Caveat Emptor

I apologize in advance if I offend those of you to whom I am related or close friends. Writing this is my catharsis and has been keeping me (moderately) sane of late.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

113 Beats Per Minute

6 weeks 2 days

Heartbeat: 113
(normal heartbeat at 6-7 weeks is 90-110 beats per minute)

Progesterone: 24.1

No need for beta HCG
(took that as a good sign!)

We saw the heartbeat! Iceman was so cute; before I could even see the screen he was like a kid in a candy store, "I see it! I see it!" I have to say, when I first inserted the light saber in my crotch and the tech was quietly looking around in there, I was scared, scared that they wouldn't see a heartbeat, but then Iceman saw it. It was pretty darn cool. My clothes are already tight, no shit!

So, I have mentioned my nurse S. before and the fact that she is a waste of viable human organs (I can't take credit for that one, my friend Staci coined that phrase), well today I lost it at the clinic. S. saw me while making my next appointment, and of course, said nothing to acknowledge my presence. I had a question and again she brushed me off like an annoying fly in her ear. While Iceman was using the bathroom (very small bladder) I stood by the reception desk. The young lady behind the counter (nice girl) asked if she could help me or if I was waiting for S. I told her that I was not waiting for S. then I went on to say (abridged version)...

Me: "I cannot stand that woman!"

Receptionist: "I totally understand." (I could tell that she really did understand; she had a teeny knowing smirk flash across her face)

Me: "That woman is a fucking bitch!" (I am tearing up at this point)

Me: "She treats me like this every time I am here. She never even called me when we found out we were pregnant! She is my nurse and she still has not called me. She treats me like shit!" (I am in tears by now)

Receptionist: "I am so sorry. What is your question? I can ask someone else. I will report this; you will never have to deal with her again."

Well, unfortunately I did have to deal with her again because she is the one who called me with my results. S. had the nerve to mention my being upset earlier today and I told her that I did not want to discuss it. I had just woken up from a nap because I had a horrible headache. This bitch went on to make a bunch of excuses about being short one nurse and it being busy after a holiday, blah, blah, blah, and fuck you!!! You treated me the exact same way 17 dpIUI when I came in for my second beta and no one else was in the office that day. I just got my results and instructions and goodbye nurse Ratchet.

N., the tech who draws my blood told me to make an OB ultrasound and blood work exit appointment for next week. I did, but nurse Ratchet called and said the the doctor looked at my ultrasound and blood work and that there was no need for my u/s and b/w appointment next week (6/5) and to cancel it; just keep the exit appointment with the doctor (6/12). Being that I just woke up from a nap and that I was displeased (to say the least) that Ratchet was the one to call me, I did not ask why there was no need for the appointment. I am assuming that it is because things are looking good (knock on wood, bite your tongue), but the receptionist had said that we would hear the heartbeat at the next visit and now I am a little upset that we won't be doing that. I am planning on moving my exit appointment with the doctor up to next Monday. He had an appointment that day, but we didn't take it because he is at an office very far away, but now I don't care, I just want to move on to my OB and hear our baby's heartbeat ASAP!

I really like N., the lady who takes my blood. She told me that she was so glad that I didn't have to keep going go through this (fertility treatments). That was very sweet of her to say. I gave her a hug goodbye. She was the only one who told me my follicle sizes, how many follicles there were, what to expect next, my HCG levels, etc. That is not even her job, but she made a point to give me some information and comfort when I obviously needed it; I will always remember her for that. I did tell this to my doctor at our last consult and I will tell him again at my exit appointment. Good work needs to be acknowledged and appreciated. I will also mention S. and her total lack of human skills, unapologetic self importance, and complete disregard for her patients fears, needs, confusion, and feelings.

Most importantly, we are pregnant following our first IUI, and that is a miracle that no one expected, least of all me! I am still somewhat in shock, though waking up 100 times a night in a cold sweat, having to pee is starting to make it pretty real for us, as is needing to buy new clothes already. I know that we are still at the beginning and have a lot of hurdles to jump, but this is wonderful and we are thrilled to be on our way to parenthood.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Kicked Butt

So, I haven't mentioned the fact that I quit smoking. It has been indescribably horrendous, but I had to do it. This will be my sixth day smoke free and my husband is so proud of me. My father-in-law gave me shit yesterday for not quitting earlier. He was horrified that I was "5 weeks" pregnant and only 5 days of not smoking. He actually huffed and sulked out of the room in disgust. He doesn't get the dating from our last menstrual period (LMP) thing, so he has decided to be Mr. Judgmental and Mr. Horrified all at once. You know, it's funny, he smoked most of his adult life and quit a couple of years ago, and now he's the preacher of what is okay and not okay for everone else. It's amazing how all of his kids turned out so terrific, considering all of the cigarettes that were smoked and wine and vodka that was guzzled when they were in utero. I feel bad enough about my weaknesses, I don't need to be chastised about one of them after I quit. No medal needed or deserved, just some restraint regarding unsolicited advice and unwanted opinions would be terrific, thanks.

Don't misunderstand, I love my father-in-law to death, which is why his attitude hurt my feelings. He's been badgering us about having kids for nearly 10 years and the first time I see him since we found out that we are pregnant, he acts cold and distant. That hurt. Not even a hug when we came in the door. After a few uncomfortable moments my husband says to him, "Why don't you give your pregnant daughter-in-law a hug?" Maybe he's just paranoid or superstitious. Maybe because his daughter is pregnant, he doesn't care about us being pregnant as much. I sure hope that's not it.

When we were at my in-laws yesterday my sister-in-law (who is 18 weeks pregnant) and my husband agreed that part of the reason for my panic attacks is my quitting smoking cold turkey. This was mildly comforting in that I don't want to be insane. I wish I shared their belief, but I am leaning toward my being semi & part-time crazy. Also, my first panic attack in quite a while was May 5th, and I was still smoking at that time. That one could possibly attributed to stopping Zoloft cold-turkey, but who knows? I just hope I make it through this pregnancy with what's left of my sanity in tact.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Another Panic Attack

I absolutely must see a doctor about these G-d damned panic attacks. About 30 minutes after I went to bed last night I woke up with my heart thumping out of my chest. I got out of bed, and because I cannot take Xanax, I decided to go take Benadryl. My husband stopped me and tried to calm me down, but the shaking, heart palpitations, not being able to catch my breath, tears, confusion, and indescribable fear and panic is gonna fuckin' kill me. This may get worse as the pregnancy progresses (knock on wood, bite your tongue, etc.) and I do not think this is good for any of us (me, my husband, and Ri-short for Rice; my sister's name for the babe).

I don't even understand where this comes from, but after this panic attack, all of my thoughts turned dark. I started thinking of things that really depressed and confused me. You know how when you have a really bad dream and it colors your whole day in bleakness and haze? Well that is how this is, only on crack. I just want to be happy. Honestly, my true life's goal is to be content (winning the lottery is a very close second though).

Also, is it a panic attack, an anxiety attack, or a two-for-one combo? I understand having a panic attack on an airplane or even in a crowded restaurant, but in my bed wrested from a sound sleep? Maybe this is still an after effect of my going off Zoloft from April 24 to May 8? I don't know, but I cannot keep going through this. I so wish that I wasn't crazy. I have heard it said that people with a high intelligence have a greater propensity to suffer from maladies such as: anxiety, panic, and depression. If this is in fact true, I prefer the ignorance is bliss life model! I'll gladly trade in some I.Q. points for a little peace of mind (not really, but a pregnancy class B or even C Benzodiazepine would be greatly appreciated).

This is our cat Squeaks comforting me after my panic attack. If you click on the top picture you can see on my watch that it is 3:40 something am. I sure could have used a Xanax instead!

Prince Charming

You Gotta Kiss a Lot of Frogs

Unfortunately, you have got to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your Prince Charming, but how many? My poor sister has "kissed" a lot of frogs lately.

My husband, my sister, her friend and I went out to a great tapas restaurant for dinner. We were going to come back to our house to play some games, but my sister was tired, so she and her friend decided to call it a night. Well she just called me with a story that I feel I must share.

A while ago, my sister was set up with her friend's boyfriend's friend (not the friend who went to dinner with us tonight). They dated briefly, but he turned out to be a bit of a turd, so end of story, right? Not exactly. This turd just called my sister's cell phone (she saw who it was and didn't answer) and left her a message saying that he was at a bar and for her to call him back. Well, she had no intention of doing so, but her friend convinced her to send him a text (why I don't know), so here is the text conversation,

My sister: "You rang..."

Turd: "I did."

My sister: "and..."

and this schmuck texts back, "I want to fuck."

Now he is obviously 6 cans short of a 6 pack because what else could she say but, "Well then, go fuck yourself!" Classic! How often are we afforded the opportunity to use such a perfect retort?

By the way, he has yet to respond. He must have taken her up on her suggestion.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Beta Times Two and Then Some!

I went for my second beta today and I was soooo scared that the numbers would fall short, but I was thrilled to hear that my...

beta was: 1112

and my

progesterone was: 28.9

My HCG is doubling every 1.56 days or 37.51 hours (I used online calculators to figure this out; math is not my strong suit). That seems really terrific, judging from the averages that I have seen on the Internet.

I am not sure why the progesterone level fell, but the doctor (the lady who takes my blood called me, not my doctor; it was a nice day to play golf) seemed unconcerned, so I will try to be as well. Our next appointment is on Tuesday, May 29th and it is for our first ultrasound (Yeah!!!). If all goes well at this appointment, then I will hopefully begin to relax (a teensy bit).

I am elated beyond words, but I have fears, fears that no one close to me wants to hear and to be frank, I don't blame them; I don't want to have these fears either. Understandably, we all (my husband, mom and sister) want to relish in the excitement, but I have these nagging fears regardless.

A high, doubling HCG number is great news, but it also could indicate a molar pregnancy and although they are relatively rare (about 1 in 1000 or 1 in 1500) I think about the possibility. By the way, I wouldn't even know what a molar pregnancy is, but I just read the book Waiting for Daisy and the author had a partial molar pregnancy. The more I read about molar pregnancies, the more I realize that I am just a nutcase; it is unlikely.

I also think about my dear friend who saw a heartbeat at six weeks, started spotting, and two days later the heartbeat was no more. Not long before that my same friend had a blighted ovum and lost that pregnancy too. It is hard not to let these thoughts seep into my consciousness and because I am a little nuts and I don't want to spoil the fun for other people, I have to give these fears voice somewhere.

I must go back to my elation. I am thrilled, but I am definitely still in shock. I never really thought this would work, especially with my dx, the chances of success given me by my RE, and the many failed IUI's of friends, acquaintances, and online buddies. My excitement is tempered by two online friends who were on the same journey with me day by day, but now have to endure yet another cycle of IF treatment. Another online friend received the news of a negative beta, and I know that there is nothing I can do or say to ease their pain. I feel so guilty and I want so much to still be online friends, but will they still want to talk with me? I really don't blame them if they pull back; I know how hard the disappointment of a failed cycle is. I just wish we all got positive, doubling betas and we could go through our first pregnancies together.

I offer no advice; my RE seemingly pulled a rabbit out of an empty hat and I am grateful beyond words, but saddened all the same for my special friends who are still waiting for their miracles. I will be here pulling for and waiting with you.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Beta Bing

Holy fucking shit..........,


It may even be twins!
Any thoughts on this possibilty are welcome and will be greatly appreciated!

Beta: 458 (wow!)
Progesterone: 39 (awesome, no oil shots or suppositories)

I am beyond shocked and thrilled. My RE really is a magic maker! The odds were stacked against us and we are elated. That doesn't mean that I am not worrying about all of the things that could go awry, especially at my age, but those thoughts are for a later post. For now, we are basking in the light of a miracle. I am pregnant.

(My next beta is Wednesday May 16th @ 11:00 am)

Cycle day 27
15 dpo/IUI
17 dp HCG Trigger
10 dp HCG Booster

Um, I Think I May Be Pregnant

The top HPT in the picture is 2 days past HCG trigger, The middle HPT is 5 days past trigger, and the bottom HPT is 10 days past HCG booster (today). The doses of the trigger and booster were the same.

Today is:

  • cycle day 27 (my cycles average 25 days)

  • 17 dp trigger

  • 15 dpo/IUI (I should have had my period by now)

  • 10 dp HCG booster (could it still be in my system?)

I ran out of the Dollar Tree tests, so I had to use my "good" test this morning. The only problem with this is that I cannot compare it to yesterday's test (until I go to Dollar Tree to buy more). I can, however, compare it to earlier tests and the result looks quite promising.

My husband is excited (yesterday he was beyond skeptical and kind of a buzz kill when we showed my parents the HPTs at Mother's Day lunch), but he still wants to wait for the result of the blood test because he doesn't trust the HPT result; he fears that the HCG may be tricking us. He says that he is "straddling the edge of excitement" right now and is, "reserving his excitement for after the blood test." I can't blame him, he has been a pessimist since I met him while I am always usually optimistic. Plus, we both like quantifiable evidence to believe in something, though him more than me; I am starting to believe!

I have my job interview in 2 hours and 50 minutes and I slept 2-3 hours at the most last night. I am scared, scared of all of the possibilites, good and bad. I told Iceman this, and he told me that now is not the time for such thoughts, but they are there. Right now I must try to concentrate on....I don't know what.

I will post again after I get the results of the beta.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


I literally JUST squirted the requisite 4 drops of pee on the bottom HPT and G-d damned if it isn't darker than yesterday's, and the one from the day before!

Problem: It is 15 dpo and my temperature just dropped, exactly as it would when I am about to get my period. I am nauseous, but that's normal too!!!

Shit, my temperature dropped, my back hurts, I feel like my period is coming..., but that line IS most definitely fuckin' darker; isn't it?? What does it mean? My fucking temperature dropped! Now I am so confused. I am watching it next to me and it IS VERY dark, but my G-d damned temp. dropped significantly, from 98.39 yesterday to 97.79 today!

I guess if I don't get my period today, then I will know after the beta tomorrow. If I do get my period today, should I go in for the beta anyway?? Again...the agony!


Should I do the First Response test? These are Dollar Tree cheapies, so that I could test incessantly w/out losing my house. Should I buy more of these as I just used my last one, or should I wait and do nothing until tomorrow?

They did my IUI on a Sunday, why the FUCK can't they do a beta on a Sunday?

After all of this time, I longed to see a positive HPT, and now that I MAY have one, I have no idea if it's real...........

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Real or Memorex?

Holy Fuckin' shit! Today is 15 dp trigger, 8 dp HCG booster, 13 dpo/IUI and that damn line looks darker than yesterday! Is this real? The nurse and the RE told me that I "should" get a reliable result today, but because I have tested every fuckin' day since the HCG booster, and gotten 2 lines every day, I have no idea what's real, what's artificial injection and I cannot get a beta until Monday! Don't they know we cannot wait that long? How can they not do beta tests over the weekend? I need to know now! FUCK! SHIT! I feel like my period is coming and I need some beta numbers, not just a second line.

Somebody help! I NEED A BETA!!!

I have now officially driven myself crazy. I thought doing a test each day was smart, that way I could know when the HCG shots were out of my system, and now I can't even get quantifiable evidence until Monday. Ohhh the agony.

By 7 days past the trigger (top HPT in picture), the line was super faint, almost nonexistent, now I am 8 days past the booster (bottom HPT in picture) and the line is definitely there; looking darker than yesterday (middle HPT in picture). I am beside myself with confusion. I cannot even be happy or sad or anything. Where can I get a beta on a Saturday?

Oh my G-d, this is crazy; I am crazy! Maybe I should do another test? Maybe the same kind, maybe a different kind? I am such a control freak and I need to know now! Not in two days, not on Monday, today, right fuckin' now!

I have no way out except patience and I have long since run out.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Welcome to the 35-44 Age Group

Today is Iceman's 35th birthday! I put this picture from his birthday last year because it is so damned cute! We went to his favorite sushi restaurant (eek!) and no, I did not eat any raw fish! I rarely do, I like fried stuff; he likes the raw stuff. I want you to know that my husband is a wonderful man and I am very lucky to have him. He loves me exactly as I am, flaws, failings, fears, fuck-ups and all, and for that I am eternally grateful. I am one lucky bitch.

I am supposedly 12 dpo/IUI and 14 dp HCG trigger; my IUI was Sunday, April, 29. We had our 'if we didn't conceive this cycle' consult on Tuesday and the decision was made that due to my "diagnosis" (translation-high FSH), we will move on to IVF-IF I am not pregnant. My doses will be increased in the hopes of getting more than one mature egg. I sure don't think a needle through the vaginal canal is worth it for one egg. Speaking of one egg, when I mentioned my most likely only having had one mature egg this cycle (300 Follistim for 7 days) to my RE, guess what he said..."It only takes one." Now, because he is an RE, I guess it's okay, but I did snicker a bit. When other people say that to me, I have this strange urge to head-butt them.

You know, I was really psyched that we could possibly find out if we were going to be parents on Iceman's birthday or Mother's Day, but today is too early for a reliable result and my RE doesn't do blood tests on the weekends (what the fuck kinda shit is that?). In hindsight or foresight or whatever sight, it is probably better this way. Last summer I got my period on my birthday and it SUCKED! Not only was I not pregnant, I felt like complete shit! The next month I got my period, then came home from my in-laws to find my beloved cat Washington, our first pet, dead on the counter with his head in a pool of blood from an apparent aneurysm.

I must tell you that I have been pissing on HPTs all fucking week; every day since Friday 5/4 and also on 4/29 and 5/2. The first time I POAS after the HCG shot was pretty cool 'cuz I had only seen positive pregnancy tests on the cover of the boxes in which they are sold. The real problem now is that by 5/4 the HCG trigger (I shot up w/ Ovidrel on 4/27) was nearly out of my system; the line on the HPT was super faint, but on 5/4 my RE had me do an HCG booster, so the damned things are still positive. My nurse told me to test 15 dpIUI (tomorrow), but how reliable will that be since the HCG is still showing up today? Also, if it is positive, I can't go in for the fuckin' beta until Monday. Again, it's probably best, but if I get my period on Mother's Day, I am sure that I will be wallowing in the irony of it.

Back to the if I didn't conceive consult. I asked my RE about him wanting me to go off Zoloft. I told him that the tech who takes my blood told me that HE told her to tell me that I must go off of it ASAP. His response was that he never tells his patients to just stop anti-depressants cold turkey like that. I told him that I didn't quite trust what she said, so when I came in for my next u/s and b/w, I asked her again and she sang the same exact tune. He said that he was going to talk to her because he never said anything like that. Now, I do not want her to get in any trouble because I like her; she treats me nicely and prints out all of my results for me, but I stopped Zoloft cold turkey because she told me to, and that is just not cool. I hope she doesn't start hurting me with that needle now when I come in for my b/w!

I also told him my feelings about the u/s tech who I have been unlucky enough to have had nearly every time I have gone in. She wields that ultrasound wand like a light saber, I kid you not! I mean shit, that hurts, especially on day 3. What bothered me more than her less than gentle probing of my nether region, and her cold, dismissive, uncaring demeanor, was what I feel was a major faux pas on her part.

On April 26 I went in for my u/s and b/w. The office called that afternoon to tell me that my RE wanted me to go an extra day on Follistim and Ganirelex to see if we could get my second largest follicle to mature before the trigger. The bigger follicle was 19.5mm and the second was 13mm. Okay, so I go in the next day and light saber tech measured one follicle at 19.5mm and the other at 13.5mm . I casually mention that I am surprised because I went an extra day on the meds in the hopes of some growth on the smaller follicle. She then remeasures the bigger follicle and says, "Oh, well when I take the average of the measurements, it's actually 21.5mm." First of all, why didn't you measure correctly the first time? Secondly, why am I telling you how to do your job? and third, why didn't you measure the smaller follicle again? This pissed me off and it didn't sink in until after I left the office. If I could have gone back, I would have asked to her to remeasure it, but shit, I am still a novice at this. Needless to say, I felt that I must tattle because this is a heart rending process without a cold bitch for a tech. and I need to be treated with a little more professionalism and TLC. I try to do unto others ya know what I mean?

My RE assured me that her diagnostic skills are top notch (he basically gave me her resume of experience and training), but that her people skills leave a lot to be desired. This made me feel better for two reasons, 1) he has confidence in her skills and 2) he knows she is a cold bitch. He said that he was glad that I told him all of this because he wants me to feel comfortable coming in to the office. I hope he means this because it is hard enough going in alone every other day to get poked in the crotch by a light saber, jabbed with a needle in my bruised and battered inner elbow, and then go home to jab myself in my swollen, mutilated abdomen with more needles.

Fertility/infertility treatment is such fun!

I am beginning to feel as though my period is coming. I hope I am wrong!

Below is our cat Squeaks (isn't she a stunner) in front of the balloon bouquet that I made for Iceman's birthday. Iceman named her; I wanted to name her Lupin because as a kitten she looked like a wolf, but now I get to name the maybe baby! Incidentally, he doesn't remember that we made that deal. Too bad; I win!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Dude, Where's My Job?

How do I have time to sit on the computer all day, especially when my house is in dyer need of cleaning? Don't I have a job? Funny you should ask. At the present time, I do not have a job. It's not that I don't want a job; I do, unless I become independently wealthy, that is. Then my job will be to donate exorbitant sums of money to worthy causes, and live a life of leisure (pronounced Leh-shur) and shopping.

I had a job, I was a teacher in the Chicago Public Schools for ten years, then I was a counselor/case manager in the same school district for two years. Well, what happened? I'll tell ya.

On January 30, 2006 I was at my job as a counselor/case manager, working hard to serve the students on my case load and fix all of the ills facing the school in which I worked. I wore many hats in that job, most of which were meant to be worn by my boss, the school's principal, but I was better at wearing said hats than he was. Too bad his salary was double that of mine, which left a bitter taste in my mouth; similar to that of cyanide escaping from a poisoned corpse, but I digress. Anyway, I was in the middle of a pretty stressful day, when I started having cramps on the right side of my lower abdomen. This did not bother me too much because as I have gotten older, the cramps associated with my period have gotten progressively worse. The thing was, I did not have my period. I still didn't worry, because as I said, it was a stressful day and I attributed my cramps to to either an indication of an impending early period, stress, or a combination of the two.

I stood up from my desk to go to the bathroom, and I had a shockingly sharp cramp. The kind of cramp that brings you down to the floor, regardless of where you are at the time. I was, thank goodness, alone in my office. I recovered from said cramp and was about to resume my trek to the bathroom when I had a sudden wave of severe nausea and abdominal cramping. I ran to the bathroom so as to avoid puking on my office floor. I didn't throw up (I hate to throw up, will do anything within my power to avoid it), but then I began to worry.

The cramping continued and so did the nausea. I went to my trusty Google search engine to see if these may be symptoms of something serious. All symptoms said appendicitis. I called Iceman at work and told him how I was feeling. He left work toot sweet (he is a middle school teacher who was in the middle of standing and delivering), flew over to my job, picked me up, and off to the ER we went. I should mention that Iceman doesn't miss work for ANYTHING, ever. I believe he took a sick day once, only because I made him, demanded that he stay home; he was extremely sick. Even then he only stayed home for one day, when any reasonable person would have probably been out all week. He was worried too.

We get to the ER and they ask a bunch of questions, one being "Could you be pregnant?" "Well, yes, I could be." I stated confidently. We had begun to try to get pregnant, so maybe it was an ectopic? Nope. (we didn't yet know that a natural pregnancy was unlikely at best) Was it an appendicitis? Nope. After numerous tests I was told to see a urologist ASAP because there was "major amounts of blood in my urine and mild hydronephrosis on my right kidney." This didn't surprise me because I had been having a major amount of blood in my urine for about ten years, but I wanted to finally find out what was causing it. The hydronephrosis was just a nice bonus.

The first urologist we saw showed us my scan and one of my ureters was "missing." It also appeared that I had a swollen mass in my bladder, a 9mm lesion on my left kidney, and a bump on my liver in addition to the blood in my urine. Because of those things, I was scheduled for a cystourethroscopy (cystoscopy, for short). This procedure was to be done on an outpatient basis at the hospital, under a general anesthetic. I took a medical leave of absence because the surgery couldn't be done until February 13, 2006, I was still in considerable pain, and after 10 days of absence in the Chicago Public Schools, one must apply for and receive a medical leave of absence. I did this right away, just in case; assuming that I would be back in the saddle lickety split. Well, that was not to be.

The lining of my bladder was red, raw, irritated, bled when touched, and was covered with glomerulations (hemorrages) of blood vessels, but the ureter was not "missing" and it was not blocked. This was a possible indication of Interstitial Cystitis (IC). The mass was benign, so that was good, but when stretched to capacity with saline, my bladder bled and was the size of a normal person's bladder, non-stretched. Another possible sign of Interstitial Cystitis. The doctor reported his findings to my family while I was in recovery; I was glad that I had a diagnosis after years of gross hematuria. Then, when I spoke with the urologist (#1) at my post operative consult, he said that it wasn't Interstitial Cystitis because the biopsy came back normal. Now, I freely admit that I am no urologist, but a biopsy does not indicate or contraindicate the disease, it merely rules out cancer. This urologist specialized in male urological disorders, so on to my second urologist.

My second urologist (a urogynecologist) was a mensch, a wonderful man who made me feel that I had come to the right place. He felt that it was Interstitial Cystitis, but that there was no reliable treatment except in the form of pelvic floor exercises with a specially trained physical therapist, and pills that may help control bladder spasms (they didn't). He did this bladder test, which involved filling my bladder with saline to test it's capacity. Well, this procedure had just begun when said saline literally shot out from my vagina straight at him and his nurse. I was mortified and they were in shock. Through my shouts of embarrassed apology, they confirmed that I have severe bladder spasms (duh) and that I obviously had IC and OAB (Overactive Bladder). I was sent to an OB for a trans vaginal ultrasound (my first of many) because often times IC and endometriosis are found concurrently.

The OB (actually, I only saw an ultrasound tech) found what appeared to be an adnexal cyst or endometrioma, which may be an indication of endometriosis; I was referred to an RE for further testing (it is April by this time). This RE (1st) was a pompous prick and I detested him immediately. He condescendingly told me that it may or may not be an endometrioma. One cannot tell via ultrasound, only through a laparoscopy. Now, he is the professional and he obviously knows more than I, but don't act like an ass; I'm not stoopid. Just tell me what we are going to do next. Lucky for me I was on day 3 of my cycle, so I had my second trans. vag. u/s and day 3 blood work. We were going to do the clomid challenge starting on cycle day 5, following the results of my blood work. On day 5 I get a call from his majesty's office asking where to call in my Rx, when the nurse or tech or whatever she was shouts, "Wow, your estradiol level is very high. I must talk to the doctor to see if he still wants you to start the clomid challenge test." Nice, very professional lady. Why didn't you look at my results before you called me? She speaks with G-d and I get the go-ahead to begin the test. At this point I have no idea what a day 3 estradiol level of 102 means.

Three days into the test, I have what I presume to be a profound nervous breakdown. All I am thinking about is the death of everyone that I love, including my pets. I rock back and forth on my couch wide eyed, seized with panic, confusion, and non-stop crying. I call my mom's cell phone; no answer. I call my husband's cell phone; no answer. Fuck, I am losing it and I cannot get in touch with anyone. I call G-d's office and report my psychosis. The lady on the other end of the line was a sweetheart (I sent her a heartfelt thank you card). She explained that this happens to some people on clomid and that if I wanted to stop the test, I could. I did!

As it turned out, G-d was not able to do the laparoscopy because my insurance wouldn't cover it; I had to have an OB/GYN do the procedure. I did not have an OB/GYN at the time as my GP had been doing my yearly paps forever. My GP and urologist both recommended the same OB/GYN and off to the next doctor I went.

He was a great guy, and a fabulous diagnostician, I was to later find out. We scheduled the laparoscopy in conjunction with my urologist so that he could do a cyctsocopy at the same time. Two-for-one, good deal; I'll take it. My urolosist did not feel that the cystoscopy was necessary as he was pretty sure what I had, but being the mensch that he is, he obliged me.

Good news and bad news. After the surgery, my OB/GYN reported to my family that I did not have endometriosis (good news), I did have a paraovarian cyst (no biggie, unless it gets to be a biggier cyst and twists my ovary), and that my ovaries were losing function (bad news). In our post surgery consult, he suggested that Iceman and I try for a couple of months to get pregnant naturally because following a laparoscopy, a woman is quite fertile for approx. 3-4 months. We obliged for six months, to no avail. Referral to second RE.

This last surgery was in June of 2006. I got my return to work letter and went to re-enlist in the trenches of the Chicago Public Schools, confident that my job was safely awaiting my return. WRONG! I had been bumped out of my position, but I could become a substitute teacher. WHAT!?! I don't think so. What the fuck happened to my job? Where is my protection under the FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act)? It seems that there is a loophole, of which I was unaware. You see, because I was in a cerified position (need a type 73 certificate) with a temporary certification (type 78 certificate), I had no protection under the FMLA.

I was still in graduate school at the time working on my Master's in School Counseling and I had become a Student Development Teacher (SDT, not to be confused with STD) in order to work as a counselor/case manager. By becoming a SDT and obtaining a temporary certificate (type 78) I was able to do the job of a counselor/case manager until I earned my degree and certification. This program was developed because there was a monumental shortage of certified counselors in CPS and the positions needed to be filled. It doesn't matter; I was fucked. I had no recourse, and I had no job.

To be honest, I hated that job. For many reasons, the main one being that my boss, a new principal with NO experience, was a total douche bag (Iceman's favorite derogatory term). It wasn't so much that he had no idea how to run a school, which he didn't; it was that he did not care to learn. He put all of his work on me and his assistant principal while he was on his computer all day doing nothing. The prick was scared of the kids for Christ's sake! Total fuckhead! If he didn't know how to do something (which was almost every aspect of running a school), he wouldn't; we would have to do it. Now, I am a hard worker and I have a passion for figuring things out, so extra work does not bother me, but...when important documents from the Board of Education are addressed by name to the principal of a school, specifically requesting that S/HE do something, it is obnoxious to literally cross out your name and write WENDY over it and put it in my mailbox. I mean what kind of shit is that?

Anyway, that is the how and why of me losing my job. You can see that in some ways it was a blessing in disguise. I have since heard that the place has fallen apart (YEAH!), which is too bad for the kids, but the teachers are terrific, so it won't really affect them anyway. Plus, hopefully the sad state of the place will solidify that the incompetent, pissant will not have his contract renewed next year. Ahhh, dare to dream. Another blessing was that I was able to go to school full-time and finish my master's degree. The downside is that Iceman and I are fuckin' dead broke. I still haven't found a job, and if the lottery doesn't pan out....

It will, I WILL WIN! No worries, somebody's gonna lotto, might as well be me!!!

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Panic Attack

It's official, I had my first panic attack in quite awhile. The last time was about 10 months ago when I was in the back seat of my sister's transitional boyfriend's car. He was a crazy driver, so naturally I blame him. I had my trusty Xanax in my purse, so problem solved.

About an hour ago I was jolted from a sound sleep shaking with anxiety. I woke up Iceman, got out of bed, and paced around the bedroom like a caged animal. He asked what was wrong and as I fumbled to explain what was wrong, I realized that I could not find the words to describe what I was feeling. I took off my top, paced back and forth (that's bad naked for you Seinfeld fans), then got back into bed. Got out of bed again, put on a different top, then got back into bed. Got back out of bed and went to my trusty computer. No sense in needlessly worrying Iceman, especially because he wants what is best for me and if the fertility meds make me crazy, he will want me to stop taking them; I mean injecting them. I am starting to feel better! This blogging thing may be my new Xanax. Awesome!

I am not sure if this panic attack is partly due to the multitude of fertility meds. in my system, going off Zoloft 2 weeks ago, or if I am just forever doomed to suffer from out-of-the-blue bouts of paralyzing panic. The difference between this panic attack and the last one, is that I no longer have my Xanax crutch. I mean I have Xanax, in my bathroom and in my purse; I just absolutely cannot take it. It is a class D pregnancy drug, and though I am not officially pregnant, I may be. The chance that I am actually pregnant seems rather minuscule when all factors are taken into account but, I MAY BE, and I cannot take any chances.

The panic attack didn't last that long, thank goodness, but I am still quite jittery. I suspect that it is due, at least in part, to the meds., at least I hope so. I gave myself the HCG booster today and shortly after puncturing my semi-healed belly, I became jittery. This jitteriness was a nice addition to my astounding belly bloat, searing migraine, abdominal cramping, diarrhea, nausea, dizziness, gaseousness, and my poor sore boobies. Infertility treatment is such fun!

I must state that I am keenly aware that we are astoundingly lucky that our insurance covers infertility, ahem, fertility treatment. Our jobs pay shit (Iceman's job, I lost mine last spring), but our insurance is pretty good, even though it's an HMO, which means that we cannot choose the doctor we see. I digress, we are damn lucky. My mom is always telling me how lucky I am, and as far as our insurance covering infertility treatment, she's right.

I mentioned in a previous post that immediately after the IUI, I was exuberantly happy, and optimistically content. I wasn't even (that) mad at my mom anymore ( I will write about this in a later post). I never thought that a straw threaded through my cervix into my uterus could bring such joy. There are no words to express how happy I felt. You know how when you are on an awesome vacation and you just feel good? That's how I felt. This feeling of peace with the world lasted one day, then I crashed.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Asinine Suggestions, Irrelevant Anecdotes, and Smart Ass Responses

Asinine Suggestions, Irrelevant Anecdotes, and Smart Ass Comments

  • "Stop trying." If we stop trying we will never have a baby. Where is the logic in that? What's your I.Q. anyway Einstein?

  • "Have some wine." F*ck off, I don't even like wine. I like cigarettes!

  • "Just think positive." I am thinking positive douche bag!

  • "Just relax, then you'll get pregnant." Oh my G-d! That's all I have to do; why didn't my R.E. tell me, 'cuz These shots hurt!

  • "Go on vacation." Okay, great! Who's paying? You see, Mike and are I woefully underpaid teachers. Also, After my laparosopy and second cystoscopy last year, I lost my job. Thanks FMLA, 12 years of dedicated service to children and all you guarantee me is a substitute position? Nice loophole.

  • "I work with this lady and her daughter-in-law had to do shots for two years, plus she had to deal with kidney stones; twice! In fact she's in the hospital right now..." Wow, I guess I am lucky 'cuz I have only just started jabbing needles in my belly. If I have to go through this for another two years, will I have earned some sympathy? It's really comforting to know how much better off I am than your acquaintance's son's wife. By the way, how are her kids?

  • "Have you considered donor eggs?" Uh, no, not yet; I just got this horrid diagnosis. I'd kinda like to try some aggressive treatment first, IF I can find an RE willing to work with a 37 year-old with a day 3 FSH level of 16.9. Hey, How's your kid doing?

  • "You could always adopt." Yeah, I hear that's a really easy process. Thanks for the tip. By the way, next time can you give me a monetary tip 'cuz adoption is REALLY expensive and my insurance only covers infertility (at least for a while).

  • "You know, you'll have to start doing handstands after sex." Thanks for the suggestion. And all this time I have been running right to the bathroom to pee after sex, letting all that man juice get away. Shit, I didn't realize! That must be it, (note to self). Listen douche bag, I have been keeping my pelvis elevated after sex since January 2006; January 20, 2006 to be exact

  • Are you eating right? Nope, just Twinkies, sushi, and battery acid. Why, do you think this is my fault? If it is, then how come all of those crack and heroine addicts get knocked up?

  • "My neighbor's, friend's sister-in-law knows someone who..." And this applies to me how?

  • "Just be patient; it will happen. It just takes time." How do you know; are you psychic?

  • "It's in G-d's hands." I don't believe in G-d, but you can.

Loving people trying innocently to help and just plain ignorants, I HAVE A MEDICAL CONDITION, that is why we are going through infertility. It's called a high FSH; my day 3 level is 16.9. LOOK IT UP! I would if you were going through this. Or, you could just actually read the multitude of links that I have sent to you. Other terms you may use to search for information are:

  • Premature Ovarian Failure (POF)
  • Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR)
  • Early Menopause
  • Peri Menopause
  • Diminished Fertility
  • How can I support and comfort my loved one while s/he is going through infertility?

This list will surely be updated, unless I am in jail for jabbing my Follistim pen into the eyes of some ignorant f*ckhead (with the needle attached , of course).

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Love and Xanax in Chicago

So, back to the Xanax. It is my touchstone, my savior, the one thing that allows me to to go on trips via airplane (rarely, my husband and I are teachers so we are grossly underpaid and therefore do not take many trips). Wait, I must interrupt myself! Back in December my sister and her friend were discussing their upcoming cruise with my parents and my parents' upcoming cruise (my sister is a grossly underpaid teacher too, but she was living w/ my parents at the time-poor thing). Anyway, they start talking about how great cruises are and how Mike and I should take one. My husband says, "We're going on a cruise! First we're gonna cruise to Target, then cruise over to CVS, and maybe cruise by the gas station to pick up some lottery tickets." Awesome! He doesn't talk that much, well not in comparison to me, but when he says something I am always impressed!

Usually when I interrupt my own thought I forget what I was saying in the first place, but since I am typing, I can look back an be reminded. Okay, back to the Xanax. I didn't always need/rely on Xanax. It is hard to pin down the exact moment my madness began, but I have some ideas. I usually tell people that it began after a car accident I was in with two of my girlfriends. We got in a cab on Halloween in 1996 and the cab driver took off like a bat out of hell. He ran through a stop sign, smashed into and totalled 6 parked cars, and my girlfriend's shattered face ended up in my lap. I was covered in her blood and the crazy part was that I was dressed up as a doctor, scrubs and all! When I got to the emergency room the doctor ASSumed that I worked in a hospital, fell in an operating room and that was why I was covered in blood. It wasn't a good hospital, but I wasn't that hurt, physically. Mentally, it f*cked me up.

That is the story I usually give for my claustrophobia, but that just intensified it. It actually began after my college boyfriend and I broke up. It was not a normal "I don't love you anymore" breakup; it was because of his escalating alcoholism. This break up really f*cked me up. I did not understand alcoholism at the time and control freak that I am, I just could not understand why if he loved me, he would "choose" alcohol over me. I have learned a lot since then, Master's Degree in Counseling and all, but I know it started there.

After the break up, I lost a lot of weight. I was already slim, but the accidental, because I am clinically depressed weight loss turned into an obsession to remain super-duper thin. This did not last long because A) I am allergic to exercise and B) I like to eat fried stuff. So I became claustrophobic-mostly in elevators. It may seem weird that I blame the break up for this, but I had to move back into my parent's house to do my student teaching when the original plan was for us to live together. Living with your parents in your 20's can make you feel very trapped, hence claustrophobia.

The claustrophobia was not so bad at that time and I pretty much totally got over it, until the cab accident, "NO CABS FOR YOU! NEXT!"

For the most part, I stopped taking cabs for awhile, though I still took them occasionally and I managed my claustrophobia quite well. In fact, it was mostly gone in short order. Mike and I met and started to become friends around the time of the accident. We were teaching at the same school and really hit it off. He was living with someone at the time, so we were friends, at work only! I do not f*ck with another woman's guy! The thing was, we REALLY liked each other. In fact, it was love fairly quickly and we had never even touched each other, let alone gone on a date. Long story short, He asked his nice, but not so intelligent girlfriend to move out, we dated for a millisecond, got engaged and married in less than a year and me and my soul mate began our life together.

The trouble began again the day after our wedding. We were on the plane waiting to take off for our honeymoon in Mexico when I had my first ever panic attack. Perfect timing! As I sat in my seat I watched all the people walking down the minuscule aisle to their seats and I lost it. I left Mike without a word, knocked all those nice people in the aisle on their asses, and fled from the plane. Oops, you married a psycho! Mike came off the plane to see what the f*ck was wrong with me. Of course, I could not explain what was wrong because I myself had no idea. We did not go to Mexico on that flight, but our luggage did. I was paralysed with fear. Oh my G-d, I thought. How am I going to explain this to my parents? The criticism my Mom would heap upon me would be more than I could bear. We went on a later flight, met up with our luggage and had a nice time. But how would we get home? I DID NOT want to get back on a plane, but I did. Looking back now, I cannot believe I got on that plane unmedicated!

That is how I found Xanax!

Pretty pictures of me:

  • In August of 2004 I went to Vegas with my parents and my sister. This is me poolside shortly after arriving via airplane. My Mom told me that people were staring at me and must have thought that I was a passed-out whore. Nice!

  • In December of 2004 My sister and I went to Orlando (awesome outlet mall). Following our plane ride I insisted that I was fine AND on driving the rental car to our resort. It truly is a G-d damned miracle that we survived that car ride. My sister deserves some kudos for remaining calm through this; I could have killed her for Christ's sake. Following the car trip/highway roller coaster ride, I passed out for quite a few hours. This is me upon waking from my "nap." I think waterproof mascara is in order the next time I travel via Xanax, I mean airplane.

Fertility, Infertility, What's the Difference?

I had this random thought that has recurred so often that is no longer random, so I must mention it. Why are all of the reproductive endocrinologist's offices named things like: Fertility Clinic of B*tt F*ckville or A+ Number One Fertility Center? Lets face it, those names are shameless trickery. People go there because they are either infertile to some extent or frightened that they may be.

A year ago (at 36) when I first had the inkling that my fertility was in question (Day 3 Estradiol level of 102, HORRID and debilitating periods, possible endometrioma) I began scouring the Internet for information. I was so shocked that I could not find the information for which I so desperately searched. The reason eventually made itself plain; they f*ck you in the "fertility" clinic. (figurativley, they don't really f*ck you; that's not how it works)

I still remember searching in vain for things like: Infertility Doctors in Chicago, Infertility Specialists in Illinois, and so on. Much to my surprise, there are no infertility doctors; they are called fertility doctors. I get it, you make an appointment, get a full work-up and a couple of shots and pills and WALA, your fertile! Cool, I'm in, where do I sign up? What's my co-pay?

I am still contemplating the reasoning of this dichotomy a year later. Is it so that those of us who seek their treatment don't feel broken or not something that we should be as the word INfertile implies?


Is it because by calling themselves "fertility" specialists they are subconsciously implying to the scared and easily tricked that through their treatment we will magically become fertile? Maybe. That way we believe that the outrageous cost, both monetarily and physically is worth it. That there is an implied guarantee that it will pay off in the end with a beautiful, healthy, perfect in every way biological baby. These fertility doctors are so powerful that moments after you deliver your superior baby, you are in perfect shape too; just like a 20 year old co-ed. Let's tailgate!

Grab your ultrasound wand/probe and work your magic. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has got nothing on these magic makers; they don't even need a Phoenix feather or unicorn tail hair.