Friday, August 31, 2007

The perfect man

At first, you think: there is no other man for me. He's perfect! Tall/short, brown-eyed/blue-eyed, musical/athletic, smart (they all have to be smart, don't they?), the ethnic background I want, etc. He kind of reminds me of my high-school boyfriend. He is the one!

And then time passes. You get pregnant, and you imagine what your children will look like, and then you miscarry, and you think, was he the one, or was it me? And so you try another guy, and the more you pore over his profile, you think: this one's even better! He's shorter/taller, has better hair, better family health history, whatever. He's gotten other women pregnant, too. Yes!

But then he seems not to be the one, or more specifically: the two of you fail to produce anything of note, other than several costly cycles of disappointment. And so you move on. And you find another guy, and you think: he sounds like such a nice guy! But he doesn't have any pregnancies. That's okay -- I'll try him! Maybe I'll get lucky! And you're excited about
him, until the doctor doing the IUI gives you the sperm count from the lab, and it sucks, and two weeks later think, this guy is not the one!

So you go back to the first guy, miscarriage man. Maybe that was a one-time thing! You never combined that guy with fertility drugs! And the cycle when you have lost all patience and hope, and you decide, this is it, after this I'm taking a few months off from this crap and then I'm going to IVF, you wake up one morning, wonder where your period is, pee on a stick and get two pink lines.

And you think: I am so lucky, this guy is the one for me! It works! And you imagine what your children will look like, and your beta numbers are great, and all is well until you have an ultrasound and your partner looks at the screen and says, it looks like there are two in there, and the doctor says, yes, well, it was identical twins, and now it looks like what was two will soon be zero.

And you miscarry, and you somehow, incredibly, do not fall apart, and you take time off, and eventually you get ready to try again. And you find out that miscarriage man does have a higher spontaneous abortion rate than other donors you've tried, even though it's still within normal range. Forget him, you say, trying to pin the trisomy 12 diagnosis on him. And you try a new guy--seems funny! smart! whatever!--for an IUI that you fear will be unsuccessful as soon as the nurse practitioner holding a syringe full of sperm gives you the disappointing sperm count.

Weeks later, your not-pregnant self prepares to deliver an unknown man's seed to the IVF clinic. Which guy to use? Crappy sperm count? Miscarriage man? Guy who might have some kind of birth defect in his genes somewhere? Another guy altogether? And you panic, thinking, what if I can't find all of my vital qualities in one of these donors? What if the person I pick lacks these things I've held so dear? You worry: what if, after spending so long not getting what I want, I still can't get what I want?

And you pore over profiles, and look at other sperm banks at this late date, thinking, maybe if I shop around I'll find the right guy, and you think, maybe X quality or Y quality isn't that important, or maybe I should reconsider. And you think of your friends, whose beautiful 3-year-old was the result of changing donors at the last minute, and of the woman at the sperm bank who said, "no matter who you pick, you're going to get the right kid." And you close your eyes, and pick someone, and drive a nitrogen tank full of frozen sperm through San Francisco, and you hope and pray mightily that she'll be right.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

What the UPS fairy brought

I got a present in the mail today: 5 pounds worth of drugs. Check it out.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The drug dealer calleth

The scene: A San Francisco apartment, August 2007, 8:30 am. A woman (mid-30s) is trying to leave for work when the phone rings.

Woman: Hello?
Caller: Hello, may I please speak with Aspiring Baker?
Woman: This is she.
Caller: This is Your Insurance Company's Pharmacy Department. May I verify your date of birth?
Woman: Well, no, actually, because you have called me.
Caller: Yes, and we need to verify your date of birth.
Woman: Uh huh. But how do I know you're who you say you are?
Caller [testily]: Because I am.
Woman: In this age of identify theft, I'm sure you can appreciate my hesitation to reveal my date of birth to a random caller. I wouldn't give you my social security number, either.
Caller: [more testily] I didn't ask for that.
Woman: [conciliatorily] Right. But surely you can understand why I wouldn't want to give out personal information over the phone when you have called me.
Caller: [resigned] May I verify your zip code, then?
Woman: Yes.

Now, I recognize that I'm a little cranky these days, but really -- what corporation in this day and age -- particularly one that's subject to HIPAA -- thinks that someone who answers the phone is just going to verify their date of birth?

Said phone call subsequently revealed that the insurance company will send via UPS seven -- count 'em, seven -- drugs to my home. They are:

- Lupron
- Gonal-f
- Repronex
- Novarel (HCG shot)
- Estradiol
- Medrol
- Progesterone

They even include all of the syringes and alcohol pads. This is going to be fun!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Now we're both on the Pill!

Well, okay, only one of us is on the pill. But who can resist a Sixteen Candles reference? (Bonus points to anyone who can name the line following this one...*)

Got my period yesterday, started birth control pills today. I expect to start shots in about three weeks and do a retrieval/transfer in about six.

The next big question: provided eggs are stimulated, retrieved, fertilized, etc. -- how many embryos to transfer? The minimum is one, and the maximum is two. The issue: if I hope to avoid twins, and if each embryo has a 20 percent chance of implanting and at least a 20 percent chance of miscarrying, and if IVF has a 30 percent chance of twins, how much do I need to pay a statistician to figure this out for me?

* It's: "You gave me birth control pills? Do you know what that can do to a guy my age?" Such a good movie.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Signs point to no

Looks like I'll be starting the birth-control pill this weekend (just what I always dreamed of!).

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

7 Reasons Why/Not

(Scroll down because Blogger is being silly)

Reasons why /Not
Breasts are tender but not necessarily any more tender than any other day 25 of my cycle.
Temperature was really high today as it has been many other times when I was not pregnant.
I was pretty tired over the weekend. So?

I've felt sick to my stomach the past couple of days

and also have a little sore throat, which isn't typically a pregnancy symptom. Plus, if morning sickness is kicking in already, I'm going to be the first woman on record to naturally conceive septuplets.
Lots of weird dreams which means I've been getting lots of good REM sleep.
Cranky! Again, so?


In a theoretical universe where you're trying to keep things in your uterus, motions to expel are not so good.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Back in the saddle again

If you knew me, you'd probably be surprised to learn that I am superstitious. I am extraordinarily logical and practical; I've been accused more than once of being unemotional at times when emotions should have been front and center. What can I say? I'm a Myers-Briggs ESTJ, all the way.

But it was superstition that guided me to the sperm bank yesterday morning, to commence my 18th two-week wait. After all, yesterday was my father's birthday, which was a good sign, and if I got pregnant, my due date would be the second anniversary of my first miscarriage. That has to be two good omens -- a coming full circle, if you will. Plus, even though I'm not religious and only learned about this tradition a few years ago, the number 18 is lucky in Judaism.

And so yesterday, after journeying to my favorite farmers' market and watching sea lions frolic under the San Francisco Bay Bridge, I wandered into some stirrups and got shot up with some guy's spooge.

To be frank, I am ambivalent now about this decision. On the one hand, my timing was good (felt ovulation sensation all day), and I am anxious to get on with this baby-making process. On the other hand, I'm a little on the fence: I traditionally abstain from a lot of TWW exercise (at the advice of multiple acupuncturists), and I'd sure love to go running right now. I'm not at the weight I thought I'd be when I tried again, and part of me wanted more time for a break.

What's more, I had planned to do a little ceremony for embryos 2 and 3. I planned to bring the ultrasound photos to the beach, write a letter, and say Kaddish for them before I tried again. I feel like I'm supposed to do that. But instead the photos are sitting in an envelope on my desk along with some positive HPKs (gross, I know, but don't pretend you wouldn't do the same thing! Please?).

Part of me feels it's bad luck to say I'm not 100 percent excited about this cycle, that I'd still like to hop on the treadmill and find a way to fit into my skinny jeans. But the logical part of me believes there's nothing I can think that will change the outcome of this cycle. After all, being totally gung-ho hasn't had an effect in the past, so why should the reverse be true? At the moment, I think I need to stop my quest for self-improvement and tendency toward self-doubt and just try to be.