Monday, December 31, 2007

So, How Did We Do?

Each New Years Eve, or there abouts, Shrike and I write down our goals for the upcoming year, and review our goals from the previous year. In fact, a couple of years ago, I bought a little notebook just for this purpose.

We usually write out some personal goals, as well as some joint ones, both serious "self-improvement" sorts of things, and things we'd like to do for fun, or around the house and, occassionally, a few silly things thrown in for good measure.

Let's see how we did in '07:

Shrike's Goals for 2007
√ Have really cute dogs
√ Not kill wife
· Knock up the wife
· Be more assertive
· Get organized
· Train BigGaloot

Whozat's Goals for 2007
· Get knocked up
√ Get a job
· Get organized

Our Financial Goals for 2007
√ Whozat - get a job and health insurance
√ Keep up with bank stuff
√ Pay off Shrike's car
√ Save for baby-making expenses

Our Organizational / Home Goals for 2007
· Buy Christmas gifts all year round
· Nursery (Pandas)
· Decorate the sunroom (beach / shore theme)
· Build shelves in kitchen for Whozat's cobalt collection

Our Friends / Family Goals for 2007
√ Mardi Gras Party
√ Whozat's Parents' 50th Anniversary
√ Easter Party
√ Beach with Shrike's Family

So, it looks like we're batting a little better than .500 for the past year. Not too bad, I suppose.

Here's what we've got in mind for 2008:
Shrike's Goals for 2008
· Get Whozat pregnant
· Lose a few pounds and be in good shape

Whozat's Goals for 2008
· Get pregnant
· Lose some weight before getting pregnant
· Eat more healthily
· Don't spend so much money
· Track spending more closely
· Use coupons
· Find a way to make more money
· Be 40. Oh shit.

Our Home Goals for 2008
· Plant a wildflower garden in the backyard
· Nursery (check with Shrike's sister about what furniture she can loan us)
· Decorate the sunroom (beach / shore theme)
· Build shelves in kitchen for Whozat's cobalt collection
· Organize the basement
· Organize the office

Our Fun / Friends / Family Goals for 2008
· Easter Party
· Birthday Party (Shrike's 39th and my 40th. Holy crap.)
· Halloween Party
· Christmas Party
Now it's time to get out the champagne, toast the new year, let Shrike stab me in the ass a couple of times a call it a night.

Here's wishing everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous 2008, filled with all good things!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Well . . .

This morning, as I was rolling out of bed, my weight shifted onto my left butt cheek, where we put last night's injection.

Oh. Yeah, um maybe it does hurt after all.

There's no visible bruising, but it's definitely sore, and if I poke around, I can feel a small knot. When I sit on it, the knot seems much bigger - like I'm sitting on a superball.

But, it doesn't hurt unless I poke on it or put my weight on it, and the injection area isn't the same part of the butt that I actually sit on, so it's not too bad.

We'll see how I feel about it with seven more.

Or, eventually (knock wood), ten weeks worth!


We just did the first progesterone in oil injection, which I have really been dreading, but it wasn't bad at all.

It's done with a larger syringe than the estrogen and there's also a larger needle for drawing it up, so that part is much easier, even though it's five times as much, and thicker.

The actual injection is done with the same size needle, though, so the "stick" part itself is no different, it just takes longer to get the medicine out of the needle and into my ass.

That's the part that I've heard is pretty painful and burny, but it wasn't bad.

Before we started, I sat on a heating pad and she rolled the vial around in her hands, to warm up both the muscle and the oil, so it would flow and absorb more easily.

For the shot itself, Shrike narrated, per my request, "I'm about to stab you in the ass. I just stabbed you in the ass. I'm pulling back to check for blood. Now I'm squirting it in your ass, still squirting it in, still squirting . . . and I'm taking it out," and I sang "Jingle Bells" to distract myself and drown out the narration.

Yeah, I know that doesn't make sense, but I both wanted to know what she was doing, and didn't want to think about what she was doing.

I sat on the heating pad for a while afterward, and I'm hoping that gave it a chance to dissipate some.

I guess we'll find out how well that all really worked tomorrow, when we see whether I have a bruise or a knot or a sore ass.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Friday, December 28, 2007

Looking for Mr. Good Genes

At our most recent appointment with Dr. T she gave us this cartoon, which a friend had emailed to her. We thought it was pretty funny but, also, we were kind of flattered that she saved it for us. Because we're dorks like that.
What with all the preoccupation with mock cycles and ass injections and the incredible generousity of my parents, I can't remember whether I've mentioned that, in moving to IVF, we're going to have to switch sperm donors.

BowTie, the donor for our first two cycles, is sold out and has left the program, so there's no more where that came from.

Popeye, whom we used for cycles 3 - 5 still has plenty of IUI-prep available, but no IVF prep specimens. I believe he's left the program, too, but has a waiting list for a few vials that are in storage, but owned by someone else.

Our third choice, Doc, for a while had only IVF available but now (of course) he's sold out. He's still in the program, but doesn't have any vials in quarantine (I guess he took a break?). He also has a waiting list.

We're on both those waiting lists, but I don't know how long they are. I should call and ask.

In the meantime, we're looking again.

Of course, it's probably just as well that we're reexamining our choice, because our criteria have changed a bit, now that we're looking at mixing his genes with Shrike's instead of mine.

For example, it's now more important that he be tall than skinny, we're now more interested in a mathy/sciencey type than an wordy type, and a family history of colon cancer is more of a concern than diabetes.

Also, the IVF vials are much cheaper than IUI, or even ICI, because you're getting a much smaller volume (half, I believe), so we're a bit more open to the guys with doctorates (or currently enrolled in a doctoral program), who cost more.

(Doc was our third choice because he was the most expensive of the three finalists.)

In searching the database at our cryobank, I noticed a link to "Find more donors at our affiliated cryobank . . . " so I checked them out, too.

Interestingly, the whole search engine and results and everything looked exactly the same as ours, but the prices are a bit cheaper, and - get this - you can get all the profile information (except for adult photos) for free, if you download them, rather than having them mailed to you.
Too cool.

So, I downloaded information on about five of them. They are all okay, but none really "clicked" for me.

We also downloaded one guy from our current bank about a week or so ago. He's okay, too, but again no "fireworks."

I need to show all the information on those new ones to Shrike and get her opinion, and probably download (not free) a couple more from the current bank.

There's a bit of paperwork that has to be done first, which will take some time, plus we want to get adult photos if they're available, so we need to get busy making up our minds, or the real cycle is going to be upon us and we'll be all egged up with no spermies!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #43

Thirteen Gifts We Got for Christmas This Year

These are Shrike's favorite candies, and they're very hard to find
Slipper socks for me

A rather aptly named squeaky toy for the pups, from Aunt LadyKay and their cousins

BigGaloot wants to save the world, too!

More cobalt for me

Shrike is ready to do some gardening

Sticking with the gardening theme

Bird bells from LadyKay
Some of my "stocking" gifts (note the chocolate lumps of coal)

Some of Shrike's "stocking" gifts

Jammies for both of us

This is third calendar of this series that we've had - I love them!

Mouse King nutcracker from Anonymama and Anonydaddy

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Christmas Wrapping-Up

Now that Christmas is over, I have time to actually sit down and write about it.

On Christmas Eve, I worked til about 1 pm (don't even get me started) and then we had another family dinner, this one hosted by Shrike's sister and her partner.

Shrike's grandparents had gone home with her aunt and uncle on Sunday to spend Christmas with them, but the rest of the "immediate" family was there (we use that term pretty loosely, to refer to four generations), along with Shrike's sister's partner's brother, his (female) partner, and six-month-old Baby K (or Baby C??), who are visiting from San Francisco.

After dinner, we went to the Christmas Eve service at their church. Normally, I'm not one for church, but a>it does seem appropriate to go on Christmas Eve, and b>this is a Unitarian church, so 1>we can hold hands and 2>they don't expect us to actually believe anything specific. Oh, and c>there are cookies afterward. So I actually kind of like it.

After church, we went back to the house to visit some more, and while we were gone, Shrike's sister's partner's other brother and his grownish son had arrived from North Carolina.

Shrike's sister and her partner have just finished (well, mostly finished, there's a bit of painting left to do) some major renovations on their house, expanding the kitchen by several feet and installing a new master bath.

At one point, the brothers were upstairs looking at the new bathroom, which is above the tv / playroom, where GodzillaBoy, our 10-year-old nephew, was playing. He must have heard them walking around up there, because he came in and announced that "I think I hear something on the chimney!"

We told him that if it was Santa Claus, he'd better hurry up and get in bed. He started saying his goodnights right then, and the next thing we knew, he was in the bathtub! I suspect it was a bit more challenging to get our 7-year-old niece down for the night.

When we got home, we gave in to tempation and went ahead and opened our "stockings," had some eggnog, with a little "nog" in it, and them some hot chocolate, featuring a bit of the butterscotch Schnapps that Santa had brought Shrike, and called it a night.

On Christmas day, itself, there were no official family celebrations, since Shrike, her mom and her sister all had to work. We walked the dogs in the morning, opened our real gifts from each other, and then went out to Denny's for lunch. (It was the only place open.)

Shrike went to work in the evening, and I just hung out and spent most of the afternoon reading the book that Shrike gave me, Embryo Culture: Making Babies in the Twenty-First Century. (Bonus: One of the doctors who is quoted in the book is the one who did our first IUI!)

Yesterday, I went down to my RE's office in the morning, for an ultrasound to check my uterine lining (it's nice and thick) and bloodwork (it all looked good, whatever that means).

I also talked with a financial person, trying to sort out where things stand with my insurance. According to the insurance company's website, it looks like they have approved all my IUIs (although the RE doesn't have the money yet) but that they have rejected all of the monitoring ultrasounds and bloodwork for the October and November cycles (#4 and #5), as well as one monitoring appointment for cycle #3 (what the fuck?) and the beta for cycle #5 (you gotta be kidding me!). So, the doctor's office will be contacting them about that.

Also, it seems that the RE's office has applied "adjustments" (to write off the amount above the insurance company's made up number, of which they pay 50% and we pay 50%) to some charges, but not all.

She said that she would have them look into that, because once those adjustments are applied, (and when they get the rest of the insurance money) we should owe a good bit less that the $800-something they are showing right now.

However, as I was driving to work, she called to say that now it seems like maybe they aren't in-network after all, in which case any applied adjustments were in error, so she doesn't want to be too pushy about that, for fear, that they'll take them off and we'll owe more. Shit.

Of course, this would not be an issue if I had a real freaking insurance company, that anyone had ever heard of.

From there, I went in to work for about four hours, then home to pick up Shrike for the final Christmas event - a big party at her sister's house.

Most of the family was there, plus pretty much every person that her sister or her partner has ever met, I think. I think they were expecting about 100 people, and it seemed like at least that many.

It was catered, and they had real live people playing Christmas music. (A couple from their church, I believe - him on xylophone and her on cello.)

Very fancy. Puts our parties completely to shame.

Baby K was there again and, although there was a lot more competition this time, I managed to steal her for a good portion of the evening, and get another "baby-fix" .

Of course, as with any "fix" the only problem is the crash at the end.

In addition to Baby R and Baby K, there was a whole pack of them at church on Monday, and talk of nothing else.

Being a Unitarian church, the Christmas Eve service touches on that whole Baby Jesus thing, of course, but there's also alot about celebrating birth in general. One year, the sermon was about "every birth is a miracle" and this time they lit candles for each of the three babies who's been born into the congregation this year. (The same three who were there that night, I assume.)

Which, as you can imagine, is a little tough for me.

At Christmas last year, we'd just made the decision to start trying to get pregnant, as soon as I had insurance. We knew that my job situation probably wouldn't be resolved in time to actually have a baby by now, but we certainly expected that there was a good chance we'd be pregnant.

I know that five attempts is really not much, in the grand scheme of things, and that we're about to really increase our chances, by going to IVF, but it's still hard, given that I had all intentions of being great with child by this Christmas, but here I am, still just watching it all, and holding other people's babies, and thinking "maybe next year . . . ."

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Wordless Wednesday #40: Dog-Gone Good

Shrike says that no one, anyhere, enjoyed any of their Christmas gifts as much as BigGaloot enjoyed this rawhide bone from Anonygrandma and Anonygrandpa.

And then the other one, that was supposed to be for PerfectPup! Learn more about Wordless Wednesday.

Merry Chrismyass

We just did estrogen shot number four, and on the one hand, I'm getting better at drawing up the medication and I think Shrike is getting less squeamish about injecting it, but on the other hand, this one hurt!

At least she keeps me entertained. As she was swabbing me up, and looking for a fresh injection site, she was singing, "Oh holey butt, the moon is brightly shining . . . ."

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Ten on Tuesday #15

Merry Christmas to all. I hope Santa was very good to each and every one of you!

10 Best Presents Ever Given To Me

  1. The money my parents are giving us to help with our IVF expenses is certainly the biggest gift I've ever gotten, and without a doubt, one of the most meaningful.

  2. And, we're hoping for that investment to pay off just in time for Christmas next year.

  3. Of course, that wouldn't be possible if Shrike had not confessed her love for me - ten years ago, today.

  4. Or if she'd not flown to Texas to meet me in real life few weeks later, over Valentine's Day weekend.

  5. Or if she hadn't moved in with me, a few months after that, the day before my birthday.

    She still gives pretty good gifts, but I don't know that she'll ever be able to top those first few.

  6. Oh wait - how about eggs, hatched from her very own ovaries. Yeah, that'll be a pretty nice one.

  7. Now, to consider the more traditional gifts I've received over the years.

  8. I have no memory of this, but I'm told that the Christmas that I was 2 1/2 I wanted nothing in the world more than a pink motorcycle. Santa looked high and low and couldn't find one, and was about ready to send a message to my parents to break the news to me that they couldn't be had, when he finally stumbled upon one, right before Christmas! (Is that how the story goes, Anonymama? Please correct me if I'm confused.)

  9. My brother and I were pretty excited about the bikes we got from Santa when we were, maybe, six and seven.

  10. We have a video of the Christmas that when my brother and I were about twelve and thirteen. Our grandma got a stereo from my parents on Christmas Eve and later, the camera captured him saying to me, "Whozat, I'm so glad Grandma got such a nice stereo." (Awwwww!) "Because maybe that means we'll get them, too." (Had we asked for stereos? We must have.) And, sure enough, the next morning there were two more just like it, from Santa.

  11. This wasn't a big deal at the time, but when I graduated from high school, some friends of my parents gave me an electric pencil sharpener. Twenty-one and a half years later, I am still using it. It's certainly been one of the most useful, and durable, gifts I've ever received.

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Monday, December 24, 2007

This Is Why I Love Her

Last night, when we were visiting with Shrike's cousin and her partner, of course, there was discussion of our baby-making plans.

At one point, they asked were we are in the process and what's next.

I said, "Well, I'm doing a mock cycle . . . " and proceeded to go over the details.

As I talked, I realized that there was a little echo behind me.

Whozat: I've started the mock cycle, and I'm taking estrogen shots right now.

Shrike: (in what can only be described as a "nanny-nanny-boo-boo" voice) . . . I'm taking estrogen shots right now.

Whozat: On Wednesday, I'll go on for a lining check.

Shrike: (same voice) . . .
I'll go in for a lining check.

Whozat: (to Shrike) What the hell are you doing?

Shrike: (innocently) Well, you said it was a mock cycle.

Christmas: The Extended Play Version

Because of everyone's crazy work schedules, we usually kind of wing it with the timing on Christmas. This year, we have three days of family events - none of which are actually happening on December 25 - plus our own celebration at home.

Yesterday, we went to Shrike's parents' house for Christmas dinner and gift extravaganza with extended family. The crowd for dinner included us, her parents, grandparents, aunt and uncle, sister and her partner, ex-husband and two kids.

The gift opening was a bit less crazy than usual, since we drew names for "Secret Santa" this year, rather than everyone buying for everyone else. Of course, we all bought gifts for the kids, and her parents got "a little something" for each of us.

I got a couple of great cobalt pieces, some slipper socks (which were on my list, and they didn't even know it!) and some other small things.

I think the gift Shrike's most excited about is a short-handled shovel, and a pair of gardening gloves. (Correct me if I'm wrong, honey.)

Later, Shrike's cousin, her partner and Baby R stopped by for a while, on their way home from dinner with cousin's mom. It was good to see them again, and to get a "baby-fix."

When we got home, I called my family in Texas, who are also playing fast and loose with the calendar, to accommodate my brother and his wife spending the holidays with both families.

They were in the middle of opening gifts, so they put me on speaker phone and narrated. We decided to go ahead and open our gifts from them while we were talking to them, so it was almost like being there. Almost.

Of course, our big gift from my parents is the IVF money, but we certainly appreciated the "few things to open," as well. I'd say that the highlights there were some really cute jammies and lots of socks for both of us (I know, we're pathetic, aren't we!) and a couple of big rawhide bones for the pups.

As I was carrying the gifts into the office to open, BigGaloot started sniffing around one bag, and sure enough, it was address to him and PerfectPup. We went ahead and let him open it first, and by the time we got off the phone (which was quite a while later) he had completely devoured his, and was starting on hers!

My sister and her kids also did quite well with the gifting. I got some beautiful Japanese Bird Bells which will join my collection of windchimes in the backyard, and Shrike got a garden plaque / stepping stone that says "Grow Dammit."

They thought that was more appropriate for her than the ones that said things like "You're never closer to God than when you're in the garden." They are right.

Today, I'm working (don't even get me started) until around 2:30, and this evening we're having dinner with Shrike's immediate family at her sister's house. Afterward, we'll all go to the Christmas Eve service at their church.

Tomorrow, Shrike and I will open our gifts to and from each other before she goes to work in the evening. When she gets home, I'll get yet another estrogen injection.

Wednesday, I have a doctor's appointment in the morning, then go to work for about four hours, then Shrike's sister and her partner are having a big party that evening.

And then, I think, it will be over.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Holly Jollies

You really have to wonder just what the creators of this Christmas decoration were thinking.

We did not add the candy cane. It is a permanent, sew-in, factory-original accessory.

What the fuck?

Poker in The Rear

Estrogen shot number three is in, and it went a bit more smoothly this time.

It was still a pain in the ass (so to speak) to get the medicine drawn up, but we managed to do it and get it injected using only the requisite one syringe and two needles (one to draw up, one to inject) so we're calling that a victory!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Blue Christmas

One of the "perks" of being in a leadership position with Democratic Party at the county and state level is that it puts me on the "holiday greetings" list of lots of candidates and elected officials.

For example, there's a card from the Governor and his family hanging in my living room right now.

That's kind of cool. I wish it had arrived before our party, though!

Anyway, yesterday I received a gift from a fellow who's running for statewide office in 2008, and is, evidently, sucking up to state committee members, hoping for our endorsement.

It's one of those temperature-sensitive, color-changing mugs:


The best part is how, when the states all turn blue, the little elephant gets a frowny face!

Photo Hunter #40: Light

Christmas lights in our living room

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Shrike's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

This morning, I innocently emailed Shrike and asked, "So, how is your day going?"

Here is her response [with color commentary from yours truly]:

Well, I walked the dogs, exercised [on the treadmill in the basement], started cooking spaghetti [this is pretty much the only thing she cooks] and nearly set the house on fire because I turned on the burner that had the potato and tortilla chips on it.

[Every time I notice that we've set something on top of the stove, say a dishtowel, for example, I think "Hmm, I should probably move that, so we don't burn the house down. Nah, it'll be fine. Unless someone turns that burner on, of course."]

Meanwhile, PerfectPup even followed me downstairs when I exercised [this is rare; we assume that her hip dysplasia makes it painful to do the stairs] so I knew she was going to have a hurty poopy.

[PerfectPup has poopy issues, and she always seems to be really clingy with us right before she has a hurty one. We assume that she's not feeling well and wants to be with her mommies.]

Well, while I am dealing with the burnt chips on the burner I can hear her yelping from downstairs.

[That's what happens when she has a hurty poopy. She screams like she's being killed. It's awful.]

I should have picked her up and brought her up. If I had done that, I don't think she would have done it downstairs.

[No, she would've done it on you! But really - upstairs, downstairs, what's the difference. It's not like nobody's ever pooped in our floor before.]

Anyway, the poopy is picked up, and there is a towel for the pee. . . .

[Oh. Well, it's not like nobody's ever done that before, either.]

Don't believe her story?

The burner

The chips
Sorry, no photographic evidence of the hurty poopy.

Later, she told me, ". . . and then I ate some of the chips, so now when I burp, it's like I swallowed a chunk of charcoal."

Yeah, that's kind of how the kitchen smells, too.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Shot Two

Last night, around 11 pm, Shrike emailed to let me know that she might be late getting off work, because of a breaking news story.

Normally, this would just be a bit of an annoyance, but I was due for my second estrogen injection, which Shrike needed to administer.

All the injections are supposed to be done at about the same time of day, "within an hour" of each other. We did the first one around 12:30 or 12:45 am on Sunday (Monday) because we expected her to be home around 12:30 on the other nights.

I debated with myself for a while, and decided that I should just do the shot myself, if she wasn't going to be home by 1:30.

So, a bit after 1:30, I got out the equipment, and drew up the medication. This is easier said than done. The estrogen is pretty thick, too, and the needle is thin, and it's really hard to draw up correctly.

On Sunday we spent five needles before we finally got it drawn up and injected!

So, I got it all ready, pulled down my pants, swabbed my ass, and . . .

I totally chickened out.

I just couldn't do it.

I recapped the needle and put it back in its little plastic sleeve, and called Shrike to see how much longer she'd be.

As it turned out, she was just exiting the interstate, only about ten minutes from home, so I sat on the heating pad (the medication will theoretically disperse more quickly in warm muscle) and waited for her to get home.

When she got in, I lay on the bed, she swabbed me up again, and as I waited for the sting I heard, "Oh, fuck me!"

That's never good.

The thing is, these needles just snap onto the syringes, rather than screwing on, so it's really hard to uncap them without pulling them off.

In trying to uncap the needle, she'd ended up holding the capped needle in her hand, looking at the syringe that was lying on the floor.

So, we started over.

I drew up the medication again, my ass was disinfected again and I finally got the shot around 2 am.

I really hope the timing isn't that crucial.

Thursday Thursday #42

Thirteen Christmas Songs That I Love
  1. Little Drummer Boy
    I love both the traditional version, and the Bing & Bowie version, below.

  2. Heirlooms by Amy Grant
    This song was released in 1983, when LadyKay was pregnant with Kiddo #1, and about six months after my paternal grandfather died.

  3. Snoopy vs. the Red Baron (Snoopy's Christmas)
    I always lose it when the Red Baron cries out, Merree Chreestmas, mein friend!

  4. Holly Jolly Christmas
    Oh ho, the mistletoe, hung where you can see / Somebody waits for you, kiss her once for me! Only the Burl Ives Snowman from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer version will do!

  5. Do You Hear What I Hear?
    At some point each Christmas season, Shrike and I attempt to sing this unaccompanied and fail miserably, because we can never remember who heard, saw and knew what when.

  6. Happy Christmas, by John Lennon
    War is over, if you want it . . . .

  7. You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch
    Animated version, please!

  8. Feliz Navidad
    This one brings back memories of my friends Christmas carolling in the halls at school with their Spanish classes. And Mexican restaurants.

  9. Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree
    I've always wanted to be invited to a Christmas Party Hop!

  10. Away in a Manger
    The cattle are lowing, the poor baby wakes / But Little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes.

  11. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
    Make the yuletide gay!

  12. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
    Yes, I do sing along with the hand-motions while driving. You got a problem with that?

  13. Santa Claus is Coming to Town
    Bruce Springsteen version

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Wordless Wednesday #39: "A Little Something To Open"

The brown-paper-packages-tied-up-with-strings are our Christmas gifts from LadyKay and her kiddos, and the rest are "a little something to open" from Anonymama and Anonydaddy.

(In addition to our real gift, which is the big-ass check they'll be sending in a couple of weeks, with which we are going to make a human).

I'm doing my best to resist peeking!

Learn more about Wordless Wednesday.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Sorting Out the Details

Despite the fact that I wasn't sure I'd survive til the end of this week, let alone the end of this cycle, I spent quite a bit of time yesterday on the phone with a variety of medical and financial types, getting more information about this whole IVF adventure.

First, I talked to both our credit union and the bank that holds our mortgage, about home equity lines of credit.

I'd talked to the mortgage bank last week, and when I called them back for more information, they told me that they'd already gotten the appraisal on the house, and that it was a bit different from what I'd told them.

I was a little nervous about what that might mean, but it turns out that the house is now appraising at about $60,000 more than what we paid for it!

(They obviously have not been inside and have neither seen nor smelled the carpet.)

So, that means that what we owe on the mortgage is actually less than half the value of the home, which gives us a lot more room to borrow against it.

Both banks are offering us a line of credit that's way more than we hope to need, but we have to compare the details and decide which is better.

The biggest difference is that the credit union is offering a lower interest rate (prime minus 1, vs prime minus .26).

The other difference is that the credit union will give us a seven year draw period (we can borrow against it for that long) and then a ten year payback period, meaning we'd have to pay it all off in seventeen years.

The mortgage bank, on the other hand has a ten year draw period, and twenty year pay-off - for a total of thirty years.

On the one hand, having longer sounds better, but I'm thinking that we've really got no business getting ourselves into another 30-year debt. It's bad enough that we'll be 65 before we pay off our house. We don't need to still be paying on the kid when we're 70!

The monthly payments would be a bit higher through the credit union, but it would be a lot less money in the long-run, so I'm leaning that way.

Also, it would just be simpler to deal with, since we already do online banking there, and could make extra payments (tax refunds, other "found money") at any time, with just a click of a mouse.

In medical news, I talked to my nurse to confirm my protocol for the mock EEP cycle, and to our prescreener, who will be directing Shrike to all the hoops that she has to jump through.

I'll continue the estrogen shots, every three days, and will go in on Wednesday December 26 for an ultrasound to check my uterine lining and blood work to check, I don't know, some hormonal crap, I guess.

After that, I'll keep taking the estrogen and will add the daily progesterone shots, until Monday January 7, when I'll have the endometrial biopsy.

That's scheduled for 9:30 am, and then at 11:30 am, we've got a "donor consult" for Shrike with Dr E, and I believe she'll also have some blood work done that day. She's already done all the day three stuff, so we don't have to worry about that.

The only other specific thing the prescreener mentioned was a social worker visit, but we're assuming that another letter from Dr T will suffice for that. We saw her today, and she's going to send that to them in the next few days.

(And I'm sure that the tin of cookies we took her had nothing to do with her agreeing to vouch for our sanity.)

But, I suspect that Dr E will tell us about some other testing that we don't know about yet.

After the biopsy, I'll stop the shots and wait for my period. Then we both go on birth control pills, to get our cycles synced up the way they want, before starting the real IVF cycle.

I also got a bit more information about what Shrike's protocol will be like for the IVF cycle. She'll be taking two or three subcutaneous (belly) shots daily for 10 - 13 days, and will be monitoring (dildo-cam) every two days.

That's much better than the nine daily shots that her cousin says she took when she was stimming!

(On the other hand, Cousin didn't have thirty-six antral follicles - and she was mightily impressed when she heard about Shrike's!)

I feel much more knowledgeable about it all than I did a few days ago, which makes me feel much more comfortable about it all.

I'm sure I bug the crap out of the nurses and everyone else with all my damn questions, but I just need to know as much as I can about what's happening, and why.

There is so much of this that's totally unknowable and totally out of my control, that anything that I can know and / or can control, I just have to.

(Actually, that's just kind of how I am about everything. I'm all about the knowing and controlling.)

Also, while Shrike is generally more the doer around here, and I'm more the sitter-on-my-ass about most things, when it comes to big, complicated projects like - oh, getting married, buying a house, making a baby, that sort of thing - I am the Keeper of the Checklist and the Cracker of the Whip.

As I'm sure is painfully obvious from this blog, I deal with big scary things by obsessing over every fucking detail, whereas Shrike tends to deal with them by ignoring them and hoping they'll go away, so if I'm not on top of what needs to be done and when and where and how, it won't get done.

Therefore, I have to bug the hell out of my nurses and financial people to make sure that I know everything I'm supposed to know, so that nothing gets missed.

Right? Right!

So, what's next?

By the end of the week, we need to make a decision about which bank we're borrowing the money from, and start that ball rolling, so we can be ready to give the clinic a shitload of money on January 7.

Other than that we'll just keep shooting me up, enjoy our Christmas, and wait to learn more.

I Think We Might Live

Have I mentioned that we've been sick for the past few days?

On Wednesday of last week, Shrike warned me that she wasn't feeling quite right. By Thursday evening, my throat was hurting and I was starting to feel rather blah.

On Friday, my throat felt like I was like swallowing razorblades. That was better on Saturday, but then the congestion set in.

And the misery.

Except for during our party, when I was sort of able to forget how miserable I was, I felt like crap pretty much from Friday through yesterday.

I'm still quite congested - both in my head and my chest - but it's not so systemic anymore. I don't seem to be running (much) fever now, and I don't feel so all-around sick.

Shrike seems to be about a day ahead , she started feeling better yesterday and says she's much better today, so I have high hopes for tomorrow.

Ten on Tuesday #14

It seems to me that we shouldn't do this theme for a couple more weeks, but Yano is the boss.
10 New Years Resolutions

  1. Get pregnant.

  2. Stay that way for roughly 40 weeks.

  3. Delivery healthy baby in time for next Christmas.
  4. Stop spending money on stupid stuff.
  5. Try to drop some of this extra 20 lbs before I get pregnant.

  6. Step away from the chocolate candy, and cookies, and other crap.
  7. Cook more, dine out less.

  8. Get some exercise - walk the dogs with Shrike on weekends, or hit the treadmill.

  9. Do a better job of staying on top of the dishes, litterbox (until I'm pregnant) and other chores.

  10. Be an all-around better person.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Manic Monday #19

  1. What is your idea of a perfect romantic evening?
    Just being home with Shrike, and not having to be anywhere or do anything.

  2. Imagine you had to take part in the winter Olympics. What sport would you do?
    Well, I'm quite bad at ice skating, and have only skied once - in July on Astroturf "snow" - so that rules out the majority of the events. I'd probably have to choose bobsled or luge or something like that, where I'd just have to hold on tight and hope to survive.
  3. What's something that people do in traffic that really bothers you?
    Tailgating, especially when I'm already going over the speedlimit. Excuse the fuck out of me for only going 70 and impeding your progress. Asshole.

Learn more about Manic Monday.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

It's Just as Well . . .

. . . that I'm running low on socks and underwear, because if I had a drawerful, where would I keep my cat?

Ice, Ice, Baby

The weatherman wasn't kidding yesterday, and we awoke to an icy winter wonderland this morning. We lost power sometime in the night, but it was restored a bit before noon.

Right around the time that we were starting to debate whether to move some food from the fridge to the garage (where it's well below 40°) or from the freezer into an ice chest (to protect from marauding wild beasts - like BigGaloot) in the yard (where it's freezing - obviously), Shrike walked into the living room, looked out the front window and said, "Oh, look, there's the power company now."

Sure enough, they were trimming some branches from a tree across the street, and a few minutes later they moved down the road a bit, did some more stuff and the lights were back on.


The photos below were taken in our front and back yards. It will probably be even more impressive by tomorrow, as the icicles continue to drip and refreeze.

Christmas Party

Once again, I neglected to take any photos of our actual guests, but I got some great shots of the table!

Clockwise from top left (more or less): Tortilla chips, Mexican layered dip, peanuts, cookies, crackers, cookies, Anonymama's cheese ball, pigs-in-blankets, cheese, cheese & crackers, pretzel/Hug/M&M treats, M&Ms.

The party went really well, although it wrapped up a bit earlier than usual. I think that can be attributed to the fact that most of our guests had kids with them, and the weather.

It was sleeting pretty good by the time people left, and I'm sure the drive home wasn't very fun for anybody. We were a little worried about them being out on the road, and asked those with any significant distance to drive to give us a call and let us know when they got home.

That one couple that I mentioned earlier were the only ones who officially cancelled because of the weather, but there were a couple of others whom we were expecting to see that never showed up; we're assuming they decided to just stay put, as well.
Cheesy pigs-in-blankets. When I served them at Halloween, I thought of them as mummies, but as I was making them this afternoon, it occurred to me that they looked like lots and lots of little tiny Baby Jesi, wrapped in swaddling clothes. The cheese shreds are the straw from the manger. Am I going to hell for that?

We ended up with eleven adults, including ourselves, and five kids - Shrike's sister, her parter and their two kids; Shrike's cousin, her partner and Baby R; LiPA and her gang; our neighbor from across the street, and a couple of other friends.
I love these "NOEL" dishes; this year they were filled with M&Ms. A couple of years ago, I also used 3/4 of them a few weeks later for a New Years party, and just spelled "ONE." Yeah, that was kind of dorky.

The kids played well together, and little Baby R was even able to sleep for a good while, in the guest room right across the hall from our bedroom, where the four big kids were - well, I really have no idea what they were doing, but it involved a lot of noise, and a request for our used wrapping paper from the gift exchange (I think there was a "paper fight"), and we found potato chips in our bed.
I've decided to call the pretzel/Hug/M&M treats "Mrs. Claus' Nipples." The other name is way to long and, seriously, look at them. (Am I going to hell for that?)

We had a ton of food left, as usual, so if anyone wants some leftovers, just let me know. I'll pack them up and send them right off!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Photo Hunter #39: Small

These small trees and ornaments are party of the centerpiece for our Christmas party - which starts in about half an hour!

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Day One - and Party Time

I talked with a nurse this morning, and we established that yesterday doesn't count, so today is Day 1 and I'll start the estrogen-in-the-ass shots tomorrow.

Our Christmas party is set to start in about an hour. We're mostly ready, just need to put out the food, pop the pigs-in-blankets in the oven and light the candles. Everything else is cooked and plated and waiting in the fridge.

We're expecting around 12 - 15 adults, I think, and a few kids. We may lose a few who have farther to travel, because they are calling for some wintry weather this evening - looks like mostly a mix, maybe some sleet or snow.

We're not seeing anything yet, but one couple has already called to cancel.

Well, I guess I'd better go check on things in the kitchen.

Party photos tomorrow, I'm sure!

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Good News Is . . .

This is what I won in the gift exchange at my work Christmas party.

Woo hoo - that's a real bottle of wine!

I was only the third person (out of twelve) to pick a gift, and I can't believe no one stole it from me.

Maybe they know me well enough to know that it's not safe to get between me and a bottle of wine?

Later, my team kicked ass at Christmas charades.

Ok, the game ended in a tie, but if elapsed time had counted, we would have been the clear winners, we were nailing them in like ten seconds.

But, no, I'm not at all competitive . . . .

Now, I'm off to do some cooking for our party tomorrow evening.

If you're planning to attend, don't worry, I will disinfect myself first.

We Are Sick

Recently overheard at the House O'Snot:

Shrike: I feel like I'm coming down with something. I'm sorry I made you sick 2 days from now.

Shrike: If only we had another wife. . .
Whozat: She'd be sick tomorrow.
Shrike: But she could take care of us today

Whozat: Do you think this Christmas party (which we're hosting tomorrow night) is a good idea?
Shrike: Maybe we can trick our guests into taking care of us. Tell them they all have to bring chicken soup.

Whozat: Honey, if we survive long enough to be hungry again, would you like pizza for dinner?

Whozat: Are you ready for dinner?
Shrike: Yeah, but I want to take some Advil first.
Whozat: Would you like to join me for an analgesic appetizer?

Orange You Glad That's Not Your Ass?

Day One.

Or, maybe it's Day One.

The definition, you see, is "full flow before 6 pm," and that's a bit iffy.

How about "some flow, beginning at some point between 4ish and 7ish pm??

And, of course, it's Friday evening, so I've left a message at the RE clinic that is open on the weekend, asking a nurse to call and confirm my protocol.

I know I'm supposed to start the estrogen shots on Day 2, and then do them every third day (2, 5, 7, 11 . . . ) but I don't know how much I'm supposed to be taking!

Or whether that I should start them tomorrow or Sunday.

So, if I don't get a call back in the morning, I'll call them and try to chase down an answer, so we can get started.

In the meantime, as you can see in the photo above, Shrike has been practicing.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #41

Today is my three year "surgiversary." I had Roux en Y gastric bypass surgery on December 13, 2004.

Thirteen Facts About My Gastric Bypass Surgery
  1. I lost about 200 lbs in the eighteen months following my surgery.
  2. I went from a size 26 to a size 4.
  3. I maintained that weight for over a year.
  4. I'm now up about 20 lbs from there (size 8ish).
  5. I'm blaming the weight gain on the hormones I've been taking.
  6. And unlimited amounts of chocolate candy at work.
  7. Many people have food intolerances after surgery, but I can eat just about anything.
  8. That is not necessarily a good thing.
  9. I can generally fill up on about 1/2 cup of food.
  10. But I do get hungry again within a couple of hours
  11. So, I eat several small meals a day.
  12. I feel 1000% better than I did before my surgery.
  13. Second only to being with Shrike, it's the best decision I've ever made.

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