Sunday, October 30, 2005

Second annual infertile ring show

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I met Mark at work. At the weekly company beer hour, in fact. I knew his name because he was the payroll administrator, he knew mine, for the same reason. The first time we were introduced we had a marvellous conversation, ignoring everyone else for the two hours for which beer hour ran.

A few days later I made up a bogus payroll question - an excuse to go to his cube and see if he was at all interested. Big, fat, NO. I didn't come out and ask, but you can just tell. He was all business.

But I had my eye on him anyway. I would talk to him whenever I saw him at beer hour, and would forward him joke emails (this was back in the earlier days of the internet, before those got annoying).

Almost a year after we first met, we were at another beer hour, and again spent the entire time wrapped up in our conversation. Towards the end of the event, he was going to leave with a couple of friends to go to a dive bar (one of his femle coworkers was doing a project for which she had to observe 'deviants', and Mark didn't want her going alone.) He asked, offhand, if I'd like to join them, and I said I'd love to!

Marble head, meet light! He finally realized that perhaps my interest was a little more than platonic. And that was how we started dating.

About a year and a half later, he proposed to me when we were on a trip to Disney World. He took me to the top of the Contemporary Hotel, where there used to be a restuarant called "The Top of the World". He said something like "I've been on top of the world since I met you. Will you marry me so I can stay here?". We always joke that I never said "Yes" - my response was "Of course I will!!!".

We were married in June of '99. We had our wedding rings made out of a Kruger Rand (South African gold coin) that my grandfather had left to me when he passed away a few years before.

My favorite memory from the ceremony was the part where I was supposed to repeat "I take you, Mark, to be my lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold..." I got to the "husband" part, and burst out in giggles. The idea of me with a husband! Too much. It took me about five minutes to get it together so we could continue.

He forgave me for that, and we've had an amazing six+ years together since then. Hoping for many, many more!

Check out Jamie @ Losing the Baby Wait for other participants in the ring show!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Shoes and Stuff...

Thalia and Anita asked about shoes to go with my fabulous dress. I must confess, I'm a bit of a shoe pauper. I'm really terribly frugal (some might call me cheap), and have a very hard time buying things I don't *need*. And shoes generally fall in that category. (Although I did manage to get over that frugal feeling to buy a convertible. ha.) So I have a pair of black shoes with some 'diamonds' on them that I'll probably wear. I'll post a pic of those soon, since I know you're all dying to see them.

Pixi and Thalia also asked about my 2ww. I tested this morning, because I have my pre-IVF appointment with Dr. Conveyor tomorrow afternoon and I was thinking about maybe cancelling if, well..., you know. So I tested. Yet again, a large white expanse where that elusive second line should be. I know it's early (12/13 dpi), so I'm not totally throwing in the towel just yet, but it looks like we're probably on to IVF.

I'm somehow much more okay with failure this time than the previous IUIs - I think because I feel like we did give it our absolute best shot, so I have no regrets. It didn't work, but it's not the end of the world.

So now I'm trying to think of all the questions I want to ask Dr. C. tomorrow. I definitely want to know what protocol we'll be using - will I be taking Lupron or something equivalent? There isn't much need to 'supress' me since I have no FSH, LH or e2 of my own. Right? I want to know if we will be using ICSI, given our 4% morphology and low counts. Should I insist on ICSI? Is there anything else I should ask about? If you've already been through, or are in the midst of IVF now, anything you wish you'd asked / known? I remember at one point seeing a post where someone wrote about what she wished she had known before hopping on the IVF bandwagon, but now I can't find it. If you know the post of which I speak, could you point me to it?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Enough with the whining. Now I'm going to boast instead.

I started watching L0st over the summer when it was in reruns and totally got hooked. In one episode, where you see Sun and J1n before they get married, she was wearing a totally stunning dress. I'm a sucker for dressed with low backs, especially when they have cool straps, and this totally fit the bill. I'm going to a very good friend's wedding in about a month, and thought how cool it would be if I could have a dress like that. So I decided to make it.

(This is not entirely out of the blue, my mom taught us to sew growing up, and I made my own wedding dress because I didn't like the styles at the time).

Anyway, I found a somewhat similar pattern in the fabric store and a fantastic shiny emerald green fabric. After making the top of the dress out of throw-away fabric a few times, this is what I ended up with. The back looks just like the dress on L0st, I'm so happy with how it turned out!

Please ignore the goofy look on my face! I don't know what I was thinking.

Also, ignore my lack of Mollywogger-like cleavage. You can only do so much with what I got :-p

My "L0st" dress - front Posted by Picasa

My "L0st" dress - back Posted by Picasa

I'm an Aunt!

My sister had a beautiful baby girl, Samantha, at 11:18pm last night.

When I found out, I totally lost it.

Mom and I had gone down to the hospital at around 6 in the evening. Sis was having contractions about 2-3 minutes apart, in some pain, but overall not doing too badly. They had started at around 7am and progressed steadily since then. Her DH left for a while when we arrived to get something to eat, and to make calls to various other family members, so Mom and I sat and watched the contraction monitor and baby's heart-rate monitor with rapt attention. So cool! Oh, and we held sis's hand and gave her back rubs and the like as well. When DH returned, it was our turn to go and have a bite.

We got back up to the room at 7:30, and they had just given her the epidural. A CSC epidural which acts almost immediately - no 20 minute wait for this doctor! Worked like a charm for a few minutes, but then she started feeling uncomfortable (as if she had to poop) and getting pains in her back side. The doctor had also examined her just before we came back, and said she was only 2-3 cm dilated (what she had been at her 5:30 exam). The nurses said that based on how dilated she was, and how little she was progressing, she wouldn't be giving birth until the morning. So we hung around until about 10, then she started napping, and we figured we'd go back to her house and nap too.

So we went 'home', had a cuppa tea, and headed to bed. Almost 11 by this time. An hour later the phone rang, and DH said "Nico, you're an Aunt!" (As opposed to an uncle which I would have been were it a boy ;-). So we headed back to the hospital. Me crying almost the entire way.

I was happy. No doubt about it. But at the same time, I felt SO left out. I was left out of the whole pregnancy, which we were supposed to do together, and now I wasn't there when she had the baby, which was the only part I could really participate in. Couldn't stop crying. We got to the hospital and went back upstairs, I was managing to hold myself together, but barely. When we saw sis and Sami, I totally lost it. So Mom took care of Sami while sis took care of me. Not the other way round.

Apparently the doctor *finally* came in to check her at 11pm, and said "whoa, you're at 10 cm! Push!" So there was no time for DH to call us. The baby was out fifteen minutes later! So apparently the pains she had been feeling were because the baby was coming down so fast, not, as one nurse had suggested, because the baby was on her back.

Sis was totally apologetic, which I told her was ridiculous. NOT her fault. It was the stupid doctor who didn't bother to check on her for over three hours. I'm so very sad that I missed out on seeing Sam take her first breath, and first cry. Like I said, it was something that I had been thinking I would be part of, and then that was taken away from me as well.

I had called M to tell him that we're Aunts just before we went upstairs, and couldn't really do it without the 'I'm about to cry' voice. You know what I mean. So he asked what was wrong and I said I would tell him later. When we got back to the house a few hours later I called him to talk. SO not helpful. You all know what I needed - I needed him to tell me that he understood, that it sucked, that it wasn't fair, and to comfort me. Instead he tried to explain to me how I was silly to feel the way I did. Thank you so very very much. Way to make me feel better! Nico, you're really being a bitch for feeling the way you do, can't you just be happy? Argh!

And like I said, it's not at all that I'm not happy. I am. Spent a few hours cuddling with Sami while sis slept this morning, she's a treasure. But it doesn't make me feel any less cheated. Of any of it.

Monday, October 24, 2005


Went down to visit my sister for tea yesterday afternoon. Before I went, I whipped up a batch of gougere au fromage - aka cheese puffs. I've been craving them recently, this was a good excuse to make them. I spooned them out onto a non-stick parchment like sheet that I use when baking, for easy cleanup, then put them onto a cookie sheet. So that they wouldn't slide around and make a mess while I was driving, I then grabbed the rubber mat I put underneath cakes in my Tupperware cake carrier, and put that under the non-stick sheet.

The drive down was fine, no slippage. When we arrived inside, I had her preheat the oven, and said to myself, "self, don't forget to take out the rubber mat before you put these in the oven". Well, of course, I wasn't the one to put them in the oven, so I completely forgot. After the cheese puffs were cooked, I went over to put them onto a cooling rack... and noticed the now thoroughly melted rubber mat, which I had forgotten to remove. ARGH!

Fortunately the cookie sheet had a non-stick coating as well, so the mat pulled off it reasonably easily. But really. What kind of idiot does something like that? Is it just me? (I'm looking for your anecdotes here to make me feel better :-)

Then, I forgot to use my progesterone pussary last night. I put it in this morning when I woke up (and I did get an extra half hour nap out of it, since everyone recommends lying down for a little while after insertion). I'm just hoping that I didn't majorly fuck myself. I know that most likely it won't make any difference, but can't help being just a little nervous nonetheless.

Ooooh, I just heard from my sister - she's having contractions, 5 minutes apart. Pretty soon I'll find out whether I'm an Aunt or an Uncle!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Insurance is a pain in the tuckus (or however you spell that).

When we first were told, in January, that we would need IF treatment, the financial coordinator at the clinic called my current (henceforth known as primary) insurance (from M's company, based in CA), and said that they would cover only testing and diagnosis, not IF treatment. She then told us how much the various components of an IUI cycle would cost - about $1K for the drugs, ~$333 for the ultrasounds, and $461 for the IUI itself.

Since we live in the great state of MA, where infertility coverage is mandated (if you have in-state insurance), I looked around to get a supplemental policy, and found one for $300 a month. It would cover 80% of the treatment costs, not including the drugs. With that in place, each cycle would end up costing us only about 50% of the quoted price (FC suggested it would probably be around $2500/cycle, ended up being closer to $4K), so I thought it was a good plan.

After that was all squared away, I called and ordered the medications, and put the first lot through the insurance - figured you never know, they might cover it, right? A few days later, heard back from the pharmacy that the coverage was denied. So rather than be a pain for the pharmacy, I paid for the drugs for the rest of my cycles myself.

Then we started getting the explanation of benefits (EOB) from the supplemental insurance, I was really glad I'd done it - the coordinator neglected to tell me about the costs for the blood tests, which actually were higher than the ultrasound cost (which totally surprised me - $364 for an e2 test?). So all in all, this extra insurance ended up cutting my cost per cycle by just about 50%, what I had estimated.

Then yesterday I got an EOB from my primary insurance. You could have bowled me over with a feather - they listed about eight of the e2 blood tests, and covered everything that the supplemental insurance hadn't covered, i.e. the 20% I had thought I would have to pay. Score!

After that, I went and looked at their website, where you can see claims, and if they've been processed, how much they've paid out.

Well. Turns out that they covered all of the 20% that the supplemental insurance didn't cover.


Are you ready for this?

They also PAID FOR THE DRUGS!!!!

For the first cycle, that was submitted to them (I have no idea why the pharmacy told me it was denied). HUGE score. So now I'm going to submit the receipts for the drugs for the other cycles, and hopefully get reimbursed for those as well. Woo-hoo!

But, had I not had the supplementary insurance, my primary insurance would apparently have covered all the blood tests and ultrasounds - the only thing they wouldn't cover is the actual insemination. So I'm super pissed at the financial coordinator from my clinic now. If she'd actually done her job, and asked about the individual components of my primary insurance coverage, they should have told her that the bloodwork and scans would be covered. So we actually ended up spending more money on the supplementary insurance than we would have if I hadn't gone to the trouble of getting it. You can bet I'm going to make a stinky about it.

But I can't be that pissed, because we just got a $7K windfall!!!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Hopeful, peaceful, resigned.

It's done. The castle was stormed, Ovidrel was injected (at a traffic light on my way to the gym), 3.3 and 9.8 million sperm were lovingly placed in my receptive uterus. ;-p

I'm happy. I feel like we really have given this route our best shot. Now we wait and see. And if this doesn't work, IVF in January. It's not so far away.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

We have a plan!

And I'm actually happy with it. Who woulda thunk?

I'm to take the Ovidrel shot tomorrow morning at 7am, then we'll do two IUIs, Friday morning (24 hours post Ovidrel) and Saturday (48 hours post).

So by then my two 14's (or 14 and 12) should be at 16-18mm, and my lining has had a little longer to plump up. Somehow the extra 12 hours before triggering makes me feel so much better.

Now, my question is whether to storm the castle tonight? They say the man needs to 'prepare himself' 2-3 days beforehand for the best sample. We were thinking the IUI would be tomorrow morning, so the monkey was duly spanked on Monday night (M was away, so I couldn't help). But now that's 3.5 days before. I think it's better to go shorter (storm the castle tonight, so 1.5 days before) rather than have an older sample. What do you think?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Advice needed!

u/s this morning showed lining at 6.5mm, follicles at 14, 12, 10, 9 plus a bunch of little ones. e2 of 247. They told me to do the same Repronex shot tonight (1.5 vials), and Ovidrel tomorrow night.

This is almost certainly our last IUI before going to IVF (M is away for the critical week in November).

My previous cycles my biggest follicle was at 16, 15 and 15 mm when I was told to do one more shot then the Ovidrel. So with my biggest one only at 14 this time, I feel like I'll only get one mature egg - and given that previous cycles have not worked with more than that, I don't think this is optimizing our chances. Especially with my lining only at 6.5.

I did call the nurse back and ask about waiting one more day (and had to struggle not to bawl right then and there on the phone), but haven't heard back yet. Am I being stupid? Should I push for another day, or just go with what they're telling me and chill out?

Updated: Just spoke with the nurse again. She says I have two 14mm follicles and two 10's. So the 14's should be "good to go tomorrow". So why was it that this morning Dr. Handsome (yes, him again) said a 14 and a 12? ARGH! I suppose maybe they looked at the films again and remeasured?

I guess all I can do is chill. And hope. With maybe a prayer or two thrown in there for good measure.

Monday, October 10, 2005

moving forward?

e2 on Saturday of 105. Positive sign?

The ultrasound was a complete waste of time. Dr Handsome did it - I was so happy with our interaction with him when he did our IUI a few months ago, but this time really sucked. First of all, he didn't really bother to measure the size of my follicles, just kinda guesstimated. Then he started going on to me about how I shouldn't worry, they were just trying to get me going slowly... you know, giving me a low dose of meds like sprinkling salt... - at that point he totally lost me. I don't know what he was trying to get at with the salt metaphor, and I don't remember exactly what he said - apparently I was already so angry that I've blanked it out. I hate being treated like an idiot. Never mind that I'm on my FOURTH cycle, and probably have some clue what's going on, even without my PhD. And, I WASN'T worried.

And then on his way out, he said to M, "Nice to meet you. I don't think we've met before". For the record, he's met M at least twice now. You'd think at least he'd say something that could be taken either way, like "Nice to see you", instead of blatantly admitting that he has the memory of a slug.

Anyway, I'm sticking with the 1.5 vials of Repronex for the moment, and another u/s on Tuesday morning. I've definitely come to like and trust the two female doctors and the male resident much better than the two male docs in the practice. Assholes.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

I *really* should know better

You would think, given that I had pretty much the exact same reaction as I did on Monday to my first u/s from my second cycle, where I ended up taking injections for NINETEEN days, that I would have been a little more suspicious with Monday's results. But no, I was already planning for a 13mm and a couple of 11's today, and IUI over the weekend. Ha. Hahahahaha. Oooohhh, I kill myself!

Lining today: 3mm. A bunch of follicles between 5 and 8 mm. I.E. my optimism from Monday was completely foolish.

Not that I don't think I'll respond eventually. I'm pretty sure I will. It's just yet another step in this whole process that's not going as I had hoped. Yesterday I was thinking that I was going to have SO much medication left over after this, and what I would do with it... Silly. Just silly.

Updated 3pm: e2 level from this morning? 23. So much for the 69 on Monday being a good sign!

Monday, October 03, 2005

IUI #4, here we come...

Started my injections last Thursday. Expecting the usual (i.e. nothing) on my CD7 scan this morning. Pleasantly surprised to see my lining already at 4mm (normal for me on CD7 is 2mm), and three obvious follicles at 9,7 and 7. And the kicker? My e2 at 69 already! This is by far the best I've responded to the injections to date. Take that, hypothalamic amenorrhea. IN YOUR FACE.

And on top of that, it was MY doc, Conveyor, who did my u/s this morning. So I took the opportunity to ask if we could do two IUIs, since this is very probably our last shot before IVFland, to give us the best chance. I was totally prepared to have to argue, given that Dr. Business had been so brusque about saying no to that idea in my last cycle. She said 'absolutely'. No argument whatsoever. I was totally taken aback. And Hopeful...

Of course, all this Hope makes it that much worse if it doesn't work. But maybe, just maybe, it will.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

East / West differences

Some things I've noticed out here in the pacific northwest that have made me smile / comment:

1. Fines in Seattle: $101 for blocking an intersection or not wearing a seatbelt. Not $100, but $101 - what's up with that?

2. Fines in Seattle: $46 for jaywalking. And apparently it is enforced, because *no-one* walks against the light. For a Bostonian, that is just bizarre!

3. People out here drive like snails. If the speed limit is 60, most people are actually doing less than that. Again, for an east coaster used to doing 80 no matter what the limit is (at least on the highways), totally weird. And we did get a speeding ticket ;-)

4. Sign on a Vancouver bus: "Out of service - sorry!". Sorry? That boggled my mind!

5. On my initial look at Vancouver it seemed like a really old city to me. Then I realized it's because all the tall buildings (office and residential) have frames on every window pane. Makes the buildings look really different from the more smooth glass / no frames I'm used to from the east.

6. Best reason for going to Canada - tomato sauce (ketchup) potato chips, Aero bars, Smarties and Cadbury's mint crisp. All junk food I grew up with in South Africa, can't get in the states. YUM!

7. It's not nearly as green out here as I expected. Especially on our drive south of Portland to my aunt and uncle's house, everything just looked parched. And I understand now why New England is known for the fall colors - the trees have changed colors here, but there's hardly any red (maples and oaks), which is what really makes it stunning. I always wondered why the trees didn't change color in the fall in other parts of the country ;-)