Friday, March 23, 2012

Tornadoes

Growing up in tornado alley, I learned how powerful and destructive these storms can be. The summer in the midwest is tornado season, with sudden shifts in temperature giving reason to watch the skies. As a small child, prior to understanding what they were, I remember being afraid of these monsters as I was convinced they would crawl out of the sky and gobble me whole. As I grew, I learned how to protect myself from these threats. And then later on as a teenager, while working as a lifeguard, I became attune to the signs and symptoms of these storms: high temperatures forecasting thunderstorms, sudden shifts in temperature, hail, the sky turning green and even how to read the clouds. Though I've never seen a tornado, I have seen funnel clouds and seen the aftermath of them touching down. The damage ranging from bits of siding being removed from a house to streets being torn apart.


The thing about tornadoes is that after a period of living in an area that is primed to have them, you begin to learn ways to cope. Sure, the fear certainly exists (I remember accusing a friend of going on a "suicide mission" when he insisted on driving even though the sirens were blowing), but after awhile you learn that even if the worst happens, as long as you protect yourself, you'll rebuild and survive. Part of that protection meant fortifying your house, knowing which areas were unsafe when the weather shifted, finding cover and staying clear of glass. The other part involved being prepared, having a plan and not losing your cool.

Infertility is similar. While living in the land of IF, you learn through the help of others as well as trial and error how to survive. When bad news hits like a tornado, you learn to protect yourself so you are not mortally wounded. Sometimes the tornadoes catch us off guard and we are greatly hurt. But with help and time, we rebuild and heal. And we learn how to fortify with the hope that the next storm won't yield as much damage.

In December, following our first IVF cycle, Grey and I let our guard down. With the news of our first ever BFP, we began to relax and look towards the future. The news on January 1st was a class 5 tornado that surprised both of us, destroying everything in it's path. Following the confirmation that I had indeed miscarried, we began to pick through the rubble, hoping to find something that could be salvaged. Our wounds from those couple of weeks are still not completely healed and will definitely result in some lovely scars, but we are healing and have found moments to treasure from the cycle in December. In addition, we still had 6 embryos and the doctors reassured us that they still had hope. And so, cautiously, we made plans to try again, fortifying ourselves to another tornado.

Today was my first beta. The day started with signs of a storm, as my clinic was suffering a brown out and couldn't perform basic services. We were shuttled off to the main hospital for the blood-draw, performed by a new phlebotomist who was so very nervous he would hurt me (he did a wonderful job and I made sure to tell him so) and then began a process of trying to figure out where I could pick up my prescription for more Crinone if the test came back positive. What should have taken us only 20 minutes took 1 1/2 hours. At one point I looked at Grey and reasoned that if everything was going so wrong, maybe it was a good sign. After all, the last time everything went so well and we lost everything. Maybe the Universe decided this part of the process was to be our storm.

Somehow I made it to work in time to give lecture and then went off to lab meeting. All the time thinking that the later they called, the more likely it was that this cycle was a flop.

At 1:30 pm the nurse from my clinic called. She started taking about instructions for Sunday when I stopped her to ask her the result.

Nurse E: "Wait a minute, I thought Dr. Optimism had called you"

Me: "Nope. So what's the number."

Nurse E: "Well, I'm not suppose to tell you. That's Dr. Optimism's job. But I will say this . . . it's good"

Me: "How good?"

Nurse E: " Like beta = 306 good"

Cue uncontrollable laughter.

I did get a chance to speak with Dr. Optimism about the number (loss of power for 4 hours tends to royally screw up a work day) and she's really happy and optimistic. Still Grey and I are cautious.

We're cautious because we've been here before and been so greatly hurt.

And we're cautious because we are not longer naive. We now know first hand that pregnancy does NOT equal a baby. That all of this can all be taken away. That we are still in the middle of tornado season and it can destroy everything we've worked so hard for.

Tonight I am happy, but I am also nervous. Because of this, I'm staying close to my cave, refusing to think too far into the future.

Beta #2 is on Sunday. In the meantime, I'm watching the skies for funnel clouds.


29 comments:

  1. Congratulations!!! I am incredibly happy for you hon. This is the wonderful news I wanted to hear today. I know it's only the beginning and there are a lot of fears to be had, but you are one step closer to your baby. Take the time to be happy and celebrate. Know that I am grinning from ear to ear for you. In fact, I would be glad to meet up with you and celebrate in person!
    Please tell your hubby congrats for me.

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  2. I have been stalking your blog all day to find out what happened! I'm SO SO happy for you and SO hopeful! You have every reason to be cautious and careful especially with everything you've just been through a few months back. You also both deserve to enjoy the moment so I hope you're able to revel in the happy news this weekend!

    Congratulations!! I am praying for a healthy, strong beta on Sunday! Lots of love to you all!

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  3. Your post has been sitting untouched in my blog reader for an entire hour because I just couldn't bring myself to read it. I knew that it was either was going to be really good, or really bad. And I didn't want to read it if it bad. I didn't want to think about you in pain or having to cope with yet another blow. I was protecting myself- just like we all innately do.

    But it was really good, and I'm flipping ecstatic. My heart is swollen and I have a huge-ass grin on my face. I know there are still a few storms to weather, but right now it's nothin' but sunshine and blue skies. Congrats my friend.

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  4. Amazing!!! So happy for you!! Today you are pregnant!

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  5. Oh how wonderful! That is a great number! Congrats!!!

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  6. Fantastic... congratulations :)) What a great number :) Thinking of you for beta #2 xoxo

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  7. Oh, Cristy, I am so happy for you! I would be cautious too, but I'm slowly learning how to be cautious, and excited. I'm really hopeful that I'll be able to follow you through a successful pregnancy over the next 9 or so months :)

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  8. Congrats, Cristy! This is wonderful. I'm thinking of you this weekend and hoping Sun yields a great beta.

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  9. I just now had a chance to read your blog. There aren't words to describe how happy I am for you at this moment. I know you are very cautious and with good reason. I hope this one proves your worries wrong and you move through this pregnancy uneventful and happy. You deserve that.

    Holy hell what a great number!

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  10. Congratulations on a great first beta! I'm sending lots of good thoughts your way for a healthy and happy pregnancy. Take extra special care of yourself. :)

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  11. OMG I'm thrilled for you! This is your take home baby!
    xoxoxo

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  12. Huge congratulations. It's tornado land when going through fertility treatments for sure. I truly hope you'll have a healthy pregnancy all the way.

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  13. Im not sure how I missed this post!! Congrats!! Wishing all the best on Sunday!!

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  14. Congratulations! Great first BETA! Hoping for a big number tomorrow! Fingers crossed!!

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  15. Congratulations! Wishing you only blue skies for this pregnancy!

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  16. How wonderful!!!!!!! I hope and wish for you an awesome pregnancy and a very Health & Happy 9 months!!

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  17. I think this is the first time since I joined two months ago that I have seen a pregnancy post from anyone and I am so excited for you and hoping that big number comes in tomorrow...congratulations!!

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  18. Here from ICLW and WOW what a great post to stumble upon! Good luck with the next beta!

    (And thank you for your thoughts on my post :) )

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  19. Congrats!! So excited for you :)

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  20. Oh oh oh! Congratulations :-) This is such a great post. As a fellow tornado-liver-througher (is that a word? I went to college in the midwest so I've been there for tornado season) I think the analogy is so apt. But I'm smiling huge because of the beta. Sending lots of good thoughts today for the next number.

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  21. Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my blog. Congrats on your BFP and I hope you got great news today! :)

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  22. Oh my gosh! I am so excited for you two! Keeping you in my thoughts and prying you got good news today! Oh and I loved the analogy.

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  23. I love the analogy too, and I'm really happy for you!!

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  24. What the what!!! I'm a sucker for weather analogies, and man, this is a pretty darned fantastic one if I do say so myself! Congratulations!!! Here's hoping that severe weather season comes to a close early for you and Grey~

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  25. Oh wow! How did I miss this yesterday! I am SO happy for you! Congrats!!!

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  26. Yeah! This is so awesome! And the tornado analogy is definitely appropriate.

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