life, love, and maybe babies

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My IFV Retrieval, Part II: Taking it with lots of grains of salt

This is Part II of this previous blog entry...

When last I left you, I had learned that my 33 little follicles were growing like weeds and in turn, jacking my estrogen levels through the roof. So it was good news/bad news. Good in that I was making enough follicles to create a football team, but bad in that the spiked estrogen levels would have to result in a frozen cycle rather than fresh.


Before I could focus on the fact that my IVF cycle would now be a frozen cycle, I still had to get through the retrieval. I was done with all injections except one: the two-part trigger shot. I had experience with trigger shots with both of my (failed) IUI's. Their basic purpose is to make sure you ovulate at just the right time so they retrieve the follicles correctly. Or something like that. They weren't a big deal back then when I did IUI, and they shouldn't have been a big deal now. But for some reason, I struggled with them. The two injections were taken about 12 hours apart from each other. The first was at 11 PM on Monday night.

Let me teach you a valuable lesson. If you're like me and often pass out fall to sleep somewhere in the 8:00-10:00 vicinity, SET AN ALARM. Hubs and I settled on the bed and began watching episodes of "Parks and Recreation" (because I'm a massive Amy Poehler fan), and thought we'd be fine until 11:00.

Uh, not so much. 

I woke up at 11:00 to a blaring A-WOOOGA! A-WOOOOOGA! sound from my Hubs' iPhone alarm. It's a good thing I have a smart partner that thinks ahead, because otherwise, we would have slept straight through. I was half asleep, so the injection went quickly and without drama. I rubbed the pain away at the injection site, crawled under the covers and sawed logs.

The next morning we ventured out for Christmas shopping and knew we'd be at the stores when it came time for my 11:00 AM injection. We ended up at a sporting goods store when the time came, so I went in search of a bathroom. Let me tell you, a department store bathroom built in 1998 is not an ideal spot for shooting yourself up. How, and I ask this in all sincerity, do diabetics EVER get used to this process? Balancing the needle in one hand while fiddling with the vial of medication and wiping your injection site with an alcohol's like a three ring circus inside that stall.

Long story short, the last trigger shot hurt. In fact, it took me four tries to even get the needle in. My guess is that I was just worked up knowing that I was less than 24 hours from retrieval and my nerves were kaput. Regardless, it didn't feel great. 

And the lady pooping in the stall next to me didn't romanticize things much.

Anyways. Injections finished and now it was time to wait until 8 AM the next day when I'd go in for the retrieval.

The next morning arrived without incident and I felt ready. Traffic was light, parking was easy. We arrived at CCRM at promptly at 8:00 and checked in. But I knew what was coming.

The IV shot.

The god. damn. IV shot.

I hate IV's. I hate IV's the way Kim Kardashian hates poor people. (Okay, I'm speculating.) Every time I have ever had an IV in my life, it's been dramatic. Once the nurse put an IV through my vein and said, "Oopsies! Sorry about that!" Another time they poked me in 4 different places until they found a "good vein." I just knew this time wouldn't be any different than all the times before.

To my surprise, the IV went swimmingly. My nurse was quite possibly an angel. She put a numbing medication in first (which yes, stung, but not like a straight IV would) and it really helped calm the whole process down. She had a fantastic bedside manner and set my mind at ease. Next thing I knew, the doc came in, gave me a short shpeel about what they were going to do and started wheeling me out. I remember waving at Hubs and heading into the operating room and...blackness.

The nurse woke me up gently. She reminded me where I was (which didn't matter because I forgot 20 seconds later) and told me I had done beautifully. She said she was off to get Hubs for me and would be back in a sec.

Obviously when you come out of anesthesia, you're a little loopy. Hubs said I was quite entertaining. I cried because they didn't ask me to count down from 100 when I went under and it pissed me off. Then I asked where my mom was. Then I asked if we were at our hospital at home. Then I asked for crackers and fell asleep. It went on like that for awhile.

Here's the basics of what you need to know about retrieval. The soreness is legit. You will feel it. I'm not really sure how to describe it, other than imagine you ate an entire salt lick. You're just crazy bloated. This is not a great time to have yourself photographed because the ability to "suck it in" is just gone. 

The nurses will likely tell you to eat as much salt as possible, in conjunction with lots and lots of water. Basically, you'll have quite a bit of fluid in your tum tum and the salt helps to absorb it so you can pee it out. (For a salt addict like myself, this eating salty stuff diet was not difficult to adhere to).

For me, what sucked most was all that fluid. It's almost impossible to lay on your side and you certainly can't lay on your tummy. But if you try and lay flat on your back, all that fluid travels up into your chest and then you can't breathe. It's way fun.


As in my last blog entry, I will not be showing you photographs of my swollen gut. It's just not a pretty picture. Use your imagination.

That afternoon I was ordered to go home and lay flat as much as possible, yet pee as much as possible. These are two conflicting instructions. Ultimately, you have to pee or the fluid just stays in there, which is no bueno.

I am so grateful to my husband for taking such excellent care of me. He got me heating pads, chips, Gatorade, crackers, name it. He's going to be amazing whenever I do get knocked up.

My best advice for recovery from retrieval is to sleep, drink, pee. It won't be fun, but the faster that fluid gets out, the better off you are. For me, it only took 24 hours and I was back to feeling pretty normal. Still bloated, but the worst was over.

Hubs and I headed back home the next morning. He drove and I laid down for much of the journey. The best news was when CCRM called to tell us they retrieved 26 of the 33 follicles. DAMN! I was quite impressed with myself (even though I really had nothing to do with it).

As it turned out, of those 26, we were able to inseminate and grow out 14 embryos total. And they are amazing quality. It makes me happy to know that after all the injections and tears and hormones and ginormous boobs that what was supposed to happen actually happened. It all went textbook, and that's good enough for me.

Next step is transfer and that will occur at CCRM next Tuesday. Stay tuned to hear how it goes! :)

XOXO, friends.

Friday, December 19, 2014

My IVF Retrieval, Part 1: Getting to the point. Literally.

When you're completing an IVF cycle, one of the things you have to do - unless you're using donor eggs- is a retrieval.

"Retrieval" is a fancy, non-threatening word for "we head up into your yahoo and pull out a bunch of follicles that we create by turning you into a human pin cushion for two weeks."

The retrieval itself isn't bad (more on that in the next segment), but I won't lie, the process leading up to it is more intense than I imagined. Would you like to hear my story?

(If you don't, stop reading, cuz I'm going to tell you anyway.)

I won't go into the entire nitty-gritty, because that would literally be a 45-minute read. I'll just hit the highlights.

For me, my retrieval was about 600 miles from home at CCRM in Lone Tree, Colorado. Thus far, I have been very pleased with CCRM. As with any fertility clinic, some people have good experiences, some have bad. I've been pretty lucky. They are an extremely busy clinic, so not everyone is going to remember your name every day. I'm totally okay with that as long as people are nice to me, which they have been.

So, after your blood levels are reported to your clinic on a particular day in your cycle, they determine your calendar. Basically, this calendar will tell you what injections to take, when, and how much. It is a lot of information to take in, and you won't understand it all (unless you're a genius, in which case, congratulations).

The biggest piece of advice I can give you is ASK QUESTIONS. For CCRM, they kind of assume you know what you're doing unless you tell them otherwise. So tell them otherwise. Also never, ever assume your medications have been ordered. Follow up with the pharmacy and make double sure they've been ordered, because if you miss your start date, you can say goodbye to that month's retrieval and you'll cry in your bathroom for three hours. Timing is way important here, and you don't want to have to put everything off because you missed a day of medication.

So...the medication. Holy shnikes, it's a lot. Like, a whole lot. Here's a lovely photo to see what sorts of goodies you can be expecting.

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See? Overhwelming. And I didn't even put all the needles and vitamins and gauze in the picture. But don't fret, you can always refer back to your calendar or medication sheet if you get confused. You're probably going to be put on a regimen of Menopur/Repronex with Gonal-F/Follistim and possibly Cetrotide/Ganirelix. Dude, I'm not a doctor so I can't tell you why you get one brand of meds over the other. Just listen to your quack and do what he/she tells you.

This isn't a tutorial so I'm not going to explain to you all the ins and outs of injections. I'll just talk about how much they suck. I'm kidding, they aren't that bad.

That's a lie, they do suck.

Here's the thing with injections. It's a needle. Every time. You can't opt out of the needles and the injections. If you want a kid via IVF, you've got be a big kid yourself and take the damn shots.

For the first shot you ever take, may I highly recommend enlisting your hubby/partner? Cuz they will love that shit. I mean, c'mon. All those months of hearing us bitch and moan about how annoying this process is? They're due to inflict a little pain on us.

In my case, my first injection took place on Thanksgiving morning. Neat. Here, have some turkey and the SCARIEST MOMENT OF YOUR LIFE all on the same day. But hey, if it doesn't go well, you can just drown your sorrows with wine.

Oh wait, no you can't because you can't have booze with an IVF cycle. Or caffeine. 

Two thumbs up!!

Okay, so, for me it was a Menopur injection first. With Menopur, you have to mix the medication with saline. It's kind of complex. There's a lot of withdrawing vials of saline and injecting into another vial of powder and mixing and switching out needles and prepping the area...eek. CCRM has videos to help, but when you're doing this for the first time, everything sounds way harder than it is.

I might have had a panic attack.

We were instructed to inject two vials of Menopur. But wait...does that mean we use two vials of saline to mix the two vials of Menopur? Or one? Or neither?

Dear God, we're going to kill me.

CCRM is closed up tighter than a drum on Thanksgiving so Hubs just said we'd have to guess. Um, no. I am not guessing on this one, thanks. CCRM does have an "emergency line", but if you call and it's not really an emergency, they charge you major dough. So that option was out, too. In the end, I called the pharmacy we received the meds from, and they had a 24-hour question line.

Write that down. CALL YOUR PHARMACY IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS. The pharmacy people were way awesome and explained everything in exquisite detail, so I felt much less like throwing myself off a very tall building.

It was injection time.

Truthfully the needle isn't that big. But still, it's a needle going into my body against my will to inject something that may or may not make me go all coo coo. Hubs prepared the vial with the mixing needle, then switched to the smaller needle (thank God, because the prep needle is like, 4" long) and grabbed my fat.

Yes, my fat. 

To inject the medication properly, you must do it subcutaneously. (Don't ask me to say it out loud, cuz it'll come out "subcretatiously". This isn't a dinosaur movie.) Basically this means that every day when you take your injections, you get to be reminded of those cheeseburgers you shouldn't have eaten over the last decade. You pinch an inch on your gut and stick the sucker in.

I've seen blogs where people take photos of doing this. Those people also have six pack abs. You will not be receiving a similar visual from me, thankyouverymuch. The only six pack I have is of Dr. Pepper in my refrigerator and I can't even drink them because I can't have caffeine.

Life is so unfair sometimes.

I chose not to watch as Hubs did the injection, and for me, that was helpful. I don't get a kick out of watching a sharp object penetrate into the sole reason I can't fit into a size 4 pair of pants. Besides, watching was unnecessary anyway because I felt plenty. Menopur stings a bit. Of course the first time you do it, you're already on edge, which likely makes the whole experience more intense. In fact, after my first injection that Thanksgiving morning, I was convinced we had done it wrong.

"It stings, babe!" I cried at my poor husband. "No really, it stings!! I think we did it wrong. OH MY GOD, WHAT IF THERE'S AN AIR BUBBLE! Should we call 911? What if we injected too much? Will I die??"

Ever the calm influence, Hubs assured me we had done everything correctly and to the letter and he was sure the sting would go away. It did. Damn, Hubs, always being right.
So that was done. Dramatic, yes, but not terrible. And I only had to do it like, 11 more times over the course of the next two weeks! *eyeroll*

Eventually we also added in injections of Gonal-F and Cetrotide every day. For those of you not counting, that's anywhere between 3-4 injections every day. Both the Gonal-F and the Cetrotide are refrigerated, so be sure to keep them cold. And be sure to let them sit out for 1/2 an hour before you inject them. I swear when they're cold, it hurts more.

Now...side effects. This is the part of the blog where I actually get to tell you something amazing. My side effects were tolerable. I was expecting to go Glenn Close crazy and fix Hubs a rabbit stew at some point. That's what the Internet said to expect and the INTERNET IS ALWAYS RIGHT. But it never happened. I got cray cray bloated and yeah, one or two headaches showed up. Other that, nada. Part of it might have been that I was in Colorado and got to go on these beautiful walks every day and enjoy my surroundings. Whatever it was, it it made me glad that I wasn't miserable.

CCRM wanted me doing daily blood draws and ultrasounds during the last week leading up to the transfer, so I headed out on December 1st. Hubs didn't have enough vacation to come out with me, so he had to fly out several days later, which meant I had to do my injections myself while I waited for him to arrive. I didn't think I could do it. Truly. I considered just backing out and calling the whole thing off. That's how terrified I was of injecting myself.

You guys, it wasn't that bad. Wanna hear something nuts? After the second or third day, I sort of started enjoying doing the injections. I turned it into a game. 

  • 5 points for every time I didn't take more than one attempt to get the needle in.
  • 5 points if I could do the injection and not say "ow", "ooh", "ahhh", or "GOD DAMMIT THIS SUCKS SO FECKING BAD!"
  • 15 points if I remembered to get the air bubbles out (PS, you won't die if there's an air bubble. That's only when you're sticking a vein. I looked it up.)
  • 20,000 points for injecting a spot that didn't result in a bruise
  • 50,000 points if I could refrain from yelling, "I DID IT!" after every injection

The points system didn't really mean anything. I tried to convince Hubs to let the culmination result in a Michael Kors purse.

That didn't go anywhere fast.

Throughout the whole process, you'll be monitored via blood work and ultrasounds. The nurses will tell you how many follicles are developing and how your uterine lining is looking. They'll root around up in your vag and take pics of all the follicles and it's not pleasant, but it's no effing HSG or Uterine Biopsy

And for that you can thank your lucky stars.

My ultrasounds indicated close to 33 follicles developing which is a bumper crop for sure. I never thought we'd get that many and our doc was pretty stoked too. One side effect of all those little Totino's pizza rolls in my gut was that they made my estrogen levels high. This did two things. One, my boobs basically had their own zip code. Oh my God, they were massive. Hubs loved that. Me? Not so much. Secondly, I became highly at risk for OHSS (Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome). This is not a good thing. You can read up on it on your own time, but what it translates to is, we had to move to a frozen cycle rather than fresh. This meant that I would have to head home after recovering from the retrieval and then return for the actual transfer in Colorado two weeks later.

It was a bummer for me. I was really hoping to get this all over with in one big fireworks show, but such was not the case. To hear the doc describe it, OHSS is not something you want to experience at ANY time in your life, let alone when you're in the middle of an IVF rodeo. It just isn't fun. 

So a frozen cycle it was.

After about two weeks of letting all those little follicles cook, it was time to go get 'em. And tomorrow, I'll tell you all about it...

Stay tuned, lovelies!


Thursday, December 4, 2014

"Hope and "Not Giving Up in the Infertility Community: A Respectful Response

Infertility is a yucky thing. It just is. It's awkward and weird and emotional and sensitive. Oftentimes people think it's better to brush it under the rug than address what they're really thinking. In turn, those feelings get internalized and stress them out, making it all so, so much worse.

That's why I'm so grateful for bloggers. We put ourselves out there, nakedly. We know that what we're saying might cause a little squirming or push back, but we do it anyway. It's the only way to grow.

Yesterday I came across a blog post from Greg over at A Few Missing Pieces of Normalcy. He posted a long-time-coming opinion blog explaining how telling infertiles to have "hope" and to "not give up" can be misleading, or elude to false hope. After all, there are those out there who are physically unable to have children. Whether it's a damaged womb, or an inability to create sperm, there are always going to be those that will not get pregnant, no matter how much hope and positive energy they generate.

I totally get that. In fact, I'll add on. There are some who will never, in a gazillion years, be able to afford the infertility treatments that could even allow them the small chance to conceive. 

The long and short of it is...some of us will never, ever get pregnant.

All that being said, I do have to respectfully disagree with Greg when he says that telling a couple to be "hopeful" and to "not give up" is the emotional equivalent to telling them to "relax and it will happen." To this, I totally disagree.

Here's why.

Not everyone is traveling in the "we will never, ever, ever get pregnant" boat. In fact, a lot of us aren't in that boat. Many of us are in the "it's possible, and we've got to keep trying" boat. What about us?

Hope is a beautiful thing. It's what keeps a lot of us in the IF community going, day after day, year after year. Hope is what has kept me from throwing my hands up in the air and saying, "Eff you, infertility. I'm out." Hope is what keeps bringing me back to the doctor after failed Clomid cycles and failed IUI's. Hope is what gets me up in the morning. If I don't have hope to cling to, I don't have a lot left.

And that's a scary place for me to be.

So here's where I think Greg is right. For those people who truly have no chance of becoming pregnant, definitely don't be all "Oh, just hang in there. Your day is coming!" Because, let's face it, that day isn't going to come for them. And you shouting your rainbows and unicorns Hallmark greetings isn't going to change any of that.

But for those of us who do hold a small candle of hope for that little embryo to take hold and grow into a wild, crazy-eyed teenager someday...I beg you...don't take my hope away. Don't let me give up. Because I want to keep pushing and I want to keep trying and I want to get to that end result I've seen a million times in my head. And sometimes I do want to wash my hands of it, eat three bags of Cheetos and 19 Snickers bars and never come out of my bedroom ever again. Hope is what will pull me through it.

So, here's the rub. You, as a supporter of an infertile and IF community, need to use your brain and be sensitive. That's what Greg is asking for. Thoughtfulness. Don't offer blanket well-wishes that could be emotionally damaging. Rather than telling someone you barely know to have hope and keep on trying, simply offer, 'I'm thinking of you.' Enough said. Because you don't know that person's story or their journey or where they're headed next. There is nothing more potentially damaging than offering a solution or a sentiment to someone whose story you don't fully comprehend.

Think of it this way. You wouldn't walk up to a stranger you've seen twice in the hospital and say, 'Hey man, not sure what's going on with you, but be hopeful. You're going to make it!', would you?  Um...I would hope not. You don't know your booty from your boobs. For all you know, that poor guy has terminal cancer. So instead, you offer a thoughtful sentiment like, 'I've seen you around at the hospital. I'm sending you good vibes and prayers for whatever you're facing.'

Ahhh...much better.

Lastly, I'll say this. Rarely - and I mean super-uber-doober rarely - does anyone offering a message of hope have ill intentions. Like I said before, infertility is weird. And 90% of the population (including those in the IF community) have no idea how to handle it or what to say in response to it. So give 'em a break. I know that might be hard when you read a cringe-worthy tweet. But like the old saying goes, "it's the thought that counts."

Finally, as Greg reminded us, let's be mindful that everyone is on a different journey. Try and be sensitive to those around you and in the Twittersphere. Be mindful to those going through other trials and tribulations too, because I promise infertility is not the only thing out there wreaking havoc on people's lives.

We've all got to be good to each other. Supportive. Helpful. Positive. That's the community I want to be a part of, and that's what blogs and tweets do. They foster growth in the community through conversation and love.

Kumbaya, ya'll.


Let's go to the movies - holiday style

The holiday's are officially in full swing, and if you're like me, you desperately want to get into the spirit and stay there for the foreseeable future.

For me, Christmas spirit usually comes without me having to coax it. I naturally love this time of year and am one of those people who love Black Friday and pumpkin pie and Christmas music stations. But this year is a little different. I'm in Denver for my first fresh IVF Cycle, doing a great impression of a human pin cushion every night and morning with my 3-4 daily injections. I'm away from home and missing my friends and family and Hubs (who will get here later this week). To make matters less jolly, Hubs and I aren't putting up Christmas decorations this year. There's really no point, considering neither of us will be home to appreciate them, thus leaving the tree to be terrorized by our two cats.

No thanks.

The IVF cycle has my mind moving a million miles a minute with "what if's", and it's sort of cramping my holiday style. So, because I'm feeling more Grinch than Elf right now, I've decided to lift my spirits by making a wonderful list of the Christmas movies that will put the jingle in my Kringle. These movies are guaranteed to make you laugh, cry and shout "Merry Christmas to all! And to all a good night!"

So get some egg nog and spike it (if you aren't pregs yet), snuggle up with your BFF or Hubs or life partner or dog or cat, and let's get some Christmas Spirit up in this bee-otch!

Kim's Holiday Movie Must-Watches

Die Hard: Why not start Christmas off with a bang and lots of curse words? And a super hot Alan Rickman being all English and nasty? If you're into explosions, plot holes, bad 80's hair and Bruce Willis being a bad ass, this is the movie for you. Yippee-Ki Yay, mother f*cker.

Funny Farm: Okay, it isn't exactly a Christmas movie, per se. But damn if I don't love it. This won't be the last time Chevy Chase appears on this list, either. Two yuppies from New York move out to the country to experience the quiet life and get anything but. Can the holiday spirit of a small town keep them together? There are so many one liners in this movie, I can't even get started, because I just won't stop. All I'll say is, "Cue the deer."

Elf: I mean, duh. Will Ferrell was born to be a cheesy, sugar-addicted human raised by elves. Only Will can accuse a department store Santa of smelling like beef and cheese and get away with it. If nothing else, watch this movie for the fantastic chemistry between Will and Zoey Deschanel. Adorable.

9. Polar Express: I hesitate to put this on the list, mostly because the book is so much better. But Tom Hanks is my spirit animal and he pulls off several roles in this sugary-sweet cartoon like the Christmas pro he is. Watch this film when you feel like all of your Christmas spirit has left're guaranteed to get it back and "Believe."

8. The Holiday: For years people told me about this movie and I finally gave in last year and watched it. So glad I did. Cameron Diaz is spot on as a rich, Type-A Hollywood bitch, looking for an escape where no one knows her name. Kate Winslet is perfection as an unassuming, humble English gal, looking for a little adventure in the holiday season. The two strangers switch homes for Christmas and hilarity/romance/tears ensue. This movie makes me want to drink hot chocolate and marry Jude Law. What's more Christmas-y than that?

7. Serendipity: Calling all sappy, chick flick lovers! This one's a doozy. John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale play two perfectly gorgeous New Yorkers who meet by accident, fall in love in approximately 8 minutes, and then get ripped apart by circumstance. Can fate bring them back together? This movie will always be at the top of my faves list, mostly because Hubs and I have a similar fate-esque story, and I love to believe in holiday love miracles.

Also, Jeremy Piven as the comic relief is genius. 

Home Alone: Who doesn't love watching two bad guys get the pulp beat out of them by a kindergartner?  20+ years since this film came out and I will literally still watch it in the dead of summer when it's 102 degrees outside. I can't get enough of Katherine O'Hara as Kevin's neurotic mother, mowing down anyone who attempts to block her from getting home to the son she left behind on vacation.

On a sappy note, I love the theme of "I'm not afraid anymore." As adults, we're sometimes afraid to admit that things scare us. This movie always reminds me that most of the fear is in our heads and we've got to let those around us help when we're paralyzed by that fear. (Hello, infertile friends, I'm talking to you!)

A Christmas Story: Full disclosure: I used to watch this movie several times a year, until TNT ruined everything by playing it 24/7 on Christmas. I went on a 2-3 year strike and just recently decided to let it back into my holiday foray. I'm glad to have it back. After all, Ralphie is the kid in all of us - slightly nerdy but sensitive and sweet. And dammit, he just wants a BB gun. (For girls, that translates to an EZ Bake Oven. "You'll burn your hand off, kid.")

What I love most about this movie is, it's a glimpse into a different time. Seeing Christmas through the eyes of a generation that didn't have color TV's and iPads, or hell, even microwaves. It makes me long for a simpler time, where watching a dramatic event unfold happened on the playground rather than on The Real Housewives of Whatever. I love watching Ralphie gather his courage and beat the snot out of Skut Farcus and his yellow eyes. I love seeing Ralphie's mom cover for him when he almost shoots his eye out. This is the stuff of genius and I live for it.

The Family Stone: Boy meets girl. Boy brings girl home to meet his parents for the holiday. Easy, right? Wrong.

The Family Stone is amazing for a zillion reasons, but chief among them can be summed up in three words: Diane Freakin' Keaton. Diane stars as Sybil Stone, the bohemian-esque matriarch of her liberal, somewhat snobbish family, who are hell bent on making her son's new girlfriend (Sarah Jessica Parker) as uncomfortable as possible for the holidays. They succeed with gusto. 

This movie is truly a glimpse into the dysfunction that every family has, but will never admit. The over-arching theme is, "we all love each other anyway", and that always rings true for me around the holidays. My family drives me up the wall most of the time, but there is always love there, no matter our differences. This movie hammers that sentiment home with a mix of drama, tragedy and most importantly - laughter. 

Seriously, go watch it.

Christmas Vacation: Clark Griswold is the man. He wants to host the ultimate old-fashioned family Christmas, and he'll be damned if anyone gets in his way. 

I don't know many people who haven't seen this movie, but if you're one of them, rectify that mistake immediately. Watch as Clark endures a grumpy boss, asshole neighbors and one completely white-trash cousin in an effort to bring Christmas cheer to his less-than appreciative family. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll snort egg nog up your nose. And that's what Christmas is all about.

Scrooged: Bill Murray as a miserable grump executive who hates Christmas? Can that even work? You bet your sweet holiday nuts it can. Speaking of nuts, Murray gets punched in them a few times by the Ghost of Christmas Present in this holiday hoot with a heart.

Sleepless in Seattle/You've Got Mail: I mentioned earlier that Tom Hanks is my spirit animal. This couldn't be more true than in either of these movies. Tom is the perfect blend of sweetness, chivalry and sarcasm in both films. Meg Ryan is in her element as quirky, self-conscious and annoying. They belong together. Watch them as they figure it out.

Love Actually: I actually love the British. They pull every heart string I have out of its socket and then lovingly put it all back together again. This is the only holiday movie (except for maybe Christmas Vacation) that Hubs will voluntarily watch. He even asks to watch it every year! So, if you're going to make your macho macho man watch a holiday movie, break this one out.

Follow along as 8 love stories collide with hilarity, satire, loneliness, and passion. There's plenty of Christmas eye-candy in it too, including Hugh Grant (sex on a sugar-coated stick), Alan Rickman, Colin Firth and Liam Neeson. Oh, and that guy from "Walking Dead."

What else could you ask for Santa to bring you? (Well, one of those men naked in my living room would work fine.)


There you have it, my friends. My fave holiday movies to get jingled with. And yes, I know I left off some major holiday cartoons (aka The Grinch, Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph, Charlie Brown, etc.) But those are a given.

I would tell you to get to your local video rental store, but those are obsolete. So get to your Netflix or Amazon Prime or Apple TV or whatever piece of technology you use to watch movies, and snuggle in for a long day of amazing holiday masterpieces.

And seriously, don't forget the spiked egg nog. 

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Come Fly With Me: Airplane Etiquette You'd Better Learn or I Will Cut You

Greetings, from Denver!!

I'm here at my good friend's house (who's kindly letting me and Hubs crash in her guest room for the next 15 days) for my IVF cycle. I head to the doc this morning for an ultrasound and blood work to see how things are progressing. Stay tuned!

But, really. I'm sick of talking about infertility. I get that that's what this blog is about, but it doesn't mean it has to take up every single post.

(After all, we are not just our infertility. We're so, so much more.)

I've chosen for today's blog to be about travel. I've been doing a lot of it lately for vacations, work and all this baby business. And it's the holidays, so you're likely getting ready to do some travel of your own.

Friends, there are some idiots out there. 

Especially at airports.

Seriously, have you been on a plane lately? How on earth do the most ignorant people on the planet have the means to travel?  Stupid people should stick to cars. 

After flying to Cancun and back last week, I learned that stupid people have a pattern. They do the same things over and over again, like clockwork. 

It's very possible that I have readers that are stupid people, but I doubt it. My guess is my readers just know a lot of stupid people. So below is a list of airport etiquette that should be shared with every mother, brother, cousin, friend, co-worker, enemy and Facebook follower you have.

Let's get the word out, people.


1. It's a plane. Not your living room. Keep your shoes on.

2. Everyone knows when someone farts. Don't be that person. Hold it in.

3. "Dora the Explorer" is not for everyone. Slap some headphones on your kids' ears.

4. I'm so glad you're working on the DEAL OF THE CENTURY and you're going to CLOSE THIS DEAL ON THURSDAY LIKE A BOSS. Actually, I'm not glad. I'm trying to read. Zip it.

5. Keep your socks on, too. Seriously, your feet stink.

6. Did you really not explain to your 7 year old that his ears would pop? This five alarm freak out is a little unnecessary, especially since you're ignoring him and making it worse. Give him some attention, dammit!

7. The line out of the plane has the same rules as a line Target, Post Office, Disneyland, etc. The people at the front get off first, the people at the back get off last. You don't get to run to the front of the plane the second it comes to its full and complete stop. That's cheating, and I will straight up trip you as you run down the aisle way if you try it. Even if you're 75 years old.

8. Don't read over my shoulder. I want my own private moments with Christian Grey.

9. Yes, it's a good book. That's why I'm reading it. Don't ask me what it's about because I'm READING A BOOK.

10. If you're standing in the aisle, waiting to exit the plan, keep your hips forward. When you stand sideways, you put your ass IN MY FACE. I don't want your ass in my face.

11. You know you're getting on an airplane for two hours. Remember those rules from when you were two and go to the bathroom before you get on the plane.

12. The flight attendant is a person, not your personal slave. Do what she says without an attitude, and if you order a complicated drink, I will "accidentally" bump her arm when she gives it to you so it spills all over your ugly Brooks Brothers pants.

13. Headphones mean "don't talk to me", not, "tap me on the shoulder until I take my headphones out and talk to you about climate change."

14. "Whisper reading" is for 6 year-olds that have just learned to read. If you can't read without vocalizing, just don't read.

15. Did you really bring shopping bags on this airplane? Oh, no you didn't.

16. Take a bath before you board. Not in cologne, not in perfume. In a shower with soap.

17. Put your bag in your own overhead bin. If you have to walk 8 bins down to find a space, that means you get to wait until everyone is off the plane to go get it. Sorry. Life sucks sometimes.

18. If you want your child to exit the plane with all limbs in tact, keep their feet and hands off my seat. That goes for you, too.

19. Don't be the asshole that reclines his seat the whole way back. One or two inches is plenty. This isn't the Four Seasons.

20. If you are sick, STAY OFF THE PLANE.

21. 35,000 feet in the air at 6:39 in the morning is not the time to discuss with your seatmate the politics of the moment. I have a pen in my purse, and I am dangerously close to stabbing you in the eye with it.

22. Don't you dare sing along with your music.

23. Have a pleasant flight!  

What's your biggest plane/airport pet peeve? Which ones did I leave out?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Vacay before you go cray cray

Every woman struggling with infertility will tell you the same thing: this shit is stressful.

Well, every woman may not phrase is so eloquently vulgarly as I, but believe me, they feel it. One minute you're on top of the world, so convinced that this time is the time. And then the next day you wake up convinced you are destined to walk through this world with delicate layers of dust building up in your womb that could probably make a really cool looking sand castle.

Without a doubt, one of the best ways to quell the ups and downs of this whole process is to get out of your own head and take a vacation. I used to be that girl that sat in front of my computer, my cursor poised over the "book this vacation!" button for a solid 45 minutes. But I could never pull the trigger. Inevitably, the minute I decided to go ahead and book the cruise/all inclusive/beach getaway, my mind would get in the way. I would imagine scenarios like:

  • Just watch. The minute I book this trip to San Francisco, I'm going to find out I'm pregnant, and we need that money for the medical bills! I'd better wait.
  •  I could book this cruise in February. But if we get pregnant next month that means I'll be.....(*does math badly*)....5 months along when we're cruising. I don't want to cruise if I can't have wine and sushi! That's the whole point of a cruise. I'd better wait.
  •  I'm pretty sure next month is going to be the month this all works out and I finally get knocked up. I don't know that I should be para-sailing/bicycling/swimming with dolphins/having amazing vacation sex/eating like a pig when I could be 7 weeks pregnant. I need to lay down and be still if I finally get pregnant. I'd better wait. 
You see the pattern, right? Do you do this, too? Well, let me give you some unasked for advice: just book the vacation. Seriously. Let me tell you why. 

Almost a year ago to the day, I was debating whether to book a May vacation to Cancun with Hubs. At the same time, my mother in law was wanting to book a November vacation for our entire family in Mexico, and I was dragging my feet on that offer as well. Why? I was convinced I was going to be pregnant for not one, but both of those trips.

Guess what? I'm still not pregnant. I went on both vacations, sans pregnancy. And I had a wonderful time. And even if I had been pregnant, they still would have been amazing trips to go on. Sometimes I just live in my head way too much.

Incidentally, the timing works out well. I begin the stims for my first IVF cycle on Thanksgiving (*squeal*). The best part is, I'm starting this cycle rested and relaxed as a result of that family vacation to Cancun that I mentioned a moment ago. Had I decided not to book the trips, I would have regretted it hard core.

Infertility is fecking hard and you need a break. I know you're spending every hard earned dollar you make trying to afford the next cycle or cutting edge medicine, but baby doll you have to remember to take care of you. Drink the champagne. Eat the chocolate. Have a Dr. Pepper. It's all okay. Giving yourself some time to forget everything is vital to success and sanity.

And if you can't afford a trip to Cancun or an all inclusive, romantic getaway, don't sweat it. Grab a cheap Groupon to a 3-star hotel nearby and have a weekend away from home. Don't even look at your doctor bills or IVF calendar or message boards. I even give you permission to stay away from this blog (but not for too long). 
So go...take care of you. And come back ready to do some baby makin'.

If you are interested in a fantabulous Mexican all-inclusive getaway, you have GOT to go to Live Aqua. Especially if you're a modern aesthetic snob like me and Hubs. No cheesy sombreros at dinner or screaming children with snot running down their nose begging for ice cream (you have plenty of time for that soon enough). Just brightly lit, clean lines, excellent service and a gorge ocean. This place was seriously DA BOMB. We booked our trip through Cheap Caribbean. And no, not a living soul is paying me to say this. It was just that great of an experience for us, and I'd love for you to have it, too.

Room Garden View 
I mean...I want to live here.

Live Aqua Cancun Pool 
Perfect view of the perfect beach.

Til next time, my friends. 


Monday, October 27, 2014

A Hot Flash in the Pan

Hello, Infertility Friends!

I have been totally MIA. So sorry. No, it's nothing you did. I promise. I've just been in a funk of writer's block and haven't been able to pull myself out of it. But I think I'm finally emerging!

When I last left you, I had taken my first injection of Depot Lupron and was woefully dreading my next injection which would take place while on a business trip.

Translation: I'd have to give myself the injection rather than Hubs. Panic!

I am happy to report that I did give myself the injection. (Although my work colleague and friend actually had to plunge it. I just couldn't make myself do it!)

For those of you who have never had the pleasure of using Depot Lupron, allow me to give you a timeline of a typical day for me. It's super fun.


A Day in the Life of a Woman on Depot Lupron

6:30 AM: Wake up with the deluded belief that today is going to be tolerable on this blasted medication.

7:00 AM: Exit (cold) shower. Feel nice, feel good.

7:03 AM: Begin drying hair. Feel the tickle of a hot flash creeping in at the base of m neck

7:10 AM: Hair is dry but body is completely drenched in sweat from hot flash. Consider second shower but don't have time.

7:22 AM: Realize just the make-up on my upper lip has melted off. I look like a deranged clown.

8:30 AM: Opt for an iced coffee at the drive through instead of normal latte because of sweat dripping down my back. 

9:00 AM: My deodorant has already been used up and I've only had it on for 2 hours.

10:00 AM: Client meeting in super air-conditioned office. YAY! Salvation!

10:04 PM: The air conditioning doesn't matter. My boob sweat is now at a maximum level.

12:00 PM: Try to ignore the slow building of a migraine headache at the corner of my temples.

12:08 PM: OH MY GOD, the PAIN! I'm seeing stars. Am I dying? Why is everyone TALKING SO LOUDLY???!!

12:30-4:30 PM: Experience at least four more hot flashes. At least three people inquire, "Um, Kim? Why are you fanning yourself? It's cold in here!" 

5:45 PM: Lay on couch and be still. So still. Maybe the pounding in my head will stop.

6:30 PM: Dinner with Hubs. Super fast hot flash arrives. Walk to freezer and stick my head in it. Hubs asks, "Is it really necessary to be that dramatic, babe?" Throw frozen yogurt container at Hubs' head.

9:30 PM: Climb into bed. Hubs immediately covers up because, well, it's 65 degrees in the house. I don't blame him.

10:30 PM: I'm still not asleep.

11:15 PM: Doze off.

11:38 PM: Wake up from the most awful, terrible, disgusting nightmare ever. Whatever this drug is, it makes my dreams all kinds of whack-a-doodle.

12:15 AM: First hot flash of the night. It's mild. My pajama pants stay on. 

12:20 AM: Minor hot flash. Flip pillow over looking for "the cool side."

12:38 AM: Third hot flash of the night. All covers off. All clothes off. Lay naked on bed, wondering how far the sweat has reached into the mattress.

12:40 AM: Stumble to the thermostat. Is the air conditioner even WORKING?

1:38 AM: Hot flash. I don't even get up this time. Just lay there and deal with it.

2:15 AM: Awful dream #2. This one involves me cutting my own feet off because I painted my toenails badly. Awesome.

3:15, 3:45, 4:20 AM: Hot flash, hot flash, hot flash.

5:00 AM: Wide. Freaking. Awake.

6:00 AM: Fall into deep, wonderful sleep.

6:30 AM: Alarm goes off. 

Rinse. Lather. Repeat.


What about you, bloggies? Did you experience the same side effects with Lupron?

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Oprah was right...

I'm not going to lie to you - I like Oprah.

Not the "You get a car! YOU get a car! EVERYBODY GETS A CAR!" Oprah. The other one. The introspective, somewhat deep, makeup free and often profound Oprah. Sure, she's annoying at times and a humongous narcissist (but really, what famous person isn't?), but the woman has a true thirst for knowledge and a desire to spread that knowledge to everyone she meets. And I dig that.

One of the biggest things that Oprah has taught me over the years is to ask myself, 'What's the Lesson?" when I encounter something in my life that gives me pause. 

Maybe it's a boyfriend who dumped me after two weeks for no reason. What's the lesson?

Perhaps it's the big sale that I didn't get when I was POSITIVE I had it in the bag? What's the lesson?

For the most part, I do a pretty good job of self-evaluating and trying to learn from my experiences. But infertility is different. I spend a great deal of time avoiding the thought of infertility at all costs. Kind of like when I avoid the mirror after eating at Cheesecake Factory. I just don't like to go there. Like eating at Cheesecake Factory, thinking about infertility is often overwhelming, painful, and gives me indigestion. 

Yesterday, as I had a particularly bad episode of "WHY THE FRICK IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME?", I realized that I haven't been thinking about the lessons I'm learning from this disease. (Yes, naysayers, infertility is a disease.) And after a little thinking, here's what I've come up with.

Lessons Infertility Has Taught Me About Myself

1.  I am patient

If Hubs reads this, he'll probably laugh his ass off. But it's true. I really am. Maybe not in other areas of life (like weight loss, pay days, etc), but infertility has turned me into a truly patient gal. Four years. Four years of waiting for the thing I want the most. Months of medication that have seemed to work, then not worked. Months of waiting for two weeks, getting a negative, waiting four more weeks, then starting all over again with no end in sight. I don't care who you are, that is not an easy thing to do. And I should give myself credit for that.

2. I am sensitive

I've always been someone who has empathy for other people - it's just in my DNA. But infertility has made me...softer. I used to look at someone struggling with someone and think, "Man up! Walk it off! Keep on trucking!" Now, seeing someone hurting or fearing or feeling lost turns on this feeling of super-empathy within me. I want to understand them, to help them, to go through it with them. I want to comprehend what they are going through on a deeper level, not just on the surface.

3. I am prepared

I can be a scatter brain. I was never the kid in class whose desk was showcased at open house as the cleanest and most organized, complete with color-coded tabs and pencils and pens arranged alphabetically. But ever since infertility struck? Guuuurl, I can tell you exactly where the invoice is from my latest procedure and when I paid the bill for it and what check number I used. I can tell you that on my next appointment, I already have a list of 5 questions to ask the doctor, along with 3 follow up questions to verify I understand. Becoming more organized and prepared when it comes to this issue has become vital. I need to know where I am in my treatment and where I'm headed. It gives me something concrete to hold onto in those moments when I feel like I'm spinning out of control.

4. I am smart

It's easy to assume you're dumber than the doctors. After all, they have big, fancy degrees from big, expensive schools. They've done this for years; I'm just starting out. But I've learned that docs have a lot going on and they can make mistakes. I just have to trust in myself enough to call them on it. 

For example, last month when we finally got our IVF calendar, I noticed something weird. The nurse indicated I would start my stims (a fancy word for injections) a month earlier than originally projected. That put my transfer in the middle of a family trip to Cancun. WHAT? How had we miscalculated this? I went over it and over it in my head, and convinced myself something just must have changed that the doc didn't share. I didn't trust myself enough to ask because hey, the doctor is smarter than me. Thankfully, Hubs trusted his own gut and insisted I ask. Turns out, the doc made a boo boo after all. I learned after that day that I am truly smart, and I must believe in that. 

5. I am weak

As an infertile, I do everything I can to hold it together every hour of the day. I want the world to know that I'm going to be FINE. I can take it. I don't need help.

It's all a lie.

I'm a human beings, going through a very difficult, if not impossible to comprehend situation. I am allowed to be weak and sad and ridiculously over-sensitive about everything. I need to show that vulnerability to my family and my husband and my friends, or they will assume it's all under control. And it isn't.

Just a few weeks ago, my brother in law announced his wife's pregnancy to the family during a football tailgate. I put on a strong face for the moment, but inside I was falling apart. Of course I was happy for them, but it still stung. A little later, my husband put his arm around me and said, "It's okay. I know that was tough to hear. I'm here." That was all I needed. He was allowing me to splinter into a million pieces if I needed to. It was okay to feel what I was feeling. If you can't allow yourself to be weak occasionally, what the hell do you have a support system for to begin with?

You know what's great about these 5 lessons I've learned about myself? Every single one of them is a lesson I would will learn all over again when I become a mom.

As a mom, I need to be patient with my child, to wait for them to crawl when they're ready, say "mama" when they're ready, or eat avocados when they're ready. I will have waited so long to be a mom that I will want to be as patient and keep those moments as slow as they need to be.

As a mom, I'll need to be kind. I will need to look at life through the eyes of my child, and see all that is wonderful in a whole new way.

As a mom, I will need to be prepared for whatever comes. Sure, the medical part, but also the little things. Temper tantrums, potty training, first dates, makeups, breakups. All of it.

As a mom, I will need to be smart and trust my gut. With Pinterest, blogs, and un-asked for family advice pulling me every which way, I will have to be smart enough to trust in myself and my husband to make the right choices and ask the right questions. No second guessing.

As a mom, I will need to be weak sometimes. I will show my child (girl or boy) that vulnerability is a strength. We don't have to be perfect or even perceived as perfect. Flaws are what make us unique and special, and when we are vulnerable and let people in, it creates deeper and more robust relationships. For life.

And who wouldn't want that?

Monday, September 22, 2014

a shot in the dark

I am a humongous wimp. 

As in, I get a paper cut and want to take the rest of the day off to cry and nurse my wound. And maybe even consider stitches. I also get a hurt a lot; a by-product of being an extremely clumsy gal. Combine my frequent injuries with my lack of pain tolerance, and Hubs just about goes nuts every time I start a sentence with, "OMG, I just (verb) my (noun) on the (noun)!" To him, it's just code for, "I'm getting ready to cry."

As a somewhat tough man, he just doesn't understand how one person can find so many minor injuries severe enough to cry about. 


  • Hitting my head on the door frame while exiting a car too quickly.
    • Minutes Crying: 6
  • Falling up the stairs, lighting bending ankle.
    • Minutes Crying: 4
  • Twisting neck while playing volleyball.
    • Minutes Crying: 4 while in public, 10 later at home
Being in a certain amount of pain or discomfort is all part of the territory when you're an infertile. You're poked, prodded, squeezed, smooshed and probed at pretty much every appointment you're unlucky enough to have to attend. Some things get easier to deal with, and others just never quite feel anything less than horrific.

For me, needles are the worst. Poke and prod and stick weird catheters all up in my vajay-jay all day long, but keep the needles far, far away in the evil land of Sharpville from whence they came. 

(And yes, I do have a tattoo. I cried the entire time.)

All of this is leading up to what happened last week. Aunt Flo arrived, which meant it was time for me to begin my Depot Lupron shots. Joy of joys. I'd been dreading the shot, and was here.

The shot arrived on Thursday morning. I instantly texted Hubs.

Me: The Lupron shot is here. I think I'm going to puke.

Hubs: You'll be fine, babe. Really.

Me: Hold on, I'm going to open the box and see how bad the syringe looks. **** Okay, it doesn't seem that bad.

Hubs: Good.

Me: I'm being sarcastic. IT'S A GIANT 3" NEEDLE. And it has to go all the way into my skin.

As I went through my day, all I could think about were all the things that could potentially go wrong with this injection. I did Internet searches with the key words "Lupron shot given incorrectly." You don't even want to know the horrors I read. You will never go near a needle again.

When Hubs got home that evening, I told him I wanted to do it quickly and get it over with. My stepdaughters were home with us (they don't know about all of this stuff) so we put them in front of a movie and said we'd be right back.

Up in our bedroom, Hubs prepared the shot. The directions were about as clear as an IKEA construction manual...if it was in German. One of the notes said very clearly, "once the powder is mixed in with the liquid in the syringe, take the injection immediately to avoid any clumping in the solution."

Of course, we didn't read that little gem until we'd already mixed the powder in with the liquid...and we still needed to determine where exactly to put the needle and how to inject it properly. My panic began. 

"HURRY, HUBS!" I shouted. "The powder is going to clump. IT'S GOING TO CLUUUUMMMP!!!"

"Babe, seriously," he replied, sweat forming on his brow. "I have to read how to inject it. There's a whole thing in these instructions saying you have to be super careful to get it intramuscularly, or it's no good."

Turns out my doc wanted me to take the injection in the bum. Or, in other words, my ass cheek. Super fun.

I lay on the bed and awaited the pain. I bit down on our comforter and waited. And waited. I imagined the long, sharp needle burrowing further and further into my skin and I started to shake. There's no way I was going to get through this. What if I jerked when the needle went in and the whole thing BROKE OFF IN MY BEHIND? Would I have to go to the hospital and explain to them what happened and get it removed? How do you even get a needle out of your -

"Babe? What are you doing?" Hubs asked.

"I'm waiting for the pain. Can you hurry it up, please?" I replied, irritated.

"I've been done for like, 10 seconds,' he said patting my backside. "You can get up. I thought you were crying into the pillow, so I didn't want to bother you."

Wait, I was done?? Like, DONE? I hadn't felt a thing! Maybe a little pinch, but nothing compared to getting blood drawn or samples removed from my uterus.

Not one tear had escaped my cheek. 

I was officially a bad ass.

Hubs high-five'd me and of course I complimented him on his amazing nursing skills. Only one more shot of this in 28 days. It was all going to be okay.

"Now just remember," Hubs said as he put the used needle in the bio-hazard container. "You're going to be at your sales meeting in Veas when it's time for this next month, so you'll have to inject yourself. But I know you can do it!!!"

Cue the dramatic soap opera music...


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