Archive for February, 2011

Such Sweet Sorrow

One of the most unexpected (and tender) experiences of my life was saying goodbye to our sperm donor Friday morning. Unlike college, dating, marriage, death, etc., it’s just not one of the things you expect to do when you grow up. We’ve known for months that E2 is leaving to travel Europe and who knows what afterward. It was still really sad, but also sweet, embracing him one last time.

K took him to make his final deposit at the clinic. We want to be sure we have enough of “him” to fertilize K’s eggs if mine don’t cut it. The two of them decided to mark the last hurrah with a ride on the tram that goes from the clinic at sea level up to the fancy university hospital on the hill. A lover of the earth and not moving, I opt out of said joyride at every opportunity because heights are also not my thing.

Up, up, and AWAY

So after he donated, they went up and then enjoyed the view from the top. They’ve bonded on many other occasions as well, usually while I was upstairs with my hips in the air. I love that they had these special times together. In the end, it may be their genetics that, through my body, thrive and take on the future.

They picked me up, and we hung out for a bit before taking E2 home. When we got to his house, I sat frozen in the driver’s seat. K had to make the chin sign that says, “Honey, get out of the car and say a proper good-bye.” We met this wonderful dude about a year ago. I went through all kinds of crazy trust issues at the beginning. I’ve come to love him, and he is the guy I want to be the biological other half of our future child/ren. All of this was swimming in my brain when I got out of the car and bum-rushed the poor bastard. When K hugged him, she said, “We want to have your baby!” to which he replied, “I hope I never hear that again!” It was good to end on a big laugh. I really hope that in a couple months he is somewhere in Spain, at an internet cafe, reading an email about his life-making sperm.

In the meantime, I’m finally getting my period. I was beginning to fret because I usually get it on day 24 or 25. But now that the lady hath announced her arrival, look out! I’ve already had one cry this morning, and that’s on my own, self-produced hormones. I’m drinking of the raspberry leaf like there’s no tomorrow, hoping to delay the need for painkillers. As I said to K out of my pathetic wet face, “Here we go.”

No Joking Matter?

I just never think of clowns when I think of Israelis. Or IVF.

Goes to show I could learn a few things. Check out this article.

Even with this study as evidence, I’m pretty sure a clown in the room after my IVF will only be funny if I’m put way under. Maybe I could call Bill Murray’s agent and see if I can get him to just stand at the foot of the bed; he wouldn’t even have to say anything. I’d laugh… hard.

World Gone Wild

While it’s easy for me to get so very wrapped up in my own story, I’d like to take a moment to note that the world is going crazy. Egypt, Bahrain, Wisconsin (ooh, did I just put those in the same list?)… Usually, crazy carries a negative connotation, and for sure the violence people are facing (have been facing) in certain Middle Eastern countries is negative to the tenth. But I’m a little prickly from the positive crazy that all the recent action brings too.

I’m in the middle of the down cycle before we start IVF. That means I’m on my own natural hormones, I’m not waking up to an early alarm to take my temperature every morning, and, barring the one kinda painful fibroid check and practice transfer I endured last week, my insides are closed for business. During this downtime, I am reading the news, caring about issues outside of my ovaries, rarely crying, seeing friends, and remembering what it’s like to be me and favor life. I’ve remarked to K on this and the one or two other occasions we’ve had to skip a cycle how very long these months seem. I mean, February’s the shortest month and it’s going on forever! I love it.

But even as I distract myself with passive participation in world events, I maintain a chest tightening that is a constant reminder of the March madness to come. Soon after I get my period, I start taking birth control to suppress ovulation and encourage the follicles to grow at a similar rate to a similar size. Then I get to have a few days of withdrawal bleeding. Then I start with the self-administered twice-daily shots of ovulation stimulation. Through all of this, from what I understand (which changes all the time), I will be going to the clinic for blood tests and inside scopes to follow the progress of the follicles. At the magical time, we’ll go in, I’ll go slightly under (I get an anesthesia and antibiotics!), they’ll stick my ovaries with a needle from the inside and suck out the eggs (hopefully lots of ripe ones). The eggs will be injected with our donor’s sperm and left to do their thing in a petri dish for a few days. The eggs will then take to the catwalk while the fertility technician judges vote on their strut, curves, and talents. The best two will be put back in me, I begin taking my ol’ frenemy progesterone (injections this time), and, once again, fingers (holding much less money) will be crossed. And all with a 10% of success!!!

Wow, impressive list of travails, right? “Try demonstrating for democracy in the face of whip-wielding, horse-riding maniacs!” says the inner voice addicted to Huffington Post.

Pyramids of Wrath

I am a hair’s breadth from complete infertility. It’s not a matter of trying more, waiting longer, getting healthier, or finding a different donor. I have “decreased ovarian reserve,” and what few & funky eggs I have left are going very, very fast.

To explain the situation, I defer to Dr. Rose’s thoughts expressed on infertility.com (I added the bold):

“Decreased ovarian reserve is one of the more difficult diagnoses that a patient can have. That is because such patients are much more difficult to help to achieve pregnancy since the normal tools to achieve pregnancy don’t work as well. Some patients will likely have at most a few years of potential fertility left, so the situation is urgent. Some may have limited or no fertility left, but the process of finding this out, at times, involves a process of trial and error.

A woman is born with one to two million eggs. Although she will ovulate only three to four hundred of them, the rest will essentially wither away until there are none left. She will then be menopausal. Most of the time, the eggs are in a protected state with a small group of them constantly being released from this protection. We do not know what causes the ovary to change the status of these eggs, so we refer to it as a women’s biological clock. Those eggs that have left this arrested state will go on and ovulate provided they receive optimal hormonal stimulation. If they don’t get this stimulation, they soon undergo an actively defined degeneration (called apoptosis).

One way of defining decreased ovarian reserve is when a woman has fewer than 25,000 eggs in her ovaries. Statistically this occurs around age 38. Fertility is still present until around 42 years old and, for most women, therapy to achieve pregnancy is still a reasonable thing to do. Menopause (no eggs) occurs around age 51. However, these numbers are only averages and these events have a distribution around these averages. For example, many women don’t experience menopause until well past age 51. Similarly about 10% of all women will have decreased ovarian reserve by age 32. In a practice such as mine, where women are self-selected to come here on the basis of not being able to get pregnant, the incidence of decreased ovarian reserve is even higher.”

Besides crying and forcing my mom to visit from AZ, I do not know what to do with myself. Talk to people about what you’re going through, some may advise. The problem is that I hate everybody right now. Wait a second, you may think to yourself, I am a family member or close friend of yours. You can’t possibly hate me! Alas, my hormones have become a badminton birdie, and not even you are spared. I realize blogging the fact that I hate all people will not serve me well. No one will want to be supportive of a hater.

But here’s my real beef: People say stupid shit. I say stupid shit to other people. It’s a problem. At some point, supportive listening became a game of one-upmanship, or, its slightly less disgusting cousin, advice giving/pseudo-sympathetic encouragement. So, while I allow my hormonal rage to dictate my hyperbolic use of the word “hate,” I do insist that something bad has happened (maybe it’s increased narcissistic reserve?), and people just don’t seem to get how to really be present for someone else.

In my lower state of being, I have devised the following pyramids to explain the order of my “hatred” (most hated, from top down):

Tomorrow we go to the fertility clinic to discuss the latest blood test results (the already diagnosed egg depletion and its light-speed trajectory). We will also meet with a financial planner to help us hand over $22,000 (not including the tests needed to be approved for the $22,000 deal). I remember thinking that IVF was a very expensive crap-shoot when I thought the chances were 50/50. Then I thought my chances kind of sucked when I was told my personal success rate was looking more like 20-30%. Now, I don’t know whether to scratch my watch or wind my ass (thanks Dolly!), because I cannot see the point in even trying IVF. Sure, there’s no good reason why I couldn’t get pregnant with K’s eggs; except that there was also no good reason that a healthy¬† 33-, then 34-, then 35-year-old wouldn’t get pregnant with fresh sperm. Something always comes up! I am a walking, breathing exception. Hardly anyone gets infection from a laparoscopic appendectomy (check!), only 10% of the human race gets to be a gay-class citizen (check!!), it’s unusual for someone my age to have decreased ovarian reserve (check!!!). At this rate, if I were to get pregnant, I’d probably be in the 1% of women who give birth to dinosaur babies!


(Disclaimer: No men were harmed in the making of this blog.)

The Family

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