Sunday, May 31, 2009

Things to Think About Instead of my Upcoming Ultrasound

  • How much I want to ninja-chop the people of this town for their lack of interest in my lovely townhouse, which is for sale (for $3K under tax value), but which has committed the unpardonable sin of NOT HAVING GRANITE IN THE KITCHEN. GASP!!! Truly, I must be a Philistine.
  • Is Elizabeth Taylor really updating her own twitter feed, or is she paying an assistant to do it? Because if it's not really The Liz, I will be heartbroken.
  • My Netflix queue. I arrange and re-arrange it three times a day. "The Powder and the Glory" was "available now" for all of one day, but for some reason, they skipped over that one and sent me something else instead and now it's back to "Very Long Wait." Phooey.
  • Whether or not I should cut Jessica Alba bangs for the summer. Because on the one hand, I do not have her thick shiny hair and might just end up looking raggedy. But on the other, change is good, as long as they don't end up looking like those bangs Gisele is sporting in the Dior ads (Dior? I think).
  • Shopping for elastic-waist, forgiving skirts - my bloat/rapid-ish weight gain is challenging.  
These items take up a smaller segment of my thoughts than you might imagine...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Delightful Discovery

Progesterone shots continue to be manageable, despite the husband's occasional experiments with "the five-finger ass grab" and the technique of "pressing really hard on your butt to, like, keep the medicine in." Yeah. 

The risk here is that I occasionally begin laughing uncontrollably, which then causes hormone-loaded progesterone oil to shoot out of my hindquarters. 

I have discovered, though, that the oil tends to build up around the injection sites, giving me these small knots that are sore to the touch. So I decided to invest in a heating pad, thinking that the heat might help the knots break up. I actually do think it's helping. But even better than that, I have realized that wrapping a fuzzy, gradually warming, blanket-type contraption around your butt feels kind of fantastic. Seriously, the first night I tried it I was asleep in about eight minutes. Wonderful. Soothing. Butt-nurturing. I recommend this to everyone, progesterone user or not. In fact, I plan on firing mine up again tonight.

In other news, ended up getting another beta HcG done, since the nurse was a bit concerned about some muscle pain I'd been having. Numbers again looked promising, though, and a nice, steady, regular doubling is more than I had to go on last time, so now I'm just focusing on making it to the ultrasound in two weeks and seeing what that shows us. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Humor for the Not Conventionally Fecund

Progesterone injections: the only time when your husband will be flattered to hear you say "Are you in yet? I couldn't tell." 

Monday, May 25, 2009

Once Bitten, Twice Shy

Well. The doctor is happy with the results of the second HcG, and the spotting has mostly tapered off - it was a very small amount of blood, most of it brownish. I was really unnerved by this awful elbow/upper arm pain Friday night when the spotting started. It felt like someone was slamming my funny bone over and over against a hard surface. Now, I've had some serious muscle pain before, aches that I chalked up to a progesterone reaction, perhaps. So that left me wondering - was this terrible arm pain just another one of my muscle pains or a symptom of another ectopic? At some point before or during my previous ectopic, I had a wrenching pain in my arm that kept me awake one night. I spent Friday night convinced I was getting ready to have my second ectopic, and even despite the good numbers from Saturday morning, I'm still not entirely convinced that everything's fine. 

I check the pantyliner in my underwear five or six times a day and I think that ever since the test came back positive - before that even - I've been waiting for this to happen. Waiting to start bleeding, because I don't expect anything better from my body. Ugh. At this point, like every time before, there are two possibilities: once again, my feelings of dread/woman's pessimistic intuition will prove right; or I'm just paranoid. It would be nice if the second possibility won out for a change.

Friday, May 22, 2009

And while I'm at it...

Y'all. I have decided. 

The worst possible television show for an in/subfertile woman to watch isn't "A Baby Story" or "Jon and Kate Plus 8." It's "Wife Swap." Stay away from this program unless you want to find yourself saying unsavory things like "Why were these deluded douche biscuits allowed to replicate?"

Did Somebody Call Bad Mojo?

Oh, look. Light brown spotting. 

Obligatory "I know that normal women have this happen, but as we've discussed before, I have serious issues" call to nurse's line...guess there's nothing more to do besides show up tomorrow for blood draw. Blerghs. 

One Hurdle Cleared?

Life on progesterone: early on, my chest and upper arm muscles felt a little tight and I was somewhat short of breath for a day or two, but eventually, I think I became used to it, or absorbed it more successfully, perhaps, and those side effects went away. I did burst into tears over one of those commercials where they show you pictures of abused puppies, but - who doesn't, right? 

So for the last few days, I've had some dull pains in the uterus-type area, and I assumed they were menstrual cramps. So, yesterday, I went in for the HcG blood test, expecting nothing. And then, my RE called - Dr. Sunshine - from out-of-state (I guess she's on vacation) to tell me that my number was 164. She was thrilled. Huh. Meaning...I'm pregnant. Ish. For the time being. Frankly, I'm shocked, and in addition to being shocked, I'm semi-convinced that writing the word "pregnant" will call up the forces of bad mojo and make it all go away. Clearly, my husband's superstitious predilections are beginning to rub off on me. So we'll see what happens when we do another HcG test on Saturday and if that goes well, the real test - the ultrasound - in a few weeks.    

Sunday, May 17, 2009


The husband's new injection technique feels like five-finger grabass to me...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day

Yesterday, on the fateful day referenced above, two embryos were apparently sent into my uterus via catheter. I say apparently because the catheter felt so light and small that the procedure was over before I knew it had begun. I say that also because in my position, legs elevated and blocking my view of the doctor inserting said catheter - well, I just have to trust her. This strange body position also set things up so that I was flashing the goods, with the help of a speculum, in a major way to the embryologist who stood in the next room, separated from us by glass. Have you ever completely exposed your nethers, in a way designed for optimal viewing, to a strange man standing at your window? Well, as of yesterday I have.   

I was asked to show up with a full bladder, and apparently I did too good a job of filling that organ, as the embryo transfer required that the nurse press down on my abdomen with the ultrasound sensor while I tried not to urinate directly into the face of the doctor adjacent to my vadge. 

Actual transcript of the procedure:

DR: Can you try to relax your legs?
Me: They're tense because you're SMOOSHINGTHEBLADDEROHMYGOD. 

DR: Please don't pee on me.
Me: Dude. I am really trying.

In the end, fortunately, I did not pee on the reproductive endocrinologist. They also assured me that I wouldn't pee out the newly-installed embryos, although I released about a liter of urine with great force, so I hope they're right.

Also! And this was the best part - we got souvenir photos of the two embryos. If these two make it to baby-hood, I am SO putting these shots in photo albums and using them to squick the kids out when they become teenagers. One appears to be dividing neatly and evenly, with cells of mostly equal size. One is more of a spaz. (God, let me not be having real-life Wakefield twins. I'll take Skywalker twins. Or Weasley twins. Or Olsen twins, for that matter.)

Progesterone shots still not terribly uncomfortable at the time of injection (which has given rise to a new paranoia that perhaps we're doing them in the wrong segment of the upper, outer butt quadrant and that the injections should maybe be more painful and difficult. I have no explanation for how this idea entered my mind.), but afterwards, patches of skin around the injection site are irritated and sore/itchy. Lotion with aloe helps. 

Now we wait, shoot up progesterone, and see what comes of the pregnancy test on May 21.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Five Pills a Day

1. Medrol leaves a most unsavory taste in the mouth.

2. Why do I have to pee every hour between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m.?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Don't Fear the Reaper

Jeepers. Yesterday, the 18 oocytes clanking around in my pelvis were removed via a strange, awkward, drug-hazy process. The end result: 7 fertilized eggs. I wasn't terribly encouraged by the precipitous drop from 18 to 7, but Dr. Optimism is encouraging, per usual, and says that this isn't necessarily an indicator of the overall success of my cycle. Dr. SultryAccent (a new acquaintance) also says that these seven look "very nice." So, we'll see what that means.

As for the process itself, it began with me cringing my way into a musty-smelling hospital gown, booties, and a snood, while a nurse who clearly had some issues put an IV into my hand and secured it with a metric ton of tape. (When I managed to rip it all off afterwards, it removed a good chunk of my arm hair and left a rash. Seriously, this woman was out of control.) Hand IVs are so uncomfortable; they get on my last nerve. This one prompted my first "Oh, there has GOT to be a better way" moment of the day. 

Next, Nurse Tapesalot pulled an unappealing blanket over me (like the free ones on airplanes but thinner...and stiffer). The husband and I exchanged wide-eyed looks of "GAAAHH! GERMS!" and I was rolled into the operating room, wondering how quickly MRSA could spread. The first drug they pumped into my IV was Phenergan. This was "there has GOT to be a better way" moment #2. If you've never had the blissful experience of having Phenergan shot into your veins, let me ask you: what do you think a small-to-medium cardiac event is like? I bet it feels a bit like intravenous Phenergan. Big Tapesalot said "This one burns a little bit as it goes up your arm." 

Burns is an understatement. My arm was sore for the rest of the day and my fingers were swollen.  

I went under shortly thereafter but - delightfully - not all the way. I have some very dim memories of a speculum, something uncomfortable being inserted into me...a very bizarre experience. Then, two different doctors came in to speak to me, while I was still shaking off the drugs, perhaps for the entertainment value, like that poor little kid on YouTube flopping around his mom's car.

The recovery period wasn't bad - lots of sleeping and very little spotting. The pain was manageable with 2 Tylenol, no need to tap into the prescription for Percocet I was given. I also discovered that for me, the pain of the progesterone shots is really over-hyped. The nurses will make you think that IM progesterone shots are going to be like pounding a 12-inch hollow needle into your thick, resisting muscles, the resulting pain leaving you unable to move for days. It just ain't that way. 

I recognize that this is probably different for everyone but it would be a shame if people went into this worried about the prospect of agonizing pain. Lucky for me, my husband is used to pushing viscous drugs, intra-muscularly, into unwilling psychotics, so progesterone in sesame oil is not too hard for him. Honestly, I felt very little pain. We'll see if he loses his touch some time in the next few weeks, but for now, that, at least, is manageable. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Release the eggs!

If I were more savvy, I'd find a non-copyrighted image of Indiana Jones being chased by one of those giant rolling balls, because that's about how big my follicles feel at this point, and probably what it looks like in my ovaries right now. Plus - callback to the title of this blog. But then, that scene is from Raiders of the Lost Ark, not Temple of Doom, and the truth of it all is, I've never seen either movie, because I tried, but I don't like all the attacking animals and monkey brains and general ick. 

At ten this evening, I gave myself the shot they've been calling "the trigger" - a dose of HcG which should cause my stimulated follicles to ovulate just enough that the eggs will be floating in follicle fluid, rather than connected to the wall, facilitating retrieval. The stimulation process lasted from April 25 to May 4, with estrogen spiraling upwards into frightening four-digit numbers, but with no unpleasant side effects or hyperstimulation. 

This morning, in my final ultrasound before retrieval, we found 7 or 8, I think, on the right ovary, varying in size from 14-19 mm, and on the left, one giant one around 20 mm and at least 9 smaller ones, from 13-16ish. As you can imagine, this increasing number of unwieldy follicles has made me feel strangely full in my abdomen. It's a bit like having really bad gas all the time. (Oh, the miracle of life!) 

Speaking of the miracle of life, everyone should have an RE as cheerful as mine. Today, while giving me instructions for Thursday's retrieval and Sunday's transfer, she referred to Sunday as "and then we CREATELIFEYAY!" which is delightful and cheerful and very un-me, so I'm glad someone else is bringing the happy. 

Tomorrow - freedom from all meds and needles! Thursday - retrieval and getting wacky on conscious sedation. Eggs ahoy!