PLEASE NOTE: If you are struggling with infertility or are currently trying to conceive and you DON'T want to read about my pregnancy (which I totally understand), I recommend starting at the beginning of the blog (March 2010) and reading from there. I find out I'm pregnant in June 2011 so there is a lot of trying to conceive posts in between that you might find funny, helpful or relatable. Wishing you all the luck in the world!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Move On March

Do you ever have one of those days where nothing horrible has happened but everything seems to be going against you? It’s raining, your umbrella breaks while trying to open it, your hair isn’t cooperating, you can’t find your keys, your bra is uncomfortable, you just missed your train/bus/subway, you can’t remember if you put on deodorant, your lunch plans get cancelled, a co-worker won’t stop humming that song you hate, your spouse calls and asks the same question you’ve already answered a hundred times the day before, you get charged twice for your gym membership on your credit card even though you quit two months earlier, you trip on the way home, all your mail are bills, you burn dinner and then as your falling asleep that night, you remember that you forgot to do about 20 different things. Again, nothing like death or dismemberment but still, a considerably bad day. That is exactly how my March has been.

At the very start of the month, I found out that our third IUI failed. This news kicked off a month of many disappointments and challenges. No area was immune to what I can only call crap-luck. Work, home, health, finances, family; you name it and something about it sucked.

I love that I once again tried Weight Watchers this month and in that time, have lost a total of two ounces. My doctor, husband and I all decided to take this month off so I thought it might be a good time to lose some weight. My goal was low. I just wanted to lose 5 pounds. That’s not asking much but yet again, I dieted and nothing came of it. It’s a little game my metabolism and I have been playing for 4 years now. It’s called, "Look at the idiot diet and exercise while we ignore her! Mu-ha-ha-ha!!!".

I had the now infamous cyst that showed up out of nowhere despite being on birth control (both to take this month off and to give my ovaries a rest). This cyst that threatened to throw off the delicate schedule we all had worked out to do our IVF. My day planner is my life and when I put something down in pen, cyst or no cyst, that’s the schedule I’ve set. MY IVF IS IN INK YOU EFFEN’ CYST! IN INK!

Also, our car died. Well, it’s not dead but it’s very much been on life support for the past few months. Anytime you’d turn the key, it would make a noise that was somewhere between an “Oy!” and a smoker’s cough. We decided to donate it as we didn’t think anyone would actually pay for it. I’m certain though that at any moment, the charity we donated the car to will call and say, "Um, thanks for the car. We’re currently using it as a paperweight."

And for whatever reason, we had several relatives who wanted to visit for an abnormally long time this month. Mind you, none of them know what’s going on as Sam and I prefer to keep that private for the time being but still, does anyone really want someone you’re not sleeping with to stay in your home for 7 days straight?

I’m behind on every writing project I have, I’m currently suffering from “The Cold That Ate Chicago”, my therapist confirmed once and for all that I have major issues, my roof is leaking, our fridge door won't close and our neighbors dog seems to have turned against us for no discernable reason. March 2010 is totally kicking my ass.

Today however, I went to the doctor’s and the cyst has in fact gotten smaller so it looks like we’re able to proceed with the IVF. I start the shots tomorrow, April 1st. That’s right... today is the last day of March and to is I say, "Suck it March."

April 1st is a perfectly lovely day to start taking hormone shots, don’t you think? It’s as a fresh start in a new fresh month. I’m hoping that April will wash away the craptastic challenges of March and turn things around. April 2010 will not only be the month I try IVF for the first time but, god willing, it will also be the month we get pregnant once and for all. I’m writing it down in my day planner... in ink.

If for some reason April does not live up to my dreams though, then you should expect a piece in late April called, "Adios April!" You’ve been warned.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Connection between Twin Peaks & Trying to Conceive

At present, I'm suffering from an evil, annoying cold. It’s one of those colds when breathing out of your right nostril just for a few seconds is a treat. Your head hurts, you’re sneezing constantly, your throat is sore and you sound as nasal as Fran Dresher on helium. Bottom line - I am NOT a happy camper. In fact, I’m a pissed off congested, hormonal camper.

Also, as I mentioned in “The Uninvited Cyst”, I will find out tomorrow if the unwelcome sac of fluid has officially dissolved. I did notice some pain on my left side last night, so I’m hoping that was a sign of it vacating the premises. Either that, or the cyst has invited a friend over and they are currently throwing a house party on my left ovary.

Between this cold and the cyst, I really don’t know if I’ll be able to start the shots this week for my first IVF. This is frustrating to say the least. Come to think of it – this WHOLE thing is beyond frustrating. It’s hard not to marvel at how insanely difficult the process of trying to conceive has been for Sam & I. People who aren’t even trying to get pregnant seem to conceive by simply bumping into each other.

Please forgive my bringing up David Lynch yet again but did you ever watch the show "Twin Peaks"? I remember watching the first few episodes desperately trying to figure out who killed Laura Palmer and trying to make sense out of the log lady. Then, the episode where there’s a dream sequence and a midget is dancing rather oddly while talking backwards aired. When I saw that, I realized there would be no making sense of anything. This is exactly how I feel. For a year, I’ve tried to figure out why this was happening and the more time goes on, the more I realize that I may never know and it’s pointless to even wonder. And yes, I’m comparing my working towards getting pregnant to a dancing midget talking backwards.

The question is how do you get through all of it? How do you keep having a sense of humor? I ask this often and the answer is always the same, “What other choice do I have?”

As I write this, it’s raining, my ceiling is leaking, I have a cold, I may still have a road-block of a cyst, I can’t seem to get pregnant, I’m worried about money, I’m worried about the future, I don’t know when in the holy hell I’ll be able to start my first IVF (which isn’t going to be much of a picnic) and I don’t know for sure if anything will work out. That’s the reality and I have only two choices: Be depressed by it or laugh at it. Ultimately, I’d MUCH rather laugh at it.

So, as I grab a bucket, a Kleenex and take time to visualize the cyst being blown into a thousand pieces, I’m going to think of jokes about the situation I’m in. Here’s one: We’ve decided to freeze any leftover embryos we may have. I’m going to start knitting tiny scarves now so they won’t be too cold. Don’t forget to tip your waitress and try the fish!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Second Failed Insemination – “The Feliz Navidad Incident”

If you've been reading my blog postings regularly, you'd know that our first IUI was around my birthday and Thanksgiving. Oddly enough, our second IUI ended up happening a week before Christmas. And although we didn't know it yet, our third IUI would end up being on Valentine's Day. It was like getting inseminated was how we were choosing to mark special occasions and National holidays. Still, on this 2nd attempt, we were enthusiastic that perhaps the timing would make us the lucky recipients of a "Christmas Miracle". Then again, maybe I've watched WAY to many holiday specials.

Despite our enthusiasm, the 2nd round did not start off well. At my doctor's appointment to decide when to give me the HCG shot, my doctor found that I had 3 follicles (translation: 3 eggs) that might be viable but he didn't feel they were "mature" enough. I, of course, pictured them playing video games, without a job, smoking pot and wasting their B.A. in English while still living at home. My doctor suggested we wait a few days until they grew up, got their acts together and moved off of their mother's couches.

However, throwing another fly into the cervical mucus (so to speak) was that my uterine lining was thinner than usual. This did not make for ideal conditions for possible (and hopeful) implantation. When I asked the doctor why my uterine lining was thinner, he explained that it was due to the Clomid I’d been taking. OK... let me get this straight: Clomid helps you produce more eggs, but it also can thin out your uterine lining? So, the very thing the medical community prescribes to help get you pregnant can also hinder your chances of getting pregnant. Really? REALLY? Am I on PUNKED? Where's the camera? Where's Ashton Kutcher? Is this a joke?!?

And there it was. We hadn’t even started the procedure and already, we had these two factors to deal with that clearly had my doctor worried. If we waited for the lining to get thicker, we might lose the follicles, so it was going to be a very a delicate balance. Needless to say, my expectations were low and my Christmas miracle seemed as unbelievable as Santa himself. Charlie Brown's Christmas tree was dead, the Grinch DID still Christmas and it WASN'T a wonderful life. Bah humbug.

After pouting for several days, I went back to the doctors only to find that my follicles had magically matured and the uterine lining had vastly improved. The doctor even remarked at how terrifically things had come along despite his concerns. My hope began to return and I slowly, I felt like Natalie Wood at the end of "Miracle on 34th Street" when she got her house. This could work. Maybe all hope is not lost! I do believe in miracles!!! Again, have I mentioned I watch too many holiday specials?

As a quick side note, I should quickly note that as opposed to our first IUI attempt, we opted to collect Sam’s sperm sample in the privacy of our own home this time (please see: if you don't know what I'm talking about). That way, Sam wouldn’t have to deal with any persistent bag ladies and the patrons of Starbucks were able to drink their latte’s without fear of any extra foam. :)

At my doctor's office, he has always had music piped in throughout every room... even the examining room. This has been the case for as long as I've been seeing him. There were even times he’s been in the middle of giving me a pap smear and a song like "Do That to Me One More Time" by Captain & Tennille would come on. Entertaining, but depending on the music choice, it can also be creepy.

So, it was without suprise that when it finally came time for IUI #2 -Electric Bugaloo, due to the Christmas season, I was inseminated while Jose Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad” was playing in the background. As I laid there listening to, “I want to wish you a Merry Christmas... from the bottom of my heeaaaaarrt...” I knew that if this holiday themed IUI were successful, this song would take on an entirely new meaning.

Happily, Sam had supplied "sizable donations" on both days of the IUI and we even got an opportunity to look at his some of his sperm under the microscope. This was fascinating. The sperm looked like that scene in "Titanic" when the boat completely goes under and all the people are in the water frantically swimming out of panic and not really getting anywhere at all.

I actually look back on this attempt with some sadness. We were so hopeful. Getting pregnant around Christmas time and starting the New Year with such exciting news was exceptionally appealing to us and after overcoming a rocky start, we really did believe we were going to get our miracle. On January 5th however, we found out that it again didn’t happen.

At my follow up appointment, my doctor and I discussed our next options. We decided we would try one more IUI in February (the one that would evenutally end up on Valentine's Day) and then if that didn't work, we'd consider IVF. As I waited in his office for him to get literature on IVF, Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” came on. I wasn’t sure if it was meant to be inspirational or if was meant to leave me the way it did when it was played at the end of The Sopranos: Confused and unclear of the future.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Uninvited Cyst

As you may know from reading my blog, we are aiming to start my first InVitro process in the next few weeks. Today, I saw my doctor to touch base and see where we’re at in terms of timing. I’ve had the NuvaRing in for almost three weeks to give my ovaries a much needed break and I had expected the doctor to tell me that I could take it out today. However, there was something we both didn’t plan on: The Uninvited Cyst.

There is a cyst hanging around on my left ovary. It’s basically a loiterer cyst left over from the Clomid I took for the IUI we did in February. Its presence could possibly screw up the schedule we had planned for our IVF. I’m not amused.

I would like to state for the record that I’m aware this isn’t horrible news. What it is though, is very annoying news. And as long as making statements for the record, I’d like to speak directly to the cyst if I may: “I hate you cyst. You are not welcome. Go away. You’re screwing up my schedule.”

Look, I always try to have a sense of humor, which I hope is obvious but there are moments like now when it’s difficult. I’ve been a good sport during this whole thing. For almost a year and a half, I’ve endured endless sonograms, countless blood tests, and I’ve had my legs up in the air more times then Jenna Jameson. I’ve quit caffeine, alcohol, tofu, soy, taken endless pills and vitamins, had HCG shots, suffered from various side effects, had exceptionally timed sex, peed on sticks either for ovulation or a pregnancy test (which is ALWAYS negative) and now, I’m about to put my body (and sanity) through a very invasive procedure that has no guarantee of working. I’ve gotten through it all by making jokes, maintaining my sense of humor, and occasionally imagining the deaths of those who annoy me (all in good fun). Like all you, I’m doing the best I can.

I have a week before my next sonogram and the hope is that this uninvited cyst will be gone by then so even though I’m not in a laughing mood at present, I’m going to once again try and figure out how to deal with this possibly annoying setback. Aside from the obvious 'eat healthy, keep the NuvaRing in longer, drink lots of water, and visualize the cyst disappearing', I’m seriously considering naming the cyst after one of my many hated ex-boyfriends. That way, I can address it by name on a daily basis... and tell it to kindly f*ck off.

Please wish me luck.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The First Failed Insemination (A.K.A. "The Starbucks Incident")

The first time we tried insemination (“IUI”) was just after my birthday and right before Thanksgiving. Instead of Sam giving me a big ol' expensive gift, he gave me a sperm sample. If life were perhaps like a David Lynch film, this might be considered romantic.

As is typical, I took 150 milligrams of Clomid for 5 consecutive days after getting my period. I’ve heard mixed reactions on how women have responded to Clomid. Some report no side effects, but others, like me, felt exactly like my 80-year-old Aunt Anna. I had hot flashes, I was nauseous, run down, my head ached and I was moody (or moodier than usual) and I was tempted to write angry letters to the NY Post.

Then, 3 days into taking the pills, I started having double vision at night. This is apparently another possible side effect. Every time I would turn my head, I would see a trail behind whatever objects I was looking at. My reaction to this new development was, “This is ok for a Phish concert, but not for my evenings at home.”

As I mentioned, this was our first time attempting an IUI and I should preface this next section by making it clear that we were anxious, a little over enthusiastic and new to this procedure. There. You’ve been warned.

My doctor gave me a specimen cup to give to my husband for the sperm collection part of the process. For reasons still unclear to us, our doctor wanted us to collect this priceless and vital component at home and not at his office. The trouble is we live approximately a half hour from the doctor’s office (give or take depending on traffic) and my husband was so nervous about having any delay between the time of emission and the time of insemination that he insisted we find a closer location.

On the day of my HCG shot, I stayed in my doctor’s neighborhood to scout locations near the office where Sam, my husband, could feasibly use a public bathroom. My mission was to find a place in walking distance to the doctor’s office, it had to have a private stall with a secure lock, and above all, it had to be discreet. I found two possible contenders: A pizza place and a Starbucks.

It was Saturday and time for the IUI. We arrived a half hour early and headed to the designated Starbucks. When I initially found this location, it was a Tuesday at a slow time of day. When we arrived on this day, it was a weekend at what seemed to be rush hour. The place was packed with caffeine seeking New Yorkers and that bathroom line was long.

Sam suddenly looked exceptionally nervous. Like most men, he had done this impending activity many times over the course of his life, but never in a public bathroom (or so he tells me). However, he was determined that this plan would give us the best chances possible so he waited on the line to the bathroom, letting people go in front of him and trying his best to remain calm and in the mood.

Finally, it was his turn for the bathroom and as far as I could see, no one was behind him. I decided to busy myself with a paper someone had left behind. I was so engrossed in distracting myself... that I somehow missed the homeless lady trying to break into the bathroom while Sam was in there doing his thing.

It was only after Sam came out of the bathroom (the cup firmly under his sweater and close to his body as the doctor recommended), that I found out about the bathroom obsessed bag lady. As Sam tells it, she was knocking the entire time and asking, “WHAT THE HELL IS TAKING SO LONG?!?! WHAT’CHOO DOIN’ IN THERE?!? HELLO?” This greatly challenged Sam’s imagination in terms of getting the job done but thankfully, he managed. So much for discreet.

As we walked to the doctor’s office, he complained non-stop about what he just had to endure. After listening to him for a full 5 minutes, I couldn’t help but think to myself, “That was very awkward for him and I appreciate that. However, I don’t think he realizes that I’ve been getting my blood taken every week, I’ve been taking pills that makes me see double and makes me feel like my 80-year-old Aunt, I’m overflowing with hormones, I’ve had more appointments than the most popular Plastic Surgeon in Beverly Hills, and in a few minutes, I’m going to be inseminated, then have to wait two weeks while I try and decipher whether or not I’m having PMS symptoms or pregnancy symptoms. The only thing he had to do was jerk off in a cup.” My compassion was waning.

Obviously, this first IUI was not successful and maybe that’s for the best. I don’t think I could bear the thought of our child being partly conceived in a public bathroom while a homeless woman tried to storm the place. Still, if we had been successful, we could have said, “A Starbucks was born and we named her Venti.”

Monday, March 22, 2010

Soundtrack for Sanity

I’m a big believer in having soundtracks for whatever is going on in your life at the moment. When I was single, I listed to a lot of Ani Difranco, Tori Amos, Fiona Apple and of course, Alanis Morisette. All the songs were angst filled and full of independence. When I first met my husband, I found my soundtrack changing to the cheesiest love songs. Where as in the past, I made fun of The Carpenters or Barry Manilow, I found myself walking around singing, “Love... look at the two of us... strangers, in many ways...” Needless to say, many on the subway wanted to strangle me. I can’t really say I blame them.

After some time of working towards getting pregnant and all that entails, and as I prepare for my first IVF (which, going forward, I’m pretending stands for “I’m Very Fertile”), I’m creating a new soundtrack of songs to offer me some inspiration. Here are a few I’d like to share with you:

Don’t Rain on My Parade, Barbara Streisand
Inspiring lyrics:

I'm gonna live and live NOW!
Get what I want, I know how!
One roll for the whole shebang!
One throw that bell will go clang,
Eye on the target and wham,
One shot, one gun shot and bam!

I simply gotta march, my heart's a drummer
Nobody, no, nobody, is gonna rain on my parade!

Well, this is obvious. This song is sheer determination, will power and frankly, who doesn’t love a parade?

Soldier of Love, Sade
Inspiring lyrics:

I'm at the borderline of my faith,
I'm at the hinterland of my devotion
In the frontline of this battle of mine
But I'm still alive

I'm a soldier of love.
Every day and night
I'm soldier of love
All the days of my life

I've been torn up inside (oh!)
I've been left behind (oh!)
So I ride
I have the will to survive

When I listen to this song, I feel strong and inspired to survive. It also does symbolize what I’ve been through and how I still have the strength to keep going… injections, procedures, hormones… whatever it takes to have a family.

Haven’t Met You Yet, Michael Buble
Inspiring lyrics:

I might have to wait.
I'll never give up.
I guess it's half timing,
And the other half's luck.
Wherever you are.
Whenever it's right.
You'll come out of nowhere and into my life.

And I know that we can be so amazing.
And baby your is gonna change me.
And now I can see every possibility.

But somehow I know that it'll all turn out.
And you'll make me work so we can work to work it out.
And I promise you, kid, that I'll give so much more than I get.
I just haven't met you yet.

Now I realize this song is actually about meeting your romantic soul mate more than it is about having a baby. However, the lyrics to me express perfectly what I would say to our future child. Also, let’s be honest, any song that has any lyric in it about it all working out makes me feel extra good right now.

One Love, Estelle and DJ David Guetta
Inspiring lyrics:

Let this be a song now and this be a day
And we stand together well be okay
Because were survivors were making it work
Expecting the best when they hope for the worst

Granted, this song choice (as well as the lyrics) may seem a little random but when you hear the song (especially if you like dance music), it’s inspirational.

What are some of the songs that inspire you?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

And so... it begins.

I was always told that if you let a penis touch your leg, you’d get pregnant. This is the impression most 5th grade teachers and bad after school specials left me with. If you were in a two-mile radius of sperm, you’d get knocked up, have no money and the baby daddy would always seem to end up working at a gas station in these scenarios. That was the deal.

However, I’m about to start hormone injections to do our first IVF after trying to conceive on our own for quite some time. We've tried the old fashioned way, then I took Clomid to help produce more eggs, and then we tried 3 inseminations (or IUI's as the cool kids call it)... but nothing worked. And so we’re clear: in almost all those attempts, his penis did more than just touch my leg.

When we first talked about getting pregnant, I immediately ran out and bought a journal. Being a writer, I thought I would have an incredibly fun time writing about our efforts. My dream was my daily updates would all culminate in an adorable book containing “trying to conceive” anecdotes and my imagined quick success in getting pregnant. Foolishly, I even thought to myself, “Wow. This is going to be a boring book. I’m going to get pregnant so quickly that I’ll have nothing to write about!” As the months passed, this statement haunted me. I was convinced I jinxed myself so I quickly grew to hate the journal. I stopped writing about our efforts all-together and didn’t think about writing another word on the subject... until today.

There are times when I'm on the verge of losing it. Yes, we haven’t even been trying for all that long. I realize this. There are many couples out there that have been trying for several years with no success. I seriously can’t even begin to imagine how they deal with it since in the time we’ve been trying; I have never felt more like a failure. I’ve grown embarrassed that I can't seem to pull off what should be a downright simple task. I currently know six people who told me they were thinking about getting pregnant and got pregnant all within the span of us trying. Three of them even started trying months after we did, and they are all pregnant.

And this, is why I’m writing again. What was initially an idea for a cute little keepsake journal has become my form of survival. I write now to keep my sanity during this hormonally charged time.

So dear reader, I’m beginning again: both this blog and my next cycle of trying to get pregnant. Welcome to my own personal biological hell.

The First Day

Well, I've done it. I've created my two week wait blog in anticpation of my first IVF procedure in April. For those who are actually reading this now, please forgive the place as it's a mess! I'm new to the blogging world (as well as the IVF world for that matter), so I'm still setting things up, picking out photos, updating my profile and all that jazz.

For now though, you have my word that this blog will be an honest and funny account of what has become my second job: Working towards getting pregnant. And yes, let's be clear now, I am bitter when I hear stories of teenages getting knocked up but rest assured, the bitterness as fading the more I realize that life isn't fair. What can you do but blog about it. Am I right people?

That's it for now but more soon. I can't wait to meet all of you and share this experience with you!