Saturday, August 30, 2008

I'm crazy....just like you

After my disappointing appointment with Beverly, I went through the piles on my desk and dug out the list of counselors covered by my insurance. So many of the names were from Beverly's practice. Hmm...what to do what to do. I decided to call Linda, the psychological gatekeeper who matched me up with Beverly in the first place.

Damn. Voicemail. "Hi, Linda. This is Jacki Jaguar, I met with you about two weeks ago to discuss finding a counselor to help me deal with my infertility. I met with Beverly and,'s just...I think...could you just call me back, please? I'd appreciate it. My number is 555-3333. Thanks."

What did I want to tell Linda exactly? My first idea was to ask her if she's sure she doesn't have any openings to meet with her since I felt so comfortable during my first meeting. My second thought was to ask her why she felt Beverly and I would be a good match. My third thought was to ask her if she could match me with someone else because Beverly and I weren't going to work out. My fourth thought was to tell Linda that Beverly is probably not the best person to refer infertile women to in the future because she makes douchey remarks.

I figured I'd ponder those choices while waiting for Linda to return my call. I studied the list further. There was another practice where I was covered to see several of the counselors. Let me call them. A woman's voice quickly greeted me.

"Hi, my name is Jacki. I'm wondering if you have anyone at your practice who deals with infertility?"

" We don't have anyone who specializes in infertility. They all deal with general issues. Sorry, take care."

That was abrupt. Fine then. I didn't want to come to your dumb office anyway. I cross that practice off the list. With both of the large practices x'd out, the once very long list has dwindled significantly. I notice one name whose office is right nearby, close to work, close to home. In fact, it's in the middle of the two. I dial the number and am immediately kicked into voicemail.

"Hi, my name is Jacki. I'm trying to find a counselor who deals with infertility. If you could please call me back at 555-3333, I'd appreciate it. Thanks and have a good day."

I hung up the phone thinking that it probably wouldn't pan out but at least I did something today in my effort to find a counselor. Not much, but something. I spent much of the remainder of Wednesday thinking about this counseling thing. What am I looking for in a counselor? First, I want someone who "gets" it, meaning that they understand that it's a very stressful thing to deal with and that it's a medical condition. Someone who won't break the standard rules of speaking to an infertile. But as the day goes on, I realize there's more that I want. Not need, but want. I want someone who I don't have to explain the basics of infertility to. Like with both Linda and Beverly and with other randoms docs like my primary and the rheumatologist, as we discussed my infertility, I had to teach Infertility 101 as I explained how I'm doing with it. Simple stuff, like how Clomid works and the purpose of injectables and what PCOS is. Don't get me wrong, I love that they ask so that they can understand, but the truth is I do that all the time with regular people. And, generally, I like it. I like that people want to understand what I'm going through and I want to talk to others about it. The more it's talked about, the less the stigma that society places on it. But for just one hour every week or two, I would love to not have to explain it. To have that whole sixty minutes be devoted to me, how I'm dealing with my infertility rather than waste any of that precious time informing the doctor of how infertility works.

On Thursday afternoon, as I lie around in an effort to convince my ovaries to stop aching, the phone rings. It's Jennifer, the counselor I left a message for.

Her: Hi, this is Jennifer Longlastname. I'm calling for Jacki Jaguar.

Me: This is she.

Her: Hi. I got your message yesterday. So I understand you're dealing with infertility?

Me: Yeah.

Her: I'm so sorry.

Me: (thinking: I love you.) Thanks. I'm just hoping that I can find someone to help me deal with it. I saw someone yesterday, but she's not going to work out so I'm looking for someone else.

Her: Well, I don't specialize in infertility if that's what you're looking for.

Me: I don't necessarily need someone who specializes in it. I just need someone who "gets" it, who understands that it's a medical condition and won't say stupid stuff like, "If you adopt, you'll get pregnant".

Her: Is that what the other counselor said to you?!

Me: Yeah, along with comments about how I need to relax. I'm looking for someone who won't say that kind of stuff.

Her: I can't believe a counselor said all that. That's not helpful at all.

Me: Yeah. I agree. this point, she starts to stumble along a bit, like she's unsure what to say.

Her: Well...I don't specialize in infertility, but...I could still talk with you... if you like...because...well...umm...

Me: (thinking: Is this woman okay? What the hell?)

Her: It's just that...well, I'm not really supposed to say this, but...I dealt with my own infertility before I had my first child.

Me: (thinking: SHUT UP!? No way!) Really?

Her: Yeah, so while I don't specialize in it, I may be able to understand what you're going through.

Our conversation continues on for a couple minutes before we schedule an appointment. There are two things that Jennifer wants me to be aware of before I commit to meeting with her in person. One, she can't see me until September 29th. Two, she is 24 weeks pregnant with her second child. She was very sensitive about her pregnancy, completely understanding that I may not want to see her because of the blatant bump that would be in the room as we'd discuss the lack of my own. I think about it for a moment and book the 29th. After we scheduled, she stayed on the phone with me for ten or fifteen minutes just talking about how I'm doing with everything and where Mr. Jaguar and I are in our treatment plan right now. It was awesome.

I got off the phone and immediately burst into tears of relief. God handed me exactly what I needed and even threw a hopeful, little bump into the mix.

"Thanks, God," I said aloud.

There's one thing I did differently this cycle. This cycle...where the meds have worked, where FertilityFriend gave me crosshairs, where I'll finally measure my luteal phase and where we got to do an IUI. I always wear my Common Thread bracelet but at the beginning of this cycle, I made myself a new one. Instead of the plain or beaded one I normally wear, this one has a small nameplate charm across the front of it. The charm is engraved with a single word.


Friday, August 29, 2008

Do these ovaries make me look fat?

I have Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome.

The good news is it's very, very mild.

The bad news is I continue to be on limited activity. I still have abdominal pain and bloating.

There's one main thing I have to prevent with OHSS: twisting an ovary. So I have to be careful not to twist my torso. Your ovaries flip back and forth regularly and it's no big deal. However, if your ovary is very enlarged as my right one in particular is, it can flip, flip again and then it cuts off its own blood supply.

At the RE today, when we confirmed all this, Dr. PacMan told me to call if I have severe abdominal pain. Being an overplanner, I ask, "What's considered severe?" Y'know, there's a wide spectrum for pain and I just want to make sure I don't screw this up.

The nurse responds, "The pain will make you drop to your knees."

"Well, that's pretty clear. I don't think I'll miss that," I answer.

Later, as the nurse and I are chatting, she says that the pain would be so bad, I would be on the ground and either unable to speak or screaming. What the f#ck?!

Allrighty then. Consider me on the lookout for severe pain.

Oh, and one more not so great aspect of OHSS. If you have it and get pregnant, the abdominal pain will get worse before it gets better. Right on.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I only like you as a friend

Yesterday, after summer school, I puttered around in my classroom for a while, unpacking bits and pieces of stuff. One of my grade partners moved a filing cabinet for me since I'm on restricted activity until my ovaries settle down (they still hurt). I had the very important job of opening the doors for him as he blindly made the trek, a giant metal cabinet obscuring his view. I had intentions of accomplishing a lot today but mostly I just walked around and socialized with friends that I haven't seen all summer. I'm really good at that. Procrastination, I mean. For the first time, I felt some enthusiasm for the school year to start. Having worked all summer, I haven't had much anticipation for September but today I realized how much I missed everybody. I hadn't realized how often I was alone this summer.

Shortly after noon, I left to grab a slice of pizza before my first appointment with my new therapist, Beverly. I left the pizza place with only twenty minutes to get there which was plenty of time. As I came around a curve, there was a dog further up the road but in my path. I slowed as did the truck in front of me. This dog was happily trotting down a road that has no shoulder and a forty mile per hour speed limit! Yikes. By the time, I pulled over and got out of my car, he was pretty far away, but turned his head toward me at my second shout. Then he happily trotted back to me. He reminded me of the dog in Annie. A mutt, kinda ratty, super cute and happy as can be. This sweet dog came right up to me, let me pick him up and I put him in the car.

Umm, now what? I have fifteen minutes to get to the appointment. What do I do with this dog? I can't wait around for animal control (nor do I want to because you're just so darn cute, aren't you, aren't you, yes you are!), I don't have time to drop him at my house and make it back to counseling on time, I have no idea where the police station is. Hmm....I ask the dog what we should do. He doesn't have any ideas.

I don't want to call Beverly and cancel on such short notice. That would be rude and I could still be charged. I decide that I will drive to therapy, explain the situation to Beverly and let her decide how to handle the therapy appointment. At least if I end up having to cancel, she'll know I wasn't lying about this random dog appearing in the road. I (we) arrive at the office. Do I just carry him in? Am I allowed? Will I be like those annoying people who carry their dumb little rat dogs around everywhere? I leave the air conditioner on, put on the emergency brake, give the dog a quick safety lecture and run inside. Beverly greets me and I explain the situation. Guess what? The dog gets to come to counseling! What a hoot!

This is going to sound critical but I have concerns about Beverly within the first five minutes. For one, she's quite old. Now I'm not geriatric phobic but I'm not sure how well the elderly will relate to my infertility. Two, she strongly reminds me of my mom and that is not a good thing from a counseling standpoint. She just doesn't seem like my type. I chide myself. Be open, Jacki. Maybe she will understand more than you can possibly imagine. Linda selected her as your conselor for a reason. And, besides, she likes animals! You love animals!

About five minutes after I scold myself, Beverly says this about my infertility: "You really can't stress about getting pregnant. Stress can prevent pregnancy. I can't tell you how many couples adopt, they don't have that stress anymore, and then they get pregnant. I can't tell you how many times I've seen that happen."

Personal foul. Flag on the field. This woman just used forbidden phrase #2 of speaking to infertiles: Just adopt and you'll get pregnant.

I stare at the clock, counting down the minutes until I can throw $20 at this woman and run for the door with my little dog in tow. The conversation continues. Honestly, it was awful. The longest hour of my life. Thank God the dog was there. The chat was filled with painfully long, awkward pauses that I felt compelled to fill. By the end, I would just nod and smile and say, "So yeah....that's all" or "Yup...that's my answer." The whole thing could've been a Seinfeld episode.

Later, she refers to my infertility as "my problem" and I can't articulate why, but it irritated the sh!t out of me when I thought about it later. It felt as though she was making light of it the entire hour. Beverely definitely felt that I wasn't getting pregnant because I was too stressed about it and if I relaxed more, I'd be fine (forbidden phrase #1 of talking to infertiles: You really need to relax or any variation of said phrase). At one point, I informed her that relaxing will not cause me to ovulate. Medication will because I have a medical condition. Also, it seemed as though she hadn't read the notes that Linda had provided her with because she should've known that. As I've thought more about that appointment since then, she didn't seem comfortable talking about my infertility and would just move on to other topics. Real f#ckin' useful.

We left with me scheduling an appointment for a few weeks from now that I have every intention of canceling. I just didn't want to have to break up with her in person. It's not like we were serious. It was only one date. I can do that over the phone.

I'm making the dog split the co-pay with me.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Peeing in cups and things looking up excuse to pee on stuff!

Mr. Jaguar gave me my shot of Ovidrel on Wednesday night to trigger ovulation for the IUI. The Ovidrel also gives you a false positive on a pregnancy test until it is completely out of your system, so..........

I get to pee on sticks every day! You can "pee out" the trigger shot. I started this past Friday and have been peeing on sticks every day since. They've been clearly positive up until yesterday where it was barely positive. Today, I couldn't even really decide if it was there or not, so the Ovidrel is almost out of my system entirely. Once it's negative, any postive result after that is considered a true positive.

Seeing the positive is awesome even if I know it's fake. It makes me so excited to see a real one.

On another note, I've been taking my temperature again this cycle. After the ovulation debacle last cycle, I want to feel more in control and aware of what my body is doing. I use which is a great site for organizing your charting information. I had been a bit stressed thinking that my chart looked all wonky even though I was medicated out the wazoo. But today, I put my temperature in and it gave me crosshairs!!! Crosshairs are these two beautiful, red lines that show up to confirm that you ovulated and let you know that you're in your luteal phase. I've never ever had crosshairs, I've never gotten to see how long my luteal phase is, I've never confirmed ovulation through charting. But now I have.

Here's my chart in case you have a burning desire to view the glorious crosshairs:

I am in awe of those two red lines. I just can't believe they're actually there and real. I've probably looked at them ten times today. Even if I don't get pregnant this cycle, I hope I'm able to hold on to the fact that I had a lot of firsts this cycle.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Nerves make me dumber

The IUI is complete. It was this past Friday at 8:45 a.m. Our morning started off bright and early when I dropped off Mr. Jaguar's sample so that it could be prepped and pretty by 8:45. This is the part where I should tell you I have a ridiculously, immature sense of humor. I snort when people say sixty nine. I giggle if someone makes a reference to their "box". I died laughing a couple weeks ago when my dad was talking about his giant cucumber from the garden and how he measured it. I'm like a twelve year old boy. So there is pretty much nothing funnier to me than delivering the goods by walking into a waiting room with strangers in it. For those of you who don't know, you have to keep it at body temperature so the RE's office suggests tucking it between your breasts for its maiden voyage. I do this and giggle the whole time at the idea of getting pulled over on my way to the office and having to explain it to a police officer. When I get to the office, I take it out and carry it in both hands, as if trying to warm my hands on a hot coffee mug. And then you have to wait for the special sperm nurse to label it so you have to stand there for a few minutes with it. It's a hoot.

Later, we arrived at the RE's office together. I was...excited, nervous and quiet all at once. I was still afraid that it was too good to be true and the IUI would be cancelled at the last minute. Mr. Jaguar kept checking in on me, asking me if I was okay. It was sweet.

The nurse took us back to the exam room and started giving directions. Undress from the waist down, throw the sheet over you, sign this form. Three directions. That's it. Okie dokie. She leaves, I slip off my underoos (I wear a dress now to most of my RE appointments to save time and dignity) and grab the clipboard to start in on the forms. There are a lot of them. I read the top one over. It explains the procedure, the risks, blah blah blah, sign and date. Okay. I slide the form out and under the others in the pile to get started on the next one.'s the same one. It must be a copy for me and a copy for the doctor. I sign and date. Slide the form out and under. Next one is the same. Hmm...maybe I just sign a few for my future IUIs so it's done? Whatever, sign and date, slide form out and under. I signed 4 forms before I realized that I was only supposed to fill out the top form and that the rest were for other patients. Man, I felt dumb. We laughed our heads off as I made Mr. Jaguar hide all of the extra forms I completed in my purse.

Dr. PacMan and the nurse came back in and the first words out of Dr. PacMan's mouth are, "Did we forget to leave you a sheet?" I never threw the sheet over me. Three directions to follow, I managed to be successful with one.

The IUI was the quickest procedure ever. The only real down side was it involved a speculum which is never fun, but it was so quick I can't complain. Honestly, the procedure probably lasted twenty seconds. Then they left us there so that I could lay still for ten minutes and let the swimmers get a head start. While we waited, we took pictures of each other to document the day. The camera was so loud and the doors are thin! We were so paranoid that the office staff could hear the camera that we were giggling like crazy.

I go in for a beta on September 8th if I don't get a period. It should be the 5th, but their office is closed that day. I can pee on a stick before that, so I guess that means we'll know sometime in the beginning of September.

How do I feel about all of this? I'm scared, I'm hopeful, I'm scared of feeling hopeful. After the IUI, I ran some errands. I had a $10 coupon that I had to spend at Kohl's by Saturday, so I wandered the store trying to figure out what to buy. And guess where I ended up? The maternity section clearance racks. Because it's all summer stuff and if this works I'd need some maternity shirts for warmer weather, right? I seriously considered buying some. I'm out of my f*ckin' mind. I eventually made myself walk away.

Oh my God! I can't believe I almost forgot to post this! Mr. Jaguar has a friend who also dealt with infertility, but years ago. The two of them were talking earlier in the week and his friend is talking about when he and his wife went through their IUIs and he says that his wife had to kneel on all fours for the procedure!! What??!! That sent me into a giggling yet hysterical panic. Do I want that kids that bad? Would I subject a doctor, a nurse and my husband to that view? I was seriously freaking out. But don't worry, I got to lay on my back. Thank you, Jesus, for small favors.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

$20 copay, some sense of relief

So I had my first appointment with the counselor, Linda. I liked her immediately. Unfortunately, she's not who will see me regularly, she's more of a psychological gatekeeper of sorts. You meet with her for your initial appointment and she determines your level of craziness as well as who is best suited to deal with your craziness. I can't help but imagine her completing a checklist to help determine these things.

Patient: Jacki Jaguar

Reason for pursuing therapy: Infertile while everyone around her is very much not, feels broken, stress management

Level of Craziness (check one):
___ Mild...schedule again within next two weeks
___ Moderate...schedule again within 3-5 days
___ Severe...discourage her from leaving her home until she is more stable
___ Bat shit crazy...distract patient with retractable pen and magnetic paper clip dispenser until the men in white arrive.

Most suitable therapist would be: Beverly because she tolerates patient's pity parties and random crying jags.

Linda let me leave the office at the end of the hour, so y'know, that's promising. Even though the session's purpose was primarily information gathering, it still felt good to just talk about everything and get it out of my head. Plus, Linda gets paid to listen to me so there's no sense of guilt for dominating the conversation and time with talk of my issues. That was actually weird. I try to be very aware in conversation of not focusing only on myself and making sure a chat is balanced. But in therapy, it's about you, so you talk a lot. I had to keep reminding myself that it was okay and that I didn't have to ask the therapist how things are going with her.

A few days later, Beverly called. We have our first session on Wednesday. I hope I'm as comfortable with her as I was with Linda. And I hope she doesn't think I'm more crazy than Linda does. If she hands me anything retractable, I'm making a run for the door.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Always an over-achiever

Dr. PacMan whisks into the office.

"Hi. How have you been feeling?"

"Hi Dr. PacMan. I'm okay. I'm still really exhausted on the injectables. I spend a lot of time on the couch. I'm hoping I don't have to take anymore."

"And are you still having pain?"

"Yes. I hope it's because the Follistim is working."

"Let's see what we've got."

I hand him my four tickets to get on the infertility roller coaster.

Feet swing up, head drops back, staring at the familiar ceiling tiles. Part of me doesn't want to look at the ultrasound screen. It's a let down when follicles that look big to me are disappointingly small, but I'm weak. I hopefully shift my gaze right.

Dr. PacMan ponders my left ovary. As per usual, I have six gajillion follicles. Nothing very big. I grip the edge of the exam table as he moves over to the right ovary. Ultrasounds hurt a lot now that my ovaries are stimulated. Dr. PacMan is grimacing and making worried sounds as he studies the right ovary. I dig my fingers into the table and try to breathe through the pain as he applies extra pressure to examine a follicle more closely.

"Hmm...this right worries many large follicles..." he mutters while he continues poking me and I continue white knuckling the exam table.

I look beyond the ceiling to the heavens. Jesus, please don't let him cancel this cycle. Don't let all of this have been for nothing. Jesus, I'm not even praying to get pregnant right now. I'm just asking to finish out the cycle. Amen.

I sit up and the doctor says it looks like my follicles are ready. Thank you, Jesus! But then Dr. PacMan shoots me his most serious face and brings up the topic I fear the most.

"Will you and your husband consider selective reduction if you have multiples?"

"We've discussed it. We're praying we don't have to make that kind of decision but, yes, we would consider it for the safety of the babies and myself."

(I should mention here that I debated even posting about this. I'm so conflicted about it and it's such a heated topic. I don't want to even think about it. But this blog is my honest place, so here I am typing. We'll see if I actually post it.)

"OK, good. I'm glad you and your husband have already discussed it. If you had said you refuse to consider it, I would have cancelled your cycle. You will likely release several eggs and multiples is a serious concern." Umm...Jesus, that could be too much of a good thing. Ease up for me just a smidge?

So what's my line??? How do I even respond to the doctor's statement? All I can come up with is swear words. Dr. PacMan keeps talking. He says a bunch of stuff, but one thing sticks out.

"You'd be a great candidate for IVF."

How do I respond to that? Thank you?? Is it a compliment? A sign of things to come? If this fails, do we do another cycle of injectables or is it too risky that I will conceive a litter? I don't ask any of these questions but they are reverberating in my head.

And so, on Friday morning, Mr. Jaguar and I will be in the office. After thirteen months of trying, we've made it to IUI #1.

Why I have a cute new henley shirt

It's finally happening. Tomorrow morning, we will actually have a real shot at trying to conceive. Here's how it all came about...

I started my injectables on the 8th after two needles and an ultrasound determined that it was go time. After eight more needles, it was determined on the 13th that I should double my dose. After ten more needles, follicles had grown to a respectable enough size. Mr. Jaguar gave me my shot of Ovidrel last night and tomorrow morning, it's on. Twenty one total needles does not impress me one bit. My poor little thighs (actually not so little really) are tender. Everybody says, "Oh, the needles aren't so bad." For me, the anxiety about the needles got worse as the days went on. They wore me down emotionally. And while they could be much worse, I wouldn't classify them as good. Getting them every day was tough. By the end, I was desperate to be done with them. The doctors and the books don't really mention that.

The insides of my arms are currently very....heroin chic. I always either have a new, purple bruise or an old, yellow one or, even better, a combination of the two. It's hot, let me tell you. My thighs are a match only not as severe but I don't subject the public to my thighs so it's different. The bruises are just ridiculous. The doctors and the books don't really mention that. I was forced to buy a super cute, kelly green, half sleeve henley to cover up the arms. What choice did I have? None.

I can't write this without mentioning my brave ovaries. They've been putting in countless hours at the office. Right now, they feel like they are about the size of cue balls. It's quite extraordinary. My stomach is disgustingly bloated. It's uncomfortable to push my pee out because everything is so tender down there. And there are twinges- sudden sharp pains down there all the time. The doctors and the books don't really mention that.

The medication wiped me out. I could barely finish a trip to the grocery store. I literally wanted to lay down on the soft, downy mattress of the bread loaves shelf and just take a nap. I'm so grateful that this cycle was during the summer so that my work day was shorter. Otherwise, I would've been fired for napping during math class. And then at night, I had insomnia. The doctors and the books don't really mention that.

With all of that said, I'd do it again. I hope and pray that I don't have to, but I'd do it again if that's what it takes to become a mom.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The flu and other stuff

I have lots to write but no computer to do it on. Apparently, my computer has a touch of a virus and has to go visit my brother-in-law to get cleaned up. Please pray for its speedy recovery. Right now, I'm typing from my public library where every other available computer is currently being used to access MySpace by local teenagers.

So unfortunately, I can only post the highlights for now:
  • I finished my two grad courses yesterday. I am officially 20% of the way done my Masters' program. Even better, my next course doesn't start until October 7.
  • My ovaries have been spending the bulk of their time kicking and pinching me for the last few days. Apparently, they're angered by the injectables and trying to show me who's boss. It's working; I fully believe that they are in fact the boss.
  • I had my first session at the counseling center this past Friday. They let me leave at the end of the appointment which I will take as a good sign. I am not a threat to society.
  • I got my teaching placement for this coming school year. I'm working in 5th grade which I am psyched about. My co-teacher....also infertile.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Caravans and predictions

Yesterday morning I went to the RE’s office for my ultrasound and bloodwork. I have a 14 millimeter follicle! I can hardly believe it.

On a funny note, I had to go to my RE’s other office since it’s the only site open on Saturday. I had to be there between 7:15 and 8:30. That’s just disgusting. It’s about 35 minutes away and I have to drive on highways to get there. Ugh. I hate driving, especially when I don’t know where I’m going. So I get off at my exit and am navigating my way through several turns when I realize that the cars in front of me are making all the same turns as well as the car behind me. Next, we all park in the same lot. Then, we all go in the same door. Finally, we all sign in on the same clipboard and then get settled with our magazines, sleepily waiting to be called in for our various tests. There you have it, only infertile people get up that early on the weekend.

Mr. Jaguar and I ordered Chinese last night. After finishing up my meal, I cracked open my fortune cookie to find the following message: “Your present plans are going to succeed.” Hmm…I tucked it behind a magnet on my fridge. Just a little while ago, I noticed that my husband hadn’t eaten his cookie yet, so I decided to steal it. I opened it up and received this message: “You will be pleasantly surprised soon.” Hmm…I tucked it under the same magnet next to its sister fortune. So if I get a BFP this cycle, just remember, the Chinese called it first.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Please excuse my open hostility today

Oh my God. It's going to start all over again.

I had snapped off the light and was staring off into the darkness, willing myself toward sleep. I was thinking about how summer was winding down, school would be starting back up soon and a good friend would deliver her first child next month. Wait, next month?! I quickly did the math. In less than 4 weeks, she will bring home her baby.

And then it hit me, like a truck carrying a ton of bricks and towing a steamroller. It's going to start all over again. All of the friends who have stepped up, an average of one friend every five to six weeks (not that I'm counting), since this past January to tell me they're pregnant...they're going to deliver their babies.

Fuuuuuuuck. Why hadn't this occurred to me sooner? I stared at the ceiling, wide awake now, pondering.

Amy, Kelly, Angie, Kim, Kristen, Julie, Johanna. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Seven bumps in a pretty little row. All pregnant.

Jacki Jaguar. Not.

I guess I was so wrapped up in processing all of the pregnancies around me that I kind of forgot that, in 40 weeks, they would all actually have babies, like real, live, crying, sleeping, cooing babies. I mean, don't get me wrong. That's good for them. I wouldn't wish it any other way. It's just that they're going to actually have their babies.

Hmm. I'm not gonna lie. I'm not so impressed with this realization.

I'm going to have to meet babies, view baby photos sent to me in e-mails, congratulate new parents, watch other people congratulate them, watch people watch them while they gaze at their new infant and smile because it's all such a beautiful miracle.

And every five to six weeks, I'm going to have to do it all over again.

I have one good friend left who is not pregnant. She will start trying to conceive in November (if I don't jab her with Depo Provera before that). And if the majority of my other friends are any indication, she will have no problems and will be announcing her pregnancy within two months of beginning her endeavor. And frankly, that's how it should be, really. I don't want her to have to deal with any of this infertility bullsh!t. It's just that I don't want to deal with it either.

After that, if I'm not yet pregnant, I will officially be the last woman standing.

That's f#cking bullsh!t. Where's my goddamn beautiful miracle?

After reading this over, this would probably be a good time to mention that I think I found a counselor. We're playing phone tag right now, but if all goes well, I should meet with her on Friday. Hopefully, I will be returning to my regular, reasonably sunny, moderately nice self soon.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

A Day in the Life

Injectables Day 1 is complete.

Here's the mandatory picture of the drugs. We received Follistim, the Follistim pen which is a small needle that gives out metered doses, the shot of Ovidrel for when we hopefully get to do an IUI, the sharps container, a bag of Hershey's Kisses, a very thoughtful letter and some other paperwork.

The chocolates and the nice letter made me cry. They meant a lot. The letter included comments like...

The endeavor you are undertaking may be the most important thing you will do in your life!

This is a most stressful time in your life so be kind to yourself...

Our staff is here to aid you during this very difficult process.

It's just nice to know that some people "get it". Even the UPS man was really nice when he dropped the drugs off. The whole thing just made me cry.

Here's Mr. Jaguar's reaction to giving me a shot after coming in the door singing and dancing about it. And he kept saying, "The nurse said to be sure I use a stabbing motion!" while driving his arm erratically through the air. He's clearly all broken up.

Here's my thoughts on getting a shot. I can't imagine why I don't share Mr. Jaguar's enthusiasm. Forgive me for this clearly unphotogenic picture. I was all drugged up on my muscle relaxers and didn't care so much what I looked like.

All in all, it wasn't so bad. The anticipation was the worst part. I popped a Hershey's Kiss in my mouth and Mr. Jaguar went to town. The needle was quick and didn't hurt as much as getting blood drawn. The injection site did ache a bit for a while after but it wasn't bad.

When we were done, Mr. Jaguar was heard saying, "That.Was.Awesome!"

Thursday, August 7, 2008

It's the hap-happiest season of all

Me: Hi, how are you? I'm here to start my injectables.

Receptionist: Oh, hi Jacki. Great to see you! How are you?

Me: Good, thanks! I brought my drugs with me. (holds up bag of frozen peas with drugs resting on top)

Receptionist: Super. We'll bring you back shortly.....wait, what's that?

Me: What? (looking around)

Receptionist: That. Right there. (pointing)

Me: Where?

Receptionist: Right there. (still pointing)

Me: Oh, that's my dignity. It used to come in a bigger package but it's smaller now since this whole infertility thing started. (still smiling)

Receptionist: You can't bring it in with you.

Me: What? (starting to panic)

Receptionist: You can't bring it in with you.

Me: Why not? I need it. I'm keeping the little bit that I have left!

Receptionist: I'm sorry. You'll have to check it at the front counter. We'll give it back when you're done with your appointment, but it will definitely be in a much smaller package by then.

Me: (disappointed, begrudgingly hands over the dignity while mumbling damnit under my breath)

I chipped away at a little more of my dignity today. I had an ultrasound on cycle day 3. That's right, day 3. As in, still bleeding (I finally have a full flow). And I know they've done a day 3 ultrasound a million times in that office, and I know they'd reassure me if I appeared uncomfortable, and I know it's not as gross as delivering as child (but, in all fairness, you do get a kid at the end of that and I got nothing). Still, I'm sorry. It grosses me out. When I went back for the ultrasound, they had put the little pad down on the exam table to deal with messes. Ewww.

After bloodwork and the ultrasound, Mr. Jaguar and I received our injectables tutorial by new nurse Cathy. She was very nice and reassuring and nothing seems too complicated about the shots. And I had really read up on injectables prior to this visit, so I was well prepared. There were no surprises. But I had butterflies in my stomach the whole time. And when she finally took the cover off the needles, my eyes grew as big as saucers and her and Mr. Jaguar both laughed. In all actuality, the needle's really not that big.

So why do I feel so emotional about this?

I tried to articulate my answer to this question for a good chunk of the day and finally the right words put themselves in the right order. I'm letting go of another piece of the dream. In our quest to become parents, we're giving up elements of how we envisioned it would happen. First, admitting something was wrong, then going to the RE, then trying the Clomid, and now sticking a needle in my thigh. The ideas of how this was supposed to happen for us keep getting replaced with other stuff like meds...and tears.

And so I'm emotional. I'm moving on to one more intervention. And I'm scared because if the injectables don't work, I know what's next. And if I end up at what's next, there aren't many more options after that. So that whole line of thinking freaks me out, too. Each time we move up a rung on this infertility ladder, I know there's one less rung above me to reach for.

In brighter news, my husband has declared today, "Stick-it-to-the-wifey-Eve" and he has been serenading me with the chorus to "It's the most wonderful time of the year". So I guess he's handling things okay and frankly, the humor does me good.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

That'll be 4 tickets, please

We're finally moving forward. I can't believe I finally get to type that.

The emotional infertility roller coaster continues. Monday was a definite low. It was an awful, depressing day. But then, when I went to the bathroom late Tuesday night before going to bed, I was spotting. Just a smidgen, but it was definitely spotting. And just like that, I was high again approaching the top of a steep incline. I went to bed, my ears buzzing with excitement that I could call Dr. PacMan and get things rolling again. This summer would not be an infertility waste. I would squeeze in one injectables/IUI cycle.

The next morning, I rubbed the sleep from my eyes and lazily rolled over. Then I remembered the spotting! I sprung out of bed and raced to the bathroom. It was gone. Vanished. My enthusiasm deflated and I settled back into my "maybe" low.

I spent most of the morning checking for its return with no luck. Finally, I decided I'd just call the RE's office and see what they say. I left a message for a nurse and went back to puttering around the house, procrastinating about school work that needs to be finished (which is exactly what I'm doing again as I write this post) when the phone rang. It was the nurse and she said that spotting is spotting and the doctor said that this time around spotting counts as a period so it's on! The 81 day cycle is over! And, technically, it's not even a full season! Yesss! I gradually approach the top of the hill and throw my hands up to enjoy the ride!

First thing tomorrow morning, Mr. Jaguar and I go to the RE's office with our little cooler of drugs in tow to get my initial bloodwork done and learn how to administer injections. And my spotting has continued off and on over the last day or so to make me feel a little less broken than normal.

Today, things are looking up. Maybe this cycle will even work and I'll be able to leave the amusement park for good.

Monday, August 4, 2008

To everything, there is a season...damn

First off, for those of you who are wondering, my period held off for Thursday and has been holding off ever since. So while I'm eternally grateful that she did not arrive on Thursday, any time now would be good. A friend's words are ringing in my ears that she was in the same boat as me a while back and ended up having to go on birth control pills for a month to get her cycle regulated. I can't even think about that.

Second, today is cycle day 81. In 9 days, if my period is still MIA, I will officially have a season-long-cycle. That's absolutely outrageous to me and fills me with an overwhelming urge to throw things.

Okay, on to my post....

Today's been ugly, my mood foul. I'm hoping that turning to my blog and getting everything out of my head will offer some sense of solace.

I arrived home from Buffalo yesterday evening. It was great to see my two best friends and their families but the weekend was so much harder than I ever could have imagined. Like your heart swelling with joy while simultaneously your entire chest is aching. It's hard to explain...highs and lows, joyful and saddening, just heart wrenching overall.

My best friend is due in October and she looks amazing...just like her regular self but with a beautiful bump. Like I said before, her journey to motherhood has had its own challenges and so her pregnancy is different than everybody else's for me. I'm excited for her where most other people's pregnancies just depress the sh!t out of me. was a weekend filled with baby talk, small children and the most exquisite baby I've ever laid eyes on (seriously, this kid was so cute, she could've sold me baby food). These are all things I typically avoid these days. And it gradually wore me down. My husband did not come along for the trip and by Friday night, as everyone else slept, I laid in the dark staring at the ceiling thinking about how I needed a hug. I was the only one husbandless and felt as though I needed mine the most right at that moment.

Also, my neck has been bothering me for the last few months and last week, it got worse. I think the long drive and hauling my duffle bag around aggravated it even more and by Friday evening, I broke down in tears and called the on-call doctor. I don't think near constant pain is good for an infertile woman's enthusiasm level and overall peppiness.

The funny thing on this trip was that there was no way to predict what would bring on the lump in my throat. One moment, I'd be fine playing with the kids, the next moment with them would make my chest hurt. I'd admire my best friend's belly a million times, and the time after that, I'd be hit by a wave of sadness. I'd participate in all of the baby talk with no problems and then out of nowhere, it would make me want to cry. There was one thing that got me every time though. I've only hung out with my best friend's husband a handful of times and have never really seen him around kids for a extended period of time. He played with those kids with so much joy and anticipation. When his nephew would chat with him and then wander away, I'd watch the expectant father's smiling eyes follow the boy as he walked off. I always had to look away.

I'm going to end with positive thoughts from the trip because this all sounds too depressing. I got to feel baby Kara kick! And I got to feel how hard my best friend's bump is which always amazes's like a smooth rock! I saw an old friend at the shower and met a new one (more on that later). I came home with an awesome drawing of me posing with a chair and a can of Pepsi which a certain soon-to-be-second-grader drew for me and I will display prominently on my fridge. I got to laugh a lot....even if it was often bittersweet laughter. I got to spend time with my two best friends in the world. And if I had to do it all over again, I would without a second thought.

Confession: I peed on a stick on the way home. I know, I have problems. But I got to driving and just started daydreaming that maybe that five days of spotting was really my period and the eggwhite cervical mucus was really me ovulating and maybe, just maybe, I could be pregnant. It's all totally feasible, right? And my best friend and I always talked about how we wanted to be pregnant together, and then I could text her and say "it's positive!" and she could call me and we could cry together about how amazing life is. It'd be great, so I must be pregnant, right? I even splurged and bought the more accurate digital test so I wouldn't miss the positive that I was certain to have. And I peed on a stick right in the grocery store restroom. But I'm sorry to disappoint, folks, it was negative. You're shocked, I know. And then I had a nine hour car ride to ponder that result.

This morning, my doctor's office called to check on me since I contacted the on-call doctor over the weekend. I went in for an appointment and, sure enough, I strained my neck and it is spasming. I scored some muscle relaxers and anti-inflammatories. Jealous? Yeah, you are. They don't really give me a buzz though. Just make me drowsy, but damn, my neck feels a lot less tight. While I was there, I also asked my doctor if he could recommend a therapist for me and he could! He gave me a name and I left her a message today. Hoefully, she takes my insurance. I need some strategies for dealing with all of this stress.

I'll let you know how all of that season.