November 26, 2018
Warning: There’s a lot of scientific baby making talk ahead, but first, CRYSTALS!
I bought crystals. I mean I didn’t buuuuuuy crystals, like, for real, but I bought crystals. Ok, fine, I bought crystals. I basically bought them to take a pic for this post. I mean, whatever helps in any way, but I’m not really converting to crystals as my spiritual path…yet. A week or so ago, I was trying to get in my steps for the day so I walked down to the wine shop in our neighborhood to stock up on my Lambrusco (use your steps for good, not evil!) and the walk took me by the newly relocated crystal store in our neighborhood (it used to be one street over). This is the first crystal store on our street so I had to check it out. While I was walking around the store, I Googled the best crystals for fertility, miscarriage, and pregnancy for fun and left with a Rose Quartz, Moonstone, Aquamarine, Green Aventurine, and a Tiger’s Eye so I could take the pic below for this post. (Scott…just ignore that charge on the AMEX.) I’m going to keep them in my little jewelry bowl on my nightstand and let the crystals work their magic!
After months of appointments and weeks of testing, we were scheduled to find out the results and determine a reproductive path forward on Monday, November 26th, the Monday after Thanksgiving. There was a whole 4-day holiday weekend to get through before our appointment! Since both of our families are in Florida and cross country plane tickets around the holidays are completely insane, we’ve opted to stay on the West Coast for Thanksgiving since I moved here in 2014 and we fly home for Christmas. For our first two turkey days living here together, we stayed in L.A. and had dinner with other orphan friends, but it felt like we were sorta going through the motions and still missed our families. We decided to start taking Thanksgiving adventures instead so it didn’t feel like we were truly orphans trying to recreate Thanksgiving without our families. We hit up Vegas for Thanksgiving 2016, stayed in a safari tent in Temecula for Thanksgiving 2017, and we spent Thanksgiving 2018 in a cozy cabin in Joshua Tree. Stout joined the fun in 2017 and I’d like to think we’ll continue this tradition if we add a kid. Who knows… (But also, don’t tell me if you feel like we won’t because it’s hard to travel with a kid…I wanna live in this bubble for a bit.)
We decided before leaving for Joshua Tree that we were really going to try to not talk about anything fertility-related while we there and, I think, we succeeded. We hiked, drank wine/beer, cooked, listened to music, tried to sit by the fire pit in crazy desert winds, I colored thanks to a snarky, adult coloring book from my Brandies (two friends I’ve known since the dawn of time and definitely before the dawn of Britney Spears, Brandi & Brandy = My Brandies), and just chilled out. I truly didn’t feel like our “Results Appointment” was looming over me during our Thanksgiving trip and it was nice to get away from ordinary life for a couple of days.
Like our first appointment with Dr. TT, I took the day off from work for our results appointment. However, when I scheduled it, I guess I thought I would work that day and scheduled the appointment for 3:00 PM PT so we had to wait alllllll day to make our way to Beverly Hills to hear how/if we were going to have a child. It was a looooong morning and afternoon to say the least. I don’t remember a lot of it except that we watched the latest episode of The Walking Dead and snacked on some brie and crackers left over from our Thanksgiving weekend. (Side note: If you bailed on The Walking Dead like I *almost* did, it’s totally good again!) I probably Windex’d a lot of things too.
We’re going to flash foward to sitting in Dr. TT’s office now….swooooooooosh.
Dr. TT walks us through all the results of our (my) weeks of testing. Scott’s swimmers are Olympics-bound. I am Seven Eggs Martin with a high TSH level that could cause miscarriage, but low counts across the board for everything else needed to make a baby. I also learned I’m probably in my 10-year window to menopause because I’m producing a lower amount of eggs these days. Yippee! Did this window start at 38 or 36 or 35? I guess I’ll know when I start stripping off clothing during a hot flash! This was also the first time Dr. TT ever called my Endometriosis “severe” outloud and he reiterated again that he does not want anyone to operate on anything until after there’s a baby. Four out of the FOUR men it took to administer my HSG test confirmed that my Fallopian tubes are good to go. And, I am still genetically superior to Scott in 283 ways. Dr. TT then walked us through the three different forms of IVF using his trusty Starbursts and which form he wanted to use in my (our?) case. Through my not-a-doctor lens…
- Formal IVF – $$$$, lots of hormone shots, garner 12-15 eggs, produce 8’ish embryos
- Mild Stimulation IVF – $$, 5 days of hormone shots, garner 4-6 eggs, might need multiple egg retrievals, produce 2-4 embryos
- Minimal Stimulation IVF – (we didn’t really talk about this one much because it’s not our path) some hormones, garner 1-3 eggs, might need multiple egg retrievals, produce 2-4 embryos
Dr. TT says he would like to use the Mild Stimulation IVF in my (our?) case. For women who are producing a “normal” (Dr. TT has never said normal, but I can’t think of another word soooo…) egg count, Formal IVF, with the intense hormone shots, is used to pump up a woman’s egg count to an even higher level so essentially there are a bunch of eggs to pull a few good eggs from to marry to the sperm. For women like me who produce fewer eggs, Mild Stimulation IVF, with less hormone shots, is used because it’s not so much about the number of eggs, but the health of the limited number of eggs produced. Fewer eggs are retrieved in Mild Stimulation IVF, but (hopefully) the few that are pulled are in great shape. Dr. TT then compared my reproduction path to Korean BBQ. You can order a whole bunch of Korean BBQ and some of the dishes may be super awesome and some of the dishes might just be so-so. With formal IVF, you order ALL the dishes and make your way through eating them all until you find your favorites. With Mild Stimulation IVF, you order a few dishes and really only focus on eating your way through your favorites. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t kinda want you to think about my reproductive chances now every time you’re out for Korean BBQ. More so because I haven’t had Korean BBQ yet (oddly enough for living in L.A.) and now that’s all I’m going to think about whenever I do have it.
There was *a lot* of information to process during this appointment. Our heads were spinning as we left the office. I’ll tell you more about the IVF process as I’m going through it though because I think I’m still processing all the info three weeks later. I did have a bit of a head start over Scott in knowing a little about IVF because I’ve had friends go through it. Scott went in cold and purposely didn’t Google because Googling always leads to TERRIFYING, but he’s since Googled himself some more IVF knowledge (and kept any scary stuff he’s read away from me).
There were a lot of instant emotions from both of us. I may write a separate post about ALL THE FEELINGS, but I left the office overwhelmed and on the verge of tears (ok, just in tears) and Scott had a bit of road rage on the drive home, probably because I decided to talk about ALL my dark thoughts while he was behind the wheel in L.A. traffic. My recommendation would be to wait to talk about everything IVF outside of a moving vehicle that one of you is driving. We didn’t get in a wreck or anything…that’s not where this is going! Just some friendly IVF advice!
Here’s where Scott and I had our Freaky Friday moment. You see, the part I play in our relationship is “let’s look to the negative side of things and figure out a way to possibly avoid those negative outcomes.” Like most potential pessimists, I like to say I’m a “realist” but I’m probably just being negative more than anything. (At work, I’m a for real “realist” though, not negative. Realists are the people who make the pie-in-the-sky’ers ideas come to fruition. Without us realists, they are just unrealized ideas.) Scott’s role in our relationship is “let’s not worry about what could go wrong before we even get started. Let’s start the adventure and work through the issues as they come up!” This was all part of our wedding vows…he’s the adventure to my plan, the calm to my storm, blah blah, etc. Basically, he’s Big Bird and I am Oscar the Grouch. (Wait, except for in Follow That Bird! You know that scene where Big Bird has been dyed blue, locked in a cage, and sings that SUPER depressing song that potentially traumatized us as children, but also probably made us tougher?! I’ve included the clip below if you’ve never felt the deep, unrelenting sadness of a blue Big Bird before. *That’s* when I’m the Big Bird of our marriage. Also, Follow That Bird was pretty intense, right?! It came out in 1985. I was five-years-old and I still think about that blue Big Bird song a lot. Our childhood movies/TV shows weren’t for the faint of heart, you know? Dark times on Sesame Street in the 80s…)
What I learned on the drive home was that I had gone into our results appointment thinking that I’d maybe be prescribed some meds to help produce a few more eggs and Dr. TT would tell us to go home, have some more “dates” for a few months, and then see what happens. Pretty optimistic of me, right? Scott went into our results appointment thinking Dr. TT was going to tell us we were barren and never going to have a biological child. SCOTT WENT FULL BLUE BIG BIRD! Our brains switched back at some point during the appoinment and I left the appointment a bit…not, “devastated” but not all that hopeful either…and Scott left the appointment a bit relieved that there was a procreational path forward. Then, we got sushi.
I am going to take a break from writing for a few weeks to celebrate the holidays and process everything a bit more. I will also be hopped up on estrogen pills all during the holidays so who knows what Christmas joy I’m about to spread to our families. A quick glimpse into the possible side effects of estrogen pills: bloating, headache, breast tenderness, upset stomach, hot flashes, and MOOD SWINGS (and, frequent trips to Bento for sushi). I feel I should potentially preemptively apologize to anyone who’s going to be around me during the holidays, but let’s just see where this sleigh ride takes us! If your spiritual path is more on the traditional praying side, if you feel like including Scott and my ovaries in there, I’m game! I bought crystals for my part! But more importantly, say a little prayer for my Grandma’s health if you don’t mind.
I hope y’all have a wonderful time with your families and friends over the next couple of weeks and here’s to an awesome 2019 for everyone! *CHEERS* (Oh, there are no more cocktails when the IVF fun begins after the holidays so I will be cheers’ing it up until then!)