I want my mom...

It's been an interesting week...

Today was my second day back teaching middle school career exploration classes.  The teacher is great to work with and very engaged, which makes all the difference.  I'm still getting my teacher legs back under me and feel pretty exhausted, especially after Tuesday when the exhaustion was coupled with a headache.  We did mock graduations today, as part of a lesson about how college degrees are connected with higher earning potential.  I still have Pomp and Circumstance circulating in my head.

Then, I went to my first monitoring appointment for this cycle yesterday.  Thanks for your supportive words about scheduling.  It was stressful but the doctor ended up reassuring me that coming in on day 5 was fine.  So, all this week, I've felt kind of weepy and vulnerable and needy.  You know how you feel when you just want your mom, if you had a mom and she was kind and nurturing?

And I wasn't finding anyone to give me the mom energy; not my housemate, not the nurse on the phone, and certainly not the nurse practitioner who did this first monitoring.  She was perfectly skilled in her nursing abilities, but not very warm, and kept chattering away about how local businesses were closing and her favorite quilt store closed, etc.

And then, when we were done, she gave me some papers and told me I needed to walk over to the nearby pharmacy to get the Femara... oh and by the way, I only have 10 minutes to get there.  Great, thank you!  I wanted to sit down and have a calm, relaxed discussion about my protocol, and instead I get ushered out the door and told I need to rush over to the pharmacy.  I'm not proud to admit it, but I cried a little on the way out of the building.

Maybe I'm expecting too much handholding from these people.  As mentioned, I want my mom, or else I want a partner to hold and comfort me.  But it would help if the nurses and nurse practitioners were a bit more kind and patient.   Not all of them, but two of them have been quite harsh.

In any case, without any meds in my system yet, I had about eight or  nine follicles that stood out.  There were other smaller ones but eight or nine she measured: five on the left and three or four on the right.  I'm on my second day of Femara.  I'll take five days, and then do two days of two vials of Meno.pur before my next monitoring appointment on Wednesday.  Fingers crossed!  Despite the frustrating people interactions, I'm feeling hopeful.


Flowing Along

This cycle is definitely in full flow now, excuse the pun.  I left two messages for the doctor yesterday, at different times, on different lines.  Nervous much, Kristina?  I couldn't remember the policy on returning calls on Saturdays.  Hopefully, they will call first thing tomorrow morning.

I'm worried about scheduling my initial monitoring appointment because at this point I have two appointments for my International Coordinator job Monday afternoon, and my first day teaching school on Tuesday.  

A less than kind nurse answered the phone when I called Friday and informed me that others who had already started their cycles were in front of me (I was only spotting which does not count), and she was running out of appointments for Monday.  I don't know what I'll do if they demand that I come in on Tuesday before 4 p.m.  I can reschedule the Monday appointments, but Tuesday is not so much a flexible situation. 

I've started the doxycycline, and I guess it's okay if I start the Femara on Day 3 or 4?  She said she'd give me the prescription at my first monitoring appointment.  

Plan is in place to purchase the donor vial tomorrow... t'will be nice to avoid walking around the bustling streets of San Fran.cisco with a huge cryo tank!  This clinic is in the more mellow hamlet of Fre.mont.  A bit longer drive but less traffic and an available parking lot.

On another note, I love the references to "The Red Thread" that have been going around the IF blog world lately.  The novel has to do with infertility and adoption stories, but I'm not sure of the plot.  I just love the thought of my baby and I being connected by a red thread, and the thread growing shorter and shorter, until the baby is in my arms and the thread is just a dot.  Here is what I believe is the related Chinese proverb: 

“An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet regardless of time, place or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break.” – Chinese Proverb


A Ball of Nerves

I think my cycle will be starting today!  Temperature dropped, cramping is underway.  Why am I feeling nervous?  To be accurate, I'm feeling both nervous AND excited.  Maybe it's nervous excitement...

I counted all my medicine and paraphernalia last night, and I'm all set there.  I actually have enough for two more cycles, which is what I'm hoping I'll be able to do.

Once I saw where things were going this morning, I called the doctor's office and am waiting to hear back.  I think I would come in today if my cycle starts... or I could go in tomorrow if they have Saturday hours.  Once they confirm I'm ready to go (no cysts etc.), then I'll pick up my Femara prescription and start the Doxycycline.  Order my vial of Donor #1.

Thank you all, by the way, for your input.  Reflecting on and discussing it with you on the blog helped me to feel more confident in my choice.  It's definitely an individual choice; no "right" or "wrong," just right for me.  A big factor for me was the education levels in his family.  More of his relatives had gone to college, and his brother attended graduate school.  It's strange, this certainly wouldn't be a topic about which I'd ask a date, and, in my own family, my maternal grandparents didn't go to college.  I guess I do value it, though.  And then, there was the baby picture.  It is so cute and endearing.  And a few other little things, like that sweet answer to why he's donating.  So, #1 it is.

My middle school teaching gig is starting next week, too, and I'm less than enthused.  I talked with my Dean and this is the last year I will be doing this grant, so there's a light at the end of the tunnel.  After next year, I will continue part-time at that college, working with college students and doing some high school matriculation counseling, as well.  I'm still hoping to get brought on at another college much nearer to where I live, as well, but the person I'm depending on to get my information to the right people is a bit of a flake.  I'm continuing to be persistent, though.

Off now to a career counseling appointment.  I'm making an effort to settle down and put on my calm, professional hat.  Wish me luck!


A Blessing

* Welcome ICLWers!  Thank you for visiting my blog.  I don't have a journey summary, though I'm thinking I should create one now.  But the first post (and second) should tell you some background if you're interested.  I'm about to start my second injectable IUI cycle in a few days and am excited!

Today's Post:
As I've mentioned in prior posts, my mom passed away when I was four-years-old.  I connected with her best friend from childhood, P, quite a few years ago when I was living in San Luis Obis.po.  When I moved up here to the Bay Ar.ea, about two-and-a-half years ago, I lived in her guest house for the first few months until I found my own place.  She is close to my heart and has become a bit of a mother figure in my life, gradually, over the years.

So, it touched me when she told me the other day - while we were having a snack and coffee after a work meeting I had down in her neck of the woods - that she thought it was a good thing that I was putting this effort in to becoming a mother.  That she supported me because it was something I really wanted, and she didn't want me to have regrets.

This means the world.  It's as close as I will come to hearing my Mom say that she supports me and gives her blessing.


Give me your thoughts...

Just a few more days until this cycle starts! I had blood drawn today for my progesterone and thyroid tests. My progesterone came back about 12, which is on the low side. I'm glad I'll be supplementing. Haven't received my thyroid level yet. The results are early enough that I could switch things up my dosage, so I'm more interested in that one.

I'm firming things up on the donor front and am likely going to choose the same guy. I thought I'd share some more information about him, as well as the second choice, to see if you have a different perspective.

Sooo, bullet points on first, likely candidate #1:

  • Identity-Release: Yes 
  • Current occupation: Video Game Artist
  • Height: Over 6'
  • Weight: About 225
  • Hair color: Dark brown
  • Eye color: Blue
  • Body type: Medium (hmm, but it said "large frame")
  • Ethnic origin: Dutch, English, German, Scottish, Irish
  • Baby photo available: Yes
  • Why do you want to be a donor?: He admitted part of it was to pay down loans, but also said he thought if people worked so hard to become parents, they would likely be good ones.  Sweet, right?
  • What are your special interests and talents?: Said he's right brained and creative, including drawing and painting.  Loves music (plays instruments) and animals.
Bullet points on second candidate #2:

  • Identity-Release: Yes
  • Current occupation: Motorcycle Mechanic (maybe this isn't so exciting, but he's also an artist and loves helping people achieve their goals)
  • Height: 5’ 11’’
  • Weight: about 175
  • Hair color: blond
  • Eye color: blue
  • Body type: medium
  • Ethnic origin: Swedish, German, Scottish, Irish
  • Baby photo available: no
  • He said people describe him as thoughtful, caring and compassionate.  Loves dogs and motorcycles.  And that he's reliable and helps others.
  • Designs and constructs art.  Skilled mechanic and enjoys outside activities. 
  • Why do you want to be a donor?: To help others achieve their goals.
  • He said he had dyslexia, which he completely overcame and graduated from college.  Said some sensitive things about learning disabilities.  But maybe dyslexia, genetically, is a negative.
It's definitely a positive for me that #1 has a baby pic, which I've seen, which is super cute.

#2 is Rh-, which matches me. They say this doesn't matter in terms of pregnancy rates, so maybe it's just psychological, but I feel like this somehow makes us more "compatible."

They both have freckles, which I love. :-)


*Update: Received thyroid result and it's 5.2 on a Standard Range of .10 - 5.50. Hell!


New Doctor, New Protocol

The appointment with my new doctor finally came today.  The office assistant was kind of crabby - I overheard her say she hadn't had a break or chance to eat so this is understandable - and the nurse was quite rushed, pulling me about like a piece of meat.

But once I got into the good doctor's office, ahhh.  Very calm, intelligent, and trust-inspiring.  She took lots of time - sometimes a bit more detail than even I cared for, which is saying something - but it was welcome.  We discussed questions and topics I want to thoroughly understand, like immune testing, potential uterine and egg issues, and recommended protocol.

I will not be able to do the conversation about immune testing (MTHRFR and NK Cells, etc.) justice here.  Suffice to say, Kai.ser lab is inexperienced with these tests, so she would have to send me to an outside lab at full cost.  Also, she prefers not to order tests unless there is real data indicating there may be a problem.  This data comes through sp.erm testing and IVF, neither of which relate to me.  Lastly, this falls under the uterine issue percentage listed below, and she believes my issue is in the egg category.

But, she admitted there is so much they don't know, and research is underfunded because the affected population is relatively small. :(  All facts considered, I'm not pursuing these tests right now.  I did have prior clotting-related Lupus anticoagulant and Cardiolipin ab tests, which came back negative.

Regarding potential uterine issues:

  • She said 2-5% of problems are based on uterine issues.  It was kind of cute, as much as a uterine metaphor can be cute:  she talked about the uterus as a good child, sitting there waiting, but usually the problems happen prior to the uterus even getting involved.
  • I asked about ureaplasma infection, which I understand can cause problems, and she said they treat every patient with Doxycycline, because the testing for ureaplasma is difficult and expensive.  I'm okay with that and will begin taking Doxycycline when my period starts.
  • She reassured me that they could see polyps on the ultrasound but occasionally there are spots on the uterus wall, like the start of a polyp or something, and they can more readily see these if they do a saline-infused sonogram.  So, I guess that's an option if I choose, but the longer we talked, the more I agree that it's probably egg-related issues...

Regarding potential egg-related issues (this info. may be old news for some of you):

  • She said some of the follicles don't even have eggs in them.  What?  It's true.  So, they can look fine on the monitor, growing well etc., but the egg is crap and disintegrated (she definitely did not use the word crap!).  They know this from IVF harvesting.  She did say that, considering my tests/FSH, it's highly unlikely all three or four follicles would be empty.
  • Some eggs fertilize but have three sets of chromosomes.  These don't make it past Day 2 or 3.
  • Usually, the problem is an extra chromosome, like with Down's Syndrome or Trisomy 16, etc.  These will usually form a blastocyst, but then I guess they stop developing at some point.  If they reach blastocyst, though, they have the potential to implant.
  • She gave an example of one 42-year-old patient undergoing IVF:  On day 3, 50% of embryos made it to blastocyst and of these, 50% were normal.  Soooo, I'm taking from that, relating to me and an injectable cycle, starting with 4-6 eggs would be a good thing if you're cutting in half and then half again!  I had 3 eggs last time... which brings us to protocol...

Protocol for Upcoming Cycle (in possibly as soon as 9 days!)

  • I'm getting my thyroid and 21-day fertility tests in a few days, even though I'll be on progesterone again so that result doesn't matter much.
  • We're going for a more "gentle" protocol, since I responded so quickly.  Did I mention I love this new doctor?  She looked at my results, and she saw ways they could be improved.  Dr. Negative looked at them and said, "Meh, might as well do the same thing."
  • So as mentioned, I'm going to take the Doxycycline to get rid of any infection that may mess with things.  Sounds good.  And, stage two, I'll take Letro.zole for five days.  Then, finally, I'll inject Meno.pur again, but less aggressively at two vials a day versus three, and no Lu.pron.  Hopefully, this will help line things up, and I can collect all my eggs, instead of half.

Now, to decide if I want to go with the same donor...

*On a side note, the doctor was very encouraging and positive about doing international IVF.  She said they collaborate with other clinics (doing everything but egg retrieval and putting embryos back), and she's worked with folks in India and Europe.  She thought Canada would be even easier.  I located a good clinic in Vancouver, but I would definitely need to also find a lending source, even with the dramatic cost reduction.


Checking in and Work Drama

Checking in with a short post this morning, as I'm off to go running soon before acupuncture.

Man, the title of my last post was so depressing!  "Final Curtain"?  Why did I want to utter those words?  I feel yucky looking at them now.  But it was the way I was feeling.  On further reflection, as I wrote to Mo in comments, I would rephrase this next cycle as my, "hail mary for the immediate future."

I'm getting excited for my doctor's appointment next week.  Do any of you have suggestions about what questions to ask her?  I want her to closely consider my last cycle and all the testing I've done.  Am I alone in feeling like sometimes doctors just skim prior records?  Hopefully, with her reputation, she's going to be thorough.

Other happenings:
  • I haven't been blocking my time that well, as I talked about trying to do in a previous post.  But I've been hula hooping more :-), and a couples dance class is still on my radar.  In addition, I've been spending a good amount of time on this new job and locating host families for international students.  One of our families cancelled at the last minute, so I'm scrambling to find one more home.
  • I'm super psyched about three career counseling clients I'm working with now on my own!  More about this in another post.
  • I made awesome zucchini bread yesterday!  Yummy with coconut oil on it versus butter.  We have zucchinis coming out our ears right now.  Tomatoes are starting to come in too.
  • Drama at my college job this week.  Several counselors left for various reasons and our Dean put out a desperate plea for counselor referrals.  I was thinking about who I might refer, but experiencing resistance.  I realized, "Hey!  I want that job!"
A bit of a longer story on that fourth bullet... Feel free to skip... So, I talked to the lead counselor with whom I've been training/working, and she encouraged me.  Then, I talked to my current middle school grant supervisor.  Did not go over well, as I guess I'm more integral to her program plans than I thought I was (the silver lining is the feeling of being wanted!).  Politics is alive and well in the college arena, as I watched my hopes be dashed in a meeting by our Dean, who was clearly looking out for my supervisor.  The Dean relies a lot on her, as she oversees several other grants, as well.

It was uncomfortable and stressful, but I think in the long run, it was the right decision to talk directly to my supervisor.  Now it's out in the open, and, once she digested the situation, she talked about how she could help me move over to the college side of things within the next year if that's what I wanted.

I don't like talking to people about topics that might cause conflict or that might make them unhappy with me.  I think talking to her directly showed respect, however, which she appreciated.  It also relieved pressure of unspoken (but known on some level by everyone) feelings and desires operating beneath the surface.

Okay, this post wasn't that short!  Thanks for your support around my last post, I appreciate it.  If any of you know about specific international IVF programs that you've heard recommended, I'd love to hear from you.  Just curious and exploring.


And so I face the final curtain...

Participated in my dance group this morning.  Experienced a wave of sadness in the middle.  May be connected to mixed emotions around S emailing me a couple of days ago saying, in a polite manner, that he thought he should separate me from his insurance and, if he didn't hear from me by the end of the month, he would do so at that time.

This is very reasonable.  I knew it was coming.  But I sometimes forgot.  In any case, I asked for another month, so probably have until the end of September... possibly October.  It brings things into sharper relief.  I have a sense that the time of me actively trying on my own may be coming to an end, barring unforeseen circumstances.  

Time is not my friend.  I would love to do one IVF, and if there were any frozen embryos, this would be such a blessing.  I've looked at a few international IVF programs.  Do you know they are about a third or less the cost of the procedure here in the U.S.?  There are travel costs of course but, wow.  

That would entail getting a loan, however, which I'm not sure I can or should do.  Assuming, as the odds would suggest, that doesn't happen, then the doors could close.  I'm feeling more ready for that.  

I don't think I will choose to try donor embryo for reasons I don't want to go into right now, though I understand the beauty and gift of it for many people.  Adoption may be my next path... But before then, this coming end of August/beginning of September injectable cycle may be my "hail mary," with the unlikely possibility of one more cycle immediately following.  

So, yes, I guess I can see where the sadness might be coming from.  Also, though, an interesting sense of calm and some acceptance.