I’ve been Liebstered! [Insert witty German expression of thanks here]

I’ve been nominated for a Liebster award! Or maybe it’s just been given to me. Not entirely sure. In any case, this is what it looks like:

Liebster

It’s for new bloggers who are awesome (like me, duh). And the rules are a bit insane. Kind of like homework, actually, which is stressing me out. I must write 11 things about myself, then answer 11 questions from Kimberly at No Good Eggs, who nominated me, then pose another 11 questions of my own, and nominate a bunch of other new bloggers (who have fewer than 200 followers) to do the same.

So here goes! (Btw, I won’t be offended if you skip all of this)

11 Things About Me:

1. I’m a mycophobe (hate mushrooms).
2. I can’t stand period re-enactors, especially when they won’t break character.
3. I think Parenthood is totally overrated.
4. I have yet to come across a boy name that I like.
5. I know how to say quite a few things in sign language; hamburger is my favourite.
6. I got engaged in a hot tub, in a treehouse, near a volcano.
7. I have a cat named Weeps.
8. I used to be a lifeguard.
9. I genuinely love the taste of Marmite.
10. I can link my hands behind my back and pull them over my head without letting go.
11. I would rather scrub toilets than do the ironing.

Questions from Kimberly:

1. If you were going to be on the cover of a magazine, what magazine would it be? If we’re being realistic, probably some nerdy environmental rag like Mother Jones. If we’re in my dreams, I’ll choose to be on the cover of Vanity Fair, or maybe Vogue.
2. What would be the headline? “The Face of IVF Success”.
3. What is the best decision you almost didn’t make? If I’m being mean and honest, it was probably ending my last relationship. Let’s just be mean and honest.
4. What is the most dreamy date you have ever been on? Well, after knowing each other for 17 years, my husband and I had our first kiss in the arrivals hall of the Malaga airport in Spain, then drove through Andalucia to a beautiful finca in the hills and proceeded to fall in love. I’d say that was a pretty good first date.
5. What one quality can you just not stand in other people? Trying too hard.
6. What is your favorite room in your home? Either our psycho-colourful bedroom or my kitschy Canadian-cottage-in-the-’70s office.
7. What did you sleep with as a comfort item when you were little? This says a lot about me: Most kids sleep with a blankie; I slept with one of those cotton swaddling sheets the hospital gives you for free. And I never referred to it as a blankie but rather called it what it was — a sheet. I also insisted on folding it into a perfect rectangle every night and sleeping with it placed on top of my pillow, just so. I kind of miss it.
8. What is the best meal you have ever had? This is just too difficult. I have the best meal I’ve ever had, like, once a week at least.
9. Pick one for the rest of your life: movies or TV shows? Movies.
10. If you start a book and don’t like it, do you finish it or ditch it? Ditch it. I’ll give an author 20 pages to impress me, that’s it.
11. How did your parents choose your name? My mom had a childhood friend who died at a young age from leukemia, so I’m sort of named after her, and my middle name is the same as my aunt’s but with an “i” to make it a little more French (I was born in Montreal).

My Questions for Other Bloggers:

1. Cold pillow or hot pillow?
2. What’s the first line of the book you’re currently reading?
3. Lena Dunham — yea or nay?
4. What has infertility taught you so far?
5. Where would you choose to live, if not where you’re currently living?
6. What stupid pregnancy cliché can you not wait to experience?
7. If you could grow actual fruit in your uterus (instead of just fetuses whose sizes are compared to fruits), what would it be?
8. If you wrote a Harlequin novel, what would your pseudonym be?
9. What single item would you take from your house if it was burning down (other than pets and family, obviously), and why?
10. What is the dumbest thing you’ve ever purchased?
11. Socks in bed — yea or nay?

OK, lastly, I’m supposed to nominate the 11 other new bloggers who need to answer these questions. Problem is, I have NO idea how to find them! There are a ton of blogs I follow, but I’m pretty sure they’ve all been around the Interwebs block for a while now. Anyone have tips on tracking down newbies?

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Oh hai, Aunt Flo! Um, WTF are you doing here?!

AF

So I just read this post over at Stirrup Queens about an INSANE phenomenon involving brides-to-be who decide to not only mail “save the date” cards to people who are invited to their wedding but also “don’t save the date” cards to those who aren’t invited. Ya know, just to really rub it in. CRAZY, right? I mean, seriously. Get over yourself.

Anyway, right now, I feel like the endocrinology fairies* have just sent me a “don’t save the date” card for this IVF round, delivered by Aunt Flo herself (more bluntly: I got my period). Now, part of me cannot believe I’ve turned into that person who gets her period and immediately feels the need to blog about it, so Imma keep this brief.

Although it probably screws up my cycle in some way I have yet to fully determine and almost certainly negates the effects of that “uterine nicking” my doctor did to me last Friday, I’m looking on the bright side here because it means: 1) My estrogen and progesterone should start to drop; and 2) My lining will start to develop nice and fresh-like, so Mr. Blastocyst won’t arrive and be all, “This place smells weird, I’m outta here!” (cue blastocyst sliding down wall of my uterus and desperately escaping through my cervix).

I’m scheduled for another round of bloodwork and ultrasounds this coming Friday, so fingers crossed I can finally start stimming this Sunday and Get. On. With. The. Show.

The impatience is getting out of control. Does anyone have advice for dealing with this? Back-to-back manic crafting sessions are a definite possibility, as is horrible TV and unacceptable amounts of malbec, but I could do with more ideas!

*I must credit Eat Love Procreate for this amazing terminology; she uses it to refer to the nurses at her fertility clinic, and it’s just so apt.

(Greeting card up top yoinked from over here)

Good news and bad news

OK, well I feel like I can half-exhale now. Just got a call from the nurse after going in this morning for Day 0 bloodwork and an ultrasound. I have 8 follicles on my right ovary, 10 on my left — they didn’t tell me the sizes, but I assume they’re nice and small. The problem is that my estrogen is higher than it should be. It’s at 320, and it should be 200 or less. My progesterone was 13 (isn’t this a bit high?), and my LH was 2.

BooEstrogen

So, this means I need to stay on the Lupron for an extra week and hope that my estrogen drops. If it goes down by the 18th, then I can start stimming with the Gonal-f and whatnot.

I guess this is better than having my entire cycle cancelled, but I’m pretty bummed about something not going right so early in the game. I’m also pessimistic about my estrogen actually decreasing, and now paranoid that my lining is getting even MORE stale. On top of this, I had my endometrial biopsy this morning — where they “nick” the lining to make it get extra sticky and help the embryo(s) implant — but if it’s going to be weeks before I get anything inserted in there, I highly doubt the stickiness will last. Why they scheduled the nicking BEFORE they’d gotten the results of my bloodwork, I have no idea.

Finally, if this cycle gets pushed back any further, I’m pretty sure it’ll mean that my hubby will be away for the transfer. He’s booked a work trip in early February that cannot be cancelled, and ugh — it will suck for him not to be here when they put the embryo in.

Lulu-induced paranoia

At this point in my life, the gimme-a-damn-baby stage, one might assume I’d be thrilled to miss a period — oooOOOooohhh, maybe I’m pregnant! But no. Now it’s got me paranoid. I have no idea what cycle day I am because I started taking the BCP sometime in the middle of my last cycle, then it overlapped a bit with Lupron, which is meant to suppress everything before I begin my artificial Day 0 and Day 1 that leads into my IVF round.

Confusing, right?

The point is: I was told that I’d have a period while on Lupron, and I haven’t. It’s worse than being told there are loot bags coming at the end of a party and then realizing it was all a lie. A horrible, vicious lie. In any case, I phoned the nurse and she said not to freak out if I don’t have a period, and also not freak out if I do. Translation: “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.” I’m trying not to worry, but I was under the impression that bleeding was sort of necessary because I’d need to clear out the “stale” lining from last cycle before I build up a nice new lining for my prospective tenant, Mr. Blastocyst.

Further paranoia stems from the fact that I respond like crazy to any and all fertility meds, so now I’m convinced the Lupron has over-suppressed me and my ovaries have gone into Sleeping Beauty mode and won’t wake up until the endocrinology prince comes along and punches them in the face (let’s be honest, kisses do nothing).

Does anyone with Lupron experience have any words of wisdom? I haven’t had ANY side effects so far, except for this anxiety, but I’m just waiting for something else to hit me — like a hot flash, or night sweats, or a swarm of flying monkeys… you know.

LupronWitch

Making injection time fun!

I used to be the patient who had to lie down before getting a shot of anything because there was a serious possibility I might faint. In fact, my friend’s mom once tried to do some acupressure on my neck using a sharp pen, and despite the fact that it never actually punctured my skin, I fully passed out on their kitchen floor.

Now, I’m injecting myself with needles constantly, and am totally over it — in the stomach, thighs, butt cheeks, both subcutaneous (just under the skin) and intramuscular (right in the muscle). And here’s proof that exposure therapy REALLY works: I’ve actually gotten so bored with these injections that I’ve begun timing myself, to see how fast I can administer a Lupron shot from the moment I unbutton my pants to the second I put the alcohol swab on my skin to stop the bleeding.

My times so far:

Jan. 2: 1 min, 42 sec.
Jan. 3: 1 min, 33 sec.
Jan. 4: 1 min, 30 sec.

The secret to speed largely comes down to whether or not there are any air bubbles in the syringe, and also how fast the alcohol swab packet tears — sometimes it’s a nice, clean break, but other times it’s like wrestling with a stubborn packet of cereal. Of course, my hubby has warned me many times, “THIS IS NOT A RACE”, and I obviously don’t want to sacrifice my health or risk getting the dosage wrong. But honestly, we need to inject some fun into these infertility routines (see what I did there? inject? Eh? Eh?)! Maybe I should add a fun soundtrack, too, like Flight of the Bumble Bee!

What do you guys do to make injection time inneresting?

pins

3-day or 5-day transfer?

Note that the image is nicked from Million Dollar Baby, which is appropriate because our future baby is costing exactly that.

In our IVF orientation, the embryologist stressed that Day 5 transfers (when the embryo has reached the ‘blastocyst’ stage) are where it’s at. They have higher rates of success — so much higher, in fact, that any clinic doing Day 3 transfers probably doesn’t even know what IVF stands for they’re so dumb. But then I hear from other friends going through treatment that their REs and fertility docs are insisting Day 3 transfers are better, that Day 5 transfers are what embryologists in the Stone Age were doing (and yes, I’ve totally researched this — there were embryologists in the Stone Age).

Anyway, I decided to turn to Dr. You-Probably-Have-AIDS-or-Cancer, otherwise known as Dr. Google, and found this page explaining the difference: Basically, it seems that 5-day transfers have better success rates because they’ve progressed further and therefore the embryologist can get a more well-rounded view of whether the cells are dividing on schedule and fragmenting as little as possible. The advantage of a Day 3 transfer, on the other hand, is that the cell may have a better chance of implanting, especially if it’s growing at a slower pace. Also, Day 3 embryos may fare better in the freezer than their Day 5 counterparts, however this could all depend on the freezing technique used at your clinic.

UGH. Do any of you have coherent thoughts on this matter? Seeing as I’m scheduled to get a Day 5 transfer, I really could do with some reassurance that this is the right choice. Yes, my fertility doctor is a man I trust, but he is also a man who has sperm-shaped stress balls in his office and a pile of Crocs by the door.

(Note that the above image is from Million Dollar Baby, which is appropriate because our own quest for a baby is costing exactly that.)

Legal prerequisite for babymaking: Confronting mortality

When the hubby and I signed up for our first IUI, we had to fill out reams of legal consent forms saying that we understood the sperm freezing and thawing process, that we didn’t hold the clinic responsible if the treatment failed, and so on. There was also a part where we needed to stipulate what we wanted to do if hubby dropped off his sperm sample and then suddenly divorced me or died before the IUI was scheduled to happen — did we want to leave it up to me to decide what to do? Did we want it destroyed? Did we want to donate it to science? All I could think was, “The window of time between jerking off and separating the good spermies from the bad ones and getting that stuff up in my bizness is about three hours. What is the likelihood that my husband will run off with another woman or DIE in that time frame?!” Furthermore, the forms then asked us what we wanted to do if BOTH of us died and there was sperm leftover at the clinic. Seriously? WHAT KIND OF APOCALYPTIC SHIT IS TAKING PLACE IN THE 10-MINUTE DRIVE BETWEEN OUR HOUSE AND THE CLINIC??

Honestly, lawyers and their lawyering.

So of course, we got a stack of very similar forms for our upcoming IVF, which ask the same questions about what we’d like done with our embryos if we kick the bucket in between retrieval and transfer. What’s interesting is that this isn’t a fill-in-the-blank situation — if we both die, we only have two choices, and our final choice must be indicated with a checkmark. The first option is to destroy our embryos. The second is to donate them to science for research purposes.

Um, hello, where is the option called “Give our precious bundles of cells to infertiles looking for donor embryos or even, like, my sister, so at least our genes might get to survive in this cruel world that killed off two perfectly lovely people in the prime of their lives who would have made great fucking parents”??

IVFform