February 2011

Right now, somewhere in a lab in Redondo Beach, my EIGHTEEN eggs are being introduced to hubby’s sperm in a petri dish. With a needle. “What do you think my eggs will think of your swimmers?” I asked him. “Would they be like, ‘So THIS is what she married? YOU guys?!’ ”
“I think it’ll be love at first sight,” he said confidently.

I got kicked out of bed this morning at 4:30am. Getting ready wasn’t hard, since I wasn’t allowed to wear contacts, makeup, or scented lotions. I just put on a comfy tee, sweatshirt, loose workout pants, socks, glasses, and I was on my way. Of course we got to the facility half an hour early for the 6:15am check-in time. My procedure was scheduled for 7am. I filled out some consent forms and Mr. W and I went to the back into a prep/recovery area with three hospital beds. I was told I could leave socks and my t-shirt on, but to change to the hospital gown. So here’s my fashionista self in that state:

The anesthesiologist came by and chatted with me about what to expect. Apparently I wasn’t going to go totally under; just enough to be buzzed. She said she’d watch me and keep me at just above a local anethesia so we don’t need breathing tubes and stuff. I told her I’m pretty cerebral so if I could feel something and recognize what’s going on, my brain goes into hyperdrive and I freak myself out. She said that won’t happen. Okay, if you say so. While we were waiting for my turn to go into OR, another patient came out and was put next to me, a curtain between us, to recover. A nurse asked how she was doing. She croaked some weak response. The nurse offered to get her anti-nausea medication, but only seconds later, I heard the patient throwing up. Oh, CRAP. Was that going to be me in a half hour? But the anesthesiologist had said that looking at me, it doesn’t appear I’d have any problems.
When they got ready to take me into the OR (just a room off the prep/recovery area where I was laying on a bed), Mr. W kissed me goodbye and off he went for his own procedure, 20 minutes away. The OR was FREEZING. I couldn’t get my legs to stop shaking. The anesthesiologist, a nice Asian woman, said I’m her little Asian girl patient so she felt like she knew how to take care of me. She swung out a little footstool so I could climb into the higher operating bed. I definitely needed that, and thanked her gratefully. As a surprise, my regular fertility doctor was assigned to do my procedure that day, even though we were told it would be a different doctor. I was happy to see him and he squeezed my toes through the blanket playfully. The anesthesiologist went to work trying to get an IV into my right forearm, but after a poke, couldn’t find my vein. She slapped around on my arm for awhile and said, “You are NOT the veiniest girl I’ve seen.” I did warn her nurses often had problems finding my veins. My fertility doctor came in and said, “I think you can’t find her veins because it’s too cold in here.” He brought me a HOT blanket to put over my chest, and another one to wrap my right arm in. A few minutes later, the anesthesiologist was able to find a good vein on the back of my hand, and she agreed the heat must’ve helped. And then she said she was going to administer something to get me buzzed. “If you’re the typical Asian girl, it wouldn’t take much,” she said. I said something about high tolerance, and she said, “No, Asians have low tolerance!” Some time went by when I gave some identifying information to another nurse, and my doctor told me to place my calves into stirrup type contraptions. I didn’t feel anything yet. Then, as I was looking up at the lights, suddenly it felt like the lights were trailing behind where my eyes went, exactly my first symptom of being buzzed. Like my vision was slower to follow my head turning. I told them, “OH, I’m feeling it now.” The nurse said something else and I answered her, and then hearing myself, I said, “I think I’m slurring.” I decided then to stop talking.
I was aware of the people in the room the entire time, I don’t think I fell asleep, although I did close my eyes a couple of times toward the end. There were two times when I knew the doctor was pushing something into my vagina that felt rough and uncomfortable, almost like how fabric would feel. I was an observer, but I had no cognitive activity. I had no opinions about it, no fears, I really didn’t care. Because I didn’t care, I didn’t even pay that much attention to them or what they were doing or saying, even though I was aware of them and their talking. I remember I was rather comfortable in that position, surrounded and covered by fresh hot blankets. At one point, when I thought they were still doing the preparation (I knew a nurse had to wash, then the doctor had to rinse), I realized the drapes were being taken off my legs. “That’s it? We’re done?” I slurred. My doctor came by and tucked something hard and square but nice and warm underneath my right forearm, saying that’s for me to warm up. I thanked him.
By the time I got from the OR into the recovery room where the beds were, I was clear-headed and my speech was normal. “How do you feel?” the nurse asked.
“Fine,” I said honestly. I felt the same twinges on both of my ovaries I’d been feeling the past couple of days, but it wasn’t unbearable in the least. I was mostly grateful I didn’t feel or sound like the woman in the next bed, who was still there, moaning and nauseated. I heard another nurse explain to that woman they were giving her more nausea medication.
I laid there for maybe 20 minutes while they kept the IV in me, and meanwhile I read a book I brought, and the nurse gave me 2 extra-strength Tylenol, a couple of saltine crackers, and a cup of apple juice. She encouraged me to get up and use the restroom. I said I didn’t feel like I had to go. She pointed to the nearly empty IV bag and said they dumped a lot of fluid in me, and it was important to them that I’m ABLE to pee. So she helped me put the IV on a wheeled pole and off I went with it to the restroom. “Just sit there until you’re able to go,” she instructed. Okay…a tablespoon later, I came out. She said it was fine.
They don’t think it’s necessary that I stay on a stringent diet, but because of how many follicles I have, my estrogen level will be high, which means I’m at risk for hyperstimulation. They said to stay off the refined white carbs, like white rice. I can’t even remember the last time I had white rice. They said wheat or grain bread, fruit carbs, that stuff was fine. So basically my normal diet makes them happy. Since I was clearly doing well and could walk and pee, the nurse took my vitals one last time, took the IV out, and discharged me a few minutes later. Oh, while she was removing the IV, she looked at the bed and said, “What’s this? How’d you get THIS over here?” and pulled out a small square plastic container filled with hot liquid. I didn’t know what it was, but I know my fertility doctor put it there to warm me up. She chuckled at his inventiveness. I waited for Mr. W in the now-full waiting room in the lobby. He called me soon after and said he was on his way, 8 minutes away.
He came in holding this:

The receptionist said they’ve never had someone deliver their own vial before, and let us into the back and led us to the lab area. Hubby handed his stuff to another nurse, who looked at me in surprise and said, “OH, you look GREAT!” She was one who was with me in the OR. Realizing who Mr. W was, she said, “And YOU look great for someone who’d JUST had a procedure!” He laughed.
“So how many eggs did you guy get from her?” hubby wanted to know.
“Eighteen,” she said.
He let out the most hickish cowboy “Whoo-hee!” I’d heard. But clearly he was happy cuz the more eggs, the better our selection.
“They’re not all mature,” she explained. “We’ll fertilize the best eggs and you’ll get a call tomorrow to let you know how many embryos we have. What would you like me to do with the leftover sperm? Would you like it frozen so you don’t have to go through that again?”
I looked at Mr. W and we both thought the same thing: extra expense. And since they were going to freeze the unused viable fertilized embryos, what use did we have for sperm? So he told her to go ahead and discard what’s left.
As we turned to leave, I asked the nurse, “Did she have to give me an extra dose of the drug?”
“Yeah,” she said, smiling. “You weren’t a cheap date.” I knew I had high tolerance. Ha.

In the car, Mr. W described to me his procedure. He didn’t have the buzzy drug like I did; he just laid back and the urologist picked up one out of 10 needles the nurse had lined up on a tray, and he stuck it into the right scrotum. After aspirating (hubby said there was very little pain, but did feel a prick), the doctor said he’d be right back and went to an adjoining room with the syringe, to check for sperm under the microscope. He came back and said, “Nope. Nothing there.” Mr. W started getting nervous. The doctor tried again with the same scrotum. Ran off to the lab again. Returned, said, “Nope. Nothing.”
“Is that bad?” Mr. W asked, now imagining the worst: that he has no swimmers.
“No, it just means I didn’t get it in the right place.” The doctor changed needles again, and poked into the left scrotum. Repeated the procedure, ran off, came back and said, “I got it out of the left. The right one is blocked, I thought it might be.” The doctor dug into the left again for more swimmers, now that he knows where they are. Apparently he went in a couple of more times, each time making sure he had sufficient samples under the microscope. Mr. W thought there should’ve been hundreds pulled out. After Mr. W was done, the urologist let him look into the microscope, too. Mr. W saw one sperm “propelling” forward, another swimming in circles, another laying there kinda twitching, others looking curled and broken. He asked about those last ones, and the doctor said those may “wake up” later. The sample in the syringe got deposited into a test tube of pink fluid which is supposed to nourish and sustain the guys. Mr. W asked if there were any special way he had to carry the sperm in his transport. “No, just keep them close to your heart,” the urologist said, so Mr. W tucked the package into his front chest pocket. Apparently these little guys will live up to 7 days in this fluid.

Since we were so close to the beach, Mr. W drove us to brunch oceanside. This was our view at our table:

My only discharge instructions were to take it easy, to take extra strength Tylenol every 6 hours (the 6th hour just passed and I didn’t take a second dose, and the twinges have deepened to something less comfortable, but still not unbearable), not to eat refined carbs, not to do any twisting motions, to call the doctor if the pain were more severe than menstrual cramps and if I bled more than I would on a normal period, and to get up every so often and move around. I haven’t laid back down since I’d gotten up from that hospital bed 7 hours ago, but after the hospital was the beach, and we walked a little bit there, and when we got home, my stepkidlet had to catch me up on all the stuff that’s happened recently with her social life (so entertaining I didn’t need painkillers). Mr. W took a nap as he wasn’t as interested in girl talk, and he woke up in pain. I checked out his boo-boos…the left side had small purple bruises under the skin.

By the way, Rebecca called it on one side of his scrotum not working…LAST SUMMER before we started all this. Looking back, I think she even did say the right side, the way it’s shown to her, was the one that wouldn’t “take” because of some problem with the duct not connecting properly. Just like she called it yesterday saying my procedure today would be smooth and problem-free.

Because my follicles look like this, this morning…

…we now have hard dates so that my gametes can meet my hubby’s gametes for the first time. My blood test must’ve been okay, cuz the doctor cleared me for egg retrieval on Monday, Feb. 28. (The blood retrieval process this morning, btw, sucked. The regular phlebotomist wasn’t there, the nurse who took my blood yesterday wasn’t there, and there was some very rough looking large woman who wasn’t particularly warm. Think “Berta” on Two and a Half Men. She pricked me FOUR TIMES, frowning and, according to Mr. W, pretty carelessly, before she poked the right spot. OW.) So at the ultrasound, Doctor #3 measured a bunch of follicles between 18-20mm. They’re the right size! They’re SO right, I could feel the ultrasound wand poking at my ovaries, making me squirm. The doctor told me to take my last dose of Menopur in their office (yeowch!) and the nurse gave us an orientation on what to do next and how to administer the next shots, over 2 weeks’ worth of daily intramuscular injections (*whimper*). The urologist also called us and worked his schedule in with my surgery schedule. So here’s the beginning of the scary stuff happening in the next couple of weeks:
Tonight, at 8pm (the were very specific about the time), I am to take my first intramuscular injection, a hormone called Pregnyl, to start the ovulation process. It’s a two-vial med like Menopur, and Mr. W has to draw 1 cc of the fluid from the liquid vial, squirt it into the powder vial, mix it, draw it into the syringe, change the needle to a thinner one, then inject it to my upper outer buttock area, just around the corner from my hip. I’m glad I don’t have to do it; it’s so counter-intuitive to stab oneself, even after having done it daily for the past few weeks. I actually sat on the bed with the teeny Lupron syringe aimed at my abdomen this morning, my brain went into hyperdrive, and I could not get myself to do it. Mr. W was there and he just took the syringe and did it for me. It felt like being 7 again, standing at the edge of the highrise diving board, and being absolutely unable to make myself step off the board to fall 20 feet into the water. (Swimming class.) It’s a good thing the doctor announced I’m done with all other previous injections now. YAY! After this scary Pregnyl thing, I have NO SHOTS tomorrow, the first shot-free day I’ve had in almost 3 weeks. (Great timing, cuz tomorrow’s Rebecca At The Beach day and it would suck to have to rush back by 6pm for my evening shot.)
The Monday morning at 6:15a, I’m to check into a different medical office that has operating rooms and labs on-site. My surgery is scheduled for 7am; I’m the first patient. They make a little incision in the back of my vagina, use that hole to reach the couple of centimeters to each of my ovaries, suction out the fluid in the follicles, collect the egg in each follicle they suction. (They do approx. 550 of these a year.) I’m going to be put completely under for this, which is scary to me because I’ve never been totally under anesthesia before. I hope I won’t be paralyzed but conscious, THAT is a horrific thought. Bubble of light, bubble of light!
Meanwhile, because they moved my surgery up a day to Monday, it means Mr. W’s sperm retrieval is not possible the day before as it would be Sunday. So the urologist worked out something with Mr. W: hubby will drop me off in the morning of my procedure, then go to the urologist’s nearby other office. Sperm collection will take place then, then the goods will be packaged and handed to Mr. W so that he could drive his own boys back to the OR where I am. Then at that lab, my eggs will be fertilized that day. And then he drives me home. I thought he would need his own driver after his procedure, but the urologist and Mr. W aren’t concerned. I definitely will not be allowed to drive; I’m told to be on bedrest and be cared for in the 24 hours following retrieval.
The following night, I start the first of what the nurse called “the monster of all these injections,” Progesterone. It’s only 1 cc in the same butt muscle area (switching back and forth between sides), but because the hormone’s in sesame oil, it’s thick and requires a thicker needle to draw into the syringe. Once in the syringe, the needle is unscrewed and replaced with a thinner one for injection. And supposedly it’s very uncomfortable once in; the oil makes it harder for the body to absorb, so they recommend massaging the injection site immediately after administering the shot to help the liquid disperse and absorb, then to use a hot compress on the area 3-4 times a day. Apparently what’s not absorbed may harden and stay in there, so they want heat to help keep the stuff liquified. UGH! I’ve heard about how painful Progesterone could be. Although, I wonder if it could be as bad as that same area felt after I climbed the Great Wall of China; I couldn’t even straighten my legs or walk upright the next couple of days. “I’ve been through MUCH worse, this is nothing,” I keep telling myself.
So the day of retrieval, the eggs are fertilized and doctors monitor the embryo growth. They’ll let me know same-day how many eggs they’ve collected. Then a day or two later, the lab will tell me how many embryos have successfully been created. If the embryos look like they’re not doing well, they’ll pick the best and implant it on Day 3 after the collection. If the embryos look like they’re doing well, or there are enough good embryos to wait, they’ll wait till Day 5 to implant, so they have more time to pick the best one. In those couple of extra days, the eggs would’ve evolved into “blastocysts,” which I guess just means they’ve got more cells than the Day 3 embryos would have. I’ve prepaid up to the blastocyst transfer; if they have to do an embyro transfer (day 3), they simply refund the difference since we’ll be using less lab time.
After the implant I’m on bedrest for 48 hours. Then on March 16, they have me go in to the fertility doctor’s office for the last time for a pregnancy test. Meanwhile, through all this, the progesterone injections continue, one a day. And starting the day of the retrieval, I take two drugs orally, Doxycycline and Medrol for about a week to fight off infection and stuff. After the implant, in addition to the Progesterone, they add the hormone Estrogen. LUCKILY, this is in the form of a Vivelle sticker dot; I just stick 2 to my lower abdomen, and change them with new ones every 3 days.

Mr. W is at the gym right now, since he can work out and I’m not allowed to. I do feel my lower abdomen in the sense of twinges when I walk or when I’m in certain positions, but nothing more severe than the twinges I feel in my left ovary when I’m ovulating from that side naturally. However, I’ve felt sick in the evenings for the past 2 days in a row. A tad nauseated, just a general feeling of “ick.” I blame that on the hormone overload. I expect to feel better from now on because I’m off the 3 hormone injections. Eating has been tough on this high-protein, low-carb, low-salt, low-sugar, no-caffeine restriction. I’ve gotten used to the no-caffeine and removed coffees, teas and chocolate from my diet, no biggie. But the past couple of days of the other stuff, I started running out of things to eat. I had an eggwhite omelette with cut pieces of tri-tip steak for two mornings, steamed tilapia over kale salad for dinner, half a butterflied prime rib with steamed veggies for lunch, and last nite I made cream of asparagus soup for dinner, processing firm tofu in place of cream with my boiled asparagus and shitake mushrooms for extra protein. The thought of meat makes me nauseated. I’m craving fresh fruits and veggies. Today for breakfast I had an avocado, and for lunch, a smoked salmon, capers and tomato omelette. I’d meant to ask how long I have to keep these dietary restrictions up, but forgot. Mr. W ate a small basket of mini muffins, Thin Mints Girl Scout Cookies, and other cookies in front of me, but I didn’t cave. In fact, maybe due to these restrictions (plus it’s amazing how much junk food you don’t eat when you eliminate chocolate from your diet), or maybe due to the workouts I’d had since joining the ultra gym, I think I’ve dropped a couple of pounds at a time when a common symptom is to bloat and gain a couple of pounds a day. That’s good, cuz I figure, if I’m not going to gain more than 24 lb through my pregnancy, I want to start a little on the low side so I can reuse my adolescent stretch marks (wishful thinking). Starting right about now brings my maximum weight to what I weighed at my heaviest.

Less than 2 hours to my first intramuscular thought. I feel a little sick thinking about it. But it’s coming to the last stages!

Blood test this morning with ultrasound following. I’m going in to the fertility doctor’s office two out of three days now. At the ultrasound, the 3rd doctor (as opposed the the 1st male one I worked with and am assigned to, and the 2nd female who’s been taking ultrasounds in the interim who discovered the [disappearing] polyps, now this 3rd is the same guy I had at my last appointment with on Tuesday) measured my now larger follicles. It looks similar to the ultrasound photo I posted in the prior post, but now there’s less white space in between the black circles. Follicles measured up to 12mm. “That’s big!” I exclaimed.
“Not really,” he said. So what’s big? “They get up to 18 to 20mm.” Eep! “You’ll definitely feel them.” I already feel them now. I had a hard time falling asleep last night because I was very aware of my ovaries. It kinda feels like mild bloating with gas. Not painful, just an awareness that it’s there, especially in certain positions.
I also asked about the sushi/sashimi ban. My mom and aunt have been on my case about stopping raw fish consumption, saying it’s bad for me. I just sort of “yeah yeah yeah” wave them off, but I wanted to know what the risks are. The doctor said the argument against sushi is mercury consumption, and he wasn’t concerned about bacteria or parasites. (The sushi joints we eat at are pretty clean and careful about quality control.) So that means I should also watch my cooked fish consumption for mercury, and it’s not raw-fish-based. Which makes sense, cuz what do the women in Japan eat when they’re pregnant? Just ramen and yakitori? (Yes, I know there are more Japanese foods than that but I’m making a point.)
The doctor said the office will call me later today to let me know whether to adjust the evening’s Follistim dose based on the bloodwork from this morning. “We’re being very careful because if the estrogen level gets too high, she goes into a state called [some word] and she’ll get very sick,” the doctor explained to Mr. W. I was told to still take my Menopur dose this morning, so we (Mr. W mostly, I just sat there and went “Ow.”) administered that in a free patient room in the office. That hurt, especially when all that liquid got squeezed into my abdominal fat. The morning’s little dose of Lupron that I administered myself at home was fine, great. Again, I sigh: Why can’t all injections be like you, Lupron?

Sperm retrieval still set tentatively for February 28 (next Monday), egg retrieval tentatively March 1 (next Tuesday). At the appointment desk (where they booked me for yet another blood test/ultrasound tomorrow, cuz they’re monitoring THAT closely so I don’t get sick on being over-estrogenized), I asked her about exercise I’m allowed to do. She said, “No exercise.”
I think I stared at her for a few seconds trying to process that. “NO exercise?”
“Um, when was I supposed to have stopped exercising?”
“Well…now. What kind of exercise do you do?”
“Weight-lifting, yoga, pilates, cardio…I did pilates yesterday.”
“Yeah, stop doing all that. You can walk, though.”
The nurse handed me two pieces of paper, saying, “You’re also going to have to follow a special diet now, because if the hormones go on [hyper-something, she said], we don’t want you to get sick.” I read through the patient information on those papers as Mr. W drove us to work. Neither paper really addressed diet, but they FREAKED ME OUT. One explained that because I’m overstimulating the ovaries, my ovaries will be tender and delicate so to not do anything strenuous. It recommended “complete bed rest,” which is described as laying down or in a reclining position most of the day, getting up to use the restroom or sitting up to eat. Are they KIDDING? Starting when, NOW? But the nurse said I can take walks. It also said because bloating and water retention is “normal” thanks to the extra dosages of hormones, to cut out the salt. No biggie, I’m pretty lean on sodium intake anyway. There’s something in there about possibly having to monitor the quantity of urine at some point to make sure I’m urinating enough. The second paper talks about what to expect in symptoms coming up. The symptoms range from mild to moderate to extreme. Mild symptoms, like bloating and some water rention, is expected now, due to the enlargement of the ovaries. Moderate and extreme symptoms are apparently experienced by women 6-8 days after this course of hormone treatment is over, things such as decreased urination (you’re supposed to drink some allowable fluids on a list, things like Gatoraid, V8 [both of which seem weird to me cuz I thought they wanted to cut sodium out], carrot juice I think, and some other stuff), dark urine, weight gain of 2-3 pounds a day due to water retention, more bloating and measurement increase due to bloating. Call the doctor if weight gain is more than 5 lbs a day. (EEK!) Extreme symptoms that something’s wrong would be thirst but no urination (cuz the water is sucked into the abdomen thanks to the hormones, so there’s nothing to spare to urinate out), more extreme weight gain (10lbs), nausea, vomiting, sharp pains in the abdomen. 1% of women are hospitalized due to the hormones getting too heavy like that, and they have to have the fluid drained surgically from their abdomen (WAAH!).
While I whimpered and freaked out in the front seat, Mr. W took the papers out of my hands and put them in the back seat. He said that all pharmaceutical drugs list a ton of really adverse side-effects but how many people actually experience those? I drooped over sideways and said weakly that the paper didn’t say only a small percentage of women MAY experience these side effects; it said that the mild symptoms are expected during the course of treatment and the moderate and severe 6-8 days after treatment. Sounded pretty definite to me. He didn’t believe it.

So when the nurse calls me later to tell me my hormone level and how much Follistim to administer tonight, I’m going to ask her: WHEN am I supposed to be on this complete bed rest? Are those symptoms on the sheet a guaranteed thing? And WHAT diet am I supposed to follow?

*** UPDATE ***
Just got the doctor’s office call. So last Friday, my estrogen level tested at less than 20. Tuesday, it was something like 271 when they started decreasing my evening Follistim dose from 225 iu to 200 and then 175. Today, my estrogen measured at 1,456. I don’t konw what all this means, but I’m thinking it’s a pretty damn steep climb in a very short time. The nurse told me to decrease my evening Follistim to 100 iu (woohoo! less pain!) and tomorrow morning, before I go in for my blood test and ultrasound, to take the usual tiny dose of Lupron but to skip the Menopur, but bring it with me in case they tell me to administer it in the office like they did today.
I asked about the “complete bed rest.” She said I’m definitely not at that point, and hopefully with careful monitoring I won’t get to that point until after the retrieval/implant. She said I need to have bed rest for 48 hours after the implant, which makes sense. We don’t want to bounce the embryo out after everything we went through to get it in there. So as to the crazy symptoms needing hospital visits and abdominal fluid extraction? She said that’s worst-case scenario and hopefully I won’t be anywhere near that point, either. Whew. I asked about the restricted diet which wasn’t specified. Is it just cutting sodium? She said not just that, but also carbs and sugars. I asked if this includes the natural carbs such as from fruit and juices and yogurt, and she said yes, all the good stuff. Sounds like bloat control. Okay, I can do that. Except that I had a Subway sandwich on 9-grain bread for lunch and a pomegranate cherry yogurt for brunch before they called me. =P

(hee hee, it sounds like “whore money.” Okay, I’m my age again.)

Whatever the doctor saw in my blood in yesterday morning’s blood test made them call me and move my next appointment, previously scheduled for tomorrow morning, to this morning. They didn’t scare me, they said “Your hormone levels are fine, but we want to see you tomorrow instead of Wednesday.” Today, I met the third doctor in the clinic (also very nice, like my male doctor I’d originally started with, and the female doctor who took most of my ultrasounds after that), and he performed my ultrasound. I clearly saw large round black circles in my ovaries. Yup, the follicles are expanding. He measured only the large ones, 8mm-10mm. There were medium and small ones he wasn’t interested in, but there were probably 5 or so large ones per ovary he measured. Mr. W gaped at the monitor and said, “Wow, they’re big! Do you feel that?”
I said, “I don’t feel anything.” (Really. Not even psychologically.)
The doctor said, “Not yet, but you will.” I guess I’m gonna expect bloating soon. We asked if we could take a photo of the monitor screen, and he said he’ll just print us out an image:

See that upside-down skull-looking thing on the upper right of that image? That’s my ovary with the giant follicles (sac of fluid with an egg inside). You can see 3 large follicles and one medium, and one small. Freaky, huh?
The doctor also explained that the reason they brought me in early for ultrasound is because my estrogen levels measured a little high in Monday’s blood test, so they want to check on the eggs. He likens what we’re doing to cooking; you’ve got a pot boiling on the stove, and the heat is turned on by the medication, but you don’t want to overcook the pot, so if it starts to boil too hard or fast, you turn down the heat to adjust. If it’s not boiling, you turn up the heat. He said they’d let me know after this morning’s blood test how the hormone levels look to determine whether my doses need adjustment. I hoped they would adjust down cuz this morning’s pricks hurt! My little Lupron prick felt like two jabs going in, and Mr. W’s large Menopur dose hurt with the stab and hurt a lot with the administration of the meds, and even hurt with the removal of the needle. I thought maybe it was because I worked out so much the last 2 days that my ab muscles are swollen and sore so maybe that affected the injection site, but he later confessed that he had the needle held at an angle where it was manipulating my skin a little.

I got the call just now. My estrogen level when I was just on ovulation-suppressing Lupron was less than 20 (“Okay, your estrogen IS properly suppressed, so we can start the other medication now.”). They didn’t tell me what the estrogen level was from Monday’s blood draw, but this morning’s blood draw, they said it was something like 271. So that’s high, as I knew it would be, cuz the evening Follistim dose of 225 iu just seemed high to me. Their new instructions: Drop this evening’s Follistim dose to 200 iu, then drop tomorrow (Wednesday) evening’s Follistim dose to 175 iu. They’ll see me Thursday morning for another blood test to see how that’s going. Also for Thursday, they tell me to NOT take Menopur in the morning and to bring it to the appointment. If they determine I need it, they’ll administer it for me then. Good, the painful stuff is being reduced. They’re keeping my morning Lupron the same, but I’ve never minded Lupron.

The doctor’s office has been really good about booking my appointments (now becoming almost an every day thing as they monitor closely) at 7:30a in the morning, so we can get to work by about 8:40ish. That means for me, as court doesn’t start until around 9a, that they really don’t miss me and don’t have to find a relief clerk to fill in until I got to my desk. Other clerks come in regularly at 9a anyway. My supervisor has been very understanding and cooperative, just asking for a heads-up on days when I MIGHT be a little later than usual.

My mom’s been doing really well on the social networking site. She’s added a bunch of photos, untagged herself on others that I’ve posted, changed her profile picture twice, responded correctly to a message I wrote to her via the site. When Mr. W and I visited my parents on Sunday, she explained that she spent some time playing with the site and figured out the things for herself, although initially she had been impressed with how smart the networking site is for recognizing her AND my dad in my photos. And then she discovered photo tagging. She also discovered other people’s photos.
“I looked at every one of your photos yesterday!” she said gleefully on Sunday.
Looks like I did this just in time.

A friend and I have been discussing lately what keeps people together as close friends through the years. Common interests? Common circles? Effort?

Mr. W has 3 people whom he’d previously identified as his “best friend.” One is his former brother-in-law, who we don’t see very often because their interests don’t cross much into ours, and when they have their wine events or superbowl events, they don’t invite us. The only “regular” event Mr. W and I throw is my July 4th/birthday bar shindig, and they came the first year but were out of town for the second. That family is still close with Mr. W’s kids (as the kids are cousins), so we hear of things and sort of trade checking-ups thru mostly Mr. W’s daughter (whose mom lives close to their house). I think the last time I saw these friends was when we all went whitewater rafting last summer. They do mail us Christmas cards every year; I’ve only returned the gesture once, cuz I’m horrible at card-stuff, even though I tell myself every year I’m definitely gonna make the effort to send out cards this year.
Another best friend is a retired coworker of Mr. W’s. She’s fairly newly retired, and she sort of mimicks the interests of Mr. W. When they worked together, he got into computers, she got into computers. He was into gaming, she got into gaming. They gamed all day at work, at lunch together, and in the afternoons. Then they went home and gamed online with each other. (That was a rough period, 6 months into our relationship, when I found myself completely replaced by their obsession.) Then he found an embroidery machine that would take any programmed designs you want to create or download from a computer. He had a lot of fun goofing off with that, and she immediately went and bought a similar machine. (Then she took embroidery classes, and traded her machine in for a larger, fancier, nearly professional industrial one. She retired around then and dedicated a lot of time to putting personal touches on her shirts. Now she’s using this amazing machine to start quilting classes. She’s loving her retirement.) Then he bought an iPhone. He showed it off to her and she very soon got out of her phone contract early and bought an iPhone. And then she outdid him again; she traded up to the new iPhone. Then he bought the iPad, went and showed it to her. It was a week or less before she bought one after seeing his. Now they get together for lunch or we meet up at the coffee shop for Rebecca and they bring their iPads and submerge completely into their iPad worlds (while I stare into space). I think somewhere in there she tried to follow along on Mr. W’s photography interest but it didn’t catch on the way the gaming and gadgets did. They’re both into the fantasy gaming/books/TV/movies genre, so they’ll get together for things like Harry Potter viewings while I, and best friend’s wife, bow out.
The third best friend is Mr. W’s former neighbor before Mr. W moved to where we now live. He’s got similar interests as Mr. W, but came with his own fairly advanced knowledge of the topics, so Mr. W trades info and experiences and ideas with him. The neighbor has taken formal training in computers, so they would get together and discuss things and revamp their desktops for hours (sometimes days). He’s also made a makeshift photo studio in his garage for taking portraits of his young daughter, so they discuss cameras and photography strategies. We’ve recently gotten him interested in eating better nutrition-wise, and he was a chef at some point in his life, so he tries to absorb and incorporate the new knowledge into what he does. One of the fun things about hanging out with #3 is that he’s game to anything you introduce him to, as long as you tell him you’ve tried it and it’s fun/healthy/interesting/educational. His response is usually, “WOOOOOW, this is SO good!” Or “WOOOOW, now THAT is INTERESTING!” And then he’d go and try it himself on his own, whether it be a restaurant or a new photography trick shared with him. Mr. W also sucked him into iPhone world. I think he’s on the verge of going into iPad world, too, but he’s waiting for the newest release of a future model. Mr. W and #3 used to meet on a man-date once a week on a set day, and Ann and I would go off and frolic somewhere on those days. We’d often come home earlier than the guys would, despite the fact that Mr. W typically goes to bed at 9p, sometimes 8p. He says he’s wide awake when he’s talking about or doing something INTERESTING, such as computer stuff.
Common interests, #2 and #3 have the most with Mr. W. But things in common, #1 wins — a longer history, relatives in common, the kids are related. But effort in maintaining friendships, #2 and #3 win hands-down. I even get texts once in awhile from #2, such as Happy Chinese New Year and stuff. So I guess it’s a combination of factors that keep friendships alive. Of course, also important — no backstabbing in their mutual histories. That’s how I drop off friends; betrayals and let-downs.

After her retirement, #2 joined the same gym Mr. W and I belong to. After a few months, she discovered the superior level of that gym corporation. With our lower-level membership, we can go into the superior gym, but we’d have to pay $15 per use. (Currently, Mr. W and my membership’s annual renewal is $49/year, so we don’t want to budge from that since the deal is now unheard of.) She fell in love with the superior level’s gym and upgraded her membership, calling Mr. W and raving about this club. She invited us to meet her there yesterday, and since Mr. W and I were introducing #3 to True Food Kitchen (“WOOOOOOW, I think this is THE BEST FISH I’ve ever had in my LIFE!” Seriously. Do yourself a favor, go to True Food Kitchen, and order the miso-glazed black cod dinner entree. You won’t regret it unless you’re allergic to fish or black cod or nutrition.) and he also has the same gym membership we do (following our lead, he got the same great deal we did years ago), we invited him along. And for the first time that I was aware of, the roles were totally reversed when we got sucked into one of their worlds.

Yesterday, what we walked into was the most glorious dream-gym. This is the ultra level, and there’s only one of them in California, and it’s less than a half hour’s drive from our home. Three stories of fitness equipment, more cardio equipment than you can count (well, than you’d care to count). Full-size basketball court inside, 3 squash courts, 2 raquetball courts, giant exercise class room with a glass wall with a view, olympic-sized heated outdoor-pool, outdoor jacuzzi and gas barbecue ranges, two sand volleyball courts (one in front by a decorative fountain lake and one by the pool in the back), private whirlpool, sauna and steam room in each locker room. The locker rooms themselves were stocked and arranged like dayspas with all the amenities you would need; blowdryers, brushes, lotion, q-tips, hairspray, towel service, flat-screen TVs, irons and ironing board. Lots of free fitness classes, and a full pilates class with pilates boards, all the equipment (for an extra $30 for 10 sessions). An in-gym restaurant and smoothie bar, 2 billiards tables, lounge areas with big-screen TVs scattered throughout. And then the very nice guy who was giving us the tour and information said some magic words. This gym is only “busy” at lunch hour when the surrounding businessmen in the corporate area come in for a quick workout, or many just for lunch in the healthy restaurant and to shoot a couple of hours of pool. Any other time, the place looks like 8pm on a Friday night in October. (Which is how it looked that Sunday afternoon.) I griped about the New Year’s Resolution Crowd. He said they HAVE no New Year’s Resolution Crowd. There’s so much equipment and free weights you never have to wait. And THEN, the on-site babysitting service will take your kids for up to 4 hours at a time, kids ages 6 months and up. SIX MONTHS! I asked if any of their trainers know how to work with a pregnant client, and he said there IS a female specialist for that. I was sold. Mr. W and I needed to get back in the gym (which we’ve been resenting and avoiding since the new year), and this gym solves all our current gripes, AND solves a future problem. The best part, they don’t have to change or cancel my $49/yr membership contract. They simply add a supplemental monthly fee on top of my existing contract, and I can cancel or freeze the supplement at any time without affecting my original deal. So if my fertility doctor tells me, “Stay out of the gym for the next 2 months,” I call up the gym or go online, and freeze the account for 2 months. I don’t get charged the supplement again until it unfreezes. Between this ultra level of gym and my level, there is also another level of semi-exclusive gyms that now also have access to world-wide. Plus there’s my existing level and the level beneath mine. So that’s 4 tiers of gyms and there are tons of new gyms now open to me, closer to home if I don’t feel like going to the ultra nice one to get spoiled.

Yesterday, after becoming upgraded members, Mr. W and I worked out (he enjoyed running the indoor track on the 3rd floor), hit the weight floorS, and then changed to swimsuits and did laps in the heated pool outside. There were other people there doing laps, but the pool was so big it accommodated all 4 of us (including Best Friends #s 2 and 3). I’m a crappy swimmer, but it’s supposed to be good exercise, especially when I’ll be too big to run, so I may as well get started now. Then we sat around in the outdoor jacuzzi for a bit before leaving. We’re going back today.

I’m so glad Best Friend #2 shared her newest interest with us!

TAXES: We visited the tax guy Thursday evening. It’s someone Mr. W has used in the past and I’m happy he found his way back and took me along. We were hoping we wouldn’t have to pay (much) given that our expenses are at an all-time high right now. Imagine our relief when we got a refund, and our tax refund came out to, not as much as last year’s, but about 1/3 as much. We’ll just say that if applied 100% to my “fertility credit card,” will pay off more than half of it. It’s like getting 20% off on fertility treatments. But now I’m thinking, we’re letting the government withhold way too much of our money for taxes. I should increase my exemptions for this year. (Mr. W has himself plus 8, I have just myself plus 1.) So, that went well. 🙂 The tax guy’s modest office lobby is well-stocked with hospitality, too, but I couldn’t indulge in the red wine, chilled white wine, Cokes and diet Cokes, coffee (which they had run out of anyway), so I chewed on a lemon Tootsie Roll (I didn’t know these existed!), flipped through a celeb mag, and played a form of Scrabble on my cell phone with Jordan and Mr. W. (They both cheat. What kind of word is “vim,” anyway? They both played it against me. Hmmph.)

FERTILITY DOCTOR VISIT: Friday morning, we went in to our fertility appointment. First, they did another ultrasound to count my follicles again. I don’t know what these drugs have been doing, but I’ve never seen my follicles (egg sacs in the ovaries) look so clear on ultrasound. I could finally tell what my doctor was counting. He pointed to various large dark circles and said these are the good follicles that will mature and he will take the egg from them. He pointed to various medium and smaller sized dark circles and said these probably won’t mature much, given how young and small they are, so he’ll just ignore them when he’s doing the egg extractions. He counted the viable (large) follicles. SEVEN on each side. Woohoo! (And, ouch.) I’m definitely at the right stage to change over my Lupron drug (halt ovulation) to Menopur and Follistim (start egg ripening). Since we were on the subject, I noted to him, “I didn’t feel anything on Lupron.”
“You’re not supposed to,” he said. “One out of six or so women get menopausal type symptoms, but most don’t feel anything at all.” Mr. W said he would’ve thought I’d be one of the six since I’m “sensitive to medication.” Lucky for him I’m not, although it’d be interesting to get a glimpse into what I’d be like at menopause.
After the ultrasound, I went to the phlebotomist station for a blood draw to test my hormone levels. We discussed what happened last time they drew blood early morning. (Before we left for the airport on our Europe vacation, we went to the fertility doctor’s for multiple blood draws. I stood up when I was done, waited for Mr. W to be done, then when I was at the payment desk, I started feeling nauseated. It got worse until I had to tell the receptionist to stop talking because I needed somewhere to sit down. Then ringing in my ears set in and I started getting a “static” thing going on the outside edges of my vision, which closed in until my vision went black. I told them I couldn’t see anything and felt really sick. A nurse and Mr. W led me into an empty room to a chair and the nurse fanned me (I had broken out in cold sweat) while feeding me a box of juice. Soon the ringing gave way to a water rushing sound and I could hear better and I started seeing shadows moving around in black and white. My vision then came back and they instructed me to sit there while Mr. W kept fanning. Apparently juice in the morning before a blood draw was not enough for my little body.) The nurse said losing vision without losing consciousness was “weird,” cuz usually people that start to black out on their vision faint. This gives me a little concern about “going under” during the egg retrieval; what if I’m paralyzed and blind but I’m conscious and can FEEL and hear? *vomit*

After the blood draw, we went into a separate nurse’s office and the nurse who was with me at the ultrasound came in to explain my next course of medication for the next 8 days. Apparently I’m not done with Lupron. I’m just going to halve the dose to the “5” line (.05ml?) on the tiny skinny subcutaneous syringe (the ones with the orange caps in the photo), and administer that in the mornings as I have been doing the last 10 days. I guess that explains why I got an entire separate pack of insulin syringes in addition to the ones that came in the Lupron box, and why I still have half the vial of Lupron left over. “We still don’t want you to ovulate,” the nurse explained. I’m adding Menopur to the morning Lupron poke, though. I found out Menopur can also be administered subcutaneously, so I was greatly relieved. That means I can still do it myself. But this one’s trickier to set up. Apparently the syringes for Menopur comes with a “mixing needle” attached to the syringe. She said I don’t have to use that because it’s more difficult, so to just twist that needle off and throw it away into the Sharps container (provided). That was a relief, because the “mixing needle” is thick, long, and scary. I then screw on a “Q-Cap,” which is shaped like those ointment tube caps that have an inset puncture point on the other side that you have to turn around and push into the foil seal of the ointment tube opening to puncture it. So you screw the Q-Cap onto the syringe and use it to puncture a small vial of clear fluid. The way the cap is shaped also snaps onto the vial. You then use the syringe to draw up the liquid through the hole at the tip of the puncture point into the syringe. Then you pull off the vial and insert the Q-Cap with syringe onto a second vial of white powder. Squeeze the liquid from the syringe into the vial, shake the vial, mix the two. Then draw up that bottle of mixed meds into the syringe. Remove the Q-cap and vial, screw on the thin half-inch subcutaneous needle head, squeeze the air out, tap out the air bubbles, and you’re all set.
In addition to those 2 morning shots, I have to do a Follistim shot, also subcutaneous, at night. This injection “pen” is the stupidest invention in my kit. The concept is cool; you load a vial of the liquid into the middle of the pen. You screw on a new needle tip. You turn the back of the pen until your directed dosage (225 iu for me) shows up in the window. You inject the half-inch needle into your skin and push the button at the back of the pen with your thumb. You pull out the pen, toss the needle, and you’re done until the next dose. Here’s the impracticality of it: The vial is preloaded with 300 iu of medication. My second dose, I use up the remainder of the vial (75 iu) and have to open the pen, pop in a new vial, screw in a new needle head after tossing the old one, turn the dial to administer the rest of my dose (150 iu), and re-poke and re-inject. That’s TWO POKES for one dose! And then the next day, I’m going to have 150 iu left, so I use it all up, then put in a new vial, turn it to dispense the remainder of my dose (75 iu), repoke AGAIN, and I’ll have 225 iu left in there, the full correct dose, for the next night. To make keeping track of all this easier, the Follistim pen kit has an instructional booklet with a chart in the back pages you write your doses and remaining iu’s in, like a checkbook register. WHAT THE HELL! The preloaded vial is 2/3 empty. Why can’t they fill the damn thing up so I get more uses out of one vial, or better yet, dump all that liquid into one big vial and let me draw up my own dose like I do with Lupron? Argh. It’s such a ridiculously fancy zippered kit, too. See the right side of the first photo. At least it’s in the proper colors of blue and yellow, altho it’s more of a Cal navy blue than the UCLA royal blue. =P

So this morning, I tried the new meds. Mr. W has always been eager to help and so far I hadn’t needed him to. He asks often, though, if I’d like him to do the shots for me. This morning, he woke up before 6am and laid there, fidgeting, keeping me awake. Then 45 minutes later, he prodded me and said, “Want me to set up the shots for you?” I said no, I could do it. He said he paid good attention to the nurse and can do the mixing. I said I can handle it. He offered to do one while I do the other. I still declined, and he said then I’d have to get up now and start setting up the shots to keep to my time regimen of adminstering the shots 12 hours apart each time. I got up and while I was in the restroom, I heard him opening up packaging, heard the clink of vials and the snapping of the Q-cap. I just let him do it while I set up the Lupron. It must’ve been fun for him. After he drew all the Menopur fluid into the larger syringe, I balked. There is SO MUCH FLUID in there, almost 2.5 ml. I’ve been used to .10 ml on the Lupron.
“How is all that liquid going to fit with a little half-inch needle under my skin?!” I wailed. He handed me the syringe. I stared at it, freezing up. I thought of what commenter Bat said (in my Pincushion post) about the discomfort in shots coming from the volume of liquid going in, and not from the prick itself.
“Want me to do it?” he asked again.
“Okay,” I said in a small voice.
I swabbed my problematic right side (which was next up in order of stabbings), sat on the bed, and administered my little .05 ml of Lupron. I felt nothing, which was great, except when the needle came out, a larger drop of blood appeared. Stupid right side. I was still gripping my abdomenal fat roll with my left hand per protocol for injection, and turned my head. “Don’t put it right where I put the other one,” I said in paranoia.
“I won’t, I’ll put it right here,” he pointed to a spot about a third of an inch away from the blood drop.
As I looked away, he went for it. “Hey, that’s good, I didn’t feel it,” I said. A second or two passed. Then I felt the fluid. “Ow. Well, it doesn’t hurt exactly, just sort of sore. Ow. Okay, I’m going to start letting go of my fat now so there’s more room for the fluid to go. Ow. That’s uncomfortable, it feels like pressure inside…” When I fully released my fat roll (I know, this sounds gross), the pressure was relieved significantly.
“Okay, and I’m done,” he said.
“Leave it in there for 5 seconds before you pull it out to let the drug settle,” I said. I had read that somewhere, altho it was probably the instructions for the Follistim pen that I’d be using later that night. My mind was a whirlwind. I figure it couldn’t hurt to prevent liquid from squirting back out like the stream from a clown’s lapel flower. I didn’t feel the needle come out, and he certainly didn’t leave a big mark on my skin the way I did with my dinky little injection, which was already bruising purple under the skin. So he did good, despite the fact that he dropped the Q-Cap when he took it out of the packaging and he stabbed himself with the needle before he administered my shot.
I laid back on the bed, afraid that movement would squeeze the fluid out. How does that much fluid fit in there?! I could feel the pressure as my fat cells were being pushed aside to make room. A minute later I got up and went about my morning and the pressure feeling went away after a few minutes. Now, almost 3 hours later, I still feel normal, not that there’s anything to cause mood swings anyhow. We’ll see how the evening’s Follistim goes.

NEW ANTICIPATION: The fertility doctor’s office called me a few hours after our morning visit yesterday. They said the blood test results show that my estrogen is indeed suppressed, so everything’s on schedule and going as expected. They said to go ahead and start the new drug treatment the next day (today). I go in on Monday for a blood test just so they can make sure the hormone levels of the new injections don’t need to be adjusted (I hope they adjust DOWN!). I go in again on Wednesday morning for another ultrasound and blood test to check the status of my eggs now that they’re being told to ripen, and to recheck hormone levels. At that point, they should be able to tell when the eggs will be ready for collection. (Like a hen.) Presently they expect tentative extraction dates sometime in the week after, so they’re going to call Mr. W’s urologist to clear Monday through Wednesday of the week after next for sperm retrieval. Whenever I’m set for egg harvesting, Mr. W will get the sperm retrieval done the day before so that it will be prepared and ready to fertilize my eggs the day my eggs come out. After that, I will get the best embryo implanted in 3 days or 5 days, depending how well the embryos are developing in their little petri dish beds. Throughout all this, I will be undergoing various shots and I’d still be shooting up, intramuscularly, a couple of weeks after the implantation.

I woke up in the middle of the night last night and stayed awake a bit. I thought of how I’m not going to have sex for a year (cuz right now I’m in menses and after that we’ll both be going through surgery for sperm/egg retrieval and after that I’ll be pregnant and that just seems wrong to give the kid a visitor before he’s truly met his dad). And I thought of how starting now, our lives (well, mine mostly) will never be the same again and it will be completely new territory. I felt a little pensive, and I wondered if this was fear, or maybe cold feet. But then Mr. W snuggled up to me in his sleep and I remembered that one of his traits, which has sometimes annoyed me, is his overeagerness to help and take over on things that I’m doing, which has made me feel like he thinks I’m inept, but maybe when it comes to a baby, I’d really, truly BE inept. I’d certainly be inexperienced. I thought of how a couple of days ago, he was sitting on my La-Z-Boy recliner reading his iPad and I sat perpendicularly curled up on his lap, and he’d patted an empty spot between his stomach and my lap, and said, “In a year, there’s going to be a baby laying right here on us.” And I thought of how I’d been afraid that marriage would be a goodbye to all the things I loved about my life — the freedom to wander around the house nekkid or sloppy, the luxury of falling asleep downstairs in front of the TV for naps, the availability to hang out with friends and take trips — and how none of those things really changed. And then, with my husband curled up behind me and with my cat luxuriously balled in front of me and the rain beating outside, I fell asleep again.

Tomorrow is the last day, day 10, of my first series of shots (Lupron). I’ve been doing all of them myself and it’s been going pretty efficiently. I haven’t passed out completely, yet. Tomorrow morning before work, I have an appointment with the fertility doctor for a blood test, another ultrasound to just check things out, and they’d be telling me the next step of medication. I’m not sure what shot comes next. Lupron is the hormone that tells my body, “stop the ovulation process.” So I assume the next series of meds would be the “okay, now ripen all the eggs” shots. I haven’t felt anything different either mood-wise or physically with Lupron, but with the next shots I’d probably feel some bloating and discomfort, since I can feel twinges in my left ovary when I ovulate ONE egg from that side. Now I’ll have lots of eggs ripen and swell in both ovaries simultaneously. I don’t know where the next series of shots would go, either. If they’re intramuscular, then they’d have to be injected with slightly thicker and three-times-longer needles. That sounds scary, but given that the subcutaneous needles are half an inch, we’re only looking at inch-and-a-half needles. But still, the thought that intramuscular needles need to go in my butt muscles…*shudder*. Mr. W would have to administer those for me.
A couple of days ago on TV, I watched a reality show that followed a young heroin addict for an episode. In one scene, she had a bunch of needles around her and I immediately recognized them as the same ones I’d been using. But she INJECTED it straight into the side of her NECK into her carotid artery while looking in a mirror! Slowly! *vomit* *faint* Meanwhile her drug-buddy-slash-bang-partner watched her and said admiringly, “Damn…you are BAD-ASS!” *gag* But it did make me feel like a wimp.
And then last night on House, the female hospital administrator called Dr. House into her office and told him that as a part of the in vitro procedure, she had to inject something (I missed what the drug was because I had the sound down super-low so that I wouldn’t wake hubby up where he slept at 8:30pm) and she can’t do it herself, so she asked him for help. She then leaned over her desk, hiked up her skirt slightly, and revealed a portion of her butt. When House injected, she said, “Ouch!” I was SO DISHEARTENED because if a DOCTOR says “ouch,” then it must really hurt, right? Waaah! I relayed this scene to Mr. W this morning and he said, “They’re ACTORS. Not doctors. She said ‘ouch’ because she thought a character would say ‘ouch’ if she got an injection, not because a doctor would think it’s painful.” OH YEAH! Duh! That’s what husbands are for.

After work today, we have our tax appointment. Mr. W and I are a little nervous, because we really don’t want to pay taxes. I’m low on funds because of the fertility expenses, and we have property taxes coming up (for three pieces of property), and car insurance for the year (for three cars, as Mr. W pays for his son’s car). I don’t expect a windfall like last year, which could have bought us a new modest car and which paid for our French Polynesia luxury cruise and our property taxes, but I’m hopeful we’ll still get enough back to help out just a bit. *crossing fingers*

I’ve never been one of those kids who complained about their parents not being “up with the current trends.” My mom’s always been trendier than I, anyhow. And now, she caught up big time. Imagine my surprise when I checked my emails and found a friend request from my mom. She found me on the social networking site. AUGH! I had friended my dad at his request many moons ago, but he’s rarely on it and doesn’t respond or look at people’s pages. My mom’s different; she’ll go through everything and then question me about things. Women have more time to go through stuff with fine-toothed combs, I suppose.
I just now deleted two bikini photos from the networking site. I don’t want to get a phone call one day wherein my mom asks me to explain why those photos are on there for all my online friends to see. I wouldn’t know how to explain. In case you’re curious, they’re this photo and the last photo over here.

I had Friday off for good ol’ Abe Lincoln’s birthday. As Mr. W had to work, I had the best day for myself planned. I had to get up early to shoot up at the normal time of around 7am (I’ve recorded daily experiences as comments in the prior post entitled “Pincushion” so as not to TMI readers who are needle-queasy), so I figure I’d get my morning started, have breakfast and take my vitamins, then I’d talk a walk to the bank when it opens at 9am to close my frauded checking account (I’d left it open to wait for authorized pending transactions to get through). After the bank, I’d hit some local grocery stores and buy carrots, celery, onions, and a whole chicken for dinner. I’d come home, start the chicken in the slow cooker, then I’d take a walk to the Lake. I’d go kayaking on my own for the first time, soaking up the sun’s glorious vitamin D in my swimsuit, before I’m not fit to be seen in a swimsuit anymore. Then I’d come home and start the more active parts of making (commenter) Kit Kat’s chicken n’ dumplings recipe. Mr. W thought he’d be leaving work around 4, so I expected him home between 4 and 5. Dinner should be ready shortly after that.

Here’s what actually happened.
I did shoot up in the morning, and turned the TV on in the bedroom as I started to get ready. In my head, I call the TV “the kiss of death.” Sure enough, a House marathon was on, and I watched episode after episode lounging on the bed, playing with the cat. I kept telling myself that I’d go take a shower at the next commercial break, but with each commercial break, I decided I couldn’t afford to miss what was coming up next. Darn those strategically placed commercial breaks, that keep you glued to the TV so you don’t change channels. I finally took my shower around noon. Then I decided I had to eat something because I needed to take my morning vitamins and prescription, so I turned off House upstairs and turned on House downstairs. And stayed glued to THAT television screen for the next couple of hours. Then I decided I couldn’t keep doing this, so I forced myself to go upstairs to get ready to start my day. Finally, I was dressed and ready to run that first bank errand at 3:30-ish. With my hand on the doorknob about to go into the garage, my phone rang. It was Mr. W. “Hey, I’m home,” he said. I laughed, thinking he was lying. He must’ve just gotten off work, earlier than expected.
“So if I open the garage door, I’d see you, right?” I said, calling his bluff. I opened the garage door since I had to leave anyway. And there was his car on the driveway. ACK!
“Yeah, hurry up and get rid of him,” he joked. As he drove in, he looked at me and said, “Where’re you going?!” I said I had errands to run. He told me to hold on a second. Then he reappeared in the house with an armful of loot, like this:

Apparently he had a much more productive day than I did, because he went to work, AND he got out early, AND he went grocery-shopping, AND he bought me stuff! Yellow roses cuz those are my favorites, mixed flowers that he thought would look pretty, a heart cookie, and a bag of carob chips because I’m not allowed to have chocolate! It was hilarious! A coworker had made an amazing red velvet cake from scratch last week and I had some. He knew I’d freaked out when I found out red velvet is chocolate cake with red dye. I thanked him, took the picture, and went off on the TWO things I had to do. Obviously kayaking was nixed cuz I’d squandered all my sun time away. So was the luxury of walking to my destinations.

When I got home, I went right to work on boiling the chicken. I ended up getting two chicken breasts with ribs and bones (to better flavor stew). I got to hang out with hubby and play online for a bit while the chicken was cooking. Then I added the veggies and made dumplings. Note to future self: If you’re gonna modify recipes and replace portions of white flour with wheat flour, you need much more water and much more cooking time! The dumplings took forever to cook through and nearly dissolved my chicken. But the flavor was incredible. Mr. W was a happy camper for dinner. So that makes THREE things I accomplished in an entire day off. Thanks, Mr. Lincoln.

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