Archive | August, 2012

Snippets

30 Aug

Happy weekend everyone!

We’re headed up to Acadia National Park in Maine for some fun camping times. I can’t wait! I’m making a personal pledge to myself to take lots and lots of photos, with both my film and SLR cameras, and evens one video if I can manage! I’m wanting to try out the “photo an hour” challenge too that I’ve seen other bloggers do. Promise to share whatever I come back with!

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Speaking of photo challenges, I’m excited to be participating in EmHart’s September photo challenge! I missed the one Belle did earlier in the year so I’m excited to give this one a try. Of course I won’t be able to blog for a few days while we’re away, so the first post will be a catch up of the first three or four photos, but that’s okay! You won’t mind, right?

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 Finally, a brief cycle update: just waiting for AF. I know I’ve ovulated because I took a test temp yesterday morning and it was over 98. As soon as she arrives, we’re off to our FET cycle! I’ve got my Estrace pills at the ready, just have to pack them with me for camping, in case she decides to show up while we’re in the woods (she would, wouldn’t she). I’m still kind of in denial that it’s almost happening, and I’m nervous about a work trip I’ve got coming up in late September. What if I need to do my PEO shot on the trip? I’ll have to get one of my NYC friends or my cousin to do it, but none of them would be very keen to give me an intramuscular injection in the arse. Welp! Worry about it when I get there I suppose… if I get there.

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 Happy Labor Day weekend!

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Here come the Bitter Infertiles!

27 Aug

Hi everyone! So here is that exciting news I promised you…

I’m honored to be joining Mo, Jess and Cristy as we host a brand new podcast, devoted solely to infertility. I give you: Bitter Infertiles.

Bitter Infertiles was born from the simple fact that despite the thousands of podcasts out there dedicated to every topic under the sun, there didn’t seem to be one just for people struggling with infertility in one form or another. I don’t know if you’re a big podcast listener but I love them (my regulars are Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, This American Life, Radiolab, The Moth and Books on the Nightstand). So I knew just what Mo was talking about when she pointed out the lack of an infertility podcast.

So what did Mo do? She made one. She took four different women, each struggling with a different aspect of infertility: repeat pregnancy loss (aka RPL, that’s Mo); in vitro fertilization (aka IVF, that’s me); adoption (that’s Cristy), and parenting after IF (that’s Jess), and put them together in one podcast to talk IF.

We’re going to talk about everything under the sun related to infertility. In the first episode, we cover pee sticks (and why Mo thinks she has magic pee, and why that’s awesome), how we all began our infertility journeys (aka realizing that something wasn’t quite right and deciding to see and RE), and we feature a podcast version of Jess’ famous “Faces of ALI” series (talking with Kristin from Dragondreamer’s Lair). My favorite part of her interview is where she mentions the “pain Olympics,” where when we start comparing people’s pain? No one wins.

The podcast is filled with a lot of laughter, support, and only a touch of sarcasm. 😉 Mostly it’s full of a lot of what I consider “real” talk about what it’s really like to be infertile. I personally feel that there aren’t a lot of honest portrayals of infertility out there in the mainstream media, and it’s really important that there are. Because infertility touches one out of every eight couples. And when there are misconceptions about it, we all suffer for that in our thoughts and in our interactions with family, friends, and just the world at large. This shit is hard, you know? (Of course you know.) So let’s talk about it.

Okay, have I sold you? You can listen to our very first episode by clicking HERE. We’re still waiting for our iTunes approval but for now you can click on that link and listen from there. We also have a blog dedicated specifically to the podcast which can be found here. On the blog, you can read more about the four of us, find resources (coming soon!), and get updated every time there’s a new episode. We’re shooting for one episode a week, so prepare thyself. And be sure to subscribe.

Enjoy! Be sure to come on back and let me know what you think!

Back

27 Aug

Hi friends. I’m back! I’ve been on a little vacation, both for reals (at the beach! down South!) and from worrying about try to get pregnant, taking meds, appointments, procedures, everything. I’ve been doing my best to forget that I’m infertile, just for a little while. Just because I can, since we have this cycle off before diving into FET #1.

Of course, I can never forget entirely. I carry the weight of two and half years of trying and losing around on my body everywhere I go. And my heart winces, every time I see a beautiful child or spot a pregnant belly. This will always be with me. I’m only hoping it gets easier with time. That every pregnancy announcement and sonogram doesn’t cut me to the quick. That I don’t have this deep feeling of sick dread, of hearing that my best friend or my future sister in law or a coworker, is knocked up.

I have no idea where I am in my cycle, when my period is due and when we’ll start this FET. And to be honest, I’m kind of removed from it. I want to do it, but I have no faith that it’s going to work. I don’t mind if the cycle starts in one week or two or four. I kind of hope AF does drag her feet. That would just give me more time to enjoy just living, just being, just a little while longer.

Don’t look ahead, there’s stormy weather
Another roadblock in our way
But if we go, we go together
Our hands are tied here if we stay

Oh, we said our dreams will carry us
And if they don’t fly we will run
Now we push right past to find out
Oh, how to win what they all lost

Oh ah, oh ah
We know now we want more
Oh ah, oh ah
A life worth fighting for

ps. Stop back tomorrow for an exciting announcement about a new project I’ve been working on! x

Addendum

15 Aug

An addendum to my last post….

Chris and Thomas – Broken Chair

you breathe, you learn, you lose
you take, you break, you choose
and as you learn and cry
you do your best and try

and as the days go by
it makes you wonder why
you try so hard, so hard
to mend what’s bound to fall apart

ooh maybe it’s time
to let it go
ooh maybe it’s time
for taking it slow

ooh maybe it’s time, time, time
for anything at all
time time time to let it all fall
where it may

and as the world goes on
you try to walk and sing along
and hope some things will stay
and every tune that you play

ooh maybe it’s time
to let it go
ooh maybe it’s time
for taking it slow

ooh maybe it’s time, time, time
for anything at all
time time time to let it all fall
where it may

ooh…

ooh…

and as your life goes on
you deal with what comes along
some friends, they come and stay
some leave and go their way

ooh…
ooh…

Freedom from hope

12 Aug

I’ve noticed a subtle yet significant shift in my outlook since this last cycle failed.

Let me make some things clear before I go into this. I definitely want to keep trying. I definitely want to try transferring all seven of our waiting embryos (in batches of course) to my uterus to see what sticks. I’ll probably even want to pursue more fresh cycles after that if we can, whether it’s right away or after a break.

But.

My hope, my faith, my expectation, that we will be parents, has all but vanished. I see children out in public, and where they used to always remind me of my own eventual children, that door is shutting. Now my mind says, that’s nice. For them. That’s nice for them. That’s never going to be you. But that’s nice for them.

I no longer have this lingering assumption that a pregnancy is surely right around the corner. I’m realistically looking ahead and seeing years of childlessness. And maybe it’s just because we’ve been doing assisted cycles for the past few months, really all year, but I’m enjoying not trying right now. I’m enjoying exercising, and having sex, and eating, and even dieting, and planning upcoming travel, and really just LIVING, not feeling trapped in the prison of living to be pregnant. It’s temporarily clouding my vision and making me think, hey, this isn’t so bad.

And sometimes I think, it really wouldn’t be. I could have my body back. I could have my mind back. My husband and I could have a life back that vanished with our first miscarriage. A carefree, more active life. We used to DO so much more. And not that we sit at home all the time now, but we DO far less. Friday night, we went out to dinner and both ordered mai tais, which remind us of our wonderful Hawaiian honeymoon. And after an articulate toast (“Fuck infertility!”), we both reminisced back to those days under the Pacific sun. What fun we had, before all this shit went down.

We’d have more money. No diapers. No whining, screaming, temper tantrums. No potty training. No daycare costs. A nicely decorated guest room. Time and freedom to travel, take day trips and weekend trips with very little planning. Would I trade all of this for even a short time with just ONE child of our own? In half a heartbeat. But the thing is, we can’t have children.

Not normally, at least. Not like other people can. Not without a whole mess of drugs, and doctors, and ultrasounds, and blood draws, needles, and not to mention, a freaking miracle because our embryos are just plain abnormal. WHY. Why is that? Why when my stuff and his stuff combine, why do they make genetically fucked up embryos? I’m sorry, I just don’t get that.

So it’s a long shot, and it’s always going to be like finding a needle in a haystack. I’m not saying we won’t find it, I’m not saying we can’t get lucky, but we really, legitimately might never find that needle. I have to internalize that, and embrace it, because it’s a fact.

There’s some freedom though, in accepting this. It feels like a question I have been shouting into the universe for years has finally been answered. I can rest now, knowing we might never get pregnant, we might never be parents, but somehow, SOMEHOW, we will be okay. Because we can face our worst fears, the ugliest hell imaginable, and come out alive. The sun keeps rising and we still LOVE each other.

Amor vincit omnia. Love conquers all. It’s kind of our motto. It’s inscribed onto his wedding band and tattooed on my arm in his handwriting.

But one question remains for me. Why keep going? Why stay on the roller coaster at all? If you can spot the light on the other side?

First off, those seven embryos. Those are ours and we love them and they deserve a shot. Second, there’s still options left to try. But beyond that? I’m just not ready to quit. My hope has all but gone but there is still a small sliver there… I think. There MUST be, otherwise I can’t understand why I want to go forward still. Maybe it’s just that sick, cruel drive we all have to procreate, even when the world is telling us that won’t be possible. I don’t really want to keep running into the wall. Keep bruising myself, keep bursting and bleeding, when every sign points to stop. Points to, you’re done. This won’t work.

I don’t want to be that person who keeps blindly pushing on, even at the expense of their own body, their own relationships, their own life.

But if I’m going to give up the fight, I have to know that I did EVERYTHING I could. Otherwise, I’ll never know peace. I have to shine the light into every dark corner, leave no stone unturned. I have to give until there’s nothing left, and there’s still something left.  So while I have no hope for these FETs, I’m going to do them.

After all, the only way out is through.

The WTF.

8 Aug
Okay, I need to get this post written while the memory is still fresh.
We just had our follow up appointment with Dr. B. The infamous “Why the fail?” appointment, otherwise known as the WTF. On our way over there, DH and I were both very nervous about what he would say. Why did he think it failed? What was his recommendation for moving forward? And most importantly, did he think we would ever get pregnant?
We made stupid jokes and laughed just a little too hard as we approached the hospital. But the appointment went as well as could have been hoped for. First off, we didn’t have to wait an hour to see the man (just 15 minutes). And he was incredibly kind and warm towards us. He took us back to his personal office (not the cold, interior room where we usually meet) and sat next to me, instead of across from me, so he could show us our charts and walk us through everything.
He started by saying how sorry he was, how he knows how disappointing it is, but how he is very confident still that we will get pregnant and be parents. He said he doesn’t like to have these conversations, unfortunately he has to have them a lot, but that this wasn’t nearly as bad as some of the conversations like this he has to have. I so needed to hear these things from him.
He then started at the very beginning, long before I ever saw him, with our first miscarriage. He said something no one ever said to me at the time, that a miscarriage at 25 is very uncommon and a sign that things are chromosomally (sp?) abnormal with our embryos. That theory is only furthered by the fact that we then proceeded not to get pregnant for so many months, though he hinted that perhaps sperm was meeting egg during those times, but my uterus was rejecting the inferior embryos.
He then talked about our IUI cycles, how I grew too many follicles, which is what led us to our IVF cycle. He said the cycle went very well, almost perfectly, although we almost got TOO MANY eggs. If we do a future fresh cycle, he indicated that he would try for fewer eggs. He said the reason this failed was because #s 10 and 7 had something wrong with them, and my uterus knew that and didn’t let them implant. I asked if it could be a blood flow issue or something else wrong with my uterus but he was pretty clear that something was wrong with the embryos themselves.
That all scared me a lot and made me nervous for the future. But he is convinced that we’ll find a way to make this work. He wants to start doing FETs with my seven frozen embryos, transferring two at a time (though possibly three in the last cycle if we make it to a 3rd FET). He still does not recommend PGD at this time, in fact he rarely EVER recommends it, though he said if these FETs don’t work, he will strongly consider it for my next fresh cycle.
Then we sat down with the nurse to talk about the FET protocol. I was happy to hear they don’t do the whole BCP, Lupron FET protocol that I’ve heard about. Starting with CD 1 of my next cycle, I’ll begin taking Estrace (estrogen pills) twice per day for about two weeks. Once my lining gets thick enough, I start the PEO shots again. The day I start the shots is when they’ll defrost the embabes and then six days later, transfer them. Two weeks after that will be the beta. Easy peasy. Or at least, WAY easier than a fresh cycle.
DH left there feeling very optimistic once again. I didn’t feel quite so optimistic. I was glad to hear that Dr. Buster still thinks we have a good shot. But nervous to hear that there is almost certainly something going very wrong with our embryos. And I don’t understand why or how that will change? I guess even when there is this problem, they’re still not ALL bad. So it’s just luck of the draw to put in one of the ones that’s good. Or something.
DH believes strongly though that we need to be optimistic, though cautiously optimistic. I told him that I didn’t know if I could muster up the optimism anymore. I got it up for the IVF cycle but right now I’m still feeling pretty dashed. And isn’t it better anyways, to not have hope and then be pleasantly surprised? Then to keep getting your hopes smashed time after time?
I said, why don’t you do the hoping for both of us. He said, okay, I’ll be the optimism, you be the cautious. Deal.

Moving on

6 Aug

Life has this really annoying and utterly beautiful way of moving on.

Your world may come to a standstill for a moment, but then, even if you don’t want it to, things keep happening. The sun keeps rising and falling. Parents leave, husbands come home, work parties and birthday parties happen, and somehow normal finds a way to creep in.

You find yourself smiling and laughing and making jokes and dancing and forgetting, somehow, that everything you’ve ever really wanted has slipped your grasp yet again.

The past few days have been hard, yet also wonderful. I’ve spent lots of quality and much needed time with DH. We spent Friday at a party for my work and had such a good time talking to people, soaking up the sun, and forgetting our troubles. Though occasionally, we’d turn to each other and frown slightly or say, “You know, I really did think it was going to work this time.”

Saturday morning found us sitting at a coffee shop in Salem and then later, at a friend’s birthday party. Drinking, laughing, listening to live music, jumping on trampolines, playing cornhole, just living. As if everything hadn’t just come crashing down around us.

But it has, and we’re dealing with it as best we can. We made an appointment to go meet with Dr. B on Wednesday. Here are my questions for him. What do you think happened? What is your recommendation for moving forward? Have you ever seen a case like ours before? Should we be encouraged by how many good embryos we got? Or discouraged by the fact that they didn’t take?

But you know my true, burning question for him, is just simply, will we ever get pregnant?

Because I don’t know anymore. I really thought all along, through all this infertility crap, at the end of it it’d all be worth it because we’d have our baby. But I just don’t know for sure if that’s in the cards for us. And that scares the shit out of me. I’m so scared of having to go through life with this deep, unfulfilled desire and watching everyone else get that desire filled. What will that do to me? What will that make me? Will it make me some hideous, jealous, darkly scarred person, full of anger and bitterness?

One scenario we talked about this weekend was, what if we try for one more year. Use up all our frozen embryos over the course of one more year. And then, if at the end of that, we’re not closer to having a baby, take a breather from all this. A big breather. As in, stop living life like a baby is going to come into the picture in the foreseeable future and start living child free for a while. Go abroad if we can. Quit our jobs, pack our bags (and our animals!) and move to another country, where we can focus on learning a new language and meeting new people and taking pictures and odd jobs to pay the bills and a totally new life. Do that for a few years until we’re 30 (or early 30s). Then, if we’re still game, come back and start trying again.

Maybe these are the crazy things infertiles dream up when they’re at the end of their rope. But just the dream of it, helps a little. Somehow, I need to know that there’s something positive on the horizon, something within my control.