Bionic Mamas

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


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Phone Calls, Nausea, and Righteous Indignation

Trigger pulled. I have called the Baby Factory and made an appointment for a consult.

Somehow this visit is two weeks from today. It took me three months to get an appointment last time. I had kind of counted on a long waiting period to Think About What I’ve Done. I feel like some kind of straight, fertile person, all falling into bed drunk and ending up pregnant. (Okay, maybe this is a little extreme, given that all I’ve done is make an appointment to sit around and talk, maybe with a side visit from the ol’ dildo-cam.)

Distracting me from my anxiety nausea is humiliation-style anger over the questionnaire I just completed on the phone with Sugar’s insurance company (currently also mine) to determine whether or not my queer lady parts have the right to their precious, paltry infertility benefit. You know, the one my premiums are paying for. Yet to be determined, for the record, but the nurse on the line (who was very nice and as helpful as she could be, under the circumstances) told me how to get the consult coded so that it would come under my regular medical benefit. I hope they will decide that my various diagnoses are enough to let me use my money, should it come to that, but tomorrow I will turn in the paperwork at the distant job I took this semester expressly because it gives me a few months’ worth of the Best Insurance Ever, which brought you the Bean.

…who is currently having a tantrum over my not reading him the book about trucks that has been repeatedly shoved at my hands in the five minutes it’s taken to type this. So. Ttfn, all that.


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Lying Down All Over Town

Today we did the embryo transfer!

I took the day off work to be able to go with Baby to all her various appointments – acupuncture, transfer, acupuncture, home – and in order to do so I told my office that she was having ‘surgery.’ Now they are all worried about her, and probably think she has cancer, since I was so unspecific. On Saturday she actually had surgery (egg retrieval) and I was all worried about her, but didn’t manage to talk to anyone about that, since it was Saturday. Between Sunday and this morning she has been quite sick – in pain, vomiting, the works. But now this evening she seems a lot better, thank goodness.

So here was our day:

6 a.m.
vomiting (Baby)

8:30 We take the train to midtown and go to Baby’s acupuncturist’s office there. Baby goes to lie down. I wander around in search of breakfast, saltines, and a seasickness bracelet for Baby. It is ridiculously hot outside.

10:30 We take a cab to the Kips Bay Baby Factory, where everyone is surprised that we are early. The nurse clearly thinks Baby has already had some Valium at home because she is moving so slowly and acting spacey, but we convince her that no, it’s just the puking and the lack of sleep. The nurse gives Baby some Valium.

10:45 We are seated in front of this sign. I had not previously realized that the doctors here think of themselves as ganstas.

gansta-doc

yo yo YO!

10:50 Dr. Thursday comes to talk to us. He is disorientingly jovial. Also he has tiny feet, which I find myself staring at. However, all the news he gives us is great. 26 of Baby’s eggs fertilized, and 20 of those are still growing. There is a good looking blastocyst to transfer and there will be some to freeze, somewhere between 4 and 10. We won’t find out how many they actually froze until tomorrow afternoon.

11:00 Baby and Dr. Thursday go into a Laurel and Hardy routine about left and right cervices. Dr. Thursday says Dr. Baby Factory told him to go in through the right cervix, but Baby says he must have meant Dr. Thursday’s right, i.e. Baby’s left, etc., etc. After a while Dr. Thursday agrees to poke around and not jab anything too hard until he figures it out.

11:35 Dr. Thursday breezes by me in the waiting room and says I can go back to the recovery room. He waves his arm around saying ‘it’s to the left.’ I try the door he came out of, which is locked. I sneak through a different door and stick my head past the gansta sign into a completely empty hallway and shout. Eventually a nurse wanders by and directs me through two totally other doors to where Baby is lying down. She seems calm and happy and has this picture printed out and lying on her chest.

blastocyst001

our first blastocyst

12:30 IT IS SO HOT OUTSIDE, WHY IS IT SO HOT?

1:00 We sweatily arrive at another office near the Baby Factory where Baby’s acupuncturist also works. Baby goes to lie down and have needles stuck in her again. I read a trashy vampire novel.

2:00 Back on the train to Brooklyn.

3:00 Baby lies down in our blessedly air-conditioned apartment. Because there is no food in the house, I prepare for the trek through the blazing heat to the Food Coop.

4:00 (presumably Baby is still lying down) I search for popsicle molds (no dice) and stuff to make miso soup, which Baby has requested.

6:00 I make miso soup.

7:00 Baby and I eat the soup. Nobody vomits. Score!


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ET Phone Home

Okay, I know that post title makes no sense; I just felt like it.

The fact that I am aware that it’s meaningless should indicate to you that I am off the percocet. After a fairly wretched Sunday and a somewhat rough Monday morning, my belly stopped aching and I didn’t need it anymore. Acupuncture probably helped, too. I’m still somewhat bloated — only up 2 lbs. from retrieval day but it’s all in my suddenly barrel-shaped tummy — and my back/hips/thighs hurt the way they have been ever since my ovaries got big, but nothing really excruciating. Walking sucks a bit because of the legs, but it’s also 90+ degrees, humid, and smelly out, so staying in isn’t such a problem. (Although I also think being sedentary is part of how my back got so bad….)

Saw Dr. BF today, who wanded and specul-ized both vaginae and declared me fit to fly without anesthesia. Yay! He thinks a tenaculum will be involved — UNyay — but it almost always is when my cervix needs crossing, so at least I’m pretty used to it. He didn’t come right out and say it had been silly (lazy?) to suggest I needed to be knocked out, but he did say, again, that they really only use that for patients who can’t stand a speculum at all. Here’s an idea: maybe they could have left that decision to someone who’s met me when conscious, not just gone by the word of Dr. Saturday. (And folks who can’t stand a speculum and do IVF anyway? HATS OFF to you. You are at least eleventy-million times braver than I.)

It turns out Sugar can’t be there anyway, because they just don’t allow that. Poo. She’ll come with me to the office, and I know the important part isn’t whether she’s physically with me for that particular 20 minutes but that she’s with me in the ways that count throughout all this. I’m gonna stop before I make y’all yack on your keyboards, but the point is: my wife pretty much rocks.

So! We’re on for a valium-inflected ET tomorrow. I asked how the ol’ emby gang is doing, and while I didn’t get numbers and letters (and frankly don’t really want them at this stage in the game), Dr. BF says they’re doing great, better than typical. Genuises, all, playing suzuki violin and writing plays, I’m sure. I really hope we’ll have some to freeze, so that it doesn’t feel like everything is hanging on this cycle.

Thanks for all your ET stories. I’ll think of you in my valium haze, while trying to ignore the spikes in my cervix.


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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:


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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.)