Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Evolution of My Bookshelf

In the beginning there was "The Devil Wears Prada," "Freakonomics," "Jane Eyre," and the like.  I generally rotate my reading list to include a beach book, a best-seller and then a classic that I never read, or merely glossed over in high school. 

Then, in crept a little book titled, "What to Expect Before You're Expecting" and "The Working Mom's Survival Guide."  I was so excited to have purchased these. I can still remember telling my friend with the now 1-year old, that I'd purchased these.  Little did I know that these would lead to the establishment of an entire shelf related to my pursuit of motherhood.

A few months later came, "Taking Charge of Your Fertility" and "Eating Well for Fertility" or something along those lines. Hmmm, maybe I'm not doing this right.  Then I dug out my natural family planning book from our marriage prep classes.  Next I purchased Randine Lewis' "The Fertility Cure" which basically convinced me I had I then purchased "Endometriosis: A Key to Healing Through Nutrition," and I tried my hand at eating gluten and dairy free. 

When Clomid, IUIs, surgery and IVF didn't work, I purchase Dr. Beers' book, "Is Your Body Baby Friendly?" to which I've now convinced myself I have some immune related issues and will be getting tested next week. 

The home study process required the book, "Raising Adopted Children" which really opened my eyes to the world of adoption and allowed me to come to grips with the reality of the experience.  It helped me recognize that I might not be ready to jump into that world right this second based on the current state of affairs.  But that perhaps, I needed a bit more time before we actively search for a birth mother.  This realization has led me to the 1st of 2 books that are up next in the line-up: "Adopting After Infertility."

Friday is the first official meeting of The Fake Book Club - basically a group of my friends have come together to sip wine and catch up. We figured there should be a book involved at least for the first few get-togethers.  Thank GOD, I managed to sneak "The Help" in during all my infertility reading.  I'm hoping the reading requirement will phase out sooner rather than later, because I doubt no one else wants to read, "The Long Awaited Stork" which is currently on my nightstand -because, let's face it - the bookshelf is full.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Pregnant Bride

I got some news today from my mom.  One of my very best friends in grade school and throughout high school got engaged at Christmas.  Her family lived on our street for many years and when I was in college, they moved back to Ohio.  We remained friends and I see her family at least once a year.  Well, my mom told me that they aren't having a big wedding - "only 100 people" - and I probably wouldn't be invited.

Now, my mom and our friends back home are all very sad they won't be invited to the wedding as first of all - 100 people is no small wedding and second of all, these people are like family.  I am definitely disappointed.  My mom is very upset.  The kicker - my friend is pregnant! Yup, my mom relayed that news as well but I guess she's not due until September and the wedding (the one I won't be invited to) is in May. 

There's a sneaking suspicion floating around there that my friend got pregnant on purpose.  Knowing her, there could be some truth to this but I don't know what to believe. Either way, I feel like I got punched in the gut twice today.  I don't know whether to be happy, disappointed in her - or what. Right now, I'm a little glad that I won't have to go see a pregnant bride this May. I think I would probably hurl if I had to go.

Friday, February 24, 2012

A Different Kind of Wait

I'm talking about the weight.  The IVF weight.  The weight I gained as a result of having our first IVF and FET cycles over Thanksgiving and Christmas.  There was less exercising and more eating - along with crazy hormones for almost 3 months straight.

I got fat. Well, not technically fat - but big enough that I had to go out and buy a new pair of jeans.  I have to be strategic every morning I get dressed for work and make sure I pick out a dress or one of my larger pairs of dress pants because I haven't lost the weight yet. It's really frustrating because before IVF, I was at a consistent 128 which is still more than I want to be but I could live with.  I'm a petite 5'0" with an athletic build and my ideal weight is more like 125 - but hey I can dream. I have gotten there before.  

Over the course of the IVFs, I crept up to 136. It's been about 3 weeks since our chemical and I was just praying and hoping the weight would just disappear.  Hmmmm, not happening. I guess I got used to eating too much or something.  I worked really hard last week and got down to 133 where I've stayed.  I had hoped to loose another 3 this week, but it didn't happen.  I am hoping the fact that I've given up red meat and cheese for Lent is going to help.  I have borderline high cholesterol so I figured I'd kill 2 birds with one stone. I don't think God will mind. 

Cheese is my weakness. Wine is too but hey, a girl has to have some fun.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Wonders of Technology

A few minutes ago, I received this email from my very pregnant younger sister
[redacted of course]:
Hey Friends and Family-

Baby time is fast approaching at the [sister's] household and thanks to the wonders of technology we have set up an awesome way to let you all know when our little lady has arrived!  We will be sending out the news via text alert.  It is easy and FREE to all of you lovely people, and don't worry I promise you won't get text spammed or anything like that.

If you would like to get a text when baby arrives, all you have to do to get added to the list is:
TEXT: [their last name] 
to the Number: [some numbers here]

You will then get 2 texts back, one from duffled (the text company), and then one from us letting you know you are all set up!  

Then we wait :)!

My response to my sister:  "If all I get is a text, you're in big trouble!" 

I mean I'm the godmother for Pete's sake!  And thank you Duffled or whoever you are. Really? Really? Did we need this?  Can infertiles block these things?

Monday, February 20, 2012


What is with all the freaking pregnant ladies in my yoga class?!?!?! I mean seriously - it's not prenatal yoga - it's power yoga. It's 100 degrees. This is "OMG-my-arms-are-gonna-fall-off-and-even-my-elbows-are-sweating" yoga.  Pregnant ladies... you're killing my focus!

I recently returned to my favorite yoga studio.  I had been instructed by my accupuncturist to stay away from hot yoga - Baptiste and Bikram - because of the hot temperatures.  The fertility meds "heat up" your ovaries so the extra heat is not good for you.  Well since we're on a break for a few months, I decided to go back.  I had been practicing at another, non-heated studio, but it's not the same. In my 6 months at the other studio, I think I ran into one pregnant lady - one.  That I could handle.

Last Sunday was my first class back.  My f-ing instructor was visibly pregnant.  Immediately some 4-letter words ran through my mind.  There were about 2 other pregnant ladies in the class as well.  They're everywhere.  I mean I go to yoga to focus, to exercise, to sweat and not to see pregnant ladies! Get outta my CLASS! Ok rant ending now - just had to vent.  Namaste.  

Friday, February 17, 2012

No More Pencils, No More Books...

No, wait - that's not quite right but who the heck cares! I don't have a doctor's appointment for 10 whole days!  I seriously can't believe it. This is sure to sound absurd to those "on the outside," but 10 whole days without one single therapy session, blood draw, ultra sound, WTF consult, egg retrieval, acupuncture session, egg transfer, physical (had that Wednesday), heck -- dentist check up -- is, to put it lightly, F-ing AMAZING.

I can't remember the last time I went 10 days without seeing a doctor of some sort. It must have been back in August when we were on vacation in Ireland.  Right after vacation, we jumped into 2 natural cycle IVFs, and then after that a fresh IVF followed by a frozen...and here we are.  I started therapy back in October and I go weekly when I'm cycling and every other week when I'm not.  My therapist had to move next week's session, and when she did - I flipped an entire page in my planner and did a double take.  I mean, I even took my puppy to the Vet today for her annual check up so there's no chance I'll have to go there either.  Barring any freak emergency, I'll be physician-free for just over a week.  I've got to see the positive side of this crazy life, right?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Officially Not Pregnant Anymore

Just got the call from the clinic saying my HCG is finally back to zero. 

It was really hard going in for blood work this morning.  On check out, I had a question about my billing and the staff assistant asked, "Did you have a positive pregnancy test?" I answered as best I could, "Well I did...then I didn't."  I didn't know how to say anything else.  It was as simple as that. One day it was there and the next - nothing.  This really blows!

I'm trying to concentrate on next steps - solo adoption meeting with the social worker tomorrow. I hope I don't cry during this one.  It will be hard not having E there with me.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Wow - it's mid-February! I had forgotten how much time seems to fly by when you're not cycling or in a 2WW or waiting to cycle. I know technically we may be cycling again but it's a few months out - either April/May or most likely May/June.  I do hope these next three months fly by.

Before I jump in here - Beta last Friday was at 11.7 so I have to get tested again on Thursday.  It had better be negative by then!

I have been so busy gathering all the necessary paperwork and meeting with our social worker.  We had our first official meeting last Thursday.  It lasted about 2 hours and we talked about how we met, what first attracted us to our spouse, our early relationship...and we talked about infertility.

I described the road we've been on for the past 2.5 years and how I recently began seeing a therapist.  Surprisingly, they are very supportive if you're getting counseling.  They like to know you're dealing with all the feelings surrounding your infertility and adoption in a healthy and productive way.  In describing our road, I broke down at one point when I got to my sister's pregnancy. It's basically what drove me into therapy.  I didn't expect to cry and it really caught me off guard. 

I still have so many jealous, angry, guilty feelings surrounding my sister's pregnancy. I wish I could be there for her at this time. I wish I could be happy for her and talk about the baby's room, the decorations, etc. I can barely even muster up the tiniest, "How are you feeling today?" when we chat on the phone which is few and far between these days.  Therapy has taught me though that all these things are normal and that one day, infertility will be over.  GOD I HOPE SOON!

Anyway, the meeting went really well and I have my one-on-one meeting with our social worker this Friday.  I am currently working on the adoption questionnaire which has to be submitted before the meeting.  Apparently, most people write about 2-3 pages. I'm at 6 and I'm not even done yet. I suppose I'm over thinking all of this and just need to get to the point.

There have been a few more interesting adoption bumps which I haven't yet blogged about but will soon.  This process, now that we're in the weeds, is difficult! It's not romantic like they show in the movies - it's very serious.  I guess I had idealized adoption somewhat to making it more simple than it really is. I thought, well, you fill out some forms, wait a little while and then someone hands you the baby you've been wanting for so long.  Well, nope not like that at all I'm discovering.  I have been forced to get to the oh-so messy feelings behind adoption, are we ready? can I do this? what does having a child who isn't biologically mine really mean? There will be grief that we as adoptive parents experience. There will be grief that our child experiences. 

I have always admired adoptive parents, but going through this process, I have come to respect and appreciate them even more. It truly takes a special couple or individual to put themselves ALL THE WAY out there, to open their hearts and adopt.   

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Reproductive Immunology - To Test or Not To Test?

The world of assisted reproductive technology is not an exact science, controversy abounds and there seems to be boat loads of money to be made. In my 2.5 years of seeking the assistance of a reproductive endocrinologist, I have consulted with a grand total of 5 REs - not including my 2 surgeons who did my lap and my appendectomy and the NaPro OBGYN.  Since proving my doctors wrong with my stage 4 endometriosis, I have developed a deep sense of distrust in any one or two medical opinions.  This is a double-edged sword. 

I am exhausted from requesting, copying and mailing my medical records.  I am exhausted from scheduling and attending appointments.  I think I am exhausting E by dragging him around to all these appointments with me.  Some REs have disagreed and some have agreed with certain aspects of another doctor's treatment - but certainly the difference of opinion is staggering in this medical arena.

Probably one of the most controversial aspects seems to be the immune system's role in infertility.  Most REs prescribe to the view that if you test enough things, you're bound to find something wrong OR the opinion that immunology tests aren't standardized enough yet OR the presence of immune markers don't necessarily point to worse outcomes with IVF.  Whatever the case may be, it's tough to find a "believer" if you don't go to one of the top clinics like Cornell, SIRM or CCRM.

I have always felt more comfortable making decisions about our treatment having more information - it's why I pushed for the lap.  That and surgery was covered by insurance where IVF was not.  I want to know the WHY.  So we embark now on the path of immune testing.

I had no idea it will take so freaking LONG to get the results! The first thing RE #4 said was that you have to be patient. Gee, boy - if there's something an infertile shouldn't have to be told it's to "be patient."

Here's the plan:
After I get a negative beta (Friday I hope), E and I come in for immunology blood work 2 weeks later. HCG has to be out of my system.  The results will be in about 2 weeks after testing.

When I get my next period - hmm let's see...about 3 weeks from today, I need to call the office to schedule an endometrial biopsy for cycle days 24-26 of that cycle.  No trying to get pregnant on our own this month or next because if we accidentally get pregnant, that will mess up the test. HAHA accidentally, right.
2 weeks after the biopsy is done, we will get results and formulate a plan.  Say mid-April.  OMG!

I am truly hoping and praying that I have nothing going on in there that would suggest I need immune therapy.  RE #4 seemed to think there could be a chance I don't have any additional issues and all we need to do is adjust the protocol - Long Lupron and add ICSI.  That means I would be cycling again say April/May or May/June.

But if I do have immune issues and they have to be treated before we cycle (which happens) then we're looking at a July/August timeline. Holy heck! How will I ever wait that long? 

We will decide in April whether or not to solicit for a birth mother or to do one more IVF.  We have a long road either way.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The De-brief

On Friday I was finally in the mind-set to talk to the doc about what went wrong.  He shared his disappointment with us and said he was truly sorry - he thought this was it.  He also said that while it's not unheard of - it's certainly unusual for a beta # like I had to go downhill so fast. 

Since my beta on Friday was down to 170, I will go back in this Friday to make sure it's negative. They will need to follow it all the way down.  Since it declined so rapidly, I fully expect to have a negative # on Friday - but we could always be surprised. I stopped my meds on Friday and began spotting Saturday. Now AF is in full force.

The doc is hopeful that all we really need is a new protocol.  Oddly, it's the same protocol RE #2 originally presented to us.  RE #4 also agrees with as referenced in today's appointment, but I'll blog about that tomorrow. It's strange to finally have 3 doctors agree on something fertility related here.  So not my experience thus far. RE #3 (current) suggested long lupron protocol with ICSI because we had such a poor fertilization rate. They should be sending me a new protocol this week so I can review it and think about next steps. 

E and I took Thursday off work to process everything as Wednesday, I was pretty much a zombie.  An appointment with my therapist Thursday afternoon definitely helped me process my grief.  I took Friday off as well and spent it running some errands and chilling out. We had dinner with some fabulous friends from our RESOLVE support group which was just what the doctor ordered. Margaritas and fajitas with some fun people who just "get it."  Our friends gave us an update from group since we missed - 1 of the 3 couples (me and E included) had a sustained BFP.  It was the couple who had been in group the longest, had endured the most and had waited almost 1 year for their donor egg cycle.  I am thrilled for them, but they were the support group veterans.  That means E and I will now be the longest standing members of the group I think.  It's a little daunting to realize.  We started attending group in May right after my lap - a whole 8 months later and nada. A chemical pregnancy is all we have to show for it, but I suppose it's better than nothing. I am so happy for them but so sad for us.  That just seems to be how the infertility game works.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

I am better today, but...

There will be no announcing my pregnancy when my sister delivers her first in March. There will be no Easter dinner where we share the news with my cousins.  There will be no October 3rd birthday parties in the yard when the weather has cooled, yet it's still warm and you can start to smell fall in the air.  There will be no year of the dragon baby. 2012 will not be the year I give birth.

We missed group last night because we didn't know how to handle it.  I'm not having a baby, but I'm not not pregnant either technically.  I would probably just ball my eyes out anyway, but not being there hurts too. I miss my friends. The only ones who can understand the pain I'm in. And yet, they'll likely think we're missing group because we have good news to share.  That's the worst part.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Speechless...and not in a good way

I got the message 45 mins ago as I was walking back to work from lunch with a friend.  I saw who had called and my legs went numb.  My heart was beating through my ears.  I had to remind myself to breathe and that no matter what I'd be OK.  As soon as I heard the tone of her voice, I knew.  Beta levels dropped to 400 something.  The doctor will call this afternoon. Come back in on Friday.  Continue your meds. I'm so sorry.

I called E, told him the news. His reaction, "Well that's what we thought" -was not what I wanted to hear and I hung up on him.  I turned my phone on silent.  When E emailed, I told him what the nurse had said and that I couldn't talk to the doc today but if he wanted to, he could. 

I have no idea how I will make it through work today. I wish I could say that I'm numb, but I'm not. I feel each fiber of my head, my heart, my muscles, my joints, my fingers and my toes and they all hurt like hell.  

The Cloud

I had no idea just how miserable and unhappy I've been this past year, or even the last 2 years until yesterday.  I knew I wasn't myself of course, I had good days and bad days, but it wasn't until yesterday that I realized I had been living a "new normal."

This weekend when I saw a glimmer of hope in the first BFP I ever witnessed, the cloud started to move away.  I felt a little lighter, the scenery seemed a little prettier and even my terrible boss didn't seem so bad.  I began to hope again. 

Then as the events of yesterday unfolded, I felt the cloud creep back over.  I hadn't even realized I had been living under this cloud until it was lifted off for a few brief moments.  I suddenly thought to myself, "How on Earth will I get through this?"  Then it dawned on me, "I'll survive...I've been doing it all along.  Somehow putting one foot in front of the other."  I'll just being going back to the old me, and leaving the fleeting new me behind.

The cloud hurts.  It makes me skip things I wish I could attend. It makes me feel guilty, it makes me jealous, it makes me someone I know in my heart that I am not.  I will be happy to get rid of it, but it's familiar and I suppose I have learned how to deal with it. 

These thoughts led me to another, albeit, spiritual or new-age-y thought: I wonder if we only experience happiness if we've experienced pain?  That we don't understand what it means to have happy feelings if we're happy all the time.  The things I noticed during my brief respite from the pain were simple, insignificant things, but they were incredibly beautiful to me.  I would like to return to the beautiful but I don't think I'll be coming back to that any time soon.

Now, as I am waiting for the results of my beta test, I just want to sleep. I want to sleep until my life is happy again.  I know I have some control over this situation but it's hard to remember right now and all I want to do is sleep till it's over.