Monthly Archives: October 2009

Less is More

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In a venture away from a fertility post I want to focus on an issue that is near and dear to my heart which is the idea of living with less.

As you can see from my favorite things on the sidebar, I  lean toward the crunchy granola side of life. (despite my career). However, there are certain aspects to military life that lead to downsizing.

1. We (Mo2 & I) move every two-three years. Yes, you read that right. Every place we move requires a new space configuration. For example, if you are in the U.S., you have more room. However, if you are going to the Far East (Japan or Korea) you might find yourself in an apartment or much smaller housing. Germany, too has some restrictions. I’ve seen folks with big houses and those with tiny quarters (both on and off post).  There are some restrictions on vehicles and things you can bring with you and if you are over your car limit, you have to pay for the additional car transport.

In an effort to cut down the items we have to schlep with us, I’ve been judiciously culling through our stuff. My criterion is that if I haven’t used it in a year, it is gone (with only a few exceptions). When we moved from GA to CO, we had stuff in a storage building for over a year and didn’t know what was in there. MO2 paid for it to be liquidated and a surprising thing happened; we felt freer and happier. (For an interesting article on America’s use of storage units please check out :

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/06/magazine/06self-storage-t.html?scp=5&sq=americans%20and%20possessions&st=nyt

We have a storage unit now but only for all the gear the military makes us carry between duty stations (completely and totally tax deductible). I’m going through that and getting rid of stuff as well.

2. I’ve really evaluated our home. As far as living space (bear in mind our house is only 1200 square feet), we only use the living room, dining room, kitchen, bedroom and DSS’s bedroom. I have a guest bedroom that no one goes in (except the occasional guest). Do we really need a guest bedroom? Probably not. This room will become the baby’s room when we have a baby. I may convert our guest bedroom to a nursery with a sleeper sofa for a better use of space and the guest can sleep in the baby’s room and the baby can sleep in our room during the visit.

3. Stuff-I believe Americans have way too many possessions. Maybe this view comes from living in third world countries where people have decidedly less but yet are  happy. Our biggest vice is books. I’ve been going through our bookshelves and taking things to the used book store. I go to Barnes and Nobles with a list. I write down all the titles I am interested in and get them from the library. If they don’t have it at the library and I have to own it, I try to buy it used.  I’ve cut my XMAS list down to experiences not things unless it is a practical item I absolutely need. I’d rather have money for fertility or travel than another thing I don’t have room for. I wear a uniform on a daily basis which means I don’t have the wardrobe needs of someone who is a civilian. It also means since I spend less on clothes,  I can justify buying nicer ones (or so I would like to think). I am very consciously trying to clear my closets every 6 months and if something hasn’t been worn, to get rid of it (barring something very special).

4. Baby gear: In light of all of the above, I am trying to determine what baby gear I will actually need. We have somethings already (a jogging stroller acquired for $20.00 at a church thrift sale), nice hand-me-down clothing from friends and a pack and play (I’m not sure I really need this). What items are necessities? What do you really need? Any advice would be welcome.

All in the Name of Science

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I am going to be a guinea pig.

You are the only people who know about it, because it is a secret.

Yesterday I was given the bad news that there was no way I could cycle before XMAS. I just have to say, “WTF!” SG’s labs close for most of December (which I think is ridiculous but MO2 -speaking from the clinical point of view-thinks it is to give the staff a break). Anyway the only way we can cycle before that is to do a frozen donor egg cycle, which is the same as an FET.

It is new and has decent (65%) success rates but it is a win for me in that it doesn’t count as one of 6 cycles at SG. So in essence, it is a free cycle. If I am successful than I get (drumroll please) $5,000.00 back from my costs (enough for the new Pottery Barn living room furniture I’ve been craving and bonus, a baby)!

I’m just kidding.

The baby is the real incentive here but who could turn down money back. Also I can begin my cycle as soon as AF arrives (provided by beta is 0 today), I can start my provera tonight. If I don’t cycle now, I’m sitting around waiting until January. If I try and get a bfn, I will still be able to start a fresh cycle in January so it really boils down to doing something for free vs. doing nothing.

I have been having a tough time with donor selection. The last time it was between the frozen donor egg girl and the fresh cycle girl. Frozen donor (let’s call her Frostie) has a college degree and everything on her application was spelled correctly. That is a huge plus for me and I absolutely hate to sound like a snob but if you can’t spell, then I struggle (although I can excuse a consistent transposition of letters). I liked her responses because they were sensitive and thoughtful, I like that she is athletic and is a teacher. The only thing I don’t like is that she is 5’11. I’m 5’8 and MO2 is 5’10. However, MO2’s Dad is over 6 foot and my brother and grandfather are both over 6 feet, so it is plausible that we could have a tall biological child. Frostie also resembles my husband’s coloring.

One of my online friends just completed a frozen donor egg cycle with SG and is now pregnant (although I submit that she has a distinct advantage as she already has a child). There have been babies born from this technology and there is no waiting, the donor has already cycled. They have her eggs. She can’t cancel . I don’t have to wait for 2 other recipients which is a definite plus (as of this week, no one else had selected my fresh donor). The only thing I have to worry about is whether the eggs inseminate (my online friend only had 2 fertilize out of 4).

Here is a link to an article about frozen donor eggs:

The first child in America born with frozen donor eggs

It is interesting to be part of science and developing technology. In other science news, I have an appointment with a hematologist to ensure that the dose of lovenox I was on was appropriate for my Factor V Leiden and didn’t contribute to my miscarriage. I probably need to get myself tested for Waldenstrom’s Syndrome (my mother has it) as well. That test involves bone marrow extraction so we’ll see how brave I am. What is up with Swedes and their clotting disorders? In other news, one of my younger brothers just found out he is a cystic fibrosis carrier. I am not.  Not a good genetic day for my family.

Let’s hope for good results from the hematologist. I’m not happy to be an odd mutation!

AF Where Art Thou?

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Dear AF:

I’ve been waiting patiently since July. It’s been over 4 weeks since my miscarriage, where are you?

 Love, me.

Seriously, why is AF late when you want her and early when you don’t? I have to call my nurse and find out if I can start meds if she doesn’t arrive. Has anyone been in the same predicament? I think I could use provera and I believe I read on someone’s blog, that they used progesterone.

In other news, MO2 and I have been diligently re-screening our porch (it had been done poorly by the last owners of our house) and MO2 winterized our laundry room, the only room in the house without double hung windows. Now all we have to do is add insulation under the backroom. I want a covered gutter for the front of the house (not too expensive) and a I’ve picked out a new front door @ Lowe’s.  We also bit the bullet and mentally picked our new living room furniture (when we can afford it). It’s been 10 years since we changed the living room furniture and it is about time.

We went to the NC State fair on Friday night. Gosh this state went from 80 to freezing in 24 hours. Last weekend it was in the 80s and at the State Fair, it was time for winter coats, hats and gloves! I had a good time even though I let MO2 buy me a cheese steak (I’m from PA and know a good cheese steak and never eat them outside of Philly) that was terrible but a fresh lime fizz made up for that. I enjoyed the crafts and of course, looking at the chickens. I had to give my girls up when we moved from CO, but I figure I can always look. There were several exotics that were reasonably priced. Raleigh is a chicken friendly city and actually has a coop tour every year, the Tour de Coup.  Now you know that I’m secretly a granola!

Coop07I love my chickens. If they weren’t illegal where I live in the new house, I’d have more. Actually as soon as we put up our 6 foot fence, my friend on the city council told me I would be okay to have them. I might actually build a coop for a friend this weekend. Maybe I could get some chickens and keep them at her place until we finish the fence.

What’s the Story, Morning Glory?

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We chose a donor. We went with the fresh egg donor because the probability of success is greater. Also, I like the fact that she is my size and NOT my weight. I figure if I have to use donor eggs then I should at least get to pick and chose what traits I want in my child and struggling with his/her weight is not one of them. I figure I’ll cycle in late November/early December. I have to wait on the other 2 donors and of course, for AF.

Of course, there is no telling that a fertile donor will guarantee a pregnancy or keep the evil angel of BFNs away from my door. (Should I mark my door post with lamb’s blood to keep the angel away)? If only it were so easy.

Speaking of truly rotten, bad luck, VIRTUAL  HUGS to EB and to Dr. Hill’s Mrs (IVF 40+ and Our Journey through Embryo Adoption respectively) this week and for the next coming weeks. My heart breaks for you guys.

The New York Times has been running a series this week on what I would like to call fertility failures. The gist of the articles, is that the transfer of more than one embryo (and consequential successful implantation), can lead to real health risks for mothers and their babies. As a former NICU social worker (many years ago) I have always been aware of the risks of multiples and one of the main issues I have with the Jon & Kate series is that I believe it leads to the false impression that all high ordered multiples meet their developmental milestones appropriately.  This series of articles dispels that myth in a big way.

Here is the first on the price of prematurity. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/11/health/11fertility.html

And the second, about choosing to give birth to high level multiples.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/12/health/12fertility.html?em

Interesting reading, really makes you wonder. And of course as always with the NYT, I am as absorbed by the comments as much as the articles.

 

jonkate

Decisions, Decisions

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Sorry to be so MIA, since I have been back to work, it has been crazy beyond belief and I’ve been the only supervisor for the last couple of days…

Anyway, MO2 and I received our new donor password and trying to choose between two donors. One would be using fresh donor eggs (DE) and the other donor has frozen eggs.  Here is the comparison:

Fresh donor: In college, proven donor with 5 pregnancies out of 7 recipients.  2 live births and all the others are still pregnant.Enough traits in common that child would look relatively like us (not that it really matters) but donor and I are the same height and bonus! her weight is what I wish mine was (MO2 and I really struggle with our weight, not great for two military officers). Nothing significant in history or particularly concerning.

Frozen egg donor: SG has a new program using frozen DE. Benefits are you can cycle immediately, it is a free cycle in that it is an extra shot that does not count against the 6 cycles (so in actuality, a 7th cycle) and if you get pregnant, they deduct $5,000.00 off your costs (in our case we’d get a refund). Donor is a college grad (teacher). SG has a 60% success rate with frozen eggs. Donor is 25 but she is 5’11.  We are 5’8 and 5.10″ respectively.  Growing up my best friend was a girl who ended up being 6’4. Being that tall was very painful for her and 5’11 is pretty tall. I don’t want my child to go through a ton of pain if it is a girl. I do like her profile and her responses.

What would you do? I’m leaning toward more the traditional cycle this time. I don’t want to deal with the emotional strain of another miscarriage or BFN. I’m not sure, despite the obvious incentives, if my ego can take another blow.