Drive-by update

And, because I felt it was poor taste to fill the “drive-by update” with bullets, we’ll be using friendly, organized numbers this Wednesday.

1. I’m still alive.  (I am, right?  I haven’t had time to even think this through in the past couple days.  Yea, this pounding headache MUST mean I’m alive!)

2. Yea, entering day 3 of pounding headache.  Joy!

3. I think said pounding headache is from the daily shooting up I’ve been doing.  Started Gonal-F and Lupron on Monday night.  First time for both, though not first time with the needles.  I gotta say, I did things the hard way (isn’t that always the case?).  The Gonal pen and microdose Lupron needles are pathetically tiny!  I guess I should be thankful I started with PIO because compared to those suckers, Gonal and Lupron are nothing.

4. Though, my Lupron injection site itches and turns bright red after injecting.  Is this normal?  Only lasts a tiny while and I haven’t really had time to think about it or ask about it.

5. And I haven’t had time because life is kicking my ass right now.  That relaxing post-injection, I’m doing the hard core stuff now so I should get some pampering I’ve been dreaming of?  Yea, not so much.  After round one with the stimmies on Monday we had to paint our bathroom.  If we didn’t get the entire room primed and painted between noon on Monday when the drywaller left and 8am Tuesday when the contractor returned, then we would be delaying the project.  Happy three day weekend!

6. But at least round two of needles was relaxing, right?  Mr. But IF agreed to help a friend move from her second floor apartment into an above-a-garage loft last night.  I hefted boxes at the old place, hefted boxes at the new place, ran home to shoot up while waiting for the pizza to arrive, got a text from Mr. But IF to bring back some beer, and returned to the loft with the emergency beer I couldn’t drink in tow only to find our hungry hard-worked friends had scarfed down the pizza.  One cold, sad piece with onions remained.  Thanks, Mr. But IF for saving me some.

7. In other news, my gluten-free, low-carb, high protein diet is going absolutely swimmingly. <roll>

8. But, never fear, the obligatory picture of all my meds will appear as soon as I can find them all.  The un-refrigerated ones used to live in my upstairs bathroom.  We no longer have an upstairs bathroom.  I found the Lupron and the sharps container, but the Lovenox, PIO, HCG, and Crinone remain a mystery.

9. I’m doing a lot of fucking drugs right now.  And will be doing even more in the future.  Synthroid, Metformin, pre-natal, baby aspirin, vitamin D, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, l-methylfolate, Gonal-F, and Lupron, with HCG, PIO, Crinone, and Lovenox to come after I ovulate.

10. There’s one med I won’t be doing.  The Prednisone that was recommended by my RI.

11. I’ve parted ways with my RI.  It’s like a really painful breakup in a way, so oddly difficult to talk about.  Really, it’s not him, it’s me.  I still trust his knowledge and experience a million times more than I trust local Dr. Soulpatch, but I can’t afford him right now.  His office called to collect their $1,250 cycle management fee yesterday and I just couldn’t pull the trigger.  Fact is, we are already doing almost everything he has recommended to us with the local doctor we have insurance coverage for.  And, those things that we are doing are largely new to us.  And, as any infertile will tell you, many times when you start again with a totally different plan of attack, you find some hope again that you thought you’d lost long ago.  In 3.5 years, I’ve never done injects, I’ve never done Lovenox, and I’ve never done HCG and PIO support immediately after O, so those are all promising new avenues to try.  The only recommendation our RI made that our RE won’t consent to is Prednisone, and, at this stage of the game, I can’t justify $1,250 for Prednisone, some blood work, and a few rushed emails.  Still, it’s a terrible feeling to feel like you are nickle and diming at the very real risk of a fourth miscarriage.

12. On the flip side, I had just about the best ever appointment at Soulpatch’s office on Monday.  Despite the holiday, they took me back on time, treated me with respect and patience, and the NP (one I’ve never had before) actually sounded like she knew what I was talking about and didn’t try to aggressively push me into IUI like all her sisters in arms always do.  Sometimes I think they are always on their best behavior when Mr. But IF is with me.  I swear, other times they are truly clueless bitches, Mr. But IF!  You believe me, right?

13. Oh well, doesn’t really matter.  I can soothe away my stresses in my new shower.  Hey guys, I can take a SHOWER in my HOUSE!  The floors are still made of plywood, there is no lighting, no shower door (we’ve got a temporary curtain), no window coverings (thankfully, window faces our backyard), no toilet or sink, and nowhere to hang towels, set clothes, or store glasses, but I’ll be damned!  I took a shower in my house this morning for the first time in a month!

And, I think it’s high time we end a post on an up note.  To review, I have a shower, I have needles, I have a headache, I have one less doctor, and we have a plan.  I return to the RE on Friday for my first monitoring (CD8 after 4 days of stimming) and we move on from there!

Commence the crazy

Why hello CD1!  My lady-bits they are a shedding and it’s time to get this cycle on the road.

Of course, that “getting the show on the road” thing requires my RE.  Or, should I say, my RE’s minions.  You might have heard me say this before?  I NEVER FUCKING SEE THE RE!!!  I guess that might be for the best since Mr. But IF almost decked him the last time we saw him.  And, of course, there’s also the fact that I always have the strong urge to pee on him mid-probing just to see how his little east-meets-west, hippie, self-love and positive thinking self would respond.  OK, so maybe it’s a good thing we rarely see the man we not-so-lovingly call Dr. Soulpatch.  (And, I mean, I sometimes cannot remember his actual name.  Heaven forbid someone ever steal my phone and peruse my address book.  “Paging Dr. Soulpatch!”)

So, anyway, I called the office bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and bleeding first thing this morning to schedule my baseline appointment (and, no, that’s not my clinic).  Baselines are usually done on CD2 or, most commonly, 3, and include routine blood work and a trans-vaginal ultrasound.  Before each treatment cycle the doctor must ensure that blood hormone levels are about where they should be and that no abnormalities exist on ultrasound (cysts, unusually thick endometrial lining, etc.).  I’ve baselined more times than I care to count in the past several years so it’s old hat.  What’s not old hat is being able to accurately predict CD1, but due to the wonders of better living through chemistry and my past two months of birth control use, I knew it was coming this time.  I mean, I planned her arrival to the minute and, as such, planned my busy Saturday in the city an hour from home where my RE is located.  Early morning probing, drop off the sewing machine at the Singer repair center, get paint for the bathroom, go antiquing for a medicine cabinet.  I’ve been looking forward to this Saturday.  My clinic doesn’t do baselines on Sunday, and I knew my period would arrive on Friday, so my baseline would have to be Saturday.  How convenient!

Of course, we’ve already seen how much my clinic cares about convenience.  These are the same folks that asked “What do you want us to do about it?” when I started miscarrying and needed a D&C on a Saturday.  Why I have any reasonable expectations left for them remains to be seen.  Ah, the joys of working with doctors who have no competition within 200 miles.

Turns out Saturday is “busy,” Sunday is “impossible,” and Monday?  Burly voice on the other line of the phone indignantly said, “You know Monday is a holiday right?”  I replied that, yes, I knew it was a holiday, but apparently my uterus didn’t so they would most certainly be seeing me either Saturday (preferably) or Monday and if they wouldn’t they’d have me to deal with.  My appointment is on Monday at 8:15am.

I felt so thrilled that I won my little battle that it wasn’t until I got off the phone and did the math that I realized that’s a CD4 baseline.  Now, seriously, it’s probably not that big of a deal, but there are miles of difference between “not that big of a deal” when you forget to get the milk at the grocery store and you are commencing an invasive, expensive, emotionally-charged, long-waited for fertility treatment cycle.  You can all feel free to talk me off the ledge – tell me it’s not that strange to do a CD4 baseline on an injects cycle – but I totally reserve the right to be well and truly pissed the fuck off.  Not the least of which because I will now spend the next 4 days considering all the many things that could happen as a result of my late-ish start of meds.  Will my PCOS-self recruit too many follies?  Will one start to take off?  Will I still be adequately suppressed?  Will my hormones be in check?  Aaargh….

So, yea, the cycle-related head games and constant question asking have begun in full force.  I made it, oh, 1 hour from start of menses to freaking the fuck out.  That’s actually pretty good  for me.

Well, that isn’t even entirely true.  The head games started immediately.  Has anyone else every noticed the tendency of nurses at RE offices to think all patients are total idiots?  Like, I think they assume that because you are infertile you aren’t able to talk and walk at the same time.  I may be barren, lady, but you’re the moron. >:-(  Each and every time I’ve called to report a day 1 (and, again, this has happened MANY times) the nurse gets all high and mighty and doubts me.  “Is it really a full flow?  You know, it only counts if it is full flow, right?”  Yea, I learned that 3 years ago, but thanks for giving me another thing to fret about.  It never fails.  Even though I’m damn well sure this is CD1 (I mean, even more so this time around since, you know, it’s been totally controlled by the artificial hormones of oral birth control), I still hear that question and think, “Oh my fucking God!  What if this isn’t CD1?  What if I’ve been wildly incorrect all this time?  What if that’s why I’m infertile???”  So, I stammer, I mutter, I try to politely explain the size, texture, color, and consistency I’m witnessing on my pad.  Then I get more flustered.  Honestly, someone need to invent a cycle tracking app that hooks in with your eIVF chart that allows the patient to snap a quick pic of a used pad, removed tampon, or wad of toilet paper and send it along.  No more calling with day 1, just text-a-tampon.  Brilliant I tell you!  Alas, I must still call.  And mutter.  And melt into a puddle of uncharacteristic uncertainty.  Joy!

And, this was just the first phone call I had to make.  The lead up to call #2 in and of itself was awash with crazy.  Do I call the RI?  Do I need the RI?  Am I willing to send more money to the RI?  Why the hell can’t the RI be less cryptic and more capable of writing in plain and decipherable English in his emails?  Ultimately, I decided it was worth the $350 to give him a call and get him back on the team for this cycle.  So I call the office, listen to the oh-so-familiar phone directory, press 1, and explain the whole confusing thing to the receptionist on the other end of the line.  As usual she doesn’t sound remotely surprised that the doctor left me with no clear instructions, as always I must explain I am on the other side of the state and no I can’t just bop in tomorrow for a baseline, and as I expected I got my usual, “I’ll talk to him about this and have him give you a call back.”  So I wait.  Luckily, waiting is one thing I’m totally used to doing.

As I wait, I remain in my total emotional tizzy that began yesterday.  In my post yesterday I questioned whether my sense of exhaustion and stabby rage was the result of impending menses.  I casually suggested that PMS was at the root of my foul mood.  What you didn’t see, however, was that in draft 1 of that post I went on a loooong tangent (have you noticed I’m good with the long tangents?) about how I absolutely hate it when women – especially those of us in the infertility community – exclusively blame hormones for their feelings.  I’ve been known to engage in a little bit of a throw down on infertility message boards when I feel like women are taking advantage of the PMS card.  Not because I want to be dismissive or make anyone feel uncomfortable expressing what they are feeling or exploring the reasons behind those feelings, but exactly because I feel expressing and examining these feelings is so very important for those of us bogged down in a protracted battle with our reproductive systems.  We are doing ourselves a disservice if we always default to, “I’m in a terrible mood and it’s because of these injections.”  Yes, the injections most certainly aren’t helping, but you know why else you are in a terrible mood?  Because life as an infertile mother-in-waiting is really fucking hard.  We all need to collectively cut ourselves some slack and be able to say, “Yes, I’m pissed off and I don’t need to justify that.  I’m just pissed off.”  But, there I went dismissing my own sentiments on the matter and blaming PMS.  Why wasn’t I remotely surprised that, after reading my latest post, Mr. But IF sent me the Slate’s XX Factor’s recent “Is PMS All in Our Heads?”  Maybe because, again, I have no idea what a “normal” cycle is like or what “normal” hormonal fluctuations can do to your psyche, but I totally buy it.  Though I’ve never been nearly as good at expressing it as this article, I can accept PMS as a, “‘culture-bound syndrome,’ a disease of societal expectations, not biological influences.”  And, I think that concept is actually pretty empowering if you get right down to it.  Why are we blaming our bodies for our moods?  And, even more so, why are we tacitly accepting via that logic that we only get to be moody at certain times of the month?  When Mr. But IF has a bad day at work, or a difficult conversation with his mother, or notices our next-door neighbor is pregnant he’s allowed to be emotionally impacted, why do I have to wait until I have a bloody hoo to do the same?  I reserve the right to be in a foul mood whenever I damn well please because you know what?  Rarely are my hormones the only thing to blame.  As screwed up as my body is, as certain as I am that my PCOS created some crazy, and as negatively influenced as I was in the brain by my years of overt hypothyroidism, the number one precursor to my crappy moods are the words, thoughts, and actions of ignorant people.

And, finally, speaking of ignorant people, have you seen this Slate gem?  In a rebuttal to Amy Klein’s recent “I Should Have Frozen My Eggs,” Miriam Zoll writes:

When I first signed up for IVF treatments in my forties, I never thought the science would fail, and it never, ever occurred to me that the ‘reputable’ donor egg agency our clinic referred us to would promote egg donors who were infertile.

Yea, read that one again.  Wait, what?  I think I’m circling back around to stabby rage.  So you signed up to go through the emotionally, physically, and financially taxing process that is IVF and never once thought to ask about your chances of success?  It infuriates me enough when Mr. Average Joe doesn’t comprehend that IVF is far, far from a guarantee even under the best of circumstances, but you – a patient undergoing IVF – “never thought the science would fail”?  To quote SNL, “Really?”  And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why, as difficult as it sometimes may be and as nasty as the politics sometimes get and as depressing as the outcomes may sometimes be, I’m so very glad that I work in academia.  Even more so, I’m glad that (at least in the sunshine and rainbows idealistic sense) I work at a small liberal arts college where great emphasis is placed on encouraging critical thinking, question asking, and information literacy.  I just can’t accept that it’s alright to walk through life acting without first questioning.  I can’t accept that you’d do IVF without first learning the very real odds of failure.  On the flip side, maybe I am starting to understand why all nurses treat me like an idiot if this is their typical patient base?

And, to that second point.  Did anyone else feel like a leper when they read that next little line.  How dare she be forced to work with “egg donors who were infertile.”  I mean, seriously guys, she might have “caught” infertility by coming in contact with those eggs!  In my experience, individuals like this author are often the ones on infertility message boards that start every post with “I’m not infertile, I’m just of advanced maternal age.”  Guess what sweet cheeks?  You are one of us now, whether you like it or not.  (And, believe me, I know I don’t like it.)

Aside from the way that statement rang in my head, the way I envisioned that word “infertile” hanging scornfully from the author’s lips, there’s also the fact that, once again, where is the critical reasoning?  Where were your questions in this process?  First, if it mattered so much to you that you weren’t getting icky infertile eggs, why didn’t you learn more about these eggs?  Why didn’t you demand more information about your donor?  About how the eggs were created?  Second, why would you assume donor eggs from infertile women automatically pose a problem?  Perhaps it’s because you appear to know so little about the process of assisted reproduction in the first place, but did you ever think about the fact that certain causes of infertility may actually enhance a potential donors’ egg-making potential?  For example, most of the estimated 5 million women in the United States with PCOS would be rockstar egg donors if only for the fact that we so often over-respond on even extremely small doses of stimulation medications.  My old RE called it “a basket full of eggs for the price of one.”  Don’t get me wrong, you have every right to decide what conditions you are willing to accept in the woman that will comprise half the genetic makeup of your offspring, but please understand that infertility comes in many shapes and sizes and does not always a bad donor make.  Similarly, you have every right to be outraged if your agency promised you these eggs were from women with no history of infertility.  But to dismiss these eggs as defective in the same breath you admit your total ignorance of the nitty gritty of infertility treatments leaves you standing in a very hard light.

And lest I be seen as the judgmental infertile casting stones at glass petri dishes, you all have every right to disagree with me.  In return, I get to remind you I’m bleeding, I’m waiting, I’m stabby, I’m crazy.  And that’s alright… just don’t blame the hormones.


Seriously, someone bring me someone something to stab.  It’s been a long week.

Now, of course, I’m trying to be kind to myself and remind myself that this foul as fuck mood may be, just maybe, the result of my hormones doing what they’re supposed to do for once.  I mean, CD1 should be right around the corner (tonight or tomorrow I ‘spect), and “normal” women do get a little, uh, affected prior to their monthly blood bath, no?  And, yes, I honestly need to ask.  I’ve spent most of the past 19 years either on birth control or having my period once every 6 months.  I have NO IDEA what “normal” is in terms of this hormonal woman stuff.

But, yea, I’m cranky.  Work sucks, infertility sucks, my mood sucks, the world sucks.  And, here are some reasons why…

I work at a college.  The semester has ended, graduation has happened, the kiddies are gone.  Friends, family, and even colleagues outside my department are congratulating me for job well done, asking about my vacation plans, and inviting me to endless barbecues, film screenings, birthday bashes, game nights.  But, you know what?  My job just got a whole lot harder.  You know what I do when the students aren’t around?  All that other stuff that is a HUGE part of my job that I can’t do when the students are around.  As the days get longer and the sun outside my window taunts, my workload just tripled.  It doesn’t help that this isn’t the case for many of those around me.  I’m starting to feel like the Rodney Dangerfield of my University and of my department.  No one understands what I do and, as a result, I get no respect.  As I sat through 3.5 straight hours of pointless meetings this morning I almost reached my limit.  Good thing I have a work dinner to look forward to, right?  And 12 straight days of work obligations starting next Monday, eh?

And this work stuff is really eating into my sanity-saving dives into this blog and Twitter.  That’s been made all the worse because infertility’s been getting me down majorly recently.  I’m tired of seeing good people get put through the ringer, and I’m tired of feeling broken.  I’m also tired of doctors, and appointments, and cryptic emails, and perky nurses, and clueless insurance call center employees, and all the rest.  I emailed both my reproductive immunologist and my reproductive endocrinologist to inform them of the rheumatologists’ “findings” and to confirm we’d start to cycle again as soon as I get my period.  The RI responded:

Ok so again this ANA may be a result of a loss not a cause , but now may be playing a role since no other autoimmune issue has come up.  Ok call me with your next menses. What did we discuss we were going to do with you.

Ok, fine, I’m a grammar Nazi, but I seriously don’t know how I feel about getting probed by someone that ends a question with a period.  And, all that aside, let’s take a look at that question.  What did we discuss we were going to do with you.  Wait, what?  Isn’t that what I’m paying you (a lot) for?  Don’t you have my chart?  Or, wait, even better yet.  Why don’t you look through this very email thread.  I’ve intentionally continued to reply to this single chain of emails to keep all my correspondence with you in one place.  I’ve included it all for you right in your inbox.  I’m feeling a little stabby.

The RE’s NP (because, seriously, I can count on one fist how many times I’ve spoken to the RE himself) was not even that verbose.  She replied:

Yes you can call with your period to schedule a baseline blood work and US to start the cycle.

Uh, ok.  Thanks for the permission.  May I have the hall pass to go to the ladies’ room now?

You know what’s going to be fun?  Having a period and starting injections without a bathroom.  It’s been 17 days since my last shower and I’m totally not handling it well.  Don’t get me wrong, coming home yesterday to, you know, a room with walls was pretty nifty (seeing as we had no walls before), but my patience, like my checkbook, is wearing thin.  And, the whole remodel thing is starting to eat away at my brain, I think.  You know why?  Same answer that’s at the root of so much else in my life – fucking infertility.  I only just realized this when replying to Mel’s appropriately timed Shower or Bath post.  Because I’m cranky and lazy I’m reposting my response to her shower or bath question here:

Currently? Please, I’d take either one!!!

We’re 2 weeks in to the total gutting and remodel of our only full bath (thankfully we’ve got the necessities – toilet and sink – in our downstairs bath). Save a few trips to friends’ houses and the gym, I’m totally sans-shower and bath. I’m not being nearly as zen about it as I’d hoped I’d be.

When the room finally has walls, floor, and plumbing again? We’ll have both a tub and a shower, but I suspect I’ll almost always use the shower.

The tub has remained for 2 reasons – one publicly discussed and the other silently fretted about. First, we live in an 1870s Victorian that has a turn-of-the-century clawfoot tub. Who in their right mind would toss a freaking clawfoot tub? Add in my degrees in history and history-related fields and the decision was kind of an obvious one. I may never use the thing, but the tub stays.

Second, though, was further evidence that, after 3.5 years of infertility, that diagnosis permeates every single aspect of your life. “Do you intend to have children?” the contractor politely asked as we noted our desire for a stand-alone shower. “If you intend to have kids, I’d encourage you to get a combo shower/tub for those early years,” he helpfully added. So, just as vacations have been cancelled for theoretical treatments, job moves have been delayed due to the potential pregnancies of the future, we have a tub. My only hope is that tub doesn’t become a daily cast iron reminder of what we don’t have…

And I’m serious about that last bit.  I’m gonna have a freaking 350-pound cast iron reminder of my childlessness staring me in the face each and every day.  No, that’s not terrifying at all. On the flip side, I have considered how convenient it will be to have a tub to miscarry in.  Next time I am NOT missing the chance to collect the “products of conception” and have them thoroughly tested.  Yay?

Oh, and our neighbors with the nicely remodeled house and adorable toddler?  Yea, wife’s definitely pregnant.  We chatted on the porch for a while last night and, God bless him, the first thing Mr. But IF said once they were out of earshot was, “Yea, bitch is definitely knocked up.”  So, a) Mr. But IF’s a terrible judgmental spiteful person, b) it feels so good to have company, and c) I can’t wait to see that baby bump grow from the comfort of the porch swing cushion I spent all of last weekend (and the final moment’s of my dead mother’s now-dead sewing machine) making.

But, it could be worse, I could be stuck at home instead of spending hour upon hour at my currently infuriating and overwhelming job.  I could, in fact, be Mr. But IF.  I could be forced to watch as my term-limited job I do very well at comes to an end on June 30; I could be forced to listen as my big boss tells me I’m amazing but that I don’t have the pedigree they are looking for so I won’t be considered for the vacant permanent position; I could have to console my heartbroken and pissed off immediate supervisor who is about one step away from putting strychnine in the guacamole after big boss’ decision to pass me up for an unproven, unknown external candidate; I could have an overwhelmed and stressed out wife who moved me to the middle of nowhere with no job prospects and who’s so emotionally shut down that she won’t let me vent about the unfairness of life; I could be stuck watching a belly grow from the isolation of my home/prison where I’ll spend every waking hour applying for jobs I’ve come to (erroneously) believe I’ll never get.  So, yea, it could be worse.  I could be Mr. But IF.

But, no, I’m just hormonal, overworked, under-appreciated, barren, tub-fearing, soon bleeding me.  Someone find me something to stab.

* P.S. – Many thanks to my infertile friends-in-the-computer who taught me the multitudes of uses for the word “stabby.”  Clearly a valuable add to my vocabulary.

To-do lists

I’m a planner.  I make my to-do lists, I check things off, I feel great accomplishment.  (We’ll ignore those times that go more like, “Make my to-do list, look at to-do list, start hyperventilating about to-do list, build blanket nest on the couch and watch hours upon hours of trashy television while eating straight from the carton/bag/box/packaging and forget about to-do list, and feel totally fucking overwhelmed.”)

Infertility totally fucked my to-do list.  That whole “have two perfect children by thirty” line on the master to-do list of life?  Yea, thanks for that.  If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans and all that…  I love when my life is the punchline.

But, while my big picture to-do list remains irrevocably undone, my day-to-day to-do lists can be kind of funny.  Like today’s –

1. Vacuum car so job candidate you drive around tomorrow doesn’t think you are a total cat-lady stereotype.
2. Get gas for said car so, again, candidate you drive around tomorrow doesn’t think  you are both a slovenly cat-lady and a totally non-functioning adult.
3a. Email reproductive immunologist, rheumatologist, GP, and reproductive endocrinologist about upcoming cycle.
3b. Wonder why you bothered because no one listens to you, acknowledges you, remembers you, or cares at all about you or your cycle anyway.
4. Answer that work email that you’ve been putting off since February for awhile.
5. Write check to contractor who you haven’t seen in a week.  Stare into empty shell that was once your bathroom and try to remember what it felt like to shower.
6. Try to convince Mr. But IF (again) that the thought of visiting his parents this weekend is totally overwhelming.  I mean, you love them and all, but the potential of a three-day weekend at home is so very, very enticing.
7a. Find nearest Singer repair store to replace the sewing machine you broke… again.
7b. Find somewhere to store those cushions that you will now never finish due to said sewing machine.
8. Take a picture to commemorate that last birth control pill going down the hatch tonight.

Am I wrong, or is number 8 pretty damn exciting?  I’m promising here and now I’ll upload a photo of that last active pill later tonight to mark this Kodak moment.  For the third and (hopefully) last time in this journey toward parenthood I’m ditching the birth control.  Exciting!

Also, a little terrifying.  I’m gonna try and stick with exciting.

I don’t know my full schedule yet, but I’ll roll with the to-do list theme of this post and provide a brief overview of my upcoming protocol.

Tonight: Last active birth control pill.

Late Thursday/early Friday: Period start.  Call RE to set up baseline.

Friday/Saturday: Baseline blood work and ultrasound.  Start stimulation meds (Gonal-F), Lupron, baby aspirin, Lovenox, and (if RE stops being a jackass) Prednisone.  Continue existing meds (Synthroid, Metformin, bio-available folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, prenatal vitamin, vitamin D).  Three injections and 10 pills a day.  Woot!

7-10 days later: Based on results of blood work and ultrasound monitoring (every other day, hour drive each way) trigger with 10,000 units HCG.

After ovulation: Continue all meds but Gonal, add HCG booster (2,500 units) every three days, Crinone 8% every day, and progesterone in oil every day.  So, still about three injections, 10 pills a day.  Woot.

14 days later: Freak the fuck out because I have no idea whether the pregnancy test is positive because I’m knocked up or because of the HCG boosters.

A few days after that: Final verdict.

I honestly have never been more excited to be a human pin cushion than I am right now.  Here I am Aunt Flo, come and find me you wicked bitch!

Different kinds of moving on

I’m 7 days from cycling again, and I’m so damn ready to move forward.  I’m ready to start posting obligatory pictures of my meds and sharps container, to start sharing the results of our stim checks, to start whining about the crazy shit the drugs are doing to my brain.  It’s time.

I also realized something else today.  I need to move on in another sense.  I need to pull away from the online support community that has sustained me for the past 3 years.  I need a FF vacation.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve thanked my lucky stars that I’m infertile in the age of the Internet.  We hear often about the sense of isolation and different-ness that so frequently accompanies infertility, but I have to say that hasn’t been that large a part of my own journey with IF.  From day one I sought support from faceless strangers in the computer.  I tried a few free and pay groups on for size (hint to the wise: ignore the free groups, they’re full of total morons), got used to typing up my story, and jumped in head first.  I still remember that within 1 month on FF I had PMs from women telling me I likely had thyroid disease, endometriosis, and PCOS, and begging me to push my doctors.  I still cringe when I read through my replies.  “But my thyroid was tested in 2009 and it was fine!” I’d counter.  “My doctor said my ultrasound showed no signs of endometriosis,” I’d explain.  “I had blood work done and it showed no PCOS,” I cautiously told the clearly hysterical woman on the other end of the world.  Well, turns out my normal thyroid was totally not, endometriosis cannot be diagnosed with an ultrasound, and my GP had done the wrong blood work to check for PCOS.  Turns out these lay-women in the computer diagnosed me more accurately, more completely, and with more compassion than any doctor I had then, and all that I’ve had since.  FF was my lifeline.

Something strange happens, when you hang around the same online forums for too long.  First, if you have any sense of intellectual curiosity and drive for answers, you wake up one morning to find you’ve gone from being the question asker to the question answerer.  Your time on the site transitions from time spent learning, to time spent teaching.  And, I’ll be the first to admit that that was initially a pretty exciting change for me.  As it dawned on me that I knew more than most about my specific diagnoses (Hashi’s first and foremost), I suddenly had this desire to save all the lost and fumbling infertiles from the big bad world of ignorant doctors, “natural fertility cure” peddlers, and arrogant fertile wive’s tales.  I created FF’s Hashi’s/hypo board, I threw my heart and soul into being a resource, and it was wonderful.  There’s something about being a lifelong academic over-achiever that makes the mere act of shameless proselytizing make up for all the ills of one’s world.  I’m as barren as barren gets, but at least my mind is fruitful.

But, let’s be brutally honest here.  What happens when you share your hard-earned tips, tricks, insights, and wisdom with those around you?  Well, lo and behold, their situations often improve.  And, in the world of infertility improvement is measured by one yardstick – lasting pregnancy and lifelong motherhood.  About 6 months ago I started feeling more and more like someone was cheating.  I did all my homework, I spent my days in the library, and I crammed for all the tests.  All the while countless others cribbed my notes, played hacky-sack on the sunny quad, and ended up with the positive pregnancy tests.  I don’t like being cheated.

I started to retreat into my other safe havens – those forums of other long-timers, those ever-bitter buddy groups of women that had also been cheated again and again and again.  But, with no progress in our own pregnancy journey I didn’t know what to say.  “Yep, still waiting?”  How many times can that be your contribution?  (Well, let’s see, according to this blog MANY times, but whatever.)  Sure, we talk other things.  What good movies have you seen, what did you do last weekend, how’s the husband’s sperm count, but here’s the final awful kicker.  I honestly don’t care.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve stayed exceedingly close with my old original FF buddy group (many of whom have long since departed FF themselves so we stay in touch on Facebook) and, in that limited setting, I do very much care what those ladies had for dinner, where they’re going shopping this weekend, and how they’re sick family members are getting on.  But, that’s a level of interest that has grown over years, not minutes.  To try and recreate that level of intimacy with a whole new group of women on FF is beyond me right now.  Especially because, well, they’ll likely be moving on and leaving me behind like so many others before them.

This brings me to my second issue with my current life on FF – I’m tired of being left behind and I’m tired of watching others get left behind.  That original buddy group that I remain so close with?  Only 5 out of 24 of us are still trying to conceive our first child.  That’s the same number that are currently pregnant with their second child in the time we’ve been together.  Why do I stick around, why doesn’t this hurt more, why am I so bitter toward the successes of some women and so happy for this one small group?  Well, as I said above, because I still care.  It’s much the same with my in-real-life support group.  With each success there (and there have been quite a few lately!) I feel extreme joy.  Because I care.  You know when I don’t care?  When I just met you five minutes ago.  And, in recent months on FF, I’m encountering more and more women I figuratively met five minutes ago because so many of the ones I met 2 years ago are busy raising their babies.

Well, raising their babies if they are lucky.  The final reason I think I need to step away for a bit is because of the others who aren’t so lucky.  And, to be totally honest, I think this is the biggest reason of all for my plans for FF radio silence for the foreseeable future.  Though the new pregnancies of Internet strangers are hard, it’s the repeat failures of Internet friends that are utterly devastating.  As I sit here whining about being left behind, many of those same women that dealt with me when I was an insufferable n00b are also still on the battlefield.  They are mourning lost pregnancies, watching marriages fail, applying for loans to fund one more cycle, making impossibly difficult choices.  All with more grace and composure than I could ever hope to muster.  And, it’s in thinking about these women that my world starts to shatter and my angry fists raise to the sky.  What exactly do you say to someone who has been trying for 10 years, who has had 7 miscarriages, whose 6th IVF just ended in a chemical, or who will never even get the chance at IVF because of the financial burden?  I’ve written enough “Life sucks,” in the past year, and I don’t know how many more I have left in me.

In thinking how to phrase this post I found myself reflecting on prior conversations I’ve had about what the appropriate terminology is for when one decides to cease infertility treatment, bench third-party options, and say no to adoption.  I know I’m not giving up FF.  That would imply I won’t be checking in on those I care about (which I will), that I won’t use it to ask questions as we move through out injects cycle (which I will), and that FF is something I can quit cold turkey (which I can’t).  And, while I think of our next cycle as moving forward, leaving FF doesn’t feel like that either.  Forward implies progress, which I don’t think leaving FF is.  Leaving FF is not progress, it’s just a change.  A change that hopefully improves my well-being, raises my spirits, and removes some of the anger.  But, I totally respect that it may do none of those things and I may return.  If I do return I wouldn’t think of it as a step back, so I refuse to think of this decision as a step forward.  Ultimately, I think I’m just moving on.  I’m putting my energies into different venues.  First, into my own well-being, my relationship with my husband, my upcoming cycle, and this very blog and the bloggers and Twitter types that follow it.  And, a very close second, into my peer-led support group.  Those women and men are so deserving of my attention and I want to ensure they are getting it in the manner that they need it.  Finally, I want to set aside a little more time for advocacy.  As we stare childfree-not-by-choice squarely in the face, the advocacy component of infertility is calling my name.  While I’m not sunshine and rainbows enough to be able to say that I’m infertile for a reason and that reason is so that I can give back to the cause, I am stubborn enough to admit that a small part of the injustice I feel toward my infertility can be alleviated by putting more energy into making sure life is better for future generations (even if no one in those generations share any of my genetic makeup).  At the very least I need to start fundraising in earnest for the Walk of Hope next month.

So, moving forward while moving on.  I can live with that.

Consumer-driven health care

First of all, I’m sorry I left you all hanging.  Grand build-up to the rheumy visit Monday, complete radio silence Tuesday.  Despite the fact that I’m now freaking the fuck out that ya’ll are going to think I’m some Munchhausen by Internet wackjob (thanks for planting that seed Jenny and Rachel), my silence wasn’t exactly a plea for help.  I just got really busy with a work retreat yesterday.  That said, the texts, tweets, and emails were immensely appreciated (you all know who you are!).

So, the rheumy was a total waste of time.  I don’t know why I expected any different.  I’ve been in this game long enough that I should know better by now.  Our healthcare system is broken, and it’s dysfunction is slowly breaking me.

In the spirit of my normal Wednesday bullet list, let’s review some dates:

  • February 18: Completion of third miscarriage.
  • March 18: First abnormal test result that prompts referral to rheumatology and cancels our future cycles.
  • June 22: The first appointment time I was offered by the rheumatology practice affiliated with the urban hospital network connected to my endocrinologist’s practice.
  • April 23: Day I managed to snag an initial consult with a different rheumatologist (after calling around to all rheumatologists within an hour AND crying to multiple schedulers about my poor infertile self).
  • May 1: Blood work drawn.
  • May 6: MRI performed.
  • May 7: Follow-up appointment canceled because doctor’s out sick.
  • May 13: Follow-up finally happens.

So, it’s been 3 very shitty months of waiting and wondering.  Months of fretting that my symptoms would go away, that my lab results would normalize, before I could in to see the doctor.  Months of documenting every tick, every ache, every skim blemish.  Yet more months of longing to be a mother, living another Mother’s Day, allowing my endometriosis to grow, as I wait for a time convenient for my medical practitioners.  At least, I hoped, it would be worth it.

It wasn’t worth it.

Two lab results came back as abnormal.  In March the ANA speckled pattern was 1:1250 (normal is less than 1:80).  Last week ANA homogeneous pattern came back at 1:320 (same normal range).  My C-reactive protein – a marker of inflammation and/or infection – is also elevated.  So, results, right?  Not really.

The rheumatologist’s ultimate verdict was that I may be developing lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and/or fibromyalgia, but that I didn’t yet meet the full diagnostic criteria for any of those conditions.  She offered me Plaquenil, warned me of the myriad of possible side effects and many months it would take to work (if it worked at all), and I declined the prescription.  She was 45 minutes late to the room, and spoke to me for 3.  She ushered me out the door with a nonchalant, “Come back when you can no longer function.”  Wait, what?  When I can no longer function?  (Surely you meant if, no?)  WTF?

I’m learning that the good thing about living in the middle of nowhere and having to drive mile upon mile to get to utterly mediocre doctors is that the drive provides ample post-appointment cry time.  I wailed like a banshee, I pulled back to whimpers, and, as I rounded the corner into our village, I had just a few sniffles left.  I walked in the door quietly composed, prepared for Mr. But IF’s flurry of curse words and promises of bodily harm to all doctors.  It’s a performance I know well, this drive home in tears, greeted by hubby’s shouts, sinking into a tub of ice cream and sci-fi TV routine.

So, I have one more date to add on the list.  May 23.  That is the day my period should arrive, and the day we return to the RE.  That day is my silver lining.  I’m trying not to focus on the fact that it should have been March 23 and not May 23, but most of the time I fail.  Come May 23 things should change around here as this blog transforms from one of an infertile-in-waiting to an infertile-injecting.  It’s about damn time.

Mother’s Day Rage(r)

I (kinda) survived another Mother’s Day.  It was our fourth go-round, so I suppose that helped.

In 2010, we’d only been trying a few months so I wasn’t remotely startled that I wasn’t pregnant yet.  Surely, next Mother’s Day I’d be celebrating with our new bundle of joy.  How exciting!

2011 was much the same as 2010.  I’d gotten my thyroid and PCOS diagnoses a few months before Mother’s Day so was 100% confident that, with diagnoses in hand, 2012 would be my year.

2012 was my year alright, but a year of grief not gladness.  We’d lost our first pregnancy in November 2011, and our second on May 5.  Mother’s Day 2012 was the first I celebrated as an almost-mother.  The one during which I mourned my dead children alongside my own dead mother for the first time.

This year?  Well, this year I woke up having burnt myself with the heating pad I slept on to keep the awful leg pain at bay.  This year I laid on the couch, watched endless sci-fi television with the hubs, and wallowed in my own 6-days-without a shower filth.  This year I managed.  On Mother’s Day, that is.  The days before and after, however, were/are a slightly different story.

Mother’s Day Eve

On Saturday we threw a party.  The semester has ended and the number of friends and colleagues we have with May birthdays is staggering.  So, when a friend mentioned his desire to throw a party and his concern over his tiny 1 bedroom apartment, we offered up our great Victorian with newly purchased patio furniture and 1 remaining powder room.  I have to admit I was pleased with the timing.  A weekend spent planning for and enjoying our first large party in the new house would surely go a long way toward easing some of the pain of my dual motherless-ness.

And, it was true… for a while.  Our house proved to be a brilliant party space, our friends (and even friends of friends) came out in droves, the food was delicious, and the alcohol was free-flowing.  Then it started getting later and started getting louder.  And I started getting nauseously concerned.

You see, I’m always the one that begs Mr. But IF to turn down the TV, to turn down the music, to stop talking so loud, out of the fear of annoying the neighbors.  I can’t say exactly why it is that I get so totally overwhelmed when I think we are doing something that in some universe could possibly insult some person, but I know being the adult child of an alcoholic plays a very large role.  I still remember the moment when I realized that my quirks, my foibles, my very sense of what it means to be me were in their entirety the list of characteristics of children of alcoholics.  I was doing research in my undergraduate university archives, looking through issue after issue of student newspapers from the mid-1980s, when I saw a giant inset box on page 10 of the newspaper that listed characteristics I knew intimately.  “Are you a perfectionist?” the paper asked.  “Do you try to predict the words and feelings of others?”  “Do you lie when it would be just as easy to tell the truth?”  “Do you constantly feel like you are playing at being normal?”  As I followed the instructions at the bottom of the ad and turned the page I wondered what I would find.  Would I find an application for MENSA?  Would someone tell me what a good student I was being?  Would I be invited to the campus’ 1980s over-achievers’ club?  None of the above.  That was the day that I learned that my sense of self was intimately connected to my existence as the child of an alcoholic.  When I turned the page I was offered support at the nearby Al-Anon family group.

It’s a strange thing to realize that so much of your self is tied to childhood events outside your control.  I don’t want to feel constrained in my life choices, to feel like I MUST behave a certain way because it’s what my own fucked up brand of nurture predisposed me to, but it is pretty damn helpful to have an awareness that many of my actions, including most of those that are so confusing to Mr. But IF, do have a root deep down somewhere that I need to respect in order to move beyond.  In other words, only by embracing my crazy can I ever hope to walk away from it.

But, I was not nearly that composed and rational when my next-door neighbor finally walked over in his pajamas at 12:30AM and asked us to quiet down.  I had been hiding in the kitchen since midnight fearing exactly this scenario.  If I was found washing dishes instead of partying by the fire pit would my neighbor have more mercy?  Would I be found less accountable?  Would my daddy issues psyche stay quiet?  The moment I went outside to shut the back gate and ask for the party to move inside my neighbor found me.  I felt immediately scolded and ashamed.  As strange as it seems, I’m still not completely over it.

There’s another element here too.  The neighbor pleading quiet has a gorgeous 2 year-old boy and I suspect he and his wife have another on the way.  After years of IF I have finely tuned pregnancy-dar and can tell the difference between a belly bulged by too much pasta and too much sex.  I wasn’t having fun at our all-night rager.  By 11 I honestly wanted my bed.  I feel grateful to have friends in this new town and I feel thankful our party was so well-attended, but, if I’m being completely honest with myself, I would have rather had a Sunday afternoon family picnic than a beer-fueled all-nighter.  It all comes down to this: I had a vision of what my life would look like at this point in time.  That vision included toddlers running awkwardly through the grass and our parent friends watching on holding their slices of birthday cake and a rare celebratory drink.  It involved me making fun party snacks and cleaning up after dirty little hands.  Instead, I watched adults cuss and smoke by a fire, I made mixed drinks, and I cleaned up beer spills.  I want to be Donna Reed, but instead I’m feeling trapped in Animal House.  I want to be the cranky neighbor asking for peace and quiet, not the one making the racket.

Post Mother’s Day

As I wrote, I survived another Mother’s Day.  It was actually one of the easier ones.  But, maybe it’s because it’s been book-ended by such despondence?

Today has been difficult.  I’m still feeling embarrassed about our party.  I’m feeling guilty that I allowed myself to totally zone out yesterday and, in the process, ignored the one woman in my life – my mother-in-law – who still deserves my wishes of a Happy Mother’s Day.  I’m feeling gutted by an unexpected Facebook pregnancy announcement.  And, I’m feeling incredibly on edge as I wait for my rescheduled rheumatologist appointment later this evening.

DILAnother thing happened the day before Mother’s Day that tugged at my heart.  My mother-in-law posted the following to my Facebook wall as a caption to the photo on the right:

As Mother’s Day approaches, it really comes home to me what awesome children we have and how blessed we are to have them! When I read this, I realized that it sums up how special you are to both [father-in-law] & me. We love you!

My mother-in-law is a women of few words, but I’ve been around long enough that I’ve learned to read through those words and assess all the hidden meanings.  This women gets it – she gets all of it – and for that I’m eternally grateful.  She doesn’t try to replace my mother, but she acknowledges my loss and strives to add a little something back when and if she can.  While she hasn’t experienced infertility, she did lose a pregnancy between my husband and his sister.  Again, she doesn’t equate that experience with our own struggles – she’s acknowledged that as hard as her miscarriage was it was made easier by the fact that she could hug her son to bed at night – but she does use that experience as a guide into our world.  I have an amazing mother-in-law, but I can’t find it in myself to celebrate her on Mother’s Day.  It’s just too difficult.

While my mother-in-law tries to understand, it constantly feels like others around us make ignorance their mission.  When I first “came out” about my infertility on Facebook, a number of casual acquaintances sent private messages my way opening up about their own struggles, their own miscarriages, their own diagnoses.  A college acquaintance thanked me for my bravery and honesty and informed me that her husband and her had been “trying for a while” with no success.  I found out through Facebook that her baby boy was delivered healthy and happy this winter.  My best friend’s college roommate opened up to me about the “anatomical abnormality” she had that would make it nearly impossible for her to carry a child.  I encouraged her to contact me any time she needed.  I found out through Facebook that her baby shower was a roaring success and that her belly was enormous.  My mother’s best friend hugged me through tears as she told me about her son and daughter-in-law’s infertility and recent miscarriage.  I sent her information about their local RESOLVE support group, I told her to pass on my contact information to her daughter-in-law, and I ached for them.  Today, the gender reveal cupcake photo posted to Facebook told me that their little boy is due on September 29 – a week after our due date for miscarriage #3.  Last one standing is starting to feel like an understatement.

Finally, I’m so very fucking anxious for my rheumatologist appointment tonight.  For what feels like the millionth time in the past 3.5 years I find myself viewing my infertility through a worrying lens of chronic health issues.  As I’ve said before, all I wanted was to be a mother, but in turn all I’ve birthed are lifelong health complaints.  Since Wednesday I’ve been grappling with the knowledge that my blood work was not all normal.  That little bit of information combined with recurrent knee and elbow pain has me more than a little bit frightened.  Having a family medical history that would provide more than enough drama for any daytime soap, I’ve morbidly joked about my own mortality since I was far too young.  But, here I sit on the precipice of 30, seriously wondering what the future will look like.  In the past months I’ve finally begun coming to terms with the possibility that that future will not include children, but as that revelation has been happening I’ve started having new worries.  Will I be in pain for the rest of my life?  How much pain?  Will I know what’s causing it?  Will Mr. But IF live life both without children and without a fully functioning wife?  Will he… have me?  I can’t believe I’m thinking these questions, let alone writing them down for all to see.  I’m fine.  I’m living, I’m working, I’m partying, I’m laughing.  I’m maybe a little sore, a little tired, a little weary, but I’m fine.  But, what will I be next year, in five years, in twenty?  I hate that my mind is making me go there.  I’m not even 30.

So, yea, I survived Mother’s Day.  It’s just the rest of the days I’m worried about now.

It’s been a week, alright

It’s been a strange week.  A stinky week and a beautiful week.  It’s been a week.

Monday: I took my last shower on Monday.  Our lovely old house is now sans-full bath as the renovations have begun.  Luckily, we still have a powder room with the essentials (toilet and sink), but for the bigger cleanliness rituals we’re looking to the kitchen sink and the local gym.  It’s been fun!  (And stinky.)

Tuesday: Oh, Lord, Tuesday.  I’ve already written about Tuesday.  Tuesday kinda sucked.

Tuesday didn’t totally suck because I got to see my RESOLVE girlies at our regular monthly support group meeting.  We welcomed three new folks to the group, which always elicits part joy and part sadness, and I fielded a question about whether or not we’d had any recent “successes.”  That one stung.  I didn’t know the answer and feared the worst as some usually chatty gals that I knew were in active treatment had fallen very silent as of late.  I responded to the group that I was quietly hopeful I’d have news to share soon, but left with a somewhat heavy heart.

Wednesday: Wednesday was Advocacy Day!  And, as if to reiterate why exactly it was I couldn’t leave work and travel to D. C. in the midst of finals week, work was insanely busy.  I managed to squeak out a few letters to my senators and representative, caught up on my Twitter stream through the early evening, and drank myself silly at trivia that night.  That infectious combo of advocacy day-fueled inspiration and trivia night-fueled intoxication went a long way toward easing some of the pain of Tuesday’s disappointments.

Wednesday wasn’t all hope and beer rainbows, however, because I’m a total nut-job heavily motivated, assertive, and informed patient.  After my rheumatologist appointment was canceled on Tuesday I made it all the way to Wednesday afternoon before I called back and demanded they tell me something.  I seriously should know better than to hope a medical receptionist would be helpful by now.  I did badger convince her to release the very basics of my lab results to me.  See, thing is, I was fairly certain the receptionist would say, “Yup, everything is marked as normal.  Have a nice life!”  And, while I have a paranoid healthy respect for the fact that “normal” labs are not, in fact, always normal (see: Hashimoto’s Manifesto), I was happy enough to have the receptionist tell me “normal,” walk away knowing I’d most certainly be cycling again at the end of this month, and leave my crazy informed followup questions for the rescheduled rheumy appointment on Monday.

Thing is, I knew from the moment the receptionist’s “Umms” started that not everything was “normal.”  She finally regained enough composure to helpfully say, “I don’t know about this rheumatology stuff.  Oh my I can’t even pronounce any of these!” <dagger, stabby, dagger>  I asked her specifically about ANA speckled (the previously elevated value that landed me at the rheumy in the first place) and she said “I see an ANA, but there is nothing about speckled.  ANA homogenous is in red, though.  It says 1:320.”  So, great, another unexplained elevated ANA (normal, btw, is 1:80), and a missing lab value I most definitely need.  Someone fell down on the job.  I’m guessing my totally incompetent rural hospital lab failed to order all the tests requested.  Highly likely given the fact that the phlebotomist – you know, the one that offered to be my surrogate in February when I was in there every other week due to my failing pregnancy – said to me, “Wow, I don’t know any of these tests!” when I went in last week for the draw.  I watched as she kept plugging random combinations of words into her computer terminal in a desperate hope of finding the right tests, and was fairly certain at the time that she just gave up and skipped a few.  Of course, when one is holding back tears forged from the rage of repeated medical incompetency, it’s hard to correct the perky phlebotomist.  Now, the other option is that the test was actually performed and reported but the receptionist can’t read.  Honestly, that’s a highly likely scenario there, too. <stabby, dagger, stabby>

Finally, the receptionist said, “I’m not going to try to pronounce any of the rest of these, but I will say only one other is flagged as abnormal.  I’m not allowed to give you the value, but this thing called ‘C Reactive Protein’ is high.  You’ll have to ask the doctor about that one.”  Hello, heart, welcome to my stomach.  Seriously, not ANOTHER thing!?  So, here I sit knowing I’m most certainly not “normal” (shush up Mr. But IF), but not knowing whether these values mean much of anything.  All I’ve been able to dig up on C-reactive protein is that it is a sign of inflammation or infection and, supposedly, predisposes one to heart disease.  Fuck the heart thing, my whole grandparent generation died of strokes and heart attacks in their 50s so I’ve known for a long time I’ll be in the ground looong before Mr. But IF, so whatevs.  I just want to know if I’ll be leaving grieving young children behind or not dammit!  What does this mean for infertility and miscarriage?  So far Drs. Google, Twitter, FF, Facebook, and, unfortunately, Braverman, have left me hanging.  Anyone?

Thursday: Thursday was pure beauty.  You know that unusually quiet RESOLVE gal I mentioned?  Yea, IVF#1 success!  And, an early member of the group who wrote late last year to say she’d be pursuing adoption?  Baby boy home safe and sound and in his loving parent’s arms!  And, for good measure, another member I’d lost track of that had been informed by her RE that her options were donor egg or nothin’?  She’s disappeared of late because she is currently entering the second trimester after an own-egg IUI.  Combine all of that with the post-rain, puffy cloud, amber sunset we saw as we drove home from picking out our tile and light fixtures, and all I have to say is life is wondrous and beautiful.  (Seriously, I’m not crying, it’s, um, just these damn allergies!)

Friday: Well, Friday’s barely here, but there can’t be anything wrong with a Friday.  (Well, maybe day 5 sans-shower might dampen it a bit.)  Anyway, I’m planning on taking my inflamed/diseased/who-the-hell-knows self out on the town tonight.  This will likely involve some porch sitting with friends, growlers from the local micro-brewery, and live music from a great local band as the town collectively celebrates the college kids getting the fuck out the beginning of summer.

I’m going to stop my prognostication there.  I’ll save discussions of Sunday for Sunday.  Well, assuming the hangover is gone by then.