Beta 3 Integrin Results!

My nurse emailed, "Your integrin biopsy was positive! Everything looks PERFECT!"

So, I took the opportunity to ask the big when-will-I-be-matched-question (hey, it's been 6 weeks since I last asked). "Now that that's out of the way, I'm actually nervous to ask but it's been nearly five months . . . am I coming up to the top of "the list" any time soon?"

Nine minutes later, a reply. It was 3:15 PM and I didn't open the email because I thought if it was too upsetting, it would be better to read it at home. I didn't think I could read something like, Well, still probably another 4+ months.

Besides having a HEAVY period this week, feeling achy, being incredibly stressed and tired at work and my project load and thinking constantly of my mom and how much I miss her lately, I thought I might just snap.

I imagined I would lay my head down and just cry. I thought, Why? Why are so many with a laundry list of requirements matched with a donor in 1-4 months and here I am almost five months out from being on their "list" with the most basic criteria imaginable (a proven Caucasian donor with anything but brown eyes and does not need to look like me - Sheesh! How much less to ask for?!) and I'm still waiting? Aside from all of the crazy places my brain wanders to, it just hurts and opens some old wounds. Wounds of inadequacy - feeling like no matter how little I may ask for, how flexible I am, how hard I work for it - I get less than that. And the person who screams the loudest, cuts the line, works the least, demands the most and feels entirely entitled, gets it all - handed to them, and quickly.

I HATE that the squeaky wheel gets oiled because if we all squeaked there would be chaos and my aggravating sense of innate fairness doesn't allow me to kick someone in the chins in order to "win" the race.

I think 4th grade sums it up, when I tried out for cheerleading. I was not the popular girl. It took a lot for me to try out and because I was pretty good at gymnastics, I thought I had a teeny sliver of a chance. Another girl, who I was just a hair less popular than, got the last spot on the team. I skipped home SO happy for her and with such a pure smile on my face that when I trotted through the door, my mom asked "so I guess you made the team?" and I said "oh no, I'm just so happy for Maria because she's not popular either and she made it." It was a twisted little revenge of the nerds moment. Even if it wasn't me, I felt so good for her.

And I can tell you that I haven't changed. I am so genuinely happy for each and every infertile who gets that elusive BFP - because I feel like we're all in this fucked-up club that we want to desperately break out of and for everyone who makes it out, I am so thrilled.

But I'd really like to finally get out of this club too and be one of the lucky ones who makes "the team." (okay, I'm crying now - crap! I hate hormones! :*(

Back to my email inquiry about the "donor list." I couldn't wait more than half an hour. But instead of opening the email at my desk, I walked over to an empty conference room, closed the door behind me and opened the email on my BlackBerry. "Yes, I would think that it should be soon . . . influx in the number of qualified donors who are applying. I am hoping it will be in the next month or so???"

It was the most hopeful news I've had thus far, so I took it - with a big fat smile on my face and skipped home tonight!


Endometrial Biopsy

People say I exaggerate but when prodded, they agree I don't actually embellish a story but that I tell it in such painstaking detail that it creates drama and that, in itself, creates an unintentional illusion of something that didn't occur.

Just after my earlier post today, around noon, I took my antibiotics and 2 Advils to prepare for my endo biopsy and the torture I would endure at precisely 2:30 PM ET. At 1:15 PM I took 2 Midols and was looking for my Xanax. I was out. A little concern set in but I rustled through some old(er) pill bottles in the kitchen and, Voila, Ativan (good as Xanax). It was a script for my mom. Before she passed away from cancer 18 months ago, I brought her to live with me so I could care for her until she was gone. Cancer patients get drugs. I mean, they get ANYTHING they want, on order - as it should be! My mom could order Roxanol (liquid morphine) like you could order a pizza. No questions asked. And, trust me, having the heavy hitting meds in my home was such a blessing when the pain was great and the end was near. But after she was gone, the hospice nurse wanted to flush all of the meds down the sink (pills, liquids, patches - everything!). And I'm so anti-drug ('cause they make me terribly nauseous and are worse than the pain), that I was not only perfectly fine with her dumping/trashing it all, I helped her. Actually, the one thing I would not allow her to toss was 2 bottles of Tarceva. It's an oral cancer drug that's shown some promise and costs about $3,500 for a one month supply. My mother's Oncology center already said they'd happily take them (they're branded, hard capsules) to donate to a patient who did not have the funds and I would not let her flush 7K of life-saving meds for another person down the toilet.

But today . . . today I was kicking myself, Why didn't you just keep a little bit of that liquid morphine for this occasion? You idiot! Now you're going to pass out at the GYN's office from the poker stabbing pain to your uterus. He said it was going to "hurt like hell." But the Roxanol was gone.

So at 1:15 PM, I took 1 Ativan with those 2 Midols and left for the doctor's. I walked in 30 minutes early and chased down 2 more Advils with a bottle of Poland Springs. Not 2 minutes later I was called in.

My eyes were big as saucers when I saw this really long scissor/tweezer contraption and other things I decided it was best to look away from. I started to feel really woozy from the Ativan and gave the "I'm ready" when he knocked. Dr. M is truly such a nice guy who is a knowledgeable and well respected Gyn surgeon. Good package for a doc. And he explains every single thing he's going to do in slow, detailed steps. I like that VERY MUCH. It's the same reason I like to POAS from 1dp5dt forward (yeah, you read that right!) - surprises are ONLY appreciated by me when they're good ones. Otherwise, please don't surprise me - I like to know what's going to happen every step of the way. This girl needs to plan (even if sometimes it messes with her head).

Feet in stirrups, I lied down and looked up at the mobile over the exam bed. There is one in every room. I imagine it's a relaxing way to focus on something else for the patient, and there was never a better time for me to focus on gliding sailboats.

Right after pulling my butt to the very edge of the table, "Okay, we'll be inserting the speculum now" and it was in. No biggie (that never bothers me anyway). "I'm going to numb your cervix a little so you might feel a tiny pinch and some burning." I felt it. It was no more or less painful than a Lupron shot (i.e., breeze). "Now I'm going to clamp open the cervix a bit." A second later, "ooh, okay" I said. It was a little crampy but just fine. "How are you doing Sky?" "I'm good, just really nervous." "Well you're doing great so far, just keep breathing slowly and deeply and focus on that." "Now I'm going to take the samples and we'll be done." I felt it right away, my uterus getting annoyed. "ohhhh-ohhh-ohhh-ohhh, whewwwww, whewwww." "That's right, keep breathing and let's count to ten." And he and I did it together as he took more swipes and it was done 2 seconds shorter than I thought.

If it was any easier, it would have been a pap. I'm not sure I even bled - though I ripped off the last of my Vivelle patches today and last Prometrium shot was midnight last night so I'll be getting a visit from the Red Sea soon - which should bring some relief to my enormous boobs that are in agony.

Would I volunteer to have another tomorrow? No. Would I do it again if I had to, ABSOFRIGGENLUTELY!

20 minutes ago, I constructed the package per instruction, and it's currently sitting in a outside FedEx mail-drop where I pray it won't be too cold (though it's freezing in NJ) and cause some issue with the specimen. But I can do only so much, you know? The way it is, I think it's going to be damned chilly on the FedEx jet as it heads for Memphis (FedEx distribution site) and then onto another jet bound for sunny California before they can pull out the vial of uterus pieces in solution, slip them under a microscope and tell me if I'll need Lupron treatment for 3 months prior to a transfer or not.

I'm SO glad I did the test, now more than ever.

My advice: Do any and every test you can have done IN ADVANCE of potentially blowing good money and embryos down the drain over something you could have easily solved for. As for endo biopsies - take 4 Advils, 2 Midols, 1 Xanax, ask your Gyn to numb your cervix and meditate as best you can. It's quick and, for me, ridiculously painless.

Thanks to each and every one of you fine ladies who helped encourage me and told me it would be okay. It's more than that. ;)

The Oscar for Awesome-Old-Hollywood-Glamour-Host goes to.....

The hot Hugh Jackman! (TSSSSSSS - that's the sound of sizzling! ;)

Not only was he hot, but he was VERY entertaining, never crass and so full of charm. I really enjoyed the show more last night than ever in the past that I can recall.

Now....much as I dig Hugh, it wasn't all to his credit.

I loved the set-up. The arched Swarovski crystal curtain created an illusion of a million, brilliant dancing stars. And yet it was so quaint in every way that's good about that word. The audience was practically on stage and the stage itself was small and intimate.

Being there must have felt like going to the most wonderful, elaborate, extravagant, big Hollywood night in the comfort of someone's gorgeously dressed living room.

And they changed it up. Low and behold, it's taken TOO MANY decades but they finally changed it up - and it wasn't all about staging either.

I imagine that being recognized by your mentors and peers must be thrilling enough but when 5 former winners of the category for which you're nominated walk onto the stage to specifically acclaim your work and sing your praises before announcing the winner, it must heighten the intensity even more. Again, a perfect example of a format change that created warmth and intimacy without compromising grandeur, even remotely.

Now for the gossip....YUMMY!

Just read on Davila's that Nicole Ritchie is pregnant again. Sometimes I think rehab is a pre-requisite for ever getting pregnant (I'm screwed!).

Angelina & Jennifer. Wow! This is one way in which the quaintness of the theater was a bad thing. For those of you who didn't watch, Angelina and Brad sat dead center, front row and the podium at the stage was probably 6 feet away and 4 feet off the ground. I'm just saying that when Jennifer was presenting Best Animation films at the podium with Jack Black, she could hear Angelina breathe. And I did chuckle that the only possible award Jennifer could have announced (without having to choke on her words) was for the category that she did. Otherwise, what possible category didn't include the films Benjamin Button or the Changeling? Ouch!

And I sat there thinking, OMG, if Angelina won Best Actress for Changeling and, somehow, Jennifer Aniston did a movie this year that deviated from her normal light, chick flick (which I love, BTW) that was actually worthy of a nomination, her name would flow from the full lips of Angelina at next year's Oscar ceremony. C'mon, it's a little mean, but that show's ratings would have tripled that of American Idol finale's and the most intense Super Bowls. And, hey, maybe Jenn would have won, walked on stage and socked it to her. I love Angelina but I don't condone going after a married man - and when you're one of the most beautiful, sought-after and wanted women on earth with fame, power and wealth, it feels even less palatable. (now if married Hot Hugh wanted to roll in my hum-drum, little 'ole NJ bed with me for one night - well, maybe I could be forgiven ;)

Okay, that's all for now - I have a conference call right this minute to hop onto. I'm supposed to be working from home today 'cause I have the endo biopsy this afternoon and I can't believe I'm not on Xanax already - scared shitless!

Later girls!


An envelope from CCRM....

No, not a match. A bill.

But that's not the funny part. It was a bill for $8 for the "long distance" call Dr. S made to me on our consult call last month.

WTF?! I already paid for the consultation (err..my insurance did and I picked up the $20 co-pay). You mean to tell me they're so hurting for cash, they charged me for the long distance call too?

Okay, hang on. I don't live in friggen Saudi Arabia. I live in NJ. And I would imagine CCRM has voice-over-IP or something of the like. Regardless. $8 for a 30 minute call? Are you kidding me?! Minutes just don't cost that much.

I'm actually chuckling about this 'cause, seriously, it's just $8. I think I can swing it. But, given the enormous contribution a DE cycle is to their revenue stream and the fact that they're holding $2,500 of my dollars (interest free) since October, I kind of assumed I wouldn't get dinged for a phone call that was part of the consultation.

Note to self: pack bandages for future trip to CCRM. Wouldn't want to find bill for a $3 Curad bandage after a blood draw in my mailbox when I return.


"I would never go to a fertility clinic and put 'toxic drugs' into my body to have a baby."

That's what I overheard a woman at the Starbucks saying. Of course I was hurt and I wanted to smack her down and advise her to shut her mouth until she's experienced infertility and then see just how far she'd go. I don't think you can EVER IMAGINE what you'd do until you're in this unfortunate place.

Want to know what preceded that comment? The friend in line with her commented "Sheila, I know you want a biological child but you've been trying for 2 years and at 43, you really shouldn't waste any more time and see an infertility doctor."

I pity her naivete because I know she's going to either eat those words or face the very challenging realities of adoption (if she really wants a baby, anyway).


Bermuda Quandary

My good friend R called last Thursday. She wants to go on a free-style cruise in early October (NY to Bermuda). I would LOVE to go. But I’m left counting back weeks and wondering if I’ll be too far along for a cruise at that point.

I’ve tried to figure that if I were matched a month from today, a transfer wouldn’t come for 2 months after that – putting me at around 24 weeks when the cruise happens. Seems that’s the point when they don’t want you to travel and if I were having a high-risk pregnancy or any issues whatsoever, I simply wouldn’t go (baby is #1 priority for me, hands down!).

But I fantasize about waddling onto the cruise ship with a big belly, white Capri pants and a cute maternity top. I know, you’re all wondering why I’m so confident I’ll even get pregnant and the only thing I can say about that is that, because I’m a practical girl (a girl of numbers and odds and stats and probabilities), I know what the stats for DE – they’re excellent. The stats for DE with CCRM are even better than that. Short of a guarantee, the odds are beautiful (I wish all ART had those odds, truthfully!).

So, headline is a lie – no quandary. I said yes! Woo Hoo! I made a plan, an actual plan for my future without fertility treatments standing in my way. I hope it works out, I really do. Like we all do, I deserve some success and happiness.

Oh and here’s what I hope will be a great coincidence. My friend’s daughter is 33 and recently married and wants to go on cruise with spouse. She intends to begin “trying” for a child in March. It would be icing on the cake for us to both be equally pregnant. Now I’m just asking for too much, I know. ;)

Update on cycle. Thursday was CD15 and I had my endo biopsy mock cycle cooter cam and blood work. CCRM called with results: lining was 10mm but estrogen was low at 188 (they’re looking for around 350 at this juncture). They said they’d incorporate estrace in my real cycle in addition to the Vivelle patches, though the lining looks good. Then I began prometrium yesterday (3x/day – YUK!) and stay on the patches for another 9 days which brings me to the endo biopsy on 2/23. As late as it is in the cycle, I have been assured repeatedly that it’s correct and given in my FET last summer, the embryos were transferred on CD24 (one day earlier than when this endo biopsy is being done), I have to agree it sounds right. The beta 3 integrin needs to be there for implantation, which would be, in fact, around CD25.

Then I have my annual pap on March 4th (doctor rescheduled earlier appointment). When I get those results, I’ll fax them over to CCRM for my file. I don’t think it’ll ever stop being annoying how diligent I am to have everything done perfectly and on-time, without a delay on my part whatsoever and to still sit and wait.
I had an ad meeting in the city yesterday at 8 AM (ouch!) and felt the effects of the prometrium. It's awful. My vision gets cloudy and strained and the most intense exhaustion comes over me. Bad stuff. I emailed my nurse and she said to use the prometrium vaginally again. I really thought that would be a problem since I'll have the endo biopsy in a week (and we wouldn't want any of that gunk in my vagina and potentially entering the uterus for the biopsy. I think I'm going to try to set my alarm for 5 AM so I can have the prometrium, sleep for 2 hours and let the worst effects out of my system before I'm in the office.

So on the bus ride home, my nurse called. I got so excited wondering, Is this a match talk? I mean, why else would she make an unsolicited call to me? No. It was just to make sure I was feeling better, which I was. That was nice.
But I'm still waiting (and getting no younger, you know?)..........

Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock.

And a very Happy Valentine's Day to all!


Wh.y do peo.ple do th.is?

I'm sure you've all noticed a hundred posts out there where people seem to deliberately place periods within a word. The first time I assume it was a typo but it'll be the same word often times.

So here's the ONLY theory I could come up with. That if I didn't want someone to find my post out on the www, by breaking up the word for search, it wouldn't be picked up.

In other words, if I didn't want to be found on Google with a search for "CCRM," I would write CC.RM in every reference on my blog and then Google wouldn't pick it up for search. Okay, that's probably 100% wrong but it's all I could come up with.

Please educate me.


Uncle Sammy

I spent over six hours gathering receipts for 2008 infertility expenses and creating a spreadsheet where I catalogued every single expense in the way Turbo Tax indicates the federal government wants to receive it and it looks my 20K expense in 2008 will yield a few grand back. I am NOT complaining.

My TERROR is that the medical expenses will trigger an audit. You’re probably wondering why I would fear an audit if I haven’t cheated and the answer is simple. I haven’t killed anyone either but I would wet myself if I were brought into the station for questioning. People who have an ability to f*** with my life in costly and destructive ways scare the life out of me. Plenty of people have been released from prison after decades when newer DNA tests found they weren’t guilty and auditors come LOOKING for an error – they want to leave with SOMETHING that justifies their time and the government’s expense.

I have credit card receipts from my fertility clinic and a billing statement of charges 5 pages long and every single EOB from last year. But I don’t have a receipt that ties to each charge, you know? For example, when you pay for an IVF cycle, you pay for the entire enchilada in advance. Then the clinic just debits the account for each procedure you have done but they don’t mail you a receipt, per se, with every single office visit (or, at least, my clinic didn’t).

I have some faith that if I were audited (super GULP!), what I have would suffice and that if they wanted more, I could get it from the clinic. But, again, how much more is there? I have each and every single EOB printed from my insurance account online (which clearly indicates what they covered and what they did not) and I have credit card receipts for the two big walloping charges from my fertility clinic (and American Express statements with the charges on them to match).

Mean ole’ Uncle Sam scares me.

Have any of you ladies ever had enough medical expenses to deduct and been audited in the first place?


You were right!

During the time I've been embroiled in this IF "journey," I've read a million bitter, jealous, angry posts from my IF sisters regarding the fertility of others, their pregnancies, their lives moving forward and - seriously - though I absolutely didn't judge them adversely for it, I didn't get it.

I was born without the jealousy gene; I've said this before. The innate ability to be genuinely happy for someone for getting something I want but don't have has never brought out in me an ounce of bitterness, rather sincere joy for them. I always chalk it up to what's rational and true: If Brad Pitt left Angelina Jolie tomorrow, he still WOULD NOT be mine. So I never got the memo that I should want someone to be without because I'm without. I'm ridiculously grateful for what I've come to see as a special gift I was given. Until . . .

Today. I was having lunch with M, one of my Account Executives from big-ad-agency-in-the-city on campus at my company's cafeteria and, I swear to you, I had a premonition two minutes before he said "K and I are going to have a baby." I could barely swallow my chicken. I looked ahead at my boss who was squealing with delight. M and K have been married maybe 2 years - I knew him when he got engaged! And here he is moving on with his life, but not me.

And what timing! You see, M is the THIRD person to announce a pregnancy to me this week. A woman who sits a stone's throw from me just announced she's in her 5th month and a woman on the strategy team I work with disclosed yesterday that she, indeed, has a "belly bump." This is #2 for both ladies (I knew them both when pregnant with #1).

Truthfully, I am happy for them but I can see how this stung me so harshly this week that it could develop into full-out bitterness and anger. I fear I'll get to a point that I'll want to slap them.


Instead, I looked up "M, that's such wonderful news, when's she due?" He smiled big, "July."


And the confusion grows . . .

My CCRM nurse emailed the Endometrial Biopsy instructions and asked me “do you have the kit.” I said “no, did you send it?” No reply. Later on I sent another email asking if she sends the kit or if I am supposed to order the kit from the company the instructions are from. She replies “you order it” and that I need to follow the instructions to the letter.

So I read them and it says I MUST to have the Endo biopsy 7-11 days after my LH surge – meanwhile my CCRM nurse gave me a script for CD25. Mind you, there is NO WAY CCRM knows when my LH takes place as I have never had a real cycle with them (mock cycles don’t check for LH).

I called Sepal (the company that performs the test and sends the “kit”) and asked if I should do the test on CD25 or if I should use the OPK sticks to determine my LH surge as per their written instructions and many brochure instructions. She said “it’s very simple, have your doctor do the test, he has all of the supplies in his office, fill out the pack and return it – it’s not that complicated.” OMG! She not only gets fucking snippy with me, she didn’t even answer my question. So I repeated it and she then said “it’s the doctor’s decision when to take the test,” which is CONTRARY to what their instructions read.

I am CONVINCED that the more STUPID the individual you’re speaking with, the more rude they’ll be and the more convoluted the direction will be.

So, what am I to do here? Am I to go ahead and have the most painful test performed on me on the wrong cycle day, only to have the test results rendered useless?

Help from anyone who has done an Endo Biopsy remotely, ordered by CCRM.



That's pretty much how I've been feeling for months. I watch everyone else moving along, doing something, cycling, buying meds, working with their clinic. Me? Nothing, just waiting and waiting and waiting.

I've tried to find others who are waiting too - whether with CCRM or Cornell or wherever. Know what I find? Nada, not a thing. On the contrary, I've found a few girls who were given the 6-9 month timeline and got matched in weeks or a couple of months (the longest at 3). I found a girl who was matched with Cornell at 2 months (they're known for their 1 year waiting list).

I've actually been regretting my decision to go with CCRM. I would have been transferred already if I'd gone with IVF NJ or San Diego - and their stats are damned good. I really don't want to be sitting here in June asking my nurse if they have a donor for me yet.

The economy is in the toilet, unemployment is staggeringly high, egg donors are supposidly lighting up the lines in all fertility clinics, my match criteria is ridiculously small and in a couple of weeks it'll be 4 months with not one single call they initiate to me, not even a possible match to look at, not even a call to say, Hey, you're on top of the list now.

Can this be right?