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.
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Your Questions…ANSWERED

Hey, internet. How’s it?

Things are chugging along, chez Bionique. I’m astonished (and a little frightened) to report that I am already feeling occasional soreness in my ovaries. This is getting worse before it’s getting better, I know. Oh, well. This is the perfect time in my year to be incapacitated. I’m in between teaching gigs — I’ll start summer school in July — so I am more or less able to just lie down and whine. Which I plan to.

I’ve been devouring blogs about IVF lately (surprise), and I keep finding myself reading really old entries and then being annoyed that the author hasn’t talked about something or other I’d like to hear. But I’m just as bad, I’m sure — I’m lousy at keeping track of what I’ve said here and what I’ve only obsessed about quietly to myself (read: “yapped Sugar’s ear off in re:”).

So. Anything you’d like to know? I’ll start off with a couple questions that have come up in comments lately and update this post to address questions in the comments.

Kristen asked at some point what we were up to in early August, i.e., are we going to BlogHer. Happily/sadly no, we are not…because we’re getting hitched again! Or at any rate, we’re having a big party. We are extremely behind in planning same, but the room has been rented, so we’re doing it. When we got married in November, we only had our parents and two friends with us, because we thought we’d have a party 1) in decent weather and 2) when we had more time to plan it properly. (We almost didn’t even have our parents there, but our two friends — who have each known one of us our whole lives or close to it — pointed out that our parents would kill us.) So no BlogHer. I am a bit jealous of all y’all who will be there getting to meet each other and all that, but, well, my wife is pretty damn awesome.

Pomegranate asked what manner of IVF cycle this is — lupron, antagonist, etc. It’s a basic, stripped-down, no fancy-stuff antagonist cycle. We’ll do Gonal-F for a bit, then Gonal-F plus Ganirelix, which will keep my eggs from busting out before their time. Then HCG trigger, egg retrieval, progesterone, and transfer, hopefully on day 5.

I don’t know all that much about what determines the cycle type they try first, except that I’m thinking it’s partly to do with my endometriosis. I gather we endo gals can be not-so-great responders, so maybe that’s why no lupron? In case it quiets things down too much?

So far, I’m glad it’s this kind of cycle, because I have limited stores of patience, and this one is quick.

So. What else you wanna know?


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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.


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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.


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Last Night

I dreamed last night I was in my garden, in back of a house I don’t own. I was quite covered in dirt when I noticed a long curve of something coming up from my left hip. I pulled it up and, as I was surprised to discover, out of my groin, which hurt but also felt satisfying. “Ah,” I thought, “an old vein. Must have gone bad. Forgot I’m supposed to be pulling those out.” But when I shook the dirt off and looked again, it was a tough runner of grass, which had evidently grown into me and rooted.

All of which is to say that I woke up with cramps.

I don’t mean to complain about that. For one thing, I wasn’t thinking I might be pregnant this time, since I ovulated on the weekend of our wedding, which was beautiful timing for poetry but lousy for a trip to the Baby Factory, with all the scheduling and defrosting and spiking of my cervix that entails. For another, the cramps aren’t that bad. In fact, the five periods since my horrible HSG have been the five least painful I can remember. I used to spend three days or so every month nearly incapacitated, popping Aleve until my stomach hurt, often swearing, sometimes writhing, rarely passing out. Now the pain almost goes away with Advil. My theory is that much of my pain was because my cervices — despite having, in principle, twice the potential to admit blood — were so circuitous and given to clenching that the blood couldn’t get out, leaving my uterus Very.Angry. Now one entrance has been, to quote the note on my chart that I read over a nurse’s shoulder, “perforated,” and it’s not so dramatic. (Unfortunately, even that side is still tough for the catheter to negotiate, which is why the new note in my chart says I’m to have Valium the next time we try to knock me up*.)

At the HSG, Dr. Baby Factory told me that my tubes were open, though the cysts on my ovaries still left him calling my endometriosis “significant.” I could have surgery for it, if it was bothering me, or just try to get knocked up and hope for the best, if it wasn’t so bad. I am, as previously noted, generally opposed to knives wielded at my person, so I politely declined. And then my cramps all but stopped!

Except. Now that I’m keeping better track of my cycles, I’m wondering if this insane GI awfulness I’ve been having occasionally for the past few years isn’t secretly some kind of endo. It doesn’t happen every month or usually during my period, but it has happened the past two months, both times a few days before my period started. Remember when I thought I might have super-early morning sickness but them decided it was the stomach flu? That. It happened again this month, on Thanksgiving (so I couldn’t eat anything)**. Basically, what seems to happen is that my colon stops advancing (uh, TMI, sorry, but you are reading this because of my hoo-has, so only kind of sorry), I fill up with gas, and I lie on the floor writhing and screaming for 12-24 hours until things move along again. I went to the GI doc some time ago, pooped in lots of cups, and got told that probably I had injured myself getting food poisoning, that things were out of whack, that I should take pro-biotics and hope it got better, which it sort of seemed to, but only sort of. Now I’m wondering if the real issue could be that I have endometrial nodules on or near my bowel that get inflamed and mess everything up. I have a call in to Dr. Baby Factory to see what he thinks of this theory, but I know that the answer is likely to be that there’s no way to tell without surgery.

Did I mention how I don’t like the cutting? Oh, and how I’d like to get one with this TTC business already and stop having to hurry up and wait?

Did I also mention that the weather has turned cold? How about that this is my last night of 30, and that when my mother was my age, she was about 3 days from going into labor with me, after two endo surgeries and several more years of TTC?


*Which — and believe me, baby-watchers, I am as impatient about this as you — won’t be until mid-January, at the earliest. Not only am I most likely to ovulate on the day we set off on our annual Middle-Western Odyssey, making timing a clinic visit stressful, but I would also, on balance, like to be drinking at New Years and also not weeping over getting my period while snowed-in at Sugar’s parents’.

**but still had a nice time, because my super-awesome cousin was visiting. She was the most compassionate 18-year-old EVER about how sick I was, sadly because she was been so very much sicker with endo herself for the past couple years.