Sunday, January 31, 2010

Shout out to Conan O'Brien

I just have to say that I love what he said at the end of his very last episode of The Tonight Show. I'll quote him for those of you who did not stay up past your bedtime to tune in like I did. Here's a link to the actual speech if you want to follow along:Link removed.

After thanking his fans,etc. He said: "All I ask is one thing. And I'm asking this in particular of young people that watch. Please do not be cynical. I hate cynicism. For the record, it's my least favorite quality. It doesn't lead anywhere."

"Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard, and you're kind, amazing things will happen. I'm telling you, amazing things will happen. I'm telling you. It's just true."

I have been thinking about this quote for a week now. It's a pretty general statement and it can be applied to lots of situations. I am choosing to apply it to my life and my IF struggles. It's so easy to let the cynicism creep in when things don't go your way. After 4 IVFs and no baby, you might be able to imagine that we have taken cynicism to new heights. I actually roll my eyes or smirk whenever I hear a pregnancy announcement or whenever I hear a pg woman complaining about her pregnancy. A part of me doesn't even believe I will be a mother. I mean c'mon...I have done 4 IVFs and none of them have worked! I could stand to lose some of the cynicism....It is probably one of my least favorite things about myself, Conan.

***Ginger's tip***: Ladies, if you have a friend who is desperately trying to get pregnant, she does NOT want to hear about your morning sickness or your insomnia or that you feel fat or even that you can't see your feet. Try to be gentle and realize that she would give her right arm or at least her very favorite Coach bag to be fat or sick or to forget what her feet look like if she could have her own baby.

It is true that nobody gets exactly what they want in life. H & I have a great life together and I try not to focus on what we don't have (baby) but it's hard. I have to come to a point where I know we will be ok because we have each other. It's not how we planned it but most of our life did not work out like either of us planned. Some things turned out better. This just happens to be our worse. I am hoping that all the hard work we are doing (he stopped drinking, I have restricted my diet & started listening to relaxation tapes among other things.) will pay off. Not to mention the fact that IVF itself is work! At times it feels like a full time job. You have to keep track of all the appointments, have constant phone contact with nurses, pay very close attention to meds instructions. It can most definitely be classified as work! Now if I could just work on being kinder....(to everyone, not just infertile people!)

So,yay to Conan for setting an example by handling your situation with such class. And Jay Leno, if you are out there...isn't it time to retire?

Thanks for reading!

p.s I apologize if you are a Leno fan !

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Cleared for takeoff!

Well, the ute is scar free! No polyps either! I am so thankful. Theoretically, I could start my cycle in a few short days-just waiting for my LH surge(ovulation to the fertile myrtles out there.) We are going to wait until next month, though. I still have people at the clinic to get in touch with. And if you believe that, you are really gullible.
I will admit that I am dragging my feet a bit.....The sooner I start, the sooner I will know that I am not pregnant or the sooner I'll find out that it's a miscarriage. You see where this is going,right? Debbie Downer has been paid me a visit recently.
If you don't see it now, you will soon pick up on my pattern. Today I am scared....tomorrow, I may be feeling really positive. I'm not manic depressive-just infertile. It's completely normal. Stick with me :)Things could get really interesting!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I am not a monster....

even though I feel like one at times.
Being around pregnant women is very difficult for me. More so than being around babies & children..... I think a lot of infertiles feel this way. I know at some point, I could be a mother...we could adopt. A child is certainly within the realm of possibility. Another pregnancy might not be. My heart aches for a baby, like so many women who cannot get pregnant. To feel that baby kick and to have that connection....It just hurts to be around someone else who gets to feel that indescribable joy of a new life growing inside of you. To be able to take a piece of you and the person you love most in the world and create a whole new person for the two of you to love like no other person on this earth could love. That's what bothers me. Sure, it sounds self centered but there are so many people who have that and take it for granted. They get pregnant easily but I bet they can't appreciate how truly miraculous it is like my infertile "sisters" can.
Speaking of the common bond that is infertility.... A very dear friend of mine just told me about her pregnancy. (She's 10 weeks. I was 10 weeks when I had my miscarriage) Hers is not my story to tell but let's just say she has had numerous losses including a devastating late term loss. We became close friends when she had just given birth and I was about to begin my IVF journey. She was very candid about her issues from day one and so supportive of me every step of the way.
As far as I knew, they weren't going to try again due to their history. I knew if she ever did get pregnant again, it would not bother me because I knew of her struggles. How could I possibly be upset by a fellow infertile "sister" getting what we all hope for in our heart of hearts? I am truly thrilled for my friend and her H and not at all jealous. A part of me feels like I am getting left behind again, though. There have been plenty of friendships I have lost because someone has gotten pg and their priorities have changed.
Well, she told me in the gentlest, most downplayed way possible. (She explained that they are not telling anyone else and that they are being very cautious and IFers you won't believe this, but they weren't trying!) but I still shed a few tears the moment I was alone. I'm so mad at myself for not being able to be happy for my friend without being sad for myself. Sometimes I do feel like a monster. She is scared and not at the point of being thrilled yet because of her previous problems and all I can think about is how I may never get pregnant again. And I began to wonder if I would be able to handle being around her while she is pregnant or if I would pull away as I have so many times in the past. I prayed about it and hoped for the best.
The next day she called me to apologize. I couldn't even imagine why....she had nothing to be sorry for! In my mind, she was being very sensitive to my feelings but she wanted to make sure we were ok. She thought that she might have been insensitive by not being excited enough and she was afraid that she had hurt me by acting that way. Can you imagine someone being so concerned with my feelings when she has so many unresolved feelings of her own to deal with regarding her pregnancy.? At that moment I knew. I can handle this and I can be there for my friend. There may be days when I will want to throw a pity party but our friendship means more to me than my sorrow.

Date night!

MH surprised me last night by taking me out on a date. We went to dinner and to a jazz bar for drinks afterwards. Just like the old days....except we got home much earlier. lol! We used to go out all the time before all of this IF stuff reared it's ugly head. Now it's usually take out and a DVD.

Why am I talking about my hot date (and it was hot, thanks for asking!) on my IVF blog? Oh, IVF and infertile thoughts touch every area of your life. MH's mom sent us letters thanking us for our Christmas gifts and she said that we work too hard and don't play hard enough. She's so right. I think it scared MH a little when she pointed it out.

We are both a little depressed about what we've been through. The fun stuff isn't so fun any more. Even going to Disney over Christmas break did not manage to cheer us up. It was actually kind of tortuous to see all of the happy families. We practically live like we have kids,anyway. We are not tied down at all...there's no need to get a babysitter or to try to find a family friendly restaurant. If we want to go to a 10 o'clock movie we can do it. (Honestly, we can't stay up that late but you get what I'm saying!) We have no excuse for not doing a little living. But right now, we are not. We do need to enjoy each other more. (We really did until we found out about all of our IF problems.) It's certainly not going to cure us but I want us to get back to happy.....even if we can't have a child.
Oh, and you are not going to get any more detailed information about date don't ask.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

F day is here......

That's Flo as in "Flo is in town". Yup, my period is here. It's never a good thing..... In a nutshell,this month, it means that I am not the beneficiary of some infertility miracle and that I need to start preparing for my next IVF cycle. The period is where it all starts.

From my last post, you might remember that I am starting with a new clinic. My 1st step it to have another HSG(dye up the lady parts)to check my uterus for polyps and possible scar tissue from my D&C. If we are all clear, I can move onto my 5th IVF cycle in February. Please keep me in your thoughts, I can't afford to have another setback. I'll be 39 in 6 weeks and I think my eggs will be about 42! A surgery will just put things off for a month or 2 and I am working against the clock. Sometimes I feel like Jack Bauer.

I have incorporated some lifestyle changes (thanks to the book Making Babies) and I am feeling really healthy and positive (talk to me once I start shooting up and I may feel less hopeful)There is just so much riding on every cycle. I'm not only talking about the price of the IVF cycle and the meds.....We have to travel 3 hours each way to the RE and sometimes get a hotel, it's an emotional roller coaster. Not to mention, I could be doing real damage to my body by trying to grow so many eggs cycle after cycle. Each time we fail, it becomes more apparent that I may never be a mommy. At what point do we call it quits? We've come this far. It's so overwhelming at times. Nothing in my life has ever come easy.(I married a man who shares the same burden, so we are a match made in Heaven)I'm hoping that I'll end up with a miracle at the last minute like I have so many times in my past. I don't know what's keeping me going other than that. I just hope that I am up for this adventure-again.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

History lesson nearly complete.....

Before I go into the details about cycle #4, I have to give you a little background regarding the events leading up to it. You see, I really believe that how I treated myself and my body after my miscarriage had a lot to do with the outcome of my last IVF cycle.

So, after the m/c I stopped taking care of myself. I took a few days off from work(no one knew about the m/c or even the fact that I was pg.) I just sat in bed and cried and watched tv and I withdrew from everyone. (I had already been pulling away from friends and family for months. Infertility is very isolating.) My nephew (who I adore)turned 4 and I missed his birthday party because I couldn't stand to be around all of the families with young children just 2 weeks after my "surgery". That sweet boy has (unknowingly) cheered me up so many times and I let him down by missing his party. Another reason to feel great about myself.

I was in pain and I had no idea how I would ever overcome the blanket of sadness and despair that coated every area of my life. As sad as my husband was, he just couldn't understand. That baby was not inside of him, attached to him. They didn't remove it from his body. As a matter of fact, no one can understand unless they have been through it.

I tried to comfort myself with food,(chocolate, terra chips and mac & cheese-mmmmm)shopping and I am ashamed to admit-vicodin(left over from a previous stash is gone now.)To my utter horror, I had already gone up a full pant size. I was fat, out of shape(I had stopped working soon after starting my shots-Drs. orders.)and I didn't even have a baby to show for it. I tried to eat my sorrow away and when I realized that I had gained 10lbs. in 3 months, I panicked.

I regrouped after a few weeks. (I did not start feeling better,mind you. I just rejoined society)I had to go to a bridal shower for my BIL's fiancee and there was no getting out of it. (No one knew I was pg and I didn't need trouble with this girl.) Well, nothing fit. I had to buy a new dress. I also bought my 1st pair of spanx and I wore them all summer.

Did I mention that I began to hate God? I stopped going to church. I cursed God. I asked why. I was angry at the world. Why can meth addicts get pg? How can you take a baby from a loving couple but allow abusive people to have children so easily? I suppose it's all part of the grieving process but I was self destructive in my thinking and the way I treated myself.

In one of my most defiant moves, I began crash dieting. I would eat less than 900 calories a day and exercise for 2 hours a day-every day. And I wondered why I was getting dizzy spells......I wore myself out. I was trying to lose the 10 lbs. of "baby wieght" and I didn't think about what it was doing to me. I knew we would do another cycle at some point and I knew I had to lose the weight and get healthy before that. Well, starving myself was not the way. I think that had a lot to do with why cycle #4 (Oct. 2009)was another failure for me(a chemical pregnancy) That and my attitude. I was not ready to cycle again only 5 months after my m/c. I was still crushed about the loss. But I let my worries over my age take over. Don't get me wrong, the clock is ticking but I think I needed a little more time.

My baby was only with me for a brief time but my hubs and I already loved him so much. We loved the idea of a baby for so long and when we finally got what we wished for, we didn't expect it to be yanked from our grasp. Especially after what we went through to get there,just to get to that 10 week mark. Shots and surgeries and countless Dr. appts and travel and mini freak outs on my part. You think PMS is bad? Try taking progesterone shots.

After cycle #4, we met with the RE. He suggested donor eggs. He was the 2nd Dr. to do so. H & I discussed it. I had already given it a lot of thought and I had decided that I wanted to do that for my H. I wanted to carry a baby and I was willing to give up my DNA connection for my H to have a biological child. To my surprise, he told me that he would rather adopt than have a baby with his DNA and not mine. You could have knocked me over with a feather.

We did decide to give it 1 more shot with another clinic. I am currently seeing another top NYC Doc. The AMA guru, if you will. He gets lots of old ladies pg and he thinks we have a good shot. (4 IVF cycles and I have been pg 3 times)We want to make sure that we have done all we can to have a biological child before we pursue other avenues.

I'll start with present day info. in my next post. I hope you will stay with me during my next cycle. I could really use the support. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

History of my IVF world part II

So, before I continue with my history, won't you allow me to remind you briefly about a piece of cinematic history? All the ladies have seen Steel Magnolias, right? Well, do you remember the scene where Shelby is fighting with her mother? Oh, which time, you ask? M'Lynn is mad at Shelby for getting pregnant because she is afraid that a pregnancy will kill Shelby. (Spoiler alert: we should all probably listen to our mothers! Don't tell mine I said that...) Shelby tells her mother: "I'd rather have thirty minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special." Oh, when I was a senior in high school that part got to me! I thought the very same thing. Just give me a little bit of happiness! I had never had a boyfriend while the girls around me had already had several. So I thought of that quote in terms of my love life. What a romantic way to view life, no? What the hell did I know? Why would anyone ask to live a tortured existence where you long for happier times,brighter days? Ugh. I forgot about that scene for years but it came back to haunt me last May when I lost my baby.

I can honestly say that having 30 minutes of wonderful (or 10 weeks in my case) is most certainly not better than a lifetime of nothing special. My 3rd IVF ended with me in the hospital recovery room not far from where my baby's life began-I might have even been on the same gurney. (I was too far along for a natural miscarriage because of the risk of hemorrhage.) When they brought me into the OR, they wheeled in an ultrasound machine. Dr. B brought out the dildo cam to prove to me that my baby's heart had stopped. He also had to get me to sign the consent for the D&C since I refused until I could see the baby for myself. At this point, I was still hoping that the slow heartbeat we had seen the week before would miraculously become strong again. There was no movement and no heartbeat. The last things I remember are the nurse rubbing my leg,calling me "Sweet Ginger" with tears in her eyes and the Anesthesiologist telling me "You are going to be pregnant someday-I can feel it. Just stay positive".

Whew, that was tough. Thanks to the wonderful nurses and Drs. at NYU for being so supportive. I still can't really think about it without breaking down. We were so happy when we found out that I was pregnant. After 2 failed IVF cycles, I knew, I was proof in the saying "third time's a charm" but I have wished almost daily that I was never pregnant that time. I know what it's like to not be able to get pregnant and I know what it's like to lose a baby and I can tell you which is worse. I am scared to death of losing another baby. I'm scared to death not to try again. What if the only glimpse of motherhood for me is that time I got pregnant and miscarried? I can't believe this is it for me so I keep going.

My baby boy should have been born 12/16/09. The joyous Christmas I envisioned last May was not to be. Thanks to the love and support of my hubs and our families, we survived. Maybe I was just off by a year.

Thanks for reading.

p.s More history tomorrow. Yeah, there's more!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Going historical

As promised in my virgin post, I'm going to share my IVF history with you. At least part of it for tongiht. I'll try to be brief. Could be tough.

Hubs & I tried on our own for about 1 1/2 years with no success. (Yes, I tried charting and relaxing!) I had read enough books to scare me into realizing that at 37, I may have some trouble. (Thank you TCOYF. By the way that book should be required reading in health class! Teachers are you listening?!)

The 1st step was with the OB/GYN. They sent my hub for an SA (sperm cocktail)and he whined about it. It's far easier than what the women have to go through (and downright fun by comparision,IMO) They found a small problem with his,um material. (MFI-male factor infertility) and referred us to the Reproductive Endocrinologist.

My turn next: I had the SHG and HSG. One shoots dye in your tubes, the other, water up your "lady business". My tubes are beautiful-I can show you photos if you want. However ,they found a polyp in my ute. (Not a big deal in the IF world)It was removed swiftly and we were cleared for our 1st IVF cycle.

Cycle # 1 in August 2008 ended in a chemical pregnancy and we found out that the quality of my eggs were showing their age. (37 to be exact.)

We now had a new diagnosis in addition to the MFI. AMA. (Ugh. Advance maternal age)2 strikes against us (3 if you count the fact that I have an autoimmune disease!)

Cycle #2 in October 2008 was negative. The RE told me to start thinking about donor eggs before he even transferred them back to me.(and he took bets at my transfer about how many I would put back)It was either donor eggs or move on to the Big Apple (yup,NYC)

Ginger's TIP ALERT: Sometimes the smaller clinics will suggest donor eggs before you are ready so you don't keep messing up their stats with your negative cycles. In addition to having more ideas and "tricks" the big city clinics treat almost everyone and their stats may be lower because they rarely turn people away. They see the toughest, most hopeless cases.

After cycle #2 and the news of my geriatric eggs, we decided to regroup. I'll tell you more another day.

This stuff is kind of dry so I appreciate it if you made it through this post-thanks!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

My virgin post

I bought a compact mirror in my 20s. I still have that mirror. There is a border when I open the mirror that reads "GLAMOUR GIRL". Cute,right? That was long before I realized life might not always be so glamorous. ( I had a good job, car and apartment and a discount at a womens clothing store! I was so young and imagined that life could only get better.)

Fast forward about 14 years. I met the man of my dreams (cliche but the best description) and what I have been going through is anything but glamorous. (Hence, the blog title. I so love sarcasm.) Thank goodness he didn't marry me for my glam status. Shooting up,(hormones NOT heroin) being so bloated that I have 3 pants sizes in my closet (and a Bella Band thanks to a failed pregnancy at 10 weeks) not to mention my relationship with the dildo cam. (Every IVFers least favorite part. The very 1st time I was asked to get underessed on day 2 of my period so the Tech could perform the ultrasound, I panicked and stammered: "Um, I have my period though!" Yeah, that was the point but who knew?!) I've been through every test there is and while having dye and water shot up your "lady business" sounds like a kinky game, it's really part of 2 VERY unglamorous yet necessary fertility tests.

Many people may ask why a blog? Why now? If you read my profile, you would know that I have already been through 4 IVF cycles. Why all of a sudden do I want to bore you with my details? While I am hoping and praying for a positive outcome on my next cycle, the very real prospect of that not happening is looming. (I'll be another year older in March) I need to make some sense of it all. Writing has always been theraputic for me but maybe I'm meant to be there for others. Maybe I will inspire you or answer some question you were afraid to ask or maybe I'll just make you laugh on a day when you need it. Maybe you, dear reader, will help me get through this next cycle. There are days when I am going to vent and days when I am going to be completely sarcastic or pissed (pg 13 rating at best). There are days when I will be blissfully happy and days when I may need a shoulder to cry on. More about my history in the next post.

I hope you'll join me. I promise to give you all the unglamorous details in the most glamorous way possible. I mean, I never leave home without my lipstick, handbag or the perfect shoe!

Thanks for reading!

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