Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Guest Post - Because I Have Something To Say

My friend, my dearest friend J, is busy trying to help with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and even busier taking care of herself.
She texted me today and asked if I had read the comments left on her most recent blog post.

I hadn't, but when I did I asked her if I could write her next blog post.

I'm not going to post the comment and if you go back and read it, all I'm going to ask is that you don't say anything negative about the commenter - because in her own way I'm sure she meant well.

But I want to say something to that anonymous commenter:

One of J's best friends lives in Brooklyn, NYC and has a pizza place in Coney Island.  If you're familiar with Coney Island, you'll know that the city borders the ocean.  It's a beautiful place, and it's a place that both J and I call home.

J's friend called this week to let her know that his pizza place was destroyed in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

New York is home to J and the people there are her family, and she loves them just as much as she loves her own flesh and blood.

In her last post, J mentioned how frustrated she was at being unable to get medical clearance to fly to NYC - it's a frustration I understand.
Anonymous, I hope you meant well, but when you suggested that J needs to reevaluate her priorities (my words, not yours) and that maybe it is time for her to choose having a baby over her job, I knew that you didn't really know my friend.

Her job isn't just a job.
It's her life.
It's in her blood.

When the people of New York City are suffering, J is suffering.
J has that much love and compassion for everyone she helps, but it's more when it comes to New York.
It's so much more - it's personal - and unless you've given what J has given to the people of NYC, you can't possibly understand.

And to suggest that J isn't taking care of herself - well, you are wrong.
If J wasn't taking care of herself, if having a baby weren't her priority, I can guarantee you that nothing would have kept her from getting on that plane - not something as simple as medical clearance.

Anonymous, J said this about your comment:

"It's the place I love - the people I love - and I'm sitting here purely by the irony that I had an ill-timed procedure.  I can be disappointed.   ... & they aren't wrong.  But they aren't right either.  It's not about a job vs baby.  Trust me - I'd have been on a flight Saturday if I was totally dumb and selfish."

Anonymous, my friend J wants a baby - probably more than you want her to have a baby - and I hope you know that she will continue to make that her top priority.

We all have passions, and J's just happens to be something she gets paid for.
That passion isn't going to go away because she wants a baby - not ever.
And between you and me, I think my friend is balancing both perfectly, and with the kind of grace I hope to someday have.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Bad Day in Black Rock


Wah, wah, wah.  (this is the point that you imagine a flower wilting and a balloon deflating)

My last two phone calls have been from nurses.  Right now, neither one of them like me very much and to be honest, the feeling in this moment is quite mutual (even though said nurses are my two favorite people under normal circumstances).

But today, I'm mad.

Nurse #1 (from work) got word that I have a priority flight into New Jersey (because NYC is still closed) which she promptly put a stop to based upon Friday's procedure.  So much for flying under the radar and not telling anyone at work what was going on.  So much also for the theory that I have any sort of control over my staff when the cat does get out of the bag (thank you conscience).  In fairness, it is probably the smart thing to do as I need time to recover.  But still.

This is what I do... and I so very much HATE not being able to do what I do.  (Especially in New York.  It's personal).

Moral of the story:  no flight until I have a doctor's note releasing me.

So being the determined lass that my Scottish father raised me to be, I call Nurse #2 being 150% certain that I could sweet talk her into providing said doctor's note.

Yeah, right.

I started the conversation with how great I am feeling...not one darn issue (maybe a big fat lie)...and how I'm ready to resume exercise (maybe a bigger fat lie)...but after saying "that's nice" and "no", she let me know in no uncertain terms that I would not be getting a doctor's note.  "Matter of fact" she says...

IVF has been pushed back based upon that "little procedure you are feeling so great from". 

Yeah, you heard me right.

November 17th isn't going to be spent with sharp needles which consequently means that there will be no miracle baby news for Christmas.  Funny, how I got my little heart set on that...

Basically, Dr. H carved my pumpkin which was a lot worse than expected.  Originally, he thought that we would be able to stick with a Nov. 17th cycle date but Friday changed that. I guess I need a longer recovery time based upon what he had to do so that my body can rebuild the uterus lining.  Simply put he wants me to go through two cycles of birth control before we even consider IVF.

Do the math.

Two cycles =  two months. 

To add more great news into the situation, this means that I can kiss away the fact that I've already met my $2500 insurance deductible for the year (thank you wrist surgery).  I'm not even going to tell Mr. Thompson because he is going to FREAK COMPLETELY OUT when I inform him that in addition to the savings account that I just emptied for the portion that insurance won't cover...I've now got to come up with $2500 more so we can do this in 2013.

Damn uterus.

Pray for me.  I'm a person of hope. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

NewYork State of Mind

Surgery went well.

Even if it happened at a horrible time for a Red.Cross Emergency Services Director...

Now it's all about being able to heal fast enough to catch a flight out since my deployment papers to New York said I had to fly before noon last Saturday.

Needless to say, that didn't happen.

First things, first.

- Posted from my iPad

Friday, October 26, 2012

Moves Like Jagger

Thanks for the sweet birthday wishes.

You're right - hogwash on that infertility newsletter. 38 is not too old - not even close. (Three loud cheers for Pam! FET at 52 is beyond amazing. Just goes to show that our best years are still ahead of us if we take care of ourselves.)

Goodness, my own mother had my little brother (the Marine, who is still "for sale" by the way...) when she was 43. She was pregnant at my oldest brother's wedding which has provided some great family humor over the years, especially amongst siblings. Littlest brother is a retirement gift.

You know how else I know that I'm not too old?

My Ovarian Assessment Report (OAR) came in the mail this week.

It basically says that despite my age (which they categorized as "fair", guess they got the newsletter too) ... I am still a rock star.

Want an autograph?

(Now if I can just get through today's surgery...)

- Posted from my iPad

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

How Old Is Too Old?

The first email that I looked at today was from a fertility newsletter. The headline:

How Old Is Too Old To Have A Baby?

Today's my 38th birthday. The age referenced in the first sentence.

Thanks for that...

(oy vey!)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Breaking Bad

Last week when the nurse gave me the list of things that I need to do, I was less than pleased.  Goodness me, the reality of all of this has slapped me in the face again. (and if you've done IVF, you know that this is the easy part!)

  1. Down payment - Check!  (otherwise known as the cleaning out of the bank accounts...)
  2. Ovarian Assessment Report (OAR) on Cycle Day 2-4  - Check! ...and truthfully not a big deal despite multiple sticks (two of which were in my hands, not a great place to draw blood!).
  3. GC/CT urine tests for both of us to ensure that we don't have Gonorrhoea or Chlamydia - Check!  ...and you should know that there have been more jokes going around the Thompson household on this one! I think we've taken this stupid test annually but whatever. We still don't have Gonorrhoea or Chlamydia.
  4. Birth control (pill) starting on Cycle Day 3 - Check!
  5. Metformin (pill) starting on Cycle Day 5 - Check!
  6. Semen Analysis with Kruger for Mr. Thompson - Pending and the chicken is not laughing too much about this one.  Then again, he never does.  The thought of going back into that "Chamber of Manly Death" so that he can humiliate himself even one more time, has him ready to run.  How funny that he doesn't yet realize that he'll eventually have to go back for collection too... :)
  7. Saline Sonogram (SSG) or Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) on Cycle Day 5-11 - Houston we have a problem...!

Like I said, I was not to thrilled to be going through all of this stuff again.  And we haven't even gotten into the shots/real medication yet.  It feels like I just went to the hospital for the Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) so I felt like this was really medically and financially unnecessary.  Who likes blue dye shoved up their fallopian tubes?!  It wasn't pleasant the first two times so I begged the nurse to let #7 slide.

She wouldn't. 

So I went to another nurse. 

She wouldn't either. 

But they got together and offered me a Saline Sonogram in the office performed by Dr. H as an alternative.  No trip to the hospital?  No radiation?  No blue dye?  No valium?  Sign me up!  So that's what we did yesterday. 

(Side Note:  As I was draping my naked self on the sterile medical table, Mr. Thompson proudly declared from the comfortable Lazy Boy recliner in the corner that if he was a reproductive doctor, he wouldn't accept any ugly patients.  I could be wrong, but I think that he was referencing the beautiful blond that we saw in the waiting room.)

Dr. H started with an ultrasound.  As he was checking out my ovaries he declared that I am his worst PCOS case.  Most women have 6-8 ovarian follicles from which their body releases eggs...I have 41 on the left and 32 on the right.


Hyper stimulation is still a huge concern no matter what we do so we'll have to make some changes for this cycle.  More meds.  More shots.

Then we did the Saline Sonogram.   In medical terms this is what happened:

"The patient (me) lies on her back with her feet in stirrups (as on a gynecology examining table). A    speculum is placed in the *who-ha*, a large iodine swab is used for cleaning and a small catheter tube is then used to insert a saline solution into the uterus. A vaginal ultrasound probe is used to make images of the saline filling the endometrial cavity. An evaluation of the cul de sac (open abdominal space behind the uterus) is done with the vaginal ultrasound probe still in place. If either fallopian tube is open, some of the saline should be seen in this space.  The test may cause some minor discomfort, such as pelvic or lower abdominal cramping."

"Minor discomfort" my eye.  It hurt like hell!

The purpose was to ensure that all is well with my uterus.  And... umm... ahh... we learned very quickly that all is clearly not well with my uterus. 

Black = good.  White = bad.

And here you have it folks,  After 6 years of infertility and even pregnancy loss....we may finally have the reason as to why I am seeing Dr. H in the first place.

The most telling picture is the one on the lower left.  The green triangle (a little over sized) is the shape that this view should show of my uterus.  The picture should show a clear black triangle.

It obviously...doesn't.  Thanks to polyps.

In the words of Dr. H, the best embryo in the world wouldn't be able to implant with that crap. Which may or may not explain what happened with our two perfect embryos last year (yay for spending $15,000 on something that wasn't going to work in the first place!). 

In the words of Dr. H., the best baby in the world wouldn't be able to deal with that in his living conditions either. Although polyps generally cause miscarriage the first trimester if implantation does occur (miracle of all miracles!), it can get get worse because the polyps serve as a "punching bag" against the fetus/baby.  I don't know if it is related to the "incompetent cervix" that I was diagnosed with (cervix is the opening to the uterus) but it makes me want to weep for my Colton!  At 24 weeks we should have been beyond it but it may or may not have played a part in pushing him down on a cervix that couldn't stay closed and hold him in - we'll never know.

Why didn't we know this earlier?

Good question.  I bled a lot during my pregnancy and Dr. Q suspected polys or fibroid but he couldn't do anything about them because it was dangerous to the pregnancy.  He couldn't even look for them but we knew something (aka: polyps or fibroid) were causing a lot of bleeding and even (sorry for being gross) discharge.  I remember taking a urine sample and having a bunch of "debris" in it which scared the crap out of the nurse because she thought it was a miscarriage.  This always hapened at home so I wasn't scared until she was scared.

Thankfully things were always fine with the ultrasounds, despite the debris at home and the doctor's office, which was eventually chalked up as polyps or fibroids. (polyps grow into fibroids as they extend beyond the uterine wall).

Fast forward to infertility...I saw two other Reproductive Endocrinologists.  I've had two other Hypersapingograms.  All focused mainly on my fallopian tubes rather than the uterus.  (Don't ask me why since IVF bypasses the fallopian tubes).  When I switched to Dr. H (the best!) for our last IVF, he trusted the results from the other doctors, especially since the 2nd Hypersapingogram (HSG) had just been done prior to my switch.

Not his fault.

Either... A) the polyps where always there but missed during the HSGs... B) were smaller and harder to detect... C) have developed in the last year.  My experience with Colton almost 4/12 years ago leads me to believe in A, that they've always been there.  There was just too much bleeding and "debris" with Colton to believe otherwise.

So there you have it.

On Friday I will have another date with a anaesthesiologist and Dr. H will surgically remove it all.  If all goes well, I'll get my dark triangle back and the darn things will be non-cancerous like we think.  IVF is pushed back until the end of November (earliest) so that I can have an adequate recovery time but if I play my cards right, I could have IVF results a few days before Christmas.

Just in time for a Christmas Miracle.

(p.s.: no whammies. no whammies. no whammies.)

(p.s.s.: I'll never argue with another nurse again!)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Reason #484 Why You Should Laugh at Infertility

I don't care how you look at it...

It just feels wicked wrong for an infertile to have to take birth control!

Wicked. Wrong.

- Posted from my iPad

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Let The Battle Begin

Mr. Thompson and I have a favorite TV show.  Iron.Chef.America. 

Highly entertaining, especially in the beginning when the Japanese guy does a karate chop and screams, "LET THE BATTLE BEGIN!"

That's how I feel today.


I went in for my (cycle day 3) IVF Ovarian Reserve Testing (OAR) and it didn't go so well from a blood draw standpoint (arms are covered up but they tried there first).  Oy vey!

But isn't it sorta-kinda cool that out of a vial of blood they can tell you what your eggs look like and  what their quality is?  That helps them assess for a depleted egg reserve and makes for a more fine-tuned treatment plan.

Two bandaged thumbs up!

But these bandaged thumbs are also crossed because last year they took three years worth of eggs in one month... which could be a concern, as Mr. Thompson points out, because I'll be (uh hem) 38 next week.

One egg.  In the end, we just need one good egg.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

There Is Beauty All Around

I love fall.

As I was driving through Park City on my way out of town last Friday, I couldn't help feel awe-struck by the beauty all around.

I was on a four-hour drive towards Colorado (for work) and as I marveled at the unbelievably rich and colorful mountainous scene all along my route, I couldn't help but feel a lot of peace, hope and love.

God is so extremely good.

This drive was very therapeutic and came at an important time. Negative pregnancy tests will never get easy and I'll confess that I was holding out hope before this one came a few days ago. You'd think that after almost 6 years, I'd learn. But I had hope in my heart like I haven't had in a really long time because, for some reason, this month just felt "different".

Not so, but I'm okay.

I know that I am loved. God knows me. He trusts me. He understands my heart. And all will be well. I haven't always felt that confidence but with a surety, right now I do.

On my drive I couldn't help but reflect on this whole experience as a soul stretching opportunity. The negative test came at a time which was also the annual Walk of Remembrance and Hope for infant loss. It's funny how Infant loss always compounds the feelings of infertility... and infertility always compounds the feelings of infant loss. It's hard when I get such strong reminders of both and it sometimes feels like it keeps me in an unrelenting cycle of grief. Three newborns were blessed in church today and as tears fell for a little boy I can not see and a dream Not yet realized, I shut my eyes and envisioned the beauty of the fall colors.

AF arrived within 24-hours of the test (of course)... which initiated "the pill"... which officially puts me on our final IVF journey.

It's hard.

Really. Really. Really. Hard.

The are no guarantees.

But I am trying to stretch my soul on a divine errand. My intent is pure and come rain or shine, I know that all will be well.

My drive reminded me of that because I was on this same road earlier this summer which was dark with wildfire smoke. These mountains haven't seen nearly an ounce of rain since spring and yet, right now...

There is unbelievable beauty all around.

Miracles happen.

- Posted from my iPad

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


October has always been my favorite month of the year. I love all things fall (and birthday) related...but it is also National Infertility and Infant Loss Awareness Month which makes it special for another reason.

Through increased awareness it gives understanding for 1 in 6 women who face infertility and helps us provide on-going support to bereaved families who have been devastated by the tragic death of a baby through early pregnancy loss, stillbirth or newborn death.

Neither road is easy, and combined infertility and infant loss can be devastating. Luckily, I have a great support system in Share, the local chapter for pregnancy and infant loss support.

Yesterday as I was on our FB page, I saw a post from a fellow mom who is burying her baby girl this Saturday and is looking for poem to share at the funeral.

I remember being in a similar place 4 1/2 years ago so I'll post the poem that means the most to me, with permission Lindsay for you to make the necessary changes to make it your own.

In honor of your beautiful angel, I wish your mother's heart well.

Silent Footprints
By Elena Wilson (my 10 year old niece)

You never had the chance to play,
To laugh, to rock, to wiggle.
We long to hold you, touch you now,
And listen to you giggle.

Aunt J will always be your mother,
and Aaron be your dad.
You will always be their child,
The child they never had.

But now you're gone...but yet you're here,
We'll sense you everywhere.
You are our sorrow and our joy,
There is love in every tear.

Just know our love goes deep and strong,
We will forget you never.
The child they had, but never had,
And yet will have forever.

I'll also post the song my sister sang which was written by her friend, Jessie Clark Funk (gospel/country artist). Jessie also went though infant loss and wrote this for the little girl she lost during the 2nd Trimester. My sister surprised me at the funeral and nothing could have been more perfect. (I cry every time I hear the first notes and think of the few changes they made to the lyrics for Colton).

Calling All Angels (click to listen/view)
By Jessie Clark Funk

- Posted from my iPad

Friday, October 5, 2012


My neighbor came over for a girl's chat last night which was really enjoyable.  She brought me dinner - just to bring me dinner - and as we were discussing her daughters and the difficulty of life in general, she blurted out "how do you do it?!".

"Do what?", I replied.

"How do you always stay so happy and positive?!"

Oh boy.  Boy-oh-boy.  I sure do have her fooled!  Especially since I write this post from bed with Air Supply blaring on my iPod.

It's never a good sign when Air Supply is playing.  It's a sure sign that I'm feeling a little blue.  Just ask Mr. Thompson.  He knows if he hears Air Supply coming from the bedroom that he better take cover and leave me alone for a while.

If my friend where here, I would tell her the same thing that I said last night.  I try (key word) to stay happy and keep it in perspective because my life is SO blessed in oh-so many ways.  But the reality is that we all have our moments.  Period.

...and as testified by Air Suppy's All Out O Love, mine just happens to be right now.

It started with that darn Ricki Lake show today. I came home early and was intrigued when I turned on the tele and saw her episode on adoption.  It gave me a lot to think about, especially when some of the stories sounded so easy.  You and I both know that, in fact, it is quite the opposite.

One woman went through IVF unsuccessfully 4 times...and then magically one day a 9 month pregnant girl walked in to her place of employment and asked her, a stranger, if she wanted her babies.  She quickly called her husband, he said "yes", and a week later they brought home twins.

1 in a million.

So thinking about that false expectation, I turned off the tele and got on FB.  Within 2 minutes I saw 4 belly pics, 3 posts about pregnancy and 2 posts about the excitement of  upcoming adoptions.  Normally these posts don't bother me in the least bit.

But today they did.

So I turned off the computer and attempted to cross some things off my "To Do" list that have been sitting there all week.  I called my fertility clinic to talk to Paula in billing. 

The conversation didn't exactly go as planned.  My insurance wants to include meds into the lifetime totals so my IVF coverage basically went from $10,000 to $5,000.   IVF, by the way, at my clinic costs $14,715.

You do the math.

So I went to my room and turned on Air Supply.  I try to stay positive but the reality is that just like you, I have my bad days.  Today, just happens to be one of them. I have them because it shouldn't
 be this hard to have a baby.  It shouldn't cost $5,000 for little bottles of medicine that get jabbed in your butt and I shouldn't have to fly to Barbados to be able to afford family planning options.

Apparently, if I was smart I would just start positioning myself next to 9 month old pregnant girls on the off chance that I'm 1 in a million and can get someone to ask me (out of the blue) if I want her her baby(ies).

The odds feel about right.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


Let's chat about IVF for a minute, shall we?

But before we do that let me add a little humor to the story.  After, going-on 6 years of infertility hocus pocus/black magic ... I feel like my body is finally stabilizing.  September was the first time in....I don't know how many years... in which I:
  • Started my menstrual cycle on Day 32 (not Day 45 - or 50 - or 62 - if at all)
  • Had a completely normal menses phase (not too long - not too short)
  • Ovulated 
  • Not only ovulated - but ovulated on Day 17 (not Day 24 - or 26 - if at all)
  • Have felt a completely normal hormonal level (a very big deal)! I didn't cry, kill anyone, or throw up ( A very-very big deal)!
So you will understand why I am not even the least bit excited to A) go on birth control for a month as we align my cycle to Dr. H's schedule...B) start jabbing needles into my stomach...C) start shoving even larger needles deep into my butt...D) put cream up my who-ha...E) pop pills... F) process bills...G) figure out all of the emotional/physical/spiritual things that fall somewhere in between (which you know there are a lot of)! 

Yeah, one hot mess.

So with that in mind, let's chat about my recent conversation with Dr. H.  First, we reviewed my chart:

(Cliff note version:  Last IVF was in January 2011.  31 eggs retrieved.  26 mature and passed on for fertilization.  12 advanced with ICSI.  2 perfect (highest grade) Day 5 blastocysts.  Hyper stimulation which almost landed me into the hospital but ended with daily belly drains...and made 2 perfect blastocysts go to the freezer.  Yada, yada, yada.)

One big disappointment as I had to wait for 6 long months to get the hyper stimulation under control before we could go through FET (frozen embryo transfer).

Which, or course, ended with devastating results.

So as Dr. H and I reviewed the drama of it all and chatted...he reiterated what he said last July 2012 when it all went south.  He said that based upon my history and my ability to produce a lot of eggs....he wants to put me on a low-low stimulation plan for this next round.

My problem with this?...I'm going to be 38 in a 19 days and I'm ready to throw everything plus the kitchen sink at this deal.  According to the research, low stim cycles have slightly lower pregnancy rates than conventional IVF. Sure there isn't risk of hyper stimulation and I don't have to go through as many painful shots (or fluid drains)... but in the end I could care less about any of that.

I just want a baby. 

With Mr. Thompson's dimples.

So I'm conflicted.  Really - really - really conflicted.  What do you think?  Has your doctor ever discussed a low-stim plan with you and what are your thoughts?

Inquiring minds like mine want to know...

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Truth Of The Matter

Meet Max. The funniest three year old on the planet.

It was his mom's birthday on Saturday night so being the good aunt, I offered to babysit.

Meet Lilie. Don't let her joy over her new 3 month Uggs deceive you.

The second her mom left, she screamed bloody murder. Loud. For 2.5 hours. Straight.

When he couldn't take it anymore Max finally looked at me and said, "her no like you!". He then invited me to take Lilie outside so his ears could get some rest (which I did, to no avail).

Holy crum kids are hard work!

Cute. But hard work. As we left Mr. Thompson (who may or may not have agreed with Max by telling me I was going to be a bad mom because I couldn't get Miss Lilie to stop crying...) turned to me and said, "are you suuuure that you still want one of those?"

Why yes, yes I am.

100% sure.

Who doesn't love a great pair of Uggs?!

- Posted from my iPad