Monday, February 27, 2006

Until the Fat Lady Sings?

My mom. I like her a lot even though we can still have our moments. She's this fantastic artist, and it's something she only started doing a few years ago. In high school she had an art teacher who told her she had no talent, so she stopped all her dreams. (I, too, had a teacher like this, who told me I couldn't write. What is wrong with teachers who say things like that?) When my youngest brother was a senior in high school, she started taking art classes again. And now-- wow-- she's very good. And lately she started taking a poetry class with a very good friend of mine. And not only has she blown me away with her painting, but her poetry is way above par too.

I called her today and she said, "Well, first my advice was that you go home and have a glass of wine, but that's probably not a good idea. So now my advice is that you wait until tomorrow to get upset, because if you are still pregnant, having a breakdown will not be good for you."

It's good advice, n'est pas?

This is what happened: All day I felt positive. I thought, "This little rice is going to jump out of its lethargy today." I taught my class, sung Louis Prima songs at the top of my lungs on the commute home ("I eat antipasto twice just because she is so nice, Angelina!") I went to the pharmacy to refill my estrace prescription. I talked to the Little Rice all day in my head, urging it away. And then my phone rang.

It was the new nurse at Dr. BusyBusyBusy's. She's twelve. I'm not kidding you. She gave me my new number with no intonation at all. I like it better when the older nurses call and cry along with you. It might not be professional, but it's caring. Dr. BBB wants to see me tomorrow, and I'm to continue taking all medicines. Until he talks to me. Make of that what you will. I go back and forth about it.

My new number is 153 or 156-- I can't remember because the haze descended on me that fast. All I could do was think about how I had to get out of the pharmacy. Why were they taking so long with a prescription I wasn't even going to need any more? Could they just HURRY THE FUCK UP? And then I smiled and signed my name ever-so-sweetly and gave them the co-pay and walked with short quick steps outside where the first sob came gulping up. And then more and more and when I got to my car, I was pretty sure I wasn't going to make it into the driver's seat. And I called Partner, whose stupid Nextel phone said, "Please hold while the Nextel customer you are trying to reach can be located," and I lost it further because usually that means that she won't be able to be reached. But today, luck (ha ha ha) was on my side, because the phone did ring and she did pick up, and I cried and cried. And told her to come home as soon as she could. And she had to hold in whatever was in her because she wasn't alone in our very open plan office.

I know-- it's going up. But less than twenty points. And while there is a huge part of me that still believes in the Little Rice, there's also the part that came out of me in the car. The one that realizes this is probably not good news at all. It battles the Katie that recalls the four negative HPTs followed by a positive beta. Could I still go up? Could the Little Rice be teasing us? I've never wanted to be teased this cruelly in my life.

For now, I'm going to try and hold back the crying again. I think my mom's advice was sage, even though I think it's over. Plus, I hate crying. My skin is so sensitive it makes my face breakout. (Hey man, vain until the end I guess.) So for now, I'm putting on the pajamas and getting in bed with my book. A cup of tea. I might stay there until tomorrow morning.

On the plus side, a manhattan could be in my life sooner rather than later. Even though I wish it were later.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Reviewing and Updating

On Monday morning this week, I took the last two of the four home pregnancy tests. As you know, they were both negative. I took them at about 6:30 am and after that I went back to bed and prayed every prayer I know that the tests were wrong. I prayed to all those saints listed below, and more. When I was in the shower, I talked to my gramma, who must have had problems herself with fertility. I knew she'd understand where I was coming from with my ever-so desperate pleas to God. I was still praying about everything when I was pretty sure it was a done deal and Partner had even done her mourning already on Sunday night. On Monday afternoon I called my mom to tell her she might stop hoping because I had done four hpts that were all negative. She sounded sad. We didn't talk long after that. I hung up the phone and looked at my feet on the bed. The house seemed a little blank. We were more sure this time than the last time that it had worked. To feel like it hadn't? Well, I thought, at least by tomorrow I'll be able to have a manhattan to wash all the sorrow away.

And then Tuesday! Tuesday we told the nurse about our four negative hpts and she pooh-poohed us. "I had a woman in her yesterday," she said, "who took an hpt and it was negative and then her beta came in at 86." In my head I thought, "Yeah, but she only took one. We took four. What are the odds?" Slim, sure, but perhaps we should have bought the ticket to the Big Game on Tuesday, because, as you know again, that beta was postive! They wanted around 50, and I was close! So close! It felt scary to be under the average, and it felt low, but it was freaking positive. Cloud nine reigns for about five minutes before more worry sets in. What will Thursday's numbers look like?

And Thursday's numbers prompted the "cautious optimism." And more fear. Why aren't the numbers doubling? I go to the bulletin boards and post my question. I read the thread about low betas rebounding. But most of the women I read about have numbers that are easily doubling. One person even asks if her first beta of 300 and something is too low. Read this board makes me feel even worse, and I think about chemical pregnancies or ectopic pregnancies with more frequency.

Luckily, I was diverted by studing for RFC 101 which had a big old test today. We woke up, went to the RE office, got my blood out and then studied like mad dogs, took the test and then we were almost home before the voice mail came in from the nurse with the new number.

In my dreams, that number jumped to over 200. Or 300. I thought this kid (or "the rice" as we've been calling it lately, figuring that's about how big it is) is a slow started. I told myself I had to let go and let the rice do what it was going to do because there was nothing I could do to control it. But really, this was the first expectation I put on the kid, and I can't help feeling let down. And I think I have to work on that.

Today's number: 136.

And Partner and I are in totally different places. She wants to be excited until it's time to not be excited any more. Whereas I am stalling out again. Not being exactly depressed, but not exactly being excited anymore. I worried as all get out, but no one at the RE office is saying anything negative yet. But really, I'm starting to feel depressed. It's mixed up with hope, so my whole body feels totally out of whack. This is not a normal state of mind.

More blood tests on Monday. Let's hope the rice gets it together by then.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

A Litany Is Not Too Much to Ask

I'm all quivery and shakey. I want to believe the RE office when they tell me it's okay that the number didn't double, and really they want doubling in 48 to 72 hours. But then I can't quite get the "We're cautious," statement from the nurse out of my head either.

She's cautious? I'm freaking cautious.

I want to write more to you since you were all so totally wonderful with my last post and I feel like I need to give you more, but I'm so so scared.

Today's number: 83.8

We're 13 points under doubling. I go back on Saturday.

I joked with PortLairge about the name of this baby if it's a girl: "Elizabeth Anne Mary Our Lady of Prompt Succor and All the Saints Above." I might not be kidding if this works. And I might consider adding some of these names too.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

P.S. To the Pee Stick

Not only are you an asshole, but apparently you are a big fat liar as well.

P.P.S. My beta was 48.7 I guess that means I'm pregnant for now. (And to you, my dear friends, please tell me that is not too low and I'm okay. Transfer was last Sunday. Other than that, I'm giddy. And in total complete shock.)

Monday, February 20, 2006

You're Not Welcome 'Round Here

Dear Pee Sticks,

I can remember when we first met. Both Partner and I thought you were so cool, and there in the aisles of Costco, we asked you to come home with us. In private, we dicussed if you weren't maybe too much, you know-- too fast. But ultimately, we trusted you. We were really impressed by your modern style with the digital read window that would announce in no uncertain terms "pregnant" or "not pregnant." You were nothing like the primitive version Katie used once in the bathroom of a McDonalds. We were impressed by your candor. Your lack of sentimentality. It seemed like it was going to be a good fit.

We ignored you for a long time this cycle, and maybe that made you mad or something. I don't know, but as you know, we finally came to the decision that we couldn't ignore you any more. We decided it was time to give you what you love best: urine. And what did you do to repay us? It wasn't very nice, and I am pretty sure that my real friends will agree with me. You did wait a little longer than last time we had you over to give us the news, and I have to tell you truthfully, that was rude. I mean, last time, you just said it pretty quickly and got it out of the way, but this time you made us wait almost the full three minutes, blinking away at us the whole time, just like the little flirt that you are. And then you just said it. Not Pregnant. I mean, come on, you couldn't have let us down more easily? Said something like, "Not enough hCG detected." That way at least our hearts wouldn't have been ripped out. Or better yet: "I'm sorry. I know how much you wanted this." That would have been the polite option. I know we said we initially valued you for your candor, but I've come reevaluate that and I've decided you should think about new ways to communicate, something more kind and gentle. Although I suppose there are some who appreciate your definitiveness, but we're just not "those people."

So I don't really apologize for tearing you apart. And of course, that made us doubt you more, because even though you said "not pregnant" there were two lines showing! Okay, okay-- one was faint, but still. Maybe you should have said, "I think you're not pregnant." So you can't blame us for going out and inviting your cousins in. Sure, they aren't as sophisticated and just show primitive little lines instead of directly blurting out the news, but they do leave a comfortable space to continue the conversation. Whereas, you, you're just so blunt it shuts down all avenues of discussion.

Last night we did talk to your cousin, who claimed to be a "first responder," which we agreed was a good thing. But your cousin was a miserable as you. Even more miserable with one bloody pink line and nothing even faint to help us out. Whereupon we ended up in tears, at one point on the floor where I had to hold my crying Partner. I hope you're happy, pee stick. I hope you got what you want. And no, you absolutely cannot have any of our floor cake.

But Partner and I, we're good liberals and we believe in giving people second chances, so that's what we did with you and your cousin this morning at the crack of dawn. It was a new day, so to speak, and perhaps we thought, you might be more inclined to be agreeable. But you weren't. Neither of you. And now we just want you out. Out of our house and lives, you miserable urine soaked assholes. And don't come back. I'd wish you good luck in the future, but frankly, I can't even muster up that much goodwill toward you, so be on your way. We'll try to forget this whole sorry incident, but until then, we're through.

Katie & Partner

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Five Things + Five Questions for You

1. During the dreaded two week wait, does anyone else, you know, check the toilet paper religiously after using the bathroom? Or is it just me? Partner saw me doing this yesterday and she said, "Do you do that every time?" I just nodded and flushed. I can't be the only one. Tell me I'm not the only one.

2. I feel nothing yet. No nausea. Nada. Some cramping akin to last time, but not in the same place. More down my legs. I am trying to pretend it's okay. During the tww, did you ever want to throw up quite so badly?

3. I had vowed no more home pregnancy tests this time since last time it was too awful. But now, tonight, I kinda want to do one. Partner is gone at to a late night meet and greet type of event. I'm free, as Mr. Humphries used to say, and the hpt's are calling their siren song from the bathroom tucked behind the rolls and rolls of Costco toilet paper. Opinions?

4. I really want this test to come back positive. I've been smelling baby heads in my dreams. No question here really. Just a small admission of hope.

5. While at Trader Joe's I found dealcoholized wine. Is this stuff any good?

Monday, February 13, 2006

Transfer and Why I'd Like You to Click on the Link in the Post Below. Please.

Sunday morning the alarm went off early. It was cold, but bright. Before we left the house, I filled up my Nalgene bottle with water and we trekked out to Partner's truck and the temperature reading said it was 5. Five degrees. I called my parents in South Carolina; my mother had said they were going to walk on the beach at sunrise and throw sand into the ocean for us and our dreams. I wanted to find out if they really did it. (They did, and then came back to their house and drank champagne. I love my parents.) They thought it was cold there until I told them it was five in Michigan. 5, people-- that's pretty cold.

One of the things we had to do on our drive was discuss the "oocyte donor" and "gestational carrier" sheets that we had been given by the RE office. Last cycle when a nurse gave them to us, we said, "Oh, thanks," and then promptly ignored them. (You may remember me railing about not wanting to be called the gestational carrier.) No one ever asked about them again. We thought we'd try the same thing this time, but unfortunately people kept asking about them. Including Dr. BBB on the day of retrieval. He said he couldn't go forward with the transfer without having them signed.

So, on our hour plus drive to the clinic outpost where retrievals and transfers take place, I read the "agreements" out loud. (Oh, Amy, where were you when we needed you? So much legalese!) The oocyte donor sheet was more compact: one line for the donor to give up all rights, and one line for the carrier to take all rights. The gestational carrier document was a little more fluid. There were lines for "donor and partner" along with lines for "carrier and partner" and we just filled in our names in all spaces until the one place where indicated the gestational carrier gave up rights to the donor (and partner). I can't remember how exactly it was worded, but if we had both names listed at that point, it looked like we were both giving up rights.

So we read the documents in the bright cold morning. And then we just drove for awhile in silence and I looked out the car window at the frozen ground and barren trees and tried to think about the meaning of all of this.

If it isn't clear that Partner and I love each other very much and we are our family together, then what else could be clear?

If it isn't clear that I want to have children with this woman, then what else could be clear? Oh my Lord-- do I want that. Even in the moments when I joke about having to give up my manhattans, I know that I would gladly drop them forever to continue growing this family we have started here.

Amazingly, on Sunday, I didn't get angry about this. Instead I thought about how much it hurt to have to sign a document saying that I gave up my "rights" to be the legal parent of this child. And at the same time, how could I ask Partner to do that either? I got selfish in my silence. I got sad. And when we got the clinic, we talked more about it, came to an agreement, and Partner filled out the gestational carrier "agreement" while I watched. I took umbrage with the phrase that all parties signed the document free and voluntarily with no coercion. I watched when she wrote my name accidentally on the line that indicated who would be the legal parent. And then I watched her cross it out and write her own name. And I cried some silent tears. And then she told me that nothing, no piece of paper was going to stop us from both being parents to this child. And we cried some more, and then went inside to get blastocysts made from her eggs transferred into my uterus. That on paper I was relinquishing rights too. Not quite the happy moment you envision when thinking about having a baby. (Then again, not much of IVF is that happy moment, but categorically, this made it about 1000x worse.)

We live outside the law in our marriage. No official has recognized it as real, but we know it is. Just as no official will ever recognize us both as parents, but we know will be. You see, in Michigan, two women cannot both be legal parents of the child. There is no two parent same sex adoption. We'll make up agreements and wills and everything possible in the legal sense to try and protect each other's rights, but it's all pretty academic.

We tried to get away with not giving anyone the document. Partner folded it up in her pocket, but when Dr. BusyBusyBusy came to see us pre-transfer he asked about it. I told him it made me cry. He apologized and held my hand. "It's the law," he said. "I need to have it. I'm sorry, Katie. I'm sorry." And I think he was.

I took my Valium and Motrin. Walked into the procedure room, and laid on that table, legs all akimbo, a white blanket covering me up. Dr. BBB talked to us about the quality of the fertilized eggs and whether we should consider changing the number transferred. Partner rubbed my arm, and I said a few prayers silently when Dr. BBB slipped the blasts through the catheter, and as I was prone on that table afterward, looking into the green green eyes of my Partner, that stupid piece of paper faded. I just thought about us with some little peanuts and how our love would grow to new exponential proportions. And it will, and I understand that is the most important thing.

But I still get scared some days, and just keep hoping that someday people will be able to recognize love and not be threatened by it. In the words of k.d. lang, "And love as a philosophy is simple. And ours."

Saturday, February 11, 2006

My Family

It would be cool if you would do this.

Especially since we are less than 24 hours from trying to create a new addition to our family, yet our relationship is not protected in way, shape, or form. We have to sign a release before completing the transfer that indicates which one of us will be the legal parent. This is to protect the clinic really-- but nonetheless, it feels like an affront when we both consider ourselves to be equal parents of this potential child. I have more to say about this, but I just spent the most delightful evening drinking manhattans all around town and then eating enormous amounts of sushi and I am feeling mellow, so I won't go on too much about this. (However, you can probably count on hearing more about this topic later.)

However, if you feel inclined, click on the link and add your name.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Tea Digression

When I was a young child and couldn't sleep in the night due to some worry or another, my mom would come into my room and tell me to think of something nice, like Santa or the Easter Bunny. I rarely thought of those exact things, but the advice has made sense to me since that time and in the interest of distracting myself from current worries, I have for you a riff on tea:

Since the last failed cycle, Partner and I have given up morning coffee. Cold turkey. This surprised my parents at the funeral we attended last weekend when we both declined the carafe of amazing smelling coffee. I've actually felt a lot better since giving it up, but this is not to say that we don't occasionally partake of the delightful bean. I'm just not addicted to it anymore.

Instead we're drinking tea like a couple of Brits. When I first moved home from Ireland, I stocked up on Barry's tea. It was hard to get Irish or British tea over here then, and after drinking Irish and British tea, the stuff we got stateside tasted like, pardon me, shite. I would stock up on tea when coming back from a trip: Bewleys, Barrys, Lyons, Typhoo-- whatever I could find before I left and usually came home with at least three boxes.

We're lucky now that we can get all sorts of great tea here now. For awhile all we could find were PG Tips, but personally despite the very cool pyramid bag, PG never gets quite strong enough for me. Now we're an all Typhoo all the time house. Mmm. I'm parching for cup right now.

When I lived in Ireland, I had to be taught the proper way to make tea. My family was aghast that I didn't know the correct procedure, including the very important and not-deletable step of warming the pot. My first night there I made the tea but didn't warm the pot. We threw the whole thing out and started over. Boil the kettle, warm the pot, (of course there was a well worn metal pot) put the tea bags in, and place the pot on the hob, turn the hob on low, and wait for about five minutes. Sometimes longer if we got talking. The house I lived in was very much a working class house and we spent hours in the kitchen at the table just talking about the craic. We'd put the milk into the mugs and pour in the tea. We'd eat lemon biscuits or Boland's Custard Creams. (I can taste them now!) Often it was raining and the dog was barking to come in and the girls were in the front room watching TV, which always was loud and it felt like they were always watching either Home and Away or The Bill. The kitchen windows got steamy. And sometimes we'd sign songs. And then we'd make another pot and occasionally get the washing up, and then I'd go down the pub to meet my friends. When I came in at night, I'd brew myself up a cup and go upstairs with the mug, read a little even when I was feeling very blurry, drink my tea and smell the smoke from Fergus having his last fag of the night in the next room.

I went to visit a friend in Yorkshire when I was living in Ireland, and his mother was from Dublin and when she made the tea, she pour everyone else's and then put the pot back onto the hob for me. John, my friend, and his siblings felt this was totally disgusting, but luckily his mother understood me. My friend, John, called it "builder's tea," and I find a very pleasant description now.

Flash forward some time and now I'm living in London with a not very nice man. For years I thought I hated London because of him, but now that I've been several times since then, I realize I adore London. This particular guy fostered fear in me about the city, mostly to control me. (Oh well, another story, another day.) While living in London, I learned about loose tea. Two cups and one for the pot, mash the tea, put the milk in the mug and strain your tea. When I lived in London, we were poor poor poor. On Sunday, it was the treat to go the chippie. M***, the ex in question here, made us walk to the Elephant and Castle shopping centre to shop because he thought we were too poor to take the bus. The walk down was nice enough, but coming back with a big sack of potatoes was no fun. And lugging the sacks up the steps in to get to our flat, on the top floor, was no fun either. The prize was a pot of tea and toast. I never ate so much toast in my life. (This is where I also developed the a liking for Marmite. Oh GOD, I love Marmite and toast.) And we drank lashings of tea. (Incidentally, this relationship prepped me for Bridget Jones, because like her paramour, mine also liked to close all the blinds and watch cricket all weekend.) The only time we took a bus or the tube is when I paid. And like I said, we drank a lot tea.

The most used appliance in our house is the electric kettle. Now I don't have a good Irish metal pot, but a well used Brown Betty. Every once in awhile, someone will give me a flowery tea pot, which I like and they feel very pretty and special, but I love my Betty. We don't have a proper tea cosy, so I fold up a tea towel and put it over the top of the pot.

A few years ago, we were discussing the merits of tea while at the pub. (What can I say? I'm surrounded by Brits.) My friend N is rather posh, which of course he never told me, but from various hints dropped, I've figured it out. He noted that his grandmother had very definite opinions about milk in tea in first or milk in tea after it was poured. He maintained that his grandmother said she could taste the difference. The conversation moved forward before I could stop and ask him: which was proper according to her?

And so began and progressed my love affair with a properly made cuppa. I love my tea. Manhattans are still number one, but I haven't quite figured out how to continue drinking them if I get pregnant, whereas with tea, well we're already stocked up on the decafe Typhoo.

But my final question for you, and comment please, is when do you put in the milk? What does either signify?

Off the boil the kettle... thanks for diverting me!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Six Good Things from the Morning

1. I got the whole bed to myself last night. One would think most for most people part of a couple this might be an unsettling occurrence, the telegraph sign of a big domestic argument. Perhaps for some, but for me it was only the fault of vicodin. Last cycle, the only pain killer prescribed to dear Partner was nothing. "Take two Tylenol and call me in the morning." This time, perhaps a perk of a new nurse, she was given a healthy dose of vicodin. And indeed the discomfort (if one can call retrieval pain discomfort,because it's certainly discomforting for me to think about) has been worse, and so luck-be-a-lady, it's a good thing we got the heavy hitter drugs. However, taking it at 11:00 pm on the couch means she will not budge, not for the life of her, and it means I got to do my favorite thing: sleep like an X.

2. I got to the post office, bank, and grocery store all before 10:30 am. (Additionally, I had the meat marinating for dinner too!) For some this is a late day and perhaps are agog at my sloth, but considering I rose refreshed from my night of sleeping like an X at 8:45 am, I think this is pretty damn good. (And yes, I took a shower.)

3. While at Trader Joe's, I bought the most delightful new snack: Papadums in a bag, yogurt and dill flavored. Officially, I have a new addiction. I also bought copious amounts of three-buck-Chuck and I plan on drinking a lot of it before Sunday. Because even though I thought perhaps that I might stop drinking earlier before the transfer this time, it's never going to happen. Bring on the manhattans! And wine! I also successfully avoided the $20 bag of coffee that snared me on a previous visit.

4. The sun was very bright here today, and although it's as cold as a witch's tit, the sun was a reminder that perhaps it will be warm again. After taking the garbage down, Partner and I stood in the middle of the driveway like little prairie dogs with our faces turned to the sun.

5. I got a perfect cup of builder's tea this morning. When living in Dublin, my family taught me, rather late in life I must say, how to make proper tea. And of course in Ireland, at least my family, we put the tea into the pot and then leave it on the hob and it gets like you could stand a spoon straight up into it. On tea: next post!

6. Plus, the comments from my last post were fantastic. I think I heard some very powerful reminders about why to not lose hope about this cycle, and you faboo blog friends have heartened me, and I actually feel like a new woman about this cycle. (Incidentally, MFA Mama reminds me that perhaps I am being a bit more silent about details this time around, and I don't want to let anyone down: FYI, as for now, tranfer is scheduled for SUNDAY.)

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


Remember this?

On IVF cycle #1, after retrieval we got eight eggs and eight fertilized, which sounds fantastic, but it's important to remember that Dr. BBB does ICSI on all his patients, no questions asked. (Although I might start asking questions about this.)

When I didn't get pregnant, Dr. BusyBusyBusy's assessment was that perhaps there were some egg quality issues to think about it. He noted research that pointed out the correlation between egg quantity and egg quality and recommended we push Partner a little more in the stimming part of the cycle. Which we did, and remember, before we went info for the retrieval, we thought there were at least ten follicles, and Dr. BBB thought there were more, for sure and he'd find them when he had Partner knocked out on the table and he could press harder on her pelvic area.

We were the last surgery of the morning, and I don't know... one thinks all sorts of things at this point. Was Dr. BBB extra rushed trying to get back to see his afternoon patients? Did he not look hard enough?

Because we got eight again. Which is okay. But I can't get excited about it. I just can't, and I am trying to really hard to pretend in front of Partner. And today the nurse called nice and early and told us that all eight are fertilized (again). And since we were initially told that a 50% fertilization rate was positive, I suppose this still good. But I could hardly feel the elation I did last time when we got the news. I worry we're on the same trajectory as before, and we all know how that ended, don't we?

Monday, February 06, 2006

Fetch It!

Did it seem like, to anyone else who has done this thing called IVF, that the second cycle shots were worse than the first cycle shots? One would think I'd be a dab hand at it all by now, but I hated every shot into Partner's upper outside quadrant more than the first time. Maybe it's because several took place in public bathrooms, but even the morning Gonal-F felt harder. And then we added that third shot, and so I have been ready to finish poking her ass and have her start poking mine.

Which starts tomorrow. Fingers crossed all around, please, that the olive oil doesn't quite itch me up the way the sesame oil did, because that sesame oil was a b-i-t-c-h. I worried a little today because I was a little itchy around the progesterone patch, but hopefully that was just adhesive issues.

Our weekend was busy-- but not. We studied a lot for the first test in RHC 101, and I almost feel ready. My mother told me it wasn't necessary to get all A's, all the time. I told her I didn't understand that. I put a lot of pressure on myself. I'll let you know how that test was after I take it.

We went to the funeral of our family friend. The church, which is not a small one, was full. Quite a testimony, I'd say.

And then finally, on Sunday morning to see Dr. BusyBusyBusy and spent over an hour in his office. It was even busy then, but we got to hang out in his own little cubby while waiting to talk to the nurse about timelines and I read up on some interesting drug interaction stuff with pregnancy. It felt a little like I was putting the cart before the horse. However, as Dr. BBB waved his magic wand (and gave me a wee lesson on how to work the machine) he said he believed that Partner has ten follicles, perhaps more, and he told us to trigger her up Sunday night at 11:30 on the dot. So we did. And tomorrow (tomorrow??) we are off to see the wizard, aka Dr BBB. Even if this doesn't work again, he's too cute for words, with his shiny little blue Subaru, complete with spoiler. (I mean, COME ON, he drives a lesbian car!)

When we talked to the nurse about timelines, I did something really stupid. I asked her when the due date would be if this worked. I say stupid because it makes it so much more real, and even though I KNOW I have to be hopeful here and positive (because I really do believe such new age nonsense as drawing positive energy to yourself), it's scary to know such concrete details. Because, you know, if this, uh, fails again, it will be that much worse to know. (October 31st, if you are wondering, which felt auspicious since that is between my birthday and Partner's b'day, and also happens to be my brother's b'day and additionally is one of my favorite holidays.)

For now, we'll just hope everything goes well tomorrow and we get more eggs than last time and Partner reacts just as well to the anesthesia and everything is safe and sound.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Cycling Update

First of all, I don't imagine I'll be posting that much this weekend after this update, so pace yourself. Or don't. The entry beneath this one has a glorious recipe if you're looking for something to eat, but this isn't about food, it's about follicles!

I realize I haven't been posting as many minute by minute entries about how the cycle is going, and that's remiss of me. Many of you understand the intimacies of this stuff, so let me briefly tell you what is happening. Perhaps your eyes won't glaze over the way I am sure my mother's do when I am trying to tell her this stuff over the phone.

We started the cycle, if you remember, both of us, with follicles galore. No one thought to revamp the protocol, which we both worried about. Partner is getting 300 of the Gonal-F and 3 amps of the Repronex. I could safely say this is kicking her ass. And it was really fun to shoot up in the bathroom stall of higher education institution where we are taking RHC 101.

The idea was the increased drugs would amount in increased egg production. Last time there was some question about "egg quality," and Dr. BusyBusyBusy said there is a correlation between quantity and quality, which sounds counterintuitive to me, but since he's got the specialty and the actual medical license, whereas I only have the Google medical degree, I'll believe him. This once.

So far, the follicles have barely increased in number, but we're still hoping for double digits this time. Partner relates she feels much more full than the last cycle. Hopefully this is a good sign. On the ultrasounds this week, one ovary was overtaking the other, so last night I had to masquerade as Partner (who was in a training session) and get a new prescription: Ganarelix. (The story of pretending to be Partner is one that I should tell. One of the perks of lesbianism may in fact be picking up prescriptions for your Partner from a new pharmacy without a HIPAA release!)

So does anyone have any experience with the Ganarelix? It's a sub-cu shot and Partner does not like it. At all. Apparently it shuts off the LH production from the brain, which means Partner will not ovulate off that one ovary that is going great guns and will let the smaller one catch up. Even though all this IVF stuff is a royal pain in the ass, it's fascinating chemistry, eh?

So as of today after only two Ganarelix shots, it appears to be doing it's stuff. One ovary has at least six and the other has at least four follicles, so we're hoping for a baker's dozen. Dr. BBB wanded me, and decided I didn't even need a blood test my uterus was so thick and plush.

As of now he thinks we'll trigger on Sunday night.

We'll see. I'm far more ambivalent about this cycle than the last. Things change so freaking quickly, that I just am taking it one day at a time.

And to combat any uneasiness, I'm leaving the internets and going to cook dinner for us. Have a great weekend, friends, and after ultrasounds on Sunday, I'll let you know what is on the books in terms of moving forward.

For Trista: The Green Bowl

... was removed from the fridge and washed out today. Partner said, as she was rinsing its contents down the drain, that it even smelled good going down the drain.

Last week in a fit of "what-to-make-for-dinner," I realized we had a big old bag of frozen shrimp in the freezer. This can provide for a myriad of dinners, my favorite being a salad where the shrimp are marinated and served on greens with a lovely peanuty dressing that everyone who tastes immediately falls in love with. (I'll give you all the recipe if you are interested. Indicate interest below.) But then last week I realized I didn't want to go to the store for fresh greens.

I am fresh-shopper whore, which means my ideal dinner making scene would be to get fresh produce daily and cook that way. However, as time (and money) usually prevail, along with some badgering from Partner, I have relented and now stock some frozen goods in the fridge. Some salmon, chicken, hamburger, shrimp and other assorted sundries (like a big leg o'lamb, which next week [I promise] will be made into a fine stew.)

In terms of the shrimp, we are mostly spoiled and the frozen stuff unless properly marinated mostly tastes like, excuse me, shit. I had two brothers living for a number of years in New Orleans and shrimp is plentiful there and on visits I ate what I could eat without appearing (too) gluttonous. And then of course, there is my parents' house in South Carolina. We routinely drive to the shrimping docks and buy the shrimp right off the boat. My favorite time was when we were in a little flat bottomed skip, doing some crabbing, and decided to pull alongside a shrimper and get the shrimp direct from the boat. After eating shrimp like this, frozen is a sad sad substitute. What can I say? Aside from being a snob about many other things, I am definitely a food snob. And not ashamed or embarrassed to say it.

So last week I decided that shrimp kebobs could be in order and I perused the pantry for some readily available goods. I ended up making shrimp kebobs with a romesco sauce, which is a really tasty classic sauce from the south of Spain. The recipe called for swordfish, but I subbed the shrimps, and the result was delightful. Don't ask me why I had all these ingredients in the pantry other than I fancy myself of somewhat of a gourmand. But with no further ado, here's what to do:

For the Romesco sauce:
1/4 cup of sliced almonds
1 tomato, peeled and chopped
1 large red bell pepper, roasted, peeled and seeded [I used some roasted red pepps I had in a jar)
2 cloves of garlic crushed
1/4 cup of sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon of sherry (with an extra dash for good measure. It cain't hurt yeh!)
1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
Smoked paprika (just use the regular old stuff)

To make this sauce, use a food processor or blender and process the almonds until finely ground. Add your tomato, roasted pepper, garlic, vinegar, sherry and process it all up until smooth. Keep the motor running and add the olive oil slowly, drizzling it in until thickened. Season it to taste with salt and paprika. I also add a little pepper here, and use sea salt. Put it in a [green bowl] and set aside.

To marinate your shrimp or swordfish, you will need:
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cloves of garlic
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 lb swordfish cut into 1 to 1.5 inch cubes (or shrimp!)
2 large red peppers (that's capiscums to my friend over the various ponds)
some skewers
(I added some onions and tomatoes to the mix too)

So, stir all this together and marinate your fish! Skewer it up, and put it on the bbq, and cook until it's done. Serve it with that romesco sauce, and hopefully you will enjoy it. I also grilled up a little pineapple to go with this, and that answers all the pineapple queries. (You sickos! And I mean that in the best, most endearing of ways.)

Let me know if you make it and you like it. Or if you want to see more recipes on here. I love to cook, and I love to cook for my friends. Since most of you live far far away from me, sharing my secret recipes with you is maybe the closest I can get to cooking for you. Because I'd readily feed you all five course meals every night, and no, I am not kidding about that.

The Infertile Fridge

What should we have for dinner tonight, honey? Yum! We have lots of Repronex and Gonal F-- Let's eat!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Danger Will Robinson, Danger!

A little bit of Google will make a grown woman crazy. It's like a knowledge slot machine-- will you get three lemons? If you do, beware, because that's a bitter dose of knowledge. I dare you to try-- first, pick a few innocuous terms, plug them into the google search bar, and pull the lever.

[Casino noise inserted here]

My first example: "estrogen." This should not be scary, folks, because let's face it, approximately 50% of the populace manufactures estrogen naturally. (Well, okay-- wait a minute, even men get estrogen too, but hopefully you are following the general gist here.) However when you put estrogen into good old Google, you get this, where you are immediately warned "Estrogen may increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, breast cancer, endometrial cancer, and blood clots in the lungs or legs." Super. (This bliss can also be achieved if one actually reads the information that comes with the estrogen patches. Still, this is about googling.) After reading this, it's helpful to pop that little blue pill chock full of heart attacks, strokes, breast cancer, endometrial cancer and blood clots, aka Estradiol, into your mouth. Mm-mm good!

Next, try this fun one: "pregnancy and overweight." You might google this because you are paranoid that you are already a bad mother even though you don't even have children because you are considering a pregnancy under less than optimal health conditions. (Sidebar: You might also think this because when you talk to friends about watching the Six Nations Rugby Tourney, you wonder how you will do this without having more than a few pints of the old ale. You might think often about the length of time you will have to give up booze. This will cause some serious mother guilt, even if you don't have children. Now back to googlemania and our current search terms, "pregnancy and overweight.") If you pick the first site that comes up, it's not so bad until you read this: "Being overweight and pregnant puts you at greater risk for complications such as preeclampsia and gestational diabetes." But that's nothing you didn't know already. So keep looking, and keep feeling worse, but don't forget to suck down that regular Coke, full of sugar, and then stumble upon this gem. So, okay, not only are you fat, but now you're dooming the kid before it's even born. You should stop googling now, but it's like a little drug of looming dark clouds (almost like the Estradiol!), and you just can't stop your fingers.

And you know you shouldn't, but you do it anyway, and you google "gestational diabetes," which is definitely pulling a three lemon result on google, and it's far to scary to even outline, so you think, you're done because you've got your winning result of doom and gloom for the day.

However, if you're like me, you then google a fairly vague like description of something the nurse said she saw on your Partner's ultrasound this morning. You weren't there, so you didn't see it, but when your partner calls you, you think, "Huh, that sounds odd. I think I'll google it!" Don't. Do. That. Because then fifteen minutes later you will be crying (probably because of the Estradiol) and thinking about how you will sell your house and ask your parents for a big loan and the lyrics to old Billy Joel songs will enter your head with words like "good" and "die" and "young." Somewhere along the line, you will call three of your good friends who will all tell you to calm the fuck down and stop attracting negative energy and you will mostly listen to them because what other choice do you have? Hopefully you will also remember that your primary calling in life is that of "writer" which means you make up all sorts of really good stories all the time, and this is probably another one of your (maudlin) fictions. After all, your partner has been having ultrasounds every two days, and this is the first time anyone has ever seen seemingly scary looking thingies in uterus, and according to your friend, Irish, maybe it was just a spot on the ultrasound screen. (Yeah! Yeah! A spot on the screen!) You will end up keeping your phone tucked at your side, because your partner said she told the RE office to call you after referring ultrasound images on to doctor, who will not only look at thingies in uterus, but also the nicely progressing follicles. Breath deep and focus on the good.

And then consider unplugging the internet connection on your computer in order to stop the incessant google searches, but realize if you do that, you will be cut off from the blogworld, and that will never do. Instead, consider valium, and then you can start the whole cycle of feeling like a bad mother even though you don't have kids and this can, in turn, initiate a brand spanking new round of google slots!

Have fun, kids!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

White Light and Prayers

I could post about what a horrid bitch I've been lately, or how tears seems to spring forth from my eyes at any type of roadblock or obstacle, and that's what I was planning on regaling you with today.

Instead, I have two requests.

1. We all know (if not intimately, than at least empathetically) how scary a little spotting can be for a woman who is pregnant. This is happening to Pixi right now and I want you to take one small moment, even if you don't know her, and say a prayer or envision her in a some white light and think very positive things for her. Please do this.

2. Dear friends of our family lost their husband/father this past week. He suffered a sudden and massive heart attack. Right now, grief and anger are prevailing and the funeral is on Saturday morning. If you could say a prayer for this family, or think of them in the white light, or do whatever it is you do when someone is suffering and you want to help, I think that would be great.

That's all I ask of you today.