to decide. I am trying to talk myself out of what I want to do in favor of what I feel I should do.

Care to talk me out of it?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Yes, no and rarely maybe

I am waiting for my CD3 blood work to come back. I haven't decided to cycle with my eggs, but I'm not ready to decide to not cycle either so the blood work needed to be done. I could be out of the running in a matter of hours if my FSH is high. I think that I will be ok with that. The worst sting is likely to be from an indicator of age more than being the reason I won't be trying again.

Just before the blood draw, I was taking LB out of her car seat (I showed up late to avoid anyone in the waiting room since I didn't have a sitter) and thought for the thousandth time how beautiful her eyes are. Can I brag about that since they aren't from me? Anyway, it made me think about her genes compared to my genes which led me down the path of all the illness in my family. Between my mom and dad we have cancer, heart disease and mental illness. I don't remember Belinda's profile but it was laughable in comparison - something like her dad had an ulcer. Yes, I am 90% decided, I will not cycle with my eggs. It isn't likely to produce a baby anyway and why take the chance of passing on mental illness? There. Done.

Two hours later I was waking up from a nap and made the opposite decision. Why not? If this had happened easily I wouldn't have considered not having my genetic child for those reasons. Why should I decide that now? I just want to and it might bring me some peace. Isn't that enough of a reason? Plus my RE has kindly offered to help minimize the cost. What is the harm? There. Done.

It occurred to me that I am thinking about our second child (if we are so lucky) and whether s/he will be more like Belinda or more like me. In reality, we will either have one child or the other. One unique set of genes will be brought together and that is the life that will be created and all the other potential lives won't be. Since I don't believe in a soul or some cosmic power bringing me the baby I am 'meant to have'; this is all there really is. There is an old cell from my husband combined with an old cell from me or Belinda and together, somehow, they create a brand new person with unblemished skin and a mind ready to discover the world. It's mind bending sometimes. Or maybe it is my lack of sleep talking.

Thanks for listening. There might be a lot of circular and repetitive posts over the next few days or weeks. Just nod and smile every once in a while and I will assume your still listening, but won't be offended if you aren't.

I will update this post when my FSH comes back.

Edited to add: Perhaps I am lying to myself. My phone just rang and it wasn't the RE's office, but I thought it was and my heart stopped beating and I thought, "Please don't tell me my FSH is elevated!" It may be an emotional ride even if I don't want it to be.

Update #2: No FSH results today. They didn't run them. I have never had that happen at my clinic through 5 ivf cycles. Seems very odd, but I didn't ask when because I didn't want to sound like I cared, even to myself.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A beautiful theory

I have continued to enjoy the possibility of trying again with my eggs. Even though I haven't given it a lot of detailed thought, the idea has given me a bit of a lift. I figured, worst case scenario, that my milk would dry up and we wouldn't get pregnant. I think that it is a risk I am willing to take because LB doesn't need to nurse for nutritional reasons and maybe she will continue to nurse for comfort even if there is very little milk. Plus, I just can't believe that would happen to me. Of course, I didn't believe I would have trouble conceiving either.

This morning I asked Brad what his worst case scenario was. He was afraid it would work with my eggs but then we would have a messed up kid. I told him I would call my OB (aka Dr. Wonderful) and get his take.

Dr. W said the risk of abnormal chromosomes in someone my age is about 1 in 30 (excluding early miscarriages). That sounds high, but 97 normal chromosome babies out of 100 doesn't sound too risky. Then there is the fact that we made a normal chromosome baby who was still non compatible with life (which to me is preferable than raising a severely messed up kid - call me selfish).

The fact that ruined my beautiful theory was what Dr. Wonderful said next. If we are so lucky to have one embryo implant (15% for DE embryo . . . next to zero for one of mine), we won't know who's child it is. Obvious, but I had only considered the impact to that child . . . should we get DNA analysis - that sort of thing. Dr. W. added that we wouldn't know what kind of risks we were looking at during pregnancy. I thought I would assume that it was Belinda's, but now I wonder if I would worry more about the health of the baby thinking that it might be mine. Clouds form too easily over my head. I don't want to add reasons to worry.

Sigh. I really didn't want this to be a big deal. Now I find that this good reason to not try again with my eggs has got me in a bit of a funk*. Clearly then, my emotional side wants to try again, which I suppose is good to know, but I don't exactly trust my emotional side to be a good judge or have the proper motivation.

Today is CD1 so I need to decide soon . . . but not just yet.

*This is a post-LB funk which is nothing compared to a pre-LB funk. We had a wonderful 2 hour stroll along the river this morning. We stopped and played with the wildflowers and pointed out birds. I told myself I wouldn't depend on having a baby to make me happier, but I am.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Wise Women

I am still entertaining thoughts about that one last one-last-chance with my eggs. I like the word "entertaining" because I am enjoying the possibility without thinking too much about the consequences. It is all potential right now. It is, in a way, entertaining.

The time is nearing when I will need to think about it more closely. I have been telling myself that I would just go with what felt good at the time - the path of least resistance, if you will. But as I have discussed it here and there with a few friends it has occurred to me that I really need to choose. Down both paths there is the potential for heart ache and I need to decide which path is the most likely to have the more positive outcome.

I have started with the premise that using my eggs will not produce a live baby. The question is, will it be more helpful for me to go through the process one more time or will it be more helpful to really, truly, once and for all, draw a line in the sand and move on. The fuzzy line is that going through the process one more time may help with the latter - or it may just bring up lots of negative feelings and, as one friend said, "add another layer of bricks to the wall."

Some other thoughts from my wise friends (not exact quotes, but they way I remember them):

  • I don't think you can do it and not make it a big deal. if it doesn't work you've got all that heartache again for nothing.

  • Maybe that is what makes you special - not being able to do this without really feeling it. Maybe it is worth it anyway.

  • I know my firstborn feels slighted just because the second one took all the attention away. Just imagine if she found out she was not biologically mine and the second one was.

  • Even if it works out just as you would hope and you have your genetic baby, it won't heal what you are trying to heal. What you really wanted was to have sex and get a baby easily. It won't change all the crap you went through.

  • If $8,000 will bring decades of peace, it is worth the money.
Thank you, ladies. Now I have to figure out if it will bring me more peace even if when it fails. I will think about that soon, but not before I have to. I am having too much fun with LB to want to be weighed down with heavy thoughts.

Speaking of, please allow me to share a happy story. Sunday we drove back from Seattle late in the day and, as I predicted, LB got pretty grumpy on the way home - her nap and eating schedule (such as it is) was all messed up. She was sitting in the back between my sister and her husband. After about an hour of mostly crying baby, we stopped at a rest area and had about 30 minutes of quality mommy-baby time. We went to put her back in her car seat between aunt and uncle and she started crying and twisting around to see me. So I switched with my sister and the remaining 2 hours she was quite pleasant although obviously very tired.

That is not the cool part of the story.

The cool part is when we got home about an hour after her bedtime. I was nursing her to sleep when Brad came in to the room and we had a brief, whispered discussion. LB pulled off of my breast, said "Da-da!" and looked around for him. He decided to lay down with us until LB fell asleep. Instead of going back to nursing, she sat up and crawled over to him and laid her head on his chest. She fussed a bit and tried laying on his leg. Still not quite right, she crawled back to his chest, laid her head down on him and fell asleep. There she stayed for the next 3 hours. I guess she needed some quality daddy time too.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Getting needled

Before I tell you about my Perfect Moment for this Monday, I encourage you to pop over to Summer's blog and read the letter from her future self - the one we all wish we had from our future selves when we are wondering how it will all play out and if we will survive it.

I have to admit, I had a harder time with the actual holiday yesterday than Summer. I spent too many years hating it to turn around and embrace it so quickly. Brad likes to say (lovingly), "You're not bitter, your just consumed with hate." And so I am, at least at times. It was a very strange day to be on the other side and feel like I had somehow moved into the enemy's camp and yet . . . it is where I want to be. Toward the end of the day I decided to let Brad wish me a happy M's day because the wanting to feel happy because I am a mom while wanting to still hate the holiday was making me grumpy. It was good. And then we went to see Star Trek and that was really good.

Now for my perfect moment.

I got needled on Saturday. That is, I had an acupuncture treatment from the coolest acupuncturist around. Shannon practices a tradition of acupuncture that believes the needles don't need to hurt to be effective. She is also soft spoken and always has comforting words and interesting stories. She was a major support person for Brad and I while we were going through IVF and this is the first time I have been back since LB has gotten old enough to be away from me for an hour and half (the first time she was only weeks old).

It was wonderful! Nearly two hours of peace and 'me' time. The needles worked their magic and I felt muscles relaxing that I didn't even know where tense. Once again, I felt the overlay of the me before LB and the me after. The contrast is startling sometimes. I drifted in and out of sleep and saw/felt how perfect my body is just the way it is. I don't know what she does, but it is often transforming in spirit as well as in body.

I wanted to clean this post up a bit once my sitter got here, but she called in sick. And I missed two poops this morning - the first in months. I was so surprised the first time that I spent 5 minutes walking around the house looking for something that had apparently died and rotted only to discovered that the offending odor was on riding on my hip all along. The second time (because she wouldn't possibly do again!) only took me a couple of minutes to figure out. She seems to feel ok so I am currently assuming this is a new, hopefully short lived, phase in the EC journey.

There were some wonderful comments on my last post that I hope to follow up on - stay tuned.

In the meantime, happy Monday.

Friday, May 8, 2009


Note: Although this is a fairly heavy topic, it was my intent to keep the tone fairly light-hearted to match my thoughts. We will either do it or we won't. It will either work or it won't and then we will (or won't) move on to a fresh DE cycle in the fall.

I am con-fused. That is I have fused two conflicting ideas, not confused in the more common sense of the word. Long term readers of my blog know that I have often expressed doubt that I pursued our mutually genetic baby long enough. A five minute search of my blog and I found six posts (here, here, here, here, here and most recently here). I know I must mention it a dozen more times. It is seriously pathetic.

Now I am contemplating one last "one last chance" with my eggs when I said I wouldn't. Here is the con-fusing part: When I imagined going down that path, transferring all my embryos and the DE embryo, I imagined having one healthy baby growing. In the next split second of space where it is pure "gut feeling" and no logic I felt, "I hope it is LB's full sibling that makes it."

Yes, I want to try again with my eggs, I want one to implant and make a baby, and I want it to be the DE embryo.


Upon closer introspection I think it plays out something like this:
  • I want to prove to myself and the world that I am not broken and I can reproduce
  • I want to continue in the cells of the human race
  • I want to see myself in another and, ideally, a fusing of 'the love of my life' and myself in another
  • I am hoping it will help me let go of some of my lingering doubts
  • I want to give LB a fully genetic sibling. I grew up with three sisters very much like me in appearance and personality which I would like to recreate that for LB.
  • It could potentially cause complications if we had one mutually genetic kid and one DE kid
  • The more I see of LB's personality and the more we interact, the more I see her as being made up of her genes, not the sum of others genes.
  • Most importantly: LB is a healthy, happy, amazing and remarkable kid whom I completely adore. Why wouldn't I want another one just like very similar to her?
I will admit, I am also a bit confused because I don't know trying again with my eggs will accomplish what I think it will even if it fails. Maybe it seems like a good idea because the potential is all in front of me. Maybe I am evolving anyway and a trying again would be superfluous.

It's funny, but before I embarked on our DE journey, I asked some DE moms about what they thought about walking away from the possibility of their genetic offspring. Some said that they still haven't given up and were planning or thinking about cycling again with their eggs. I thought it showed weakness of character. Maybe it does.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

This and that

Some quick thoughts and updates, bullet style:

  • We have paid for our FET cycle. Just over $6,000 for precycle physical, storage fees and the actual cycle. We will be transferring (if the embryo survives the thaw at a 60% chance) toward the end of June. Here we go!
  • The last two nights are showing some progress in weening LB from nursing in the middle of the night. She is still crying some but not trying as hard to nurse. I don't know whether to be happy about that or sad that she has given up on me so easily.
  • Miss Leah took some pictures of LB. She is experimenting with photoshop and LB's eyes aren't quite realistic in some of them, but I still love the pics. Peruse her blog and you will see the adorable Miss Maya. Thanks Leah!
  • I am entertaining the idea of cycling with my own eggs in June and then adding in the frozen DE embryo. If it were free, I would have no hesitation. It isn't likely to work, but would be nice to try. It would cost about $6000 more than the FET and the cost of the drugs. I am hoping I know enough people to get some or all of the drugs for low / no cost.
  • Does anyone have a copy of Medications and Mother's Milk? If so, could you let me know what it says about FSH and generelix?
  • This is why I don't trust that vaccinations are the best choice for my precious snowflake. “Relationships between physicians, researchers and drug companies are ubiquitous in every aspect of medical education, medical research and patient care,” Campbell says. It’s hard to find other fields "in which relationships with [industry] are so pervasive.”
  • How's the weather where you live? It has been many, many days since we got some sun and temperatures over the upper 50's.
That's all for now. I should at least be looking productive at work.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Closing the all night bar

About a week ago it occurred to me that LB has no skills for putting herself to sleep. She either nurses to sleep or is rocked to sleep (in a car, stroller or in a sling). Given my sleep deprived status I decided that it was the night time nursing-to-sleep that was going to go first. We have made some progress with the No Cry Sleep Solution book, but I was ready to speed things up a bit.

That night I took her to bed with me and nursed her for just a short time to get her relaxed a bit. When I thought she would fall asleep soon, I disengaged her. She started rooting and fussing right away and as it escalated, I rolled over so my back was to her thinking that hiding "the girls" would be a more gentle approach. I was so tired that I had more resolve than I had in the past to stick to my plan. Brad comforted her as she cried.

Suddenly it occurred to me what this really meant: She would no longer need me to nurse her to sleep. It won't be long before she would no longer need me to nurse her at all! Then I started crying. I tried to be strong, but I no longer had any desire to end this part our time together. Soon, I caved and let her nurse. She was instantly much happier, but I continued to cry and cry and cry.* Brad reminded me she would grow up whether I liked it or not and I could help or hinder her progress. How unfair that I could long for something for six years and then to get it, but have it end all too soon.** My midwife's words reverberated in my head, "Having a child is a series of letting go." That's all well and good in theory.

I decided to give myself a few days to get used to the idea. Eventually, I had the courage to try again with some modifications. We decided I would nurse her to sleep initially, but would not nurse during the night. Predictably, three hours after she fell asleep she was rooting around and getting more and more upset that I wasn't responding. On the verge of giving in, I left the room to sleep lie awake on the couch. Oh, the sounds she made - successfully communicating utter betrayal, anger, despair. It was just awful.

On the plus side, I think it was a good bonding experience for Brad and LB. He stayed with her and did his best to comfort her without being overly stimulating - just a hand on her and occasionally saying soft, comforting words. Later he told me that LB kept contact with him the entire time.

After what felt like hours, but was only 30 minutes, she fell asleep and I crept back into bed. For the next 30 minutes she hiccuped in her sleep recovering from her sobbing. She slept for the next four hours, physically exhausted from the emotional ordeal.

Warning: TMI coming up

The next night, last night, we made further modifications. When LB started to wake up after three hours, Brad was just coming to bed and I knew he would encourage me to stick to our guns. I willed her to hear my silent plea: "Oh please don't wake up! I don't want you to be sad again. Please don't wake up!" Of course, she did. I quickly scooped her up and nursed her for just a second and took her off thinking it would help and Brad wouldn't notice (his back was to us). *** It was so satisfying to both of us, but didn't help long term. I tried again and this time, quite by accident, as I took her off her hand found my other nip.ple. It was just enough to comfort her and keep her calm enough to fall asleep.

One and a half hours later, we repeated the process, going straight for the hand-holding instead of nursing - it worked quickly.

One and a half hours later, she wasn't going to fall for it again. She started making the you-don't-love-me-anymore wails so I let her nurse for about a minute (Oh, how we loved it!) before starting again with the "you can touch it, but you can't have it" trick. It worked.

I hope this new plan will work and work quickly because I don't think I can survive on any less sleep.

This has really been an eye opening experience for me. I always thought I would do the right thing - that LB's needs would sometimes trump mine - but I imagined things like missing the end of a movie because she wasn't behaving in the theater. I never imagined that I would be so sad simply because she is growing up. I have new appreciation for my mom being sad, for example, on the day I moved out. Unlike my mom, when that day comes (and others like it) I hope I hide my sadness, put a smile on my face and say, "Good for you! I am so proud of you!" And I will be, even if I am sad for myself.

Updated: Sky asks a good question and I am not surprised I wasn't very clear - I am, as I said, barely functioning. My ultimate goal is to 1) help LB learn to fall asleep on her own so she doesn't always need me for my sake and hers and 2) stop nursing at night so I can, hopefully, get more sleep.

*Overly dramatic perhaps, but I was sleep deprived and it was late - somewhere around 8:30!
** I know I am very lucky to get to nurse at all.
*** Not that Brad is alone in this decision, but I knew he would disapprove if I wimped out.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Perfect Moment Monday

What better use for fresh maple syrup than to have a pancake feed? My relatives on my mom's side own a . . . ranch? tree farm? grove of maple trees? . . . anyway, the harvest came in and my mom bought some maple syrup for each of us. I decided to host the pancake feed at my house.

For better or worse (likely the former) only one sister and my mom could make it. Another sister popped in just to eat (we have been chanting "She comes. She eats. She leaves." to ourselves for years now). For the majority of our morning and into the afternoon, it was my sister, her husband, two kids, my mom, Brad, LB and me.

It was delightful. We had a great time cooking together and then moved into the early afternoon hanging out on the front porch while my mom tried out her new tricycle. I thought she would look goofy, but it actually looks pretty good and now that she is 73 with bad knees, she can't get on and off of a bike easily. I am thrilled for her for starting a new hobby. I hope she loves it.

What could top off such a peaceful, happy time? Well, the ice cream truck of course! LB participated for the first time although she wasn't really interested in eating her fudge pop (Brad and I were able to help out). My sister's kids (8 and 3) who are country kids thought it was the coolest thing since sliced bread and asked to come over every day.

It was truly a remarkable day. My family can't usually be in the same room for 20 minutes without some drama. To spend five hours together and enjoy the whole time was, well, perfect. The maple syrup was pretty good too.

For more Perfect Moments, check out Lori's blog