Merry Christmas!

That's my awesome and wonderful little dog driving her cat brothers in her bug! :) I may not have a human baby yet but these have been the best kids on the planet!


Anyhoo, my dog - she's awesome; the best! She's a pure breed Pekingese that I adopted at an animal rescue when she was 1 year old (4+ years ago). I'm not sure I could love anyone as much as I do her. She's feisty and tough as nails yet such a loving sweet spirit. She's 13.7 lbs. and I tell her she's got the "hottest little bod" and then make a sizzle sound and poke her thigh with my finger and she looks at me like I'm nuts (which I am). :)

Notice my gray cat in the passenger seat next to her. She loves him and he worships her. (notice he has lipstick on his mouth - that's not a Photoshop job - that was really on his lips when I took the picture). He's the most gentle soul there is - tender as the day is long and not a mean bone in his body. He loves to be loved and snuggled.

And then there's the orange cat in the back seat. He and the gray cat are brothers from the same litter. He's the stereotypical cat - aloof, moody and antisocial but very mischevious. When anything falls down in another room, guess who bolts from the room at warp speed?!

All 3 of my "kids" are exactly 5 1/2 years old - triplets!

To sum up their personalities, I have said that if my animals were human children, this is what I would have:
  • Gray cat: He would be my special needs kid who is picked on and doesn't know how to fight back and wants to be friends with everyone. I would spend a fortune on a special education for him and any job in the future requiring more intellect than handing out a flyer in a stationary position would be, simply, out of reach.
  • My Princess girl (dog): She would be too sassy for her own good. Pregant at 13 and unable to ever sow her wild oats. She would be such a creative, free spirit.
  • Orange cat: This kid would make me question my decision to have a child every single day. He would test me, push me and challenge me in every moment. By age 12 I would get a call at 3 AM from the local police department that he was behind bars after being caught taking a joy ride in a stolen car, with a bottle of Jack and some cigarettes in tow.
But I couldn't be happier or love them more! (animals are what's purely good in the world)


Donor Egg Alert

There's a woman in my office . . . she's 44 with a 2 year old. Could it be her egg? Yeap, could be. Was it? I dunno.

I've never asked her if she went to a fertility clinic but she eluded to it. Early this year when she turned 44 I told her she looked great - that I couldn't believe she was 44 (true statements!) and she said "yeah, I'm old - I had my son when I was 42, which is old - he was planned - we really really tried to have him." Those kind of comments - to a fertility challenged chick - perk my ears up. If she was 32 I might think that meant a whole bunch of ovulation predictor kits and timed sex but at 42 (and she's a smart cookie), Nahhhhh!

In fact, she said she and her husband were not going to have kids and when she turned 42 they talked about it and knew it was now or never. Hey, maybe her idea of "planning" was to spread some red rose petals on the bed and get going but, again, Nahhhhh! (I know my people)

Now, because she had one child and she was only 42, in my eyes, it leaves the possibility open that it was actually her egg. If she'd had twins, hands down, my money would be on a donor. 'Cause getting 1 good egg at 42 after 1 try at IVF is a fucking miracle - but 2?! That's no miracle! That's called a twentysomething chippie with hot young eggs for hire. Of course who, but I, would know know this?

My department is fertility-challenged, to be sure, but all of those women (except the current 44 year old) underwent IVF in their 30's. Donor eggs probably weren't discussed with them much.

So I look at 44 year old's son - looks NOTHING like her. Now, big deal, right? My best friend has jet black hair and dark brown eyes - she is dark and sultry and super pretty. Her husband has lighter brown hair and brown eyes. Their first child, a daughter, had a snow white complexion, platinum blond hair and Paul Newman blue eyes as a toddler. She and I were standing outside of a restaurant with her baby in a stroller and someone asked her if she was the nanny. She cracked up and said to me "Did you hear that? It happens all the time - they think I'm the Hispanic illegal immigrant babysitter to the waspy kid."

So maybe 44-year-old-office-girl really is genetically related to her son. From every perspective, it doesn't matter (unless you're me and you're being nosey 'cause you're knee-deep in the fertility and donor egg shit right now).

But I may have the answer to my question some day in 2009 when I announce my pregnancy. If she stares at me too long, asks too many questions and never-friggen-mind if she even hints at donor eggs - I'll know.


I've been called "negative"

But I've never agreed with it. Instead, I have described myself as a realist.

Just because I don't think you're going to sell the house you bought 4 years ago at the height of the market in central NJ in a bidding war at a massive profit in these current economic times, doesn't make me negative - it makes me a realist. I mean, read a paper people, do some research, get a clue. Wanting something to be one way, UNFORTUNATELY, doesn't make it so. Establishing a solid plan to get what you want is what gets you there.

Ironically, my very infertility treatment proves how positive I really am. After all, what negative person could, or would, ever subject themselves to the expense, tears and hope that are fundamentally inherent with every single cycle. I mean, you have to have nerves of steel to get through this with a shred of sanity, never mind get back in the ring the following month. Negativity is simply a trait none of us has, by default.

When I'm bursting at the belly, I'll make sure that those wearing rose-colored glasses know exactly what I went through to get there - what all infertiles must overcome.

So kudos to all of you girls out there in IF land - the most hopeful and positive humans on earth!

Thanks everyone (anonymous too :)

The comments to my last post on Patience were great. I gave them all some good thought.

I can't stress enough that the whole turning 42 thing last week really heightened things for me. But far worse still was my nurse at CCRM telling me she still thinks it'll be the 6-9 months they originally gave. And, yes, they did say that (when I went in early October) BUT it was always followed up with a great degree of comfort that it's usually sooner, especially if your criteria isn't stringent. And I am not sure how my criteria could have been any less stringent, truly.

So then I started REALLY doing the math....Wow! I could get matched in friggen July - and not have a transfer until September. Geez Louise, if it worked, I would be 43 before I were even showing!

I always tell friends that there is a time for everything. When you're 22, you can afford to date a guy for 3 years who doesn't ever want to get married or have kids (presuming that's important to you). But when you're 30, you really have to get practical and not piss away 3 years doing the same - but you can still date someone who's like-minded for a year or two if it's headed in the right direction. Well, when you hit mid/late 30's, I say that's time to stop jerking around. You meet someone, there's chemistry, you're both good for each other, you want the same future, you enjoy being together - 6 months to engagement, TOPS!

Okay, the above isn't written in stone but I'm making a point. Wasting a year at 23 can be very different from wasting a year at 40 - a year at the wrong time can cost far more.

As for Jill's comment about believing this cycle wouldn't have worked if it weren't for CCRM, that's pretty likely given the trouble you'd had in the past (and I feel for you with your former RE, what a mess!). You were challenged with eggs that weren't doing great in the past so you definitely needed the big guns and, fortunately, you got 'em! :)

I'm still with CCRM - all the way baby! But if, theoretically, I were able to do a split cycle much sooner than they have a match for me, I'm not sure it would hurt anything (other than my wallet). As for an agency, I'm 100% off that wagon. :)

We'll see.



I have none. And it's not all bad. People who are too patient often miss out on much in life because time ticks by my friends and it ain't very long we have here to begin with.

Been thinking about CCRM. They're the #1 center, hands down. I love the doctors and staff. I feel extremely lucky and confident - yes, I believe I'll be one of their success stories. I even love Colorado - so it's a bonus to get to make a baby there. And I'm not changing my mind about CCRM in any way. I just wonder if I shouldn't explore additional options.

So, consider these two:
  • Work with an agency. It may cost me another 10K but I wouldn't have to wait or

  • Consult with a local NJ fertility clinic with also great stats who happens to do split cycles. So, yes, maybe it'll cost me 15K for a split cycle but I may actually succeed and it would wind up costing me less than half of the cost of using CCRM.

If I were interested in 2-3 children, I would never consider splitting a cycle because that likelihood wouldn't be there. But one baby is all I really want (a back up in the freezer would be a bonus, truly).

So c'mon, help me out girls. Check out the poll on the top right corner of the blog and vote away. :)


42 Candles

It’s official – it happened this week already and it affected me more than turning 30 and even more than turning 40. Just as I turned 30, I separated from my husband (a great man but it just wasn’t “right” between us) and we divorced within five months. We haven’t spoken since just before he remarried over 9 years ago. So I had a lot going on in my life to notice 30 much. And the big 4-0 in 1996 – what an awful year! My mom had a catastrophic fall which led to months of rehab and a lot of work to equip her house more safely for her and then her terminal cancer diagnosis days after her 72nd birthday and by the time my birthday rolled around in December, I was knee-deep in Oncology appointments, radiologists and managing her healthcare, which took extraordinary effort.

She died in August last year and my 41st birthday was a blur. The only thing that snapped me into a semi-conscious state again was not having gotten a period for two months which prompted my gynecologist to order the day 3 hormonal tests and, BOOM, the elevated FSH.

That’s when the reality of my age came crashing down – I was too old to have a baby the normal way. Not only would I need the help of high-tech science, I would pay an obscene amount to get it and it was too damned late for genetic offspring. Whoa! A lot to take in, but I accepted it all and got the first appointment I could last January (2008).

I believed wholeheartedly that I would be either changing diapers before my 42nd birthday or that I’d be just about to pop. Had the donor embryo cycle this past summer worked, I would have been close enough (due in March).

So this particular birthday has really hurt and time is ticking away, you know? When I spoke with CCRM earlier this week they said I should still expect the original 6-9 months wait for a donor though, unsolicited, they mentioned that the economy has caused an increase in ladies wanting to be egg donors.

I really hope I get a nice surprise over the next few weeks.


How old is too old?


Yes, I'm going to say it: 70 is TOO DAMNED OLD to birth/parent a child. I know there are hundreds of women out there squirming uncomfortably in their chairs right now about their own advancing ages who are primed to use donor eggs and politically correct groups that'll feed us the philosophical arguments. I can hear it already: No mother can guarantee being alive to raise her child or Little children lose their mothers to car accidents and cancer often enough and Many women live to be 98 years old. Blah, blah, blah. Such intellectually insulting justifications. Honestly, how do god-fearing people outside government politics even keep a straight face and utter that bile and not fear being struck by a lightning bolt straight from Heaven!

Listen, it's too old, you hear me? Yeah, it's too too too old. It's not even on the margin of the margin. It's not even worth analyzing.

So, you're thinking, well what's the magical age then Miss Smarty Pants - when does my pursuit of having a baby die? How about this for a benchmark: 52. Firstly, that's more generous than most fertility clinics allow but because it's around the time when most women's bodies "officially" shut down human reproduction, it's a pretty good sign from nature that it's over - that it's SUPPOSED to be over. One could argue 46, as natural pregnancies at that age and beyond are more rare than winning the jackpot lottery, but I'm thinking that the average woman still has a period for several more years and the possibility of a miracle does exist so, just to be on the safe side.....

Hey, it's a blessing when a grandparent is able to take over and successfully raise grandchildren when tragic circumstances dictate but it's FAR from optimal and let's not pretend otherwise. Every child should be born with a reasonable expectation that their mom will be alive until they're emancipated, if not longer. A 70 year old cannot provide that reasonable expectation. Worse still, what her very very advanced age does provide is a strong potential that child will be burdened by an illness or injury that befalls her.

Fortunately for us egg-seeking-ladies, these bizarre news stories are rare because, make no mistake about it, this is how the slippery slope begins. The result is that one day average citizens will decide to pressure law makers into putting a stop to the abuse of science and medicine and do you know what happens then? The pendulum swings wildly in the other direction and 32 year old's with premature ovarian failure will find themselves having to "pass" rigorous medical screening, genetic testing, a homestudy and a "morality" panel for the opportunity to get on a 5 year waiting list for a single egg!

Shame on you Rajo Devi.


Good Ovaries or Uterus (if you could only choose one)?

Everyone already knows my position on genetic offspring (great bonus but far from very important to me). In fact, if CCRM gave me a 75% chance of success with my own eggs vs. 100% with donor eggs, I would choose donor eggs. You can see, when possible, I'm a numbers girl - all about security!

But what if the choice was being able to have genetic offspring but not be able to carry it or having to use donor eggs you could carry. And let's make this easy - let's say the entire thing would be at no cost to you - you wouldn't spend one cent. Not for the surrogate, not for the donor eggs, not for the IVF - nada!

What then? If those were your only two choices, would you rather carry your child knowing there is no genetic link or would you opt to bring home a baby 9 months later from the hospital that you never carried but who shares your DNA?


I'm not into what I call "kooky stuff." It's clear that the supernatural has very little room in my life. Hey, I think it's wonderful if it acts as a stress reliever to others and brings peace to their psyche because that can only be beneficial. But I'm too much a critical thinker, too analytical, too evidence-based.

So it might surprise you to learn I used acupuncture and visualization during my fertility efforts. During my abysmal-failure-IVF-turned-IUI-BFN cycle, I just did some acupuncture. I'd hoped it would relax me. Actually, I think a massage is FAR more relaxing. But there are actually a lot of RE's out there that give some credit to acupuncuture to increase blood flow to the uterus, which is a good thing. CCRM actually recommends it if they see limited blood flow in your uterus during the 1-day work-up. My uterus performed fine so it wasn't recommended for me.

But during my donor embryo FET in July, I had a really really strong sense that it would work (stupid me!). After all, the embryos came from a 27-year-old egg donor and the original cycle resulted in a pregnancy with 4 blasts in the freezer.

Well, I didn't feel quite so hot when the first 2 blasts thawed died and they had to thaw the last two. In my heart, I think the freezing mechanism at my old RE's (done before 2005) wasn't so hot and probably caused a lot of cell damage during the freeze/thaw - but that's just my take.

Anyway, when that cycle began I thought heck, I need something to look at every day that represents the end product and I bought the cutest pair of booties (actually, 2 pairs on a cardboard pack). I taped them to my kitchen upper cabinet and every day as I would fill the Lupron syringe or later the Progesterone monster shot, I would touch them and smile.

Yeah, I had a chemical pregnancy but I really loved the way those booties made me feel. I still have them and I really believe they'll be worn by my child next Christmas.

Now is that positive thinking, or what?!


Waiting for a donor (in tough economic times)

I'll preface this by saying I am FAR from an elitist. I value integrity, personal responsibility and working your fingers to the bone and, for the most part, it's worked for me.

But WTF is up with the donor wait at CCRM. And before you send me Psychiatric referrals because I can't make up my mind between "do I want this" and "I want it more than anything," please know that I frustrate myself on this more than I could frustrate anyone else. I attribute any ambivalence to what I believe are normal feelings of fear to be a SMC in my forties. But now I'm just wondering when it will be my turn?

Yesterday, a woman on maternity leave came into the office with her twins (yes, IVF). I held the little girl and if I'd have thought I could have reached Canada in time, I would have stolen her (kidding!). But she was so precious. She was about 8 lbs. and cute as a button. The boy looked much more intimidating to hold - he was like 11 lbs. I just fell in love with her and her tiny self. Then I had to give her back! :(

I thought, yeah, CCRM said "6-9 months" donor wait on the record (off the record it's usually much sooner) but I'd hoped I'd have a relatively similar wait as did the lovely Wifethereof - 23 days from being on CCRM's "list" to receiving her donor profile.

Disclaimer: I know this is not a politically correct thing to say and I'm not exactly proud of it but here goes ('cause it's what I really have thought). That with the horrendous economic situation, the stock market plummet (my poor 401K), the credit slow down and frugal times, the volume of couples doing a donor egg cycle would slow down and the pool of donors might increase. Besides which, CCRM said they'd hired a new person to focus exclusively on the donor pool so that can get rolling more quickly.

With all that, I thought I could see a donor profile by Thanksgiving. Didn't happen. I'm more than a little bummed. Serves me right for being overly confident (so not my nature!).

I'm ready. I know it now more than ever.

But all in good time, I guess. And if I'm in the delivery room this time next year with a healthy little munchkin, I can wait - and continue to be extremely grateful for the wonderful opportunities I have that others don't.


When do you order crib sheets?

I was reading Lorraine's latest post where she's "allowing" herself to feel pregnant - but only somewhat. Psychologically, the early stage of her pregnancy only allows her to invest in another pair of stretch pants, however buying crib sheets seems more than she can manage at this juncture.

It was sad to read that because I know exactly what that's about. This quest has affected us ladies in this category so much more than just the act of getting the second line on the pregnancy test - it's even robbed us of the blissful happiness we should feel after getting this line.

And that's because we all measure our "point of reality" (the stage when we believe the pregnancy is solid) differently and it's usually based on the point at which we all lost a pregnancy in the past.

For example, I got a BFP and was thrilled. I told my girlfriends at dinner that night - I beamed, they hugged me, we took pictures of my pee stick and we were all smiles. I had seltzer; they had wine. Honestly, I was so damned happy. That night I started to spot and got scared and had a beta run the next day (2 days early) and got the awful news of a 15.5 beta and two days later a 16; 4 days later a 13.

So guess what milestone I have to successfully pass in order to feel confident? Yeap, a good strong initial and follow-up beta - that's when I'll believe I'm "really" pregnant.

For other ladies it's only as far as they previously reached and that could be 9 weeks or after the amnio or even later. The most gut-wrenching are the ladies who will never feel really safe until after they've given birth to a healthy baby because their last pregnancy ended in a stillbirth. And the longer we have to wait for that security, the harder it is to get on with life and feeling peaceful and happy. Always waiting....waiting to cycle, waiting during the 2ww, waiting for betas, waiting for ultrasound - waiting, waiting, waiting.

I wish for all of us to reach "that point" after a BFP very very quickly, because after everything we've been through - we all deserve to buy crib sheets! :)

Hooked on Your Blog

My blog buddies are awesome. You ladies are part of an oh-so-important network of friends who not only encourage the rest of us going through infertility treatment but very much understand. When you say, "Sky, I know how you feel," it's completely true!

I want to thank the lovely Lorraine, who is a fellow senior citizen (over 40 girlie) on a baby quest. :) And the great news is that Lorraine just learned she's pregnant with a little munchkin who's got one strong heartbeat and is measuring on target! Every time I read her posts I think, Hey, maybe I could just do an IVF with my own eggs at CCRM (and save a BUNCH of money!) and I'll be successful like Lorraine - then I snap the hell out of it and remember that my FSH was 22 in May and no clinic worth their salt will touch my eggs (rightfully so - why risk their stats and my money in the likelihood of an abysmal failure).

But I love hearing about other fortysomethings who've had success with their own eggs. Maybe it helps me feel not so old and also helps decrease the chances of others asking me the egg question when I'm pregnant 'cause I'm sure not going to offer it up. ;)

Well, I'll do my duty and pass this cool distinction foward to my CCRM buddies Jill who just got a BFP (WOO HOO!) and to Nikki who's been through so much already and I'm wishing her a great cycle that ends in diaper changes 9 months later!


I have this theory that when you grow up in apartment living (as I did), you develop an extraordinary amount of tolerance. And that's because you have to learn to co-exist peacefully with other human beings and you soon realize there is a balance of their shit and your shit that has to be mutually tolerated. For example, by nature, my family has a more booming voice than the upper crust whom speak at barely a whisper. And while that could be annoying to one neighbor, they likely do a few things my family had to learn to tolerate as well.

And all of my life I've lived in similar quarters (currently I own a townhouse) so I think I have an EXTREMELY tolerant personality. For me to actually confront someone on something....it's gotta be BIG.

Brings me to cubical life in big company. A chick who sits about 8 feet from me requires complete silence in order to work. And you know, that's just not feasible. People talk when they're on the phone. If they keep it to very low talking, she's okay. If it's me talking, with my definitely-louder voice, she walks over and asks me to "please try to keep it down." It's happened a few times already and I'm pissed and I'll tell you why.

It makes me feel scolded every time I use my natural voice. BUT FAR MORE IMPORTANTLY the reason it really chaps my ass is because this STUPID IDIOT doesn't even consider for a second that she does several annoying things that bother others. For example, she's had significant drama in her life and will park her ass in your cubical to talk your ear off about her personal problems. She sucks air through her teeth while she's eating and for an hour afterwards - CONSTANTLY. She has this habit of flicking her fingernails with her thumb and the sound is distracting.

But, have I ever even once brought any of those annoying behaviors to her attention?! ABSOLUTELY NOT. Because I understand that in close quarters you NEED to deal with annoying habits of others and, in turn, they need to deal with yours.

Now, if your annoying habit is to never bathe or wear deodorant (I actually worked near the nicest little Indian man whose body odor could bring tears to your eyes from ten feet away!), maybe Human Resources needs to gently counsel you.

So I want to blow up at her and say "You're more dense than I gave you credit for - how stupid can you be that you don't even fathom that you yourself may do various things that are so annoying to other people but because those things - of course - don't annoy you, you can't imagine it's possible you aren't pissing off other people - so deal with me and I'll deal with you!"


The genetic offspring of my sperm donor

I've posted about how committed to my sperm donor I am. In fact, I'm so committed that when CCRM raised an issue about me using a CMV+ donor (I'm CMV-), my heart sank. I knew I would not proceed with CCRM if they didn't allow me to use him (and more because the basis for asking me to use a CMV negative donor is extremely weak).

It's weird. I used a different donor for my IVF (turned IUI cycle, which failed) last March and I really liked him. Good pictures, intelligent (physician), reported pregnancies, great voice (Fairfax has audio records) and I loved what he had to say - I could tell, conversationally, that he was bright. But I felt no overwhelming tug towards him. In fact, when that cycle failed and I was offered a donor embryo cycle, I jumped at it (the donor embryo came from an anonymous donor egg and father sperm but I had little information on father - lots on egg donor).

But once I found this guy - I don't know....I guess after the interview I heard and his educational background, his interests, values, I was as sure as anyone could be that this is someone I would have chosen in my life as a mate and to father my child. Kooky, I know.

So I went onto the donor sibling registry a couple of months back and found a couple of people who used him. One woman (a SMC, like me) was nice enough to send me a picture of her son and reports that her son is "smart, happy and easily soothes" and what a beauty!

It only confirmed I'd made an excellent choice!


The Top 10 Most Annoying Things People Say to You When You Are Trying to Get Pregnant

(I've posted a lot today, I know :)

At my old RE's office in late June - just before the donor embryo FET that resulted in a chemical pregnancy, I'd gone in for my first progesterone injection and so the nurse could make big Sharpie circle's on my hips so I'd know where to inject ('cause my biggest fear was stabbing into a bone with that unbelievably LONG needle). So as I was leaning over, waiting for the shot, I saw a stack of pamphlets and I just loved the headline. Here's the list and my commentary below the ones that annoy me most!

1) Just relax
(Listen, the most stressed-out, drug infested crack whores who are running away from their pimps get pregnant so please don't insult my intelligence! And how exactly am I supposed to truly relax knowing I'm spending enormous sums of money on a chance at having what aforementioned crack whore gets so easily and for free?)

2) Stop trying so hard.
(Hmm....okay. Do you say that to your son who's studying for the bar exam? Do you say that to your daughter who's working on a promotion? But for the baby I need, I shouldn't try so hard - uh, okay, thanks!)

3) Do you have children?

4) Take a vacation.

5) Have a glass of wine.

6) Don't think about it so much.
(Right, I won't. I'll just think about it sometimes - until I'm 50 and then no fertility clinic will take me - great idea)

7) Oh too bad because you'd make such a great parent.
(Don't count me out yet, okay!)

8) Why don't you just adopt?
(HOLY FUCKING SHIT! If there was one that really kicked me in the stomach, it would be this one. NO ONE outside the infertility world has the vaguest idea how utterly stupid, uneducated and completely EXCRUCIATINGLY DIFFICULT this is. There is no such thing as "just adopt" or I would have "just" adopted already. In fact, I'd be too busy changing diapers right now to bother ranting about it. Get a clue!)

9) You should do what my mother's cousin's friend's daughter who got pregnant did.
(I love this one. It always comes from some stupid jackass who compares apples and oranges in life ALL THE TIME and lives blissfully unaware that NOTHING in life works that way. So someone will offer up to me that Janice's daughter went to wonderful Doctor so-and-so who performed IVF on her because her fallopian tubes were bad and she has twins and 8 embryos in the freezer. Uh-huh and do you realize Janice's daughter is 24 years old with no other infertility issue but fucked up tubes - the very thing IVF was created for - and THAT is the reason she was successful on the first try?)

10) I know exactly how you feel (from the person with a child.)

Insurance Coverage

I don't even remember what I've posted about anymore but I did want to mention this little tidbit.

Back last January (seems like a million years ago!) I was freaking out over the cost of IVF and with good reason - it's fucking scary! And don't think for an instant that it's ceased to be any less frightening just because I've gotten used to shelling out THOUSANDS of dollars to fertility clinics without batting so much as one single lash. I mean, at this point, if I am going to be suicidal over it, I might as well get out of the game, ya know? Sort of like going to a Mercedes dealership and having chest pains over the cost of upgrades vs. what you paid on your Corolla five years ago. You kind of develop brand new lenses by which to view it all or you'd go insane. (and, like, I'm not leaps and bounds away from that right now!)

So...back to my first IVF round (and only round - which turned into an IUI 'cause my eggs suck the big one and I have technically never had an IVF round - round #2 was a donor embryo cycle which resulted in a chemical pregnancy). Shit, I sound bitter. Oh well.....

When I plunked down nearly 12K for that round, I remember the finance person over the telephone telling me that they submit all of the charges to my insurance company and any reimbursement I receive will be returned to me. hee hee hee, I just chuckled 'cause you see, my insurance has NO INFERTILITY COVERAGE. But what did I care, if they made a mistake and cut me a check for 12K, I sure wasn't going to be Miss Honest and return it or anything wild and crazy like that. Besides, if they can pay for Viagra so some guy with a walker can get his boner going, I think contributing to the life of a baby is more than called for - but that's another
rant post.

Guess what arrived in my mailbox a few weeks later? Yeap, reimbursement for a saline sonogram (about 70% worth). I thought, okay, well, that wasn't "technically" the IVF, that was a test to ensure I didn't have some big ass polyp or fibroid in there like the one that had to be removed during the laprascopic surgery in June '07. But then something else happened, another reimbursement and another and another and another - all at around 70% for the ultrasounds and for the bloodwork, office visits, etc.

I thought, crap, how long will this last? Don't get me wrong, I signed the backs of those checks, hopped in my car and floored the gas pedal to the bank to deposit them at all hours - just in case they caught on. But would I have to reimburse big insurance company later - when they fired the nitwit who'd approved the claims? Would they take me to court? After all, I didn't submit the claims, the RE's office did - as a matter of protocol. I could just feign ignorance. In fact, I had my story all worked out and, actually, it wasn't far from the truth. It goes like this:

I didn't know if I had infertility coverage but I'd saved up enough for 1 IVF cycle. Since you guys sent me checks, I realized I must have insurance coverage so I signed up for more IVF cycles. Not only do I not owe you the money you sent to me but I will countersue you idiots - because of you, I got into extended fertility treatments when I could have been on the adoption trail only to have you pull out the rug from under me now when I'm too old to adopt (at 41). Yeah, okay, not great but it was my story.

Then came the "denied" claim. I got an Explanation of Benefits on my IUI ($300 for the insemination) and the denial explanation was that infertility coverage is not part of my plan. WTF?! Hey, assholes, you've been paying claims from a doctor's office whose name leaves NO DOUBT whatsoever that it's an infertility center and you're onto it now?

But as long as they didn't come after me for the thousands reimbursed up to that point, I was super happy. Next claim for blood work, paid again. Huh? I guess the nitwit insurance processor was on vacation so they rightly denied my insemination claim but thank-my-lucky-stars she's back and now they're paying again. Woo Hoo!

Fast forward to donor embryo frozen transfer. I was at the 3K out of pocket maximum for the year even though they'd been covering 70% thus far and for that cycle, I was reimbursed 100% of nearly all services. Holy shit! Again, I laid low, cashed the checks and kept my passport handy in case I had to flee from the cops when I was busted for this major heist.

Then came CCRM - Oh, this one's big. They charge a fortune - I mean, the place is beautiful and rivals a high-end spa. There is a lovely water feature in the lobby and the location is pretty stunning. Surely big insurance company is going to bust me now. This is just plain asking for it. But what could I do - they hold the #1 spot in the country, likely the world. I have no choice - this time there will be no reimbursement.

Guess what the finance person said to me right before the 1-day workup? That they take my insurance (Huh? Who cares lady 'cause my insurance doesn't pay for fertility treatments) and that the approximately $2,300 bill for the day's tests will likely be paid by them. Okay. Sure enough, got my Explanation of Benefits - they paid (a smaller, contracted rate with CCRM, but they paid). And since then the CCRM finance person told me that she spoke with my insurance company. Ugh! I wanted to yell at her "WHY are you killing my mojo?! What have I ever done to you!" when she said "your policy doesn't include IVF but includes all of the ultrasounds and bloodwork."

WHAT?! Well, then it all made sense for certain. I thought the ONLY way these reimbursements all year long were legit was something funky like this and WEEEEEEEE, that's what it is!

So check out how bizarre this is. An IVF cycle is 12K plus 4K in meds. My insurance company won't pay the meds so that's 4K out of pocket. And they won't pay for assisted hatching or ICSI or anything related to the egg. But they'll pay for all of the ultrasounds and blood work which as you ladies know is an ENORMOUS part of IVF. So about 7K (out of 16K) will be reimbursed to you. Okay, that's less than half but it's still a WHOLE LOT more than zero reimbursement.

I don't know what's going to happen with my donor egg cycle. I know I have to write CCRM a check for 29K when the cycle begins. Seriously, I just chuckled sarcastically over it - the number is STAGGERING - I could buy a brand new SUV outright, with bells and whistles!

But I think I might start getting reimbursement checks from big insurance company as soon as my cycle starts ringing in the fees. If I get even 5K back, I'll be THRILLED!

Big smiles over surprise gift this year!

In the 2WW

What a stressful time - Boy do I know it! I remember coming home from the transfer thinking I couldn't last through dinner without POAS (peeing on a stick), never mind last 2 weeks. Okay, and my RE didn't even wait two weeks but 9 days! Seriously, I couldn't even go to a 2 week RE - I'd just consider them sadistic!

It's maddening. You think, oh, there's a twitch, yeah, it's working and then you bend down to grab your shoes and berate yourself for killing the embryos. You read into everything - the achy boobs or lack thereof, the nausea, the hiccups, the headaches, the irritability, the moodiness. Now every last symptom - YES, EVERY LAST ONE - has been attributed to zero pregnancy and pregnancy with triplets. Unfortunately, between the estrogen and progesterone IVF queens take, no symptom can be trusted as it could be chemical or natural.

And do you know what the agonizing truth is? It WILL NOT end - EVER! Because even if you're lucky enough to get that BFP - the two elusive lines, that sweet magical state of being, you'll then obsess over the initial beta. Then you get a beta over 100 - good number, but you'll still worry that it won't double within 2 days and that it would not be a good sign. Then you'll worry about the egg sack, the fetal pole, the heartbeat, the amnio, the baby's weight at birth and is he meeting his milestones 'cause you'll see other babies at 3 months who are doing geometry! Ugh! It's maddening and, I suppose, par for the course in the life of a woman who is a mother. :)

But right now my heart goes out to the lovely ladies whose blogs I frequent that are in the very very very early stages of this - their 2WW's. So if you get a sec, stop in and wish them well:

Emily the Hopeless
And Jill (who will be in the 2WW in a couple of hours)

This is the most anxiety-ridden time for these ladies (and their other half) but it's also exciting!

Best wishes girls!


Next Flight Denver Bound

Okay, don't get too excited there - that was me playing with words. No, I have no match yet and don't really expect to hear a peep until after the New Year. Digressing for a moment, isn't it odd that I have this deep-rooted feeling that I'll hear from CCRM in mid January with a potential match, that I'll take it and that I'll be in Denver late February/early March for transfer? Nuts, I know, but it's just a feeling - maybe a timetable my brain set up when I wasn't watching.

Anyhoo, I just got back from Charlotte, NC and Miami, FL before that - a week away on business. HATE IT, HATE IT, HATE IT. My boss loves to travel for whatever reason and loves off-site meetings and being the center of attention. Me? Not one bit. So when I landed in Newark International Airport today (for those of you who've never lived in NJ, please refrain from judging NJ by the standards of the airport surrounds - they're dismal and embarassing. Truly, NJ is called "The Garden State" for a reason - it's really beautiful but there are definitely hell holes and the airport is smack in the belly of the beast!).

The instant the wheels touched down I thought, no more air travel for me - forget it! It's a major inconvenience (and expense - I have to kennel my amazing little dog whom I absolutely adore!) and I dread traveling for business. This was it for me.

So now that all of that 4Q business travel is out of the way, the next time I board a jet will be for my flight to Denver and I'll leave there with a couple of lovely embryos inside me.

I still vacillate between "Am I nuts?" and "There is nothing I want more!"


Cold Feet?

I don't know what to make of this, really, but for the past couple of weeks, I've been getting a pit in my stomach to imagine myself with a baby. I have had some really bad dreams (unrelated to pregnancy or babies) that have left me feeling scared and barely able to imagine my life going on forever without a husband to quell those fears, never mind having the enormous responsibility of a baby's fears to deal with too.

So why is a childfree life something I can't accept, given I'm unmarried?! It's not even like I have brothers and sisters to help - I'm an only child. Sure, I have a wonderful network of friends but it's SMALL and my closest friend - the one I could count on when the shit hits the fan - lives in Florida. What if something happened to me in the middle of the night that required me to go to the E.R. - who would watch my baby while I was there for a day or more? I can hardly imagine it!

When this kind of fear and insecurity creeps in, I think, heck, I have enough trouble worrying about my animals - how can I deal with a baby?!

This happens VERY infrequently but once in a great while I think about how much I'd love to meet a wonderful man who is smart, interesting, funny, makes a good living and has boundless integrity. Not much to ask for, huh? In the meantime, I'll take someone like Nima Arkani-Hamed (yes, I have very odd interests, heros and tastes in men!) with Chris Rock's quick wit and sense of humor. Hey, he's working in Princeton - just down the road from me!

Back to my chilly toes....For the last few days I've been thinking that if CCRM called me right now with a "perfect match," (not that I am looking for a perfect match) that I would want to say, "I need six more months to give you an answer."

How crazy is that?! (very, I know)



I hate root canals. And I should know, before today I'd had 5. Don't take care of my teeth you say? Ugh! ON THE CONTRARY! I just didn't inherit my mother's good teeth, rather my father's poor ones (just my luck!) and I can remember having abscesses in my gums when I was in second grade.

Of course, if you saw my teeth you'd think I was nuts - they look great. And that's why appearances can be deceiving. They look good 'cause I take good care of them and have spent a small fortune on them (and yet not quite as much as the baby pursuit! :)

Anyway, the only painless root canal I had was my first - at 15. I was riding my ten-speed bike when the chain slipped off, I lost control and had a collision with a white car that then had a big splotch of red blood all over it. Well, the impact to my front tooth was enough to kill the nerve instantly. So I went to the dentist and he did the root canal, sans Novocaine. Didn't feel a thing.

In my 20's, I had 3 more and all were very painful - started out as a tooth ache. But the one I had 7 years ago is something I will never forget. The pain of the procedure was excruciating. My teeth seem difficult to numb. I cried and I screamed MANY times. One time I actually flailed my arms in a completely involuntary act and my dentist said that was a very unwise move when he was holding sharp instruments in my mouth - as if I could help it!!! I wanted to kick him square in the nuts with a steel tipped boot and scold him for bending over in pain. It's a reaction I couldn't possibly have controlled.

So, when my back molar started to hurt weeks ago, I began the spiral of anxiety and panic. Oh my God, I can't go through that again - I just can't! My dentist is on vacation so I saw his partner last Saturday and thought for sure I would need a root canal. Lucky for me, the x-ray of my roots and the tooth he was tapping on which felt most sensitivity was not the tooth I claimed the pain was coming from, rather the one next to it. He suggested a fluoride varnish on my teeth and see if it helps - can't hurt - and call him if it doesn't work. Well it didn't work and I went back in yesterday. But we still couldn't agree on which tooth was the problem and this is why I said "lucky for me," he referred me to a practice of endodontists.

I went this morning at 9:15 am. I was shaking when the lovely doctor entered the room. She was a super attractive, very contemporary Indian woman with a gentle demeanor and kind nature. There are 9 doctors in the practice and I think everything was going my way that I got her, to boot.

Let me just say this, if ANYONE out there needs a root canal ever (and I hope you don't), DO NOT go to a dentist - I don't care how much you love yours!!! Go to an endodontist. Not only are root canals ALL THEY DO (so that should tell you something about expertise) but these guys have equipment that was beyond impressive. Microscopes over he chair that can find the teeniest cracks. The worst part was the freezing method she uses to determine which tooth is the sensitive/problem one. But that gave it away as tears streamed from my eyes.

She gave me the initial injection and when I was numb, about another half dozen injections. Then she tested my tooth again with the freezing method - but I still felt some pain (slight but there). This is where my regular dentist would have said "fuck it" and just started drilling. Not her. She gave me another half dozen injections (remember, I felt none of it 'cause my gums were numb) and another freezing test - I still felt some pain. Then she said something to her assistant and told me I was proving more difficult to numb than usual and I got scared but nope, she then did something else - she seemed to drill into the side of my tooth (I felt none of it) and put something in it (maybe like a funnel to pour novicane directly into the channel of the tooth). I saw none of this, of course - I just could imagine. Freezing test again and I felt nothing - nada! Whew!

Then she was in and cleaning out the canals in less than 4 minutes - no kidding. And they have this little mouth piece you wear that stops you from biting down accidentally and a dental dam to keep all of the debris out of your throat and glasses to protect your face from the flying debris. I mean, it was such a professional operation (literally and figuratively) and do you know how much the root canal hurt?
NOT ONE IOTA! I cannot believe I just wrote that but it didn't.

I have to go back for them to close up the tooth in early December but that part is a nothing - the hard part is done. I'm actually going to write her a note in a few days to thank her again. I wanted to kiss her, I tell ya.

So learn from my lack of knowledge if you're ever in my shoes: ENDODONTIST! :)


Amendment 48

For those of you unaware, there was an amendment on the ballot in Colorado last week that, if passed, would have provided every fertilized egg with the same protection as every human being is granted after birth.

The amendment was voted down by a wide margin and, at least, I’m grateful for that.

But I wonder how long – how long until it’s resurrected in another state where it does pass and what will that mean for women, children, the United States of America and our future as a leading democracy.

Imagine the path this amendment would set. Every single abortion would become illegal, that’s a given. Even a 12 year old girl raped by her father and impregnated would be forced to birth that child (Sarah Palin would be so thrilled!). And despite us all knowing that an ectopic pregnancy is doomed, the woman carrying that life-threatening pregnancy would have to die along with her embryo. It would be illegal to intervene. Embryonic stem cell research would be outlawed. Every single embryo that resulted from an IVF practice would have to be implanted – so too bad if you didn’t want your genetic offspring in the hands of someone else – it wouldn’t be your choice any longer.

You think that’s bad? It could be much, much worse. You could be charged with murder after a miscarriage – because someone thought you ate too much salt, took a hot bath, carried a too-heavy box – anything.

This amendment was written by Kristy Burton, a 21-year-old, self-righteous religious wing nut who hasn’t lived long enough to learn that life is so rarely black and white. I’d like to see how Miss Burton would respond to being forced to carry the product of a violent rape. Worse, that her pregnancy would risk her life and that she’d have to face her own mortality knowing her death would instantly terminate the child inside her as well – that neither of them would benefit.

What sad times ahead when we snub our noses at the folks in the Middle East for living in a theocracy, for not observing a separation between church and state when we – the land of hypocrisy – nearly elected a Vice President who would support an amendment that would have put us on par with a government dictated by religious belief.

Pathetic, truly.


Needles don't bother me

Can I just say how grateful I am about that!

Public speaking will cause me to hyperventilate in a manner that is EXTRAORDINARY and beyond phobic - I can't even speak! Well, I don't do it - that's just all there is to it, I don't. When I have to give an update in a staff meeting or on a conference call, I take 5 mg of Propranalol (a beta blocker) about 30 mins prior and it gets me through. But a stand-up-in-front-of-a-room-before-50-people-and-present?! No. Fuck no.

Airplanes cause me some anxiety (the whole crashing thing or watching 3 Middle-Eastern looking men jump from their seats and tie red swaths around their heads) and I'm just not good with turbulance. But, overall, it's okay - I try not to think about it. Heck, if I was truly phobic, I would NEVER have chosen a fertility clinic halfway across the country!

But needles - something that strikes major phobia in tons of people - nope! I'm A-Okay on that front! And good thing, huh? 'Cause by now I've probably injected myself with HUNDREDS (stims, suppression, progesterone) and blood tests galore. Heck, I've even injected Progesterone into my own hip (both sides!), with that thick, long ass needle that looks like it'll hit a bone!

So, for whatever it's worth - I thank the needle gods for giving me a pass on this one! (because how you do IVF with a needle phobia is TRULY beyond me!)


Monitoring with my old RE

So....ya know I'm with CCRM now. They're in Denver, Colorado and I live in NJ. Clearly I need monitoring from a local RE. And since I'm on CD17 of a mock cycle, today was my lining check day.

Because I'm established with my old RE's office already, I decided to go there for monitoring. Yeah, I thought it would be awkward but it didn't quite zing me like when I walked in and realized it was my old doctor (who I really like, btw) who was on for morning monitoring today. Ugh! It was awkward as shit I tell you!

I sat in the room with the paper sheet over my legs and she walked in - pretty and sweet and gentle as always. I felt so badly. I'd been sweating it out before she entered, running through what I'd say, how I'd justify this, how embarassing it is to say the truth: CCRM's stats on a DE cycle is over 80% take-home-baby vs. this clinic's which is in the mid 60's. And I felt badly to even have to say that (though I shouldn't have - it's my money, my time, my body, my future baby and my business). But, still, I'm a good person who still has feelings.

And do you know what happened? Nothing. Dr. H walked in and said "oh hi, how are you - it's been a while" and I said "yeah, it's great seeing you" and she said she thought she recognized the name. Then she told me my lining was 9 mm, 3 follicles in right ovary (what a joke!) and none in left (bigger joke!) and detected what could be some endometriosis. Endometriosis 6 weeks after the laprascopic surgery that cleaned it out - HA! Now I'm doubled-over with laughter over the irony! Whatever!

So she finished and said "well, we'll get this over to wherever it needs to go" and "I wish you the best of luck" and, somehow, I knew it was heartfelt.

Once again, I freaked out and obsessively worried over nothing!


And the best news of all........

I'm officially on "the list" at CCRM.

All of my tests are back and good and they have all of my paperwork from the last pap and mammogram and physicals - I'm done with all of it.

After 2 laprascopic surgeries, 3 hysteroscopies, removal of both fallopian tubes, 2 saline sonograms, dozens of transvaginal ultrasounds, too-many-self-injections-to-count, dozens of blood tests for every infectious disease known to man, 1 cancelled IVF, 1 failed insemination, 1 donor embryo transfer, the heartbreaking chemical pregnancy that resulted and a whirlwind trip to Denver and back in 24 hours, I'm IN!


CMV Negative

Oh good grief! I never thought being negative for a virus could be a bad thing.

Yesterday I got an email from my nurse at CCRM asking me to make sure I selected a CMV negative donor. Well, I didn't. I pushed back and asked why, since my RE in NJ indicated it wasn't necessary - that the risk of that donor having had "active" infection while donating sperm, given all of the testing that's done for active infection vs. antibody response suffices but that if I felt more comfortable, sure, choose CMV negative.

But this time it wasn't an option for me. Never mind the $1,500 I've spent on the current batch sitting at the cryobank waiting for me to have it shipped out. I LOVE this donor. I couldn't have picked a more perfect genetic specimen if I'd met him and fallen in love. On paper, intellectually speaking, this guy's "it." The rest is nurture and that's up to me.

So I said, "no, my donor is CMV positive" and then went on in the email about how I couldn't even imagine this being an issue. After all, I'm sure there are hundreds of CMV negative women undergoing IVF with their CMV positive husbands. So what does CCRM do, insist they use sperm donors so as to eliminate the negligible risk in the pregnant woman developing CMV infection during pregnancy? I mean, the risk in married couples is actually greater - as they're having intercourse and are living in close quarters throughout the woman's pregnancy. So if the husband were to develop active infection during that time, yes, the fetus would be at very high risk of VERY serious disabilities.

But when you're using a sperm donor from a cryobank, that sperm is pretty locked up in terms of risk factor. For example, my donor was tested for every infectious disease we know of, THEN he donated for 6 months and THEN he was tested for all of the same infectious diseases again. ONLY after the second set of tests returned negative did they release his sperm, guaranteeing that the batch taken from when he donated was outside any viral conversion window. You can't have the same guarantee in a spouse. He could be tested and 4 months later develop CMV or HIV or whatever a week before the fresh donation he'd give on IVF (retrieval) day and he could theoretically pass on that virus at that point - or over the subsequent weeks/months.

Considering those testing differences, using donor sperm is infinitely more "safe" than using the sperm of a spouse.

I was sweating it though. I thought, great, they're going to say that it's unavoidable to eliminate the potential risk of a spouse transmitting active CMV (which is far greater a risk than an anonymous sperm donor) because wives will always want to use their husband's sperm but that in my situation ( a single woman), I can avoid the risk to zero at transfer by using CMV negative sperm. My answer would be, "So what, I still can't eliminate it to zero in pregnancy and I am as committed to using this donor as any wife is to using her spouse's sperm - besides which, this is MY decision."

I was so upset and was just winding myself up, more and more. And what was happening to me is EXACTLY what I wrote about here. Rather than remaining calm and knowing it would work out, I was wound so tightly that when the call came at almost 5 PM ET (CCRM is on Mountain time - two hours earlier), I had to force myself to wait for her response before I jumped down the throat of my very kind, responsive and understanding nurse who has been nothing but good to me.

I had a bunch of ammo in my belt and I'd already mentally drafted the note I would send to the doctor and copy the rest of them. This was a deal-breaker for me and I would detach myself from CCRM and ask them to reimburse me what I'd spent with them so far for not disclosing this before my visit out there.

"Sky, I just wanted to get back to you and tell you it's fine to use CMV positive sperm if you'll just sign a waiver for us." I smiled, my chest loosened and everything was right with the world. I was suddenly cheerful.

Another catastrophe averted!

Back from Mexico!

Ohhhhhh, it was so lovely to be away from the office and to read my book "Something Borrowed." I was stopped 3 times on the beach by women telling me they'd read it and what a wonderful book it is and that I would be even more glued to the second in the series "Something Blue." Well, I finished the first book and bought the second last night at Barnes and Noble - full price, I don't care - it's that good. No, that GREAT!


Great News!

Not only did I screw up the dates of when my vacation were but my period came 9 days early. And by the skin of my teeth, I will be home from Mexico the day before I need blood work at the local RE. Whew! THANKS TO MY LUCKY STARS!

I bitch when it's bad but I want to be grateful when it's good!

So yesterday was CD1 and tomorrow I start the Vivelle patches - Woo Hoo! Yeap, I'm anxious to get this mock cycle out of the way and get on that list - then I'll relax (for now!). :)


Unfortunate Coincidences in Timing

You know, things ultimately work out for me - they really do. And I don't want to minimize that truth, but don't think for a second that they work out easily for me. Heck no, that is NOT the case.

I've work very very very hard for every single thing I have in life and none of it fell into my lap, yet I'm still so grateful. Many people work incredibly hard and never realize the fruits of their labor.

But timing in life has always been uncanny for me in many ways. For example, I travel for work - but not often and that's by design. I wouldn't take a job that requires a road warrier because not only do I hate to travel, I have animals that need care and it costs me a good chunk of money every single day to board my dog if I must travel.

I probably hadn't traveled in a year and low and behold, wouldn't you know it - I had to move my very first IVF cycle one month forward because of extensive travel one month. So I did it in March vs. February and when you're 41 every single month matters with your own eggs, truly.

Then I learned I had to have my fallopian tubes removed and when my gynecologist gave me the first available O.R. date of September 2nd, I couldn't do it because I was going to spend the weekend in Quebec with my cousin and her husband. Argh!

And now, the only thing standing in the way of me getting onto the CCRM waiting list is the start of a mock cycle and GUESS F-EN WHAT?! Yeap, I have my once-annual tiny vacation coming up - this year it's Mexico for 4 days.

Well, if my period arrives any sooner than October 29th, I'm screwed royally because I can't have a transvaginal ultrasound on the day I would need to. !#^$%^&@! I'm furious over my total and complete awful luck with timing. And if it doesn't happen then I could even miss next months timing too - because I have to travel to a conference in Miami on November 20th.

More than anything, I just want to get on the waiting list for CCRM and then I can relax. Until then, I'm not moving forward - I'm in total limbo!

So much of IVF is waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting. For Pete's sake, we only have 12 periods a year and anything and everything is ignited by cycle day 1 of a period so, do the math people, it's not much opportunity - which is why women spend YEARS in this endeavor.



Infertility after 40

This is one of my pet peeves. I've been on dozens of boards and read of women in their 40's defining themselves as having "infertility."

Is that technically true? Yes, but it's intellectually dishonest. Because after the age of 40, fertility naturally takes a plummet south. Women do get pregnant after 40 naturally all the time, and yet it's so very rare, statistically speaking.

Maybe it's my aversion to the label generation we live in. When I was growing up, classmates were allowed to be "not smart." Now, a label must be placed on the child - so he has Dyslexia or ADHD. God forbid he's just lazy or not as genetically blessed with a strong IQ as is another child.

And this nonsense has reached us "infertiles." Now, I'm guilty of using the word infertility to describe myself, but I do it for the sake of ease and because I don't know of one word that defines it all more closely.

But the truth is that I am not "infertile" - I'm just old.

There is a line and I'm very comfortable making the start of that line a girl's first period and the end of that line her 40th birthday. If she can't conceive in between those lines, then yes, she's infertile. But after 40?! Nah, her eggs are just old! Get a grip. Yeah, I know it makes us feel better to wear the "infertility" label, but it's not really accurate, is it?

Think of Michelle Duggar, who is pregnant with her 18th natural child (turned 42 last month). They're born-again Christians and accept as many children "as the Lord will bless us with," yada, yada, yada. Well, what if next year she doesn't conceive child number 19 - what if she never conceives again. Imagine Michelle telling Oprah that she's infertile? HA! I bet even Oprah couldn't keep a straight face!

Before you feel offended, think it through. Otherwise, every single woman on the planet suffers infertility in her life time - either because she's an 8 year old girl or because she's a 48 year old woman. And that's ridiculous!

I suppose one could argue that if you have your period, you're still technically in reproductive years but we all KNOW that's not the case. We all KNOW that after 40, pregnancy is unusual, even with expensive fertility intervention.

So all this spewing for nothing really, 'cause I still say I'm infertile - until someone gives me a better description (which I would be only-too-happy to use).



You heard it here first folks!

During several conversations with my doctor, nurse and psychologist at CCRM, I felt pressured to WANT an egg donor who looks like me. I told them, over and over and over again that I DO NOT CARE! I said, as long as she's a proven donor, is caucasian and has anything but brown eyes, she could look NOTHING LIKE ME. How much more clear could I be?!

And yet......I was still asked for a picture of myself. Huh? Then the psychologist (the nicest and prettiest woman with the kindest voice and personality - she's pregnant and will, no doubt, make a great mom!) gently says "but if she did look like you, you would prefer that, right?" and I caught myself saying "well, yeah" but then I quickly added, "but I DON'T CARE!" AHHHHH! I felt like once again, like my emotional comfort level was being questioned because I don't feel as 99% of other women feel. But I can't help that and I'm not going to apologize for it. I am who I am.

But here's the kicker - NO ONE asked me if the sperm donor looks like me. I'm 5' 5" with medium complexion (think Italian looking), dark brown hair and light brown eyes. And no one gave a flying rat's ass if my sperm donor was an 8' tall African American or a Japanese guy or an inhabitant from another planet. Whomever I chose in that department was totally fine.

I mean, WTF?! Fertility clinics can't seem to get their heads around you wanting an egg donor who may not look like you but have no trouble whatsoever with a sperm donor who is the opposite of you. Again, WTF?! Hasn't anyone told these guys that children are genetically as much a part of the sperm as they are the egg?

For all they know, I could have been using the sperm of my brother (who would look like me) and that would raise another set of eyebrows. But if you're using a donor egg and donor sperm, what EXACTLY is the difference between a woman using her sister as her egg donor vs. using her brother as her sperm donor? NOT ONE SINGLE THING. Yet it brings the look of horror on people's faces and tests the gag response. Again, I don't get why!

So all of this leads me to believe that sperm must be shit - worthless trash - and fertility clinics must honestly believe that embryos are genetically 99% egg and 1% sperm.


Mourning my Genetic Child

During my psychological evaluation at CCRM, the psychologist raised the subject, as I expected she would.

I kick myself for being a straight shooter so often, but I'm led right back down that path soon thereafter. Fabricating politically correct bullshit is easy to do, but anathema to me, truly. I said, "I didn't really feel any deep loss over not having genetic offspring - I would accept someone's kidney if I needed it and I accepted this." Now, I'm not an idiot - I realize there is a difference - ovaries produce the blueprint to make replicas of ourselves and that's pretty powerful stuff. But, still, my eggs don't work and I can transplant someone else's eggs into me to replace a process my body doesn't do anymore. Yeah, too rational and not enough emotion behind it - but it's honestly how I view it.

She's skeptical and proceeds to tell me there are many cycles of grief and that they don't always come in sequence but can bounce around from later stages of grief to an early stage to a middle stage. And I got the point - I could have just bounced right into "acceptance" as my first phase but may be broadsided with anger and sadness later on. And instead of telling her exactly what she wants to hear ("yeah, you're probably right and I'll have to consider that"), I say something like, "maybe, but I've never felt differently than I feel right now." She's stumped. It probably says to her that I'm some awful, unfeeling person who is incapable of bonding to others and should never have a child. Ugh! I wish I could just lie and say what's expected for the sake of having a baby who's going to have an awesome life, by the way! Alas, I'm not that girl, I'm the girl who tells you the truth if you ask for it.

I think about my good friend N. Nine years ago she underwent IVF at the age of 41 (same age when I began). I thought it was so avant-garde and noted it wasn't ever going to be something I'd do. (See why you should shut the fuck up until you're in someone else's shoes?!) Well, after 25K, she learned her eggs weren't working and whether donor eggs weren't popular at the time or the RE just didn't offer it up, N pursued adoption a couple of years later. And from Nepal came an awesome little lady A, who is now almost 6. Last year N was staring at A with that love-struck face mothers have towards their children and said to me "Sky, I'm so grateful that the IVF didn't work or I wouldn't have A - I couldn't love another child more than this." I smiled.

Things work out for the best sometimes.

Fetal "Reduction"

After my visit to CCRM, I have much more thinking to do on this subject.

I am not a fan of euphemisms. I'm a call-it-what-it-is-girl. If it's too distasteful to say, then maybe you shouldn't do it. Euphemisms are so often used by hypocrites - a personality trait I abhor!

So let's call it what it is - a selective abortion. There ya go, I said it.

I've posted about this subject already but yesterday at CCRM I was asked by no less than 3 people to ponder the subject. My doctor, the nurse and the psychologist. Their policy on donor embryo transfers is pretty strict at two, at most. And what I really felt was mild influence from them to transfer only one embryo (given I have several high quality embryos) and that's okay, because I felt they had my interests in mind.

But here's the rub. The chance of one embryo becoming a viable pregnancy is around 60%. Two embryos is in the 85% range. That's a 25% spread - too much for me to ignore.

Now for the brutal news - the chance of two high quality embryos becoming a twin pregnancy is around 45%. And I don't remember the chance of one of those embryos splitting (giving me a triplet) but it was not some statistically low number like .001%.

I honestly do not know how to play this out. And at the end of the day, while I met with their psychologist, I was honest with her.

I said, "you know, I've thought about that many times this year and I'm no further today knowing what I'd do than I was the first day." I went on to tell her what I told my doctor - a single embryo transfer is not something I can consider without the facts in front of me on transfer day.

For example, consider this wonderful scenario that I hope befalls me. My doctor calls me on day 5 transfer morning and says "Sky, I have amazing news - you have 9 stellar embryos, it's hard to know which is better than the other, they're all top grade and I have two that are hatching. Right now we're going to freeze whatever you don't want to transfer. So, will it be one or two?" I would say, "one." Perfect. (and may that be EXACTLY what happens and turns into a beautiful little person for me!)

But here's an alternate scenario that I hope and pray does not happen. My doctor calls me on day 3 transfer morning and says "Sky, you have 3 good embryos - the rest don't look like they'll make it. One is excellent and the others are good." Frankly, my answer would be - TRANSFER THEM ALL. I wouldn't want to return for one final embryo transfer if two failed, aside from not feeling great about freezing/thawing - it is never as good as fresh.

But what if those 3 less-than-stellar embryos all implanted?! Well, I think a triplet pregnancy is out of the question for me - I would have to selectively abort one. But what about a twin pregnancy to a singleton? I mean, if I'm not ethically barred from selectively aborting a triplet to a twin, why not a twin to a singleton? What's the difference? It's still terminating one fetus, isn't it?

And what happens here is that I realize doctors and nurses form an enormous bias and impart their personal religious and moral ethics on patients - and that concerns me. I mean, if you're willing to support the selective abortion of 5 fetuses to 2, why not support the selective abortion of 2 fetuses to 1? After all, isn't it is lawful to abort 1 fetus to zero.

DISCLAIMER: I'm not saying I could selectively abort twins to a singleton because I just don't know. I don't even know for sure if I could selectively abort triplets to twins. How could I know? I'm not in that place! But I guess I have trouble with anyone in the IVF world making moral judgments around this. Aren't we are all guilty of having our hands in the life/death pool whereby we have a hand in creating multiple embryos and then actively discarding some?

I personally know two women who are as Catholic as the day is long - staunch pro-life ladies who've also had IVF and had remaining embryos. Neither could bring themselves to donate those embryos to another couple and both of them chose to discard the embryos. I mean, huh? If life starts at conception then how is tossing them down a sink or by way of an abortion any different? Doesn't it provide the same outcome - they're still dead.

Just some thoughts as I embark on a donor egg cycle in future. I know I'll be faced with some very difficult decisions for which no choice will be without risk and, ultimately, I may have to choose the lesser of two evils - whatever that is for me personally.

I can only trust that I'll make future decisions with the same level of honesty and integrity in which I strive to live my life.

Tonight, more than ever, all of my sisters in this IF journey are on my mind - I wish you all peace, happiness and the fulfillment dirty diapers brings.

Back from Denver (CCRM)

Whew! Whirlwind trip. I flew out Thursday at 6 PM and arrived back in NJ Friday night, just after midnight.

Denver was beautiful and I expected nothing less. I love Colorado - the mountains, the clean, crisp air, the lack of smog and pollution that covers NJ, a state I've grown to hate living in (alas, a very well paying job in a major national corporation and a small, but valuable, network of friends, it'll be years before I can leave).

Yesterday morning I got to my appointment at CCRM. Okay, the place is beautiful, state-of-the-art with a luxurious atmosphere. It's high-end, which goes with the price tag, I guess. I was shuttled from one appointment to the next. The first was with my doctor - extremely nice, thoughtful and intelligent man. Then came the ultrasound to measure blood flow to the uterus and to determine if I'd need some acupuncture in advance of the donor egg cycle to improve things. Nope, don't need it - blood flow to my uterus is fine. Good.

Then I had the nursing consult with my nurse who is just lovely - wish I could have her eggs! Then came the fiber optic hysteroscopy. I was dreading this and I'll tell you why. Any time I'm "advised" to take 800 mg. of ibuprofin before a procedure, that's bad fucking news in my book! So I was scared. The nurse insisted it wasn't bad at all. Yeah, okay, whatever - what's she going to say at that moment, "don't worry, this is a sound-proof room and we'll hand you a leather strap to bite on?"

When I was prescribed an HSG, I did some online homework and read a couple of reports on fertility boards of women who claimed their HSG wasn't bad and didn't know what all the fuss was about. Though I'm sure they weren't lying about their personal experiences, I opted to believe the other 98% of women who said it was unbearably painful. One comment on an infertility board carved itself into my brain last year and it went something like this: "That was the most painful thing I've ever experienced in my life. I can't believe they're allowed by law to do that without anesthesia."

I have never recovered from that report of an HSG and I will likely remember it for the rest of my life. And thanks to the removal of my fallopian tubes, I will never have to have one!

Okay, so back to the fiber optic hysteroscopy. First there was a mock transfer after which my doctor said "oh, this is going to be a very easy transfer." I guess I'm "easy." Then came the hysteroscope and the gas that's pumped into your uterus to expand it and the doctor looks through a lens to see what's going on in the uterus. What I felt was the tiniest bit of discomfort - and I mean TINY! It was a walk in the park - a hair more uncomfortable than a pap smear. THANK GOD! It was such a breeze that I felt silly for fearing it for the past month.

And don't think it escapes me that I'm actively pursuing pregnancy. I can imagine my water breaking and me asking the nurses, Hey, is this delivery going to hurt? Ridiculous! I have to get over this!

Well, then I was off to the lab for the whole enchilada of sexually transmitted disease testing, consent form review, finance (yeah, the money baby!) where I plunked down my Visa for the $2,500 deposit to get on "the waiting list" for a donor egg, and I was done at 3 PM. I hopped into my SUV rental and high-tailed it back to Denver International for my flight back to NJ. I'm beat!

Next and final steps: Mock cycle.

My next CD1 (ETA of 10/28), I start on Vivelle (estrogen patches) and go to the local RE for an ultrasound at the indicated date to check my lining.

And that's it baby, from then on I am officially on WAIT STATUS.

I was told to expect 6-9 months but then she said "now that I told you that, I will tell you that the less criteria you have in terms of a match, the sooner the match will happen.

Now, I'd already begun this process saying that my criteria is SLIM.

Must be:
  • A proven donor
  • Caucasian
  • Anything except brown eyes
  • And DOES NOT need to look like me whatsoever.
Yeap, that's it. If that doesn't get me matched before 6 months, heck, I don't know what will. My hope is for a February or March cycle - gives me some more time to lose weight (Ugh!).

I love this quick matching story at CCRM. I dream about it! And she's got two of the most BEAUTIFUL, yummiest little munchkins I've ever seen. How absolutely wonderful!

Well, hang on, twins for her is a spectacular blessing - for me (a single parent), it wouldn't be wonderful at all. Rather, terrifying, thought-provoking, devastating - yes. If I had a wonderful prince charming for a husband, I would welcome two (two for the price of one - woo hoo!) but I know my limitations and one is all I can handle right now.

Which brings me to another subject that I'll post about separately.


This Friday......

I have a date at CCRM for my work-up. It's been a long-time-coming to get to this point where I do what I wanted to do nearly a year ago - go for a donor egg cycle! At last, I'm on my way.

Will definitely post about my day in detail when I return. I'm nervous about the fiber optic hysterscopy after I read about the 800 mg of Advil I should take in advance (yeah, sounds lovely!).

Hoping for good news this week - all the way around!


The Sperm Junkie Strikes Again!

I called the sperm bank this morning and bought another ICI vial - just in case. Now I have 3 on ice. The ICI units went down from 15 to 10 in one month. Damn it, this guy's popularity must have gotten out! RATS!

But no matter, I have my 3 units of god-knows-how-many-millions of sperm and I'm good to go. Now I have to call my old RE's office and get that damned lazy records person to make a copy of my entire medical file and send it to me. Be nice if I even got a return call. Argh! Truly glad I'm not with them any longer - I just can't stomach that kind of neglect.

Once I have that file, I'll put everything together in my CCRM file and wait until next AF. I think I should be due around 10/2 which gives me a projected date of 10/10 for testing in Colorado. Woo-friggen-hoo!

I have to remember to take everything - medical records from RE this year, pictures from bilateral salpingectomy (my insides, YUK!), mammogram and pap records from this year. I think that's it, thank goodness! :)

And then I wait for a match.....


My baby daddy's other baby

How could that headline sound any more trailer trash?!

I'll begin by laying it on the table, I fell in love with my sperm donor. Yeap, pathetic, I know! I love him so much that I wouldn't DARE disclose who he is or the name of the sperm bank because I fear that every single woman out there has just ignored him, for whatever reason and I'm eternally thankful. I bought 2 ICI vials and actually pay to store them at the sperm bank because I'd be devastated if someone snatched them up sooner and I lost out. In fact, tomorrow I intend to buy one more vial (just in case!).

I loved everything about him (intellectual and otherwise). One problem - no adult picture, just a baby pic. And you know what, it barely mattered. I loved him on paper and I loved his voice and I loved his words and I loved an intellectual passion he has that we share. So you get it, right? I love him - the guy who jerked off into a cup for god-knows-how-many-years!

So I decided to see if I could hunt down any of his offspring out there and signed up for the donor registry site (and plunked down $50 bucks for the off-chance I would make contact with a parent to one of his offspring). Voila! It happened. The most awesome angel, "D," mother of the most beautiful little boy wrote me back and actually attached 4 pics. I cried. I looked at this little guy and I saw my future baby. I thought, there he is - beautiful and perfect with 10 fingers and toes and I wanted to eat him up!

"D" said there is a bunch of the mom's of this donor on Facebook so I'm going to try to get in the group and make some connections. I would love to one day share pictures of my own baby and half-sibling to theirs.

So if you're reading this "D," thank you again from the bottom of my heart for opening up your private world to me. I'm so very grateful.


Jon & Kate Plus Eight

I can't stomach it, truly. No, it isn't their fault but rather it's the way in which the media hunts down the success stories which only perpetuate the unrealistic outcomes that follow (and the lifelong pains that follow, financial and ethical). Kate says quite defiantly that when the doctor raised "reduction," she said there would be no talk of that. And she went on to carry and deliver 6 healthy babies and I'm delighted for that outcome - for the sake of their children.

Diane Sawyer (whom I adore) spends time covering the Dilley sextuplets every year and beams with delight over a woman who carried what most Golden Retriever's birth - a litter. But Diane spends not one single minute talking about the hundreds/thousands of women who miscarry high order multiples (greater than twins) at 5 months. Diane looks past the stories of women who refuse selective reduction and birth 4 children with devastating physical and mental deficiencies. Diane would rather spend time in a house like Jon & Kate's - where cute, zippy little munchkins run as fast as their tiny legs can take them. I don't blame her, I'd rather be there too over the alternative.

But when presenting a view of multifetal pregnancy outcomes, why not cover in detail the daily lives of families who've had challenges. Why not profile the couple who spent their life savings on IVF and lost their quads at 5 months. Or why not profile the couple who's nearly bankrupt, who are overwhelmed and have mere minutes to shower and spend time with their healthy children while they juggle the Hoyer lifts, wheel chairs and ventilators in their living-room-turned-hospital-suite?

If parents are to make informed decisions - whatever they are - they must do so with facts that are, currently, conveniently much too hidden.

I hope I am never in the position to opt for reduction because I know I would chose it and I know I would pay the price. I don't think "reduction" - a euphemism for an abortion - is the easy way out, by any means. But I think, for me, it would be the lesser of two evils. You see, I know a thing or two about disability. My mother was seriously handicapped from the age of 2. The last ten years of her life were very difficult and, as an only child, I bore an enormous brunt of having to care for her. I can't imagine having to care for a child with severe disabilities with another two running around. Nor do I think I could forgive myself for the emotional havoc that kind of life would do to my life and the life of any other children I might have.

It's blissfully simple to choose no reduction when you haven't ever provided daily, lifelong care for a severely handicapped individual that you love. It's blissfully simple to say no to reduction when you haven't lost an entire multi-order pregnancy at 5 months.

I think once either of those things happen, you develop a less black and white perspective on reduction.


Time heals all wounds

Figuratively and literally. The day after my surgery, I felt like Mike Tyson went a couple of rounds with me in the ring - focusing on upper body blows. My throat hurt and my neck was sore - even my jaw hurt. Believe it or not, I worked from home because I am so busy at work, I just couldn't check out after the surgery. And the day after that (Thursday), I just drove into the office and worked but I felt like shit. My breathing was depressed and I struggled to inhale without pain. I contemplated calling Dr. M but decided to wait and see. Well, yesterday (Friday), I woke up, showered and felt about 60% better than day before.

Today I feel totally well. Sure, I get some pain in my abdomen probably associated with internal healing and the stitches but, otherwise, I'm good. :)

Even my mental state is better. I decided I'll head out to CCRM at the onset of my next cycle so I can get on the donor egg waiting list and then do what I have to do....wait.

And I've lost 3 lbs. since the surgery. Woo Hoo! (another 32 to go!)


Bilateral Salpingectomy!

I'll preface this post by begging you to blame the anesthesia for my irrational feelings.

I'm sterile! How could a woman who actively wants to have a child electively CHOOSE to have her fallopian tubes ripped out?! Ugh! It defies the most basic common sense and every sense of womanhood we're born with. These were my parts - happily given away to the surgeon.

Alas, I try to remember, I had to do this IN ORDER to get pregnant. What an ironic twist! My tubes were blocked and semi-blocked. My highest recorded FSH (this past May) was 22 and I'll be 42 in 3 months. Logically I know that ONLY a miracle would have found me rolling in the hay with Vince Vaughn (yummy!) whose world-champ-husky-guy-sperm could break through the semi-blocked tube, find that one-in-a-million crusty old egg that smells slightly viable, fertilize it and create Super-Embryo, able to leap tall buildings err...able to coast back down the semi-blocked tube, find a cozy spot in my uterus, implant and, somehow, manage to remain there for 38 more weeks without being poisoned by the fluid a hydrosalpinx (blocked tube) regurgitates back into the uterus and onto an early embryo, thereby causing implantation deficiency and miscarriage.

Rational enough, right?

But I still think, hey, isn't that Vince Vaughn across the street walking his dog? It's a sign you idiot - you were too radical, yet again!!!

Well, while I try to ponder what our children would have looked like, I'll report on the day's events (for educational and entertainment value):

8:30 AM. Surgery on schedule. I walk into the operating room and am blasted with U2's, Still haven't found what I'm looking for. Indeed, how prophetic! A minimum of ten people are scurrying around on cue, not missing a beat. That feels good - when they run smoothly, I feel better. I tell everyone who asks how I'm doing about my palpitations (on/off for weeks now - been checked out several times by Cardiologist 2 years, one stress echo and all good - maybe one bout with a-fib that resolved on its own but otherwise just benign PVC's - in other words normal). No matter, I'm scared shitless. I sit on the table, just over the little carved-out depression in the table which my va-ja-ja should sit directly over and begin to lie back when the anesthesiologist points to the nurse and to my ass "she's wearing underwear." I was mortified that he noticed. You see, to make matters only more humiliating for me, I got my period yesterday morning - so I had to wear a pad and it sure doesn't hold itself suspended to my undercarriage. She says "it's okay, I'll take it off." She was such a sweetheart and an angel, truly (because she wound up waiting until I was out to take them off of me - sure, everyone got to see it but at least I wasn't conscious during the "show"). They started to put warm blankets all over me - my doctor was actually shivering in the 65 degree room. Man it's cold in there! And then they slid massagers under my legs. Honestly, if I wasn't going to be put under general anesthesia (the thought of which I ABHOR!), I would liken this to an awesome spa day where ten people cater to me, talk about me, run around for me - I could get used to that kind of life; lemme tell ya, it doesn't suck! Dr. M (my Gyn surgeon, whom I LOVE!) puts a mask over my face and tells me to relax. I feel my heart going nuts and can hear it beat erratically on the monitor. I say through the mask (with what had to be real fear in my eyes) "God, my heart" and he is such a honey that he pulls his face right over mine - six inches away - and he says "yeah, I see it but listen to me, you're going to be just fine, think good positive thoughts and sleep; I promise, I'm going to take great care of you" and I wanted to cry, it was really so much in the way he said it, with such sincerity and kindness. Hey, ultimately, some things are out of even his control but I trusted his words and their timing.

And I woke up. But this time and for the first time EVER I woke up IN THE OPERATING ROOM. Wow! Big bulb lights overhead "Sky, breathe Sky, everything's fine - you did great, tubes are out, burned off some endometriosis and your uterus looks great too, I'll see you in a bit." Oh and then I tossed my cookies. I refused all pain meds from the time I was conscious. Can I just say, I don't know how people can become addicted to pain meds. I can handle roller coasters but give me codeine, percocet, vicodin - anything - and I will toss my cookies. It's actually FAR worse than the pain and it depresses my breathing. No thank you!

All and all, I am grateful and feel terribly blessed. I came out of it in one piece, my awesome friend "R" was with me when I got to the pre-release recovery room (rather than the O.R. recovery room) and was on the phone with my other awesome friend "V." I felt really cared for and that was just perfect.

I've spent the last few hours in bed with the most wonderful kids on the planet - my furbabies - lying around me, missing me like I'd been gone for weeks. Thank the powers at be for the innate obsession I have for animals because they've brought me more joy and given me such genuine love on a consistent basis than anything else has in my life thus far. (and I mean that in a very positive way!)

Next step.....in a 1.5 weeks, get stitches out, grab copy of surgery notes for my CCRM file along with pics of my insides (YUK!) that Dr. M sent me home with. I guess I'm good to go at CCRM at day 5-10 of my next period but I might actually wait until 2-3 periods from now.

Ever feel like you just need a little break? :)

Big hugs and kisses to my IF sisters - we have to be some of the strongest chicks out there!


35 lbs!

I must lose them! But I confess that I'm a diet quitter. I love things like sweets much, too much and I find myself slipping off the diet wagon within hours of beginning. What is wrong with me?!

And I really want to lose the weight before I am pregnant 'cause God knows I'll have more than enough weight piling on then!

So maybe now that I've outted myself, maybe now I will feel ashamed enough to be good and stick to a plan. The surgery to remove my clogged fallopian tubes is next Tuesday (Gulp! Please Mom, watch over me and make sure I get through better than new!) and I truly want to join the gym less than 2 weeks later - September 20th, that's the day.

Working out has never caused me to lose weight, that much is true. But what it does do (other than help tone my body) is to put me in a frame of mind that is committed to healthy eating and healthy living.

Here's my plan. I won't be at CCRM for at least another two months for the initial visit. Then I might wait up to 6 months or more for an egg donor match. Frankly, my criteria isn't blond hair and blue eyes and I understand the wait for that is longest so it could be much sooner for me. But if I can manage to lose 6-8 lbs/month, I could easily be down 25-30 lbs. in 5 months.

I know I would feel so much better to have this excess weight off of me at last.

So feel free to police me starting with September 20th. If I didn't join the gym, call me on it! :)