Sunday, May 31, 2009

Blame it on the Fertility Drugs

I’m a bit perplexed by Bonnie Sweeten blaming the fertility drugs that she took more than 17 months ago on her recent behavior. Sweeten is the Pennsylvania mom who allegedly called 911 saying she and her daughter had been carjacked and put in the trunk of a car, but actually they went to Disney World.

Anyone who’s been on even the mildest fertility drug, let alone those of us who have been on the hard core fertility boosters, understand that they can alter your mood – and usually it’s not for the better, though I’m not sure that they are strong enough to cause someone to commit a crime.

I actually maintained a pretty even-keeled mood most of the time that I was injecting those beefed up hormones, but I once had a major meltdown in the bathroom of a roadside rest stop. Jack Bauer and I were driving up to Chicago to visit some friends, and I needed to do a quick change from my shorts and T-shirt into my going-to-dinner outfit in the restroom.

The problem was that the skirt I brought ended up being way too tight across my back end (another result of the drugs was weight gain, which unfortunately didn’t go to my boobs, but my behind). I launched into a monumental fit – one that would’ve made any of Kid Rock’s or Tommy Lee’s public outbursts look tame.

Luckily or unluckily, we were able to make a detour to Bloomingdale’s to buy a tablecloth-sized skirt to cover my rear end, and I continued to sob over the fact that I was buying such a huge size.

When we showed up at our friends’ house, they were more than sympathetic to my red and puffy eyes and sullen demeanor. They had also been through the IVF route conceiving their darling kiddos.

Have fertility drugs ever made you do something out of the ordinary?

Saturday, May 30, 2009

22 eggs, 16 embryos, One Last Chance

In my entry from earlier in the week, I was bragging about my uncanny ability to produce bushels of eggs, but I failed to mention the fact that Jack Bauer’s sperm count is off the charts – he’s got more swimmers than there are in fish in the Atlantic.

How is it possible that the egg factory and super sperm not get pregnant? Mystery to me and my fertility doctor. We seem to be in that oh-so-elite group of 10% of unfruitful couples with unexplained infertility.

So, after the 22 eggs were fertilized, only 16 made it into viable embryos. And, most of these weren’t just any embryos, they were “beautiful embryos” as my fertility doctor called them.

My first IVF transferred two of these beautiful budding babies to no avail. At my second IVF transfer, three were placed, and at my third and final, four were put back in my nest, but for some reason, they didn’t like their home, even though my uterine lining was apparently a sublime environment.

I tried not to take it personally.

So that leaves us with two frozen embryos -- yes, I know my math is wrong. But, five frozen embryos didn’t survive the thawing process.

So, we’re putting all of our eggs (or embryos) in one basket (or The Nest).

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The shot heard around the world. Well ,at least in our world

Today was the Nest’s first day of shots which will prepare her body for “sitting” on my eggs.

Giving yourself a shot isn’t easy, especially if you’re like the two of us, who are pretty needle phobic. Actually, I used to be needle phobic, but after six rounds of fertility shots (probably a total of at least 60 shots), I could jab my gut with a rug needle and not flinch.

Not so with the Nest.

So, she has enlisted the help of my best friend’s mom who is a nurse. Thank you so much my nurse mom for being part of this huge group of people trying to help us bring a child into our life (there are more, particularly, my mom, but that will wait for another entry).

To the “unmedically-oriented,” sticking a hypodermic into their own flesh is enough to make them pass out or require a strong drink or two prior to injection. And, at most fertility doctors’ offices you only get about 2-minutes worth of instructions of how to do it, if you’re lucky, which amazes me. It took me longer to learn how to make a grilled cheese and that doesn’t involve needles or pharmaceuticals. So, it’s a wonder that any of those fertility drugs make it into our bodies at all.

May the drugs that the Nest is injecting work their pharmaceutical magic and may she not be too freaked out about it!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My Empty Nest

I’m great at producing eggs, a virtual egg factory, actually. In fact, after my egg retrieval, in an anesthesia-induced haze, the only thing I could utter was, “how many eggs did they get?”

“22” was my magic and incredible number. I was so happy after hearing how many my super-productive ovaries belted out that Jack Bauer said I kept asking the nurses.

Surely that was a record for the hospital. So, I asked, still loopy from being under for an hour. I missed it by four – 26 was the highest egg production that they’d seen.

Still, 22 is nothing to sneeze at. However, that doesn’t do any good if sperm can’t find it or if I can’t hold an embryo in my uterus/nest.

JB and I have been at this baby making thing for five years to no avail. We’ve tried just about every fertility procedure as well as old wives’ tales, suggestions from friends, and recommendations from the Web and books.

That is, we’ve tried just about everything to get pregnant, but we haven't tried putting our eggs in someone else's nest.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Episode IV: A New Hope

Long ago, in a galaxy far, far way…Evil imperial forces had taken over the universe, errr…uterus. Many tries were made to overtake its powerful hold, but they haven’t been met with any success. The Rebel Alliance has tried for more than four years to restore freedom to the universe, I mean, uterus, but nothing has worked – not the valiant efforts of three ovulation inductions or the highly calculated and strategized three in vitro fertilization transfers. For a while, it seemed that all was lost on reclaiming peace and harmony among the universe/uterus.

OK, maybe my Star Wars references are pushing it a bit, but my quest to get pregnant has, at times, seemed as complicated and unfair as the fight between the good Rebel Alliance and the evil empire of Darth Vader.

After five years, tens of thousands of dollars, 1611 pre-natal vitamins, 55 ovulation detection tests, 16 pregnancy tests, 23 blood draws and ultrasounds and ten embryos, I am still not pregnant. My husband, who wants to be known as Jack Bauer (also the name of the super cool and tough Kiefer Sutherland character on 24), and I have decided to try one last effort to have a biological child.

But, there is a new hope and a part of that Star Wars analogy that does work. A Jedi Knight has emerged that could bring a balance back to the galaxy.

Enter the Nest. Through an amazingly serendipitous act, the Nest, also known as our prospective gestational carrier, came into our lives. I can’t say how she did lest it giveaway her identity, but through a wondrous occurrence we met our carrier and discovered that she and I are kindred spirits.

After another six months, 50 emails, one counseling session and one key visit to our fertility doctor, we’re on the countdown to the transfer of Jack Bauer’s and my embryo into the nest.

She and I will share this blog space as a way to tell our story. Now all I have to do is sit back and relax – she has the tough part.