Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Out of Touch

Apologies for lack of blogging activity.

Have been busy at work.

Sunday: 8 hours
Monday: 15 hours
Tuesday: 17 hours
Wednesday: ???

Working on a post that will be on here soon ... stay tuned.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Good News

My favorite IVF blog has a great headline today - congrats T! There is hope, and a hell of a lot of power in a positive attitude. I am sincerely happy for her and her husband.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Leather Chair

My wife and I, as you know, are trying to sell our house. We've had a great deal of showings but have yet to receive a bid. I've been contemplating buying a leather chair and rearranging some of our furniture to give the home a more elegant feel. Here's what I'm thinking:

This is how our family room is currently laid out. Pottery Barn couch and love seat combination with ottoman in between. Very comfortable and cozy, but makes the room feel closed off and sort of cramped. We have a living room that we never use in which a leather couch sits - a foolish decision I made shortly after graduating undergrad was to acquire a $3,000 leather couch. It's an awesome couch, but it's just sitting there unused ... we're thinking of moving it into the family room to both take advantage of this sweet piece of furniture while simultaneously staging our home to highlight the openness of the kitchen / family room.

Here's what I'm thinking this rearrangement would look. This would require us to buy a leather chair, move the couch, love seat and ottoman from the family room into the living room, replacing them with the leather couch and cherry wood coffee table from the living room. I think this would make the room look more open, and would help us to sell our house. Plus I would get the sweet leather chair I've always wanted (thinking Pottery Barn, unless anyone has some suggestions on where to get a nice man chair)

How's this relate to infertility? It doesn't really ... but the whole selling our house thing is sort of intertwined with starting a family. We're moving to be closer to in-laws, and so my wife can stay home with the baby, getting help from her Mom as needed while I'm traveling around the world for my job.

So, what do you think? Where should I get my (our) leather chair?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Trial Details

So my wife and I had our meeting with Dr. S. this afternoon regarding the Progesterone trial being conducted through IVF Michigan. We weren't welcomed into the Doctor's office until 45 minutes after our scheduled meeting time. Very aggravating, especially when you take off work with plans to make up for the lost time in the evening - for the record, this has happened every single time we've made an appointment at this clinic. Not good. I know Doctors are busy, but come on - they're still people and should be held to some set of common courtesy standards.

Dr. S. greeted us with our files in hand. He was wearing a funky green shirt, blue scrub pants and some strange looking boots ... not at all related to the point of this post, but it was worthy of note. He started out by saying that we might not be ideal candidates for this procedure since the tactics he hoped to employ in our second round of IVF would not meet the guidelines required of the trial. If he were not restricted by the requirements of this trial, Dr. S. would:

-Use a different form of the shot that triggers the ovary to release the egg(s)
-Allow the folicles to develop to 22 mm
-Perform retrieval at 37 hours after trigger injection instead of 36

He reminded us that the quality of eggs retrieved in round one were less than optimal, and that the tactics listed above could help overcome that issue - unfortunately, the first item on the list would not be allowed by the guidelines of the procedure. The second and third bullets, however, would be allowed. Conveniently, the first bullet is the least important of the three, so he gave us a strong urging to participate in the study - seemed sort of contradictory to his initial statement about us being less than ideal candidates.

If we felt comfortable with this recommendation we would likely be proceeding into the trial ... but we've had a really bad feeling about this whole thing ever since our first cycle failed. That same feeling was there throughout this consulation and it was even stronger this time. I tried asking a few questions, but was often cut off before I could finish by an answer that was laden with technical terms above and beyond my knowledge of medicine (I'm an engineer and am thus no stranger to technical jargon ... the answers we were getting often left us more confused than when we started - very similar to our post-failure consulation)

Anyhow, we left the office, got on the elevator, looked at each other and said "We're not doing this." My wife and I are perfectly in sync on this one - we just have a bad feeling about this whole thing, we feel much more comfortable with the second Doctor and want to explore all our options for getting pregnant without being forced into IVF as our only option. That's what this feels like - "Pass go and proceed directly to IVF". I know, we've already done IVF once and failed - perhaps that has left us a little jaded about the whole thing. Regardless of the reason, we regret not getting educated about the process prior to going through it the first time. This is something we have since remedied and has made us realize we were sort of rushed into IVF without exploring all options for achieving pregnancy. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

If we were to participate in this study it would be strictly for the sake of saving $4,000 (that's how much they're deducting from participants' bills) - in my opinion, that's not the right reason to proceed with something like this. There were red flags at every step of our first cycle and we ignored them. Those flags are getting bigger as we explore a second cycle with this clinic - this combined with a strong gut feeling that we should not do this is enough for my wife and I to throw in the towel on IVF Michigan. Nothing against their clinic or Dr. S. (he seems to be a great guy), but it just doesn't feel right to us. So, thanks for the opportunity, but no thanks.

So, we're going to proceed with our second Doctor, whom we have only met once, but feel very comfortable with. Since my wife was sick during her ovulation cycle this month we missed our opportunity to conduct the post coital test. So, we'll be waiting for several more weeks until she gets her next positive ovulation test to have a go at post coital testing. We will be dry on the news front until then.

FYI - I asked Dr. S. why he opted to bypass post coital testing in the build up to IVF cycle #1 and he responded by saying "It's not necessary - nobody does it. Besides, the sperm are misshapen and post coital testing would do nothing to change that situation" I'm sure the man knows what he is doing, but that answer sounds like one that would be given to a patient looking to do IVF. We're not looking to do IVF - we're looking to get pregnant.

Today's the Day

We have an appointment with IVF Michigan this afternoon to discuss our eligibility for the Progesterone study they are participating in. We intend to ask some questions about what would be done differently in round 2, and how they feel about the conflicting advice from the other Doctor. More to come tomorrow ...

In the mean time, my wife has a cold, so is in bed with Cooper at home. I feel for her ... she had a bladder infection last week, which turned to a cold before the weekend, now it looks like it's turning into a stomach flu or some other diarrhea causing ailment. I've tried to leave work early (5:30 p.m.) the past few days to take care of her ... that's something that is frowned on in my line of work. I'm starting to feel the pressure of this job a little bit. The experience is great, I love the nature of what I'm doing, it's just the hours are treacherous. What's worse is the uncertainty of where you'll be from week to week. To think, I haven't even had to travel that much yet. When that kicks in, the stress and anxiety caused by this job will go to a whole new level. I'll cross that bridge when I get there ... for now, the mantra continues: Doing this for my family ... doing this for my family ... doing this for my family.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Update on Study

Just talked to the nurse regarding the study we've been invited to participate in. She didn't provide a lot of details, but she said she believes the study will assess two new forms of Progesterone: One is a vaginal ring, and the other is a suppository. She said they looked through their files and my wife appeared to be a good fit for participation in the study, but some further screening would be required. She believed there would be a $4,000 discount on the cost (not too shabby ...)

Anyhow, we have an appointment to meet with the Doctor next Tuesday. I'll provide an update afterwards. We're now in a bit of a pickle: We still have more traditional testing to explore with our second Doctor (i.e. those tests that we bypassed prior to our first round of IVF ... see prior posts), but have this discounted IVF #2 opportunity to explore as well. Do we once again "pass go" and proceed directly to IVF? Or, do we forgo this opportunity in favor of getting to the bottom of what is really preventing our pregnancy?

We're going to explore further and see if we actually are candidates before we debate this too much - $4k is a significant savings that we would be foolish to walk away from without at least exploring it some more. We feel pretty fortunate for even being considered for this trial ... it's a good opportunity that we will not take for granted. Just want to be sure we're doing what's right for us.

Stay tuned ...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Interesting Opportunity (I Hope)

My wife has a voicemail on her phone from the nurse at Dr. S.'s office asking if she wants to participate in a study ... no details provided on the study itself, but it instantly triggers thoughts of "FREE IN VITRO!" in my head. If you would have told me 10 years ago that such a thought would ever be generated by my brain, let alone that I would be excited by it, I wouldn't have believed it.

I will be calling them tomorrow to find out more details. Apparently we have to have a consultation to see if we qualify. Stay tuned ...

Perhaps this is an elaborate way for Dr. S's office to find out who is writing this blog ... maybe they came across it, found what could be deemed disparaging remarks about their clinic and wanted to smoke out the culprit. They entice us with an opportunity like I hope this study to be, fully expecting that if it is indeed the author of this blog to whom the offer was extended, a story such as the one I am currently writing would end up on it. I'm thinking that is not really the case, but sleuth activity such as this would definitely spice up the whole infertility thing.

I should make a disclaimer: I intend no disrespect to Dr. S. or IVF Michigan in my posts on this blog - they are a very successful clinic, and I'm sure that success is driven primarily by the capabilities and talents of their staff. We just wanted to explore other options. We haven't made any decisions yet as we feel more data needs to be collected to tell the full story. We may very well end up back with Dr. S. for a 2nd round (especially if it's free!)

Monday, January 14, 2008


If you're a guy and you're reading this, and if you value your masculinity even a little, please don't ever buy the movie Hairspray for your wife. If you ignore this advice you will forever have songs like "Good Morning Baltimore" and "You Can't Stop The Beat" stuck in your head alongside images of Travolta in a fat-suit dancing around with Queen Latifah. And after enough viewings (which there will be WAY MORE than you could ever care to imagine after your wife establishes absolute, tyrannical control of the DVD player, remote and TV) you will even start to like it a little. Emphasis on LITTLE.

I tried to nip this situation in the bud by giving my wife's copy to my sister-in-law, convincing my wife it would be okay because she bought the fullscreen version and should really get the widescreen version for better viewing on our TV at home. This only resulted in my wife purchasing the widescreen version on our very next trip to Target as well as the soundtrack, which we had to listen to on the way home and immediately watch the DVD once we got there!

How does this relate to infertility? Come on ... there's no way such an environment can be even remotely beneficial to sperm development. I would guess my morphology issues have been compounded by the fact that my sperm are wearing skirts and singing showtunes - they're dancing to the songs stuck in my head when they should be swimming.

4 Happy Young Couples

Our open house was a success - no bid yet, but we had 4 "nice young couples" stop in to see the place. In this market (Michigan) that seems pretty good to me. They all have homes of their own that need to sell first, of course, but they liked our house and will hopefully keep it on their radar until they find good fortune in the sale of their own homes. I'm hoping they left our house with that feeling of anxiety, i.e. "I love this house - we need to sell our house ASAP so we don't miss this opportunity! Maybe we should lower our price!?!?" If you've ever bought a home before, you know the feeling. Anyway, fingers crossed on this one ... more than anything we just want a house with a fenced backyard for Cooper to run around in, acting like an idiot, thinking he is a deer or vicious predator. Is it pathetic to want such amenities for a dog?!?

My wife's cycle is starting right now, so we're off to the store to get some Easy Blue Ovulation Predictor Kits. I might try one out just for kicks - or wait, maybe I'll just go "eliminate" on the wood pile in the back yard like I always do ... it's good to be a guy.

Mondays are long - my wife has two grad classes after work and I usually don't get home until after 8 p.m., so Cooper has a long day of being locked in the bathroom before him. We were watching TV last night feeling sorry for ourselves since the weekend was over (correction: feeling sorry for my wife due to the impending Monday) We tuned in to that show where the Asian dude and his wife had twins, then sextuplets for a grand total of 8 kids (something like "John and Kate Plus Six Equals Eight" ... er, wait, the math doesn't work out on that ... nevermind, you get the point) That girls stomach when she was pregnant (from infertility treatments) looks like a freaking atom bomb, or some type of warhead-equipped explosive device - HUGE! Anyhow, if we thought we had it rough with a little puppy at home and two grad classes on a Monday, we had nothing to complain about. These people drive around in a Dodge Sprinter as their daily driver. Their kids are adorable, but there's so many of them! I can't imagine how they begin to afford the daily expenses of rearing that many children. Anyhow, it was good to have a reality check. Thank God it's Monday!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Explody House

So the house didn't blow up, and Cooper lived to see another day so that he could pee on our bed in the middle of the night.

This will be a busy weekend - we're going to see Juno tonight (about a girl who gets pregnant and gives the baby up for adoption, or something like that) Our Realtor is doing an open house at our home on Sunday which means we'll spend all day Saturday cleaning and preparing. Our house looks sweet when it's cleaned - we did a lot of work since purchasing it in 2005 including granite countertops, stainless appliances, hardwood floors throughout, refinished master bath, new carpet, paint, etc. We're listed about 10% below what we paid in 2005 - perhaps a bit high still, but we have a lot of value in our home that much of the competition lacks. I'm hoping for a strong open house and (fingers crossed) a bid.

I like to cook, so I'm going to make dinner for my wife on Saturday night- recipe below:

Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp and Vegetables

8 ounces Angel Hair Pasta
2 medium red bell peppers, seeded and julienned
1/4 pound snow peas, trimmed
1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon crushed garlic
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper

I'll spare the cooking directions as they are pretty straight forward. I intend to modify by adding lemon, and maybe some Cajun spice in place of white pepper.

So long as I get my home gym assembled, I'll start working out this weekend and will thus be unable to type due to debilitating muscle soreness early next week. One time in high school I worked out and was so sore I couldn't even put a dip of tobacco in my mouth. I could hardly bend my elbows and was required to lean my head back while holding a pinch of snuff a few inches above my mouth while sprinkling the tobacco onto my tongue, pushing it all tweenst cheek and gum.

It's a good thing I don't chew tobacco anymore.

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


So I left work at about 8:00 p.m. last night, raced to the fitness store to buy my home gym (and a very nice set it is - was very impressed with the build quality in person) got home at 9:30 p.m., unloaded three very large, heavy boxes containing the weight set into the garage, went upstairs to say hi to my wife (who was in bed, half asleep), went downstairs to fix the furnace (faulty ignition control unit), took the dog outside, went to bed, woke up to a freezing cold house (my furnace repairs didn't work), removed the faulty ignition control unit, installed and wired a new one, turned furnace back on and crossed fingers so house wouldn't explode, saw flame jets, felt heat, got in car, called boss to say I'd be late and went to work ... phew ... long day with hardly a glimpse of my wife. I don't like that very much ... I left the house at 8 a.m. - it was light outside. This was the first time I've seen my yard or house in daylight in ages (usually when I leave and get home it is pitch black)

Now I'm worried that my furnace repairs may not have been done incorrectly, and that the house is filling with gas, or that the furnace didn't shut off / turn on and Cooper is sweating / freezing his little balls off (which he won't have for long - the vet intends to remove them in two months - this is the tie-in to infertility in this post ... we're dragging Cooper down with us! At least he'll know why he can't reproduce.)

I can't wait until my wife gets home to make sure the house is still there, then, I can't wait to get home to see my wife.

That is all.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Working Out

Today I'm drawing a line - I've gained 10 lbs. since I started my job as a consultant. 60+ hours of work per week leaves little time for fitness ... but, that is just an excuse, and from here on such excuses will be on the other side of the line that I've drawn, along with McDonald's breakfast sandwiches, California rolls, fried rice, chocolate and not working out (some beer will still be on my side of the line, but not as much as their used to be)

On my way home from work tonight I'll stop by Dick's Sporting Goods to pick up a Powertec Workbench Leverage system (which they have on sale for ~$600) You can do over 20 exercises with this particular piece of home gymnasium equipment and if my research serves me, these are the most effective types of exercises available because they involve weight training. Eventually we'll acquire a treadmill too, but for now it shall be weights for me!

Last year this time my exercise habits were perfect. My job was so slow I had time to go to the gym almost every day for a 5k jog or 30 minute weight routine. I sustained those efforts through August, when I switched jobs, at which point I was in pretty good shape. Now, I should state that I'm not really all that out of shape ... I'm 5'11" and currently weigh 188 lbs. - the problem is that I normally weigh 178, and should probably be 170 ... the bigger problem is that I have formed some bad habits and need to break them before they become too deeply instilled. I'm very motivated to maintain healthy habits when I regularly workout - the investment of time, sweat and effort is not something I like to squander with junk food ... but when I'm not working out, I too easily partake in candy, chewing tobacco and excessive amounts of beer. So, if you've made it this far you're probably wondering how this all relates to infertility?

I've read that a moderate amount of exercise is essential to maintaining healthy sperm (too much can be a bad thing). I have no concern that I will over-do it ... if I can do 2 workouts per week, I will be happy. 3 would be optimal. That, in my opinion, is not enough to result in degraded sperm health, but hopefully it is enough to cut some fat.

An even bigger benefit of exercise is the energy, clear head, good sleep and confidence it brings - these benefits will be incredibly helpful as we progress down our road of infertility. My wife intends to use this home gym as well, which will hopefully bring her some of the same benefits it will bring me.

Anyhow, this is something to be a little excited about - I've wanted a home gym for a long time. It will be nice to have one, and it will be even nicer when the scale reads 170 lbs.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Still here

Just wanted to make a post so I don't extend this stretch of absenteeism for too long. I don't really have anything to update on ... we're still waiting until my wife's next cycle starts so we can schedule our post coital test. That should occur sometime in the next 2 weeks. Until then, we don't expect much to change. Just getting on with the crappy months of January and February. Such a bleak time of year ...

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Post-Holiday Update

Some highlights from the holidays:

-My wife's least favorite person is pregnant. She found out by looking at this particular person's MySpace page which said something about being "nauseous", and comments from friends saying "I'm so happy for you! You've waited so long!" Just for reference, this girl has been trying for 4 months. My wife melted down into a puddle of tears and a mantra of "It's not fair!"
-No comments from family/friends about our infertility issues. Very nice.
-Attended a party with friends who are all in the process of starting a family, or are well along the path of parenthood. My wife got stuck with the other women while the guys and I went out to the garage to look at dead animals (my friend is a taxidermist) The women discussed children and babies - my wife sat on the sidelines, clearly pained by the topic. Our puppy found his way into the kid's baby seats, diaper bags, and other baby accessories whose owners were none too happy about his discoveries ... my wife and I were secretly cheering our little puppy on while he climbed in, over and around all of the baby stuff. Good boy Cooper!
-Picked up a copy of "The Infertility Cure" ... a book I'm sure many of you are familiar with. So far we like what we're reading and are willing to try the author's recommendations, so I've started taking as many of the vitamins recommended in the book as I could get my hands on (Vitamins C, E, B12, Zinc, Ginseng, Fish Oil and a multivitamin) My wife intends to begin following the recommendations for women contained in the book. There are a few other vitamins and supplements I have to track down on the internet, but I intend to find, and take them ASAP. The author proposes that infertility can be overcome with traditional Chinese medicine, which to date, I have considered to be a member of the same ranks as "Voodoo" and "Witchcraft" (right next to homeopathy and chiropractic) Being backed into this infertility corner, however, I am reconsidering my classification scheme of alternative medicines. If nothing else, the concepts in this book seem to support an overall healthy lifestyle, so even if we end up at another round of ART, it can't hurt ... and there seems to be a lot on the topic of positive thinking - an area in which my wife admits to needing improvement.
-Cooper (our puppy) is now sleeping in our bed every night - something I said would never happen upon getting him - and is almost completely reliable in "eliminating" outdoors.
-I have gained 10 pounds since starting my consulting job! Time to buy a weight set, and to find time to start using it. Leaning towards a Powertec Workbench.
-We are in a holding pattern with Dr. M. until my wife ovulates in her next cycle. Her current cycle was screwed up because of Dr. S's recommendation to take the pill, and Dr. M.'s ensuing recommendation to stop taking the pill ... she took only one of the pills, but it caused her to have a half a period, or something involving bleeding / spotting. So, we're going to wait until she gets a positive ovulation test in her next cycle (which will be normal, hopefully) and schedule our post coital consultation with Dr. M. immediately thereafter.

That's all for now. Happy new year. Time to get in shape, eat salads, cut back on alcohol and tobacco (I partook of some Kodiak over the break ... that's chewing tobacco in case you don't know)