Saturday, May 17, 2008

Still over at wordpress..

Hi All,

I am still enjoying it over at ... It was super easy to import over my old posts and I am finding it much easier to write and post without accidently losing posts before I publish.

I was going to try to import back my most recent posts over at wordpress, but couldn't sort out how to do it. Any hints?

The only thing I am missing is my google analytics - but I guess a worthwhile trade off for not losing a post every second attempt at posting.

Hope all is well,

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Relocating for a bit

Hi all,

I am going to give wordpress a go for the next wee while. To keep reading, go to

I may or may not end up coming back here, but for now I'll be posting over there. I think it may be time to start having the option of password protecting posts occasionally. I also am getting frustrated with a few of the blogger glitches.

Looking forward to seeing you over there,


Saturday, April 12, 2008

News from the egg donor front

So this last fortnight has been a wave of emotions for me... and I suspect that adjusting to the birth control pills only added spice to the experience.

First off we decided to take a wild leap and leave our wonderful apartment for a rental in the outskirts of town. Country living sounds great, but its been ages since I've actually done it (and more importantly the added driving requirements). This led to some stomach wringing anxiety, excitement, and lots of anticipation! I was practically vibrating as I flung myself into finalizing the move.

More importantly, movement has happened on the whole egg donor front. After I heard my best friend's news, I found myself at my another friend's house – the one who offered to donate awhile ago. We talk about lots of things, and I really appreciate that she is letting our friendship continue to evolve irrespective of her amazing offer. Over tea, I mentioned mybest friend's pregnancy and how I was surprised on how mellow I felt about it.

The next day I received a wonderful email from mydonorating inclined friend sharing all sorts of information that I was planning to ask her about as soon as I had made some headway through the grieving process over my failing ovaries. She volunteered information regarding her own fertility and medical history and other details that she felt that she would want to know herself if she was considering an older egg donor.

That afternoon I also received a letter from my fertility doctor in response to a letter I had sent only a few days prior saying that I had a donation offer. The letter outlined next steps and made it easy to respond to my friend's email.

Two days later while I was off at a conference, unbeknownst to me, my friend was having her FSH levels tested. In the middle of a brutal meeting, I got a text message from her sharing the results... I have never been so excited by a single digit number in my life. At 39 her FSH was lower than mine had ever been in my twenties! I was twitching with nerves at that point. Suddenly all of this no longer seemed theoretical. I could actually try to conceive. I could be a parent in the next year even! And boy oh boy do I need to get my head sorted about how I felt about the emotional aspects of egg donation.

In 72 hours I had gone from a holding pattern with no obvious transition point to actually planning doctor appointments with my friend!

I've often been told not to make any major decisions whilst grieving...

In fact several years ago, I choose not to switch jobs once because of this (a dear dear friend had died and I decided that I 'ought' to wait to leave my job until I was in a 'better' place griefwise...), a decision that felt wrong at the time and continued to feel wrong for years later.

I promised myself that I would never blindly follow that advise again. I'm starting by embracing the upcoming move to the countryside--even if it comes at a time where I am desiring stability and safety as my world seems to churn under foot.

Now I am also heading down the egg donor path (keeping a backdoor open for now) with as much confidence as I can given how overwhelming, exciting, hopefully, terrifying, and unknown as it is.

following directions...

So I've been following directions with the whole birth control thing. Taking the pill each and every morning around 7:30. Keeping track of any side effects.

And this time around some things are better:
  • sex drive has not been completely squashed - minus the initial emotional elements related the knowing that as shot as my ovaries are, that on the pill there really is no chance of any fertile outcomes for the time being

But I must say I am not impressed with the following:

  • spotting each and every day

  • cramps each and every day
  • breast tenderness that makes me vigilantly guard against any bumps, brushes, or most of my tops

  • anxiety that is hard to calm myself through

  • occasionally searing pains when my stomach tightens

This isn't anything I should be worried about, is it? Particularly the last one.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Yeah!!!! Nay...

Today my best friend called. I knew she was calling to tell me she was pregnant. The last 7 days I've just had this sense. I guess others did too, because her dad told her to take pregnancy test (she was in need of some pain meds for an injury).

I was surprised at my reaction -- I was completely ecstatic. I put on happy music and wrote her a card. I even tracked down her new address in my vast inbox. She may come visit me so that we can share the experience a bit in person together. She asked me about whether anything had happened with my local friend who offered to donate. Turns out that yes, today in fact I sent a letter to the clinic today asking about whether its a possibility.

And mostly I was just so relieved that she is not going to have to go through what I am going through. And that she is still the most wonderful friend and will support me in my journey.
She was convinced that it would take her at least a year to get pregnant. To her credit, several teachers at her school are going through treatments – My friend is observant and generous and helps cover things discretely if people need to pop out for a minute. Her sister in law has been dealing with this for years. My friend is not taking this pregnancy for granted.

I was convinced it would take her a month. She asked why... well this is is a woman who's cycle is SO regular and powerful, that MY cycle always synced up with her whenever I spent more than a week around her. Even last year when I was home for the holidays, with my FSH was skyrocking and my mood was hitting bottom having just learned my diagnosis, my period arrived --- just as the supplies for hers appeared on her bathroom sink. Skip progesterone to induce a period... my friend has always had just as much power over me.

Somehow this lead to some less than brilliant logic that if she is capable of controlling my cycle... well perhaps I could somehow magically be pregnant. Really I just needed any excuse to pee on the only remaining stick left in my house before we shift to a new apartment later this month. One line. No surprise. But what was different was how calm I was. I just chucked it in the trash. It was the only time my husband has ever watched me use a pee stick. He was a bit taken back that I didn't wait longer, stare more closely, or talk back to the stick more. I just shrugged realizing that mostly I just wanted some small way to be a sister-in-arms with my best friend. I may never get to directly experience what she is now experiencing, but damn it I can aim and pee on a 1 cm stick with the best of them!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The ups and downs...

Last night was an up

I was invited to have dinner with dear friends and their kids. They were having over a lovely couple and son. I was there during the build up of excitement of company arriving. The kids were eagerly waiting by the window. The mom was fruitlessly encouraging them to pick up their toys. The dad was baking some yummy smelling bread.

The other family arrived. My husband too a bit later when he finished work for the day. The food was wonderful. The kids were funny and honest about their opinions about the food. They tried to sneak inappropriate jokes into the table conversation. The adults collectively groaned. The kids eventually were allowed to be excused, and the adults chatted for hours over drinks, then tea, then whiskey. The kids fell asleep in a pile of blankets and pillows in the living room.

I was so happy. There is an energy about multigenerational gatherings like this that I love. I crave and savor these moments. My entire life was full of them, my mom was a master of creating holidays and gatherings. Then I left home at 18 to venture off to university. I am only now building a community of friends with kids and friends who still live near their parents.

I realized that one thing I was grieving was not having these gatherings in my life if I never get to be a parent. It was a relief to know that I was still part of the fabric of life last night. My shitty ovaries don't have to bare me from these moments.

Flash forward to today...
Today sucks...
I woke up and was just wanted to curl up and cry. So many stressful things on my to do list. Taxes in 2 countries. Donor recipient profile to finish up. Letters to doctors to write. Housecleaning. Learning that my mother must have received the email that she didn't reply to because my accountant back home (a family friend) referred to it. I need to call my mom about some tax stuff, but really I just want her to mother me through the afternoon, even though I suspect she can't.

Its a day of sad music. Wine with breakfast. Lots and lots of hot sauce on that breakfast. A very very empty house. Phone calls reaching out to friends... all of whom I ended up not being able to say anything to.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Thurdsay, Friday, Saturday... the days of the week go round and round all month long

I finally did it, I popped open the pack of birth control and took my first bite of sugar coated hormones. And really I feel exactly the same as I did the day before I started taking them.

I still am occasionally bicckering with my lovely husband who can't seem to do anything around the house at the moment with his crazy hours thanks to a huge project deadline at work (note to others.. if you ever want to pick a fight with me, wait silently practicing the line 'i can't' in your head until I arrive home after a horrid day at work, after I scrap myself off the floor and go grocery shopping, and make dinner, and start cleaning up, and then wait until I ask a 2 minute task of you, and lay your line on me... for good measure continue to repeat the phrase 'i can't' when I ask you for a neck rub, to bring your plate to the sink, and to tell me about your day. )

Well a few things are different than I remember from taking the pill years ago:
  • I am experiencing some lovely stomach cramps -- fun!
  • Its much easier to remember to take the pills at the same time everyday now that I'm not a college student - whohooo, I must be developing a touch of responsibility!
  • Sex while taking them is not a huge relief, instead it brought on sobs. I felt completely empty and barren inside and was really shocked by the intensity of this reaction, which of course only amplified it. Wasn't exactly what my husband was looking for either I suspect:)

Perhaps this 3 months will buy me some quality time to come to terms with my thoughts and feelings on my premature ovarian failure. I think I have a long ways to go. I never promised I'd handle this gracefully (though I think had lots of internal hopes for myself).

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Today I relaxed... with a deadline. I only had one last afternoon alone at my friend's house.  She kindly lent me a key while she was on an exciting vacation with her family.

I drink tea
Knitted another 10 rows on my first sweater/jumper
And listened to some NPR online.

Ah.. I always like a good Teri Gross interview.  My favourite of all times was seeing her live interviewing Ira Glass from This American Life.  But her interview with Peggy Orenstein went well with my tea and knitting today.

So now a period means time to start birth control... never before were those things linked in my mind

My period has arrived. Well I think it has. Several days of spotting and the sense that Niagara Falls is imminent. I no longer know what to think about my body. Is it a 'real' period? Is it just some break through bleeding? Estrogen withdrawal? Do I bother continuing with my very abreviated form of charting- and really what do I write for the things I am observing?

What does it matter other than I really would love to be able to understand what is happening in my body? And be clued in enough to sieze an ovulatory moment should one appear.

It does very much mean I need to decide whether to start with birth control pills. I was directed to start within a week of getting my period. I've had 2 doctors say that its worth a shot. 3 months on the pill then withdrawal from it to see if the sudden change in hormones convince my ovaries to get busy. Long shot of long shots.

I guess the BCP suppress the FSH and ovaries and gives everyone a vacation - 'cept me who would need to buy them and remember to taking them (not really a challenge, I just have always hated how I feel on the pill).

I've been thinking of FSH as a person trying to get their spouse to tell them where they are. They call out, 'hey where are you?” no answer. So they say it louder. They text them. They start banging pans. Eventually they start screaming and stomping and having a complete meltdown – because well FSH is only so sophisticated, and it just ratchets things up and up and up. Eventually the message gets through...they hear the response they want... and then they stop till the next time.

But if I were my eggs, I'd totally refuse to respond to that level of meltdown and craziness. I'd hold out of a calmer, less frantic summoning. I mean really would you respond that level of demanding tantrumming?

But then again, if none of my eggs are responding to my FSH levels at 50, doesn't that mean all the others are just too damaged, old, or slow to even notice lower levels of FSH? Just as when you start losing you hearing, it doesn't matter how hard you try or how nice that little beep is presented, until it is loud enough you can't physically hear it - that is that.

Yeah, guess I should stop fretting about the BCP decision and focus on finishing up the donor recipient profile. Which means getting off our computers, getting out, and getting a current photo of us together looking happy and fun during some shared activity. Cuz yeah we actually are fun and happy when I'm not off on my own fretting about WHAT TO DO about THINGS outside my control.

Friday, March 21, 2008

the lady

I was at a luncheon recently. And as one might expect there was heaps of lovely food laid out and great coffee and of course there was also a lady -- one with opinions, lots of them. I am too am opinanated - so I try not to judge this trait in others. Sometimes I postively relish listening to others pontificate their views --- and sometimes I, well, don't.

The Lady O'Opinions is of an age where I secretly think 'hey, we're both menopausal, but I'm the only one that knows it.' Yes I know... its a weird game I play in my head. I think its a bit like when you are a young child who has just realized that all these grown ups in your life have sex, probably - shock of all shocks- repeatedly and therefore must enjoy it, and you torture yourself for awhile trying to make it true in your head. Or was that just me...

Well one of this lady's opinions was that expecting parents really ought never to learn the sex of one's babies before the birth. That it completely takes the surprise out of it... something about that what everyone is dying to know is whether its a boy or a girl.. that there really isn't any news quite like that.

What I thought was what I want to know is are breathing and healthy! Do they have a cleft palate? Was there any internal bleeding? Heart defects? Motor issues? Hearing loss? (okay this is because of my clinical training that these things all pop in my head--sorry folks out there that already have too many things on their worry list – I used to only worry about the things that can go wrong once a baby is born, and was fairly unaware of the things that can go wrong before. Ah now I can worry from all angles!). I would probably would opt to not know, but not because I want to maintain the element of suprise for the world at large!

And then I thought, and nearly blurted out, if I actually get pregnant, the delivery is when I will get to know what colour my baby is.... cuz last I checked ultrasounds show morphology not colour.

... this is probably related to the fact that I haven't yet decided on how to answer the question on the donor recepient profile: "please circle all of the following that are acceptable for you in a donor" and then lists of skin, hair, and eye colour; height options, options for build... it is that not the most bizarre multiple choice ever! Talk about a test you can't study for....

Yeah, probably good that I bit my tongue on that one. I guess I could spin it either way --- the sadness of not having a child who is genetically tied to me and all my family before me OR that I would get to look at that oh-so-theoretical baby with completely fresh eyes. I mean forget the surprise of what sex the baby is.--that's nearly a 50:50 (yeah my work has taught me about the sliver between those two 50's too, but let's ignore that for now)--if we go with donor eggs, we might not have any idea about what our baby's skin, nose, or eyes will look like.

That could be a turly amazing gift.

I wouldn't be looking for glimmers of me in his or her face, I would just be completely open to seeing the humanity passed down from generations of people not related (and quite possibilty a few from way back that are) to me into this one very new person.

Hmmm... I wonder what that would be like. To watch a child grow up and getting to see them
without any preconcieved notions of what they will look like..... no back cover, book jacket flap, reviews, blurbs --- nothing but a human life unfolding one day at a time. Just letting their physical appearance evolve as a surprise. Just as we often do with personality, interests, vocabulary, and all the other ways children suprise us by showing who they really are (and how different that can be from our expectations - even when we think we have none).


Thursday, March 20, 2008

When feeling low.... seek words

In spite of the much appreciated relief at tossing the HRT last week and the lovely weekend of real fun, this week has been a mini-hell for me. I say mini, because I realize it is nothing compared to all the losses and battles and struggles of others, but I think I positively reeked of depression all week.

This made for really crappy interactions with friends, family, and my poor poor workmates. Oh have I mentioned that when I'm in a foul mood I develop a scowl that only true friends properly read as “oh that is just what her face DOES when she is fighting back tears or is super preoccupied with the mental battle of how do you expect me to care about trivial things about when I feel like shit about big things!” I don't want to be grumpy at work, but my motivation level has been ... well subpar these past few days.

A friend asked if I was eating or sleeping well. She has a pysch background. I have enough of one to know why she was asking. I replied that I eat when food is put in front of me. This has worked out nicely for me -- she has slipped some amazing dishes under my nose this week. I ate and she listened to my silence and she will be a friend of mine forever and ever. I will thank her later when I start talking and being social again.

I am a lump right now. My husband is working insane hours. I hurt one of my legs so I can't really walk or do sports or get out. I am craving exercise and sweating and the mind clearing power of feelign one foot fall against the ground then another and another and another....

Its a 4 day weekend and all my friends are off having adventures with their young, carefree friends or they are off to the hills/beaches/rivers/lakes/relatives with their young kids. I am watching my husband frantically work on a deadline on his computer.

And so logically I tried to imitate his behavior. But all I can do is frantically click through blogs and other corners of the Internet. Probably not as impressive as his work, but I did find some really great things today.

I stumbled upon “why not me” and her post about coming to decide to go with egg donors. Not only was it a great post, but the comments sections was a treasure trove of others who having gone done the donor egg path (or like me are thinking about it)

Which lead me to this post writen by Julia at A little bit Pregnant

I also started recognizing other people's voices as I read through the comments... little thoughts of 'hmm she really sounds like ___, oh wait it is!”

And that made me feel a lot less alone in my lump like state.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Ah, the relief of action

I pulled myself together long enough to finally do something.

I started with the basics - laundry, shopping, feeding myself, and a nice long shower (not necessarily in that order)

Then I decided yesterday that I am not going to start my HRT.

I am a person who likes to hear advice, so long as it is said in a way that I can clearly do what ever I want. I actually prefer it to the vague 'listen to your heart only you know what's best for you' Well duh --- but I much prefer someone saying, what about x, and me reacting to it, rather than always having to come up with x by myself. Sometimes I do not realize how strongly I feel for or against something until its suggested by someone else.

On that note, I have one friend who is not afraid to share her opinions. She also does this in a way that is easy to dismiss or embrace as I see fit. Yesterday she sent me a txt asking how I was doing, and somehow after a few txts back and forth she said that she didn't think I should take the drugs unless there was a postive reason to do so and that I could always change my mind later this year.

I instantly realized that I felt exactly the same. That like her I'd prefer to err on the side of more dr opinions and fewer interventions... that I'm lucky that I have enough bone density to risk losing a bit while I have a good long think. Hearing someone give me permission to do what I wanted to, not by saying 'do what you think is best' but saying 'if I were you I'd think about doing x' and that happened to be what I was wanting to do.

And this wonderful relief washed over me. I felt so good that today I was able to calmly pick up the phone and inquire about adoption. I also wrote the donor egg nurse about whether my 39 year old friend is eligible to donate.

I feel like a three year old who's just done some big thing for the first time and want to jump up, hands in the air, and shout 'I did it I did it'

What exactly I did I don't know, but I feel strong and calm again with my connection to my heart and body semi-restored. And to celebrate, I threw some of music on my side bar... just hit pause if it annoys you.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

HRT, eh?

So I bit the bullet and filled my HRT prescription. I wasn't all that satisfied with my prescribing doctor, but all the doctors I've spoken with are pretty much in accordance that I need estrogen. You know, bone loss, dementia, Parkinson, and other risks of going without it.

So I went and got some.
You know in case I actually came out of my depressed state long enough to risk adding hormones to the mix.

But then I read through the 'brief summary of important information' that came with the pills. It really was rather lengthy.

There were lots of comments about telling doctors that you are 'on birth control pills' at least 4 weeks before any surgery. Funny all those years on the pill I never realized that it was so important for everyone to know this... hmmm

But the comments that I did not find funny at all were:
  • “don't use if pregnant or think you are pregnant”
  • don't get pregnant while using this medicine, if sexually active use non-hormonal contraception eg Condoms” (boldface theirs, the only other section in bold on the entire leaflet was advice to NOT taking birth control as well as HRT)
  • There is also a helpful note that 'This is not a contraceptive medicine.”
Condoms --- you got to be joking! That is a pretty big side effect for me, right up there with risk of rare blood clots and remembering to eat daily reminder of your body's lack of estrogen.

I was assuming that my doctor understood that I was hoping against hope to get pregnant... I mean she did ask, as a side note, if I was having any trouble with grief. She said that HRT shouldn't impede ovulation if you end up miraculously ovulating. She shared her opinion about donor eggs. So clearly in my mind, she heard at least part of what I was saying, and I assumed that she could make the jump that if woman is considering going on the donor egg wait list she PROBABLY is not using condoms or other non-hormonal means of avoiding pregnancy.

As you can imagine this was a slight distraction to my day. I skipped out on work. I bought ice cream. I waited in line to buy tickets to the 3 pm movie. I lied to my receptionist when they called asking if I was willing to come back to the office to help with what turned out to be a needless task. I said yes, and walked back to the office. Probably not a great movie, oh well.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Beach wanderings

Today I was even more down then yesterday. Went to walk on the beach, and just sort of collapsed.  I must have sat there for an hour... or more... or less. Really have no idea.  I left when I noticed that it was dark and cold outside.

I honestly don't know what is getting to me more, the HRT that I am now required to take (and I completely can't get my head around) or the inferility.  I feel like the two sides of a dead fish keep slapping across my face, just as I am realizing what hit me, the other side is greeting me.  

I feel so guilty for feeling so bad when my loss is well ... I don't know.... it just seems so invisible and so  small compared the huge losses of so many others.  During the day I meet families whose children have disabilities.  There is often grief there.  At night I come home and read everyone's blogs - more grief.

And I still haven't filled my prescription for the damn HRT.  It just fills me with dread.  I know it's not for life (just the next 2 decades.... argh!). I know I can take breaks. I know I can change prescriptions.  But I also know I really don't want to. I don't want to have to. I don't want the daily reminder that I waited too long.  That I don't even get a chance to try with my own eggs.  We weren't even TTC while I was still fertile.    That I freaking am menopausal before my 30th birthday.  And I'm so flat I can't even get angry.  I just let that stupid fish keep slapping me upside the head.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Plodding along

Today was a day of one foot at a time, plod plod plod ahead, next up dinner prep. No reason to be down, just am.

I tried to reach out to a few people

Friend: had friends over and couldn't talk
Parent: appearently didn't get, didn't read, or didn't know what to do with the email I bravely wrote
Parent-type figure: recommend some scientology book

At which point I told my husband, well I guess it worked for Katie. She married short and crazy and she now has baby and funds. Then looked at my shortish hubby and said, I tried that. He laughed and laughed, which only made the tears shake out as I joined him in the sillys.

Friday, March 7, 2008

signs of hope, denial, or the unknown

Back a few years I read Taking Charge of Your Fertility as if it was a page turner. I knew it wasn't going to make me any more fertile, but I loved the idea that I could start understanding my body more.  I wanted to see signs and then fit them into a pattern, even if my pattern doesn't fit the norm at all.  

More importantly I really wanted to know if I ovulated or not and how to make sense out of my 2 week to 4 month long cycles.  Never really did, but I started to love and listen to my body more than I ever had before.

Flash forward to today.  The doctors say I am perimenopausal... ovaries are in their last twitches of functioning etc.

But I still feel that I am fertile.  I don't know what I actually mean by this. I'm grieving as though I don't believe it at all, but I still feel sexy and young and vibrant and have periods occasionally.  And if I truly didn't want a child I would opt for contraception because I am not 100% convinced that I can't conceive.  It makes for a mess of emtions that are overwhelming me at the moment.

All in all, it was a good day to stumble upon this post over at the Sluggish Butterfly  talking about intituion and wondering if you are fertile.  Maybe I'm not crazy after all. 

For tonight, my goal is not to worry about whether its hope, denial, or truth. If I feel fertile, I am just not going to worry about it. There is so much roled into that word, so much more than whether you'll be holding a baby a year from now, and for the next 24 hours I'm going to do my darnedest to not worry about how much (or little) I fit into all the aspects of the word fertile.

A simpler pattern

Well after reading the most recent post over at Her very Own, I realize that the pattern I've noticed in myself when seeing doctors has actually simplified since I left the States.  

I may be a bit down at the moment, but find solace in having left the US system behind.

I can't even put into words the relief of no longer battling the 3rd party payer system as part of every medical appointment. Actually whenever I could afford to I just skipped the stress of the battle and paid out of pocket. I could only really do that for a few second opinions here and there and may be PT appointments for a sports injury, but the healing process is so much better when not tainted by the insurance companies. It also meant I didn't completely lose my ability to go to the doctor.

I know I was playing right into the insurance company's game... I paid premiums in case of a catastrophic health issue or accident, but rarely had them pay for anything because the process was too much for me to handle, particularly when I was incapacitated with illness. They win, I lose.

One day I tried to make them pay. I was sick. Very sick with a flu bug that had transformed my body into a spewing distaster zone. One of the facilities I consult to required me to have a doctor's note to justify my absence.

I should have just shown up, I think the average lay person could see me puke a few times and 'diagnosis' me as ill, but the site was an hour away and my doctor's office only a 10 minute drive.

I arrive, check in, and find out that my appointment is with a different doctor because my primary care doctor (the only doctor I've ever really trusted after years of searching) has left the practice. Okay, I am sad, but I feel pretty sure that ANY doctor can handle this situation. I run to the bathroom, retch a bit, then come back to the waiting area. I then am called up to the main desk. Turns out I can't be seen until I switch my primary care doctor to the lady I am going to be seeing. Fine, can you do that for me? I manage to ask. Nope, only I the patient can change my primary care doctor. The receptionist lady was kind enough to dial the number, but then I had to stand there on hold for 20 minutes with my insurance company. They eventually answer, I play 'pass the words' game between the receptionist and the insurance company while I clutch a plastic bag to my chest in case I start to throw up again.

Insurance company: so you want to change primary care doctors?
Me, weekly: Yeah
Insurance company: Why?
Me to receptionist: um why did my doctor leave
Receptionist: we are not at liberty to say
Me to Insurance Company: Sorry, I don't know
Insurance Company: Can you ask someone at the practice?
Me: Yeah, I just did, they don't know.

Pause as they type lots and lots

Insurance company: Who are you switching to?
Me: Just a sec
Me to receptionist: Um, who am I seeing today?
Receptionist: Dr _____ ( a name I completely can't pronounce)
Me: Um could you write that down for me?
Me to insurance company: Just a second, I am finding out

It goes and on and on, and eventually everyone is happy, 'cept me. I ended up not liking this doctor and had to change doctors again before my next appointment. And honestly I would have paid a couple hundred bucks to be seen for 15 minutes and skip this ridiculous phone conversation in front of the entire waiting room while stressing out about what to do if my stomach started churning again. Why the receptionist wasn't allowed to make the phone call for me I don't know.

At least now I can't skip this layer of frustration and just dive straight into the emotions of not having answers as to the best way to take care of my health, not understanding what my body is and isn't doing, getting the sense that the doctors think that I'm just a simple, cut and dry case that doesn't require any thought, and hearing yet again that it would be a bloody miracle for me to get pregnant.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

A think I detect a pattern

Its a pretty simple pattern:

  • Pre-appointment 24 hours - anxiety and lack of productivity
  • Appointment - disappointment, boredom, confusion, in ability to be anything but passive
  • Post-appointment walk to car - boiling blood and rage
  • Post-car collapse in car seat - raging tears and swears and repeated use of the words dumb/stupid
  • Rest of day - emotional puddle of anger, tears, and frustration
  • A few days later - back to 'normal' knowing nothing more, having nothing new to 'do'
  •  and nothing to show for the exhausting ride I just went on.

Until the next appointment.  This is why I stopped getting bloodwork a few years ago, stopped seeing my endo, etc.  I just got sick of losing so much of my life to this pattern without any feeling of progress.

My doctor even forgot to give me the free HRT drugs that she promised during the consult.

I can't believe I paid $180 today to feel this shitty.  

I can't believe I am still blindsided by how bad I feel after the doctor visits.  

Today was a terrible horrible rotten day, and I wish I was in Australia - dancing at the CBD in Melbourne's CBD.  I guess I just go drive around the city I actually live in and find some lights to play in.

Tomorrow is another day...

....that brings with it yet another appointment. This time with a menopause specialist. I guess it is good to take care of my own health -- the whole 'put your oxygen mask on before helping others' concept.

Great in theory, but still doesn't make the full blown emotional meltdown I've worked myself into preparing for my lucky doctor any easier. I'm sure she'll be thrilled to see me walk in with these tomorrow:

I've just never gone to a doctor appointment feeling so darn healthy (and with such a need to prepare).

I mean really...
  • blood, gore, festering sores - nope
  • twisted or tweaked joints - nope
  • fever, chills, fluids coming out the wrong faucets - nope
  • ringing ears, dizziness, other irritable body actions- nope
Nope when she asks me how I'm doing, I'll just stammer something like, "ummm yes, I uh came here today cuz well I'd like uh like you to help me to treat my ummm well I have no symptoms, but several doctors told me that my bloodwork is a bit wacked out and that uh there are some studies with freaking huge sample sizes that say I could be a risk of dementia, parkinsons, heart disease, shattering bones and probably other crap I don't know to ask about which all sounds pretty miserable."
I guess its good that I'm going, because those are some pretty bad side effects of not dealing with this at some point. If only I hadn't promised myself that that point was tomorrow's appointment. I probably shouldn't have linked my personal deadline to the appointment, I already have enough avoidance issues with the medical community as is. Now I feel this huge hormone replacement deadline crashing down on me. Perhaps I'll need to set another arbitary one for myself. Maybe a good season or half year from now:) Don't want to rashly race into dealing with something the doctors and I have successfully been overlooking/denying for YEARS!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Good day

Today my friend two children volunteered me to take me on an adventure - without their parents. I played in a river. We changed a flat tire. We threw grass in the air. We got partially lost running through the woods, and had even more fun finding our way back.

I didn't think about my 5% problem at all (which is how I currently am thinking of it, both because I so often read that I have less than a 5% chance of conceiving and because I feel like only 5% of my body doesn't work - the bit between my navel and my thighs) and think I will sleep really well tonight. I know those 2 kids will, they were completely worn out by the time we hauled them to their very relaxed looking parents.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

And the results of the test requiring no cramming...

one very lonely pink line of course.

The test you don't cram for

My nausea continues as does the fatigue.

Logic says its just the tail end of the stomach bug that had me clutching the toilet like a warm comforting teddy bear. This is the voice that says, "of course you're sick and tired, you haven't eaten for a week!"

This was not the voice in my head at the pharmacy yesterday. Picture the scene. I pickup my friend and his two, very sniffly, young sons who were waiting for the bus in the rain.

Half way home the dad asks, “any chance we can stop at a drug store on the way home to grab some cold meds?"

You mean the nearest source of home pregnancy tests?!?!

"Well of course... yeah that would be simply WONDERFUL" You'd think he's just offered to stop at the best coffee/cake shop in the universe, actually he probably just read it as sarcasm until I actually pulled over.

Once there I bolted ahead to the first sales lady I see and whisper frantically "pregnancy test?" hoping to get my transaction completed long before my friend even thought to ask for directions to the anti-coughing, sniffly, wheezy so that you can rest (or send your kids to school half-sick) aisle.

The sales lady asks how late I am (and really, that's one question that has always stumped me, "ummm, maybe a month, a few weeks, I don't know, I might really be half a year early") just as one son appears at my side, grabs my hand, and attempts to drag me toward the in store slide.

That is when I see that the sales lady's 7 months pregnant belly and that she is probably assuming I am the happy mother/wife of the group doing some multi-tasking shopping with my busy (and now growing) family of 4. All hope of a quick, discrete sale is lost.

I now realize that an unforeseen consequence of being open with my friends about my situation is that being caught buying a pregnancy test when they know that you are all but eggless is even more awkward. So I crawled under the plastic slide with the kids until it was time to go.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

More questions..

How lovely to see comments today... Thanks everyone.

As I was replying to a few people today, I realized that part of what is hitting me is that where I live both domestic adoption or donor egg routes to parenthood involve me creating a profile which hopefully will be selected by a donor or birth mother. At that point, we can say yay or nay...

Based on what, I don't know.

I feel like am dressing up for a dance.. one where I will be a blindfolded wallflower leaning against the wall, listening to all the excitement in front of me; where I will wait and wait and wait for someone to come ask me to dance – all the while fretting about whether I can actually dance, whether I wore the right clothes, if I'm standing just right, whether I'm bouncing to the music too much or too little, and most of all what to do if someone actually does approach me and ask me to to dance – Do you automatically say yes, or attempt to evaluate in some way... without even being able to watch and learn from the others around you.

The funny thing is that my whole life I've just been throwing myself into the music – I am always with kids... mentoring, respite care, babysitting, teaching, playing in their forts or as they get bigger driving them to where they need to be... and there are days now when I see a gauze between me and them that never use to be there. I still get such joy from the interactions, but there is something different now.

But back to my questions...
Please feel free to leave anon comments - I sorted out how to turn that feature on today

  • For those of you who've used donor eggs, what were you looking for in a donor?

  • For those of you who are in the position of selecting a donor (say from a list of profiles), how do you think the experience would be different if the donors were selecting you?

  • For those of you a bit further down this path, do you have any advice for someone like me just starting out?

  • I know the best thing in life is to just be yourself, and let what happens happens, but are there any things you would choose not to put in a “prospective parent” profile? (The same way we choose what to, or note to, highlight on our resumes...)

  • And for those of you who have put together profiles as part of the domestic adoption process, what organized your thinking about that?

I know my husband and I are just starting down this path... we have so much to learn. But I'd rather learn a bit of it early on and then go from there, so that I have knowledge stored up far enough in advance that I can start listening to my instinct again when the time comes.

I feel so new to all of this having jumped straight from haphazard charting (of my very haphazard cycle) to considering donor eggs. I wouldn't wish the struggle (and often painful loses) that so many of you are /have gone through on anyone, but there are days where I wonder if a bit more of a journey would have prepared me more for where I am headed.

Monday, February 25, 2008

So what are the odds...

An entire day in bed recovering from illness leads to lots of time to research the internet.

Mostly I find things confirming my low chances. Then this study appears to confirm that while giving a bit of hope:

If I am reading Abdalla H & Thum MY (2004)'s abstract correctly, women with FSH >20 (i.e., me), have a only a 3% live birth rate and pregnancy rate, however when broke down by age, women under 38 years of age odds went up to 16.7%.

16% sounds pretty darn good (although my levels are well over 20, so this might not apply AT ALL to me).

Also, the young women with high FSH had better stats for live births than 38+ year old women with FSH under 10. Granted these are women who are receiving treatment, not numbers on spontaneous conception.

What is a girl like me to think..... are my eggs just as good as the 38 year old eggs my friend has offered?

Quote from study's abstract:

"group A, FSH <10>20 IU/ml. Each group was stratified further into subgroups according to age, < or ="38">38 years. RESULTS: Both PR (A, 32.3%; B, 19.8%; C, 17.5%; and D, 3%) and LBR (A, 24.7%; B, 13.2%; C, 13.8%; and D, 3%) were significantly reduced in the higher FSH level groups. LBR was significantly higher in the younger subgroups (A, 32.2%; B, 21.8%; C, 20%; and D, 16.7%) as compared with the older subgroups (A, 12.1%; B, 8.3%; C, 10.5%; and D, 0%)."

The same authors seem to have a running theme on high FSH.


I had another friend offer eggs the other day over tea. But this time she followed it up with a conversation with her husband and a very genuine offer....


She is smart, creative, and has two amazing children I love. I respect her ability to think outside the box and think about big ideas. She said all the right things... how it would be my baby, how she suspects she would be vaguely interested in the kids as much as she would her cousin's kids, she would want openness with her immediate family, etc. I have much faith that we could navigate through muddy waters as they arise. She lives nearby and has the time in her current lifestyle for all the shots and stuff. She is fairly aware of the procedure and down to earth in general.

Cons - she smoked for awhile and she turns 39 in a few weeks. Menopause is a very late occurring thing in her genetic pool, although I have no idea if that has any relevance to the statically risk of older egg age.

I feel this huge sense of relief mixed with panic. Would I want to pursue this at all given her age? How does one get a sense of how old is too old? I only get 2 free cycles... but then again I might not get any other offers, or ones from people I feel so comfortable with...

Much to think about. I suspect that is the understatement of this whole process. When you aren't thinking lots, you are feeling lots.


As I sit here recovering from whatever has possessed my stomach and turned it a sea of churning angry froth... I find myself reading lots of blogs.

I am finding myself particularly drawn to the women who freely write about their rage, anger, and pain.

I have a hard time doing that - I wish I could just let it pour out of me. There are so many things that piss me off, but I try to be strong, calm, reasonable etc.

I have such admiration for those who can let it fly... words and curses, fists and fury. Maybe I am still in shock. Maybe I just don't even know how I feel yet. Maybe its just been dribbles of emotion sppread out over a decade with few tangible loses.

I don't want my life to be years of anger or bitterness, but I don't want to be false either. Reading some of these blogs, particularly when people share hideous things doctors & medical staff say, bring back the emotions I have burried. Perhaps if I hadn't been so good about putting on a good front...

I was told nothing after my surgery, and through the lines of nothing I read 'kids aren't in your future young lady.' I went back to university to a sea kids hooking up and hoping not to get PG. No one in a high-flying uni campus is really all that available to deal with your grief over being infertile. So you make jokes. You become the person who is young enough and far enough removed to correct people when they say stupid things to older people struggling with infertility. When I saw other people's faces stone up, I could pip in that having kids isn't easy for everyone, that losing a baby at any stage breaks hearts, etc. They could hear it from me, because I technically wasn't the one grieving a loss

But I was.

One that is so intangible. I look completely healthy. Feel fine (now that hot flashes are subsiding). I am so young. I still get carded when I order beer in the States. Friends are only now starting to ask when we'll have kids. I've been spared that for all these years. Sometimes I was able to plant the seed years ago that I might not be able to, and that has been a wise move because those who know are a bit more sensitive now.

For years, I felt like there was broken glass within my womb... not physical pain, just a searing emotional one. All the uncertainty. All the annoyance that I knew so much about charting and how bodies are suppose to work, even though mine never really did. All the 'its not fairs.'

I was reading today about how lesbian couples who use donor eggs often have a different experience than those coming from the infertility world... one of going from assuming a door was closed to the joy of possibility-- rather than going from presumption to mourning a loss. I guess I'm in the middle. I have known since I was 18 that I probably could not, always secretely harbouring hope that if I stayed healthy enough, I could.

When I read all these amazing women sharing their pain, I fear that as I go down this path, with all the ups and downs, that I won't be strong enough. That it will be too much. Today I am angry that thinking about starting my family starts with doubts, rather than the joys of possiblities.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The waves keep crashing....

... and not the lovely ones of the Pacific. No waves of nausea. They started when I woke up yesterday. I greened to the smell of my husband's coffee. I gagged at the smell of my towel when I got out of the shower. I put on my best dress, which is teal - a color I now realize is not flattering against a pale-green complexion, and headed to work.

I should have stayed home. I should have gone home after my first quick stroll to the bathroom to stare at the toilet praying that my body quickly and efficiently purges whatever evil was lodged in my stomach. No I kept working, with a bucket under my desk, because I had a secret hope that maybe this was morning sickness.

Yes a very irrational hope, but hey it was morning and I was sick and technically it had been 7 weeks since my last period (which is actually more like 3-4 weeks early for me, but in my semi-delusional state I was opting to use the 28 days norms that have never once applied to my own pattern).

I also had this silly idea that queasiness due to food poisoning, flu, or other 'medial' issues is grounds to excuse myself from work and go home --- however morning sickness is a 'natural' experience that you just work through. Yes shoot me now wiser women who know that when you are about to hurl, for whatever reason, you aren't much good at work and just as uncomfortable.

At 10 I was sent home. I just barely made it home in time to start a 24 hour love fest with my toilet (thank goodness I cleaned yesterday). I am now a tad better, although hungry and dehydrated, and working up the courage to try to eat. Supportive friends have brought paper and audio books over.

My mind has cleared up again... I know I am not pregnant. This sickness is probably related to the fact that I've been around at least 3 kids this week who've puked in my presence. But the whole time I was sick, I worried that if I was I am ever lucky enough to get pregnant with donor eggs, could I survive months of feeling that sick? Today I say of course, because the agony has more or less passed. But yesterday I was less sure of my strength – just as I was when I was in the midst of the post-op pain from my ovarian surgery. I had no idea how I'd survive that week of pain, hunched over unable to stand straight, dreading every laugh, cough, and sob.... but I did. Yet in spite of all I've survived, physically and emotionally, I still doubt my strength some days.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

book list

Donor Egg Blog list of books

Donor Conception Support Group Australia


I have wished for one thing my entire life every time I was presented with coins to toss in fountains, birthday candles to snuff out, and dandlions to blow on.  And no, it wasn't for children or anything that specific.  So far my wish is coming true, but not in the way I would have imagined.  Good thing I wasn't too specific in my wishes...

And then a few weeks ago I was cleaning up and found a couple wishbones I had set aside awhile ago.  My husband and I pulled on each of them, each silently making a wish....

... I've never had both people end up with the short stick before, let alone twice.  Goodness knows what that means!


My counselor at the fertility clinic told me that I need to carve more time out for me.... she suggested things like a massage, hair cut etc.  I feel a bit more strapped for money than that, so I went for the things that have always brought me comfort in times of depression.  

-  going to movies alone in the middle of the day
- playing with friends and their kids
- long walks on the beach

Well I decided to rule out the last one as my brain plays mean tricks with me when I am alone on the beach now a days.

So I went to see Juno by myself at a lovely cinema that serves drinks and real food.  Followed up with a movie night with my friends and her young children.  She thought I was crazy to 'torture' myself with such a movie, but really it was the best thing ever...

I wanted to lose myself in someone else's reality, but one related to what I am obsessing over.  It made me remember high school. It gave me a chance to cry.  The main character is so young, spunky, and witty.  I just loved the whole thing.  I can't wait to watch it again.  It also rammed home that pregnancy is a source of intense emotions for everyone and that there are so many sides to every story.   Even the most planned, knocked up in the first month pregnancies have heaps of emotions.   No one is guaranteed perfect joy, but sometimes glimmers of joy often pulls through the deep sadness - at least in my case.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

one more day

Today I took the entire day off... first the morning, then come lunch I realized that I needed the afternoon off too. I cried through most of my rec sporting game tonight and then drug myself home.

I thought it was getting easier, but today was just a day where everywhere I looked my brain started a painful inner monologue about how my kids won't look like me... or how I might never get to be a I hate that I no longer look at my friend's kids the same way... how I best get on with sorting out my hormones.... oh and the fun one of my brain trying to convince me that all my tears might be all my fault because I haven't dealt with my hormones.

grr.... very ready for bed tonight.

oh, yeah, that reminds me of my low libido problem.

How can something that seems so fringe to my happy wonderful life that is so full, be tainting nearly every single moment!?!

Monday, February 18, 2008

A bit of reading today...

I was on the road for work today and snuck moments to read this book

and it was nice to read about others... some were amazingly similar stories to mine, others were way more intense that what I am going through.  It was a quick read.  I really understood one woman's frustration with people saying 'the doctor's are wrong, of course you'll have babies. '  I too find people giving me false, crazy hopeful statments like that very frustrating.  I don't want to convince them that this is true.  Its hard enough to convince myself that this invisible thing is true.    Eventually I'll be fine with it, but then and now I really don't need people to attempt to help by trying to convince me that all of this is some horrible mix-up that will go away if I just ignore the only doctors who actually sound like truth-tellers.

I spent too many years trying to find out this truth, please please let me at least celebrate the fact that I finally now know what is happening --- even if I am not exactly thrilled with the news.  

Sunday, February 17, 2008

my tear jerker today...

My tea this evening got a bit saltier.  I had been joking around with my lovely husband.  Conversation turned to looks.  I was saying how great he had been looking at a recent dress-up evening we had attended.  He laughed about how he really isn't all that good looking (I reserve the right to disagree), and I commented that somedays he looks mighty fine to me, and then without warned a quick one-two punch

Lover of mine, "ah but that is only when you are ovulating." in reference to our long standing joke regarding his theory that I crave him and food and find everything in the world to be lovely and grande at certain times of the month

and I flippantly replied, "well too bad that won't be happening much any more...."

I immediately looked down, surprised at my words, and caught the sight of a single tear plopping itself into my tea.  

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A bit of smiling today

Today I smiled a bit at my scar as I got out of the shower. I hung out with friends and played their wonderful young sons with a light heart. I smiled genuinely at a stranger telling me that she was pregnant. Perhaps I'm making progress with this greiving/accepting crap.

And after all that I felt a funny pain on my right side... the hopeful side of me thinks "mittelschmerz"

The rest of me thinks "hm, gas?" indifferently.

There is a 5% chance of conception with POF, right? So that must mean that there is a higher chance of ovulation, eh? Not that ovulation is the be end all of the fertility game, but it does lead to great sex - perhaps because of all the fun things your body does when it ovulates to convince you to drop everything and shag... or in my case, it could just be the huge novelty factor of ovulation.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Talking ,smarking

I thought I'd spare my friends any talking about all this crap... for the entire day I did not talk about how much I hated the pill, or how I can't have kids with my genes in them, or how the closest my eggs will get to experiencing pregnency was when they were in my mother ---- perhaps I should ask for that portrait Mum's college roommate did of her when she was pregnant with me. Cruel or comforting, I don't know but I really want it on my wall now.

I thought it would be a holiday of sorts - for everyone.

My results - suddenly infertility was ALL i could think of. my brain atrophied in to spiraling illogical knots of dwelling on the PROBLEM WITH NO SOLUTION.

and then a kind friend said the perfect thing, "when you grow your family, however the hell it happens, make sure you do X." This is the same person that said yesterday how I would be an amazing mother (not 'but you'd be such a great mother') and how the kids, however they come to me, would be so lucky. The same person that only a week ago was saying shit like 'of course you'll have your own kids.'

What progress! Now if only I, a bit closer to the situation, could make the same kindof headway.

I think what I am finding really useful at the moment is when I bump into the sharp edges of my reality. I actually like it when people remind me (mostly accidentally) that I am not have kids with my own eggs. It makes it real and somehow its calming to know that I am not the only one who knows.

That coupled with the hope that I will be a parent someday – just that the path is obscurred from view at the moment. And that they have complete confidence that I won't suck at it any worse than anyone else.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

I am not fishing ladies!!!

Why is that whenever I actually tell a friend what I am going through that they end up saying something like "hmm, I would only give an egg anomously"  Please friends, I am not FISHING for EGGS by telling you what I am going through, I just am looking for some support and love.  I swear--- though I would take a yummy curry right about now.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Other young ones out there...

..Okay I guess I should realize that my youth is all very relative.  I do still get carded sometimes and if I feel like doing a cartwheel in a grassy field, I do - well most of the time.

I found this post over at This Sorta Fairytale on being young and infertile very insightful.  

It got me thinking about my experiences....

I went off the pill when I was nearly 25 and was having hot flashes by 27. I was also charting my fertility signs as a form of contraception. Well I thought of it that way as we were hoping to postpone starting a family for a couple years, and I loved how I felt off the pill. Let me tell you, I really struggled to make sense out of those charts... I should have started wondering a bit when my cycles were really long or really short, and didn't fit any of the book charts --- but my cycles had been like that before my surgery and before the pill, so I just thought it was normal for me.

Eventually I pushed for more answers. I got a referral at 27, and let me tell you I felt very very weird talking to the RE about what was going on. He just didn't get why he would be test my fertility if we weren't actively trying to conceive. Yes, I understand that there might be people with 'less time' or more urgent cases, but this doctor wasn't very 'urgent.' Each appointment was nearly an hour and a half as he slowly typed my story into my electronic medical record (please doctors, learn to touch type or let us type if you are under 10 wpm, this process is already painful enough!). He kept saying that the only way if I could really 'test' my fertility was to start have lots of unprotected sex.... hmmm, and what about the other women in their 20's who don't happen to have that as a viable option? Do we really want to have young women 'testing' our fertility in such a way before its 'too late.' Not me!

What gets me now is that none of that mattered... my health was at risk because my ovaries were failing. It didn't matter if I was trying to conceive or whether I even had a partner, I had a medical condition that required treatment and understanding and monitoring. I personally would have loved a heads up that having my FSH tested out at 19 was probably a sign to throw away the use of condoms if we ever wanted to give my own eggs a chance. A baseline bone scan and some suggestions to exercise more might have been cool too.

There was one appointment where the doctor said that I might be pre-menopausal. He later retracted that diagnosis, but that day was devastating. But my ability to reach out for support was limited. Talking to work mates, and they assume that you're on the verge of maternity leave (as if!). Talk to friends who are dealing with infertility and there is that look of “well you haven't even started trying.” Most of my peers either had 5 year olds or were very far from thinking about kids. My 30 year old friends would panic that if I didn't have time, they were doomed!

Now I realize that it didn't matter if I was 18 and single or 40 with 10 years of trying under my belt, I was still hearing horrible news. If you found out that your long lost childhood friend died in an accident 5 years ago, you are no less sad than if you found out tomorrow or yesterday or in 5 more years. It is still a loss.

In fact I think part of me is grieving that I never really got a chance to even try to get pregnant with my own eggs. Yes, my partner and I've had some fun nights 'trying' in the last year in hopes that all might actually be fine, but I deep down part of me already believed the first of the 4 diagnoses I got 2 years ago... that my ovaries were failing.

If I had been 36 with my symptoms and had been trying without success for 5 years, I really think that the doctors would have been more forward about doing tests. I think in my case, my age – or at least how it was perceived – was a hindrance to getting a timely diagnosis and built unnecessary walls between me and people who were in the best position to support me -- those who have already walked these lonely hallways.

And then I found out that one of my workmates had done years of IVF treatments. Her diagnosis was unexplained infertility. She was now in her 50's and had more or less come to terms with never having had children. She mothered me through those first days like a saint. I will forever love her for that. And should anything big ever happen to her, good or bad, I will be on the next flight back to be there with her just like the grown-up version of the child she always dreamed of would. I'm not a replacement for what she lost, but we have a unique special rare relationship that neither of us ever dreamed of before we were in the midst of it.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

How will I measure my year....

My web wonderings today took me to this video from the International Infertility Film Festival....

And I wonder, how will I end up measuring the upcoming year of my life:

Today I did blood work...

Today I scheduled appointments...

Today I had a collegue ask if she could pray for me...

Today the hurt was back....

They say that today is the start of the rest of your life.. they say lots of things, eh?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Who's on first...

So I have two very close friends, G and T. G and I are like sisters. People mistake us for twins, although we don't look anything a like. She is the person I would have be my children's guardian. She will be an integral part of their lives as I will be with her children. I don't know exactly how as we live on opposite sides of the world, but I know that to be as true as the fact that our kids will breathe oxygen. She was there when I had my ovaries removed and has patiently listened to me as I talked out how I felt about the irregular cycles, hot flashes, and possible infertility that I faced.

T is a friend I met recently. She has recently moved to my city with her two children and amazing husband. In a sense T and G have swapped roles,. Since the move, G now is my email buddy and T is the one I spend lots of time face-to-face chatting with.

Both these incredible women are huge sources of support and let me vent, whine, cry, and question when I need to. Both include me in their kid roles, as aunt and mother respectively, without worry.

And there are a lot of reasons why each might be a possible donor. I try really really hard never to look at my friends as potential donors, but occasional the thought does come up. In this case because every week T says, "well G would give you an egg, right?" which makes me smile because G is always saying “why don't you ask T to be a donor.” It makes me think the both don't want to, which is fine, and that they think highly of each other even if they've only met once.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Yea I win!

Oh, the counselor lady also said that donor egg cycles are 'only' $9-10k here and I might qualify for 2 publically funded ones!  So I guess one could spin this to mean that I won a $20k lottery by moving here rather than staying in the States.  

Yeah, I guess its a stretch, but spinning and reframing isn't all bad!


Today I met with a counselor at the fertility clinic.  As much as I was looking forward a chance to cry in a safe place, it turned out to just be an informational Q&A session.  That is good too, but where I am going to get my cry on tonight?  Certainly not answering my American tax accountants questions about the location of my W-2!  

Perhaps this means its time to go back to the old-school techniques of angst channeling- old school as in, what would I do when I was in high school... you know as in 'back before I got separated from my ovaries," back when I had the coping skills of a possum - it is time to make a mix tape.  

My current project is to come up with a list of songs that flow one into another that mix joy and heartache in a soothing cocktail of angst fueling waterfalls tears that crash down on your arms that hug your soul rocking back and forth.  

Here is the start of my list:
Crane's wife -3 - Decemberists
Rent theme song
Mother and Children Reunion - Paul Simon
The Promise - Tracy Chapman 
In these shoes

Any other suggestions?

Dad on adoption...

Today I chatted with my father. When presented with 'female problems, he does not shy away. He is amazing in his ability to try to say the right thing... which of course is different from saying the right thing. His poorly timed and often off-based comments have never made me cry though, sometimes I have to bite my tongue and burst out laughing later. For example the day he offered me mynearly 60 year old mother's eggs. I laughed out loud:)  How sweet dad...

Today he eloquently shared how the more he's learned about the "vitro stuff," he thought it sounded like a lot of time and energy and money. He said some muddled things about adoption that I took to mean that he would completely love any grandkids and would completely support us. I think he was a bit shocked when I mentioned how expensive and slow adoption can be... I don't really understand fully why that is either. It does seem so wrong that so may kids do not have the parents they want for - and perhaps one day I would want to work on the problem of how the system(s) does or doesn't work for these kids – but for now I'm just trying to selfishly focus on getting through the couple weeks for me.

I myself am only starting to research all my options – but as of today, egg donor looks promising, at least to start our family. Where I live, I think I would receive one publicly funded cycle, there are fewer ethical issues for me with the legal framework, and – this is a big one- I think I like having biology control what happens. I feel like so much control has been stripped from me, and the nature of the adoption process- at least at this point – looks to me to be one where the adopting parents have very little control.

The thing is babies aren't really like all the stuff people are trying to give away on Craigslist. They are wonderful and precious and adorable and really really hard work to birth. It makes sense that there isn't a line of women giving up babies to people like me who can't have their own. And I am very glad that the supply demand curve is the way it is for domestic adoptions. Now if I was still located in the States, I would consider adopting an older child or one with “special needs.” I haven't yet sorted out what options exist in my current location for non-infant adoptions... or how my other half would feel about taking this on. I have spent my entire life learning how to see beyond disability and how to help kids cope with and sometimes overcome them – I have a somewhat realistic idea of what the parents I meet through work go through and I wouldn't have the bait and switch of dreaming of the birth of my 'normal' child and then realizing that my child is different from the one you imagined.

Sunday, February 3, 2008


I love information. My mother raised me to be a librarian, my father raised me to be a scientist, my other half loves raw data the way I like raw veggies. When things get messy I turn to information. My preferred diet would be a heap of first person accounts from multiple angles, a few opinion pieces, bits of medical research, and a some stats.

This weekend I started with blogs: - I'm finding this a wonderful read about a woman who is also considering donor eggs. She too never assumed that fertility was a given. She lost her eggs to cancer treatment. I lost mine to two large benign dermoid cysts. While I guess I theoretically could have died if the cysts had ruptured, my treatment was only a half day surgery and one week recovery in the hospital hospital. No comparison to fighting childhood cancer.  Still, I had wondered about freezing eggs at the time. I was already dating the man I am now married to - perhaps we could have really been unconventional and created a few embryos together - the image of my parents reacting to me suggesting that I make future babies now, for later, with the college senior I was dating is enough to make me smile - no I'm outright laughing as the image gels in my mind! I also find it amazing how you find a person writing about something you are dealing with and then discover all these other common threads -- oh look she uses the 'words' ASD and MR/DD at work too! Her husband tells her to not be condensing and show a bit of respect for her parents choices just like mine does with me. Then again, she spells and writes a lot better than I do! - I enjoyed reading through this entire blog outlining one person's experience being a donor. A very different take from my friend who donated eggs to a friend. While she has no regrets, she said that the emotional toil of the procedure was too great for her to even consider IVF if she should ever need it. There is a real possibility that if we go down this track we'd need to ask a friend. A bit tricky since we are living in a new country and our friends are on the other side of the world. I am wondering though if a good friend could come down for the summer months she has off from teaching - donate some eggs and enjoy some vacation abroad. That said, she'd have to give up summer for winter and what exactly do you tell customs on your return as donating eggs to your best friend is hardly traveling for work, pleasure -- perhaps education?!?! Regardless I feel like I need to understand what the donor would go through before I could ask a friend or stranger to do such a huge thing. I also flipped through some egg donor databases in the US. Here there is no such thing. The process is quite different. There is no money in the egg donor game here, something I actually am glad of, but that also means fewer donors. That said, I was amazed at how I reacted to flipping through the head shots of potential donors. I had instant reactions to all of them - yes no no no no no no yes no no NO no no. I found a pattern - I saw a face that made me pause, then clicked to see the full profile. Nearly all of the ones I paused on were tall (even if you couldn't tell from the photo), not-blond, and had similar hobbies to mine own. How do you scan through that many photos, select ones that look a bit like you, and the see that they have similar interests to your own! Yes nearly everyone on there claims to be athletic, musical, creative, easy-going, and smart. But I am talking about people playing my specific sports, instruments,using similar verbal phrases, and being interested in the subjects I studied.

Tomorrow - I research crappy health aspects of this like increased risk of brittle bones, dementia, and Parkinson - oh my! I think a demented version of me might be entertaining for a day, but then it would just suck, particularly for those around me! I am hard enough as is. A demented version of me with brittle bones – yikes! I break myself enough as is...

Friday, February 1, 2008

Blood work

Fragile X blood test

Sam took my blood and had a lovely chat with me about what I did for work. She seemed genuinely interested in it. I complimented her on her blood drawing skills - I love the blood folks here, no pain and really lovely to interact with – and was strangely sad to leave. Our conversation felt like it could have really lead somewhere. I walked out with a smile that I've come so far from the hour of crying post blood tests when I was going in for weekly bloodwork 2 years ago.

That probably is because I highly doubt I will test positive for Fragile X. It is just a precaution in case it is also contributing to the POF.

Also, the blood work two years ago was a challenge for me. Then my goals were to determine if my ovaries were functioning properly and if I could wait to start trying to conceive until after my job transfer. It did not seem very convenient to move overseas pregnant or with an infant in arms. Plus, my new post was in a country with GREAT maternity coverage. If I could, I wanted to wait until after my transfer to start our family. The blood work was a precaution. No one seemed to understand what I wanted the tests for. In my new locale the fertility clinics do 'egg checks' which is exactly what I was looking for, instead I was made to feel like a freak for wanting to get check out for fertility when I was young and not even trying to conceive.

Really, now that I look back on those tests from two years ago (FSH between 15-19), coupled with all the hot flashes I was having, the doctors should have been suggesting the bloodwork not me. Instead I was told that even though I only had a few eggs, they were young ones, and that there was no reason not to wait, just to make sure that IVF facilities were available where we were moving to in case we had trouble.

I kept asking the doctor 'is my window of fertility' closing, and he said no no no.

I guess it no longer matters who was right on that one, because I waited and now my FSH is at 50. I think now we both would agree that the window has closed. Then again, perhaps I was as infertile then as I was the day after my surgery. I will never know.

My theme song...

... when I need to let the tears fall, this song always seems to let the tears flow.  

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Say what...

So as part of my diagnosis conversation, my doctor told me that some women naturally conceive with my condition, but it is very very rare.

He then said that someone women ovulate if you put them on the pill for a few months and then take them off. The clinic can then track the cycle with blood tests and tell you when to get busy.

He also said that I will need to go on the pill to make sure that I get the hormones I need. That or Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).

My head is a Venn diagram of notes that don't jive!

So let me get this straight. I might be able to conceive if I ignore all his advise, but he thinks it would be helpful to go on the pill and then off for one month. Okay, say my ovaries return from their holiday while I'm on the Pill and magically remember how to do their job and that somehow creates a a great month of statistically possibility - why do we have to get blood work all month long - can't we just be clever rabbits and have sex ever 36-48 hours like we currently are? And speaking of statistics, say my odds of spontaneously getting myself “spontaneously” knocked up are shockingly low, then how much better does the pill withdrawal trick have to be since that is basically 1 chance in 4 months where currently I might have 3-4 chances to ovulate in that time frame. Okay maybe my ovaries are more dead than I realize, but still.... So lets assume they are really nearly dead and aren't tricked back into life with this whole birth control adventure, wouldn't HRT at least leave open the possibility of conception more than birth control hormones? I know there are other health reasons to take hormones, but that wasn't part of this discussions. Doctors have let me go on with failing ovaries for years without any action, so how much more damage could a few months now and then off the pill really really be. My bone scans are still fine. My sex drive is best its ever been. The hot flashes are rarer.

Really doctor I feel the best I've ever have, don't screw it up with hormonal cocktails – they aren't fun.

Or is he just giving me some time to 'try' very unlikely things while I come to terms that its really egg donor or nothing, then a life time of HRT/the pill.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Early Days

This month I finally heard the diagnosis. My heart, my breath, my whole being heard it. Yes, this shouldn't be a surprise as I was told the same a couple months ago. I've been talking to friends about my fear of this possibility for years, and as they watched me cried I am sure I convinced them that I believed that it was true.

I did believe it, a bit, but not like now. For some reason it is finally real. I have premature ovarian failure. All the 'white matter' my surgeon 'smushed' together on my behalf (my surgeon's way of saying that he had tried to save some of my ovaries) don't seem to be working.

The last blood test confirmed it, but what really made it real was telling a slightly tipsy friend early into her medical ob/gyn residency my story. I dropped my FHS numbers into the conversation, and she, without missing a beat, blurted 'egg donor or nothing eh?'

I find it funny that a person only beginning their medical career holding a poorly mixed martini convinced me of what I never fully believed from the medical professionals' I paid good money to listen to.

Now I have a muddled brain of all the ramifications of what happens when your body can't make the hormones you need to do useful things like make bones and babies – let alone all these subtle things that your ovaries apparently do to prepare you body and mind to keep working properly in old age.

I've decided that to spare my friends my need to verbalize through complex situations and use this blog to catalog my thoughts, procedures, and information gathering instead.