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I stick myself with 2, sometimes 3 needles a day (depending on where I am with the Puregon cartridge in my pen). I will be starting another needle full of orgalutron tomorrow. As if those needles weren’t enough, I voluntarily go through acupuncture treatments every couple of days, so add in another 30 needles to those days. And fyi, these aren’t entirely painless, despite what others might say!

Acupuncturist: [jabs the needle in and begins twisting it] “Tell me when you begin to feel this.”

Me: [What the…? I felt it as soon as it pierced my flesh!] “Yep.”

Don’t get me wrong: my acupuncturist is great. I just think it’s funny that they want me to tell them when I “feel” it.

We had our ultrasound and bloodwork today and things are ok, but not great. I’m too afraid to hope that things might work out. There are four follicles on each side. The tech and doctor both say it’s still early in the cycle, and DH showed me our notes from last year where I only had one more follicle than I do now at the same point in the stim phase. So, I guess that’s good. I just can’t let myself think positively. Maybe that’s why I’ve felt so removed from this treatment; except for the constant headache and daily needles, I don’t really feel like I’m in the middle of IVF #2. Last year, it seemed to consume me and I knew exactly what was coming up. This year, I’m trying hard not to dwell on it… or even think about it. Guess that’s how I protect myself from potentially bad outcomes.


I picked up my meds on Friday (Puregon, Repronex, and a whack load of syringes, alcohol swabs and other fun stuff). This time, my doctor decided to QUADRUPLE the Repronex dosage from 75 to 300. I was pretty lucky during IVF#1 because the side effects weren’t so bad, but this year, the nurse and the pharmacist warned me that I’ll likely experience the burning, bloating, fatigue and mood swings  because of the higher dosage (more intense mood swings? Look out world!!). They weren’t kidding. I injected myself yesterday… not a big deal. A few hours later, the waistband of my skirt seemed to tighten. Shortly after that, the injection site began to itch and it was really swollen. Ick.

DH and I packed my stuff up from my aunt’s and we made our way to our little rental in the city. Not impressed. It was beside a tavern that seemed, um, a bit rough (and that’s putting it mildly), and it was quite the happening spot on Friday night. There were really strong paint or varnish fumes coming from somewhere. And the ad promised internet that wasn’t there (we both need access since we’ll be working from here). We spent such a horrible night there. I couldn’t sleep because of a blinding migraine. By morning, I was a miserable mess; everything was overwhelming me. My abdomen now felt like I’d been punched and my headache was so painful, I felt nauseous. I’ve never experienced anything like this before. Somehow, I managed to shower and change to get ready for my acupuncture appointment (great: more needles! ). The treatment was wonderful, though. I fell asleep for most of it and they treated my migraine as well. Though my headache didn’t leave completely, I did feel a bit more human by the end of it all.

DH and I decided to leave that first apartment. There was another closer to our clinic (and my aunt!). It was a bit more expensive, but we were truly unhappy at the first place and I didn’t want to risk the fumes affecting the meds, or our chances of success if we make it to transfer. We are currently happily settled in our new place. I’ve had my second dose and am hoping I don’t have as strong a reaction as with Friday’s. Oh well. It’s a small price to pay if all this works.

When I boarded the plane yesterday, it was grey and wet… several hours later, we landed in bright, sunny weather. Yahoo: the city!

I’ve noticed that the longer I live in the village, the greater the culture shock when returning to the city. I felt like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz yesterday, after she lands in the super-saturated colors of the yellow brick road. There’s always so much to see and so much to adjust to: everything is so shiny and clean! I guess my point of reference has changed, and even though I’ve lived in a city for most of my life, I’m a bit of a country mouse now. I was absolutely thrilled when the rental car agency put me in a brand new car. I wonder if this is what Dorothy felt like when she put on the ruby slippers? (LOL!)

Once again, I had to get used to rush hour, curbs, lines on the road and traffic lights (none of these exist back home). I should put one of those ‘new driver’ stickers on my vehicle for a few days! Somehow, I made it to my favorite aunt’s in one piece. I took her out for dinner and we spent the evening laughing and getting caught up. It was a great night.

This afternoon, I pick DH up from the airport since he couldn’t fly out with me yesterday, get a quick refresher on the needles, and pick up my meds. Ready or not, here I come!


Today I’m cranky. I could explain it away by saying it’s the pill, PMS, the anxiety, maybe the lack of sleep… but you know what? I’m just cranky and don’t want to have to rationalize it or explain it away.

Things are always a bit hairy before leaving the office, even though I’ll continue to work from the city. But I just got so angry with someone who kept turning our meeting agenda into an opportunity to describe excruciating details of her pregnancy. At first, I smiled, and gently moved onto the next item. Soon, I lost my smile and abruptly moved on to the next item. By the end of the meeting, I was exhausted by her complex conversational cartwheels that ultimately drove the meeting and always came back to her (admittedly, I was somewhat amazed with her skill at segueways). After the meeting, I went for a drive and cried.

To be fair, she knows nothing about the frustrating years of trying, the countless lab tests, or the miscarriage. Shortly after announcing her surprise, unplanned pregnancy, she told me all about the number of vitamins she had to take each morning now that she was pregnant, like the folic acid and the prenatal etc etc. She didn’t know that I’d been wolfing down those same vitamins for over three years and hoping. I stood there and listened with fake concern, a smile plastered on my face, and trying to hide the fact that I totally and completely envied her position. Oh well. Tomorrow I’ll be on my way. The distance might do me some good.

Not to belabor the subject, but what’s up with these online baby showers? An acquaintance was invited to one today, and I just didn’t get it. I guess I’m not the only one weary of the stupid shower games: some moms-to-be are saying “thanks but no thanks” to them as well (but, don’t worry, there’s still a convenient link to the gift registry). I suppose this online shower thing would actually be really convenient for someone like me who avoids showers like the plague… But it would be nice to know that there was still some sort of low-tech, social gathering happening. Call me old-fashioned, but if you’re lucky enough to be expecting a baby soon, you should be subjected to wearing a hat made out of sticky gift ribbons and paper plates.

Other than that, not much is going on. I swallowed my last birth control pill today, and if the weather cooperates, I will be flying outta here in two days! I don’t even want to consider the possibility of the weather cancelling my flight (a regular occurrence at this time of year… but it WON’T HAPPEN THIS TIME, riiiiight?). There’s still so much to pack, schedule and finalize before I leave that it’s been a great distraction from negative thoughts. It’s hard not to dwell on last year’s experience. The loss was too difficult to bear and the intensity of it all caught me off guard. I’m walking into this protocol knowing that I’m another year older and have half as many follicles as last year, but hey, I’ve gotta try, just one more time.

Yesterday was a weepy day. Maybe it’s the BCP.

I’m putting a gift together for my friend’s baby shower next week. I won’t be attending since A. I will be out of town and B. I never go to baby showers.

I’ve never been a ‘shower’ kinda-gal… I’ve always felt uncomfortable at them and cringed whenever I had to fill in a quiz about how-little-I-know about the bride-to-be, or guess how much string is needed to go around the belly of a mom-to-be. Ick. I hate those games (though, I have walked away with a few sets of pretty cool tea towels and a candy dish). For the last few years, I’ve been trying to avoid baby showers. They make me sad. Since the miscarriage last summer, I find them unbearable and shopping for them is torture.

I forced myself into the baby-section of a local store last December for yet another baby shower, and it was with grim determination that I chose something (and delivered it through a mutual acquaintance). I tried to go back a couple of weeks ago for my friend and just couldn’t do it. All of those tiny outfits, the small shoes, the soft toys… will I always be buying baby outfits and toys for someone else’s baby? Will I ever have the chance to shop for mine? To keep my sanity, I did the next best thing: I made a gift. DH was on a business trip recently and picked up a set of plain, white one-sies (hard to come by in our village) and I used my artsy skill to create a personalized design for them. Some might say this is too much work, but it keeps me out of the baby aisle at the store and in the safety of my home. Focusing on the design, the color palette, the placement of bits and pieces etc., is a good distraction too.

The gift is  wrapped  and I’ll give it to my friend when I say goodbye before flying out of here. I do feel bad about missing her shower, and maybe if I were in town, I might actually go. Or maybe I would’ve organized my sock drawer instead. Either option holds equal appeal. I hate sounding so bitter, and most of the time I am truly happy for my friend, but it’s still so hard. I have ditched at least 5 showers in the last six months. Excuses I have used over the last few years included:

  • finishing up homework for my post-grad classes
  • unexpected overtime at the office
  • food poisoning
  • the flu (“…wouldn’t want to pass my virus on to the mom-to-be…[insert nervous laugh] ”)

I have also avoided phonecalls, emails, facebook invites and e-vites. I’ve even “forgotten” to write down the times/dates and just not gone, which is crummy… I know. But in my defense, the mom-to-be always gets a gift; just not my presence. And who would want me around anyways? I’d only scowl through all the stupid games anyways.

At this time next week, I will be a million miles from home, starting my second IVF treatment. In a sick sort of way, I’m excited to be starting the stimulation phase again: Sick, because I probably shouldn’t be looking forward to giving myself injections twice a day (three or more closer to my retrieval date) and, exciting, because it will feel like I’m actually DOING something that has a (slim) chance of ending up with a baby. One might say that DH and I have been “doing something” quite natural for the last three years, but after the first 28 unsuccessful cycles, I began to seriously question the effectiveness of our activities.

I’m also excited to be heading into a city. I live in a remote village. I didn’t always live here, and I miss my café Americanos, my latte grandes, fancy restaurants, girly drinks, wearing heels, dressing in ‘city clothes’… sigh. Don’t get me wrong; I love living in hiking shoes, the small town friendliness of our village, living so close to nature. But every once in awhile, it feels oh-so-civilized to sit on a patio with a drink (any variation of a non-alcoholic, decaffeinated beverage) while the busy-ness of the city rushes by. It’s very ‘Sex and the City.” Perhaps I’ll look for a pretty pouch to house my Puregon pen? Just because I’m infertile doesn’t mean I need to be unfashionable. ☺

There’s nothing new that I can add to the infertility discussion… and that’s ok. I just want to be a part of the community who understands what it’s like to experience this.

I’m tired of feeling alone when I force another tight-lipped smile after someone announces their pregnancy (during less gracious moments, I’ve had to squelch the urge to respond with “Oh. I thought you were just getting fat”). I’m tired of coming up with different excuses for dodging yet another baby shower. I’m tired of smiling through painful conversations about ultrasounds, nurseries, and baby names. I kept thinking “Surely, I can’t be the only one out there…? Am I the only one going insane?”

And then I did a google search.

If it weren’t for the Internet, for bloggers like Stirrup Queens and Murgdan and the rest of you out there, I’m not sure how I could cope. Finally, I’ve found other women, and some men, who are not afraid to rant about the ignorance surrounding infertility, who understand the pain of loss, and were forced on the roller coaster ride of hope and despair.

So, I’m throwing caution to the wind, and joining you all. Maybe when there are more voices out there, the more fertile members of society will stop trying to explain our childless status, stop blaming us for waiting too long, stop thinking we are suffering for selfishly putting our careers first, stop telling us to relax and let it happen, stop asking us when we’re going to start a family. Or maybe it will just be enough to know that there are more of us out there.

For now, I’m just relieved to find a space to be myself. No more tight-lipped smiles!

April 2009
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