Tuesday, September 27, 2005


Mellie tagged me with this little blog game:

1. Go into your archive.
2. Find your 23rd post.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
5. Tag five people to do the same.

My twenty-third post, East v. West dealt with my experiences, with Western and Eastern medicines. The fifth sentence "Eve's plan had been to have women (and couples) dealing with infertility meet and connect with one another." related to a mixer I'd attended, hosted by Eve, a local acupuncturist. During the mixer, Eve, the other attendees and I exchanged information about ourselves and did meditation exercises. In the end, I was attempting to decide whether to continue seeing my then acupuncturist, Frank, or to begin seeing Eve.

You'll be happy to learn that after two months, I still haven't returned to an acupuncturist. (I'm a tad indecisive.) I really hope to begin seeing someone prior to the start of my IVF cycle. So I plan to make an appointment with yet another acupuncturist, who is located nearby, in the next few days.

Here's an update on a couple of woman mentioned in my East v. West post --

  • On Wednesday, Ann will be getting the beta results from her last IVF cycle. I know it has been a long road for her and I wish her the best of luck.
  • Cathy, whom I met at the mixer, got a positive beta the following week and was doing well when last we spoke.

And to return to Step #5 -- I think I'll break the rules here, I’m tagging Mony, Kate #2, Jill and This Girl (the last one was fun, right?) and challenging anyone whose interested to pick up the mantle and carry the game forward.

Monday, September 26, 2005

One step down . . .

784,521 more to go.

You know the saying -- the longest journey begins with one step? Last Friday I moved one step closer to our first IVF cycle. I went to see Dr. NHB for a "Well Woman Exam" (ha! what do they know!) I was less than psyched to see Dr. NHB. He is generally pretty direct, not the warmest person in the world and extremely sure of himself (extremely). So I arrived at his office not expecting much in the way of bedside manner. I had my urine, weight (lost a couple of pounds!) and blood pressure (92 over 60) checked and was in to see Dr. NHB without much waiting.

He asked what the REs at Ginormous had in store for me. I told him that they, of course, shared his opinion that we seek IVF treatment and that I am hoping to start BCPs later this week followed by Lupron for a few days near the end of the BCP cycle. I also mentioned that I'd likely be starting stims the following cycle and told him that Dr. L had specifically suggested I begin with Follistim and Menapur. He seemed pleased and playfully commented about drugs with long names. (Where had the real Dr. NHB gone?)

I remarked that Dr. L advised me to have a pap smear prior to starting treatment and Dr. NHB was willing to oblige. I also mentioned that Dr. L had recommended a second HSG to confirm the absense of another hydrosalpinx. Dr. NHB assured me that there is no hydro in my remaining tube (and that my uterus is clean). In fact, he seemed pretty confused by the need for the test (as am I). Dr. NHB even stated that he thought his surgerical notes had been clear on this point. I agreed that his notes had been explicit that a second hydro did not exist and that Dr. L and I specifically discussed this matter but Dr. L felt the need to be certain. Dr. NHB joked (?!?!) "What do I know, I'm just a gyn and they're the experts." I never knew he had a sense of humor! (Could he have simply been relieved to be getting rid of me?)

I mentioned that things would probably start getting expensive soon and he seemed genuinely concerned. He even said that I have "a medical reason" for seeking IVF (as opposed to the elective IVFers, I guess). I assume he meant that it should therefore be covered by insurance. (Oh, Dr. NHB how naive you are, with your smiling family in all of those lovely photos all around your office). I share his hope that most of our IVF treatment will be covered but I am well aware of many, many couples, who desperately NEED IVF to treat their infertility and who do not receive any insurance coverage. So as confident as I am that we will receive some coverage (God bless the State Mandate!), I am also saddened that countless infertiles are 100% self pay or are simply unable to seek IVF treatment due to financial constraints and I just think that's painfully unfair. (As if infertility isn't unfair enough!)

Our discussion ended and I quickly had my exam. Following the exam, Dr. NHB wished me well, told me that I needn't come back for any additional follow-ups and said that I should "Go get pregnant" and "come on back. " I left his office feeling like, hmmm, maybe we will get pregnant (as if we actually have a say in the matter) and we'll return to Dr. NHB for (err, umm, dare I type it) prenatal care. Darn it, Hope is a powerful friend. (I'm sure that my next post will mark the return of the pessimist that you all know).


Finally, I'd like to thank all of you for your thoughts and prayers about my in-laws. As you all know by now, Hurricane Katrina bypassed Houston. Therefore, my in-laws were not adversely affected by the storm. They spend Friday night and most of Saturday in the hospital, waiting out the storm and were able to return home by Saturday evening. We are extremely fortunate that they suffered no harm.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

About Face

The last time I mentioned my dear mother, she had cleaned, cooked, washed and ironed just about everything in our house. She then flew off into the sunset to her distant home. What I alluded to, but did not discuss in detail, was that she had also made some statements that I believed were intended to discourage us from seeking treatment for infertility. Allow me to explain - my mom is a very active, 60-something year old woman, she takes great care of her health, exercises daily, eats well, sees an herbalist, etc. Don't get me wrong, she is not opposed to Western medicine, she's had surgery and has taken medication. She just seems to believe that drugs may be a bit overused and that diet and exercise can make a world of difference.

So in a recent discussion with her infertile daugher, she said that we should not "go" crazy. And that everything would "work out." Afterall, she'd talked with her gyn and who informed her that "every other woman suffers from endometriosis" and that doing something extreme might "mess me up." Of course, my mom was telling me in her own way that she disapproved of taking conventional medical action to cure infertility. I was really disappointed by our discussion and felt that she just didn't GET it. We've been trying for over two years and given my age and health problems, including stage 4 endo and one remaining blocked tube -- we. have. no. choice. Anyhow, I decided for my own sake that I would not discuss any fertility issues with her any further. I just didn't want to deal with the disappointment.

Well, fastforward to today. Dear mom called me up this morning and after talking about family, friends, some lower back and leg pain that she is experiencing and, coincidently, some lower back and leg pain that I am experiencing, she turned the discussion to a cousin of mine who is suffering from SIF and was recently diagnosed with severe endometriosis. This turned into a tubal discussion, at which point I suggested that my cousin will unlikely get pregnant, if the endo has caused tubal blockage. Well, Mom proceeded to say that without tubes, a person would have to do IVF. You could have knocked me over with a feather! Was my mother actually talking about IVF?!?!?!?! Has she now realized that her only hope of having a bio grandchild or two rests in the womb of an endo-riddled, tubeless (for all intents and purposes), infertile, 35 year old woman!?!?!?!?! I think so.

We then discussed IVF. I mean not in great detail, but I finally shared with her Dr. NHB's recommendation that we pursue IVF. I also told her that we had met with Dr. L, who advised us that he would only transfer two embryos, assuming we get that far. (I think the prospect of high order multiples frightened her). I assured her that reputable fertility clinics do no want women to have high order pregnancies and that although twins are common at our clinic, triplets are rare. She talked about a girlfriend of hers, whose daughter successfully did IVF and had twins a few years ago. She was upbeat and positive about everything. She believes that everything will work out and we will have our sweet babies in due time. I, however, am less confident but it's nice to know that someone is maintaining a positive outlook on our behalf.

At least, I feel better about it. I feel like one of my biggest fans in the whole world is on the same page as me. And that brings tears to my eyes and a smile to my lips.


I am really concerned about my in-laws residing in Houston. My MIL is a nurse and has been asked to remain in the city to provide medical assistance, as it may become necessary. Although my in-laws are not in a low lying area of the city and have not been subject to a mandatory evacuation order, my in-laws and a few other relatives will be riding out the storm in a hospital in Houston. I pray that they remain safe.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Another Pregnancy and Seven Things

Another week, another pregnancy . . . this time it's my cousin. After taking Depo Provera for 5 years, she and her family relocated to Florida and she missed a month (maybe a month and a half) of her birth control patches. Lo and behold, she visited the doctor last week b/c she had an ongoing upset stomach (she's always had an irregular cycle, so she didn't think much of that) and discovered that she was 10 weeks (now 11 weeks) pregnant with Opps, baby #2. Fortunately, she, her hubby and their 5 year old daughter are doing fine, so all is well. I just find it hard to believe that I am actually RELATED to this person. Our reproductive histories couldn't possibly be more different. Oh, well.

Moving on . . . Donnie challenged me to do the "Seven Things" meme. Thanks hun! It's always nice to feel included. So here goes:

7 Things I Plan to Do Before I Die:

1. See the world -- I know it's a tall order but I've never been to South or Central America, Africa, Scandanavia or the Far East. I'd love to see as much of the world as possible.

2. Go back to school and study psychology or social work. This lawyer gig is not for me. I really see myself with a little counseling practice, working with real people.

3. Buy our dream house.

4. Retire young.

5. Be a grandma.

6. Establish a scholarship fund.

7. Run a marathon

Things I CAN Do:

1. Quilt/Sew
2. Scrapbook
3. Bake
4. Listen attentively
5. Dance (in a "do your own thing" kinda way, not in a Tango, Salsa kinda way)
6. Pump iron
7. Keep a secret

Things I CANNOT Do:

1. Sing (I can't carrry a tune)
2. Play a musical instrument
3. Speak before a large group of people
4. Be completely spontaneous
5. Draw/paint
6. Accept most things at face value
7. Overcome my allergies

Things That Attract Me to the Opposite Sex

1. Tall
2. Skinny
3. Intelligence
4. Sense of Humor
5. Kindness
6. Nice buns (probably should have been #1)
7. Warm smile

Things I Say Most Often:

1. Like
2. Whatever
3. I just don't know.
4. Dude
5. Move It, Move It, Move It (in a drill sargent voice)
6. We'll see.
7. Perhaps, maybe

Celebrity Crushes

1. Jude Law
2. Brad Pitt (although the divorce from Jennifer Anniston has really disappointment me).
3. Boris Kodjoe
4. Henry Simmons (NYPD Blue!)
5. Orlando Bloom
6. Shamar Moore
7. Carter Oosterhouse (carpenter - Trading Spaces)

People I Want to Do This:

Hmmm, I think most people have done this by now. Maybe, I'll just throw it out to anyone who is interested in sharing a little more about yourself.

And as always, thanks for your comments. Your support means so much to me.

Friday, September 16, 2005

"When you get pregnant . . ."

This morning I went to Ginormous Fertility Clinic and as I waited to be called into Dr. L's office, I felt my spirits begin to sink. I looked around the waiting room, skimmed through brochures about Mind Body classes, Complementary Medicine programs, IVF Support Group meetings, and I felt my eyes well up with tears. I really couldn't figure out how I had gotten there, where had we gone wrong. Would this even work? Was my endo too severe for me to qualify for treatment? Would Dr. L wish me luck and send me on my way? Thankfully (mercifully) before I went into full sob mode, a nurse made a joke with one of the couples in waiting area and I was distracted from my self-pity.

Shortly thereafter, Dr. L walked by, picked up my file at the reception desk and walked back toward his office. He returned after a few minutes of refreshing his recollection of my files. Dr. L greeted me with a joke about my "impressive" laparascopy photos and this bit of levity seemed to lighten the mood. We sat in his office, called David at his office, and the three of us commenced a discussion about our family building options.

Dr. L mentioned two options: (1) adoption and (2) IVF. Since I was at the RE's office, speaking with the RE, adoption was tabled, for now. He explained how IVF would work (my insightful questions led him to quickly became apprised of my advanced degree in Googleology). He then described our protocol -- beginning with BCPs at the start of my next period, followed by Lupron for a few days, with stims shortly thereafter and so on. He talked about the "ideal" number of eggs for an IVF cycle (in his opinion, 15). I then asked about risk factors to our potential offspring and me from IVF, he concluded there were few, which he then proceeded to enumerate.

I also asked about the reduced possibility of success from IVF due to my endo. Apparently, Ginormous published a report a few years ago, which suggests that women with endo have a "statistically insignificantly" lower success rate of IVF than do couples that suffer with other types of infertility. I asked about the increase risk of miscarriage due to endo and fibroids and although he acknowledged that there is, in fact, a higher risk, he seemed unconvinced that it was significant. Statisically, he gave us a 38% chance of success after one cycle and an 80% chance after 4 cycles (yep, 4!). And stated that "when you get pregnant," twins would be one of our biggest concerns. (When I get pregnant? When I get pregnant? Is this some kind of weird RE-jedi-mind-trick?)

My questions then strayed down the alternate remedies route. I asked about changing my diet. I am dabbling in "The Infertility Cure" and "Healing Endometriosis Through Nutritition," which both seem to advocate eliminating everything from your diet except organic fruits, vegetables, water and cardboard. He suggested that I not do anything too extreme and confirmed that changes in diet do not have medically proven results. We also talked about acupuncture, which he seemed indifferent about. He suggested that I avoid herbs and other supplements (I've started taking Flaxseed Oil and Evening Primrose tablets). OK - I'm a bit of a nut . . . I know, I know. He reiterated that I should not consume too much soy.

He recommended another HSG (lovely!) to confirm that my lone remaining tube does not have a hydrosalphix. Personally, I think this is a bit unnecessary given that the lap clearly indicated that it was just blocked, not seeping infected fluid into my uterus potentially poisoning our imaginary child, like the right tube had been, but better safe than sorry I guess. Finally, he advised me that I'd need another lap to remove the remaining tube, if the HSG did, in fact, indicate another hydro.

From there I was whisked off to meet with Nurse Mindy, who cheerfully told me about the dates of upcoming IVF injection classes and IVF information seminars. She advised me of the meds I'd be taking and the tentative dates on which I'd be taking them. She suggested that I get a pap smear (I've had no annual exam since 6/2004). She gave me prescriptions for prenatal vitamins (2 types, my choice), HSG antibiotics, and BCPs. Finally, she advised me that one of the financial advisors would be calling with information soon (today, as it turned out). Nurse Mindy made me feel like a kindergartener, being walked through my first day of school. I guess that's what happens when you complain about your treatment to the right people, everyone tends to O-V-E-R-C-O-M-P-E-N-S-A-T-E.

I guess I shouldn't complain. I called Nurse Mindy with a follow-up question about locations where I might have the HSG performed locally and she very promptly returned my call. She even offered to walk us through the injection process, if we were unable to attend the scheduled injection classes. On our phone call, she even told me that she'd seen our address and noticed that her sister lives near us. Nurse Mindy was very nice, if not a bit patronizing, upbeat and extremely responsive.

I guess I've gotten everything that I could have hoped for -- a protocol that begins soon, no Lupron Depot, responsive and knowledgeable medical personnel and a supportive spouse. So in a couple of weeks, our journey will begin.

As always, thanks for all of your comments. I appreciate all of the responses about David's grandmother and the well wishes about my health. I can't imagine making this journey without you.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Mixed Bag

Our Labor Day weekend trip to Houston was a bit of a mixed bag. David's grandmother is still in the hospital but there are signs of hope. Although she remains unconscious, she does seem to hear, feel and sense the presence of her friends and family. We are hopeful that she will recover but at her age (88) and having suffered such a massive stroke, it is difficult to believe that she will ever fully rebound. She has lived a full life, was married for over 70 years (widowed in 2004), has plenty of children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and even a few great-great grandchildren. With all that said, it is incredibly difficult to watch the matriarch of a family seem to slip away.

On the positive side, we were able to visit with a few of David's other relatives. We shopped, ate, hung out, attended church service and had a pretty good time in general. For the most part, everyone seems to be doing well. We spent Saturday and most of Sunday with David's parents. Late Sunday afternoon, we went to a hotel for some much-needed rest and relaxation.

The trip to the hotel came just. in. time. You see, as soon as we landed at the airport in Houston, I ran into the restroom only to notice that The Tide*, was beginning to roll into town. I had been a bit concerned because the Tide was about a week behind schedule, but Dr. NHB assured me that this was not out of the ordinary, post laparascopy. Well, there is nothing like being away from home to spark the onset of the Tide. I felt pretty good on Saturday and was optimistic that things had improved from the lap, but by Sunday, I was nauseous, unable to keep anything down, in incredible pain and drowning in the Tide. Great. Great. Fortunately, by Monday, things had improved and I was able to leave the hotel and attend a family gathering. We returned home on Tuesday.

By the time we arrived at home, my mom had prepared lots of food for us to eat, had done all of our laundry and had cleaned up the house. She also visited with some family friends and attended church service with them on Sunday. In addition, she engaged in her other routines -- she takes a daily power walk and exercises with Fit Tv. The only thing she doesn't feel comfortable doing is driving alone, since she is unfamiliar with our area. She flew home on Thursday morning. Despite her discouraging me from taking any medical action to deal with infertility (I'll save that rant for another post), I'll miss her.

On Wednesday, I went on a job interview and am excited that new and different challenges may lay ahead. Although I am comfortable in my present job, I am also bored and I sense that a shift may be on the horizon for our little team. We recently had two very visible resignations (including my boss) and it is beginning to feel like our team may be downsized. There is no official word yet but the signs aren't good. Our annual reviews and increases are months behind schedule and headquarters doesn't seem to be taking any immediate action. So although a new job may mean a long commute and re-establishing myself, perhaps it may lead to greater stability and more opportunities.

Finally, I have been reading about endometriosis. I am growing concerned about the state of my health and the potential for success of IVF. I have allergies, eczema and now this. They all seem to point to an auto-immune deficiency. I am also experiencing some discomfort (lower back and lower abdominal pain) and have not felt great for days. I am concerned that my endo will only get worse with IVF. I am concerned that our chance of success with IVF will be lower than those of a healthier woman. I am concerned that over time the only real cure for endo will be a hysterectomy (which may not be a cure at all). I am concerned that I may never get pregnant and really may never be "well" again. So there you have it. We meet with Dr. L on Friday (9/16) to discuss the plan moving forward.

*my period

edited 9/13 to remove the reference to a certain college slogan.