Tuesday, June 30, 2009

It is Tuesday

Alternate title: I bet you've never read a post like this before.

Today is Tuesday. As in just Tuesday. It isn't XDPO (days post ovulation) or even XDP5DT (days post 5 day transfer). It is just Tuesday.

At least I keep telling myself that. This is my easy cycle. The one where I don't get my hopes up.

I am getting my hopes up.

I'm trying my best to enjoy the possibility without getting too invested, but I'm not sure I haven't crossed the line. It's kind of like buying a lottery ticket. You don't really expect to win, but it can be fun to dream about what you would do with the million dollars if you did. Of course, at $1.00, the lottery is pretty cheap entertainment for a few days.

It is just Tuesday. I couldn't even tell you how many days post transfer I am (4) or how many days until the beta (5). It is just Tuesday.

I will admit to hearing the siren song of the HPT - the draw to test only to be crashed against the rocks of a single pink line. I thought I would be spared it this time around, maybe only testing the morning of the beta so I will be prepared for the BFN. Sadly, I hear them calling me already. Today, in a moment of insanity, I tore apart the bathroom cupboards looking for the two left over home pregnancy tests I swear I have. I would ask Brad if (where) he hid them, but I don't want to admit I have been so tempted.

I found the ones we used when LB was conceived. Our first positive was 11 DPO. It was a very light line so it would be overly optimistic to test before then which would be the day after tomorrow whenever that would be.

It's all good. Really, it is. If this doesn't work, we get to try again with my eggs in September. Belinda is excited to get to donate again too. We still have one more (and much better) chance at a sibling. But still, it would be really nice if it worked this time around.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Evenings on the mat

When I was in The Gambia as a Peace Corp Volunteer, one of my favorite times of the day was just after sunset. Since we were near the equator, that meant by 7:30 there would only be moonlight (if it was up), starlight and the small lights from cook fires. Since there was no electricity, there isn't a whole lot to do except hang out and wait to get sleepy. By the time the sun was down, there would be a large mat spread out in the middle of the compound and here the family would gather until it was time to go to bed.

As an outsider and not very good at the language, this was such a peaceful time for me. My family didn't try to get me to communicate as others often did (because they wanted something). I would sit or lie down, watch the stars come out and let the conversations wash over me. Often I understood enough to recognize the stories being told. They were of things that had happened in the village that day. Just small talk, but I felt more connected and part of the family during this time. It was one of the things I wanted to recreate when I returned to the States. Not surprisingly, this little ritual didn't fit into to our fast paced culture.

Until now, that is. It was even Brad's idea and I didn't realize it had become our nightly ritual - that he had created this nightly ritual - for many days. I have been going to bed early with LB since she was born. Most of the time I haven't minded because I am usually pretty exhausted by then, but sometimes I wanted to stay up if only to have more time with Brad. Sometimes I felt cheated that Brad seemed to have more time to himself while I had the role of putting LB to bed.

Now Brad comes to bed with us. We chat while LB nurses or, if she is a bit more awake, crawls around on the bed between us. Sometimes we listen to a podcast of This American Life or Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me. It is a great time to reconnect and talk about our day. When I used to get frustrated when LB wouldn't sleep, now we enjoy her antics together. It is a happy, peaceful way to close the day.

The realization that we have been having all of these perfect moments is my perfect moment for this Monday.

For other Perfect Moment Monday posts, please visit Weebles Webblog.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Waiting for the call

Today is transfer day if LB's 'dish-mate' survives the thaw. I should know in less than 30 minutes. Once again my thoughts turn to those ladies and couples still trying to have even one live baby to parent as I remember how much harder this wait was before LB.

The call came in after 40 minutes . . . why do they make us wait?

The news:

We have a live embryo! Transfer at 10!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Open egg donation

Today I was telling some coworkers of Brad's (my ex-coworkers) about LB's high energy levels. While I am sure that is typical of any 1 year old, I joked that if she ends up being like our donor (who is always Go! Go! Go!); I will be in trouble.

I instantly regretted it. It didn't seem right somehow. I'm not sure it is clear in my head why. I felt like I was airing our dirty laundry. Or maybe it was because I wasn't sure how LB would feel if she was capable of understanding. Would such casual comments be hurtful or be rubbing her nose in her atypical conception? Should we ignore or minimize our donor's involvement, at least in public? Would it be more appropriate to use our donor's name as in, "Lord help us if she has Belinda's energy!"

If Belinda was LB's aunt or grandmother it would be perfectly acceptable. In fact, it would be common. "Oh, she has your eyes!" "She loves the outdoors just like her cousins." "I love that she has her father's temperament." Yes, I acknowledge that she might take after me in some things, but she will also very likely express behaviors, beliefs, interests and talents that are more like Belinda than either Brad or me.

What do we do when we notice it? It doesn't seem right to ignore it (at least all the time) just because we suspect it came from Belinda. If we would say, "You have Daddy's talent!" why can't we say, "You are a runner just like your donor!"?

One of the more recent This American Life shows (Go Ask Your Dad) is about a guy who's genetic father was his uncle. The information was kept secret from him until well after his parents died. All his life he felt that he didn't fit in with his family. Even a brother acknowledged that he didn't fit in. He did not have the calm, controlled personality of his dad or brothers, but rather the more 'emotional' or lively personality of his uncle - someone he was always being reminded to not act like. There is obviously more to the story, but one of the things this person would have liked to have said to his dad (had he known) as a kid was, "Don't be afraid of the differences."

I don't want to be afraid of the differences or pretend something is not there when it is. I also don't want LB's conception to be a big deal. Would it help to make Belinda more a part of LB's early experience? She would grow up knowing Belinda as her genetic contributor instead of the unknown donor who becomes Belinda at a later age. I wonder how to find the balance.

What are your thoughts?

Encouragement needed - Updated

We are getting together with LB's donor this evening. We haven't seen her in about 9 months and LB is much less generic these days. I'm nervous that they will look or act too much alike and I will feel threatened by it.

I don't know how much "too much" is.

I know Belinda will do her best to make me feel at ease.

I know it will be easier than I think.

I am convinced it is important to have a relationship with her.

I'm still scared.

Updated: Thank you everyone for your supportive comments. I found as the time drew nearer I grew more calm. Perhaps resigned to my fate. I took LB in a bike trailer and biked to the nearby park, stopping on the way at the local farmer's market. We sat on the grass and listened to a bluegrass band while LB nibbled on a piece of bread sampled at the market. It was such a nice mother-daughter moment that it set me up nicely for our meeting.

And . . . .

It went beautifully! It took me a few minutes to get comfortable, but then we were like old friends. I had forgotten how interesting Belinda is in her own right. I didn't feel threatened even when I confirmed that LB's lip biting that just started this morning is indeed a trait from Belinda. I was happily the mother of a beautiful girl and Belinda was the women who helped me have her.

As for why I think it is important to maintain a relationship with Belinda . . . beside the obvious need (if this FET doesn't work) for her eggs again, I want LB to be able to have access to her genetic background. I don't know if it will be important to her or not, but I want the option open. Today I was also reminded that I just plain like her.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


We have passed another Summer Solstice. Ahh . . . I love summer. Most importantly, we got to mark the longest day of the year by celebrating LB's first birthday. I think the highlight of the day was turning her carseat around so she can face forward. She is much happier this way. In fact, she has made it clear twice now that she wanted to go for a drive.

She has become quite the communicator with very few words. In fact, mostly she points and grunts. In this case: crawl over to my shoes, point and grunt; I put them on and it is arms in the air so I pick her up; point at the door and grunt (we walk out the door); point to the right and grunt (we walk to the right); point at the car and grunts (I put her in the car).

I have indulged her both times because 1) I love that she is telling me what she wants and 2) sometimes I need a break from trying to keep up with her. This way she is strapped in!

We had a little birthday party for her with cupcakes decorated to look like butterflies and put her in her butterfly dress. I would post pictures, but I know from experience that it will be at least another week, if not two, before we unload the camera. In lieu of that, we stole this idea for the cupcakes and below is her birthday announcement.

Please forgive the silly limerick. I would like to say it was much better before I had to slaughter the form to get it to fit into the 30 character per line limit, but it was only slightly better. I guess the good thing about being a parent in my very late (very late) 30's as opposed to my 20's is that I no longer believe I have to be good at something to enjoy doing it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

It is all about me

I have very much enjoyed the conversation surrounding egg vs sperm donation on the previous post. In fact, I have softened my view because of it. Maybe it doesn't make sense that we call it a donation when it there is money beyond cost reimbursement involved. Maybe it isn't exactly equitable between the sexes (I think at the very least both sexes should get counseling or neither should), but maybe that is just the best we can do. As long as all parties come to the exchange willingly, who cares that we need to soften the image with words like "donation"? It is working pretty well in this country.

I will say that I hope the time comes when it will be possible to easily have access to a donor once the child reaches 18 - at least for those donors who are willing to sign up for that at the time of donation. In my dreams I would also like to see women encouraged to donate for smaller fees. It isn't even about the cost to me (what's another $4,000 on top of$25,000?), it is because I feel uncomfortable about buying someones eggs and feel less uncomfortable about accepting someone's gift of her eggs. Maybe that's just me.

Speaking of me . . . let's talk about me some more.

Tell me why I feel like I might be doing a disservice to myself and Brad by not getting more emotionally / mentally involved in this cycle? Put another way, I have intentionally not made a big deal about this cycle. I don't expect it to work. The time when I expect hope it will work is September with a fresh cycle. Why do I feel like I may be bringing on a BFN by not being more hopeful or at least more open to a BFP?

The truth is I don't want to make it happen. I don't want to try that hard. I want to leave it up to my RE and be pleasantly surprised if it works. I tried the control freak route and it ate me up when it failed. Perhaps there is a happy medium between denial and "I need to make it work!", but I don't want to even try and find it. I don't want to visit the mental space I would need to in order to find that line.

And why should I? One statistic I came across estimated that 50% of the pregnancy in the US are unplanned. I would guess that is thousands of people who don't want to get pregnant who are getting pregnant nonetheless.

Are the rules really different for me? For any of us dealing with infertility? Do we really need to try anything and everything that might tip the scales in our favor by even the smallest amount?

I guess I am looking for permission to continue to not think about it too much and, by extension, not to feel guilty if it fails.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Why the difference?

Continuing the conversation about egg donors (started awhile back) and, specifically, why we treat and compensate egg donors so much differently than sperm donors.

Consider the following differences:
  • Men are paid (in my town anyway) $50.00 a shot (no pun intended) compared to women who are paid $4000.
  • Men don't get paid if their sample is unusable. Women do.
  • Men would need to donate every 4-5 days for a year to make as much as a woman and that is assuming his samples are always good. Want to have sex? He'd better time it just right or there goes his $50.00
  • Yes, a woman goes through considerably more pain, but she is also done in less than 2 weeks (not including the prep time, but men have some prep time too)
  • Female donors are required to see a counselor before donating to make sure they have really thought things through. Males are not.
  • A recipient is required to get counseling before proceeding with using donor eggs, but not before using donor sperm.
  • According to this dissertation, women are expected to be more altruistic than men in their motivation
  • Recipients of eggs, but not sperm, are encouraged (or flat out told) to give the donor a gift on top of that donor's fees.
  • It was my donor's personal experience that people did not approve of her donating her eggs and compared it to giving away her children. I don't have similar knowledge about men, but one of Brad's acquaintances donated sperm and Brad thought he was doing it because he thought his genes would better the species.
I have some thoughts on why we treat sperm donors and egg donors so differently, but I would love to hear your thoughts. Why the difference? Do you think it is fair? Is it really market driven or is there something else going on? Any other thoughts? For those of you in the market for both sperm and egg donors, what has been your experience?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Avenues to healing

What do you to when you are so sleep deprived that you can barely function at work? You use the time you should be working (and have a babysitter) to blog, of course.

As a quick update, I am moving right along for the DE FET cycle. I am CD6 by my count and my first cycle b/w and u/s are tomorrow. In between the appointments, I feel very good about this cycle. I feel like it is buying a $5,000 lottery ticket with a 10% chance of winning. It is fun to dream and hope that we will hit it big, but I think that if it doesn't work I will just shrug my shoulders and move on to the fresh cycle in September. No stress.

Except when I have an appointment. Then I feel much anxiety. The familiar drive, the waiting room . . . just typing this is making my blood pressure go up. I go there with a lot of baggage. It isn't unusual for me to cry on the way to the clinic. I relive so much sadness.

It isn't all bad though. In the process of reliving our failed cycles, of our time of living childfree wondering if we would ever get to be parents, I may be healing some of those wounds. I can feel how bad it felt and then remind myself that I am not in that emotional space anymore. I can drive to the clinic aching to hold our Someday Baby and then come home and hold her. When I come home . . . I have no words to explain how good it feels to wrap LB up in a hug. It is like I am the person I was pre-LB; but have this reassurance that all will be well. Maybe it is like Summer's letter to her past self. I am finding that old, hurt, scared part of myself and telling her, "It's ok. You will have a baby and she will be the most amazing, wonderful, beautiful baby in the world. Trust me. Be patient. Move on to DE. Hold on. It will be ok."

I couldn't have that then - this future self comforting my past self, but I can pretend now. I am, in a way, rewriting my past to make it less stressful, less filled with grief. Not that I want to forget either, I just don't want to carry it around with me so much anymore. I am hoping that even if this cycle fails, it will be worth the $5,000.

Ha . . . not to diminish what I just said, but $5,000 can buy a lot of time with a therapist. I suppose it is good to take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves.

New twist to an old habit

Our evening walks have gotten a bit more interesting, if a lot slower. I think LB really enjoyed being able to control where she went (sort of), stopping occasionally to point out birds or airplanes or wave to a passerby.

I hope it is ok to post these here and there. I don't want this to be just another mommy blog and I want people reading from a place of trying to conceive to feel comfortable here. I also want to show that life is good on the other side and that using donor eggs is a very small part of the equation. As I have said before . . . these are good times.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Still bitter

Why give up on something I am good at? Is it just me or are these reserved parking spaces really annoying. I wouldn't use one if it was the last space for miles. Which it was that day. Ok, maybe not quite miles.

Maybe not the most uplifting post for my two year blogoversary, but perhaps appropriate and since I am a single mom this week (Brad is in England and Ireland for work), it's all I have time for.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Gratuitous pic

At the cafe this morning. It's hard to drink my tea when she keeps stealing the straws.

We are still lucky!

Our luck continues to hold. The best kind of two week wait: it only lasts one week and you get the results you want - in this case a BFN. That is, my skin biopsy was negative for abnormal cells or no cutaneous t-cell lymphoma. We still treat the parapsoriasis because leaving it untreated would increase the risk that it could become cancerous. We either use topical steroid or narrow band UVB. We will decide on a plan of action next week.

In other "we are lucky" news, a fun little tidbit on the LB front. Weeks after learning her first sign (for cat), she finally started using another one. It is the sign for "more" which we also use for "again". It is SO cute, if I dare say so myself.

The only problem is that she clearly is not using it to mean "more" or "again". She seems to mean, "If I do this silly hand movement, then will you pick me up and take me where I tell you?" I guess it is nicer than hearing "Puleeeeease?" or other forms of begging.

Now, should I encourage her to use the sign by picking her up and playing with her (or following her point and grunt that means, "take me there") or should I ignore it unless it is used to indicate more of what we are already doing?

In FET news, I have taken my last BCP and am waiting for CD1. Not sure what is next because I'm not sure if we are going to do a natural or synthetic cycle. I have never been so relaxed about a cycle. It really seems to be about the journey and not the destination since I don't expect it to work, but it would be really cool if it did. Let's hope it stays easy.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Welcome, little one

Luna has welcomed home her daughter. She was born to K on June first just as the sun came up. If you want to see a magical open domestic adoption unfold, you might want to keep an eye on this blog.

Congratulations Luna!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Perfect Moment Monday

It was a warm, but breezy day. We were at a BBQ with friends and LB didn't want to take a nap even though she missed her morning one. I have almost no luck getting her to go to sleep unless she is either nursing or going for a drive. I was having no luck nursing - she kept pulling off to socialize, leaving me a bit exposed.

Finally, daddy took her off to the side. They sat on a chaise lounge, with LB facing Brad and either sitting up or occasionally lying back against his bent legs. Later, Brad said that she would look around, close her eyes, sit up, look around, lie back, close her eyes, etc. until eventually she fell into a deep sleep. Daddy even got to dose off a little.

Me? I got to have some adult conversation and occasionally look in on my two sleeping beauties. Even now I can feel my heart warming at the thought. I know how incredibly lucky I am to have such perfect moments. My thoughts are always with those TTC #1.

For more perfect moments, visit Lori over at Weebles Webblog