Friday, October 26, 2007

Clueless in California

I've been obsessed with FIRE lately, so not much time for blogging. We are about 1.5 miles from the Santiago fire in Irvine, California -- luckily, the wind has been blowing in the opposite direction, and we are not in any danger (knock on wood). So far, just stinky and smoky air (they actually passed out dust masks at my husband's work). My prayers are with those who have lost their homes, with those who have been evacuated and do not know if their homes are standing, and with the firefighters who are doing so much out here right now...

The nurse at my RE's office called me back the other day. We spent quite a bit of time going over my schedule, what happens next, upcoming appointments (my first one is on Nov. 5!), and how to contact the pharmacy for the medications. Basically, my husband and I have to come in for an ultrasound and blood work on Nov. 5, another ultrasound and a class on administering injectibles on Nov. 15, we start the injectibles on Nov. 16, and another ultrasound on Nov. 26. The scheduled retrieval day is December 7. Did I mention my parents will be in town, staying with us, for Thanksgiving? Nothing like a few hormone shots to spice up any family gathering -- it's going to be a circus!

Just as the nurse was about to hang up the phone, I mentioned the spotting again. She basically said that they couldn't know what was going on until the doctor examined me, which was going to happen on November 5 -- she blew me off again (this is the short version of the story -- I really don't have the strength or the patience to repeat it again here). Exasperated, I came home and talked to my husband -- he said we are not leaving the RE's office on November 5th until we have an answer to our satisfaction.

A few days later, we received the cost breakdown in the mail, with our payment due dates. There were no surprises, but it still gave me palpitations. I asked my husband, who is a CPA, if he would like to take care of the money aspect of it, and he jumped at the chance. Apparently, he wants to feel more involved in this process than simply being the "sperm and shot guy." It's perfect -- I don't care if I ever see those bills (math is not my strong suit, and money issues have always caused me huge stress). He's already started to make his IVF file, and he can make charts and spread sheets until his heart is content. It's a huge relief for me.

A few days after that, we received a packet in the mail. This one contained about 30 pages of consent forms, pamphlets on IVF, a medication card from the pharmacy listing all the medications and the cost, and a chart that was highlighted in different colors with different start dates for different medications. I looked at the chart and started to have flashbacks to my high school trigonometry class. My husband looked at it and decided he didn't like the RE's chart, and wanted to make his own. He has made it his mission to not only administer the injectibles, but to take charge of all the medication. I basically just have to show up and bare my ass (or whatever other part of my body gets injected --we haven't gotten to that part yet). I am absolutely thrilled that he is becoming so involved in this.

Speaking of medications, we had a good laugh at the medication card sent by the pharmacy. It looked like a takeout menu written in some strange language. If not for all the blogs I've been reading, the names of these medications would not have sounded the least bit familiar. I have no idea what any of this is for, what we're supposed to order, do we call them, or do they call us, etc. "I'll have the Lupron entree with some Gonal on the side." (Seriously, don't laugh -- I'm clueless...)

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Why, oh WHY, do symptoms of pregnancy mirror symptoms of PMS?? What kind of cruel joke by Mother Nature is that? Seriously -- the wait would be so much easier to deal with if, rather than sore breasts and moodiness, the telltale sign of pregnancy was, say, a cramp in your big toe, or blue mucous...

Yes, with everything else going on, I am still disappointed that I am not pregnant. The good news is that my husband and I have wholly re-committed to each other and to our upcoming IVF cycle. And that's a good thing.

So, I've been having that mystery spotting again. When I called my doctor last month (after spotting for 9 days), the nurse called me back and left me a message -- she basically said to call again next month if it happens again.

Well, it happened again. In a panic, I began taking my Vitamin B Complex again (after the nurse had told me not to take anything other than prenatal vitamins while TTC) and, surprisingly, the spotting stopped. If it's not a big deal, that's fine -- I just need some medical professional to tell me WHY it's not a big deal so I don't need to add the spotting to the list of all my other stressors in preparation for the IVF cycle.

So, I called my RE this morning, promptly as instructed, to let them know I was officially on CD1. I was told it was time to begin birth control pills. Now, I know they have told me this before, but it kind of slipped past me the last time. BIRTH CONTROL? Huh?? Will someone please explain to me how this works?

To make matters worse, when I went to the pharmacy to have the prescription filled, I was told that my new insurance from my new job doesn't cover the prescription -- they would have to send and authorization form to my RE, and they for sure would not hear back before tomorrow. They looked at me blankly when I told them I had to start TODAY, and I ended up just paying out of pocket. I guess it's really just a small drop in the IVF bucket.

I'm still waiting to hear back about the spotting. The receptionist says she put the proverbial note in my chart, they were "really busy" today, but Dr. Google has given me no insight, so I am forced to reluctantly consult with a less available professional. I just don't want to begin the cycle unless and until I can reasonably be reassured of the integrity of my uterus...

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The "F" Word

Fertility… Fidelity… Futility… I don’t really have anything to say on this – just that in rolling these words around in my head they all seem remarkably similar. It actually makes more sense talking about INfertility and INfidelity, at least in my life these days, but then I couldn’t use my “F” word and come up with a clever and witty title for my blog entry ;)

In any case, just when I thought I was safe (after all, I have so much on my plate these days it would only make sense to put the IVF issues on the back burner), infertility once again reared its ugly head. My husband and I had a really good weekend. Actually, it was a phenomenal weekend. We’re really making strides. I have a lot of hope for our marriage, but I’m just not THERE yet. We also spent a lot of time talking about our December IVF cycle. We decided to keep everything on schedule and, as it gets closer, make a determination as to whether or not we’re ready. We just want to be in a good place before we set off on that adventure. Not just because of what it will entail for our relationship, but the stress issues alone may be enough to warrant waiting. It made us both sad, just the thought of putting it off, and we haven’t made any decisions yet, but it seemed right that we were talking about it. Here’s the kicker – I asked him, “How would you feel if somehow we were able to conceive naturally this cycle?” (Like I said, we had a REALLY good weekend.) He said, “Well, I think that would be a wonderful, wonderful miracle.” I can’t reconcile the fact that we’re in a place where we can still hope for the miracle of natural conception despite the odds and our infertility issues, but we can’t commit to our IVF cycle because we’re not “there” yet. Technically, the ball is in my court with all of this, but I guess I’m not quite sure where “there” is. Now I’m rambling…

Anyway, strangely enough, we had our joint counseling session yesterday and our therapist asked us about our planned IVF cycle. It was interesting because we had only mentioned it once, during our first session, and it hadn’t come up since – now he was bringing it up right after my husband and I had the long discussions about it over the weekend. Normally, I appreciate the directness of our therapist, and I realize he doesn’t have a medical degree, but he was so ignorant of all the issues surrounding our IVF cycle. The discussion went something like this (and I’m only including the relevant portions):

“Is this the first time you’re going to be on fertility drugs? You haven’t done any cycles before?”

“It’s not just fertility drugs. I’m going straight to in vitro fertilization.”

“Interesting. And they never put you on fertility drugs before.” [This was a statement, not a question.]

“It would be pointless. My fallopian tubes are broken. My eggs are good [knock on wood], they just can’t get fertilized.”

“I don’t understand.”

“One tube points due north, and the other one is a tangled birds’ nest. We have no way of knowing where the egg goes once it’s dropped. I have the option of having surgery, but there are fewer guarantees with the surgery than proceeding straight to IVF. Even then, there’s less than a 50% chance, which decreases exponentially, especially once I turn 35.”

“How old are you now?”

“34. According to my doctor, a ‘solid’ 34.”

“Well, it’s not like your chances will suddenly drop off once you turn 34.6.”

“Tell that to my RE.”

“How old was your birthmother when she entered menopause?”

“She going through it right now. She’s 50.” [Sorry, folks – I left this minor detail out of my description of our meeting.]

“So you have another 16 years. What are you worried about?”

“Are you kidding me?”

“People have babies well into their forties all the time. Look at [insert name of various celebrities I was too irked to remember here].”

“Yes, but not necessarily with their own eggs!”

“Well, in any case, it won’t kill you to wait a couple of months, will it?”


“It’s not like you’re going to have to miss any work, are you?”

“Okay. Just so you understand – starting in mid-November, my husband and I will have to take classes to learn how to give me hormone shots…”

“…I thought you said you weren’t going on fertility drugs…”

“…They are to increase production of my eggs. I will have to be monitored by ultrasounds every few days, after which I will have to go in to have my eggs surgically harvested with a gigantic needle. Then they will be implanted back in me after a few days, and I will then have to be on bedrest for the better part of a week.”

“And it costs what? A few thousand dollars?”

[Laughter and snickering from my husband.]

“Try again.”

I’m not sure what it was about this whole exchange that set me off – I’m still trying to figure it out. But I keep replaying it over and over in my head and my gut reaction to it, whatever that may be, remains the same. I’m sad and frustrated and angry and confused, and I don’t know what else. I’m also feeling guilty and selfish that, in spite of everything else going on, I’m still thinking about the baby situation all the time.

A few weeks ago, I thought it would be a miracle if my husband and I could resolve our issues and get through this difficult time. Now, for the first time, I see that there is hope for us and for our marriage to be stronger than it ever was before. Is one more miracle too much to ask?


Sunday, October 7, 2007

The Meeting

I know it's been a while. Meeting my birthmother was such an incredible experience, I needed to sort a bunch of things out in my head before posting. We got to our hotel Wednesday evening(not last Wednesday, but two Wednesdays ago -- I know, it HAS been a long time), and I called her to see what time they wanted us to come over. I spoke to her husband, D. We spent some time tiptoeing around each other ("What time do you want to come over?" "I don't know, what time do you want us to come over?"), and ultimately decided to come over around 11:00 a.m. -- it wasn't too early, but it was late enough that we could leave after lunch if things weren't going well. I spoke with my birthmother, B, long enough to tell her how excited I was. She sounded remarkably nonchalant.

We arrived very close to 11:00 the next morning (my husband and I are nothing if not punctual). I had everything planned out -- I had picked up a card and stuffed bear for her before we left on our trip and, on our way to her house, I got a big balloon that said "Congratulations, It's a Girl." I figured it would be a good icebreaker. In any case, nothing went as planned, because they were waiting for us by the window, and ran outside as soon as we pulled into the driveway. I didn't know how I would feel at this very moment, but giving her a hug came naturally -- she and I both cried and our husbands both kept their distance (looking a little bewildered).

We spent a large part of the day just talking and staring at each other. We compared habits and idiosyncrasies (it turns out we both have the same Flintstone toes -- my husband couldn't believe it and kept taking photos of our feet). I was very close to asking her about the state of her uterus ("Which direction do your fallopian tubes point?"), but decided against it at the last minute. In the short time I've known her, which has been primarily through email, B has come across as a very unemotional and maybe even "hard" woman -- I found out when we met that she had actually been counting down the days and that it was taking everything she had not to burst into tears.

I told her of my journey and my search and she told me of her family. We went out to lunch together, and dinner, and spent some time just walking around the lake by her house, just talking. There were some awkward moments of silence where we just started at each other across the table, but those moments were few and far between. Overall the day was a success. We did talk about seeing each other again, maybe out in Louisiana for a crawfish boil with her family (as it turns out, my birth family is Cajun and my adoptive family is Jewish -- I am probably the world's first Cajun Jew!). We will play it by ear. Even if I were never to see her again, I think we both have closure now. We both have this very special day.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Going Back to Dallas

On Wednesday, we left for Florida to meet my birthmother (I say Wednesday because I’m not certain of the Internet access I will have once I get there, and I will likely have to do all my blogging offline and post later). I brought my husband with me. So far, it’s been a little emotional – back and forth between the anxiety I have about meeting her and all of the issues going on between my husband and I. I don’t regret bringing him, though – if we can manage to set our own issues aside, I can really use his support right now. This may even bring us closer together. As a safety net, he also told me if I feel uncomfortable at any time, he will be on the next plane back home. I have a feeling this will work out.

The plane ride was nothing short of remarkable for me – this is probably going to be difficult to understand, especially if you are not adopted, but I’m going to give it a try: I was born in Dallas and adopted by birth. I currently live in California and grew up in Florida, where my adoptive family lives. (I know – it’s a huge coincidence that my birthmother lives there now). I’ve never really been to Dallas, other than to change planes when flying to and from California. I have more souvenirs from the Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport – little things to remind me of “where I came from.” I would always wander around the airport, looking for someone who bore some familial resemblance. It struck me today, again wandering around the airport, that this was the first out of I don’t know how many times where I didn’t have that weird feeling. The irony was that I was on my way to go see her. It gave me goosebumps.

I couldn’t stop thinking about this on the plane the whole second leg of the trip. It was kind of overwhelming. I made some mental risotto (which, I’ve recently discovered, is a very effective meditation tool – kind of like counting sheep). I guess this journey has officially begun…