Friday, June 28, 2013


The beta came back, and it's well above what it needs to be.

So, now I will maybe stop checking this morning's pee stick every 10 minutes: this is not a dream, I really, actually am pregnant.

I am in shock and am overjoyed, yet also sad and hopeful for my friends (blogger friends and real life friends from my RESOLVE group) who are still waiting for that positive.

Oh Happy Day

[To anyone reading who doesn't want to hear about an (early) pregnancy, stop here.]

Today is one of the happiest days of my life.


I never thought I'd pee on a stick and see that happy little plus sign, but this morning I did. I was nauseous all day yesterday, though I assumed it was nerves. I didn't even want any chocolate after dinner- highly, highly unusual for me.

I slept okay, but I had pregnancy dreams all night. Happy ones. A little weird.

B woke me around 6:30 am. We went  into the bathroom, and I tested. I have never, ever ended a pregnancy test with anything but tears. I KNEW it would be negative and I braced myself for it. I picked up the test and began crying, and when I told him, so did he. It was positive. No mistaking that plus sign.

I can't describe the happiness I am feeling right now. I know I need to be cautious, because anything can happen. I don't even have the beta number yet (just came home from the clinic- won't hear back till afternoon). But I can't even think of this joy going away right now. I made my mom cry too. She was up early too, preparing the house for sitting shiva for my grandma's recent death (which unfortunately I can't go to- I'm not leaving town right now- but the memorial service will be later this summer and of course I can go to that). 

I am glad I never gave up, and I want good results for all of my other friends out there who are trying or who are reading this. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Not Feeling Good. Okay, Feeling Horrible.

I had been feeling pretty positive recently. 70% chance of success is pretty good, and a grade A embryo were helping me feel more confident than ever before. Two days after my 5 day transfer, I had some light pink spotting and mild cramping for 24 hours.

Then, last night when I went to the bathroom, there were long, bright red streaks of blood mixed in with normal discharge (sorry to be gross, but it's my blog). Like, bright red, fresh blood.

I freaked out. I continue to freak out. I had cramps all night and didn't sleep well. I had nightmares of getting my negative pregnancy test. That the Crinone didn't do it's job to keep my lining intact, that now I have to have the scary scratch biopsy done. That next time I need to go back to the PIO shots in the ass. That I am not pregnant, even with a perfect embryo. That I never will be.

My nurse reassures me that it is probably an irritation of the cervix from all the Crinone. I don't know. I need to stop writing because I am freaking myself out even more.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Ends and Beginnings

Last IVF cycle, back in February, my 97 year old grandma was not doing well, and we thought it might be the end. My mom sent me this email:

End of life is a very difficult thing.  I am hoping that the end of my mother's life will coincide with the start of my granchild's life.  Wouldn't that be a fitting gift of the cosmos? Did you know that you were conceived on my 32 birthday?  That is a cosmic gift too.

Well, my granny pulled through, and when I saw her in April, she was doing okay. But today she died, after a bout of pneumonia following a broken hip. We didn't know it would happen so quickly, although she hasn't been strong for awhile and her dementia was getting worse and worse.

I am glad that my mom was there with her when she passed away, though sad that my mom had to be alone for this. My aunt and uncle were on the way from New York but this happened before they got there. I had just been talking to my mom this morning about whether and when I should come up, since the funeral will be later this summer when we can take her ashes up to the gravesite in New Jersey. But then she passed away before we expected, and now she is gone.

I am at work, but finding it hard to focus on any work, between this and my beta test in less than 48 hours. I know there is no connection between most things, but my mind went back to what my mom had written to me in February. Maybe the cosmos finally will send a gift our way.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Radical Honesty

Two weeks ago, I wrote a rambling post about other people's pregnancies. Specifically, I was telling about how a friend had announced her pregnancy on Facebook, and had hurt me by not mentioning it to me first, even though she knew of our troubles and we'd been emailing after she must have known about her pregnancy.

Well, I mostly put it out of my mind, but it still bothered me. But the night of my transfer, while in Atlanta, my email inbox pinged. Guess what it was? No, it wasn't her checking in with me or saying hello. It was a BABY SHOWER INVITE from her mother!

WTF. You don't mention your pregnancy to me even while asking about my IVFs, you post an obnoxious photo on Facebook that insults people who have cats instead of babies (ahem), and then you INVITE ME TO YOUR FUCKING BABY SHOWER??? Via mass email????

I drove home from Atlanta the next day, and try as I might, I just couldn't quit thinking about the audacity and outright rudeness of this. I really wanted to call and give her a piece of my mind, although my friends had counseled me not to. Also, and more importantly, I was driving. So I did nothing, but stewed about it for a long time.

That night, when I got home, I just couldn't resist. I emailed her probably too long of a message. Here is what I sent:

I want to tell you how hurt I was by your not taking the time and compassion to email me to tell me of your pregnancy before putting it to the world on Facebook, and by your not saying anything yet inviting me to your baby shower.

I understand that this is about you and not me, but you WATCHED me do my fertility shots. I MUST have told you how hard this is for me. I think you know I have done three rounds of IVF with no success. I have poured my heart and soul and a significant chunk of my life savings into trying to have a baby. Perhaps you do not realize how heartbreaking it is to me to not be able to have the process of pregnancy and a child. I know, I know, people all around us are getting pregnant, I get it. But I was hurt that you are my friend and you  knew of my struggles and did not bother to give me a heads-up before the Facebook posting (as many of my other friends have kindly done). According to my FB account, we were emailing as late as April, by which time you must have known you were pregnant. A simple thoughtful email or acknowledgement would have been nice.

I wasn't going to say anything, but then I received this baby shower invite and felt upset all over again. In what world is it considered okay to issue an invitation to celebrate a pregnancy to someone who is obviously is struggling over her inability after two and a half long years to enjoy the same thing? 

I keep hearing you tell me how you and [your husband] were "ambivalent" about children, and the injustice of life cannot be more clear. I recognize this is not your fault, of course.

I do wish you happiness and a healthy pregnancy, but I would have appreciated a friend's sensitivity and compassion in this situation.

I tried to make it nice but express how I felt and why her actions bothered me so much. I expected a bitchy retort, or perhaps radio silence. However, two and a half hours later, she wrote back. I won't post the whole thing here, but essentially she said that she is sorry, and that she just didn't know how to deal with it, so she didn't. She said that in retrospect she should have emailed me and she realizes that now.  Here is a little bit of how she wrote it:

I did take the time to think of your reaction, but I honestly didn't know the best approach to take. I thought sending you a personal email might make the sting stronger, because you would have to respond to a direct connection. I thought perhaps a public announcement would give you time to process your feelings and not feel the need to respond personally. I noticed that you didn't respond to the public announcement, but didn't want to make it more difficult by writing you and bringing attention to it.

So, I was pleasantly surprised that she did write back, though further annoyed that she actually thought about it and decided a public announcement was really kindest (WTF? does that make sense to anyone??? maybe to a fertile person).

I wrote back and said:
Thanks for writing back. I figured it was how you described it- you didn't know what to say, so you didn't say anything. I know it was not an intentional thing, but it did really hurt me and I would say that in general, if you don't know what to say, saying something is often better than nothing. At least that's my opinion, from this side of the issue. One in eight couples struggle with fertility problems so it can be a sensitive topic for many, but it's also a hidden issue that most of us don't want to think or talk about, so we don't know how to deal with it.

The reason I wrote this is that although I don't think it's my job to educate the world, I do think that with 1 out of every 8 couples struggling with infertility, people SHOULD be more sensitive when announcing their news to the world via Facebook. I mean, I guess if you post that you got a new job, it could offend people who are under- or unemployed, and perhaps posting a photo of me with my husband could upset a single person who wants to be married?  I don't know, and maybe I am overthinking all of this, but I just think pregnancy is a weird issue. I'm not sure I can elucidate why, but especially for this friend, she KNEW someone struggling, so I still can't totally forgive her not taking the effort to do SOMETHING before fucking sending me a baby shower invite. That part, especially, I cannot understand.

Anyway, probably no one cares about my personal drama, but I am still struggling with my feelings over this. But mainly, I just want to start speaking up more when people do things that aren't right or aren't kind. I feel like I spend too much of my life being "pleasant" when I don't feel like it, to protect other people, but this incident made me feel like I shouldn't care so much when people aren't pleasant and don't think of my feelings. And as I wrote to her, infertility is not rare. Hello. Wake up. Be a good friend and a compassionate person when the opportunity is staring you in the face.

Obviously this is about more than just my friend, and is bigger than one person or one issue. I just haven't fully processed it, but this helped.

As a closing note, I'll also say that for the fifth time in a row, my dad sent me a godawful cat statue for my birthday. And I finally, at last, told him the truth. "Please don't send me any more cat-themed items." And he didn't get upset!  Score 1 for (careful and kind) radical honesty!

Friday, June 21, 2013


Today is my 33rd birthday! And what a good birthday it has been so far.

Beautiful roses from my husband:

He also gave me a pretty necklace and a delicious-looking bar of dark chocolate with sea salt and almonds (my favorite!) and some fancy hand carved chopsticks. My mom sent me a tabletop grill (to prepare all the yummy veggies I will soon have coming out of my garden) and something else- she said it's in today's mail, which hasn't come yet. My bum dad said he mailed me a present too but it hasn't come either. Also, my friend in ATL gave me a cookbook from one of the wonderful vegetarian restaurants we went to this week. Tonight I am seeing Pilobolus (modern dance) with friends.

And, of course, I have my perfect little embryo, which is what I really wanted. And my five frozen ones (yes! one of the ones they were observing turned out to be good, so they added it to the four I already had).

I am showered with riches and feeling pretty happy right now.

Oh, one more thing: I just went to the bathroom to pee, and there were a few spots of light pink. Is it my cervix irritated by all the Crinone? Or could it possibly be implantation bleeding???

Only time will tell. Now I have to go do some work for my HOA and eat some of that delicious chocolate bar that is beckoning to me. What a wonderful birthday this year.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Transfer Day

I've done three IVF transfers before, but yesterday morning was the first time I've ever walked into the clinic and not wanted to burst into tears. For the first time ever, I grinned as I greeted the receptionist: I was going in for a five day blastocyst transfer- a good, strong, healthy embryo!

My friend went with me, and we got settled into the transfer room. The nurses checked my bladder and it was full enough (I was afraid I'd pee right on the table there!). The doctor and the embryologist came in, and they gave me the amazing news: of the 7 eggs that fertilized from the 8 that were provided, I had one amazing, grade AA embryo to transfer and 4 great quality blasts that had already been frozen! There are also two more that might also have been frozen today (note to self: email nurse and check to see if that happened or not).

This was above and beyond my wildest dreams and I cannot express how thrilled I am with these numbers. The clinic's nurses were all so nice, and my doctor and the embryologist were wonderful. When they projected my perfect little embryo on the screen, I couldn't help but start crying. I think my friend was crying too, just because it all seemed so magical and special. She held my hand and it felt like something truly otherworldly was happening. When I saw the bright dot at the end of the catheter released into my uterus, it felt like all of my struggles and troubles with my own eggs was almost redeemed by this one perfect embryo. I know it's weird, but I already felt like it's mine.

No, I did not transfer a cat embryo. This is just my friend's adorable kitty, and my adorable embryo.

Anyway, I don't want to get too involved or too fixated on what may or may not come to be. The doctor said with an embryo this good, my chances are about 70% success. But he cautioned me that 70% means that still 30% of cycles, even with this perfect embryo, result in a negative. I am hoping and praying that I come out on the good side of the odds for once, but I am somewhat comforted by the fact that I have either 4 or 6 blasts waiting for me, if this cycle should fail (and if not.. they are waiting, if I should want them in a couple of years...).

It was hard to watch this cycle go better than planned, when my own have failed so miserably. But I am trying not to think about this, and to instead focus on the positive. I test a week from tomorrow, and all I can do is wait, hope, and stare at the photo of my one, perfect embryo. It feels so good to have hope again.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Happiness and Hope

I have been meaning to update this blog for a few days now, but I've been so busy! Finally, today, I have some quiet time while my friend is at work.

On Thursday afternoon we drove down to Atlanta. It's about six hours away but we hit a terrible storm, and we stopped a lot for food, gas, and breaks. We also had some good chuckles at how stereotypical South Carolina was. All along the highway, there were signs mainly for girly shows, peaches, and fireworks. Also this, which B refers to as a sin against humanity (and if you've never had a boiled peanut before, there is no way to describe the hot, soggy, salty mess that I've been unfortunate enough to experience):

Friday morning we got up and B went to the clinic to give his "sample," and then came back for me. We returned to the clinic and met with my doctor. He is as nice and friendly and reassuring as he was on the phone. I can't say enough good things about him. The clinic was bright and welcoming, the nurse was super nice, and the doctor reassured me that a lining of 7 is just fine. He decided not to bother with a mock transfer since I've done IVF so many times before, and he'll be doing my transfer himself. It was a quick and pleasant appointment. Then B and I went to wonderful vegetarian cafe and enjoyed some delicious food, and then we went and were tourists downtown. We went to the World of Coke, which was cheesy and silly but sort of fun. I dislike Coke, but it was a good way to distract myself from anxiously awaiting the news.

On Saturday morning, the news came at 9:11 am. I had just woken up, and was lying there, stomach in knots. At my other clinics, I've always had to wait for what seemed like all day, and I've always gotten off the phone crushed and in tears. My first IVF we had 5 mature eggs and only 1 fertilized normally. My second IVF, we had 4 eggs and 2 fertilized. My third and final IVF, we had 6 eggs, 5 of which were mature, but only 2 fertilized. We've always had to do a day 2 or day 3 transfer, and the embryos were crappy quality.

This time: they thawed 8 donor eggs and SEVEN fertilized! Not only that, but they were looking so good, that the next day (Sunday), they called and left me a message that we are definitely on for a five day transfer!

This is amazing news. I can't even convey how excited I was to hear that 7 of the 8 fertilized. I was jumping up and down, crying with happiness, blabbering to the lady on the phone that I've never had more than 2 eggs fertilize. I was ecstatic and so is B. I just have never gotten good news when it comes to all my procedures and outcomes, and this was even better than I had hoped for. I was on cloud nine all day, and B couldn't stop hugging me and sneaking kisses on my cheek every few minutes. It was super cute and such an amazing feeling to finally have something to be happy about.

We spent Saturday with our friends, in a small town called Athens, Georgia. We ate at another fabulous vegetarian cafe, walked around the campus of UGa and just had a good time browsing through little bookstores, record shops, and vintage places.

On Sunday, yesterday, I missed my phone call, but the nurse left a message to say that things are looking good with the embryos and we are definitely on for a five day transfer! I had another great day yesterday with my friend- we dropped B off at the airport to fly home, and we went to the High Museum of Art and the MLK Memorial Site in Atlanta:

Later that evening, we cooked another delicious meal, vegetarian burritos and cilantro roasted potatoes and a nice green salad. My friend and I went to grad school together and cooking together has always been one of our favorite things to do:

And now, I am just sitting in her condo, finally taking some time and space to catch up on email, news in the world, and this blog of course. The magnitude of this news is still with me, as we have better chances of a successful outcome than I have ever had before. It is a relief and saddening what this donor egg process proves: it was my eggs all the time that were the problem. The horrible fertilization and division of the embryos has been totally opposite when using our healthy 23 year old's eggs. Mainly, it's a huge relief, because this means that unless I have some other problem, I have a very real chance of a healthy pregnancy and finally getting to have a child. A smaller part of me is still mourning that I couldn't do this on my own, at the young age of 32. I have always tested okay for AMH (a little low, but not horrible) and all my other hormones are fine. I did have moderate to severe endometriosis, but I had surgery and they thought that would make conception impossible. But, donor egg has proven to me that the eggs are what was stopping us from getting good embryos in my three IVF cycles.  It's hard to hear that it was me all along, but ultimately, it is good. In the end, I want a child, and I want to carry it and nurture it myself, and this miracle of donor egg is hopefully going to make that possible.

More news tomorrow when they call with a transfer time and an update on the embryos. Till then, I am just trying to enjoy my newfound happiness.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Next stop: Atlanta!

Sometimes I take a step back and just have to laugh at the absurdity of this whole situation. Who would have ever thought I'd be packing a huge suitcase, saying goodbye to the cat and my bed, and getting in the car for a six hour drive, just to get knocked up? What most people do in the comfort of their beds (or various other locations, I guess) is requiring a road trip and week away for me. 

But, on the plus side, I am super excited that I am able to get in the car. My lining check this morning left me in tears. I was SO anxious when I woke up today that I forgot to put on my watch and wedding band, and left my lunch at home. I never do any of these things. This might be the first time I've forgotten my ring in the four years I've been married. I really was nervous and distracted.

Anyway, the news is that my lining has not progressed. It's still at 7 mm. I was deeply disappointed that it has not thickened, but the doctor in Atlanta said it has not gotten smaller, so I can still proceed. 

I was hoping for better news, but I know that I need to calm down and focus on the good news. We are leaving in just a few hours, and hopefully the embryos will be healthy and happy in there. 

Today: leave for Atlanta
Tomorrow at 9 am: eggs are thawed and B gives his "sample"
Tomorrow at 10:30 am: I meet with my doctor for the mock transfer
Saturday: fertilization report- this is a big deal, considering we've had crappy fertilization with my own eggs, and I will be very anxious till I receive this call
Monday or Wednesday: transfer, hopefully

Wish me luck, and next time I post it will be from the ATL!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Lining Blues

This morning was my checkup at my local clinic, to make sure my uterine lining was of a sufficient thickness to encourage an embryo to want to stick around. It was 7 mm, which is slightly less than ideal. They really want to see 8 or above.

I've had thin linings in other cycles, though in my last cycle it was good. So I'm not sure how much I should be freaking out or not right now. My clinic in Atlanta wants me to go back and have it measured again on Thursday, before we leave for Atlanta. There is the possibility of delaying our cycle- and therefore our trip- if my lining has gotten thinner. The nurse seemed to indicate that if it's still at 7, that's okay (though they'd like to see it improve).

Just what I need- more stress and another $150 doctor bill. I don't even care about the money, it's the stress that bothers me more. What if this cycle gets delayed? I'd be really bummed if have to push things back. I do want to be home for my birthday and any delays will make that not happen.

This study is small, but seems to indicate it doesn't matter if the lining is under 8 mm. But commonly accepted practice is to try to get it to 8 or above.

There is plenty of junk on the internet about ways to increase it, but I don't believe them (more sex? soak feet in hot water? yeah right to both of those- I doubt they have anything to do with my endometrial lining). I'll just keep doing my estrogen patches and drink lots of water and hope and pray for good news on Thursday. Sigh. It's never easy, is it?

Friday, June 7, 2013

Article about Men & Infertility

The Washington Post's weekend magazine section has a feature story on men and their experience with infertility that is worth a quick read:

Much of what the men say in this article rings completely true to me. My husband also has a more positive outlook and doesn't seem to need the support that I seek out, yet I know it affects him deeply too. It's good to see an article being published in a major news outlet that explores some of these issues.

Other people's pregnancies

One week from today we will be in Atlanta, my donor's eggs will be unfrozen, and combined with my husband's sperm. If all goes well, I won't be brought back in till Wednesday, June 19th, for a five day, single embryo transfer. Then I will drive myself home the next day, and the following day is my 33rd birthday. My goal was to be done by my birthday, and sure enough, we are track for that. Of course I won't test till the week after my birthday, but at least we'll be done with the Atlanta part.

I had a pretty hard weekend after I last wrote. I recently have become good friends with a woman from my local support group. I had been close with four other women, and one by one, three of the four are all pregnant (or delivered a baby, in one case). That's been hard- I love getting their updates and am so happy for them, but sometimes I feel like a failure. I'm the only one who has gotten negative IVFs every time and am still here, infertile.

Anyway, recently I've become friendly with a new-ish member of the group. We're very different in a lot of ways, but we are the same age, and we've both been trying for a baby for 2.5 years. I encouraged her to shop around for a new clinic and she ended up switching to my clinic here. They did one IUI, negative. They did another one, and she texted me on Thursday that she had gotten a faint positive, but then a BFN the next day. She seemed upset and hopeless, and asked if we wanted to have dinner with her and her husband on Saturday night. I offered to cook, and planned a lovely meal that we could eat on the deck.

Well, Friday night she found out she is pregnant. Definitely pregnant.

I was.. deflated. Now, don't get me wrong: I am thrilled for her. She is wonderful and deserves to be a parent. I have wished nothing for the best for her. But to hear of yet another support group member's pregnancy can be hard. I wish I had my treatments work. I wish I had gotten pregnant from an IUI or an IVF and my own eggs. I wish, I wish. But, it isn't going to happen.

So, I was truly happy for her, but also sad that I'm losing yet another companion in this path of infertility, and that I feel like a failure yet again. But when I woke up Saturday, I was determined to be a gracious host to them for dinner, and to have a nice weekend before and after that.

Then, the kiss of death: Facebook.

I checked Facebook. And a high school friend of mine announced her pregnancy. In the worst, most obnoxious way: one of those ridiculous photo shoots with her and her husband and a due date and a stupid little baby bump prominently featured.

This was a friend (notice WAS) that WATCHED me do my shots one year ago, when I visited her at her home. She told me she probably didn't want kids, that she is really focused on her PhD, that both her husband and herself are "ambivalent" about children.

Why, universe? Why should someone who is ambivalent about wanting children get pregnant so easily, so quickly (I know they went on vacation in January- I assume they were not trying before then), yet I, who have longed for a baby for so many years, cannot? Life is so unfair, so deeply, deeply unfair.

As if this weren't bad enough, I looked back at my emails and we'd been writing back in April. When she was two months pregnant, by my calculations. She asked how IVF was going and I relayed that it hadn't worked and we are sad and don't know what to do next.

She said NOTHING about being pregnant.

And it's not that she should have to, but I would have really appreciated a short note or email before she posted that obnoxious, attention-hogging photo on Facebook. She KNOWS about my struggles and our pain and she couldn't even have said something, a short something? And she KNOWS about infertility, through at least me if not others, and she still thought her FB obnoxiousness was something wise to do?  I have had plenty of other friends become pregnant, and I am happy for them, and when they've told me, via email usually, then it's totally fine.

What do you think, readers? Am I being way too sensitive? Should we not expect some sensitivity after disclosure to a close friend? Is this just not something people should be expected to think about? Am I crazy for being angry at her and wanting to tell her how insensitive this was?

I won't do anything. She lives far away and we don't see each other more than once or twice a year, and she's not obligated to protect my feelings or do anything, and I suspect she'd just think I was crazy if I were to say anything. Perhaps, if this cycle works, and I am coming from a more positive place, then I can say something... or perhaps not.