Friday, September 26, 2008


I'm playing it pretty close to the vest these days. I don't know if it's to manage my expectations and potential disappointment, or to ward off jinxing myself. Either way, I'm not talking too much about the embryo transfer, not sharing it with the usual suspects who were in on the other procedures. I think that is the way to go.

And so, I'm taking it easy this week, listening to my IVF meditation CD, doing nothing strenuous, eating comfort foods, keeping my stress level down, and taking all my pills twice a day.

And that's that. For now.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

These three little buggers were transferred into me this morning. I'm resting and giving them encouraging words of implantation.

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Baker's Half Dozen

I had my retrieval yesterday and the fertility guru got seven eggs out! Whoo-hoo. But I'll start at the beginning.

I was starving. I couldn't eat or drink anything, and of course, on days like that you wake up wanting a feast. We got to Syracuse a little before 8:30 and they called me back. I got undressed and put on the oh-so-attractive hospital gown and sat in the little room, hooked up to a heart monitor and a blood pressure machine.

And I got to meet face-to-face the fertility guru, Dr. Richard Gere. He held both of my hands, brought his face about three inches from mine, asked if I had any questions, and then said, with a hand squeeze for good measure, "let's make a life today."

I was in and out of consciousness so quickly that it didn't even feel like it. When I woke up I asked the nurse if they found any eggs. She said yes but wasn't sure how many, but would find out before I left.

Another nurse came in and said, "did you hear? We got seven eggs! Isn't it great?"

I almost cried. Here I was thinking that there was the possibility there would be none. And he was able to pull out seven!

My friend drove me home, but not before stopping at the grocery store I worked at in high school, for the best donuts in the world. I got a yummy headlight and enjoyed every single calorie of it.

I napped on and off and then had acupuncture, and then started my rounds of medicine (all oral, thankfully). Five supplements from the acupuncturist, one antibiotic, one estrogen, and a baby aspirin. All of that twice a day, plus the oh-so-lovely vaginal suppository of progesterone, three times a day.

I knew that I would be hearing from the doctor's office today but wasn't sure when. I was thrilled when my cell phone rang a little after 9am to be told that of my seven eggs, I now had five viable embryos and they will be putting those suckers back in on Tuesday.

I will wait to meet with fertility guru and the embryologist on Tuesday, but I think that I will put two in this month. If it doesn't work, then I have three for next month.

And then we hope that at least one of those suckers can implant and stay viable and healthy.

It actually seems like it can happen. It actually feels real.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tomorrow's the day

I have egg retrieval at 8:30am tomorrow morning. I just came home from acupuncture, listened to my IVF meditation CD, and am about to jump in the shower and get into bed.

Think good thoughts.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Eggs, Eggs, Eggs.....

Another ultrasound and more blood work this morning (again from the same vein, in the same spot that they've taken blood the last six times), but it's all worth it. The nurse called to say that we can move ahead with egg retrieval on Thursday.

Tonight I give myself shots of my two hormones, tomorrow morning another dose of one of them, and then at exactly 9pm tomorrow, two shots of hCG. Wednesday, no shots. Also no food or drinks after midnight, and then I have to be in Syracuse by 8:30am on Thursday.

The whole thing should take less two to three hours and then I can come home to rest. They'll call on Friday with an update on how many embryos they were able to make in the petri dish and then I go back (probably Saturday or Sunday) for the embryo transfer.

Think good thoughts....wish for eggs, nice big healthy eggs.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

My Yankee

I got another call from my Yankee last night. He woke me up about 12:30am with a text.

"whats up"

Are you kidding me? "not much. how about you?"

"nada. just chilling"

It could have been a drunk dial but doubtful. They played a 7:05 game, I went to sleep about 9:15, and he was out of the game, but I don't think he would have left the Stadium. Unless he drank hard and fast after his most recent pitiful performance.

"me too. laying in bed, watching SNL."

"were you at the game today" He doesn't, at most people who have never lived in the upper part of New York state, understand the geography of the Empire State. NYC is a good six hours from where I live. I was closer to NYC when I lived in Baltimore. But now was not the time to get into it.

"no...probably won't make it to any more games this year"

"ok going to sleep"

But I didn't get that text until this morning. I think he sent it immediately after the one about being at the game, and I didn't notice that there was another in my in box.

I'm not sure what he wants. I'm happy to be an outlet for the drunk dial or even the phone booty call. But he needs to work with me a little more.

Maybe he's shy.

(Let's all laugh at that as we remember the very brief -- and very not shy -- conversation in the bar two months ago:
"Derek wanted to come but I told him I wanted you all to myself."
"Don't fuck with me."
"Oh I will fuck you later.")

OK, so he's not shy. Even so, as I did when I worked in Baltimore, when I had to deal with professional athletes on a regular basis, I made it easy for him.

"I missed your last text--must have fallen asleep. Next time tell you're in bed. I can talk you through some fun things."

Nancy thinks it's almost time to give him his own special ring, like J has. Soon, I think he needs to earn it still.

PS...on a somewhat related note, how fucking cool is that Derek Jeter needed nine hits going into this homestand to tie Lou Gehrig for most hits at Yankee Stadium -- AND he got all nine of them this weekend in three games!? Even Mr. Team Player was in awe of what that really means.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

More, more, more

I went in for my 5th ultrasound in 10 days on Friday. I have one follicle on the right side (18mm) and four (not three) on the left. Two are overlapping so the tech read that at three the other day. These four are in the low teens.

I resigned myself that this might not be the month for things to happen. And really the worst thing that could happen is that we pull the plug this month, I get my period and we start over next month, with a much better idea of how my body reacts to the Gonal-F and they can start me at a higher dose.

I think this is what was getting me down earlier in the week, the up and down, the going and stopping, of this whole process. But once I moved past the point of my own impatience, I saw that that option really wouldn't be a horrible thing.

The weather was crappy yesterday. Cold and rainy. Thankfully it was a quiet day in the office, and Heather and I went to McDonald's for happy meals at lunch. As we were pulling out, my cell phone rang.

The nurse from the fertility guru's office was calling to tell me to keep up with the 450 units each day over the weekend and go in for another ultrasound on Monday. That we were still in good shape and we'll see what Monday brings.

And so just when I was okay with throwing in the towel for this month, there's still a glimmer of hope that we can do the IVF this month.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Forgive, but don't forget

I hadn't talked to my friend Tim in Baltimore since I was there before my NY trip. Things were definitely strained between us, but there was also a lot of hurt there, but I knew we would get past it. Time does heal all wounds.

I guess too much time had gone by for him to be comfortable, or maybe, he just finally got it. I got the following email earlier this week.

Regarding my words from earlier this summer....there is one more thing I would like to say.... I am very, very, very , VERY, VERY Sorry, Ellie. You have and had been going through a very tough emotional and physical time with things. And things haven't been as any of has hoped for yet. And instead of giving you an arm to support you with, and a shoulder for you to rest your head on, I used words to stir things up. Words that in the end were judgmental, no matter what my intention may have been.

Like most men, when silence was the best solution, I opened mouth and shut off brain. I am soooooo sorry for that. I can't go back in time and just turn off my phone before I ever sent that first message. But like with everything I do, with a little time I try and learn and change things so they are not repeated in the future.

Maybe in time I will start and get things right the first time. I wish I could do more for you, El. I always have. But being a friend is sometimes the best thing for someone to be and do. I hope you can forgive me and see that maybe I am getting it a little. No more words. Just support in whatever way you want and need it.

If you want to share whats going on, I will be receptive without any opinions. I will be supportive. That's what friends do. Anyway, hope you can forgive a broken down gimping cop who is TRYING to be less self centered.

I read it and closed it. A few days later, I took a deep breath and read it again. It's time to move on. I hit the reply button, and caught him up on work, the weather, yes the leaves are already starting to change, had a blast in NY, drank too much, etc. And then...

I appreciate the apology and the insight into how I reacted to what you said. And I have forgiven you. Give me time and I will share with you what's going on and give you updates....I'm just not there yet.

Say hi to the to you soon. love, Red

I have forgiven him, but I haven't forgotten his hurtful words, and cannot open myself up to him yet. I can't add him to my emotional roller coaster yet. Someday. Not yet.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Chugging along

I am on day 12 of giving myself two shots a day. I have had five ultrasounds and given five blood samples in the past two weeks. As of this morning, I have four egg follicles -- one 15mm, the others 5 to 7 mm.

What does all of this mean? I have no idea, other than my patience is wearing thin. I'm an emotional wreck. I cry easily. I'm cranky. And after today's ultrasound, two days after the fertility guru estimated that he would do the egg retrieval, I still have to give myself two shots a day. Friday, I go in for yet another ultrasound and more blood work.

I'm trying not to complain. I'm trying not to feel down. And I'm trying to stay positive. I'm trying.

Last night when I was falling asleep, I was pretty low. I didn't want to talk to anyone, didn't want to try to explain what I was feeling. I listened to my IVF meditation CD and then tried to sleep. I was thinking about J, trying not to think about it, but thinking about him nonetheless.

And he came through for me. About 11:20, my phone beeped. Four quick beeps. I rolled over and looked at the phone. "One new text message from J."

We texted a few times and then when he said he wasn't at the bar anymore, I called him. And we chatted. He actually growled at the "conversation" finale. And then, because he's not just some guy looking for a good time, not just some guy looking to get laid, or in this case, getting a little phone sex, he asked how things were going.

I knew what he meant, but didn't want to think about it all again. I said things were fine, busy, etc. But he pressed me. "How's it going with the baby thing?"

I rolled over onto my stomach, leaned up on one elbow, and managed to tell him that I was frustrated, that I was scared. I told him about my local doctor's assessment of my egg reserve, and then the fertility guru saying it was worth a shot. He asked when I would know if this month worked and to please keep him informed about what's going on.

And then he said, if this doesn't work, what are your options. I told him my choices were using an egg donor -- for about $11,000 -- or going the adoption route -- for about $30-40,000.

He asked thoughtful questions, without being intrusive. I told him I had a good support system and that if I have to do one of the two expensive options, that my friends were ready to have a fund-raiser to help with it, and that I might need some autographed items.

"You just tell me when and how many, and I'll get you whatever you need."

How can I not be falling for this guy? I'm trying to keep my emotions at arm's length, all the while ignoring the 7th commandment. I'm curious to know what's going on in Ellicott City with him, but I've told him -- and they are rules that I've played by in the past -- no questions, no expectations.

It's been seven years since the night of the musem's holiday party, where we spent most of the time in my office or in an exhibit gallery corner. Since that same night when we did shots of tequila at the Phoenix and ended up back at my apartment. Since that night when I asked him, "what's the deal with the ring on and then the ring off?" And he bolted up and out, and I respected it, and I never crossed boundaries again.

Until he did. And now I don't know how far he is willing to go, or why he's suddenly willing to go this far.

Wake up call, caught you in the morning
with another one in my bed
Don't you care about me anymore?
Don't you care about me? I don't think so.

When it's 1am on the west coast...

Monday morning I was awakened at 4:07am with a cell phone beep, the tell-tale sign of a text message (and not from J, because he has his own alert sound).

I picked up the phone and looked, expecting to see a wrong number or Verizon telling me my bill is now available on-line. Instead, it was from my Yankee. "whats up"

My wheels turned quickly, thinking of a good response and also analyzing the situation. The Yankees lost in Seattle and then headed to Anaheim. It's 1am. Bars are still open. And he's thinking of me?!

How fucking cool is that!

I was still groggy and not exactly sure what he wanted. Was this a drunk dial? Or a phone sex booty call? I played it safe and threw it back at him.

"you pitched well the other day. how are you?

"thanks...i'm good. whats up"

Hmmmm....he didn't give me a lot. "work, gym, not enough sex"

"same here"

Not exactly the playful response I was hoping for. Maybe there's a language barrier on the texting. I tried one more time. "too bad we're on different coasts...we could help each other out with that last one"

And then no response. I figured he got a better, in-person offer. Or passed out. Knowing him, either is totally possible.

As for me, it was not 4:30am, and I was wide awake. I watched two episodes of Little House on the Prairie (thank you TV Land) and was out the door by 6:45am.

It was a long day.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

And I love John Stewart too

This is why I love Bubbles

I had a dream last night that I married Derek Jeter. (I fell asleep to the game, which was late because they are on the west coast.)

Anyway, we were doing pictures after the wedding, and it was winter (we couldn't get married in summer!) and I was cold because my dress was strapless, and we were waiting for the photographer to set up.

He took his tux jacket off and put it over my shoulders, and I was leaning forward into his chest, with my arms scrunched up against his chest. He kissed my forehead and the photographer caught it.

And Bubbles said, "that's the photo we'll release to the media."

Ever the good bride's maid thinking like a media relations professional. :) (I did teach her everything she knows.)

Saturday, September 06, 2008


I went for my second ultrasound yesterday, and then blood work. The tech found one "tiny" follicle on the left, and two smallish ones on the right. I tried not to analyze it, tried not to read too much into it, forced myself not to do any research on the internet.

Even though I knew that it wasn't great news. That at this point in my cycle, the follicles should be bigger, maybe even more of them. But I waited for the nurse to call. She must know, that for any woman who gets to this point, they are informed enough to know what's going on.

"Your body is responding, so don't worry. It's just taking a little longer."

So I'm upping my hormones to 450 units (up from 300) for the weekend, and have another ultrasound and more blood work on Monday, and more scheduled for Wednesday and Friday, with the hopes that I won't need Friday.

I'm trying to stay positive. I'm trying to do all the things that I can do -- back to acupuncture, trying to keep my stress levels down, relaxing, thinking positive thoughts.

And so it goes. Slowly, but it goes.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

What to say....

If your sister, or aunt, or friend calls to tell you, you specifically, that she is trying to have a baby. That even though she's single, and she knows it will be hard, but it's something that she's always wanted, and she's hoping for your support.

And you say, "you have it. Good for you. I know it's what you've always wanted. I've been waiting for you to say you were doing this. I'm excited for you."

And after you've had this conversation, a year has gone by, more than a year, and you haven't heard any big announcement that she's having a baby, don't stay silent. You promised your support last year. It won't be prying, it won't be bringing up something that she doesn't want to be reminded of (trust me, it's never far from her mind).

If you don't want to be invasive, you don't have to call. You don't even have to get into particulars. An email. A card. "How are you? How are things going? We're thinking of you. Let me know if you want to talk."

That's all it takes. I have seven siblings. I had this conversation with six of them last August, and a few of my nieces. All six siblings are married, so even if my brothers don't want to think about it, my sisters-in-law can.

Of the six sets of siblings, only two show their support. Only two ask me regularly what's going on, how are you doing, how are you handling the disappointment.

And right now, as my body is pumped full of extra hormones, all I can think about is how little support I'm getting from my family. Why did I waste my time calling them? Why did I waste the effort and the excitement on them? I should have just waited until I was pregnant to tell them.

Yes, I'm down tonight. And I'm taking it out on my family.

So here' my advice for tonight....if you know someone who shared something with you, no matter what it is, follow-up with them. Ask how they're doing. You can do it without being obtrusive.

Trust me, they'll appreciate it.