Bionic Mamas

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


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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.

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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.

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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.


17 Comments

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.


18 Comments

Eggy Update

Hey, y’all.

I’m back from retrieval, chillin’ in the bed with my good buddies percocet and gatorade. I will write the whole story at some point, but the important parts are:
  • I made it. I was definitely scared, but even though I won’t say it was all peaches and ice cream, it was nothing as bad as I’d feared.
  • THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for the messages of support and especially the stories. All the stories — even tbean’s scary one — were helpful in one way or another. I’m gonna get all weepy if I say more than that now, but the bottom line is you are all amazing. And that’s not just the drugs talking.
  • How many ounces are there in a quart*? That’s how many eggs there were up in my ovaries. No wonder my back’s been hurting.

*32. Thirty-fucking-two. Yes, I am on OHSS watch.


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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.


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More To Say

…but not tonight. Holy Moses, this stimming business has me worn out, internet. I seriously do not know how some of you have done this and had real jobs, other kids, etc., at the same time.

Things continue apace around here. Back still hurts, but other side effects have tapered off. Mostly between a 4 (“My pain is not fucking around”) and a 6 (Ow. My pain is super legit now) on Hyberbole and a Half‘s* brilliant pain scale. Definitely nowhere near 10 (“I am actively being mauled by a bear”).

E2 rising. Follies growing in fits and starts. I’ve been in for monitoring every day since Friday, as my quicker than expected response made them think OHSS thoughts. It’s sort of annoying to schlep in every day, but mostly it’s comforting to feel so cared for.
They said today I’ll probably trigger tomorrow or Friday (‘course, they said that yesterday, too), which means ER this weekend. I’m still a little scared, though mostly I’m too tired to remember to be anxious.
That said, your “it was no big deal”-type ER stories are very appreciated, in comments or links.
xo
Bionic
*Do you need more funny in your life? ‘course ya do. (Try this one, for instance.) Exercise extreme caution when reading Hyperbole and a Half at work, as Sugar points out that sudden, repeated laughter in your cubicle is not very professional.


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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Off To The Races

CD2 bloodwork and scan this morning. New cyst on right ovary caused panic that cycle would be canceled already, but voicemail says start shooting up tonight (!)

Off to go watch so injection videos, screw courage to the sticking place, etc.

For the cycle nerds:
200 U Gonal-F for three days; another scan + bloodwork on Friday.

ETA: REAL cycle-nerds may already know that Gonal-F pens don’t do 200 units, only 187.5 and 225. Several calls to the on-call doc later, I’m at 225.


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IVF Orientation in Pictures

There were six straight couples, one woman on her own, and us. We felt out of place. As soon as the presentation started, however, the room was united in one thought:

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We sat there for a while, the slides zipping by.

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The nurse giving the presentation threw out facts seemingly at random.

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There was a lot of talk about ‘product’ i.e. sperm from your partner. This made me feel weird.

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I started to feel like we were in a movie about the future.

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Then came an enlivening surge of adrenaline when a photograph of the moronic therapist we were forced to see flashed up on the screen.

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Then a little interlude with billing . . .

Then the truly surreal:

A plastic torso wearing real underwear comes out of the closet.

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And is revealed to have a huge hole in its butt!

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Don’t stab yourself in the sciatic nerve! Ok, have a nice day everyone.