Monday, November 30, 2009

Weekend roundup

I know it is Monday, but I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving (at least those of you in the US). We spent a nice weekend with my dad. Here are a few highlights/thoughts from my weekend and getting back.

I love Black Friday shopping. I know it is psycho, but I love it. My sisters and I left at 4 for Walmart. I ended leaving them there to head to Best Buy b/c Walmart was too crazy, no one knew what was going on and where the line was for electronics. Some people knew they were not in line but planned to rush the counter anyway at 5am. There was something in particular that I wanted and both Walmart and BB had a good deal. So I was able to buy it at BB with no hassle!

There is one woman at Walmart who is emblematic of why Black Friday is so insane. While I was eager to head to the stores early in the morning, I was willing to wait my place in line and treat other people with respect. As I was walking back down the parking lot to my car, I saw the woman in the car next to mine load up her trunk from the shopping cart. Then she left the cart directly behind my car! Not only did she not think to put the cart back in the corral area, she wasn't even considerate enough to put it outside the path of my car.

On the way down there, we drove one of my nieces, who is 7. She felt special b/c she got to ride with us and it was fun. I did try to teach her to crochet on the trip down, but she was not getting the hang of it. I hope I have more time to give her another lesson.

Another rude person story. We forgot to mail our credit card bill on time, so we decided that paying to mail it overnight would be better than paying the late fees. The post office was already closed when we got there so we stood in line to use the automated machine. One woman had a stack of Christmas cards to mail. Not a problem, I thought, she could buy a book of stamps and then put them on the envelopes while the next person used the machine. Except she was sending them international and we waited while she individually punched out postage for about 30 letters. At one point, the machine kicked her off, having reached a limit. She just started again without thinking of the line of people behind her.

My RE's office is in a center for women's health. Now I know women's health is a wide area and there are lots of reasons women could go there. But why does their postcard have to include a big picture of a pregnant woman?

We postponed IUI this cycle b/c ovulation would have coincided with our trip to a different city over Thanksgiving break. So of course, what do we see on almost every billboard in this city? Ads for a fertility clinic. If we had known, maybe we could have arranged to have the IUI done there.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

No title

Here is the dilemma with blogging. You start out because you want to write out your thoughts and work through some issues. You find a great community of similar minded people, or people experiencing a similar journey, and get a lot of support. That's been my experience so far (hugs to all my bloggy friends). It sounds great. It is great.

But there is always the tricky issue of how much to share. I want to be completely honest. This blog is many things, all of which require a great deal of openness and honesty. A way for me to express my feelings. A way to offer support to others going through this IF journey to know you are not alone. A way to get advice on what I should do. But I still have to wonder where to draw that line with sharing too much. It gets complicated now that I have a few people IRL reading this. And the added difficulty is that I am not on this journey alone. Sharing myself and my journey means I'm sharing someone else's too.

Not to mention that there are some things I don't even want to admit to myself. I don't even want to give this post a title for fear that I have name it.

Friday, November 20, 2009

My top five

Mrs. Gamgee asked which of my posts I was drawn to or might consider my top 5. Here are some that I really liked:

Throwing out the calendar
Achieving a goal (also my very first post)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Creme de la creme

Thanks to all for your many words of encouragement to my last post. It means a lot that I have so many people supporting me. I know I'm not in this alone (well DH is also here supporting me, but that is different). Thanks.

Now I want to ask you for something else. I want to participate in Creme de la Creme and put my best post on the list. But I need your help figuring out what my best post is. So I want to ask my readers: what do you think is my best? Is there a particular post that drew you in and made you keep coming back?

If you don't know what Creme de la Creme is, you can find info here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


I've been down these past few days. First my friend Ella had her beautiful baby a few days ago. I am so jealous. Ella is great and I'm happy for her, but it just reminds me of how long we've been at this so far. See, Ella and I met on ivillage before we even started TTC. I connected with her b/c we are both in academia and were trying to work out when to start trying with the academic calendar. We had both planned to start in one month and then threw caution the wind on the same weekend a month early. But from there are stories diverged, although neither has been easy. One of the things that made my niece's birth hard was the knowledge that if we had been successful our first month, we could have had a baby at the same time. That was how long we've been trying. And now, here is someone who started TTC the same time we did, who even had difficulty on the journey to pregnancy, and now she has her cute little baby. I feel like I've been lapped again.

Also, as the Christmas season is getting closer and decorations are going up (not in our house as I believe in giving Thanksgiving its due, but you can't escape Christmas in stores), I remember how optimistic I was last Christmas. We trade off spending Christmas with each other's parents, so last year I knew we would be spending this year at home b/c his parents live nearby. This will be our first Christmas as adults where we wake up in our own bed. And I was so sure that it would be our first Christmas with a baby. I thought everything would be different this year.

Last night I went to my church's women's council meeting for the first time. I should have known to avoid it when I'm feeling down, but a friend has been encouraging me to go for a while. But as she was introducing me to people, the first question everyone asked was how many kids I had, or if my kids went to the parish school.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Last night, my family threw me a surprise party! DH and I went over to my ILs house for dinner. And my sister and her family were there hiding to surprise me! It was a great time with cake and presents. Most of all the surprise was fantastic and I've always wanted a surprise party.

This party was also a chance to see my MIL with my nieces and nephews again. More importantly for this post, my youngest nephew. I know that some people lavish their attention on a pet to make up for not being able to have a baby. Or lavish attention on nieces and nephews (my personal method). I'm starting to wonder if my MIL is thinking of my youngest nephew as the closest thing she may get to a grandchild.

See, DH is an only child. So if we don't have any kids, they don't have any grandkids. But my sister and her family live nearby all of us and we get together relatively often. The older nieces and nephew have had enough time with my mom to develop a close relationship with her. But not the youngest. He knows my ILs much better, just because he sees her more. And my MIL and FIL eat it up. Now they are even keeping a few small toys in their house for when he comes to visit.

Friday, November 13, 2009


It figures, right? Just as I was hoping there is a way AF would be a day or two late and thus let me do IUI right after Thanksgiving weekend, the witch shows up 2 days early! Which means I the earliest I would ovulate would be the day before Thanksgiving, when I'm supposed to be driving to another state, and the most likely day I would ovulate would be Thanksgiving itself, when my dr's office would be closed anyway.

So no clo.mid and no IUI for me this cycle. I'm still hoping there is a way I can get a good Christmas present in there.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I received a call from the billing office in my dr's office today. So far my insurance has covered everything (except for the cost of clomid and femara). Now we are in a whole new ballgame. The person who called just wanted to be sure I understood that the cost for IUI is $466 and must be paid upfront. Yeah, I understand. Thanks.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

To be thankful

I feel like I've been math problems in my head all day. I keep going over and over what would happen if this cycle ended on day X and if I started clomid on day Y, would I be able to do the IUI in a few months? The problem is that Thanksgiving is putting a real crimp in my plans. I think that if AF comes on Saturday when I expect her, and I take clomid on days 3-7, then I would most likely ovulate smack dab in the middle of Thanksgiving weekend. When I will be in another state. But if AF can stay away for a another day or two and I take clomid on days 5-9 (my doc said either is fine, I should just calculate when would be best for me) then it might work out for us this month.

When I took clomid before on days 5-9, I ovulated between days 16-18. So that's what I'm trying to use to base my calculations. Our plan is to go for an ultrasound a few days before I'm expected to ovulate to see where the leading follicle is. If it's on the right, we will be set to go. If it's on the left, we have to decide if we still want to do the IUI. Since we are not quite sure if the left tube is blocked or not, we may decide to save money and just try on our own in that case.


Happy Birthday to Sesame Street (and to me)!

The other day I was listening to NPR and they had a story about Sesame Street's anniversary today. I was just thinking "hey, cool, we have the same birthday" when my phone rang. My sister called and said "did you know you have the same birthday as Sesame Street?" How funny that we were listening to the same radio station at the same time. A lady is not supposed to reveal her age, but I will give you a clue. Sesame Street turned 9 when I was born.

Last year was supposed to have been a been bigger birthday (i.e., a nice round number), but this year feels so much harder to turn a year older.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Anointing of the Sick

Every second Sunday at my church, anyone can come up to the altar for the anointing of the sick. There are always one or two people who go up. For the past several months, when we get to this part of mass, I've wondered what are the rules and when is it OK to go up to be anointed. I mean, I'm sure there are not really official "rules" but there has to be at least informal protocol. Anointing of the sick is usually associated with last rites but most of the people I see going up there do not need their last rites.

So each month I wonder, do I count as sick? Would it help if I was anointed with oil and blessed? Would everyone else in my church ask me how I was sick after mass if I went up? Would they criticize me and say that IF doesn't really count or is not serious enough?

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Are any of you into couponing? I don't mean the casual use of coupons; I've always done that. But there is this whole subculture devoted to intensive couponing. I've come across several articles about it recently and decided to give it a try. It's not like I never took advantage of sales or coupons before. I have my Kroger plus card, do get some coupons, do buy more of our most used items if it's on sale that week. But there was no real effort outside the grocery store or much planning ahead. Last week my first couponing effort was not very successful. I think I saved about $5 more than I would have with my casual efforts.

But according to what I read, the savings build over time as you get used to it and build up the store of coupons. Plus this week Kroger was tripling coupons and had some great deals on top of that. So I decided to try it again. It was like a comedy of errors. The strategy here is basically to stockpile coupons so you can stack a store coupon on top of a manufacturer coupon on top of the item being on sale and save big time. So I printed off coupons online, gathered all my other coupons, made up my shopping list of best deals, and went to the store.

First casualty: my reusable bags. I already have a cabinet full of plastic grocery bags and care about saving the environment so we have canvass bags we use. In my excitement to head out the door with my coupons, I forgot most of them.

Second casualty: all the people I kept bumping into or just generally being in their way. I swear I was the rudest person in the store as I was so engrossed in my coupons that I ignored all the people around me.

Somehow I made it through the store and bought everything I wanted to. I did get some great deals on things we buy all the time. I wasn't going to buy things we don't normally buy just to get a good deal on it, though. Still, I headed to the checkout confident that I was getting great deals on the goods, but unsure if this whole thing would work.

It did! The first total the checkout lady gave me was $63. That already included $21 in Kroger plus savings. Some of that I probably would have gotten anyway, but some I know was due to my diligent efforts to find what was on sale. Then I handed her my stack of coupons. My total went down to $46! I couldn't believe that this whole thing worked.

Except it didn't quite work all that smoothly. Two of the coupons I printed online didn't scan. So I had to go to the customer service area and wait another five minutes, but eventually I did get my $3 back (2 coupons to save .50 that were both tripled). And then in my excitement for saving so much, I threw all my bags into the trunk. Including the eggs. Oops.

DH was proud of me when I came home and told him about all the savings. But then pointed out what I see as the flaw of extreme couponing by one simple question. He said "this is great, but I don't see what there is to eat for dinner this week." See, this whole process depends on stockpiling food, which means it requires a lot of freezing food or buying non-perishable items. But the most expensive items we buy are perishable (mostly fresh fruit and vegetables). And I'm not willing to sacrifice the quality of the food I want to eat just because something else in on sale. For example, there is a local blogger who does extreme couponing in my area. So presumably we have access to the same local coupons and deals. She posted her weekly savings with pictures and details of all she bought. The only item she bought in the produce aisle was bananas. How can that be the only fresh produce you buy? And I noticed she scored great deals on this ground chuck. I saw it was a great deal and was tempted. But we buy only the leanest meats and I couldn't bring myself to buy it. This high fat ground chuck falls in the category of something I don't normally buy. Does this make me elitist? In some ways I'm impressed by all she does, but in other ways I can't see myself buying the items you need to buy to save the most money.

I guess it comes down to how much of a necessity this is. I remember one year I asked me mom what she wanted for Christmas. She said she thought I had more time than money (I was in grad school) and so what she wanted was me to convert her home movies to DVD. I had the technology to do that, but I looked at my dissertation, decided I actually had more money than time, and took her videos down to a company that did it for me. I see couponing as the same thing. Sure, there are ways I could save a whole bunch of money. But it does take time, energy, and some possible compromises. I think I will continue for a while just to see how I can balance all those factors.

Friday, November 6, 2009

RE update

I'm not sure what my problem is. Normally I'm a confident, accomplished woman. Sure, I'm introverted naturally, but that doesn't mean I appear to be a stuttering fool around other people. But I have this thing with doctors. I get very intimidated by doctors. It is not just this doctor, but all doctors. I don't know what it is. I enter with a set list of questions to ask and things I want to know and somehow I end up almost limping out the door.

So even though I did get all my questions answered and we have a plan, I still left my RE's office today feeling down. It didn't help that she had a resident with her to witness my meltdown. Here's the story.

We talked about whether to continue with more diagnostic tests or move to IUI. I am officially unexplained, although I have a couple of "iffy" issues. She thinks I might have a variant of PCOS even my hormone/insulin levels don't suggest that. DH had one low SA, but then his second was OK so she's not too concerned about that. My HSG showed my left tube was blocked, but she doesn't know why and is not even sure it is really blocked b/c she said about half the time the HSG shows it is blocked it is just a spasm or something (to which my DH replied, then why waste your time on that test? Good question). Anyways one tube is fine and so we should be good with that. The next step would be a lap to figure out what exactly is going on with the left tube and also to check for endo. But I don't have any other signs of endo so she doesn't think I have that and honestly she didn't seem that concerned about the left tube.

I did get the results from my progesterone test when I took femara and it was low-lower than when I ovulate on my own. So that drug is out for me. I also asked about my FSH level b/c that is one test she never did. She doesn't think it is necessary b/c it won't change treatment anyway.

So with her not thinking we need to do any more diagnostic at this point, we are moving on to IUI. That is what we wanted to do anyway. We are going to do IUI with clomid right now. And this is where I had another point of freaking out. I assumed there would be a cycle of tests or preparation or something so that the IUI cycle would actually not be for a while. But she's ready to go next cycle. So things are really speeding up.

One thing this RE said that rubbed me the wrong way. As our meeting was ending, I mentioned that I was nervous b/c it seemed like a big step and I don't like taking medication anyway for other things. Her response was that there is still a pretty good chance we could have a baby on our own but it would likely be a while and the treatment makes sure we can have one when we want. As if we might get over this whole baby thing as just a phase we went through. Maybe I should look into this other fertility clinic in my town. Basically the options for IUIs are her and one other clinic. I do think she is good as doctors go and when we were in the diagnosis phase, my insurance was better with her. But insurance won't cover the IUI regardless of who does it.

RE appt today

I have an appt with my RE today. After several rounds of clomid and then femara, we are ready to move on to IUI. We've talked about this a lot and know it is what we want to do. But still I'm nervous and hesitant. Logically I know that it will likely be a while before we actually do the IUI and that we've been in this for a long time already, but emotionally it feels so sudden and like such a big step.

I think my hesitation is also due to my fears that it won't work. The planner that I am, I'm already thinking through the next several steps. DH and I both don't feel comfortable with IVF and the idea of having our embryos just hanging around. So right now our plan is that if IUI doesn't work, we will move on to adoption. But then this feels so final as well. What if it doesn't work? Will I be able to face our options then? As we get closer I already have had some different thoughts in my head about IVF. For example, would we think differently if we agree to eventually transfer all embryos? But then wonder I if these second thoughts are just my way to find a rationalization for something I'm not that comfortable with. I know there is a big difference between IUI and IVF both in terms of intensity of the experience and everything entailed. But still I lump them together. The funny thing is, I don't think my worries are that related to the real concern of multiples. I know DH is worried about that. I'm more focused on the fear of what if it doesn't work and what do we do then?

On another note, there is one reason I'm looking forward to this appointment. At our last appointment, she told me it would help if I lost weight, even if I lost 10 pounds. Well, I did that. Actually, I lost 15 pounds since then, but stress-related eating due to a busy period at work and Halloween candy put me back at a net of 11 pounds. I know other people have noticed. Let's hope my dr does as well.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Baby shower update, lunch, and my brother

I realized I never updated about the baby shower. It was going well until about halfway through the present-opening. The mom-to-be was taking note of all the gift bags and said they are so pretty that she may have to keep them even though she doesn't usually keep gift bags. Someone suggested she may have friends who will have babies eventually so might as well keep them. To which she replied, "well, Missy the only one of my friends who is at the age of having babies, so what are your plans?" I of course wanted to crawl under my chair. I couldn't do anything but shrug. Luckily another guest pretended to get offended that she just called everyone else old so all the attention was off me.

In happier news, today I had lunch with my only friend IRL who also struggles with IF. She gave birth a few months ago to a cute little boy after doing IVF. It was nice to hear how she dealt with things and what her experience was like. Especially when she mentioned her dark period. I went through one myself and even though now I feel like I'm doing OK, I have my moments (like last weekend).

In less happier news, after enjoying a nice lunch today and actually being productive at work, I checked the news and read about the shooting at Fort Hood. My brother is there right now as he prepares to head off to Afghanistan. Of course I started panicking. I thought I wouldn't have to worry about him until he left the country! Fortunately he is OK, although he was in the area where the shooting happened. But it is just a reminder of how much danger he will be in. Even when you think you are safe, you are not.
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