What happened this summer – why I went away

So I left this block rather abruptly. Right smack dab in the middle of my CCRM story. There was a good reason – actually two good reasons.

I used to be a member of an IVF support group. It was online, fairly active and I had posted there since 2005 when I began the journey of trying to have a child. When I say that this particular site was instrumental in having my son that would be a gross understatement. I learned everything I ever needed to know from the women on this site on how to cycle, how to keep upbeat, how to laugh and most of all – how to relate to people who were going through the same experience that I was. Because, let’s face it, until you have experienced infertility you just don’t get it. Not in the way that we do. The physical and psychological pain, the feelings of inadequacy, the anger at people walking down the street with a baby carriage – they just do not understand and sometimes nor do we. Finding this particular website at a point in my life where I felt helpless empowered me and allowed me to get through those rough times. For that, I shall be forever grateful. I developed some great relationships that remain to this day. But in July I had to leave.

There were a few things going on at that point in time. The board I posted to regularly was turning into a strange place. There were a few posters who had things going on in their life that were dangerous (to put it mildly) and a number of people were considering turning this woman into the authorities. I’d received several messages from different sources encouraging me to turn her in to child protective services. I’d considered it and then thought…..nah, I’m going to tell her what I think. Because, what if this was all a huge rant and this woman was exaggerating and then CPS goes in and yanks her kids. I didn’t think it was a bad idea if the stories were true but, because so many people were calling CPS, I didn’t do it. So, I wrote a post and called her out. She didn’t like that. Neither did her friends. They gave me what my grandfather would call a “licking” for it. Others wrote me private messages saying “thanks, I wish I had the guts to write what you did”. I didn’t think I was particularly harsh but in hindsight, probably should have just stayed out of it like I did with the CPS.

And then about 2 weeks later a post appeared calling me names and accusing me of trying to kill my husband. It was laughable. My friends on the board and I had a good old laugh about it – until people, people I’d known for ages started agreeing and saying “I believe this to be true”. It was like 8th grade….I can laugh about it now but it started to become very serious to me. For a start, I was applying for a job with a very well known and highly thought of company and did not need such disgusting words said about me….and then this person called CCRM and told them things about me. That is when I started compiling information for a civil and criminal suit. I have all the evidence but I have declined pressing charges for the moment. It didn’t stop there though – whoever this person and or persons were, they caused all manner of mischief and then would try to link it back to me….one day I looked and over 20 of my IVF friends had dropped me on facebook. I was stunned.

And then I figured it out.

A few months prior to all of this brouhaha I started a private, facebook group in support of a fellow IVFer to talk about her issue. She had a pretty big problem and didn’t want to discuss it on this open board. I still will not discuss her or her issue – not until she is ready. Let’s just say it was a doozy. One of the members of our “secret facebook” group decided to leave – in a huff, I’ll add because, well, she didn’t like the fact that a few of us didn’t like one of her friends. 8th grade. This person then decided to go and tell everyone in her social circle on this board about our exclusionary, secret group where we all made fun of everyone. Those were her words, not the truth…but she was a believable person and so…people I’d posted with, supported, held virtual hands with, donated money to in times of need and cried tears of anger, frustration and and sadness with decided that I was a very bad person. A very bad person indeed – a “mean girl”. But, due to the private nature of our friend’s issue, I was unable to defend myself, defend my creating a support group outside of our support group. I was labeled the scourge of our wonderful board. I was shunned. I had to leave – there was no staying around. When I tell you that it shook me to the core, I will not lie. I laugh about it now but at the time my husband was making me dinner, bringing me flowers and reminding me that it didn’t matter what some people on the internet thought – that it was our family that mattered. Again, he didn’t get it. Those women meant something to me that he couldn’t understand.

Those women.

So, lately I’ve started to post there again because I realized that I have something to give. I have something to add and if it helps a woman get pregnant or make a decision that might help her get pregnant or choose to adopt or….help her in any way, I’m going to post there. I won’t let the lies and destruction caused by a few idiots stop me. I’m far less interested in doing what I had originally wanted to do – raise money for cycling, meds, etc for those who cannot afford it but maybe that will change in time.

Hell, I raised 105,000 dollars this summer as the Chair of a non-profit whose proceeds go to planting trees and flowers – imagine what I could do to help women start or complete their families. I just wish July never happened or I’d probably be working on just that right now.

So that is the long and the short (actually the short for sure) of it.

Far more interesting than, say, headboard decorating issues, I hope!


I made a headboard – and now I have a massive headache

So back when we were in our NYC apartment I bought a bed that had storage underneath. No headboard because it was meant to be sort of a full size day bed that would fit nicely with Alex’s crib. When we moved to Atlanta I put this bed in the smallest bedroom we have (it is small – I’d say 12 x 14 – maybe a little bigger). The room is right next to the washer dryer and often my clean, unfolded laundry just piles up on it which makes my husband pissed off and me feel like a failure. So, in a burst of energy I decided to redecorate this room. Starting with a new headboard. But I didn’t pick just any headboard – I picked this one:


I had Barry (my handyman who is known as my DAY husband) put it together in about and hour.

But I’m not great with sewing or batting or well, anything like this. I went to the fabric store to have a peek yesterday and became even more confused than ever. What color? The room is painted a boring yellow. I can change that easily but…..I have so many duvets in red or pink or yellow with pink. I cannot go patterned or exciting with this headboard cover unless I can take it off (make a few). So….my mom is coming to visit (need I say more).

Anyone with ideas for a small room that gets a lot of sunlight?

I’m not great at decorating and I just freakin need help. End of story.

I hope I didn’t bore some of you to tears so that you never, ever come back.

Because that was the most boring post I’ve ever written. Hands down.

I’ll write another that will be a bit more interesting – hey, a LOT more interesting. I’m going to tell you a story. The real story.


I couldn’t take the green. The fact that it is Christmas/holiday time and I obsess more about the color of my blog than I do making the sugar cookies (which is my job in life, right?) shows you that I am dreading what is to come. Not Christmas. That is magic – the getting on the flight, 9 hours with a toddler, the foreign land we shall be visiting, the cold, the dreary and the fact that I cannot be in a bad mood for one entire week. That is a hard thing for me to do – especially when I am around people 24/7. I sound like a whining little brat but I crave and adore solitude. Complete silence. Nothing to do but read, or bathe, or organize my socks, or learn a new web gadget, or create something. I miss having hours and hours of time to let my mind wander or create a project. It is a luxury now whereas it used to be how I lived. Back when I was living in NYC and single, of course. Back when I was writing songs and felt like every day was a new beginning.

I wanted this – my child, my husband, these pups and cat and house but I also miss the person I was. I miss writing and creating and I feel like I have to find a way to bring that back into my life again. Finding the time is the hard part. It is also very hard to know when that great, magical idea is going to come. Like a lyric to a song or a chorus or a melody. They just used to come and they don’t anymore….except when I have those wide open spaces of time which, if all goes to plan, I won’t have for a very long time. Trying to add to your family only creates more chaos so how do I figure that one out? Somehow. I have to.

My husband has golf. He loves going out there for hours at a time. I wish he could understand that silence and breathing space makes me feel the same way as he does hitting a ball. But, we are very different beings – male and female. And being creative is a bit of curse – nobody pays you millions to make a flower out of clay for your niece…or knit a scarf for your dear friend’s new baby or….oh GOD help me I have to create another post to devote to my latest project. I’m in way over my head. So help….someone! Mommy!!!!!!

Advice for the infertile.

Run. Don’t walk (don’t stroll, don’t meander) to CCRM.

Why bother locally? Why bother at all when the cutting edge stuff, the best lab in the world (arguably) and the best stats are in Denver. Nice town. Traffic shows the general feel of the city – they don’t cut you off, they let you in. They WAVE!

Denver is a nice town, full of nice people who have no idea that just down the street in Lone Tree that there exists a fertility center that is just knocking the socks off the rest of the country and the world.

I’ve been to three clinics – visited over 7 for consultations and so far my best results have been at CCRM. I won’t knock NYFI because they gave me (child mentioned!) my son. I will forever love them and think of them on his birthday and truth told, on my other days as well.

But I wish I had gone straight to CCRM 2 years ago when I began my quest for #2. Then again, if the first IVF had worked I would not have my Alex. I am a huge believer in the idea that things do NOT happen for a reason. I think we make things happen. We will them to happen through our thoughts, through our actions and I totally disagree that there is some being up there who would for a reason make one couple childless and let crackho #13456 have a baby. But that is another discussion for another time.

My advice is if you are young (under 33) and you are going for IVF, your best local clinic isn’t a bad idea but if you are in your mid thirties with a few losses under your belt – don’t dick around. Head straight to the best (my opinion). They aren’t pricier, in fact, they are even less than a few of the other clinic in their league. One thing they have above the rest is that they give you individual attention that I’ve never seen anywhere else. They manage your cycle down to ever little injection. They watch you like a hawk and for me – a woman with an AMH of .48 (not good) and an elevated estrogen level (meaning it is hiding a much higher FSH) ….for me to get 11 eggs and have 8 mature is what you call a miracle. A CCRM miracle.

I’m biased, I know. But I read everything and I can tell you point for point why I’d choose CCRM over any clinic in the nation for an older gal especially.

Nah, I don’t work for CCRM, I help pay their salaries, though!

Edited to add. CCRM does not believe in immune issues. I do. So I have another suggestion and will devote an entire post to who I’d recommend you see for treatment, diagnosis. I’d not recommend one clinic in particular and the name is a type of alcoholic beverage. I have my reasons and they are good ones….but not now. I’m hungry.

Green. Too green for me but let’s push the comfort zone

It is just a design but I don’t like it. I’m forcing myself to keep it up. Who knows why but you know what? I love the snow feature.

Living in Georgia means I get very little snow and when we do, these folks act like the world is coming to a fast end. 3 inches and all milk and bread and canned grits get SOLD out at Krogers across the city. I roll my eyes as the child who grew up near Buffalo, NY. 7 feet? Now, I’ve seen that and it was FANTASTIC. Even then I think the stores stayed open and everyone just reveled in a snow day.

Give me snow anytime but for now, it is on this little website. The green one.

I put my wedding photo for a change – a very happy day. I had just had a huge amount of eco friendly (don’t need trouble from you environmentalists so we’ll stop that at the pass) confetti essentially poured over my head. It was cute. I laughed and thought….hmmmmm. Being ecofriendly just ruined my hair and put crazy flecks all over my gorgeous deep, dark roses.

This is sort of a non post because I have zero to complain about (so far but hey, it is early).

I’m going out to spend some money today – home depot and best buy. Pine straw and a present for my lovely husband who brought me breakfast in bed. At the rate he is going I might have to put out.

Non babymaking sex is just hard to imagine – what is all that about?

I’m on a roll.

I’ve missed blogging. Life got a little crazy so I stopped. Life is still crazy but I have some things going on (non IF related) that are putting a little swing in my step. More on that later.

I spend most of this time talking about my ovaries and such. I’m aware that a lot of my audience is trying to procreate and comes here for advice, a little laugh and a lot of times, some hope. I hope I have a bit of all of that here….but it is time that I start talking about a few other things that interest me. One is my son. I’ll categorize so that people going through the process are able to weed out the glowing mommy reports. Nothing is worse than being blindsided by an IF blog than to find musing on the wonderment of a child. That is enough to break out the big old vats of chocolate triple fudge brownie ice cream and cry your eyes out and I get that. I might be a mother but I am what they call a veteran of this process and, as such, I am keenly aware that I have readers who need protection in this area.

Another interest of mine – a long time interest is investing money. I worked on Wall Street for the best part of 14 years. Risk Control, Mergers and Acquisitions, Private Wealth Management, Asset Management. But it is the my own investing and the process of investing that interests me the most. I love an undervalued stock. I LOVE the craziness of a bubble (hurry, buy Apple it is going to go THROUGH THE ROOF. I knew, back in late 1997 that the guy at the coffee stand talking about buying shares of Motorola meant one thing – get the freak out of the market. It happens ever time – people cannot help themselves. They are like sheep following the Sheppard. (not to say I have not done this exact thing but….I learned a lesson in doing so).

I digress.

A few weeks ago there was much talk of the natural gas glut – how they found a new way to extract natural gas through shale extraction. Financial articles were all doom and gloom about the price of natural gas and how it was unlikely to recover for a long time. So I did a little research. I learned that yes, there is a huge glut and yes, the prices were at record low and then I put on my old thinking cap. People love to gorge themselves on things – oil, gold, apple stock, google stock. We found a solution to our oil issue and it is right here in our backyard. I envisioned cars being converted to natural gas, all houses being converted to natural gas and I pulled the trigger and bought some UNG – the ETF (exchanged traded fund) which stands for United States Natural Gas Fund. I got in at 9.12 cents. My husband (the banker) thought I was taking on a huge risk. Funny thing happened – a few weeks later Exxon bought another company and announced that natural gas was the way of the future. Now I envision that investors across the land are going to pull their chairs up to the table, grab the knife and fork and start gorging themselves on natural gas…..I’ve already made 700 bucks (not bad for a few weeks investment). I’ll sell it when I feel that people are might stuffed – just right as they announce (say 7 years from now) that there is NO better way to earn money. I will sell it. I had this experience with oil, by the way. Right before the crash my inner voice said, “hey, you’ve had a good run – time to sell” but greed won out. Crash, bang, and no boom. Another lesson learned.

So this is now an investing blog, of sorts as well. I’m not a one topic pony despite the fact that my dear husband thinks that I have no interests other than those that create little human beings.

Citigroup. I own it. A lot of it now. I’m taking the gamble. Not for the faint hearted but come on, this is a brand as American as Apple Pie and they paid back TARP. If it gets to 5 in 5 months – oh will our family be happy.

So there. Anyone else interested in investing talk? Because I love it and would really like to get more interactive about it – warning though. I enjoy being a contrarian. Has served me very well.

Peeing on a stick….

Was just having a discussion with a fellow IVFer on home pregnancy tests. Listen. I’m a damned expert and I am going to tell you a secret. They all suck with exception of the FRER – First Response Early Result. That thing measured the tiniest beta in the world (beta for you non scientific babymakers is the measurement of the HCG given off by am implanting/implanted embryo in your bloodstream). 11 is very low and FRER got it.

All batches are different but I need to post this.

Tell the others to F off. Seriously…..the dollar tree brand told me I was not pregnant until I was 5 months along. I peed on every one of them just to spite them and then posted them on the wall and gave them the finger. I’m not making this up. I hate that brand – sue me, dollar tree.

I guess I need to tag this as a rant…..and advice. I am also not joking when I tell you that I approach people looking at the clearblue easy in the CVS pharmacy aisle and have convinced them to buy the FRER.

Hey, at least I’m passionate about something.

The New York Times

Sick of them. Honestly? Used to be one of my favorite rags but the coverage they are giving infertility these days is just sensational garbage. I won’t spend time linking to his malarky – go and search if you really want to know……but honestly? I feel like the IF community is under attack. The whole “designer baby”…creating children with only blue eyes who have genetics that indicate a strength in math is just baloney. That is such a kind word and I am in a cursing mood. The restraint I show, oh it is so amazing….

I know hundreds, maybe thousands of women who have undergone IVF/ART etc. to have their children and not one – not even one who did it for sex selection even. Shocking!

In fact, I don’t even think you CAN choose the color of eyes – the technology exists somewhere but holycrap. A vial of follistim is about 800 bucks can you imagine how much it would cost to test the eyeball of an embryo?

Deep breath.

We do this because we want to be parents. In my case, I have a child. I love him beyond the description of words and thus, I try for a sibling.

“Just adopt?” If you say that then you don’t get it. Why don’t YOU adopt? In our case that is not something that my husband will agree to (and it takes two in a marriage these days)

“Well you have one, just be thankful!” What makes you think I am not thankful? I thank God and the moon and the stars every.single.day for my son. Every single day he gives me a reason to give him a sibling. I’m old. His dad is old (relatively as parents) and one day when he stands over my grave and shovels the last bit of dirt over it – I’d like him to stand there with his sister or brother and not feel alone. Orphaned. I want him to have what I had – a sibling. Even if we are not close in proximity, I know where he is. I get him. I support him in the dark times. I love him. I just want my son to have what I had and if that is selfish, so be it.

Meanwhile, I’m going to get back to sorting my needles for the next IVF and, of course, drop down to my knees and thank the universe for my little guy who most recently told me “mommy, you are beautiful”. All those injections were worth it and I’d do it again and again.

So NYT – you suck. I hope you go bankrupt – oh wait, you already are. My bad.

Back…IVF #9 with CGH Microarray (part 2)

Sorry for leaving some of you hanging. I had to take a break for a number of reasons.

We got our CGH Microarray results back from the 8 embryos we had on ice (from CCRM and the clinic I go to in NYC – I did IVF #8 there in June which I will update on later – had those four sent out to join the other CCRM four an all were tested) ……..and we have one normal embryo – in fact, it was our only blastocyst and it was a day 6 blastocyst which is a bit behind. The other 7 were massively abnormal, poor things. So, I decided to try another cycle locally to hopefully get a few more embryos to ship out to CCRM and then do another cycle in February….but that was a complete disaster. Microdose lupron, measurable follicle on day 2!!! I stimmed for 6 days and then triggered and converted to an IUI. BFN. No surprise there.

I went on birth control pills right after since I had developed massive cysts….and then decided it was time to go back to CCRM. I’m approaching 42 and I don’t have the luxury of time on my side. I have a good chance with one CGH normal (60%) but I want a GREAT chance which only 2 normal embryos will give me (70 %). Selfish, I know.

For this cycle we did things very differently – I started saizen (human growth hormone) and microdose lupron for two days and then started 300 gonal F and 2 amps of menopur combined with dexamethazone. What a response – the stim was rather fast – 9 days total or so and I produced 11 eggs – 8 of which were mature and fertilized normally. I was shocked as I never respond like this – my very best cycle to date and I think I credit the saizen…. Day 3 and all of them were right on target with one over achiever at 12 cells. Yesterday on day 5 they called to say that they had 3 early blasts and 3 great looking morulas. Somehow between last night and today most of them arrested and I am now left with a grade 5AA blast and a 3AB blast to biopsy. So down to 2. Beats the one I had last time which was thankfully normal.

I don’t know whether to be happy or gear up for IVF #10. I guess I’ll wait for the results (probably by mid Jan) and maybe go back on the pill to suppress all the crazy things my ovaries do after an IVF.

On the emotional front, I’m not feeling so great. Not sure how I am going to be able to handle it if this doesn’t work. I began looking at donor eggs and found one woman whose baby photo looked just like me. But I don’t know if I can do that. I always told myself that it wouldn’t matter – and deep in my heart I know it wouldn’t but I will move heaven and earth to make this happen with my own eggs. I only wish I had found CCRM when I was 40 and not 41.

So there is my update and now we wait…….