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Category archive for: Thoughtful Reflection

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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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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Day 32, Sort of

Today is Thursday. It’s a pretty big day, because Dr. Ford is going to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Panel. It’s a “she said, he said, only witness says he didn’t, but witness refuses to actually testify” situation, so I don’t know what is going to happen! All I know is that most companies would not hire someone with these many allegations, and this is a lifetime appointment to one of the highest positions in the country.

Last week my dad said that the public is not interested in sexual transgressions, and really Americans are worried about the multiple wars we are in and the death and poverty around the world.

Today is also another day of blood work and ultrasound. On Tuesday, a friend of mine asked if I wanted a recommendation for a good acupuncturist, and I shared I was not interested in more needles. It officially took 7 days for me to really become wary of needles. The nurse today missed the vein on the first try and starting moving the needle around inside my right arm looking for the vein, and I started to panic in my head. I asked her to switch to my left arm, where there were more bruises from other pulls that made the target easier to find. I even drank quite a bit of water this morning hoping that would help with the blood. Last night when David extracted the needles it nicked my skin both times and I squirted some blood. “David! Be careful!” I whined, and he said he was being careful. Then I kissed him on the forehead (he sits and I stand for the injections) and realized he was sweating. So neither of us are enjoying the needles.

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Day 31, Sort of

This morning I drove to my bloodwork and ultrasound appointment. I was planning to walk after David administered the morning shot, but I didn’t feel comfortable, so one minute into the walk I turned around and got into my car.

Last night I also felt uncomfortable, and I wasn’t sure if it was the ovaries or the tights I was wearing. I had to stand up throughout the night and sit awkwardly during D&D. I don’t think anyone noticed.

Yesterday I had five eggs in my left ovary and five eggs in my right ovary. Based on the preliminary analysis from this morning, I’m at eight eggs in my left ovary and eleven eggs in my right ovary! “You were busy last night,” she said. I sure was! I asked if I could take a picture of the ultrasound, and she printed one for me. So here you go! A picture of ovaries chock full of follicles that might have eggs in them. The follicles are the black spots. My estrogen was 1977 when this photo was taken.

I did become concerned that I have too many follicles and started researching OHSS, ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. I compared the photo to pictures online, and I read different accounts. When my nurse called me, she shared that that happens after the egg retrieval. So nothing to worry about for now! For the bloating she recommended drinking Gatorade for the electrolytes. I don’t care for Gatorade, so I squeezed some lemon into water instead, because according to the internet lemon has electrolytes too.

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Day 30, Sort of

I walked to my bloodwork and ultrasound appointment this morning, after David gave me the Cetrotide shot. The forecast said it was not going to rain, so I wore a city slicker jacket which looks like a raincoat and costs like a raincoat, but it’s maybe just a windbreaker or a layer of clothing. It’s definitely NOT water proof. It looks cool and has a flattering cut, so I like wearing it.

Anyway it was sprinkling when I stepped outside, and I rationalized a little sprinkle would be lovely on the walk, perhaps it would feel invigorating. I welcomed it.

After three blocks it started pouring. This turn of events was less welcome, but I kept going because turning back would make me late(r).

3/4 of the way there, the sidewalk was closed! It was closed for just two blocks. I didn’t even know they were planning construction there.

I arrived at the office 8 minutes late, which was fine, there were several people ahead of me. One woman was lifting an 8lb weight with her left hand in the waiting room. “That’s a great idea!” I said to her, thinking she was trying to get in a little exercise. “It’s the only way they can see the vein,” she replied sheepishly, lifting more.

I felt bloated this morning, but I pretty much always feel bloated, so I could not tell if the medication is causing it or it’s just Tuesday.

The Doctor did my ultrasound, and she said things were moving along and it looks like we have another week before the removal. This was upsetting because I was hoping we could wrap this up this week! She shared I have some little follicles they are interested in seeing progress, so they can retrieve as many potential eggs as possible. The smaller follicles might not have eggs, she shared, but they want to optimize the retrieval.

I walked back home in the rain.

When I got home, I saw the Washington Post had a digital clip of a young woman deciding whether or not to freeze her eggs. A therapist asked her how she would feel if she froze the eggs and found out that they did not work. She thoughtfully responded, “I’d be upset about all the money wasted.” I thought that was a super honest answer, no matter what stage you are in in the process. It’s all so expensive.

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