IVF Scan 6: Bring It On Down to Triggerville

Had scan 6 yesterday with The Russian and the follicles had progressed nicely – one even at 19…..she measured, she looked, and then turned to me and as matter-of-factly as anything simply said,

“so now we trigger and go retrieve them.”



So I sit with The Russian’s right hand and she walks me through the next couple of days.  At 9pm take the last little bit of my Follistim, the last full dose of Menopur and another shot of Ganirelex, which is really hard not to call galifianakis.  And then I’m told to take my trigger shot of Pregnyl at 10pm.

Well, 10pm is an awesome time…..on any night of the week except Thursday.  On Thursday nights I host an improv jam from 10pm-Midnight.  I know, Grandma here gets sleepy ti-ti by end of the fun.  So, I take it at 9:55pm in the bathroom at the theater….so, very rockstar.  I was a bit worried because the needle looked massive, but I’ll be damned, perhaps thanks to my cushiony fanny, it didn’t hurt at all. Again, the super sharp needles end up doing almost all the work and just sliding in.

Today I’ve just been lying low – had an appointment with the vet and then acupuncture.  One of these days I’ve got to write about my experience with acupuncture, because I love it and I know that it’s been a huge help.  I’m fairly certain that it helped me get pregnant the first time and that it helped my body handle the miscarriage as well as it did, which was pretty well.   I would point anyone in the direction of acupuncture, and have.  I have to think that it’s going to be the East meets West combo platter of treatment that gets me knocked up.

I think the cold’s gone into full-blown sinus infection because I Am Miserable.  I will be happy when it goes the fuck away.  I’m on antibiotics for tomorrow’s egg retrieval…..I can only hope they also start taking the edge off the sinus pressure….which is so bad that my upper teeth hurt.

We head to the suburban office bright and early tomorrow for the egg retrieval – hopes are high for happy hunting.


IVF Scans 3, 4 & 5 An Ambling of Tortoises

Three days, three scans – thank goodness The Russian’s office downtown is only about 20 minutes away (depending on what Lake Shore Drive looks like) and I’ve found a sneaky free parking scenario at a nearby grocery store that offers 90 minutes parking with purchase….I think you see where that’s going.  It’s Chicago, you learn to break the rules a little.

Following last Friday’s bummer scan I was very hopeful that Monday’s scan would a) show progress and b) be done by my regular tech.  I got both my wishes, was told I’d likely be on stims for a few more nights and to make an appointment for Tuesday, as The Russian was going to be in the office and wanted to have a look herself.  One change to meds for Monday night: done with the Lupron and adding Ganirelix – maintaining dosages of Follistim and Menopur.

Tuesday’s appointment (scan 4) with The Russian also went well, though there wasn’t much progress from the day before, the largest follicles were around 15.5 or so….but The Russian seemed happy enough and said “I think we’ll get 8-10, they just need a little more time to grow.”  How can I doubt The Russian?

I was asked to come back already today for scan 5, as we’re getting super close to hitting that lead follicle 18mm mark that signals time to trigger.  I was back with my regular ultrasound tech, who totally laughed at the way The Russian had taken her measurements and got down to business.  We’re looking at lots of follicles – likely to be 8-10 mature-ish for ER and a bunch of “little squeakers” as the tech calls them.  

In the end they’re having me stim again tonight – day 13 (lucky 13!) and I’ll go in again tomorrow, where likely a few of these little guys will have hit the 18mm mark and we can move forward.  I joked to The Russian’s Right Hand regarding the fact that these guys seem to be taking their sweet-ass time and she said that that’s just fine, as long as they’re growing and growing steadily, and that this (hopefully) ups the chances that the eggs will be healthier.

And to boot, I’ve been fighting one of those highly annoying summer colds. I’m trying not to take anything internally, even though they told me I could, it just seems like one more thing.  It’s not awful awful and it’s only a cold so it won’t kill me, and as long as it’s gone by whenever we do embryo transfer, it’ll be a win.  Two nights ago I DIYed the saline solution in my Neti Pot — oh the burn, y’all, the burn — imagine eating the biggest wad of wasabi and you’re close.  Last night and tonight I’ve been smearing on a mentholatum mustache – so sexy….so….so….sexy.  I also have some eucalyptus oil so I’ve been adding that to a bowl of hot water and inhaling the steam.  

I mean, I was doing way too well with the stims….feeling very few side effects – I pretty much asked to catch a little somethin’ somethin’.

So that’s that…..just sitting here chuggin’ along, full of snot, my abdomen host to a race where our contestants are  sauntering towards the finish line.  

Hopefully some news on next steps at tomorrow’s scan.

Talking Dogs and Drunk Historians

To the untrained human, trying to get pregnant simply involves gettin’busy, knockin’ boots, makin’ bacon, the lust and thrust, the bump and grind, havin’ a bedroom rodeo, some hanky panky, gettin’ lucky, a roll in the hay, a good old fashioned shag…..

……but for those of us in the infertility trenches, we know getting pregnant means trying to hone your body into a perfectly balanced eco-system of hormones and chemicals you never knew you had while aligning the planets during a mystical creatures convention where a unicorn nods approvingly at you and The Cubs win The World Series.

It can be daunting.

For me, it boils down to having a constant stream of distractions, shiny objects and things to occupy my brain.  I share some here each week.


Likely you’ve seen this video – it has 141 million hits on YouTube and likely you are one of them.  It makes me laugh every time I watch it.


There are a ton of these but this is one of my favorites.  The premise is simple: they get someone drunk, that person proceeds to tell a story about a famous person from history, and then famous people re-enact that version of the story….drunken blather and all.


Hope everyone’s doing well – have a great week.


Stop…Hamster Time

When my brain overthinks things I feel like there’s a hamster in a wheel inside my cranium, running and running his little heart out but not getting anywhere.

Sine I know I’ll be feeling like this a bunch over these next weeks, I may as well embarace this little guy.

Next scan is tomorrow morning….crossing my fingers for progress.


IVF Scan #2: Be a brave little soldier

Had my second scan yesterday with an ultrasound tech I’d never met before as I think everyone I knew had the day off due to the July 4th holidays.  Little did I know I was about to be emotionally blindsided.

Let me be clear: she wasn’t mean, she wasn’t brusk, she wasn’t rude.

She was….nonchalant.

Nonchalant is a tough one to counter given the complete lack of control and lack of specific medical knowledge I have concerning this very pivotal quest that I’m on.

I get that nonchalant can mean “feeling or appearing calm and relaxed.” That’s fine. I want that from my practitioner.

However, there’s the dark-side of nonchalant: there’s the indifferent side.

First she acted surprised that I asked for the measurements (so I could compare them to my first scan) and made a point of oh-um-well-umming her way into rattling off the numbers.  She rounded them all to the closest full number – my regular gal gives me the decimal points (which maybe is something special – I don’t know – I’m not the one who went to school for this shit).  But, in rounding them to the closest number it really looked like there’d been very little progress.  I asked about this and she just shrugged. SHE SHRUGGED. She then said something to the effect “well, they’re small but they did grow a little.”  I don’t know, I was still having a what-the-what moment over the shrug.

And then, the coup-de-grace: I inquired as to why there was one less follicle than before and she kind of make that psscht mouth-sound thing that’s the equivalent of “fugittaboutit.”



A shrug AND a psscht?

I need you to know that I’m a grown-up.  I’ve been through my share of crap in life and come out the other side. I don’t need my hand held. I don’t need my hair stroked like I was a small child. I don’t need you to bring over a tuna-noodle casserole.

But from the gal interpreting my ultrasound results mid-IVF cycle, I do need for her to clue in to the fact that I am the medically naïve one in this scenario and therefore: deliver the news with a bit of grace.

I have half a mind to send her a card that reads:

Empathy: the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also : the capacity for this

A cross-stitch sampler for the wall would be better, but why give her that kind of time.  I’ll likely say something to The Russian’s Right Hand, not to rat anyone out, but hey maybe this gal could learn a little something.

I left the office confused and discouraged, not knowing if any of this was working or if there was any point.

In the car, I let myself be upset for awhile (who doesn’t love a good car cry?) and then had to get to work.  Luckily, I’ve been teaching improv to kids these past few weeks and they are masters at making me laugh.  On my way into the theater, I talked to my husband who was as usual understanding, patient and honest.  He talked me out of my tears and had me laughing, and in the end reminded me that I’ll likely meet other folks who are not as hip to my “keep hope alive” mojo as I’d like them to be.  He also said that I shouldn’t be a victim in this and that we have to be empowered as patients. This is but a bump in the road.

Essentially: buck up little camper and soldier on.  

I of course thought of Coach Taylor from Friday Night Lights, because I’m likely always going to think of something from tv or film.  He always told his team: Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose.

I just have to forget about that ultrasound tech, keep my eye on the prize, keep hope in my heart, and in doing so, I can’t lose.

I also need to keep shooting myself full of hormones, eating right, and watching terrible(fun) movies.

But mostly, I need to keep being a brave little soldier.



IVF Scan #1: A thank you to Dick Van Patten

Last night was my 6th night of stims (I do all 3 shots around 11pm) and that’s all going pretty well.  The shots have been easier than I thought and there’s very little discomfort – thank goodness.  I’ve had very few side effects thus far (though I’m no fool, I know they’re coming and will likely sneak up like little ninjas) – day 2 I had a dull headache, day 3 a bit of a stomach ache and there’s been some minor bruising from the needles in my belly.  I’m affectionately calling these bruises “Gut Shiners.”  They don’t hurt, but they’re these dime-sized purple circles circumnavigating my belly button.

Had my first scan yesterday (after 5 nights of stims) to see how my body’s responding to the drugs and how eggtown is percolating.  She found 8 follicles worth measuring, though said there were many more that were smaller and might catch up by the time I have my next ultrasound on Friday.  I didn’t know how to feel about 8.  I didn’t know if that’s good or crappy. I mean, I’m no spring chicken in this game so I’m not looking for crazy numbers, and the internet is has a broad spectrum of who’s got how many but I drove home wondering…”what’s 8?”

I wasn’t feeling bad about the number but I wasn’t feeling great and I am trying to fight the good fight to remain positive.  Lest you think I’m full of rah-rah all the time, you’re definitely wrong.  I love/hate those people. They’re right up there with folks who wake up chipper and expect me to do the same.  I have my crapass days like anyone else….but I try not let them keep the upper hand.  Also, I am hyper-analytical and can OVER-THINK the slightest details…..so you put something like a first IVF scan and 8 follicles in front of me and the hamster on the wheel inside my brain just starts running.

The negative started to tip the scales a bit….and then an odd thing happened:

The theme to Eight is Enough popped into my head.

Eight is Enough? The 1970s tv show? Haven’t thought of it in years? Yeah, well neither had I.  Oh, you haven’t heard of it? Well, maybe you’re not in your 40s.

The show followed patriarch Tom Bradford (played by Dick Van Patten) through the adventures of parenting his eight growing children, 3 boys (Willie Aames, Grant Goodeve and Adam Rich) and 5 daughters, whose names I could Google, but so could you.  It was a family-comedy-drama, they got into all sorts of mischief and they got through everything together.

My point is: the lyrics to the theme song are supes cornballs, but the main hook is “eight is enough to fill our lives with love.”

And it made me feel better.

I had an improv teacher who often told us “energy is a choice.”  Well, so is perspective.  So for right now, or for the 48 hours between my first and second scan, eight is going to be enough. Eight potential follicles. Eight chances for a healthy egg. Eight chances at a baby.  

So Dick Van Patten? Thanks for doing me this tiny solid by having that song pop in my head and making me feel better about my first IVF scan.


There’s a magic in the early morning we’ve found
When the sunrise smiles on everything around
It’s a portrait of the happiness that we feel and always will
Eight is enough to fill our lives with love

We spend our days like bright and shiny new dimes
If we’re ever puzzled by the changing times
There’s a plate of homemade wishes on the kitchen window sill
And eight is enough to fill our lives with love


Wisdom teeth, a tiny landlord, and a weird PSA

To the untrained human, trying to get pregnant simply involves gettin’busy, knockin’ boots, makin’ bacon, the lust and thrust, the bump and grind, havin’ a bedroom rodeo, some hanky panky, gettin’ lucky, a roll in the hay, a good old fashioned shag…..

……but for those of us in the infertility trenches, we know getting pregnant means trying to hone your body into a perfectly balanced eco-system of hormones and chemicals you never knew you had while aligning the planets during a mystical creatures convention where a unicorn nods approvingly at you and The Cubs win The World Series.

It can be daunting.

For me, it boils down to having a constant stream of distractions, shiny objects and things to occupy my brain.  I share some here each week.


I have my own saga regarding the removal of my wisdom teeth and the aftermath – thank goodness it took place before everyone was shooting video of everything.  This girl was not so lucky and her story is immortalized forever.  Then again, I think she got to be a guest on Ellen so she’s doing alright.


Fear not, the little girl in this is Adam McKay’s daughter (he’s the guy with glasses at the beginning) and it was shot when she was young enough to simply mimic words and then forget them.  Adam McKay cowrote Anchorman and along with Will Ferrell, started the website Funny or Die (which you should know about and if you don’t, you’re welcome).  There’s a sequel to this that’s also pretty funny.


This one is cute, dark and the tune’s very catchy…I’ve been humming it since last night.  It’s actually a Public Service Announcement, so try to learn a little something.

Hope everyone’s well – have a great week.