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It’s another page turned in our book as we close the chapter on this first IVF cycle with our final failed FET and subsequent follow-up with Dr. C.  There is no reason to not go forward with another IVF attempt but we did begin the discussion of “donor” eggs.  It made my heart sink a little bit, because it’s the first time we started having that kind of conversation with our doctor.  It just struck home that mother nature has her course and she’s not open to negotiations.

So…we are taking a break for two months to just clear our heads, eat sushi, drink wine and hopefully travel and I am very much looking forward to it, because truth be told we needed the time off.  There always runs a risk with endometriosis that with each period, more damage is done and more tissue takes hold…but it is what it is and we have to run this race according to our needs.  And this experimental brood mare needs a break.

I feel like this experience has changed me in so many ways.  It’s like you zigzag through stages of grief, like scratch vinyl on a DJ’s turntable.  Since as long as I can remember, it was ingrained that “woman has baby”.  It’s drummed into your head with every doll you get, it’s drummed out with every sex-ed class, it comes back around when you grow out into a young woman and begin romantic relationships…it seems to somehow define what you are.  Once you find that you cannot do this thing, you beat yourself up every time you get the next pregnancy announcement and rage at every news story about another deadbeat mom.  That shell-shocked feeling of worthlessness is something no person on this earth or otherwise can prepare you for.  So you ride it out and hope you get through each day, and the next, and the next.

It has forced me to see my path as a female in a different light.  There is a possibility I will never have my own child.  That I will never know what it feels like to carry  my baby and feel them inside me moving about.  Suffer through the swollen boobs, morning sickness, contractions and birth that is so a part of what some define as “motherhood”.  I am finally understanding…(and it makes me even tear up typing this)…the “moms that take care of the babies and the children no matter where they come from.” are every definition of “Mom” that I ever knew.

We all meet challenges that change the course of our lives.  I am finally beginning to understand that it’s how we overcome those challenges that define who we are.

Oy vey, look at me waxing all philosophical.

Pass the nigiri.

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De.cem.ber (dĭ-sěm’bər) n.   Abbr. Dec. : The 12th month of the year in the Gregorian calendar

December 2009:  An awful, horrible, no good month in which I was rejected from college, our FET was a failure, my Aunt passed away and, on Christmas Eve, my sweet husband’s mother lost her long battle with Alzheimer’s.  Each event exponentially worse than the one before.  By December 30th, Chris and I were looking at each other with baffled amazement that we hadn’t lost our minds.  Pain and suffering are relative.  There are always those who have it worse.  This is a given and it is not lost on your humble poster here.  But having acknowledged that, please allow me to say…that was probably the shittiest month we have ever had.

There is lots of selfish guilt that is tied up in all the loss.  I felt a deep shame that we were unable to at least tell my MIL that we were pregnant.  That her son was going to be a father.  I really felt so at fault, more than ever before, for being so damaged by endo that I could not produce this simple thing for her before she left us.  This news.  This event.  The BFP.  The Baby.   It feels very selfish to have wanted to deliver that news. Who knows if she would have understood?  She was so far gone at the end.  Maybe it would have given us a modicum of comfort that we were able to give her this before she was gone.  Who knows?

It’s a dark place when you get deep into it and you start questioning all kinds of decisions you make.  It’s so easy to self flagellate when you struggle with infertility.  It seeps into every event, every aspect of daily life and alters your perspective on it.  No matter how you try and push it into a box and store it out of sight, it always sneaks out and is standing there when you turn around.  And there it was; in all the sadness, standing there at the end of December 2009.  Back again.

But…

It’s now a new year and thank goodness for that. Chris and his family are doing as well as can be expected.  There are moments, and will be moments, but if I have learned anything from my wonderful guy, it’s that life carries on.  You have to live your moments truthfully and honestly…the rest takes care of itself.

We have lived our lives around injections, pills, doctor appointments, transfer dates, luteal phases, periods…you name it.  In 2010, we are going to try and be better about letting that run things.  The goal is to carry on with our life.  Still trying, but not obsessing.  So, yeah “I will have that cup of coffee”.  Thanks.  “Oh wait, I have to be home for my Lupron shot…oh, bother…I’ll just pack it in a bag and take it with”.  We’re drinking wine, taking time and doing fine.

So, having said that…we are on track for our second FET on February 10th.  I finished my BCPs on Monday and am currently doing the 20cc Lupron shuffle.  We go in for bloodwork/ultrasound on the 22nd.

I have also finally started taking college classes!  Woot!!

It’s been a frustrating journey getting here…but here we are.  At the start of the new year.

Let’s recap: 7 months and 25 days ago, we started our first InVitro Fertilization cycle.  I hyperstimmed and we were unable to do the fresh transfer that cycle.  So we froze what we had and went on to do a frozen embryo transfer.  The first cycle, I ovulated.  The second cycle, I bled for a month due to a “confused uterus”.  The third time, we got to transfer and it ended with a BFN.  SO, now that we have been there and back again, I just wanted to look back at the madness of IVF and frozen embryo transfer for a moment.

Hormone pills and injections suck. Yeah, the Sub-q shots are not a big deal pain level wise, but after your stomach starts to turn black and blue and you find yourself craving cheeseburgers all the time, it starts to wear on you.  Also, let’s talk about how these synthetic hormones affect you emotionally, shall we?  They make you crazy.  Or they just take you to the precipice of crazy.  Just close enough to have a grip on where you are, awareness of how you feel, yet unable to get a handle on the level.  It’s maddening at times.

Blood-work. If something isn’t getting injected into you, it’s getting sucked out of you.  I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop with our blood draws.  Like we will get the call that my levels have gone off the charts and we will need to stop this cycle so I can go in for some strange battery of tests or something.  It sucked getting the call that I had ovulated halfway through our second try at transfer. You get so close sometimes and it just gets yanked away again.

Taking time off work. This one is a doozie.  Granted, I have been lucky as my employer is super flexible, but I am wondering how many cycles that good grace is going to last.  Early morning blood draws make me late and the transfer date is at least 3-6 days off.  With each failed cycle, I feel the pressure of all this.  Let’s also remember that it’s tough enough when your hopped up on hormones to stay sane in your private life.  Add a gaggle of work drones who have the sense of a spider monkey on top of that and it’s the patience Olympics.  I will confess I have been in tears more than once at my desk.

Cost. The choice between $500 Progesterone suppositories or Progesterone in Oil for injection (which is covered by insurance) was pretty clear.  Unfortunately, the PIO shots started to be a pain in the ass.  I mean that literally.  It started to hurt just to sit.  I had sharp pains in by my hip muscles whenever I stood up quickly or got out of bed.  It was bizarre, really sharp and painful!  I couldn’t have imagined doing that everyday for more than 3 weeks.  I am ready to eat the five hundred bucks and wear maxi pads next time if we can.

I have to give my husband HUUUUGE credit when it came to the cost factor.  He was on the phone with our insurance company and our doctor’s office trying to get anything that wasn’t covered, covered.  He called around to online pharmacies that specialized in IVF meds and found the most reasonable prices he could.  IVF / FET ain’t cheap, ESPECIALLY in a non-mandate state, so having him do all that hard work was a lifesaver.

THINGS THAT HAVE WORKED FOR US:

Injections: Ice the area.  Do it.  Even for the Sub-q’s.  It makes it easier and less painful when you inject.  For the PIO injections, use a heating pad after the shot and apply pressure to the injection site while gently massaging the PIO into the muscle.  It alleviates the knots and bumps somewhat.

Taking all those pills: I broke down and got two of those “Days of the Week” pill cases from Walgreens.   It helps keep you organized when you are taking Estrace 2-3x a day along with a Prenatal and goodness knows what else.

Taking time off work: I always get Dr.’s notes, make copies and submit to HR.  Yes, I feel like I’m back in school, but it’s worth the peace of mind in case anyone want’s to give me shit about where I was or why I was late.  Having said that, my work has been great about all this.  It helps that our CEO and his wife went through IVF.  Granted they were lucky and conceived with that cycle.  It’s obviously been a little tougher for us.

Taking mental health time & telling people about IVF/FET: It is absolutely ESSENTIAL that you treat yourself well during these cycles.  Be it IVF or FET.  IVF takes such a huge toll on your body, it’s no joke.  Looking back, I am glad that I napped when I was tired.  I don’t regret that mushroom and swiss burger, it was GREAT. That deep tissue massage didn’t suck, either.  Cook yourself a nice meal.  Draw a hot bath.  Meditate. Whatever works.

I screamed.  I cried.  I threw things.  It happens when you are a walking sack of hormones.  Just try to embrace it and control what you can.  Cry it out but talk it out.  Don’t hold it in. I am thankful each and every day that my partner in this crazy journey is the man that he is.  He has been an amazing co-pilot.  Always understanding and always ready with a hug and a kiss to make it better.  (Olive juice, babe.)

This goes for family and friends.  There is debate over the who to tell, when to tell, what to tell debacle.  Think it through and do what works for you.  We told our family every step of the way what was going on.  It gave us a support system. I told people at work.  It’s who we are.  Yes, it sucked when you get a BFN and have to tell everyone that, too.  But it also allows people to have data so they know what’s going on if maybe you glaze over with their story about how their 2 year old isn’t using the potty or something.  And yes, even if they know what you are dealing with, they will still pummel you with stories about their kids.   Lots of people just don’t get it.  Period.  Like I said, do what works for you.

Reading blogs, infertility sites and message boards: This is part of the mental health, but be careful.  You can go on obsessive overload.  I totally did.  ESPECIALLY in the two week wait.  There are tons of women, well spoken and very funny women, who have documented their struggle with infertility.  Go and read them.  Even if they were successful and are now blogging about pregnancy…GO back and read their history!  There is much to be learned from the struggles of others.  I am so, so, so grateful to all of them for sharing.  It made my own struggle a little easier.  It’s a part of why I keep this blog public today. Cyclesista has an updated blogroll and I have links in my sidebar but you can also get on the google train.

Facebook: There is a “hide” feature for status updates from over sharing Mommies and Daddies.  Use it.

 

The Friday afternoon after my negative beta I got drunk.

I got drunk by myself.

I got drunk on a bottle of Prosecco, ate a whole platter of Spanikopita, sat my fat, drunk ass down and watched an episode of “The Jersey Shore”.  This, I have to say…helped. For an hour or so my life seemed pretty ok compared to these Empire State imposters acting the fool and getting all drun-….ok.  Nevermind. 

I started AF on Sunday.  She came on like a bounty hunter and my pride was the prize.  I almost forgot how my body fails me when she’s in town.  The diaper pads, the gas, the pain, the cramps, the flow from hell!!  CHRIST ON A CRACKER  it’s always so DISGUSTING!!  Plus, I’m such a mental patient I refuse to wear a tampon.  Like I’m being some au-natural forest pixie or something. Like I didn’t just down 25 ounces of fermented grapes.  Like it’s gonna help.  Riiiiiiight.

In all honesty, I’m glad she’s here at last because this starts our next round on the FET wheel of fate.  This is when I grab hold of that peg like some glassy-eyed contestant on the “Price is Right”, rock back on my heels and give it another spin. 

Oh boy, do I hope we land on double pink this time around.

Starting BCP’s tomorrow.

Cyclesista

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