Bionic Mamas

you're not losing a vagina, you're gaining a son


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Updates and Such

Hey there, internet. It’s been a rather rollercoaster-y day around these parts, so I’m not sure how peppy I can make this.

Let’s start with good things:

  • We now have two dozen fertilized eggs. Obviously 24 is too many to put back, but luckily vitrification and FET means we can have two, reasonable pregnancies of 12 each….
  • The red gatorade isn’t so bad if it’s really cold.
  • After no percocet overnight, I felt great this morning. Better than in a week, in fact.
…that’s all I can come up with.
Less good things:
  • Stopping the percocet was stupid, stupid, stupid. Midmorning, I was suddenly in so much abdominal pain that I freaked out. Luckily, I did the responsible thing and called the Baby Factory. The doc on call there said she wasn’t a bit surprised, given my age, battery-hen-style egg production, and extensive endometriosis. She told me to get back on the percocet and stay the heck in bed. Although it took several hours for the percocet to get back to its former level of effectiveness (because it always works better if you don’t let the pain get away from you), I am basically okay now. I am also still in pajamas, which now have gatorade stains. Classy.
  • Way too sick to go to acupuncture, even if I hadn’t been forbidden to leave the bed.
  • The nurse who called with the fert report announced that I would be having anesthesia for my ET, per the doctor who did the ER (Dr. Saturday, not Dr. Baby Factory), who never introduced himself in the OR and put my IV in badly so it hurt like hell the whole time.
Dr. Baby Factory and I had already talked about ET procedures, as he knows my ornery cervices better than anybody, and he did mention that anesthesia was a possibility. He mentioned it in a “in case you think *you’d* like this” kind of a way, just as information. We decided that valium was enough. Now some guy I don’t even know has just announced that my care is changing, because he feels like it. I feel out of control and angry.
I also feel really, really sad about the idea of not being conscious for the ET. So much of the IVF experience is so distant from what I want the conception of our child to be like. I am grateful that I have the opportunity to use IVF, grateful that it may save us from infertility. But the experience is not without loss, you know? I’ve read so many IVF blogs, and ET day seems for so many couples like the day it becomes personal again, as they watch the embryo on the screen, hold hands as it goes in. I want that.
Doctor On-Call wants me to come in tomorrow anyway, to get checked for OHSS and so on. Since Dr. Baby Factory is also Dr. Monday, I hope to talk to him about it. I just hope I can keep from crying. Because crying hurts my belly so much right now.
Oh, I forgot one other good thing: a big shout out to my wonderful acupuncturist, who wrote to check in on me and is just generally a blessing.


22 Comments

It’s time

I’ve been in stirrups so many times in the past week that I’ve started wearing skirts to the clinic, just to save the trouble of taking my pants on and off. I take my shoes off anyway, because not doing so seems somehow inappropriate, even though there’s no real need.

I went into the Baby Factory for blood work and ultrasound this morning, as I have for the past seven consecutive days. First stop: blood draw room. There are lots of nurses, most wonderful, and I hadn’t had this one before. She said something sympathetic about how much time I’ve been spending there — both arms are pretty bruised at this point — and I said I didn’t mind, that I appreciated being watched so closely, that it helps me worry less. And anyway, I like having more data.
Oh, she asked, do you work in medicine?
This question comes up a lot. I don’t work in medicine, but I was raised by two doctors in an area where hospitals and labs are major employers. Medicine is my mother tongue.
So I told her no, that my parents were doctors, though. And then she said what easily fifty percent of people do after that revelation:
“Aren’t they disappointed that you’re not a doctor?”
Now I ask you, what kind of small talk is that? To tell you the truth, I’m not entirely convinced they’re not disappointed, though they never say so. Heck, sometimes I’m disappointed in myself for not being a doctor — I’m pretty sure I’d be good at it — and I never wanted to be one. But is this really a conversation I need to have with a stranger first thing in the morning? Public Service Announcement: If you find yourself about to ask someone who is not a very close friend whether her parents are disappointed in her, JUST DON’T.
Onward to ultrasound.
At the Baby Factory, all IVF patients on a given day are seen by the same doctor, no matter who your regular doctor is. Each day of the week has a doctor assigned to it; Dr. Baby Factory, for instance, is Dr. Monday. Ultrasounds are done by one of a trio of lovely fellows — all women, just to complicate the nomenclature — or by the doc of the day. Today I met Dr. Thursday, a jovial, paternalistic jackass.
First of all, I appreciate it when folks introduce themselves before sticking anything up my privates. Call it a quirk of my Southern upbringing. Second, when I tell you, since I’m not counting on your having read the details of my chart, that I have a vaginal septum and that you should aim to the right with that dildocam, the preferred response is, “thank you for telling me.” Not:
“Why didn’t somebody take that out?”
Luckily, my pre-cycle anxiety dreams had prepared me for this moment (only with more knives), so instead of blubbering I managed,
“Because it belongs to me.”
The examine continued in that vein. Dr. Thursday is the only one of the docs I’ve seen who didn’t adjust the u/s screen so I could see it, and I bet he wouldn’t have told me the follicle measurements I’d asked for if he hadn’t had to call them out to the resident in the corner. He ended the session with a pat on my knee and a “Good job” that made me feel like livestock.
So now I know why they want you barefoot in the stirrups: a kick to the face is bound to hurt less that way.
ONWARD.
I am triggering tonight. Ten minutes to midnight, which my sweet, strictly diurnal Sugar is bound to hate. I’m nervous as heck about the shot and mostly about the retrieval and continue to appreciate your reassurances and general support.
Biggest follicle is about 19.5 mm. Dr. Thursday said about 10 on each side. So now I’m nervous about OHSS, too. E2 is 3364. Talked to Dr. Baby Factory, and he sounds a little nervous, too, but not nervous enough to have me trigger with Lupron. So I guess we just hope for the best and stock up on gatorade.
Retrieval is Saturday.
Which means a 5-day transfer would fall on…Dr. Thursday’s shift. Awesome Sauce.


9 Comments

Some Good Advice

Internets! Hello from day 4 of stims.

Things are going pretty well. I went in for blood work today, and they say I’m showing a good response. My estrogen is at 545. So tonight, Gonal-F went down to 187.5, and tomorrow we’re going in for more b/w and the first u/s look at what’s up in the ol’ egg cartons. I’m to bring the Ganirelix with me, in case it’s already time to start antagonizing the follies.
In side-effects land, I’ve had a bit of a backache, especially on Cysty Lefty’s side. Yesterday I had a tiny headache, which reached “blinding” this afternoon. Yuck, but Dr. Baby Factory said I can take the codeine I have for migraines if I need to, so it’s down to “splitting” now. I sure hope my head doesn’t just feel like this from here on out, but I feel I can’t complain much, since I’m not teaching right now and I can, in fact, lie down and groan if needed.
I can also lie down and nap, which is a darn good thing. I can’t believe how tired this stuff is making me. Sugar points out that I am, after all, growing a bunch of stuff, so maybe that’s why. Or maybe it’s just my native sloth. Lordy, though. I took a nap as soon as I got home from the Baby Factory and other Manhattan errands this morning. When I woke up, I felt like I could really go for a nap.
…which brings me to the advice portion. I was whining a bit to the splendiferous Fat Chick about all of this — do you all read her blog? Do you already know how brilliant and marvelous she is? I certainly hope so. (If not, I am dead jealous, since you get the pleasure of finding her blog for the first time.)
Here she is on side effects. I think I should print this out and stick it to the bathroom mirror:

Oh Bionic, you are a sweet, sweet noob. Here’s the thing: No matter what you are feeling, whether it be emotional or physical, if it is in the slightest way disconcerting, annoying, painful or otherwise negative – in your opinion or the opinions of those near and dear to you – it is always, always because of the drugs. If, on the other hand, you are feeling something positive, it is because you are such an emotionally and physically strong woman that you are able to do the impossible. Namely, you are able to function at a high level despite the added hormones.

Some examples, for clarification purposes:

Road Rage: Drugs
Laughing: You
Small Kitten Cuteness: You
Loud Neighbor Annoyances: Drugs
Inappropriately Unpleasant FB Update: Drugs

All clear?

I ❤ Fat Chick. As does my Native Sloth:


9 Comments

Bullet-y Roundup

Hey gang. There’s been way too little about hoo-has on this blog lately, no? Sorry about that. We’re in a period of hoo-ha dormancy at the moment, ending soon. To whit:

  • We’ve been on TTC break, but IVF commences in round about 2 weeks. (This protocol begins on CD2, and all signs point to my ovulating about now.) I’m excited and totally freaked out. I am trying not to take my lunacy out on Sugar, but dreaming of needles every night is getting old (and tiring).
  • Speaking of needles, I have been going to acupuncture every week for some time now. I really like the practice, Brooklyn Acupuncture Project. It’s clean and nice and cheap. The practitioners are friendly and no one’s tried to talk me into changing my diet. (I have a history of disordered eating and know from experience that even small, reasonable changes lead me directly to the place of hypercontrol, which leads directly to the place of not eating. Which can’t be a good move, health-wise.) I’m not sure how much it’s helping with my chief complaint, anxiety (see dreams above). It does chill me out on the day of the appointment, and I suppose I am moderately less crazy than I was in April, so that’s something. What I don’t like about acupuncture is how it wears me out for the whole day. Do others of you have this?
  • Have any of you done IVF at NYU? Know any bloggers who have? Since it looks like Nicole will have to wait a few months, I’ve lost my cycle buddy — and I was selfishly hoping she’d go first and give me the lay of the land.
  • I’ve ordered the meds. Still need to sort out whether Dr. Baby Factory will stick to his statement that he’ll let me try the progesterone coochie bullets, since the shots freak me out.
  • We need to order more sperm. This week, yo.
  • We found a church hall to have our wedding party in! Now we just need to get some food and invite people….
  • A veritable bevy of my aunts is in town. My mother, too. This has led me to blurting out things about my vaginae, cervices, and so on many times in the past few days. Since living in New York means living in public, said blurting has occurred in inappropriate places: the check-out line at the food coop, a busy sidewalk on 35th street.
  • My mother and her sisters are all deaf to varying degrees, so said inappropriate blurting has also been very loud. And repeated. Continuing to do my bit to keep city life interesting.

I owe you a number of posts, internet. Posts about why I feel guilty moving on to IVF so soon, and about why it is a good idea anyway. Posts about why I’m not taking Dr. Baby Factory’s advice and letting him remove my vaginal septum, even though doing so is on balance the more logical decision. Posts about how I’ve become someone who screams about my vagina in midtown. I’m certain to feel more frantic in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.

And I’ll get a new Come and Eat post up soon. Meanwhile, try playing this game. (Tip o’ the nib to Geek and Lawyer.)


11 Comments

Red Light, Green Light

I thought it might help to sort out what about IVF I am and am not scared of. Something’s gotta help soon, because I’m sick of waking up at 4:30. (Good news: I found a sliding-scale acupuncture clinic! Gonna call next week, for reals. We’ll deal with what about acupuncture I am and am not afraid of another day….)


What I am scared of:

Big needles. Dr. Baby Factory prefers to use progesterone in oil, but he said he’s okay with coochie bullets. So I don’t need to worry about that one (except for the part of me that’s like “but shouldn’t I use THE VERY BEST THING? WHY DON’T I WANT A BABY???”)


What I am not scared of:

Small needles. I’m a tiny bit weirded out by the thought of the follistim injections, but not in an unmanagable way. I used to watch my dad give himself allergy shots. I think this is one of those times that being a doctors’ kid helps — I don’t have the feeling that medical care is something that doesn’t happen at home, and I’m basically into science experiments. And if it gets that bad, I have a friend with a medical degree who’s already offered to give me the shots. (And if that doesn’t work out, I can always have her 2.5 year old daughter do it. That kid gives me “medicine” with my bbt thermometer every time she’s over, which is often. She has a great bedside manner — comforting but very firm.)

– That follistim and friends will make my ovaries hurt unbearably, given that Cysty Lefty hurts an awful lot of the time as it is. Oh well. I suppose childbearing is a weird goal if I’m interested in avoiding discomfort, huh?

Two-week follicular phase. That sounds like a big improvement over my usual twenty-odd days. I can do anything for two weeks, right?

Egg retrieval. That’s normal, right? How could I not be scared of giant needles in my vagina, right? And how the hell are they going to get around my big-ass cysts? (According to my dream life, I am also afraid of crazy infections that enlarge the lining surrounding my heart. Awake, I am afraid that the Terrible Metaphor part of my mind is taking over. IVF leads to heartache? Real original, brain. MFA in Writing = money well spent.)

IVs. Dr. Baby Factory said he’d want to do my ER with anesthesia — and he thought I’d object! Ha! I’m a big wimp and am all for being knocked out. So I’m telling myself that all I will have to do on ER day is show up and get an IV. Everything that comes afterward…well, I’ll be down for the count. (I hope. Last time I had twilight anesthesia — when I had my wisdom teeth out — I woke up in the middle. On the bright side, I was still too blissed out to be bothered. I remember lying there thinking, “Oh, that crunching sound must mean they’re having to break my tooth to get it out. La la la!”)

Not having any eggs/embryos. Dr. Baby Factory doesn’t think the no-egg thing is likely (since I had a bunch of follicles on the last scan), but really, I suppose there’s only one way to find out.

Twins.

Single Embryo Transfer. Dr. BF thinks this is a great idea for me, given my age and all the rest (like my fear of twins). He thinks it lowers my odds only a little bit, and since my insurance is paying….
But then again, my insurance company wouldn’t be the ones climbing back into the stirrups, not to mention dealing with the emotional fallout not getting pregnant. Okay, it turns out I am a little afraid of this. But I am more afraid of twins in our New York apartment and our loosey-goosey financial situation.

Believing this is a sure thing; losing my mind if it doesn’t work, even if only on the first try.

Never having a child. Always being the-adult-kids-love, with none of my own to sometimes love and sometimes loathe me. Again, only one way to find out.


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Seven Swans A-Swimming

Hey, y’all. How’s it?

On the blog and in my life, I’m feeling a need for spring cleaning. Got a number of projects malingering* around the house and mind, needing to get finished before I can move on to new things. So here’s one I’ve been letting slide for too long:

April, of CD 1 Again — and doesn’t that title say it all? Don’t you wish you were still back in the innocent past, when “CD 1” was the first disc in your compact disk changer? — gave Our Dear Blog this award some time ago. Thank you, April! You’re grand.

Here are the rules:
*Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog.
*Copy the award and paste it to your blog.
*Tell us 7 interesting facts about yourself.
*Nominate 7 bloggers that you love and link to their blog.

(I know the purpose of these things is to tell you a bunch of random** details about my non-TTC life, like that I know how to eat fire and did so in several parades in college or that I was one of those super-nerd kids who took the SAT in 7th grade for no particularly good reason (but they gave me a book of timelines of European history (that I never read) because I got a good-ish score) or that my fingers are double-jointed, but really? All I want to talk about right now is TTC stuff. So here follow seven facts about our current TTC plans. You’ll have to decide for yourselves whether they’re more interesting than knowing that my geneticist father and I both have simian creases on our left hands and that he used to show his medical students slides of my xeroxed hand prints (Remember xeroxing your hands? Wasn’t that the greatest?) and that I wonder if I’ll one day have a child with the same crease (Oops, that one was TTC-ish).)


Seven Possibly Interesting Facts

1. We met with Dr. Baby Factory yesterday, so he could re-wand my cysty ovaries.

2. They look the same as last summer, which is something of a relief, as they hurt a lot of the time and I was worried they were worse or turning to the Big C or something. But they don’t look good, per se. Two bigguns on the left (around 3 cm each — no wonder it hurts), some smaller ones on the right. I could have the cysts out with laproscopy, but while that would help with pain, it might well hurt fertility, since some ovarian tissue would have to go, too. I feel down on losing ovarian tissue right when I’m hoping to use it.

3. Plenty of follicles, though. And E2/FSH levels are fine (58/4.3 vs. 74/4.2 last year).

4. Dr. BF thinks we’ve tried enough IUIs. If we had a free source of sperm or if my insurance wasn’t as great as it is (and it is! the one good money thing about my job!) or if the cysts were smaller…but yeah. He thinks three tries was enough.

5. It’s IVF time. Probably in June.

6. I feel partly scared about that, partly excited, partly hopeful that all that’s wrong with me is that my eggs can’t get to the ute, because they’re stuck under cysts or getting hung up in scarred tubes.

7. But mostly right this minute I feel a little ashamed to be moving on after only three tries, even if the doctor does think it’s the thing to do, that my odds without it are getting quite small. I’m afraid people — and that’s mostly you, internet, since not that many IRL people know about all this — will think I’m cowardly or lazy or somehow cheating. HOW I WOULD LOVE to get pregnant in my own bed, with my pervy cats curled up and purring beside me. HOW I WOULD LOVE to not get poked and prodded in new, exciting ways. HOW I WOULD LOVE to never learn to give myself injections, let alone ones that will make my ouchy ovary ouchier.

But more than any of that, how I would love to have a child.


Seven Certainly Beautiful Bloggers

1. Mrs. Basement, whose blog I only found today, but whom I already adore.

2. Hairy Farmer Family, who has two cervices, like me! And also two utes. And she’s named them. Also? She’s brilliant in every way.

3. love+love=marriage, who are a whole lot of fun and have cutie-cute pictures of wee Mr. Holland.

4. The magnificent Mrs. Spock! Who is all kinds of wonderful and to whom I owe a proper thanks-for-the-socks-and-love post — the next piece of spring cleaning business.

5. One of His Moms, who likely doesn’t know I exist, but whose blog is one of the first lesbo-mom ones I found. I devoured the archives over the course of a few days last spring — and even if I never got to try my, erm, hand at home insems, I credit her with teaching me how.

6. Madame X at The Young and The Infertile, who is not so infertile these days but remains eloquent and intellectually dashing.

7. And peg o’ me heart, Starhillgirl at Caved, for whom I would log my lunch faithfully forever.

*Ed: GOD, I hate that “malingering” doesn’t mean “lingering, but in a bad way”. I’ve gotten over “nonplussed” not meaning “feeling “eh” about it,” but “malinger” is still hard. I want to use it so bad, but I can hear my mother’s correction, so I won’t. (I can also hear her sigh over the colloquial use of bad as an adverb.)

**I know Mama hates this usage, too, but it’s taken hold nonetheless. Sorry.


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If You Can’t Say Anything Nice…

Anyway, that’s why I haven’t been posting.

Not much going on in baby-making land. Peeing on OPKs. Planning on an IUI this month, not feeling terribly optimistic about the whole thing. Wondering how long I should keep this up before admitting that it’s not going to happen short of IVF (if at all). Dr. Baby Factory says 1-4 more cycles, given the severity of my endometriosis.

(Dammit, why doesn’t spell check know “endometriosis”? Screw you, spell check.)

Speaking of endo, last week was a particularly unpleasant edition of GI/Endo Badness. At least I have visible wounds to show for it this time — after the first day stuck in bed groaning, I took a bunch of the painkillers I use for migraines. (They don’t make the GI pain go away, but they do make it seem like it’s happening to somebody else. Sometimes they let me sleep a little, too.) Then I decided I could go to the bathroom — a whopping 10 foot walk — by myself, which was fine until I was on the toilet and the visual world was replaced by thickening clouds of very coarse static. I’d never noticed how LOUD the bathroom lights were. It would have been okay if I’d had the sense to get off the toilet and onto the floor, as I had that afternoon when the same thing had happened — orthostatic hypotension is a common side effect of taking a handful of those little pills.

But lying on the bathroom floor sucks, I thought, if one can be said to “think” with so little blood in one’s brain. I bet I can make it back to bed if I run.

I am a genius.

I’m not sure if I did run, as the next thing I was aware of following a period of blackness was a lot of furniture hitting my face. Then Sugar was standing over me in the living room, saying she would help me to bed but that I needed to decide first whether I wanted my pants on or off, because halfway wasn’t working very well.

I am now the proud owner of a subtly glamorous black eye.

But you should see the bookcase.


4 Comments

You Know What’s Awesome?

Valium. Valium is awesome.

If I were in the market for a new addiction, I’d strongly consider this one. Although bear in mind that I am still pretty loopy.

You know what’s better than valium?

You all. Thanks for all the kind messages today. When I heard the word “tenaculum,” I unfolded them and read them again. (And tried to name every part of England that I could. I’m pretty good with geography, but not when high, apparently. Kept getting caught in a Devon-Dover-“They’ll be bluebirds over the white cliffs” loop.)

More later, when I am sobered up. Typing like this is way too hard.

P.S. The socks, for the curious and the SITM faithful, are from Little Miss Mismatched (which means there’s a third one, too, in red and yellow). The nurse liked them, too.


12 Comments

Greetings, ICLWeegers

Hiya.

Thanks for dropping by, despite the fact that I obviously missed the stay-classy memo in re: how to answer that “what do you usually blog about” question, such that while you all said things like “faith” and “hope” I said “peeing.”

Sugar is shaking her head right along with you.

Our story so far:

We’re just your typical lesbian couple trying to start a family. Totally ordinary. Only I have two vaginas. Vaginae, if you’re a big nerd like me. And also two cervices. See? Dull, almost.

After what feels a million ultrasounds, MRIs, specula, and nasty tenacula on my poor little cervices, the doctors, nurses, ultrasound techs, receptionists, and zebra fish embryologists I’ve dropped trou for since first googling “double vagina”* have come to the conclusion that I am a freak among freaks — despite the Doublemint twins that are my naughty bits, my good old ute is singular and otherwise normal. Plus, I found out I have a bonus ureter…

…and also endometriosis. So even though we’ve only tried one IUI, Dr. Baby Factory thinks we should be thinking seriously about IVF if I don’t have a bun in the ol’ oven after the next 2-5 tries. We’ve had our differences with Dr. Baby Factory, but he does strike me as a smart cookie.

We took a break in November (to get married! for real!) and December (to see our nutty families! for far too long!), but we’re back in the saddle this month, which means I’m bitching about pee sticks. OPK negative today, thanks for asking — but it’s only CD 1,000,000.

*make sure safe search is ON.


6 Comments

Updates of All Sorts

One of those dreadful bullet-blogs.

Exciting things afoot (asnatch?) over at Two Hot Mamas! Go give ’em some labor-love!

— Couple new things up on the Etsy site:
1. the aforementioned custom pet stamp by Bionic
2. a wickedly sweet/sweetly wicked skull pendant drawn and enameled by Sugar

— Tentatively good news on the job/insurance front. After some serious hustle on my part, enrollment in the my endangered class is one student shy of “off the radar” for cancellation. I’m hoping that means they’re likely to run it even if I don’t get another one by Thursday. I also have calls all over the place to see if I could get coverage by taking a Saturday kids’ class offered by the same department. I’d rather not have to, since my horrible commute becomes excruciating when it meets the reduced weekend bus service, but I’d also rather not lose my insurance.

— I’ve been peeing on sticks and so on, and we’ve decided we’ll climb back on the TTC horse this month, now that insurance looks less scary. Frankly, due date for a child conceived this time of year is still bad for us financially — fall is my higher-earning semester — but I’m not willing to insem only during the limited “good timing” months. Especially because…

— I’ve talked to Dr. Baby Factory about my endo questions. He says yes, the GI badness probably is endo, but that there’s not much to be done about it, as that location has particularly bad surgical outcomes. (Basically, the scar tissue from surgery between vag and rectum is likely to be much worse than any original adhesion. Cervix glued to rectum, that kind of thing.) He also said, “I hope I haven’t given you the impression that I think everything is fine with your chances of conception,” and brought up again the idea that going to IVF after 3-6 IUI attempts might be more cost-effective in our case. Sigh.

Okay, I know this is the part you really want updated:

Pee Stick Follies Update….I chickened out. I already know what happens to silica gel when it’s allowed to absorb liquid for a few hours. And if Sugar came home to find quivering chunks of pee-jello on the bathroom sink, you can bet I’d lose all rights to talk about how icky her neti pot is.

If it’s any consolation, I did have a hell of a time getting the packet out of the pee-cup neatly. In fact, such a thing proved impossible. Don’t tell Sugar.