For those of you TTC (or trying to avoid it)…

A more inclusive cycle tracking tool is now available!

From the little I can see, it still seems to assume the type of sex folks are having.  Regardless, if I still had a cycle to track, I would appreciate a tool that doesn’t involve various pastels and unfortunate euphemisms.  And I would really love to set an app, any app, to “sex mode”.

http://tumblr.sexmind.com/post/62617096834/mcalc-the-first-gender-neutral-menstruation

On betas and telling.

Dr. Text was not happy with the spotting.  “I’m not happy with the spotting.” he said, frowning at us across the desk.

Sea and I were both at Clinic One for the third beta this morning.  I woke up early, I haven’t been sleeping well, and was quietly showering when I saw Sea stumble out of bed.  I assured her that she didn’t have to join me on this early morning bloodletting jaunt, but she was determined to be there for one of the few visits where she didn’t have to be at her office instead.

My favourite blood drawing miracle worker was on shift and greeted me by name before I had even had time to sign in on the clipboard.  I quickly drank some holy water before following her to the familiar room.  She efficiently took blood from my arm, and I asked her to make the numbers high for me.

Soon after, a brusque Dr. Text called us into an office.  Clinic One was closing early that morning, for a reason left unexplained, and Dr. Text was clearly in a hurry.  “We have a couple of questions,” I began politely.  “First of all, weren’t my first two betas high?”  “No.” he responded, “Next question.”  Well then.  I asked about the spotting, which he took more time on.  The spotting has ceased over the past day and a half (knock on wood), and I was beginning to reassure myself that it might be okay.  Dr. Text took a much more pessimistic approach.  “I’m not happy with the spotting,” he said, frowning at us across his desk.  I was thrown off by this sterner version of Dr. Text, not knowing how to respond to his frown or the most depressing pep talk that followed. He explained that miscarriages happen, that if one did happen it wouldn’t be my fault, that a bad egg or bad sperm was to blame.  The most awkward doctor-patient conversation then began, as he inquired about factors that may have influenced the spotting.  “No penetration, of course, with anything.” he began.  “And when you use the progesterone, do you use lubricant?  Are you wet enough naturally?”  I answered his questions, simultaneously hoping that I wasn’t blushing and considering how unlikely it was that I would find myself talking to a man about penetration, lube and the relative moistness of my vagina.  As Justin Bieber says: never say never.

Hours later, Nurse Brittany called.  My HCG level is a (very) healthy 2633 at 19 days past ovulation.

On a different note, Sea and I have a question.  When did you/would you tell people about a pregnancy?  Friends, parents, extended family, coworkers, bus drivers, cats, etc.?

The case of the stolen sperm.

The title is a lie.  The sperm itself wasn’t stolen, just the IUI.  It’s been quite a day.

Sea is recovering from the flu, and this morning her hacking cough woke us up before the alarm did.  As she coughed and I stared at the clock, we decided that attempting further sleep would be an exercise in futility and we might as well get up and go for an IUI instead.

We left our house smug, congratulating ourselves and each other for the early morning that, we assumed, would translate into arriving at Clinic One before the morning rush.  Then, cutting through a park to get to the bus stop, we saw the man lying on the cement path– glasses broken and blood around his head.  A woman stood over him, on the phone with the emergency dispatcher, but she was the only other person there.  Of course we stopped to help.  As I sat on the ground next to his head, rubbing the shoulder nearest me and encouraging him to stay still, Sea ran to the ambulance bay conveniently located about twenty feet away from where he had fallen.  She came back minutes later, now on the phone with an emergency dispatcher herself.  “But I can see the ambulances!”, she said, exasperated.  “I’m at the park immediately behind Station #123…  What do you mean what’s the nearest intersection?”  Sea continued to go through the same questions that the dispatcher had just gone through with the other woman.  I kept talking to the man on the ground, encouraging him not to move, still rubbing his shoulder.  Finally, fifteen minutes after Sea’s call, an ambulance drove up to the edge of the park and two men in bright yellow jackets appeared.  They simultaneously helped the man up and flirted with the woman who had been there when we arrived: “Are you okay sir?  Oh, uh, that’s a nice coat, ma’am.”  The woman smiled briefly at the compliment before kicking snow over the blood on the path and hurrying away, explaining that she was late for the first day of a new job.  We followed behind her to the bus stop, not explaining what we were now late for.

We arrived at Clinic One almost at the end of cycle monitoring hours, stopping at the andrology lab first to request the thawing of our first vial of Lefty.  As the nurse teaching me how to inject myself had said during our visit, “They won’t thaw the sperm until they’ve seen the whites of your eyes.”.  As I signed the waiver, I pointed to a machine steaming in the background: “Is that the machine that thaws the sperm?”  Sperm Thawer laughed and replied no, it was just a humidifier.  Oh, okay then.

Having missed the early morning lull at Clinic One, Sea and I walked into a crowded waiting room.  We sat watching other people being called for blood draws and ultrasounds, aware of how far down I was on both lists.  The blood drawing miracle worker was on shift: I anxiously watched every time she came out to call another name, hoping that she would call mine.  She didn’t, and the back of my hand suffered yet another puncture wound.

I was soothed from the injustice of my bloody bad luck (Ha, get it?  Bloody!) by my ultrasound.  Granted, the wait was long enough to prompt Sea to ask, “It still hasn’t happened?!”, but while I stood by the closed door of the ultrasound room I ran into a couple who I had met years ago in a gayby making info session of sorts.  I couldn’t remember their names, but in the context of a fertility clinic still felt comfortable enough to compare sperm counts and procedures with them.  They’ve been trying for about as long as we have, and together we marvelled over the fact that you could put 20 million sperm right up next to a just-ovulated egg and still not get pregnant.  I was finally called in by the same sonographer who had performed Saturday’s ultrasound.  The room was, clearly, the room where they do pregnancy ultrasounds.  A screen was placed at eye level with the exam table, and I watched as my uterus and ovaries appeared, ghostly in black and white, on the screen.

After the ultrasound it was a long wait.  Sea and I began to name the fish in the aquarium.  We used my phone to read every website we could think of, twice.  I began texting The Doctor.  I had pulled out my knitting project and Sea was attempting to stifle a coughing fit when Dr. Text finally called us in for the IUI.  He seemed pleased with the timing of the IUI which, compared to his usual confusion with my chart, was a nice change.  As Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” played over the radio, Dr. Text reviewed Lefty’s sperm count with us.  18.9 million: a fine count that still managed to dash my dreams of Lefty being a much more virile donor than Mickey had been.  Dr. Text performed the IUI as all three of us chatted about how our parents had shared, or not shared, our conception stories with us.  Sea and I may or may not have high-fived at some point during this process.

Dr. Text left after the procedure and, a few minutes later, so did we.  We didn’t just leave the room, we left the clinic.  Without paying for the IUI, or picking up the additional progesterone suppositories Dr. Text had ordered.  To be fair, our sperm-fueled equivalent of a dine and dash was entirely accidental.  We were several blocks away from Clinic One when I turned to Sea and said, “Um, we forgot to pay.”  We debated going back, but we were far enough away that an awkward return to the clinic we had just accidentally fled was too unappealing to contemplate. So we just kept walking.  Tomorrow morning I’ll go back to Clinic One to pay and get more progesterone, but right now you are reading the blog of an IUI thieving fugitive.  May that one day be the search term that lands somebody here.

The pregnancy test is on Sunday, March 2nd.  I can only hope that Clinic One hasn’t issued a warrant for my arrest and put up my mugshot next to their liquor licence and collection of baby photos by then.  Stay tuned.

Total Ultrasound Count: 28

The definition of TMI.

I’m sure that it’s because I was wearing my good underwear.

Half-asleep, I pulled off the American Apparel briefs (gray with blue edging) to step into the shower.  And there was blood.  Not “who murdered my uterus in the night” blood, but definitely “dammit, do we have stain remover” blood.  I stood staring, pajama pants still around my ankles.  Five days past ovulation, this was the last thing I was expecting to see.

When I had finally gathered myself enough to pull my pants back up and find a pad, I decided to call Clinic One.  It occurred to me, as I navigated my way through automated phone menu after automated phone menu, that I had never actually attempted to call the clinic: they had always called me.  About five sub-menus later, a smooth automated female voice told me to dial five to reach Dr. Text’s assistant, numbers one through four having been assigned to the clinic’s others doctors.  I dialed five and the phone rang, and rang, and rang.  I left a voicemail, using words that I’m fairly sure I’ve never used in a message before: words like progesterone suppositories, days past ovulation and (imagine Heterosexist Receptionist’s stage whisper here) vagina. 

Having decided that I probably wasn’t bleeding out, Sea and I continued along with our day.  We took a cat to the vet, bought some groceries, went to the library.  In the library, as I stood in the stacks contemplating covers, I heard my phone ring from my pocket.  The library was crowded, but not even a Saturday crowd could disrupt the customary library hush.  The sound of the voice on the phone saying, “Hi, we’re calling from Dr. Text’s office” was impossibly loud, and I scrambled out through the library’s front door to talk about my vagina in peace.

The nurse sounded totally unfazed, and told me that unless I was using more than one pad an hour I shouldn’t worry.  I thought, though didn’t say, that if I was bleeding through more than a pad an hour I probably wouldn’t calmly navigate the subdirectories of Clinic One’s phone systems, and would instead get myself to the nearest emergency room.  Regardless, she reassured me that the minimal bleeding wasn’t cause for concern: the suppositories could be causing irritation or, theoretically, the blood could be implantation bleeding.  I’m only five days past ovulation, so this latter theory seems unlikely, but I’m pleased to know that I’m probably not dying.

The bleeding has mostly stopped now, anyways.  Frankly, I’m hoping that it doesn’t come back for another nine months or so.