Friday, April 30, 2010

In and out of the closet

Several of my close friends know that I have been unsuccessfully trying to get pregnant. But they don't really know what to say, so it's either nothing or not so helpful things like "how's the babymaking going?" (while their toddler is screaming in the background).

But I can't rely on my husband all of the time, and I don't really love the support group I found here (through RESOLVE. More on that another time.)

So I emailed my best friend, my friend who moved away last year because she was pregnant with her second child and their apartment was too small. My friend whose entire life (since she stopped working) is related to her two kids. My friend who was just in town and knew I wasn't drinking b/c she brought wine and I politely demurred, but didn't pry as to where things were in the process.

So I emailed her yesterday and said "hey, are you around? I've had a shitty week and could use some help getting out of my bad mood." Not very IF specific, but since it's the biggest thing going on, you might guess that's what's up.

This is what I got back:
"Of course. I’m hoping that today I will actually get both children to nap at the same time. But tonight I’ll be around and more easily freed of childrens."

Is it bad that I no longer want to talk to this friend about this? I'm trying to find people who I think will "get it" but it's more and more clear to me that really no one does.

I'm just feeling very isolated, and while some of it is self-imposed, I don't know how to bridge the gap with my friends who were lucky enough just to get pregnant and have kids.

I'm willing to hear ideas. What did you do to explain to your non-IF friends how you were feeling?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Where are we going now?

I like to have a plan. Because having a plan means that there is something that I can do to change things and that means that I can have some control over what is going on. So I have a plan

In fact, let me be more clear: my husband who has been just awesome throughout this whole process, made a plan for me on Wednesday morning (day of test), and since he is pretty thorough, he made a plan for both a positive and negative result. Obviously, since my life generally sucks, we are now executing on the "negative" plan.

Here it is:
- Email RE to ask (a) what she thinks she has learned about my ability to actually have a baby from this 2nd failed cycle; (b) get her impressions on this cycle vs. the last one; and (c) discuss next steps
- Make a second opinion appointment with another RE and arrange to get records for that visit
- Make weekend plans so that I don't just stay in bed and mope.

We've actually made pretty good progress with this plan, and have learned at least some useful stuff:
- RE still doesn't see anything that leads her to believe that I am going to have a hard time getting pregnant. In her view, I'm just falling on the lousy side of the stats, but there is nothing she sees that leads her to believe that there is anything wrong other than the fact that I am old and so the percentage of good eggs I have is lower.
- We are going to run a bunch of bloodtests just in case: genetic karyotype for me and the boy, and then a bunch of immunological tests for me, even though I am not exhibiting any of the indicators that this is a problem (e.g., recurrent miscarriage. I'm more of a recurrent implantation or embryo failure). We will then have more info, and that can't be bad, right?
- I have a 2nd opinion meeting on Wednesday at 8am, and will get my pile of med records tomorrow.
- Boy made a ton of weekend plans, so we were out of town all day Saturday and then Sunday went to a museum for an exhibition preview and then to brunch. And then yesterday pm we had time to nap and then I went for a long-ish walk with the dog in the park, which was lovely. So limited moping time.

I also managed to slice the tip of my thumb off on Wednesday (yeah, banner day, I know) and so have had some dealing to do with that. Again, better than moping. (Ok, maybe not the optimal way to keep from moping, but pretty distracting!)

So yeah, I feel sorry for myself, and yeah, I think that this is all horribly desperately unfair, but we have a plan and are moving forward and my body is moving along just as it always does and I got my period right on time 3 days after stopping the progesterone. And like always I will ovulate on day 14, and get my period on day 29. Because this part of my body is reliable like that.

Next steps? Bloodletting for the tests, try on our own this month, and then another cycle next month unless we learn something surprising from the blood tests.

Sigh. I'm so tired of this. I'm really emotionally and physically beaten down by the whole thing, but somehow having all of these activities to do and interim deadlines to think about make me feel just a little bit better. Honestly, though, I'd rather just have a baby.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

This is my 100th post

This is my 100th post.

I frankly can't believe I've been at it this long, and am certainly not where I thought I would be when I started this blogging project. I thought this would be simple, and that IVF would solve our not-really-that-big-of-a-deal problem in getting pregnant. But I was wrong. I'm not pregnant and I've failed 2 IVF cycles. (Note for those of you who are detail oriented, I did a single embryo transfer for my first IVF and FET, so I count that as one. Because failing 3 cycles? That would be really bad.)

But because I'm apparently too stupid to acknowledge that there is a problem, I was actually trying to arrange it so that the announcement of my positive beta test yesterday would be the 100th post. I mean, wouldn't that have been cute? 1-99 would be getting pregnant and 100-whenever would be all about being pregnant. But it appears that I was a bit overly optimistic about this working. And to be honest, I feel like a bit of a fool for even thinking that way. Actually, I just feel like a bit of an idiot thinking that this was going to work for me at all.

I think that that is why this is so so fucking hard. Because I am (was?) optimistic that IVF will work for us, because it really should based on everything out there. I'm a fool because I let myself get hopeful. And I got hopeful because there is nothing that they can tell us that is wrong with either of us, because I appear to be responding quite well to all of the drugs, and that they think (thought?) that I was in pretty decent shape considering my advanced maternal age. But it appears that, alas, either my embryos all suck and so are not sticking or that something is going on to prevent them from implanting.

So something is clearly not working, and I'm bound and determined to figure out what the hell it is. And so I am distracting myself with activity and my action plan and next steps.

But really my heart is breaking into thousands of little pieces and I am not sure I will ever recover from this disappointment.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

And again...

It's negative.

I feel as if I have been punched in the chest.

Monday, April 19, 2010

My subconscious is out to get me

I'm clearly very very stressed out about this upcoming beta on Wednesday. Here's why:
a) many of my "symptoms" (e.g., sore boobs, uterine cramping, thirst) have disappeared and so I no longer believe I am pregnant. And frankly, I wasn't even convinced before, but I was willing to pretend. Now I just want to get the damn test over with.
b) I turn 40 in less than a month and I am going to lie in bed for days and cry if I am not pregnant. It is no shit stressing me out.
c) I have been an emotional basket case all weekend, and frankly kind of bitchy.
d) I did another AMH test recently (spurred on by the monitoring appointment from hell) and, whereas my test from a year ago was 1.3, I'm now down to 0.7. So I'm really running out of time and eggs.

So my subconscious is apparently also stressed out, as I had dreams this morning about a variety of ways that I might meet my demise in the next several days. I have to say, I was remarkably creative in the ways I envisioned expiring, but it was stressful all the same. The only one that has a real likelihood of occurring is being run over by a subway (and even that is not all that likely, based on the stats of how many people ride the subway every day and how rarely that happens by accident). But I woke up 2 hours before my alarm covered in sweat and then couldn't fall back asleep, because these dreams were so vivid that I could dwell on them even when awake. So it sucked. And I am tired. And I hate that I spend huge chunks of my life trying to do something that should be easy and that billions of people manage to do every year.

So to summarize, I was terrorized in my sleep by my brain that is predicting doom and disaster, I am turning 40 very soon, I am running low on eggs, and even my hypothetical symptoms of pregnancy have disappeared. Oh yeah, and it's Monday. Woo hoo!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I'm trying. I'm really really trying

Back to "no really, this could work" today. At least I'm trying to be back there.

Here's really where things are:
- my boobs are sore. So sore that I am tempted to throw a protective arm across them every time I walk, but I think people might look at me funny. Tomorrow I am wearing a sports bra.
- I've been crampy and bloated for the last 3 days. I feel like a macy's thanksgiving day parade balloon and wish there was some way to get the bloat out out out.
- Cramps the first 2 days were kind of sharp and now its more of a low dull ache.
- Thirsty all the time. Followed by having to pee all the time because of the oceans of water I am drinking.
- Moody. But what's new there?

But since all of these symptoms could be attributed to the progesterone I am shoving up into my nether regions, I've really got nothing to go on.

I went to acupuncture yesterday and she said that my pulses were strong and good and that in all of her evaluation of me there is really nothing that leaps out as a potential problem, nor does she think that I need to be taking any herbal supplements or anything -- overall she sees everything good. And the acupuncture helps me relax, so that's great. And it's a block from my office. Yay for things being easy for a change!

But the waiting? This waiting is driving me completely, no-kidding, absolutely crazy. I'm trying to breathe deeply, think positive thoughts and relax, but it. is. hard.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Not so optimistic

None of the other embryos made it to freeze.
Apparently I make a lot of eggs but they all suck. (Seriously -- who starts with 13 eggs and ends up with a 3 day transfer and nothing left to freeze at 5 days? My attrition rates are astronomical.)

So all this means to me right now is that the ones that were transferred back in probably suck too. I'm hopeful that my mood will recover, but this was a bit of a blow.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Random thoughts on parenting

I've had a very nice relaxing weekend, with lots of slow walking around in the park in the nice weather, and I've managed to not entirely obsess about this waiting thing. Although I do seem to be a magnet for pregnant people -- we passed three on one block, and even the Boy noticed and remarked how I seemed to be drawing them to me.

Yesterday I was out getting my nails done with a friend who is a doctor and was on call. and she was dealing with how to treat a woman who had chicken pox and was 8 weeks pregnant. Apparently this young woman (and she was <16) didn't know she was pregnant until she got to the hospital for her rash.
Awesome, right? You've missed at least 1 period but you have no idea? And you are in jr high? Sigh.

And then I watched a car pull away from the curb with two little kids not in car seats or wearing seatbelts in the back and a 2-yo in the front seat on the lap of an adult.

And then I was nearly hit by a bicyclist who was crossing against the light and had a 4-5 yo girl sitting between his legs on his seat, and neither was wearing a helmet.

And so here's my point: I would be better. I wouldn't let my kids be unsafe that way and my children would be intentional and not just an unwelcome surprise.

Maybe this doesn't make me any more deserving to get pregnant, and maybe thinking about who deserves and doesn't deserve to have a child is a totally fucked up thing to do and completely counterproductive. But the whole thing bugs me all the same.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Resetting expectations

So apparently I posted about a word and a half yesterday. Oops.

I think it was probably because I was still kind of freaked out about the morning, and so I kept starting things and then getting distracted and moving on to something else. But I'm past that now and ok (mostly). Not quite the bright eyed and bushy tailed girl from Wednesday, but mostly ok.

So why freaked out? Freaked out because I had a plan in my head and had set expectations in a particular way, and then things didn't go exactly that way. And well, I freaked out.

Last IVF cycle (the 1st one in Nov/ Dec 2009) we got tentatively scheduled for a 3 day transfer and then that morning got a call waving us off to 5 days. And we were all sorts of excited about 5 days because we told ourselves that made our embryos bigger and stronger and more likely to be healthy enough to make a baby. So this time I just assumed that the same thing would happen, especially since we had a better fertilization rate.

(Notice the pattern here? I'm searching like hell for anything that will help me predict the outcome of the next step, and each time I do that I get completely screwed over. Also note that if that logic had been correct I wouldn't be doing another IVF cycle. I'd be 5 months pregnant.)

And so I had actually booked two client meetings, one of which was actually in a totally different part of the city and at the exact same time as the transfer (11.00am). Awesome, right? So at 5.30 am I popped awake to get ready for them to call us. And I waited and waited and waited, and there was no call. And the nurses aren't available until 10am, so I basically had to wait until 10 for someone to confirm that we should come in at 11, and not wait until Sunday.

During this entire time, of course, I'm panicking. I'm panicking about how I'm going to be in two places at one time. I'm panicking about why I'm not doing a 5 day transfer and what is going on with the embryos, and I'm panicking just because I sometimes just work myself up that way.

At 10am I call and get confirmation that I should be in by 10.45 for the transfer. And at 10.15 I get a call from my 11am meeting saying that he needs to reschedule to the afternoon and can actually meet in my office as opposed to his office which is 40 minutes away. So I catch a break. A big, freaking break, because someone has travelled in from Chicago to meet with me, and blowing it off looks really really bad. And so I exhale.

OK, I half exhale because I'm still panicking about why 3 days. And so we go in and here's what we learn: of our 9 embryos there are
2 that are at 2 cells so are probably not so great
2 at 4 cells, also probably not so great
1 at 6 cells that looks good/ excellent
2 at 8 cells that look average
2 at 8 cells that look good/ excellent.

Our clinic tends to push off women to 5 days if they have at least 6 average to excellent embryos still cooking, and last time we had 7 at this point.

So I breathe a little more deeply because it's not like they all died off (of course, my fear), but because 5<6.

And so we transferred 2. The good/ excellent ones. And they are letting the rest cook until Monday (their lab freezes on Day 6) and will call Tuesday and let me know if any of the other ones made it to blast, and if they were good enough to freeze.

By the end of this process I was both exhausted and relieved. I totally caught a break on my meeting rescheduling (seriously, that was crazy good luck and I can't believe I skated on that one) and I managed to completely quiet my brain down for the rest of the day. I conveniently had my "pre-transfer" acupuncture session scheduled for last evening, so it became my post transfer session, which was good and very calming. And then I retired to the sofa, watched a movie, read a magazine and ate a cupcake for dessert.

So that's that. And I'm cooking two embryos right now, and hanging around not doing much today so that they can settle in. And thinking positive thoughts about how plenty of people get successfully pregnant with 3 day transfers and how this is still all. going. to. work. out. And today I feel pretty hopeful about things again, and am just stacking the next two weeks with "things to keep me from going batty."

We will see how that works.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

IVF #2 -- Fertilization report

Quick update, since I just got the call from the nice nurse at the RE. They did ICSI on the 13 eggs and 9 fertilized!


Nine makes me happy!

(Note last time they retrieved 18, fertilized 17 and only 10 took so this is already a far lower attrition rate.)

Oh please please please let this all work out.

I have been trying so hard to keep a positive attitude and to not get all depressed that I have to be doing this at all, and I've been trying to remain super hopeful about the possibility of this working. It hasn't been entirely easy, and there are times that I was really close to slipping into the grip of the self-pity that I often feel around things baby-related. But I've been pretty much pollyanna this whole cycle -- so much so that a friend complimented me on what a great attitude I had (and told me that I could drop the act if it was that). But it wasn't -- I am hopeful.

But I am also scared. I'm terrified that I've actually convinced myself that this will definitively work, and that when (oh please no) it doesn't I will sink into a very very black place.

But for now hope feels good. Good like the bright sun felt on my shoulders at lunch, and good like the vanilla milkshake I had last night. And good like the pink hyacinth in my office that is all perfume-y and wonderful. So I am tempting the fates and continuing to be hopeful.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

IVF #2 - retrieval

Rerieval was this morning.

13 eggs retrieved, so we will see what happens tomorrow.

Incdentally, E2 (and E2 per follicle) was higher on Sunday than last cycle. (1400 this round vs 1100 with 17 follicles). I'm not sure it matters, but it makes me happy.

I'm feeling pretty good, and am about to take a nap. Yummm.. Napping....

Friday, April 2, 2010

Cycle update

So today is day 10 of the medication and this morning I went in for another look around. Here's where we are:

Left: 7 follicles, largest at 17.5mm
Right: 6 follicles, largest at 16mm

Estrogen was 580 on Wednesday; he expects it to be over 1000 today. Last time my E2 was super low throughout, and was only 1100 when 17 follicles were there. So who knows. My attempts to really understand this are failing, so I am just going to go with it.

Back in on Sunday, with a trigger likely that evening. I'm trying to drink a ton of water, as I am getting to be pretty uncomfortable. But I am not complaining, as that just means this is working.

I'm feeling positive and hopeful. The weather is gorgeous, and I am going to take lots of long walks this weekend.

Please, universe, don't toy with me.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Kids day at the office

Apparently today is "bring your adorable 3yo to work day" and I missed the message. There have been (and still are) 4 kids just wandering through today, and frankly I have had enough.

Other exciting work-related fertility quotes from today?
- From the 45yo mother of one of the kids "yeah -- I thought it might be hard for me to get pregnant at 42, but it happened, like, instantly."
- From a woman whose 45yo sister is pregnant with her 4th child "My brother-in-law didn't really want another kid, and thought there was little chance his 44yo wife would actually get pregnant. I guess she just really really wanted this baby."
- From the father of one of the kids here today (in response) "My wife was 38 with our first and 40 with our second -- I just needed to look at her and she got pregnant. You hear about these people trying and trying -- I just can't relate at all."

I'm swollen and bruised from the shots, and I hate that it is not just as easy for me.
But still.
I am swollen because this is working. and it will work. and one day it will be me with the kid in the office. But I will be sensitive and not parade them through, because there may be someone here whose heart is breaking because it is not so easy for them either.

I am breathing deeply so as to retain that sense of calm and peace from yesterday. It's mostly working but I wish the kids would go away.