My Preconceived Life

trying to add another person to the planet

The Pain, The Pain

We were supposed to return home from Denver today, but I still can’t stand up straight, much less walk. You guys, I was really hoping that my past egg retrieval hells were caused by rough antibiotics, but it seems that is not the case. The horse-kick to the gut is back with a vengeance. Actually, it is worse this time than it has ever been. Maybe because they retrieved more eggs? Either way, I am in a tremendous amount of pain. RE’s office says quit the antibiotics and see how I feel tomorrow. Ugh. I just want to go home! Anyone else get completely destroyed by their ERs? Or is it just me? Am I a wimp?

Aaaaand a Trick

Got the numbers: less than 50% fertilized. Actually, just over 33%. Still 3x the amount of embryos I’ve had in the past, but because we can’t do a fresh these puppies have to grow! Sounds like the lab won’t even consider doing a day 3 freeze. Trying to get in touch with my doc to see if that is correct. I don’t care about PGD if it means we lose the whole crop! 

Treats! (So Far)

Egg retrieval was a success! Best numbers I have had so far. Of course we won’t get maturity/fertilization rates until tomorrow. Hoping we have great numbers and I NEVER have to do this again! Ouch.

Trick, or Treat?

For the past several months, since our last IVF failed, I’ve been putting one foot in front of the other. Living in the present. Letting go of expectations. Well, tomorrow is our egg retrieval, and (appropriately enough since it is Halloween) all the scary thoughts are rushing in. What if the trigger doesn’t work? (we are trying a new one this time.) What if none of our embryos make it to blast? What if all of our embryos are chromosomally abnormal? What if nothing will ever implant in my uterus and I can’t make embryos good enough for a surrogate? What if we never have children?

I know some of this insanity is due to hormones. My estrogen levels are off the charts. So high, in fact, that I’m going to be on two meds after retrieval to try and stop OHSS. (WHAT IF I STILL HYPERSTIM??) Not surprisingly, that doesn’t make me feel better. At least I am coherent enough to know that nothing will. I am going to have to sit with these thoughts today, and the nervous thoughts I will have tomorrow, and over the next few weeks as more information about the results of this cycle trickles in. And, assuming we have embryos to freeze (because my estradiol is too high for a fresh transfer), it will happen all over again when we get ready for the FET. (Has my scar tissue grown back? What if I don’t have Beta 3 Integrin?). Today I am going to try and treat myself. I’m going to listen to the guided meditation CD from my RE’s office. I might go and get a manicure. I will definitely take a walk in the sunshine. And I will try to practice gratitude for everything I have.

Or I’ll watch a Vampire Diaries marathon on my laptop and eat candied pecans. Whatever works.

And Then the World Ended

My dog died almost exactly this time last week. 

Hubs and I had her for 14 years. We got her just two months after we got engaged. In all our years of grieving the loss of loved ones, grieving our infertility, she was our bright spot of love. No matter what happened, at the end of the day the three of us would pile into bed together and I would know that we were a family. And seven days ago I watched the third member of my family take her last breath. It was sudden, it was painful, and it was one of the worst moments of my life. I haven’t cried so much since my sister died.

Today I got a text message (complete with smiley emoticon) that announced my BIL and his wife are having baby #2 in April. 

I’m trying hard not to succumb to the tidal wave of anger, but it isn’t working. I am so, so bitter. So fucking sick of life being unfair. So fucking sick of dealing with death after death after death when the biggest jackasses I know are popping out kids left and right. We have been through enough. We deserve something good. I’d wager that if I turned this into a petition, plenty of people would sign it. Give us our person already, Universe. Or, if you still refuse, at least stop bitch-slapping us for a while. We could use a fucking break.

Every Ball is a Curve Ball

And yes, I keep striking out.

Friday was supposed to be my Beta 3 Integrin test. And after the wackiest, most unpredictable cycle of my life, I made it–8 days past ovulation without starting my period. I showed up at the clinic that morning nervous, excited, and ready to figure out if my uterus was making embryo glue.

Now, to be fair, my doctor and my cervix have always had a contentious relationship. Every time doc has to get past the gates, it takes a few excruciating passes and the help of ultrasound. Well, on Friday the gates were on complete lockdown. Stab, stab, stab, over and over and over, and nothing.

I’m going to toot my own horn for a minute: I’m a hard ass. I have a pretty high tolerance for pain. I’ve been through a hell of a lot of shit, and I don’t back down. But my God, after a dozen or so passes at my wonky cervix, I was literally about to vomit and/or pass out. I cried uncle, but I still refused to give up entirely. My RE sent me to CVS with a script for Valium and Tramadol, and we tried again an hour later. Still no luck. My RE was the one who finally gave up, convinced that I was about to puke.

We discussed the option of coming back in on Saturday to do the test under anesthesia, but my Colorado doc said to scrap it. He felt like our issue was most likely embryo quality, and in the face of slim odds he didn’t want to put me through anesthesia.

I have mixed feelings about this. I’m excited to get to move forward with this cycle, but of course I’m wondering “what if it turns out that I don’t have Beta 3 Integrin?” I’ve never had an embryo implant in my uterus. I sure as shit don’t want to go through another ectopic pregnancy. (Though I can testify that a ruptured fallopian tube hurts waaaaay less than a catheter jamming into your cervix). Between plane tickets and lodging, and an IVF that isn’t covered by insurance, we are about to piss away a TON of savings. If this doesn’t work, I might actually lose my mind.

Then again, I had some seriously gnarly scar tissue that likely contributed to the first ectopic. And I want to trust my doctor–if he thinks it’s highly unlikely that Beta 3 Integrin is my issue and testing for it is going to be a giant pain in the ass (aka cervix), then maybe we should roll the dice?

It always comes back to this. There are no right answers, no surefire paths, only choices and chances. I could push for the test and wait another month, or I could trust my doctor and give the CCRM magic a shot. My head says get all the info you can, but my heart says GO. Stop waiting. Do it now.

I think I’m going with my heart on this one. God, please toss us a meatball. It’s way past time for a home run.

I’m Still Here

The past few months have been a whirlwind. I’m not sure I am ready to write about them. Hell, I’m not even sure I remember everything that’s happened! So here’s where I am now:

–using progesterone suppositories in the hope that I can delay my period long enough to get a Beta 3 Integrin biopsy.

–trying to finish a book proposal

–still doing physical therapy for my hip

What I am unfortunately NOT doing is going to school. I am still technically a student, as I completed a single weekend intensive workshop at the beginning of the semester, but it became very clear to me after the first week of classes that I would not be able to do IVF in another state, work on getting my book published, and do physical therapy in addition to school. Oh well. Maybe next semester, maybe not. The ranking of priorities is what it is, and I feel like it’s the first step to becoming a parent. People are always talking about the stuff you have to sacrifice for your kids. Well, this is something I’m sacrificing for my potential embryos. You get the idea.

Anyway, everything is up in the air right now. I have no control over my cycle (which is this month, for the first time EVER, completely unpredictable–I ovulated on CD28 for crying out loud). Subsequently I have no control over the timing of our next IVF cycle. I can’t control the outcome of our testing, and what it will mean regarding said cycle. All I can do is take my meds. It’s kind of a relief, actually. Except, of course, that the progesterone is making me crazy. 

Rest assured that I am constantly checking in on everyone else’s blogs. I am also part of a face-to-face IF group now, which is really nice. Maybe it’s because of that that I haven’t felt much like writing? I think it’s mostly that I’m enjoying getting into a work/home/life groove. The intensity of the previous cycle has worn off, and it’s time to rest. Wish me luck on all these tests! 

 

Go West, Not-So-Young Man (and Woman)

We had our CCRM consult on Monday, and our one-day workup appointment is set for next week. Dr. G. had some ideas on how to improve my egg quality, which should be comforting but instead made me feel even more hopeless. I already knew that there was a problem with my eggs–not very many maturing, poor quality embryos from the ones that did–but it’s different when you actually hear a doctor say those words. Decreased Egg Quality. Ugh. My stomach sank. But hey, this is why we are going out there. Hopefully they can deliver the miracle we’ve been waiting for.

In the meantime, the hubs and I are going to the Michigan side of the lake for Labor Day weekend, which also happens to be our 13th wedding anniversary. Thirteen years! It’s hard to believe. I certainly wish we could have expanded our family by now, but at the same time I am so grateful to have spent the last 13 years with him. I think our bond is stronger than it has ever been, and that is definitely worth celebrating. No matter what happens, he and I are a family, and we are damn lucky to have each other.

A Bit of Wisdom

Suffering is what happens when we are lonely and forget that we participate in the world. People often complain about love, or at least about its consequences, but welcoming the consequences is part of the game of generosity. The earth gives a Yes without regard to what is given back, and being a human is also a gift, not a purchase. Even the No’s we get are gates to the generosity of the world.

                                            – John Tarrant, “The Erotic Life of Emptiness” 

This was part of an email I got today from Tricycle Magazine. It really resonated. I haven’t quite been able to see the letdown of this cycle as a gate to the generosity of the world, but it’s a nice reminder to welcome consequences. This is all part of the experience of life. I can feel however I feel about it (which is sad, disheartened, and crushed), but that doesn’t change the fact that acceptance is the only way through.

Waving the White Flag

Thanks to everyone for your support! I feel a bit better today. At least more resigned to the situation. I think we have made a decision: it’s Denver time. Turns out our RE is good buddies with one of the docs there and thinks she can get us on the fast track. If it interferes with school…oh well. This is our first priority right now. My husband turned down his dream job offer because it was out of state and would involve us uprooting in the middle of this cycle. We’re prepared to put Patience Grasshopper (our moniker for the preconceived) above all else. 

I have a phone consult with CCRM on Sept. 13. We’ll go from there. I’m actually not in a huge rush. This round was so bloody awful my body needs a break. I could certainly use more time to heal from the hip surgery (as I am still in PT). It’s time to slow things down and, as usual, surrender. 

We’ll keep our sad little embryos on ice for now. I’m not ready to roll the dice on them yet, but maybe someday.