Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Open letter

An Open Letter to my Reproductive System,

Dear RS,
You know, I was doubting you for a while. I assumed you must not know what you were doing or what was going on. But now I see you had a plan all along. I can see you were wise to acknowledge that having a baby while DH was getting his MBA would be a little much all at once. I mean, he has been pretty busy.

So, thanks, I guess, for seeing the bigger picture on this. I just want to point out, in case you were not aware, that he is over halfway done. In fact, he will be done in 9 months. There's no longer any chance of having a baby while he is still in school.

Just thought you should know.


Sunday, June 27, 2010


Sorry for falling off the earth for a while. I took on some consulting work to put a little more money in our baby fund and I was swamped for a while. But now that is mostly done, so my life can get back to whatever normal. Except I am going on a work trip this week. So maybe not normal yet.

We have been spending the past two weeks talking about what our next steps are after seeing the new clinic. We have been thinking of various scenarios where we might do IVF. While part of me wants to go for it, I've also been feeling hesitant and that it is not quite right for us. Then today we were in church and the homily was about making a total commitment to God and how easy it is to come up with excuses for things in our lives. Sitting there listening to that, I kept thinking about IVF and I really do think the scenarios we have been talking about are ways to justify doing something we don't feel like we should be doing. I'm still not sure what our future holds, but I'm beginning to think that it does not include IVF. And I think I'm OK with that.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


When do you know it is time for a new computer? I've had my current computer longer than I've had my wedding ring (which would make it over 5 years old). That does sound like it is getting up in years for computer time. But I'm trying to save as much money as I can for IF stuff.

Still, recently I've been more frustrated than not with my computer. It's gotten really slow in everything. I admit to using DH's laptop when he is not around and I am just using the internet. Which, to be honest, is most of the use I get from this computer. There are some other things I want my computer to be able to do, though.

But for some reason I am attached to this old machine. It got me through my dissertation! And all my files from my dissertation are still here, patiently waiting for any additional analyses I may decide to use them for. Now that I've been done for three years, I know I'm never going to go back and see how dissertation draft 4 is different from draft 9, but I like having it here in case I ever wanted to. I know I can save my files so I won't lose them, but it just seems so final to have everything tucked away rather than right in my face every time I start browsing through my folders.

And then there is the question of what type of computer to get. DH made the plunge to Apple a few years ago and is happy with that decision. Should I do the same?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Have you thought about how much you have spent on IF related expenses? I mean really figured it out? I started to do so. And boy was I surprised. All this time I was thinking we haven't really put out the big bucks yet. I'm gathering all our receipts and explanation of benefits to calculate exactly how much we've spent so far. My goal is to keep a running total. I'm not going to tell you my total so far as I have finished going through all my piles yet. That update will come later.

My question for you all is how do you think this should be organized to get a good sense of how much IF actually costs? I've been thinking in terms of categories: consultations/office visits, diagnostics, major procedures (like my lap), alternative medicine (acupuncture/mental health), medications, and ART (IUI, IVF, etc). Do you think those are the right categories? I have been putting things like ultrasound monitoring under diagnostics. I'm also thinking of who pays. The categories for that are out of pocket, insurance company, and copayments (i.e., we pay in accordance with what our insurance policy says is our share).

Can I also use this time to rant about health care billing? I hate it how you get bills for each little thing separately. One office visit may spark 3-4 bills.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

New doctor

We had our first consult with a new doctor today. This clinic is basically our only other option in this area. The bad news is they are more expensive with our insurance. The good news is hopefully they are more successful.

The appointment didn't get off to a good start since they didn't have my medical history from my current doctor. Another thing I need to check up on because I know I asked for them to send it. Anyway, he did an ultrasound and exam and of course asked a bunch of questions and did have some of DH's medical records from the urologist he saw. He didn't have much new for us in terms of a diagnosis. There is still our swimmer problem and not so good ovulation for me, but no identifiable (and thus potentially correctable) cause of the problems.

He recommended we go straight to IVF with ICSI. He said we could try IUI with FSH stimulation. His reasoning was that for most people the IUIs have lower success rates, so you end up spending all this money on IUIs and then need to spend money on the IVF anyway. When pressed, he did think we could potentially do another cl0mid plus IUI cycle, mainly because although technically we did it twice, the circumstances were such that I feel we only gave it one good shot.

Since I am leaning towards the IUI route, he recommended we have the sperm penetration assay. Anyone familiar with that? Basically it sounds like they try to see if DH's sperm can penetrate hamster eggs. If not, then there is little chance they could penetrate my eggs without ICSI. We have that scheduled for next week.

He also brought up getting screened for cystic fibrosis. While neither of us have CF, we could be carriers (Caucasians have a 1/25 chance of being a carrier). And if we are both carriers then any child would have a 1/4 chance of having CF. What do you guys think? DH is not inclined to get tested for this as it is not something most couples do and the test is expensive. And the chances of two people who don't have CF having a baby with CF is pretty low. I'm more inclined to get one of us tested and hope it comes back negative.

Friday, June 11, 2010

This is my life

Kelly's Korner is showing us a piece of her life now: her dishes! We went for a classic pattern when picking out our china. Mikasa Gothic Platinum.

One reason I like this pattern is that is easy to incorporate into any decor. And we can change out some pieces to add to the look. For example, during Christmas, we add the Pottery Barn reindeer dishes. The platinum edge gives it a consistent look, while also bringing in some holiday cheer. And my husband loves Rudolph, so he makes an appearance throughout our holiday decorating.

Want to see what other people are sharing? Head on over to Kelly's Korner.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


I've been in a book club for the past couple of years. I love the people in the club and most of the books we've been reading. But I'm realizing I need to be a little more careful in choosing the books we read. Not that it is solely my decision, but I do have a say.

Our next two books (which I've already read) both have IF as a topic. In the next book (The Help), IF is really incidental to the main story. It affects one character out of several, so you are not reminded of it in every chapter. But the book after that is Handle With Care. There is no escaping IF in this book. It revolves around a wrongful birth lawsuit, where a mother sues her OB/GYN for malpractice saying she would have aborted her severely disabled daughter if she knew earlier about the disease. For those of us trying to do everything possible to get pregnant, that right there might be enough to put us on edge, but then it is revealed that the child in question took 18 months to conceive and so there is a good deal of introspection about the quest for a baby, the quest for a "perfect" baby, how those things might be different, and what it might mean to finally become pregnant and then have your dreams ripped from you again. And if that doesn't stop most infertiles from continuing, there's more. The lawyer in the case is adopted and going through the process of finding her birth mother and is thinking all sorts of thoughts of not feeling complete until this woman is located.

You would have thought I would have thrown this book across the room once I realized what it was about. But I'm the type who has to finish a book once I started it. There were some things I actually liked about it, and if I was in another place I may have enjoyed it. I did read it quickly, but more to get it over with and rip the bandaid off than for any other reason.

The funny thing is, the character I most identified with? The "healthy" older sister of the girl at the center of the wrongful birth suit. She is going through her own painful journey and starts some destructive behavior to deal with it. I don't want anyone to worry that I am going to start doing self-destructive things, but I could understand when this character explained how she made herself throw up because her insides felt like it was filled with toxic material and that cutting herself made sense because it gave her an excuse for all the pain she was feeling.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Incease your chances

Has anyone seen these web videos at Increase Your Chances? This is another attempt to increase awareness about infertility. It is done by a pharmaceutical company that wants you buy more fertility drugs, but if they are going to have commercials about viagra, they can have commercials about this too.

I'm not sure how I feel about these videos. Raising awareness is good, of course, and I think they do a nice job of capturing many different aspects of IF. But I'm not sure what sense of them someone without IF experience would make. Would they watch the video of the women sitting apart at the baby shower and think she just needs to get over herself? Or would the video of the couple talking about the "joys" of IF sex be met with a "just relax"? I am eager to hear what all of you think.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


One thing we've been trying to do is minimize our exposure to as many chemicals as we can. Once you start looking at the ingredients, it's amazing how many endocrine disrupters there are out there. Or other chemicals that are toxic to reproductive systems. I started wearing a hat a lightweight longer sleeve shirt for my walk to and from work so I don't have to wear sunscreen. We are changing our diet to include more organic and non-hormone or genetically modified food. We use natural cleaners in our house.

So I couldn't help but sigh when I met a friend for lunch with her baby. As she was getting the baby out of the car, she sprayed bug spray all over her legs and all over her baby's legs. The mosquito situation here is pretty bad, I'll give her that. But we were really just going from the car to the restaurant. I smelled the chemicals as she sprayed and I saw the baby make a face and stick out his tongue which made me think he tasted it a bit. I am doing everything I can to keep chemicals out and be at my healthiest state. And my fertile friend doesn't think twice of spraying all sorts of things right into her baby's breathing space. Life is unfair.

Friday, June 4, 2010


When I first started blogging, I was hesitant to comment on blogs written by women who have been TTC for much longer than we have. Partly it was my own insecurity; I wasn't sure what I could offer to someone so far down the road. But I had also read a few blogs where people said they didn't appreciate comments from newbies on this journey, stating you can't understand what it is like to be 5 years into an IF diagnosis (or non-diagnosis) if you are only at month 6 or so. I figured it was better to not comment than to rile someone else accidentally.

So it is with some irony that I think about some events of the past few days. A couple that we were friends with in our previous city a few years ago recently moved to our current city. We were pretty excited when we heard because we like this couple a lot. It was a little disheartening to hear they would be moving with their new baby, but such is my life now. I was finally able to touch base with my friend after she settled in a bit and we met up for coffee (decaf of course for me) after work the other day. My husband couldn't go because he is taking classes at night, so her husband decided to sit this one out as well. She did bring the baby, who is cute and it wasn't that hard to see him actually.

Until she asked us if we were going to have a baby. I was honest and told her we've been trying for some time and are having difficulty. At first I thought she had a good reaction, asking some questions but then saying I didn't need to go into details if I didn't want to. She then revealed that they thought they had fertility problems and were just about to make an appointment to figure out why she was not pregnant when she got pregnant. I didn't know what to make of this. Maybe she did understand. She did try to call to see if it would be OK to bring her baby, although I missed that call. She didn't say how long they had been trying. Perhaps she is someone I can confide in about this.

I didn't want to be a downer on our first time seeing each other in a few years, so I changed the subject and we talked about happier topics for a few minutes. And then she asked how many kids we wanted to have once we were able to have them. Um, what?! Instantly I found myself becoming one of those bloggers I didn't like who insisted your ability to empathize was directly proportional to how many BFNs you had. My mind went back to her statement of their own struggles. She couldn't really think she knows what it is like to not be successful TTC when she didn't even make it to the doctor's appointment.

Now that I am out of that situation and have had time to reflect, I don't like what I thought at that moment. I don't want to discount the experiences of any woman or couple who has had their hopes dashed. Yes, the way I look at it now is much different than a year ago, but that doesn't mean the feelings that hope was slipping away was any less real. Maybe, if the opportunity presents itself again, I'll talk about IF with this friend again.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


My sister had a BBQ yesterday. I was looking forward it all weekend as I hadn't seen her or her family in a few weeks. Even though we were on our own little trip for the extra long weekend and had a good time, I was eager for this BBQ.

Until we got there. Then I wanted to be anywhere else. There were three other couples in addition to us and my sister and BIL. And about 10-12 kids altogether. It wasn't so much the kids themselves that got to me, but the whole situation of having families getting together and talking about their kids and family activities that they do. Comparing community pools, soccer games. Noticing how old my nieces and nephews are getting. Even the youngest is getting older so quickly and won't be too interested in playing with a baby should one come around anytime soon. I feel like life is passing me by.

I did make an appointment today with a new doctor. Hopefully a new direction will give me new hope.
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