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Day 1 – Let’s start fresh!

My period began its tour de force* on Sunday, and so today I had the bloodwork and ultrasound to provide a baseline for the uterine lining and make sure I was not actually pregnant. I just got the call to begin the estrace medication again after a glorious drug and needle free month.

As you might have picked up, I was a bit nervous about the Saturday performance. On Saturday (during the day) I rode a “pick-me-up” ride on the Peloton where the instructor said you should use how much fun you are having as a gauge for success. As a performer and writer, I don’t love this advice because it has to be about the audience. But I believe it is very important as a performer and writer to have fun. Well, the show on Saturday night went quite well by all those standards! We made some improvements to the Friday show, so the transitions went more smoothly and the edits helped tighten the performance. There were less people in the audience, and the audience laughed less, but they seemed to enjoy the show, and my friends shared that they genuinely liked all the sketches. Most importantly, the performers had a great time. They were laughing all night and seemed elated after the show!

I messed up one transition: I forgot I was in the next sketch and was taking my time just drinking water and chilling backstage, wondering why we hadn’t started the next sketch. Luckily Jess came and grabbed me. Ooops! The audience didn’t seem to mind because Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” was playing while they waited for me. That song is magic.

Sunday was the first night of Hanukkah, so after a holiday party we had some Peruvian chicken and watched Sabrina the Teenage Witch on Netflix, which is just exhilarating. One of my friends summoned the strength to leave a job which made her deeply unhappy. I was really happy for her.

Well that’s all for now! I have a goal to write more in December, so talk to you soon!

*Actually it feels like less blood than usual.

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Post Show Thoughts

Hello my sweet! Please know that even though I don’t update daily, I am thinking of you. Take solace in knowing that when I am especially angsty, I think of coming to you second, dear blog. David is first. He will always be first. There’s nothing you can do about that. It is how it is.

So! A few things have been going on!

First, on the procreation side, this was a month “off.” No drugs! No needles! And if you are wondering whether I lived it up – I assure you I did. I had coffee; I had caffeinated tea; I had a glass of wine twice a week, and one night, I drank a martini! It was amazing. I ordered mochas, and they had decorations in them, and I appreciated every sip.

Then, I was late. My clockwork period was late! I thought, “Uh oh…what if my relaxation this month resulted in a baby!? Could it be?! What a lovely story that will be! Truly it was procreation stress all along!” I took a pregnancy test: nothing. As usual. That was disappointing. I think one of the most frustrating things as someone who is _trying_ is to not get your period AND to have negative pregnancy results.
Well anyway, after days of negative pregnancy tests, the red vixen has arrived, on my performance day no less!

So let’s move on to the performance! I was very nervous about the show, because technically I was directing it. Our group assigns directors, but truly all the shows are collaborative. And the actors are very strong, so they really shape the delivery. As a director, one of the most important things you can do is trust your actors. I learned that from Joan Darling.

Anyway, I was very nervous about this performance because:

1) All of the sketches were new.
2) We did not meet Thanksgiving Week, so we only had two rehearsal sessions.
3) There were a lot of lines to memorize.
4) Two of the sketches were controversial, because they touched on race and gender.

Well we had our first of two performances tonight, and honestly, I thought it went okay! I forgot some key lines; other people forgot key lines, but all in all, the audience seemed to genuinely enjoy the show. They laughed the whole time. And that is the most important thing. I would consider the show a success. I’m usually quite critical, but I genuinely felt we delivered a quality product with some gaffes. So I was pretty annoyed when I heard someone from our group – who was not part of the show – giving my actors a slew of criticism about the show immediately after the performance and recommending sketches to cut. It put a real damper on the whole thing, and I was seething. We knew where we had gone wrong. And by focusing on where we had gone wrong right away, it detracted from the places we had gone so right.

I won’t leave you with a negative note, my dearest. I don’t believe in doing that! Here is the bit I hope to remember about this performance: in this show, I do a bit about Mrs. Claus doing a tight five. So, it’s Carol Claus doing a stand-up routine. It went well! The audience laughed and laughed. After the show, Emily shared that she was watching David who was laughing so hard that he “looked like he was going to pee.” David insisted that wasn’t the case when I shared this story with him, but I know it to be true. That warmed my heart. I love him so much.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! We just got back from a trip to London, England! Well we got back on Tuesday. The trip was great because I was not on any medication and had no dietary restrictions, and the food and drink in London is top notch. But we did hit a snag at the beginning of the trip.

Here’s what happened: there’s a train called the Heathrow Express that takes you from the airport to London. You have to buy tickets for the Heathrow Express. When we were in the tunnel walking toward the Heathrow Express, we bought round trip tickets for a discount price.

We arrived at the entrance to the Heathrow Express, and next to the entrance there is a station to buy Oyster cards. Oyster cards allow you to ride the Tube (London’s subway) and use the bus transportation system. We bought two Oyster cards and put 20 pounds on them, thinking that would get us through the week.

Then we exited to get to the Heathrow Express, but instead of using my Express voucher, I used my Oyster card! Since there were Oyster signs all over the machine, I thought it was an Oyster machine! It deducted 9 pounds and let me through. David said, “No! You were supposed to use the Express ticket!” I was beside myself, because I had just wasted 9 pounds. We found a station attendant who told us this amount would not really be deducted. (He was incorrect.) I felt like I had wasted money the entire ride from the Express to Paddington Station.

At Paddington Station we carted our luggage down to a transfer line on the Tube. Mobile phones don’t work in the tunnel, so I pulled out a Tube map. “Put away that map please,” David said, because he was worried it made us look like tourists. We had luggage with us and David was wearing sweatpants, so I thought we looked like tourists anyway, and we were tourists, so I thought playing the part would be fine. One of the people in the rush hour commute asked where we were looking for, and he told us, so we thanked him and headed in that direction. We boarded our train which was packed to the brim. I had to climb up on a ledge at one point to make space. I couldn’t believe how packed every train car was.

When we exited our Tube train car, David patted his pockets and said, “I don’t have my wallet.” We had been pick-pocketed! The thief made off with 180 pounds, a 20 pound Oyster card, and a lot of credit cards and license information. Unbelievable! We found a station attendant and shared we had been pick pocketed. “Well you’re in a big city, this happens, they work in teams,” he said.
“We’ve never been pick-pocketed in New York,” I replied, to signal we’re not country bumpkins.
“Well you’re not tourists in New York, are you? I bet your tourists get pick-pocketed.”
He had a point I couldn’t refute on the spot. And I couldn’t very well tell him we are tourists in New York too, lest I lose the city credentials I had just established.

Then he told us, “Okay, here is the number for the police department. The chances you get your wallet back are 0.” He made an “O” shape with his fingers for emphasis. “But you can report it for statistics.” We said thank you, and we asked how to exit the station without an Oyster card, and he said to just tell them what happened, and they would let us exit. He was right; people were sympathetic and quick to open the gate.

When we got to the hotel, David cancelled all his cards and got a new license. I learned a valuable lesson about not fretting about small mistakes (the Express/Oyster mishap) because it can decrease your mental acuity and open you up to bigger mistakes! David learned a valuable lesson about not storing his wallet in his sweatpants pocket, which we realized is rife for pick-pocketing.

David was annoyed and very thoughtful about the whole thing. Later in the day he said, “Better us than some kid where 180 pounds would have been their hostel fee or destroyed their month.”

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I don’t know what day it is

I know what day today is, it’s October 30, 2018, and it was the day to go in for the biopsy, or as we like to refer to it, the bibiop-sy.

But I didn’t look at the calendar to do an official day count. It has been a while!

When last we left, we waited to hear back on whether we have any viable embryos. We do! So that’s good! This month we did a “practice” cycle, also known as an ERA Biopsy Cycle in our case. I was taking estrace after my period, and then on 10/24 had a bloodwork and ultrasound appointment to make sure my uterine lining was more than 8mm. It was 12 or so mm, and I was cleared to start taking Progesterone in Oil every morning. The progesterone shot is the one that is inserted on your bum. David got up at 6:45am every morning to give me the shot. Then today was the bibiopsy, which was more painful than I thought it would be. They prep you for it and share that it’s as bad as a very strong period cramp. Since I’m lucky enough to not have period cramps, I found the one minute the doctor was in there quite painful. “I tried to warn you!” she said. Then she reassured me that was the most painful thing they would have to do moving forward. Relief!

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Day 50, Also considered day 15 maybe?

The remaining embryos are frozen, so I don’t know if they really count as day 15. We are waiting for PGS testing to find out the next steps. In the mean time, I’m participating in a clinical trial that currently requires that I take a pill three times a day, starting Wednesday, 10/10. I originally thought I would take one at 7am, another at 3pm, and then one at 11pm. This has proved challenging thus far because I’m out and about more sporadically than I realized. And last week was a busy work week, so a few days blended together.

We have had some friends ask us for status updates, and we don’t want to provide them. We lost more embryos than expected, and we both typically like to keep being upset to ourselves, so we’re being evasive.

In other news, this past Saturday did not go as planned. It rained in the morning, so the courts looked like this at 9am.

Rainy Day

Deciding that it was time I stopped mooching off of other people for their brooms and blower, I went over to Costco, which was right around the corner, to buy a broom. I wandered around for a while looking for some brooms until a gentleman in jeans and a sweatshirt asked me if I needed help. I asked about brooms, and he authoritatively said they had not carried brooms for two months. “Thanks, do you work here?” I wanted to reply, because he wasn’t wearing a badge or a walkie-talkie. Instead I just thanked him for his help. Then I bought a giant box of Ferrero Rocher chocolates, returned to my car, and ate my sadness.

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Day 42, Also considered day 7 – Some thoughts

Before the egg retrieval, the anesthesiologist needed to hook me up to an IV. They started with my left hand, my skin swelled, blood came out, and she said, “Oops.” Then she used my right hand, my skin swelled, blood came out, and she asked me if I bruise easily. Based on the way she asked it, I could tell she thought the answer was going to be yes. I told her I did not bruise easily. She put a gauze on my swollen right hand to stop the bleeding, told me the swelling would go down, and quickly left the room.

The pain from the retrieval subsided this week, and I was able to do some light exercise Thursday, and today I feel back to 100%. I also got my period today. But the bruises on my hands stuck around. So, when I lie down and prop my head on the back of one of my hands, I feel a sharp pain that serves as a reminder of the process so far.

We have also been watching the Kavanaugh confirmation process, and in the midst of the allegations, women have come forward and shared their personal stories online. These women undoubtedly have suffered sleepless nights trying to forget their pain, and then probably recently endured more sleepless nights wrestling with the decision to share something they have been trying to forget. My heart goes out to each one. I feel fortunate that my bruises are temporary, because you can’t sleep on bruises.

In other news, we lost 11 embryos. This is common, but it was still disappointing. The doctor said the 11 embryos have between 4-7 cells and they would monitor them for change or growth, but either was unlikely. The other cells have between 100 and 200 cells. When the embryos make it to the blastocyst phase, they biopsy them.

So now we just wait.

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Day 37, Also considered day 2, WHERE ARE THE EMBRYOS

We were supposed to get a call yesterday letting us know how many embryos we have, and we have not gotten that call yet. I finally had a bowel movement around 3am this morning, so that was good. And then again at 9am, so that was good too. And later this morning I left a friendly message inquiring about the embryos, and then I sent a friendly note via the online portal, but no response yet.

Thoughts in my head:
How many children do we have so far, and where are they!? Did any take!? I’m going mad! I don’t like my work in general, so distracting myself with work is extra upsetting. GAH.

Edit: I heard back! So far 17 have fertilized. We used ICSI, which is where they insert the sperm. We’ll hear back on day 5 about how many make it to day 5.

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Day 36, Sort of, Also considered Day 1

Yesterday was painful. My abdominal region hurt a lot, and I didn’t realize how much you needed your abs to get up, sit down, lie down. I had spent most of the day in my office chair, so the end of the day when I was moving around I had a greater appreciation for, you know, moving.

Last night I woke up around 1am from the pain, and then I read some things on the internet and fell back asleep around 2:30am. I think around 2:30am I also felt like the pain had subsided, which is good! The internet’s post-retrieval healing times are mixed, ranging from one day to a week. Our nurse and doctor said the pain would be there for a week.

I definitely feel a little better now than I did a few hours ago. I’m drinking warm water with lemon squeezed in. I have not had a bowel movement yet. “Gross!” you might be thinking to yourself. Well this is a medical diary! These things matter!

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Day 35, Sort of, also considered Day 0

This morning we had the retrieval. Here’s how it went:

6:30am – Woke up, stomach hurt, went to the bathroom.
7:00am – David work up, worked his magic
7:30am – We left late! We were supposed to leave at 7:15am.
7:55am – David made it there 10 minutes faster than it takes me.
8:15am – Or thereabouts, we are taken back, I put on the gown and we sign some forms.
8:30am – Someone comes by and reviews our IDs to confirm the sample is ours and we are who we say we are. He is the person who will review the sperm and do the ICSI!
8:35am – Someone from anesthesia comes by and tries to put stuff into veins in my left hand, that doesn’t work, then my right hand, that doesn’t work, so she bandages me up and leaves the room.
8:40am – Someone else comes by and says, “They missed twice,” inspiring great confidence in me, but we laugh it off.
8:45am – Someone else comes by and puts the IV drip in my left arm, in a spot close to where they’ve been pulling blood. Blood did not squirt everywhere, so that went smoothly.
9:00am – The person in charge of explaining the clinical trial we are doing comes by. The trial requires an extra month of drugs that we did not realize. David asks when we can declare we don’t want to do the trial anymore, because we are thinking the same thing.
9:20am – I’m in the operating room! They declare it is 9:20am, I don’t remember anything here.
9:47am – They ask David back to the room I’m in. And I am there. I asked David what I said to him. He says I said, “David, it hurts.”
9:48am – I tell David I am thirsty and he holds up water for me. There are also saltines, and he asks if I want one. I say a small piece. In my head I want him to eat the other half, because I don’t want it. He asks me if he can have the other half. I love him for this – his love of saltines. The Doctor tells us they retrieved 20 eggs, and I will likely feel some pain these next few days. I was planning to play tennis on Tuesday, but this is not happening.
11:35 – We are home. We fall asleep immediately.
12:55 – I am awake and working on a project for a client who called us Friday. He was crying because instead of three weeks from now, his client is going live Monday and wants to know what we can do. I have been working on this all weekend, and I deeply resent my inability to say “No,” to people.

I ate a banana, and in the afternoon David picked up a salad for us to eat this afternoon, and we ate it. My ovaries/stomach still hurt, a lot. They gave us pain killers, but it’s just Tylenol. So I haven’t taken any. I’m going to go lie down now.

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Ode to David

David I love your medium-length curly hair.
I think you look sweet, strong and debonair
For Halloween you’re going to be Mandy Patinkin
At least right now that’s what you’re thinking.

These last few weeks have felt longer than most
But you were so good, to myself I boast.
You mixed the medications, you got up early,
You weren’t your morning self, which is rather surly.

We made jokes that I so wish I wrote down
And when I was difficult you were the clown
You made me laugh even though it hurt
You cooked us tasty salmon and got us dessert.

This morning’s blood draw shows we’re on track
We’ll review the clinical trial, a little to unpack.
And you have to do your part as well.
You’ll stroke your manhood and it shall swell.

Tomorrow’s the day for retrieval surgery!
Let’s hope Kavanaugh gets slapped with perjury!
Anyway, to phase 1 we can finally say adieu
And I want you to always know this, I love you.

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