Monday, June 23, 2008

IUI Update

On Thursday we got word that we'd have one more day of the hormone shot and then the hCG (what I call "the booster") on Friday. IUIs (in the past was called "artificial insemination) would be scheduled for Saturday AND Sunday. I knew that I'd probably have to go in twice, but I didn't know it would be consecutive days.

In any case, as I had expected, the hCG shot had me diving into depressive thoughts, but knowing that it may happen, I had some things scheduled. We went ahead and saw "Get Smart" that night, which was funny, but not as funny as I had hoped. I also learned that going out on a weekend night (Friday) and doing anything other than just going to the movie and going back home may have potential issues.

Due to the timing of things and not wanting to go to the last show, we decided to go the 9:15p show. J had gotten back a bit late from work and we didn't have much time to get the showtimes and head out there. We got the tickets online, did the shot, and headed out as soon as possible.

Needless to say, we didn't eat and thought we'd get something there. Wouldn't you know the first time in like, EVER, I decided to eat at a movie theater, they are OUT of hot dogs. I won't even go into it, but I didn't need that to happen with my hormones getting out of wack each second. We went over to the "grill" which had chicken sandwiches, hamburgers, etc. I figured chicken fingers would be quick, so we ordered those. We had about 10 minutes to showtime, but J told me to go in and get seats, so I did.

9:15p came and the previews started. It's now 9:30p and J hasn't returned. I attempted to do some blind texts as to not have the phone light come on in the dark theater, telling him to get his money back and just come in. He never got it, but came in about 5 minutes after the show started. It's probably best we didn't have the time to talk about the incompetence of the kids running the register and the "grill" as it would have been a bad scene.

Bottom line is we got food, we were both there and the movie had started.

I was feeling quite emotional thru the movie, but especially once we got home. Again, we knew this would probably happen, but it doesn't take away from the comfortableness of the moments. This time my mind was running like I was on drugs or had taken one of those "energy shots" from Starbucks. Nothing seemed like it would work: watching TV, calming breathing, writing, listening to music. I felt so bad for J. He kept offering things, but all I could do was cry and be anxious.

That part of it was fairly quick and I was finally able to get to sleep. I felt quite rested the next morning, even though I had to get up earlier than usual for a weekend. The appointment was at 9am and J had to go earlier than I did to give a sample.

I showed up a bit before 9am and we went in not too long afterwards. The procedure was fairly painless and quick. I didn't have any cramping and went on and enjoyed the sunny day. We did some cleaning around the house and I took it easy when I needed it.

Sunday, the hCG shot didn't seem to be affecting me as much and I felt back to normal. I headed back to IVF for another 9am appointment. It was SO busy that day. I had expected it to be a pretty light day, but we realized that the Waltham office was the only one open on a Sunday (there are other locations to do bloodwork, etc. Monday-Saturday).

We ended up going in a half hour after the appointment. I thought things would go smoothly as I knew exactly what to expect, but my body wasn't cooperating. I won't go into the details, but let's say our medical assistant attempted to get the speculum in about 5-6 times. This did not mean she didn't know what she was doing (or maybe she didn't), but it's possible that my insides were just a bit swollen from the day before. Who knows? There are so many parts of this process where I'm just trusting the process and my doctors (which is a miracle in itself). The way I usually learn about all this stuff is researching it before or after I don't understand something.

So all in all, it wasn't painful, just uncomfortable, and it's done for now. No more shots or poking and prodding for a couple weeks.

On July 7 I go in for a pregnancy test and we'll know what to do from there.

Other than nursing some allergic reaction I had (I'm pretty sure it had nothing to do with the procedure) where my left eye looked like it had been punched over night, I feel fine. I called about 4 docs and nurses and found that I could take Claritin for the swelling and itching and the icepack worked to lessen it a ton.

It's hard not to go to "damn I feel old" but honestly, this has nothing to do about being old. It's just part of what or what may not come up going thru a stressful process like this. I have a ton of hormones that have never been created naturally inside my body, so I have to expect pretty much anything.

I've been very lucky the initial hormones haven't affected me like other women. I guess I can't complain.

We're Outta Here!
On our way on vacation this week for our 5th Anniversary! This year has been crazy, but an amazing year of growth, love and learning.

Oh and last but not least. R.I.P. George Carlin. I'm stunned. George, you and your "intellectual comedy" will be missed by so many.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Reality Hits

I’m sitting here at almost 5:30pm on a Friday. The windows are open, it’s in the low 70s, cloudy and there’s a beautiful breeze. I decided to start up the iTunes and have Daryl and John along with me as I write.

When I’m alone here in the condo with the windows open, I feel so blessed that we live here. It’s quiet; there are huge trees outside, rustling leaves. It’s hard to believe we have a Boston address. God was looking out for us when we found this place three years ago. We complain sometimes that the place is too small, but I’ll take what’s outside the window and a small place vs. anything else right now. I need the peace and nature brings that to me.

Keep your arms and legs inside the car at all times
The past two days have been a bit of a rollercoaster ride. There have been major updates on the pregnancy front and I felt compelled to write. Usually my blogs start to write themselves when I’m in the T on the way home from work. It’s about a 45 minute ride and my mind has a lot of time to think during that time. Today was no exception.

Emotionally and physically there have been changes in the past 24 hours. For the past 13 days I have been taking Repronex, a hormone shot that gives me the FSH and LH that I’m not producing normally. Luckily, I had absolutely no side effects other than a bit of bruising where I got the shots, but it was extremely minimal.

After my first 5 days on 75cc’s, they just about doubled the dose to make my follicles grow a bit quicker. My body responded as it should and at my last ultrasound I had about 3 follicles my doc considers “ready.” I had gone back down to 75cc’s a few days ago and took my final dose last night. Although it doesn’t hurt to get the shot, there have been a few times that I was “done” with them.

I’ve really had to put my life into this process instead of having it as “something else I had to do.” My Landmark ILP training has once again come into play in a huge way. Bottom line is everything in life is around “context,” and if I tried to put this fertility process as anything else but “the” thing to do, there would have been a lot of upset and disappointment. It’s just what there is to do, and it’s fairly straightforward. I’m not saying it’s been easy, but I literally could count on one hand when I was annoyed or bummed that I had to leave early from something, etc. And all of those were just moments. Once they passed, I was able to create the big picture again and move forward.

I also think I take for granted all the amazing and extraordinary people in my life, as this hasn’t been a struggle at all really. And I’m talking about co-workers and other volunteer commitments I have, not just around friends or family. Everyone is so supportive that it’s a bit hard to take in sometimes. As one of my friends said to me yesterday, “this baby will not be short on love.” That is definitely true.

The nurse called yesterday to give me an update on my most recent bloodwork and ultrasound. My estrogen and other levels had gone up substantially (this is a good thing), and she said I was ready for my IUI this weekend.

As of right now, I have re-read that last sentence at least four times. It’s hard to believe that we are actually here. The past three months have been up and down, but due to the past two failed attempts, reality hadn’t really sunk in yet. Now it has.

Granted, we have no idea if this will work. Every step of this is critical and an unknown in a way. My body will either respond or it won’t and I have no real control over this—other than my mind. If it’s time, this will happen. And if it does, I’ll have to be ready—or will get ready.

What many people don’t know and what I haven’t shared is that I am not one of those people that is dying to be a mother. This does not mean that I do not want a family. I’m just not one of those “I was BORN to be a mom!” kind of people. I’ve been working on the “why” of this for a few years, but honestly it doesn’t matter. It’s just about choosing and being honest with myself. I’m clear that I do want children and always had the vision of myself with kids, but I just didn’t know when I would have them.

I was conflicted about this for several years. I thought my “clock” would somehow start screaming at one point (as I was told by more than one person it would), and when it didn’t, I started making things up about myself. Like either something was wrong with me or maybe I didn’t even want kids? It was horrible to go thru, and unfortunately I didn’t seek out anyone to talk to. I wish I did.

I share all this, as I believe there are more women out there like me. Women who have based a lot of their life on career and education and get married a bit later. There are a lot of unanswered questions: When is a good time to start a family? What if my husband is ready before I am? What if my internal “alarm” never goes off? It’s tough to deal with and something I kept hidden. We make ourselves wrong, question who we are, and it feels very heavy and scary. If my writing here helps at least one other woman, I am happy. We are never alone.

Today and the weekend
Chemically and emotionally I feel very different today. It started last night really. I wasn’t feeling 100% and a bit nauseous. I thought it was something I ate, but it’s back again this afternoon. I’ve been more tired than usual the past two nights, and most importantly, emotional. This happened before I did the first hCG shot a couple months ago. It’s something I have to watch as I went into a VERY deep depression after the shot and I wasn’t expecting it. I have the support structures in place now and a pretty free weekend, so I’m not too worried. But I have enjoyed the happiness and laughter I have created over the past few months. I’m finally getting what it is to be truly happy and at peace. I consider it a miracle. Once I knew it was available, I had been seeking it for 11 years. Many things are falling into place.

So I go in for the IUI Saturday and Sunday. (If you want to find out more about this process because you are a research junkie like I am click here.) We won’t know anything official (if I’m pregnant) until July 7—7/7. Kinda cool—the date. Once that is done on Sunday, J and I are heading to a beach party with one of my closest friends and a ton of other people. It will be good to have great company, yummy food, and the ocean breezes. Then a few days later, we head to Puerto Rico to celebrate our fifth anniversary. This year has been a long one, but one of the most memorable and one where I GREW UP. Sometimes you need those really tough times to perk up and learn the tough lessons. My husband is a saint.

Needless to say I’m nervous, scared. I think mostly due to being in the “unknown” about the procedure and how things will be afterwards. All my life I have been prepared for everything, but as I get older, and especially in this process, there’s a lot of unknowns. You either be OK with it or not. It’s like being at peace or suffering—I get to choose.

I just have to trust in the process. I love the facility, I trust my doctor, and J will be with me during the procedure. It’s all I can do, and I have to give myself over. Sometimes it feels like every day brings me a new lesson—and it brings me closer to the peace I’ve been seeking.

About laughter and some stream of consciousness
I think I am going to pry myself out of the house to go see “Get Smart” tonight starring Steve Carell. I love Steve and sometimes laughter is the best medicine. I know I won’t want to go, but it may be the best thing for me.

The sun is going down, but the rain just started. How cool is that? I wish I could videotape this and just put it up, but honestly I don’t think it would be much of a video filming it out the window. Either way, I like it.

I was trying to find a great song to end with here. One that I wanted from Kip Winger’s new solo album was not available. But this song has a lot of meaning to me—lyrics and all. Enjoy.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Guitar Gods

Got this request on Facebook from a friend. Stupid, but hey, it's Friday :)

What Kind of Guitar God Are You?

Traditional Rock God


You are the Guitar God of Hard Rock, Rock & Roll, Psychedelic Rock and Glam Rock. You give your audience a hell of a time by pure, undiluted riffs and traditional solos. Your fans are most likely Slash, Jimmy Page, Joe Perry, and Brian May fans.

Your choice of weapon is usually a Gibson SG, Les Paul, or a Fender Strat. People might criticize you for your repetitiveness or simpleness, but there is no doubt you are truly rocking in your heart--that is unchallengeable.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

STP is Alive (and Scott's Out of Jail)!

Scott Weiland
Photo: Kathy G

This is a week late, but I had to post.

Last Sunday, I went to the WBCN River Rave here in Boston. For those that are not from here, WBCN is a local rock station that hosts several top bands at a festival-like concert each year. Many of us in Boston see it as a “first concert of summer” type show, whether you go or not.

This year, it was announced that Stone Temple Pilots would be playing. If you don’t know about STP and the illustrious Scott Weiland, click on his name. Bottom line is none of us ever know if the band will stay together, or if a show will even happen for that matter. Scott’s been in rehab more times than anyone can count and if he’s not in rehab he’s usually in jail. STP took a break for a while, so hearing that they’d be headlining this show, well, I thought it would be one of the last times we may see them.

How I was able to get pit tickets still amazes me, but the marketing for this show was a bit odd. I’m on all the concert alerts so I got an alert for STP first and not WBCN. “STP tickets” were on sale thru Ticketmonster and didn’t mention radio station festival. As I listened to WBCN over the weeks, I found that THEIR pre-sale was the following day?? Whatever.

I got the tix as soon as they went on sale, got thru (online) right away, and got GA. Score.

Oddly, I hadn’t seen any of the bands on the bill, but “knew of” most of them:

*10 Years
*Street Dogs
*Girls, Guns and Glory (local contest winner)

J had seen Filter and STP in another life, so he at least knew what to expect. I was just excited to go to the show, and honestly, I was going more for the honor of saying: “I saw STP before (fill in the blank here)” and then people would be jealous. I had no idea how blown away I would be that night.

My husband and I did some tailgating before the show, which was a blast. Had a couple beers and some food and headed in. We caught most of 10 Years set, which was great.

10 Years
Photo: Kathy G

I had heard a single of theirs on the radio and really liked them. They didn’t disappoint and made fans out of both of us. I even got to shake Jesse’s hand (the lead singer) as they left the stage.

Photo: Kathy G

Everlast was extraordinary. This guy has been around forever and he even stated several times that he’s been in the record business for over 20 years! He was spot on, sounded awesome and was really funny. He’s a white dude and his backing band was all black.. he called them “The White Folks.” LOL

The crowd had thickened in the seats when Everlast was on and I was happy. The guy really delivered, even though the sun was still blaring (he went on at 6p).

Filter was next. Robert (lead) was mad due to “no darkness” as their set was still earlier on in the evening and the sun hadn’t set. It didn’t matter though. He brought the dark, heavy chords and lyrics as if it was pitch black. Robert is a badass and I literally said that as soon as I saw him. Dressed all in black and wearing “The Fly”-like black shades, he was the quintessential rock and roller. I knew many of the songs, but even the one’s I didn’t, I still loved. All their albums are now on my iPod and I’m officially a fan.

Robert Patrick of Filter
Photo: Kathy G

I wasn’t impressed with Pennywise at all. They are not my type of band. I’m a bit into punk, etc., but just wasn’t impressed with these guys. I’m still not sure why they got second to the last billing behind STP. I don’t know much about them, so I assume they have a new album out or something? Who knows? I don’t even want to go and look it up.

Scott's in the House!

Scott and Robert, STP
Photo: Kathy G

Although we had to wait over 30 minutes for STP, it ended up being worth the wait. Scott was in fine form, out of jail (thank God), and the band was tight. People in the pit were a bit a-hole-ish (why do you HAVE to talk during the entire set????), but we finally found a place to stand where people were actually listening to the show. I got some amazing shots and two of them I’m extremely proud of.

The set consisted of “greatest hits” and I was surprised how many I knew. At one point, Scott said: “It seems that our songs have really stood the test of time..” and everyone cheered. He was very humble and authentic when he spoke, almost like he was even surprised about how long their songs have held up.

He said something amazing that I wish I wrote down, but he said something like: “I think our songs have stood the test of time because they found us. We wrote them, but the songs were out there and found their way to us.” I didn’t do that quote justice, but he said it so poetic, like a true songwriter. From there, the band broke into “Plush.”

Here’s the set list from the NJ show the night before. I wasn’t able to find a Boston setlist, although I know they had to cut out 1-2 songs towards the end due to coming out 10 min late and getting a time warning (the Tweeter Center has a 11p curfew):

Big Empty / Wicked Garden / Big Bang Baby / Vasoline / Lady Picture Show / Lounge Fly / Crackerman / Sour Girl / Creep / Plush / Interstate Love Song / Coma / Down / Sin / Sex Type Thing / Trippin’ On A Hole In A Paper Heart

My feet were killing me by the end of the night, but I was so happy we had the “seats” we did, and that I got to see all these great bands. I hope that STP will be around for a long, long time, but if not, I’m proud to say that I saw them, and for very different reasons than I originally intended.

Take care of yourself, Scott. There are more songs out there that are looking for you, and we’re anxiously awaiting their arrival.