Archive for May, 2008

Filed Under (Infertility) by catharine on 25-04-2007

So far so good with the Lupron–I have not cried uncontrollably at Weather Channel commercials that imply children may be swept away in their school buses by uncontrollable floods, nor have I fantasized at length about taking my husbands golf clubs and pounding a hole in the livingroom wall (I didn’t do these things while on Clomid last year, but someone I knew did, and it sounds terrible, doesn’t it?  poor girl–I feel sorry for her.).  I’ve even managed to stick a needle in my stomach every day for the past three weeks.  It doesn’t seem to be getting any easier–it doesn’t feel “normal”–but I manage to do it without much delay, so I feel triumphant.  I could be an IV drug user if I wanted to be, and now that I know I have that option, well, it’s just one less barrier.

You see that I put quotes around “normal” above.  This is because I have learned that infertility (IF) treatment has probably forever altered my perceptions of certain things.  What I used to find romantic has been forever altered–or at least expanded to include scenarios that formerly would have solicited only pity.  An on-line acquaintance told a story about her husband’s recent experience in the “collection room” that brought this into sharp focus for me.  The “collection room” is probably the sole reason the Vatican denounces IVF, but I think others have explained it better than I could since it’s primarily a man’s domain, so if you’d like a first person account, I’d suggest this one.  In fact, I recommend the entire blog–but let’s not get off topic.  So, the collection room is the obstacle course all men in infertile couples must successfully negotiate, and apparently it’s not as easy as it sounds.  Actually, this makes me happy.  I like to think that most men’s sexuality has more depth and substance than a 6X6 dingy room with a few used articles of porn.  That entire scenario seems like a cross between thirteen-year-old boys finding a stash of someone else’s Penthouse magazines in the bushes of some undeveloped housing project, and what I imagine is going on inside those tin-sided, windowless XXX-buildings that are tucked away in the trees off the side of the highway, miles away from everything else.  I assume the boys and men in these scenarios are hoping for something more, someday, and since the men in infertility clinics have presumably achieved this for themselves, I can imagine their chagrin. 

This is partially why my on-line friend’s story struck such a romantic chord with me.  They had arrived at the clinic separately, and he had been ushered into the infamous room to do his thing when she got a series of desperate calls from him–was she on her way, how far off, could she hurry up, he needed her, Now!  She arrived and attempted to be directed to him quietly, but the nurses in andrology labs are a unique breed–they’re hardened, caloused if you will–in fact, don’t date an andrology lab nurse–they ask painfully blunt questions without lowering their voices or batting eyelashes–they don’t even blink–it’s scary.  Anyway, she was loudly and publically ushered to her husband, whom she found dressed, collection cup in hand, looking disgruntled but grateful for her arrival.  They only had one old magazine and he couldn’t do it like that. 

Are those of you in normal relationships still waiting for the romantic conclusion?  That was it.  I know, I know….we’ve been permanently damaged, or maybe our standards have just been lowered…or warped.  I don’t know.  All I know is that I was not the only one sighing romantically at the story’s conclusion–so sweet.  They got to be together in that 6×6 dingy porn room.

Filed Under (Infertility) by catharine on 25-04-2007

Well, IVF has begun.  I thought I would post about it before the drugs run roughshod through my brain and I can’t think straight anymore.  I am doing the Long Lupron protocol, which, according to everything I’ve read, is not what someone with an elevated FSH such as myself should be doing; there’s a risk of over-suppressing the ovaries.  But, I’m in a study, and that’s what we’re all doing, and, well, you get what you pay for.  So, this protocol consists of several weeks of birth control pills that overlap partially with several weeks of Lupron shots, for a total of about 4 weeks of suppression before stimulation (don’t skip ahead, I’ll tell you all about the stimulating part shortly, but it’s not nearly as exciting as it sounds).  The suppression stops your ovaries from working.  Why this helps with IVF, whose main objective us ultimately to hyper-stimulate the ovaries, is not clear to me; it seems to be something akin to wiping the slate clean.  The reason it doesn’t work for folks like me is the risk of over-suppression.  Apparently my ovaries are heading towards retirement–they see the light at the end of the tunnel already, and if given the chance to sit and rest too long, may just decide not to stand back up again, as far as I can tell.  I can understand this.  This is the way I feel every time I go running.  Maybe this is why I have been making myself run lately, sometimes twice a day.  I’m trying to set a good example.  See, ovaries, I’m running too–if I can do it, so can you.

The reason I will soon be crazy is because of the Lupron.  Like Clomid (an evil drug I used a year and a half ago), it screws with your brain.  It’s part of the category of pharmacology called “brain screwing drugs” and I highly recommend avoiding them.  Anything designed to prevent your brain from being able to tell what’s really going on with your body, or otherwise trick your brain is going to make you feel weird.  The doctors will bury these side effects somewhere under “headache” and above “death” and you’ll either assume they’re exaggerating about all of it because if you really thought you’d die you wouldn’t be taking the drug, would you–but they’ve warned you so you can’t say they didn’t tell you–or your eyes will glaze over after the first several benign side effects and you won’t even get to the warning about it making you want to divorce your husband whom you thought you loved more than life itself two days ago, dye your hair black and move to Mexico–really, really want to do this, even while you cry about it.  My husband knows what to expect; that’s why he built me a deck.

deck railingYes, he’s outside now putting up the “safety railing.”  This, ostensibly, is to meet safety codes so my 13-month-old niece can safely play in our backyard, but really, he’s making sure I won’t escape.  Classes are over, summer is here, and I have nothing to do for the next several months but get barefoot and concentrate on getting pregnant, which will look to the outside world like reading books on the deck.  I think the deck furniture is his best attempt at simulating a Mexican hacienda, and who knows, after two weeks of Lupron, I may actually think I’m in Mexico. 

After my personality is suppressed into a quivering puddle of my former self, I will begin “stims.”  This is where you switch gears, stop tricking your brain into thinking there’s nothing going on here, nothing to see, go on about your way people….and start cracking the whip.  Yes, just when my ovaries think they have finally arrived, have kicked up their little follicle heals and started sipping on that margarita they’ve been eyeing the past 15 years or so, they’re going to get the shock of their lives and be expected to produce approximately two years’ worth of work in one month.  No more of this taking turns, you produce a follicle, I’ll produce a follicle, now one for me, one for you.  No, my daily injections will then switch from brain screwing drugs to ovary stimulating drugs–these I can deal with.  Better them than me.  And really, they haven’t been holding up they’re end of the bargain, have they?  Or so recent tests seem to suggest.  We’ve been ambiguously labeled “unexplained” but we’re all getting a little suspicious lately, what with the FSH (see previous “old hag” post) and all.  So, I can’t have too much sympathy.  You want an early retirement, fine, but you’re going to have to do a little over time now, buddies!  So, I will be injecting myself (or possibly my husband since he seems to enjoy this task, oddly, for one claiming to hate needles) with twice the normal dose of Follistim (FSH) and with Menapur (FSH and LH) for about a week and a half.

This should land me in Houston sometime mid-June.  I’ll talk more about that later.  There’s sure to be some unexpected twists in the road between now and then, so there’s no use laying down too many expectations.  In the mean time, I have stocked up on fluffy summer reading and am heading out to the deck to enjoy myself.