Sunday, November 6, 2011

Will Work for Baby

God is good! I've prayed and prayed and prayed, and finally, an answered prayer.

I have a job with infertility coverage! I got a hold of Conceive magazine's list of companies that cover infertility, so for months I just went down the list and applied to any and every company/job I had a shot with, and one day last month I got the call that turned out to be an answered prayer. The decision to take the job wasn't easy though. I had a good job to begin with. I was overqualified for it, but it was easy, stress free, good money, close to home and I've been with the company going on 7 years. You get comfortable at a place after that long. So this new job offer came along, and I would've been ready to jump all over it, except this office is 50 miles away from my house. That's right, fifty. And to add insult to injury, the offer was a whole $1/hour less than what I make now. Ouch. But, a sign of the times.

So, I was fully prepared to reject the offer and keep looking for something closer to home, but I figured if I just went into the office 2 days a week and worked the other 3 days from home, that would be doable. So that's what we agreed on! I know the first month or two will be really hard with that commute everyday while I get trained and prepared to get to that point where I can work from home, but I know in the long run it'll pay off. This company pays $15k for IVF and an additional $15k for the drugs. My husband talked to our RE's office about the "preexisting condition" issue, but she said it shouldn't apply to us since we've never had the coverage (more prayers are being said about that one!) So if this works out, my new company will cover almost 2 more cycles of IVF! Plus, my husband just started working for a company that offers coverage for $15k in Rx's. So certainly a good back up to have.

I prayed countless nights to God to show me a sign, to give me a direction in my quest to parenthood. I am thankful He made it so obvious. It's amazing what God will do in your life once you let Him. It's also amazing how God works to reach us. Oprah says that the Universe (God) talks to us first in whispers. If we don't listen to the whispers, then He throws a pebble at us to try and get our attention. And if that still doesn't work, then we get hit with a brick, aka something really drastic has to happen to try and get us to pay attention and to learn. I really struggled with the decision to take this job, for all the reasons I mentioned, but also b/c of fear. I've taken so many gambles with my infertility that I was just really afraid to take another one by leaving the known for the unknown. But if I'm listening to the whispers, and I think I am, while God isn't promising the road will be easy, He is promising He's going to get us to our destination safe and sound, no matter what pot holes and road blocks surprise us.

My whispers are telling me to be unafraid. My whispers are asking me to trust Him. And I don't want no bricks thrown at my head.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

And the Reward Goes To...

My husband is very good friends with a guy he's know five or six years. He was a groomsman in our wedding. It's a valuable friendship to him and one I totally respect. I am friendly with this guy's wife (I will call her B), and they are one of the only two married couple friends we have. Most of my close girlfriends are still single. And since we've struggled with IF, I've noticed that I tend to shy away from other married couples that have young kids or may have kids at some point. I guess not much explanation is needed behind that.

This particular couple is several years older than us and do not have kids. B had some medical issues and her husband was not inclined to want kids, so they decided when they got engaged that they would be childless. Well, we all know what happens when The Clock starts ticking. B approached 35 and decided she wanted kids. She explained all of this in an email to me several months ago. When I received the email from her I had just failed my first or second cycle, I forget which. She didn't know anything about what we were going through, so I couldn't be upset with her, but I was. I was terribly upset. How dare she let me think they were 'safe' for us to be friends with?! How dare she have the audacity to want to get pregnant when I can't?! These are the crazy things that go through one's mind when you feel so inadequate, empty, angry, hurt and confused with life.

My husband, being the good friend that he is, took her husband aside to explain to him a little bit about what we were going through and asked they be sensitive to that in the subject of their own TTC news. Months went by and I didn't think about this other couple's TTC too much, as I was pretty wrapped up in my own events, but I was always reminded every time we were around them. Reminded of the fact that someday soon, she could be pregnant and I wouldn't be. And the knowledge of that brought on a jealousy so intense I could hardly stand to be around B.

The other day I read B's blog, and it in she mentioned one little acronym that I know oh so well - TTC. That's right, B and her husband are officially Trying. Before, she mentioned she was thinking about a baby. Now it is official.

B's husband is one of my husband's best friends. I would feel so terrible if I ever got in the way of that. If I could hardly stand to be around her knowing she was just thinking about having a baby, how will I ever make it when she is pregnant? How will I hold my smile through the pregnancy announcement, all the pregnancy talk, the baby shower. And then when she has the baby? We all know how women are. If she feels mistreated and has hurt feelings b/c of the way I treat her, her husband will hear about it, my husband will hear about it, and then my husband is in the middle, trying to figure out how to deal w/ a crazy jealous wife and a best friend that he feels awkward around, all b/c of me.

After reading B's blog and feeling the jealousy, dread, anger and hurt consume me, I just went home from work and sobbed. I sobbed b/c I've never felt so ashamed for my reaction to her news; I sobbed b/c I will never, ever experience the pure thrill of TTC, and neither will my husband; I sobbed b/c of the sheer sadness and devastation I felt as the Outsider; I sobbed knowing this will not be the last friend I will watch experience the excitement of TTC and the joy of pregnancy and motherhood, while I pray to God night after night to just give us another chance.

I'm reading Joel Osteen's "Your Best Life Now" (did he steal that phrase from Oprah or is it the other way around?), and there's a chapter in his book that talks about kindness. He says we cannot expect blessings in our lives without being kind, without being a blessing ourselves. In other words, if we want to be blessed, we need to be a blessing. I thought about the way I've treated B, which hasn't exactly been as a 'blessing.' There have been many times where I have flat out avoided and ignored her b/c I thought I was sparing myself from pain that way. But it's actually been the opposite. It's caused me more pain to handle her that way.

Ironically, I received an invitation from her to hang out that very same day I read her blog with her TTC news; the very same day I sobbed in my bathroom over it. I asked God that night to help me understand what He was trying to tell me. I knew He was trying to move me to do something, to change something, but I didn't understand what, until I read Osteen's chapter again on being a blessing.

So the next day I accepted B's invitation. I wanted to start trying harder at being a blessing instead of always looking for my own blessings. And I survived it. We didn't talk about her TTC or my TTC, even though I am sure it was in the back of her mind as well as mine, but I realized that I am stronger than I give myself credit for sometimes. If I can hang out with B after feeling that low, I can brave those pregnancy announcements and baby showers. And I felt better about myself b/c I felt like I was truly doing the right thing. It's hard to feel bad about yourself when you know you are being a blessing to someone else. I know how happy she was to have my undevoted attention for a whole hour. I know she needed someone to talk to about her issues with her mother-in-law and her struggles to lose weight. She needed a friend, and last night I was that friend. I put all selfishness aside, and I felt better about myself b/c of it.

I won't be false and say I am forever changed by this one experience. I know there will be times when I will be selfish again. And it will hurt me and someone else. But this showed me that doing the right thing, even when it's not what we want to do, is always rewarding in some way. For so long I've strived for that ultimate reward, but until God decides it's my time, I will have to look for the subtler rewards. That's where my Purpose can be found. But that's a whole other blog...

Monday, September 26, 2011


Thirty has certainly been quite a  year: four failed treatment cycles; one chemical pregnancy; an ungodly amount of money spent; enough tears to float a boat in.

So it was a hard year. But it was also a good year.

In spite of all of that pain, there were also so many good times: the birth of my baby niece and god daughter; a trip to visit my sister and nieces, some of my most favorite people in the world; being witness to my god daughter's Christening; all the birthdays celebrated with my family and friends (I have a lot of fun making my signature birthday ice cream cakes!); a trip to Colorado with my husband to visit my in-laws, which included meeting my friends for a girls' week-end at Lake Dillon; my husband's new job and promotion that he so deserved and worked so hard for. The list goes on.

Yesterday I got myself into a funk reflecting on my year because I only thought of the bad times. And I started thinking about the fact that our road to parenthood still isn't over. The idea and the nervousness and fear of future IVFs, baby shower invitations, birth annoucements, etc, totally overwhelmed me. It was enough to make me pull the shades and crawl back into bed to hide from it all. But then my cat woke me up, and really, how can you feel so bad when you're being loved all over by your cat (which she hardly does to me btw). So I sat up, opened my shades, and started reading my Joel Osteen book. I started feeling better but still not great, until my husband brought me lunch in bed. He knew I was upset and he knows I am not the type to talk out my feelings, so he came to me. He said a lot of comforting things but what made the biggest difference were his hugs. He has the ability to make me feel safe with his hugs no matter what's going on around us. And that was all I needed.

Do you remember
When it was like September?
Before you grew cold like December
And all you saw were cloudy days

And I remember
That day when you surrendered
You stopped hurting cause you remembered
The season it won't last always

Tell me you remember
When your heart felt like September
Still had the joy
And God was just a prayer away

I can see clearly now
The sun is much brighter now
The season it won't last always

Seemed like forever
You said When will my life get better?
I'm tired of stormy weather
But the sun always shines in May

So just remember
The next time you feel like December
Remember that night in September
When God wiped all your tears away

Everybody has a September in their life.
You know, that first time you heard God's voice.
You felt His love.
So no mather what season you're in right now,
after winter comes Spring...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Lessons in Infertility

I have so many emotions, thoughts and things I've been learning these past few weeks since our canceled embryo transfer. Actually since we entered the land of infertility almost 2 years ago. Here are few of them:

1. Gospel music helps. And lots of it. I highly recommend just about anything by Kirk Franklin.
2. Keeping a prayer journal helps. I've started writing out my prayers instead of just 'saying' them in my head. Most nights I can write pages and pages. I just talk to God. I ask him questions, I pray for myself and others; I try to remember to thank Him too for the various good things I have going in my life. It's been a good outlet and I can honestly say each day I've felt stronger and stronger. I believe that's because each night I ask God to help me wake up stronger.
3. I would be lost without my husband. When the embryologist broke the news that we weren't going to have any to transfer, my husband was out of town and was going to be gone for the next two and half days. I holed myself up in my house and just allowed myself to grieve those three days. It was a good thing. I needed to just succumb to it for a little while. The day he came home though I woke up with just the slightest bounce in my step. I didn't think I would have it back for much, much longer, but I realized how much I needed my husband. He's one of my biggest reasons for getting out of bed each morning.
4. It's okay to admit or show you're broken and weak sometimes. I have a hard time doing this. It makes me feel bad about myself if I wallow in self pity or just show emotional weakness of any kind. Don't ask me why. But once I did admit that I need my husband and I need God, I immediately felt better. Not good, but better. And that's as much as I could hope for.
5. I haven't experienced anything worse than the feeling of worthlessness: worthless at being able to give my husband the gift of being a father, my parents and in-laws the gift of being grandparents, my sister, brother and sisters-in-law of being aunts/uncles, etc, etc, etc; worthless at my current job (I'm doing something that I'm a little over-qualified for and it makes me feel like a loser most days); worthless to all my friends for being so self-absorbed in all of this that I feel like I've totally neglected them; worthless to myself in that I let myself believe, and hope, and spend so much money on this; and worst of all, worthless to God that I've let my faith waiver, I've been jealous and envious of every pregnant woman and mother I know or see, and have just overall been someone I never wanted to be - angry, resentful and ungrateful.
6. There's no one that can help me get over those feelings of worthlessness except God. I pray/write to Him every night that He'll help me overcome it. I know how damaging those self-loathing thoughts are. What's most awe-inspiring is that it's helped. I am not spending hours in therapy; I am not taking drugs or drinking; it's just God answering my prayers.
7. Faith is what keeps the light on during the darkest of times. I am consoled with believing that God has an ultimate plan for us. For whatever reason this just wasn't our time. I don't know if I'll ever be a mom. But I know that God has me in this for a reason. I know that this whole experience with infertility is preparing me for some future experience. Of course I don't know what, but I truly believe God has a purpose for us all. He created each of us for a reason. Just because we don't know what that reason is doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Sometimes the reasons are beyond our comprehension. Maybe we'll realize them someday, but until we do, or until we make it to the other side, we just have to keep going, trusting God and His plan. What else is there to do? Keep praying. Keep going. Life goes on.
8. Happiness is a choice. Joy is a gift. You can chose to be miserable day in and day out, or you can chose to be happy. It really is that simple. And if you chose to be happy, you will find joy. Happiness implies something that happens to you. But joy is something that is within you. I think about the times I have been truly joyful: my wedding day, meeting my nieces for the first time, watching something great happen to someone I love. Those are the moments where the good overshadowed the bad because of joy. Those are the moments that make life worth living. Life is not over because I am not pregnant. Life will not end if I don't ever become a mother. But only because I won't let it.
9. All of our experiences are teachers. It's up to us how or whether the lessons are learned. And it's up to us what to do with these lessons. I've learned a lot about myself this year and about God and Life. It's been a hard year but I wouldn't change it or erase it because I was meant to learn these lessons. And I am still learning. I may not become an expert but I hope with each lesson learned I'll get closer to being the person God wants to shape me into being, and I'll understand this crazy, complicated thing we call Life just a tiny bit more.

So what now?

We're working on finding a way to get insurance overage. My husband just started work for a new company that may offer benefits next year (praying hard on that one), and in the meantime I am looking into every possible company/job where I know I would get coverage, even if I have to serve up coffee at Starbucks for $8 an hour. By the way, if you know of a company in the Dallas area that offers infertility coverage, please let me know. I have Conceive Magazine's 2010 list but it's a pretty small list for my area :\

I am going to start hormone replacement therapy. I don't have periods on my own without hormones (I really think I have premature menopause), and I know I would feel better physically and mentally if I could at least cycle regularly. It doesn't necessarily mean I would be ovulating, but from what I researched the cases of conception of prematurely menopausal women on HRT is 5 - 10%.

Someday, when we have the means again financially, and the courage emotionally, we will try IVF again. We will talk to another doctor that's been recommended to me by a lot of women in my support group for his positive attitude alone, (let's just say our doctor that did this first IVF was less than optimistic or encouraging) but we definitely want to try at least once more with my own eggs. I have serious doubts about this last protocol that I won't get into because this post is already way too long, so I haven't given up hope that this can work. Who knows, maybe 6 months on HRT and I'll be in better shape. But I'm just not ready to give up yet.

I leave you with my favorite song right now. It gets me going everyday. Not all of them are easy. Some are really hard. But it's going to be okay. Today...

Friday, September 2, 2011

It's Over

Just got the call from the embryologist. No grow for either embryo.There will be no transfer/implantation.

Thank you to all for your prayers, well wishes, thoughts, support, love, etc.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hanging on by a shred

This applies to all of us - me, my husband, our 2 embryos. The embryologist's report today is not good. Both embryos are grade 3. Today is 3 days post fertilization.

Our clinic grades embryos on a 1 - 3 scale, 1 being very good, 2 average and 3 poor. They look at the number of cells, the rate of cell division/growth, how fragmented the cells are, the shape of the cells. All these factors tell them how healthy the embryo is and predicts whether or not it will develop into a viable pregnancy. One embryo has only 3 cells, the other has 6 cells. At 3 days they want to see 6 - 9 cells. But even though the 6 cell embryo has the 'normal' amount of cells, it's still only a grade 3. So as of today, our likelihood of viable pregnancy with either embryo is poor.

Our clinic will wait until Day 5, when the embryo transforms into a blastocyst before transferring/implanting. They do this b/c they believe if they make it to the blastocyst stage as a Grade 1 or 2, the chance of a viable pregnancy is much better. If the embryo makes it to blastocyst stage on Day 5 but is still only a Grade 3, the chance of a viable pregnancy is slim to none. They may also wait until Day 6 before deciding on whether or not to transfer/implant if we have a blastocyst that may be close to that Grade 2. My Day 5 is Saturday, so we'll know by Saturday or Sunday.

So it's not over yet. My friend had an experience where one of her blastocysts literally grew at the last minute, enough to be worthy for implantation. So there is still hope. It is only a shred, but it's something. It's something to get me through the day. God give us strength for tomorrow.

Here's what was in my inbox this morning. I read it before I got the embryologist's report. It gave me goosebumps. It's all I have to hang on to for now...

Your Time is Coming


“For the vision is yet for an appointed time...though it tarry, wait for it.”
(Habakkuk 2:3, KJV)

TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria

If you’ve been standing in faith for the promises of God, I want you to know today that your time is coming! The dreams and desires in your heart, the things you want to accomplish, the situations you want to see changed will happen. Don’t give up just because it has taken a long time, or just because you’ve tried and failed.
I encourage you today — get your fire back! Don’t be complacent about pursuing what God has placed in your heart. It may be taking a long time, but God is a faithful God. No matter how long it’s been, no matter how impossible it looks, if you’ll stay in faith, your time is coming. Every dream that’s in your heart, every promise that has taken root, God not only put it there, but He has every intention of bringing it to pass.
Declare today, “My time is coming...God is working behind the scenes on my behalf...I will fulfill my destiny...I will fulfill the plan God has for my life!” As you declare, expect, and wait for the appointed time, your faith will grow. Your hope will grow. And you’ll step into the destiny God has in store for you!


Father in Heaven, I receive Your truth today and hold on to Your promises. I ask that You ignite my heart with Your holy fire so that I can pursue Your perfect plan for my life. Make my thoughts and words agreeable to Your will as I meditate on Your Word. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

And then there were 2

The doctor called today and only 2 eggs were viable. He said the others were just too immature, and after almost 3 weeks of stims there just wasn't much more we could do to change that, which I understood. It's just so incredibly frustrating that we had to spend as much as we did on the drugs for only 2 eggs. Women w/ a normal egg count can produce around 20 eggs and only need a fraction of the medication I did. It's also hard not to get discouraged right now about the success of future cycles. It's so much to go through for such a small chance. But 2 is all we get and I guess we better like it. Two is better than 0. So Thursday will be considered Day 3 of our two embryos' lives and they will officially have a grade from the embryologist. They grade them on a 1 -3 scale: 1 being very good, 2 average and 3 poor. This grade will tell us the likelihood that the embryo will continue to grow and end up a viable pregnancy. My understanding is it does not predict anything about the 'normalcy' of the embryo as far as any genetic or chromosomal abnormalities, it simply tells us how great the likelihood of a miscarriage.
So we are holding our breaths for Thursday when we get the report from the embryologist. And praying. It's in God's hands now and I am nervous and worried and scared. But hopeful. Still hopeful.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Level 1 Complete

The egg retrieval is over! It's a relief. I wasn't sure what to expect in the way of pain, and of course how many eggs we'd have, but it went okay. Our doctor got 5 eggs total - 3 of them were mature, the other two were still slightly small and therefore probably immature - but 3 out of 5 isn't so bad. Now we wait for the fertilization report tomorrow. Doc will tell us how many of those 5 eggs fertilized. Of those fertilized eggs we'll wait another 2 days and then we'll know which of those fertilized are growing embroys.

So it'll be a nail biter of  a week. Tonight I start on the progesterone shots which I am not looking forward to. I hear they are a real pain in the ass :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Standby for take off...

Our last monitoring appt was today! So here's the final count: on my right ovary I have a 24 and an 18, on my left I have a 21 and two 13's. I didn't know this until the nurse mentioned it, but when the follicles get as big as 24 mm they aren't 'good' eggs, so that one won't count, but she said the 21 and the 18 for sure should, and hopefully the two 13's. They want the follicles at least 14mm. Doc has me taking one more megadose of Follistim tonight to hopefully push them over the edge, and the nurse said the hCG shot tomorrow night might also give them one last blast. For $500 for tonight's dose I just had to order, those slackers better catch up! So we are hoping and praying that we will have 4 eggs total for retrieval, which is scheduled for Monday. Thankfully my uterine lining isn't an issue this go around since I've been on the estrogen supp's. I don't have to do the Viagra!

I'll update next week after the retrieval. I'm not as nervous for it now as I was before our appt this am, now that I know there's a good chance at 4 eggs instead of just 2. I am just praying with everything I have that my eggs are good. So much depends on that. The one advantage of doing this though is to figure that out. Because if they're no good than obviously that changes the game plan quite a bit. But I am trying not to go there; I am trying to take this one day at a time.

Please pray for us. I have never been so nervous/scared/anxious/desperate for anything like this in my entire life. I knew this IVF would forever change me in some way, no matter the outcome. Time will tell what that change may be.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What do my follicles and Peter Pan have in common?

They are in no hurry to mature. We have two that could be considered mature (just barely), but the other 4 are not ready for retrieval yet. So my doc increased my Follistim dosage to hopefully help speed them along and will measure again on Friday. It sucks because it means another $800 for just the next 2 days of meds, but I certainly want to have the best chance of as many eggs fertilizing as possible. If even just the biggest two of the four that are still too small mature enough, that would give us 4 good contenders. I would be thrilled with 4. Four would be better than 2. So that's it for now; we'll see if there's been any progress Friday morning and go from there...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Slow and Steady...

Just a quick update after this morning's appointment: follicles are growing! We still have 5 or 6. There are follicles on my right and left ovaries. I don't know about the integrity of the eggs in my right ovary since that's the one that's only partially there, so I am glad there are 2 or 3 in the left too. The biggest is only 14mm so we still have a little ways to go yet. We go back Monday am to get measured again but I am still betting they won't be mature enough and ready for retrieval before the end of next week. My doc is holding off on the Viagra for my uterine lining until Monday, but I am willing to bet he's going to have me start on it as well next week. Walgreens told me about a new program they have with New Life Agency that's an awesome deal for their cash paying patients: you buy their Pharmacy card for $25 and you get $100 off instantly for every $1,000 spent. And then they sent me a $25 Walgreens gift card!

So I'll update again after our appointment Monday. I am really looking forward to the w/e. My husband is treating me to a mini getaway at a hotel here in Dallas with a nice dinner and everything. We can certainly use a little R&R :)

Monday, August 15, 2011


Today was our first monitoring appointment! It went well; I feel better. I was pretty nervous about it. I figured we'd have some eggs at the end of all of this to retrieve, but I have been nervous that it'll be a situation like our 3rd cycle on inj's and timed IC back in April where we only had 1 mature follicle. But this am doc saw what he thought were 5 follicles - 2 on my left ovary and 3 on the right. The biggest two are only 10mm so it's still really early (they'll need to be at least 18mm before they're ready for retrieval). We go back Friday morning to have them measured again and he'll check to see where my uterine lining is in terms of its thickness, since that has been an issue. But I have been on an estrogen priming protocol so hopefully that will not be the case this time. And the nurse mentioned this am that she thinks doc is going to go ahead and have me start on Viagra suppositories on Friday, which also addresses my thin lining issue. So our goal is to have 5 -6 mature follicles for egg retrieval, which is about standard for women w/ DOR. If at least 3 of those fertilize and make it to blastocyst on day 5 we'll transfer all 3 to give us the best chances that at least one will make it, and if we have any more than 3 make it to blast we'll freeze, just in case. That's the plan. We still have a little ways to go yet; I know we won't have any mature follicles much before the end of next week.

I had a pretty rough w/e. I have been so nervous about this IVF. So much is at stake: all the money we've spent, and continue to have to spend, the fact that this will probably tell us whether or not my eggs are any good or if we're just chasing rainbows (it sucks we won't know that until the very end), and of course I think about what we'll do if this doesn't work. How will we fund another IVF cycle before it's 'too late'? Or will another IVF cycle even be an option? How will I make it through emotionally? And if it does work? That's a much better scenario to contemplate, but one that brings its own set of anxieties.

So I had a hard time this w/e, and the only reason I didn't succumb to the depression I feel lapping at my heels everyday is my husband. For those that know us, I don't have to tell you how great my husband is. For those that don't know us, I'm sure you know all to well that infertility isn't something you can get through alone. It's so crucial to have a strong support system; people that you can lean on when you're at your weakest. Because there are so many weak moments in infertility. And my husband has been so incredibly strong and supportive for me. I have been very hard to live with these past couple weeks since starting the meds for this IVF cycle. So yesterday when I decided I was going to wallow in my depression, my husband could have ignored it, chose not to deal with it, because that would have been the easy thing to do. But he talked me off the ledge again. He reminded me that we still have much to be hopeful for, and he reminded me that we can still make plans if this IVF doesn't work. But what made me feel better was just knowing how much he cares, how much he's invested in our future, and not just IVF and babies but me. He just wants a future where I am happy and it was really nice to be reminded that it's not always going to be up to me. That I have a partner who has my best interests, my needs and my wants, at the forefront. In infertility it's usually about sacrifice and uncertainty. There's so much fear and anxiety as a result. But my husband saved my sanity yesterday because he looked into my eyes, into my core, and told me he'll always be here to take care of me. My happiness and well being will always be his number one priority. How can I feel hopeless knowing that?

I don't know why God has put us in this situation but I know why God brought my husband and me together. Without him I would still be hiding under the covers.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Welcome to What If Land

Our first, and God willing only, IVF has begun. I took my first Lupron shot this morning. I start stims the week of the Aug. 15th, so that will put the egg retrieval probably somewhere around the 25th and the embryo transfer around the 30th.

Anyone that has done this before knows all the emotions that go along with it; and anyone that hasn't can probably imagine: everything from anticipation to pure fear. I have to make a conscious effort not to go to What If Land everyday. It's a scary place and I know I don't belong there, especially now, when I need to force all the zen and positive energy out of myself I can muster. I truly believe in the mind/body connection, and I know that now it is so critical to the success of this cycle that I ward off as much stress, anxiety and depression as I can. But I feel like I am already failing at that.

I am going through transitions at work (new position, losing my fantastic, super supportive, cheerleader boss that I miss already), attempting school, and now of course IVF, and it's just too much - too stressful and too overwhelming. So I have to fix that as quick as I can, which unfortunately means one of them has to go. IVF isn't an option, and I have to work for reasons I can't really seem to remember right now....oh yeah, we just spent $15,000 on IVF; so that leaves kicking school to the curb. It sucks because it's something I really want, but I can't do it and IVF and start a new job. Or I could, but I don't know if I should. If I sabotage this cycle due to my mental state, I'll never get over that. I will regret it for the rest of my life.

I've been feeling quite sorry for myself over this dilemma, yet another gift of infertility, the gift that just keeps on giving. But I imagine it'll be nothing compared to how I'll feel if this IVF cycle fails. See, there I go on my one way trip to What If Land. It's really too bad I don't accrue any frequent flier miles. I could probably fly from here to Australia every week and back for free at this rate.

That's all I've got today. I still listen to my gospel music everyday, but I just can't seem to find my voice to sing along with it lately.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I Smile

I challenge you to listen to this song and not feel good. Or at least better...
'I Smile' Kirk Franklin

Well, I am still technically "on break" from my IF treatments, but we all know there is never a true break from IF. Here's a quick rundown of some of the tests and the results I've had recently with my new doc:
  • Hysteroscopy was normal, so my uterus is in good shape. I felt like I should've bought it a drink after that one!
  • Insulin Resistance test was normal. Thankfully I don't have to say goodbye to my carbs.
  • My new doc looked at the image of my HSG, the test that checked my tubes for blockage, and pointed out that my left tube is coiled. It's not blocked but that could complicate the passageway to my uterus. Another apparent oversight of RE #1. I am confident she did not review the image, just the report from the doctor that performed the test saying there was no blockage. I believe my new doc's assessment is accurate b/c in my 1st two cycles my mature follicles were in my left ovary only. Those two cycle were BFNs. My last cycle, the one in which I had the chemical pregnancy, I had one mature follicle only in my right ovary. So the embryo made it through my right tube, but possibly embryos never made it down my left.
  • The last thing my new doc looked at was my AMH. This is a test to see if I have an adequate supply of eggs. Well, turns out I don't. This was really no surprise b/c I was a relatively poor responder to the gonadotropin inj's. So I have a new diagnosis from my new doc - diminished ovarian reserve. Awesome, huh? Way back in '98 I had a huge cyst on my right ovary. It was the size of a grapefruit. Don't ask me how or why I had no clue it was there until it was discovered by my GYN. Ironically that exam was my first GYN exam ever. Traumatic much? Anyway, when she removed it unfortunately about 70% of my right ovary went with it. So again, no surprise I'm coming up short on eggs..
So all of this means we need to do IVF to have the best chance at conception. I was really hoping it wouldn't come down to this but it has. My AMH is 0.72 and once it gets as low as 0.3 my egg supply will be all but gone. And we all know what that means. So not only do we have to do IVF but we have to move fast while I still have something to work with. The older we get, the more time that passes, the less eggs women have. We are born with all we'll ever have. IVF also makes sense now b/c it's very possible my left tube is degenerate, as is my right ovary. It's almost laughable, really. Ha. Ok, enough humor, I don't want to hurt myself.

So this week and next week my husband and I are scrambling to prepare financially for our first IVF cycle, which will happen hopefully in Aug. It's going to cost us roughly $15,000 for everything. We don't have any insurance coverage. It makes me physically nauseous to think of all the other things we could have spent 15 G's on. Oh, and my doc gave us about a 30% chance of success b/c of my low egg count. Fewer eggs means less chance of getting a good egg and hence a good embryo to implant. I'm sure you see my turmoil. But, beggars can't be choosers and I am certainly a beggar at this point. Only God knows...

Speaking of which, I've been listening to a lot of gospel music lately. I have Sirius radio in my car and I've had it on the gospel station just about every am on my drive to work. So the other day I have to stop at the gas station. It's pretty nice out in the mornings so I had my windows down, "God Blocked It" by Kurt Carr blasting. I pull into the station next to a car with an older black lady getting out of it. She hears my Gospel Mobile coming, freezes in her tracks, waits for me to turn off my car and get out, then hollers over to me as I'm closing my door and heading to the pump, Amen baby! as she raises both of her hands in the air, a big smile on her face.

"And I've got life to live
And there are blessings
He wants to give

God blocked it
He wouldn't let me fall
He wouldn't let it be so
It was the Lord
Nobody but Jesus"

Amen indeed.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Watch This

I am an Oprah fan. I loved her show, her magazine is my favorite magazine. I drop everything to read it as soon as it shows up in my mailbox. I've read her books from her bookclub, I've participated in her "Best Life" stuff. I love the people she's sculpted - Dr. Oz, Suze Orman. I just LOVE me some Oprah, and I love her because when she speaks she says things that are worth listening to. I believe she gets It.

So naturally I have watched her "Master Class" series on OWN. And I recently, finally, caught the episode of Oprah's own personal Master Class episode. If you aren't familiar it's a series that features celebrities giving these monologues about their life lessons and experiences, like memoirs. There is one lesson in Oprah's episode in particular that I just had to share. I've watched her and listened to her teach this lesson. I've watched over and over and over. And I've cried over and over and over. And with each tear, with each viewing, I feel a little more of me surrender. When you watch it, and I hope you will, you'll see why.

I'll preface the video, since it cuts out some of the story. You might know Oprah was in the movie, "The Color Purple." But you might not know that Oprah was really, really obsessed with "The Color Purple." It's her favorite book of all time. She stalked her local bookstore at the time it was released and bought every copy in the store to give away to people - friends, family, coworkers, even random people on the streets. She loved it so much because she related to the story and the characters, and it enriched her life by bringing about an acceptance, an understanding, and ultimately a healing from her tumultuous past.

Oprah reaches out to everybody in Hollywood that will listen when she learns of the movie production. She desperately wants to be cast in the movie. After all, she is the book's biggest fan. No one lived and breathed and loved that story more than she did. She could practically recite the entire book word for word she'd read it so many times. So this video starts with her describing what happens after the audition.

As you watch the video, replace "The Color Purple" with infertility. And it's my story. It's your story. But more importantly it's our lesson to learn. - watch the first 7 minutes

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Before I say anything else, I want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for the comments you left me on my last post; to those that sent me encouraging emails, texts and phone calls; to those that have kept me in your thoughts and prayers this week; and especially to my husband and my family, who held my hand and dried my tears, and maybe even shed some of your own - your love and support will forever hold a place in my heart. Know that I couldn't face each day without you. There are no words to express my gratitude so I will always try my hardest to be as good to you as you have been to me.

Now with that all said, I am feeling much better today. Last night was the first night of restful sleep I've had in a week which I really needed. I didn't wake up this morning feeling weighed down. I did wake up with some pretty intense cramping and some spotting, but my guess is that my period is soon on its way. I think I am ready for it. It will be the final nail in the coffin - my body telling me it's moved on. My hCG was down to 14 on Thurs. I consider myself lucky that it dropped on its own.

On Friday we had a consultation with a new doctor. Last week we learned that our first RE just wasn't paying attention. She didn't even bother to call me herself during last week's "events." Not a, I'm sorry, here's maybe what went wrong or here's what we may do differently next time. Maybe that's not standard protocol but it's not acceptable to me. It's also not acceptable to me that, after reviewing my records from her, she sent us on our merry way after our last u/s without bothering to mention the fact that my lining of 6.1mm might be an issue. Instead she just told her nurse to send me home with a couple estrogen patches and call it a cycle. I know better now.

So we went to a new doctor and we are going to start seeing him instead. Here's what we learned from him:
  • The first RE told me she didn't think I would respond to Clomid. I never asked her why. She just said we needed to do gonad. inj's right out the gate. According to the new doctor, yes, the chances of conceiving w/ inj's vs Clomid is slightly higher, but by slightly he means about 2%. Call me crazy but I don't think the $1,300/month difference between the inj's and Clomid justifies that 2%. So for the next cycle I'll be on Clomid instead. We'll see how I do. I am certainly willing to give it a try.
  • He also said that had he seen my uterine lining was that thin so far into the cycle, he would have just cancelled the cycle. He said there was "no way" I could have sustained a pregnancy with a lining that thin. I told him she put me on the patch the day I triggered but he said I would've needed to have it on about 2 weeks earlier for my lining to thicken in time. I'm sure now that my lining was to blame for this miscarriage b/c as soon as I took off the patch and stopped the progesterone my hCG dropped right away. So next time I will wear the patch or do a Viagra suppository much earlier on. Interestingly, Viagra is used to address thin uterine linings b/c just in the way it works to enhance blood flow to the penis in men, apparently it does the same to the uterus in women.
  • Before we start more treatments, he is going to run some tests. I'd always wondered in the back of my mind if I needed more diagnostics so I am all for it. He's going to check my AMH first and foremost. That'll test my ovarian reserve to make sure I'm not coming up short. My response to the drugs has been ok but he wants to rule it out completely before we go any further. He's going to check my insulin and blood glucose levels to rule out any insulin resistance. This is b/c I have PCOS variance, (my 1st RE gave me the same diagnosis). What's odd though is that unlike most PCOS patients, I am not very sensitive to the drugs. I have responded with at least one mature follicle each cycle, but most PCOS patients will have much more than that. And third, he's going to do a hysteroscopy to check out my uterus to see if there's anything in there that's not allowing my lining to grow like it should. He said my estrogen levels have been ok - good enough that I should have an adequate lining. But that's not the case so he wants to do some more investigating there.
  • So once these tests are done, and if everything comes back normal, we'll proceed w/ the Clomid plan. I think I'm going to have the tests done in June, and then if we can, we'll start our next cycle w/ him in July.

It helps to have a plan and some answers, and it helps to feel like we have someone who is going to pay attention. It's given me a little bit of hope again. I am trying to think of this as a new beginning.

While I was in church this morning, flipping through the Bible, I just happened to open to John 16: 17-33. It's the "ask and you shall receive" message. He uses a woman in childbirth going through agony only to have it replaced by pure joy with the birth of her baby analogy. Jesus says, "Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy." I read those verses over and over, realizing that I didn't randomly flip to that page in my Bible. All week I cried and prayed and begged to God to show me something, anything to let me know that's He's here, that He's listening.

I think He showed me.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

On the Way Down

So this is rock bottom. This must be what Hell feels like.

I had a pregnancy. A live, living, real embryo or blastocyst. Not sure which. But it was real. I felt it. And I loved it. And now, nothing. It's still there. It's still in me, hanging on by a thread, but it will be gone eventually.

My beta was 23 on Friday, 10 dpo. Good Friday was so good indeed. Like a fool I thanked  God. Like a fool I told my family I was pregnant and gave them hope. Like a fool I let myself believe. I let myself hope. I have never hated myself more for that.

Today my beta was 25. I don't know what went wrong. My instinct is that it's ectopic b/c I have sharp pains and I fainted Sat am with cold sweats. But I don't know for sure what went wrong. It could be anything: bad egg, the fact my uterine lining was so thin this cycle, chromosomal defect, autoimmune issue as yet undiscovered. People say, it's good. It's promising that I got pregnant at all. It's a step forward. I don't feel that optimism. I don't feel that hope. Now I just have another issue to contend with. Not only am I infertile but now I may not be able to sustain a pregnancy. Ever. Is it over for me? Is it over before it even began?

Now all I can do is wait and see if my hCG drops off on its own and my body terminates the pregnancy naturally. If it doesn't it'll mean...I can't even type it out. I am so close to vomiting. Oh God, please help me. Please take away this pain. Please take away this baby. First I beg for a baby then I beg for it to be taken away. How ironic. How idiotic. How cruel is this. How will I get out of bed tomorrow? How will I go to work and pretend there isn't a dying baby inside of me? How will I wait out each day until its gone while being able to function? How will I heal? How will I live with these scars? How will I have the courage to try this again?

How? When? Why? I have so many questions that may never be answered; so many questions that can never be answered. So this is rock bottom. That's one question that no longer needs answering.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Finding Beautiful

I'm triggering tonight but this cycle has been really different from the first two, both physically and mentally.

Physically, I have one fully mature follie. Go me. Ironically enough it's on my right ovary, the "cresent" ovary, (it was partially removed along w/ a cyst back in '98). I guess my right ovary feels like it has something to prove. I have 7 medium sized follies on my left, whole ovary. The biggest one is 15mm but the rest are all 13mm and under. Also sub par is my uterine lining. It measured 6.1mm this am. From what I understand 9mm is  ideal and it's not been an issue the last two cycles. So doc has me starting on an estrogen patch Tues along with the progesterone. Should make for an interesting combination. Has anyone had to do both these post ovulation? I've been taking the progesterone post ovulation but never the estrogen. My E2 was 600 yesterday though which is about where it's been by this time from the other two cycles. So with only one mature follicle and a thinner than ideal uterine lining, I guess the odds aren't in our favor.

Mentally, the first two cycles were filled with so much anxiety by the time I ovulated, and all during the 2ww. And then depression as the beta crept closer with the realization that I wasn't PG, only to be confirmed by that formal, disconnected voice of my nurse on the other end: "I'm sorry..." Which brings me to a side note: I really hate the phrase 'I'm sorry' right now. I know that saying 'I'm sorry' is meant to convey empathy, but I hate it when people tell me they're sorry because it makes me feel like I'm sorry. They're so sorry for me. I hate the idea of people thinking how sorry of a situation I have. I guess I just hate that word. Sorry = pity. It's just a negative association at this point. I would much rather hear things like, I'm praying for you, or keep your head up. Anyway, I'm sure I come off sounding like total B with my I'm Sorry rant but that's just how I feel :\

Anyway, what I was getting to was this cycle hasn't been nearly as anxiety inducing or emotionally unstable for me. I cried and threw temper tantrums more than I thought a 30 year old woman capable of during the 1st two cycles, but not this time! I haven't cried once since I got my BFN last month. I haven't ranted (out loud) once since the last cycle. And it's not because I'm holding it in. It's because I just don't need to. I feel "normal" this cycle. I feel more like my old self, before IF became a part of my daily vocabulary. Before IF became my obession. Maybe it's because my body reacted differently to the hormones this time. Maybe it's because I've been really working on not drowning in the negative inner dialog I've fed myself for the past several months. Maybe it's because I'm starting to focus on other things like summer vacations and a career change. Those are things I can really get excited about that don't have to do with making babies! In fact,  they're kinda less than ideal for baby making ;) 

Whatever it is, it's made today much more enjoyable. I don't know how I'll feel tomorrow or the next day or the next, but today I'm chosing to focus on the things outside the private turmoil of IF. I have to remind myself consistently, but there are a lot of things I can do and think about that will help bring me peace and even happiness. Like for instance, my husband and I went on an 8 mile walk around the lake today and it was wonderful. We went after my doctor appointment, right after I'd found out about my thin uterine lining and small follicles. If we'd come home and sat all afternoon, if I'd really dwelled on this less than ideal situation of which I have no control over, I might be writing a very different blog right now. But instead we went out, drank in some sunshine, breathed in some fresh lake air, and I felt just organically happy. Just to walk beside my husband and talk to my husband for 2 hours uninterrupted about everything and nothing. So this cycle may not work again. I'll be heartbroken, no doubt. But I'll also be ok. And if I let myself, I'll also be happy again at some point. Because there will always be another sunny, beautiful day with fresh air and a clean lake and good strong legs to get me around it. And a husband at my side who has seen me at my absolute worst and loves me no less for it. For these things, life can be beautiful, if I only promise to look for the beauty.

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Power of Now

I'm back in the game. I started back on my injections the other night after the u/s this week showed my cysts are gone. So this is cycle # 3. And my HSG I had done last week didn't show any blockage. Let's hope it helped paved the way for traveling embryos.

I've been thinking a lot about plans lately - making plans mostly. I've been a planner my whole life. I need organization. I need order and structure and stability. I need to know exactly where I am going and exactly how to get there. I'm always thinking two steps ahead. I get lost in the future sometimes I think about it so much. I think about how to make it exactly as I want it. I want children so I think about what I'm going to need to do to have children. I want a career change so I think about what I have to do to make a career change. But what's funny is that while I tell myself these are things I can control, things I need to control (yes, I am a major control freak), I know that there's not much in life we have control over. The ability to have children is pretty much totally out of my control and the career change is somewhat in my control but not completely. There are a million things that could derail that plan. And that's the funny thing about plans - they rarely work out like they are supposed to.

Thinking back on my life the most important and significant events were unplanned. I didn't plan on calling my now husband one day after not speaking to him in two years and that conversation leading to the relationship that would last a lifetime. I just did it one day on a whim. I didn't plan on my now husband moving across the country to start a life with me. He told me he'd made that decision one day and 8 weeks later we were moving into an apartment together. I didn't plan on having the job and the career I have now. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. I didn't plan on being infertile.

So why do we work so hard on these big plans we make for ourselves if we know we aren't guaranteed the outcome? Why can't we just live in the moment, for the moment? I understand that there are circumstances that warrant some planning. If I am to make the career change and have children despite my infertility there needs to be some sort of plan. Waking up day after day without taking any action definitely won't make either of those things happen. But at what point do we tell ourselves, I've done enough. I'm going to go to school to make my career change, or take these shots every night, but beyond that I'm not making any more plans.

Maybe I feel like if I just keep moving at a runner's pace I'm sure to make these plans happen. And let's just say that they do. Then what? I start planning again? Maybe this time it's for a second child, or now that I've finished school I've got to land that job in my new career and work my way up the ladder. Are you exhausted yet? If you're anything like me you've been planning for so long that you don't remember where you started. And you don't know if you are where you are today because of either good or bad planning or because of coincidence or fate or whatever. But it doesn't matter why we are where we are today or how we got here. That's the past. It's over. And the future doesn't belong to any of us. For all of our planning and ambitions it's only as certain as the next sunrises and sunsets. And who is planning those?

So that just leaves us with right now. Right this minute you are reading this and in the back of your mind you're still thinking about your plans and your future. That's ok. I am too. Most of us don't live in the present nearly as much as we should and that's to our detriment. Right this minute I'm listening to the soft sounds of the crickets outside my window. I'm feeling the warm spring air through the window. I'm smelling fresh, new grass. No plans. No worries. No pain. Not for those 10 seconds that I just took a complete time out to notice those things instead of thinking about my plans and my future.

"Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry — all forms of fear — are caused by too much future, and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of non forgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence."
-Eckhart Tolle

"Be where you are. Otherwise you will miss your life."

Friday, March 18, 2011

Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes

Let's see how quickly I can catch my blog up b/c a lot has happened in 2 weeks:

  • 1st of all, I'm not PG. I got my BFN last week and it all but broke me. And this was only our second cycle on meds. God give me strength.
  • At my baseline u/s earlier this week it was discovered I have not one but 3 cysts this time. I can only hope they all 3 go away as quickly as the one I had last month did. I'll find out on the 29th. Until then I'm relishing the break from needles, hormones and a bloated belly.
  • We welcomed a new member to our family, Baby O: my only sister's second born, a baby girl, for whom I also happen to have the honor of being god mother. And she shares a birthday with her grandpa. A special little baby indeed.
Someday I will tell Baby O all about how special she is to not only her parents, who will love her with every fiber of their being, and her grandparents, her big sister and her other aunts, uncles, cousins, etc, but I will tell her about how particularly special she is to me, and how the first two weeks of her beautiful life impacted me.

Baby O was born before I got my BFN last week. Already she was thinking of others :)  It would have been an uncomfortable mix of emotions if she'd been born that same day, and unfortunately I may have always associated her birthday with it. But she spared me of that and my sister any feelings of guilt she may have had too, (I have to remind myself sometimes that I'm not the only one my IF affects). So when she was born it was to every one's pure delight. We ooh'ed and ahhh'ed over the pictures of her and immediately ran out and bought her sweet little outfits, (note to self: department store baby shopping is much easier than baby only store shopping). I've daydreamed about meeting her and holding her for the first time, standing proudly at the baptismal for her Christening. If it were any other birth, any other new baby, I would not feel this way. But there's nothing so precious as your only sister's child; my sister who I love, respect and look up to - who's irreplaceable and my best friend; the person who gave me the highest honor a parent can give someone else of being god parent to their child and legal guardian of her children. I could never, ever resent this child. She's a part of my soul too, just like her mother and her big sister. If I never have my own children, these children will be the next closet thing for me.

So for the past week I have been wallowing. I have been feeling sorry for myself, feeling angry, depressed, sad, all those self centered emotions you feel after another BFN. I'm not saying it's wrong to feel those emotions, especially after a BFN, but Baby O is responsible for redirecting my perspective on my life this week.

Baby O got really sick yesterday. She had to be rushed to the ER and she's in the hospital now with RSV. My sister is the strongest person I know for keeping it together. I don't know how she does it. But as I sat hundreds of miles away from my sister and Baby O but picturing the dire scenario and feeling helpless and beyond worried for them, I realized last night that I went an entire day without thinking about my IF. One whole day without thinking about myself and lamenting on how unfortunate I am. I slept 11 hours last night. I don't think I've slept 11 hours since I entered the Land of IF. Hmm, perhaps a correlation here? It's unfortunate it took this to take my focus off of myself. But I see now that there are so many things in this world bigger than myself. I see that the world doesn't revolve around my IF. Or at least it hasn't for the past 24 hours. For months now my life has revolved around another life that doesn't even exist.

Today I woke up without my IF weighing so heavily on my heart. It's been replaced with Baby O and my sister. I hate that they're going through this and I am worried for them but they have changed my perspectives. Despair has been replaced with hope. Fear has been replaced with faith. And an obsession with a  nonexistent baby has been replaced with a very real baby with a very real impact to leave on her world and the people in it.

Maybe God hasn't had time to think about a baby for me because there are so many in the world that need Him. It's the only part of my IF that's made sense to me so far. I would rather He focus on the babies in the world here today, because there are hundreds of thousands of my sisters all over the world keeping vigil next to an incubator right now, praying for their babies' next breath. It makes my IF seem more like if....

Friday, March 4, 2011


Stands for Progesterone Overloaded! I had it checked today and it's through the roof. Literally off the charts. Suffice to say I've been a little irritable this week. But I feel good today! I feel hopeful today. Which may not last long so I'm enjoying it while I can :)
Next Friday will be the pregnancy test. 3.11. That's a good date, right? It's a good band anyway. It also happens to be the day my sister's induction is scheduled. Maybe it's an omen? God either has a really awesome plan (it wouldn't get much better than getting a BFP the same day as the birth of my god daughter and finding out I could have a daughter of my own), or he's got a really twisted sense of humor. If it's the latter I'm going to need some tomatoes. Lots and lots of tomatoes...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I simply remember my favorite things...

I am officially done with the gonad. inj's for this cycle. I gave myself my trigger shot this am and will start on progesterone Sat. So I have 2 large and 1 medium follicle on my left ovary and 1 medium on my right. Doc said yesterday that my uterine lining looks really good - thicker this cycle. And I only had to do 9 days of injections this cycle as opposed to 12 days for the first one, so it seems she's got my dosage figured out. So I'll go back next Fri to have my progesterone test and then I believe the following week for the pregnancy test.

I let myself fantasize last pm for a little while about the fact that if this cycle works that would give us a Thanksgiving baby. I like the idea of a baby around the holidays. The holidays symbolizes family, warmth, love and giving to me. Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. I got married in June but I always thought a December wedding would have been beautiful with a Christmasey theme - ivory faux fur trimmed gown accessories, forest green bridesmaid dresses with holly berries in the bouquets, sparkly snowflake decorations, snow falling, candlelight...ahhhh. Now I fantasize about ringing in a new year with a new baby, new hopes for the future, old fears and sadness gone, long gone. I had to go to my happy place yesterday when the nurse who's drawn my blood every time this cycle, the one who abuses the hell out of my veins by shoving and yanking needles in and out for some unknown Godly reason; and that place was somewhere far away from that clinic and the sadistic nurse, filled with soft light, warmth, stillness and peace. When it was over I'm not sure if my arms ached so bad from the needles or the realization that it was only my purse I had been clinging on to...

Monday, February 21, 2011

I'm not only a member, I'm the President

It's President's Day and I'm thinking what it must have been like to have been president. President of anything. I've never been a president of anything. Never wanted to be. I have never wanted to subject myself to peer votes, scrutiny, judgement and criticism. I'm a wallflower kind of girl. I'll speak up when I want my voice to be heard, but otherwise just pretend I'm not even there. I really do prefer it that way; I always have. So to imagine being president of anything is about the least appealing thing to me.

However, I think I've become an accidental president. And it's been purely of my own accord. I've labeled myself, taken on this new role and this new identity, contemplated my new role at large, made myself own it. I am the President of Infertility in my own mind. At some point, I made my identity about being infertile. Hell, I refer to myself as "Infertile." It's who I am. It's what I do, (or rather don't do). And it's unhealthy.

I learned a couple years ago that labeling yourself and putting yourself into these categories like "childless" and "infertile," is a bad thing. Those labels tend to shape our thoughts and emotions, the way we interrelate, the way we treat ourselves. They can influence our thoughts and consequently our well being, and not always in a good way. "Infertile" has a negative connotation. You don't proudly announce to strangers that you're infertile. If you do, we need to talk because that makes you a very unique individual. So I have given myself a label that I associate with all these negative emotions; there are countless amounts of them that I don't need to list because if you're reading this you already know them, or you can probably pretty well guess what those are. So in labeling myself as an Infertile I've attached myself to all those other negative terms. "Because I am Infertile, I am insert negative thought or emotion here."

So I am going to start working on resigning from the Infertile label. I haven't quite figured out how I'm going to do that yet - your suggestions are welcome. But I know if I can take myself out of that box then maybe some of the negative things I think about myself as a result will start to go away some.

In other news, my dr appt this am showed two large follicles on the good ovary and one medium sized one on the gimpy ovary - a feat in itself! My estradiol is up to 182 today from 62 on Fri, so doc thinks I'll be ready for my trigger shot Wed. or Thurs. This cycle has been a lot easier than the first. Maybe it's because I've known what to expect so I'm a little less scared, but either way, it feels like a small accomplishment. For today that's good enough for me. After all, I am the President so if it's good enough for me it should be good enough for everyone :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

No Cyst = Injectible Bliss

I went back to the dr yesterday to have my cyst checked out and it's gone! And she said I could go ahead and get started on my 2nd cycle of gonad. inj's! Very exciting. I thought I'd have to wait for another period but she said it was up to me but I was free to go ahead, so I'm going on ahead. Why wait? So here we go with Attempt # 2. She's got me on the higher dosage to start, which is how she ended the last cycle, so I expect to be a hormonal mess by next week. And bloated. Ugh. I've really enjoyed the joys of a non bloated abdomen these past 3 weeks. Oh well, beggars can't be choosers...

Monday, January 31, 2011

Practice Makes Better

When I was in middle school, everyday in gym class consisted of having to participate in some sport I absolutely hated. I have never had athletic ability, much less talent, so everyday in gym class the mean girls would patronize me. I was the last one picked. I was the one laughed at. It was humiliating.

And then one day, after an especially self deflating game of volleyball in gym class, I asked my mom to buy me a volleyball, which she did, and I started to practice at home by myself everyday. We didn't have a net but I would stand at the back of our driveway and practice spiking and volleying off the garage and the side of our house. As much as I hated playing volleyball in gym class, as embarrassed as I was by my performance, when I was alone and slapping that ball around, something inside me started to release. With every slap of that ball a little more frustration and anxiety moved from my insides, out through my hand. That ball was the head of every mean girl in that class that made me feel so inferior.

Last week when I got my BFN I went to the gym immediately after work and pounded out my frustration and anxiety on the treadmill. Every time my foot landed on the treadmill I imagined myself squashing the pain I felt. You better believe it felt good! But I didn't do that today. Instead I surrendered to the pain. And I'm learning from that mistake.

My period started on its own which definitely felt like a small victory since I hadn't had one in over a year. So I went in all ready to take on the 2nd cycle. I brought my positive attitude and a smile on my face. But the u/s showed I have a cyst on my left ovary, the good one, so it was over before it began. Cysts are apparently a common occurrence with gonadotropin injections. And my RE said they're really not a big deal; it should go away on its own, but until then it's a time out. And it's seriously frustrating.

I didn't sleep much over the w/e, probably from too much caffeine, and I woke up exhausted today. The exhaustion manifested into what was a horrible headache by the end of the day. I put myself to bed at 5:30. My last fleeting thought as I drifted off was how badly I just wanted to stay in that state until I could wake up to no more cysts, no more infertility, no more waiting for the inevitable, ultimate let down; just to wake up after one long, all to real nightmare. Well I'm awake now and the reality has been taunting me like the mean girls in gym class.

Isn't it funny how so much can change yet stay the same? Sixteen years later and I still feel that inferiority and insecurity like I did when I was 14, (my hormones are still raging too). I still have a nemesis, although now it just doesn't have a face. And I still have it in me to fight that nemesis. Even though I never was the gym class hero, at some point, after all those afternoons with my volleyball on our driveway, I got better. Practice didn't make perfect but it made better. I stopped being so afraid of the ball. I started hitting it back. And the mean girls weren't so mean anymore.

So as I sit here feeling sorry for myself, just the way I felt all those years ago, I can see myself standing in our driveway, staring down at that volleyball, throwing it up in the air, striking it with the heel of my hand. And sending it flying.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I Just Haven't Met You Yet

We got our first negative pregnancy test result today. I would write all about my feelings - those ones simmering under my skin like blood blisters, threatening to break open and ooze the gunk that I can feel in the pit of my stomach, the back of my throat and behind my eyes, making me feel as though I could break into a thousand tiny pieces. Those omnipresent feelings that are trying really hard to take over me, mind and body. But I'm fighting an internal war with those feelings right now that takes all my concentration, so until further notice, I will be doing battle. Day in and day out.

What's the next step? Another cycle, but first I have to wait for a period, which may not come considering I haven't had one in 14 months. I'm to wait 10 days and if I still don't start one I'll have to notify my RE. So if you don't hear from me for a while, that's why. Once my period starts I can begin Cycle #2.

I heard this song on the radio yesterday. Whoever wrote it thought he/she wrote it for all the lonely single people out there. Little did he/she probably know that it could touch someone who's not longing for a lover in their life, but a special someone never the less....

I'm not surprised, not everything lasts
I've broken my heart so many times, I stopped keeping track
Talk myself in, I talk myself out
I get all worked up, then I let myself down

I tried so very hard not to lose it
I came up with a million excuses
I thought of every possibility

And I know someday that it'll all turn out
You'll make me work, so we can work to work it out
And I promise you, Kid, that I give so much more than I get
I just haven't met you yet

I might have to wait, I'll never give up
I guess it's half timing, and the other half's luck
Wherever you are, whenever it's right
You'll come out of nowhere and into my life

And I know that we can be so amazing
And, Baby, your love is gonna change me
And now I can see every possibility

And somehow I know that it'll all turn out
You'll make me work, so we can work to work it out
And I promise you, Kid, I give so much more than I get
I just haven't met you yet

They say all's fair
In love and war
But I won't need to fight it
We'll get it right and we'll be united

And I know that we can be so amazing
And being in your life is gonna change me
And now I can see every single possibility

And someday I know it'll all turn out
And I'll work to work it out
Promise you, Kid, I'll give more than I get

I just haven't met you yet.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hope Bloats

I was so happy to be done with the injections for a while but the progesterone is starting to catch up to me :\  I feel hungry pretty much all the time, irritability comes and goes, but by far the most uncomfortable side effect is the bloating. Anything that doesn't have an elastic waist can feel uncomfortable and I feel pretty self conscious about it. I keep looking at my stomach in mirrors from side angles the way pregnant women do. I don't know why I like to torture myself. It's so ironic that the same drug(s) that are supposed to help you conceive have side effects that mirror pregnancy symptoms. It's like the ultimate betrayal by my body - I'm gonna make you think and feel like you're pregnant, but SYCH! Just kidding. What, you mean you don't want all the pregnancy symptoms without the actual pregnancy?! Me and my body are on two different pages. Or books more like it.

Despite the sarcasm, I really am feeling pretty okay psychologically. I've been trying to keep a positive attitude and focus on things outside the baby world, like work, family, friends. I've been thinking I need a new hobby. Exercise has been it for a long time but I've been scaling back, especially my cardio, just in case. Reading provides a great escape but I need something somewhat physical that I can turn my energy towards. Although I don't have a lot of that right now, so maybe something that will help perk it up.

I got very good news on Tuesday! My progesterone level is through the roof (well into the 40s), so I'm still in the running and responding really well (maybe too well if you ask me), to the medicine, although my RE didn't want to decrease my dosage. But that made me feel good that those results were so positive. Not because it necessarily means I'm pregnant, but certainly the more progesterone the better, and hopefully it's a sign of things to come, i.e. a successful cycle.

I go back next week for the moment of truth. The culmination of the past 4 weeks. Do or die. Make or break. The all mighty, all powerful, Pregnancy Test. Dun Dun Duh! It seems a little early to me b/c it'll only be about 10 days post ovulation. So if I get a negative you better believe I'll be administering a follow up! Maybe that's the overachiever in me. I guess I just don't trust my body at this point even one iota. B/c you know the second I know for sure I'm not pregnant I am having a drink or two or three, etc.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Now Faith

My coworker sends out daily devotionals that she gets, I believe from Joel Osteen. I guess He knew I wouldn't be listening, but I am reading...

Today's Scripture:
" Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen"
(Hebrews 11:1, KJV).
Today's Word:
The Bible says that faith gives substance to the things you hope for. In other words, faith brings those things into your life. Notice this verse starts by saying, “Now faith…” It’s not “later” faith or “one day” faith. It’s faith for today, right now.
So, what does it mean to have “now” faith? The basic definition of faith, according to the Bible, is simply believing in God’s goodness and believing that He rewards the people who seek after Him. It’s taking His Word as truth—right now. Can you believe that God wants to move in your life, today? Do you believe He can provide for your need, today? Do you believe He can heal your relationship, today? Do you believe He can give you that promotion, today?
Whatever you are hoping for, open your heart and expect that God is working on your behalf, right now. Dare to believe that God will come through for you, today. Stand strong and declare that the victory is yours, now! Let your words put action behind your “now” faith and receive His strength and power to see victory in every area of your life!
Prayer for Today:
Father in heaven, today I choose to believe that You are working behind the scenes on my behalf. I trust that You have a good plan for me and that You are leading and guiding my every step. Help me stand strong in You, today. In Jesus’ Name. Amen

Monday, January 10, 2011


So I guess tomorrow's the day. 1/11/11. That's gotta be a good sign, right? Our RE said this am everything looks good; we're scheduled for the "trigger" shot in the am, go to "work," and then I guess it's the waiting game for about 2 weeks after. This am I felt pretty optimistic - excited in fact. But now there's a bowling ball in my stomach. I'm scared. Like, really scared. And I can't really explain why. I'm not afraid of pain or shots or anything physical like that. I can handle that. I've been thru many car wrecks, a major surgery, self-injections most recently; I'm a bad ass.


On the inside I feel so fragile. I'm afraid of failure. I know that the chances of this working on the first cycle are so small. I've read the stat's. I know the stories. Failure happens. A lot. How am I going to handle it if/when we're added to the list? I know, I'm putting the cart before the horse right now. How can I expect this to work if I keep telling myself it's not going to work? I've heard the advise. Relax, have fun. It'll happen. Put it in God's hands and He will provide. Trust in the Lord.


These verbs are so anti synonymous with IF.

I've got a lot of praying to do...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

And on the 7th day He rested...

I read that Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban named their daughter Sunday (sp?), because as a childless couple Sundays were always the hardest. Sundays are family days and those were the days that felt the emptiest to them. I used to think Sunday was a really odd name for a child. Now I think it's the most beautiful name I've ever heard.

My Sunday is the 11th day of my hormone therapy. It's going well considering I've only had a couple of "episodes" this past week, the bloating and fatigue are manageable, and I'm shooting my injections like a seasoned diabetic. Side bar, to all those diabetics out there - you don't get nearly enough credit for dealing with what you do. I think about you as the clock ticks closer to 9 pm every night; as much as I dread and might complain about the shots, I don't have to do them for the rest of my life. So kudos!

Tomorrow we go back to the RE in the am to see how I've progressed since Friday. Friday I had about 4 tiny follicles, which is pretty minimal from what I understand, considering the fact I'm pumping myself with so much hormone that I should have enough follies to make Octomom envious. But at this point I'll take what I can get. I know it's still early and this is all a process so as long as I can keep it up, I'm keeping a positive attitude. So once my follies are mature enough and I have enough of them, I'll get my shot of Ovidrel (sp?) that will release my follies from my ovaries and then it's Go Time. At my u/s on Friday my RE also said my uterine lining is showing progress as well, another essential component for baby-making apparently. I'm learning a lot about the reproductive process. I've always had a fascination with anatomy and physiology so this is right up my alley. Literally. Ha.

But what I really wanted to mention in this blog is a situation I encountered yesterday. It almost caught me off guard, but I'm glad it came up b/c I know it will be the first of many. My BFF and I were at the home of an acquaintance of ours. She has a toddler and an infant and being on the subject of babies and pregnancies, she asked me the Thousand Dollar Question: So when do you think you might have a baby? Now, if my life were a sitcom this is where the scene would freeze and I would speak directly to the viewers, Zack Morris style. And the monologue would have gone something like this:

"She wants to know when I'm gonna have a baby! Well let's see, probably the minute my dormant ovaries WAKE THE F--- UP! But I don't know lady, you tell me. I know, let's all take a bet. Whoever gets the closest to the date the miracle of synthetic hormones work their magic gets a free box of Bravelle! And if you act in the next 5 minutes we'll throw in a free box of sharps!"

But what she heard was, well we tried for a year but I'm not ovulating so now I'm on hormone shots. I just started just before the New Year so it's still early. But we'll see what happens. Silence. Stunned silence. Then, oh well good luck! Well thanks, I can certainly use it. And that promptly ended any further prodding. So this is how I will handle it when, unsolicited, acquaintances ask about the state of our family planning. Ask and you shall receive I suppose. I figure this way any future inquiries are prevented. When's the last time you wanted to ask someone you don't know very well how their fertility treatments are going? Yeah, me either.