“I have a baby”

A friend of mine, who knows about my struggle with IVF and adoption stuff, can be somewhat of an arse.  Today, he was trying to get out of some work thing we all hate, but we all have to go to. When I said, “why do you think you don’t have to go?”  He replied, “I have a baby.”

I laughed and told him that he also had a stay at home wife and to get over his self.

What I should have said was:

I had to go to this exact same function last year, with my purse full of tampons and pads that were barely keeping the menstruation cylce that I’d paid $15,000 for from ruining my clothes and announcing my failure to get pregnant to the world, all while trying not to cry and smiling at everyone’s lame jokes and mild complaints about being there.

Okay, so I guess my first reply was better.  But sometimes, writing mean thoughts down helps.

I saw a quote today at yoga that I’m going to try to remember:  “Before you speak, ask yourself, Is is kind? Is it necessary?  Does it improve the silence?”  Seems like a good thing to remember.  Now, if i could just keep my brain from thinking snarky replies.

Tell Me More

I’m going to go out on (a very close to the ground and safe) limb and say that I think if you’re reading my blog, you probably like Michel Martin and her show Tell Me More.  If you don’t know Tell Me More, go listen, ’cause again, I’m pretty sure you’ll like her and her show.

Yesterday, she featured a discussion with 3 women who have breast cancer.  One of the women, Ann Siberman, has terminal cancer (and she has a blog).  Her son is 15, and she’s just hoping that she can make it to his high school graduation.  She talked about how in life nothing is guaranteed and that she’s living, but also grieving, grieving those moments she’ll never have, like being there for her son’s wedding or the birth of her grandchildren.

At the end of the show, she gave some advice to women who have just being diagnosed and told them that her story would likely not be theirs and that they should have hope. And, she urges them that once they’ve been healed to move on.  I’m including her words here:

Well, I want to talk to newly diagnosed women. I know that you’re all afraid that you’re going to end up like me, stage IV. But you have to realize that 80 percent don’t. And I want you to give yourself permission once your treatment is over, to believe that you’ve been healed and move on.So many women live breast cancer years after their treatment is over, and I really don’t think that’s mentally healthy or emotionally healthy. I think that to become a true survivor you have to move on from this experience. You know, our attitude is everything. All the worry in the world you do today does not affect anything. It just makes you lose today. Whatever happens happens. So try to enjoy every single day you have, because they’re all beautiful, there’s something funny in every single one of them. And I would highly encourage everybody, whether you’ve had cancer or not, to try to live their life that way.

Oh, wow, I can’t even type or read that without starting to cry.  In our world, of infertility and infant loss, I see so many people who need to take this advice to heart, including me.  I want to tell all the women who are just starting and worrying about their chances: most women won’t be me (in that very small percentage who can’t ever get pregnant).  I want to say to them, “you won’t be someone who can never get pregnant, who will spend thousands (tens of thousands) on treatment to never even make it to two pink lines.”  After time and heartache, you’ll get pregnant and you’ll have a baby, and you should move on from that experience.  You don’t have to grieve that loss forever.

AdoptionThe sad news for me, I guess, is that I will always have to live it.  I’m excited about moving forward with adoption and I’ve stayed mostly focused on the happiness that I will have through my motherhood down that path.  I saw an adoption quote the other day: adoption is when a child grows in Mommy’s heart instead of her tummy.  My heart is open and ready and full of love for these children.  But, oh, I still grieve those embryos that didn’t grow in my tummy.  I still feel such heartache for my loss.

I know that I’m not experiencing what those women with breast cancer are, have or will, but I do think that we all share some common needs and goals.  And, while I want to reassure those women with new diagnosis, I still want to be mad that I have to be part of that small percentage who won’t get pregnant, who barely received any insurance coverage, and who gets no walks, no pink bracelets, no pink ribbons, but still feels an acute and aching loss:

Infertility is not cancer. But it is debilitating. And some activists argue that infertility desperately needs the kind of awareness effort that helped bring cancer out of the shadows two decades ago. Breast cancer has its pink ribbon. AIDS has its walks, multiple sclerosis its bike-a-thons. Resolve does sponsor an awards gala honoring achievement in the field, but it draws primarily doctors and other professionals from the infertility world, not patients, and most important, it raises no money. Complains one Resolve member who walked out of last year’s event, “Everyone gets up and tells their success stories. Infertility treatment isn’t always about success. And that’s the problem with how infertility is being handled; as with any other disease, some people won’t be cured. That’s why it needs more recognition and funding, so people can get help. But no one wants to recognize the failure.”

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38311820/ns/health-womens_health/t/many-couples-struggle-infertility-silence/#.UIhZWcXA-So

But, I’m going to go back to those words of Ann Siberman and remember that every day is beautiful and every day has something funny it.  Today, on my list of beautiful and funny: the Daily Show episode I missed last night, time with my dogs, some relaxation, catching up blogs, and dinner with my sweet man.

 

IVF #2, WTF Appointment

I’ll write this post in two sections — the before and after.

BEFORE:

Tomorrow, we go for our WTF (Why The Fail, a translation for those faint of heart) appointment.  I have some prediction for what the RE will say/recommend:

  • Donor eggs
  • Surrogacy (technically, gestational carrier)
  • Just do it again — it’ll work… eventually.  Blather, blather, 66% of couples, blather, blather, 3 IVF tries.

I just don’t think I’m going to do any of those.  Here’s my reason why, in order:

  • Why would donor eggs help?  It’s my body that’s killing my perfectly good embryos.
  • Yes, surrogacy would increase our chances.   But I’ve only made 3-5 eggs, which means it would be a ONE SHOT deal.  That’d be fine if it cost a reasonable amount of money.  It doesn’t.  We’d be paying completely out-of-pocket, which would be about $50,000 from what I’ve seen online.
  • Do it again?  I don’t think I can.  Emotionally, I’m done.  I have zero hope and positive energy left for my body’s ability to carry a child.  Physically, it’s really hard.  I hate the hormones raging and falling.  I still have lumps in my butt.  My skin is flaring, though thankfully not as bad as last time.  Monetarily, we’re wiped.  I can’t justify spending one more penny on something that has so little chance of success.  We’re not millionaires, and we don’t have money to keep throwing into my ovaries/butt. 🙂

So, there’s where I am today, the day before.  I’ll update once I see the RE tomorrow, though I think not much will have changed.

I have already had my period, which was a relief.  Last time, it took over a week to start and it was REALLY painful.

I’ve also spent hours and hours reading books about adoption.  I am completely overwhelmed.  I can’t even make a basic decision about domestic vs. international.  I have no idea if I care about age or gender or sibling groups.  I don’t know what special needs really means.  I’m not sure how I feel about transracial adoption (I know I don’t have a problem with it, but I don’t know how I think the child will feel).  I wonder if fostering is a terrible idea.
Some days (most of the time, I’m not), I feel really bitter about women who tried for a few months and then got pregnant and never every had to worry about any of this stuff.  Today is one of those days.   See the funny/wonderful e-card to the side.  I’d like to have that message in a t-shirt.  Or, maybe I could have it as a business card, which I could pull out, then slap someone who tells me that I’m not pregnant because it’s not part of some completely f-ed up plan or something equally ridiculous.  I saw that e-card over on JJiraffe’s blog and you can find the link to the card here.

AFTER:

Well, I was right.  Those were the three suggestions.  For the do it again, the RE said that if I did it again, I’d do the lupron stuff in addition to the antagonist protocol. I don’t know what that means.  Also, the spotting I had on both that went away probably indicates that the embryos tried to implant and then stopped growing.  As I expected.

Once we mentioned surrogacy, that was it for the discussion of me getting pregnant.  I really think the RE doesn’t believe my immune system will let me get pregnant.  It’s just stopping anything from growing and developing.  Damn you ridiculous immune system.  Didn’t you get the memo?

Anyway, DH and I talked about the surrogacy option, but it just seems too complicated.  Using an agency is too expensive ($25 – 50 grand).  Finding a family member or friend sounds great, until you think about how that would really work out.  What if she got pre-eclampsia?  What if she blamed me for some issue that was created during the pregnancy?  What if, and this is the big one, we spend another $15 – 20 grand and she still doesn’t get pregnant?  Or miscarries?  What kind of guilt and hard feelings might that create?  It’s just too expensive and too risky.

After a brief, but good, conversation with DH, I think we’re going to move towards adoption and adoption through fostering.  This is a new plan and one that I need to spend more time with, but it’s a plan I feel most drawn to right now.

So… after is just like before, except this time, I feel like I can actually make a plan. That plan may change, my world may take over my plans, but I can at least make a plan and move forward.

Now… to figure that plan out!

 

IVF #2, +842 Days, -8 Days

So, there’s this website where you can create these little tickers.  I do not advise going to this website, as it will likely depress you, as it did me, unless you’re in that beautiful 1st year phase of trying to have a wee little one.  Since I started in 2009 (YES! 2009!), I put in my information into the ticker and it said that I’d been trying for 842 days.  God, that’s a depressing number, isn’t it?  I’m 842 days into something that other people don’t even think about “we weren’t even trying!” etc, etc…

I’m also 8 days away from stopping these awful BCP.  I’ve been cramping and spotting and breakthrough bleeding for days now (4 or 5).  It’s so annoying and pretty uncomfortable.  I go for my check in with Wandy on March 31 and will start stims that day. I don’t remember what meds I’ll be on, so I’ll have to post that later.

If things ever work out for me in the having children part of my life (and I chose the word if on purpose), I promise to never, ever say or agree with someone who says that having children is THE most important thing and that there’s NOTHING like it.  I think that is the way many people feel, but after this struggle and with the constant almost grieving that I’ve been doing for getting pregnant or having children, I believe there are things that are JUST as important as having children, and while there may not be anything like having children, there are many other wonderful things out there.

IVF #2, Pi Day

How wonderful is it that we have an entire day devoted to Pi?  It’s one of the coolest things that I just found out about.

In IVF about to start land, I’ve forgotten 2 BCP and 2 Metformins this cycle, including the ones last night.  Actually last night, I didn’t forget.  I was just so tired that once I was in bed, I couldn’t make myself get back up to take the pills, no matter how important they were.  Today, I was SO ANGRY and upset and frustrated (over nothing.  really). that I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to stay at work. I’m really worried that if I already feel this emotionally distressed, and I haven’t even started stims yet, that things are going to be pretty awful this cycle, in terms of emotional health. Maybe I can get a prescription for calmness and happiness too.  Does that come in a 1 X a day shot, like the PIO?

I only have 14 more days of BCP, then it’s time for stims starting on March 31.  That seems so, so soon.  I am haunted lately by the first IVF and its failure.  I keep thinking of how maybe I did something wrong after the transfer–I really, really, really had to pee. It was so awful that I was almost in tears.  Even using the bedpan didn’t help because I was so embarrassed and worried about overflowing the bedpan that I didn’t let enough pee out.  Plus, I’d done the acupuncture, which (and I hope I don’t offend anyone here) felt silly to me, so I was covered in tiny pins, completely stressed about having to pee, and fighting back tears and shame all at the same time.  Is that what made the embies not stick?  What if that happens again? Can I ask to not drink all the water?  My uterus is backwards (retro or something is the real word, but I forgot what the doc called it) Oh, the joys of infertility.

I think I’m going to watch Captain Kirk now.  He can fix anything (eventually).

Oh, go check out Jay’s blog if you want some fun and happiness today.  She’s so wonderful.

 

Powerlessness

 

I’ve been reading IQ84, and I just read this line that struck me: “A state of chronic powerlessness eats away at a person.”  It’s been a sad time this week as we learned about Mo’s loss of Nadav and saw how everyone processed that loss and felt it, all through their own lenses and experiences.   It struck me that so much of this process, of ALI is centered around how powerless we feel.  We’re not in control of our bodies or our bodies’s responses to anything.  We can’t fix what’s wrong with ourselves or save others when their bodies fail them.  We just  feel so damn helpless.

Or, at least I know I do.  I feel so much like no matter what I do, I can’t really do anything.  I’m doing all that the doctors tell me, in hopes that THIS TIME, I’ll have done enough.  But what if it still doesn’t work?  What then?  What next?  I think about adoption, but adoption comes with its own set of challenges and helplessness.

I wonder, as we go through this, if there’s a way we CAN reclaim our power.  I often feel less afraid and stressed and worried after exercising or going to yoga.  I feel more in control at work and as I’m working on my PhD.  But these other feelings undercut those experiences sometimes, as if even when I’m most in power, of my body and my mind, I’m still thwarted by these other feelings of being betrayed by my body.

I don’t really have an answer, this is just something that’s on my mind.

*****

The Metformin and I are getting along fine, except that I’m breaking out like a pre-pubescent girl before the first dance at school.  Stomach has only reacted badly if I didn’t eat much before taking the medication, and the only side effect (other than the acne) I’m having is being REALLY tired at night, like so much so that I’m falling asleep while DH is still getting into bed.  I don’t know, for sure, that has anything to do with Metformin though… I also have a bit of a stuffy head, so maybe it’s sinus stuff.

Melissa and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

So, it’s 10:14 AM, and I’ve already had a horrible day.  Here’s a recap:

  • I went to the gym.  Even though I’ve eaten ONLY fruits, vegetables, beans, yogurt, cottage cheese, nuts and protein supplement for 8 days — and not much of those, I’ve only lost about 5 pounds.  I’ve also exercised for about 45 -60 minutes per day.  And today, I’d gained about a pound since Saturday. WHAT THE F(&* IS UP WITH THAT?
  • I got in a fight with my DH.  A big one.  Then we made up, at least I hope so.
  • I’m about to ovulate…but see point above.  We’re not really “make up sex” kind of people.
  • I just paid $3400 for an IVF cycle that I’m totally not sure will work.
  • My foot huts.
  • My hair looks weird today
  • I don’t like my outfit
  • I just found out that I have to drive 6 hours on Saturday for a class that I’m sure will not benefit me at all.

I’m going to work, for 2 hours, then I’m coming home and taking a break.  I can’t handle today today.  Maybe tomorrow today will be better.