Sunday, January 27, 2008

Test Results and A Weekend Of Painting

Test Results - We went in for the HSG test Thursday. The wait in the outpatient check-in was a long one. From what I could overhear my wife wasn't in their system for some reason. Eventually they called us up and we got checked in and she got a bracelet. Off to the radiology waiting room from where we were very soon escorted to the x-ray room. I had to wait in the hall, so I pulled out my Palm and read a book on it.

My wife had been dreading this test for a while after reading stories of it being very painful for some women. I could hear her laughing from time to time, though, so I figured it maybe wasn't nearly as bad as she had thought it would be. Still, I was prepared to hear a scream and rush to the door. (Okay, maybe just comfort her after - there were x-rays in there after all.) Soon, though, the nurse came out and told me I could come in. The delay in the check-in didn't amount to anything consequential, as it turns out, because the doctor was late. We chatted a little bit, and my wife flashed her bare hip at me as she sat on the xray table, and I patted her butt. She asked me to fetch her a bit of paper from the adjoining restoom, and as I came back the doctor entered. They shooed me out and I went back to reading.

Before long I sensed someone near. I looked up and the doctor was there, rolling down his sleeves. He said everything looked normal, and there was nothing he saw that would get in the way of her getting pregnant. When my wife was done dressing she came out, and as we left she told me about it.

As with many of the procedures so far the worst for her was when the doctor was inserting the hardware. Once everything was in place they had her lie down and the x-ray machine was moved into place. Then the doctor started injecting the dye. My wife says it felt like a bad cramp at its peak. Afterward the doctor rewound the tape (they recorded the whole thing rather than just take a few shots along the way) and showed her what was what. There was nothing amiss in her uterus, and the dye flowed freely through one tube. There was so much flowing through the one, it was hard to see the other, but he could see enough to know that at most there was a blockage, and nothing else.

Before the test she had taken some anti-anxiety medication, so on the drive home she slept most of the way. She woke up right as I turned off the highway.

Weekend Of Painting - As I had promised my wife earlier in the week, this weekend I finished a long put off project: painting the den. When we first moved into the Secret Lair we painted the walls in this room a pale peachy pink. I don't remember the name of the color. The trim was sort of a pastel pinkish mauve. It worked well, but I don't think it was quite what she was after. A few years ago - October of '04 according to the sticker on the paint can - she picked a different pair of colors: terra cotta for the walls, and sand for the trim. We pulled the furniture away from the walls in phases, painting each wall and its trim and allowing it to dry before moving the furniture back and moving on to the next wall. The end of the room where the computers are posed a bit of a problem. My wife had, at that time, a huge corner desk with cabinets, and of course my smaller desk was heaped with junk on top and underneath. It was a daunting task. She wanted to get a new desk anyway, so we decided to put off finishing the paint job until she could pick one she liked.

Finally, not long after alluding to it in this post, we got the new desk. The old one is in the dump now. It was fun tossing it into the compactor. But still we didn't paint. We had the whole IVF thing going by then, and that just ate up too much of our time. Plus, I was hesitant to expose her to paint fumes. We're in a lull now, and since we're doing a frozen transfer next we don't have to worry about the conditions for developing eggs, so now is the time. Friday night my wife cleared off her desk. Saturday morning she headed out to the gym and then to Secret Headquarters to catch up on some paperwork. I stayed home to paint.

The first thing I did was disconnect her computer and move the components out of harm's way. Then I removed her keyboard tray and drawers, taped the computer cabinet door shut, and rolled the desk away from the wall onto its top. It slid over the carpet easily after that. Then I started clearing off mine. That took a while. I boxed up most things, and put some in a pile on the sofa. There were many things I threw away, but the piles of papers I just moved intact without going through them. I'll do that when I put them back. My current computer has been sitting on top of the desk, while my old one remained in its cubbyhole below. there was also a much older computer, salvaged from the junk pile at my former workplace, sitting idle on the floor under the desk, with the cable modem and router on top. I moved both old computers out permanently. (I'll strip out the hard drives later.) Man there was a lot of dust! I vacuumed as I went along and the dust cannister, which started out pretty empty, is now about 1/3 full. The place where the older computer was on the floor is visibly lighter than the rest of the carpet. I think we need to clean it, or replace it - it's been here since before we bought the house.

My desk is much lighter, so I was able to lift it out of the way. That being done, I started the actual wall prep, beginning with a wash with some TSP substitute. My wife has had a long habit of squishing bugs against the wall, then not cleaning them off, so the wall by her desk was a bit of a mess. I scrubbed the worst spots, then did an allover wipe down. After that dried, I did a dry wipe with an old clean towel to clear off any lint from the disintegrating washcloth I'd used with the TSP, and the walls were ready for paint.

We had a full can of the terra cotta left, plus a partial cam. I opened the partial can first and found that there was some corrosion around the rim that had rubbed off and sprinkled into the paint as I opened the can. If the paint had been fully mixed I would have skimmed it off the top, but after over three years the color had all settled to the bottom. I tossed that can and opened the other, which was fortunately pristine. I finished up, including the brush painting in the corners and along the ceiling, around 9PM and after a quick clean-up we headed out for a much-needed meal. Afterward I discovered I had had my fly open the whole time we were out. Good thing I was wearing a coat. We had to switch from one sale to another at midnight, so I rolled her desk back over, moved mine back into place, and set up the computers.

Today my wife headed out again, to the gym, Secret Headquarters for a bit of work, and to her sister's house for a visit with the family. I stayed home to paint the trim. This time it didn't take so long to move everything out of the way. The main part of the trim went fast, but the den is sunken a couple steps down from the rest of the house, so there was a banister to paint as well. It meets the wall with an oval piece which was a lot of fun to tape around. After that I went back to the beginning and gave it all another coat.

My wife wanted to get on the computer tonight, so I set them back up again. It's still temporary and the desks are out from the wall a bit since I want the paint to have time to dry well and adhere tightly before we have anything rubbing against it. Tomorrow evening I plan to go along the trim with a small art brush to touch up the places where the trim paint seeped under the tape. After that, it'll all be done. Yay!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

IVF Update: Our Next Test - HSG

Thursday afternoon we're traveling to the Dr.'s office, or rather the hospital adjacent, for my wife to have a hysterosalpingogram, or HSG test. Basically, the doctor will inject a contrast dye into her uterus through her cervix and take some x-rays as it goes through her fallopian tubes. If everything is normal, we'll see a clean triangle-ish shape of her uterus, the lines of her tubes, and a couple wispy plumes of dye coming out of them into her abdominal cavity. It can reveal some things that can cause infertility, such as tubal blockages (not so much of an issue for IVF since we're bypassing the tubes altogether,) uterine polyps, adhesions, etc. She's already had a sonohysterogram (saline & ultrasound instead of dye and x-ray) which is said to be better for detecting polyps and fibroids and nothing was found, so we're not expecting those.

What we do next will hopefully be informed by the results of this test. To be honest, we're not sure what our next move will be if we find nothing wrong. At that point we'd be left with abnormal embryos or just dumb luck as the cause of the failures so far. I guess we would move ahead with the transfer of the two embryos we have frozen, if they survive the thawing. (Chances are at least one will, though.)

I'm kind of hoping something is found that can be easily fixed. We may be no better off, really, than we would be if nothing was found, but at least we'd be better off than we had been.

At this point we have to accept that the odds are against us. We have two frozen embryos, but also two failed IVF cycles with three and four embryos transferred respectively, and in a couple months' time we'll both be forty. I really hope this works. I think we can afford one more try after this, financially. Will we be able to put ourselves through it again emotionally. I think I can - I'm sad and frustrated, but also a bit psychologically numbed by it all. It's much harder for my wife, though, which is really the worst part of it for me, and I'm not sure she could handle another. Fortunately, a cycle with frozen embryos is much less involved and taxing for a woman since she doesn't have to go through the hyperstimulation and all it entails, so maybe that will be the break we need. Here's hoping.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Some Of My Photos - IV - City In Motion

City In Motion - New YorkThis is another shot from our trip to New York. The camera shook - we were on top of a tour bus - but I like how it came out. I think it gives it a real sense of motion, which fits New York well. Pretty cool, really.

This was taken in Manhattan on the city lights tour before we crossed over to Brooklyn where I took the skyline and Brooklyn Bridge pictures.

Prints of this photo are available for purchase.
City In Motion Custom Framed Prints and Greeting Cards at

Monday, January 14, 2008

Some Of My Photos - III - Brooklyn Bridge on A Cloudy Night

Brooklyn Bridge on A Cloudy NightThe Brooklyn Bridge under a cloudy city-lit December sky. I took this at the same time I took the previous picture of the New York skyline. I like it pretty well, except for the way the tower of the bridge lines up with that building.Closeup of Brooklyn Bridge tower with flag at night
In this full resolution close-up, the tower is more distinct from the building, and you can see that what looks in the other view like part of the lit-up sign on the building is actually an American flag flying on top of the bridge tower.

Prints and other items featuring this photo are available for purchase.
Brooklyn Bridge on A Cloudy Night Custom Framed Prints and Greeting Cards at
Brooklyn Bridge on A Cloudy Night Prints and Greeting Cards at
New York Night Giftware at
New York Night Giftware at

Monday, January 7, 2008

Some Of My Photos - II - New York Skyline on a Cloudy Night

New York Skyline on A Cloudy NightThe New York City skyline lights up the clouds on a cloudy December night. I took this on last year's trip to New York and Pennsylvania. We were on a city lights tour on one of those open-topped tour buses, and had stopped at a pier across the East River in Brooklyn. Shortly after this picture was taken it started raining, and on the way back over the bridge we rode through the worst of a thunderstorm. I had an all-weather coat which protected me and the camera well enough. My wife had a plastic poncho the tour guide gave out. It was a bit tattered by then end of the drive, and a fold had channeled a good bit of water onto our bag. Nothing was damaged, though.

Prints and other items featuring this photo are available for purchase.
New York Skyline on A Cloudy Night Custom Framed Prints and Cards at
New York Skyline on A Cloudy Night Prints and Cards at
New York Night T-shirts and Gifts at
New York Night T-shirts and Gifts at

Some Of My Photos - I - San Gervasio on Cozumel

San Gervasio on CozumelOne of the Mayan ruins at San Gervasio on the island of Cozumel off the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. San Gervasio was dedicated to the Mayan goddess Ixchel, goddess of midwifery, fertility, medicine and weaving. We visited on our honeymoon, which was of course when I took this picture. We didn't have a guide or anything, and my wife wasn't quite as interested in Precolumbian civilizations, or walking, as I was, so we mostly poked around the ruins nearest the parking area. I'd like to go back again some day, and I think my wife would be more up for exploring these days too.

Prints and other items featuring this photo are available for purchase.
San Gervasio Custom Framed Prints and Cards at
San Gervasio Posters and Gifts at