Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A visit with Grams

I went to see my Gram yesterday. Yep. I'm 40 years old and I still have 1 living grandparent. I love to visit my Gram. Time stands still for me there. I feel like a child again. No one can make you feel like a Grandma can. My Gram has a knack for making everyone feel like they are the most special person around...even people she meets for the 1st time. She is very devout and I am in awe of that. I cannot imagine a life built on such unwavering faith. Even after losing my Grandpa, she continues to live a very full and active life.

My Gram's house is the same exact way that it was when I was a little girl. She has the shiniest kitchen linoleum I have ever seen and lots of crochet stuff and starched doilies. Whenever I step foot in her house, I can almost see my child self playing "tea party" with the mini cups and plates or making pictures with the Spirograph. I had hoped someday that my own children would play there. It makes me a little sad but I feel safe when I am there. Every time I see her, my Gram tells me how she prays for us to become parents. She loves my husband and she thinks he is just like my Grandpa. She thinks we are very lucky and she tells us all the time how happy she is that we found each other....."Just like me and Gramp" she'll say. One small difference: we have no children and I might never be a Grandma to anyone. You tend to forget about that part. Sure, it's hard to accept that you might never be a parent but that means you'll never be a grandparent,either. I had a special relationship with both of my Grandmas and it makes me so sad that I may never have the chance to be that special person for someone else.

I know. Just because you are a parent, it doesn't mean you'll be a grandparent. Some of you may not. But you may. The possibility is there. When you are an infetile, it's just another thing you end up mourning. It's a lifetime of mourning all at once.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Genetic failure

We planted some mums last year in front of our house. They were a really pretty,rich orangey-red color. Somehow, they are coming up purple. I hate purple. I certainly don't want it in front of my house because it does not match. I know that your flowers don't have to match your house but I want my flowers to match my house. That's just my taste.

When we went out to buy some new mums, we asked the guy at the greenhouse about our mysteriously changing plant and we got a genetics lesson. He told us that one of 2 things are possible: 1.) We could have had a mum in the offensive purple color planted next to the color we expected to come up and a root from that purple one or even a bee could have polluted/pollinated our beautiful autumnal hued mum. That was certainly not the case because I don't buy purple flowers. 2.)Mums originally only came in like 2 colors...the rest of them are all hybrids. Today's hybrids are the results of endless crosses between several species from China and Japan. They can actually "revert" back to their original color at any time. Who knew? You may have but I am clueless when it comes to gardening.

I can't seem to escape the subject of genetics.

We all know that my crappy eggs are the reason I can't maintain a pregnancy. Like the mums, if I buy eggs from somebody else and mix them with H's sperm what am I going to get? I thought being pregnant was the most important thing since I feel like that is the only way I can heal from my miscarriages. I feel like a "do over" will be the only way for me to move on but I'm not sure anymore. I'm starting to get really sad about not having a genetic connection to my child. As much as I want to be pregnant, I am scared to death to play with genetics. I have already failed miserably with my own DNA but what happens when we bring a 3rd person into the mix? I don't want it to be purple mums all over again. I'm so scared to mess with a human life....in more ways than one. I think I would have a nervous breakdown if I had a failed DE cycle. We've already been through too much. There is just so much to think about and while I knew it was possible this day was coming, I now know that I am not prepared for it.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Six years

It was a gorgeous sunny day in the low 70s. The humidity was nonexistent and there was a slight breeze. I remember the big news story was still Hurricane Katrina even though it had happened almost a month earlier.

I was so very calm (not my personality)and simply beaming. I have never felt more like myself than I did on that day. People could not help but be happy in my presence. I was about to marry the love of my life and we were about to start our life together with a family of our own. I just knew I would be pregnant before our 1st anniversary. I didn't care if it was a boy or a girl but I did secretly hope for one of each at some point. I knew it might take a little longer for us than the average couple since I was pushing 35.

After our 1st anniversary, nothing happened. I got sick with a bad Crohn's flare and we had to put things on hold for another 2 years until I went back into remission. By that time, I was 37 and already considered old (reproductively speaking). In early 2008, we found out about the issues with the sperm and we were told IVF was our only option.

You should know everything that happened from then on. If not, check my archives.

Our marriage has been one struggle after another....mostly all health related. It has been 6 years of wishing and hoping and longing. Instead of being happy with our family of 2, we have been desperately trying to add more members. I know I said I had no regrets about what we have done and I still feel that way. But when I think back to that day 6 years ago, I almost feel like we have nothing to show for it.

Luckily, our marriage has survived all the shit that comes with infertility but I want to be that girl that I was on my wedding day again. I don't know how to do that but I want to be that happy and hopeful again...so does H. I'm praying we can figure it out together and we can find that happiness a different way.

Happy anniversary, H!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Going forward

Don't judge me but I subscribe to a daily email from Rev Run. Yes, the guy from run DMC. I really liked his show a few years ago on mtv and I jumped on his "Daily Word" bandwagon. It's basically an inspirational quote sent to your inbox every day. Sometimes they don't mean much to me and I hit delete. But some days, that damn email can really speak to me.

Like today....like the title of my post suggests, the tile of his email was "Going Forward" and it said "Good morning. A life of reaction is a life of slavery, intellectually and spiritually. One must fight for a life of action, not reaction."

Today...right now, going forward could mean a number of different paths. I don't know if we should pursue DE or adoption or foster care. I don't know if children are in our future. I suppose I should be very sure before we move forward. I know...I keep saying "I". H is probably ok with stopping everything. He is not sure he wants a baby without my DNA. He wants our baby to be beautiful like me. (His words-NOT MINE!)Let's be honest....he doesn't want to spend the money,either. It's a lot more than IVF and there is still a big chance it won't work. He is also not keen on adoption. Both of us are reluctant to start that process...it is so daunting. I know there are children out there who would be so lucky to have us and the life we could provide but there are so many couples competing for the same babies, anyway. I am sure there are loads of amazing couples who are much more confident in their choice to adopt. We don't need to be competition for them,either. That's not fair.

H would probably go along with whatever makes me happy. That is how he is. He makes most of the decisions when it comes to money and the work we do on the house,etc. but he usually defers to me about this stuff. It is really overwhelming to be making these types of decisions on my own. i.e going to all the NYC clinics, trying IVF so many times, trying DS. It's a pretty heavy burden to bear when it goes wrong,too. I have no one to blame but myself for the past 4 years...the heartache, the money that is gone,the toll it has taken on my body....on our relationship at times. There are things that we have said in the name of anger and hormones that can never be taken back. My head is spinning thinking about it. Yet, I have no regrets. If we didn't try, we would probably always wonder. I just wish we had our baby.

So, while I was struck by how profound the title of that email was, I have no clue what "going forward" means for us. I am going to save it in a folder somewhere or maybe I'll print it out and keep it in my wallet. I don't want to live my life by having a reaction to things that happen to me. I want to make things happen. I hope that someday soon I do have some answers and that I don't feel like we are stuck in a place we don't want to be. I guess we start slow, take it one day at a time and maybe the rest will unfold. Perhaps the actions will present themselves if we stop fighting our circumstances.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Not my happy ending....

IVF # 7 did not go down like I had hoped. Obviously, that means I am not pg. I'm ok. Sure, I'm sad but I'm so tired of this life. For nearly 4 years I have lived and breathed IVF. I have been living in a constant state of longing and I deserve better than that,so does my husband. We tried everything in our power to make this work and it's time to stop.

I don't know if we'll pursue DE-it really depends on the wait and if H and I decide we can handle it. The financial commitment is huge and I'm not sure I could handle a failure with someone else's eggs. If there is one thing this journey has taught me it's that there are no guarantees.

Tonight, I am going to eat the majority of a pan of brownies with frosting and tomorrow morning I'll start working out hardcore again. I may never be a Mom but at least I can look good.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Your guess is as good as mine....

I just want to know. I don't want to wait until tomorrow. I am thinking about buying a stick and testing myself. I think I need to rip the band aid off.....

Today, I have cramps along with the tummy troubles that come along with a visit from Flo. It could be because I have pantyhose on...I haven't worn them since like, May....maybe they are squeezing my colon too tightly. My boobs aren't really sore anymore, though and my nipples aren't big like all the other times I was pg. That was always a sure sign for me so I think I know how this is going to go.

The one thing I do have going for me is the fact that I'm not spotting yet. I always spot the day before my period and that happened during cycles #4 and #5, too. Cycle # 6 was a big fat failure and I got my period 6 days after my transfer so at least I've passed that mark......

I suppose my erratic behavior could also be considered a pg symptom at this point but it could be good old fashioned PMS on steroids (or estrogen and progesterone to be more precise). I yelled at my husband this morning...he was rushing around and doing a lot of banging and mumbling so I told him to get his shit together and stop "angry talking". I don't know what I meant by angry talking and neither did he because the look of confusion on his face as he repeated the words "angry talking" sent me into a fit of giggles that lasted for about 15 min. I probably have laughed that hard about 5 times in my whole life....I was making noises I didn't know I could make. As a matter of fact, every time I see that look in my head I LOL. That is how I do a mood swing.

Tomorrow is not only my beta day but it is significant in other ways,too. It's the 4 year anniversary of the passing of H's favorite uncle. They were very close. His wife is H's godmother and her and I are a lot alike. She was never able to have children and I know she regrets it so she is very sensitive to what we have been through. She has always been very supportive of me and H and she does not hide the fact that we are her favorites in the family. I know she wants this for us and I can only imagine H's uncle does,too. It would be so unbelievably perfect if we find out tomorrow that I am pregnant.

Also, tomorrow is "peace day". I have never heard of it but after a quick visit to Google I'm up to speed.

From the official "Peace Day" website:

"The International Day of Peace ("Peace Day") provides an opportunity for individuals, organizations and nations to create practical acts of peace on a shared date. It was established by a United Nations resolution in 1981 to coincide with the opening of the General Assembly."

"Peace Day should be devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples…"

"International Day of Peace is also a Day of Ceasefire – personal or political. Take this opportunity to make peace in your own relationships as well as impact the larger conflicts of our time."

BINGO....my connection.

I'm no hippie...sure, world peace would be great but I'll admit that it's not the focus of my prayers. So, I'm choosing to apply it to my own personal relationships as stated above. Specifically, my relationship with IF and my body with it's poor quality eggs.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if my body decided to make peace with me and just get pregnant already? Maybe Uncle Charlie can help work on that,too. Perhaps he can speak to the angels or whoever is in charge up there and see to it that I have a strong, healthy beta tomorrow. I think that would make his nephew and his widow very happy....me too.

Pray for me, people.

Monday, September 19, 2011

2 more days

And I am a hot mess. I still haven't worked out since before my retrieval. I figured I'd try something new by not exercising and see if it works. All it's doing is making me feel like a fat slob. My weight is down but I feel so jiggly. Ewww. I also have some ugly dark circles under my eyes and a fever blister. WTF? When was I sick? I'm feeling extremely unattractive and I think I may have a nervous breakdown if I find out I am this ugly for no good reason(a baby would be a good reason).

Symptoms are coming and going and I don't know what to make of it all. I'm not really that concerned. It is what it is at this point. I'll just deal when I get the news. I may not be feeling quite as positive as I have been, though.....

Such a colossal mindfuck.....

Friday, September 16, 2011

This is where it gets tough

6dp3dt. The HCG shot is definitely out of my system by now but it's a little too early to feel pregnancy symptoms yet. There is so much second guessing at this stage!

I have a cramp and I'm sure I'm not pregnant. I crave chocolate and I'm not pregnant. I fart or bawl or giggle uncontrollably and I think I'm pregnant. My cravings went from pizza and cheesy Mexican food to turkey dinner with stuffing and gravy. I want it to be Thanksgiving so bad it physically aches. The soreness of my boobs changes hourly...as does the crampiness....just like my opinion on whether this is going to happen or not.

I will share with you a few very unusual instances from today that make me think this is possible(for the moment).

I eat strawberries every day. In season,out of season-doesn't matter. I eat them every morning with cottage cheese for my mid-morning snack. (I'm a total grazer...little snacks all day long)This morning, they tasted so sour to me that I could barely choke them down. I had to hold my nose to finish my snack. They tasted fine yesterday and they came from the same package. WTF?

Everything is tasting funny to me...the water at work tastes like metal and my pineapple at lunch tasted like motor oil.

The best part of my day was when someone at work asked me if I lost weight today...I have been losing weight for about a year now but she said I look even thinner and really good, really healthy. Her eyes got wide and she said: "Wait, are you pregnant? You look like you are glowing!" I am not sure how looking like I lost weight = being in the family way (Maybe if my ass doubled in size I could see how she could ask that)but it made me so happy, I almost cried. This is a woman who is most definitely not privy to my IVF hi jinks...no one at work is, actually. She doesn't even work in the same department so it's not like she sees me coming in late or taking time off. Maybe she knows something I don't.....I'd like to think so. I mean, some people just have a knack for that sort of thing. I do. I knew my sis was pg with my niece 2 days after she took a test...she didn't tell me until a month later but I knew. I won't bore you with more proof but my record is fanfuckingtastic.

Of course this could all be due to the estrogen and progesterone that I'm taking...or because Flo is imminent...or because I am probably peri-menopausal.

*sigh* See what I mean?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Week 1: killed it!

This time next week I'll know if lucky cycle 7 worked. Beta day is 1 week from today: September 21st. That's 3 days before our 6th wedding anniversary. Hoping we are blessed with the best kind of anniversary gift for our 6th year together. The traditional gifts for the 6th year of marriage are iron and sugar. How about a sweet little baby with healthy levels of iron in his/her blood?

I'm faring quite well so far. I still have some symptoms (sore boobs, mood swings, peeing 5 times at night....that's NOT a misprint. 5.times.every.night. ) so I am not freaking out yet. I have some really unusual things going on that I can't say I have experienced before....some a little TMI but I'm going to go for it and share them with you.

I have been waking up in the middle of the night with leg cramps...charlie horses in my calves. I haven't had a charlie horse in about 20 years. Maybe it's because I haven't been exercising but I've taken breaks from my workout routine before.

I am craving pizza and Mexican food. I normally don't touch the stuff...too unhealthy. I'll eat pizza maybe 4 times a year, if that. And if I do eat Mexican food, it's a salad (minus the rice) from Chipotle. That would not satisfy me right now. I want beef tacos loaded with cheese and guacamole. Come to think of it...I'd probably eat my favorite pair of shoes if they were smothered in cheese. I have not indulged just yet but I sure have been dreaming about it.

Speaking of dreams....I had such an interesting dream last night involving Vince from Entourage (such a good kisser) and Mcsteamy (not so bad,either). Nope, not a threesome...I was just a cheater. It's bad enough that I had the dream but I have been giddy all day thinking about it. Imagine trying to decide between the 2 of them!

That's it for now. I'm not sure if I can count any of these things as symptoms at just 4dp3dt. Honestly, I know better than to read into anything, anyway. Bring on week 2!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

(Em) babies on board 9/10/11

(Thanks to my friend Edwina for pointing out what an awesome date this is!)

All 3 of them! I can't help but be excited. I was thinking we would only have 1 left to transfer based on my history of embryo making. I have never had all of my embryos make it to day 3 before. I know you are probably thinking it is not a big deal...3 is not a huge #. I'm sure lots of my readers have lots more to show for 2 weeks of shots and bloat and mood swings than 3 little embryos on transfer day. Let me explain....

First of all, I learned early on that you can't compare your cycle to anyone else's. Most of the women I know who are cycling are at least a few years younger than me so statistically, it is expected that they would have more embryos to choose from. I certainly can't perform like a 33 year old when it comes to egg making. I'm proud of my 40 year old eggs.

I was given my trigger shot a bit early....earlier than my body is used to. Most of the time they try to get the most eggs out of my ovaries that they can. I only had 4 mature eggs out of the 10 that were growing and for 3 of them to fertilize and remain viable on day 3 is a big win for me. That's a 75% fertilization rate which is pretty darn good. I'd rather have less eggs that actually fertilize and thrive than lots of embryos that arrest before I have my transfer.

Which brings me to the quality. It all looked really good yesterday. The clinic uses a grading system of 1-4 with 4 being the best quality. I'm carrying 3 grade 3's around with me right now. They rated my embryos a 3 instead of 4 because of slight fragmentation...nothing like I've had in the past. I don't know how many cells they were because I just didn't ask but I did see the RE's notes and I know one of them was an 8 cell and that is what they hope for on day 3.

I had acupuncture and a little Valium before my procedure....I never heard of Valium at a transfer before and it was lovely. The Valium was clinic approved and it made such a difference. I wish I could have Valium every time someone came at me with a cold metal speculum. Do you think I can make that suggestion to my OB/GYN for my yearly pap? She is young and seems like she could be a bit progressive...... I also slept on the acupuncture table for an hour after my transfer. Such an amazing way to end my morning!

I left feeling relaxed and positive and I felt so sure of things. For the 1st time, I involved my whole family. I brought the pictures of my embryos to my sister's house for dinner and showed them to my Mom and sisters. I've never shared so much with any other cycle. I have to say that the extra prayers and support and pep talks made me feel so loved and like this is so possible....even probable. Things just feel so different this time.

The best part of my day was in the car on the way to the clinic. H turned to me with tears in his eyes and told me that he had a really good feeling about this cycle. He said he never has felt like we were going to be successful before this. 6 cycles and he never thought it would work...he went through the motions for me. It's cycle # 7 and he finally admitted this to me. He's not a man of many words and he won't say something unless he truly means it so I know that he does.

Now...we wait.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Quality over quantity

This has been my mantra for this cycle. I know this. I have known this since I started IVF over 3 years ago. I say this to people all.the.time. Now, it's time for me to believe the hype.

Out of 10 eggs, only 4 were mature and 3 fertilized. I have 3 little embryos growing in the lab. The Embryologist gave me the age speech and how great this is for someone who is 40. I was also told that they could have triggered me later but that they didn't want to sacrifice the quality of the few follicles in the lead in order for the smaller ones to catch up. When it comes right down to it, you probably aren't going to get pg with bad quality eggs. If you do, it might not end well. I've been down that road.

Instead of being greedy and praying that I have lots of eggs and some that make it to freeze (as I have for my past 6 cycles) I decided to pray for something else this time. I prayed for nice, strong embryos....and that at least one of them would become my take home baby.

So for now, I will think positive and keep praying. I pray that my 3 embryos make it to transfer day. That's Saturday at 9:30 am. After that I'll pray that at least one of them wants to stick around and that I'll have some excellent news in about 12 days. It only takes one.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Trigger happy

...sooooooo freaking happy! I feel so big this time around...and sore. It probably didn't help that I haven't been doing my ab workouts and that I was carrying around a 20 lb. baby all weekend. (My nephew..... I'm hoping some of his babyness rubbed off on me, at least)

Today was a low key kind of day and we needed it to recover from the busy weekend. After my monitoring appt. I did a little shopping (new comfy pants for the ER...yes I am that girl that plans outfits for all of life's events)and stopped by to visit my sis and check out her new bathroom remodel. Lovely! I played with her (sort of) step daughter for a while and headed home around 11. H was waiting impatiently for me so we could just spend a quiet day together. He wasn't as happy as me that today is trigger day.....I think he was hoping for some action but A.) last night's action hurt my ovaries and B.)he has to save the sperm!

My E2 is a little on the high side for the 9 follicles they are counting so far.....the sizes range from 12-22 mm and there are a few more under 12. So, they thought I might get anywhere from 9-12 eggs. I'm a little worried about that 22. I think Cornell usually triggers when the lead is around 18-20, if I remember correctly.

I'm taking my shot at 8pm. That means my retrieval will be at 8 am on Wednesday. I'm assuming they'll do a 3 day transfer. Fine by me....that would mean Saturday. I'd rather not have to explain another day off to the nosy types at work.

It's going to be so strange to be so close to home after the procedures. I'm used to a 3 hour car ride back home before I can get into my bed with my heating pad. I'll probably miss our little rituals....same hotel...same place for lunch and a walk around the city, same chicken sandwich with avocado and the special southwestern sauce,spinach salad and Terra chips purchased at the market near the hotel. Come to think of it, I'm almost out of that sandwich sauce...

I am feeling kind of detached from this cycle. It's almost like it's an out of body experience (Well, except for the tight pants and huge gut) Maybe it's because I was barely monitored or that I didn't have to be up at 3am to drive to NYC every day. Maybe I'm protecting myself. Or maybe I'm just ready to face whatever happens come what may.

See you on retrieval day! Unless something happens between now and then that is worth noting ;)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Plugging along

Follie check # 2 and I'm doing ok. No better,no worse than any other cycle. I'm feeling a bit lackadaisical about the whole thing. It looks like I'm cooking 9-10 follicles total. 6 on the right an 4 on the left. The left is my problem side (in all areas of my health...slow ovary, side that gets abscesses,the side that had endo, my bad eye,etc. I won't bore you with more.)There's a lead follicle at about 15and the rest range from 9-13. (I never had a lead follicle with an estrogen priming protocol before so I hope this place knows what they are doing.) I'm so achy around my ovaries and my hips and my lower back that I expected to be further along. My E2 is still only around 552 and I am on Day 2 of the Ganirelix shots.

I'm still pissed about the sperm. They kept defending the chick who called my husband to tell him to buy backup sperm. They say it's standard practice for them to tell people that and blah,blah,blah. H may be big but he is very sensitive...especially regarding his "ball problems".(His words) Add that to the fact that we were never asked to produce backup sperm at the NYC clinics and anyone would have panicked.

Right now my big problem is that I am due to run out of medication and I cannot order it until Monday. Well, I ordered it but they won't set up a delivery date until Monday and that is when I'll need it. I had a bunch of Menopur I thought was good but it turns out it expired in February 2010. Crap. I am not worried for some reason,though.... I'm hoping the clinic can loan me some until I get my order. I'm usually more on top of things...much more obsessive and dare I say, a bit of a stickler when it comes to cycling but I'm sure it will work out. Any other time this would have sent me into a tail spin. I would have screamed and yelled and gotten myself all worked up but I have this feeling everything is going to be ok.

My BIL and his wife and the baby will be here sometime tomorrow. I cleaned the whole house from top to bottom even though it wasn't even dirty. (I like to stay on top of things...what can I say...) My routine is usually a 2 day job for me but I was able to conquer it all today. I have no idea where this burst of energy came from...I've been feeling so worn out lately. I'm actually looking forward to the visit. I'm thinking a dose of baby would be great for me right now. Maybe my body will take the hint and get pg already, ya think?

My next follie check is Monday. I'm used to being monitored every day so this seems so wrong. A lot can happen in 3 days, you know. I'll keep you all posted.

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