Sunday, February 27, 2005

still life with otis

If I had known that having a puppy around would be such a stress reducer, I'm sure I would have caved in and gotten one sooner. Life with Otis this past week has been amazingly relaxed- this, despite the fact that I started my Lupron injections last Sunday night and leave in just 4 days for New York where my reproductive future awaits.

Otis keeps me laughing, keeps me busy, gets me outside to the park. I sleep better at night having played with him all afternoon and evenings and don't even mind waking up at 5:30 each morning to take him outside to do his business. I've lost a couple of pounds from all of our walks. I haven't even noticed the lack of alcohol or caffeine or nicotine in my diet. I'm calm. I'm cool. I'm collected. And I really feel like Otis is the one who gets all of the credit.

I was a bit worried at first that the timing was all wrong. That bringing a 3 month old puppy into the house a couple of weeks before starting IVF might have been a mistake. But I am certain that if he were not here I would find myself obsessing over my Lupron headaches and the bruises on my stomach from the injections. I would be crazy upset about the fact that our #2 choice for sperm donor has run out of vials and our #1 choice only has a limited number of vials left and yet we still haven't gotten our act together to place our order. I can imagine the sleepless nights, tossing and turning while wondering exactly what the chances are that this cycle will be the one for us, wondering how I'll handle the disappointment if it's not. I would be stressed about the recent e-mail I got from a friend (finally!) after 3 months of nothing- still assuming that I was planning on staying with her in March while I'm in New York and my blunt and honest response to her explaining that I was hurt that she hadn't written sooner, that I had made other arrangements for my trip and that to be honest, I'm not sure how up for seeing people I will be and need to play the social engagement thing by ear.

But I am not worried about any of these things. I have quickly learned from my funny faced puppy how to just be. To eat and sleep and walk and play and let everything else go because it is out of my control. What is going to happen will happen and I will manage to get through it for better or for worse.

He's sleeping in my lap as I type. Doesn't even realize the profound effect he's had on my life. He's pretty amazing, this one. Who would have thought a dog could make me a better person?

Monday, February 21, 2005

shooting up

I gave myself my first Lupron shot last night. To be perfectly honest, the anticipation was much worse than the actual shot. The needle is actually quite small and it certainly helps that I numbed the area first with ice. My husband stood by me for moral support, cheering me on from beginning to end and gave me a big hug, a kiss, and a high five when it was all over.

In bed last night he said "So this is the beginning. How are you feeling?" And I told him the truth. That I am scared.

But I have to say, this new little puppy of mine certainly helps me stay distracted. Instead of trying to figure out my due date should this IVF actually work, I worried all day long how he was faring on his first day home alone. He was fine. But leaving him to go to work this morning was much harder than giving myself the shot last night.

I know there will be more shots and bigger needles to look forward to. Whoever made up this protocol was definitely right on with the whole start-with-the-small-needle-and-the-drug-that-requires-no-mixing-idea.

Oh and PS? Last night when Otis woke up in the middle of the night and starting crying (not once, but three times?), my husband got up to reassure him that everything was alright. He's been so great with the puppy, I can't wait until he has the chance to be a dad to some real live humans.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

i'm a mommy

That's right. To Otis Fitzgerald. A three month old boy pug.

And yes, it was an impulse purchase in the sense that my hubby and I were walking by the pet store and agreed that if they had a pug puppy, we'd buy it.

They did. And so we did.

But we've been wanting a pug for years. Have had his name picked out since the mid-nineties, so that part? Not so impulsive.

A rash decision to adopt a dog a few weeks before we start IVF? Maybe. But I have to say I feel happier and more content than I have in a very long time.

Otis is sweet and smart and oh-so-playful. After being home for only 4 hours or so, he already knows his name, how to do his business on the papers we laid out for him, how to heel on the leash and how to chase the ball (he's still working on the fetching part).

Friday, February 11, 2005

decisions, decisions

A while back I posted about how my husband and I had narrowed down our potential list of donors to three. How all were smart and mathematically inclined, how any of them would be a more than okay choice for the biological father of our future child(ren). When I posted, we still had a bit of research to do, hadn't yet listened to their audio interviews (or had we?). At any rate, what I thought was the beginning of the end was really only the beginning.

We listened to the audio interviews a couple of weeks ago. And I have to say hearing the guys' voices was surreal to say the least. That, and bachelor #1 had a slightly whiny, nerdy voice so he was quickly knocked to the bottom of the list. Bachelor #2 had a great voice and seemed to be most like my husband personality-wise, he moved into first place. And by default, Bachelor #3 came in second.

After listening to the audio interviews, my husband wasn't so sure that any of our choices were perfect. And to be honest, neither was I. Who knew that what can sound great on paper, can sound so geeky in real audio. We agreed to keep looking. To try to find some other candidates, to see if any one could top our choices. A couple of nights ago, we went back online and searched and searched, but nothing worked. We'd already agreed not to choose anyone who didn't have baby pictures on file. And so that narrowed down our choices quite a bit. The guys we did look at all had something unsatisfactory in their profiles: a low GPA, the wrong hair color, too tall, too heavy. The one guy who seemed almost perfect turned out to be (pardon my superficiality) one of the ugliest babies I have ever set eyes on.

And so we returned to our original three and decided that Bachelor #2 was our first choice. Fine. Good.

Until today. When I reread his medical history and saw a little too much high blood pressure for my taste. A few too many incidences of cancer in the family. Diabetes. Lupus. He drinks a lot (and so do I- who I am kidding), but somehow it bothered me. And so I e-mailed my husband and told him that I wasn't feeling as good about this guy as I once was. Especially since I'm adopted and have no idea what lurks in my medical history. I'd rather be cautious than regretful.

And I thought my husband would protest. Bachelor #2 was his guy. The one he found, the one he wanted above all others, the one that seemed the most like him on the audio interview. But he didn't protest. He wrote me back and said that #3 is now our guy. No discussion necessary. And I feel relieved and settled in a way I didn't when we had first made our "final" decision.

So, unless his vials run out before we place our order, we have a donor. A smart, mathematically inclined donor with high SAT scores, athletic ability, and a passion for ballroom dancing (remember him?). And while in my heart I hope we never have to use his services, its nice to know he's there for us if we do.

I never imagined that this part of the infertility would be so difficult. And yet it was the hardest part so far. But I think we're finally at the end of this stage.

Let the games begin.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

dial n for nurse

I talked to my IVF nurse yesterday. Believe it or not it was our first non-electronic communication. I've called her before, but always get her voicemail. Usually we just e-mail back and forth. I expected to get her voicemail again yesterday and had a message all prepared (something not too terribly panicked about why she hadn't returned any of my e-mails from last week) and was more than shocked when she picked up the phone herself. And pleasantly surprised that she knew exactly who I was as soon as I said my first name and seemed to have my file right in front of her. In fact, she had just gotten off the line with my husband's nurse.

Sometimes I forget that I'm not the only patient at my clinic and I have to say my little chat yesterday did nothing to dispel that fallacy. But in a good way. It was so nice to have the voice to voice contact, not to mention voice to voice contact that was friendly and helpful.

I do think I threw her off a bit, though. I was extremely cheerful throughout the whole conversation (in part because I was actually talking to a live person) and I kept making little jokes. Nothing side-splittingly funny, of course, (I'm no comedienne) but little one-liners about the availability of antibiotics in Mexico (no prescription necessary), getting my Lurpon across the border, and how we haven't quite narrowed down "the guy" for our donor yet. I'm sure my nurse thought I was off my rocker. Do most IVF patients call with a schtick? I don't think she knew what to do with me. She certainly didn't laugh at my attempted humor. But at least she was patient and answered all of my questions and assuaged my fears that I not had started my birth control pills for nothing because they had no record of me and Who are you again? IVF? What? When? Sorry, lady. I have no idea what you're talking about. And she didn't call my bluff in regards to covering up my fear and anxiety with tasteless humor.

She threw me off a bit too. Because of her name, I assumed the voice on the other end would be a deep throaty smoker's voice with a strong New York accent. (This, despite the fact I'd heard her outgoing voicemail messages a million times.) But my nurse has a high voice and nary a trace of a Queens or Brooklyn accent. . .I'm still holding out to see her in person. I imagine a 40 year old dirty blonde with straight hair cut in a bob. But that was before I heard her voice. Her real voice has thrown me off track for imagining her physical appearance- No way is she in her 40s. So I'll just have to wait and see.

Oh, and what I did I learn from my favorite nurse on the planet? That her e-mail hasn't been working. (She wasn't ignoring me! She never got my e-mails! She doesn't know what an anxious head-case I was last week!) That I'm all set for my mock transfer and saline sonogram on March 4th. That I'll start my stims on March 5th. That my Lupron injections are nothing to worry about. That I can do them in my upper thigh or my lower abdomen. That my husband needs to start antibiotics on the 5th. That as soon as we've chosen a donor we should let her know. And that we're good to go.

We're good to go.

The sweetest sentiment I've heard in a long time. From my nurse's mouth to my ears.