Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Hard to Believe It

A year ago we were setting off to Menorca and Paris-- a blissful week in the Mediterranean followed by some serious sight seeing and eating (more serious eating) in Paris. What a trip. And we thought we were coming home to do an IUI cycle with Partner. Life was crystal clear, just like the waters off Menorca.

And then we had the fateful hsg, and summer turned off kilter. But then there were those halcyon days of the first IVF cycle. So full of hope! The autumn seemed golden! The trees were never more glorious! We couldn't wait to poke each other with needles! We were both so sure that it was going to work the very first time for us. After all, it wasn't "fertility" problems that necessitated our IVF, it was just some damn fibroids.

And then it was winter. And we realized that there were other issues. Fertility issues. Egg quality? My uterus? No one knows. For all the science and minute cc's and mm's measured, it's really a crap shoot. It's like when my ex boyfriend got a book about shooting pool. He wanted to study the physics of it, sure it was going to make him a better player. I'd argue with him: "But Jose," I'd say, "It's about more than physics. It's what music is playing in the pool hall, the path of the moon, what beer you are drinking or not drinking, the short skirt of the girl at the table next to you." He never believed me. But he never went pro playing pool either.

In RHC 101, I spent an hour after class one night talking to my professor about reproductive endocrinology, indicating my interest, both academic and personal. He told me about the grueling fellowship these docs do, and the intense oral exams they face at the end of the fellowship. So much book knowledge. In Dr. BusyBusyBusy's office today, we laughed about the titles of the books: The Pituitary, The Thalamus, The Hypothalamus. Riveting reading, I'm sure.

But the fact of the matter is that no matter how many books or articles any physician in this field publishes or reads or consults on, when the cycle fails, he or she rarely has an answer for the question we most desire to be answered: Why?

For some inane reason, I thought this third cycle would have me breezing in and out of the office like an old pro. But I failed to realize the stress I would feel thinking "this is it: our last IVF cycle." This morning in the shower, I thought about how even more desperate this cycle (the one that gets tagged as "the last") must feel to my friends married to men. If this cycle doesn't work, we move to IUI on me and restart the odds. But if you don't have two resident uteruseseseses-- Oh Lord-- my friends-- Sigh. (How can I feel so much love for you gals I've only ever met over the bloggish world?)

But so far, this cycle sucks. I hate it. Today's visit to the doctor for ultrasound and labs was hororific. We waltzed in-- easy, breezy, beautiful-- with our old sharps container in hand and (evil) consent forms filled out far in advance. I read Town & Country, Partner read Time. And then the nurse came to get us. The twelve year old nurse. "Oh shit," Partner murmured. Oh shit indeed.

Up on the table, Partner braved going first and twelve year old nurse tenatively knocked on the door. I mentioned that sometimes Partner was a tough nut, so to speak, because of the fibroids. I really did say it to be supportive of her. I didn't want her to feel discouraged because she couldn't find Partner's ovaries. Even some of the more wizened nurses have had trouble, and once we did have to return later for a doctor to do the search. If you are an IVF veteran, you know that the ultrasound usually goes quite swiftly, in and out one might say. But my lovely Partner was prone for 15 minutes. At least. And in that time, twelve year old nurse not only failed to find her ovaries (both of 'em!), but also her uterus. An experienced nurse was called in off the bench, and she found the uterus. (Oh, there it is!) She found one ovary. The other ovary, she suspected, was tucked behind the fibroid. "It doesn't matter if we can't quite see it," she quipped. OH REALLY? Then why even have the ultrasound?

My ultrasound wasn't as remarkable, but I experience quite a bit of pain on the right side when that camera goes to work, and usually it goes quite fast and I bite back the pain. Today, she wasn't fast at all. And my left ovary? Little bastard. Quite the go-getter: seven freaking follicles!! I was fully suppressed with a full dose of Depot Lupron and had the hot flashes to prove it.

Don't worry, don't worry, don't worry all the nurses chanted. We'll draw blood and the hormones will tell the whole story. This time, I volunteered to go first, and twelve year old nurse deftly plunged the needle into my arm (after I pointed out the correct vein to use). On to my dear Partner, who has the smallest, most impossible veins ever. She's a legend for her small veins. I advised (who says I'm bossy? Shut your gob! I just know what I want!)-- Anyway... I advised twelve year old nurse that usually nurses use the butterfly with her, and she tried the butterfly, with Partner squinting and looking away. She didn't get a vein, but that didn't stop her from digging around in her arm with the butterfly needle. She didn't take the needle out and try again, she dug all around my sweet baboo's arm. It was disgusting, and I finally had to say something. Again, a different nurse was called for back up blood letting. She used a regular needle, and conversely, my Partner's antecubital area is disgustingly black and blue.

Finally, we were harassed about paying in full for the last cycle before this cycle could start. This is when I really had to bite my lip. All in all, there was nothing pleasant about this day's office visit. I rehearsed a phone call to Dr. BBB during the whole appointment, one in which I explained I didn't want twelve year old nurse. It's our last cycle. I'm feeling tender and desperate and I want someone who can at least find Partner's freaking UTERUS! I haven't made that call yet. I want to support the young woman starting her nursing career, but I also feel intensely, one could say insanely, selfish right now. I want a baby in my belly from Partner's eggs.

When we got hitched in August 2004, we thought we'd start with babies immediately after that. And here we are. Last year, we imagined a super break followed by kids. We waxed about taking babies to the beach and find a sitter for my brother's wedding.

There are no easy answers to the easy questions. Nothing is clear like those waters in the Med. I don't know if it's some karmic issue I'm meant to address here, or even how to come to grips with it all. Is it the cycle of the moon, or the beer we're drinking or not drinking, or how we slept the night before, or how I much prayed or didn't pray or even just the bump on the road? I just know that all of it, all of it, is still hard to believe.

I'm Derelict in my Duties

Kind of derelict. Everywhere else I am trying to hold on, and one thing passed off the plate today. Grading = complete. I appreciated the advice and sympathy on the last post. Here's what I did: Since the paper did not complete the assignment (8-10 original research paper, and he wrote 3.5 pages), I told him he was ineligible to revise for a better grade. Only students who took the time to complete the assignment in full would be allowed that privilege. I also gave him a ten page summary text from the APA chock full o'studies about (mostly) lesbian parenting. I also let him know that for an assignment that required him to discuss how one of several topics could imprison people (gender, class, race, sexuality, etc), that for him to write about how gay people should not be parents was rather ironic, since perhaps that's one place that gay people felt acutely discriminated against. I don't think he got it.

And then since I am a softy, I told him he could write an appeal to revise his paper. And it would be due the next class meeting. It should be typed and well thought out with absolutely no grammar mistakes and should have some serious reflection behind it. Later that afternoon I got an email with one long run-on sentence asking me to reconsider my decision. I reiterated my "appeal" criteria. (He wasn't the only student that had this penalty.) Guess what? He skipped class on Friday. No appeal. No revise. Other students took it seriously and I got some great dramatic pieces about their "withered states" and end of term stress. For the most part, I heart my students and their earnest undergraduate drama.

Since grading is no longer a part of my life, I will update more soon. Especially since I am heading out the door right now for my first date with the internal probe on this cycle.

Here we go, here we go, here we go...

Monday, April 17, 2006

Still Grading

And every once in awhile, I just don't know what to even write on a paper any more. For example, what do I say to this: "I feel that a single person should be able to adopt a child before a homosexual person... letting gay couples adopt children could mess up the child."

I mean, for writing style, pretty shoddy. Have I told them over and over again not to write "I feel" in an academic research essay? And "mess up the child"? What does that really mean? There's a certain amount of unpacking there there that needs to go on.

Other than that?

... sigh.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Conceptions, Carbs and Careers

This is meant to be a quick update because I am so busy lately that I feel like I could sleep forever. First of all, in RHC 101 there are six scheduled exams. Three of those exams were before April, and three of them are in April. This is making for a lot of studying. I just took exam four, and it was awful. I hope it was precedent for the next two. Maybe tonight I'll find out how I did.

It is, of course, the end of the semester. Which means paper grading galore, and when one is already behind on the grading, it adds to the tension. Today students turn in their final papers, which I have promised to have back to them by Monday so they can have a chance to revise. How I think I am going to do this when everyone is coming here for Easter and I have to shop and clean the house still, I have no idea. I'm not 18 anymore, and staying up late into the night is just not an option.

And then I can't even have any good simple carbs, like potato chips, to keep me going. Do you know how hard it is to study for hours on end without having salty carby snacks? Instead it's like, "Oh. Great. More cheese. Yum." My kingdom for a Coke.

Which I actually will have at least twice before transfer time, which is sooner rather than later? Because to top everything else off, we get our Depot shots today. I think Partner is feeling slightly blue about the whole thing, thinking about getting poked in the arse with all those needles again. As for me, I'm not excited or otherwise about the cycle. Now it just feels like something we do.

In the midst of this I've been spending a lot of time questioning my life and values and just being emotionally exhausted in general. I want to post more about this because I think writing about it might help clarify some things. Here's an example: last Saturday as Partner and I were nearing the end of a whole day of study for RHC 101, I just started to cry. And spilling much about my earlier education experiences and how I feel worth sometimes bound up in scholarly success and how I know it should only matter if I try my best, but still I don't act that way, and -- Well, there's a lot more there, but we ended up at the RC church where the priest somehow read my mind and his entire homily was directed to me (it seemed) and-- Okay-- I want to talk about this but I have to get in the shower and go downtown and teach and come back and get a hormone shot in the ass and then spend a few hours grading and then I get to go to a four hour session of RHC--- Sometimes I spiral, can you tell?

But I promise to slow down and let you in on more of the story here and spill the beans about RHC 101 and life plans and all that monkey business. Soon. Sooner. Soonish.

Friday, April 07, 2006


Last Saturday we were at a friend's newly built house (beautiful), and Partner's uncle mentioned that her cousin's graduation party would probably be either the 15 or 22 of July. He wanted to make sure we kept the days clear. The first thing that went through my head was not, "Oh My! Littlest Cousin is graduating from high school already!" or thinking about what we'd get her or even mentally checking the "real" calendar for those days. Do you know what the first thing that went through my head was? If you're a reader who has also done fertility treatments, then you know.

Yes, I immediately calculated how pregnant I'd be if this next cycle worked. And then I realized I do this all the time. How pregnant will I be? How old will the baby be? We've debated the merits of flying vs. driving to South Carolina for x months pregnant. All these dreamy conversations. I have done this for every cycle thus far.

All medications are in-- Came yesterday in two HUGE boxes from Freedom. The Gonal-F is in the fridge mellowing. We have not one, but two sharps containers. The Depot-Lupron shots take place in less than a week. It's time for me to stop with the hypothetical computations and start thinking seriously about how I'm going to do this cycle.

(And one more small update, because I said I would, but the grand total to date with SBD is 11 lbs.)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Spitting Mad

You thought I was angry about the trees? It doesn't even compare to how I feel about this.

I can hardly breathe. I am not exaggerating.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Via Frog-- The 8 Ball Meme

Instructions: Go to your music player of choice and put it on shuffle. Say the following questions aloud, and press play. Use the song title as the answer to the question. NO CHEATING.

How does the world see you?
Genius or a Fool, Jonatha Brooke

Will I have a happy life?
Hang on to Your Love, Sade

What do my friends really think me?
Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone, Bill Withers

Do people secretly lust after me?
The Chokin' Kind, Joss Stone

How can I make myself happy?
Parler d'amour, Ute Lemper and Art Mengo

What should I do with my life?
May the Circle Be Open, (arr Robert Gass)

Will I ever have children?
Getting Better, Beatles

What is some good advice for me?
Crazy Dreams, Paul Brady

How will I be remembered?
Yelling Away, Zap Mama

What is my signature dancing song?
Lovely Day, Bill Withers

What do I think my current theme song is?
Save the Children, Marvin Gaye

What song will play at my funeral?
Over You, Neville Brothers

What type of men/women do you like?
Stranded, Van Morrison

What is my day going to be like?
Lost Mind, Diana Krall

This was too much fun. Some make a lot of sense. Others, well, no. I only cheated once-- when the song "Okra" by Olu Dara came up for "what type of men/women do you like?"

Monday, April 03, 2006


Yesterday we spent hours in the bookstore perusing plans for our new house. After we staggered out of Borders at 6:30 pm, and I remembered we needed milk. As we were parking the car, I noted a tall handsome man taking a kid out of car. The baby had a little knit cap on, and I said to Partner, "Look at that cute kid." And Partner said, "That looks like Dr. BusyBusyBusy." And once we were in the store, it was indeed the good doctor. When we first realized that it was Dr. BBB, Partner questioned if we should say hello. Well, since he is rather intimate with my (our) intimates, I decided that yes was the right answer. We've already met the babe-- on the day of my last transfer he introduced us to his wife and young son. Now I know that many people might have been upset by this, but not us. Yesterday I met his daughter. We were there to pick up odds and ends: milk, veg, some onions for the curry. He was there to get stuff for "baking." I kept looking in my cart when we were there-- hyperaware of my healthy or not healthy choices. (Or expensive or not: last cycle he gave us a discount and hasn't said whether he'll do that again, but if he saw us buying the Maytag Blue Cheese, would he decide we don't need the discount? Arg.) After all, we parted in the produce section, I could come upon him anywhere in the store. I like the fact that we run into him out and about on the town, but I also do find it strange that someone who is so familiar with my nether regions and is not my partner just casually talks to me over the oranges and limes, introducing me to family. Hm. Does life just get stranger or what?