Bionic Mamas

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


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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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Totally Tubular

What did that mean, exactly, anyway? I remember that the connotation was positive, so I can only assume it had nothing to do with yesterday’s “totally tubular” HSG adventure.

An HSG, for the blessedly uninitiated, is an X-ray of your more internal lady-parts, in particular your uterus and (if you’re lucky) your fallopian tubes. Only if you’re really lucky, you won’t have to do this at all because let me tell you, it pretty much sucks.

Listen, before I go into my story: If you’re reading this because you have to have one and you’re scared about it, do be aware that your experience will NOT be like mine. The part of my procedure that hurt was the part concerned with getting through my cervix, and that was because of the double-vag action. If you have the ordinary number of vaginas and cervices, then the speculum part might be ouchy and the dye might give you cramps, but that’s it. And if your set-up is irregular, take heart: I survived. The anxiety was way worse than the pain. DO take a bunch of Advil beforehand, DO BYO maxi pad, and DO get someone to come with you, if you can.

Now back to our whiny story, already in progress:

It goes like this, in principle: You take a whopping amount of Advil and maybe some antibiotics and then report to Radiology, where you strip down and hop up on a table, all pap-smear style, except there are no stirrups. I have it on authority from several other victims patients that there are never stirrups. You didn’t think the stirrups mattered, but you find yourself annoyed at holding your legs in place without them. Then the doctor gives you something to be annoyed about, and by “be annoyed” I mean “cry”.

The next step is a yawning speculum, followed by a catheter through your cervix. Dye through the catheter into your ute and hopefully your tubes — the idea is to see if the tubes are open — quick X-ray shot of all that business, everybody out of the pool vag, and you’re on your way, sorer but wiser, and leaking dye into the pad you brought with you or else one of those throw-pillow-sized hospital ones.


Aren’t bones pretty? This is not me, by the way, but the internet says it is normal.

The speculum is not a picnic — it has to be open more than for a pap — and some people get some cramping from the dye. I didn’t. Instead, I got endless horrible pinchingburning from the many attempts to get through cervix number one, followed by more stretchingaching from cranking open vag number two, followed by more digging around on that cervix. Holy crap, that sucked, not least because it was so damn demoralizing listening to the X-ray go off again and again and again and again, only to see no uterus onscreen, only the end of the speculum and a sad little pool of dye stuck outside.


Me, after watching nothing happen for the third time:
I promise you I have a uterus.

Dr. BF: I know you do. I’ve seen it on ultrasound.

Me: I’ve seen it on the MRI.

Dr. BF: Yes, I know you have a uterus.

More burrowing around in my nether regions. More nothing happening on the X-ray.

Me: I further swear that I do get my period, every month, and that it comes out of my cervix.


Dr. BF:
I like your logic.

My Cervices, after tries 1-5 (or 6? I lost count):
NOBODY HOME.
THERE IS. NOBODY. AT HOME.

Eventually, door number two yielded. Not without some burning pain, though, and I wish I hadn’t glanced at the instrument tray later, because there was rather more of me on it than a girl would hope. And the news is good: though Dr. Baby Factory describes my endometriosis as “significant” and brings up IVF every time we talk, he says the tubes are open enough to give it a go on our own first.

Thank you, Nice Nurse, for patting my shoulder while Dr. Baby Factory cranked the speculum in my bigger vag up to 11 or so. I know you were right to stop me massaging my poor tum when he went for door number two, so I hope I didn’t give you a very dirty look. Sorry I dissed your pad when it was all over, but seriously, by the time those things take two hands to carry, they are too big. Please tell the hospital to enter this century (or even the final decade of the last one).


When Hospital Pads Attack

Thank you Dr. Baby Factory for telling me when things would hurt, for apologizing repeatedly, for not sounding panicked or annoyed when nothing would get through cervix number one. It’s a real pity the catheter would never go through. Thank both of you for not calling the extra clamps, pinchers, pipe-wrenches, and jaws-of-life required to get a catheter syringe into cervix number two by their names, instead saying things like, “Could you get me…one of the green things? Do we have one of those?” I bet this whole thing took much longer than you had scheduled, so thank you for sticking around to talk with me. If I’d known going into this that my procedure would be “what makes it interesting to keep doing these, even after 20 years,” I would have run for the hills, but it was still nice of you to say something like that instead of acting like I was bad for having a difficult anatomy.

So sperm! We’re gonna buy some! …in August or September, finances permitting, because, frankly, I want to enjoy my week at the beach in July, not run around peeing on things and not getting to drink.

Right now, it’s hard to think about putting anything in my hoo-has, though, because everything is still pretty ouchy. I’m on Cipro for the weekend, on account of all the digging around, and my poor old left ovary, the one that aches for days after dildo-cam-ings, is talking about moving out and getting its own place.