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Hello! I just wanted to stop by and wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving! Though we don’t have the one thing we really want this year, I do feel that we have so much to be thankful for. I won’t bore you by going through and listing everything that I’m thankful for, so I’ll just leave it at that.

We are looking forward to spending time with our family today for Thanksgiving and then we’re heading off for the four hour drive down to Iowa. My baseline is tomorrow morning and I’m really hoping that everything looks good so we can get started right away.

It seems as though I’ve waited for tomorrow for an eternity. Now that it’s finally near, I can hardly contain my excitement. I also realized that the next two weeks are going to fly by. Except for Monday, we will be making a trip to or from Iowa every single day next week. Crazy! At least it will keep me busy and before you know it, it will be retreival day. I can’t wait.

I hope no matter what your situation that you have something to be thankful for today. Thanks for all of the comments over the past week. I really appreciate it.

Last week Tuesday I received an e-mail from one of the co-founders (let’s call her Doris, just for ease of discussion) of my real life support group. She mentioned a few things that we may want to discuss at the next day’s meeting. One of the items that she wanted to discuss was this:

“Also also, I’ve noticed that lately there are a lot of pregnant (or recently pregnant) women in the group now — maybe someone would like to talk about how to make sure this doesn’t tip the balance of the group in one direction over the other?”

I should mention that Doris was the first one in our group to get pregnant (she conceived about a month after we started meeting) and had her son about a month and a half ago. Since we’ve started meeting, we’ve had three pregnancies, Doris and two others (who are both currently pregnant), and the remaining five women are not pregnant yet.

Anyway, when I showed up to the meeting, it ended up being only me and three other women, none of which were Doris and none of whom were pregnant. We spent nearly the entire time talking about what we thought Doris was trying to get at in her e-mail regarding the pregnant women in the group.

I remember at my second or third meeting, we were discussing how difficult it can be to be around pregnant women and how it can bring up feelings of jealousy, unfairness, “why me?” etc. Someone made a comment about how they just absolutely hated being around pregnant women and how it was impossible for her to happy for anyone who is pregnant. She had just finished her sentence and then modified her statement to say how she would be so happy for any of the women in the support group to get pregnant because we’ve all been there and struggled with infertility.

I thought that was a great opportunity to ask the group how they felt about what would happen when women did get pregnant. I had no idea if they had already discussed pregnancy and how it would affect the group or not, but I was curious. I also thought that it would be kind of important to make a decision before anyone in the group did get pregnant so that we could have an open and honest discussion about it without hurting anyone’s feelings. I knew from experience with my online buddy group that the dynamics of a group can definitely change when some of the members have what all of the rest want. Hearing pregnancy talk while you’re still trying to conceive is not an easy task for some women to deal with, especially as more and more women get pregnant while a few still struggle. It was enough of a struggle for a few women in my online buddy group that the group itself was no longer a safe haven for support anymore.

It was because of this that I asked “So what will happen when someone DOES get pregnant?” Doris (who already knew she was pregnant, though she hadn’t told us yet) said “once infertile, always infertile! Everyone is welcome to stay as long as they want to whether pregnant or not.” No one disagreed, though no one specifically agreed with her either, and that was that.

I thought it was kind of a hasty decision and one that I thought deserved more discussion and reflection, but no one, myself included, said anything about it. It was the next meeting where Doris revealed that she was nine weeks pregnant.

It is because of her declaration of “once infertile, always infertile” that I was shocked by her e-mail. First of all, I’m confused by “maybe someone would like to talk about how to make sure this doesn’t tip the balance of the group in one direction over the other?” Just what does this mean? Is she suggesting that the pregnant women should not be involved in the meetings anymore? Is she saying that the discussions should be focused only on issues that deal directly with infertility as it relates to conceiving a baby, as opposed to infertility as it relates to pregnancy?

I certainly hope not. We’ve had a lot of discussions regarding pregnancy after infertility within our group since March of this year. Is it something that I can relate to? No, I’ve never been pregnant, so I can’t relate. However, it is definitely a learning opportunity for me. I now know how three different women have felt about their pregnancies after infertility and it’s not necessarily what I would have expected. I know that I may not feel complete exuberance and joy after finding out that I’m pregnant. I may feel depressed, anxious, detached and even jealous of others who are pregnant regardless of the fact that I’m pregnant myself. I also have three local women that I can talk to about the choices that they made regarding testing and prenatal care options. Beyond the benefit to me, I do believe that those who are already pregnant still appreciate and need to attend the group.

On the flip side, I can also see how it could be painful and difficult for some within the group to have to deal with pregnant ladies showing up at an infertility support group meeting. To be subjected to having to hear about ultrasound appointments and nursery ideas when you want nothing more than to be in those shoes is without a doubt a tough thing to handle. And the original purpose of this group was to support women who were dealing with infertility as it relates to trying to conceive. I’m not naïve enough to think that once you get pregnant all of the struggles of infertility just fade into the background. I’m well aware that there are plenty of issues to deal with once pregnancy is achieved, but do supporting those issues take priority over those of the women still trying to conceive?

Looking at it from the pregnant woman’s point of view, (and I can only speak for how I think I would feel about it), I think I would feel very reserved in my willingness to share what was going on with my pregnancy for fear of upsetting, alienating, or causing pain to those who were not yet pregnant. I have come a long, long way in accepting and being happy for others who are pregnant, but I know that for a long period of time, hearing about anyone’s pregnancy was enough to ruin my week, and I would never want to cause that pain to anyone else.

So I can see things from both sides. There are definitely positives and negatives to both scenarios. For me personally, I would much, much rather that we all stay together as a group. I have gotten to know these women so well over the past 10 months and I have a special connection with them that I don’t have with any of my other friends. I wonder what is going on with them on a daily basis and find myself e-mailing them frequently to check in and see what’s going on with them. The thought of losing my biweekly meet up with some of them just because they are pregnant, or not being able to support them at our meetings just doesn’t seem fair.

Neither of the two pregnant women showed up to our meeting last week. I really, really hope that it wasn’t because of this e-mail. I am definitely interested in how the conversation goes regarding this topic next week. I hope it all turns out well.

So on Thursday I had my annual pap smear appointment with my OB/GYN, otherwise known as Dr. Ass Clown. If you’re not familiar with this post, then the quick summary is that I went to see Dr. Ass Clown when we’d been trying for 6 months and asked him to give me the cycle day three tests. His response was that there was no need since both my husband and I are young and healthy and that we just needed to give it more time. “The system works” he told us and proceeded to tell me lots of ridiculous stories of patients of his who despite struggles with fertility got pregnant. Blah, blah, blah. Back then I was not as pushy or insistent as I have since become, so I just believed him and went on my merry way. Besdies, isn’t t easier to believe that everything is OK, than to fight with someone hoping that they’ll find something wrong with you?

Anyway, the last time I saw Dr. Ass Clown was last December when he gave me a sonohysterogram, which was his “compromise” with me since I didn’t want to pay for an HSG. Since December, I found out that I have elevated FSH, which of course has made me very bitter and resentful towards Dr. Ass Clown because if he had run those CD3 tests that I had requested back in July of ’07, then I would have found out about the problem a good six months earlier. That would have been six months in which I could have escalated our treatment plan. In fact, had I found out six months earlier, I may have even been pregnant right now, instead of still trying to get pregnant. So yeah, I’m still carrying around bad feelings towards this doctor.

But back to Thursday. Dr. Ass Clown walks in and asks me how things are going and we have some small talk. Then he asks how things are going on the infertility front. Well, it’s pretty obvious since he’s my OB/GYN, that things aren’t going so well, otherwise I would have been in to see him a lot more frequently than I have. I told him that we’re just starting an IVF cycle and that we’d already tried once and that it was cancelled. He looked at me and ask “because you had too many follicles?” Umm…no. Because I didn’t have enough. And wow, while I’m typing this out, I just realized what an asinine question that really was. I personally have never, ever heard of someone having their IVF cycle cancelled because there were too many follicles. Huh. Well I guess that just justifies my opinion of him even more.

Anyway, he begins the exam and while he’s doing my breast exam (which totally creeps me out, for some reason), he asks me if we’ve considered adoption. EXCUSE ME?!? I was blown off of my feet. My own gynecologist is asking me if I’ve considered adoption. I told him that we were definitely not to that point yet all the while thinking in my head “especially since we just plunked down $20,000 for three tries at IVF.” He didn’t really have anything else to add about the subject so he just mentioned how expensive adoption is. Uh, yeah, and it’s no cake walk either!

So then we get to the good part of the appointment. In goes the speculum and he takes his little sample for my smear. Then he says to me and this is no joke “Well, it looks like I made you bleed a little bit. Has that ever happened during a pap before?” Umm…hello? How the hell am I supposed to know?!? I’m at the opposite end of this party, and having never given myself a pap before, I have no idea. Shouldn’t he be the one to know if he’s ever made me bleed before? Good lord. At this point I just wanted to get my clothes back on and get he hell out of there.

But of course I can’t get off that easy. He tells me to get dressed and he’ll come back and we’ll chat. Upon his return he asks if there is anything that they can do to help out with everything. Hmmm…nope. Nothing you can do to help out this time, Dr. Ass Clown. You refused to give my CD3 tests when I asked for them, told me everything was fine, and now you made me frickin bleed during my pap. I think you’ve done more than enough, thank you very much.

He did, however, end our “chat” by saying that RE’s are very protective of their pregnant patients and he knows that they like to keep them at their clinics for a while after they get pregnant before they graduate them. He said that if I ever had spotting or cramping or any concerns over the weekends once I do get pregnant, that I could call his office and they would see me. And believe me, that was a huge relief since I know that once I do get pregnant, I will be very, very nervous.

So now all I have to do is actually get pregnant. It shouldn’t be so tough, right? The system works!

Oh yeah, and for those who are curious, I will definitely be seeing a midwife once we finally see those two lines…I’ve had enough of Dr. Ass Clown for now.

Nope, not the HCG trigger, we’re not even remotely close to that yet. Hell, I haven’t even started stimming.

No, Monday for lunch I had me some meat. My first meat in 16 years. It was delicious. It was Arby’s.

When my friends found out what my first meal was, I got two responses:

1. Arby’s? Awesome! Now I’m hungry for Arby’s!
2. Arby’s? You had what?!? That’s not even real meat!! Gross!

Look, I went 16 years without eating meat. Don’t you think that I’m going to make my first meal with meat something that I really, really, REALLY like? Yup. I grew up on Arby’s. My parents weren’t real big fans of fast food burger joints and my mom probably figured that in some crazy way roast beef is healthier for you, so we ate at Arby’s (and Rax, does anyone remember Rax?) a lot. So Arby’s was a logical choice for me. Not to mention the fact that I wasn’t even sure that I could go through with it and certainly didn’t want to spend $20 on a nice steak if I couldn’t execute the plan.

So in any event, I’m a meat eater again. I have to say though, that my return to meat has been less than spectacular. I’ve had ham, turkey and chicken (twice) since Monday and so far my best meal has undoubtedly been that Arby’s roast beef sandwich. Seriously. Did I just lose my taste for meat? To be fair, NONE of this meat has been prepared by me. The turkey and ham were at our company Thanksgiving potluck, one of the chicken dishes was at a mexican restaurant, and the other was one of those pre-seasoned chicken breast things that you just cook for 15 minutes or whatever. None of them were really good, certainly nothing I would ever crave. I’m really hoping that I can find some recipes that are sugar and dairy free that I like so that this whole “giving up being a vegetarian” thing is worthwhile.

Anyone have any sugar free and dairy free meat recipes that they’d like to share?

Anyway, I’m off to Red Robin in a few minutes for a birthday celebration. I’m debating on whether to try beef for the first time, or if I should stay with chicken. Honestly, a burger with out cheese just seems like a waste of calories to me. I have a feeling I’ll end up with chicken, but I guess only time will tell!

I’ve been a vegetarian for 16 years. Put another way, I’ve been a vegetarian for more years that not. All of the sudden I’m facing the potential that I may not be a vegetarian for much longer.

My acupuncturist told me on Thursday that she wants me to give up dairy. As a vegetarian, the thought of giving up dairy scares the crap out of me. Dairy is my easy protein go-to food group. Not to mention the fact that I have lived all but three years of my life in Wisconsin, THE DAIRY STATE, for those who are not in the know. I’m not a big milk drinker, but good lord do I love me some cheese. All of my favorite foods include cheese, milk or cream: macaroni and cheese, pizza, nachos, burritos, mushroom stroganoff, an easy bowl of cereal. I also love yogurt, cream cheese, cottage cheese an sour cream.

OK, so imagine for a moment that dairy is off limits. Other non-meat protein sources include soy products, eggs, nuts and legumes. As any woman struggling to conceive a baby knows, soy is a no-no. My acupuncturist also said that peanuts are about the worst form of nut based protein, something about mold or something…I wasn’t paying that much attention. So that leaves me with eggs, nuts (but not peanuts or peanut butter) and legumes.

I am not a fan of non-peanut nut butters, like almond butter or cashew butter. My mom adores these imposter butters and can’t fathom how I am not just as in love with them as she is, but I can’t help it. I’m a peanut butter girl. In fact, most mornings I eat a bagel with peanut butter for breakfast. So let’s take away peanut butter…just for fun. That leaves your basic almond, cashew, pecan and walnut as far as nuts go. I hate walnuts (too bitter), cashews are a no-no according to my blood type, almonds are only OK, and pecans are nothing without a healthy dose of sugar glazed on them (and sugar is banned). Yup, the nut category is pretty darn barren once you take away my beloved peanut.

So nuts are out. What are we left with? Right, eggs and legumes. Let’s start with eggs. I love eggs. I do think that I could eat eggs nearly every day and be OK with that. However, my most favorite egg dishes also include cheese, like egg and cheese on an English muffin, or an omelet with feta, tomatoes, spinach and tomatoes. Even scrambled eggs are better with a nice layer of cheddar or Colby cheese melted on top. But despite the fact that eggs are so much better with cheese on or in them, I still think that I could get by eating them without cheese.

So legumes then. I have never been a huge fan of beans. In fact, as a kid I avoided them at all costs. As I got older, my tastes changed and I do find myself enjoying them more than I ever thought I could. I’m guessing it kind of comes with the vegetarian territory. If you go out for Mexican and you’re not eating meat, you’re probably going to end up with beans, that’s just the way it works. OK, fine. I like beans now. But do I like them enough to eat them every single flippin day? No, I do not.

So what I’ve essentially got is beans and eggs every day for protein. I just can’t fathom how that can work (seriously, how do vegans do it?!?). Not to mention the fact that I’m feeling a bit gastronomically deprived to begin with since I’ve already eliminated sugar, sugar substitutes, and alcohol from my diet.

So yeah. I’m considering ditching the vegetarianism. It kind of terrifies me and excites me all at once. I became a vegetarian back when I was in 8th grade because I just didn’t like the idea of dining off of an animal’s corpse. It just grossed me out. But don’t get me wrong, I do like meat. I am soooo weak for roast beef sandwiches, grilled chicken breast, turkey and bacon. Every time Mark gets Arby’s for dinner, he taunts me with his roast beef sandwich, which smells just like heaven. I’ve come this close to taking taking a bite of his sandwich on so many occasions.

And in reality it makes sense. Once I do become pregnant, I will need to eat even more protein than I would normally. And I’ll be honest, I’m not a very “good” vegetarian. In fact my mom calls me a “junk fooditarian.” Eating meat would probably actually make me a much healthier person and I would definitely get a lot more protein than I currently do. Plus once we have a family, it will be so much easier for us all to eat the same thing and not have to prepare something special for myself.

Additionally, if you were to google the “IVF diet” you would find that it consists mostly of eating a high protein diet, plus lots of fresh fruits and veggies. From the above commentary, I think we’ve already established that getting a “normal” amount of protein is going to be difficult enough for me, much less a high amount of protein. I don’t want to endanger our chances of success this cycle by not getting enough protein because I’m avoiding dairy.

And I agree with my acu’s assessment of the fact that I should eliminate dairy. In the day and a half that I’ve stopped consuming dairy, my spotting has drastically slowed down, so I have first hand proof that this is probably something I should do. Plus dairy is said to create a mucous on the endometrial lining that can impede implantation. Clearly that’s not something that we want to risk…creating these embryos and then not giving them the best environment in which to implant and grow for 9 months.

Oh, and I asked her what the very most important time frame would be for giving up dairy because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to do it long term. I was hoping that she would say “from egg retrieval though positive pregnancy test” or something to those ends. That I could accept. Her actual response was “from now up until the end of your first trimester.” Holy crap. This is not a short-term thing. No way I can give up dairy with no additional protein source for that long.

Sigh. So it seems as though I’ve just convinced myself that I shouldn’t be a vegetarian anymore. Now I just have to work up the guts to actually pull the trigger.

It’s completely insane the things we will do for kids, no?

Things aren’t too exciting here. Just busy taking my birth control pills and baby aspirins every night. I hate this part of the cycle because it’s so incredibly boring. You wait so long to actually START the IVF cycle, and then you have to endure three weeks of BCP’s. This cycle is even worse than last cycle since the lupron and BCP don’t overlap this time, so I won’t even start injections until the 29th.

Call me crazy, but it doesn’t seem like I’m getting any closer to having a baby unless I’m actually injecting drugs into my body. Sad, isn’t it? It’s probably even more pathetic because I actually really enjoy doing the injections now. It’s like I’m a part of some warped “cool kid club” that gets to shoot up every night.

I guess I’m not alone in this mentality though. Last week at my support group meeting, I found out that two of my buddies were going to be on the exact same schedule for IVF and I was going to be a week behind the two of them. While the three of us were discussing our upcoming cycles, our friend who is about 26 weeks pregnant with an IVF baby stated that she was so jealous that we were all cycling together and she wanted to cycle with us. It struck me as a crazy, odd comment, but now I’m beginning to understand it. If you’re not injecting, you’re obviously not having fun, right? I’m turning into some sort of sick needle sticking addict, I fear. But I digress.

Obviously the 29th cannot get here soon enough, though I do think that the time will fly by quickly. My job will be changing a bit in the coming weeks due to someone quitting, and I’m sure that will keep me busy. Also, my husband may be getting a new job/promotion as a result of this same person quitting, so that’s a thrilling prospect as well.

All in all, things are going well. We’re just doing what we seem to be doing a lot of lately…waiting.

Yes!!! Today is day one! I’ve never been happier to get my period before. It was especially important to get my period before Thursday of this week because of the timing of my calendar, so I am so relieved that it’s here! I’ll be calling the clinic to get my calendar and then setting up all of my monitoring and acupuncture appointments. It’s so exciting to get going again!

I’ve got cramps. I never get cramps until I’ve actually got my period. This is such a tease.

The past few weeks I’ve been fantasizing that we might somehow get pregnant naturally before we had to move on to another IVF cycle. I know that it was super unrealistic, but it’s happened to plenty of women, and it’s much more fun to imagine that it might somehow happen than to not.

Our timing this month was less than ideal due to the fact that Mark was away for business when I ovulated, which meant that chances of getting pregnant were even slimmer. However, a strange thing happened this month. I’ve mentioned how I’m a chronic spotter, starting as early as two days after ovulation in some cases. Well this month the days kept ticking by and no spotting. Every time I went to the bathroom I fully expected it to have started, but day after day I was shocked to find that there was none. Of course this only served to feed my completely unrealistic dream of a natural pregnancy.

It all came to an end today at eleven days after ovulation when the spotting finally showed up. While I knew it was a huge long shot, I’m still a little bummed. But I am so super excited to get started with our IVF cycle, I really feel like this is going to be the one that works for us. I’m excited to try the new protocol and see how I respond to it. I’m excited about the prospect of making it to egg retrieval and then to embryo transfer. I’m excited to have hopefully my last two-week wait for a long time. We’re gearing up, and I couldn’t be more excited!

Our History

Dec 2006 - Started trying to conceive
Summer 2007 - Semen analysis (great), progesterone test (normal)
Dec 2007 - SHG normal
Jan 2008 - 1st RE appointment
Feb - Mar 2008 - Diagnosed with elevated FSH levels, 2 rounds of IUI with 5mg of Femara
Apr - Jun 2008 - Seeing a new RE. 3 rounds of IUI with 12.5mg of Femara, all busts. HSG normal
July 2008 - Moving on to IVF at a new clinic
Aug/Sep 2008 - 1st IVF cycle - cancelled due to poor response
Nov/Dec 2008 - Retry IVF, transferred one blast and one morula, negative beta
Feb/Mar 2009 - 2nd IVF cycle - Antagonist protocol
May 2009 - 3rd and final attempt at IVF - Antagonist protocol
Feb 18th, 2010 - our One Small Wish comes true: Nina Adele is born.

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November 2008