The Not-So-Sexy Infertility Adventures of a Girl in the Big Apple

Friday, September 30, 2011


Okay, so here it is, the ODWU review.  I'm still kinda loopy from what ended up being a very long day so please forgive any rambling or grammatical errors.

Got into Denver the day before yesterday around noon.  My room wasn't ready yet so I drove into downtown Denver and had lunch in Larimer Square.  Ended up buying Keith Richards' new book "Life" at the Tattered Cover Bookstore (good place to check out if you haven't been, ladies).

Went back to the hotel and managed to get a workout in before dinner.  Tried to go to bed early to make up for a bad night's sleep the day before and had an even worse night's sleep - tossed and turned all night.  A sure sign that while I felt calm on the outside I was harboring some stress about this day internally.

Woke up very tired the next day but got to the appointment on time.  The clinic was all that everyone has reported - attractive, well-organized, with exceptionally friendly staff.  A completely different feel than my last clinic, which was no less attractive and organized, but had that intense New York pace and was all about business.  No one asked you how your day was going or chatted about the weather.  Less smiling faces, more people crowded into waiting rooms.  That never bothered me - I'm used to that sort of thing in New York.  But in comparison this seems like a kinder, gentler place to cycle, which will be a nice change.

Some highlights of the day:
Meeting with Dr S:  Went well overall, he was very kind and patient with questions.  He reiterated most of what he said in the initial consult in terms of the approach.  Re: protocol, he's leaning towards doing the "kitchen sink" method, with no BCPs, estrogen & testosterone priming, and adding Clomid to the stimulation process.  I asked about Saizen and he said we could add that too - won't help with quantity of eggs but possibly quality.  He also recommended taking supplements for a couple of months before IVF.  While he said that their effectiveness was somewhat speculative and he knows many doctors don't believe in them, he also said that vitamins and amino acids are a critical part of cellular development so he feels they are 'legit.'

Overall, what he's trying to do is make sure we throw everything at this cycle so we can feel we've tried everything.  That way if it doesn't work, we will be able to move on with less regrets - I am wholeheartedly on board with this approach.  Importantly, I asked him about what he thought of me cycling in November, doing PGS testing and freezing, and then cycling again in January.  He said he thought it made sense for me, and could help improve my chances and/or give me more information to make decisions.  I asked if he thought I needed further testing of my endometrium, and he said no, as long as my uterine ultrasound looked normal, my hysteroscopy looked normal, and all of the related blood tests came back normal.  He did say that I should get an HSG before I cycle, to rule out any possibility of a hydrosalpinx.

Ultrasounds and Doppler:  The most depressing part of my day.  While my uterus looked fine and blood flow looked excellent, she only counted 3 resting follicles.  3!  My stomach plummeted into my shoes.  This was even worse than my worst fears - I was thinking I would get at least 5 or 6.  Ugh, I'm getting depressed just writing about it so I will move on.

Hysteroscopy:  Wasn't so bad, and everything looked good except for a slight bowing of one of the walls of my uterus.  Dr S reviewed my ultrasound and said it wasn't a fibroid so everything is okay.  He also asked me how many resting follicles she counted.  When he heard the answer his brows went up a little and he said, "well, we have our work cut out for us then."  We do indeed, argh.

Meeting with Nurse:  Went well, she seems great.  We reviewed all of the tests I needed and which ones they could do vs which ones I need to do locally.  I ended up with a pretty daunting list of things to do over here, which I need to get cracking on if I'm going to cycle in November.  These include: Mammogram, annual physical, HSG, Day 3 blood draw, Varicella immunization, and I'm sure there's more but I just can't remember right now.  One of the best parts of about the day was hearing that I don't have to do those PIO shots!  As annoying as the suppositories are, I would way rather do them than the shots, which my last clinic insisted on.

Blood Draws:  The least painful I've ever had!  That alone is worth the extra cost to cycle here...

So all in all (except for the horrible resting follicle count), a good and productive day.  The most important thing is that I feel good about our plan.  I get to cycle earlier and not wait until Jan, which you all know by now was bugging me.  If we stim and I have (by some miracle) a better than expected result, then I can just do a transfer in Jan.  If we get a middling result, then we can cycle again in Jan and hope to add to whatever we got.  If we get a horrible result, then we can either cycle again and hope for better or just abandon my eggs altogether and go to Plan B.  Whichever way it goes, doing a cycle in Nov will give us visibility into what our next step should be.

Now we just have to see how the rest of my results come in.  I am fully expecting a higher FSH than I got a year ago (it was 6.7 then), would not be surprised to see it over 10.  I am also expecting an even lower AMH (last one was 0.35).  While that will be depressing, it won't change anything with regards to the plan (unless perhaps my FSH is over 20 or something.)  We already have crappy odds, so we just have to work with what we have.

Thanks to everyone for the encouraging words.  It's so nice to have some support through this craziness. I'm signing out now so that I can drink the rest of my juice and get to work making appointments!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Emerging from Blogging Cloud

I'm just emerging - pale and bleary-eyed - from a 2 day, self-induced blogging haze.   Being unemployed, prone to internet-assisted obsession, and alone in the house (no H this week) is a bad combination.

Yesterday was the worst.   I woke up with a stuffed head/headache (the dregs of that cold that never really fully blossomed), dragged myself out of bed, looked at my pale, listless face in the mirror and said: "girl, you ain't goin anywhere today."  And I practically didn't, with the exception of one trip down to Vitamin Shoppe to get yet more supplements and to Whole Foods to re-up on juicing supplies.

(Speaking of juicing, I wanted to answer TurtleMama's question about my juicer before I forget.  I bought the Breville Ikon juicer and love it!  It was hard to find - I guess they are pretty popular and have been out of stock for a while, but eventually I got my hands on one via Amazon.  If you decide to get one, I highly recommend it.)

Anyhow, after reading what felt like a million new blogs I've come full circle in terms of my emotional state with this IF thing.  I started out feeling really hopeful (and scared of hope).  After reading a ton of blogs of people who have tried again and again and never succeeded, I must admit I'm now feeling a lot less hope.  Actually, I think the most accurate description for how I feel is that I have an ever-flowing tidal wave of Hope which is continually running up against a nearly impenetrable wall of Lack of Belief.   I fervently hope, but don't really believe, that things are going to work out for us.  And I think that's just how it's going to be, until enough time goes by that we can finally try and fail, or try and succeed.

The waiting is the worst part - right now January seems like an absolute eternity away.  Have I mentioned that I am regretting this India trip??

I'm going to start visiting animal shelters.  I was planning on waiting until the spring to adopt a dog because of all of the travel we have going on, but screw it.  I'm sick of waiting for things and planning around a pregnancy that never happens.  I think a dog will be great for me, and (hopefully) if we rescue a dog from a shelter I'll be good for it.  I think I'm going to check out some dog adoption books and read up!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Juicin' and Fantasizin'

I don't know about where you are, but New York has gone juice crazy.  Not for the Tropicana or Snapple variety, but for fresh pressed, preferably green juices with attractive packaging and a steep price tag.  When I was working I did a few juice "cleanses" (as they call them) over the years - 3 or 5 days of nothing but juice, delivered to the office in numbered bottles with instructions for what to drink when.  I usually had a couple of moments where I wanted to gnaw the leg off my chair, but afterwards I felt great - made you kick caffeine, feel less bloated, and feel 'detoxed.'

Now these places are everywhere - Liquiteria, Blue Print, Organic Avenue, etc. etc.  But they are expensive ($10 a juice) so I just decided to start juicing on my own.  Added incentive came from reading Julia Indichova's book 'Inconceivable,' in which she claims that juicing is one of the cornerstones of the lifestyle change that led to her getting pregnant at 42.

Who knows if that's true, but I do think it's healthy to have some raw vegetable matter every day and this is an easy way to do it.  So here's what my morning breakfast looks like pre-juice:

And here's what all of that stuff turns into:
It looks pretty nasty, but it's actually not half bad.  The apple helps a lot, although I even sort of like the juice without it.  I have one of these for breakfast, and then I eat normal meals for the rest of the day.  And I LOVE my new juicer - it makes the whole process a pleasure (yes I'm dorking out over here).

After breakfast today I indulged in some major blog surfing.  For whatever reason, most of the blogs I read today were from people who were expecting or had newborns.  Reading those blogs launched me into some serious baby fantasies - my reaction to the first positive pregnancy test, telling my parents the news, the enormous baby shower we would have.  I was in so deep that at one point I found myself wandering over to our second bedroom (designated baby room) to mull over possibilities for where to put the crib.  Whoa Nellie.

The fantasy thing is terribly seductive, but I'm trying not to let myself do it - I really think it's best if you live in the now as much as possible.  Not just with IF but with life in general.  I'm terrible at it, so there's no need to worry that I'll stop fantasizing - my only hope is to keep it to a somewhat manageable level.

I did manage to snap myself out of it and have a pretty productive day.  Did a whole bunch of errands that I've been putting off forever.  My plan is to have H come back and be totally impressed with all that I've accomplished.  That is, if he's even capable of noticing after a week of killing brain and liver cells with his buddies.

Sorry for this long and random post - it's past my bedtime and I'm rambling.  G'night.

Friday, September 23, 2011


That's right, I am officially a married woman!  H and I have had the world's longest engagement (was starting to become a joke around the office).  Between our crazy work schedules, renovating our apartment, and trying to have a baby we just could not get around to getting married.

But now that my insurance is going to end soon I wanted to get married sooner rather than later so I could get onto H's policy.  We're doing our official wedding in November anyway so we're just jumping the gun by a month.

We did the City Hall thing, which in NY is a real trip.  You get to see all walks of life coming through - people in jeans, people in full wedding regalia, young couples, older couples, same sex couples.  And I did a good deed.  This poor couple approached me and asked if I could be a witness to their ceremony (you can't get married without one).  Apparently their witness never showed up and wasn't answering calls.  I was kinda bummed at first because we had already been waiting for a couple of hours and they were much further back in line than us.  But I felt bad for them so I agreed to do it.  Their happiness and gratitude was very rewarding for me - maybe I'll get some good karma from this?

Jen and TurtleMama, thanks again for your comments.  I know you are right - CCRM is the best of the best so at least I know that I'm giving myself the best chance by going there.  There's nothing else I can do but that - the rest is up to fate.  But oh, I am still scared.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Scared of Hope

First of all, thank you ladies for all of the advice on where to stay in CO.  The Element was my first choice, but it was unfortunately fully booked so I ended up at the Hyatt Park Meadows.  Justagirl, thanks for that tip on asking for the Skybridge Medical Rate - I tried asking for the CCRM discount when I called the Element and they didn't have any.  When I go there for the longer stay I'm definitely going to try to book there, so good to know...

I read Goldie's latest update on her blog - she got pregnant at CCRM, which is fantastic news!  Out of all of the people who I have been following, her profile seems closest to mine - same age, same diagnosis of DOR, similar history of poor response to prior IVF attempts.  The fact that she was able to have success at CCRM gives me so much hope, even though rationally I know that every woman is different and her success doesn't really mean anything about my success.  But I can't help but feel uplifted by her story - maybe, just maybe...?

At the same time, having renewed hope is SCARING ME TO DEATH.  I feel like that breakdown I had prior to going on vacation was the beginning stages of grief and acceptance of my situation.   I was starting to come to terms with what it would mean to not have babies with my own eggs - a dog, donor eggs, etc.  But now I feel myself backtracking towards hope again, and I just don't want to experience that devastation again.  Ugh.

Going through IF requires such an emotional juggling act.  On the one hand, you're trying to stay somewhat positive so that you can live your life and have the energy to continue giving yourself shots and enduring procedures.  On the other hand, you're trying to prepare yourself for the worst, and accept the fact that the outcome is out of your control and the odds are (given past failures) not in your favor.   With all of these balls in the air, it's no wonder that periodically they come crashing down.  And it's no wonder that we all get a little crazy in the process!

Thanks goodness I discovered blogging and all of you.  I don't know what I would do without you!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Autumn in New York

I just recalled that last week, during his morning ritual, I heard H singing this (to the tune of the Cat Stevens song Moonshadow):

Oh I'm gonna wear my suede jacket
Suede jacket, suede jacket, yeah yeah

Yes, he is a very big dork.  He just bought a very metrosexual brown suede blazer that he had been waiting (impatiently) for the first crisp, autumnal day to unveil.  I love that word autumnal, by the way.  In fact, I am writing this post specifically so I can use the word a few more times.  Autumnal.  Autumn.  Nal.  Yeah.  Anyways, I just saw him leaving in it again this morning - I wonder if he's going to wear that thing to bed tonight?

But the real message here, in case you couldn't see through the layers of subtlety and obfuscation, is that Autumn has indeed arrived in New York, and I am loving it.  That first hint of crispness in the air always brings a half-nervous, half-excited, fluttery back-to-school feeling.  And then there's that complex intermingling of pathos (think smell of dying leaves) and warmth (think apple cider, cozy fires, bulky sweaters, football games...).  Oooh it's good.

This is going to be an interminable post, btw - if you're short on time, get out now.  Between the chilly, pearly grey weather outside and my slight cold I have already decided to hole up ALL DAY and blog, read blogs, eat, and watch TV.  And eat.  Yes!

A good friend of mine sent me a mail first thing this morning saying that she'd had a vivid dream last night that I had a baby.  A daughter, specifically, who looked exactly like H.  And I am so superstitious that I POAS'd this morning just to make sure am not pregnant (I'm not).  So now I am just hoping it's some kind of premonition for the future.  Except maybe the girl baby looking like H part - that would be rather unfortunate I think.  He makes a very cute mid-forties man.  Female infant, not so much.

Anyway I'm going to meet her next week for lunch - I can't wait, I love her to death and miss her, even though she just had a baby and is (naturally) full of baby talk.  I think I can handle it right now, though, since I have a plan.

A very specific plan, I might add.  After comparing calendars with H all morning (his work/play schedule with my lunar schedule) we finally determined that the only way to do the ODWU in any kind of reasonable timeframe is to do it separately.  Not ideal but better than waiting 2 more months - yes, it would be 2 more months because the month after this both he and I will be out of town getting *married* (can't reschedule that one!)  So I am going to Denver next Thursday the 29th for my ODWU and he'll go when he gets back from that stag party.  IF he gets back from that stag party...I am not in fact confident he will.

Anyone have recommendations for where to stay?  I think I'm going to snoop around some blogs and get recommendations.  It's only for one night so it hardly matters but I want to use this trip to do some research on where to do the longer stays.

I am also thinking that while I'm out there I will ask Dr S his opinion of me cycling in November to freeze eggs (if we get any) and then doing another in January.  Reason for this is that we have yet another trip scheduled in mid December to go to India with some very good friends of ours.  I have been agonizing about this trip ever since we started to book it (i.e., should we be spending this kind of money right now? is it safe to go if I get pregnant? shouldn't I be using this time to cycle instead of going away?)  But somehow I never managed to get enough conviction to cancel the trip.  Part of it was that my friends were all really excited about it and did a ton of work planning it.  And it wasn't clear that it would be a problem - it's only two weeks out of the year and it's rare to get the opportunity to do this kind of thing.

But now I am kicking myself - it means we won't get to cycle free and clear until January, unless I do a cycle with no transfer in November.  I doubt they'd want me to transfer and then run off the India for 2 weeks...seems risky.  And this trip is expensive.  And optional, so could have easily been avoided.  Argh.  H keeps telling me that we should go on these trips while we can - they are once-in-a-lifetime things.  I know he's right, but so is having a baby!

No use crying over spilt milk.  And I can't believe I am crying at all - the trip will be awesome and even though we will be broke after all of this travelling I am really excited about it.  Next year will be the year of the Staycation though - no more expensive trips!  Only expensive IVF procedures!

So I will discuss all this with Dr S on Thursday and see what he thinks.  I should get cracking on organizing flights and hotels I guess.  And eating, don't forget eating.

Monday, September 19, 2011

At Last, The Consultation

We finally had our consultation with Dr. S this evening.  It went pretty well I think - the most important thing I took away is that he thought we should try at least one more time with my eggs before going to donor eggs.  That was really really nice to hear - I was fully expecting to have to convince him that we should continue to try with my eggs.

He also said that it was a little mystifying to him why my stimulation results have been so poor, notwithstanding my low AMH levels (0.6).  He said that even with those levels I should have done a little bit better.  I asked him whether there were more aggressive protocols we could employ and he said that the "kitchen sink" method would include testosterone & estrogen priming plus clomid in addition to the usual gonal-f and menopur combination.  He said there would be no way of knowing if it would actually work better until we tried it.

We closed by agreeing that I would go out there for my one day workup.  He said he looked forward to meeting us and finding "that one golden embryo" that would work for us...that was also nice to hear.

So now we just have to get something scheduled - the only issue is that H has his stag party trip planned next week which is right smack dab in the middle of my days 5 - 13.  I have to hope that AF (who is lurking around the corner just waiting to announce herself) holds off until at LEAST wednesday this week and then that Dr S is available the Monday following H's trip.  Otherwise we have to push the whole thing off another month.  Ugh.

Oh, and a funny coincidence - I just started watching the Giuliana and Bill show after reading so much about them on other people's blogs.  And on tonight's episode, who should appear but Dr S, giving them some positive news and hope after so much disappointment.  Giuliana started to choke up when Dr S told her she was a good candidate and that he was very hopeful that she'd have success - it was touching.  

I hope they have success there and I REALLY hope we have success there.  But with such a long road ahead of us all we can do is take one step at a time.  One down, many more to go....

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Man I'm Good!

Since Thursday's resolution posting:

Blog reading/writing - 2 hrs combined over last 3 days
Exercise - yoga class Friday (my ass, my hamstrings, my arms, they hoit)
Socializing - went to wedding this weekend and socialized my butt off amidst *thousands* of babies, children and pregnant people, whew
Rosetta Stone - 2 hrs
Tedious errands - 3 hrs worth, accomplished a LOT

Man, I'm good.

However, I'm feeling super crappy right now - a deadly combination of PMS and an impending cold - so am anticipating activity to slow a bit.  But off to a good start!

And tomorrow is my appt with CCRM!  Am nervous but so glad it's finally here...have been thinking of nothing else since this afternoon.  Will update after.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thursday Resolution

It took me about 2 seconds after returning home to start obsessing again about IVF and the baby thing - I spent about 8 hours on Tuesday and Wednesday reading blogs...can't stop!  I know some of this is inevitable and may even be healthy, but I also know that holing up in my apartment and obsessing is generally not good for my mental health.

It's also crazy for me not to make the absolute most of this time, when I have the luxury of not working for the first time in my life.  I should use it to do some of the things I've always wanted to do but never had the time.  So I'm going to set a few goals for myself every week and see if I can actually apply a bit of self-discipline in meeting them.

Here's a first cut:
1) Limit the amount of IF blogging time (reading or writing) to 1 1/2 hours every day.  This is going to be HARD some days, but I am going to try!
2) Exercise 3 times a week - 2 yoga sessions and one cardio (running).
3) Do something social at least once or twice a week.  I've gotten too isolated lately, and whenever that happens I get depressed.
4) Do 1 hour of Rosetta Stone every day - H bought the French one a long time ago and never did it, so I might as well!  Would be fun to try to learn a new language
5) Cook at least one new meal every week - I took a cooking class when I first went on leave but haven't really put it into practice yet.
6) Allot 1 - 2 hours to take care of tedious errands every day.  I've been kind of lax on this lately.
7) Try to do stuff in the day time so I can come back at night and veg - if I veg during the day then nothing gets done and H wants to hang out at home after work so I end up never leaving!

That's a pretty good start.  If I can do all of this I'll be impressed, as my capacity for sloth when left to my own devices is immense.

Off now to take care of some errands - check #6 off the list!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I'm Baaack

Home, Sweet Home.  Back from Venice and Paris, both of which were beautiful and fabulous and completely saved my sanity and emotional health.  Because you see, right before I left for this trip I had a total meltdown.  I think it was a delayed reaction to those two doctor's appointments, where I was told that my chances of success were extremely, extremely low - a 5 - 10% estimated chance of success with IVF.  So low that my current clinic wouldn't continue treatment unless I did donor eggs.

I felt okay right after hearing the news, but the next morning I woke up crying, and didn't stop for most of the rest of the day.  Honestly, I was shocked at the intensity of my reaction - I didn't realize how PAINFUL this would be.  I cannot remember the last time I cried all day about anything - I honestly think it may have been 20 years ago.   I ended up composing a long and probably crazy-sounding mail to my mother and sister, which I'll post separately, which outlined the facts of my case and things I wanted to sensitize them to in terms of how best to support me.  And I cried the entire time I was writing it!

So thank GOD we left for this trip, which gave me a glimpse of what life could be like with no children.  H and I talked about learning French, doing an apartment swap in Paris - things that would be so much easier and more possible in a life free of children.  I haven't given up yet, and if I can't have a child with my own eggs I still may want to pursue donor eggs.  But it was still nice to feel life being big again and filled with possibilities that had nothing to do with children.

And H and I have started trying naturally again while we wait for IVF clinic #2.  So I'm technically in my 2WW although my expectations are so low it hardly counts.  Nevertheless, it's nice to keep feeling a little bit of hope every cycle...I was feeling so hopeless there for a while.

My appointment with C.CRM is in one week - if anyone is reading, please keep your fingers crossed that it goes well!  I don't think I could take it if he won't take me on - they feel like my best chance of success and it would be a blow to not have the opportunity to at least try there.  So here's hoping!