Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Escape to Tahoe

During the team retreats on the last morning, I noticed that a few other people were leaving early as they had flights to catch. I had booked my flight according to the schedule and did not think it would be advisable to leave early before the sessions were over. But...the boss said GO! I ran out, paid the $50 to change my ticket and caught the earlier flight.

K didn't know that I was coming in early, I totally surprised her!

The place we're staying is cozy w/ a kitchenette and even a gas fireplace. We've got a great view of the mountains right in front of us from the balcony!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Puffers Go Ski!

As I am the only one signed up for the skiing trip, I've been trying to get K to change her ticket and meet me in Tahoe Wednesday instead of Friday. That would give us an honest vacation and we'd have time to get some great skiing.

Since neither of us planned to go skiing for a week, this is all spur of the moment, but at 11pm she was packing and had changed her ticket ($75 ticket change when it was booked using frequent flier miles? Grrr....). I emailed the cat sitter and by tomorrow...I'll be with Puffer!

In other even stranger news...K mentioned to her father that we were going to go skiing in Tahoe and we find out that her aunt and her partner (yes, her aunt's gay, her dad's gay, her brother's gay--it's like the freaking GAY Brady Bunch) are skiing in Tahoe the same time.
Now, Tahoe's a big place, they could be anywhere...but no. They are not only staying in South Lake Tahoe, they are one mile away and they are in the lodge that I tried to book and it was full!
How crazy weird is that?

Edited to add: We visited her aunt and found out we have the same room numbers...weeiiird!!!

Beautiful Day in San Francisco....almost

All I wanted to do is have a nice walk about this morning. The rain stopped, the sun is shining, the sky is the most gorgeous color of blue! It was perfect!

Until I ran into the co-worker waving to me from a window inside a coffee shop. I should've just said hello and excused myself, but no, I sat down. I did not want to be rude. It's my own fault. I neither like nor dislike this particular co-worker, but we simply. don't. click.

Having a conversation that doesn't end feeling tense and weird is rare. Honestly, I think I'd rather have a tooth pulled out without Novacaine before spending another hour with said co-worker. OK, that's being totally dramatic. Maybe I'd rather go a morning without a cappuccino. Shit, I'm trying to get pregnant, I'm going to have to do that, aren't I?

It could be a long two days.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Skiing Solo

Well, it seems that everyone CAN'T just drop things at the last minute and go skiing in Tahoe.
Except me. I'm the only one to sign up for the team ski trip at the end of our retreat.
The plan was that we would car-pool next Wednesday night with people from our SF office to South Lake Tahoe. As a team, we would stay until Friday.
Based on this knowledge, I booked a lodge from Friday-Monday and Katie redeemed frequent flier miles for a ticket to Reno so we could have a long ski weekend.
I booked my ticket into SF, but out of Reno.

It's now the day before I am flying out to SF. I mention to someone in passing if they are going on the ski trip. They give me a quizzical look and reply "no, the ski trip was canceled because nobody signed up for it".
Heh, no one but me! They forgot to tell me the ski trip was canceled!!! Hello? I have a ticket out of RENO. I have a place to stay starting Friday. My partner is meeting me in Tahoe!
At the end of the day, my company agreed to pay for my plane ticket from SF-Reno and two nights lodging in Tahoe, plus some meals.

That's what you get for planning at the last minute, folks....

I'm going to see if K can come earlier...

Desperately Seeking Writer

I used to call myself a writer. I no longer do this. At University I was a Communications Major with emphasis on Journalism. I wrote all the time; at the newspaper, for local student magazines, papers, articles, etc. The year I graduated and decided to move to NYC, I was offered three different internships: OUT magazine, Paper and Time Out. I couldn’t take any of them because they were unpaid. I couldn’t afford to live without having an income. I had zero savings and 25K in student loans. At that point, my dream of moving to New York and becoming a writer was shattered. I realized that without a key internship I would have a next-to-impossible time getting hired at a magazine.

And so I came to NYC, but I moved on…working in non-profit, catering, advertising, finance; 10 years later and I’ve done a lot of things in NYC. But I haven’t done a lot of writing. Every year it is a New Year’s resolution and each year I fail miserably. IN 2008 I decided two things: I would write a blog about trying to get pregnant and life in general and I would take a writing class. Taking a class would also give me something else to focus on instead being obsessive about TTC.

My first class, Travel Writing, was this evening and I loved it! I’ve never been in an entire class full of people who would quit everything to go travel. They got it, this thing that I do; quitting jobs, taking leaves of absence, working freelance/temp assignments, saving all your money for ONE thing—the next big trip.

My mind has been jolted awake and my inner writer is coming back. I can’t wait to meet her again.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Oh The Mind Spinneth

I've been looking at the sticky note with my Clomid Challenge Test scores all morning long.
There is it, a pink square of paper that says "Here they are. Which way do we go now?"

Just as I reached for the phone, my mobile rang and what do you know but it's the good doctor himself calling me to talk about the scores.

My scores are good, they are in the normal range. I'm OK.
Except for that pesky score in December..... The number that set the panic button off and made me realize all of my carefully laid plans had suddenly been uprooted and I was now a bona fide member of the TTC (trying to conceive) rollercoaster.

He agrees, it's a mystery. That large of a jump just doesn't make sense. Since the first blood test was done at my OB/GYN and they outsource to Quest, it's possible it was a lab error. The others were done right at the VEFC (Very Expensive Fertility Center).

Or it could've been the stress that December morning. I was trying to catch a train to Boston and running late, I had to wait almost an hour at the clinic. I'd hadn't had anything to eat/drink that morning, my body was hyper-caffeinated from a giant could've been a lot of things.
Maybe my body felt old that month and my eggs were saying "don't pick me, I'm no good". I don't know.

Here's a re-cap of the scores.
  • January 2007 Score 8
  • December 2007 Score 21 WTF???
  • January 2008 Score 6
  • CCCT January 2008 Score 12.4
What will get me the quickest, healthiest baby with the least amount of money? That's what it really comes down to.
I'm a logical kind of girl and VID (Very Important Doctor) is a logical kind of guy. We work well together.
It seems logical to me that the answer is....IVF with donor eggs. Specifically, K's eggs which are eight years younger than my own.
While he's not pushing me in any one direction, he agrees with my logic.

Two weeks ago I thought I
couldn't use my eggs.
Score says "Egg Finish" "Ovarian Reserve in Short Supply!"
But's a whole new baby egg game.

I now have to figure out if it's a baby I want or if it's
my genetic baby I want.
To most women this is probably a no-brainer, but for's not that easy.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Perfect Uterus

Well, my eggs may be in bad shape (or not, who knows at this point...) but straight from Dr VID's mouth, "You have a perfect uterus".
Thank GOD. Something is going right! I might be pre-menopausal, but I can at least provide a good home for K's embryos and HAVE a baby!

I was a little nervous about the HSG (Hysterosalpingography) as I'd read that many women found it painful.

A hysterosalpingogram (HSG) is an X-ray test that looks at the inside of the uterus and fallopian tubes and the area around them. It often is done for women who are having a hard time becoming pregnant (infertile).

During a hysterosalpingogram, a dye is put through a thin tube that is put through the vagina and into the uterus. Because the uterus and the fallopian tubes are hooked together, the dye will flow into the fallopian tubes. Pictures are taken using a steady beam of X-ray as the dye passes through the uterus and fallopian tubes. The pictures can show problems such as an injury or abnormal structure of the uterus or fallopian tubes, or a blockage that would prevent an egg moving through a fallopian tube to the uterus. A blockage also could prevent sperm from moving into a fallopian tube and joining (fertilizing) an egg. A hysterosalpingogram also may find problems on the inside of the uterus that prevent a fertilized egg from attaching (implanting) to the uterine wall.

I did exactly what they told me to; ate something an hour in advance and took a few pain relievers like Advil.
I am quite fortunate that my RE does not trust the Xray technicians to do these tests and so he does them himself! I was there early and he brought me in 20 minutes ahead of schedule. I laid on the table, closed my eyes and started my meditation breathing exercises. I also had a 'theme song' playing in my head, something that I knew would keep me calm.
There was a little pressure, like having a pap and then perhaps a bit more pressure...but it was done before I knew it.
Dr. VID complemented not only my uterus, but my calmness and breathing practices!
Yeah for me!

One less test to worry about...and you may be thinking "why is she having all of these tests?"
Well, I am not clinically infertile--but if I am going to a fertility specialist, in order for my insurance to cover treatments--I have to claim infertility. And so, the tests...
Actually, I don't mind so much. I would rather have tests before I go through all of the trouble and make sure that all my girlie parts are in working order. It would really suck to try for 6 months only to find out you have high FSH or a less-than-perfect uterus causing your problems (and in our case, wasting LOTS of precious, limited insurance money).

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

San Francisco Bound

My company is really bad at planning. They wait until the last minute and then everyone runs around in a total panic trying to throw it all together. This is bad. This is stressful. This is not at all the way I live my life. I fear it’s the curse of non profits in general, but for the love of God, can you just think things out a little bit?

I’m a planner. My mom’s a planner. I love to research and make lists and research some more until I feel cross-eyed and then and only then do I feel like I can stop. You might also call it a bit obsessive.

We’ve just learned that our Director would like to have a weeklong team retreat in two weeks. In San Francisco. WTF? Hmmm? Do we not have lives? Could he really not give us a little bit more advance warning? I know in fact it’s been on his radar for a long time because he mentioned to me Oct. 30.

Seriously. That’s so many kinds of fuckedupness I can’t even tell you. It is nonprofit waste at its finest to buy last minute plane tickets for 22 people from NYC to SF, pay for our hotel, food, transportation and then a (this is an optional add on) couple of days skiing in South Lake Tahoe after the 3-day retreat. There are 3 people in SF, why don't they come here?

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Clomid Challenge

With my shockingly low new number (6) for the second FSH test yesterday, I thought maybe I should take the Clomid Challenge test. With an FSH score of 21 last month, this test was not worth taking as my FSH was so elevated.
The clomiphene citrate (Clomid) challenge test (CCCT) is a sensitive means to measure
ovarian reserve and is often conducted if the FSH level is 10-15 mIU/mL or the E2 is >65 pg/mL.
Clomid Challenge Test is routinely performed at clinics in women aged 38 years or older regardless of how the cycle day 3 levels look. This will identify patients with incipient ovarian dysfunction.

Starting tomorrow, I'll be taking Clomid for five days and then will take another FSH and E2 test the next day to see how my body responded to the hormone.

Learn more here:

Saturday, January 12, 2008

FSH #2

Tomorrow is Day 3 of my cycle and that means I get to spend my Sunday morning (between 7-9am) sitting in a fertility center waiting room. I can't think of better times.

But seriously, I'm trying to be really positive about it. There are lots of things to be positive about and I have decided to go that route rather than focus on how bloody early and cold it is.

I'm dragging K with me by tempting her with this great brunch place we've always wanted to try in the neighborhood. We've never made it there b/c by the time we get up there, they have a line 20 deep and a wait of up to 2 hours. Welcome to New York City some might say. I say, no thanks. But I figure since we'll be there by 9am (or before!) we should have no problems getting in.

I have a strategy for weekend doctor's visits:

  • Get up early enough to walk to the Clinic. I hate being late and I hate rushing. It gets me all worked up and stressed out.
  • Go have a great breakfast afterwards
  • See a movie. That's right, the movie theater nearby shows the first show of every weekend at a discount price ($6!). I never knew this. I think I'll see a movie every weekend even if I don't have to go to the Clinic.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Consultation with the RE, Dr. VID

Trying to Impress Mr. VID (Very Important Doctor).

Everyone told me that I would have no problem getting pregnant. "Oh you look so young and you are so healthy, I'll bet you get pregnant on the first try." I was a bit more skeptical. My eggs don't care if I look my age and I don't think they care that much if I drink wheatgrass at age 38. It's not not they are hanging out saying, "Dude that was so healthy and good for us, we're taking on the chromosonal characteristics of a 20-year-old."

That would be nice, but um, no.

Today was the big day, meeting Dr. VID. He was shorter than I thought. Direct, but in a nice way. I had basically given myself a crash course in Fertility 101 in the three days prior to meeting him since my bad FSH test scores came back last Friday.

Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) is a hormone synthesised and secreted by gonatropes in the anterior pituitary gland. FSH and LH act synergistically in reproduction.

  • In women, in the ovary, FSH stimulates the growth of immature Graafian follicles to maturation. As the follicle grows, it releases inhibin, which shuts off the FSH production.

High FSH levels

High levels of Follicle-Stimulating Hormone are indicative of situations where the normal restricting feedback from the gonad is absent, leading to an unrestricted pituitary FSH production. Whereas this is normal in women leading up to and during postmenopause, it is abnormal during the reproductive years.

If the FSH level is high during the reproductive years, this may be a sign of:

  1. Premature menopause also known as Premature Ovarian Failure

My weekend was spent surfing the internet looking for ANYthing that would give me some encouragement that an FSH of 21 at age 38 wasn't bad news. I didn't find any hope. What I found were three fat letters. I.V.F. (In Vitro Fertilization)

And not just IVF, because a score of 21 is saying "decreased ovarian reserve"....but IVF with donor eggs.

Nothing like bypassing everything and just going for the most invasive thing possible, eh?

Of course, that's not the only option. A 38-year-old with an FSH can most certainly get pregnant on her own and give birth to a healthy child. It happens. If I were with a male partner, I could just 'keep on trying'. But because every time I have to 'keep on trying' it will require doctor's visits, drugs and the purchasing and shipping of donor sperm, those tries end up pretty costly. And it could take a really long time. I don't have a lot of time. I've already been waiting years, I would've like to have started this process a couple of years ago when a little voice went off in my head that said "My eggs are depleting as I stand here".

But, that's not the way things worked. There were a lot of other things going on, like the fact that I was backpacking around South and Central America and didn't really have a job...that prevented me from having a child at that point. We weren't ready. Our lives weren't ready. K was in grad school.

So we waited...for both of us to get our lives on the baby track.

Finally, we both felt it was the right time, we could do this, we were ready.

Only to find out...maybe it's too late.

Maybe it's done before it ever even started.

Maybe I wasn't meant to have children?

I mean, really, what does it mean?

All I do is listen to the soundtrack from the movie Amelie and dance in my living room.

Sometimes K comes out from the office and we dance together or I'll pick up the cat (but he doesn't seem to enjoy it nearly as much as I do).

I can't get enough of this soundtrack, especially the track "A Quai". It makes me swoon. If you haven't seen the movie, you really should.

It's happy and melancholy at the same time.

Mostly, it makes me smile a silly lopsided smile and keep dancing.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

History of Us--How Did We Get Here?

Pufferfish (39) and Chicken (32), live in NYC and travel every chance we can.  We are in an 9 1/2-year relationship and have been TTC for 18 months.  Perhaps we started too late.  After 8 IUI's, 1 BFP, 1 m/c, 2 failed/cancelled IVF cycles, I've given up on my own eggs, but not my body.
We finally switched to using my (younger) partner's eggs.
On my 40th birthday, June 6, 2009 we did the transfer of 2 perfect blasts that resulted in 2 perfect babies.
The pregnancy was without major complications until the end.
My 38 week due date was Feb. 6, 2010 but my body had other plans as I developed pre eclampsia and then HELLP syndrome.
My twins were delivered at 35 weeks, 5 days via C-Section at 5:53pm Jan. 21, 2010.  After a brief overnight in the NICU for Max and a night in the transitional nursery for Sebastian, we were all reunited the following day and came home 3 days later.