Thursday, September 27, 2007

14dp3dt, or How Long Will I Use dp3dt as a Time Reference? 112dp3dt?

E's second beta was today. At 14dp3dt, it was 828. That's about a 42 hour doubling time (or so E tells me; I am incapable of that sort of calculation).

These numbers seem so strong and good. The last week feels fantastical, bizarre, surreal. I keep thinking something jarring will wake us from this perfectly unfolding scenario. And at the same time I felt completely unsurprised by the positive hpts, by the good numbers. Each little hurdle cleared feels like stupendous, highly anticipated People magazine gossip that I already knew from reading Perez Hilton. There is just something that feels so right about this pregnancy.

It doesn't feel like reading Perez, btw. Not really. That was a retarded metaphor.

It's more like a swelling of the heart with just a little biting fear right behind it.

And yet I can't believe it worked. I feel bewildered. I feel stunned. I was so prepared for negotiating the next steps. What's next. What's next. What the fuck is next. I feel like that's been our mindset for eternity.

And while I'm at it, I just want to give a shout out to this embryo. I am so in awe of these little clumps of cells that are esentially just set down inside E's uterus and they really do just go about their business, do their thing. Those wild little fuckers. They just do their thing. They're like - eat this, clinic! We don't need you and your assy petri dishes!

E also feels stunned. But she also feels pregnant, I think, because today she called me, nearly hysterical, demanding to know if I was going to leave her if she was pregnant with twins.

What the?

She feels things happening in there. Pokes. That's especially exciting because it means it's still there. With every moment that passes, I think a little more uncertainty creeps in. Is it growing. Will it measure well in the u/s. Will its heart beat. Will it stay.

And with the swelling of our hearts, we hope it stays.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

12dp3dt. Beta = 373.

Dear SuperStar Embryo(s),

Have learned of your intent to stay in E's uterus for a while. Please make yourself at home.

I'd first like to commend your superior dividing skills - you were a mere 8-9 cell embryo on moving day, and by this time I understand you may actually have a distinguishable "head" and "tail" area. Impressive work over 12 days time, my little friend(s).

Secondly, I find your adaptability noteworthy. To say nothing of the brutal lasering you endured (that was to help you hatch out of your dratted shell, but doubtlessly traumatic nonetheless), your tiny self was quite forcefully removed from your bright and sterile petri dish and flung into the dark, warm depths of E. It was then that you were faced with a rather important decision for one of only 8 cells.

You could have merely fallen away. Mistaken this severe shift in environment for the end of your tiny cell-span, and cried, "goodbye, cruel world!" before flinging yourself into the abyss (which I suppose would only be the center area of E's uterus, but an abyss all the same to one as small as you).

Or, if you took much after me, you might have arrived and decided that the business of attaching yourself to the wall on top of having to divide yourself sufficiently was entirely too much work. In that case, it might have seemed preferable to instead just catch a quick nap and perhaps lazily drift around, do a bit of sightseeing.

But no. You decided to forge ahead, plow on, despite the strange circumstances of your beginning. And in that regard, you take after E. We knew you would truly be our creation.

We are so very happy with your decision, SuperStar Embryo(s). Just remember, as smart and diligent as you have shown yourself to be thus far, don't screw this up now. You don't want to wind up like those fugly embryos: in the dumpster out back. Right?


With love,


Sunday, September 23, 2007

11dp3dt (and some Feelings)

Summer of 2005 was a rough one. I was studying for the bar exam, and was in an advanced state of self-pity. I was watching my life crumple up behind me - my freedom, my tendency to irresponsibility, my fondness for wild and raucous partying.

My career was to begin in a few short months, and those months were dedicated to studying how to master the King of All Standardized Tests.

I was tired. I was scared. And I was more than a little cranky.

Summer of 2005 was also our earlier-agreed-upon time-frame for beginning our quest for a baby. I was slippery when E would raise the subject. Wily. Had so much studying. Last few months of semi-freedom. Please, let's discuss later.

E broached the subject in earnest approximately halfway through the summer. I was shoulder-deep in my books and flashcards and misery. The thought of a screaming baby sapping every last drop of our energy sounded worse than forcefully embedding one of my highlighters deep into my brain via my ear canal.

So we had The Conversation.

The Conversation wherein I told her I wasn't ready. And my E, my sweet E, was so ready. Had been ready for years. She was angry and heartbroken and devastated.

It was a rocky summer.

This morning there is a neat little row of home pregnancy tests lined up in the bathroom, each with a progressively darker second line.

And I am excited.

I've been trying to pinpoint the meaning behind the shift in my feelings. I'm still excruciatingly, gut-churningly aware of the fear, very deep in my heart, that I will not enjoy parenthood. But I am less haunted by it today. Rather, I have begun to embrace that fear as something many, many people (perhaps more men than women?) experience, and yet they become loving and witty and wise parents who hold on tight to their own identities, the one they had their whole lives before this other person came along and mixed all kinds of shit up.

That this process of conception has taken so long has graced me with the opportunity to face up to my fear, to dissect it and call it by it's true name. Because at first it seemed like a deep-seated ambivalence towards children. They're boring. They have poor vocabularies. They are terribly self-focused. They poop their pants.

Then it transitioned into becoming repulsed by parents (bear in mind I live in NYC - there really is a problem with the parents in this city). Pushing their 8 year old twins in double-wide strollers, scowling at their nanny from behind their venti non-fat lattes as she unloads 90 pound boxes of Pampers from their Suburban double parked in front of their door-man buildings.

But, of course, I began to realize that these Park Avenue mommies are not the norm. Lots of parents maintain their identity and continue to care about important things (like, say, the planet Earth) even after their child is born.

And finally, I began to see it for what it was. Fear. I won't know what the hell to do. How do you raise a person? I am wracked with guilt when my poor dog doesn't get his hour of off-leash time. Imagine the guilt involved in child-rearing? Holy mother of god, I'll be disabled with a fear of fucking them up.

And strangely, that seems more manageable to me. Everyone is afraid of messing up this kid that is their one and true responsibility in this life. I'm just like everyone else. And hey, who doesn't like being a part of the majority once in a while?

So anywayz. These little positive pregnancy tests. They are rather thrilling. E obsesses over whether or not each day is darker than the next. This morning, bent over and squinting at today's and Sunday's tests, she proclaimed today's test to be certainly NO DARKER than yesterday's. She is a little fearful. Her broken heart from January's miscarriage is slow to heal. We are both still painfully aware of the number of things that could foil this fragile little pregnancy.

But her sleepy smiles are coming more easily and frequently. And yesterday, when I turned to her as I felt the warm weight of her palm on my shoulder, she was looking at me with green eyes shining -- "I really am pregnant." As if she still can't really believe it.

Her beta is tomorrow.

Saturday, September 22, 2007



Going to Ramapo Reservation with our firstborn son to celebrate.

Friday, September 21, 2007


The picture sucks and is blurry. My iphone doesn't really do closeups, but from any further away it disappeared when viewed through the camera.

But we have a line. A very faint line, but a line nonetheless. Perhaps this picture does the line a disservice by showing it even fainter than it appears here in front of me. But maybe not. A faint line is a faint line, and a little bit more faint than faint seems like splitting hairs. Faint pink hairs.

It's there.

We realize this faint little line means not much in the grand scheme, the long run, the big picture. But we're still very glad it's there. Hopefully tomorrow it's there. And a little less faint.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


I forced poor E, traumatized from so many negative pregnancy tests, to pee on a stick this morning. It's early, I know. But I demanded she provide me with some concrete information about what the hell is going on in there.


But the damned thing didn't work. No second line and no pricking control line.

I'm certain she sabotaged it by not peeing for 5 seconds. Perhaps unintentionally, but one would think - due to her vast experience - she would have the skills to properly complete the necessary steps of a home pregnancy test.

I prefer not to think she misunderstood the simple instructions, and instead "accidentally" held the stick under the faucet, fearful of seeing another lonely line.

I say this because last night I read the "FAQ" section on the test instructions. One question asks:

What do I do if the test remains blank after 3 minutes?

Answer: read the instructions again, fool, and try again with a new stick, but this time put your tiny feeble brain to use and do it right.

And I thought to myself: what kind of imbecile screws up a home pregnancy test? And I laughed, cruelly.

So I'm going with sabotage.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

5dp3dt updated to protract the gloom

E is struggling a bit. And that makes me want to kill someone. I will start by punching our Doctor in the face if this doesn't work.

She has few indications that she's pregnant. No boob soreness. Aside from a few waves over the weekend, no nausea to speak of. Still some cramping low down in her abdomen...but that's a classic progesterone side-effect.

She cried this morning. I will punch him in the face.

What makes IVF so vicious is the sheer amount of information one has in one's clutches. It is a strange circumstance to be utterly powerless with so much information at hand.

Watch me obsessively pick apart the minutia:

We know how many embryos. (3)

We know their quality. (A+, A, A)

We know how many cells they consisted of. (9, 8, 8)

We know what she felt last time. (Not much. Some pulling and pinching on her left side)

We know what she felt the time she was pregnant. (Very painful boobs starting between 5 and 7 days past ovulation.)

We know my egg quality. (Normal FSH but thick zona pellucida - or "shell" - for my age)

But we also know they have a way of breaking free. (We did assisted hatching)

We also know we have none frozen. Zero. All but one arrested prior to blastocyst stage. The one that made it looked "abnormal."

I feel like we're already staring down the barrel of IVF #3.

We're 28 and 31. What. In. The. Fuck.

I pushed off starting for years because I thought it would happen instantaneously. I had no doubt. The stars have aligned for us over and over throughout our relationship. Fertility abounds in E's family. She has those sick child bearing hips. She'd be an elvin princess wood nymph mama. It was all there in the cards.

So I pushed it off. Pleaded with E to wait. And wait she did. It was rough for a minute but then we were happy. We had such good years before this shit.

But O, how little I knew. From the very beginning we stumbled.
Known donor said no...high FSH (fuck, did I make us wait too long?)...negative test after negative test...IV assing donated eggs funkdified.

Our 40 year old friends have lapped us.

And I sit here thinking to myself: this is our life now. We just do this. At least it has made me confront my ambivalence about procreating. But there are - honest to god - times when I have to remind myself this isn't a damned competition. What we're working for is a human, not a positive. It's hard, though, when your love is a mess, a wreck, a broken little shell of herself because she wants the one fucking thing that you can't give her.

Taking years out of our young lives for this feels all wrong.

I feel ancient. And I feel like we've just begun.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Interminable Wait To Learn Whether Or Not Your Entire Life Is About To Change In Ways You Could Never Begin To Imagine

We are 4 days past 3 day transfer (4dp3dt) today. E's symptoms include intermittent low grade nausea, lots of cramping, and boob "twinges." All potentially attributable to the progesterone, of course.

More serious side effects are the chronic google-ing and the violent boob-squeezing.

The googling is non-stop. She googles first thing upon waking. She won't fix me my ever-loving dinner because she's googling. She sits down to "read Harry Potter" and googles. She googles during the curb-stomping scene in American History X. She googles whilst brushing her teeth.

I swear, if I'm not walking into the kitchen to find her squeezing the christ out of her boobs, I'm wandering around at 2 AM, looking for my wife, only to find her on the toilet squinting at our damned laptop.

Today E decided it was time to visit the esteemed and trustworthy magic 8 ball website to determine if she was pregnant. When she typed in "am i pregnant" it responded with "My Sources Say No." Feeling angry and skeptical, she typed in "does GS love me," to which it responded "No Way!" After this rather cruel exchange, E decided the magic 8 ball was full of shit and navigated away to google.

This two week wait (tww) bullshit is risickulous. What really gets me is the constant wondering when you'll have your partner's body back. It could be 2 weeks! It could be 2 years! My readers familiar with IVF will know of what I speak:

...the wretched suppositories.

E claims she'd prefer the daily progesterone ass-injections. That's right, she'd prefer that a 2 inch needle inject PIO (progesterone IN OIL - all kinds of nasty viscous) in her ass every day. That was the protocol for IVF attempt #1, and she had angry purple welts covering her ass for a month after her negative beta.

That's how repulsive it must feel to insert vaginal progesterone suppositories thrice daily.

In other news, our clinic refuses to call us and let us know if any of our embryos made it to freezing. It is day 7 for the stragglers. They are already either in the dumpster or in the frozen cell aisle, since the embryologist made the decisions on days 5 and 6. I get little twinges in my heart about the ones in the garbage. I can just imagine them, the little hoodlums, acting like criminals and then getting the heave ho to the garbage, calling out on their way down:

Hippie Embryo: (bitterly) That's harsh, dude!

Ghetto Embryo: You don't know me! You don't even know me!

Loser Embryo: (whinily) Don't judge me. I don't judge you. Quit with your judgments.

Poor little cells.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Lazy, Fickle Embryos

So it's a 3-day transfer, not 5-day. She's getting 3 embryos put in today, instead of 2 put in on Saturday. We are so very caught off-guard. We did not even plan for 3-day. Lovely Acupuncturist is on her way to our apartment, though. Love her.

Of the 11, only 3 look good. One is "beautiful" (tremendous improvement over the 3 fuglies we put in last time) and two look "almost perfect."

The rest are dividing slowly. Again. Doctor said he wouldn't make the decision to toss them until day 5 or 6. But so far so bad. I don't know what exactly this means. I want to grab his fucking microscope and see for myself what those little shits are up to in their petri dishes. I will kill them, those lazy sons of bitches. Don't they know what I went through to create them?

I'm so pleased with our 3 pretty ones that I give them little gold stars of their own. They are ready for the flashcards and the baby sign language.

But 2 things, and for anyone who has traveled through this particular circle of IVF hell, I'd be so grateful for any words of wisdom:

1. Why does he want them in today? Why not day 5? In his words, it's because they look so good that there is no reason to let them sit around in culture for the next 2 days. He claims there is no advantage to waiting, especially when we have so few to work with.

But I thought the purpose of the 5 day transfer was to give them a better shot of implanting. Why aren't we letting the good embryos develop into blastocysts so they are more likely to implant? Then maybe we could put 1 or 2 in and freeze the other(s).

To me, this 3-day decision sounds like he's concerned they'll stop growing and then we'll have nothing to transfer and nothing to freeze.

2. Why 3 in if they look so good? He says we should put 3 in due to our poor result last time. He also claims his clinic has a <4% triplets rate. Is he just being aggressive, or does this sound like he's concerned that none will take, so he's just tossing all the good ones in there? (And btw, 4% triplet rate?? Yowsa. To me that sounds like a lot of people having frigging litters, no?)

Thank you, exceptional people.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

16 with update

Thank you, sweet well-wishers.

It went well. The experience was weird (how could it not be?), but ended quickly and relatively painlessly and I got to sleep on my couch all day, which doesn't ever happen unless I'm donating my eggs. So that's a bonus.

I promised I would recap the experience on here for a couple people who love me enough to always be interested in my navel-gazing stories.

Arrived at clinic a mere 10 minutes late, and was called in about 30 seconds later. E could not come with me, since "they can't be responsible for more than one person." Fine. I usually act like an idiot under anesthesia anyway, and E saw too much last time, so I was actually kind of grateful that she wouldn't see me act foolish a second time.

Nurse led me back to the "surgical suite," and on the way there I passed 3 of the many doctors who have been up inside me the last couple of weeks. Each of them cheerily waved and called "Hi, GS! See you in a bit!" I was slightly confused, thinking there would only be room in there for 1 doctor with a foot-long needle. But I smiled and waved back anyway.

At my clinic, there are about 7 doctors, and you see whoever is available at the time for your scans and for the retrieval and transfer. I had attempted to learn who would be doing my retrieval, but couldn't really get an answer from any of the nurses. Apparently all 3 of these doctors thought they'd be the lucky wielder of the foot-long needle that morning.

So I got ready, little socks and gown and fluffy hat donned, and I climbed aboard the retrieval table. And then I got kind of excited. Not for the retrieval or the transfer or the potential of this IVF

For the drugs.

I know I'm sick. I remember being a kid and getting a tiny bit thrilled when I had a cavity because I knew it meant getting the laughing gas.

Then our sweet doctor - the one we started with - walked in just as I was getting the IV in my hand. Of all the doctors there, he is the most gentle, the least offensive wielder of dildocam, so I was very happy, since last time I bled heavily afterward and didn't feel right in there for weeks.

He asked how I was feeling and I told him OK but about to feel a lot better, as the anesthesiologist was preparing the first of several injections into the hand-thingy. For a sick moment, as I saw syringe after syringe headed toward my hand (why so many separate drugs?), I imagined lying on the executioner's table. What's wrong with me?

When he noticed my drugs were flowing and that I was chatting away happily with the anesthesiologist, he gripped my knee and said "Is E in the waiting room?" I guess I looked loopy.

The anesthesiologist had me talking about something, and then the next thing I knew I was in the recovery area, with our sweet doctor telling me he got 16 eggs, and that was great, and good job in there, but I don't know if I said anything coherent back because I had cotton mouth.

Anyway, I get the report on how many were mature and fertilized this afternoon.

Updated to say that of the 16, 14 were mature and 11 fertilized (with ICSI).

AND, all 11 look not in the least bent or androgynous.

Granny would be proud!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Retrieval Monday

This morning when I woke up I was curled on my side, knees up. I awoke with the distinct sensation that my lower abdomen was being squeezed to the point of popping. Remember Indian Burns? When some asshole wrung your arm like a towel? That was sort of the feeling, but right below my belly button. It was comical. I think I even looked at it - just to be sure no alien was about to sprout from my gut.

At first I thought I had to pee terribly (I always wait too long), but as soon as I rolled over and stretched out flat, the pressure just eased away.

I guess it was just my ovaries telling my bladder to back the fuck off or it was going to get ugly in there.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Green Eggs and Qi

Doctor this AM. How many eggs? "Plenty." Whatever that means.
They think I'll be ready sooner than Monday...probably Sunday instead.

So now that we're almost to retreival #2, let's relive the fun of #1. Back in June, when they measured my follicle sizes the day before trigger, there were a smattering of 12s, several 16-18s, and a couple of 20s. Dr. Inappropriate estimated he'd get 10 - 12. That sounds pretty good, we thought.

Ah, the young and naive.

He retreived 7, and 2 were immature. We did ICSI, and all 5 fertilized. But my eggs were bent. Our embryos were crappy. We put in 2 of "pretty good" quality, and 1 of "shitty" quality. The other 2 clearly took after me, as they were only seen sagging about in their petri dish and dividing wanly before the embryologist gave them a scorching look of disdain and scrapped them.

The rest is history. The 3 we put in didn't stick around. They didn't even try. There was no grabbing on and clinging for a second (ohmygodyouguysmyarmsaresoweak!) before dropping off into the abyss (wheee!).

Aside from the very serious and concerned expression Dr. Inappropriate plastered on his face while giving us the news, there was no real explanation for why my eggs were weird looking. My FSH is normal and all that junk.

I told E it's because they keep trying to force their little round egg bodies into sperms.

My Lovely Accupuncturist told me my vegetarian diet was not affording my eggs enough protien to grow properly, and that I needed to kick up the tofu intake. She claims that every vegetarian she's treated through IVF had bent eggs until they got a solid 40 grams of protien a day. I thought I was a good vegetarian (I don't love carbs) but cramming 40 gs of protien is no joke. That shit is hard.

So I've tried to be good, but these drugs have killed my appetite, so these last few days my eggs have grown from a steady diet of Reses Pieces that I choke down every afternoon (5 gs protien in a little bag!). Good vegetarian, goooooood vegetarian.

And the accupuncture. E and I find needles loathsome (especially after our many encounters with them) and were not looking forward to loads more of them. Well, my tune changed straightaway after I started with Lovely Accupuncturist. I heart her. She taps those needles right into my qi and I get this hugely heavy painful pressure that just blisses me out. She's like a sadist I hire to spank me.

Anyway, hopefully these measures will help my eggs grow into nice, round, female-identified ova. We'll find out soon enough.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


I seem to have run out of things to say.

Actually, I have a great many things to say, all in half-written, unpublished posts. Most of them are bitchy. Some are sort of funny, but they're mostly dumb.

It's all the same shit. Shaking my fist at universe. It's tired.

Maybe it's because these drugs make me feel slightly comatose. Or maybe it's my fear creeping back in. We could be pregnant this month. Holy fuck. Parents don't go to strip clubs.

To quote the very great Timbaland, who always knows what to say: Dirty babe, see these shackles baby I'm your slave, I'll let you whip me if I misbehave, it's just that no one makes me feel this way. *take em to the bridge!*

I don't know.

But, in efforts to keep track of the "JOURNEY," I shall record where we're at. I started stims a week ago (Repronex and Gonal F). Doctor: Everything Fantastic! Cetrotide last night and everynight to retrieval, which is scheduled for Monday. Transfer Friday, barring withering embryos.

Izzy izzy ahh zizah zizah za.