Growing up we never had much money. My parents were divorced – my dad a mailman and my mom a full-time student and bartender. We lived on quite a strict budget and saved wherever we could: I remember a school year when our household income qualified me for free cartons of milk at lunch – they were a nickel for the rest of my class.
For the lack of resources, however, we were never made to feel poor. Christmas was always a boisterous time with plentiful presents and birthdays were always greeted with large slumber parties. And each summer my mother would be sure that my brother and I had two vacations – she was always determined to provide experiences that would be the grounds for fond, lasting memories. We never went to Disneyland, never even left the state on our two trips. Rather we would spend a week each at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park and River Bend, a posh campground to which a friend held a membership.
My brother and I do have wonderful, everlasting memories of those annual camping trips. We’d shop for piles of junk food in the days prior, stocking up on Olde Tyme sodas (grape, cherry, cream soda) and Little Debbies. We would pack the family’s Dodge Colt so full of camping gear that we (and our one friend each) would be forced to squeeze into any space remaining for the hour-long trip to Yogi Bear’s. On our arrival, after scouring the grounds for the best site (each of us having different priorities: my mom to be close to the bathrooms, me to be near the pool and activity center, my brother hoping to find a spot secluded from the other campers) we would set up our tents and exhale. Over the next week we would do much (swimming, hula hoop contests, and near-miss first kisses) and nothing at all (read books, eat crap, go to bed early and get up with the sun).
This past week has been much like that – the anticipation of the hurricane, stocking up on junk food and non-perishables. The excitement of the storm and the calm in the aftermath. We had days in the same clothes (with no water to wash them) and spent time helping neighbors. We’ve eaten much food of little nutritional value and all cooked over an open flame. I’ve read 4 books, so far, by the thin light of a flashlight. In many ways this week without power (still without power) has been a lot like camping. But in some ways not so much.
I had been instructed on Friday to begin the meds for IVF #2 on Tuesday. We were expecting the storm, but didn’t really comprehend what would be left behind. I thought we’d be out of power until Monday, maybe Tuesday, but never did I imagine the estimates of 2-4 weeks. Once the full news of the outages reached us (over the radio) I just assumed that we’d be canceling the cycle, refilling my BCPs and hurrying up and waiting for another month. You can’t imagine my shock when the message came through: start stims as planned on Tuesday.
It’s a strange position to be in, hearing of so much devastation just 50 miles away (while being thankful for our own good fortune) and still being concerned about advanced reproductive therapy. To sit on the floor in my dark house, mixing vials and giving injections, prepping my ovaries for an elective procedure while others worry about finding gas, ice, food. This is not how I expected this cycle to go – how could I have predicted this? – but I think it’s working in my favor.
Having rare access to the internet means I’ve been unable to obsess about dosing instructions and my E2. I’ve been unable to compare my progress to friends and fellow bloggers. My poor husband has been subjected to my ponderings as to how the cycle is going, unable to provide insight, knowing he is just a sounding board to replace my usual network of overly informed IVFers. But it’s meant that I’ve had to trust my doctor, go with the flow and wait and see. A good thing, no doubt.
But now that I sit with access to the web for a moment, I will no doubt be frantically searching for others with low E2 (92 after 3 days of stims and an estrogen patch) and pathetic follie scan (8, all measuring under 6mm). I will look for stories of girls who reacted more slowly to a higher dose of meds than a previous cycle and will scour for the truth behind the rumor that “a slow stim is always better”. But before I have time to collect enough tales of similar cycles to calm my frayed nerves I will be back home, in our warm, dark house, far from the community of women who understand.
I will take my increased dose of meds (150iu of Menopur and 300 of Gonal F), pick up the flashlight and curl into bed with another mindless book, my thoughts slipping away from my ovaries once again. Until Monday when I am again pulled from the relative primitive life of our “camp” and thrust back into the modern world – another date with the butterfly needle and the vag cam and another missed opportunity to obsess as I ordinarily would. Unless, of course, we have power by then. In which case I’ll be right back here, desperate for you all comfort me and assure me that this cycle is going just fine.