31 December 2008


Marking the turning of the year with quiet snowfall and a gentle day.

For some amazing words and an inspiring reminder of each of our special uniqueness, I invite you to visit my sister's beautiful blog. There is simply no way to say it better.

Happy New Year.
Wishing you peace.

29 December 2008

is it still true?

You know all those many things we assume about ourselves, about others, those knee jerk responses that happen without thought? all those things that we know to be TRUE? What might we change in ourselves, our realities, our relationships, in the options and opportunities we see and create and consider if we just asked ourselves, "is this still true?"

Lupron, day 4

So it is monday, day 4 of Lupron- and I have a learned a few things: if you are translucent like I am, look for veins before you put in the needle; if there's blood, there'll be a bruise; if you go slowly and look first, the pain happens mostly just as you pierce the skin and not while you put the needle the rest of the way in; when you're done, it stings for a while after; let the alcohol dry for a few seconds after you think you're good; when you're done, wipe with a gauze, cotton ball or wad of toilet paper, NOT the alcohol wipe since dang that stings.

I have had a few waves of sad but still feel like kate so far. when I am about to inject or am injecting or feeling the sting afterwards, I feel like shit, a deep blue. But then I am ok. So I think so far this is circumstantial and not the drugs talking. at least, not yet. Clomid made me crazy sad, so I am really worried about what might happen when I start the stim drugs in a few weeks. My sweet sister suggests I try to stay in this moment, something I have always sucked at. I am trying.

My solace has always been in paying attention to things OUTSIDE of myself-- the sky, the trees, the wooly horses, the silly wild turkeys, the green lichen, the cranberries we spread across the snow-- I am finding it really hard to stay connected to the things that have always mattered most. I hiked on saturday morning, a great big snowy hike up the back side of the "mountain" in the fog. It was warm enough to go without too many layers and I got to the top without having to stop too many times.

My drive in to work is by a stream which is usually just about iced in by this time of year, but in this warm it is running high, carrying the melt of 2 feet of snow. The edges have a thin band of yellowish ice, it looks much more like march than december. It takes more energy than I can believe to just pay attention-- to the fog yesterday blowing and swirling past the window as I played with my new old ebay ibook. Look kate, look-- THAT is life happening. right here, right now. not if or when or if only. it just is. I wish it did not take so much effort to feel connected right now.

I am missing my self-- the one that laughed more, the one that was more frivolous. I know that a lot has happened that makes it make sense that I am more careful, more pessimistic, more watchful. As my dear friend Tammy so kindly said recently, "
I wish I could say that there will be a time when you will go back to being "Kate" but since we're always evolving we'll always get the updated Kate!" Ok then. I want a happier kinder gentler updated kate. with cookies.

26 December 2008


The power came back on monday night, an early christmas miracle. Truly-- a toilet I can flush at will feels miraculous. I am so relieved it is back on-but also glad to know we can make it through a long power outage if we need to. To the utility companies from all over who came to help- THANK YOU. I have never seen so many people working so hard to get things working again.

Medications arrived from the amazing Ascend pharmacy in Portland last friday- $1450+ for what I needed in addition to the donated medications. For those of you keeping track, the estimate was that the donated drugs were worth about $3K. I left all of the medications in a bag in the fridge at work until I was confident the power was good and on, and brought them home Wednesday.

Today, the 26th, I started the Lupron injections. Here is the true story: I am scared out of my mind of needles--specifically of injections. BUT so far, with this one injection down, I am surprised to say it was not nearly as awful as I expected. It is not comfortable, but those needles are so dang sharp, as you touch it down to your belly skin it just starts to go it. I did no dart throw, no quick jab, no quick anything, just touched it down and pushed it in. Then it was over and stingy but not awful.

Psychologically it does NOT feel ok for me to be pushing something into my own skin, into by belly, but that is a different sort of discomfort. I decided to just do it- to act as if can do this. And I did.

So, one down. Approximately 35 to go.

22 December 2008


12 days since we had power. I am ready for it to be back on. No estimates yet for my area. They are working hard at it, and it is clear that as soon as they can get it back on, it will be on. Two feet of new snow in three days have not helped their progress even though the new snow is really really lovely.

I find myself dreaming of amenities like showers and a well stocked fridge, and realize just how lucky I am. Even now, with no power, I am warm and housed and loved and fed. Maybe not quite as clean as I would like. And my house? Squalor. But really, I am doing fine.

And really, fine or not, I am ready for the lights to be back on.

18 December 2008


And so, tuesday we had our injection class.
Faux caucasion belly fat rendered as a plastic rectangle.
A bazillion vials and needles and syringes.
Alcohol wipes.
Sweaty palms.

Ok kate. Deal with it.

So, we mixed we swirled we wiped we waved we drew down and in and up and pinched and poked in and pressed down and pulled up and wiped some more...

Good lord. The nurse is so adept, her hands hold syringe and vial and pull back all with grace and the comfort of many years of doing this over and over and over
I fumble and struggle and color outside the lines and wobble and feel all thumbs and
the bottom line?
...well, i think I can do it. at least the mechanics. it will not be pretty. but it does not have to be. This is a lesson for me folks, a Lesson: it does not have to be pretty, it just has to work.

15 December 2008

Sticking the landing

Ice storm and power out at home. Not sure when it will be back on. IVF meds in the fridge at work. That has made me feel more vulnerable than almost anything else.

Up in the pre dawn to head north for the pap smear and while I was there I pre paid for IVF on cap 1 card ($7900+ no meds) and...
a choir of angels was singing. No kidding. A choir was in the rotunda of the hospital and their voices! I cannot describe it. Magical. I got completely choked up.

The pill is going ok- nausea is better but not great. I know this is short-lived, so that helps.

Injection class tomorrow. Prescriptions to be faxed in tomorrow too. Pap results by friday or monday. Injections start 12/26.

I guess it all feels like progress. And it feels a little bit like a wild toboggan ride where once you get going you hope you don't run into a tree. Or one of those crazy dream moments where you fling yourself into the air and then think, huh... hope I stick the landing.

11 December 2008


I feel truly barfy. I blame the BCPs. I can imagine that this may be like early morning sickness where you want to sit very very still and only breathe in cool air and, for the love of god, no swallowing.

so here I sit, very very still. breathing cool air in slowly and hoping I do not actually barf. Yay birth control pills. not so much.

09 December 2008


Anxiety. Did an inventory of my crisper-- 5 boxes repronex minus 1 dose. 4 boxes 150IU follistim. 16 boxes 75IU follistim. Called the clinic. Made appointments for next week for back up sample freezing and injection class.

God I am scared. I feel overwhelmed by this. How fast time is marching towards what I am dreading. I asked about the catheter that they might use during transfer (should we be so lucky) and got a nice response-- it may not be necessary, but if so, they will use a pediatric and took note of my needs. Learned the HCG shot can be subcutaneous not just intramuscular. See? Something(s) good. Learned about the pharmacy. The dosages. The things I can mix and the things I cannot. The progesterone in oil. The suppositories.

I took my first BCP last night, so I did not temp this morning and will not until next cycle. There is no point since I am suppressing. It should have felt like a vacation. But instead, I felt heavy and sad and it was nearly impossible to pry myself from bed.

My pragmatic Kate says-- hey! progress! onward and upward! this is our best chance! whoo hoo! get in there and let's DO THIS THING.

My more kate Kate says, Shit.

08 December 2008


So, I spent a week away, a week of business travel, and a week of major exhausting crappy flu-ish-ness. I am home now, still flu-y. Still wiped out. And today is cd1. 

I called the clinic. They want me to start BCPs today in preparation for IVF week of Jan 19th.
Things can change. Next week's last minute almost-through-the-cracks Pap may come back wonky. The schedule may have to shift. But tonight, I am acting as if... as if we are going to do this thing. 

Something to confess: I want to think that they have this under control. The million details. I need to think that. To have them discover the need for the Pap this late?  It shakes me.  It really does.

It also strikes me that I do not want to be doing this. I had held out hope that somehow we would catch a break, get pregnant this past cycle in spite of every reason why that was unlikely. So now I hope we catch a break--no, a million breaks. Starting with a fine Pap. A fine response. A fine retrieval. A fine transfer of fine embryos. A fine pregnancy. A fine delivery. A fine and healthy and normal life.

28 November 2008


Ahh the irony of picking up birth control pills. Of settling the ring of pills in the plastic clam shell. Of thinking that it has come to this. Birth control. As if.

25 November 2008


It is raining really hard today, and the sky is dark with heavy clouds. Last night it snowed for a while first, the tiny flakes that look like sand. And then, near midnight, I heard the rain hammering on the roof, and against the windows.

fertilityfriend says I ovulated on cd8 ferchrissakes. maddening. and yet. somehow I feel I should have seen that coming.

Via email Nancy the sweet coordinating nurse said we can extend BCPs as necessary for scheduling around D's January training so not to worry about this early ovulation.

I'll be away on business next week. And when I get back, I'll either have a cd1 to call in or a miracle may have occurred. Here's hoping. 'Tis the season.

24 November 2008

An update and a new link

As for me, cd10, temp up halfway yesterday and fully today-- Alas and WTF. So much for making the most of one more natural cycle. I did not even start testing for LH surge until last night which apparently was too late. After being on clomid one last time last month, I suppose I should have expected an unusual cycle. I am still having wondrous hot flashes, especially in the morning. But this feels discouraging. Like someone stole a week I really wanted to have. And it also pushes up the whole schedule for our IVF right into a week D is not available unless I can do something fancy with the BCPs. I'll write to Nancy, our wonderful coordinating nurse, for advice.

I am battling a little with sad and disconnected. Not a Battle, just a battle-- aware that I am dodging and weaving. Not sure about all that I am sad about- but I know many ingredients. Know the unfortunate confluence of several things is magnifying the things that feel difficult. But once again, rationalization is not the way to peace. I wish it were. I could cogitate and SHAZAM all would be in place, orderly and well. Not so fast, Kate. Yes well. I know. I know. And for all that I don't know, or can't know, or that I do know but knowing does not help one bit, I feel. I feel.

On that note, surprising perhaps no one but me, I realized after last night's post that I probably have a lot to write about and work though with the quite difficult subject of suicide survival. Since I am not sure how it would mesh with what I am working on here, I decided to make a new blog to focus on that particular subject until I run out of things to say-- Letters to Will.

23 November 2008


So very happy for the boho family, who just welcomed their baby boy into the world, born last night.

A quiet day, busy with house stuff and errands, like yesterday was. Then collapse. A very tired kate. Not yet done with this bug.

I lay in bed yesterday (finally having slept a full night) and watched the clouds fly by, listened to the wind. Instead of being peaceful, my mind raced around, touching on all sorts of hard things.

A dear friend recently lost his wife to suicide, which brings up so many of my old emotions for me, from losing Jeff.  I have been very careful not to get Involved since what this has done has been to rake the coals, bring up a lot of very difficult feelings I'd carefully stowed away. I feel off balance and pulled to help somehow, offer something substantial in terms of support. But my own emotions are so raw, even this many years later, that I am holding myself back from being as present as I feel I should be for him. I am being very careful with myself. Trying not to be reactive.  And when we do talk, I feel raw for days. 

So I just lay there in a swirl of emotions- of sadness, of hopefulness, of some sort of brutal and persistent questioning about how smart we are to even try IVF when our chances are so low. 1/6 about- at such a high cost in terms of our finances, my body, our emotions. But I also know if we do not try, we will always wonder if it would have worked. So, there I was, tangled in a mess of things I cannot solve, things I wish were different, or unnecessary, or simpler.

Since then I have been dealing with the emotional influx like I often do: through avoidance. Through busy-ness. Through distraction.  I know that if I go to bed and cannot sleep quickly enough, or if I wake in the middle of the night or too early it will come back in a flood. It does that. I know its habits. It favors the dark quiet hours when my guard is down.

21 November 2008

Dress rehearsal: details, so be warned.

I guess that is what I am, mostly. Yesterday was hard- so much anxiety, and the things I was most scared of really were not that bad. And the things I knew would be hard -- well, they were hard. I am a little concerned about the eventual transfer should we be so lucky- worried about the pain of that. And the emotions. And losing my shit. But, as it was, should you need a sonohystogram, it is weird and uncomfortable with moments of real pinchy pain, but if you have done an HSG, it is not nearly that bad. But it is different, odder, slower, more careful, with many more objects up your fine self and much less intelligible images on the monitor.

If you are lucky, you will get an ultrasound person who is as nice as mine was. (Thank you Sheila). If you are lucky, you will get the information you need about what is going on as it is happening, how things look, what to expect, and the outcome. I was lucky in the first way, halfway lucky in the second.

The mock transfer was bizarre. First, you need a full bladder, then when you arrive, pee 3 drops (but keeping your bladder full) in order to test for pregnancy. I get that. But it is a nearly super human feat to keep your full bladder full.

A resident did the driving-speculum, cervix cleaning/swabbing, catheter up through the cervix (ultrasound on belly) which is the whole point of this exercise. To see how and where to go when the time comes. A dress rehearsal. I admit, I wanted the doctors to be talking more to me than each other... I learned a lot from listening, but felt nearly secondary to the process. But that is how we learn-- by doing, by listening, by watching. The catheter thing, for me, is a crampy totally uncomfortable process with moments of pain so sharp it left me breathless and teary. So that sucked.

Then, when it is over, measurements and notes have been made, they let you pee! ahh bliss.
Then, sonohystogram.

Speculum, cleaning, catheter (ferchrissakes) still shitty, but this time! with transvaginal ultrasound! So, speculum out, wand in. My first time. Not nearly as bad as I had feared (the thing is HUGE and DAUNTING and really? not a big deal. Much less ferocious than a speculum. Then lots of wagging of the wand. And then flooding of the uterine cavity with saline (cramping! and bizarre-not-pleasant sensations). And more wagging. And then, catheter out, more wagging as ovaries are checked out, measured, mapped.
Then, finally, wand out. Praise the gods/goddess/all-that-is.

Yes there is spillage afterwards. Yes there is spotting and gooping and ...
But then I was done.

Secrets? 2 advil 2 hours before, 1 more about an hour before... I am not sure it helped but it sure did not hurt. And full bladder does not mean BURSTING, just full. Like you would really like to pee. Not like you must pee. And bring your own pad of choice (they provide some but they are hospital issued big pillowy things). Actually bring two. The first gets used up pretty quickly.

That done (legs shaky, oh man, I'd been so scared)
I then met with the coordinating nurse. Nancy, know that I think you are wonderful should you ever stumble across this. My partner and I are financing this ourselves, with no insurance coverage. And to the kind person out there who donated their unused medications, I can only say thank you. Your generousity will help so much-- it is about 1/3 of all we will need. and that is so substantial that I cried. Which I hate doing. And am so grateful.

So last night, emptying the bag of lupron and follistim and .. into the crisper, I look and realize all of that will be emptied into me. One small vial at a time.

17 November 2008


Today was not what I expected- a monday to be sure. Came home headachy and sore-throated and feeling depleted the way that makes you imagine sleeping until tomorrow when it is not even noon.

So a day of rest, occasional tea, some foggy thinking, a very short nap, some watching of the sky through the skylights... and tonight I am moving toward better. Feeling more like myself. Less dizzy. Less empty.

I did make some progress- called the clinic since I had a day 1 to report. Thursday morning is the sonohystogram, the mock transfer. The last two tests. I am anxious. Worried about the cramping I always get with the catheter. Worried about my guts and whether they will let me be that day, let me get it over with.

I realize that so much of this feels out of my control, each decision is made because of The Decision-- the choice to do IVF makes a million other choices. Tests to be run, places to prod, skills to acquire. It is as if once you say Yes to this, and you have to say yes to things that you would ordinarily do only under the most extreme duress. And it is odd to think of this desire for something wonderful -- that this choice somehow equates to something unimaginable where you submit to crazy things because you have to, with language you wish you did not have to learn. Like entering a foreign land. This land of hysto that and catheter this, and oh, hsgs and hcg, and lupron and injectables and transvaginal ultrasound.
What is this language??? What is this country???

16 November 2008

Hedging my bets

As much as it was windy yesterday, it is WINDY today- the wind was roaring up the mountain during my hike this morning. I could hear it coming.
I sat at the overlook, the air scrubbed clean, and I could see all the way to Boston. The trees are nearly all bare-- just a few oak leaves and beech leaves here and there. The low bush blueberries have a few crimson leaves, and they are putting out blossoms, as if somehow there is a chance to set fruit before winter. It is so odd to see those little vase-shaped blooms, somewhere between pink and lavender, clustered on naked branches.

We talked a bit about adoption last night as I was curled around the cat. A bit about IVF.
So much of this is about hedging bets-- about trying to balance regrets. If I do not try IVF, I will always wonder if that is what would have worked. And I feel like I need to at least try. But we talked about getting more educated about adoption- I have already been on many sites, but we have not.

It feels so odd to be in this position- I did not grow up thinking I wanted to have kids, nor did I think I didn't. I just did not have a life plan or expectation like many folks do. I've taken an indirect path to where I am now- and cannot believe that while I feel so young, so not-adult, my "advanced" age is such a factor in all of this. But it is. All other tests are normal.

IVF is an odd beast- tests (only 2 more-- a sonohystogram and a mock transfer), injection class, then injections, and ultrasound monitoring and bloodwork, and then (if all goes well) retrieval, more shots, and if all goes wonderfully- transfer!
I am trying to talk myself into optimism, into whatever that mind set is that says this is possible.

15 November 2008

And now, back to our regularly scheduled program...

So last night, the ambiguity ended. I am now officially on cd1.5. Officially back on the IVF bandwagon. Officially irritated as all hell that I allowed myself to be duped into thinking that maybe, just maybe, I would get off with some sort of miracle. That maybe this would just work out.

Today I slept late, suited up and took a long slow hike in a windy soft rain up along the ridge. The overlooks were totally obscured in clouds. There was such a hard wind from the south that I could almost lean into it. It is so odd to feel so much space, to know that the mountain ends where I was standing, but to be able to see nothing, just feel the push of wind that felt like it had gotten a running start. By the time I got home it was pouring, I was soaked to the skin and ready to be warm again. Sometimes when I hike I hike for the exercise and the simple joy of being outside, and sometimes it is more like therapy, more an unraveling, or a untangling. Today there was some of each- the joy of being outside in the beautiful woods on one of the last warm days before winter, and a feeling like I needed to allow myself to come to some sort of acceptance of where I am compared to what I was hoping. And I think I did.

The rain has let up and the woods are nearly dark already even though it is only mid afternoon.
I'm making bread. Making pie. Doing laundry. Settling in. At least now I know where I am.

14 November 2008

The waiting game

Apparently today it is all about waiting.
And patience.
And letting things play out.
I woke to a lower temperature, but still not below coverline. And no other anything. Nothing clearer than a sinking temperature trend.

I also woke to fog, a thick fog that closed in and opened, closed and opened, offering brief glimpses of woods, stone walls, the craggy back side of the mountain, a corncrib that wears one boot. My drive in to work took me by horses with thick winter coats, sheep eating piles of what looked like cabbage leaves... and one big beachball sitting in the woods by the stream. The beachball was not there yesterday.

It rained soft rain all night, and today is warm enough to make me wish for a hike I cannot take until tomorrow. This is an exercise in patience. I know that. I know that. I know that.

13 November 2008

In between

So, yesterday, as convinced I was that my period was imminent (partial temp drop, and, shall we say, other signs)-- it has not really shown up. Tests are negative but my body is not quite ready to commit one way or the other. So today? I am simply (or not so simply) in between, not knowing anything one way or the other and simply having to wait. There is not much about this that feels simple, and yet, really, when you look at it, there is nothing to Do. I can only Be. This is not my strong point. Not.

Last night I felt so sad, felt myself spiraling near tears.
Clomid this month has left me feeling more fragile (as it does) and I want to feel stronger than I do.
I am feeling so scattered, so uncertain - but I want somehow to say that I'm ok. But I think I want to say that more to me than to you. Convince myself that all is well. That I am fine. That whatever happens happens.

And time does pass. I do what I do to nurture myself, to offer myself solace--I lie in bed and watch the sky. Last night there was a big full moon, beautiful and haunting under high clouds. Since the trees here are mostly bare, and the effect was ghostly- those bare branches so inky dark against the moonlit sky. And today birds wheeling are around in big chaotic masses, gathering for migration. I see the last of the leaves flicker with each breath of wind. The sky has been pearly gray since sunrise.

There is a pile of leaves right outside our door at work that crunch and rustle, and I walk in slowly, dragging my feet, loving the sound and the smell.

Today I saved a bird that had spent the last two days flying around above our office between the drop ceiling and the roof- it finally came fluttering down into a closet by my desk and I took it outside bundled in my jacket. It flew away and I felt so relieved. I was not wanting to deal with something broken or dying. I am so much better at other things.

I want to can say I am ok. That I know where I am and where I'm going. But I can't know what my body is not ready to tell me.

12 November 2008

In the midst of it

So today I learned that our last IUI (IUI#3 with clomid) did not work-
and I promised myself that if this cycle did not work out, I would start a blog as a place to talk about the weirdness that is this in-between place of wanting something so badly, but also not being able to make a difference in the outcome by working harder, or learning more, or hoping with more of my heart.

We are now officially on the IVF journey.
One cycle.
The hail mary pass.