Saturday, October 29, 2005


Mostly I am silent here because I am feeling pretty apprehensive. I wish I knew an answer right now.

Partner is gone for the day, and she rang me up whereupon I burst into tears. Everyday when my mom calls me, she says, "How are you feeling?" in that way that makes me feel like I should be feeling something. But I feel nothing. No nausea. No fatigue.

But wait, I didn't feel anything until today-- when I started feeling cramping in my lower abdomen. Like menstrual cramps, even in my legs a little. Hence the bitten back cry on the phone with Partner.

I pretty much don't know what to write. I'm just scared today. And alone. And I don't like it one bit.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Bright Spot

I have about two minutes here: I am using the computer all sneak-ified because if Partner found me, she'd be really upset. I wanted to come post all day yesterday, but she wouldn't let me. This bed rest thing is really serious to her! She's in the shower now. I don't have much time.

Two blasts-- one looked really good (textbook!) and the other was good. I couldn't look at the grading because I had to pee so badly. I wanted to say, "Stop showing me pictures, just get down there and do the business. NOW!" I think I drank too much water. But we have the photos of the little blasts, and one of the little bright spot in my uterus where the blasts were set.

And if I thought waiting was bad before? I have this serious paranoia I've peed them out.

More news later-- I think I just heard the shower go off!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Last night I wanted one last manhattan. I wanted to see the super swirl of Canadian Club with sweet vermouth and plop that little cherry, sometimes two, in to the icy goodness. Add a dash of bitters. But Partner wouldn't let me. She thought the booze might still be in my system this morning when we went for the transfer. She allowed me, instead, a glass of Three Buck Chuck. Not exactly a manhattan, but it worked.

Right now, Partner is downstairs-- I can hear the clink of a spoon as it hits the kitchen island. She's turned on the XM, and the heat is on. The house feels warm even though outside it's blustery and cold and winter is no longer just a hint in the air. Now I hear that same spoon hitting against the side of a glass. I know what she's doing. She's making me a manhattan. Because today, we both deserve a drink.

Do you remember reading Peanuts? I loved Peanuts as a kid. Today I keep seeing those frames of Charlie Brown on the pitchers mound-- and then BALK!

We got to the office where transfers happen a good hour ahead of schedule. I was half-way through the required water. Anxious? Probably. So we stopped for some eggs and toast. I could barely talk, but I managed not once but twice to drip yolk onto my sweater. Partner saw this a good omen. I drank more water. We got back into the car, and there beeped my phone: Missed call-- Dr. BusyBusyBusy. Voicemail-- the transfer office has been trying to reach us, said the nurse, and they couldn't get us. By now we were in the parking lot. The nurse's voice on speakerphone filled up the car: "They're moving your transfer to tomorrow."

The windshield wipers swished. A couple with a child walked past our car. We drove home again.

It's not cancelled-- just moved until tomorrow. Apparently when the incubator was opened this morning, we only had five morulas, three 8-celled embryos. By the time we got there, one morula was an early blast. Everyone counseled us to wait until tomorrow, so that's what we're doing, we hope, at 11:30 tomorrow. For now, I'm drinking the manhattan.

Sidebar: Cute-shoe-girl was there, again next to us. She had her sister with her and we quickly figured out that her sister was going to be a gestational surrogate. All the nurses knew cute-shoe-girl, and everyone was really hoping this was going to work for her. I heard her sister say, "They've just tried so many times, and I wanted to do this for her." I started crying. So even though I have no idea who this girl is, if you could all send her and her sister some really positive thoughts or pray or do whatever you do when you want someone to be happy, I think that would be just great.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Proverbial Cart Before Proverbial Horse

I know I am not pregnant. I know there are considerable odds that I won't be pregnant even after tomorrow, but the thing is-- I want to know stuff. Stuff about pregnancy. And since I am a reader, I think immediately of finding stuff out by reading books. So, off to Borders we went. I looked at a lot of books, and yes, I have already been counselled that I should avoid What to Expect...

I want some pregnancy books not designed to scare the shit out of me. Is that so much to ask?

I bought the Deepak Chopra book and I've read the introduction. So far, so good.

Are there any other non-scare-tactic books out there that anyone can recommend?

Friday, October 21, 2005

Space Filler

I was calling the nurse as she was calling me. I clicked over and we had some small talk. Finally I said, "Enough of this. tell me the news."

I've been thinking a lot about the nubmer zero. What if zero fertilized? Dr. BusyBusyBusy told us to expect about half of the eggs to fertilize. That would be four, not zero.

When my youngest brother was a kid, he used to have dreams about giant numbers chasing him off the side of a cliff. Sometimes, he confessed last weekend when I had the brothers and their girlfriends over, it was dots. And sometimes they were chasing him off the side of a cruise ship. we usually have a good guffaw about this, but I've been more sympathetic to the enormous fear of numbers or lack of them. Zero. What if?

This morning Partner checked the sperm bank. There are zero vials of Thor left. (Thor=sperm donor) There was the zero I was concerned about, right? Right?

Right. All eight eggs fertilized. And all eight are looking good. We scheduled a five day blast transfer. That's Tuesday, folks. Tuesday. Everything between now and then-- just space filler.

Kvetch Central

Last Tuesday when we thought the cycle wasn't going to happen, we also thought we were giving away Chloe to Partner's aunt that day. The entire day, although gorgeous, felt pretty bleak. And what does one do when things are bleak? Well, if you are me, you call your mother.

My mother and I-- pretty close-- and I'll talk to her about most things. We certainly had a our rough patches, especially in high school where I regrettably would refer to her as "my father's wife." People thought my parents were divorced and my mother was the proverbial evil step mother. This line of thinking was reinforced by the fact that there are 7 and 10 years respectively between my brothers and me. I chaffed against her: if she defined as a feminist, then I most certainly was not. If she leaned more left, I leaned more right. Thankfully, I went away to college and was able to self-define instead of defining myself in opposition to her.

As I aged, I realized that my biggest ally and fan was my mother. We talk almost every day. My mother has theories about daughters and sons: A daughter will always remain close whereas a son will leave. I don't think it's a truth universally known, as Ms. Austen might say, but her theory played out in our family, at least for a short while when both of my dear darling brothers moved to New Orleans for a number of years. (They are back home in the Great Lake State now, but still don't ring up Mom quite as much as I do.)

But last week when I called my mom, she couldn't talk. She happens to be at their beach house , a place I desperately wish I was right now. Last year I went for a week in October, and loved it. I decided I wanted to be there every October, but alas, this year the world had other plans for me. In any case, her friend Maggie and Maggie's mother were coming over for dinner. She couldn't talk. I was crying-- trying to hide it, and she realized it. "I'll call you back as soon as they're gone. I am sure they won't stay late."

But. She didn't call. Not Tuesday night anyway. Not Wednesday, not Thursday. She called my mobile phone when I was at the bar with A and B. I didn't answer. I was pretty pissed and hurt. In fact, when I think of it now, I still feel angry. A few months ago I tried to tell her I felt a little hurt she never asked about my life. She would get on the phone and tell me about her painting (she's brilliant, by the way), her friends, my brothers, the dog, etc-- but never asked about my life. Her reaction to this was anger-- total denial, and she told me that I was always crying about something. "I'm never good enough for you, Katie. You're a hard woman."

Hard? Moi? I am many things, but I really don't think hard is an apt description. Jesus, even my body is not hard. And it's not true that she's never good enough for me. I have some pretty big motherhood shoes to fill. She was and is an awesome mom.

So this lack of a return call-- I didn't feel after our last conversation I could tell her how I felt. I dont' want to be accused of crying about something again, or accused calling her a bad mother. That's not it. So I called her back on Sunday. I made some comments that let her know that I was upset she hadn't rang. Now I know she had guests staying with her Wednesday through Sunday, but to me this does not preclude a phone call. She kinda took the hint: "Well I've had stuff going on too," she said. Then she proceeded to talk ad nauseum about about my youngest brother's MCAT scores and his chances of gaining entrance to his top choices. I ended the phone call soon after that. "Mom, my eggs are here; I can't talk anymore." Never mind we hadn't even entered the restaurant yet.

Ah: I bitch about my mother as I harbor hopes of becoming one myself. If this isn't irony, I don't know what is.

I've talked to her numerous times since Sunday, per our usual m.o. I listened to her tell me about the stuff that prevented her from calling me back. I agree, it was pretty annoying stuff. A guest who was critical of her home decor, essentially, and was that way the entire time. Now I had a friend once who would come to our house and be openly critical, and it wasn't nice, but that's all it was. I have sympathy for the situation, but little sympathy for why she couldn't be calling me back. I mean, I was crying!

On Sunday, Partner and I talked about all the reasons she might not seem so invested in this journey of ours. Perhaps she ambivalant about becoming a grandmother? It runs in the family. My own gramma made me call her Kit for a few years; she wanted nothing to do with the moniker "Grandmother". Maybe all this is making my mother feel old? Maybe she's uncomfortable with our science baby? Maybe she doesn't want to feel that invested in case it doesn't work? Maybe she feels we should just be adopting? (A question she has asked.) Maybe she thinks this is a silly waste of money when we're tight anyway? I don't know what she's thinking. But I don't know because she isn't talking about it. She's talking about everything but it.

There's not one little bone in me that doesn't know my mom loves me entirely. I'm pretty sure she would throw herself in front of a train for me. Metaphorically she already has many times in my life. It's not that I don't feel loved. Or know that I am loved. I'm just, well, hurt. This feels pretty damn near the biggest thing I have ever attempted in my life. I've already expounded about how much I want this. I wonder why my mom doesn't talk to more about this than where my own brother might choose to have his wedding reception or where the other will end up in med school. Or about the new plantation shutters she'd ordered for the beach house. I listen to her, but in the back of my head I just keep thinking baby IVF baby IVF baby IVF baby IVF baby IVF baby.

Okay-- and are you ready for really bratty Katie? Tomorrow is my birthday, and of course, my parents are out of town. I've thinking to myself about how sometimes my mom really surprises me, so I've imagined packages being delivered to the house tomorrow, or flowers, or something like that. Instead, my dad called me on Wednesday night asking if I was coming over to their house. (My dad was at home this past week to work.) My parents live at least 45 minutes away from us, so, um, no, I was not coming over. Was I supposed to? "Well," he said, "I've got your birthday present here. You'll have to come by and pick it up." *Narrowing eyes.* Okay, okay-- I'm turning thirty-three and one could argue that I shouldn't even be concerned with such things any longer. But pick it up? Pick it up?!?

And I know that my annoyance with this is more related to this other stuff. I know that not everyone cares about this shit. It's just so many details, but... but... but...

So, there it is: my giant kvetch. And just so you know how dutifully Catholic I am: I feel total guilt for complaining about my mother who gave up so much for all of us kids. How ungrateful am I?

As my mother would say, I'll regreat this when she's dead. And gone. And in the grave.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Eight is Enough

I apologize for not posting sooner. We've been home for hours, sleeping on the couch, drooling, and generally freaking out the cats for being home in the middle of the day. We also gorged ourselves on pasta and antipasto from here, (and by the way, RRRG, they forgot my anchovies!)so it aided in the mid-day sleep. Of course the fact that Partner had a little procedure today helped too.

Okay, okay-- I have no sly way to tell you this, so I'll just come out and say it. We got eight.

The clinic was a buzzing place alright, and we were two-to-a-room with a curtain dividing us. The woman next to Partner had just come out of her retrieval as we were coming in. She had a reaction to one of the meds, which just made us both nervous. But she sounded sweet as could be. Later after Partner's procedure, she was dressing to go home. We could see her little feet and her husband's feet helping her dress. She had really cute shoes on, and I kept gesturing to Partner to look at them. Because of course on the day your partner has a wee surgery to get her eggs taken out of her body what she really wants to ogle cute shoes with you. As our neighbor we had never seen was leaving, she called through the curtain to us, "Good luck," and I felt like she was my new best friend.

I've read on some blogs about the waiting room camaraderie that happens in IVF clinics. We've never experienced it. That was the first time another patient has made any contact with us. We're very pal o'mine with the staff, after all, we were there every day for a week and one day we were there three times! (They were trying to figure out how to get us on the payroll.) But nary a talk with another patient...

I'm apprehensive now because as hard as I felt stims were, this feels worse. How many will fertilize? How will they look? Will there be a three, four, or five day transfer? How will I feel? Will it stick?

Will it stick?

That's the big question. I've never done this before. I spent major portions of my life scared to death I was going to get pregnant and now I wake up in a cold sweat wondering if I can get and stay pregnant. B, a nice Irish boy who I was drinking with last Friday, told me such worry was probably unfounded. In fact, he wanted to move to the other side of the booth since his position was that with all the drugs I was taking, he might just have to look at me and I'd get pregnant. I might have believed at one point, but I've dramatically changed my position regarding the ease of getting up the pole.

For now, it seems important we focus on eight and be really happy with that. We just hold our breath until tomorrow and then we cross the next scary bridge.

But right now we're in the land of crazy eights, and even though I can hear Partner snoring from here, I know she's happy too.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Triggering the Wait

I was about three years old when my dad went back to school. He was twenty-five and so was my mother. In order for him to do this, my mom needed to become the sole bread-winner. She got a job in the bank and my dad entered medical school. (When my dad asks me now if I've finished my dissertation yet, I think about him-- he finished school in three years because he knew he couldn't linger around grad school. He had a family to support.)

In kindergarten, I attended Spartan School, the elementary school placed in the middle of Spartan Village, the married housing section of Michigan State University. There I met my first boyfriend, Jed, and my "best-friend," Tacy. (Tacy, Jed, and I were the only Caucasian students in the class. Every one of our parents regarded this as a positive aspect of our early childhood education.) Tacy's dad was in my own father's class at medical school, and it didn't take long to arrange it so that her mother was my caretaker when my mother was at work.

After kindergarten, however, Tacy's family moved from married housing. With three kids, the tiny apartment was getting just a little too small. My own parents moved from Spartan School and into St. Thomas Aquinas. My mother drove me to school, but I needed to take the bus home. Some afternoons when my dad had to stay later with his own schoolwork, I needed to stay at a woman's apartment who ran a day-care out of her own small apartment. I hated it, but that's neither here nor there for this story.

When we moved back to south-east Michigan, Tacy's family moved too. My dad and her dad were going to be doing their internships at the same hospitals. But while we moved back to my mom and dad's hometown, Tacy's family lived elsewhere, but we'd get to have sleepovers. Tacy came with her little sister, Katy By this point, I was in second grade with a teacher who wasn't very nice and new little brother at home. To top it off, my dad, who I was very used to being with, was gone all the time. To see my friends' familiar faces and spend time with them felt like a comfort.

I can remember having to clean my room before she came, and I can remember how my mom would clean the whole house. I knew there'd be pizza for dinner and that we'd play outside for hours-- usually Charlies Angels. (I was always Sabrina.) But what I recall the most was the waiting. It was like five minutes was an hour. An hour was days, and more than than two hours was weeks. I would watch the clock slowly tick forward. I'd go outside and ride my bike up and down the block a few times and return inside to look at the clock again. I'd lie in the grass and look up through the trees into the clouds. I'd try to sleep. I knew that time passed more quickly when sleeping. I'd check the clock. I'd ask for a drink. I'd check the clock. I'd plead to watch to television (no), and check the clock. I'd try to read. And then guess what I'd do? Check the clock. The excitement I felt when I finally saw their car roll down the street was almost too much to bear. Each wheel rotation felt like it was taking forever. I could see Tacy and Katy waving from behind the car glass. And then, finally, they were OVER!

To this day, when I think about time passing slowly because of being excited, I remember those early days when Tacy and Katy were due at my house.

Although, somehow I think after tonight, that memory of "time passing slowly" might have some competition.

We trigger Partner at 10:30 pm. Retrieval scheduled for Thursday at 10:30 am.

Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock...

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Working Again!

"This is a whole different ball game," the doctor said as she scoped Partner's ovaries. Her estrogen is at 1560. She has some huge follicles. I can't believe that on Thursday it was only 360 or something like that.

We're probably going for retrieval on Wednesday or Thursday, but doc said, "If I was a betting man, and I'm not, but if I was, I'd put my money on Wednesday."

His theory is that she just had a longer latent period, and for some women it just happens that way. It doesn't predict anything when it comes to a successful cycle.

This is all from Dr. Associate since Dr. BusyBusyBusy is still out of town. I just hope that when he returns he agrees with all the conclusions Dr. Associate has been making.

If I said I was cautiously optimistic, that would only be partly true. You can guess which part would be a lie.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Working Again?

Thursday night Partner was so tired, she fell asleep by about 9:30.

Last night she struggled up the stairs about 6:30 and fell into bed. I went out with friends A and B to a local watering hole. When I came home at 12:30, she was dead to the world sleeping.

This morning we went for another ultrasound. We have to go back tomorrow. There is, at this point, at least one follicle 19mm. I kid you not. There are four others that are around 12mm. That's only the left ovary, which was the ovary without as many follicles. We couldn't find the right ovary, which is why we are returning tomorrow. The nurse wants the doctor to look.

Partner's E2 is 860.

Our working theory now is that she has been so tired because her little ovaries are working overtime. She can sleep all day if she wants.

What a bloody rollercoaster this is. This morning I was crying again, but this time because signs are more hopeful.

We might be back on again. I'll know more tomorrow. Thanks for the good thoughts, and if you keep sending the white light and growth thoughts, I know we'd appreciate it.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Good News, Bad News

Good news first: my uterine lining is 10mm! This was great news and the doctor weilding the dildo-cam this morning was full of raves. I could carry a baby in there. Bad news next: my gut feeling is the cycle will be cancelled. The doctor we saw today says he doesn't think we should go ahead with less than five eggs, and since they're only charting five follicles, he doesn't think it looks good. We'll know more tomorrow. Indeed, Lynette was correct-- once we've started on a regimen, it does no good to give more of any one medicine. We're going to stay the course for a few more days and see if they grow any more, although he said if the follicles haven't gotten to at least 12-14mm by tomorrow, we'd have to talk again. (I did end up liking Dr. Associate today since he said Partner was a young woman, and most people we talk to just go on and on about how old she is-- please-- she's only 36!)

I'm not at all positive here. As I said in the comments on the last post, giving shots is getting harder and harder. Why keep doing it if it's not working? I just see the bruises all over Partner's behind and thighs and arms (from the blood draws) and it seems like we're just hurting ourselves to hurt ourselves.

I know I shouldn't give up hope. I read all the lovely blogs and I have to say, I feel armed with so much knowledge from you guys. And so much support. But at the same time, I am feeling insanely jealous of the women who started cycling around the same time as us but it seems to be working for them. Or at least they got some eggs. Or frozen embryos. We're left with nothing but a huge credit card bill and few bruises. Discussions about starting again. Talk about why Partner doesn't seem to be responding.

However, whereas yesterday I could see no possible reason for this, I am much more resigned now. We just joined the YMCA, and if it doesn't go this time, it's just more time for me to try and get into more shape. Drop a few more pounds. That's got to be good. And Partner thinks the baby out there that's meant to be ours just doesn't want to be born in July. The baby wants to be a Libra, like me!

So that's an update on where I am today: jealous and resigned. Not quite as sad as yesterday. Waiting until tomorrow's ultrasound until I give everything up. For now.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Fun with Alliteration

Follicles=Fickle, forlorn, fabled, factious, fading, fair, fallow, fathead, faulty, feeble, flailing, floundering-- You get the idea.

NB: They are not fabulous, fancy, fantastic, fat and full, fascinating, favorable, fierce, florid, flourishing-- You get the idea.

Of course, there's always my favorite: fucking follicles. It says so much more than any of the above. Plus the word "fuck" has a great fricative and when one is upset, it's such an oh-so-satisfying word to say.

Seven still, but no one seemed to think there'd be anymore. The biggest is still 10mm. Those little babies got to grow about now, and stop being so fucking lazy. They haven't gotten any bigger. We've got to get to 18 mm to 20 mm to do the retrieval.

Partner's contention is thus: Like dogs, eggs do not mature at the same rate as humans. If dogs are about seven to one for human years, her argument is that eggs are probably about two to one. This would make her eggs 72 years old. Hence: her eggs are tired. Bone tired. And we're just asking them to do too much right at the time when the girls are thinking about packing up and moving south to their beach house, hopefully on Seabrook Island. And now not only are they tired, but pissed off we're interrupting their retirement plans.

Hey, it's a theory. And it's a better theory than we've heard in the RE office.

The nurse said her estrogen levels were going up-- but she would only say it corresponds to the number of follicles. This wasn't much of an answer when we asked "Should it be higher?" It's circumlocution, in my opinion.

She said she'd call and tell us if we should push more Repronex tonight, since that's what will make the lazy girls go-go-go. No one called. I feel like they should have called. I first asked her to call us with the blood test results no matter what. Their usual policy is to only call if something isn't looking right, but she said she'd call. Then I recanted my request. "It's okay. Stick the usual policy," I said to her, "I worry too much. I can deal with it." Now I wonder why I did that. I want to know the results and why we aren't pushing more Repronex since the fucking follicles haven't grown at all since Thursday.

Clearly we need more drugs!

The problem here is that all day I have desperately wanted to cry. Sob. I just have this feeling they are going to cancel the cycle-- that it's not going to work. But I don't want to have this breakdown in front of Partner, but at the same time she's the only one I really want to talk to about all of this too. (Or Lynne, but it's Yom Kippur and I can't call her. Arg. Is the sun down yet??) But mostly it's Partner I want to cry to. (Okay, or my mother, but that is the subject of the next post.)

Earlier this week after the first ultrasound, the nurse intimated that we might not be administering the shots correctly, and that's why there were not more/bigger follicles. This, of course, plagued my Catholic guilt ridden head. That meant it was my fault! My fault! I am the shot administrator!

Today, she said based on the blood draws, we are doing the shots right. It's not my fault! It's not my fault! But then Partner, not even Catholic, took the guilt and I didn't even see her do it. We were walking to the car and she said, "My body is failing us again."

Jesus Christ.

No, it's not. And I really believe that. Right now I think the RE office is failing us and the fact that our doctor is still out of the country and no one is reviewing our chart with the nurse doesn't help either. Right now what is failing us is not enough Repronex. Not her body. But clearly she's going to carry that guilt, no matter how much we talk about the fact none of this is her fault. So, how can I have the cry I want to have with her? I know she'd start to carry those tears too, and I don't want that. It's hard to do this cycle and not feel guilty when something doesn't work. I have already thought about how horrible I'd feel if I did get pregnant and miscarried. It's hard enough, but then to think I was carrying Partner's eggs and her hope of having a child biologically related to her -- and how she feels about that-- very strongly-- it's a lot to handle. And I would blame myself. And as legitimate as her tears would be, they would be so so hard. Just as I think my tears right now would be.

I was driving home from the acupuncturist and all I saw were babies. Fall leaves and babies. What, I thought to myself, have I wanted more than this in my life? I couldn't think of anything. Nothing. And let me assure you, I have done my fair share of wanting things quite badly. (I have a running list right now as we speak, but baby trumps.)

And don't you just know that I've done that "Everything has a reason" thing in my head? It rattles around: There's a reason why this might not work! What am I supposed to be learning from this? But then as soon as I think that, I think what a fucking load of BS. What possible reason? Sometimes there's no logic. (Hey, maybe that's the lesson I am supposed to be learning?)

I just can't believe that at one time I thought, "Oh, we'll just do IVF and have a baby! Easy!"

Fucking follicles.

Are You Kidding Me?

And all with 'J' names too. Seriously?

(Via ForTheByrds.)

I'm not sure I can say much more. Just that woman has to be tired.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Party On, Follicles

Four friends, L, C, G, and M, all have something in common with each other. Let's see-- one lives in Texas, one in my old hometown, one in my new hometown, and another in a different suburb of Detroit. So, it can't be that they all live in Michigan. What else could it be? Are you guessing they are all pregnant? Why then, you'd be correct and you should get a prize. How about a baby? There are impending babies all around me!

My friend Paul just had a baby too. Well, okay, his Partner had a baby. Paul and I were (are) great mates. It's just harder now that he's moved back to the UK. Paul and I visited the pub every weekend, easily, and often more than that. Paul, bless his Welsh heart, doesn't like beer, so often we'd go on 'champagne' nights. I mean-- really-- think about it. If four pints cost about $20, and one bottle of the cheap fizz in the pub we often frequented cost about $23, it was a pretty good deal if you didn't count the killer headaches in the morning. Often times the pub would run out of the cheap champagne when we were there and because Paul is cute and together we probably paid the rent on the place, they'd often substitute the good champagne--$70 a bottle-- for the cheap champagne but charge us the lower price.

Paul and I have had some good times. When we met, he was charming the pants off my good friend, Irish. Irish is a good looking gal-- We've heard comparisons to Shannon Doughtery or Xenia. In fact, often when we were out, guys would call out to her as we passed, "Hey Xenia!" And there was Paul, charming away. He said to her, "I'd like to have you for breakfast." Now say that to yourself in a very thick Welsh accent. (Most Americans couldn't understand poor Paul.) And then Paul looked at me and said, "She's breakfast, but you've got breakfast eyes." We were fast friends from then on. How could not be friends with someone who says you have breakfast eyes? Paul was ladies man. That's probably why it worked for us at the bar. He'd scope women and I'd scope the boys. (That's right-- I'd scope the men.) And Paul and I have boozed together not only across the Midwest, but also the UK.

I thought Paul would never settle down.

And now Paul too has a baby. My party Paul. My pub Paul. I guess he's now my Papa Paul.

I can't resent my friends for having these kids-- I totally understand it. It was one thing when friends had babies and I wasn't ready for it or when I didn't want it in the way I want it now. For example, when Paul and I were in our heyday, I knew I wanted kids but I also knew I didn't want them right then. I was having too much fun! Champagne! Pints! Shots! Kids would only get in the way.

But now I am not drinking the champagne like then. I'm doing shots, but a totally different kind. Paul is back home in Wales. With a baby. I went out this weekend and bought the most darling outfit for her. I can't wait until they get it and dress her up in it and send me photos.

I can't wait until we're dressing our babe up and sending them photos too.

(Go follicles, go follicles, go follicles, go!)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Or Maybe Not...

Well, we didn't get a call from the nurse about Partner's E2 levels, so we'll have to assume things are going forward. We weren't so sure after leaving the office this morning.

The ovaries did not want to present themselves this morning. They were feeling somewhat anti-social. Buggers.

The left ovary had three small follicles. Lazy fucker.

The right ovary had four bigger follicles, the largest of which measured 10mm. The nurse reminded us in a sort of doom and gloom manner that the follicles must measure 18-20mm. And do you know that look you get sometimes from the staff? The oh-shit-this-isn't-quite-working-out look? Do I imagine this look? Okay, but at the same time the nurse did say we'd know more on Thursday. This is the one slim small ray of hope. And she did say that some couples have gone ahead with retrieval even when there's only been one egg. That wasn't necessarily reassuring.

Our doctor is still on vacation. Which means the decision to trigger will be made by his associate, the same super senstive guy who told Partner her uterus was not "viable."

I am not feeling positive.

How do I start feeling positive again? I've gone from almost feeling the baby in my belly to walking around the house humming, "Stormy Weather."

Also, no explanations on why I myself have four follicles on one ovary. Since I am taking no super-ovulatory medicine, no one has a reason.

The nurse said she'd call our doctor, who is currently in Lebanon, after the ultrasound on Saturday-- that she'd give him all our stats. I should have said, "Don't bother Dr. BusyBusyBusy on vacation. Let the poor man rest!" But I didn't. And a big part of me wishes she'd call him sooner. "Ask him," I want to say, "if we should push more meds! No wait-- just give me the phone-- I'll ask!"

She promised that he'd be back for the retrieval if we were going forward.

...don't know why there's no sun up in the sky...

It's Rabies, Baby!

Last Thursday I started giving Partner "the shots." The morning shot done with the Gonal F pen isn't that bad. The needle isn't that long and I just dial up the dosage. It makes it very easy. I mean, look at it-- it literally looks like a pen. Since I am intimately acquainted with pens, this shot isn't that hard. Not to say it was easy the first time I plunged the needle into Partner's thigh, but comparatively speaking, this is now the easiest shot. Right next to the pen, you can see that little tiny needle. It's pretty innocuous looking, as I am sure you will agree. We have the choice here, of administering this shot into her thigh, or into her stomach. We've chosen thigh, for what we both feel are fairly obvious reasons.

Whereas the nighttime Repronex sucks. First of all, I hate having to mix up the medicine. I feel like a mad scientist at the kitchen counter, or worse (?) yet, a drug addict. (Worse? Sometimes I think a few more pleasant drugs could help us. Although, probably not since fortunately or unfortunately, Nancy Reagan's campaign really worked on me, and [recreational] drugs [exception of pot] scare the shite out of me.) Anyhow, I get the 1 cc of saline, squirt this into another little bottle with a little crystal inside it, suck this back up, squirt into another little bottle with a crystal inside it, suck this up, change the needle, swab off the outer corner of Partner's behind, plunge the inch and half needle in, pull back to make sure there's no blood (I hate this part) and then administer her the meds. Whew.

The first night of the Repronex shot, Partner was prone on the couch and I sat over her with the needle in the air and the instruction sheet at my side. You know, I just love her and it's never really seemed like a big loving act to put an inch and half long needle into my Partner's back side. She'd look over her shoulder at me, with big eyes. Remember, of course, that Partner has recently decided to be afraid of needles. I had a false start. I put the needle up to her skin and it didn't quite slide in as easily as I wanted it too. I pulled back. Shit. When I finally managed to get the shot done-- I think it took twenty minutes from start to finish-- I cried. I cried and cried and then Partner cried. And then I look my estrodiol pill and cried some more, just because. (Last night as I went to give her the shot, she has a bruise on her left side, but not right. Am I doing something wrong? I'd really like to know if other woman got bruises from this. The bruise gave me a pause, and more tears.)

I was a rather serious athlete in high school, and I suppose with playing a little rugby in college, I was rather athletic then as well. I loved competition, probably because I won. (I was a swimmer.) But one of the things I hated about sport was all the really stupid adages that coaches love to say, usually as I was gasping for breath, or thinking strongly about throwing up in the gutter. One of my favorites is, "If it doesn't kill you, it will make you stronger." Even at age fourteen, I could see this was a flawed social policy. Clearly some things that feel like they are killing you, do not necessarily make you stronger in the end. Don't we all know stories like this? Think about chemotherapy, or torture-- One may not be stronger at all at the end of such experiences. Of course, one might argue that someone might be mentally stronger after such experiences. And I think that's one of the sidebar perks (perks?) of IVF. In some ways, I do feel stronger. Four days into the shots, they aren't such a big deal anymore. This morning I had to jab Partner super quickly as she was dashing out the door to a closing. Saturday night we were going out for sushi with good friends of ours. As our pals watched us mixing the meds, they kept saying, "It seems like some experts should be doing this stuff." We went upstairs to give Partner her shot, and when we came back down, they were still talking about that, holding up our big bag o'needles.

But what's an expert here? How much training, really, does one need to give an intramuscular injection? Not much apparently. Now all that horrible hardness of the first few shots seems unbelievably silly.

Are we getting stronger? I don't know that administering shots themselves makes any one person a stronger person. I think that this whole IVF experience might-- whether it works or not-- there's a whole load of crap to deal with, and honestly the shots are probably the easiest part. I was telling a friend in the English department about the whole procedure (Hello, R!) when a professor walked in and heard part of the conversation where I was saying that the shots could go into the belly. He grabbed my arm, "Rabies?" he said, quite alarmed, "Does someone you know have Rabies?"

No, babies. Babies. Making babies. But honestly some days I wonder if Rabies might be easier...

(Another sidebar-- In one hour we'll be at the RE to see Partner's ovaries and get some blood drawn. Cross fingers, pray, whatever you do. Also, I want to ask them about the so-called follicles they saw on my ovary. I've been on the pill for four months and had a full dose of Depot Lupron-- why would there be follicles? Are they sure they are follicles? And why am I taking so much estrogen? The patch insert made me nervous with all its talk about "if you still have a uterus" and the myriad of concerns if that was the case. So many questions, so many drugs. Anyhow, I feel like we're going in for a big examination in an hour, and I just hope we're passing. No I don't. I hope we're getting bloody As.)

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Coffee Panic, Coffee Love

Yesterday I had to do a shop-- I wanted to pick up an easy dinner for myself since Partner was out with her mother, and get a few other things for later in the week. The best place to do this shopping, I figured, was good old Trader Joe's. I heart Trader Joe's. But I also love my regular grocery store, the always clean, always stocked, and always friendly Hillers. (Just wanted to give a shout out there to Hillers-- I heart you too, Hillers.)

Anyway, Trader Joe's gives me a buzz. Everything is so cheap! And cool! And tasty! I bought a pork loin for dinner on Friday and some of their whole wheat pizza dough for dinner tonight. And then I remembered we needed some coffee.

Usually we get a bag of beans at Hillers--their Kona blend. Thinking about it now, I've never really paid attention to that second word in the phrase. Blend. It makes a difference.

But I wasn't at Hillers market yesterday; I was at Trader Joe's. So I trooped over to the coffee selection and looked at all the different yummy coffees. (Mmmm... that I will be hopefully soon giving up for a good long while.) Oh, and there it was-- a Kona coffee! I picked up the tin and cornered Devo-- real name-- of Trader Joe's.

"Hey," I said, "Can I just open this up and grind it using this machine?"

"Sure!" Devo said enthusiastically, and he showed me how with the beans some person had put into the machine next mine but had failed to grind. He was slightly curious as to why someone would do that, but I have to hand it to Devo, he was still upbeat in that delightful Trader Joe way. "Oh well, I guess the staff will just have to drink this coffee," he said. Then pointing at my can he proceeded to tell me how much he loved the Kona coffee. "It's the best we have," he raved. I got excited-- the best! I love having the best. But at the same time I knew that something was wrong. I looked over my shoulder at the coffee cans behind us. $7.99, $5.99, $6.99-- and then finally the Kona can-- $18.99.


It echoed in my head: Nineteen dollars for coffee! Oh-shit-oh-shit-oh-shit! Nineteen dollars for coffee.

I was buzzing alright, but not for my usual Trader Joe reasons. My brain was working overtime-- could I abandon the coffee can at the grinder... No... Devo might find me and remind me to take my crazy expensive ground up coffee with me. Could I take it in my cart and bury it behind the salty snacks? No... Devo would surely find it later and remember me, my face imprinted in his head so the next time I came into the store, he would make surly faces at me. I would feel like I could never return to Trader Joes.

So what did I do? I rationalized the purchase. It's a big can. Usually we pay $8.99 a pound and surely this was more than a pound, so I could just buy it. It was fine. Fine.

But then as I was placing the can up on the counter for the delightfully cheerful checkout person, I saw the side of the can: 13 ounces. Oh my God. Less than a damn pound!! I could barely talk to the checkout person who was trying to make small talk. I felt sick as I saw the can slide over the scanner. I packed up my groceries. I walked out to the car. I called my mother.

"Don't tell Partner," she said. "Just keep it to yourself. I've done stuff like that too. It was a mistake!" She was laughing. I was laughing, but also trying to not throw up.

Now listen, we probably purchase overpriced shite all the time. We've spent obscene amounts of money to eat out in great restaurants. We aren't afraid to spend-- but we're trying to watch the coppers lately. We have a big baby bill sitting on a credit card, and as I've lamented before, the real estate market around here isn't exactly booming. When one is a builder and real estate agent, this portends not so auspicious things for the old income to debt ratio. So the nearly $20.00 can o' beans was not the best choice in the world.

Finally my mother calmed me down, and we agreed I should just tell Partner. After all, if we were going to be drinking good coffee, she should know it and appreciate it. Plus, what if she herself loved it so much she decided to get more of it unbeknownst to me and found out the price the hard way. It was better just to tell her.

So last night in bed, I did. She laughed. But I still felt horrid. But better. I told her it was like the Champagne of Coffee. She thought that even though it was extravagant, maybe it was okay since it might be the last coffee I get for awhile.

And this morning when she brought me my coffee in bed, it wasn't in my usual Cafe du Monde mug or Hilo Hattie mug. Instead it was poured, delectably, into one of our china cups, complete with saucer. The delicate white and silver edge highlighted the expensive coffee just perfectly. She raised her china cup to mine. "Cheers," she said.

And this my friends is just one of the reasons I love my girl.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Scared Yet? Because I Am

Actually, stuff like this make me feel like crying. I'd say more but I am already going to be late to teach my class.

Indiana bill would limit reproduction procedures for gays, singles

Panel to make recommendation to Legislature on Oct. 20


An interim legislative committee is considering a bill that would prohibit gays, lesbians and single people in Indiana from using medical science to assist them in having a child. State Sen. Patricia Miller acknowledged that the legislation before her panel would be 'enormously controversial.' Sen. Patricia Miller (R-Indianapolis) said state law does not have regulations on assisted reproduction and should have similar requirements to adoption in Indiana."If were going to try to put Indiana on the map, I wouldn't go this route," said Betty Cockrum, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana. "It feels pretty chilling. It is governmental intrusion into a very private part of our lives."Miller acknowledged that the legislation would be "enormously controversial.""Our statutes are nearly silent on all this. You can think of guidelines, but when you put it on paper it becomes different," she told The Journal Gazette of Fort Wayne for a story Tuesday.Miller is chairwoman of the Health Finance Commission, a panel of lawmakers that will vote Oct. 20 on whether to recommend the legislation to the full General Assembly.The bill defines assisted reproduction as causing pregnancy by means other than sexual intercourse, including intrauterine insemination, donation of an egg, donation of an embryo, in vitro fertilization and transfer of an embryo, and sperm injection.It then requires "intended parents" to be married to each other and says an unmarried person may not be an intended parent.A doctor cannot begin an assisted reproduction technology procedure that may result in a child being born until the intended parents have received a certificate of satisfactory completion of an assessment required under the bill. The assessment is similar to what is required for infant adoption and would be conducted by a licensed child placing agency in Indiana.The required information includes the fertility history of the parents, education and employment information, personality descriptions, verification of marital status, child care plans and criminal history checks. Description of the family lifestyle of the intended parents also is required, including participation in faith-based or church activities.The legislation appears to affect some married couples, although the rough draft is unclear at times. Miller said the draft will be clarified before a vote.The bill does not apply to assisted reproduction in which the child is the genetic child of both of the intended parents, for example, the sperm is from the father and the egg is from the mother. But married couples that need one or the other would still have to go through an assessment process and establish parentage in a court.Ken Falk, legal director for the Indiana Civil Liberties Union, said his office began hearing about the bill Friday, a day after the rough draft was discussed by the Health Finance Commission.He said it sets up a clear discrimination that would be difficult to uphold in court, and considers the bill to be unique nationally."My question is 'What is the danger that we are legislating against?' Are we saying that only married persons should be able to be parents, which is certainly a slap in the face to many same-sex couples but also to many who do not have a partner but have undertaken being a parent," Falk said.Miller said the state often reacted to problems and that she wanted to be proactive on this issue."We're not trying to stop people from having kids; we're just trying to find some guidelines," she said.She acknowledged such a law would bar single people from using methods other than sexual intercourse but said "all the studies indicate the best environment for a child is to have a two-parent family — a mother and a father

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

A Photo Meme

Town I Was Born In

Town I Live In Now

My Name
My Grandmother's Name

Favorite Food

Favorite Drink

Favorite Song

Favorite Smell
This is from Sareesa-- it looked fun, so I tried it. I have to say, however, that coming up with favorites is not so easy. It's almost impossible to pin down a favorite food-- I had a good photo of French cheese at one point, but then I felt bad about leaving out English cheese too, because dear God, do I love a Stilton. I mean, I *love* a Stilton. I've smuggled English Stilton into the country. I've asked others to do the same for me. But at the end of the day, I put Indian food up since that's comfort food for Partner and me. (Ask me about the shrimp vindaloo I made for dinner last night-- boy, was it hot!)
As for a favorite song-- I just put the song I have been listening to most on the old iPod, which happens to be-- wait-- can you guess? It's a new release-- Let's see if anyone can get it, or even cares to try. Can you get all the other ones?
Now, if you try this on your blog, let me know. You have to do a google image search and post an image of the following: the town you were born in, the town you live in now, your name, your grandmother's name, your favorite food, your favorite drink (which incidentally, I like my manhattans on the rocks, not served up like in the image above), your favorite song, and your favorite smell.

Monday, October 03, 2005

House Proud

When I was living in Ireland, we used to say about people, particularly our next door neighbors, "Oh, that wan is house proud." It wasn't a good thing. "House proud" people were forever cleaning their homes, and thus not taking times for the really important things in life, like tea and biscuits with friends. "Can you come 'round this afternoon?" you'd ask a house proud person, and the answer would be something, "Ach, no; I've got some cleaning to be doing." Cleaning-schmeaning! We cleaned once a week: Saturday morning. The hoover came out, the dusting rags were given to the girls, the toilet was sincerely swirled with washing liquid, and the kitchen lino was scrubbed. And then we mussed it all up again with crumbs from the sandwiches from lunch and Hob-Nob remnants. But we weren't house proud. And proud of it we were.

I had a lot of laughs in that house. I was telling stories to Partner about it last night as we returned from camping. I was relating one story that had me in the sitting room, and I realized as I was telling her, I didn't sit in that room all that much-- Television took second fiddle. I sat in the kitchen where we told jokes, drank a few cans some nights, and we sang songs-- Fergus on the bodhran via the kitchen table, and all of us belting some good old tunes. Everyone had a chance to solo.

The house was never unclean. But if I was in charge of that house, I fear I would have less singing and more cleaning.

Last night I didn't sleep well again-- and at one point I thought very clearly, "We need to move to a smaller house." I haven't been able to clean the whole house at one time in a few weeks. Either the upstairs is clean or the downstairs is clean, but not at the same time. Who cares, right? Doesn't this symbolize some horrible house pride on my part?

I love the way the house feels when it's all clean, the laundry hung and ironed, and the smell of wood polish in the air. It's means I can sit down and relax then. Take up a book, flip on the XM, and breathe. Not to say I don't do that if the house is not clean-- I do-- but it's not the same.

Last Thursday I was horribly late getting into the office. Not because I slept in-- I was awake at the usual 6:45, but because as Partner was springing out the door to an all-day seminar, she dropped that the people from the lighting store were coming over in the afternoon to investigate why our low-voltage stopped working. It was quarter to nine. I looked at the kitchen. I saw filth. Now, let me be clear about this: There were no dirty dishes stacked in the sink, no rotting food on the counter, no fruit reeking with decay or fruit flies. There was some mail on the island. A few magazine. The granite countertop? Well, there were streaks in it! And crumbs! Crumbs!! On the floor!! And some cobwebs between the cabinet and floor. I just had vacuumed one week previous to the day, but still, there were the cobwebs marking me as a slovenly housekeeper! Not to mention the smudges on the appliances... (I will never get stainless appliances again.)

So what did I do? Go to work and think, oh well, it's not that bad? Or did I pull my hair up and start scrubbing? I scrubbed. And swished. And polished. Bleached and went down on hands and knees. The kitchen, I have to tell you, gleamed! And I kept going into the powder room, the foyer, the kitchen nook, the dining room. I missed the family room and study, but I'd get that later. I was sweating bullets. I was a whirling dervish. I wanted to call the entire day off work to keep cleaning my home. And maybe I could even get those 500 bulbs we bought at Costco planted too! (Okay-- it's not 500; it's only 250.)

Later when I came home to meet the lighting store people, the first thing they wanted to do was stand on my island to get closer to the light. I watched as men took of their shoes and walked across my polished granite. I realized the only one who knew the kitchen was clean was me. Even Partner didn't seem to really notice. (Although she commented later, saving her soul.)

If I had had children when I was younger, my house would probably always been a version of clutter and crumbs, but somehow as I aged, I have gotten more anal about it. Or house proud. When we were building this house, our neighbors came through the rough framed version. As we were walking down the stairs, the woman next door asked, "Who's going to clean this house?" and I blithely chirped, "I am!" Uhg. I have some serious concerns about how I am going to handle kid mess. I have some friends who swear back and forth about their cleaners-- how wonderful it is, such a burden lifted, something they would cut other things out to keep. I have other friends who make broad statements full of pride about never needing a cleaner-- how they themselves always clean their own homes. I've always seen both sides really quite clearly, and have traditionally come down on the second side.

Let's just say I think I've switched allegiances.

Edited: 10:17 am-- Panic that started last night is officially over. I will stay in this house and not move to smaller one. No, Partner did not call and say, "Let's get a cleaner." (Ha!) My panic last night started when I was thinking of the laundry that needed doing and I thought I had left a tablecloth and flannel sheet in the washer for a week. I couldn't imagine the smell, and I was sure I had ruined not only the sheet and tablecloth, but also the washer. But when I went to confront the moldy mess this morning, I discovered that the washer was empty: I had put both into the dryer and they were smelling most delightfully fresh. (Is this memory loss a Lupron side effect?) Serious panic over. But still would like a cleaner.