Egged on: Navigating the world of secondary infertility and egg donation

Join us on this journey into our hearts, a petri dish and (hopefully) my uterus.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sorting through the rubble after the avalanche: Take a week, or two, or three ...

It's been three weeks since my cycle was canceled. It's hard to believe that at one point, I had such strong faith that it would move forward --- that I marked my calendar for this coming Thursday ... blood test????

No. There will be no blood test this week. And probably not ever. I haven't made a commitment to a decision yet. But it's been three weeks, and I still haven't found the courage to commit to moving forward.

I took time this weekend to clean out the room that was a nursery when we bought our house in 2002 -- a room that I envisioned would be a nursery for our second child. Cute bee wallpaper with a sweet yellow striped valance from Pottery Barn makes it suitable for a boy or a girl. I even had bedding picked out -- animals with sweet little smiles.

It was my daughter's room until she moved into a bed in 2003. Then it was a guest room. And a scrapbooking room. As my daughter grew out of toys and books, I couldn't bring myself to get rid of them. So they stacked up in boxes, making that room useless.

Cleaning it out represents surrender. If I get up the courage to donate the stuff, that will mean defeat.

For now, the room will be a guest room/scrapbooking room.

My daughter had asked about moving in there. She wants to take down the wallpaper and paint it lime green and grape purple (ironic for a kid who doesn't like fruit, right?). I told her we had to hold off on that plan because I didn't have time. That was a lie.

I was waiting to see if I got pregnant. If I was having one baby, that would be the nursery. If I was having two, I'd move my daughter in there and use her current room (the bigger room/bigger closet) as the nursery.

Maybe it would be easier to just close the door and pretend like that room doesn't exist. Our house is plenty big without it.

But sometimes it makes more sense to open that door ... even if it means having to clean up the avalanche of board books and emotions that spills out. It's the only way to stop thinking about the hard choices that await.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A day at the lake is the best therapy

Still haven't come to any conclusion. Still haven't been back to work. Still not sure if I'm going to be part-time or full-time.
But I do know that spending a day or two next to a lake, listening to the waves and enjoying the breeze, is the most calming experience ever.
Back at home now. Cleaning out my linen closet at 1 a.m.
Trying to figure out what to do with all the boxes of progesterone suppositories that I've been holding onto in case I ever actually get to a transfer and need them.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

It's time to talk about being grateful (a post about jealousy and offending people I respect)

I've always been grateful that the jealousy gene passed me over.
I've never envied people with bigger houses. I've never wanted a fancy car because someone else drove home something new and loaded. I never measured my own success by the size of my salary, the ranking of my college or the tag on my blue jeans.
Somehow, I actually believed it when people told me that happiness comes from within.
It's a great stroke of luck.
Unlike a lot of women who struggle with infertility or secondary infertility, I don't get upset when I see pregnant women. I can be genuinely happy for friends having babies.
This is something I'm especially grateful for now, when it would be easy for me to withdraw -- something I'm prone to do anyway.
I'm grateful for this because it allows me to look at my options without weighing the "how would you feel if" issues. It allows me to see my future under the three possible scenarios and measure my raw emotions without having to consider all these messy unknown factors.
Here are the possible outcomes:
* Quit and be happy with our family of three.
* Roll the dice on another donor and succeed.
* Roll the dice on another donor and come up empty.
Is there one option that I can cross off this list as unacceptable?

Not quite yet.

On another subject ....

My last post wasn't meant to imply that I think egg donation is something that will ultimately lead to a terrible outcome for the donors.
It was just my personal reaction to some very personal testimony from a woman who was looking for answers after losing her daughter to a terrible cancer.
Do I believe that the hormones injected during IVF or egg donation treatment can cause cancer? I really don't know.
But I really don't know that anyone knows -- or that anyone can really make an educated guess.
Does that mean I should give up? I'm not even saying that.
Does that mean it's wrong for others to turn to egg donation while building a family? No. Of course not.
It's just another factor for me to weigh while I'm making a decision that could rewrite my life plan.
I'm just so desperate for some bit of information that will lead me to the correct conclusion.
This is a time when I wish I had faith -- I wish I believed in God or some other sort of great equalizer or higher power to point me in the direction of the answer that I won't regret.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What are the risks for egg donors?

For me, Catholic school means something completely different than what it means for most of the world.
That's probably the case for most women who were fortunate enough to attend the all-girls Catholic high school that I attended.
It was full of enlightened, open-minded mostly female teachers who encouraged us to think about the consequences of our actions.
We heard from nuns who spent time in jail for protesting the military buildup at the time (early 1980s). We marched in peace walks with teachers and nuns. We were encouraged to volunteer to help out people in our communities.
Our school had a social justice club. It didn't have cheerleaders.
I wish my daughter could attend that school.
Anyway, why are we taking this trip in the way-back machine?
It's some background on why I tend to over-analyze the consequences of my actions.
I didn't step into the world of egg donation blindly. I tried to do some research into the consequences for the girls who donate. What happens to a young woman's body when she fills it will these hormones? What are the psychological effects of donating your DNA to complete strangers.
I've touched on all these issues in the blog. That represents just a fraction of the amount of consideration I've given to the ultimate cost of this -- the cost to the donor.
I'm a feminist. I'm supportive of reproductive freedom. I generally believe that women need to put focus on women's issues because it won't otherwise happen in what is still largely a "man's world." I'm all for women's rights.
This egg donation issue has created conflict for me. My desire to use an egg donor has not really fit neatly into the traditional liberal interpretation of how feminist women should look at things. I've struggled with it. I've talked to people about it. And I came to the conclusion that I need to make up my own mind on this issue.
Today I came across an article on the site. It led me to a more detailed article on the site connected to the great site.
This is testimony from a woman whose daughter developed colon cancer after three rounds of donations. She was testifying before Congress in support of a general registry for donors (I am very much in support of that as well.)
This touched me for many reasons.
Among them, one of my dearest friends died of colon cancer this year. She suffered through a year of treatment and pain before her body just couldn't fight anymore.
The thought of someone going through that as a result of a contract with me is unimaginable.
I'm not sure if there is a real medical link between massive amounts of hormones and colon cancer. No one is -- because there haven't been any studies.
But here's the link .. you can decide for yourself:

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Fate won't make the decision for me

So I thought I'd sort of leave it all to chance.

I put in a request to either go part-time or be able to leave everyday at 3 to pick up my daughter from work.
If they told me to go part-time, I'd give up on the egg donation thing because I'd lose my insurance.
If they wanted me to stay full-time, I'd have my benefits and could continue to pursue it.
Leave the decision in the hands of people who know nothing about this whole episode.

(Actually, they might have an idea. I've told two people at work the details, one or two who probably know the details, and a bunch who probably don't know anything. I'm not opposed to anyone knowing about it, per se, but I really don't want to tell anyone else. If I tell someone, it's like an open invitation for them to give me their opinion. And I don't need that. But I do believe it's in my best interest for my bosses to not know about this.)

OK ... well, I thought they were going to take me up on the part-time offer. It's a great deal for them: Cut my pay 20 percent but get all the work done.

But there's some resistance. I'm not 100 percent sure why. Maybe they need me to pick up work that used to be done by people who have left. I have a meeting set up because my boss wants to talk to me about it.

So, it looks like it's not going to be that easy for me to pawn off the decisionmaking to chance.

I'm going to have to make the call.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Fertility clinics: Home of the brave

News.rooms feel a lot like fertility clinics these days. Lots of sadness, uncertainty, dreams for a better future ... desperation.

People in both places are trying to reinvent themselves into whatever they aspire to become. In news.rooms, writers are learning videography to make them more valuable in a Web-centered world. At fertility clinics, women are using hormones and someone else's gametes to create (or re-create) a fertile self.

During that journalism conference I attended a few weeks ago, I stumbled into a session about how to reshape yourself, your, etc. They wanted us to write our "theme songs." I left before it was over.
But one of the exercises we did stuck with me. We were asked to take out our notebooks, pick up a pen, close our eyes and finish this sentence:

If I was brave, I would .....

Focusing on my career, it was a tough question to answer. In many ways, I think the bravest move in journalism is to stick it out -- continue doing what you love and hope the market continues to support it. To show faith in your organization that they will find new revenue streams to offset the real estate ads lost in the collapse of the housing market. Hope they will find ways to make real money on the Web.

But this exercise is particularly relevant to my infertility journey right now.

If I was brave, I would continue with a new donor. I would set aside the experiences with the last three women -- and write off those situations as oddities. I'd risk it all and move forward.

Here's the question: Am I brave?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

It's not Kleenex or Jell-O. Depression isn't a catch-all phrase for sadness.

There's a big difference between sadness and depression.
Sadness is a reaction to an event.
Depression is a medical issue -- a physical illness that's accompanied by feelings of sadness and hopelessness. While it can be triggered by an event, depression is connected to chemicals in the brain.
I struggled with depression in my 20s. Since then, I've always known it was something that could come back at anytime. I feared postpartum depression would set in after my daughter was born. When my mother died, I took extra time off work to make sure I felt all the feelings and didn't let anything linger.
All of the infertility stuff left me feeling frustrated, sad, anxious and uncertain.
But never completely hopeless. So I knew I wasn't depressed.
Today my husband overheard a conversation of mine and commented on how I sound so hopeless.
That made me wonder whether my sadness over the canceled cycle is actually depression.
And making a life-altering decision while depressed just isn't smart.
Before we embarked on the whole donor thing, our clinic required us to see a psychologist who specializes in fertility issues. This might be a good time to check back in with her.

In the meantime, here's an article about only children and secondary infertility that appeared in the Chicago Tribune. I couldn't find it on their Website, otherwise I would have provided the link:

Only Doesn't mean Lonely
Save your pity--that lone child doesn't want or need it

Sunday, August 10, 2008
By Heidi Stevens

Shereen Peterson worries about her son.
There are the usual worries, sure. Sugar, sleep, tantrums, germs. But the big one -- the nagging worry that has latched on to her psyche with all the strength and perseverance of a toddler -- is his solitude.
Skylar, 3, is an only child. Shereen and her husband, Kyle, have gone to great lengths to give him a sibling: four rounds of artificial insemination, acupuncture, in-vitro fertilization. No dice. Now, they've decided, Skylar will be an only.
"I worry he'll be spoiled," says Peterson, 37. "I want him to know the world doesn't revolve around him. I worry he'll be needy and clingy to Mommy, that when I send him off to school he won't want to go.
"I worry that when he's older, he'll feel lonely," she continues. "He won't have a companion in life -- someone in the family he can share every feeling with. Even if you get in fights, there's unconditional family love with a sibling."
Statistically speaking, Peterson's fears aren't likely to come true. Study after study prove only children are no more spoiled, lonely or maladjusted than their peers who have siblings.
They're also, oddly enough, not alone.
The single-child family is the fastest-growing family unit in this country, according to recent Census figures. In 2004, 17.4 percent of women ages 40 to 44 reported having one child, compared with 9.6 percent of women 40 to 44 in 1976. Single-child families now outnumber two-child families (20 percent versus 18 percent), according to the 2003 Current Population Survey.
It's impossible to quantify the various factors fueling this trend, but experts point to a number of circumstances that aren't likely to diminish any time soon -- if ever.
"Secondary infertility, women working, a high divorce rate, the expense and difficulty of adoption, the high cost of raising and educating children, terrible parental leave policies, child care that's not up to snuff, an increased number of single parents," lists Susan Newman, social psychologist and author of "Parenting an Only Child: The Joys and Challenges of Raising Your One and Only" (Broadway/Doubleday). "Parents want to do the best job of parenting, and with all these factors working against them, they're often stopping at one."
But for all their strength in numbers, only children (and their parents) still shoulder a hefty load of stigmas -- many dating back to 1896, when psychologist G. Stanley Hall said "being an only child is a disease in itself." Only 3 percent of Americans think a single-child family is the ideal family size, according to a 2004 Gallup poll.
"The stereotypes are still there," says Carolyn White, editor of Only Child magazine. "That they're unable to socialize well or have close friendships or be in relationships that are secure and bonded. That they don't think of others as well as themselves."
Never mind that 30 years of research, conducted mostly by social psychologist Toni Falbo, proves the opposite is true.
"In many respects, only children tend to be more well-adjusted," says White. "They learn to socialize very well because they know that if they don't, they're not going to have any pals. They really have to get out there."
Onlies are usually resourceful, independent, gregarious and extremely driven, White says, and they tend to outperform their peers with siblings on academic achievement tests.
"That extra attention from parents can have a very positive effect," she says.
And kids are socialized in so many more settings than just home -- especially now, with play centers, youth sports, increasingly hands-on parents and, let's not forget, preschool. "I never went to preschool," White says. "Who ever heard of preschool then?"
So why do the stigmas remain?
"People are lazy thinkers," says Newman. "Rather than say 'My friend has three children and her oldest is a loner,' we get stuck in this pattern about only children, no matter what the studies say."
Craig Shparago, 40, doesn't need any studies to prove what he already knows. His daughter, Ava, 7, is an only child. "She's just a really wonderful person," he says. "She makes a lot of friends. She's got a rich imagination. She's super creative. She doesn't seem to get bored much. It certainly feels like it's working out for us to just have our little trio."
Shparago and his wife, Karen, live in Wilmette, where he says most families they know have more than one child. But they don't spend a lot of energy worrying about how others are doing things. Their focus, he says, is Ava.
"When I'm home, we're usually playing detective or hunting for ghosts or something," Shparago says. "I tend to be the playmate."
Veronica and Sean Scrol live in the South Loop with their son, Ian, 5. Veronica says she used to worry that Ian would be shy around other children. But watching him race to play with the other neighborhood kids alleviated those fears.
"I talked with some friends of mine who are only children and they said they actively sought out friends because they didn't have any siblings," says Veronica, 40. "They all said they really cherished those friendships because that's all they had."
The Petersons, meanwhile, are in the midst of moving from their condo in the city to a house in Glen Ellyn, close to Shereen's parents and siblings.
"When he grows up we'll tell him, 'Mommy and Daddy tried everything we could to give you a sibling, and that's why we moved to Glen Ellyn so you could be surrounded by your cousins and my very fertile brother,'" Shereen says. "We're settling into a groove now. ... I just have to think about what matters and everything we have instead of what Skylar's not getting."
And the stereotypes, finally, show signs of diminishing.
"The stigmas have lost some of their strength," says White. "Most only children have many other only children with whom they can relate."
And, Newman adds, the factors are all in place to further distance us from the old way of thinking. Namely?
"More and more fabulous, wonderful only children."
- - -

Famous 'onlies'
Nancy Reagan former First Lady
Robin Williams actor *
LeAnn Rimes singer
Alan Greenspan American economist
John Updike author
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar NBA Hall of Famer
Danielle Steele author
Richie Sambora Bon Jovi guitarist
Lisa Marie Presley singer
Ansel Adams photographer
Daniel Radcliffe actor
Tiger Woods pro golfer *
Alicia Keys singer
Enoch Powell British politician
John Lennon singer-songwriter *
Mahatma Gandhi Indian leader
Lance Armstrong pro bicyclist
Condoleezza Rice Secretary of State
Rudy Giuliani former New York mayor
*Had/has half-siblings
- - -

Remember: Someone else will have to live with them someday

Raising an only child presents a unique set of challenges. We asked for advice from two experts: Carolyn White, editor of Only Child magazine, and Susan Newman, social psychologist and author of "Parenting an Only Child: The Joys and Challenges of Raising Your One and Only."
"You have to make a conscious effort that parents with two or three children don't have to," says White. "They have so much going on that something often gets left behind, and that's a good thing. A little disorder is important to fill that gap that a lot of people talk about."
* Don't do the chores."Give your child responsibilities," Newman says. "Don't pick up their dirty laundry, don't put their dishes in the dishwasher. You wouldn't be able to do that if you had two or three or four."
* Don't hover. "You want your child to be independent and make good decisions and be a community participant," says Newman. "That's not going to happen if you're on top of him or her all the time. Let your child settle his own disputes."
* Introduce change. "Only kids live in a pretty comfortable world," says White. "They come home from school and their room is pretty much how they left it. With siblings you can come home to anything. Juggle things around so they understand they're going to have to make adjustments: 'I'm not picking you up today, Grandma's picking you up.'"
* Don't overindulge. "Decide what your values are. Don't buy the room full of toys, the house full of toys, or fall into 'I want to give him or her everything I didn't have.'"

Monday, August 11, 2008

Are you comfortable making the choice that we won't have more kids?

That's the question that my husband posed to me this morning when we were talking -- yet again -- about whether to move forward with a different donor.

For me, there's another question: Am I comfortable picking another donor and starting the process over again, only to be heartbroken without ever making it to retrieval?

So I'm trying to look at what life would be like under both scenarios:

If we quit, I wouldn't need my health benefits that cover IVF -- that's the only way we've been able to afford all this.

That means that maybe I could go part-time and spend more time with my daughter.

As my husband put it after the first donor fell through: Maybe we should use this as a sign that we should do a better job with the one kid we've already got.

Not that we're bad parents. And, seriously, she's a fantastic kid. Personable. Funny. Respectful (most of the time). Loving. Generous. Smart.

But we both work long hours. We have opposite schedules. And she has always expressed a desire to spend more time at home instead of having to go to after-school care.

I've tried to go part-time over the years -- I've submitted proposals and job-share plans -- but my employer couldn't make it work. Now that news.papers are in such bad shape, I think they'd go for it. It would save them a good amount of money and the paper would still come out every day.

I could pick up my daughter after school every day. She could have friends come over for playdates. She could participate in after-school things at the park district. She could maybe join a sport team of some sort. These are all things that have been reserved for weekends because of my 10-hour-a-day work schedule. Oh, and I have to work weekends now, too. So even weekend activities would be limited if I continue full-time.

Going part-time means relying on my husband's benefits, which are excellent. However, since his company is self-insured, they are exempt from the state law that mandates insurance coverage for IVF.

No insurance -- no IVF. We just can't take on that kind of expense without putting an uncomfortable amount of pressure on us. I'm not good at most debt.

But I go back to that question ... am I comfortable with the choice to raise my daughter as an only child?

Well, the answer is: No.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Damn the mail

Yesterday's post was really about the procedural stuff that we had to tackle before we could answer the big question: Do we try again with another donor?
Today I opened the mailbox to find those pregnancy test strips that I ordered on Saturday, the day my donor started stim meds -- the day I really thought represented our "no turning back" stage.
I forgot that I even ordered them. Idiot. My husband's mother, whom I've never met, would have called it a kenehora. The moment I put faith into moving forward, it fell apart.
For now, the pregnancy tests are in the giant box full of unused meds. That box will sit closed up on my dresser until we decide whether to move forward or give up all hope.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

I'm finally able to think about it, talk about it a little ... and maybe even write about it

I'm not even mad at the donor.

I was told her STD has probably been sitting dormant for several months because she hasn't been sexually active since October. I don't know that I believe that. Since April, she's had at least two pap smears and a surgical procedure on her cervix (Leep). It's hard to believe they wouldn't have noticed something out of the ordinary. And since her bad cells removed by the Leep could possibly have been caused by an STD, wouldn't her doctor have tested her? I also have a hard time believing that an attractive, fun-loving 23-year-old woman hasn't been with anyone for almost a year.

But, none of that matters. I'm not mad at her.

To recap: My cycle was canceled 9 days before the retrieval date because my donor came down with chlamydia. The was our third donor. My first donor also was nixed because of chlamydia.

Before we signed on, we were assured this donor was reliable and dedicated and enthusiastic. We heard words like "poster child" for a good cycle, "100% confidence" in her dedication. They put her on the payroll because she's such a good cheerleader for the cause.

We were hesitant to move forward after donor No. 2 backed out. But we were assured this girl would surely get us to the retrieval stage -- from there it's all a matter of science.

And that's exactly what I told the director of our agency today ... I hold the agency responsible. The agency built up our confidence in the candidate.

I picked this agency for two main reasons: cost and personality.

They emphasize words like compassion and ethics in their literature and during interviews. Frankly, that's why I chose them. I felt like they were more than just a recruiter matching Point A with Point B. I felt like the people who work there are invested in this process, passionate about their work and concerned for the people who come to them, like us, at a desperate point in a life-defining process.

When my husband and I walked into their office to meet with them today, I feared that my impressions would be proven wrong. They could have just whipped out a contract and told us we needed to cough up a bundle of extra cash if we wanted to continue with a different donor. They could have told us that we'd be out about half the money if we quit and went home.

My husband is deeply entrenched in the "angry" stage of loss. I'm still working through the weepy, sad, confused stage.

I'm sure they hated having us there. I hated being there.

We set up this meeting to determine what we should do. We didn't know whether we wanted to look at more profiles or call it quits and use the money to take a trip to Hawaii.

And we still don't know what to do.

What I do know is that my initial instincts were right about the agency. While it's clear that this is all part of a legal/business relationship, the director also made it clear that she knows our circumstances are unusual. She acknowledged that we have had terrible luck. And she said she's willing to minimize the financial impact because of it. By her actions, she ultimately took responsibility.

My husband isn't any less angry. And I'm not any less weepy.

But I do have this sense that maybe, just maybe, my judgment isn't all that terrible. Sure, I picked two donors who exposed themselves to chlamydia and one who backed out at the last minute.

But I also feel very good about the agency I picked. During a meeting that at times became hostile, they ultimately showed us a lot of respect and took responsibility.

It makes me wonder if maybe we should give this a shot with a fourth donor. Or maybe it's time to cut our losses and accept life as it is. We have one great kid. And, while she would probably love to have a sibling now and later in life after we're gone, she's also amazingly happy with life just as it is.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Thank you

Blogger's been busy today .. it hasn't let me post any replies. So here goes ...
Thanks everyone for all your kind words. I've posted some and respected the requests of others who asked me not to post their comments. It helps to know there are so many people in our corner.
We lost power last night. That was a good thing, I think. It gave me time to digest what's happening.
I'm hoping to write about it tonight, when I have some time to myself. In the meantime, I'm just going to enjoy the day with my daughter and try to avoid thinking about our decision -- whether to go forward or be done.

Monday, August 4, 2008

It's over for now. Egg donation and STDs don't mix.

My cycle was canceled today.

I'm too upset to blog about it -- or talk about it, for that matter. And I have no idea where we go from here.

Any and all words of support would be welcomed.

Let's just say that my clinic has seen its second case of a donor with chlamydia. The first case, of course, also was mine.

For now, I'll refer you to that post.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Infertile women have plenty to say ... well, most of them seem to

Since entering the IVF/Infertility/Egg Donation blogger community, I've come to learn that woman undergoing assisted reproduction are the most prolific writers on Earth.

There are more blogs on this topic than just about anything other than politics. If we calculated blogs per woman undergoing fertility treatment, I bet the ratio would be very high.

There are more infertility blogs than there are blogs about news.papering. Even journal.ists, paid professional writers, don't have as much to say as women longing for a baby.
Check out the link to Stirrup Queens and Sperm Palace Jesters. Look at her blogroll (there's a link at the top of my blog list). Incredible. And all of them have something worthwhile to say. (BTW .. I don't think I'm on there yet, but she says she's going to add me).
Here's today's irony: Today, I don't have a lot to write about. It's a beautiful day in Chicagoish. We're going to spend some time outdoors .. maybe a little nature hike at a forest preserve.
The only news to report is ...
Last night, my donor began her follistim -- the drug that makes her develop more follicles and mature eggs than the typical one per month.
Follistim is injected via one of those cool pen things with the easy-change needles and an easy-to-measure delivery system. There's no worry over whether she's doing it right since she's done it before with positive results.
She'll be on the follistim for about 10 days. She'll have surgery two days later. Then they mix up the eggs with my husband's sperm and hope something grows.

That puts her surgery around the 13th. My transfer will be the 16th or the 18th. If I take a home pregnancy test, I should know whether I'm pregnant before I go back to work. (BTW .. I ordered HPTs yesterday ... I have every intention of testing at home!)

My 3-week vacation, trouble in news.papers and good karma. Convincing myself that this donor egg cycle is destined to succeed.

Vacations away are always preceded by a flurry of shopping, laundry, packing, arranging a dog sitter, holding the mail, working ahead at the office, trips to the bank and making printouts of itineraries. When you finally arrive, you need that vacation.

Preparing for a vacation at home is a lot easier. Work ahead at work. Think about what you might do with your lazy days.

This year it's going to be a long vacation at home for me. It's not that we don't have anywhere we'd like to go -- or the money to go there, for that matter. But my husband doesn't have time off. And I need him to give me shots every night. I might be able to get away with doing one of the mini Lupron shots -- though I bet I'd faint. But once I start those progesterone in oil shots, there's no separating us for more than 24 hours at a time.

I'm not really good at lazy days, so unstructured time actually stresses me out. I'm sure I'll fill the calendar with plenty to do around Chicago. We have some museum memberships that we could put to good use. My daughter is old enough to take in a neighborhood or architectural tour and learn something. I haven't done one of those since high school. We'll hit the beach. Lincoln Park Zoo. Maybe a suburban pool. I'd like her to work on her bike riding. We'll stay up late and do some star gazing. I'd love to take a day trip to go hiking ... maybe someplace with a waterfall. There's the American Girl Place, too. We'll visit with friends, get ready for school, go see some movies. Squeeze in some scrapbooking, too.

Mixed in with all that will be the pills, the shots, the retrieval, sperm collection, embryo transfer and the beginning of my two-week wait. That's the part I dread. The wait. But I'm not going to try to write about the emotions of that. Instead, I'll send you to the most heart-breaking and insightful post I've ever read about the 2WW:

My 2WW will begin while I'm on vacation from a job in a troubled industry.
The last year at work has been defined by a couple of rounds of layoffs, added workload, decline in quality, bad morale. That's not the best environment for someone going through the hormonal ups and downs of pre-transfer and the anxiety that comes after transfer.
This three-week vacation was planned back in January when I thought I was going to do a February transfer. Luck just happened to place it at the optimum time for this first donor egg cycle.

It's one of those things that makes this all feel like this cycle is filled with good karma. It's keeping me positive.

And three weeks to play in one of the world's greatest cities ain't bad either.