Archive | June, 2012

Tidepools

29 Jun

Well, it’s been an interesting week here as my baseline moves ever closer (next Thursday – eeps!). The Lupron finally started to kick in around Monday. I started feeling flush and on the verge of a headache for a few hours each day. Really though, it hasn’t been too bad in terms of the physical symptoms and I’m grateful.

My positivity level, I must admit, has waned slightly. I’m not feeling quite as on top of the world as I had been. I can’t really point to exactly why though, that’s the thing. But for the past few days, things have been feeling just a bit heavier. The world has had a slightly blue tint to it.

But, I’m no stranger to depression and if these feelings are indeed connected to the Lupron, it’s much different than my own depressions. Those feel much more black, much heavier, much more sinister. I often feel as though I have a darkness always lurking in the corners of my brain, always just waiting to come out. I almost always have what it takes to keep it at bay. Only in times of severe distress does it step into the light.  I’ve made my peace with it though.

This is just a simple blueness, that washes over me from time to time. Thoughts that pop up at the oddest times, while I’m washing my hands maybe, that say “you’re never going to get pregnant.” I thought I had banished those thoughts but they manage to bubble up sometimes I suppose.

I haven’t been feeling as motivated to do my Circle+Bloom tracks lately. I take my Lupron, I take my prenatals, and then I kind of try to forget that I’m an infertile and am using things like science and technology to make a baby. I feel like I need to “get it together” for next week but mostly I just want to take a nap and have someone wake me up when things start happening.

Okay, there is one thing I can point to that has somewhat deflated my bubble. I talked to my RE’s office this week. I called them because I wasn’t understanding why, if they estimated I’d get my period by June 30th or July 1st, why we weren’t starting until July 5th. She (the nurse) explained that it wasn’t like IUI where we had to start on CD2. All that matters is that I get a period, and then from there we can start any time after. So that was all fine and good, but then I started asking about what my timeline will be, if all goes well. She estimated a July 16th retrieval with the transfer on the 19th.

This bummed me out. I was really hoping to do a 5 day transfer. I know it’s not necessarily a bad thing to do a 3 day but I was surprised to hear her assuming that would be the case. She said you have to meet really specific criteria to qualify for a 5 day. She said, “yeah, if you have 20 eggs, sure we’ll do the 5 day. But most people don’t have 20 eggs.”

And to be honest, I kind of thought I’d be one to have 20 eggs. I mean, I responded so well to the drugs during my IUI cycles! So then she explained how the Lupron can change everything. How some people respond great to just the FSH but when you add Lupron, they only get a few eggs. This made me even more bummed out. I also asked what dosage Dr. B would be starting me on and she estimated only around 112.5, maybe 150. What! I thought it would have been more. I thought we were trying to get as many eggs as possible? Well, we are. But they also have to control E2 levels. Last time, mine go pretty high with only 5 eggs. Damn those E2 levels! They want lots of eggs but they also want to be safe.

So that was that. Honestly, it wasn’t a bad conversation. It was an honest conversation and I appreciate that. But here’s how my emotional brain works, “Well, if we’re only doing a 3 day then I probably won’t get pregnant and this whole thing is for nothing so what’s the point.” I know, logically, that this isn’t the case. I know that. Please don’t think I’m knocking on 3 day transfer. I know your mother’s brother’s daughter’s niece probably did a 3 day and got totally pregs.  I know it can work, if it even is a 3 day. Now it’s just a matter of finding that source of strength and positivity again.

I read a comment somewhere on some blog this week, from another blogger who is also starting IVF. She said something to the effect of “I’m just going to relax and let the whole process unfold as it will.” I so admire that attitude! I’m trying to adopt it as my motto. I’ve become so wrapped up in getting ready that I’m letting my worryful self get caught up in the little shallow tidepools of my brain. Here’s one tidepool all about how it’s going to work with taking days off from work. Here’s another that’s concerned with how many eggs we’ll get and what kind of transfer we’ll do. Here’s another that’s all caught up in the idea that it might not work at all.

I’ve learned through therapy over the years to love and appreciate my many worries. They do serve a purpose for me. But I also need to appreciate them from a distance, and not let them suck me down into their jittery world.

All will be well. All will be well.

Just here. Just now. Just this.

Teabag Tidbit no. 2

25 Jun

You must know that you can swim

through every tide

and change of time.

That was the wisdom on my teabag today and I thought it worth sharing. I’ve written about how infertility has made me stronger, more comfortable facing my fears and more confident that I can overcome some of the hardest obstacles imaginable. All of these things have made me more and more secure in who I am and what’s yet to come.

My friends and family have all been amazing as we’ve embarked on this journey. My parents remembered when I would be starting Lupron and made a point to reach out to me with words of encouragement and well wishes. It meant a lot. And yesterday on our weekly call we talked about everything that’s to come with IVF in great detail. It means the world to me that I can be this open with them as they support me through all of this. I really have a set of amazing parents for whom I couldn’t be more grateful and whom I hope to emulate one day!

Then one of my best friends send us a little good luck card that arrived over the weekend. It means so much that these people are taking note of my important days and going out of their way to be there for us. As I suspected when I made a goal of drawing in my support network in advance of the cycle, even though most of them can’t relate to what I’m going through, they still can be there for me. And they are. And I’m grateful.

In other news, I’m getting nervous about how everything will work out with taking time off from work. I want to take one sick day each on my retrieval day and my transfer day, then at least 1-2 days of working from home after that. My office has said they will support whatever I need but it’s still going to be potentially a week that I’m out of the office, depending on how the procedures fall, how fertilization goes, etc. The weird thing is, I’m less concerned about my actual work getting done, more just concerned about how it will “look” that I am out for so long. Though my superiors are aware of the situation, everyone else doesn’t know. That is intentional because there are a lot of young people at my office and I don’t really want it getting out to that whole group.

To my IVF friends out there, how much time did you take off from work around your retrieval and transfer?

Lupron, Day 2

22 Jun

Lupron Day Two

Don’t feel much yet, symptom-wise. Actually, I’m kind of in a fantastic mood! The weekend is nigh and my workload was pretty low today. Felt some uterine twinges yesterday and had some copious CM. I know Lupron can initially cause a “flare” in LH and FSH (thanks Dr. Google!) so I’m guessing that was the cause. I know that the symptoms can build up the longer you’re on the Lupron though, so I’m not rejoicing just yet.

We’re doing things differently, injection-wise, this time around. Namely, I’m having DH inject me. The main reason there is because I want to feel like a team, like we are doing this together. While I CAN easily give myself the injections (doesn’t bother me too terribly), I would rather feel his involvement in the process. Plus, he is a very exact and precise when it comes to medical stuff. You should see the way he wrapped our pup’s paw when she cut it in the woods one time. With completely different schooling, he could have been a doctor. He does tend to pass out in hospitals though.So… maybe not. 🙂

When I originally got my timeline for this cycle (starting Lupron on June 21st, baseline work up on July 5th), I was worried that I wouldn’t ovulate before starting Lupron, and that therefore my entire cycle would be delayed, I wouldn’t have my period by July 5th, I’d have to be on Lupron for longer, etc. This was coming off of a 50-day cycle though, so it’s understandable. Luckily, I think my body magically cooperated and I did manage to ovulate right before (either CD 16 or CD 20, really not sure which but my s/w thinks 16), so hopefully things will happen as scheduled.

In non-IVF news, we’re meeting up with some friends tonight for Ethiopian food! It’s one of my favorite favorites and I just can’t wait to dive into a nice big plate of injera, tibs, lentils, green beans and the rest. My MIL, though not Ethiopian herself, lived there for many years and makes it the best. She always adds in a green salad (not typical at Ethiopian restaurants) and homemade soft cheese (also, not usually seen at restaurants), which I just love. But a few years ago we finally found a great Ethiopian restaurant in the greater Boston area that meets DH’s standards. Most of the people there are actually Ethiopian, so you know it’s good.

How about you guys? Any weekend plans?

ICLWers, welcome once again! If anyone out there is cycling with me, I’d love to know!

And so it begins!

21 Jun

Well, I just took my first shot of Lupron! 10 units for the next two weeks, then into the office for my baseline. If all looks well, we’ll be onto our stimming with Gonal-f, then eventually our hCG shot of Pregnyl (little box by the blue bottle (blue bottle not part of IVF protocol :))). So, our IVF cycle has officially begun! Here’s the obligatory shot of all the meds, needles, syringes, alcohol swabs, etc. Not pictured: Crinone. Though we have that as well.

I honestly don’t know what I’m supposed to do with all of this. The orange capped needles are for the Lupron, which is in that little bottle next to the Pregnyl. It’s such a tiny vial of the stuff, I don’t know how it will last me for the next four weeks (I will stay on Lupron through stimming). But then there are those big needles that they say are for intramuscular injections. I don’t know how to do those (they scare me!) or even what they are for. I assumed the Pregnyl, but when I called my RE’s office, they say Pregnyl was supposed to be subcutaneous as well? They told me to bring in everything I was confused about to my baseline and we’d figure it out from there. Maybe the pharmacy sent them to me in error.

So how am I feeling? Excited. Hopeful. A bit scared. Confident. Strong. I’ve started letting myself believe I may be pregnant before the summer’s out. May be. May not be. But this is the best chance we’ve had in years and I’m so ready for it. Many factors are on our side and we have a lot to be thankful for. I’m determined now to be positive and happy and approach it all with the best attitude I can muster.

I’ve been a little remiss in blogging lately as I’ve been busy preparing for this cycle. I’ve been focusing on healthy habits. Healthy eating and drinking. Vitamins. Acupuncture. Circle + Bloom. Opening up to people. It’s all really helped me get to the good place I’m in now. I did manage to contract an ear infection from swimming (boo!) but it hasn’t been too bad and I’m now on some antibiotics for it, which my RE’s office assured me were safe to take during suppression. I’ll be in closer touch now that we’re rolling to document my journey. I hope you’ll all stay with me!

To everyone visiting from June’s ICLW – welcome, welcome, welcome! So happy to have you here. Please feel free to read more about me here and get the quick run down on our TTC history here.

Teabag Tidbit no. 1

11 Jun

Here’s some wisdom from my teabag today that I thought particularly fitting. Perhaps I’ll start sharing these with you all from time to time, at least the very best ones.

Be proud of who you are.

I really appreciate this on today, my birthday! I may not be a mom to any little kidlets yet, but I have a great family that loves me, two amazing animals that fill my heart every day, I have my health, a job, and a wonderful life. I am proud of who I am and everything I’ve accomplished so far. And I can’t wait for what’s yet to come!

I also wanted to share this additional piece of wisdom from the card my parents sent me today:

Hold on to what’s important.
Let worries go.
No matter how you look at it,
some things just don’t make sense.
The way you choose to carry on
is what really
matters.

 Touché, padres. Touché.

Now look at me

8 Jun

It’s amazing how committing to a plan and making a few simple changes can make you feel so much better. In my last post, I talked about all the things, both physical and emotional, that I wanted to do to prepare for IVF. It’s only been four days since I posted that but I’ve been sticking to things pretty well.

On the physical side: I’ve been drinking lots of healthy herbal teas, taking my prenatals, getting to the gym a couple times, and sticking to a diet of mainly whole grains, fruits, veggies and lean meats. I’ve made the decision to try an acupuncture session at an affordable community acupuncture center and talk to them about incorporating it into the IVF cycle. I feel relaxed and strong and calmly focused on nourishing and supporting my body as I prepare it for the task ahead.

I did slip once each on the caffeine and alcohol fronts, which is hilarious to me because those are the two things I thought would be easiest. On Monday night, DH randomly decided we should open up the nice bottle of champagne we’ve had sitting in our fridge I THINK since we got married. So I had one (healthy) flute of that and it made us so relaxed and giggly I think the benefit outweighed any harm. I also had a most delicious cup of coffee on break from jury duty yesterday (didn’t get picked – hooray!) because – blech. Jury duty. I made sure to THOROUGHLY enjoy it though because it’s probably my last for awhile.

Emotionally: I’ve got my Circle+Bloom tracks and I’ve done Precycle Session A twice and I have to say, I honestly love it. Even from the first time to the second time, I could feel myself getting much more relaxed and finding it easier to visualize the mind-body connection. I’m lucky that I’ve experienced meditation before so I know how to find and recognize that place of total physical relaxation with full mental acuity. It’s quite special actually – like sleeping and being awake at the same time.

I told the CEO of my company and the VP I report to that I’ll be doing IVF next month. They were both very supportive though they knew very little of everything involved. There are a few other coworkers I want to tell in time too but those were the big two I needed to tell. I also laid it all out for my parents. Only left now is to tell each of my closest girlfriends.

Success stories! I’ve read a few. Jenn shared some great ones today that really made me happy – go check them out here! I am going to keep actively seeking these out when I have spare time. I also bit the bullet and emailed my RE about my Lupron concerns. He told me that those issues mainly develop for people who have to be on it for long periods of time and that once I start the FSH it will negate any of the bad side effects. I should only be on it for about 10-14 days without the FSH so it shouldn’t be bad. I feel better about it. Now I need to order the drugs! I keep making excuses.

I’ve also decided TO try the RESOLVE group next week but TO NOT start the process of finding a therapist. Between Circle+Bloom, RESOLVE and all my online TTC/bloggy friends, I think I’ll get by just fine.

It’s amazing how just doing these few things has made me feel so much more collected, and that has led me to feel myself shifting toward positive thinking. I’m even finding inspiration in pop songs on the radio. Like, I was jamming out to this one yesterday… yeah, infertility! You’re not gonna break my soul!

 

Days like this I want to drive away
Pack my bags and watch your shadow fade
You chewed me up and spit me out
Like I was poison in your mouth
You took my light, you drained me down
But that was then and this is now
Now look at me

This is the part of me
That you’re never gonna ever take away from me, no
This is the part of me
That you’re never gonna ever take away from me, no
Throw your sticks and your stones, throw your bombs and your blows
But you’re not gonna break my soul
This is the part of me
That you’re never gonna ever take away from me, no

Moving forward…

3 Jun

After a 50 day cycle, AF is finally here in full swing. But where I thought I’d be shouting hooray! and doing a little jig because it’s finally time to jump on the IVF funwagon, really I’m just feeling a lot of other confusing things.

Like hopeless. I don’t know why this will work when everything else has failed. I don’t know why we will get to be the lucky ones when so many others just like us have played this game and lost. I know IVF can be successful for some people and yet, I no longer hold any preconceived notions that we will be one of those people.

So then I start feeling helpless. And confused. And very, very scared. Scared that this will fail. Scared of what the drugs might do to me. I’ve read some horror stories about long-term effects of Lupron but yet I’m moving forward with it. It feels like there is no other way.

I also feel like I’m not taking this seriously enough. Like I need to be exercising and eating lots of fruits and vegetables and going to acupuncture and meditating and doing yoga and going to support groups and going to therapy and taking better care of my body and my mind to ensure that this will be a success. I wish there was a way to make getting ready for this process my full time job.

So I’ve started Googling “ways to prepare for IVF” and here’s what I’ve come up with. This is a list of things I know I want to do/not do and a few things I’m on the fence about. I would truly and sincerely welcome ANY suggestions from veteran IVFers out there. Let’s start with the physical, because in some ways that’s so much easier.

Physical

-Cutting caffeine and alcohol. This won’t be hard for me. While I do need a good boost of caffeine some mornings, I’ve also gone long stretches without it as well. For me this will mean no coffee, no chocolate, and very little caffeinated tea. I also rarely to never drink alcohol so I’m lucky that won’t be difficult either.

-Drinking lots of herbal tea (and water). I’ve really been getting into Yogi herbal teas. I love their blends and I love the little messages on paper tabs of each tea bag. Right now I’m drinking a cup of Women’s Energy with another bag of Red Raspberry Leaf thrown in to help ease my cramps. I’m also loving the Peach Detox blend. There’s something so cozy and comforting about having a warm mug of tea in hand. And the water, well, I just think it will help me in all areas to make sure my system is being flushed out daily. I really have to force myself to do this though.

-Healthy eating. I never want to go overboard, ever, where my diet is concerned because I have perfectionist tendencies which have led me to disorder my eating in the past. But generally here I want to focus on eating whole grains, lean meats and dairy, fruits, and vegetables, and cutting refined sugar and carbohydrates when possible. And in general eating lighter when possible.

-Weekly moderate exercise. Exercise is something I’ve struggled with so much these past two years and the motivation to work out has usually been tough for me to access. Now that this cycle is here, I’m trying to get away from the “lose a few pounds” mentality, and instead focus on keeping my blood moving and giving my body a chance to sweat out any impurities a couple times a week. Sticking to a regular gym routine can sometimes cause me stress but at the same time, I need to push myself to do what I know is healthy for me as my body prepares for this treatment.

-Prenatals with DHA. Every day. Obvious, but I must admit I sometimes slack in this department.

-Weekly yoga class. The most I could work in would probably be about one class per week on the weekends but I think any amount will help, both physically and emotionally.

-On the fence about: acupuncture. I’ve done acupuncture in the past for two straight months and while I thought it felt nice (most of the time) and could see how it helped ease minor aches and pains, I struggled to see the greater impact it had on my fertility. Of course thought, acupuncture with an IVF cycle is different and I’ve read that it has been shown to improve chances to some degree. Still, the thought of making still more time in my schedule for appointments feels daunting. So, is it worth it?

-On the fence about: refloxology. Have any of you ever tried it? I must admit I am terribly curious to try but feel it would be going overboard to do this PLUS acupuncture, and acu feels more legit to do with IVF for some reason.

-On the fence about: Buying an at-home yoga CD. Does anyone know if there are any specifically designed for the IVF cycle? I need to research this.

Emotional

-Daily meditation. My father regularly practices Transcendental Meditation (TM) twice a day. He had me officially trained as a teenager but I almost never do it. I just have trouble keeping up with for some reason. So for my birthday present, I asked him to look into the Circle + Bloom program for IVF. I definitely believe in the mind – body connection and want to do everything I can to strengthen mine.

-Gathering in my support network. I’ve told a few select friends, family members and coworkers that IVF was coming up for us but now that it’s HERE, I think it’s time to let them know that and clue them in on what we will be going through. None of my friends and family have any firsthand experience with this so I doubt they will know how to treat us during this time. To be honest, I don’t know exactly how I wish to be treated either, but I guess I’d like them to just generally be aware, not gloss over it, ask us how we’re doing and then we’ll share however much we feel like sharing. For my coworkers (this means telling my bosses too), I just want them to be aware that I’m going through a big physical and emotional ordeal. I may have appointments that will intersect with working hours (though usually I’m able to get my monitoring done before work at least) and will certainly need time off for my retrieval and perhaps a day or two after my transfer as well.

-Read success stories. I truly want to cultivate hope as much as possible going into this cycle and I know one way to quell the skeptic in me is to show it real life examples of people just like us whom this has worked for. If anyone in particular has stories of younger couples who have dealt with infertility and repeat losses that found resolution through IVF, please please PLEASE tell me them! Any good websites or threads about this as well that you know of would be helpful too.

-Ask questions. Sometimes I feel rather intimidated by my RE, his impressive background, and the clinic in general. This leaves me feeling shy about asking questions, especially ones that may call into question their experience or decision making. I had to do this last week when my blood results came back inconclusive and the nurse told me I was either just about to ovulate or just about to get my period. I know that in order to keep my anxiety in check, I’ll need to get a little bolder about emailing my RE when I have a question about something.

-Be extra loving and supportive toward DH. We have been snapping at each other and fighting a lot lately. I can’t help but think it’s in part due to the IVF. But I want our relationship to be in a strong, loving place come retrieval and transfer, so I am going to go out of my way every day to show him how much I love and care for him. When our relationship is good, I always feel that much more centered.

-Identify stresses and coping mechanisms. I got that tip from SART’s info page on preparing for IVF emotionally. I know I get stressed out when my routine changes a lot, but I also know that that will be unavoidable, especially given everything I’ve listed above. I’m hoping to find a nice balance between actively doing everything I can to ensure success while staying mindful and dialing back when it becomes too much.

-Steer back to the positive. Like I said, a part of me (a very vocal part) is skeptical that this will work. While I know that trying to shut down this part entirely won’t help because it thinks it is playing a very vital protective role for me (and in some ways, I know it is), what I’m going to try to do when those thoughts come up is hear them, appreciate them, and then steer back to the positive.  Steer back to “this can work.” And when I can’t get to positive, at least get to present. “Just here, just now, just this.”

-On the fence about: seeing a therapist. I’m a big believer in therapy and before my wedding I was seeing a great therapist near where we used to live who really helped me a lot. I’ve been seriously thinking that it might be helpful for me to talk to a professional who specializes in infertility about everything I’m going through emotionally with IVF. But, the process of finding a good therapist that I connect with and getting accustomed to having those appointments in my schedule every week once again feels daunting. I need to think about this some more and decide if it’s something I really want to do or not. Has anyone ever seen an infertility therapist? If so, how do you know for sure that they are true IF specialists? A lot of therapists list infertility as a specialty along with many other things. This makes me doubt that they have either been there themselves or are truly equipped to help with this very specific psychological dilemma.

-On the fence about: going to a support group. RESOLVE has a group that meets once per month led by Keiko Zoll of The Infertility Voice. The next meeting in on June 14th and I’m strongly considering attending. But for some reason I’ve held back in the past because I’m scared of the support group setting and I can’t quite identify why. But I’m thinking I’ll still give it a shot. Has anyone ever been to a RESOLVE support group?

What am I forgetting? Any thoughts/tips/questions/comments/concerns/compliments/high fives/air kisses most welcome. We start Lupron on June 21st. Holy sh*te!