Friday, October 31, 2008

Apples don't always equal apples

Apples come in different sizes, different shapes, different colors, and different tastes. Additionally, you may look at two apples and, although you can't tell just by looking at them, one may be much older and have traveled a more difficult path than the other.

As most of you know, out of our 5 eggs, only 2 fertilized. We are very fortunate that both lived to transfer and were put into me yesterday. And, while I have been struggling greatly the last few days, I have so appreciated all of the positive and supportive comments from everyone, bot here and in other parts of my life. The encouragement I've been getting and continue to receive is truly overwhelming. So, I don't want it to sound too negative when I say that apples don't always equal apples. I know that I have two embryos in me. I know that it only takes one. I have every bit of hope that the one that I need is in me now.

But, my two just don't give me great odds, and I know that. 6 cycles ago they might have, but, they don't now. I'm just being realistic. When 3 extremely respected RE's all tell you, independent of one another, that they would put SIX embryos back into you if you had them, just to give you better odds, well, how can you not extrapolate from that the reduced odds of 2?

I in no way blame Clinic C because nobody promised us anything, and I really have no idea what would have happened if we hadn't been there with them, however, it really saddens me that all of the reasons we decided to cycle with Clinic C, in spite of the added cost and inconvenience, didn't pan out for us.
  • Estrogen Priming Protocol - this was designed for people with ovarian reserve issues and people have had great success with it, except me, who only produced 1 damn follicle on the protocol
  • Co-culture - if we couldn't produce more eggs, at least the co-culture was supposed to help improve the quality of the resulting embryos. Well, we ended up with 20-25% fragmentation in both of them, exactly the same as I had with Clinic A without co-culture
  • World renowned lab - not that this was ever a problem for us before, but, it was nice to know they had it. Well, their world renowned lab had 5 "mature and beautiful" eggs (per the RE) to work with and, with ICSI, could only get 2 to fertilize. For others this isn't surprising, but, in my previous cycles, every mature egg I got fertilized, so, this was another huge disappointment

Anyway, as I said, I have hope, realistic hope, that one of these babies is THE one, and I will continue to have that hope as long as there's still a reason to. I'm struggling to keep myself focused on that because, if I allow myself to start thinking about the what if's, well, we don't want to go there just yet because it won't be pretty.....

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Anybody want to move to NYC with me?

As most of you know, I'm now working with a large practice in NYC, but, prior to that, was with a large practice in NJ. Throughout the 4 months I've been with the NYC clinic, I've observed something interesting, but, it was confirmed to me yesterday.

Plus-sized women in NYC do not experience infertility.

Sounds ridiculous, right? Let me elaborate.

In the NJ practice waiting room, you would see women of all shapes and sizes = short, tall, slender, zaftig, etc...

From the day I entered the waiting room of NYC clinic, I noticed something different. Every woman in that waiting room was thin and beautiful! I would sit in my chair and watch them come off the elevator and, I swear, one was more modelesque than the next!

Cut to my retrieval yesterday.

Quick story break - We got 5 eggs, which is 1 more than I've ever had, so, we're pretty happy. We'll find out how many were good and fertilized later today, but, I already feel a little ahead in the race.

Anyway, this practice does their retrievals across the street at the hospital, where everyone scheduled for the day comes into the same waiting room and an attendant gives you a brown paper bag with your attire for the day already in it. When we got there, the attendant took me into the back to show me where to change and asked if I'd like a larger gown. Having observed that the models in the waiting room who were already changed were wearing scrub pants that looked like they had been tailored for their size 4 frames, I quickly agreed. By the way, even without makeup, they all still looked gorgeous, like they were waiting to get their hair and makeup done for a runway show.

Anyway, she told me it would take a few minutes because, and I quote (she was very nice, by the way!!), "I'm not sure where they keep the larger gowns because we get someone over a size 14 in here maybe once a month!"

Really?? Maybe once a month??

So, I conclude, plus-sized women don't experience infertility in NYC.

OK, so maybe my logic is tad flawed, but, I'm willing to move to the city to test it out. Does anyone want to join me?! ;-)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Cycle Update

I've been pretty quiet this cycle, but, I'm not really sure why. I think, after each ultrasound, I was encouraged, but, afraid to post anything, only to have that hope ripped away at the next ultrasound, and, subsequently, have to post that. But, I think maybe, just maybe, I've turned a corner and feel fairly confident that this cycle is going to make it to retrieval!

Here's where we are, as of today - 11.2, 13, 13, 14, 15,8. And, the doctor who did today's ultrasound said that she "thinks" there might even be another follicle on the right side, but, she didn't know for sure. Because of my fibroids, my right ovary is very difficult to visualize, so, she couldn't get a good enough image to measure. This is where the difference of experience becomes pretty evident. More seasoned RE's, while always commenting about my tricky right side, seem to get there pretty quickly, while, the younger, less experienced RE's dig around for awhile and don't always get a good image.

The other amazing thing, in addition to a possible 6th follicle, is that, in 8 previous injectable cycles, I have NEVER produced more than 1 follicle in my right ovary and, here we are with 2 and a possible 3rd!

All of that said, I can't say this cycle is any better than my best cycle, but, it's just as good and sure as heck better than my last one and I'm really encouraged that we're going to go to retrieval with 5 or, dare I even hope, 6 follicles!

Estimated retrieval is Monday.......estimated......assuming everything continues progressing along this same assumption I'm almost ready to accept!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Feel the Love

The amazingly resilient, indubiously kind, and always witty "K" over at Busted Babymaker has honored me with the "I Heart Your Blog" Award!

Now, the way this works, is I answer the following questions with single word responses, and pass the award on to 7 other bloggers:

1. Where is your cell phone? Desk
2. Where is your significant other? Work
3. Your hair color? Brown
4. Your mother? Healthier
5. Your father? Unaffected
6. Your favorite thing? Contentment
7. Your dream last night? Prophetic?!
8. Your dream/goal? Parenthood
9. The room you're in? Office
10. Your hobby? Singing
11. Your fear? Loneliness
12. Where do you want to be in six years? Preschool
13. Where were you last night? Home
14. What you're not? Finished
15. One of your wish list items? Obvious
16. Where you grew up? Jersey
17. The last thing you did? Lunch
18. What are you wearing? Clothes
19. Your T.V.? Escape
20. Your pet? None
21. Your computer? Lifesaver
22. Your mood? Guarded
23. Missing someone? Several
24. Your car? Jeep
25. Something you're not wearing? Earrings
26. Favorite store? Bookstore
27. Your Summer? Diagnostic
28. Love someone? Several
29. Your favorite color? Green
30. When is the last time you laughed? Yesterday
31. Last time you cried? Today

Now, I'd like to pass this award to 7 bloggers who excite me when they publish a new entry (8, if you count the fact that I'm unofficially giving this award back to "K"!!):

My lovely friend, Megan, at Multiple Baby Pileup

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A day to remember....

Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day in the United States. This day was created to give family, friends, and the world a day to remember these babies that have been lost.

The established ritual for this day is to light a candle at 7 p.m. in your own time zone, which creates a wave of light as each candle is lit. Whether you choose to do so or not, please, take a moment tonight to remember these lost lives, but, also, I ask you to remember the parents, grandparents, family, and friends who so long to be holding those babies and, sadly, can't.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The number 7

First of all, I know I've been absent for a bit, but, I've been working through my frustrations and anger and today I think I'm finally feeling a little better. Of course, it's not a coincidence that I was in Clinic C today and saw Dr. Expert for bloodwork and ultrasound in preparation for starting IVF #7, which, if my bloodwork is OK, will begin tonight.

But, before talking about that, I have to thank everyone for the amazingly insightful comments on my last couple of posts. I really wanted to respond personally to each of them, but, between the holiday, work, and what I was feeling, I just couldn't put into words what I was feeling. But, I am so very grateful for all of them and have gone back and re-read them several times over the last week. It is incredibly helpful to know that others have dealt with the same anger and had the same reactions I had with regards to their ability to worship. As pointed out by one wonderful commenter, perhaps it was a bit harsh for me to be angry with myself over my reactions. Maybe I really was being too hard on myself. But, at the same time, I have to say, I was actually proud of myself (how's that for mixed emotions?!) for taking care of me and my needs, something people tell me I don't do enough.

It's been a tough time. As late as 11:00 last night I was emailing with a friend about how I wasn't even excited and hopeful about this cycle starting. Mostly, I was/am terrified at the prospect of this one not making it to retrieval either.

But, somehow, I feel better today. I guess it's like the old adage about "getting back on the horse". Going back to the doctor this morning I got back on the horse and I do feel hopeful and even excited again.

This will be my 7th IVF. 7 is supposed to be a lucky number, right? I was curious why, so, I went to my old friend Google this morning and found a ton of information that I won't bore anyone with. But, I will share this little fact (I love little facts!) that I found on Wikipedia.

"Seven is the number of holes in the heads of most mammals."

I'll wait - I know you're counting.........

Two ears - which I will use this IVF cycle to hear the wonderful encouragement I'm blessed to get from so many people and to listen to my IVF meditation tracks to keep me calm and relaxed

Two eyes - which I will use this IVF cycle to see the good things I have in my life and to read the emails and blogs from which I draw so much of my strength

Two nostrils - which I will use this IVF cycle to enjoy the beautiful scents this time of year - the crisp autumn air, leaves burning, wood burning fireplaces

One mouth - which I will use this IVF cycle to partake of some yummy treats (hey, a girl needs some reward for doing all those shots and early mornings!) and to offer encouragement, congratulations, condolences, and advice and just be as supportive as I can of everyone's joys and difficulties.

Oh, and to smile. Glenn loves my smile and it's been missing for a while.

That little rhyme just made me smile - I must be feeling better!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Prayer and Righteousness

I left services the first day of Rosh Hashanah because I needed to. It was more than just the unending tears, although I will admit to a little bit of embarrassment over that - especially when the woman behind me, in her best stage whisper, said to her husband "that girl is crying, look, she's crying, why do you think she's crying?". I felt anger. I felt despair. I felt baffled. I felt sadness.

I am angry with G-d and I couldn't imagine how I could sit there and pray to him when I feel so angry. It's quite the contradiction to have faith but then feel so angry with the entity to whom you give that faith.

Now, we have to take a little detour here. Since this is a mindmapping experiment, I have to go explore Righteousness before I can come back to this theme of Prayer. I planned for it to be a separate post, but, I need to think about it here.

Righteousness. Doing the right thing. I am a very black and white person. I believe, in many situations, there is a right and there is a wrong. You can make a good choice or you can make a bad choice. Now, don't beat me up, I know there is gray area and times when the choice that you make is not definable as right or wrong. But, in many cases, to me, it is clear cut. Nobody is truly righteous, in that nobody makes the right choice all the time. But, I do strive to be a good person and to make good choices. And, making the right choice, again, by my definition, isn't always the one that makes you the happiest or is the easiest. So, given that, of course, part of me thinks that I should never have left services, or, at the very least, should have marched myself back in there because participating in the Rosh Hashanah service, even if it caused me sadness, would have been....say it with me...the right thing to do.

Now, I will fully admit that I get WAYYYY too hung up on doing the right thing sometimes. So, why wasn't I able to do it in this situation? Despite feeling incredibly guilty about leaving, why didn't I leave and not just go back in?

OK, back to Prayer. I think I now know why I couldn't go back in. My relationship with G-d is extremely important to me. If I didn't feel that way, if the prayers that I wanted to say, that I needed to say, weren't important to me, I probably could have just gone back in and sat there and gone through the motions. But, I take the services and prayers and rituals very seriously. They are meaningful and important to me. And, so, it makes sense to me that, when I am so emotionally charged with negative emotions, I would struggle to participate in these rituals of prayer that I hold so dearly.

For the record, the ritual and the prayers are very important to me and I did go to services the next day, albeit after the sermon. And, except for a couple of times when I teared up, I managed to focus on the words of the prayers and the melodies I was chanting (the musical/lyrical prayers, in particular, impact me the strongest) and not the thoughts they evoked and I felt more spiritually fulfilled then I thought I would.

Now, we'll see how Yom Kippur goes....

Saturday, October 4, 2008


I talked the other day about the Unetanah Tokef, the prayer that talks about G-d writing into the Book of Life who shall live and who shall die, who shall be sick and who shall be healthy, who shall be rich and who shall be poor, etc.... I didn't mention how that prayer ends.

But Repentance, Prayer, and Righteousness Avert the Severe Decree

In other words, by asking for forgiveness for your sins, praying to be a better person, and doing good things you can hope that G-d will look on you more favorably when deciding your fate for the next year.

As I thought about why this year was so much more difficult than previous years, this phrase kept going over and over in my head. (You can see where this is going, can't you?)

Repentance. In order to repent, I needed to reflect on my year and think about those things I needed to repent for. This thought process led me down a path of wondering if I've recognized those things that I should be grateful for. Let's see - my mother got a new kidney - that's a big one! Yes, Glenn had a heart attack, but, he's still here with me, doing OK. I had some health scares but, sure enough, they turned out to be OK and I'm fine. I lost my grandmother, but, we had her for a long time and now she's out of pain and with my grandfather. And all the regular ones - I have people who love me, I'm financially stable, etc....

I really do recognize them and I'm thankful for them. I'm in a place, however, where it's really hard to think about those good things and the bad things that have happened since last Rosh Hashanah, and hope for next year to be a better year. But, like I said the other day, things will be different come this time next year. And, despite what I just said, I do really hope that we will fall on the better side.

Friday, October 3, 2008

First, what happened

I blogged last week about how Rosh Hashanah and how this was a difficult time of the year for me. Little did I know how difficult it actually was. Rosh Hashanah began Monday night, as all Jewish observances begin at sundown. As we moved through the day Monday and I thought about the holiday starting, I began to not feel well. The thought of going to temple and praying to G-d to forgive me of my sins from the past year and ask to be blessed with a good year coming up actually made me feel physically ill. But, I decided to deal with it and planned to go (doing the right thing and my relationship with G-d - both things to be explored in my subsequent mindmapping posts).

Come Tuesday morning, we didn't rush to services. As it turned out, we got there just in time for the sermon. I swear, the Rabbi wasn't 10 words in when the tears started to roll down my face. Uncontrollable tears.

The sermon opened with the Rabbi talking about figuring out what your purpose on this earth is and evolved into a discussion about ways that you can be an angel on earth (G-d's To Do List: 103 Ways to Be an Angel and do G-d's Work on Earth) and how doing those things will fulfill you and bring you closer to understanding your purpose. I tried to blank out the Rabbi's voice, but, I couldn't. I kept hearing his words ringing through my head and the tears just wouldn't stop.

I left right after the sermon. I couldn't stay for the rest of services. I couldn't stay there and pretend like I was OK. I couldn't pretend like I'm not angry at G-d.

OK, so now that you know the scenario, in the next few posts I will delve into the different things I was feeling. I'm not sure where to even start, hence, the virtual mindmapping experiment!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Virtual Mindmapping

So much to say. So many thoughts swirling around in my mind. Struggling to find a way to verbalize them.

Connected thoughts? Disconnected thoughts? Centralized theme?

As you might guess from this and my previous post, Rosh Hashanah set off a flood of emotions that were so powerful I struggled to even be able to identify them myself. As I've thought about it/them, I've begun to identify a couple of themes that I feel that I need to explore. But, rather than try to delve into them all in one ginormous post, I'm going to try to tackle them in a series of posts.

I have no idea what direction this might take or where we might end up, but, I'm hoping the journey will help me better understand what I'm feeling.

So, join me on my Virtual Mindmapping Experiment!