Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Survived That One

Okay, so I survived the first wave of medication-induced crappiness. I'm not sure if it was the shot, the antibiotics, or the combination of the two, plus the new baby aspirin regimen and all of the stuff I was already taking. If it was the shot, I should be due for round two in about five hours.

Turns out, stabbing yourself with a 28-gauge needle isn't so bad. If it were, I could switch to the 31-gauges they sent in my big scary box with the douches. A little sting, maybe a drop of blood, and a side of itching? Psh. Cake! Doing all of that stuff kinda' makes me want to go to one of those vocational colleges to become a nurse's assistant so I can stab other people with needles too.

Topic Change

Speaking of needles, we went camping in the redwoods! I even saw a dirty HSU student walking the rim trail at Patrick's Point while playing his guitar. I can't really blame him for being dirty—I mean, an afternoon's hike will turn anyone's socks brown. I stopped by a few of my old favorite places to munch, purchased some bath goodies at Bubbles, and ate Brio bread. The only thing I missed was a trip to Katy's for smoked salmon or shark jerky. Don't let the ugliness of the website fool you—the stuff is world class.

It's places like Bubbles that make me miss Arcata. There are some severely unique things up there. I mean besides the disproportionate amount of middle-aged people who can't go a day without some Mary Jane and the somewhat dwindling population of cardboard sign holders. Arcata is the home of the Mom and Pop Shop. There are like three chain stores there. It makes for some excellent food, some very interesting boutiques (I neglected to photograph the gigantic window display crammed with bongs), and things like the kinetic sculpture race (look it up on YouTube).

At Bubbles in particular, you can buy essentially any type of bath product you could dream of and have it scented with every pleasant smell under the sun—or fog and constant cloud cover. Looking back, I regret only not asking for coconut.

Aside from Bubbles, which has a fabulous scent of its own, many of the older stores in downtown Arcata have a smell. Really. Notes of moist wood and a bit of mildew, hints of patchouli and weed, and a deep spice of something I can always recognize but never identify. It's probably some sort of rot, but it always makes me feel like home.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Okay, deep breaths. Focus on the head pain, not the nausea. This isn't the worst it's ever been. Things will be both better and worse, and this is just one more thing you have to endure in this process. Remember why you're doing this? So you can get pregnant and be even more nauseated for even longer. Then so you can go through L&D and come out the other side with a pooping, screaming, adorable little baby. So it can drain every resource you have until you're barely standing. This isn't the worst you will face, and you were made for much worse.

Things will get better, too. There will be good moments. There will be Zofran here at some point. There will be Tylenol, too. And you'll probably get used to the shots and antibiotics and tons of meds all at the same time. Everything will eventually stop spinning, and you'll wake up feeling like new. Or you can just stay in bed feeling terrible. Either way. Deep breaths. Focus on that baby that will someday be here.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Free Douches

You've met them—but let's be honest, you haven't—douchebags: the guys who own an Escalade and park across two of the best parking spots in the lot. The people who send spam. Perez Hilton. They're the guys who act like douches because they'll never have to see the people they're torturing with their wanton douchebaggery.

This post isn't about those guys. It's about the gigantic box of meds that came to my door in a very cold box this morning. Injectable hormones, oodles of syringes and needles, alcohol swabs, pills the names of which I won't even try to remember, some baby asprin, a disposal box for the biohazards, more syringes and needles, and yes, douches. They didn't even charge me for them. Nobody told me there would be douches.

And now I sit here, hoping they stay put in their insulated box with the other non-refrigerated meds and don't sneak out and talk at the movie theater. You never know with douches.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Getting Ready

Today I laid down that first chunk of change for IVF, buying all of my injectables and pills. Lucky for me, because of my "stupid" ovaries, it cost about half of the minimum most women pay for IVF meds, and less than a quarter of the maximum. Those little malfunctioning egg-makers aren't really saving me any money, but at least since they're misbehaving, they're doing it less expensively than they could be.

My meds arrive on Thursday, I start them on Tuesday, and I'm just dying with excitement. I have a good chance at a baby, but I have an excellent chance at collection of solid embryos. So I won't go getting all excited about future Baby (or Babies) Gordon yet, but I will most definitely throw myself a happy little brain party about the soon-to-be Embryos Gordon!

If I get pictures, I'll definitely post them here once the little guys get transferred in around mid-September. Embryos are so flipping cool looking. I'm beyond all of the stresses of choosing IVF and to the part where I'm super jazzed about doing it! Hooray for technology and hyperstimulating ovaries and injecting myself with meds! However and whenever that baby shows up, these are just a few more steps to holding it in my arms. Yay!

Social Blogterfly

I looked through my subscriptions on Google Reader and the links in the sidebar here, and I realized something somewhat ill about my social life: it takes place almost exclusively through the blog. I suppose it's somewhat like my addiction to reading, where I feel like I have a personal relationship with the characters in the book, but they aren't real, we've never met, and if they were real, that would just be creepy.

But my blog friends are real. Some of them I have conversations with every now and then. But it is creepy that blogging invites and perpetuates both one- and two-way voyeuristic relationships. (Yes, "voyeuristic" makes it sound all dirty, but you try finding an appropriate word that can take an adjectival form so gracefully.)

I read about my friends' lives, get excited for their triumphs, mourn their losses, and feel, in so many ways, like I'm right there next to them, living their lives too. But I'm not. It's normal to feel that way about fictional characters, but I think it might be somewhat sick that I relate to a bunch of actual human beings the same way I relate to the product of some stranger's craft.

The part that worries me is that I can, in public, claim these people as my friends. I like them. I think some of them might like me. Some of them link to my blog, anyway. If I talked about Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games as if she were a pal of mine, I'd be committed. But If they're real people, it doesn't matter—even though the relationship hasn't changed much.

Sure, we all know the difference between real people and fake people, but do we know the difference between real relationships and fake ones? And how far does mutual watching go on the friendship scale? And is this line of thought creeping you out as much as it is me?

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Okay, so I'm making another quiche tonight. This will be the third in a week. But they're just soooo delicious and easy, how could I possibly resist? Today I'll use onions, spinach, broccoli, swiss, and maybe some canadian bacon. Perhaps I'll even toss in a little artichoke. We don't have a ton of egg left, so it'll have to be thick with cheese and veg. My mouth is watering just writing about thinking about it.

The deal is that my parents are moving. In a week we'll be out of here, and I need to get rid of all their food. Being culinarily disadvantaged, the quiche is my only resort for "throw just about anything in there"-type food. I'd do frittatas as well, but they're just slightly too eggy. I'm a big fan of throwing veggies, beans, and pasta together with some italian dressing and calling it "pasta salad," but my dad insists that we first use the enormous jar of four-bean salad they picked up at Costco in the early eighties. It says "sell by" a few months ago, so it's probably fine.

Unfortunately I can't say the same for the twenty swollen cans of tomato paste I rescued us from a couple of weeks ago. Or the three expired bottles of teriyaki sauce. Or the fifteen cans of water chestnuts. Or the much-regretted mesquite barbecue sauce I had to put in the toss pile. Of course, all this is after my mom did her round of expired-food elimination.

But now that that's mostly over with—and I scored a haul of gourmet hot chocolates for myself and my Cocoa-motion—I feel a bit out of my depth in food experiments. This afternoon's bittersweet chocolate and sweetened condensed milk fudge, which now looks like a pecan-encrusted cow pie coagulating in the fridge, may put a stop to these little endeavors. We'll see if it's pie-worthy or better as cow chips for a fire (pardon the obscure old-westerny reference; I've been watching Firefly).

What I'm really saying is this: Here lies my diet. It was a good diet, and we had some magical times together. I'll take a part of it with me for the rest of my life. Right now, however, it's time to start on that next quiche.

Friday, August 14, 2009

This Post May Cause Birth Defects

Don't read this if you're pregnant. It will only make you more irritable than you already are. Symptoms will include not wanting to talk to me for the rest of your life. That said, this post is for you.

I realize you're huge and miserable. You've likely spent at least some time vomiting over the past few months. You're uncomfortable with your swollen feet and arms and neck and whatever else. I also realize you're full of hormones that make you irrationally angry or sad sometimes. I am more familiar with that condition than I'd like to admit.

And yet, with all of your sufferings, I still can't let go of the fact that some of you constantly whine about your condition. First of all, who decided to get you knocked up? I'd vote for the person who stopped taking your birth control pills. For you "accidental pregnancy" people, just keep reading.

Second-of-ly, what's with all the smugness? Back me up Garfunkel and Oates:

Third, I'd like to remind you that you're carrying a little tiny human being in your abdomen. This is your chance to get massively fat and have the whole world think you're the cutest, most special thing in the entire world. You are all massive a-holes for not believing them and being happy about it. Stop complaining about gaining weight. It happens when you have a miraculous little being growing in your miraculous little uterus.

Think of the alternative. Plenty of us ladies grow to gargantuan proportions from hormones or whatever without the amazingly wonderful excuse of having a baby on the way. We just blow up and get no screaming pooping prize out of it. If you think we're lucky about the no-prize thing, think again.

People pay thousands of dollars to get just as fat, nauseated, bloated, and miserable as you are. When you've been through hell just to get pregnant, then you can complain. Until then, please shut up about how every comment anyone makes about your pregnancy bothers you so.

Get over your swollen feet. Be thankful for such a wondrous source of belly fat. You can get all whiny when you've already given birth and are still all fat. What I'm saying is that you're so freaking lucky I refuse to hear one more complaint out of your prenatal-vitamin-eating mouths. It's like rich people complaining that their duck is slightly overdone.

Just be glad you have a freaking duck.

On a side note, April told me recently that she could tell what week of my cycle I was on by the tone of my posts. Yes April, this is week three. Except I don't get a hormone break in another while, because I just have to add more hormones. This blog may become completely unreadable. In fact, the local authorities may want to preemptively lock me up. And I haven't even started on the injections yet.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Shock Class

At Doctor Foulk's clinic in Boise, when they're about to give you bad news, they take you into a "shock class." There's no machinery in there, just a table and chairs, lots of pamphlets, and tissue. It's where they brought me to see my positive OPK when I really didn't want one. When I called the clinic today to get some scheduling out of the way, they told me the woman I was trying to contact was in a shock class with a patient. I realized then that if they ever take me into that room again, I'll probably start bawling before I even cross the threshold. It's not a happy place.

I prefer the little ORs and ultrasound rooms where bad news at least comes with the distraction of a visual aid or a good amount of pain/drugs. In fact, in my care plan I think I want to ask them to make sure all bad news is delivered when I'm in a semi-conscious or extremely distracted state.

But at least in shock class, they do things like my old boss Derrin. He was an excellent leader and motivator, especially in how he dealt with criticism. He'd drop the bad news, make sure it's understood and gets fixed, then keep you moving to the next thing. It's like how Cesar Millan, the dog whisperer, deals with fearful dogs: he helps them deal with the things they're afraid of while he keeps them moving to stop their brains from dwelling on the fear.

I think Derrin, Cesar, and the ICRM can teach us all a lesson about delivering bad news, discipline, or criticism. Make sure your patient, dog, employee, child, or whatever gets the message, and then move their mind on to the next thing. When you don't, they just get to spend the next hours or days stressing about the criticism. When you let them do that, you're essentially keeping them from moving forward.

In the same vein, we can all move ourselves forward. We have to. But there's no time when it's wrong to help someone else do the same. It's easy to remember to take the bad with the good, but sometimes harder to take the good with the bad.

I could dwell on what I heard in that shock class and from other doctors for the following weeks: that my delicate hormonal balance (or, more accurately, imbalance) makes me a bad candidate for anything but IVF. Or I could just move forward and do what I've got to do. Sign up. Take the tests. Complete the prep. Take the stupid pills.

Sure, I have nightmares about injecting myself with scary hormones. Yes, I'm terrified of what the future will bring. Of course I hate the fact that this is costing me huge amounts of money when other people do it for free (even by accident) all the flipping time. That's the bad. I understand that and I'm acting accordingly. Next step? The good. I might get pregnant. I have an awesome husband who's supporting every step I take. I'm learning to stand up to the crappy stuff. I have projects to do.

Okay, so I'll face needles on a daily basis for almost two weeks, but that won't stop me from following them with a big hug, some website work, and a classic pat on the back.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Bucket List

I've been doing some cursory internet research on things pregnant ladies can't do, and I'm starting to think that maybe my list wasn't such a good idea. In fact, if I just picked everything off of the "no" list for preggos, I would probably spend most of the rest of the year with my head in a bucket anyway.

For instance, not being pregnant gives me the distinctive pleasure of getting totally plastered in a field full of ticks, and then having my designated driver take me to Petsmart, where I could then rub my face on all of their reptiles and come into contact with cat feces. I am also now allowed to pour raw seafood down my throat and eat contaminated fish.

But seriously, I am rather concerned about the prospect of going nine months without hotdogs, brie, smoked salmon, and Dr. Pepper. I will indeed be laying on my stomach at every opportunity. I am, at this very moment, trying to devise a way to combine all of these activities at once that doesn't make my stomach turn. Maybe I'll just stick to a schedule of each of these things in turn: Costco hotdogs with Dr. P for lunch, afternoon tummy time with a snack of bread and brie, and smoked salmon sushi for dinner. I'll rub my face on reptiles alternating days. I will leave the cat feces to my loving husband.

By the way, Lisa, your comment reminded me of a very important video:

Thanks for that.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Yams as Birth Control?

So we're done with all of the preparation for IVF. All of the tests are completed, and with much outpouring of bodily fluids, they're confident we are free of HIV, Hepatitis, and all manner of icky diseases, and we're allowed to procreate. Hurrah!

Also, after a fun adventure involving Doctor Foulk with a flashlight strapped to his forehead, a nurse with what looked like the scariest water gun ever, and me on the ever-more-familiar ultrasound table, we all discovered that my uterus has a septum and, from some angles of ultrasound, looks a bit like an angry koala bear.

Once the scheduling is complete, all that's left is to actually go through some medications likely to swell my belly again and then do the procedures of removing and replacing cells. I saw a picture of an embryo at the doctor's office yesterday, and it's amazing to think that babies come from microscopic bundles of cells like that.

I'm starting to feel like it's a countdown to pregnancy. Frankly, it's terrifying. Of course I want to be a parent, but let's face it, it's not something you can ever change your mind about if you don't like it. It's the toughest job with the hugest impact on society. Who wouldn't be terrified at the prospect?

Probably the type of person who thinks yam pills will be an effective form of birth control. Did you know that was a thing? Yikes. Then again, it's always a comfort to know that complete idiots become parents too, and they seem to survive okay. Some of their kids grow up to be prominent politicians, I think—in fact, yam birth control may be the most prolific source of politicians.

Anyway, with pregnancy impending come September (possibly some months later, since these things are never definite), I feel like this is the time to sow my wild oats. I did the whole Europe thing earlier, and I'm in the hole for money, but this is my chance to live before I face the frighteningly heightened chance of twins that comes with IVF. What do I do?

I suppose I should make a bucket list. You know, of things I want to do before I start having to carry around a bucket to accommodate the regular need to vomit. I just don't know what to put on it. Help, guys. What cheap-as-free things did you wish you'd done before getting all knocked up?

I have a month or so until I start the craziest part of this (where I go to Boise and see my doctor every day for like a week), and probably two months before I get a solid positive on pregnancy. If the procedure is a success, there's about a 50/50 chance of twins. Looking at the pictures on the NCRM walls, I nearly panicked at the proportion of adorable twin photos. Of course, two for one would be a plus in some ways, except that I'd likely lose it entirely and turn this whole thing into some kind of sickening fairy-tale mommy blog.

Anyway, my time is short. Or it has about a 60% chance of being short (for women under 35). The nurses at the ICRM estimate a higher percentage because of my youth. So my time is probably short. I've lost the weight I wanted to, traveled far enough for my tastes, and eaten dangerously raw foods. I've experimented with my hair and settled on a practical style. I've almost got my WOW hunter up to 80. What last adventures should I choose before I have teeny-tiny beginnings of babies inserted into my uterus?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Amy Says "Tuckuses" in This Blog

There's a line from Arrested Development to describe basically everything in my life. For instance, I have a sister-in-law named Anne who kept mentioning yams recently. Or tomorrow I'm headed to Reno again to see Dr. Foulk. He's awesome, but these long distance relationships can be taxing (For legal reasons I must clarify that I mean strictly doctor/patient relationship. Nothing bad. At all.).

Anyway, when it comes to Reno, I can't not think of this entire episode:

Or we've been using the hot tub in my parents' yard recently, and with my brother and sister-in-law here, it's only a matter of time before someone says, "My eyes . . . they're burning!" Or then there's my uterus: "This isn't turning into the party hangout I'd hoped." And naturally, the whole baby soup situation:

I'll admit that I have an addiction. I'm too easily distracted to get addicted to many things (at least for more than a few months), but this sticks like facebook and hot men named Tim that also happen to be my husband. I'd prefer it if you all refrained from any kind of intervention. I mean, at least I'm not addicted to reality TV or PCP.

Anyway, it's way too cold to be blogging right now. Air conditioning here means sucking cold air into the house at night and freezing our tuckuses off so the house can remain somewhat refrigerated during the burning sunlight hours. We're in the sucking phase right now, and if I don't get under the blankets soon, my toes will turn purple.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Most Days

You know what stresses me out more than infertility? Reading about the stresses of infertility. I don't feel like our marital relationship has suffered at all, and yet I read about all of the hardships of fertility and the strain it puts on couples' intimacy and communication and worry that it's somehow happening to me and I don't know it. Or that it's just around the corner.

They call stuff like this "psychosomatic." The mind convinces the body it has a disease and the body plays along with symptoms. Except my marriage isn't playing along with symptoms. I'm just sitting in front of my computer reading "self help" articles that are pushing my stress levels through the roof.

This may be the worst thing that's ever happened to me, but it's really not that bad. My life just hasn't sucked that much. Sure, there are some huge downers, but they roll off the back after not too long. And this whole IVF thing? I'll get over stabbing myself with needles. I was never a shy girl, and quite frankly, the fact that over 10 people have seen my insides over the past couple of months doesn't bother me in the slightest. Heck, they can use my insides for educational videos if they want.

So I'd be lying if I said I loved doing this stuff or that it wasn't bothering me, but I'd be lying to myself if I said it was ruining my life. Everyone has something they want in life that they sometimes have to work really hard for. Boxers get the crap beaten out of them before they get good; accountants have to spend thousands of boring hours studying for the CPA to pass; and I have to spend lots of money and go through crappy procedures to get pregnant.

It makes some people feel like they have no control over their lives, but the thing is, I choose this. I know what my options are, and I'm choosing this. It doesn't matter that I don't really have any options. I wouldn't trade my infertility for any other problem in the world—and it's always a trade. I mean, what would I turn in to get working ovaries? My awesome husband? Never. My arms? Probably not. Indoor plumbing? No. Because I can handle this. Most days.