Saturday, April 12, 2014

Hasa Diga Eebowai

This week, E and I got some pretty awful infertility news. I know that seems ridiculous, since we've already received just about all the awful infertility news possible, but apparently the universe was not done with us. I don't quite feel ready to talk about it yet so I'm going to talk about The Book of Mormon instead.

As you know, E and I were unsuccessful at getting tickets for our anniversary. Instead, we picked the next day E had off, which happened to be last Thursday, and bought some killer seats down in the Orchestra section. The Book of Mormon has some complex, fast paced songs so if you're going I highly recommend seats pretty close to the stage. You can catch the gist from anywhere in the theater but if you want to hear every raunchy, dirty, word you need to be up close.

Which brings us to one of the primary points, the absolute filthiness of this musical. Make no mistake, The Book of Mormon was absolutely hilarious but it is definitely way out there. You should prepare yourself in advance so you're not shocked when they start dropping C bombs left and right.  Don't let the foul language and taboo themes keep you away though,  it's absolutely worth seeing if you can get seats before it's gone.

The basic plot revolves around two young Mormon men, Elder Price and Elder Cunningham. Although they couldn't be more different, they get paired together for their 2 year Mormon mission in sunny Uganda. Their job is to go out there and convert as many Ugandans as possible, because God loves Mormons and he wants some more. The only problem with their plan is that the Ugandan's are a little too busy starving, dying from AIDS and being tortured by the warlord General Butt Fucking Naked to be interested in converting. The situation is further complicated by Elder Price's waning faith, it's hard to blame him when people are being shot in the face, and Elder Cunningham's compulsive lying. These two will be the most colorful Mormon's you've ever seen, and although the writer's take liberties with just about everything, your sides will hurt from laughing when the curtain falls.

 If you're in the Los Angeles area, E and I would highly recommend you see it at the Pantages. The theater itself is gorgeous, the cast was spot on, and there isn't a bad seat in the house. Just don't go with anyone who might be offended by comedic foul language, racism, sexism, or just about any other awful and taboo concept you can think of.

In the meantime, E and I will try to stop saying Hasa Diga Eebowai and remember that tomorrow is a latter day. It can't get much worse, so things can only look up from here.

Friday, March 28, 2014

3 Years, Just Us 2

This year, E and I decided to go low key for our anniversary week. E was only able to get two days off work and we didn't feel like rushing to go somewhere out of town. We considered checking into a hotel for a staycation as well, but couldn't quite muster the energy for it. Our bed is pretty comfortable, and it comes with Milou and our kitties, which is hard to beat.

Baby S and E, a lifetime ago
So, we spent the day before celebrating E's mother's boyfriend R's birthday. E's mom and R have been dating for over a decade so he usually refers to us as his son and daughter in law. About a year ago, R did some electrical work for this wonderful, hip Venice restaurant called The Barnyard, and since then the chef has been bugging R to come eat there.  Since we finally had an excuse, we decided to head there for dinner to celebrate. The chef was truly amazing, everything was fresh, organic and delicious and we would go back in a heart beat. E had the chicken, which turned out to be phenomenal, and I had a decadent steak. Even the olives warmed in oil were amazing, and I'm not usually an olive fan. At the end of the evening, the chef comped our 9 person dinner as a birthday gift for R. You truly couldn't pick a better restaurant and chef if you have a reason to celebrate or just want a delicious meal.
On our actual anniversary, we played it very low key. E surprised me with Roses, Orchids and groceries (!) when I woke up and we spent the morning lounging in bed. It was so sweet, and so thoughtful,  even though E is usually awesome about that stuff anyway. We had hoped to get tickets to see The Book of Mormon, which is supposed to be hilarious, but weren't able to find some for a decent price on such short notice. Instead, we decided on a blast from the past and headed down PCH to a little restaurant we spent New Years Eve at years and years ago.   It's a little hole in the wall, Italian place right across from the water that makes a mean truffle ravioli.  PCH is probably my favorite road to drive and we got to wind up and down the coast enjoying the ocean and each other's company.

All in all, I'd say it was a relaxing couple of days and I'm so happy to celebrate another year together with E. Although I'm hoping this is the last anniversary we spend just the two of us for a long time, I couldn't imagine spending my life with anyone else. We've been dealing with a LOT lately in our quest to build our family, with bad news followed by more bad news, and I couldn't do it if I didn't have E to lean on.

Happy 3rd/12th Anniversary my love. No matter how we make our family happen, and how we tackle the shit news we seem to keep getting, the important thing is that we do it together. You're my everything and I love you like crazy.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Genetics Expanded

After waiting two months for an appointment with a genetic counselor, E and I finally got in to see one this morning. As expected, they had the results on E's second genetic screening which confirmed his diagnosis of Y chromosome infertility due to an AZFb microdeletion.

They were fascinated with E and the fact that he has any sperm at all. With his genetic profile, he shouldn't be able to produce any sperm but has still had counts as high as 23 million. I would have liked to talk about the particulars more, but ultimately the end result is same, 20 million or 2, his non-motile swimmers are not usable.

The counselor got more info on our families but couldn't really suss out why we both have fertility problems. For a multitude of reasons, both our families are fairly small, and with such a small sample size it's tough to draw good conclusions. We can assume that E's infertility occurred de novo, as a fluke, while mine is still unexplained. They're testing me for fragile x syndrome as a last ditch explanation, since my family consists of all girls for two generations, but it's fairly rare to have a completely silent carrier and I don't have any of the symptoms or markers for the disease aside from my lack of eggies. E was almost late for work so I couldn't get my labs drawn today and will have to go back.

The counselor was really analytical which I appreciate, I approached the situation in the same manner and it made it really easy to connect with him. He understood my desire to have 5 years of egg fertility data to look at before making a decision (sadly impossible) and suggested we come up with a wall sized algorithm to predict all possible choices.  We went over pretty much every situation from E's sperm and my egg to egg and sperm donors. I think we have a somewhat solid plan of action.

**The Plan!**
1. Get my labs done for Fragile X and possibly CMV antibody. CMV antibody status is important for picking a donor. Done!
2. Decide if E is going to have the stimulated semen analysis to confirm for sure that his sperm is unusable.
      a. If E's sperm can't be stimulated, we go with a donor
      b. If E's sperm can be stimulated and is usable, we begin proceedings for IVF with ICSI
          - If E's sperm is usable, we will gender select so as not to pass on the mutation
3. Assuming E's sperm is unusable, we need to pick the donor. I want this to be mostly E's choice. I'm thinking a local sperm bank would be best so we can order the day before it's needed and courier it over.
4. Purchase donor sperm. We need to decide how many vials we want and how many will be stored.
5. Decide whether we're doing a stimulated cycle to see how I respond and try to get a better idea of my egg reserve, or proceed directly to a medicated cycle and IUI
6. Proceed with a medicated IUI cycle
7. Hopefully get pregnant!

While I definitely still have that I might cry sensation at the back of my throat, I am feeling a little better and more prepared. My biggest concerns are that I might be pushing E and not allowing him enough time to grieve. I've been really waring with myself on what we should do next and how we can balance my time crunch with his coping and emotional well being. Today, the genetic counselor said something along the lines of "people take fertility for granted, like gravity. It's just something that's there. But the reality is that for many people it isn't". I talked about how, cost aside, I wished our rolls could be reversed because I don't care about being genetically related to my child but E does/did.

Although we already knew it, the counselor said that not being able to have biological children is horrible and devastating and may always hurt, but that's normal and okay. I think that really helped E to hear this since he's been struggling with the idea that he may never be 100% okay with not having  genetically related children. I think he understands now that it's okay for that to always hurt a little, but it doesn't have to prevent us from having a family and kids that are his in every way that matters. He doesn't have to be thrilled about it, he just has to be at peace with it. I told E the only things I need him to be 100% on are 1. That he still wants children and 2. The donor we pick. As long as he's sure about these two things, I think we'll be okay.

Monday, February 24, 2014

New Kitty Duds

Thanks to a fabulous custom collar maker, our fur babies have some seriously awesome new duds. The cat collars are webbing with ribbon on top and a buckle closure, Milou has a leather collar with webbing, a ribbon, and a martingale closure. Everyone is so cute!

Zuzu (white) has a blue leaf ribbon on blue webbing. Cillian (stripey) has a peacock ribbon on green webbing.

Zena has a dandelion blue ribbon on wine colored webbing.

Milou is rocking a purple and green owl ribbon on purple webbing and warm brown leather.

Unfortunately, the cats are fast destroying their beautiful collars. Their sharp little nails are picking away at the ribbon and pulling at the threads every time they scratch themselves, while Milou's is still in perfect shape. It's nothing that could have been prevented since they've destroyed all their other collars as well but I wish they could have kept their claws away a little bit longer!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Kitty Condo Window

Hey Mom, this condo needed a window. So I had my cousin put one in. What do you think? It really adds some character, no?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Thirty One Goodies!

One of my friends, E, mama to Will and Max, is a Thirty One consultant. Thirty One sells really adorable storage, home and bag products, seriously some of the cutest stuff around. I've ordered a few things in the past and just hosted a party for her,  so when I got home yesterday I was greeted by a big box of goodies.

Thus far, I already had:

Milou's agility bag, an Organizing Utility Tote in Black Happy Dot. It has fabulous pockets for all her training odds and ends and is super durable. We're really hard on it, it's basically always on the grass or in the mud, and I love that I can just hose it off. I just ordered a pocket tote to go inside so I have a zippered compartment Milou can't get in to.

A Keep It Caddy in Turquoise Cross Pop. I use it as a gym bag and its the perfect size, small enough to bring into my gym classes, but big enough to hold all my things. Again, super easy to wash if I get it wet or sweaty. 
A Fresh Market Thermal in Pink Pop Medallion. This is my favorite grocery/party companion now, it keeps everything hot or cold and can fit two 9x13 casserole dishes. I put the bag into the cart, top open, and put my frozen groceries directly into it. I also used it at Thanksgiving to carry two 9x13 trays, one of potatoes and one of spinach, and a pie. It's also awesome for carting around the animals raw food, it's probably one of my most useful Thirty One products. 

This bad boy is a Large Utility Tote in Best Buds. It's probably the most versatile tote out there, it has a frame at the top but is flexible on the bottom so you can flatten it for storage. It's great for holding groceries (Costco anyone?), storing things, it's basically the perfect size. I use mine to keep the closet organized but I could use another couple for my trunk and it would be great for beach stuff or storing other things.

I've been so happy with everything I have so far that I ordered a Super Organizing tote in Organic Poppy, another pocket tote to go inside it, an adorable thermal pouch in their winter owl print, a Casual Cargo Purse in Railroad Denim for my grandma, another Super Organizing Tote in Awesome Blossom to give as a thank you gift and my new favorite, my hostess exclusive, a Suite Success Tote.
This is the ultimate work or diaper bag, it has three compartments including a laptop pocket, and a thermal lined pouch for keeping snacks cool. It's awesome and I can't wait to use it. I think I'll use it for a work bag for now, and then transition it to a gender neutral diaper bag once we had kiddos. Even E said he'd be happy to carry it, and it's got two pockets that would be perfect for bottles. It's really sharp :)

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Stealth Cats

Where one goes, the other must surely follow. E brought home a flat of water bottles so Cillian and Zuzu had to investigate immediately. I love their bright eyed faces poking out of the packaging <3 bombing="" br="" can="" cillian="" closely="" if="" look="" photo.="" photo="" s="" see="" stealth="" you="" zuzu="">

I wonder if Zuzu knows his back end is sticking out?  He's gotten so huge, at least 4 pounds heavier than Cillian who was 10lbs at last weigh in. He's basically massive.

Monday, January 20, 2014

AZFb Microdeletions and a Hysteroscopy

About a week ago E and I went to his follow up urology appointment and received the terrible news that he has a complete AZFb microdeletion. I've started to post a handful of times, but knowing that information hasn't provided us with the answers we need.

The AZF region is located on the long arm of the Y chromosome and there are three segments, the proximal, central and distal, or A, B and C.  Keeping in mind that these microdeletions are extremely rare, deletions in the B region are the most uncommon and have the worst prognosis. After getting my hands on every AZFb paper I could find, the literature concludes that men with complete AZFb deletions do not produce sperm. Men with C region deletions usually have low but usable counts, but B region deletions are an end of the line sentence.  Although E did have several 0 or near 0 semen analyses, he also had a 10 million, 23 million and 2 million, so he is very clearly producing sperm.

This leaves us with three possibilities:
- The genetic test was wrong, which is unlikely
- All the semen analyses were wrong, which is unlikely since they were done at 3 different labs
- E is an anomaly about whom they will write papers

We just repeated the genetic test but still need to schedule an appointment with the genetic counselor, and have a more detailed semen analysis done at a fertility clinic. We know if we were able to use E's swimmers that we'd have to select for girls, but I'm sure the counselor will want to go over it with us. That and the likelihood of donor sperm, which we are already prepared for.

For me, I had my Hysteroscopy done today, and while it was worse than I was expecting, it wasn't horrible. After the HSG I was picturing the Hysteroscopy as fairly similar, a little catheter threaded up, a numbing injection this time which I was sure would hurt, but nothing too terrible. Instead, there were at least 8 local anesthetic injections into my cervix and let me tell you they HURT, way more than I was expecting. I could feel those suckers all the way down my butt and thighs and they made me shake all over.

Then came the manual dilation of the cervix. Here I mistakenly assumed that since they'd done all those numbing injections, I wouldn't feel anything. Yeah, that was TOTALLY WRONG. I felt every single second of that and it hurt like a bitch. They ended up having to do it multiple times, including one time after they'd tried to put the camera in and it wouldn't fit. Once the camera was actually in, it wasn't horrible and it was pretty cool to see the inside of my uterus on the screen.

During my saline ultrasound, the doctor had seen a little piece of something could be a polyp but she thought it was more likely to be a bit of dislodged lining. It did it fact turn out to be lining, as I had a thick, fluffy lining, despite the progesterone I'd been taking for two weeks to thin it out, so no surgery necessary. Basically everything was normal, normal size, shape, color, it had perfect blood flow, no endometriosis, no polyps, a great lining, basically nothing physical that would prevent an egg from implanting.

At the end of the procedure, the doctor gave us a little print out of shots of my uterus. It felt like a stand in because we don't have a baby for ultrasound pictures, but we took it home for our records. You can't really see anything, just pink walls and fluffy lining.  It's scintilating.

Behold: My Insides

We also had a good chat with our doctor about possibly going with her clinic, since we have to go outside of Kaiser for IVF. I like that she is already familiar with our case and knows how the Kaiser system works, but we'll have to see if it's a good fit once we've met with the genetic counselor.