Saturday, May 31, 2014

Honest Discussions

I saw the doctor on Friday and he was also disappointed about the outcome of my cycle.  Apparently all my eggs were graded 'Fair' (on a scale of good/fair/poor) before ICSI.  However, none of them fertilized.  As I said in an earlier post, it was so shocking because last IVF I had all 3 fertilize though one didn't divide further.  I wasn't sure the oocytes would make it to blast stage, but I wasn't expecting nothing either.

My RE isn't opposed to doing another IVF, but he does think that donated eggs will offer the best outcome for me.  Hubster and I had an honest talk about it and the choice is firmly mine.  He doesn't like me to make any decision based solely on money, but if I am honest with myself I do think I am done with this part of the journey.  How can I keep putting myself out there over and over again?  I think I may be ready for the next path, even as a small part of me wonders 'what if next time is the magical time of all dreams coming true?'.

I am being placed on a small dose of thyroid medication.  I have a 'grey area' range (TSH 2.63) with no antibodies, but it's a range where they would test immediately upon pregnancy and my RE does believe I will need the medication during pregnancy.  It's better to start it now and get used to the medication than to have to start it later or risk a miscarriage.  Every woman in my mom's family (mom, grandmother, great-aunt) has had to be on it eventually, and it's a little sad I wouldn't be passing it onto my child.  Also my risk for alcoholism, schizophrenia, dementia, glaucoma, and panic disorder (I do not have these, clearly then I would be a total crazy person and no one should give me a baby anyway).

I figure I will hash this out with my counselor on Wednesday.  I don't want to make a huge choice by myself.  In the meantime I am working up the courage to go back to hot yoga next week.  Eeek!




Friday, May 30, 2014

Personal Hygiene

And by hygiene, let's be frank that I mean 'personal grooming'. 

All these IVFs require intimate acquaintance with an ultrasound wand.  Mostly I don't care about how groomed I am, I mean these are professionals who have probably seen all types.  And I include myself in 'all types'.  Frankly I'm so desensitized at this point that I wouldn't need them to leave the room while I strip.  Although the stripping would contain more fat rolls and bending than is normally allowed.

Before my last retrieval I thought I should get all groomed up, you know, since it's a surgical procedure.  It should be cleaned up, right?  I've never gotten waxed, I just use a personal grooming tool.  The night before the procedure I took a relaxing (not too hot) bath, cleaned up, and then...panicked.

I had obviously been neglecting this part of my personal care and my doctor had seen me a few times in this state.  I worried that he would think in some way that I was 'coming on' to him, like 'oooo, I shaved'... on some level I knew this was ridiculous.  Upon my arrival to the clinic the next morning I found out the doctor on duty was a) not him and b) a woman.  I was actually relieved that I wouldn't need to worry about that idea anymore.

I blame the hormones, as if with 4 other people in an operating room when I am knocked out I would be 'coming onto' anyone, much less the doctor.  Maybe this is a sign of how crazy my worries become when I can't change anything about the outcome.   Or maybe I'm crazy.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Home Today

Today would have been transfer day and I am a planner.  So of course I am home, chilling, not having a transfer done.  I am feeling ok about it though, especially since I was never going to cancel my day off just because I didn't (really) need it!

I feel like I turned a corner yesterday.  I saw my counselor and feel ready-ish to move forward.  My counselor wants me to wait and grieve, which I will do as well.  I mean, it's not like anyone is giving me an egg or a baby tomorrow. 

I am trying to learn to tweet better.  It's very difficult, I consider myself the be hilarious, but I'm fairly certain not too many people agree.  I'm more of the quippy response or hilarious story person.  Nothing hilarious has happened to me recently, maybe I'll put too much soap in the washer today and tell you how that goes.  My husband will not be amused.

My computer says quippy is not a word.  I vehemently disagree, and I'm sure you know what quippy means. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Music Heals the Tortured Soul?

It's been a little crazy the last day-ish.  I thought I was ready for this possibility, I was at peace with my 'plan b'.  In my heart I honestly didn't expect to have to use donated eggs, I thought I would have a happy ending.  I feel that I should be sadder right now, but I'm honestly more scared than sad.  I did a lot of research and found there are quite a few young adults that are very bitter about being non-biological ART (assisted reproductive technology) children. 

I tell myself that everyone has 'issues' and neither a child nor parents, whether biological or not, should be expected to be 'perfect'.  I will be less likely to hear from happy well-adjusted donated or adopted children. 

But the choice comes down to pursuing donated eggs and getting to carry and create a child or adoption.  Both appear to have very bitter, angry non-proponents; someone will always judge my choice.  Someone will always accuse me of 'buying' a baby, no matter where I turn.  Someone will think that 'God created me this way and I should just not have a baby, clearly'.  Can I accept a baby that won't ever have my smile but might have my sense of humor?  I can't answer that right now.

I don't have my RE appointment until Friday (I'm very unhappy about this), so no official news until then.  Only googled results, which are oh-so-accurate and will tell me I have cancer in addition to everything else.  In the meantime I will be listening to this song on repeat and thinking maybe we never even had a real shot:

Monday, May 26, 2014

Scrubbing my Pain Away

I mean that literally, not figuratively.   I am going to scrub my house from top to bottom!  I don't have to worry about crazy chemicals anymore because this baby is not going to come from me.  I'll worry about it when I am actually pregnant, like normal people do.

To whit, I have suffered a long time looking at terrible hard water stains in my toilets.  I've tried various hard chemicals, but none recently since I'm worried about the effects.  We have family coming out in August though and I desperately didn't want them looking at the terrible stains.  It looks like I don't know how to clean even though these stains were in place when I moved into my house, but I'm sure they haven't gotten better in the intervening 8 years.  I broke down and bought a pumice stone, I was very scared it would scrape my porcelain, but it says right on the package that it is safe.  You have to make sure both surfaces are wet, and it works beautifully:
 
I am so excited it worked!  It's the little things that I can control that make me feel better.

I did google 'dengenerated eggs' today and found that it is all about egg quality.  But it can be something that happens with ICSI too, so now maybe if I hadn't pursued ICSI that I'd have fertilized, non-degenerated eggs?  I'm sure my doctor will tell me whether that's right or not. 

I am so nervous about pursuing egg donation.  I'm conflicted, do I have any right to bring a life into existence when I am not biologically related?  I wish I had a sister, maybe then I'd feel like it was my right.  I worry about autism, etc, what if?  Will I still love my child?  Will it be more terrible than if he or she was related to me?  Will I have a strong urge to abandon family because it's been too hard?  Things I will work through with a trained professional.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

A Final Disappointment

There will be no more updates about the embryos, because there are no embryos. 

I was so positive, I told myself that this time I would be pregnant.  I could visualize the pregnancy and I was so sure, so, so sure. 

This morning the doctor who performed the retrieval (not my primary doctor) called to tell me that all the eggs had "degenerated".  I don't know what that means yet, I was too shocked to really question her.  All it means right now is that the quest for a biologically related child is done.  I am alternately heartbroken and in shock.  It's not unexpected, I had prepared, so I am not as distraught as I might have otherwise been.

I only know I have to give up my dreams of seeming my dad's eyes, his curly hair, or to see if my child might have been left handed like 40% of my blood relatives.  It means I will have to find a way to tell my child that I am not his biological mother and risk more rejection in my life.

It feels so unfair.  It is unfair.  I wouldn't have cared as much about the journey if I had a god damned happy ending.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Harvest: Follies Update #3 Final

My husband and I always refer to retrieval as 'harvest' because I just grew lots of eggs that the clinic is harvesting.  The doctor was able to get 5, the additional being a little too small to retrieve (only 13).  I am still super excited and happy that we have so many.  I am hoping for good things.

I was crying when I came out of anesthesia, but apparently that's normal, I was a little sad or depressed as per usual.  I am feeling really great the last few days and no longer feel like a total bitch.  Now I just need to recover from the retrieval, still in a bit of pain and bleeding, but ate breakfast and now relaxing on my couch.  

Friday, May 23, 2014

Everyday I'm Triggering

Yesterday the clinic called me back and told me to do the trigger HCG shot (it makes your eggs get all mature) at exactly 8pm (which probably ended up being more like 8:05pm, but I'm not worried about that, I'm not).  I knew it was going to hurt so I iced my backside and didn't even feel the gigantic needle.  It was great, until 10 minutes later when it started aching as HCG shots are prone to do.  I tried not to think too much about how I (probably) have MRSA and that's (probably) why it was hurting.

The clinic had me do all 10,000IU of HCG, so I felt light headed and tired within a hour of the injection.  I went to bed early and woke up drench in sweat, which is hopefully a good 'my estrogen is very high' night sweat.  The first thing this morning I had to take a pregnancy test, because it shows that the HCG absorbed properly, so here's a fun picture of a positive pregnancy test:



Hopefully it is the forebearer of good things, although I probably won't ever take another pee test.  This test actually expired last month since I haven't bought pregnancy tests since 2011 (a sign of how long I've been trying), but I figured it would work just fine. 

Tomorrow my harvest (retrieval) is at 8am, I may post a final follies update on how many eggs we ended up with.  However I cannot be held legally to anything I do tomorrow, so I'm totally buying a Mercedes and then giving it back.  What I really want is a Tesla, but you have to pre-order them, so that's not as much fun.

Currently I am "thinking" to my eggs, telling them their instructions, like what will happen when they are retrieved and instructions for returning, which are hatch and attach, hatch and attach, HATCH AND ATTACH

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Follies: Update #2


OH EM GEE! I am so excited, I can hardly contain myself. My ultrasound this morning showed SIX, well actually I think it showed more than six, but the doctor thinks we will get SIX!!

Ok, calming down... deep breaths....

I did ask if the doctor if he thought it was because of the mini stim versus a max stim. He said no, he wouldn't have even expected this good of a response on a max stim. He was very surprised on how my body is doing.

It's probably because of the six bites of seaweed I ate yesterday, damn my superstitious mind.  I will need to eat another disgusting six bites today, blech. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

5 Helpful "Rules" for Acupuncture

For your benefit, because I've broken all of these.

#1: Don't itch. 

Because you can't, because there are probably needles in your arm/hand.  If there aren't needles then feel free to itch, but don't itch where there are other needles. 

#2 Don't wait to go pee.

Because you'll end up with needles in and all you'll want to do is pee.  There is nothing more annoying!  Especially if you are listening to 'ocean' or 'river' sounds during your 45 minute treatment.

#3 When in doubt always get heat.

Yes, you want the bed on and yes, you want the heat lamp on your feet/stomach.  Don't deny it!  It's terrible to be cold and alone in your acupuncture room.  All you can dream about is having a blanket, which you can't have because (again) needles. 

#4 Don't yell for help.

Because it's disconcerting to those who are in rooms next to you.  And it makes your acupuncturist nervous... actually those are two good reasons to go for it.  Honestly, I've never yelled quite loud enough because I can never decide if it's a good idea or not so I 'half commit' on the yelling.

#5 Don't panic when she hooks you up to tiny batteries.

It's called 'electro-shock therapy'... haha, it's actually called electroacupuncture and it's awesome.  It increases the blood flow a lot.  Last time I could even feel my heart beating through my entire body, like how you feel when someone scares the shit out of you, but calmer and nicer. 

I was going to take a picture of the electoacupuncture for you, but the acupuncturist did it to my back (I was laying on my stomach) and I couldn't bring myself to ask her to take a picture (I'm normally rather shy), so instead here's a picture of the seaweed she told me to eat because it's good for my thyroid.




She's probably figured out that I am drinking more cream in my tea than I said I was... this is probably punishment.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Follies: Update #1

OMG, that was a stressful 10 minutes that I was made to wait in the ultrasound room.  The front desk lady was super chatty and, given my terseness, it was really obnoxious.

I have 3 follies!  All on my right side, which explains the twinging that's been happening.  I am nervous about them all sticking around, but I have to think positive.  3 is a charm!  I can't say third time because this is my fourth round although two other ones have not gone forward.  Eeek!  There will be lots of positive thinking in my house tonight.  No more crying!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

RIAIWBAGM #1

Or "Reasons (I Assume) I Will Be A Great Mom"

#1: My husband and I have perfected the car singing, which seems to embarrass children immensely even though it's not even in front of anyone else.  We especially enjoy 'performing' Whip It and other  assorted 80s songs.  I can't imagine any child not being thrilled by these performances!

In other news I am going in tomorrow morning for my first ultrasound to see how the follies are doing.  I am nervous because I don't know yet what will be there.  Scary! 

I started Menopur and Follistim in small doses last night and tonight took the last two pills of Letrozole.  The headaches have subsided, but I'm still incredibly cranky and self aware to know it.  Knowing it doesn't seem to help me control it, although I haven't punched anybody, so that's a success, right!?! 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Open Mouth

Insert foot, firmly and decisively.

I went out with an acquaintance who is also struggling with fertility. She's just an acquaintance and perhaps I thought we were closer than we are. I blurted out how I wanted to punch people (figuratively) who have it so easy. She immediately chastised me saying 'everybody has their own journey' and told me about one of her friends who had secondary infertility (which is infertility after your first child) and how hard it was. I inanely said 'oh, well, of course'.

I felt a little insulted - I'm sure it's hard, and I definitely don't think my journey is the 'hardest journey in the world'. I've just read two books about North Korea that prove other journeys are more difficult.  One of the reasons I don't join a support group is because I would (probably) spend time judging the stories around me as being 'more' or 'less' difficult than mine. That being said I feel that with secondary infertility you are able to go home and hug your first baby. I always wanted 2+ children, now I'm begging the universe for one and I will consider myself inordinately lucky to get it. I would not be on this journey for baby 2.

I would never actually tell someone that their journey is more or less hard than mine - I haven't stuck my foot that far into my mouth. At my fertility clinic a few days ago the finance person told me that when she was trying to have babies (in the 80s) that she couldn't carry to term. I didn't know what to say, I talked blindly about how far fertility has come. But the truth is that I know I couldn't afford a surrogate. I've had friends 'offer', but I know if it came to that I would still have to pay for all medical out of pocket and those friends might back out (it's an easy offer to make). What I really thought when she told me was 'that's horrible and I'm glad I don't have that issue'. I believe her journey is harder than mine. If I had been born 10 or 20 years earlier that I would not even have the opportunities I am currently pursuing.

You may be reading this - thinking 'yes my journey is harder' or, hopefully, 'thank God I don't have to do that'. I do wish we could spread all the pain out equally, what if everybody in the world just had to work a little to have a baby. Every baby would be planned and every baby would be cherished.

I am still sort of cranky on the Letrozole and I have a headache, but that might be allergies.  I also seem to have no filter, telling my boss' boss yesterday about how my husband taught his daughter the word for mfer in Spanish. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Supression Check

Suppression check day! I guess they call it a suppression check because they are making sure your ovaries are sufficiently repressed. It's like a communist dictatorship in my ovaries - they are not allowed to choose an egg! Also, apparently I am good to go, two andral follicles on each ovary (but maybe there's a hidden extra one! We can dream!)

It hasn't been a great start to the week. I was excited about this IVF for a millisecond but reality set in - it's the last attempt. Now I'm just sad, and it's ok to be sad. I wish I was more excited, but sometimes we just accept the emotion we are given.

The first drug for my mini-stim is Letrozole. I've never taken it before, but it's supposed to be better than Clomid, which I took 4 times and had to stop because of the sight side effects (that I still sorta have - eek). Not too worried about it, should be a cake walk!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Not Biting my Tongue

Whenever you are open about your struggles with treatment you get a lot of varying responses when you share.  Here are a couple of the ones I've experienced:

Response: That's exciting!
Answer:  Sure.
What I wish I would have said: No, it'd be exciting to be pregnant.

Response: Just relax!
Answer: (nervous laughter) Please don't say that anyone else in this situation.
What I wish I would have said: I AM RELAXED GODDAMMIT, but somehow the two days I will spend seething about this comment will make me non-relaxed. 

Response: It will happen.
Answer: That's not what the Doctor said.
No, literally, I said that.

It's so hard to bite my tongue.  It's actually been very hard to switch clinics because I'm being told the same things over and over again.  I have been able to stifle most of my drug-induced bitchiness, but it's hard being cranky and sad at the same time.  Right now I'm grateful that another day of waiting down.  I am tired, feel incredibly fat and crave sweets, I guess we all know what that means!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Today

I escaped being wished a happy Mother's Day mostly. My sister-in-law texted me, but I only want to punch her in the throat a little. I didn't respond, which is probably rude since she is the mother of my adorable nephews.  I hope the day finds you well and that you are only a little sad.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Sitting and Waiting and Wishing and Hoping

Took my last birth control pill yesterday, now it's just sitting around waiting for my period to start.  That's what most of an IVF is, waiting... and taking drugs.  Actually taking drugs might be more what it's about.  As an illustration these are all the pills I will take today (and this is just daily in the month before IVF):


Yum! 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Fertile Thoughts

One of the hardest things about struggling with this for so long is that I became depressed.  I wonder still if it's ever going to happen to me and what the hell am I working towards.  The fleeting nature of hope has me chasing little hopes like fireflies, but it always disappear quickly in my hands. 

As a result I begin to see a professional, which I highly recommend, and if you do then please find someone who specializes in infertility counseling.  I've found that some people will never understand why your friend's pregnancy announcement feels like a dull knife in your chest and think that you are selfish bitch for walking around crying for three days (ahem, or more).  It honestly has not much to do with your friend, it is you, your hopes and dreams that are dying. 

In an effort to combat my depression, especially in the midst of an IVF cycle, my counselor commanded me to have daily fertile thoughts.  This really seemed crazy when she first told me to do it, but it actually works.  It is a moment every day where I specifically focus on what having a baby would be like (hopefully avoiding the midnight feeding part), focus more on how the baby's room would be decorated, what type of stroller to pick out, I'd imagine how it'd feel or look being pregnant, and my favorite activity - pick a name or two! 

The last two IVF attempts I have thought about names as a way of having positive thoughts, I don't share them with anyone seriously, it's more an activity for me and one thing I've always loved doing.  As a teenager I wanted to have 20 children (I know, I was crazy and had just read Susanna Wesley's biography who had had 25) and I picked out names like Hyacinth and Sapphira and Tempest and Zephyr.  Let's be honest, it's probably for the best that I didn't have the chance to name a baby as a teenager.  As an adult I still entertain the unusual (non-made up) names.  I really love Euphemia which was my great-great-grandmother's name, but everybody else hates it.  I try to pick out a few names each cycle, both boys and girls, and some of them I keep around like Vivianne/Vivian, William, Philippa (Pippa) and Marguerite. 

It has been very helpful to work on slowly shifting my mind from the failures, by dwelling on them I cannot make them better or less hurtful, I cannot explain them away.  It is the battle ahead I must focus on, I cannot win through sheer effort, I must sharpen our mind with positivity and remember the end goal of a baby. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Worrying About the Size of My Uterus

So, now I sound like a man, haha.

I first became aware of my uterus size when I had my Hysteropingogram done. The radiologist said my uterus was small. This made me feel a little insecure, but when I asked my first clinic's nurse about it she brushed it aside and explained that your uterus grows with a pregnancy (I knew that one) and it was fine.

However, after leaving that clinic (and finding out that so much of what they told me may not be correct) and having done some research on premature ovarian failure I realized my uterus could be small because I was hitting menopause. I became more and more paranoid about this and proceeded to ask no less than 4 medical professionals about the size of my uterus.

First, my acupuncturist who is familiar with my hormone levels and said that was just not happening. She felt very strongly that my uterus was normal sized and I believed her (mostly, obviously, from my following actions).

Second, and probably on the same day, my counselor and I discussed my fear of a tiny uterus. They should probably create a new phobia name for it. But she and I agreed that the copious amounts of hormones (and herbal therapies) I have been on and off for the past years would have hopefully prevented it shrivelling due to menopause.

Third, my mayan masseuse, who I asked even though I was fairly confident by this point that it wasn't a problem. But since she is massaging my uterus to stimulate blood flow I figured she would know if it's too small (right?) and she said, no, it was fine. However she did point out that I am fairly small between my hip bones and am probably 'proportional' in uterus size. This also means that my large hips are my own damn fault and I probably don't have 'child bearing' hips, just lots of extra flesh on them.

Fourth, my doctor, who I wasn't even going to ask, I swear! I had it written down on my question list for the appointment and then decided it was silly and I knew I was fine. I did not ask during the appointment, but when he was ultra-sounding my ovaries to see if I had a lot of eggs (spoiler, no) he also measured the size of my uterus. I mean, how can I not ask at that point? And it is 'within normal range', and I learned my doctor has an amazing poker face for ridiculous questions.

I am still suuuuuuuper bitchy.  I don't think there's even a chart for how bitchy I am.  I do manage to keep it locked in ... mostly ... at least I don't take it out on my husband.  I do feel bad for my coworkers...

Friday, May 2, 2014

April Showers Bring May Flowers.... Unless Your Seed is Barren

Ah spring, the time of year where everything on God's green earth shoves it's fertility in your face.  It's quite fun... and then you get to go through Mother's day.  I supposed I should be grateful, I have a mother to distract me during the holiday.  However, I will probably hover in my house for the actual day.  Who wants to go out and be subject to that?

What is a seed that doesn't bloom even called?  It's probably a depressing term.

I have my calendar in hand from my doctor's office, it's exciting!  I will be starting my mini-IVF in about a week.  I just don't have much to say right now, my brain is quietly (thank God) waiting for me to begin all of this.  It's the last time and I am trying to not think about my path if it fails. 

And I am so bitchy, so, so bitchy.  I want to punch so many people in the face or throat... or uterus.  Really whatever is within punching distance...