Monday, March 31, 2008

Humbly Recalling My Last Post

Dear God, I hope I was wrong in my last post comparing infertility to Michigan State fandom - I haven't seen a beating that bad EVER. Twas the equivalent of a failed IVF ... hopefully not indicative of our infertility fate.

Positive ovulation test over the weekend ... wait, hope and pray.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Infertility is exactly the same as being a Michigan State fan

Okay, a bit of an odd post follows, and I expect the majority of the readers of this blog to be less than interested. I am a Michigan State University alumni, and have been a fan of MSU athletics for as long as I can remember. The life of an MSU sports fan is a difficult one. Here's a few zingers for any of you who might be familiar:

  • 9/28/2005: MSU football blows 27-10 lead over the University of Michigan with 8:34 left in the 4th quarter. This is the most painful loss I have ever seen. The only positive thing about this loss is that for the rest of my life, I will never be as disappointed by a loss as I was by this one. It is still painful just to think about.

  • 9/23/2006: Almost a year later, MSU football blows 17 halftime lead to Notre Dame, in a torrential downpour which should have immobilized Brady Quinn and ND's passing game. Having lived through the debacle against Michigan one year earlier, this one wasn't so bad.

  • 3/15/2008: MSU basketball blows 9 point lead with 6 minutes remaining against Wisconsin in Big Ten Tournament. Painful, because Wisconsin has owned MSU since Bo Ryan took over as coach.

I could elaborate on dozens of other small, but disappointing letdowns, but I'm not feeling particularly masochistic today. While there have been disappointments, there have been some extreme highs as well, including a national basketball championship in 2000 (while I was attending MSU), a Citrus Bowl victory in 2000 (over U. of Florida, who I HATE), a Final Four in 2004 and what seems to be an emerging football program under promising new football coach (Mark Dantonio) If you distill it down, being an MSU fan consists of the following:

  • High expectations

  • Crushing disappointments

  • Ever-present hope that better days are coming

  • Occasional high points

  • Constant jeering by pricks from the University of Michigan (where I got my masters, FYI) that MSU is a sub-par school

Now, if you compare this to infertility, you find a lot of parallels. Each month/cycle (season) is greeted with a fresh sense of optimism. When you get to the end of the month (game) you sometimes find a period that comes a day or two late (like a 17 point halftime lead) elevating your hopes only to have them crushed by spotting a few days later (2 interceptions leading to touchdowns in the 4th quarter) and ultimately flow a day after that (the clock runs out and MSU has blown the game) Then, you deal with the crushing effects of your high hopes being destroyed by the resulting loss. While this happens, you hear about all of your friends and family who have recently conceived, or delivered a baby (University of Michigan fans)

Consider coaching: If you've read this blog you know that my wife and I originally worked with Dr. S (equivalent to MSU's former coach John L. Smith, an overpaid crackpot of a man who was completely ineffective at doing his job) Dr. S recommended pursuing directly to IVF (Spread Offense) bypassing the more traditional routes of diagnosing and treating infertility (establishing the run) Having no success with such drastic measures, my wife and I "fired" Dr. S (MSU fires John L. Smith), and "hired" Dr. M, who proposes a much more thorough, traditional and disciplined approach to treating infertility (much like MSU's Mark Dantonio has taken MSU football back to basics)

Needless to say, our hopes are ever-present, and we have faith in our new Doctor (coach).

This post was prompted by the fact that MSU basketball takes on Memphis in the sweet 16 tonight at 10:00 p.m. I will be up late, and hopefully my perseverance as an MSU fan will be rewarded with a victory.

FYI - my wife will ovulate any day now, so we're doing a lot of sex these days ... have a good weekend.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Life After Infertility

I've been thinking a lot lately about what will happen if after we get pregnant. Over the last year, my wife and I have aligned everything in our lives to achieve a single goal: GET PREGNANT. I switched jobs to increase my earning power, taking on the burden of long hours and frequent travel so I could financially support our infertility treatments at the fastest pace possible without having to save money in between successive rounds or bury ourselves in debt. Our home is on the market so we can move closer to my wife's parents so they can help with our parenting duties, and so I can live closer to my new employer. We keep a minimum balance in our bank accounts to cover the costs of IVF, in the even that we need to do it again, deferring car purchases and other luxuries. My wife has put blinders on to every other part of life outside of parenthood - her focus and determination are that strong. We have made absolutely no plans for what will happen afterwards - we don't talk about it. It's taboo. We don't want to jinx ourselves, get our hopes up, etc. We will be like the dog who finally catches the car and doesn't know what to do next (not that I would mind ... I would love to have that problem, and my wife would love it even more)

Life is a big string of "what's next". I can't wait to turn 16 so I can drive, turn 18 so I can buy cigarettes / chewing tobacco (Kodiak), graduate high school so I can go to college, turn 21 so I can buy booze, graduate college so I can start earning money and start my career, finish grad school so I can be completely done with school, get married, buy a house, pay off student loans, pay off cars, start a family.

Of all those things, getting pregnant has been the biggest for us because of the difficulty we've had in achieving it. It was easy to look past each of the other milestones, because they weren't that difficult. I'm trying to remind myself, and my wife that we have a lot to be grateful for, and that we live very enjoyable, fortunate lives. Putting happiness on hold until the next milestone arrives is no way to live life. This should be most relevant to anyone on the brink of the parenthood milestone as it will change their lives, values and priorities to the core, forever. I can't wait to start thinking about things after pregnancy ... I envision a sunny day, with a tall glass of beer, a happy wife and anticipation of parenthood. But at this point, I feel a little guilty, and uncomfortable considering how nice it will be ...

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Thought I'd share a little detail on my wife's current drug of choice: Femara, but first, a brief recap for those of you just tuning in:

  • Aug. 2007: Visited IVF clinic in hopes of getting help with infertility

  • Aug. 2007: Were told by IVF Doctor that chances of conceiving naturally were 0.6% each month, due to low morphology

  • Sep. 2007: Kicked off IVF round #1

  • Oct. 2007: Completed / failed IVF round #1 - two mature follicles, zero frozen

  • Dec. 2007: Visit a second Doctor, who told us semen looks fine (low morphology is offset by a higher-than-average volume / count)

  • Jan. 2008: Wife conducts post coital, which identifies more than sufficient, live, swimming sperm in cervical mucus

  • Feb. 2008: Wife is determined to have lower-than acceptable Progesterone. Femara is prescribed. Doctor encourages us to try this route for 5 - 6 months.

Femara is the brand name for a drug called "Letrozole", which is traditionally used in treatment of breast cancer. It has been found to have a positive effect in treatment of infertility. To quote web-site

Femara works by suppressing the production of estrogen. Thus, creating the effect of producing more hormones that work solely for ovarian stimulation. These hormones namely LH and FSH help in both the processes of ovulation induction and superovulation. As a result, Femara has become widely accepted as an infertility drug.

My wife ovulates regularly, so our Doctor prescribed this primarily as a means of increasing her Progesterone levels. I've read a few posts on from others who have tried a similar route (try THIS thread) and have had good success.

I really think it's just a matter of patience for us ... our second Doctor (the one we trust) told us that 80% of couples abandon infertility treatments prematurely (i.e. moving on to IUI or IVF) due to frustration.

Have a happy Easter, and good luck with each of your respective IF clusterf*cks.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Wife and I decided to book a trip to Jamaica. We went to Couples Ocho Rios for our honeymoon, and we liked it so much we're going to try another Couples resort in Negril, Jamaica. We've booked the trip to coincide with our 3 year anniversary. Haven't been on a real vacation since our honeymoon, so I think we deserve it. Total cost: $3,700 for 7 nights all inclusive (includes flights). Sort of an untimely expenditure given the possibility of IVF in our future, and the cost of selling our house, but who gives a shit ... life is too short to worry about such things. Besides, our retirement accounts are all funded to the max, so we're okay.

I'm going to drink rum and knock up my wife while we're there, unless I do that before we go, in which case I'll just go through the motions.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Officially Not This Month

Wife started spotting this morning. THIS MORNING! So, we went through an entire weekend of waiting, wondering, hoping that maybe this would be our month (my wife normally would've started on Friday, but just to get our hopes up, her P decided to wait until Monday: The shittiest, longest day of the week for my wife who has to work, then go to two grad classes at night) Needless to say, we are disappointed.

I encouraged my wife to check out this site, which has a Java-based dice rolling simulator. She is not a statistics expert, and neither am I, but I understand the principles. Given a 20% chance of success with each try, a success should be achieved once in every 5 tries, on average - thus the assignment by Dr. M to procreate for 5 months before moving on to the next step.

I'm encouraging my wife to try to forget about what we've been through (IVF) and to view this as if we just started trying. Easier said than done, but we need to keep some sanity.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

There's Always Next Month

My wife told me this morning that she doesn't think she'll be pregnant this month - said she feels the same way she always does before she starts her period, plus, she took a pregnancy test and it was "as negative as negative can be" .... she's still ~5 days from when she would normally start her period, so I'm holding on to a little bit of hope.

Made me think though: It's much easier to swallow a failed month when considering that it only cost us $50 for the fertility pills (vs. $12,000 for a failed IVF attempt), our odds of success in any given month are 20% at best and we have plenty of time before us. I'm a fan of trying our current fertility-drug assisted approach for at least 6 months before checking into IUI. My wife, on the other hand, is so frustrated that I fear her hope reserves have run dry - which might be a good thing.

Anyhow, I'll provide an update if / when the bleeding begins.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Talked to the billing lady at IVF Michigan today. She is a very nice lady who I was very rude to last time we talked. I offered her my apologies for being a prick, and asked to have all of our outstanding bills sent to us. She informed me that they had dropped ~$350 of the charges - how cool?!?

Isn't is sick that it's a bonus for us to not have to pay $350 for something that resulted in nothing but frustration, confusion and most importantly, no baby?

Moving on to more positive times. A period, or pregnancy is in the near future. Not exactly sure where my wife is at in her cycle, but she shouldn't be too far from the end.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Armchair Fertility Experts

This is one that you've all heard so frequently that it is almost a waste of effort to type it ... I've nothing else to discuss though, so here comes a BORING POST.

How many people have told us that we'll get pregnant as soon as we throw in the towel and stop worrying about it? Let's count:

-My former mentor, in my old job - his sister had infertility issues, and she gave up hope after 2 years of trying, opting to start her own business instead, only to find out she was pregnant a few weeks after incorporating.
-My current mentor's sister tried for 2 years when she opted to proceed with adoption. She had just been approved to get her adopted children when she discovered she was pregnant.
-My co-worker and his wife decided to move to Michigan, from Chicago after two years of unsuccessful efforts to pursue new careers since family life wasn't in the cards for them. They were welcomed to Ann Arbor with a positive pregnancy test.
-My brother-in-law's parents tried for six years to get pregnant with their oldest son, who is one of my best friends. Needless to say, they had given up hope before becoming pregnant.

There are many more, but I'm bored writing about it. If you're still reading, I admire your masochism determination. We've heard that in order to become pregnant you must give up hope, not worry about it, go on a vacation, relax, think about something else, etc. So, if you're still reading, maybe you're still a little TOO determined ... or maybe this post has managed to bore you to the point that you've given up all hope ... in which case, you can expect to get pregnant any day now. If not I urge you to read this post repeatedly until you have abandoned all reason for wanting to live (shouldn't take long), at which point you will instantly become pregnant.

You're welcome. Have a good weekend.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Boy or Girl?

Boy or girl: If you are fighting infertility issues, you are not allowed to have a preference - you just want a BABY. But, I thought I'd throw caution to the wind and write about it anyway.

I want a little girl. I want a boy too, but if I had to choose only one, I'd pick a girl, for completely selfish reasons. Girls tend to be closer to their parents and they tend to stay that way ... and they are just plain sweet. They can also be incredibly irrational, emotional and volatile - but in general, are more in touch with their feelings and emotions than boys (in my opinion). Our daughter would be like a miniature version of my wife, who has excellent qualities, is a beautiful woman and would be a wonderful mother. To watch our little daughter grow up being molded by my wife would be an honor, and I would expect, incredibly fulfilling. I want our daughter and her mother to have a relationship like the one my wife has with her mother. They are incredibly close, calling each other 3 or more times a day to talk about American Idol, or Dancing With The Stars, or the latest crisis in the family (sister-in-law's about to get canned from her job ... bummer). We are trying to sell our house in the worst housing market in history so that my wife can be closer to her mom. I do not resent this at all, as I really like my in-laws, and I admire the relationship my wife has with her mom, and hope to always see it remain strong and healthy.

We were in church this past weekend and the couple in front of us had the cutest little girl - probably about 5 years old (my wife will correct me on this one) with curly brown hair. She spent most of the mass coloring, minding her own business while her little brother tried to interfere, carrying on and growling at each of her rejections. Near the end of the mass she ran to her father who picked her up, she placed her chin on his shoulder, then kissed him on the cheek as my wife and I looked on thinking "We want that ..." It was easy to tell that this family appreciated their children, that they cared for them, and enjoyed the process of parenting. It's nice to see a family like that, and makes our drive for parenthood even stronger.

My wife and I like the name "Annie" for a girl ... always have. We're hoping that one of my little sperm (surrounded by his/her handicapped brethren) is en route to becoming our little girl as we speak - either way, we're really looking forward to her getting here.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


How's this sound: Hard boiled eggs, dried cranberries, onions, shredded cheddar cheese, sunflower seeds, chickpeas, beets and croƻtons, all mixed together, covered in oil and vinegar? That was my salad from lunch today. What a nasty combination, but somehow, okay in a salad.

On an unrelated note, my wife's ovary is about to release a follicle into her fallopian tube - there will be increased sexual activity in our household for the next 72 hours - Cooper, cover your ears (and eyes)