28 March 2007

I need a distraction

it is not easy working on a logo for a new children's product when you are trying to keep your mind off of in vitro fertilization.

I long for the days when I worked on nothing but baking soda packaging. where is that neutral and uninspiring client when you need him?

27 March 2007

I scored

I scored big time! I just picked up the goods. a giant bag of drugs and syringes. "do all of these come with some sort of directions? I am already confused." one bag I was instructed to keep refrigerated. of course today is the very first warm spring day of 2007, 74 degrees, which means 100 degrees in the car in the sun. why couldn't I have picked up the meds yesterday? it was like 40 degrees and cloudy. so I drove home pretty quickly because I didn't want to risk anything happening to my $3000 plastic shopping bag. this meant I couldn't stop for more spinach, bok choy, and kale. and organic brown rice. crap.

the weather is fantastic and it makes me happy. it feels good (and different) to be happy. driving with the sunroof open, the sun felt amazing on my (spf 15) face. I noticed each pot on the back deck has a sprouting perennial. it's comforting to know we all survived winter.

fertility fact: "a recent study found that IVF cycles begun in spring result in minutely higher birth rates than those begun in winter." page 193 "the couple's guide to in vitro fertilization." it's certainly spring in new york and I can use all the help I can get.

26 March 2007

weekends are for relaxing

saturday sucked.
letter #1 - as expected, I heard from the mammogram boobs and guess what? they need additional films. really! you mean to tell me the tech didn't do her job just quite right? surprise, surprise.

letter #2 - a collection agency wrote requesting I pay the $607.56 to First National Bank that is long past due. well you know what? I don't and never did have an account with First National Bank. this can only mean one thing. my identity has been stolen AGAIN.

I freaked out and contacted american express. I had saved a mailing from them claiming, as a valued customer, I had access to their "identity theft assistance" program. the woman I spoke with -- not too bright. I asked her very politely if I could speak with someone else. she wouldn't accept that. I said I would hold for however long necessary. nope. she wouldn't stop talking. "please, please, I need to speak with another person." again, she went on and on and would not shut up. "what part of my request don't you understand?" eventually I got a supervisor who was less than sympathetic. "identity theft assistance" only applies to stolen amex cards. what kind of lame assistance is that?

my phone rang this morning at 9 am. it was the amex supervisor calling to apologize. what?! seriously? he said after reviewing my conversation with the woman, he felt I was owed an apology. he also said, after some research, there are other departments within "identity theft assistance" that could possibly help me. how could a supervisor in "identity theft assistance" not know about those other departments? is this program new? anyway, I could tell the man felt terrible. he even apologized for not having more information at the time of my call. wow. I thanked him for calling "I appreciate it." he thanked me for being a "valued customer." hell, yeah. I better be more than valued. I just put over $12,000 on my credit card.

23 March 2007

in an instant

I have been thinking a lot about that torturous mammogram today. I overheard the tech use the word "mass" when she was chatting with someone in the next room. she might have been talking about church for all I know and I refuse to jump to conclusions. after her conversation she came out and asked me when I last saw my doctor for an exam. "october I believe." and she was gone again.

I think most people would say "why do you ask? did you see something?" I didn't say a thing. I was thinking about how I was going to prepare the kale, swiss chard and organic brown rice I was having for dinner. first of all, a tech cannot tell you much of anything anyway regardless if she sees something questionable or not. second, I had fibroids in college. third, I really don't want to know anything. ignorance is bliss. fourth, most likely she was talking about someone else.

from day one I have gone to each doctor's appointment thinking "everything will be fine. it has to be. b and I are young and healthy." each time it seems we are hit with crappy news. this is probably why I keep ignoring the calls from my dentist. this brings me back to that sunny afternoon a few months ago. the day when the charming radiologist happened to mention in passing that I won't/can't get pregnant and my life changed in an instant -- never to be the same. I was a much happier and pleasant person literally 2 seconds before her comment. I was different. I prefer my life pre-HSG. so let's say there is something suspicious on my x-ray. I really don't care to know. I have enough on my plate right now. my injections are a week away and I need to be in a good frame of mind (if that's even possible) once we begin. bad thoughts and bad news are counter productive.

22 March 2007

34 A (36 A on a good day)

the local hospital is most likely closing and I now know why. it is run by a bunch of boobs. my mammogram was excruciating. I experienced a lot of pain even after popping a percocet. b forbid me to take one because I was driving (4 miles, big deal.) hey, I didn't take two or three like I really wanted.

the dope running the x-ray machine needed some serious guidance or a new profession. she shoved me into position and squeezed the crap out of me. some weird alarm kept going off and she would simply walk away. "HELLO! this kinda hurts!" she took one shot, released the machine and said "oh, that didn't quite work. let's do it again." it took three attempts to get just one x-ray. "is it that time of the month?" she asked, questioning my visible discomfort and teary eyes. "no, I believe it's your inability to do your job well." she kept blaming the machine. AGAIN with the finger pointing.

the room was freezing cold. they had 2 air conditioners running on high. that was actually good because it drowned out the abusive woman behind the front desk. I know I am not an easy case. there is a reason why the old german woman at saks was insisting I wear a gigantic padded push-up bra with my wedding dress. "I am a 34 A mam...miss...whatever, and I don't want to look like a different person in my photos. I want my guests to notice my expensive haircut, professional "non made-up" make-up, and dazzling smile." it was shocking enough that I was finally getting married. I didn't need to shock my friends and family with a lycra and foam breast augmentation.

after the final x-ray I felt queezy. by that time I was thankful for the ACs because I was sweating like crazy. I looked like I had a sunburn. I couldn't get out of there fast enough.

21 March 2007

it's spring

I have two key appointments tomorrow. the first is the dreaded mammogram. with pms. with sore boobs. the second is with the vet. the dogs are having blood drawn so their doctor can check the kidneys. dr r doesn't want to "take any chances" because I am not sure how many potentially contaminated cans we have gone through. and I always thought the dogs ate better than I did.

after acupuncture today I had to pick up another pack of birth control pills. I am totally pissed because I paid $29 for literally 3 pills! my current pack ends on friday and my RE has instructed me to stop on monday. it's all about controlling my cycle but at $9.66 a pill I feel completely out of control.

b and I just celebrated our 6 month wedding anniversary. wow! like they say, time flies when you are having fun. so this is fun? I cannot say our first 6 months as newlyweds have been ideal. because (a) I don't fit into b's work schedule and (b) having double the infertility challenge has been a huge drag. most newlyweds start out by setting up house, choosing new paint colors, and entertaining with all the new crystal and serving pieces. DH and I stress about finances and moving, worry about our reproductive challenges, and visit with nobody. I hope the next 6 months are a little easier and more enjoyable. isn't spring all about fresh starts and new beginnings?

20 March 2007

Nutro, Nutro Max, Nutro Natural Choice...bad choice

so I heard something in passing yesterday about tainted pet food. I did a google search and didn't find anything too compelling. odd. later I watched the local news and they were showing shots of the brands I use. holy crap! the station had a website with a link to all the brands that were being recalled (and there are a lot of them.) sure enough, I have 3 cans (out of 8) in my cupboard that have the matching UPC codes and specific dates on the bottom. 3 cans of something that could potentially kill our 2 dogs! after the tragic deaths of family pets the manufacturer did their own "in-house testing" with the poisonous food. guess what? the animals died. it's time to boycott.


19 March 2007

a heartfelt thanks

I have received many emails, private messages and posts on some of the message boards I hang out on. I am amazed (well, actually, not really) at the number of women that feel the same as I do. we are all experiencing this same infertility roller coaster. this terrifying ride that we have in common and basically share in silence. the world talks openly and freely about heart disease, colon cancer and diabetes. talk of infertility is hush hush. I am certainly no writer. I design consumer packaging (branding) and ultimately contribute to our landfills. such the hypocrite, I know. my daily rants are sincere and therapeutic. they are blatantly bitter, sad, occasionally hopeful and always riddled with sarcasm. I know you can all relate. that feels good.

so, thank you for all the kind messages and words of encouragement. even support from an anonymous person is meaningful. I think b is happy and relieved that I have a place to vent. he is grateful for all of my cyber communities. I am grateful for the support and I am thrilled that my typing skills have improved. even if just a little.

16 March 2007

breaking news!

my acupuncture buddy "e" just announced her pregnancy. I am so thrilled for her! she had gone through 9 unsuccessful IUIs and was still optimistic. she also only had 3 follicles this cycle and the RE was not thrilled. after 5 months of acupuncture she got a BFP with her tenth IUI. it's fantstic news! congratulations e!

15 March 2007

nonstop finger pointing

I am in the middle of trying to comprehend what is actually going on with my insurance company. so far I have "not been approved" for anything "IVF." when I initially called months ago they said YES they do indeed cover (at 75%) "some of an IVF treatment." well this is VERY different from being approved for "some of an IVF treatment." coverage does not mean I am covered. huh?

"do you think I am doing IVF for the fun of it?!" I asked the dope in the benefits department. how can we not possibly be approved? I'm lacking fallopian tubes for crying out loud. DH has about 37 swimmers and they're slow. we are the picture of infertility! and why are we having this conversation NOW?

the clinic blames the insurance company claiming they have provided the necessary paperwork. the insurance company has received nothing and blames dr k. the satellite office (dr k) blames the main office (nyc) stating the billing department is responsible for approvals. the main office blames the satellite office because they don't have access to dr k's records. the pharmacist blames the insurance company. the insurance company blames the clinic. I blame them all for screwing up and making me crazy.

14 March 2007

morning ritual continued

yesterday, after a few unpleasant and heated conversations resulting in tears, I gave up trying to get answers or explanations from our insurance company. nobody in any department (each with their own phone number and long wait) could give me a reason as to why I cannot get approval for my meds. I even learned that we may not receive any reimbursement at all for anything IVF related. are you kidding me?!

I leashed up the dogs and went out to get my car. I was flustered and needed to be out of the apartment. we were headed up to the trails for a much needed long and peaceful walk. after starting the engine, I opened my glorious sunroof. it was 68 degrees and sunny. and then... no joke... there he was.

roughly 5 feet directly above me, in the branches, was the cardinal. and he was singing.

morning ritual

every single day I take the dogs "the kids" up to the woods for our morning walk. while I stand and wait for them to poke around searching for nasty food scraps while ignoring my authoritative commands, I watch the birds. I have come to recognize their songs and I know who is who. there is one bird in particular, the male cardinal, that I see each day and I take comfort in this. man, he's loud! when the leaves are gone and there is snow you can't miss him. if I am out there at 6:30 or 10 I always see, or at least hear, the cardinal. except yesterday! he was nowhere to be found and his absence bothered me. did some local punk shoot him with a BB? did he move upstate to get far away from the clear-cutting and new construction? I felt like it was a bad sign.

a few hours later I got an odd email out of the blue. a neighbor had to tell me about what he saw from his window earlier that day. he saw a brilliant red male cardinal sitting on my (green) car just hanging out singing away. the only reason he told me this is because he thought the color contrast was beautiful and I would appreciate it. he knows nothing of my relationship with this little red bird.

thank you. it means a lot.

"I read your blog every day...

Today, you seemed especially frustrated...

I just want you to know, that I know that it is difficult, and it isn't fair. Heck...sometimes it just plain SUCKS!!

I just wanted you to know, that someone out in cyberland, really cares about you...your DH...your situation...everything.

And I wish I could make it all better..."


13 March 2007

I need a sugar fix. I need a shoe fix.

I just drank a 20 oz. bottle of regular coke. I just ate a small bag of dark chocolate m&ms. it's time to go to DSW and look at shoes.

I'm losing it.

12 March 2007

I have had it with all this shit. I am spent. we had been waiting for b's second SA results now for days. I emailed my RE this morning asking about the new numbers and some additional pre IVF testing. I got a response WITH attitude AND b's numbers are worse than before. now I am really worried about his health. I cannot tell b the bad news or be honest about my feelings. his private hell at work is complete torture and very much ILLEGAL. his chairman gets off on humiliating and abusing the fifth year chief residents. "piss off dr s. you suck you big bully!"

I am unable take this anymore. the odds of a successful IVF for our situation are ridiculous. I am not by nature a gambler and the stakes now are way too high. I'm tired of preparing for the inevitable and realistic (most likely negative) pregnancy test. this whole process is too risky on so many levels. I'm tired of getting the "pre-collection" letters in the mail for unpaid medical bills for things not covered. I'm tired of pretending that life is normal. how can you when every single day I am reminded that this is our reality? it comes in the form of a call from the RE's billing department. or the insurance company rings me up needing pre-approval. my fertility acupuncturist's office leaves a voicemail confirming an appointment. by the way, may I suggest you not share your space with pediatricians? I am tired of fucking brown rice. I am tired of the constant anxiety and frequent insomnia. I have put all my energy into being positive, educated and hopeful. who am I fooling? it would be less painful and traumatic to throw 17K into the hudson river. better yet, I would feel much happier, at ease and productive if I took those funds and gave them to the aspca, cancer research or peta. now that's money well spent with a guaranteed positive output.

the irony

contrary to my previous post, I have not gone back to drinking wine. I consume maybe one glass of red a week now and it's only because of the antioxidants. this weekend while on a marathon dog walk I passed my boys at the local wine store. over time I became very friendly with derek and the other guy. the skinny guy with the glasses. what's his name? they were conveniently located on my dog route and I would stop in now and again because... they like dogs. they were shocked to see me on saturday because I haven't been by in quite some time. I had to convince them both that I haven't been shopping elsewhere. anyway, derek told me about his 8 month pregnant wife and that everyone assumed I was pregnant because of my lack of visits. nope, sorry, I'm not. I then fessed up. derek didn't know what to say. instead he packed up a complimentary bottle of organic red wine and said "best of luck to you."

10 March 2007

spring forward

who had the brilliant (full-on sarcasm) idea to change daylight savings? my sister j mentioned this recently and I was shocked I knew nothing about it. actually, this doesn't surprise me. these days any information that is not in my "the couple's guide to in vitro fertilization" or "the infertility survival guide" is not all that important.

on another note, we just found a second home! a pied e tierre in convenient midtown manhattan. our frozen embryos (if we should have any) will live on madison and 59th street. so when b and I move to the slums of new haven (all we can afford now) our embryos will have a nyc address. nice. embryo cryopreservation ($1000 a year rent) has just been added to our RMA gift registry. no more wedding presents! just RMA gift cards.

09 March 2007


looking for an individual who can assist in ganirelix antagon (not gonadotropin) injections when DH is at work (which is all the time.) no prior experience necessary. expert training session available free of charge. must be able to plunge 1 1/2" syringe intramuscularly (?) into substantial hip area. 1 - 3 seriously time specific shots needed over the course of a few consecutive days. a seasoned dog walker who is familiar with the area is prefered.

tuesdays 9 pm

House. I love that show (and this comes from someone who steers clear from any tv medical series.) I have enough talk of urine output, blood clots and acute bowel obstructions in my home life. I was however, very upset with this week's episode because dr h was supposedly dying from brain cancer. I know from experience how devastating this disease can be. even fictional characters that get a brain tumor Dx distress me. how could that show possibly survive and be any good if he died? now what am I supposed to watch after Idol? what a drag!

wilson had some pretty thoughtful lines in this episode. he talked about depression and cancer (or any other illness.) people who are sick and may be dying suffer less depression when surrounded by support – family and friends. it's usually not the disease that makes people unhappy and depressed. it's the idea and fear of being alone.

08 March 2007

untitled I

how come both of my christmas cactuses are in bloom on 8 march? hey, if christmas is right around the corner then I know exactly what to ask santa for. a nice BFP!

I have been good this year. maybe not late last night when I snuck around town placing notes in people's mailboxes asking them (politely) to lighten up with the toxic rock salt usage. my request was to the point and firm. I know I spoke for all the dog owners in town. I can no longer carry over 50 lbs of squirming dog back and forth 3 times a day. my pug was paralyzed in pain during our 10 pm walk yesterday. I had enough.


so... my injections are scheduled to start the evening of 30 march. this is the same day my sister L is having her hysterectomy. boy, how weird is that? it's kooky that she is removing all her reproductive organs at the same time I am putting the ones I have left into complete overdrive. is there such thing as a bilateral fallopian tube transplant? I'm not asking for a kidney or anything. she clearly doesn't need/want hers anymore and I don't have any. I know hers function properly because she has two good looking kids to prove it. name your price L. you know where to reach me.

07 March 2007

OUCH! that really hurts

what is wrong with people? we have about 27 snowflakes in the air and this ridiculous town I live in freaks out. I literally just burned my hands while trying to throw away a bag of inhumane rock salt in front of my building. man, that BURNS and I don't even have any open wounds. I am so sick and tired of watching our 2 dogs limp in agony up the sidewalk when there is even a hint of snow in the forecast. lulu once screeched a sound of pure pain that I couldn't believe came from her little (I mean stocky) body. there is not even enough snow at the moment to shovel and people are out there throwing salt in celebration like its rice at a wedding or confetti. "hurray! no shoveling! now let's burn the dog's paws!"

"take it easy!" when we have weather I suggest you leave your suede prada pumps or cole haan loafers at home and put on a pair of old school LLbean boots. they're good stuff. I should know, I'm from maine. better yet, if the idea of snow puts you into such a state of panic move to one of the southern states. the unnecessary pain inflicted on innocent 4 legged creatures out for a walk is heartbreaking to witness.

speaking of paws, I am off now to get an indulgent(?) $20 pedicure (clearly not high end) so I can relax and temporarily remove myself from all the infertility stresses. I haven't had a professional one since right before my wedding in september. over five months ago! some pampering is long overdue.

06 March 2007

13 degrees and windy

time is of the essence. time is not on my side.

this morning I was scheduled to deliver DH's time and temperature sensitive second sample for additional testing at the clinic. I was handed the crucial plastic cup at 7:30 am and I had to get the goods to RMA no later than 8:15. the obstacles were (a) rush hour commuter traffic and school buses (b) 13 degrees not including the wind chill factor. what to do, what to do. I put the cup wrapped in plastic in my bra then put on a turtleneck, polar fleece vest, 4 foot wool scarf and a giant down coat. it was a bizarre sight. I had a huge single lump protruding from my chest. I ran like hell to my car strategically holding my bag in order to hide my obvious weird profile. "morning! I'm late!" I screech to the guys hanging outside the hardware store. I reached my car completely out of breath and starting it was another challenge. MAN! it's so friggin' cold! THEN I tried to put on the seatbelt. cars are not designed for people with plastic cups in their underwear. I'm off! I drove like a lunatic screaming around corners and through yellow/red lights while dodging all the lexus SUVs (official car of westchester county.) don't people use blinkers anymore? it's so annoying. people drive like crap. I kept getting stuck behind the mass transit buses. "hurry up dumbass! get on the stupid bus! I've got an important delivery!" when driving with a plastic cup in your bra while wearing a seatbelt it is hard to turn your head. I didn't want to crush or dislodge the cup so I drove like I was wearing a neck brace. I couldn't look to my left or my right. not safe, I know, but I was on a mission. by the time I reached the medical office, chatted with security, found parking in the garage, took the first elevator, got inside the building, took the second elevator to dr k's I was sweating. I delivered our precious cargo at 8:20. only five minutes late.

04 March 2007

"insert straight into skin until needle disappears"

I survived the IVF 101 class even though there were no refreshments or snacks. DH was late which was no surprise. I sat across from the nurse for 20 minutes trying to make small talk all the while glancing at the syringes lined up on her desk. "would you mind removing those please? that's not helping."

I don't know why I took notes like crazy because I cannot read my own handwriting. as I reviewed my scribbling last night nothing made sense. "KEEP NEEDLE STERILE!!! BACTERIA! INFECTION!" is all I can really decipher. I'm thrilled because I can now finally utilize DH's medical training. I am so glad I didn't marry someone in hedge funds right now. I am scheduled to mix at least 5 different syringe recipes over the course of my stims. "18 gauge, 1 cc, sub-Q, IM." enough of the medical speak. I design logos for a living remember? I kept asking b "are you remembering all of this?" the nurse kept asking me "are you ok?" honestly," NO, I am NOT ok!" 2 self inflicted needle wounds a day every day, I'm sorry, makes me uneasy. I found it difficult not to make heroin jokes.

is there a gift registry at RMA? we added yet another procedure to our wishlist. AH -- assisted hatching. the embryologists anticipate needing to lend our embryos a hand before transfer. this of course comes at a cost. whatever. we signed numerous consent forms. who would care for our frozen embryos if b and I should die? we talked about what to expect. ovaries the size of grapefruit doesn't sound comfortable. I made a quick stop (for IVF purposes only) at tj maxx on my way home to buy giant sized sweatpants. I needed that black top as well to complete my "bloat outfit." that little silver necklace with light blue beads is awfully cute. b could really use yet another black shirt. where's the check out?

02 March 2007

3 march 07

tomorrow is a big day -- significant and meaningful. it's my mother's birthday. it's the official beginning of our IVF cycle.

I keep repeating what angela has told me numerous times "there is no such thing as coincidence." this entire experience so far has brought my mother's absence yet again to the forefront of my life. the fact that I will be starting our cycle on 3 march is profound and makes me very emotional. it's a day that a lot of people will be thinking of her and feeling the pain of our tragic loss. I remember her last birthday before she passed away. when I enthusiastically swallow that very first pill in the morning I will think of her and know she is rooting for me. "happy birthday mom."

01 March 2007

finally! again

I actually spoke to my IVF coordinator after days and days of unreturned phone calls. the woman was on my shitlist and I was gearing up to find another fertility clinic. all I needed to know was what sort of meds schedule they had lined up for me this month. that's it! no details needed. I'll get all the specifics this saturday during my $200 IVF class. they better be serving a kickass lunch at that price. "please pass the lobster with truffle sauce. another mimosa would be lovely, thanks."

I start BCPs on saturday 3 march (my mom's birthday) to "quiet" my ovaries and control my cycle. I stop taking them on 26 march and begin the injections 4 days later. then the daily office visits begin. my protocol is "very aggressive" dr k tells me. we have to make sure my ovaries are not overstimulated because then you risk losing all the eggs we worked so hard to get. if that should happen the cycle ends right then and there. that thought sickens me. bad thought! go away!

after 8-12 days of injections (literally 2 shopping bags full) RMA will perform the egg retrieval and then the ICSI. I am terrified, excited, anxious. where's the other man in my life when I need him? my $24 meditation cd better be on the UPS truck for delivery this afternoon.