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IVF? WTF.

21 Feb

I’ve been away a long time, I know. I still don’t know exactly what to do with this space or my other blog. I’m just not in a super share-y place these days (years?), at least not where baby J is concerned.

(That said, I made some real connections with some of you out there and seeing as I’m so infrequently here, I’d like to ask those of you who still read this, who feel connected with me still and feel so inclined, to please email me so we can keep in touch, or find me on FB if we’ve emailed in the past and you have my full name. Not on a blog is where I (not terribly often, I’ll admit, but sometimes) share updates on how she’s doing. But I will say this, she’s flippin’ gorgeous. And the greatest joy. But I worry all. the. time.)

Okay. Formalities out of the way, I’m back today because this is a space dedicated to trying to make a baby and all the ups and downs that go along with that pursuit. Lately, the thought of a number two has crossed my mind a few times. Specifically, a boy number two. Given the whole gender craziness we went through with J, DH and I both have this sense of loss. The moment we found out J was a girl, we were both given this mind-blowingly AMAZING gift, but we also lost this boy we had been dreaming of, bonding with, picturing. Loving.

In a strange way I feel like we’re owed our boy. That’s crazy I know but it’s a feeling I can’t shake.

Some ladies out there who were roughly “cycling” around the same time as me are already thinking of or in some cases are pursuing or already pregnant with their next little one(s). I regard this with this whole mix of emotions. On the one hand, I’m jealous. Jealous that they’re there, and they’re confident, and they’re doing it. Also? I’m scared. Because as much as I want it, I don’t know if it’s the right time. I don’t know if I’m ready to share my body. I don’t know if I could handle another traumatic pregnancy, and birth, and infancy. And I think you always risk that, every time a baby is made. And then there’s the big thing.

Which is, a not-so-insignificant part of me is terrified that IVF is to blame for everything that went wrong with my pregnancy and J’s health. Maybe that’s unfair to say, maybe that same part of me is just looking for something to blame or just to make some sense of it all. But I didn’t have any of the main risk factors for pre-eclampsia or gastroschisis. Except IVF. Which sucks because, there’d be no J without IVF, I’m painfully aware of that. But I’m terrified that if we did it again, we’d face the same or some other struggle as a result.

In my darkest thoughts, I’ve always worried that we forced the issue with J. We MADE Mother Nature give us a baby where maybe she wasn’t ready to, or ever going to. And so, we paid a price. WRONG, I know. Effed up. But these are thoughts in my head sometimes.

And then I think of all the healthy babies born as a result of IVF. I wonder if any of our embryos are destined for a breathing existence on this earth, outside of their cold frozen little petri dish or glass vial or whatever they’re in. Do we owe them something? Now that we’ve created them? Or would it be better to try on our own, just try, because who knows? Maybe? Before we tumble down that path again.

Can we even get pregnant on our own? The curse of the unexplained. We did once, unsuccessfully, a long time ago. Will our new insurance even cover infertility? Another dark curtain I’ve yet to pull back.

More importantly, are we ready. Sometimes we think all the struggles with J would go by much faster if we had something else to focus on, something positive. Or would that intensify the whole thing. Make it that much harder? Is it unfair to her to make another baby right now? Is it unfair to not?

J is nine months old today. Things are not where I thought they’d be by now, with her health I mean, but I’m making my peace with that, or at least desperately trying. When she turns one is when we might get serious about all this but clearly, many things need to be figured out, sorted through, dredged into the light and dealt with before that can happen. But the first step is figuring out what those demons are. And that’s what I’ve always adored about IF blogging.

So if you’re still there, thanks for listening.

A few updates

27 Sep

If you haven’t already heard, episodes four and five of Bitter Infertiles are now available for your listening pleasure. Between these two episodes, we cover everything from therapy and antidepressants, to the Muppets and MTV. We chat about male infertility (well, how males deal with infertility), celebrity infertility, and Kardashian infertility. We also interview the popular Single Infertile Female (aka Leah) and review Keiko Zoll‘s new eBook! It’s basically a smorgasbord of infertility goodness. So how can you get in on the fun? Remember, you can subscribe to our blog. You subscribe on iTunes. Or you can even listen now on Stitcher!

I must say I’ve been touched by a recent series of posts by our fellow bloggers and listeners about how different topics we’ve explored have inspired or impacted them, or even just got them thinking. Trisha wrote a very open and honest post yesterday about anxiety and depression. Belle talked about how she too has been diagnosed with PTSD, in large part due to infertility. And then there was Alissa’s touching post about how IVF is supposed to work. Seeing how this project is starting to impact people in both big and small ways makes it all the more rewarding to be part of.

Speaking of Bitter Infertiles, a couple of episodes ago (crazy that I can say that now!), we asked for our listeners to send in their two week wait survival tips. We got some good ones, but we want MORE. So, as someone who’s about to enter into an FET TWW, I’m making a special plea to please send us your tips! You could very well end up on the podcast! Just email us at bitterinfertiles@gmail.com and let us know: How do you stay sane during the wait? Be sure to let us know whether or not you’d be comfortable with us mentioning your name, or if you’d rather be kept anonymous, that’s cool too.

So yeah. My FET is tomorrow. Less than 12 hours away. Nuts. Here’s a quick rundown of FET-related things if you’re interested:

-I survived taking all the meds while on a biz trip to NYC. My cousin had to do my IM injections but she handled it like a champ. The first two nights were fine, I was staying with her at her apartment. But the third night, she had to come meet me at my hotel. Thing is, I was sharing a small room with a girl I supervise. So I had to scope out the lobby bathroom, see if it would be adequate (it was, big, brand new, clean, and virtually empty as it was in the basement), then I had to find out how to get my hands on some ice. I brought Ziploc bags to get ice from the ice machine, only to find out they didn’t have ice machines. Turns out you had to call housekeeping to bring you some ice. So that presented a whole new challenge. And I don’t know if it was the ice in a bag (vs an ice pack) or the stress of the whole situation or WHAT but that night’s shot hurt like no other. But we got it done. And I managed to take my estrogen pills at every meal, despite eating three meals a day for two days with either a coworker, a client, or both.

-I’ve managed (I think) to temper any hope that’s bubbled up about this transfer. I’m trying to look at this FET as one of a series of three or four as we work through our seven embryos. I have hope, yes, but hope that ONE of the series will work out. Not necessarily this one. I still wish I could bury my head in the sand and have someone wake me up when it’s over, but unfortunately that’s not possible when you’re talking pills, and IM injections, and time of work for transfers, and other such things that require brainpower. Speaking of the series of FETs…

-I think I’m done taking breaks. Of course I reserve the right to change my mind at any time, but I’m feeling right now that I’d like to just fly through these FETs and then if we’re not pregnant after all of that, then take a nice long break to first and foremost, lose some of my infertility weight, and also just get balanced and focused again so we can figure out the next step. I think the next step would be another fresh cycle but we have to see. I’m not making decisions that far out. But for now, if this FET doesn’t pan out, I’d like to go right into the next one. I figure I can squeeze one, maybe two more in before the end of the year.

Okay, that’s all I’ve got for tonight. If I’m feeling up to it, I’ll post about how our transfer went tomorrow. Fingers crossed it all goes smoothly.

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.

Beta day, the full story

1 Aug

Pardon my brevity earlier. I was still processing the news and very upset (understandably, of course, but still) at the time.

The truth is that I knew it would be negative when I woke up to pee early this morning and wiped blood. AF was trying to start and it was obvious to me that the blood, combined with the fact that I wasn’t at all bloated (when really I should have been, at least a little, if I was pregnant), meant this was a big, giant fail. A huge fail. I went back to bed all alone and silently cried.

I put on a brave face as I said goodbye to my parents and then proceeded to bawl all the way into the city. As the phlebotomist took my blood, I told myself, this is the last needle stick. The last invasion of my body by Western medicine for the next little while. It was a merciful call by my clinic nurse at 9:30 this morning, the earliest they’ve ever called me, ever. To tell me she was sorry, it was negative. Not low, negative (I checked, later in the day).

It was one of the hardest days ever, on the verge of crying all day. But I didn’t let myself fully go there, I couldn’t. If I did, everyone would have noticed and they would have tried to comfort me and that would have made it worse and I would have ended up going home early due to crying. Insult to injury. Didn’t need it.

I’m sad. And so, so freaked out. This was my worst fear. I wasn’t scared of trying IVF, but I was scared of it not working. In fact, this is a nightmare for me, a living nightmare. For me, it is made so much worse by the fact that, except for the fact that my beautiful embryos failed to implant, everything was textbook. Better than textbook. Really, really great. Even my clinic nurse admitted that they were surprised by our BFN. This was nice to hear, because part of me is mad at myself for letting myself be so open to hope with this cycle. I’m glad to know that hope wasn’t unfounded.

It feels like my body failed me, and more importantly, my embryos. My two little stars, numbers 10 and 7. Poor little things. I know now I can make lots of eggs and they can fertilize well and make strong embryos that go to day five (and six. I found out we have seven frozen now, five frozen on day five, and two more on day six). I do not know why these two strong embryos failed to implant. I do not know what else I could have done differently. I did acupuncture, meditation, took my vitamins every day. We transferred two. It’s so scary to know you did everything and everything went perfectly and you still failed. For a perfectionist, Type A person like myself, this is particularly hard to wrap my head around.

We need to schedule our WTF appt with Dr. B. We need to talk options and figure out where we’re going from here. I have some thoughts about this but I need time to process them, and Dr. B’s input, before I’m ready to talk about them.

But first, I need to see my husband and hug him close. That won’t happen for at least 48 more hours, which kills me.

Thank you all for your kind words and well wishes. It’s amazing how you keep discovering tougher spots, darker and darker places, on this journey. And also, how even in those darkest of places, a hint of light shines through. So thank you for that.

Now, for rest and gratitude.

The results are in

31 Jul

And they are negative.

And that’s that.

9dp5dt. Obsess with me.

30 Jul

Tomorrow is the day. I don’t know you guys, I feel like I’m going kind of crazy! I was telling Cristy, when I’m at my desk doing my work I’m okay. It’s when I go to the bathroom that my wheels start spinning. I’m totally pregnant, It’s totally over, I’m totally pregnant, It’s totally over. Over and over and over and over.

(Someone commented yesterday that I seem so calm. HA! hahahahahaha. Just because I’m not testing doesn’t mean I’m calm, my brain is a mess right now. I sincerely wish there was a way to just shut it off for awhile.)

Symptoms-wise (because, let’s just embrace the crazy at this point): feeling flush in my face (even though it’s really cold in here today), feeling lots of tweaks and twinges from down below, way gassy (sorry TMI!) even though (more TMI) I’ve been very “regular” today, slight headache, very tired (but my cat woke me up at 3:15 am, then DH got going around 5 am). NO cramps today so far, which I kind of like. Kind of a weird on and off sicky feeling today. Not nausea, but sometimes I just wanted to hurl a little after I drank water. Yesterday, lots of clear CM (unusual for me pre-AF), some today but not as much. I feel like I’m peeing more frequently and definitely still waking in the night to pee (twice last night). Then still with the restlessness in the morning.

And then there’s this other weird symptom, which I can’t explain really. I call it “rushing” but it’s just this feeling again from down below of my hormones rushing. I noticed it before during my IUI cycles when my estradiol levels started to peak. Does anyone have the faintest idea what I’m talking about?

My mom will be doing my injection tonight. Should be interesting. My parents are here babysitting me (heh) which has been a huge help. I’m sure I will get home tonight to a happy pup and a house cleaned from top to bottom. Then tomorrow, it’s up and out of the house by 6:15 am to do my beta before work. Maybe I’ll just go ahead and treat myself to breakfast tomorrow morning, just me, myself, and I. To celebrate the conclusion of this cycle, good or bad, and just how far I’ve come.

Yes, that will be nice.

Please, please, please, please, please, please. Let this have worked.

And yes, I will be updating as soon as I know and have shared the news with DH. Oh, don’t you even worry about that.

 

Not (not) obsessing

29 Jul

I feel like I should blog. But the truth is, I don’t know what to say at this point.

I could talk about my symptoms, but that would only encourage my obsessions. At this point, I’m just trying to do everything I can to keep from going crazy, thinking AM I or AREN’T I.

But am I? I’ve been waking up every night to pee. I’ve been extremely tired at night, yet restless to wake up in the morning. I’ve had on and off cramping (sometimes pre-menstrual feeling at times) but no spotting, all last week through yesterday (the heaviest was yesterday, I practically thought it was all over). Today, no cramping to speak of. In fact, I’m not feeling much of anything today.

I think about how stellar our numbers were, how beautiful, strong and healthy our embryos seemed. We put two in there. One of them had to stick, right?

But then I think about how everything has looked so great all along, and yet… we’ve only been pregnant twice in two and a half years of trying. And neither of those stuck around very long.

I’m going to go ahead and use some language right now. Unexplained infertility is a mindfuck. The TWW following IVF is a mindfuck. We’ve decided not to test and just wait for the beta. At the end of the day, we rather just deal once with the news, whatever it is, and know that it’s the official word. It’s going to be whatever it is. I’ve done everything I can.

And if I’m not pregnant? I’m really looking forward to taking a break from ART. From TTC altogether for a little while. Just turning off my brain, and enjoying the rest of the summer. Getting back to the gym and to feeling like “me.” Not for long, but for a little bit.

One way or another, this torture will end on Tuesday. And that’s the best part of beta day.