Tuesday, January 31, 2006

How to Be An Asshat for Just 10 Cents!

It’s the first day of my period. I don’t have to refer to “cycle days” for a while since I officially let my RE’s clinic know we will be taking some time off. So in a typical state of being unprepared, I have no tampons in my purse. In my defense, I did lay some out on the bathroom counter this morning, but they didn’t magically transport themselves into my purse (Why, Gene Roddenberry, why?!).

So with a couple of quarters in my pocket, I headed to the ONLY bathroom in the building, which is on the floor below me that has a dispenser of feminine products. Most of the time it is not only full, but the mechanism still works after all these years, but I came prepared (at least for this) knowing that it may take more than one quarter to get my prize.

I never even got a chance.

Some mouth-breathing moron put a dime in the coin slot. It says right there on the front Quarters Only! I can neither grapple the little shit out nor turn the handle. I tried hooking one pinky nail behind it and one in front in makeshift tweezers to no avail. In a MacGyver moment, I knew that either a pencil WITH an eraser might work, but better yet, some gum, gently used, would work much better.

Slight problem. I have two quarters. Gum is 35 cents from the vending machine. You do the math.

So I marched back upstairs and sat back down at my desk and out of stubbornness (and sheer laziness) decided I was not going to chew up some gum just to remove a dime so I can get a tampon! Instead I used my doctor’s appointment as an excuse to leave early, drive home, and take care of my biz.

A tampon! A tampon! My Queendom for a tampon!

Earworm: Ten Little Indians

WARNING: The following may be contagious and should be read only under the condition that you can obtain immediate access to a radio to eliminate the chance this Earworm may infect your head for the next 24 hours as it did in the host.

“One little, two little, three little embryos.
Four little, five little, six little embryos.
Seven little, eight little, nine little embryos.
Ten little embies fertilized.

Ten little, nine little, eight little embryos.
Seven little, six little, five little embryos.
Four little, three little, two little embryos.
One little embie planted.”

Monday, January 30, 2006

Gone FSHing

I’m jonesing for some time in the stirrups and some probing with something cold, so I have made an appointment tomorrow afternoon with my OB’s office. I requested my appointment not be with OB, but with his PA. PA is this very sweet, kind girl who I have discovered has some magic to her. Each time I have had an appointment with her, I get pregnant, except for the recent pregnancy via IVF.

I have made the appointment under the guise of an annual exam. I haven’t had one since August 2004, which was shortly before I conceived Baby May. But my motive has several levels. First: I’m just hoping for good luck to continue. Secondly: the RE clinic has only tested my FSH once and that was this past July. I think I would like to know what has happened to my levels since then, which were still within “normal” range at 9.6 on CD3 (under 11 is preferred). Thirdly: I suspect her little boy was a product of ART because I saw his picture at my RE’s clinic amongst all the other little miracles tucked in photo albums and pinned to the board. If so, I will see what she really thinks my chances are.

And just a short semi-related side note: I understand that being in my late 30’s does reduce our chances of pregnancy somewhat. It’s biology and there’s just no arguing with that. HOWEVER, what I want to know then is WHY the hell do I still have enough raging hormones to make my skin take on the appearance of a 15 year old??!! And NOOooo, I’m not talking about a smooth forehead and firm, plump cheekbones. I’m talking about zit-city! Man, this sucks. Makeup just doesn’t look good over a pimple that is nestled in a wrinkle, ya know? Especially since the effects of the botox have officially ran their course and it’s time for another treatment.

I just can’t seem to catch a break.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Everyone's a Winner!

I've had a couple of days to cool down from the other day when Mr. DD extolled the brilliant idea about us trying naturally to conceive, which honestly, I find a waste of time. But...I have to admit, I need some time off from what has been eluding us now officially a year. My life has become categorized as cycles and that's not what I want to reminisce about my late 30's.

So many IF blogs talk about their seek for a baby as a roller coaster ride. I'm sure I did, too. It's not. I have found this past year to only be a merry-go-round. A roller coaster takes you to great heights, where you feel giddy with excitement and possibilities, and then plummets back down into failure and loss. Instead, I feel we have gone round and round, with each full rotation equally a cycle. At first the the hard fiber-glass horses appear full of life, frozen in high-stepping trots, but after sitting on them for a while, you see the chips and the cracks in the horse's finish, the seat becomes unbearably hard, and you notice how many lights under the canopy have burned out and been neglected. I came close once to the brass ring when my beta came back positive exactly a month ago, but it slipped out of my fingers and fell to the dust below. I'm getting dizzy and it's time for me to check out the rest of the carnival for a couple of months.

I am still waiting to talk to Mr. DD about a compromise, but I can never seem to get very far into the conversation without him accusing me of how I think he is being incapable of producing a child without medical intervention. He's hurting and I'm hurting. He even said that it was a good thing I didn't know about the MFI (Male Factor Infertility) when we started trying in 2001, or we would've never had X because of how dependent he seems to think I am on professional assistance. I'm willing to try w/o Dr. Blinksalot and medication for a couple of months, but I want him to agree to either a 2nd IVF or a sperm donor *if* that doesn't work within a certain time-frame.

So to help remind ourselves that our love is not there strictly for procreating, we will try to re-connect with each other as husband and wife. We've already planned a brief vacation in Vegas late March in correspondence to some business travel.

Thank you for your input on why you think bloggers stop blogging. I find the thought of someone blogging only to resolve an issue and then stopping when that ONE issue has been resolved rather sad. I never knew I would form bonds with so many of you, but I have. I'm sure everyone has in their own way, so when these bloggers stop, do they quit the relationships they started? I would feel used if I routinely tried to provide support to a blogger, whether it be within the comments or seperate emails, if that blogger just stopped. "Used" seems like a strong word, but it's the best I can seem to come up with.

Plus, I figure if one issue was resolved - getting pregnant, doesn't that bring on the next issue - pregnancy? And doesn't that lead to trying to raise a baby, toddler, preschooler, adolescent, and so on and so forth? Those are all buggers in their own right, and if someone sought out blogging support for one, why not the other, even if it meant your audience could and probably would change?

So, no, I'm not going anywhere, even if you were secretly hoping I was bailing. Yeah, I'm talking to you, Cricket, you little snip. But if you are willing to continue to put up with my butchery of the English language/spelling, and provide support when needed (because I'm a Comment Whore), I'm willing to put up with any and all assvice, advice, and anything in between.

OK, ...let's go get us some funnel cakes and warm beer, and please don't tell the carney your real name for fuck's sake!

Friday, January 27, 2006

Riding Crop, Anyone?

Early December I had someone new post a comment on my blog. Based on her link to her own blog, I added her to my bloglines*, which is what I try to do with anyone who takes the time to delurk.

She had a new blog with only one entry and it was about how she had just found out her IVF/ICSI was successful. She has not posted to her blog since.

Why do people stop blogging? I imagine the worst: hit by a Mac truck and no longer capable for whatever reason to type out a post. But realistically, it's probably something not quite so dire.

I'm sure there will come a day that my posts will become further and further apart and my blog will become some bits of flotsam out there on the internet. You will all have found more interesting things to do and I will be sitting in my rocker telling X about how there were blogs, and you had to type...with your hands...and discuss your most personal observations and feelings.

For those of you who have been at this longer than the 6 short months I've been pecking at my keys, why do bloggers leave?

Another blog question that's been burning, why do some comments, which are directed to my email account, come to me as "NAME no-reply" or "NAME anonymous"? In other words, my signature goes into other mailboxes with my email address so my comment can be "replied" to.

I'm curious as there are times I get asked questions, even if hypothetical, that I wouldn't mind responding to directly, but can't because of how the comment is posted.

Sorry if these seem like dumb questions, but I've been wondering, and I didn't feel like beating the dead, infertile horse right now.

* My "Safety Nets" to the right on your screen is usually most of what I have on my bloglines. If you do not see your blog there, it is because it's a pain in the ass to update my template, but rest assured you are probably on my blogline's list.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

What's Next

Of course, I did what every woman does after being presented with crushing news of yet another cycle wasted/failed, I asked Mr. DD what he wanted to do next.

Big mistake.

Let me backtrack to this morning. When the clinic hadn't called by 7:30, which is when Nurse Wonderful said they would, I called them at 7:50. After being on hold long enough for me to realize things were bad, Dr. Blinksalot got on the phone. "The embryos stopped dividing and so we have nothing to transfer." Really? No kidding. Without missing a beat, she asked me what we wanted to do next. How was I supposed to answer a question I was hoping against hope I would never have to answer again?

She added that with the last IVF and positive beta, even though "not technically a pregnancy", we were just on the wrong side of the odds. She was hopeful, since I was a good responder to the meds, that another IVF could get us the pregnancy we had been seeking.

I responded, "How many times do we need to end up on the 'wrong side of the odds' before we knew it was time to up?" Obviously she could not answer that question any better than I could answer hers.

So I just had to ask Mr. DD on the way to the funeral what he wanted to do. His response? "We should just take some time and try on our own."

Let's take a moment and just remind everyone here why we are not pregnant: Mr. DD's SA showed poor count and even poorer motility. The possibility of conceiving on our own is less than 5% based on prior consults (let's not forget to throw in my "old eggs"). So I asked how long he wants to try it that way before realizing AGAIN that it just won't work that way, AND I just don't have that kind of time. I'm going to be 39 in a few months. I don't want to be gambling on the chances of a pregnancy in a year. When we started down this road, I mentally set 40 my limit. He says I'm giving up before we even start and that I'm being negative about the possiblity of conceiving on our own. I don't feel like taking another 6 months out of our lives just so I can say "I told you so," at the end of that time. Dr. Blinksalot felt we could get pregnant with donor sperm, but Mr. DD is adamently against that, so that's why we went to IVF.

So let's wrap things up by answering some of your questions:

Email question: "What is your husband's hesitation to the donor?"

Quite frankly: he doesn't ever want to look at that child and think to himself that it isn't his. His words, not mine.

Comment question: Why did they keep the embryos in culture for so long?

Our clinic's protocol for FET is to transfer them once they reach blastocyst stage. That normally occurs during day five on a fresh cycle. Fresh transfers will be done either on Day 3 or Day 5 (blastocyst), hence all the fancy 3dp3dt (3 days post 3 Day Transfer) or 3dp5dt (3 days post 5 Day Transfer) that you see in so many posts when describing their IVF. Anyway, my embryos were thawed successfully on Monday, which takes only a couple of minutes. It would be like watching a snowflake melt into a flick of water. They were noted to be at Day 3 at that time. So, Tuesday they were Day 4, Wednesday Day 5, and Thursday Day 6 - and dead - in my case, anyway. What would've been more accurate is that yesterday they were probably more like Day 4 1/2 due to not being Grade/Code 1 embryos, which divide more consistently then mine at Grade/Code 2. In other words, if they had been of better quality, they may have been at blast stage a little earlier instead of what happened.

But as Nurse Wonderful said yesterday when I asked her if they really though the embryos could go another 24 hours in a hostile petri dish, if they couldn't make it in the dish, they wouldn't make it in utero. Mr. DD said the same thing this morning: it's better to find out now that they didn't make it then in 2 weeks. And he's right. I'd rather know now then later.

Lastly, thank you all who thought I deserved more. Maybe that's my problem though. I already have X, why should I deserve more than that? I haven't solved the world's hunger; I didn't invent post-it notes; and there are actually moments that I can't wait for X to go to bed because he is driving me insane.

I don't know how much I have left in me. Mr. DD is set in his mind that we will not be trying anything outside of the home for a while. I am desperate to change his mind. I even asked again about adoption. He says to wait on that as well. He doesn't understand that THIS doesn't resolve itself with time. Time is our worst enemy. It is what has put us in this situation. I have to do something or know that we are moving onto something or else I fear I will have such bitter resentment towards Mr. DD that our possibility of conceiving naturally will be reduced to -0- on account of me cutting him out of the marriage bed in spite.

So...I just don't know what we are going to do next.

I'm Sorry...

Three microscopic souls became someone else's twinkles overnight.

Three more potential babies that were not meant to be mine.

I'm sorry everyone got their Hopes up in order to buoy my sagging heart.

I will be going to the funeral today, and only Mr. DD will know that my tears were for the lives that were cut too short, not for the one who lived out long and richly.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Heavy Heart

Because I don’t think my nerves are raw enough, I am sipping a nice, hot cup of cappuccino in an attempt to warm the nerves long exposed to both anticipation and dread.

This morning, Mr. DD and I woke up to the little click of the TV, which is automatically set to come on at a quarter ‘till. The morning’s potential for a transfer was obviously on both our minds, but neither of us said anything. We just lay in bed holding hands and watching a few minutes of news.

I’m now at work and have been for almost 2 hours and still no word about Uni, Buck and BQ. I called the clinic about 30 minutes ago and their lab hasn’t called them with the results, but Nurse Dufus said the transfer probably won’t be today. I’m now worried that the little embies will have to endure another 24 hours in a hostile Petri-dish instead of a nice, cushy uterus.

I feel sick.

So, if the 'trips make it that long, the transfer will be tomorrow. A sad day for me on an unrelated note. My aunt (my dad’s sister) died this weekend from complications to a fall and subsequent broken hip. I will not be able to attend the funeral which will be tomorrow, and I feel guilty for putting myself and the less than 20% chance that this will all pan out ahead of my family’s loss.

I try to brace myself up by saying there’s nothing that can be done for my aunt at this time, and my father and the last sister will be surrounded by other family and probably won’t even notice our absence. I also try to justify it by adding that I’m only trying to carry on with the family tree…but it just isn’t doing it for me.

I’m sad. I’m crying because I don’t know if the embies made it through the night. I’m sad that I’m crying for me and not for my aunt.


Edited: The clinic called and Uni, Buck and QB are still plugging away at "Code 2". Transfer is still tentative for tomorrow as Day 6 embryos. They rarely wait until Day 7 to do a transfer and Nurse Wonderful has only seen that once or twice in all the years she has been there. It's still a distinct possibility that all three could disentegrate into Code 3, which makes them no longer viable.

C'mon babes. Hang in there!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

I'm With Stupid...No, Wait, I AM Stupid

I commonly ask people who have expertise outside of my googlebility to explain things to me as if I was a three year old. I love the acronym K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Stupid). However, when I ask for simplicity and get talked-down to, I get a little peevish. I don’t mean that degradation should now become the tone of our conversation.

That’s what happened this morning when the clinic called to tell me how Unibrow, Bucktooth and Beauty Queen were doing. No one coded overnight, so all three have made it to their Day 4 development in a Code 2.

OK, this is where I ask for a K.I.S.S.

Day 4 (16-32 cell/compaction) is the development the thawed embryos are now in relation to an embryo that has never been thawed. It’s usually around Day 5 (32-64 cells) that they start to go into the blastocyst stage and as such Day 5-6 FETs have a higher chance of pregnancy then Day 2-3 FETs. This I knew.

But “Code 2”? I can find nothing about Codes when it comes to embryos, just Grades. I am guessing Nurse Dufus used the wrong terminology when she told me that Unibrow, Bucktooth and Pageant Queen were all Code 2. Methinks she meant Grade 2, which is average. Grade 1 is “perfect”. And that’s exactly how she explained the codes: “It’s very rare to get Code 1 embryos as that means they are perfect. Yours are at Code 2, which is average.”

Fine. Whatever.

She then tells me they will call me tomorrow morning again to let me know what I need to do. The transfer may be then or it may be Thursday, they still don’t know. I took the opportunity to ask her about the valium for the transfer as they had not given me a script like they had before with the fresh transfer.

“Oh, you’ll get that at the hospital the day of the transfer.”

They must be on to me and my love of the valium and decided not to give me a script to fill in case I decide to fill it early and on the off-chance, to only have one left by transfer day. “Ooops, I was supposed to save them for AFTER the transfer? Oh, golly, I’m sorry I’m soooo stupid! I bet I can’t even count to 1 on my fingers. Hey, how ‘bout that, I can! What? You don’t appreciate me starting the count with *that* finger?”


So even though Nurse Dufus described my little Unibrow, Bucktooth and Beauty Queen as “average”, they are perfect to me. I’m hoping my luck will change just a little bit for the better. And if last night’s win with the lottery was any indication…Oh, yes, my dear sisters, we are holding onto one of the winning tickets! The powerball was 41, Mr. DD’s age, and that tipped us into a total winning of $4.00 since we matched one of the other five numbers. Yeah, Baby!

Bartender, another round of H$rsh$y’s Kisses, I’m buying!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Warming Up The Second String

Since I found out that the "IVF That Worked" didn't, I have resigned myself to just sitting back, trying to stay calm and seeing what will happen with the FET. But this afternoon, it has hit home, and hit hard, and my nerves have suddenly unraveled.

I just got back from lunch to see I had some voicemail. It was Nurse W. from the clinic and I was to call her back. I really thought I wouldn't hear anything today as the thaw was just supposed to start. I figured I would be getting the updates every 24 hours starting tomorrow and a call so soon could not be good.

Instead I found that when I called them back that one of the four embryos has been cut from the second string and shriveled up and died, thereby getting cut from the team. So already I am down to three. Is it really possible that all three could possibly make it until Wednesday or even Thursday?

Several months ago, before I realized how difficult this was going to be for me emotionally, I came across an internet article about a doctor who was working with IF patients and their struggle for not just good physical well-being, but mental health as well. He would keep the patients on the minimum dosage of, let's say, we11butr,n during the 2WW post IUI/IVF. He figured that keeping the patient mentally sound during that time considerably outweighed the very minimum risk the patient/fetus would be exposed to during such early conception. His patients had a much better implantation success than those who did not take mental-health drugs.

Right now, I would really like to be part of that study...actually, I would settle for a comotose state of approximately 48 hours if that was at all possible.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Don't Bother With A Roundtrip Ticket

I've been simmering in anger all day in response to a blog I found that compiles the author's ideals of a personal trainwreck. This "person" (I add quotes to emphasize that the author, though human, doesn't really deserve to be humanized) took a personal popshot at one of our own, which I will refer to as M. I won't give details or even a link because I believe the author, Mr. Pickles, deserves little more attention than a wad of gum stuck to the bottom of my boots.

Aside from the original intent of the post, the subsequent comments, most from IFers as well, were in defense of the so-called trainwreck (aka M). In response to one comment, Mr. Pickles, who described HERself as, "...a childless woman for about 40 years and I have not felt alienated from the sisterhood, stigmatized by feminists, or any of that other crap you came up with," described you (and me) as not being M's friends, but "fucking drama vampires." How amazing that her personal, social and professional life has afforded her such a luxury to not lead her down what many women experience in the quest for motherhood! I did note however, she decided to use the term childless (as in not-a-choice) as opposed to childfree, but that's just me making ASSumptions about her choice of words.

Let's break that simple latter quote down: vampire (bats) are parasites: "it obtains nourishment from the host without benefiting or killing the host," and it's only physical manifestation of being a parasite is rancid bile or a steaming pile of shit. That said, I/we will always be Supporters of M's journey through infertility, the real vampire is Mr. Pickles, using other journals of hardship or sadness to fulfill her own needs. We are supporters because for whatever reason we relate to not only the pain of infertility, but to M's successes; her humor and intelligence, because as surprising as it seems, not all of her readers are infertile. That's an unfair categorization in itself, but to call us vampires is an insult to all of us who have followed her posts because they have touched us emotionally on some level or another.

I can't help but imagine the course of history that has led Mr. Pickles into creating such a blog. Obviously, her life must be truly a trainwreck to have a compilation of them into one area as a way of making her own experience look not so miserable or lonely.

Friday, January 20, 2006

...Back In The Saddle, Again...

Today is CD11…yes, already.

I have been on increased increments of estrogen since CD2 and currently am on 8mg/day and will be until Dr. Blinksalot says I can stop. I had my first wanding since the transfer exactly 3 weeks ago tomorrow. I am again producing a wonderfully fluffy lining for any surviving embryos to nestle into. I was told by the tech today it had to be at least 7-8 or else they will cancel the transfer. When she finished she just walked out without telling me the results. She’s a bitch. During our IVF cycle, on one of the last US before the aspiration, she would not tell me how many follicles there were because “the doctor may get more or less during the actual procedure, so we can never say for sure.” However, when Nurse W. who I have mentioned before as wonderful, came in to take my bp and whatnot, told me how many they could see. I don’t know what that other nurse/tech’s problem is but an attitude adjustment should be in her future, but for now she is Nurse BA.

Another nurse came in today after BA left and told me what the lining measured when I asked (11mm) and she did some pre-admit testing: blood pressure, history, etc. Since she seemed pleasant and giggled when I said the other nurse is too secretive, I told her something Mr. DD had said three weeks ago when we were naively optimistic about the fresh transfer working. On the trip down I had asked him if he would have any problems letting any remaining embryos go up for adoption. His response is burned into my memory forever:

“Who would want your buck-toothed, uni-browed babies?”

Ah, yes, ladies. My husband - in all his romantic glory - right there. Are you just so jealous or what?

Well it appears that I want our buck-toothed, uni-browed babies….And I want ‘em BAD!

So, I start PIO again tomorrow. Continue the estrogen, folic acid, and prenatals (yuck!). The 4 frozen embryos (1 six cell, 1 five cell, and 2 four cell) will go through their global warming starting Monday and following daily updates, we are looking at a possible transfer either Wednesday or Thursday if any make it. Yes, already…again.

BTW, I asked BA if there were any follicles on my ovaries that Mr. DD and I could use as a back-up plan under the guise of natural conception (sex with actual purpose), but alas they are all “folliculed” out. In fact Nurse BA said if there were any follicles, they would have to start bloodwork because they have to manage my cycle via more drugs to prevent ovulation. I’m not sure I get all that, but it doesn’t matter since no rebel eggs are going to mix things up this cycle.

So, I’m not sure if my ass is sore still from the prior cycle’s PIO or from falling off my horse named HOPE, but either way I’m limping my way back into that saddle for another wild ride.

Yee-Haw and yippeekiya, m*therf*cker!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

I'm a Cup-Cake...and That Isn't a Compliment

A few months ago I met someone who I first found to be a good foil for my laisser faire personality. She was logical, accurate, and a numbers-cruncher. She provided info that I thought made me look good and was being provided to me in my better interest.

I now am questioning the benefits of our relationship. Not only is she giving me info based on what others are doing, she is also providing info about me to the others. I knew that, but I just never realized the possible implications until recently.

Many of you have the same relationship because you advertise it on your blogs (if you have one) because I’m referring to Stat Counter (SC).

Before I had SC, I cried into my cereal daily bemoaning the futility of starting a blog and realizing that it’s nearly impossible for me to take the snark in my head and put it into print. There’s no place to announce to the world, “Hey, you! Are you bored? Are you interested in hearing about girly bits, periods, low counts/motility and occasionally peppered with stories that could be cute about a preschooler? Need something unproductive to do while working WITHOUT snorting coffee through your nose? Have I got a blog for you! It’s not all that interesting or funny, but what the heck! It’ll get you a reprieve in running that report AGAIN for your boss because he/she can’t find the last 5 you gave them!” So I would check my profile daily (hourly) to see if anyone had been to my blog.

Then B. Mare posted some questions she had about Stat Counter and she provided what I thought was the magical link of knowledge. My head blew up to the size of a Macy’s Parade balloon when miraculously I stumbled across the answer to one of her questions and she personally thanked me for my brilliance. A day of reckoning!

In those following days/weeks/months after I had added Stat Counter to my blog, I found some solace that even though you weren’t commenting, you were coming to see me. I was at peace…for a while.

Then this past weekend, someone shot a .22 into my big, fat, over-inflated head. Who? Who you ask indignantly, would do such a thing? Well, * looking side-to-side and over my shoulder* it was…

ME! ..::gasp!::..

Oh, the horror of it all!

The events unfolded as such: I was on visiting of “those” Blogs where I normally just read/lurk because She normally gets about 999 comments per post and I figure, who the hell is reading these, because I sure the hell don’t have time to read through all those comments, and really, they all sound the same, don’t they? But I stepped over the line and felt I had something to contribute and did so.

Imagine my complete surprise when SC told me within the next 24 hours, the number of visits I normally get daily nearly doubled to 10 (Ok, it was more like 80). In one day. Guess where they were coming from? They were being referred from my comment on The Blog. Guess how many comments and emails I received from all those new visitors?

Not. A. One.

And only two days past the warm-fuzzy and inspirational event of National De-Lurking Week. But then, I thought, why would anyone who is a reg to The Blog who then jumps to mine even feel like commenting? That would be like having to make a choice between a huge, beautiful wedding cake and an unfrosted cup-cake with the paper wrapper still on it. Which one are you going to pine for? If you only have enough room (aka snark) for one bite, you certainly aren’t going to waste it on the cup-cake, are you?

Oh well.

So, I have discovered the double-edged sword that is called Stat Counter, for which I now have a love/hate relationship with.

And let me just say for the record: this is not an attempt, lame as it may be to get you to comment. Being of rebellious nature, those types of posts have the opposite effect on me and I refused to be cajoled into commenting. …but if you are just dieing to leave your 2 cents, I wouldn’t hold it against you for being such a pushover.

Just look out for my big-ass head in next year’s Macy’s Parade.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Hugs and Tears

I've been sitting on pins and needles with Suzanne as she awaited her follow-up ultrasound from last week. Today's news was the last thing I wanted to read, but I'm sure it was the last thing she wanted to write. Please stop by her Palace with a warm plate of blog-love and an understanding hug.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Make Mine a Lite!

I'm still spotting, but I figured I would for some time since I was flushing out a cycle's worth of repronex, progesterone, antegon and of course one teeny-tiny embryo who really did take after mommy and got too lazy to stick around.

The cramping was pretty bad the first couple of days. It was like one of my old periods where I would gorge myself on chocolate and mochas days before CD1 would show and not drink enough water. Do you know what I mean?

Friday is my ultrasound to see how my lining looks in prep for the FET. After tonite I will be on 8mg of oral estrodial and I am trying to take my folic acid and vitamins daily.

I have reviewed the 2003 CDC findings for my clinic and they have a 50% success rate for women my age (38), but - and it's a BIG BUTT - they only did 4 FETs in 2003 in my age group of which 2 resulted in live births. And they only did a total of 13 that year, of which 4 resulted in live births. Again the odds are better than if we were trying on our own, but I can't help but want something a little more...definitive, ya' know?

It seems surreal that by the end of next week we will have done another transfer - godwilling that a couple of the embryos survive the global warming, petri-dish style. No injections so my buttocks have finally healed and my underwear no longer sport little red polka-dots and I haven't had a good wanding since the transfer on Dec. 21. Suzanne coined the phrase in one of her emails that this cycle should be called IVF-Lite: All the hopes, but half the stress!

Thanks everyone for offering support when I'm feeling none from those I should. Also, I'm sorry that I am not a brunette...this year anyway. I had been growing out my hair since I lost Baby May as a way of mourning. Some women slice off their hair, I decided that I would grow it since I really do not like long hair on me, I've got a pinhead, hatsize 7. I've always been the type to keep it short, very short, so by it being so long, it's an evil reminder every morning that I still am not pregnant. But that is about to change. Friday I have scheduled a hair appt: 1) to take care of those nasty roots as I am a brunette (of mousy hue) under all that blonde; and 2) to take a couple inches off. I have to start slow as Mr. DD associates long hair with babedom. So by that standard, I have only become a "babe" in the last year of our 13 year relationship. Whoda' thunk?

Sunday, January 15, 2006

It's 211 Degrees F. In Here

Things are slowly coming to a boil with the in-laws. Mr. DD finally is seeing how some of his family has been ostricizing me/us and hasn't shown any concern for what hell we have been going through. Now I understand our position doesn't mean every body's lives need to come to a screeching halt, but some acknowledgement would be appreciated.

Today was the shower. Plan A was for Mr. DD to arrive at the hostess's home with gifts in hand and to announce that I had suddenly contracted the ebola virus and thought it would be wise for me to stay at home and avoid bringing the plague to those expecting. However, harsh reality has struck and he is starting to feel as bitter as I am so I figured, what the hell, a little truth is what everyone needs to be subjected to right about now so on to Plan B.

So at noon, I gathered up the gifts and went to the where the party was scheduled. Party was scheduled for 3:00. Hostess, a SUPER lovely lady without a malicious bone in her body graciously welcomed me in and I brought the gifts in and set them on the floor and announced I would not be able to attend later.

"Oh no, did something come up?" she asked sincerely.

"No. I just can't be here." and without missing a beat, she came up to me and gave me a hug and told me she was sorry. I then started to cry.

I explained that I just don't care anymore if the family thinks I'm being a self-centered bitch, but right now I have to take care of me. Things are already strained and showing up to the shower would not have absolved me of my inability to socialize cheerfully with the mother-to-be; and it sure the hell wouldn't have made me feel better.

She gave me every platitude in the book:

You just need to relax.
When's the last time you had a vacation? Just you and Mr. DD and then, who knows?
At least you still have X.
G*d probably has some very special plans for you.
It will happen.

But I just couldn't be mad at her. It's not her fault that I'm not pregnant. It's not her or her family who treats us like outsiders. I could only smile and nod quietly in agreement.

Before I left, the sister of the mom-to-be showed up and barely acknowledged my presence, which is completely opposite of her normally bubbly and happy personality. Knowing how uncomfortable we were in the same room only confirmed that what I was doing by admitting I couldn't be there was the right thing to do.

I don't know what will happen from here. Mr. DD wants everyone to get together and hash it out. I'm glad he finally gets that it isn't up to me to make this all right; but he knows he will have to instigate a meeting between us all in order to begin the healing. It's hard to see him in so much emotional turmoil and I hate that I have become a wedge between him and his family. On the other hand, I feel more love and respect for him than ever as he has chosen to support and defend me AGAINST his family in this very painful time in our lives.

More of "It's Not Effin Fair!"

Why is that those who want for nothing always get what they want? Case in point: Angelina is pregnant and their next adoption is already in the works.

The weird thing is of Angelina, Brad and Jen, I liked Angelina the most.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Unfinished Business

Ok, here's the pix of me with Max when he realized we had to go home and that the rally was over. Yes, I look as tired as hell, but aside from that, look at X's sad little face. He wouldn't even take off the eartectors.

Sometimes he has his moments where he totally takes the easy way out and tries to use the crying to his advantage. But most of the time, he really tries to be the Big Boy and will hide by turning away or going to his room when something really upsets him, but if I notice and ask him if he's OK, he does what we all do when someone notices we're hurting and he'll burst into tears, run into my arms sucking back sobs and hiding his face in my shoulder.

Sometimes when we happen to be out with the in-laws for dinner, X may get upset and start crying (it's usually about nothing that requires overt attention), I've had to bite my tongue when his grandma tells him to stop being a cry baby. I don't want X thinking that crying is for babies. It's for whenever one is feeling sad or out-of-sorts. I don't let him cry his way into cookies, toys, etc., but I know it's really never appropriate to "embarass" a child into stopping an unwanted behavior.

Secondly, based on more popular requests, this time from Cricket, a very talented closet artist herself, here's just a sample of some of my work from a long time ago. It's an etching, which is basically a metal plate that is usually completely covered with a waxy product and then a tool is used to remove what will end up being the darkest areas of the finished product because each time you remove some of the wax, you dip it into acid which etches into the exposed metal. The whitest part is created when the plate is not exposed to any etching. Ink is then applied to the metal plate and the excess is wiped off with something like a cheese cloth. Excess ink will imbed into the etched areas so when paper is applied and pressed into the plate, it transfers the image, and voila', one etched print.

Original etchings will usually be numbered 1 of 10 or 1 of 50 or some such thing because a plate can only be used so many times before the press that is used to transfer the ink to the paper, which can apply hundreds of pounds of pressure per square inch, eventually presses down on the metal plate folding in or smoothing out the etched areas so that the later images do not appear to be as sharp or crisp as the first.

There were a few minor images with the above print, titled "A Foreman's Pedestal" by the way, but which I will not point out as I am only hoping you don't notice. One of the most impressive parts of this print and for which I am proudest is how black the black is. It is hard to achieve a deep black in etching in such a large area.

Now if you haven't fallen asleep yet with my seemingly unending spouting of art prints, I just have to share a story of one of my favorite artistic finds. My mother, who is 75, bless her heart, cleans houses to supplement her income. One of her employers passed away a couple of years ago and when the children of the employer came back home to take care of the "estate", they offered my mother the opportunity to take anything left in the house for herself. The children were all considered wealthy and had long grown away from their parents and of which the youngest was already in his late 50's, so what remained in the house was not of much interest to them. I went in the house with my mom and we went through antique linens, brick-a-brack, photos, etc. as well as a room by room review. Upstairs in the hallway on the walls were 3 small black and white landscape prints and 4 larger prints of similar subject as well as 3 colored prints. Upon closer inspection in the dark hallways, they appeared to be not photocopies, but drypoint and etched prints. What we had found were 10 original Lyman Byxbe prints, all handsigned, titled and in their original frames. He's not infamous by any means, but his prints depicting different subjects of the Rocky Mountains were popular in the early 20th century. Not an Antiques Roadshow discovery by any means, but I knew that they must have meant something to the now deceased owners and I felt sorry for the children who did not recognize or realize their significance. I only wish I knew how they came to own so many for a private collection in a town of less than 1000.

Are you still out there? I know. Blah, blah, blah. It just goes to show that I have a passion for something other than having a baby, right?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Mohawks and Mullets

Due to popular demand (OK, it was just Leggy, but she expressed interest and she's popular), I am now going to share the story of how my family introduced ourselves to whole new facet of American Culture at a Monster Truck Rally. First let me prelude this with an explanation of how we came to find ourselves searching on Tikit Masstir for seats in the first place:

This summer we thought X was old enough to enjoy the finer points of county fairs: funnel cakes, hot dogs, big-ass pumpkins and kiddie rides. And it was during an attendance to a county fair that X was exposed to "monster trucks". From that day, he kept mentioning how he wanted to go to another fair to see the trucks. We knew that finding arena tickets would be very easy in this (red) neck of the woods, so we acquired three as a surprise to X.

When we arrived in the Metro and told X that we were going to see some monster trucks, he wanted to know if we would give them to him. He was thinking within the box and that we drove all that way to hand over a couple of toys. So imagine his face when he actually found out what was going to happen. Better yet, here's the look on his face that he had pretty much the whole two hours the rally was on:

As you can see I took some quick editing liberties to insure Mr. DD would not look out of place within the environment.

Have you ever seen a smile that big in your life? He was what I call over-the-moon. Ecstatic. He calls the head-phones "eartectors" and it was funny how he would mouth to us instead of actually speaking in a normal volume.

We brought ear-plugs, but Mr. DD decided he was a manly-man and wouldn't wear his. It isn't just monster trucks that you see/hear either. There were quads, xtreme moto-cross bikes, and even some gas powered radio contol cars. All loud - all the time.

If you weren't listening to the roar of the engines, you were blasted by the speakers with hard rock to which a little boy who was in the row in front of us, not much older than X and sporting an overgrown mohawk, would head-bang in sync with his mullet-wearing dad.

Here's an example of what we got to see:

Mr. DD has described the event several times to friends and family since our return. Always he adds the line, "There were more people then teeth." To be honest, I was suprised how many people there that were just your average, white-bread couples and families. Sure the family in front of us were serious fans (dad sported a GraveDigger t-shirt, which is the name of the truck in the pic above), but most were just like us and it was kind of fun to be out of the house doing SOMETHING.

Before the vehicles drove out of the arena and the announcer thanked everyone for coming, the crowd had already begun to get a head-start on the mass exodus. We made our move to step into the fray and when I turned to make sure X was behind me, I saw the tears start to well up in his big-brown eyes. I slipped into an empty row and pulled X to my lap who promptly started to sob quietly.

We sat there until the arena was empty with one sad little guy (I had another pix of him with me, but it won't download to my blog, sorry). We promised him that we would see if we could find another fair (he thought the rally was just another fair) so he can see the monster trucks again. Yes, I would do it again.

I really am a sucker for punishment and a pretty face.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Time and Words Better Spent

Yes, it’s National De-Lurking Week in Blogtopia. Please use this as an opportunity to share your love and support with Leggy who has received heart-breaking news.

I am so, so sorry, Leggy.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Joys of Baby-Shower Gift Shopping

Over my lunch today, I decided I better go find a baby-shower gift for my niece-in-law for Sunday so I skipped merrily over to Target and with the assumption that she had registered at every baby-related area in Small Town (List: Target only), and I printed out her gift list. I found some things that were all grouped in one location and confidently picked up an assortment of activity toys and jauntily headed for the wrapping paper and gift bag area to make sure our gift was appropriately attired.

As I stood staring at the cute little bags and bows and pink, yellow, blue and green paper, I felt…something. Almost indiscernible, but as I wondered from the paper to the bags and back again in perpetual pace of indecision, IT became more noticeable.

Just fucking GREAT!

I snagged my first choice of wrapping and threw it into my cart and headed over to toiletries. I needed a new toothbrush, some contact solution, facial cleanser, and because I knew I had nothing in my purse or drawer at work, some tampons.

I found the feminine products isle and cruised past the OPK and HPT with only a slight hesitation and found what I was looking for. By that time I was trembling in fury and cursing the unfuckingfairness of it all. I thought I was going to have to resort to Julie’s Temptation of a Period, but I should have known shopping for baby-shower gifts would trump any white panty/white jogging pant/new bed linen combo. No offense to you, Julie, as your idea was brilliant, but mine?! Well, do I need to say more? No, all it took was gift shopping for baby stuff wearing one of my finest CK underwear to bring on Cycle Day 1.

Or is it Cycle Day 37? That would make me 5 weeks and 2 days, so it’s the end of my pregnancy; beginning of my miscarriage; beginning of my FET cycle. Gosh! Who knew One Day could be the end and the beginning of so many exciting opportunities.

fuckityfuckfuckmotherfuckercocksuckersonofabitch…I hate this! I’m too mad to even cry. Sure, I knew this was coming, but it doesn't suck any less.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Sometimes the Clinics Have GOOD Nurses, Too

I *heart* Nurse W. at my RE’s office! Just *heart* her!!!

I told Jerry that since his “services” won’t be required with the next cycle I thought we should get some additional diagnostic tests done to see if we can determine what has happened to make our IF a Male Factor dominated issue. It wasn’t until we headed into IUI #2 that we realized on hindsight that the amount of eejakulut (try Googling that, ya pervo troll) had been significantly reduced in volume. In what little research I can find, there isn’t much more in testing we could do except maybe an ultrasound to determine if there is some blockage or whatnot. I called the clinic and left a message for a nurse to call me back to see if we could look into this.

Nurse W. called me back and before getting all clinical and professional, she offered her condolences for our loss. Yes, our Loss. She made me feel like I was a person, with a face, and heart instead of just another uterus.

Being an efficient nurse that she is, she had already pulled my chart and talked to Dr. Blinksalot to see if there really was anything else they could do, and she apologetically told me that even if we got the quantity up, the quality will never be there. In short, my pregnancy with X and the pregnancy with Baby May were in fact, Miracles. In other words, we have been an Infertile couple all along; we just happened to get lucky and did things in reverse.

She really thinks we should look into IVF#2 if this FET does not work, even though she sincerely hopes it does. She sees more heartbreak at the office than I even care to imagine, but she sees the miracles as well. She thinks we can do it. Logistically, I think we can to.

What really good (or really bad) experiences have you had with nurses at your clinic?

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Sanity Check: 24 Hours Later

Weird day yesterday. I felt good mentally for the beginning half of the day, but my mood took a one-eighty by 7:00 pm. In the morning, as you know from yesterday's post, I had felt at peace with what had happened and what was being planned for the immediate future, which will be the FET.

I should elaborate a bit on the FET schedule: Dr. Blinksalot informed us that we could move directly into the procedure once the most expensive period I will probably have, begins. In other words, CD1 will also be Day 1 of the FET cycle. If we had opted for IVF#2, we would have had to do one cycle on BCP (Birth Control Pills), then the IVF cycle. I think knowing that I don't have to "waste" a month off was one of the reasons I was feeling some optimism earlier.

And yes, I had also said in an earlier post that I didn't know if we would move forward with ANYTHING. That's my frustration and grief talking. If it was up to me, I would keep trying every available treatment there was until I had a sibling for X. But Mr. DD would never allow that. I fear a huge argument will ensue *if* the FET fails on what we will do next. I find his aversion to a donor to be nothing more than a shield to his male ego. But then again, am I so desperate for a baby that I wouldn't care if it was his baby or a stranger's? Some serious and sobering thoughts. Thoughts that took hold of me during the early afternoon yesterday and contributed to my good mood taking a stumbling trip out the door.

Also part of the problem yesterday was we went to The Metro. Mr. DD had purchased tickets to see this event as a surprise to X. Tickets to see some Monster Trucks. Now before you make any snap decisions as to my IQ or taste, I opted to go with the two boys so I could see the look on X's face when he found out what we were doing. The event and all it's sights and smells will have to be saved for a later post - including pictures! I'm sure you'll be on the edge of your seats 'till then, right?

Anyway, we went to The Metro. I feel like Pavlov's dog and have been conditioned to abhore the trip. It use to be associated with a relaxing day full of shopping, but now has become the 2 hour anxiety-filled trip to the RE (how are my E2 levels? will I have cysts? will there be any follicles? how big will they be? what will be my due date if I get pg this time? and on and on and on...). So I began to think about those emotions and didn't want to mention them to Mr. DD on a day that was supposed to be filled with fun. Then when we arrived, we had planned to eat an early supper before the show started so we went to F^mous D^ve's. It ended up being the last straw for my good humour.

We were seated in the exact same spot we had been over 4 1/2 years ago when we had found out we were pregnant and we had been invited to eat there with Mr. DD's niece, her then fiance' and his family to celebrate their engagement. I was nauseous and could barely eat. I think I was only 6 weeks and we didn't want to trump the engagement party with an announcement of our pregnancy so I sat in what I now realize was the most wonderous misery. It brought back so many emotions and feelings including how I would give anything to go back to those days when infertility and miscarriage were awful things that happened to other couples, not us. Now that same niece is expecting her first baby in just a couple of months. And as we were sitting there, two couples sat next to us. One couple was considerably older and it was easy to figure they were the parents of the girl, who was very pregnant. I was subjected to their discussions of how she was already dialated and so much effaced. My appetite had vanished and I was left with nothing more than a bitter taste in my mouth.

Will I ever make it out of purgatory? How does one ever make peace with any of this?

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Sanity Check

I have been in a complete frazzle this a.m. I have been racing from one end of the house to another, unable to concentrate or focus.

Is it because I'm stressing about the upcoming FET? The loss of so many hopes and dreams via a failed IVF? Could it be X is driving me to abstraction with his "Mommy?"
"Yes, X." "
I wanna...(pause), Mommy?"
"Yes, X."
"I wanna...(pause), Mommy?"
"What, X!"
"I wanna...can I have a...(pause), Mommy?"
"Can I have a Ho-Ho?"


Oh, no. It's not quite so mundane. Instead I cannot find a shirt. That's right. I bought a new t-shirt that I want to wear today and I cannot find it. I already have washed it once, wore it, and now I cannot find it. I have hearded all the laundry into the laundry room and sorted everything. I have checked my closet not once, not twice, but three times. Not there. I have even checked Mr. DD's and X's closets. Not there, either.

What the hell is going on? Did the uni-socked gnomes finally get cold and decide what better to go with one sock then a white, scooped-necked t-shirt with lace on the bottom?


Last night, I told Mr. DD something I don't think he ever expected to hear from me at this stage of the IF game, and that was I feel relieved.

Relieved that right now I don't have to stress about the mind-fuck game of "Am I, or am I not?" Even for the 48 hours I knew that I was pregnant, I was trying to figure out how I would make it until the baby was born without having continuous DBT (Dead Baby Thoughts). I don't have to dread the nightly injections of PIO, at least for a while. The lumps on my ass will subside and leave only the cottage cheese texture that has resided there since X was born. I will have a physical reprieve from major medications for a while, or a couple of weeks anyway. So I am relieved. I feel surprisingly light. It's almost a shame to admit it.

So, now where is the stupid shirt??!!

Friday, January 06, 2006

As Gomer Pile Would Say, "Su-prise, su-prise!"

I am so happy that I have the opportunity to share the good news of someone I have had the privelage to get to know since I've started bloggin: Scissorbill went and got herself Knocked UP! Woohoo!!!

Move along from here unless you would rather stay at my pity-party then go congratulate her!

And Now Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Program Already in Progress...

All the positive thoughts, prayers and hopes were not enough to save what we now get to refer to as a Chemical Pregnancy, which means that at least one embryo stuck but failed for whatever reason and died before a heartbeat would have been detected. Even though I knew in my head that this pregnancy was going to end before it really had a chance to start, there were moments this past week that I thought, “maybe…, just maybe…”

Chemical Pregnancy is too clinical an expression and trivializes what we are going through. A “chemical pregnancy” sounds like it wasn’t even real and that nothing happened. But what is so heartbreaking right now is that it DID work. Even if it was just for a few days, I was pregnant. I went from an all-time high last Friday once I saw the HPT was positive to an all-time low today, exactly one week later.

Nurse K. at the clinic, who I am beginning to like less and less, said that I should discontinue my medicine and my period (read: miscarriage) should happen in about four days. They had only requested the lab run the hCG/beta – not the estradial or progesterone. This was my first hint that even they thought that a beta of 63 was not a good sign on Monday after she dared reprimanded me then by saying, “This could be a good pregnancy and for now, you still are pregnant, and we haven’t given up.” Now the words are like burrs under my saddle-blanket as they had obviously given up just as I had. When she told me this morning that it was not good, I told her I knew that already. Oh, did I already know the level (beta was only 13), she asked? I said no but explained when I talked to her earlier this week, I knew that we could’ve had this resolved by Wednesday and putting me through 4 days of hell would not have been necessary.

My “period” will be in full flow by the time my niece’s baby-shower takes place, which I have already decided I will not attend. It’s the day before what would have been my 6 week ultrasound.

When Dr. Blinksalot called me, she explained that it was 95% likely that it was the egg and not the sperm that caused the embryo(s) to fail after implantation. Not what I want to hear when I’m trying to convince Mr. DD to try donorsperm IUI in an attempt to overcome the male factor in our reproduction attempts.

She wanted to know if we wanted to move into another fresh transfer, IVF#2 (I never thought I would have to number any of our ART attempts, but there it is) or to try FET (frozen embryo transfer). Mr. DD has nixed the idea of IVF#2 because he cannot bear watching me go another 2 weeks of hell. I have tried explaining that all this physical and mental anguish will slowly resolve, and that he needs to take into account how all the medications magnify the emotional portion of an IVF cycle. Right now he’s not buying into it and is only willing to look at the FET because I can do that without any major mind-bending meds except estrogen.

They would thaw the embryos and let them stew for a couple of days and then do the transfer at the blast stage. My clinic’s thawing success rate is around 50% but their pregnancy rate is 40%, which are obviously better odds than if we were trying without their help. As Mr. DD said, since Team A (the 3 fresh embryos) were unable to pull it out, it’s time to bring in the second string, Team B. I will not try to get my hopes up, but will anyway, so I don’t know why I bother trying to psych myself out.

I believe we are getting to the end of our reproductive journey. I don’t foresee Mr. DD ever being convinced to try an IVF#2, even if we had won the lottery (it seems to me we would have a better chance at that!) and lately he has begun chanting the mantra, “What will be, will be.” I can’t believe that this was how things were meant to be for us, which in the Grand Scheme of things is not too shabby: one healthy, smart, cute preschooler whose only care right now is seeing how large he can amass his empire of HotWheels; and a marriage that will see us into our old age. But I honestly must admit I will always feel a tug and get a lump in my throat each time I’m reminded of What Could Have Been.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Sidebar Into My Life Outside of Infertility

I've been blogging since August and what do you really know about me except I'm married to Mr. DD and have a 4 year old son named X and am suffering from Secondary Infertility? How about a break from all of that day-to-day stuff and let me introduce you to our two cats: Moe and August (yes, that's her name). We will return to our regularly scheduled program on Friday.


In October 1990, the same month I was moving from Big City, Nebraska to Small Town, Nebraska, we had a snowstorm so severe in its precipitation and temperature that most towns cancelled Halloween. Yes, that’s right – cancelled Halloween and broke the heats of hundreds of trick-n-treaters. During that storm Mr. DD drove a car from the parking lot into his employer’s garage to get it prepped for body repair. As the car sat there, a small ball of orange fur shot out from underneath the car, probably hiding in the engine compartment or wheel-well seeking shelter from the weather and hid in the darkest corner of the shop. Mr. DD found the little ball, and attempted to pull him out from under whatever piece of equipment or cabinet it was hiding under and was promptly and painfully bit on the hand, right through the thick leather gloves he was wearing. But Mr. DD did not relinquish his hold of what turned out to be a 4 or 5 month old orange tabby kitty.

Not wanting to throw the little fireball back into the storm and no one else in the shop was volunteering to give the little guy a home, even if temporary, Mr. DD took him home. The moment he release the still frightened kitten into the house, it took off again for the darkest corner it could find. Mr. DD up to that point had been a dog-lover, but had recently lost his husky puppy to a congenital disease and was not up to taking care of a bad-tempered animal, much less a – dare I say it? – CAT. But as gruff-looking Mr. DD looks, he is as soft-hearted. He went out and bought some cat food and litter pan and left it out for the kitty, which at this point, could not be found. The next day the food was gone, so he put out more and within a few minutes, the kitty showed up and devoured more food. Mr. DD cautiously approached it and gently touched his fur and began petting him.

Within a few days, that cat, now with the moniker Moe, let Mr. DD become his provider and keeper. It was within the first gettingtoknowyou days while Mr. DD was petting Moe in one of those heavy-palmed, start-at-the-nose-and-stroke-down-the-whole-body-and-end-at-the-end-of-the-tail petting strokes that Mr. DD discovered that the tip of Moe’s tail had been damaged by frost-bite and literally came off in his hand! Mr. DD said that Moe never even flinched and that the tip must have just been more of a “cap” to the tail then anything. It measured no more than a half-inch, but to this day, people look at Moe and wonder what looks so “off” not knowing that his tail is just a tad shorter than normal.

But that’s not the only odd thing about Moe’s appearance. He has the underbite of a bulldog. Everyone who has met Moe says he looks angry, but again they are not sure why, but it’s due to that little underbite. His orange tabby marks are comparable to Morris of TV fame and he has the orange eyes to match. He was beautiful in his prime, in spite of the short tail and underbite.

I say “was” as he is now just a shell of what he used to be. In June 2000, Moe was diagnosed with diabetes. His prognosis was not good: liver failure, blindness, tumors, etc. as well as a much-shortened life-span were all par for the course. Without treatment, which has consisted of 2 shots of humulin/day every day for the past 5 ½ years, he would have been dead by now. But even 5 ½ years is beating the odds. His eyesight is certainly failing. He weighs a mere 7 pounds, if even that much; and has lost all of the major canine- and molar-teeth that cats ever get, which we would find one-by-one, year-by-year, in the house. He looks mangy and when Mr. DD pets him (which I will not due to severe allergies) hair flies from his bony body.

He also doesn’t move as well, of course. The muscles in his back leg are sunk in and fail now to get him onto the counter where he was allowed to drink out of the sink. And he would drink, and drink, and drink, AND drink. His thirst is never quenched. We had to place two litter pans in the basement due to the unending urine output – all diabetic related.

There was a time when he was in his prime that I was sometimes afraid to play with him as he would get rather excited and could easily sink in his claws and rip out one of my arms. He was never declawed as the vet didn’t recommend it for a kitten of his age when Mr. DD took him in for his first vet visit shortly after he had taken to Mr. DD as an animal-in-love. One time, Moe was on his leash outside on the deck (Yes, we leashed him, and he LOVED those moments outside rubbing on every bush and tree he could come in contact with and eating as much grass as he could sneak!) when our neighbor’s very large, black lab caught sent of C-A-T. I was already outside and was warning the kids to make sure they keep the dog away from Moe, because 1) I was worried about how well Moe could defend himself while leashed; and 2) I wasn’t going to pay the vet-bill when Moe with one swipe could remove the dog’s ear like a master Samurai. They didn’t heed my warning and within seconds, the dog was on our deck trying to get to know Moe who promptly made hamburger out of that lab’s nose with a 1-2 combo bite and claw. That dog took off with its tail literally between its legs, yelping in pain, and I shot the kids an “I told you so,” look and I proudly brushed Moe’s ruffled fur back into place. That was one of his best moments.

He was also a godsend at our old house. It was built in the 30’s and barely 800 square feet in total living space. What does every old home have to have? Bats, of course. When do they come out? At night, of course! But, we rarely had to worry about a midnite run to the fridge or bathroom and find ourselves with a crazed bat in our hair as Moe could with one leap, pick them out of the air and after tiring of their flapping and squeaking, end their lives. Sure we worried about rabies, but we kept his shots up-to-date and I found the only problem with such activity was discovering the little bat-corpses by his food bowl the next day. Ewww! (Did you shudder just now?) And one day, he saved me from a bat, which by my estimates was as big as an eagle and had the teeth of a great-white shark. OK, maybe not, but if you have ever had a bat circling your head in a small room, that’s what your perception would be. I was home alone and in the kitchen in broad daylight when a bat flew in out of no-where! After some manic screams and movements akin to the dancing abilities of Elaine Bennis on Seinfield, the bat perched atop one of our cabinet doors, hanging upside-down by its creepy little clawed feet. In an act of sheer stupidity and desperation, I escaped to the basement and brought up Mr. DD’s BB gun; pumped and primed to go. I launched 3 little bb’s at that furry winged mouse: 2 bb’s imbedded into the pine cabinet doors within an inch of each side of the bat; the 3rd hit the mark and it lost it’s grip and fell onto the floor which succeeding in eliciting more screaming and dancing from me. Moe watched all of this from the doorway with a bored smirk on his bulldog-face and only became interested when the bat hit the floor…because IT WAS STILL ALIVE! What the fuck am I going to do now?! I can’t put the barrel of that bb gun to its head the size of a dime and put it out of its misery. Poor defenseless little mammal (funny how my attitude flip-flopped, isn’t it?). Before I could think of what to do next, Moe had jumped on top of him and finished him off mercifully. I swept up the lifeless body onto a newspaper and deposited him in the trash outside. Thank goodness Moe had been there. I thought he deserved a Medal of Heroism. The editor, the chief of police and major of Small Town did not.

Shortly after Mr. DD and I got married, in a moment of gullibility, I brought home and very small, undernourished kitten from my Mom and Dad’s farm. She was barely weaned which can be ascertained by the color of a kitten’s eyes, and in this case were still blue. A fully weaned kitten’s eyes, that is, not of Siamese heritage, will loose their blue-milk-fed color and turn their adult color. Anyway, we named her August. She has been the bane of Moe’s existence since Day 1. In his food; in his favorite lounging spot on the pappasan; and godforbid, in Mr. DD’s lap. When we first brought her home, I thought Moe would jump her as if she was just a mere rat and dispose of her little body in the litter box. Instead he seemed frightened of such a weird little creature. She wanted nothing more than to play, and every time she approached him playfully hopping without any grace in her body, he would turn and jump to the window sill, too high for her to reach, and glare down at her with angry orange eyes. During one of those rare treats when I would have a tuna-fish sandwich, I would let them lick out the tuna-juice from the can (we NEVER fed the cats people-food, it’s HORRIBLE for them). August, being just the runt she still was, nearly fit into one of those cans. Moe, not to let HIS treat go to some…underling! was not going to accept this intrusion into his treat. He nudged the can from under her little face and promptly stepped on the top of her head with his front paw and finished licking out the can. Picture the cartoon where the tall man fends off the swinging blows of a much shorter man by placing a palm against the latter’s forehead, which is leaning in with the momentum of the blows. That’s what Moe did to August. She was powerless with her head immobilized in such a way. Mr. DD and I took a picture, just to prove to people we were not joking.

August is now 8. Moe just turned 14 this past fall. My son X, LOVES August (Auggie), who is a trooper around his rough-housing, tail-pulling antics. Moe will only tolerate X, but anyone who brings a curious baby or toddler over is warned very seriously to not let the baby touch Moe, who cannot bear the overly ambitious and loud attention of a child. He is a grumpy, sick, old man.

We don’t know if Moe will make it much longer. He has months where he appears to gain weight and has more energy followed by much longer and more severe months of lethargy and such sickly appearance, visitors fear he will drop dead at their feet when he comes to sniff “hello.” Mr. DD will himself be sick with grief when Moe is gone. They are best of friends. Moe is the only cat I know that will come every time Mr. DD either whistles or makes kissing noises, and it’s only for Mr. DD that he will do that for. Everyone else, including me, gets that “are you fuckin’ kidding me?” look when I try to call him.

I am not a cat person, but I’m not a dog person, either. One’s love of animals is highly problematic when that person is allergic to anything that has fur, plus any type of reptile and bird. How have I dealt with my allergies for this long? For anyone who has endured allergy shots, you know that they give you the shots to build up a tolerance, and frankly they’re crap. I have built an immunity for the most part against Moe and August. Exposure to any other animal sends me into a sneezing fit, which triggers my asthma. Sorry, but removing your animal from my immediate vicinity will not prevent this from happening unless all the furniture and carpet is brand-spankin-new. Please keep this in mind for any of your friends who have allergies to the animals you may keep in your home.

Even though I am not able to completely enjoy the company of animals or really appreciate them for more than what they are, I have to admit that when Moe uses up his last of his 9 lives, I will miss him. X will miss him. Auggie will miss him. And Mr. DD will be devastated. I write this as a tribute to the many years of enjoyment he has brought to us and I hope in Cat Heaven, they have a special spot on a window seal just for him.

13dp3dt IVF/ICSI

It appears I'm the only one who has given up on this pregnancy. I'm a born pessimist and cynic. I think I'm all done crying about it and that I've come to accept the worst, and then I read another one of your comments, even if it's to just say you're thinking of me and I start crying all over again.

Mr. DD and I talked a little last nite in an attempt to get ourselves warmed up to the next step(s), or if there will be any. I guess I'm counting on the proverbial chicks to NOT hatch, and according to the Nurse K., the clinic's protocols on beta testing will not be coaxed into changing, because even THEY have not given up.

I called them this morning after thinking about the whole waiting period between yesterday's beta and Friday's. To me, if they really thought this pregnancy was viable, why not test right away again today or even Wednesday? She said why waste the money because if it went up, they would have to do another beta. I almost laughed humorouslessly at the "waste of money" because as of right now, my insurance is covering the betas for pregnancy. What about the thousands of dollars we spent on a potentially-failed IVF? That's not wasted money???

Sorry, I'm a tad bitter.

But I called the clinic to suggest we bump up this next beta to at least Thursday. I will have enough PIO to squeak me through Thursday nite and I refuse to refill if things are a bust. Nurse K. said they haven't given up on the pregnancy, so why have I? How can I explain to her that the symptoms I had enjoyed on Friday/Saturday have all disappeared: nausea, soreness, tiredness, hunger, etc. Yes, I understand symptoms can come and go; but really, they are G.O.N.E. Plus I figured the only reason they wanted to wait the 4-5 days was to give the hCG plenty of time to start to crash to make sure it's not ectopic. They could know that by tomorrow, right? No, Nurse K. will not reschedule. I felt reprimanded and small for not believing that this really could work out.

I have a friend up in the Lake's area who after years of trying, went through an IVF and produced the most adorable, blue-eyed, baby. I called her yesterday to give her the not-so-good news. On the spur of the moment, she has decided to take a couple of days off to make a nearly 7 hr drive just to be here with me tomorrow. I love you, M.

I love all of you.

Monday, January 02, 2006

It's not good news

My beta was only 63. It should have been at least 88 ideally. Nurse W. said she has seen it go either way, but I need to be realistic.

I knew it wasn't going to be good news. I test again Friday.


Edited to add: Just as sure as those little embies are dying, I am, too. The more info I find on "doubling" the more reality sinks in that a miscarriage is inevitable. Bless you, Cricket, for trying to find the bright spot in this, but right now I really don't see one.

Sunday, January 01, 2006


I’m sorry if I scared any of you with the initial tone of my last post. It wasn’t intentional.


Yes it was.

I cannot pretend that my writing is brilliant by any stretch of the imagination. I believe I pulled a B in the lit class in college and that was because I tested well, not because of my literary skills. And if you believe this person’s comment (I corrected the spelling) on one of The Goddesses of Blogs, I certainly only have the angst going for me:

“Angst is necessary if someone isn’t funny or insightful but you don't need any, so call off any dramas you had planned on our account.”

Starting earlier in the week and as you certainly noted in Wednesday’s and Thursday’s posts, I was convinced that the IVF had failed. I made more bathroom trips in those two days just to take stock of what I thought would/should be there on the tp any moment.

Even after everyone’s common sense advice, I did what the Normal Woman 8dp3dt (8 days post 3 day *embryo* transfer), and unwrapped the last Evil Pee Test Thursday a.m. If you NEVER have done this, YOU are not normal, my Friend…no offense.

As I was saying, one Evil Piss Test of the pink variety was peed on Thursday a.m. BFN. All day Thursday I was either a ranting lunatic or a sobbing, pitiful shell, but even with ALL the cramping I just didn’t know what to think. I called the RE’s office and ask Nurse K. to be honest: Is it too early for me to get a positive on an HPT? “Well,” she started on a cautious note, “These two days before your test day can be iffy. Yes, to be honest, many will already have a positive on this day, but a negative does not indicate what will happen on beta day.” I then tearfully told her that I don’t know how anyone does this cycle after cycle without throwing themselves in front of a train, and then I told her with the warning of not to be offended, that this whole IVF thing is just One Big Mind-Fuck. She kindly agreed, but suggested I hold out until Saturday before throwing in the towel.

So can you guess what I did? I went out and bought a 3-pack of HPTs, this time of the blue-positive variety. I’m sick, aren’t I?

Thursday nite, just so I can go to bed with more tortured thoughts of failure, I stick-peed again. I wish you could see what I saw, because even now, neither Mr. DD nor myself can make out the now invisible positive line I swore was there Thursday nite. A trick of light? My desperate imagination? I don’t know anymore, but I sat another one out for Friday a.m. At 4:00am I awoke and decided I wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep until I had used up the 2nd pee stick. And sure as shit, it was positive!

So by Saturday a.m. I knew the beta would be positive; I just wanted to know the number. 44. Not impressive, but within the range of normal so I floated on a fluffy, white cloud for the rest of the day and my second beta is scheduled this Monday a.m.

My cloud has gotten darker since yesterday. I’m letting Paranoia bring me down. Get off my cloud, you fat whore-Paranoia! There’s only room for two and Hope has already started getting bloated and gained a half pound (lovely fricken’ digital scales!).

I just keep re-reading your comments to prevent me from be sucked completely down. I can do this, dammit!

BTW, did you see that the “ttytt” mystery was solved? “To Tell You The Truth”! Thank you Kris and the power of G%gle; and of course Firebrand, who got us to use that gray matter between our ears in the first place! But, I still need more suggestions for The “A” List, so keep ‘em coming!