Monday, March 31, 2008

Manic Monday #29

  1. What is the sexiest part of the body?
    The brain.

  2. If you kissed a frog, who would you like it to turn into?
    A bottle of Purell, because ew!

  3. What do you have stuck up on your refrigerator right now?

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

"How Are You Feeling?"

I've already answered that question about a thousand times in the last two weeks (asked mostly by Shrike) and I expect to hear it about a zillion more times over the next 34.5 weeks.

And that's fine, because it's very sweet of people to ask. (Especially Shrike.)

Typically, my answer has been that I feel, "fine, so far," because I do.

Or, depending on who's asking, I may add that, "I'm tired and my boobs hurt," because I am, and they do.

But that's just the physical report. Only poor Shrike has been subjected (so far) to the full-on freak-out that is the complete answer to that question.

Last week, I found myself going back and forth between being cautiously elated for a day or so after each beta report, and then freaking out for a day, until the next report.

My last beta was on Monday, so it's now been six days with no clue as to what's going on in there, other than the continued tiredness and boob pain.

And even that waxes and wanes a bit, and of course, that freaks me out.

Yesterday, my boobs weren't hurting as much as I would have liked them to (that is, less than the day before), so I was all worried.

This morning, I was thrilled to hop out of bed and have them immediately tell me, in no uncertain terms, to "Stop that shit and move more gently. We're unsupported here, you stupid bitch!"

I tried to explain it to Shrike yesterday, and I don't know if I was really able to express exactly what it is that I'm feeling.

It's not so much the fear that something might go wrong (although I certainly feel that), or that something has gone wrong (feeling better about that, see: hurty boobs), but just that I find it very hard to believe that this is all real.

I could explain away the tiredness and boob pain by the progesterone (I've felt that before), but of course, there's no excuse for four positive, rising betas and a fistful of positive pee-sticks, so I know that I'm just being stupid, but I just can't help worrying that I'm going to go in for that ultrasound on Wednesday, and they're going to be like, "Why are you here? This is for pregnant ladies."

I guess, to a large extent, that this worry is a defense mechanism. As excited as I am, I am also terrified of something going wrong, so I'm having trouble letting myself believe that everything will be fine.

Shrike is trying her best to unfreak me, and to reassure me, (Her: "You're being stupid." Me: "Do you really think so?" Her: "Yes, I'm not just being nice.") but I don't think that I can believe this is real until we see something on the ultrasound.

Even though I know we won't be out of the woods then (although, once we see a heartbeat, the chance of Bad Things Happening drops to about 5%) I think I may at least believe that it's not just all a big trick, and will maybe feel a bit more like an actual pregnant woman, not like I'm somehow faking it.

I suppose time will help with that, anyway, because the Peep(s) will make his/her/their presence obvious enough before long.

In the meantime, I'm just waiting for the ultrasound to show us that all is well - and how many there are - and waiting for some more exciting symptoms.

It's not that I want to feel nauseated, but at least a little nausea or something would make me feel more pregnant.

I guess it all just comes down to a basic disbelief that something this wonderful could actually be happening to us, so there must be a catch somewhere.

Is that nuts?

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Photo Hunter #53: High

The wine and liquor glasss are on a shelf that is too high for Shrike to reach. Many times, I've caught her trying to fish one down with a spatula, and have insisted on getting it for her myself, because I'm convinced she's going to send it flying across the room. I guess she'll be on her own in a few months, when I've got too much baby-belly to reach the counter, let alone the top shelf!

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Five on Friday #7: Food Fads

What are your thoughts on the following food fads? Are they diet gospel or modern quackery? Do you find yourself following any of them?

I guess my short answer to all of these is "Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know that's what I'm supposed to do," but it doesn't always happen.

  1. 100 calories
    I love 100 calorie snacks! They help to control calorie intake, and the portions are just right for my little post-gastric bypass tummy.

  2. Low Carb/Sugar Free
    Having had gastric bypass surgery, should be eating a low-sugar, high-protein diet. I do pretty well at getting my protein in (and I'm paying particular attention to it, now that I'm pregnant), but I don't do as well with the sugar thing as I should. Some people can't tolerate it at all but fortunately (or unfortunately) it doesn't make me sick at all. I don't buy this whole "carbs are evil" and "don't eat anything white" crap, though.

  3. Low Fat/Fat Free
    Hmm, see above, re sugar :-) I do try to go with lower-fat options when possible, unless I'm just being bad, and eating whatever the hell I want.

  4. Trans-Fat Free
    That's the stuff that's supposed to kill you, right? I couldn't begin to tell you what it's in and what it's not.

  5. Whole Grain
    When I'm being "good" I'll try to go for the whole grain option, but it's not a big deal for me.
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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #52

I know I've skipped out on my Thursday Thirteens for the past few weeks, but I've been a bit, um, distracted.

Thirteen Things We Are Freaking Out About These Days
  1. We're pregnant. Woo Hoo!!!

  2. We're pregnant. Oh. My. God.

  3. Things have looked great so far, but with no more betas, how can we know whether everything is ok in there?

  4. Six Five-and-a-half more days til my ultrasound. My head is going to explode.

  5. How many Peeps are in there? (See #4)

  6. We have to wait thirty-five more weeks to actually meet our Peep(s). Again with the exploding of the head.

  7. Only thirty-five more weeks for all those things that we figured will "work out" to work themselves the fuck out. See below.

  8. Who is going to watch the kid(s) while we're at work? Is BigGaloot up to the task? Maybe PerfectPup, she seems more responsible.

  9. And how are we going to pay for it?

  10. Not to mention - who's going to pay for all the clothes, food, and loud, obnoxious hunks of lead-covered plastic?

  11. How are we going to screw up our kid(s)? (Not "if?" but "how?")

  12. Labor. This sounds rather unpleasant.

  13. We're pregnant. Woo Hoo!!! The rest will all work itself out, somehow.

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Wordless Wednesday #53: Oh Deer

Yes, that is a deer leg that BigGaloot is chewing on. He brought it home last week, and Shrike was kind enough to get photographic evidence before it disappeared.

I've suggested that she start guest-blogging about her dog-walking adventures.

We'll call it the "Doggies n' Dead Stuff Daily Diary."

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Ten on Tuesday #27

Ten Things to Do Before You Get Married

  1. Graduate from college.
  2. Live on your own.
  3. Go on a great vacation with friends.
  4. Figure out your sexual orientation.
  5. Grow up.
  6. Date someone who is completely wrong for you, so you can really appreciate Ms. or Mr. Right.
  7. Have a job that involves a lot of travel, because you won't want to do that once you have someone to come home to later.
  8. Spend money on stupid frivolous things, because there's nobody to hurt but yourself.
  9. Fall in love.
  10. Meet your intended's family, and become a part of it.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

We're On a Roll!

My beta today is 2800, which means that it's continuing to rise at a doubling rate of just under 36 hours, which is great.

That's the last beta, and I'm scheduled for my first obstetric ultrasound next Wednesday - April 2.

That will be the first of three, before I am released from the Reproductive Endocrinologist to my regular OB.

To be honest, I'd feel more comfortable if we were doing some more betas in the interim, just because I'd like that reassurance that it's continuing to rise, but I guess I'll just have to count on the exhaustion and ouchy boobies to keep me from completely losing my shit over the next nine days until we get to take a peek and see what's actually going on in there.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

You Gotta See This

Just a quick post to direct you to some of the cutest / funniest stuff I've seen on the Interwebs lately. Gotta love those Peeps!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Photo Hunter #52: Metal

This is my replacement wedding ring. Shrike and I ordered identical ones on our way to our anniversary dinner the night after Valentine's Day, and they came in a couple of weeks ago.
The funny is, I'd been talking for a while about getting them, and had been telling Shrike that I wanted them "before I get pregnant - because I don't want to be walking around all fat and pregnant with no wedding ring on!"

At some point, she said something that made me realize that she thought I was being superstituous and believing that I wouldn't get pregnant until I had a ring.

Now, that's just silly.

On the other hand, I picked them up two days after transfer, right as the Peep(s) was/were implanting.

Hmmm . . . .

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Happy Spring?

These photos were taken this morning and, yes, that is snow on the ground.

Five on Friday #6: That Springtime Feeling

The Five on Friday folks are asking for some help coming up with topics. Submit your suggestions here.

  1. Other than the official start of spring on the calender, what really signifies the start of spring for you?
    Warm weather, flowers in our backyard and Easter.

  2. How severe is your spring cleaning bug this year?
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

  3. What one thing says "spring" to you more than any other?
    Flowers - crocus, then forsythia and daffodils, then tulips.

  4. What are your springtime traditions?
    Hosting our family Easter party / egghunt - but we're doing that two weeks late this year, because of people's work schedules.

  5. When do you break out your spring and summer wardrobe? Do you follow the "no white before Easter" rule?
    Any "seasonality" of my wardrobe is strictly weather-related. I don't even know the "rules," let alone follow them!
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Friday, March 21, 2008

Looking Good

My beta today is 590 - more than double (almost triple) Wednesday's value.

The nurse told me that Dr E wrote, "Nice rise!" on the lab results.

I'll do one more beta on Monday, and then we'll schedule the ultrasound for sometime the following week.

They like to do that around six weeks, which will be April 2.

I've assured Anonymama that there will be no fake ultrasound reports on April 1.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Just a Quickie

Sorry I've been so quiet lately (other than my HUGE announcement, of course, and related updates).

I'm pretty tired by the time I get home from work these days (rarely before 8 pm), and have either been zoning in front of the TV or going to sleep.

Also, I've really not yet managed to process this whole pregnancy thing (eek! it feels so wierd to even say, er, type it outloud) enough to really write much about it beyond a factual reporting of lab result.

Which, by the way, I'll have more of tomorrow afternoon, after my third beta.

Right now, I'm on my way out the door to meet some friend for Drinking (water) Liberally. We usually stay out pretty late, but it remains to be seen what I'm up for tonight.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wordless Wednesday #52: Signs of Spring!

The first flowers of Spring in our yard - a pair of crocuses (croci?).

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Beta Rising

My Beta HCG level today is 214, which is more than double the 93 that I had on Monday, so my doctor is very pleased with that.

(They like to see it double over 48 hours.)

I'll repeat it again on Friday, then possibly one more on Monday, then an ultrasound either late next week or early the next.

Other than that, and the fact that I'm awful sleepy by the end of the work day, there's not much to tell.

More news as we have it, of course.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Ten on Tuesday #26

Ten Places I'd Take a Tourist to See in My Hometown(s)
The first five are places in or near my current hometown, the second five are in or near my hometown.

  1. One of the most famous Civil War battlefields.
  2. Where the most delicious things in the world are made.
  3. Where people in funny clothes and their horses live.

  4. A great place to hike or camp.

  5. A bit of a drive will get us to a zillion museums, monuments and more.
  6. The beach.

  7. The Intracoastal Canal.

  8. A very large statue of the Virgin Mary, especially if it's Christmas time and the light display is up.
  9. Anonymama & Anonydaddy's house!
  10. Again, if we drive a bit, we can see, well, just about anything.

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I've Been Holding Out on You

The short version: Beta HCG of 93 at 8 days post 5-day transfer.

Translation for the non-TTC-obsessed: We're pregnant!

And, because that's how I roll, here's the long version:

Despite all warnings and advice to the contrary, you know I started with the pee sticks on Saturday.

That morning - and afternoon - and evening - and the next morning - there were incredibly light second (test) lines, not showing up til almost the full 10 minutes were elapsed. So light, even both of us together couldn't be sure we weren't hallucinating it.

(Although I made Shrike pee on one to see a truly negative example - well, to show her one, I've seen plenty - and we couldn't conjure anything on that one.)

Sunday evening, we were able to see a not-quite-as-light line at about five minutes.

By that point, we'd also made a run to Target for a digital test. I dipped it in the pee, set it on the counter, and wandered back and forth between the bedroom and bathroom, waiting for a result.

It's supposed to take one to three minutes to show and answer, and while it's "thinking" a little hourglass icon blinks on the screen.

I was watching it blink, "Hourglass - Hourglass - Hourglass - Pregnant."

I yelled, "Holy Fuck!" (maybe we shouldn't put that one in the baby book) and Shrike lept from the bed into the bathroom to read it for herself.

At that point, I knew I couldn't wait until Friday for my beta.

I already had the (undated) lab orders, so I said "Screw it - what's the worst they can do, yell at me?" and popped over to the lab on my way to work yesterday morning, then called the fertility clinic to confess what I'd done, and tell them to watch for a fax with my results.

Of course, the call came in while I was in a meeting, and I saw the number on my cell phone, but had to wait until I was done to check the voice mail. Aaarrggghhh!

For those who follow such things, my Beta HCG was 93 which, to quote the nurse, "means you're definitely pregnant."

Nurse E and Dr. E called today, to congratulate us personally. Nurse E told me that they would have been looking for an HCG level of 100 on Friday, and Dr. E said that 93 is "An awesome number, as early as you are!"

Of course, more important than the number itself will be whether and how quickly it rises over the next few days.

I am scheduled for another test tomorrow and then another on Friday.

I'll have an ultrasound either late next week (5.5 weeks) or early the next week (6 weeks). At that point, we can hope to see a heartbeat (or two?!?).

Those dates are based on a faked "last period" date, 14 days before retrieval/fertilization. According to that accounting, I am four weeks pregnant today. Thiry-six weeks to go!

That means a due date of Nov 25 or so - Thanksgiving week!

Of course, as I said, it's still incredibly early, and we're trying to be very, very cautious about getting too excited but, as you can imagine, that's pretty hard to do.

I am more confident about it all after talking with my doctor and nurse today, not only because of what they said about how good my HCG level looks, but also about how excited they were.

I figure that, if anything, they would be overly cautious, and while they did agree when I said that we will feel much better when we see my HCG levels rise, and even better when we see a heartbeat, they certainly weren't holding anything back with their enthusiasm and their congratulations.

We will definitely keep everyone posted as things develop!

Thanks for all the support and good wishes along the way!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Manic Monday #28

  1. If you could have any music group or musician play at a party, who would you hire?
    Melissa Etheridge. Hell, screw the performance, I just want her to attend one of our parties.

  2. Name three things to be happy about today.
    • Spring is coming.
    • I have a wonderful wife.
    • I'll tell you tomorrow. Let the speculation begin ;-)

  3. How do you release frustration?
    Talking it out and venting about it.

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Overheard at Our House Last Week

Shrike: Come on, let's do your shot, so we can go to bed.

Whozat: Ok, I'll be there in a minute.

(Several minutes later. . . .)

Ok, my shot's ready. Wake up and give it to me.

Shrike: Mumble, grumble, grump.

(Needle enters my ass.)

Whozat: Hey! That's not the outer part of my butt - they've got rules you know!

Shrike: We'll follow the rules tomorrow. You kept me up too late tonight.

(Withdraws needle. Blood flows.)

Shrike: Jesus Christ! They have rules for a reason!

Photo Hunter #51: I Spy (The Answers)

Let's see how many you were able to find!

  1. Puppy dog face
  2. Koala bear (or baby polar bear, or puppy)
  3. Naked lady
  4. Ghost of John Belushi
  5. Alien face
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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Photo Hunter #51: I Spy

Look closely at this photo of one of our Peeps and see if you can find the . . . .

  1. Puppy dog face
  2. Koala bear (or baby polar bear, or puppy)
  3. Naked lady (hint: She may be holding a puppy in her lap. Or a koala bear.)
  4. Ghost of John Belushi
  5. Alien face
Feel free to post a comment about how many you see (or if you see anything else not listed) and I will post the answers tomorrow.

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Checking In

Sorry I've been so quiet lately. In addition to waiting, I've been pretty damn busy this week.

After two days off, I've had lots of catching up to do at work, and I'm working 9 - 7 most nights, and there's lots of political stuff going on - mostly calls and emails and information to gather and things to clarify and things to do and people to mollify and people to piss off - and web work piling up on two different projects and, did I mention all the progesterone in my system and how sleepy I am, and that I have to wait up every night til Shrike gets home (or til the time that she usually gets home) so that she can put another shot of it in my ass?

But other than that, I'm doing great.

Just a bit overwhelmed at the moment.

But, tonight she's off work, and I was off work at 5, and we picked up our niece and nephew and took them to see a nearby high school performance of The Sound of Music.

It was really good (some amazing voices for teenagers!) but we left at intermission because it was already 9 pm, and she was getting tired and he was hating it because Godzilla wasn't in it.

Maybe if both Peeps do stick, we should hope for two of the same flavor, as opposed to the variety pack, so there will be more of a chance of them having similar interests?

Now we're home, and he's watching Godzilla clips on YouTube, and she's playing Polly Pocket with Shrike and I'm blogging. (Not sure how I'm getting away with that!)

But, I just got an email from one of my minions (as Shrike calls them) and I have to go redo a voter list and format it differently correctly and resend it.

Yesterday, someone asked me, "Do you live on what the Democratic Party pays you?"

When I stopped laughing and picked myself up off the floor, I explained that what I do is a volunteer position.

In 2006, I was making voter id calls and someone said, "Now, I know you get paid a lot of money to do this . . . ."

I said, "No, ma'am, we're all volunteers," and she said, "Oh, you might say that, but I know you're getting kick-backs."

I guess I missed the memo about where to sign up for my kick-back.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

No Peepsicles

We got our final report from the embryology lab and, although the two Peeps that are in my uterus now are "very nice" and "GREAT looking," none of the other three were able to be frozen.

They didn't say whether they had pooped out, developmentally, or if they just didn't meet their "strict criteria" for cryopreservation.

So, if the Peeps don't stick, we'll have to do another stim cycle next time.

Sorry, Shrike!

Regarding the Peeps-in-utero, there really is no news to be had yet. We're waiting and it's way too early yet to have any indication how things might be going in there.

We're now 3dp5dt (3 days post 5-day transfer) which equates to 8 dpER (days post egg retrieval - essentially the same as days post-ovulation) so it would be at least a couple more days before one could even pretend that it would be worth ones time to pee on a stick.

I'll try to hold out til Sunday, which is probably still too early.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Ten on Tuesday #26

Ten Things I'm Looking Forward To This Spring

  1. Being pregnant (11 days til beta - hang in there, Peeps!)
  2. Announcing that I'm pregnant (about 2 seconds after I find out I am)
  3. Our family Easter party (2 weeks late this year)

  4. Warm weather

  5. Forsythia and crocus - the first flowers that we see each year Daffodils and Tulips - seeing how the bulbs that Shrike planted last fall come up
  6. Azaleas - we have several bushes in a variety of colors and they are beautiful when they are all blooming

  7. Oddly enough, my 40th birthday

  8. Knowing who the Democratic presidential nominee will be

  9. Hopefully, some local visits from the candidate(s)
  10. Meeting said candidate(s)

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We Are Peeps, and We Approved This Message

Anonymama was on the HomeTown school board for eighteen years (first elected when I was in 7th grade) and has been out of office for nine years.

After much encouragement from her supporters, she's decided to run again.

The Peeps had this to say about her announcement:

Monday, March 10, 2008

Better Photo

Here's a much sharper version of the same photo of our Peeps!

Manic Monday #27

  1. What's your favorite thing to spend money on?
    I don't know that I'd say "favorite," but the non-necessity that we most often spend money on around here is dining out. If the Peeps stick, I think my new favorite thing will be baby clothes.

  2. If you could retire tomorrow what would you do?
    Concentrate on baby making/growing/raising, and on my political activities.

  3. Should anything be censored and if so, what and why?
    I've actually writtien about this before, in my Banned Books Week post, so I'll just refer you to that.

Learn more about Manic Monday.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Peeps On Board

Meet the Peeps!

These two great looking day-5 blastocysts, which are already "hatching" (breaking out of the zona pellucida, the "shell" surrounding the zygote) are now in my uterus - hopefully settling in for a nice, long stay.

According to what I read here, I'm pretty sure that the smaller "blob" that looks like it's coming out of the one on the right is actually the zona being left behind.

The more concentrated clumps of cells that you can see inside each (at the top of the one on the right and at the bottom left of the one on the left) are the inner cell masses - the cells that will actually become the fetus(es).

(Other cells of the blastocyst will develop into the placenta and associated support structures.)

Their three chromosomally normal brothers/sisters (including the slacker that I mentioned before) will continue to be cultured for another couple of days, and hopefully one or more will be in good enough shape to freeze for later use, in case things don't work out this time.

(They will be the Peepsicles.)

I'm sorry the image quality on the photo isn't so great. My scanner isn't working, so I asked the lab to email us a copy as well, but that's not arrived yet, so I just took a photo of the hard copy. I will forward the good image when we get it. (And I'll call tomorrow to remind them!)

In the meantime, I'm just hanging out on the couch with my feet up, thinking implantational thoughts :-)

Thanks to everybody for your support, good vibes, warm thoughts, prayers, sticky-Peep mojo, etc.

It really helps to know that so many people are cheering for us.

Multimedia message

2 peeps in!

The Final Four

The rest of our genetic testing is in, and it looks good.

Last night's testing identified one embryo with Trisomy-X, leaving us five that are genetically normal.

Of those, the one slacker from last night is still not doing very well, so it looks like we have four good embryos.

That's better than 50% of the ones that were fertilized, and as many as we'd dared hope for.

Given the statistics chromosomal abnormalities associated with "advanced maternal age" (50% or more) we're thrilled to have only had two (< 30%) with problems there.

We'll get the final report when we arrive for the transfer, and will find out exactly how all four are looking, in terms of development, but the nurse that I talked to his morning says that she thinks we should be able to transfer two today, and freeze two for possible later use.

The clinic also called to move up our transfer time; they now want us there around 1 pm (or earlier would be okay) to transfer around 1:30 pm.

We're aiming to be on our way by 11 am, so I'd better get off the damn computer and get my lunch (and 20 - 30 oz of fluids, so as to have a full bladder when I arrive!) packed up and ready to go!

I'll have another report when we get home and I get settled in our the couch with my remote control, laptop (not sitting on my uterus) and bon-bons.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Photo Hunter #50: Different

Our two dogs are very different from each other.

Yet, somehow, both buttheads.


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So Far, So Good

They're not completely done with the PGD testing, but we did get a bit more information this evening.

Of the six embryos that passed yesterday's test for the first five chromosomes, three have been tested for the other five, and all passed!

The other three are still being tested, and we won't find out about them until tomorrow.

We also got a development report on all six.

First, the three that we know are chromosomally normal:

One is right on target - it's a morula (solid ball), the stage before blastocyst (hollow ball) which we want to see tomorrow. (see chart below)

One is developing a bit more slowly; it was not yet a morula this morning (it was in the process of compacting to becomeone) but may well be there by now.

The third seems to be a slacker, and only has about six cells. It's not looking so good for that one.

Of the three that we don't have PGD results for yet:

Two were compacting this morning, and are likely to be morulas now (like #2 above).

The other was a morula and was already starting to caveate (??) cavitate (you illiterate fuck) and turn into a blastocyst - it's the genius child of the bunch.

She didn't have any information about how they look in terms of symmetry, fragmentation and that sort of thing.

She was very positive about our chances of having two good looking, chromosomally normal embryos to transfer tomorrow.

She also said that, while we're hoping for blastocysts at day five, they will transfer morulas, if that's where the best ones are.

We will, of course, get a full report tomorrow before we transfer.

She asked when we have to leave home to go down there, so I think they plan to call us when they have the results. I told her to go ahead and call, even if we're on our way, since they number they have is my cellphone anyway.

(She's actually caught me in the car on both calls, so far!)

So, just about 18.5 hours to go (no, wait, 17.5 hours, because we're springing forward!) until I have a couple of Peeps in me!

Chart stolen from - and our info added.

Friday, March 7, 2008

And Then There Were Six

When I posted that last update, I wasn't expecting to hear any more news from the Peeps until Sunday, but I got a call this evening from the PGD lab - and we'll be getting another call tomorrow.

They biopsied all seven of our embryos today, and have completed half of the testing.

PGD checks for the 10 most common aneuploidies (wrong number of chromosomes - anything but 2 of each). Today, they looked at five chromosomes - 13, 18, 21 and, um, 2 others that I forget. (Maybe X & Y?)

Six(!) of the embryos checked out okay for those five, and one had 3 copies of chromosome 13*.

Tomorrow, they check these remaining six embryos for five more chromosomes and will call and let us know how that went.

For a little perspective:
According to our lab's website, for women 37+ years old, 50% of all embryos show aneuplody for chromosomes 13, 18, 21 or X/Y.

Of embryos that are normal for those chromosomes, another 12% are aneuploid for chromosomes 1, 16 or 22. (I'm guessing they'll be covered in tomorrow's testing.)

Shrike is about eight weeks shy of her 39th birthday, and less than 14% of the embryos failed the first test; so far all indications are that she's made some pretty decent eggs for an old lady!

*For even more perspective:
I did a bit of research on Trisomy 13. Here's what Dr. Google has to say about it:

"The syndrome involves multiple abnormalities, many of which are not compatible with life. More than 80% of children with trisomy 13 die in the first month."

We knew that it was pretty much a given that some of the embryos would be chromosomally abnormal, and we knew that, without the testing, there was a chance of an abnormal embryo being tranferred - and being born - but actually hearing these results makes that possibility seem a lot more real.

I do feel a little sad for that one that didn't make the cut today but, more so, I am relieved that we found out about it now, and were able to eliminate it from the pool of potential transferees.

My overwhelming feeling is of having dodged a bullet, which is worth way more than the $3500 that we're paying for the PGD.

Baby's First Biopsy

All seven of our zygotes are still in the game, and they were biopsied today for the PGD (genetic testing).

Learn more about Preimplantation Genetic Testing here.

Here's a video showing how it works:

We're scheduled to do the embryo transfer at 2:15 pm on Sunday.

When we get there (around 1:45 pm) we'll get a full report, including the PGD results and how they're looking over all.

At that point, we'll make the final decision as to whether to transfer 2 (if there are 2 high quality ones) or 3 (if there aren't) embryos.

The procedure won't take long at all, and after a brief rest, they'll send me home to lounge around and eat bonbons for 24 hours.

Then, I'll be back at work on Tuesday.

I'll be scheduled for the official blood pregancy test on March 21, but I'll start testing at home long before that.

We don't expect to receive an update tomorrow, so no more news until transfer time.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Peep Report

I just heard from the fertility clinic, and they tell us that things are "looking terrific" and all seven of our zygotes are dividing today.

They'll call tomorrow with our appointment time for transfer on Sunday, and I think we'll get another update either tomorrow or Saturday, from the PGD people, but won't have the actual PGD report (how many are chromosomally normal - we expect about half) until Sunday, just before transfer.

Shrike is doing well, too. She's still having a bit of belly pain, but it doesn't seem to be too bad. She'll be going back to work this evening, and I'm sure she's looking forward to that. (ha ha ha)

More news as we have it.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Wordless Wednesday #50: New Toy

Joyous Day! My new phone has arrived!
Learn more about Wordless Wednesday.


The photo that I wanted to post for my Wordless Wednesday is the one that I took of Shrike on Monday, all dolled up in her pink hospital gown and blue shower cap, waiting for egg retrieval.

However, after we had the following conversation, I was pretty sure that wasn't going to be allowed.

Shrike: . . . yada yada . . . hot.
Whozat (pointing to photo on computer screen): Now that's hot.
Shrike: That woman?!?
Whozat: Yes, that woman.
Shrike: Who the hell is that?
Whozat: Who is it?
Shrike (looking more closely): Oh my God! Is that me?
So, I had to make do with a photo of my new toy.

Lucky Seven

I've just heard back from Nurse D with our fertilization report -

Of the 15 eggs retrieved yesterday, 13 were mature and were inseminated by ICSI. Of those 7 have fertilized normally.

She said that typically, 50% - 60% of mature eggs fertilize normally, so we're right on track there.

She also said that everything - from the % of follicles with eggs, to the number mature, to the number fertilized - has been "Well, I don't want to say 'average' - but exactly what we expect to see. We're very happy with how everything is looking."

At this point, all that's happened so far is that the sperm are in the eggs, and the chromosomes are doing their thing.

Over the next 24 hours, they will begin to divide, and we'll get another report tomorrow as to how many have divided normally and successfully reached the 2 cell stage.

On Friday they will biopsy them for PGD and on Friday or Saturday we'll get a call from the PGD team as to how they are looking so far, how many are still in the game, etc.

Friday late afternoon or evening, Nurse D will call to give us our assigned time for transfer on Sunday.

When we go in for the transfer, we'll get the PGD report and will find out how many are chromosomally normal - typically about 50% - and will find out how they look, in terms of symmetry, etc.

At that point, we'll make the final decision as to how many we'll be transferring - 2 high grade or 3 lower grade.

After transferring on Sunday, we'll wait, wait, wait and will be scheduled for a beta on Friday March 21 (Good Friday).

Of course, you know I'll start the pee tests several days before that!

In the meantime, Shrike is doing pretty well. Her biggest complaint is the referred pain in her shoulders, from the bloating in her belly. Nurse D tells me that should get better in the next day or two. I hope so.

More news as we have it.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

ICSI Intro

Here's the gist of what happened today, as Shrike's girls met Popeye's boys in the embryology lab. (Video stolen from YouTube.)

Ten on Tuesday #25

Ten Drinks that I Love
Hmm, it seems that all my favorites fall into either the fruity-with-rum "boat drinks" category, or the chocolate-and-booze, how can you go wrong with that combination, category.

Oh, I suppose one could include non-alcoholic drinks on this list but, really, what's the point?

  1. Mudslide
  2. Kahlua and coffee
  3. Hot chocolate with butterscotch Schnapps
  4. Colorado Bulldog
  5. Chocolate Martini
  6. Espresso Martinin
  7. Sangria
  8. Mai Tai
  9. Strawberry Daquiri
  10. Bahama Mama

Learn More About Ten on Tuesday

Leggo My Eggos!*

*™ Lady Kay

We're home, Shrike's doing fine (crampy, but not too bad) and we got fifteen eggs, which they tell us is great!

They are ICSIing them now (or maybe they're done?) and we'll find out tomorrow how many have fertilized.

More details later, but we're going to take a nap now.

Monday, March 3, 2008


Shrike triggered more than 24 hours ago, and now we're less than 12 hours from transfer.

I'm supposed to be asleep by now, and Shrike will start bitching at me about that via email any moment now.

But, to be honest, I'm not sleepy at all, and a bit wired.

I may go ahead and get my shots ready, then watch some tv. That will probably put me out, and I can just crawl to bed when she gets in.

I suppose my next post will be after the retrieval, with a report on how many eggs we get!

Manic Monday #26

  1. You find that your best friend has stolen money to pay for medical treatment for a seriously ill relative. What would you do?
    Oh, dear. I suspect that I would probably not say anything, but I think it might depend on from whom the money had been stolen.

  2. What three things do you regret not learning to do?
    1. Speak Spanish. (I took German in high school. In Texas. What the hell?)
    2. Sing well. (Maybe it's not possible to learn that, but I wish I could.)
    3. Play guitar well. (I played at guitar for a while, and enjoyed it, but kind of sucked)

Learn more about Manic Monday.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

She's Triggered!

You'd think that, after all the belly-shots I've give to both Shrike and myself, and all the ass-shots she's given me, I'd be blase' about giving her the trigger shot in her ass, but I was, shall we say, not.

I think I was more worried about just fucking it all up, given the precision of the timing and all, than I was about the actual administration of the shot.

But, it all went well. She's triggered, the follicles are getting all juiced up and we're going to bed.

Hopefully, we can get some sleep tonight, because we won't have much tomorrow night.

Trigger Time!

This morning's appointment went just fine, and we even arrived on time, for a change.

We just received our call back and we'll be triggering at 9:15 tonight!

That's the good news. The bad news that goes with that is that we'll be retrieving at 9:15 am on Tuesday.

And we have to arrive by 7:45 am.

And we have 1.5 hour drive.

And we have to shower and get dressed first.

So, here's our report from today:
Estrogen = 1856
24 follicles visible (12 on each side)

The six biggest follicles on each side are:
Right Ovary: 19.7 mm, 19.6 mm, 19.0 mm, 17.5 mm, 17.4 mm, 16.6 mm
Left Ovary: 19.7 mm, 18.5 mm, 17.7 mm, 17.3 mm, 17.0 mm, 16.8 mm

At exactly (that part makes me nervous) 9:15 pm, I will give Shrike an intramuscular (butt) injection of HCG, which will help the rest of the eggs to mature by Tuesday.

Tomorrow, she has no monitoring, no meds, no nothing; that's her "free day."

I, on the other hand, will get the first of my daily Progesterone in Oil (butt) shots, as well as a Del Estrogen (butt) shot tomorrow night.

I guess I'll get the syringes all loaded up and go on to bed, so I can get some sleep before our early morning.

When Shrike gets in, around 12:30 am, she can wake me up for my shots, and then get herself a snack, because she can't eat anything from 2:15 am until after the retrieval.

Tuesday morning, we should probably try to get up around 5:00 am, so Shrike can get some clear liquids in her, before her 5:15 am cut-off for that.

Our instruction sheet says we'll probably be there for 2 - 3 hours, so we ought to get home mid-afternoon and, as soon as I have Shrike settled (she'll probably be sore, and maybe still groggy), I'll definitely post about how it went, and how many eggs we got.

In the meantime, we cleared that it is okay for Shrike to have a beer this evening, but not for a few days after retrieval (to protect her fluid/electrolyte balance), and by then, it will be time to transfer, so we're probably going to go to dinner in a little while and toast our little Peeplets with what we hope will be our last drink together for a good, long while!

Cell Phone Update

It seems that my phone was being a bit optimistic when it announced its survival the other day.

Everything appreared to be mostly okay at first (except for the down-arrow key, which meant I couldn't read emails) but then I realized that it wasn't holding a charge for very long at all.

I ordered a new battery a few days ago and then thought to try putting Shrike's battery in my phone.

That seemed great at first, but then it ran down quickly and wouldn't charge back up, so I decided that it must be the phone.

Damn it.

I checked and it turns out that I did purchase the insurance when we got the phones, but it does not cover water damage.


So, I went to the Cingular website to see what my options are and, holy schmokeys, it seems that we can upgrade either or both phones for free (after a mail-in rebate), with no change to our service agreement and only an $18 upgrade fee per phone.

Woo Hoo!

Shrike decided that her phone is working fine and does everything she needs, but I just ordered this little number (a $279.99 value) for myself.

Sony Ericsson W300i
Listen to streaming music on this cool camera phone for a total entertainment experience. The W300i features live video recording and playback. It includes multiple music features such as a built-in Walkman®, FM radio and MusicDJTM. Take and view photos on a crisp color screen. It comes with a stereo headset and is Bluetooth® capable. Rock out when the mood strikes you and connect to your home stereo, portable speaker system, or stereo headset. Plus, there's a full range of music
accessories for your W300i.

Included Features
Video and music streaming
Walkman® music player- MP3, WAV, AAC
VGA camera with 4x digital zoom
Video recording and playback
Bluetooth® wireless capable
AT&T Music, MusicDJ & Video DJ capable
Download Music Tone ringtones, games & graphics
Instant messaging - AOL®, Yahoo!®, ICQ® and MSN®
Multimedia messaging- send text, photos, & sound
External stereo speakers
Airplane mode
Stereo headset
3D Gaming

The deal includes free two-day priority shipping, so I'm expecting it to arrive on Wednesday and hope to have it up and running by Thursday, after the obligatory 12-hour battery charging.

So, all's well that ends well.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Thursday Saturday Thirteen #52

I know I'm running awfully late with this one - sorry about that!

Thirteen Performers Whom I've Seen in Concert
Some of these were a very, very long time ago.

  1. Melissa Etheridge

  2. The Indigo Girls

  3. The Kinsey Sicks

  4. Reba McEntire

  5. Garth Brooks

  6. George Strait

  7. Bruce Springsteen

  8. Sting

  9. Billy Joel

  10. The Charlie Daniels Band

  11. Hank Williams, Jr.

  12. Mac Davis

  13. Donnie and Marie

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

View More Thursday Thirteen Participants

Thursday Thirteen Blog Roll

Thank You, Interwebs!

That "grow, follie, grow" mojo of yours seems to have worked - and almost worked a little too well.

But, let me start at the beginning. . . .

After being late to our last two mointoring appointments, we were determined to make it on time this morning.

(ha ha ha)

We did wake up on time, but something happened along the way and we left home about 10 minutes late.

Not a big deal, though, right.

Then, we're cruising down the interstate, about five miles from the BlueState/DocState line, when the traffic stops.

Eventually we got to signs saying there was a wreck ahead, and they diverted us onto another road at Exit 3, sent us down it for a while, running more or less parallel to the interstate, and then let us back on a bit into DocState. We never did actually see the wreck. I hope it wasn't as bad as the traffic jam suggested.

At some point, we called down to the clinic to let them know that we'd be like an hour late. Grrr.

We finally got there and, after a bit of a wait, we were ready to go. The ultrasound tech was very nice and we were talking and laughing about traffic delays as she was starting the camming, when a doctor came in.

The doctor was a boy, which we weren't thrilled about, but he was very nice. Somehow, we started talking about names, and then about books, and specifically audiobooks and and the whole time the tech is just a cammin' and a clickin' - measuring those follicles.

Finally, she removes the wand, turns the screen toward us all and says, "Um, you guys, I hate to interupt and distract you from your conversation, but we have a cycle happening here . . . . "

Of course, we all turned our attention to the numbers on the screen and started checking out the follicle sizes.

Previously on Lucy & Ethel Make a Baby, Shrike had one follicle at 15 mm yesterday, and the next largest were around 13.5 mm.

Follicles usually grow 1 - 2 mm/day.

This morning, she had four larger than 18 mm. Wow-ee!

We got a print-out of the measurements this time. The largest thirteen are:

Right Ovary: 18.6, 18.6, 18.2, 18.1, 17.3, 16.6, 16.2
Left Ovary: 17.2, 16.1, 15.8, 15.0, 14.6, 13.8

After she got dressed they sent us to talk to a nurse for our triggering instructions, because depending on her estrogen levels, we might trigger tonight for retrieval on Monday, or might do one more day of stims and trigger tomorrow for retrieval on Tuesday.

We were hoping for Tuesday because, as I said yesterday, that will be more convenient with our work schedules.

We had lunch, came home and I took a nap while Shrike walked the dogs.

The call-back from the nurse woke me from my nap, so I was a bit fuzzy-headed when talking to her, and didn't think to ask how many follicles they saw in all, but as they said yesterday, there are probably some hiding anyway. So, we'll assume it's still in the mid-20s.

Her estrogen is at 1687, which isn't too high yet, so they want us to go ahead and wait another day and trigger tomorrow.

Yippee! Perfect timing!

Tonight, she'll get 75 units of Gonal-F and 1/2 vial of Menopur again, in the morning 10 units of Lupron and we'll monitor at 11:30 am.

Then we'll get a call-back with our actual triggering instructions, including the exact time to do the HCG shot (IM in the butt, that will be the first of those that I've given to her), and the time for the retrieval itself on Tuesday.

What happens after that?

Before we leave on Tuesday, all the fluid extracted from her follicles will go to an embryologist, who will find and count the eggs and let us know how many we got.

Then, they will thaw Popeye's boys, pick out the best of the bunch, and ICSI one into each egg.

On Wednesday and Thursday, they'll call us with fertilization reports.

Friday they'll biopsy the embryos (remove one cell from each) for the preimplantation genetic testing (PGD), which takes a day or two.

Possibly Saturday, but more likely Sunday morning, the embryologist will give us a call with PGD results, and we'll transfer on Sunday, likely around noon or early afternoon.

The plan is to transfer two good-looking embryos or, if that's not possible, three crappy ones.

I'll be on bedrest for about twenty-four hours after that, and then we wait, wait, wait for two weeks.

If my calculations are correct, my beta should be Monday March 24 - the day after Easter.

Since our two-week-wait will be happening over the Easter season, this cycle's nom de utero will be . . . The Peeps!

And any embryos that don't make the cut this cycle, but are frozen for possible later use will be, of course, . . . Peepsicles!

Photo Hunter #49: Party

Gov. Howard Dean, Chairman of the Democratic Party, and the reason that I am involved in politics. I took this photo when I went to hear him speak in a nearby town, about a week before the 2004 election.

Meme: Page 123

I've been tagged by OneOfHisMoms, from a post on Momtourage:

  1. Grab the nearest book of 123 pages or more.
  2. Open it to page 123.
  3. Find the first 5 sentences and write them down.
  4. Then invite 5 friends to do the same.
Here's mine:
The Essential Guide to Lesbian Conception, Pregnancy and Birth
by Kim Toevs and Stephanie Brill

Sample Known-Donor Contract
This is one version of many boilerplate contracts women have used with their known donors. We encourage people to make their contract personal by using their own names rather than "donor" and "recipient. Include the recipient's partner if she is also taking on the role of a parent, and include a paragraph by the donor and the recipients about what is motivating them to make this agreement. Our suggestions here are based on how a child or young adult may feel in the future when reading the agreement that preceded their conception. This document should be written out of love and consientious choice - not just to prevent a possible legal dispute.

I'm tagging Shrike, Anonymama, LadyKay, LivingInPA and (are you still alive?) Toni.

If you're a buddy of the blogless variety, you can post your answers in the comments.