I’ve done some things

I’m still here.  Honestly, that’s about all I’ve got for this post.  At least, that’s why I’m writing.  Well, to tell the truth, the SPAM needed to be jettisoned.  Which meant I needed to log in.  Which resulted in having to look up the password.  Which resulted in a whole heap of sadness.  Which resulted in me really wanted to plant a sad little flag back in the ground over here.

But, the flag really doesn’t need to be sad.  In fact, it’s a pretty awesome flag.  Let’s review a quick list of changes since last I wrote:

  • I’ve moved.  New state, new house, new community, new life.  On the whole, this has been very, very much needed.  Were it not for some now-faraway and sorely missed friends, and a little niggling bit of sadness over our leaving behind and loved and cared for house, there would be nothing I’d really miss about our life of 2 months ago.
  • I’ve got a new job.  And I’m remembering how awesome life can be when you love and are totally inspired by your job and the people you work with.
  • I’ve got a stay-at-home husband.  Not gonna lie, that’s been bumpy, but we’re managing.  I’m gaining weight at a rapid clip thanks to his incredible cooking (both a pro and a con there, no?), and N’s been healthy(ish) for a good while thanks to the absence of daycare yuck.  Though, I also think he’s getting a little stir crazy…  judging by the fact that he runs to me when I walk in the front door holding his shoes and shouting “owside! owside! owside!”
  • I’ve got a toddler.  N’s running, and talking, and tantruming, and overall being a fully formed (if somewhat psychotic) little human.  20 months is equal parts captivating and horrifying.
  • I’ve still got a marriage.  And, oh Lord, the work that that has taken.  Let’s just leave that at that for now, shall we?

So, I’m here.  Are you?

A year ago today…

A year ago today…

  • We woke early, bundled into our car by 4am, and headed out into a snowstorm.
  • We drove 230 miles to Woodbury Long Island to meet with the reproductive immunologist who offered our last hope.
  • I was 8 weeks pregnant with our third pregnancy.  I was still pregnant, but the news had been rocky from the start.
  • I saw our little one’s heart beating for the last time in Dr. B’s exam room.
  • We heard the verdict of “This may work out, this may not, I do not know…”  We left with a plan (lovenox, prednisone, IVF, and, possibly, PGD) should the pregnancy end (which, of course, it did the following week).
  • We drove another 230 miles home, buying a wedding gift for my cousin along the way.  We’d ultimately miss her wedding as I was 6.5 hours away miscarrying in my bathroom.  She’s currently set to pop out her first next month (yea, that didn’t take long).
  • We digested the news over a prime rib special we devoured during old people dinner time.  460 miles on the road for a 45 minute appointment that left us with more questions than answers can stir up an appetite.
  • We rejoined our friends, our normal life, at our weekly Wednesday night trivia game.

Today…

  • I leave in 10 minutes to drive an hour to the regional perinatology center.  I will meet my new practice for the first time.  I will wait in a waiting room with fellow high-riskers for the first time.
  • I’m 20 weeks, 3 days pregnant with our darling son.
  • Our son is kicking me as I write this.
  • I’m putting the finishing touches on my list of questions for the MFM.  I’m making modifications and additions based on the mock-appointment my therapist and I held last night.  I’m reminding myself I have agency in this pregnancy, I have knowledge, I have power.
  • I’m getting a stomach ache at the thought of starting all over with a new unknown practice.
  • But, that stomach ache is eased by my insatiable appetite and little man’s jabs.
  • If all goes well with the appointment, I hope to take advantage of being in the “big city” and stop off at a Hallmark to buy thank you cards to send to the amazing men and women who have ALREADY showered us with baby gifts.
  • I hate that I just prefaced that with, “If all goes well.”
  • Ultimately, though, today is so much better than a year ago…

Errr, scratch that last post

Apparently when a man leaves a frantic rambling message on fertility clinic’s after hours line it attracts someone’s attention.

Mr. But IF returned to his office after lunch, called, and about 30 seconds later my own office phone started ringing.  Turns out surro-phlebotomist or someone of her vampiric ilk dropped the ball and the results never made it from hospital lab to fertility clinic.  A quick call to the hospital later, and the nurse had my answers.  Beta is 10.

This still doesn’t meet my clinic’s (ridiculous if you ask me) definition of “not pregnant,” but, I’m not pregnant.  They wanted another redraw on Saturday, but I have my laparoscopy post-op appointment on Tuesday already scheduled so I asked to just defer until then.  They agreed.

So, that’s all folks.  My gallant nearly 4-year attempt at getting pregnant by having sex with my husband died today.  Next stop, laparoscopy part deux.  Arriving at the operating theater near me on August 20.

Failure is familiar

… but still utterly devastating.

Got the call just before my 15 minute morning break from my day-long work retreat. Called back as soon as I could bolt down the four floors to my office.

HCG is 11. I’m not pregnant.

Here I sit with my reddened nose and eyes back in my never-ending meeting. How do you focus on discussions of pedagogy when your heart is broken, your hands are shaking, your breathing is shallow, and your world is spinning?

Marking the moment

So, I’m totally exhausted. This amazing weekend has come to an end and my bed is calling my name. Here’s the thing, though. I feel like I can’t let myself sleep until I pump out something – anything – to mark this moment. This is the last moment of certainty I fear I’ll have for a while.

And, the timing of it is kind of a shame. I owe you all (and am promising you now!) a much, much longer post about my weekend at the Walk of Hope. For the sake of providing a teaser (because I clearly haven’t dangled enough others out there lately), here’s the general run-down:

  • $70,000 raised for RESOLVE
  • A beautiful and warm DC morning
  • A sparkly new venue with what felt like many more people than last year
  • Bucketfulls of hope and cheer
  • A lot of adorable little ones wearing multiple variations of “I’m an IVF kid” stickers
  • A few inspiring conversations with total strangers
  • Oh, and yea, and one other little thing. I got a personal thank you, hand shake, and bracelet from RESOLVE’s own Barbara Collura for being among the top individual fundraisers.

So, yea, that happened!

But, what’s weighing heavier on my sleepy mind at the moment is that tomorrow is beta day. Tomorrow things change. I’d say I’m feeling about 5% confident we’ll get a clear BFN, 5% confident we’ll get a clear BFP, and about 90% confident that we’ll still be left waiting. I’m calling it now — mildly elevated beta that could either be an early pregnancy (with my hallmark shit betas) or residual HCG from my regular boosters (last 2,500IU dose on Friday).

In my head I’ve established my own scale:

  • <40: Abandon all hope ye who enter here. Totally not pregnant
  • 40-300: Who the fuck knows? Another round of beta hell
  • >300: How did my lab’s get mixed with someone else’s? Could it actually be…

I don’t now how hard and fast any of you should view those numbers, but I know that I need my own personal matrix in place before I’m ready to cope with tomorrow. I’m going to have enough to obsess over, at least I can do a little prior planning on the numbers end of things.

I complain a lot about how the uncertainty is one of the hardest elements of this whole IF deal. There are the big picture uncertainties – will I ever be a mother? will I have a biological child? will I ever be able to get over this pain and anger? – and there are the more granular worries – when can I try to TTC again? will I get pregnant? will I stay pregnant? They all cause their own level of stress and anguish, but I do think the uncertainty I’ve had the hardest time coping with over the years is that which sets in after chemical confirmation of pregnancy. If trying to conceive carves your life into two week periods of waiting, confirmation of pregnancy carves my life into 2 hour, 2 minute, and 2 second intervals of waiting. My three failed pregnancies have made me familiar with what it feels like to experience concrete and tangible sources of uncertainty for which there is no timeline or end point. The seconds after a positive pregnancy test are, perhaps, the most frightening of all for me.

As all this runs through my head I know I’m rationalizing. As I posted on Twitter earlier today, to me, “BFN=certainty and BFP=anxiety.” I’m already setting up my own lose/lose situation. If my blood test is negative, sure I’ll have certainty, but I’ll also have failed at conceiving yet again. And, this would be even worse, because I’d be batting 0 for 2 for the first time given this cycle’s two perfect-appearing follicles. If I am pregnant, I’ll always feel the need to refer to myself as “technically” pregnant, and will anticipate that each hour, minute, or second will be the last one of my fourth pregnancy. Our psyches’ have a strange way of trying to maintain some semblance of stability, eh?

So, this is the moment I’m marking. A moment of the utmost clarity at my role, purpose, and importance in the infertility community, mixed with complete confusion as to the headspace I should currently be occupying.

At least Mr. But IF and I both had equally valid excuses for why we didn’t get so much as a card for one another for our 7th anniversary tomorrow. Because, yea, that’s good timing for a beta…

What’s this odd hope-like feeling?

There’s a smile on my face, a lightness in my heart, and a pep in my step.  This feels weird.  I don’t like it.  I think, dare I say it, it’s hope!

Ultrasound this morning revealed two plump and juicy follicles just waiting to rupture and release my busted beautiful eggs.  (Getting used to this hope thing may take some time…)  Tonight I trigger ovulation with an HCG injection and then it’s non-stop rubbing naughty bits for the rest of the weekend.  Mr. But IF should get a good night’s sleep tonight; I mean, I know I will thanks to the sudden introduction of 10,000 units of straight synthetic pregnancy hormone into my system.

Tonight will be my last shot for three. whole. days.  I’m not gonna know what to do with myself.  I guess I’ll resort to doing things with Mr. But IF… 😉

My regimen for the rest of the cycle will include:

  • Continue: Synthroid (112mcg), Metformin (2,000mg), L-MTHF (2mg), Vitamin D (5,000IU), Vitamin B12 (500mcg), Baby Aspirin (81mg), and Prenatal Vitamin daily.
  • Starting Tuesday 6/11: Progesterone in oil (50mg/1ml) and Lovenox (40mg).
  • Add on Wendnesday 6/12: Crinone 8% and HCG boosters (2,500 units every 3 days).
  • On Friday 6/14: Return to RE for intralipid infusion.
  • On Monday 6/24: Go for first beta (pregnancy) test.

I’m trying not to think too long or hard about that last one for a few reasons.  First, it just so happens my beta falls on my 7th wedding anniversary.  Usually I’m not a big believer in chance or fate or luck or what have you because, let’s face it, if I were and I’d lived the life I’ve lived I’d be pretty fatalistic about my chances, my fate, and my luck.  However, this timing definitely made me stop in my tracks when the NP pulled out my calendar.  “Oh, we’re testing on that day are we?  Fantaaastic…”  (All the while dripping with sarcasm.)

Second, I know full well that that first beta is going to be anything but conclusive.  In three pregnancies I’ve had three abnormal beta rises.  The first was diagnosed as “ectopic” due to those low and slow betas, the second didn’t survive into the fourth week because of them, and, for the most recent, I remained pregnant with clear and strong fetal heartbeat to 9 weeks and still was sporting the beta levels of a very newly pregnant woman.  My body refuses to produce pregnancy hormone.  So, this time around we’re giving it some help from the start with injections of HCG every three days from 3dpo on.  We tried doing this when my last pregnancy was already failing but it was a step too small coming at a date too late.  Who knows whether the HCG boosters will do a damn thing medically, but mentally I’m happy to be on them from the start this time around.  After all this time, regret management is a good enough reason to do just about anything.  Sure, the downside is that it will likely take us quite a while (and several repeat beta draws) to determine if my hormone levels are elevated from a pregnancy or just from the injections, but I can live with that.  It’s almost calming to know that, unlike my prior cycles where beta day was – duh duh dummm – the day, that beta day this time around will just be one of many days that will inform a final verdict a few more days and blood draws in the making.  Beta hell isn’t my favorite thing in the world, but walking into it eyes wide open seems like it will be a lot easier than enduring the unexpected uncertainty of my prior pregnancies.

Finally, and perhaps positively, I’ll be away at a work retreat all day on the 24th.  I bemoaned that fact when the date for the retreat was announced (seriously, my anniversary?), but now it feels like good timing.  I have a feeling the distraction and time away from Dr. Google, my online patient portal, and my browser’s refresh button will be a good thing.  I just hope I’ll be able to swing a phone call at some point that day.  With non-stop meetings held at a remote camp site I’m a little anxious, but I’ve gotten through worse.

So, there you have it folks, I’m actually feeling hopeful.  From a teary day in my blanket nest on Tuesday to today’s constant cheery mental refrain of “Oh my what beautiful follies I have!” – gotta love the thrilling emotional roller-coasters of BarrenLand.

Bloggers Block

I’ll be honest.  I want to post.  I feel the need to post.  I’m itching for a post.  (Read: I’m an attention whore and my stats are way down, man!)  But, I swear, I seriously don’t know what to post today.  Here’s a few reasons why:

1. There’s absolutely nothing going on over here.  And, that’s really no different than it’s been the entire time I’ve been contributing to this blog.  What is different, however, is I’m seriously teetering on the edge staring straight down in to a whole lot of something.  It’s been nearly 3 months since my D&C and 2 months since my suspicious ANA results.  I did the blood work for my rheumatologist on Wednesday, I have my MRI on Monday, and my (hopefully final) follow-up with the rheumy on Tuesday.  In 4 short days we may be given the green light to try again.  Those 4 days are going to be agony.

2. I’m in a bit of a post-NIAW slump.  (And, it certainly didn’t help that the latter part of that week was spent away at a work event.)  I really gave it my all last week, and now I feel a little lost and dazed.  Have you read the Furrowed Fox’s tremendous NIAW Aftermath post?  That one really hit close to home and triggered a lot of internal monologue in the past day.  I’m a very happy RESOLVE volunteer, treasure NIAW, and feel so grateful that that organization exists, yet I do often feel that as time as gone on my relationship with RESOLVE has changed.  For me, it’s become more a relationship of giving (giving my time, my energy, my support), than a relationship of receiving (receiving support, receiving guidance, receiving and redistributing a general message), and I think that is OK.  And, I also think that’s why I feel so spent right now.  All that effort went out last week, and not so much back in.  But, then again, it’s specifically because  so little comes back in that I feel the need to put so much out.  Can’t win, eh?

3. I’m kinda focusing my IF efforts elsewhere for the time being.  After meeting my first “IF friend in the computer” in real life last weekend, I’m now 100% committed to getting the rest of the gals in my IF group together (if at least virtually).  I’m trying to get this whole Google Hangout thing straightened out so we can “meet” this weekend.  Seriously, how cool is that going to be???

4. The semester is winding down here and the work/life balance is swinging wildly to the work side these days.  Great for providing distractions from IF, not so great for, oh, getting sleep, alleviating stress, spending time with Mr. But IF, not having work-related nightmares.

5. This weekend I will be taking my last shower at home… at least for a while.  When we bought our lovely old lady of a house, we knew it needed TONS of work, so we’ve just been waiting with bated breath for spring to, uh, spring so that we could get the serious projects rolling.  A contractor will arrive at our house early Tuesday morning and tear our bathroom apart.  Luckily, we still have a small downstairs bath with toilet and sink, but otherwise we’ll be sans-sanitation for the foreseeable future.  Thank goodness for having access to a beautiful college gym facility and faculty showers! :-)  So, anyway, yea, that’s gonna be “fun.”

There’s been a lot of chatter on Twitter today about the appropriate nomenclature for describing infertility.  Is it a journey?  Experience?  Trip?  Shit storm?  Quest?  War?  I honestly don’t know, but all I do know is that right now I’m not moving forward or backward, I’m not experiencing much, I have no idea of the direction I’m headed or what I’m even searching for, I don’t know what the weather is like outside my door, and, if this is war, I’ve most certainly reached a stalemate.  So, for now I think it’s best to just drink and be merry.  And, that’s exactly what I plan to do in T-minus 20 minutes.

Happy weekend all!

Getting to know you

So, my dashboard just told me I’ve had 69 views today.

1. Yes, I’m a 15 year old boy and I thought that this would be a funny number to focus on for this post.[1]

2. I honestly haven’t clicked through this blog that much by myself, so holy-crap-people-are-reading-this!

Anyway, this minor milestone has me asking, who are you my friendly readers?  Seriously, tell me it’s not just Mr. But IF logging in from various places about town trying to make me feel accomplished and stuff.

Why are you reading this?  How did you find me?  What can I do to keep you around?  (Pleeease don’t leave me!?!?)

Catch you all in the comments!

[1] As an aside, did you know that according to one 1998 study published in Human Reproduction it was found that, “All lubricants except baby oil significantly decreased percentage progressive motility, progressive velocity, curvilinear velocity and lateral head displacement at 12.5% concentration.  At a lower concentration of 6.25%, both olive oil and saliva still significantly reduced progressive motility parameters, while KY jelly diminished head movement parameters.”  See: S. Lewis, L. Anderson, and N. McClure, “The Effects of Coital Lubricants on Sperm Motility in vitro,” Human Reproduction 13 (12): 3351-3356.  (Oh, and seriously, wtf with the baby oil and olive oil???)