Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Early OMG You Rock Present

Look at what came to my house yesterday!! Aren't they gorgeous?

Many, many thanks to Heather at Geek by Marriage (we must be related because I'm a geek by marriage too) for this wonderful pick-me-up, an early present for OMG You Rock Day! Not only did she send flowers, but wrote a lovely card. I cried when I read it, cause I'm a tremendous sap.

No, seriously. I cried last night when Federov lit the lamp and then again when my boys in red won the game. Much gratitude and congratulations to them on winning Game 7 and making it to the second round of the playoffs.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Music for Work

Thought I'd share what I'm listening to during my work hours. I use for my working hours. You can put together a playlist of your fave songs and, while you don't get to own the songs, you don't have to pay for them either.

I change my playlists all the time; these are some of the songs that are getting me through the work day right now:

"Istanbul Not Constantinople"-They Might Be Giants
"Personal Jesus" - Depeche Mode
"Bizarre Love Triangle" - New Order
"Better Together" - Jack Johnson
"Why Do You Let Me Stay Here" - She and Him
"Alright with Me" - Eric Hutchinson
"Lucky" - Jason Mraz (w/ Cobie Caillat)
"Pop" - *NSYNC (yes, I love them. Deal with it).
"Wonderwall" - Ryan Adams (remake of the Oasis song; heard it on an episode of Lie to Me)
"Jai Ho" - A.R. Rahman (from Slumdog Millionaire)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

How to Choose a Donor

Here for IComLeavWe? Want to learn some background? Please check out my About Me tab at the top or see my Intro post.

I've received questions and interest from several people regarding how John Dear and I went about choosing our sperm donor, so I thought I'd go through some explanations and provide some tips.

Though I had visions of having to sit squeezed with JD into a tiny, dreary medical office, flipping through binders of donor characteristics, all the while hearing snippets of porno music from the room next door, choosing a donor is NOTHING like that. Or at least, it wasn't for us.

In fact, the largest sperm banks in the US have online search engines with all of their available donors characteristics catalogued for free. You can get more information about donors, even purchase vials of sperm, online.

Once you have decided to go forward using an unknown sperm donor (from a bank as opposed to from someone you know), start thinking about and discussing your Must Haves, Must Not Haves and Would Likes.

• Physical Characteristics
For us, I wanted to choose a donor who looked similar to JD, because I wanted our baby to look like s/he could have been our genetic child.

Some sperm banks will do photo-matching for a fee, determining which donor (in the whole bank or from a chosen group) most closely resembles your partner or your chosen characteristics.

I also wanted the donor to have some height on him, because my family is pretty tall (at 5'6", I'm the shortest) and because, at almost 5'8", JD always wished that he was taller.

• Blood Type
I wanted the donor to be my blood type or JD's blood type so that at least one of us would be able to give the kid blood if they (G-D forbid) ever needed it.

Additionally, since JD and I are both Rh+, I wanted to find a donor who was also positive, thereby avoiding any possible complications or the need for Rhogam shots.

• Ethnicity
JD was adamant that the donor be of Jewish ethnicity. I didn't care about this aspect as our child will be Jewish because their mother (me) is Jewish and because they will be raised as Jews. The donor's ethnicity, however, was one of the only things that JD felt really strongly about, and it did not dramatically lower our number of donors from which to choose, so I went along with it.

I imagine that if you are looking for something really specific, it might be hard to field a larger sample or you might be left with only one donor who has other characteristics that you don't want.

• Other Characteristics
My mother said that we should find a donor who played tennis. Um, yeah, Mom, that's our first priority. Of course, after we went through all our own criteria and chose the donor that worked for us, the donor that we picked wound up being a tennis player. Maybe this means I should listen to my mother more often. :)

This is one of the big ones, and because we were choosing to use donor sperm due to genetic considerations, JD and I spent most of our time discussing this category.

A lot of the medical history part can be "Duh, we don't want that," but when you get down to the nitty-gritty details, you need to think about and discuss what you might be willing to accept in a donor's medical history. For example, we were willing to accept someone with a history of late adult-onset diabetes. So, if the donor's grandmother was diagnosed with diabetes in her 70s, we were fine with that.

You will need, however, to consider more than just the common "old age" diseases. What about glasses or contacts? Are you OK with someone who is allergic to pollen or dust or penicillin?

JD and I had discussions about these somewhat picayune details as I was narrowing down the list. I think that it would have served as more of a hindrance to me if I had to consider these issues while making my initial cuts.

Many sperm banks now have programs that allow children conceived with the help of donor sperm to find out their donor's name and contact information once the child has turned 18. Each bank's program is different, so make sure to check with your bank if this is something that you want.

JD and I decided that we would like to have an ID Consent donor, but that it wasn't imperative. Following the advice of a fellow blogger, JD and I decided that once our child was born, we'd purchase the available information for their donor (photos, medical histories, etc.) so that the child could have the information when they were younger if they so chose.

Reputable sperm banks strictly track the amount of children born from a donor (both on a total basis and on a geographical basis), so please follow your bank's instructions for registering your child's birth.

Some banks set up donor sibling registries so that children of the same donor (and their parents) can meet and/or stay in contact. Please inquire about this program with your chosen bank.

Many banks offer donor's responses to essay questions, as well as impressions of the staff on each donor. I liked these offerings initially, but didn't really use them as a selection tool.

I do think that the essays and staff impressions helped both JD and I get comfortable with the idea of using donor sperm in general. These help you to see that the donors are actual people with lives, i.e., the donors are more than just their assembled genetics.

To be blunt, I felt better when I read the essay responses and staff impressions because I didn't want our donor to be a douchebag. I wanted him to be someone that we both would/could have been friends with, if we met in real life.

So, you've got your list of things to look for. Put that into the search engine and let 'her rip. The search engine will come back with a list of donors that match or somewhat match the characteristics that you've plugged in. You'll be able to narrow these results down to a list of favorites.

Many banks allow you to bookmark or create a list of favorite donors from your search. Others allow you to save your search characteristics so you don't need to enter the same info in every time you look.

Once I had narrowed down our selection to about 10 possible donors, I then made a spreadsheet so that I could look at all of the donors' characteristics side-by-side. Our bank only allowed you to compare physical characteristics in that way, but I wanted to be able to compare medical histories as well.

JD and I sat down with cups of tea (our version of wine) and went through the donors one by one. Once we'd narrowed down the list several more times, we came up with our donor.

That's it! If you have any questions or if you'd like me to explain something further, just ask me in the comments or shoot me an email.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wait Til Tomorrow

The How to Choose a Donor post is getting pretty lengthy, so I'm probably not going to be able to post it today; also cause the CAPS are playing tonight (praying for another win tonight so they can bring it on home). Hoping to post tomorrow.

I'm in a funk this afternoon (nothing drastic, just in a "this world sucks and everyone sucks cause they've got good stuff happening and I don't" place), so if you have good news today, you'll get a happy comment from me tomorrow when I can actually be happy about your good news. See, this is where the crazy part comes in with me. Told ya we were all stocked up.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Donor Sample Question

Hope that everyone is enjoying IComLeavWe for April. I have a question regarding our protocol, all opinions (regardless of experience) welcome. Cause that's how I roll -- baby making by poll/opinion survey.

Here's the situation. The sperm bank has two different formats (that we are currently looking at) for their samples. These are: ICI (intra-cervical insemination) samples which come unwashed, and IUI (intra-uterine insemination) samples which come pre-washed.

Our fertility clinic does a wash on all samples before insemination, so they recommend that we use ICI samples, since you can lose a lot of viable sperm if the IUI sample is washed again.

The donor that we've chosen (yay!) only has IUI samples available right now, though we can get on a wait list for ICI samples which would become available soon (anywhere from 1 month to 6 months, I don't know cause I haven't called the bank, cause I'd rather freak out and talk to y'all here first).

So, how should we proceed? Go ahead with the IUI samples so that we can start sooner, knowing that we may decrease our chances for a BFP because we lose sperm in the wash, OR wait for ICI samples to become available, making our wait longer?

Note: If we go ahead with the IUI samples for this round, I'd have the bank put us on the wait list for ICI samples so that we could get them for possible future rounds.

ICLW - April - The Intro Post

Hello, internets! I'm excited to kick off another edition of International Comment Leaving Week! Welcome everybody!

For those who are new to the crazy, my husband (John Dear, aka JD) and I have been TTC for almost 3 years. With a diagnosis of very low motility and some genetic considerations, we've decided to go forward using donor sperm.

Last week, we were cleared by the RE and LCSW, all that was left was to pick the donor. We picked him!! I'll be doing a separate post this week on our process of choosing a donor (it did not involve the flipping of coins nor did it come down to a round robin tournament of rock, paper, scissors), so if you're interested, check back later this week.

SO, I guess all we're waiting for is CD1 and then we're actually going to have a shot at getting pregnant! I'm bouncing up and down with excitement! Yay!
I'm also a huge Washington Capitals hockey fan, so I must give a shout out to my boys in red (well, white when they're away). Go CAPS!! While I have to settle for having naughty meditative visions of Alex Ovechkin during my yoga nidra class, my sister saw him for real this weekend while she was out and about. So cool!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Weekly Update

Well, that's what this is turning into -- the once-a-week apology for not posting and the update on my life. Work and life have been spinning me around like a record (baby, right round, round, round).

-My friend is home and the complications continue (the new episode features DVTs [deep vein thrombosis - a blood clot in the leg {what David Bloom died from}] and a rash and swelling [from one of the drugs]). But at least she's home with her family. I've spoken with her a couple times and she sounds better each time. She tells me that she is in less pain and that her hearing is improving. She does have some memory loss, which she finds very inconvenient. It is frustrating that she has to go through so much to get better from this freak accident.

-The appointment with the RE went very well. He's totally on board with dIUI and covered the process and our protocol. John Dear was up and participating and very engaged in the discussion, asking several pertinent questions. I was really happy with him and told him so as we left the doctor's office.

-In terms of choosing a donor, JD and I have had a couple of conversations regarding what our must-haves, would-likes and must-not-haves are. I'm going through the initial search and will present a small group to JD for us both to go through. Being the incredibly anal lawyer that I am, I'm making a spreadsheet for ease of comparison. JD and I will go through it this week.

-JD and I met with the fertility clinic's social worker on Friday and it went really well. Again, JD was up and engaged and talking a mile a minute. The social worker mentioned several times how impressed she was with us and that we had overcome a lot of problems and had really covered possible issues with donor sperm and that we were ready to proceed.

-Once we've got a donor picked, we'll be ready to start at the next cycle!!

-In other health news, JD may need to undergo another surgery on his foot. The physical therapist (who's been a real help lately) has mentioned that JD's currently high degree of pain might be irritation from the three surgical screws in JD's foot. Now that enough time has passed and the bone has fully healed (used to be three bones, but is now one SUPERBONE), the screws could be removed. I hope that this surgery (if that's what the doctor decides to do) will alleviate JD's pain and will be less traumatic than the original surgery. I don't know if we can live through something as bad as the first one without beatings divorce murder MIL moving in. Course, if MIL moves in, all the previous options might still be on the table. ;)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Typing at A Mile a Minute

Thank you to so many who sent their prayers and good wishes out for my friend. We found out on Saturday that she was awake, breathing on her own and talking a mile a minute. Thank G-D.

She is still in the hospital as they are concerned about some swelling in her brain and she still cannot hear out of her right ear.

Right now, we're praying for a speedy and full recovery so that she can come home soon.

John Dear and I had a nice time at our families' seders for Pesach. We've been pretty observant in our own house and had a fun time at KosherMart yesterday, finding kosher for pesach vegetable oil (yes!).

Our joint therapy session yesterday really focused on JD -- how he was feeling about being a father, using donor sperm, his depression, the job search, etc. I think it was a good conversation. Our relationship has been going really well lately, and I'm glad that something seems to be settled for now.

I am just waiting for JD to pick me up so that we can head over to our appointment with the Doctor to set up our dIUI cycle. OMG, it's really happening! We haven't picked a donor yet, so I'd like to get on that. JD is kind of being passive about everything, and I'd like to not push him, but come on, things need to be decided.

I talked yesterday at therapy that I'd like to narrow down our choices to a small group, then order the info packets on those donors so that we can then pick the one we want. I'm also interested at looking into the photo-matching option that the bank has (they take a photo of JD and look at your choices and pick the one that goes best with JD).

Never did my Sock It To Me post because I was overwhelmed with work and Pesach stuff. Let's leave it at I LUUUUUUUVVVVE my new socks from KateDaphne at Sadness/Euphoria and I love all the wonderful people that I've met in the blogosphere. Hugs to all of you!

Must run.

Friday, April 10, 2009


I just learned some terrible news. My coworker, my mentor, my friend, was on vacation with her family this week. Last night, while at dinner with her husband, my friend tripped over a chair and hit her head against the concrete sidewalk. She is currently unconscious and on a respirator. Please send prayers and good thoughts for a speedy recovery into the universe.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

My New Name

I am no longer Jendeis. I am now Kills Ants With Dawn. Die, you emm effers, die!!!

They are in my office, crawling through the wall, running up and down one of the window jambs. Ugh, aaaahhh! I'm not a fan of bugs. Am now typing, pausing every 30 seconds or so to twitch in revulsion and fear of bugs crawling on me. Hoping that the residue of the dish soap that I liberally cleaned the jamb with (killing a zillion ants on the way) will deter them till the building services people come with heavy artillery.

Ants: stay outside if you want to live.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Pesach Prep - Part 2

Had to skip out of work early today because my anxiety had gone sky-high. I was practically twitching and on my way to knocking my head against the wall to stop thinking. Not a good sign.

Left work just after 2 PM, picked up John Dear and we went to the library (I had an audiobook to pick up). I picked up a bunch of books and that definitely helped to calm me down.

Here's where I am so far with work for Pesach:

-Figure out where we're going for seders
-Discuss with Mom and SIL what we should bring Mom: Carrot-zucchini kugel; SIL: flowers
-Make meal plan and grocery list for all of Pesach
-Arrange with BFF to take chametz
-Clean out fridge
-Clean out silverware drawer
-Kasher silverware
-Find Pesach box (with Pesach dishes, pots and pans) in big living room mess (but might be in JD's office mess) Was in JD's office mess
-Clean living room after spare furniture is given away this weekend
-Clean dining room table and cover
-Clean kitchen table and cover
-Buy tablecloths Found tablecloths; didn't need to buy. Yay!
-Tape cabinets shut
-Figure out what I've got left in house to use as meal plan for week before Pesach to use chametz (BFF gets what's left)
-Check if I need Pesach cooking utensils (might be in Pesach box) I need 'em
-Pull unopened sugar and tea packages for use during Pesach
-Wash all dirty dishes and empty dishwasher before taping up cabinets!! (Lesson from experience)
-Figure out whether I need to cover kitchen counters or if I can just clean them
-No food in outer rooms after this Friday - make sure to remind JD about this on Monday morning
-Check if I need foil pans for kugels Found a bunch in Pesach box
-Clean oven and stove
-After turning kitchen, clean new crockpot for use during Pesach

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Calendar Girl

It's all about the scheduling, round here.

April 7th: physical w/ GYN (Yay! Less than a 2-month wait; unlike my primary care doc).

April 13th: consult w/ RE specifically on dIUIs

April 17th: psych consult w/ one of Giant Fertility Clinic's social workers

In related news... I can see my jawline re-emerging from my cheek. Weight loss city, baby! I brought in breakfast from home this morning: tea with milk and sugar, fage (Greek yogurt) with fresh strawberries and chopped walnuts. My morning snack was a Luna bar. I could've done better at lunch -- had a tuna melt sub. Getting back on track though -- my afternoon snack will be a banana and a Luna bar. Woo!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Just got off the phone with my nurse. It looks like we won't be able to move forward this cycle, because we've got preliminaries to get out of the way first.

  • We need to schedule a consult with our doctor so that we can discuss dIUIs specifically and confirm that that's what we're doing.
  • We need to schedule a consult with Giant Fertility Clinic's shrink to be cleared for going forward with donor sperm. (Asked whether we could get a letter from our therapists and was told no).
  • My nurse will be sending us a big packet of info on choosing donors and how much to get and that should show up at our door in the next few days.
  • I know that I haven't had a physical (gyn or otherwise) in awhile, so I'm going to try and schedule that, since I'm pretty sure that GFC will want that info updated before we move forward.
  • Gained back some of the weight I had lost (gained 9 lbs, have lost 1 already), so I'm going to be trying hard to get back down to my fighting weight in the next few weeks.

I feel like we're moving forward at the very least. :)