Thursday, January 21, 2010


First, a brief overview of my fertility treatments the first time around:

1. More than two years of trying on our own. My cycles are really wonky.

2. 50 mg of clomid. My body doesn't even notice. No follicles worth mentioning. Cycle canceled.

3. 100 mg of clomid. Maximum dose recommended by the pharmaceutical company. My ovaries have a tepid response, one little borderline follicle that needs an extra week to mature.

4. 150 mg of clomid. My body nearly explodes from all that excess estrogen, but my ovaries produce exactly one mature follicle. This is known as "exactly the response we want!" Yay! The result: LL (nine months later).

So, now we want a second kid. The obvious place to start: 150 mg of clomid.

The response we expect: another textbook response, with one mature follicle.

The response that I secretly both hoped and feared: having been through a successful pregnancy and months of breast feeding, my body has been kicked around enough that it recognizes how it's supposed to react to hormones, and totally overreacts to the gigantic excess of estrogen from such a high dose of clomid, thereby producing so many follicles that I am both pleased (because my body is doing the right thing) and a little ticked off (because we have to cancel this cycle, since I have no desire to become an octomom).

The response that actually happened, as discovered during yesterday's follicle scan: no follicles worth mentioning. Cycle canceled because, you know, you need eggs to get pregnant.

Next cycle, we're moving to 200 mg of clomid, which is a frighteningly high dose. If I don't manage to produce any mature follicles at that dose, we'll need to move on to injectibles. Damn it.

Somehow, I had prepared myself for too many follicles, and I had prepared myself for not actually getting pregnant, but I hadn't prepared myself for not responding to the meds. Really didn't see this coming.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Project Status

Hey, did I mention that I started a round of clomid last weekend? No? Hmmm, interesting.

This cycle feels very weird to me. The last time I did this whole fertility treatment thing, it was my life. I got no work done, I was focused on every little twinge, I thought about little else. This time is ... different. Today is Cycle Day 11, and I've barely noticed. Lots of factors are keeping me from obsessing quite so much this time, including: (1) secondary infertility is a different sort of beast, at least for me; (2) side effects have been very mild this time around, which is actually making me a bit nervous about whether the medication is actually working; (3) it's hard to dwell on chemically-induced exhaustion when you're chasing a toddler; and (4) I'm much more busy at work right now than I was last time, so focusing on treatments really isn't an option.

The shocking lack of side effects is surprising, and an actual physical difference from last time. I've had a few hot flashes and a persistent headache for the last week, and I'm a bit light-headed, but other than that... nothing. No crying. No screaming at S. No forgetfulness. I feel amazingly close to normal. (Okay, the headache has sucked. But sadly, a week-long headache still fits into the "normal" category for me.) But the other differences are all about circumstance. Part of me is thinking gosh, if I had been busier at work last time, maybe getting pregnant the first time around wouldn't have sucked so much! But I know that's not true. I'm sure that people experience secondary infertility in different ways, but for me, there isn't the same desperation that I was feeling with primary infertility. There's less uncertainty, in a weird way, possibly because it just feels ... familiar. I'm more content to just go through the process without emotionally living and dying with the outcomes.

At least, that's how I'm blithely feeling on Day 11 of this year's very first medicated cycle.

I'm sure I'll be feeling very different with a boatload of failed cycles under my belt. And I actually have a lot more to say about secondary infertility compared to primary infertility, but in some ways, I don't feel like I've earned the right to talk about it yet. Or, to be perfectly honest, perhaps I should put it this way: I'd probably be an idiot to talk about it when I'm still so new to secondary infertility.

Anyway, whatever the reason, the fact of the matter is that I'm obsessing more about work than I am about getting pregnant. Things keeping me up at night right now:

1. I have had several rounds of interviews with a local company, but I haven't heard from them at all since before the holidays. I'm too chicken to send them an email and find out what's going on. Afraid of rejection much? Instead I'm just going to continue to mope about feeling unloved.

2. I submitted all of my tenure-track assistant professor applications. Now I wait. And wait and wait and wait. Typical numbers that I've been hearing for my field this year: each tenure-track job opening is getting approximately 500 candidates, for which they will interview 5 candidates, and make an offer to one. That's only a 1% chance of even getting an interview, much less an actual job offer. I'm really not loving those odds.

3. I have a conference paper due this week. I will need to submit it the day after my follicle check, possibly on the day that I'll be having an IUI, if all goes well. Now that I have a complete first draft of the paper, which I have sent out to my coauthors for review, I'm feeling remarkably calm about this. Even though I have received zero feedback from my coauthors.

4. On Saturday, LL learned how to open doors. My life is forever changed.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I have a bunch of entries that I've written as half-completed drafts lately but I can't seem to finish any of them. One about job applications. One about deadlines. One about being on clomid again. But they're all kind of depressing, you know? I guess that's where my mind is these days. So, instead, I present you with two lists: Things that Make LL Laugh Hysterically; and Things That Completely Ruin LL's Day. Toddlers are funny little people, aren't they? The pure joy LL gets from random little items cracks me up, but his mood can flip-flop over the most random little insult. An example afternoon in LL's head:

"Look, Mommy! A lime! Isn't it the coolest thing you've ever seen?! I can put it in a box, and then I can take it out of the box! And it rolls! Would you like to see it? Okay, now give it back to me. Now you take it again. Isn't this fun! Now I'm going to roll the lime under the couch. Now I'm going to get it back...... I can't reach it. (crying) I still can't reach it! (more crying) I want my lime!! (Mommy gets the lime) I can't believe Mommy would insult me by getting my lime out from under the couch!!! That is the worst thing that anybody has ever done in the entire history of the world! I must now throw the lime at the couch, then throw myself on the floor and scream. (temper tantrum) Hey look, a car! (hysterical laughing) I'm going to put the car in a box!"

Things that Make LL Laugh Hysterically:
  • Blocks sitting on top of LL's head
  • Cups sitting on top of LL's head
  • Blocks and cups sitting on top of Mommy's head
  • Blocks and cups falling off of people's heads
  • Smiley faces
  • The bear popping out of the bear-popping toy for the 873rd time today
  • Blue tupperware
  • Tangerines
  • Falling down
  • Spinning in circles
  • Tickling Mommy's feet
  • Hiding
  • Monkeys
  • JC Penney catalogs
  • Shaking your head back and forth really fast
  • Squirrels
  • Kangaroos
  • Somebody else's hiccups
  • Taking off socks
Things That Completely Ruin LL's Day and Require Very Loud Screaming:
  • Sitting down to put on shoes
  • Leaving the park
  • Being read the first page of Good Night Moon when you wanted to hear Good Night Gorilla instead
  • Being read the first page of Good Night Gorilla when you wanted to hear Good Night Moon instead
  • Being offered a helping hand so that you don't fall off the jungle gym
  • Falling off the jungle gym
  • Not being clean and out of the high chair the exact second that you announce that you're all done eating
  • Being put in the carseat after 3:15 pm on the second Tuesday of each month
  • When Mommy stops you from being run over by a car
  • Not being allowed to reprogram the TiVo
  • Having a diaper changed without being given exactly two toys to hold during the process
  • Having a diaper changed without being sung to the entire time
  • Not being able to reach the toys that you pushed way under the couch five minutes ago

Monday, January 11, 2010


Our entire household is getting over a cold. LL started it, with a cold right after Thanksgiving that has stuck around as a persistent cough ever since. He passed it to me, where it was only ever a cough, but I've had it for over three weeks now. And S developed a cough just this past week. Fun stuff. We've periodically checked in with Dr. K, LL's pediatrician, who assured us that coughs last forever, don't worry about it, but call if anything changes. So when LL was up all night on Thursday and posted a 102+ fever on Friday morning, we gave her a call. She told us that one of two things was probably going on: (a) most likely, LL had caught a new cold, and we'd see him quickly develop other symptoms, like a runny nose; or (b) LL's existing illness had taken a turn for the worse, likely resulting in pneumonia. She told us to watch him for 24 hours and hope (yes hope!) that he developed new symptoms. Otherwise, bring him in so that she could check his lungs.

When the fever went above 103 on Saturday, with no new symptoms other than an incredible lethargy that had me carrying him in a mei tai all day with his head resting on my chest while he clutched his beloved froggie blanket, we brought him to the urgent care clinic. No pneumonia, thank goodness, but he has a nasty virus in his lungs, which we got to see in all its glory on a chest x-ray. Dr. K prescribed lots of fluids and rest, and sent us home to wait it out. He's still a little lethargic, but his fever broke yesterday afternoon, and his appetite is starting to return, so we think that he's finally on the mend. This kid is going to have built up one heck of an immune system by the time he hits kindergarten.

Incidentally, LL loved getting the chest x-ray. He thought the equipment in the radiology room was really cool. The tech needed him to raise his arms over his head for one of the x-rays, and was explaining that we should ignore his protests and force him to do it, but when the tech was ready to take the picture, S and I just yelled "touchdown!", LL raised his hands over his head, the x-ray was taken, and then LL clapped. Easy peasy.

LL got lots more chances to celebrate touchdowns on Sunday, Packers v Cardinals wildcard game. Highest scoring playoff game in NFL history! Too bad it ended with such a heartbreaking loss. Not the game I was expecting, and certainly not the ending I was expecting. So sad.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


I value my anonymity, as much as possible, so I have never posted any photos here. (I know that I'm probably not as anonymous as I like to think -- if somebody who knew me were to read this blog, they'd know me instantly. But if somebody were to google me using any search terms I can reasonably think of, I don't think that they'd find this site, and I've decided that metric is good enough for me to call it anonymous.) (Please don't disavow me of this belief.) But, it does make me a little sad that I've never been able to post any photos of LL. I'm a tad biased, but he is really very cute. (Especially when he runs to our patio door, points at a squirrel, and barks, which he has been doing on a near-hourly basis lately. Not that I could capture his barking in a photo anyway.) To fill the void left by the lack of photos, and because my mother said something to me the other day that I just have to share, I present a written description of LL. Or rather, a part of LL. The part that is currently his defining feature, aside from his toothy grin. The feature that every single stranger we meet in the grocery store must comment on: his hair.

I have really curly hair. A lot of it. If I wash my hair, comb it, and then leave it sopping wet and don't touch it again, I have Shirley Temple ringlets two hours later. (If I'm lucky; on unlucky days, I just have a halo of frizz.) S has really curly hair, too. His curls are tighter than mine, and they fight even harder to just do their own thing. My mother, my father, my brother, and S's mother all have very curly hair, so this is a family thing for both of us. I have a photo of my father when he was three years old, and a photo of S at the same age, and they have the exact same little ringlets. It's adorable.

When I was pregnant with LL, the only thing that we were even close to certain of was that LL would have dark curly hair. It was inescapable. One of my coworkers who had never met S before, and didn't know that he was Asian, asked me if I would be disappointed if the baby was born with straight blond hair. I told her yeah, a little bit, but not as disappointed as S. (I asked S if he would have divorced me if LL had been born blond. He told me no, that he probably would have blamed Dr. M. for obviously mixing up the sperm samples at the clinic. I have such a trusting husband!)

LL was born with a lot of dark hair, in gentle little waves, as expected. As he got older, though, it seemed to be straightening out. At six months, it seemed wavy but surprisingly tame. Things began to turn just before his first birthday. First, the hair on the side of his head started to curl up and out. He began to look like he had gentle little wings around his ears, and nothing (nothing) would make that hair lie flat. Then the hair on the back of his head went crazy. It suddenly started to grow like mad, and the longer it got, the curlier it looked.

We still have never cut LL's hair. At first, I wanted to try to wait until his first birthday, but then there just seemed to be no point. If it were falling in his eyes, I'd cut it, but the hair in front curls gently off his forehead, so it doesn't bother him at all and it doesn't block his vision at all. Similarly, if it looked too long in back, I'd cut it, but the back is so unbelievably curly that it never seems to have any length. When we comb LL's hair after a bath, I am always taken aback by how long it actually is -- it falls almost to his shoulder blades when straight. But as soon as it's dry, it springs all the way back up so that it's not even touching his neck. The entire back of his head becomes covered in dense, perfectly-formed curls.

Last week, we took a photo of the back of LL's head, and mailed it out to family and friends. Even though my mom had seen LL at his birthday just 3+ months ago, she was shocked by how curly his hair had become.

She told me that he looks like a cocker spaniel.

And now I can't get that image out of my mind. Especially when he roams around the house barking at squirrels. So, no photos of LL, but each time I tell a story about him, you have my permission to picture a cocker spaniel puppy.

PS -- as a general rule, I don't do memes or awards or contests or themes or ... whatever else is the hottest thing on the blogosphere on any given day. I have nothing against them, I'm just really bad at follow-through. So... apropos of nothing in particular, certainly not related to Delurking Week, could a few of my lurkers maybe drop me a comment? I have absolutely no idea who is reading these days. I don't care if the comments are anonymous, I don't care if they're short, I don't care if they're completely unrelated to anything and everything. But please, say something. Tell me why you read. Suggest a good book. Tell me I'm a horrible mother for comparing my son to a cocker spaniel. Anything. Thanks.