Monday, June 30, 2014

If You [Buy] It, They Will Come

One night in our recent past, Todd and I were cooking dinner together.  We started discussing how much money we have spent on baby items.  I’m not talking IVF and the such.  I’m talking about items that new mommies need when babies arrive. 

You see, several years ago, before we knew how long and hard it was going to be for us to have a baby, we purchased a really awesome stroller from one of my college roommates.  Then, my sister sold me some of her hand-me-downs, too.  Currently, we have a very nice stroller for a singleton, a baby carrier and base, a toy pony that sings, and several other items in our attic.  (Yes, I realize how crazy those purchases were now.)  Anyway, we were discussing if we should get rid of it all since it could be “jinxing” our attempts.  We agreed we didn’t believe in “jinxing,” and Todd said, “If you buy it, they will come.”  I’m on my way to Buy Buy Baby for more items to lure a little one into our lives.

By the way, Field of Dreams actually has great sentimental value to me.  I remember the first time I saw this movie, I was with my parents.  My dad came to tuck me in that night and told me how much his dad would have liked that movie.  I never got to meet that grandfather, as he passed away before any of us were born.  Hearing stories about him are some of the best stories that my dad ever tells, and he tells a lotJ  Random thought, but I wanted to share it.

Friday, June 27, 2014


I read this on a fellow infertile’s blog talking about what her RE has told her:
“He always reminds me that the tubes and ovaries are not connected. There is no guarantee that the tubes will “catch” my eggie.”
[Written by Future Dance Mom @]

WHAT?!  This doesn’t matter for me because we only do IVF.  However, I had no idea that the tubes and the ovaries were not connected.  Am I the only one?!  How does my anatomy keep blowing my mind like this?!
I’m speechless.  This rarely happens that I’m speechless, people.  Mark this day on a calendar somewhere.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Quarter of IVF

This is a much overdue entry.  I apologize that it has been 5 weeks since we saw Drs. McKinney and Prough, and I haven’t blogged a thing about that appointment.  I guess Dave Matthews and my emotional breakdown were more important to me.  J  However, we do have a plan, and I shall now share said plan.

We spent some time with Dr. McKinney reviewing all of our questions about this next round of cycles.  She was very helpful. 
Then, we went in to see Dr. Prough.  He is an RE (reproductive endocrinologist, AKA IVF/IUI doctor), just like McKinney and Bundren, but he also specializes in sperm aspiration for men like Todd.  We met him in October 2010.  He was the first RE we interviewed.  His bedside manner sent us quickly walking towards a (an?) urologist.  The conversation started like this:

Dr. Prough:  Oh, I talked to you in October of 2010.
Laura:  Yes, and we ended up attempting a vasectomy reversal that failed.
Dr. Prough:   Is this a good time to tell you, ‘I told you so?”
Laura:  Only if you want me to cry.

That was that.  No more minor scolding.  J

Things went much better with Prough this time.  In fact, he informed us that he would be putting Todd completely under for his part of the procedure.  Hallelujah!  This will be the fourth procedure for Todd and the first time he gets to sleep through it.  As a side note:  For an egg retrieval, barring any hyper- (hypo-?) stimulation, you are back on your feet and *unfortunately* at work the next day.  For a sperm retrieval (MESA/TESA/TESE), you are on strict orders to not lift a thing for a week and take it pretty easy for 10 days.  I may have a lot (a lot!) of shots and uncomfortable appointments, but up through the retrieval, Todd draws the short end of the stick.  Just one of the many sacrifices he makes for others.

Anyway, we are moving in the direction of this plan:  (All of these dates are guesstimates by yours truly based on a hard-to-understand calendar I was given by the doctor.)
·         June – blood work performed on both of us for communicable diseases
·         July – keep saving money
·         8/5 – IVF information class – I asked if we had to go through this since we pretty much understand the process.  They informed me that all of their IVF patients must attend it once a year, regardless.  Todd wanted to inform them that we could teach the class.  J
·         Start Cycle 1
o   Somewhere between 8/25 & 9/4 – baseline ultrasound and start shots
o   Somewhere between 9/8 & 9/21 – retrieval
o   9/24 – PGS (Preimplantation Genetic Screening) – This is where they test the embryos to make sure they are chromosomally normal.  We have never done this before, and we are hoping it gives us answers as to what is causing us to have failed cycles.
o   9/26 – freeze embryos
·         Start Cycle 2
o   Somewhere between 10/13 & 10/23 – baseline ultrasound and start shots
o   Somewhere between 10/27 & 11/9 – retrieval
o   11/12 – PGS (Preimplantation Genetic Screening)
o   11/14 – freeze embryos
·         12/19 – FET (Frozen Embryo Transfer)

September through December of 2014 will forever be remembered as “The Quarter of IVF.”  To say that our lives will revolve around IVF at the end of this year could be a slight understatement.  Any takers on my Christmas shopping?!  If not, you’re all getting infertility pamphlets and syringes from our collection.  Don’t freak out, the syringes are new.
Now, all of this is assuming that we decide to go through with this plan.  This is the plan that TFC is drawing up in our contract.  The charges are going to be lumped together, so this will only cost $50,000 out-of-pocket.  I kid you not.  However, if things go really well with the first cycle, and we get 2 really great embryos, we could end up deciding to do a fresh transfer on September 26.  (Keep in mind that we have about 30 minutes to make a decision on whether we do a fresh transfer or not.)  At that point, we would just pay for services rendered.

I hope that makes sense.  I hope that answers any questions that may be occurring in some minds.

Most of all, I hope this works.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Infertile Myrtles

For as long as I can remember, I have had a flaw of caring what others think about me.  This can be a good motivator to an extent.  However, it can be a huge disability, too.  For me, it’s a disability.  I am constantly worrying that I will say or do the wrong thing…around certain people is worth than others.

Well, sometime between December 4, 2013, (when we found out our second IVF cycle had failed) and today, I decided I would hide my true feelings about IVF and infertility as best as I could.  The only person that I would let see how I really felt would be Todd.  The reason I decided to do this was because I didn’t want people to look back at this time in my life and remember me as their sad/needy/selfish friend.  Most of the time, this plan has worked for me.  However, when you continue to fill a cup with water, at some point, it will overflow.

Every so often, I have a day like yesterday, and my cup overflowed.  When I left work, I had a lot on my mind.  I had kept it all in and showed my “everything is fine” face to my coworkers all day.  Then, I got in the car, called Todd, and lost it.  I was finally in my safe place to say how I really felt and what I really thought.  However, I must have kept it all bottled-up for too long because I couldn’t control the sobs at all.  In his best “I can’t fix this for her, but I can be there for her” way, Todd apologized that I was so sad and reassured me that he was there and loved me very much.  (Our therapist would have been so proud of how he handled the situation.)  Anyway, I let him go, so I could just cry it out.

I made it to boot camp and pulled myself together again…until approximately 17 minutes into my workout.  I started to cry again but just a little.  This fueled me to push harder because I was so frustrated that I was losing so much control of myself.  After boot camp, I started to cry again during stretching, which caused me to actually lose my breath.  Seriously, this was one of the worst cases of “I can’t hide my emotions forever, so I’m just going to cry it out now” that I had ever had.

After I cleaned up and changed clothes, I headed to meet the girls in my Infertile Myrtles [IM] group.  (This is the support group that I wrote about starting.  Well, we did it.  Tulsa officially has an infertility support group.  Woot woot!)  On the way to IM, I didn’t even call Todd because I needed some more time to cry it out.  I got over there, pulled myself together again, and went inside.  One of the girls started updating us on her current status.  Then, the attention turned to me.  I started explaining to them that I was having a pretty rough afternoon, but I was just going to try not to cry the rest of the meeting.  One of them said something about just letting it out, and I did.  Tears, Kleenexes, a drippy nose…the only thing missing was my occasional snort from crying so hard.

For the first time since I had made a pact with myself to ride this infertility train out with a happy mask on my face, I let someone besides Todd console me.  I told them the truth.  I didn’t sugarcoat anything.

I cried.  I talked.  I didn’t worry about being judged.

They listened.  They nodded their heads.  They understood.

I’ve probably said it a dozen times.  Infertility is one of those journeys that you can sympathize for, but you can never truly empathize for unless you go through it yourself. 

I can still remember being at my adult dance class about 20 months ago when my friend came in and told me her fourth IUI cycle had been canceled.  I remember her telling me how frustrated she was.  I remember her slightly tearing up behind her happy mask.  I still distinctly remember the feeling I had that I was so sorry she was going through this.  I did what all of my good friends do and tried to understand.

However, I didn’t understand.  I do, now.  I wish I had been going through this with her.  I would have been a better friend, a better listener.  She has been there for me, though.  She understands the pain.  The Infertile Myrtles understand the pain.

So there, sitting in the nook in the back of a Target Starbucks, I cried.  I talked.  I was comforted.

I walked out of that store last night feeling, for the first time in 4 hours, that I had control of myself again.  Starting this support group was one of the scariest and best decisions I have ever made.  I am more grateful for these women than I will ever be able to put into words. 

My cup runneth over – this time, it’s in a good way.


Since I haven’t been very consistent with my blogging, Infertile Myrtles has now met five times.  Don’t worry, I won’t keep count forever.  Our first week, there were five of us.  Since then, our number has fluctuated because it’s hard for everyone to meet every single week.  We have not added anyone else to the group, but I’m okay with that.  I think it’s more intimate this way, and we are really getting to know each other more personally.  If someone else does decide to attend, we will welcome them into our little family with open arms.  At this point, we are still just using that time to talk.  However, we have some plans for additional fun activities in the near future.  I’ll blog more about those as they happen.  I really am grateful for these four women.  I think they’re so awesome and strong and inspiring.


I am pretty sure that I have shared some of Jessah’s blog entries before.  However, this one really hit me hard when I read it.  She always does an excellent job of putting my feelings into her words.  J  Thank you for your blog, Jessah.  Thank you for putting a voice to a very isolating journey.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Ants Crawling

That title is for you, Nicho…and kind of for you too, Todd.  Don’t hate me.  J

I am so sorry that I have neglected my blog.  This entry is about to have zero to do with IVF or infertility, but I want to write this for myself.

It’s been a very busy month.  A very busy month!

One thing we did this month was attend a Dave Matthews concert with a group of girls I know from college and their husbands.  The night was not without its stories.  We started at dinner with the entire group.  Then, we split up on the walk over because our seats were not all together.  Todd and I sat with our awesome friend, Nicho.  That’s not her first name, but I’ve called her Nicho for so long that I can’t remember what her first name is anymore.  J  (Actually, when I do call her by her first name, it sounds weird.  I’m pretty sure it would be best to change her first name to Nicho when she gets married and changes her last name.  I’m glad we agree on that.) 
Awe, sweet girls.  I have such fun with you!
I have no idea what my silly monkey is doing, but I imagine it involves a shrimp and a slingshot.  Either that, or he thinks the guy behind him is famous, and he's showing his surprised face for getting a picture with him.  You pick.
Side Note:  Nicho and I have a very special bond.  We met in college, and she adopted me in our sorority whenever my "Big" left the house prematurely.  We have ways of connecting that most of our friends don't fully understand.  In just a few short weeks, Nicho and I are going to be separated by many miles and several hours as she moves to be with her new boyfriend.  It makes me sad because I am going to miss our happy hour dinners and seeing her sweet face.  We have so many awesome memories together, though, and I can’t wait to visit and add some to the list from her new home.  I love you and will miss you, friend!

So back to Dave.  Todd, Nicho, and I sat together at the concert.  We were enjoying the music, people watching, and general relaxation when we noticed on the floor of the arena was a group with flashlights making their way through the crowd while carrying a stretcher.  What?!  Minutes later, they leave the crowd with someone on the stretcher and another guy following close behind with his own personal body guards…er, I mean cops.  We never got the story on that one, but it was an interesting sight to see.  We didn’t even have to pay for that part of the show!...or maybe that’s why our cruddy seats were so expensive.  Hmmm…

Anyway, a few songs later, we had forgotten about the “somehow I put a guy on a stretcher and now I’m getting arrested” incident and were commenting about the distinct smell of whacky tobaccy all around us.  That’s when we noticed 4 cops walking up the stairs next to our section and pointing flashlights into the crowd.  I couldn’t believe cops even came to the nosebleed section, but there they were.  That’s when we saw the potentially intended culprit attempt to make a dash down the stairs, straight for 2 of the cops.  At first, he seemed to be cautious with his nimble hops down the steps.  Then, it seemed as if he thought he might be able to barrel through the cops if he picked up his speed, so he made the poor decision to do so and ended up getting man-handled OVER the railing and into the ramp area.  I was half tempted to go down to the concession area to watch the aftermath; however, we weren’t partaking in whacky tobaccy, so I made the smart decision to stay seated.  The funny thing is to think that they could have been coming up there for someone or something completely unrelated to the concert hopper.  I tell ya, paranoia is a nasty evil.

To top off the night, we ran into the lead guitarist from our church.  I only know he's the lead because Todd tells me so.  I can't hear the difference, but my man was raised in a church that taught him to pick out those different sounds.  Anyway, this guitarist happens to be our favorite.  I enjoy him because he bobs his head when he plays, and "it's as if his [head is] independent from his body."  (Friends reference for the day.)  I've never seen someone bob their head quite like that...especially to Christian music.  He makes me smile literally every Sunday that he's playing.  He's Todd's favorite because, as I said, he can actually hear him playing separate from the other instruments.  Todd says he puts real feeling into his playing, which he thoroughly enjoys.  Back on track...I saw him in line at the concert, and I had to tell him how much I loved his worship leading.  (Talking to strangers comes naturally for me, and I can only thank my mother for that.  Stranger danger was a lesson I was not taught as a child.  Instead, I was taught that sometimes asking strangers nicely will get you backstage to take a picture with Ronnie Milsap.)  So, I walked up to said guitarist (who is nameless in my blog because I still don't know his name) and asked if he played guitar at LifeChurch.  When he conceded, I exclaimed in my most mature voice, "You're my faaaaaaavorite!"  I actually drug the word out that long.  He either thought I was crazy, or he was flattered.  Either way, I got to get that off my chest.  I slept better that night.

Overall, it was a great night with great friends, and I am grateful to have everyone from that night in my life.  Even you, Dave Matthews…I think you’re pretty great, too.  Sounds great, huh?!  J

Cheers to you, Miss Nicho.  Distance may soon separate us, but you’ll always have a special place in my heart.  I love you.