Archive for July, 2009



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I found a pine bookcase last week, abandoned and ugly beautiful. Special because the screws are hidden by pegs flush to the surface. Just needs a little TLC. So I went poking around at Home Depot and read up on milk paint online and back to Home Depot where they only pretend to care about the environment. Eventually found my way to the local hardware store. I’m in love. Never going to the Depot again.

So I’m in the paint section wondering how to strip this thing without killing myself and everything around me, and they call in the Paint Guy to help out. He brings me to the stripper section (no poles in sight) and I mention that I want something with citrus because I might be pregnant (stay tuned for details). He looks at me and says, “I can’t sell you anything.” I look at him blankly. “My wife is pregnant. I’m not letting her near any of this stuff. Sorry.” And though he’s already won this year’s Most Charming Hardware Store Man Ever award, he goes on to tell me my body’s a temple. Matter of fact. Like, duh.

Okay, I’m reaping the rewards of pregnancy without even a drop of morning sickness. It’s not a bad way to go. A Lifestyle Choice perhaps.

I wish. Well anyway, surprise surprise: my body was Unpredictable this week. I happened to pee on an OPK stick Wednesday noon, just for kicks, and it turned positive. Day 11. Wait. I’m picking up Tank Friday. I’ve got plans Saturday, because I’m inseminating somewhere between 10 and 2, I figure.

Clearly I needed a reality check. But first, I assumed it was an error. An old test influenced by the Bon Ami under my bathroom sink. I had lunch, leisurely, and wandered over to Walgreens, ran into a former student, gave career advice, strolled the aisles, dropped $30 on another box of tests. Eventually got around to needing to pee again, roughly 3 in the afternoon.

Positive. (!*$#@^)

In full-on No Really I’m Calm mode, I dashed to the phone and called the sperm bank to change my pick-up, called the fertility center – yeah, the ones who prescribed these insane drugs I’m taking. The nurse proceeded to admonish me for a) not calling when I got my period, b) not doing the OPK test in the morning, c) not filling out the paperwork, d) generally avoiding protocol. I informed her I really had no intention of  IUI’ing at their clinic, but was now confused. She set me up for an ultrasound the next morning.

Morning. Drove over a bridge, got a glorious parking spot, nearly ran headlong into a sperm donor in the stairwell (THAT is a weird feeling), picked up Tank 4 and drove over a bridge to the city. Theme of bridges, tolls, parking, and timing. Got to the fertility clinic with the astonishing views of the bay and was escorted in by the nurse with the empathy problem. Not as bad in person. And competent, which matters more sometimes.

So there I am in the examination room, socks in stirrups again, and the doctor tells me there’s no dominant follicle (remember the chocolate chips in the cookie? no big one.) but that this flattened one over here is an Evacuated Follicle, so the egg’s probably out there floating around. Black smudge. I took her word for it, but can’t say I wasn’t surprised. I’d looked at my cervix that morning – suddenly remembering I had that option – and it wasn’t all spilling out fertility messages. A constant education in unstable variables.

A gentleman with an Irish accent took Tank from me. He does the thawing. Didn’t have a Sperm Specialist with a fancy lab before, that’s novel.

I ran around the block giving lost people bad directions before going back in for my IUI with the available doctor. Met another nurse, another doctor, another nurse. This last one was a doll, all eye contact, patting my arm, a sneaky little grin and more Irish brogue as she squirred away a free box of drugs for me. I probably would have never deviated from this clinic if I’d met her first. Oh, and the fabulous insurance woman was there too, so I soaked her with compliments. This is Dorothy-quality dreaming here, Me Surrounded By Saintly Service Providers. It was divine.

The IUI was quick, the doctor all business, and I lay there in the dark like you’re supposed to for 15 minutes. Then over the bridge to drop off Tank and back to work, where it was impossible to concentrate. Called Mom.

So we’ll see. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy the hell out of this Might Be Pregnant lifestyle.

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Well, they say it takes an average of 6 cycles. I keep telling myself that – and recalling that although I’ve been thinking and reading and tracking for a year, I’ve really only Tried for three cycles. The first one might not even count, being fueled by enthusiasm and impatience more than science.

I was watching “If These Walls Could Talk 2” – the sequel oddly much much better than its precedent (don’t even think about seeing it… Cher makes a dramatic, slo mo fall to the floor as a downed abortion doctor… need I say more??)  Anyway, there’s a fabulous scene between Sharon Stone and Ellen Degeneres who’re working on making a baby. I was watching it like a hawk as Ellen drags their first Tank into the house. I said “if they get pregnant on the first try, I’m leaving the room. Writing in protest” But they didn’t. One scene after the other, Ellen’s comical trudge up the front walk, one heavy Tank after another making a debut through the  door. Til they finally get to the IUI. I was satisfied.

As for anything new to say, I discovered this cycle that the pregnancy tests with the pink lines (like the ovulation kits) are easier to take than the digital “pregnant” “not pregnant.” I mean, easier to process. Gentler. There’s something about being able to gaze at it for a few minutes, wondering if your eyes are deceiving you, squinting to ensure there’s not a second faint line there, that’s calming. Meditative even. An agreement we come to, the stick and I.

is indisputable really better?

By contrast, the digital read-out serves a mandate. No poetry, not even room for a haiku. I’ve decided I’ll use the remaining digital tests under the sink as a back-up in the future, simply to confirm whatever the pink lines and I agree upon next time.

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I’m pretty sure I didn’t mention that I had my third visit with the midwife a week and a half ago… that would be 10 days ago, to be exact. And 7 hours. So I have a few more days to wait until I can test, and I’m not going to do it any sooner because I found out last time that just messes with my head.

I’m on meds this time around, as I mentioned, and the temperature chart actually did help me figure out When My Period Starts. So that’s an improvement. It helps that there turns out to be a woman at the fertility clinic who uses email. And she Answers Questions!! I also discovered a divine quirk in the universe’s tendency toward irritating chaos: the fertility clinic has someone on staff whose only job is to wrangle with insurance. I’m telling you now, it really might be worth going through fertility therapy just to have this woman call you out of nowhere and tell you she’s talking to your insurance people and will let your pharmacist know what to do when she’s done. I had tears in my eyes when she convinced my prescription insurance company to replace the $370 sticker price with my $40 copay on this extra special progesterone suppository no one actually stocked, and then told the pharmacist, and then made sure it was available for me to pick up that day. I was on her Call List, she said.

I know I don’t have to tell you, I’m not kidding: Tears in my eyes.

Okay, so I got set with my meds and joined the ranks of the Ovulation Obsessed, displaying three brands of predictor kits on my bathroom sink, taking multiple breaks from a conference to secretly pee on sticks, monitoring every glass of water I drank (not too much! can’t pee again for 2 hours!). Very intense and, frankly, weird. But we’re past that.

I even called the manufacturer of one of the ovulation kits to find out why it didn’t give me the same data as the other. Ended up spending half an hour on the phone telling him the difference between the test sensitivity levels, how to determine ovulation from looking at a cervix, and the pros and cons of letrozole vs clomid and endometrin vs the other one… If I weren’t certain this is all going into a suspended cache of short-term memory, I’d begin my new fertility counselling career right now. I could use a change.

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