Saturday, July 26, 2014

Kaleidoscope: Donor Selection

DH and I always knew that choosing a donor would be a process fraught with angst (and yes, maybe I worked that in only to use that phrase).  Although he was more worried about me becoming attached to one and then losing that donor and I was worried about choosing just one amazing donor because there would be so many! 

I did prepare for the search by reading online blogs and articles.  The best advice I gleaned was to realize I wasn't going to find 'me' in the search and I gave myself permission to back away if a first look was overwhelming.  (I also made sure my DH understood that I may need to back away).  It turned out that I didn't need a break and there weren't all that many options.  Below is a general accounting of my day-by-day feelings during the search:


Day 1:  I don't have much to say, let's be honest.  No profound thoughts on how this has affected my life.  I finally started looking at donors.  I was disappointed in the selection amount, outside of the 4 the coordinator sent, there were only another 8 that were Caucasian with brown hair (basic requirements) to consider and 3 of them had American Indian heritage.  Not that I don't like Native Americans, I'm not sure I'm qualified to raise one.  I always wanted to have that heritage (it would have given me hope that my skin would tan), but unless there is some in my French Canadian heritage then my family is all Northern European.

It's hard to read the donor profiles because you do say 'omg, I don't know if I want that for a child'.  A mother with endometriosis, an aunt with breast cancer, a relative with diabetes.  It's hard to remind yourself that your grandmother had 5 miscarriages, that your uncle is schizophrenic, that you are hardly a perfect specimen and these donors are being as honest as they can about any possible genetic diseases.  Plus you have to wonder what is nature and what is nurture.

I do have two current front-runners, but I have concerns with both.  Mainly that one has a negative blood type (I am O+) and the other is 31, which makes me worried about how that would affect my success rates.

Day 2: Last night I did have very odd dream.  I dreamed I found out the 31 year old donor was this really nice Asian lady at work and I was very confused on why she had donated.  This coworker is not close to me, she is new and in a different department, and part of it was surely wishful thinking, she is very sweet and outgoing and maybe the donor sounds similar.  She is also at least in her 40s so I am sure she isn't donating eggs!

I decided to ask additional questions about both front running donors.  I sent emails to the coordinator and the questions for both donors were: is she proven (has there been a positive outcome from a prior donation)? is she open to contact at a later date (this is for my child)? 

I also questioned whether a negative Rh donor would affect the success of my pregnancy since I am positive Rh. 

DH declined to go through any of these applications with me, he had earlier said he would and then he backed out.  I might have been upset if I hadn't been so utterly surprised that he even wanted to look at them in the first place.  DH is not a touchy-feely person, so when he backed out I texted a good friend and asked if she wanted to look at them.  She is so excited! I am still conflicted as to how this is going.  I feel like neither donor is quite what I want.

I think the hardest thing is not that it isn't me, I was prepared for that to some extent.  It's that I'm so worried about making the wrong choice.  I don't want to make the wrong choice, I don't want to think what if I had looked more, had more options, used a younger donor, used a proven donor, used a positive Rh factor donor.  Right?  I want to be sure, positive, engaged, excited.  And I'm not - not yet.

Day 3:  Last night I dreamed my clinic wouldn't return my emails and it was two full days later and I was wondering what I should do.  This was clearly just stress, multiple emails were exchanged on this day (the first business day since I started looking).

I brought my laptop to work so that the friend I'm enlisting could see the applications.  We took a look and she also liked my two donors.  We waited for additional information back, the 31 year old wasn't proven (surprising to me) and she was open to further contact. 

I ended up deciding I could not live with a 31 year old donor.  What if it all failed spectacularly, would I think 'if only I hadn't spent my money on a 31 year old'?  Yes, I would and it would be horrible.  I couldn't live with that...

So that leaves the 21 year old.  Interestingly when I was chatting with the coordinator she said that not many 21 year olds are accepted into the program and they have to be 'remarkable'.  I found out that a negative Rh donor would not affect my outcome and, outside of the negative factor, would end up with the same possible blood types as if it was me and DH (A or O).  Plus if I make an O- baby then I am doing a small part to save the world... and I will probably have to train said baby to donate blood, which may be difficult. 

By the evening, after some chatting with twitter friends (thank you!) I found that I was pretty much set on her.  She had a 'positive outcome' and she was young!  The doubts remaining were, perhaps, the doubts that we all have about losing our genetic connection.

Day 4:  I woke up after essentially making the decision very worried that she didn't look enough like me.  Sure, she was brunette, my approximate height and weight, with my hair and eye color... but was that enough?  I had seen two pictures from mid-teen years and I was just not convinced.  So I promptly emailed the donor coordinator, She emailed me back and said yes, she looks a lot like me.  We look like we could be sister (we're not since I have no sisters of which I am aware and certainly no younger ones). 

I felt the last of my doubt melt away, yes, this was the one.

Then I asked about my double lot and found out I would have to pay 10K now for the extra lot.  I may have panicked just slightly trying to figure out how to pay it.  Then I worried, what if I had to pay for BOTH lots of eggs now and I wasn't aware??  I called the clinic back and she put me on hold after assuring me that the rest wasn't due until suppression check.  I waited and she came back and said they had decided to allow me to buy two lots now and pay for them all at suppression check! Woohoo!!  My savings is safe for another month.

As I write this last part I am finally feeling excitement again.  This donor is perfect, she is proven, very young, she looks like she could be in my family, and we're getting 12 eggs!  At least if it goes horribly wrong I won't be second guessing my choice. 

I can commence (and have) dreaming about babies, children who forget to tell me when their science project is due, teenagers that spill drinks when they should know better and respond sarcastically to everything, in essence: life!

And now we only have to figure out how to pay for this all.  (waah-waah) 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Lavender!!


For a change of pace I am sharing my yearly pilgrimage to the Lavender Festival.  It is so fun, but a requirement is a deep abiding love of lavender.  My mother and I go every year and this year ended up getting there a little late (like 3pm late) because we didn't make a reservation on the ferry and ended up waiting through 3 ferries to make it on!  Next year, if we go that way again, we will reserve a spot. 

The waiting line for the ferry was beautiful though, it was right along the shore and we took a couple of walks.  There were jellyfish and sand and, amazingly, a pair of nesting bald eagles who were very chatty.  I thought I could see the nest, but I wasn't positive.  I didn't take video, my phone was almost dead since we were in the boonies and it was constantly searching for coverage. 

When we made it to the festival we went to our street fair, which is my favorite.  I had specific goals: find lotion made with bee pollen (I had it last year and ran out), find a new office mug, buy more of the amazing lavender cookies that I had last year, and (for two work friends) get lavender honey and lavender plants. 

Here's the mug I decided was sufficiently big for me, I do not like making trips to the water cooler (right now I am filling up two different mugs and it still doesn't last long) and this mug is very light, so the amount of water shouldn't make it too heavy for me:

 
Every year there is one booth I stop by, it has the most amazing food stuff.  This year I tried one new thing: the White Chocolate Lavender drops.  They are amazing, I will have to find a way to make them in the coming year.  Helpfully the ingredients are listed on the back: white chocolate chips, culinary lavender (I wonder the lavender planted in front of my house counts as culinary?) and chopped macadamia nuts.
 
That doesn't diminish the honey, which is delicious, or the Delights, which are the cookies I needed to buy.  They are caramel lace cookies frosted with white chocolate and lavender, YUM!  I keep them in the freezer and eat them cold with a hot cup of tea. 
 
The day was great, if a bit rushed.  We would have liked to go to more of the farms.  We only made it to one farm and, while great, there is this other farm that we LOVE and haven't made it to in two years.  I hope that next year we'll be able to stay overnight and do a large tour of the farms.  (If I'm not.... giving birth....eeek!)
 
It was a lovely day and a half with my mother, even though she made me do yard work with her before we left to return home.  I love my grandparents house, it's a little weird to be there without them, I remember the home most with them in it even though my grandfather died when I was 16.  This was taken on the first night at the house, but it's a fitting way to close out this post. 
 


I'll update more about my fertility stuff later, we're in the middle of choosing a donor and I'm not sure how much I want to share just yet.

Monday, July 14, 2014

An Update, A Plan

On Friday we had an appointment with our RE, which was general question and answer appointment.  It also involved a genetic screen for the DH, then an ultrasound and office hysteroscopy for me, hysteroscopy is where they shoved a tiny camera into the uterus.  The Q&A part went well, although the donor coordinator was supposed to contact us on Friday and hasn't yet - I'm giving her a pass since it was a beautiful Friday in July and also since I am not anxious to log onto the bank yet. 

The ultrasound showed I have 4 follicles right now, which is just my body mocking me.  This was cycle day 12 and on left there was a 17, 10 and on right 12, 10.  This is why even if I was starting this whole process today a GP doctor would say 'you're still ovulating'... my RE said there's a chance so go ahead and try.  We are, but I refuse to give up anything.  If I am going to get a miracle baby it better be a real miracle and it shouldn't matter if I use nail polish or take hot baths or go to hot yoga.  Not that I'm going to hot yoga, I'm way too lazy and it's too hot for that.

The office hysteroscopy showed my uterus is perfect, lining is good right now, there should be no issue with me getting or staying pregnant with a good egg/zygote.  My TSH has dropped and is now .66, which my RE thought was fine. 

Next we need to pick a donor, which is exciting and nerve-wracking!  I was hoping that we could do this in September, but now I am not sure if we will be able to complete the process that quickly since it's a two month process.  I want to get to the part where I'm holding my baby.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

RIAIBAGM #3

Another reason (I assume) I'll be a great mom: I love singing both non-sensical or sensical songs to my cats (Quiz, Josh and kitty).  I put their names into the songs and they 'love' it.  A very popular choices, when I'm not singing what was just on the radio, is Copacabana.  The cats' favorite song is Jimmy Cracked Corn, but sung like so:

Kitty cat food and kitty don't care,
Kitty cat food and Josh-a don't care,
Kitty cat food and Quizzie don't care,
Kitty cat, kitty cat food

But that's might only be because I feed them wet food when I sing it, they usually have dry.  It's a learned pavlovian response, but they seem to enjoy the songs. 

You know children would appreciate it even more.

This is Josh, he's very concerned about what's on the other side of the door.  He's very distressed that a door is closed and he would like it to be opened because surely there are interesting things on the other side (he doesn't care that I'm in the bath).

Monday, July 7, 2014

Life Struggles

I hate my job, I hate it so much, it might* be the worst job in the world.  Here are the things that I hate about my job:
  1. I am not appreciated.
  2. My boss is a moron who doesn't understand or grasp what I do.
  3. My workplace is mostly women and is constantly dysfunctional because
    1. some women feel that if they share information it is going to jeopardize their job security
    2. some women are total bitches who just want to find fault in others
  4. My workplace is this way because top down management doesn't control or contain elements that are non-productive, whiny and/or destructive.  They shuffle the problems or promote elements that cry, complain or focus on getting themselves promoted instead of those who work hard and actually perform work. (I'm sure this is totally unique to my workplace, haha.)

Here's the reasons I stay at my job:
  1. I need, or think I need, the FMLA... which is why I am still there 4 fucking years after beginning trying to conceive.
  2. I get paid a decent amount (proof that money doesn't make me not want to say 'fuck you, I quit' nearly every day to my boss, really any money would prevent me from actually saying it.)
  3. No one "notices" when I go to appointments and counseling because I've "proved" myself.
  4. I have a lot of prestige even without supervisor recognition.  My work doesn't go unnoticed by other people and departments at my workplace.

I think a main reason I am so dissatisfied is because my life is such shit.  I wish one thing in my life would go well.  I know my complaints are not unusual, these are complaints that everybody can have about their workplace at some point.  Every workplace ebbs and flows and mine has just ebbed in the past year.  It's not like I wasn't happy there for a few years, but after that point I probably would have naturally moved on or up.  I feel like I am stagnating, I hate that I can't have any one thing.

This shouldn't be how I feel today, I've been off work for a week and have to return tomorrow (Tuesday), but I'm just dreading it.  Bullshit happened while I was gone and I'm just tired of dealing with it, but I also cannot not care.  I wish I could.

We are still proceeding with DE.  We had a genetic counsel, which I found secretly hilarious because she said 'DH, let's start with you'.  She proceed to ask him lots of questions to discover his genetic history.  She never asked me any questions at all, which is expected, but then she shouldn't 'start' with him.  It could have been just him on the phone call, but of course I remember more of his genetic history than he does. 

I feel the need to apologize for the amount of cussing, my job makes me want to curse most of the time. 

*there are so many worse jobs that I couldn't even list them all. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Puking...at Work

The most embarrassing thing happened to me last week at work. 

Just some background: I have an overactive gag reflex.  I am a picky eater, these two things together make my life kindof miserable.  It's not enough that I don't like the taste or texture of a food, my body will immediately start gagging on any 'unpleasant' taste or texture.  Needless to say this doesn't come in handy when trying new things in front of people: friends, enemies, nobody wants to see you gag on a piece of pineapple because your brain hates it so much. 

And I also have a super active puking gene... I don't know what causes it.  I hate feeling nauseous, but if I am feeling nauseous I can just bend over and puke.  Honestly, it's ridiculous.  I don't need to do anything more, just move my head slightly down and ... done.  I don't take advantage of it (unless I am having a panic attack, in which case the food is going to come out), I usually will lean my head back and take deep breaths.  Even taking my prenatal on an empty tummy can bring on this feeling.

What does this all have to do with the most embarrassing thing ever at work, well, I will tell you...

I was chilling at my standing desk, trying to take some afternoon pills.  I have a crazy pill routine, but in this case it was the Chinese herb pills, which are for some reason incredibly hard to get down.  They are not coated and will get stuck in the back of your mouth or throat.  There's nothing quite like taking a pill, swallowing a big gulp of water, only to close your  mouth and find the herbal pill hanging out on the back of your tongue.  It's disgusting, it makes you gag, and hopefully swallow another huge gulp in the desire to get it down.

Occasionally I get all cocky though and am like - two uncoated herbal pills, easy!!  This is due in part to the amount of other pills I can normally take.  See, this is a normal amount that I shove in my mouth and swallow:


This is apparently the amount of uncoated herbal pill I can take at one time:

(If I could take less I probably would.)

Last week I had a cocky moment, I shoved two coated herbal pills in my mount and swallowed them (easy), then I shoved the two uncoated ones and attempted to swallow them.  One made it half way down and the other one remained in my mouth.  I gagged, reached into my mouth quickly and pulled it out.  I breathed once and my body was all 'NO, WTF' and puked.  It was mostly water, but it was also a surprise so I wasn't leaning over or near my garbage can.  The good news is that it was all over my easily cleaned floor mat.  So I dumped the water (and pills) that was in my hand into the garbage.  Then I ran to our office kitchen to get paper towels and some hot water to clean up. 

Normally our office is super quiet, it was the middle of an afternoon, not very many people were around.  I figured it was safe to leave my cubicle and either no one would see it or, if it was seen, they would assume it was water. However, my boss walked by, who is normally NOT EVEN THERE at my work location.  Then apparently she stopped and walked back.  She called my coworker (and friend) in the cubicle next to me to ask what happened because 'it didn't look right'.  Then I ran around the corner from the kitchen and saw them standing there, analyzing whether I was sick or not.

OH MY GOD.  Humiliating.

I tried to play it off as if I had dropped water, but I saw my boss' smirk.  She thinks my IVF last month worked and I'm just being coy.  I wonder how long she'll think that...

It was easily cleaned up, even though I had to explain what happened to my friend.  I would never normally admit to puking at work, I was super embarrassed, and this is a friend I will talk about all my various pokes and prods with, so we are close. 

Also, I'm slightly dreading taking those pills again... blech!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Other Side

I've always been one who believes you can't only read your side of the debate, you have to allow yourself to know the other side.  In the process of gathering information I have been exposed to more hatred than I ever knew possible, although not personally directed, but more directed towards any infertility sufferer. 

One of the reasons I decided against adoption was because of the online vitriol of bitter birth mothers and disillusioned adoptees; and this is even knowing 3 adoptees who are normal and love their (adopted) mothers.  Some of them have even searched for or knew their birth mothers, but were not impressed with who they found.  I feel like their experiences should sway me more than the bitter online communities that hate or are disillusioned with their lives.

Part of the problem is that we are all expected to be perfect.  I have a news flash: none of us are perfect.  We all try hard to love and show love and compassion, but some of us fail to meet the needs of those around us.  Nobody should expect a perfect family.

It must be so easy, being fertile.  Being able to sit in judgment over all my shitty options.  Don't adopt: because you're 'buying a baby', taking advantage of poor mothers, separating the child from it's proper family.  Don't accept genetic donation, you're taking advantage of young women who know nothing about their life options, you're not the child's biologic relations, you don't deserve to have a child and should just accept it.

I feel the judgment from unexpected places.  My mother, who thinks I should pursue embryo "adoption", which is still hideously expensive on her recommended site and appears to take forever.  To be fair, she's not that judgmental, it is hard to have your choices questioned.  She's staunchly pro-life, but she's ok with my children losing a genetic inheritance that is maybe not that great.

Infertility is a heavy label to bear, I stopped calling myself that at the beginning of this year, I was not going to be forever infertile, I was going to be fertility challenged.  Now my road has gotten longer and, perhaps, my suffering has increased.  Maybe we should have a term for this: terminally infertile.  We will never pass on our genes.  Maybe that's ok and we can find a way to go on, in whatever way is right for us.  The point is, we have to deal with these feelings before we can find our happiness in our next choice.