Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Appt Cancelled

My u/s and drs appt was cancelled today because the office doesn't have electricity. I have to call later to reschedule. I am disappointed. I think it would have done me a lot of good to see the baby after the events over the last two days. I'm trying to remind myself that so many others are deprived of so much more.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Hurricane Katrina

Our power was finally turned on earlier this afternoon, thank goodness!

Hurricane Katrina was very scary, and we received category 1 hurricane winds here in Alabama for most of Monday. In fact, our power went out at 5 am Monday morning. We had more than 12 hours of strong winds, but very little rain. There are the usual fallen sticks and a few large branches, but we didn't lose any trees this time. My parents lost their chimney and a pecan tree crashed into the roof of my in-laws home, which will require some extensive roof repair. I live on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay, and there was some extensive flooding in areas resulting from storm surges. (The affected areas of our town, however, are owned by very wealthy people who live in incredibly overpriced areas, so it's hard to have a lot of sympathy for them. Of course, the damage in my area pales as compared to that in New Orleans and Mississippi.

Since the power was turned back on we have spent some time watching the scenes in utter horror. I am in shock that so many people neglected to evacuate from their homes in New Orleans knowing full well how that city floods. I am heart broken thinking about how so many people have lost not only their homes, but that they won't have jobs either due to the destruction. I haven't seen any pictures or heard much info about what happened in Gulf Shores, Alabama, but it sounds as though it could be comparable to the damage from Hurricane Ivan last year, because the storm surge pushed just as far inland.

Dh didn't go to work today. Only one lane of the usual five lanes of traffic from Baldwin to Mobile county is open today. One of tunnels is still closed and a four lane bridge is closed because an oil rig is wedged underneath it. (I am amazed that the storm was able to move it for miles and deposit it in Mobile.) Only half of the remaining tunnel is open today. I dread the commute for dh tomorrow. Schools should reopen here on Thursday for me to return to work.

I already had a drs appt and u/s scheduled for tomorrow, so I hope that the dr and staff will be in. It would really be great to have reassurance that all is well with the little one after all of the excitement.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Why Are People So Nosy?

Since I returned to work and the news of my pregnancy has spread across the campus I have been asked a certain question quite often... "Do you want a boy or a girl?"

This question actually kind of pisses me off. Plus, I have to wonder, are some people actually ignorant enough to answer this question? As if the average person gets to choose.

Apparently quite a few people respond to this question in part with " long as it's healthy." I know that personally I have heard people say that they would prefer either one sex or the other and then qualify that statement with, "But it doesn't really matter as long as it's healthy."

However, in the situation that dh and I are in, where this is likely to be our only child, we really don't give a rip if it's a boy or a girl just as long as we can have a healthy baby: end of discussion. We will be thrilled either way. The only way we'll ever be pregnant again is if we finally get lucky enough to hit the 1% odds that we will get pregnant on our own or if IVF coverage is finally mandated nation wide. Let's face it: the odds are slim either way.

And I have to think back to the teacher last year who was expecting baby #2 and let it be well known that she wanted a girl since she already had a son. Well, she had another little boy. And everyone knows that she was rather pissed off not to be having a girl. Goodness, this woman actually talked about adopting from China in order to not endure the "tortures" of pregnancy again and so that she would be guaranteed a girl. It was infuriating.

So, why are people so nosy anyway?

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Maternity Clothes Shopping: Take One

I spent a large portion of this weekend trying to find maternity clothes with very little success. I went to all of the stores that have been recommended to me by others thus far, and amazingly most of them are no longer carrying maternity clothes.

I did find three shirts in Old Navy. I bought a pair of pants as well, but they will have to be returned. The style is just a little too narrow through the thighs for me, and I suspect the cotton pants won't fit after a few washings.

Maternity clothes shopping is not much fun at all. I really don't want to resort to buying clothes on line, but it appears that I am running out of options.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Someone Noticed My Belly Today

Yes, I'm twelve weeks today, and this afternoon someone noticed that I'm pregnant. Actually someone is the Mom of one of the students who I have taught for the last four years, so she knows me quite well. However, isn't it supposed to be a big deal when someone finally notices?

Actually, it was rather awkward. I could tell that she was a bit nervous that I had just let myself get fat over the summer. This Mom basically pointed at my belly and asked, "So, what's that." An interesting way of phrasing things. Since I was only carrying my lunch bag, purse, and a clipboard, I was fairly certain she was in fact pointed at my "bump." She is the first person who has both noticed and been brave enough to say anything.

She wondered why her son hadn't come home and said anything, since he was so excited to hear the news that his 3rd grade teacher was pregnant last year. I actually haven't told any of my students. For starters, this is only the second week of school, and I didn't start pulling my students until today. I haven't even really had a chance to share my news with my students. Anyway, I didn't want to hit them with the announcement their very first week back in my class.

So, it appears that I'll be sharing the news soon. I at least wanted to wait to tell them until the first trimester was over, so next week will be okay. Yikes! I wonder how it will go over.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

I Am a PIO Survivor

I actually finished with the PIO injections a few days ago, and am amazed I made it to the end. There were so many times I wanted to quit.

I totally freaked out when I had an allergic reaction to the PIO formulation in sesame seed oil. My RE actually told me the day of the transfer that I could use Crinone twice a day instead. However, the success rates are lower with Crinone, and I wanted to give our embryos the highest chance of success, even if it meant driving to a pharmacy in the middle of nowhere for a special PIO formulation at exhorbitant prices.

I was tempted to quit and switch to Crinone in mid-July when I ended up with an infected injection site. If it weren't for the fact that the nurse claimed dh was injecting a bit too high, I don't know if I could have gone on. However, I needed that entirely fresh injection zone. Note: Dh was injecting exactly where the nurse told him to during our injection class. The nurse also suggested the infection was more likely to happen using the one inch needles, but I wasn't about to have dh try the inch and a half needles on me.

The last couple of weeks on PIO were just miserable. I had huge areas of red skin around my injection sites and generalized inflammation so horrible that the lumps could be seen under my clothes. These lumps resulted in a lovely body shape in conjunction with the premature pooch in my belly. I am sure the general public assumed I was walking around sway-backed. Additionally, it was also always fun to predict how much I was going to bleed after each shot the last couple of weeks. Sometimes I would have a spot of blood the size of a nickle on my cotton ball following a shot.

Somehow, I managed to persevere. I made it to the end. Mostly because I had been so disgusted by the use of Crinone once a day for two weeks after my injectables cycles, so I could not possibly picture using it for a month or more twice a day. I was too afraid all of that gook would glue my anatomy shut.

A pleasant surprise has been how quickly the general inflammation has dissipated. The lumps on my hands used to completely fill my cupped hands. However, within only a few days the lumps have grown so small that they just barely fill the indentions naturally occurring in my palms without cupping my hands at all. The best part just might be that my hips no longer itch.

I can't believe I made it through nine weeks of those shots. I stopped to think about how many shots and blood draws I have had since IVF began, and I have a rough estimate of 130 needle sticks. Maybe I was stuck a few more times since on multiple occassions I had to be stuck more than once to get the blood out of my miniscule veins. However, dh managed to get all of the needles into a single Sharps container, which could be a new IVF record.

Dh packed up the Sharps container and all of our left over needles this weekend in order to take them by the drs office one day this week. It's amazing how much neater our bathroom looks without that ugly red plastic box sitting on the counter top. We've had a Sharps container in our bathroom for almost two years. It's rather liberating to think that as of tomorrow there will be no more needles in our house. I even managed to clean the last bits of estrogen patch residue off of my body this weekend.

I just hope that our little one continues to hang on without the PIO and estrogen patches.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Are Clomid Babies "Miracles?"

Yes, I still spend some time frequenting message boards. And lately I've been a little irritated by posts with signatures indicating that ladies are pregnant with "miracle clomid babies." I even saw one poster who indicated she was pregnant with her 4th clomid miracle baby, which doesn't sound incredibly out of the ordinary to me.

Of course, I've learned through my long IF journey that all babies are in fact miracles. I am just left to wonder why Clomid users are so melodramatic. There's nothing like hearing someone whine about how they are on their second cycle of Clomid. In my opinion, those ladies need to stop and think. What about ladies who have done several cycles of injectables? Or ladies who have done multiple IVFs without success... It seems as though the Clomid users don't stop and think about the reality of their situations: they were incredibly fortunate not to be left moving on up the IF ladder. And, *gasp*, God forbid, what if they had needed an IUI? I'm so tempted to ask some of these ladies about the "what ifs." I'd love to tell them about the set up of an IVF injection class, and all of the effort involved. To me, the women with the "Clomid miracles" seem really fortunate to have only needed Clomid, which seems rather low tech to me.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Almost done with PIO

I'm so close to being finished with these PIO shots. I think there's only three shots worth of PIO in my last vial, although dh thinks there could be four. I can't explain how happy I will be when these are done. The lump on my right hip is looking rather serious, almost like the hematoma a student on campus had on his cheek after a skate boarding accident last year. I wish I had remembered to have my dr take a look at my hips on Thursday.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

1st OB Appt

My first OB appt definitely began with a bang. I left a few minutes earlier than I usually would because one of my area's infamous summer thunderstorms was quickly rolling in. The sky was an ominous shade of slate and thunder was crashing in the distance. Fortunately, I only had to drive four miles up the road.

I had barely made it into the office when the weather began to sound directly threatening. My OB/GYN's office is in what would have been used as a house once upon a time, so it has a front yard. The front door has been sticking for years, and in order to get inside I have to give the door a hard tug. Often times people don't close the door because of the extra effort required.

Apparently I was the only patient at that time who felt like it was a really good idea to actually close the front door with bad weather on the way. Two patients came in behind me, and neither bothered to close the door. When the second patient entered, I thought surely she or her mother would close the door, especially when lightening struck directly in the front yard. However, I was left to shut the door not only for myself, but when both of the other patients left it open. It was just easier to do it myself as opposed to bothering to teach some manners to strangers whom I will never see again.

The office staff was busy shutting down the computers since lightening had been spotted. There is a new receptionist, and she was very vocal and quite excited about following the procedures. Apparently I was the only person freaking out for fear that lightening would actually jump through the open door and into the office. (My parents house caught fire three years ago when lightening struck a pine tree in the back yard, traveled down the roots of the tree which apparently touched the underground gas line. I take lightening seriously.) I was so glad that I was the first patient called back so that someone else could worry about the door!

My appt went well. We were attempting to combine my annual appt with my first OB appt, and in the excitement of the situation some key events of my annual appt were forgotten. My insurance was charged ten dollars for a hemoglobin test that was never done: I think I would remember the dreaded finger stick part of that test. I had to correct my drs nurse when she tried to say I was 15 weeks pregnant because apparently she didn't know how to operate the due date wheel correctly. I also had a lot of fun explaining how LMP dates wouldn't be very accurate in my situation, but that I would be happy to fabricate a date for her records.

I love my OB/GYN to death. She figured out years ago that when I call with a problem that it is in fact something that deserves attention in a timely manner. She actually listens to me and trusts that I have a fairly good idea about what is going on with my body. We spent a lot of time talking about my IVF cycle and the plethora of thoughts I have had since having a positive beta result, such as my fear of "only child syndrome." Her only child, a daughter, is going to be heading off for college this month, which is so exciting. Interestingly, her daughter hopes to have a large family some day as a result of growing up an only child. My dr actually said that she thought it was really neat that I was just starting out when her own daughter was heading off to college.

I learned that I have a deep pelvis, so supposedly I'm not supposed to look as big as I should for how pregnant I am. (I'd love an explanation for why I was showing at 7 weeks and why there are only a few outfits in my closet that I can wear.) She also determined that I would need a c-section if the baby weighs more than eight and a half pounds.

Then, she whipped out the doppler. I was so nervous! She reminded me that it could be too early to hear the h/b, and I honestly can't remember when she said I'd be back if we didn't hear it. However, amazingly she picked up the baby's h/b on the second attempt. It was so scratchy, and as a result I'm not very impressed by dopplers. In fact, I wouldn't have known it was the baby's h/b if she hadn't told me. I asked her if it really was the baby's h/b, and she told me it was too fast to be mine. I told her, "Don't be so sure about that!" and she just laughed and laughed.

My OB forgot something herself though. She was so anxious to do the parts of my OB exam that she forgot to do my pap smear. When I pointed this out to her she thumbed through my chart and said that maybe we could skip it since I did have on in February. It's been almost five years since my cervical cancer d/x. She finally decided we would just do a pap at my next visit and made a note in my chart, since she had used a lubricant for the manual exam which would obscure the pap results.

We decided that my next u/s will be on August 31. My dr said that the insurance company wouldn't be happy with all of the ultrasounds it was having to pay for, but that she felt it was a good idea to get another cervix measurement before it was time for the level II u/s. Apparently the insurance paid for the last specially coded u/s without any complaints. Then I will see her again immediately following the u/s.

When I made it to the front desk I had to deal with the new receptionist not having a clue as to how much I owed for the appt. I think she was actually going to try to charge me $70 when I have insurance with only a $20 co-pay. The office manager informed her that I in fact didn't even owe the co-pay at this time since it was a first OB appt. I figure the office manager should know what she is talking about, so I just put my check book away.

What was annoying though was that the office manager asked me if my dr realized that I had already had two ultrasounds when we were booking my next u/s. I told her that the dr and I had discussed this and that the next u/s is also supposed to go under that special code. Why can't things ever be easy? If I'm not fighting the insurance company then I'm fighting the office manager to get what I need.

I left the drs office to go to the lab so that I could finally get my b/w done. Thank goodness I had taken my umbrella inside with me, because it was still drizzling. I had a horrible time finding a parking place that wasn't a long way from the lab. Normally I'm just fine with walking, but I decided it wasn't bright to risk slipping and falling during a quarter mile hike in the rain. When I finally made it to the 4th floor of the office complex to the lab, I warned the phlebotomist that I'm a difficult stick. Ha! She managed to get blood out of my arm on the first try with a standard needle. She drew four vials of blood, and amazingly my arm didn't even cramp.

So, all in all I guess my experience was a good one. Except for the idiots who wouldn't take the responsibility of closing the door behind themselves.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

My first OB appt is in 2 days

Thursday afternoon I go for my first OB appt, which is a bit nerve wracking. I will be 10 weeks and 3 days, so I feel like I have a lot of catching up to do. My OB mentioned that she will use the doppler to try to find the h/b, but I've read that it is probably still to early to hear it. Hopefully I will be able to maintain my composure if she doesn't have any luck finding it yet. It doesn't help that my belly just hasn't quite felt the same the last few days. I don't feel as bloated and I haven't felt as many twinges as I have been feeling. I'm hoping this is just because my OHSS is resolved from the IVF.

Monday, August 01, 2005

I Won't Be a Baby Story Addict

Well, today I got brave and watched one of those baby shows on either TLC or DHC. Actually one channel was showing something along the lines of "A Baby Story" and the other was showing "An Adoption Story" at the same time.

I dared to watch one of the shows since, according to the information for the program, it was about a couple who was having their first baby. I totally can't picture myself spending a lot of time watching these shows. From what I hear other pregnant women saying, I'm in the minority. Maybe I just watched a really bad episode. You see, when it came time for the couple to have the baby the Dad-to-be just had a goofy look on his face. He didn't appear loving or sympathetic at all, and his odd grins looked nothing like the "I'm about to be a Dad" type. In fact, at one point he put his arm in front of his mouth and I think he was actually laughing at his wife's predicament. I found myself wishing that I could have been there to slap the smile off his face.

I had more ironing to do, and there was really nothing on. I was too lazy to bother with putting in a DVD. So, I watched "An Adoption Story" next. Honestly, I felt more in touch with the infertile couple who was adopting, as though I could understand a lot of their emotions. It was interesting to listen to them explain how freaked out they originally were at the thought of an open adoption, but at the end they wouldn't have had it any other way.

So, I suppose I'll freak out the teachers on campus by not being "A Baby Story" addict. Some days last year that's all the conversation at the lunch table seemed to be about. Well, that stops here.