Friday, March 30, 2012

Not out of the woods

At some point in time, we will return to our regularly scheduled program.  In the meantime, here's an update.

-Cramping has not subsided. In fact, there's now a trend. Mornings are fine, but starting around 12 pm, the cramps come, usually in waves. They taper off by 7 or 8 pm.
-I'm now passing clots. First one was last night at 7 pm. Second one was today at 4 pm. Been instructed that if bleeding becomes heavy that I am to contact Dr. Optimism.
-Despite this, my hCG levels continue to rise.  Did another beta today at 1 pm. Beta #4 = 8225. Not quite the jump I've previously been getting, but it's well within range.
-Because of all of this, I have another beta scheduled for Sunday morning and an ultrasound Monday morning. It's still too early to really see anything, so they're hoping that by 5 weeks 3 days they'll at least be able to get an idea of what's happening.

So, this weekend I am officially on modified bedrest. Which means poor Grey is now in charge of taking care of me while doing the cleaning and the laundry. Seriously thinking about hiring a maid.

So, outside of having two major scares, both of which have had me in the fetal position, and experiencing menstrual-like cramps, I'm still officially pregnant. I'm ready for the drama to stop, please.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Battling anxiety

First off, thank you all for your comments and well-wishes. This community continues to leave me in awe from all the love and support I receive. I'd beyond grateful.

Originally I was planning on posting about rituals. Instead, I'd asking for feedback.

After the scare on Tuesday, I managed to calm down due to the spotting and cramping decreasing. In general, everything was mild and I was reassured by the beta.

Today, though, the cramps have picked up in intensity. It's not a lot of blood, but following these last couple of waves, it's looking more "red."

I'm fighting anxiety as best I can, reasoning that this is can all be normal, that the bleeding is not a normal flow. And that, even if I am miscarrying, there's nothing I really can do to prevent it.

So, here's my question: has anyone had any experience with Crinone? I've used it for all my IUIs and IVF cycles, but this is the first time I've been on it where I've dealt with cramping. I've been told that spotting while on it isn't uncommon, but the cramps are new for me. Thoughts please?

In the meantime, I'm focusing on breathing and calmly monitoring.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


The title speaks for itself. Black blood showed up in the Crinone 3 days ago. Same as last time. What is different is that it hasn't tapered off.

So I called my clinic and talked with Nurse E. She reassured me that this was normal. Many women spot during the first trimester. To not be concerned unless it increased to a mini-period and/or became red.

Then this afternoon hit. And in all honesty, how does one classify "red?" This is no means full flow, but it's much more than it was this morning. Add in the fact I now have cramps (also appearing this afternoon) and I'm officially a basket case.

Somehow I need to hold it together.

God I'm spooked. So spooked.  I don't want to go through another miscarriage.

UPDATE: Got ahold of Dr. Optimism. Beta#3 ordered. She order the test for STAT processing and promised me that she'd call with the results tonight. Hating my body all the more at the moment.

UPDATE #2: Beta #3 = 2998. Dr. Optimism's orders are to stop freaking out and to spend the night thinking positive thoughts. Everyone is allowed to yell at me now.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Rules of Engagment?

My fertility clinic is unusual. It's a relatively young practice embedded in a women's health care center. The waiting area is filled with women from all walks of life at various stages in their reproductive life. Because of this, the waiting area is split into 2 parts: the part I and my fellow IFers inhabit is also where older patients waiting for mammographies sit. Across the way is the OB/GYN area, filled with expecting mothers and young women. Over time, the receptionists have gotten better about putting up dividers and trying to keep the two separate. Still, it's impossible not to run into large bellies and infants. Thankfully, this is the only minus of the place, so I've learned over time to breathe, keep my eyes lowered and to bring an iPod.

There was one incident, though, that could not be blocked out.

Last September, following our third and final IUI, Grey and I were waiting to meet with Dr. Optimism to discuss IVF. Our wait was longer than usual, as things were running behind schedule. As I was settling into a distracted state, I heard a loud bang followed by loud and angry shhhing. Emerging from the other side was a woman with her 7 children. Her angrily scolding them for being "bad" and shhing to quiet them. The whole time, the kids ignored her, hitting one another, crying loudly and creating a scene. As she approached reception, an older woman sighed and said something along the lines of I-understand-how-hard-you-have-it-because-I-came-from-a-large-family-too. The mother made a huge gesture of rolling her eyes and complaining about how difficult is was to parent such a large family, talking about how her husband came from a family with 11 kids (BTW: husband is no where is sight). It was then that the eldest stopped hitting his younger brothers with a plastic water bottle, turned and looked at the woman. Smiling sweetly, he announced "my daddy wanted 11 children."

Yeah. I had the same reaction

The past couple of days, I've been thinking more and more about that incident. Especially in light of the discussion going on in many of the healing salons. About how I never want to be that selfish, both to my children but also by exposing others struggling to expand their family to any pain.

Infertility is an awful disease that is poorly understood by the general populous. Because of this, IFers feel like outsiders while battling to expand their families. Finding this community is a lifesaver for many, giving women the opportunity to share their journeys and connect with others.

So what happens when you get a BFP?

Sunday, as we made our way in the second beta, my mind became filled with imagines from the past 2 years. Memories of those dark moments, where it seemed everyone around me was announcing their pregnancies. Feelings of isolation and loneliness during the months of negative results. And jealousy of women who were able to conceive without a second thought. Following our miscarriage in January, Grey and I struggled with just being a part of life. No one, outside of those who had lived through IF and a few close friends and family members, understood.

The results from Friday and Sunday haven't changed my mind-set. Despite having two excellent betas, I not all giddy and announcing to the world that I was successful able to POAS; I'm still holding my breath and proceeding cautiously. Because I know all too well that it can end.

My other problem is that this news comes on the heels of learning about failed cycles and miscarriages for fellow bloggers. Too much heartbreak for women I care about and all of whom do not deserve this pain. And if I could, I would wave my magic wand and make it so that every woman on this journey was pregnant with the guarantee that it would go smoothly resulting in a baby to take home.

So where does this leave me? Well, I'm still trying to figure that out. I plan on continuing to blog, focusing on infertility. Because I am infertile and I know that infertility is now part of my identity. But as I progress through this journey, no matter the outcome, I know that I will need to write about it to some extent. Hence, I'm at a loss. How can I proceed without hurting those I care about?

This is where I open it up to all of you. In hopes of gleaning some knowledge and insight from this community. You've taught me so much in such a short period of time, I know that I won't be disappointed.

Brief update on this end: Our first ultrasound is a week from Thursday. As many have suggested in the comments, the "T" word has been dropped a lot by the REs and their team. What will be will be.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Quick update

Fatigue has set in and I'm finding it difficult to do the most basic of tasks. Don't get me wrong, I'm so happy to have symptoms. I'm just adjusting.

I had my second beta today. Dr. Optimism called with the results: Beta #2 = 808. One of the nurses from my clinic will contact me tomorrow for the next step. In the meantime, I'm filling my days with distraction.  I'll write as I know more.

I wanted to thank all of you for your comments yesterday. Everyone is treasured and greatly appreciated. This community is amazing. And I'm beyond lucky to have your support.

Friday, March 23, 2012


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.

Going crazy from waiting

Waiting makes me neurotic. And being neurotic makes waiting hard. So I figured instead I'd share a song that helps pass the time. One of my favorites from Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Spring sock exchange

Let's get this show on the road!!

For this sock exchange, we're going to do things a little bit differently. Last time I paired everyone off, but this time I thought we'd try a round-robin. 

Here's how it will work: below is the list of all the participates, indicating who will send socks to whom. Once you have your "people," contact them to exchange information. Please do this no later than Sunday. If you have not heard from your people by then, please leave a comment here. 

Again, socks do not need to be handmade, but anyone who wants to is encouraged.

Here's the list:

Let the exchange begin!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring fertility sock exchange list

First off, welcome to those here from ICLW!  For background on fertility socks, I recommend you read this post, this post and this page.

Here's the list for the sock exchange so far. If I missed someone or if you want to participate, please leave a comment. The list will be closed on March 22 (I know I originally said March 21, but figured I'd give it one more day).

-Trisha @ The Elusive Second Line
-Regular Van @The Family Van
-Veetamia @ Lovely Transitions
-Jenny @ Sprout
-HRF @ Waiting for Little Feet
-Emily @ The Empty Uterus
-Kechara @ Notes from the Ninth Circle
-TraceySue @ Journey to Somewhere
-Babysocks @ Our wish for a baby
-Still Sinking @ Sinking in a World of IF
-EmHart @ Follow Every Rainbow
-Chickenpig @ Better Full Than Empty
-Syringe Sisters
-sunnyside up @ how do you like your eggs? fertilized . . . 
-Janet @ Just a Little Off Kilter . . . 
-Mrs. Green Grass @ Baby-Making Merry-go-Round
-Lola @ Waiting for Baby
-KH @ Tied Together With a Smile
-JM @ Meier Madness! 
-Lindsay @ Tiny Bits of Hope
-Lora @ Hope Delayed
-Emily @ a blanket 2 keep
-with just a little help

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Fighting fear

I haven't been sleeping well. The past couple of nights have been filled with strange dreams, none of which have been pleasant. Last night's was being in a room filled with babies and pregnant women. All of them chatting about birthing, diapers, toys and the wonders of motherhood. Drowning would have been far more pleasant.

Because of these dreams, mornings have become a difficult time. Monday, after confessing to Grey that I was struggling, I spent the 45 minute drive to work in tears and silence, as I was afraid the radio would trigger a full meltdown. This morning wasn't much better.

The thing that has helped calm me is looking at past blog posts from my first IVF cycle. I'm seeing patterns, which has been helpful. And usually as the day goes on, I've somehow managed to come to a more rational state (yay rational mind).

But the fear remains. The fear of Friday's results.

Mel had a post recently that helped me reset during Monday morning. She talked about the importance of distinguishing pain from intensity and how that line is very personal. She also brought up an incredibly important point of how powerful breathing is during intense times. After reading her post and meditating on it, I realized that what I'm dealing with is intensity. FET/IVF is intense! But where the pain comes is with the anticipation of failure.

Don't get me wrong, if Friday's results are negative I will be crushed. I will cry, scream, possibly break stuff and most certainly drink. But I also know that I will begin to heal. What's hard right now is the fear of that negative beta. Just as the fear of never holding my children brings me to my knees.

So, I'm fighting fear. Fighting it with all I've got. Some moments are better than others, with me breathing the whole way, but the point is I'm still fighting.

Now I just need a night without dreams of failure.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Acts of self-preservation

It's no secret that IVF gets a bad rap. Just mentioning those three letters to the rest of the world will launch the average person into a mini diatribe. During our first IVF cycle, I had complete strangers lecture me on how selfish I'm being to undergo such a procedure while "millions of unwanted children need good homes," all the while making it clear they are clueless about adoption. I had people with medical training warn me that it was likely I would end up with multiples from the procedure (never mind the fact we only transferred 2 embryos). And I've had people out right tell me that I'm hurting my children because I'm undergoing this procedure, because "we don't know the consequences of THOSE drugs."

Because of the backlash, Grey and I have been quiet with this FET cycle. Family, close friends and coworkers know what we are currently undertaking. But unlike last time, I don't feel the need to educate the general public about this process. Mainly because I'm still raw from last time. Mainly because I don't care what they think.

But I'm noticing the same thing from Grey. He's been quiet this cycle. Sure he's been supportive, but it's noticeable how cautious he is with talking about our snowbabies. It's clear both of us are scared. Scared of the tidal wave of pain that could come. And so we are both steeling ourselves for that moment, bracing for impact.

Because of this fear, I've spent the past few days looking for distraction. Friday morning, I wandered over to the beach and spent time walking along the water. I was thankful for the sun, as the few days before were cold and windy. A good dose of vitamin D always helps my mood.

St. Patrick's Day was spent with friends, passing the time talking about life, traveling and the perils of cheap bourbon. 

But mainly I've been meditating and knitting. I dug out the Circle + Bloom program I used during my first IVF cycle and have been listening 1-2 times a day as a way to connect with the embryos in hopes that they can feel the love I'm sending them. And when I can't do that anymore, I knit. Knit to keep my hands and mind busy. Knit to block out all the negative thoughts.

What I realized this morning, following a particularly tough meditation session, is that all of this comes down to one thing: self-preservation. I don't know what the outcome of this cycle will be, but I'm determined not to jinx it by spending the next week in a pit of despair. But I also can't allow my hopes to be high either. I learned that lesson a long time ago about how damaging disappointment can be. I've crawled back into my cave, waiting with my back to the wall for the storm.

Self-preservation is a skill many IFers will master. For us, it becomes a ritual. Each of us will develop habits or patterns for dealing with disappointment, fear or grief. As I read different blogs, I've found that those each act is different, a common theme emerges. Distraction and searching for signs of hope. Distraction comes in many forms, be it exercise, a mini-vacation, work, time with friends/family, volunteering or crafting, just to name a few. The search for signs usually comes from searching the blogosphere or internet, looking for cases similar to our own or stories from others who have traveled a similar path and now have a happy ending. We search for information, hoping for something that will help us turn the corner and find our happy ending.

This cycle has been laced with self-preservation. From the beginning, I've spent a lot of time steeling myself for any bad news, putting into place distractions along the way. Even now, as I look at the photo of the embryos inside me, it's hard to believe that any of this is real. That it's not a dream. Hence I refuse to analyze ever twinge or pang and I'm denying anxiety access. 

Today is 4dp5dt. Five more days to go. Just enough time to fortify my cave. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Transfer Day, the sequel

Today is 1dp5dt. I apologize for not posting sooner, but my body decided to follow the RE's instructions and I ended up sleeping for most of the day. I'e read all of your comments and emails, so thank you for the support. Today I'm feeling a bit more awake, but the events from yesterday feel like a dream.

With my first IVF cycle, I remember being very anxious. I was anxious about the suppression check, anxious about not growing follicles, anxious about not getting good quality eggs, anxious about fertilization, anxious about embryos surviving, anxious about the cycle failing and anxious about being anxious. This time around, I've been calmer. Partly because we have snowbabies. But also because I'm tired of the anxiety. Being anxious is exhausting.

Yesterday, I woke up at 7am, greeted by these two.

As you can see, food is the most important thing at 7 am.

I then spent the morning finishing a few more things on my list, knowing full well that I was going to be confined to the couch later and nothing productive was going to be done. Finally, Grey and I traveld to the clinic with me holding my breath the whole way.

Upon arrival to the clinic, I had a flash back to the first transfer day. I remember waiting patiently for Dr. Optimism, wandering down a hallway I hadn't noticed before and finally seeing images of my embryos. I remember marveling at how beautiful they were, putting out the ICM and being surprised that 2 were getting ready to hatch. I had seen textbook images of embryos, but never ones as clear as these and at that moment I was so proud of them. Outside of me needing to fill my bladder more, the transfer was painless and quick.

This time was very similar. Dr. Practical was in charge of the transfer and the wait was a lot shorter. This was fortunate for me, as my bladder was full. So full that everyone in the room had a good chuckle. The rest of the experience was the same, with the transfer only taking 15 minutes and me then spending an extra 20 relaxing and allowing these two a chance to orient to their new home. Both Grey and me marveling how it felt like December all over again.

But it wasn't. Unlike last time, I wasn't recovering from retrieval, I wasn't dealing with a lot of unknowns, Grey and I knew exactly where to go and what to ask for. And, most importantly, we got pictures of these:

Two beautiful 5 day blastocytes. The one on the right is 5AA, the one on the left is 5BB.

Dr. Practical handed Grey the cover to the petri dish they were thawed in as a keepsake. And waiting for me after the transfer were these images as well as a copy from the ones before. Both Grey and I got teary eyed when we realized what this group was doing for us: they were giving us reminders to have hope.

Today will be spent meditating, using these images to connect with my snowbabies. Today will be a day that I spend giving thanks for the opportunity have these two inside me. Today I will have hope.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Socks = hope

I've been meaning to have a follow up post on fertility socks for awhile. For those of you who are not familiar with them, I recommend reading this post as well as this page.

A lot has happened since the first sock exchange. More than I could ever have imaged. Yet through it all, my life has been filled through my interactions with everyone in this community. And so, in an effort to spread the love and support, I propose a second fertility sock exchange.

Here are the rules:
1) Leave a comment below to let me know if your interested. This exchange is open to anyone who has been touched by IF, be it you're currently in treatment, preparing for treatment, recently diagnosed, pregnant after IF, parenting after IF or even supporting someone dealing with IF.

2) Once you've received your recipient's names, please contact them.

3) Socks do NOT need to be handmade. Again, when I originally started doing this, I did it because I'm a crazy knitter who in addition to wanting to give something that was handmade also uses knitting as a form of therapy. Please do not feel that you need to learn to knit, crotchet or sew in order to participate. And there are some amazing sock stores out there.

4) If you can no longer participate in the exchange, please contact me immediately. Yes, life happens and unseen circumstances can require you to focus your energy elsewhere. But please don't leave your recipient hanging. I'm more than happy to reassign, as long as I'm aware that you can no longer participate.

Deadline for participation is March 21st. I'll post a reminder as the deadline comes closer.

I'll end today by sharing with you the socks I received.

First set is from Toni at Who is this "Fertile Myrtle"

Toni sent an explanation with the socks: To the Egyptians, the frog was a symbol of life and fertility, since millions of them were born after the annual inundation of the Nile, which brought fertility to the otherwise barren lands. Consequently, in Egyptian mythology, there began to be a frog-goddess, who represented fertility, named Heget (also HeqetHeket), meaning frog. Heget was usually depicted as a frog, or a woman with a frog's head, or more rarely as a frog on the end of a phallus to explicitly indicate her association with fertility.

That, and it's hard not to smile when looking at these guys. Thank you Toni!!!

The second set is from a friend from an online forum.

On top of being comfy, the message is loud and clear. Thank you Nicole!!

Finally, my third set from Grey.

As I've mentioned before, we have Anna's hummingbirds that have been wintering with us. Following the D&C, these little guys were one of only a handful of reasons to get out of bed (note for anyone with hummingbirds: they are very particular about their food). I still remember Grey laughing for the first time while watching these small animals chew me out after I allowed their food to freeze. They are my symbol of hope.

Finally, I'm leaving you today with an image that warms my heart.

Monday, March 12, 2012

"To do" list

There are many methods for coping with anxiety: exercise, sleep, food, avoidance. Mine is "to do" lists. Whenever I'm stressed at work and need to gather my thoughts, I pull out a small sheet of paper and generate a list. The process helps me focus and prioritize. Plus there's something about checking off each item, no matter how big or small.

With Wednesday looming, I've been trying to complete as many tasks as possible to prepare for this FET. Some are practical, others are more ritual. But the knowledge my butt is going to be confined to the sofa for 24 hrs, with taking it easy the 48 hrs after that, I know I have to get things in order.

So, I figured I'd share with everyone my list (scratching off items that have been completed since yesterday). And give you some insight into the craziness Grey has to live with.

1) Clean the condo
   a) Scrub Bathroom
   b) Scrub Kitchen
   c) Mop
   d) Vacuum
   e) Dust
2) Laundry/Ironing
3) Visit Dentist for annual cleaning
4) Submit lesson plans for the rest of semester
5) Write Letter of Recommendation for student
6) Grade papers
7) Rank grant applications
8) Post reading list and problem sets for rest of semester
9) Post study guide
10) Submit receipts from fertility meds
11) Pay for FET cycle
12) Write lectures
13) Have pre-Transfer meal = Pho
14) Shave legs
15) Paint toes
16) Jog/walk for 30 mins (one down, one more to go)
17) Meditate
18) Floss
19) Post photo of fertility socks (THANK YOU TONI AND NICOLE!!)
20) Charge iPod for Transfer
21) Breathe

Totally doable, right?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

How villans are created

Many years ago, Grey brought home a copy of Joseph Campbell's "The Hero with a Thousand Faces." This book is considered a seminal work, which explores the theory that important myths from around the world which have survived for thousands of years all share a fundamental structure, focused around the journey of an archetypal hero. 
A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.
Though I've never read this work (shame on me, I know), Grey and I had multiple discussions based on the different passages, particularly those focusing on the hero's time in the supernatural world, facing trials and seeking to obtain the end goal or the boon.

The key to the hero, though, is that somehow, he or she is victorious in the end. Yes, there may be loss along the way. Great loss, but the hero always obtains the boon at the end of the story, be it treasure, rescuing the maiden in distress, or peace and freedom.

But what happens when the hero fails? Instead of emerging victorious, the hero is beaten?

I've been thinking about this a lot as we've progressed on this journey. Especially in light of this FET cycle. After 2+ yrs of actively trying for a baby, 3 failed IUIs and an IVF cycle that ended in miscarriage, we're still without a child in our arms. And though our journey has not been as long as others, it's been very hard to continue fighting after each of these failed trials.

Equally hard has been trying to be part of life when you feel like an outsider. Unlike most women, pregnancy is not a given for me. I don't know if I'll ever be able to become pregnant again and, even if I'm that lucky, if I'll be able to carry that child to term. Because of this, I've found I can no longer react to other people's news with joy and excitement. It's never been about me not being happy for them; but to me pregnancy is no longer a guarantee and I'm no longer naive.

So, for many in life, I'm now viewed as the villan. I'm the villan when someone surprises me with news that they are expecting again and I excuse myself after mumbling a quiet congratulations. I'm the villan when someone goes on and on complaining about how difficult it is to raise a child after starting the conversation with "you don't know how lucky you are."

What's change recently is my recognition for how villans are created. That most people rarely start out life this way but instead are created over time due to years of abuse and neglect. The funny thing about all of this is how few people are willing to acknowledge the process of this creation, instead throwing blame at the direction of the villan for making choices to take the path they are on. Rarely do we step back and acknowledge that though there are choices, sometimes those choices were made as a form of protection, of self-preservation.

That maybe the only really difference between heros and villans is success.

On Wednesday, Grey and I begin this hard journey again. The past few weeks of being on medication has really been more like a dream state, with us being pretty unaffected outside of the drug-induced mood-swings. The thing is, I'm preparing myself for another failure, for the pain that will come in the aftermath. Despite everyone telling me that this can work, I'm finding it difficult to believe that it will. Because after 2+yrs, what will be different this time? And I hate myself for feeling this way, because it's really not about me on Wednesday. It's about our snowbabies. And I already feeling like I'm failing them.

Three more days of being in limbo. Desperately searching for hope.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Short post today regarding the FET cycle. I'll post more soon.

Punchline: We've been given the green light. Lining is currently at 9.1 cm, no cysts (yay!!!) and ovaries are nice and quiet. Looloo did her job.

Here's the protocol for this next week:

2 more days on Estrace 3x a day; 0.25mg Lupron

Friday: Scale back Estrace to 2x a day. Start Crinone 1x a day, Misoprestol 1x a day (lunchtime), and Doxycycline 2x a day. To prevent being backed up from the Doxy, I will also up water (3L a day) and suppliment with fiber.

Next Wednesday (March 14th): Appointment at 11:30 am. Diazapan and 2L water at 10 am.

Anyway, lots to do in the next week. But at least today we have hope.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Little bit about me

There's been a number of "trivia" style posts going around lately, but the one from Lora at Hope Delayed found me while I'm waiting oh so patiently for Wednesday.  Here goes:
1. What's your favorite chick flick?
Thelma and Louise. I still love idea of breaking free from it all and hitting the road. Lately the breaking free would be me leaving behind infertility. That or shooting it in the ass.

2. Your favorite song from high school?
Candlebox: Far Behind. Memories of sitting in a car on a summer evening with this song playing over and over. Enough said.

3. Do you still live in the same area you were born in?
No. In fact, this was one of my biggest fears growing up. I remember being in high school and having a panic attack (though I didn't know what it was at the time) at the thought of never leaving the midwest. Attending college at a school 2 1/2 hours from home was a step in the right direction, but it wasn't until 2001 when I broke expectations and moved out to the Pacific NW with a small amount of savings and the mindset that "things were either going to work out or I'd have a fantastic story to tell" that the adventure really began. 

4. Tell me about how you met your husband?
Grey and I met where most science-minded geeks meet: in the lab. He was a first-year graduate student rotating through the lab I was working as a technician in. Initially, we didn't get along. He thought I was pushy and rude (I was mad because I had spent all this time rearranging space and then he didn't show up for a week. I later learned he was out sick with the flu). I thought he was a frat boy because of rumors of the company he kept. What changed all of that was attending a show together; all my lab mates ditched us at the last minute, which left the two of us alone for the night, drinking, talking and dancing. Lucky for me, he had already picked another lab to do his graduate work in. We were married 1 year and 1 month later.

5. What was the color theme in your wedding?
Summer outdoor wedding in WA state. My bridesmaids wore sundresses, each with their color of choice. After the gloom of the winter, I was so happy just to see some color again. But being that WA is the Evergreen state, green and ivory became the unofficial colors of the ceremony. 

6. Who's your celebrity crush?
Richard Armitage. The first performance I saw him in was the BBC miniseries "North & South" as John Thorton. The last scene where John kisses Margaret Hale melted my heart. Add in the fact that he joined the circus in Budapest to get his Equity Card, and it's hard not to crush on this guy. Current project to watch for is his role as Thorin in "The Hobbit." 

7. What's your favorite hobby?
Oh. This is a hard one. I don't really have one hobby nor do I have anything I'm exceptionally good at. I knit, am learning to sew, love to hike, ski and climb, bake when the mode strikes. Grey's the chef, but he's insisting I learn more, as he fully intends to die before I do. So basically, I'm a dabbler.

8. Barefoot or flip-flops?
Barefoot. If given the opportunity (and if the streets were cleaner), I'd never wear shoes.  

9. Beach vacation or sightseeing?
This is also a hard one. I always love going to the beach, finding peace in the roll of the ocean. But, given the opportunity to travel, I'd love to see Europe, China, Southeast Asia. All the history and the variety of cultures. Can't I do both?

10. What have you gained from blogging about IF?
In the short time I've been blogging, more than I ever expected. I've found community hear, learned it's okay to voice my opinions, the importance of reaching out to support and be supported. But most importantly, I've found my voice. For the first time in many years, I'm not afraid to speak what's on my mind, no matter how unpopular it may be. This has brought so much peace.

11. What have you learned from your battle with IF?
Seriously, there's not enough room here to tell you what I've learned from this journey. So I'll make it brief. I've learned the best laid plans rarely work out the way we want. That there is no "perfect" time. That I am stronger than I ever believed myself to be. That family is not defined by blood. That you always have a choice. That marrying Grey was the best decision I ever made. I've walked through hell with this man, living with "the worse." And I can't imagine doing it with anyone else.

Now my questions for these lovely ladies

Warrior Woman at Endometriosis
TracySue at Journey to Somewhere
Chanel at Just Waiting for My Turn
Chickenpig at Better Full Than Empty

1. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
2. Name one individual who's made an impact on your life?
3. Wine or beer?
4. What was the craziest thing you've ever done?
5. What's your favorite color?
6. What's your favorite board game?
7. If you were stranded on a deserted island with only one book, what would it be?
8. Pirate or ninja?
9. Favorite Girl Scout cookie?
10. If you had a million dollars, what would you do?
11. What lesson from IF will you pass on to your children?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Ramblings of a bored mind

Probably one of the worst things about playing the waiting game is being in the middle of it. When you start, it's new with the promise of things to come. As you get near the end, the excitement returns, as something is about to change. Being in the middle, though, is rough. You hit a plateau, knowing that you're neither here or there.

I'm officially 3 days away for finishing up Lupron and (hopefully) starting progesterone. With any luck, the ultrasound on Wednesday will reveal a thick lining and zero follicles. In short, I'm officially in the middle of this FET cycle. And I'm bored. Not with life in general (thank goodness it's the weekend . . . finally get a chance to sleep in), but bored with the shots, bored with the pills, bored with the idea that this may or may not work. Bored with infertility.

The past couple of days I've been trying to focus my attention elsewhere to combat this boredom, hoping that a few moments of distraction will be sufficient. I started by making an appointment at a local nail salon, thinking that the fumes would be enough to deter expectant mothers or those with small children (learned my lesson), then Grey and I traveled to a more urban-focused section of the city in hopes of spending some time at a local park enjoying the sun (that was over-run too). The moment I gave up was when I witnessed a couple push a stroller into a local sex shop. Granted it's one of the better ones, but still.

Reflecting on all of this, I came to realize that though some of this stuff isn't new, there's definitely a new twist on where one can and can not take children. Part of it has to do with destigmatizing parenthood, but the reality is that it's also something a bit deeper. Despite my generation claiming that they're ready to move on to this next chapter, they do so with one foot in the past. They aren't willing to give up old haunts and habits to be parents.

On some levels I respect this. The idea that one should lose their identity when taking on the role of mother is one that I will continue to scoff at. I do believe it's healthy for children to see that mommy and daddy are a part of the world, pursing their hopes and dreams. After all, happy parents in a loving and stable relationship do equal happy, healthy children.

But with parenthood also comes change and sacrifice. So when a couple plops Jr, carrier and all, on a stool in a smoky bar, I have an issue. Most of it comes from my time tending bar, where I saw generations of human erosion and I cringe at the idea that it's starting during infancy. But another end comes down to the fact that these parents aren't putting the needs of their baby ahead of their own wants.

Infertility has taught me a number of things over the last few years. It's honed my pregdar, thickened my skin and added a whole new level of fear and frustration regarding pregnancy. But it's also helped me move beyond the stage where one foot is still in singleton land, it's strengthen my marriage and it's made me less afraid of waiting for the "right" time. But most importantly, I've learned what sacrifice truly is. To forgo luxuries like exotic vacations, bottles of wine and even daily cups of coffee. Because my family is more important and if giving all of that up to walk down this path means that one day I get to hold my children in my arms, then it was worth every step. By all means, not a fair process, but one that I'm more than willing to make for that hope. Despite the fact I'm so bored with it all.

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