Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The importance of double checking my math.

Toddler T is upstairs sleeping and I was just taking a minute to plan out my day tomorrow. It looks a little like this:

7am- bloodwork and ultrasound
9am- Tumble Bears
10:30-1:30 - Toddler T to Nanny's house so I can clean the house top to bottom
4pm- MOMS meeting at my house.

This all looked doable until I reviewed my medication inventory. Currently, I take 3 vials of Bravelle and 1 vial of Menopur along with the microdose Lupron, two times a day. For my dose tomorrow morning, I have 2 vials of Bravelle and 1 of Menopur. So, I'm short 1 vial of medication for my morning dose. CRAP. Math was never my thing. Ever.

Ok self- don't panic. I should be able to swing by the pharmacy after my early morning appointment. The one I made super early so that I could get back in time to take Toddler T to Tumble Bears. Right, well the pharmacy doesn't open until 8:30am. So I am getting up at the crack of dawn to rush to an appointment to sit and wait at a pharmacy and in the end will miss Tumble Bears.

Is this life shattering? No.
Irritating? Yes.

On the one hand, thank God for modern medicine. Without this specialty field of Reproductive Endocrinology, I have no idea if I'd be able to conceive a viable pregnancy. So I am forever grateful.  But it is with a heavy heart that I walk through these steps of IVF.  I continue to battle the idea of logically understanding the process but struggling emotionally with what that means. 

Looking back, I was so lucky with Toddler T. Mr. T and I even kept my pregnancy a secret for 12 weeks. It was our seceret and that was a special thing to share. We knew what our plan was (I'm guessing others suspected)  and I even drank mocktails at a coworkers' wedding so that no one suspected a thing.  Now, everything is medicinal. I am following a care plan to conceive. I hope I'm not coming across as bitter and ungrateful, I am just sad to be losing the innocence and privacy of creating a child. 

I can hear some of you thinking....


And you would be correct.  I did and I have no regrets of blogging AND sharing the link with family and friends. Why? This is so far from where I ever thought I'd be. The switch from a private affair between husband and wife was flipped with my second ectopic pregnancy. All of the rules changed and I suddenly had ZERO desire to keep this private. I think in sharing, some of the weight was lifted off my shoulders. But that's not to say, that if I could have had it my way..... Well, you'd never even know we were 'trying'.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Hello Lupron

How I've missed your dull headaches.

I can only hope that I avoid the dreaded 3am hot flashes, the ones that were so hideous, that I found myself drenched with sweat and feeling trapped in the Sahara several times throughout the night.  I'm told that the microdose Lupron will be much more tolerable.  It's a diluted version of regular Lupron and the hope is that my body isn't suppressed to the point of not responding to the stimulation medications this go around. Less suppression = less feeling like I'm in early menopause.

Bravelle and Menopur, I did forget your burn. Good to see you both again.

Doxycycline, you can't fool me twice. I will never again take you on an empty stomach.

Burn, give me a headache, make me nauseous and throw in a few bruises.... But 


That is all.

Mrs. T

Friday, January 27, 2012

Running Late and Chocolate Cake

I woke up and it was light out. 
Why is that a problem?
Well, its only a problem if you are supposed to be at the baby lab at 7:30am. AND said baby lab is approximately 45 minutes from your house. AND its the winter and it should be dark if you are waking up at 6am.  But no, it was light out, because I was LATE. I am never LATE. In my world, LATE is a four letter word.

I had to call the office. I was mortified. I mean who oversleeps on a day that her IVF cycle is officially starting. I actually said, "My alarm didn't go off". The nurse responded, "Well, we are very busy." My stomach flipped over. 

In the end, I got there when I got there and no one gave me the side eye. Blood draw was excellent. ( I drank tons of water). The ultrasound was well, an ultrasound. For those of you doing fertility treatments... you know how they are. I did appreciate when the nurse introduced herself and said, I'm Nurse Curly Hair... As If we'd never crossed path's before.  I remembered her very clearly from when I was a sobbing mess of a patient, on the table,who just realized her IVF cycle was being cancelled. Clearly, she made more an impression on me, than I on her. 

Sobbing girl who can't get pregnant, Sigh, Next.

But that was the past, today is a new day. I got my calendar. I start injections tomorrow. Lupron, Bravelle and Menopur 2 times a day. Mr T and I will also begin taking our antibiotics in preparation for the retrieval.  I got a little giddy when I saw HCG and Retrieval written on the calendar. Giddy but then the floor fell out from under me. The funny thing is, I can't even blame the drugs for these crazy fluctuations in my thought process, because I haven't even started them yet. But no sooner was I excited about getting started, was I filled with dread that it wouldn't work. 

I asked the nurse, "Is this going to work?"
She can't answer that with any validity.
I know that.
But I asked anyway.
Her answer was awesome. "It worked last time. We just want more eggs this time."
Thank you. 

From my appointment I headed to the pharmacy. I felt like a veteran. I ordered only enough meds to get me to my next appointment. But then an odd thing happened. I saw the husband of a patient I had just seen in the waiting room of our clinic. Do I smile? Do I acknowledge that we just came from a place full of mixed emotions? Does he think we are united in our membership of this club? 

So, I smiled. And moved on. 

I came home and unloaded and organized all of my medications. Pulled some of the leftover supplies out of the closet and dusted them off. My sharps container is next to Clorox wipes and on the same shelf as Toddler T's bubbles. Three items in my home, that for very important and different reasons, need to stay out of his hands. 

So today was a good day. Here is a brief summary:

Cleared to start injections. (Yeah, twice-daily injections with two different needles.)
Toddler T accompanied me on a morning's worth of errands in BIG-BOY underwear.
Toddler T kept said underwear DRY.
I scored a $369 car seat for $190. 
I just finished eating a large piece of chocolate cake.

Sometimes, Its the little things.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

It happened.....

I had my first viceral reaction to a pregnancy announcement.
It was via a Facebook status update. (The announcement, not my reaction.)
I am not close at all to the girl.
I got to simply make a colorful statement to Mr. T and then move on. Well, blog about it. Then move on.

I immediatly felt guilty for my reaction.
Then I was angry over the last 12 months.
Then I was scared again.
Then I realized,  pity parties are no fun. There are no goodie bags, no delicious cake, no one makes a toast in your honor. (But there is wine!)

I can honestly say that I have not spent too much time dwelling on the "why me" moments. But once in a while, they sneak up on me. Just like an unexpected status update. The problem is, I'm not angry that someone else is pregnant. I'm sad that its not me. 

If I had to anyalyze (OK, twist my arm), my working theory would be this, as the stimulation phase of this cycle comes closer, I am hypersensitve and my anxiety is rising.  The idea of actually being pregnant with a viable pregnancy is SO close. I need to focus on the positive. This can happen. 

But damnit if there is not a little, tiny voice that says, It will be your turn soon. You deserve it.

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Rainbow Baby

Have you heard of this term? 
I have. In fact, I follow a blog with this term right in her blog title.
But, I have a confession.

I never understood what it meant. 
I didn't take too much time to investigate, because I never felt like I fit into this world of infertility. 
I assumed it had to do with the beauty that is a baby.

Today, I got the most beautiful message sent to me from a friend, who paid her dues to the infertility club. She is on the other side and the proud mother of twins. 

Here it is:

This made me think of you...you will have your rainbow baby...one day:

Rainbow Babies" are the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm. When a rainbow appears, it does not mean that the storm never happened or that the family is not still dealing with its aftermath. What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and the clouds. Storm clouds may still loom over but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color, energy, and much needed hope."

I felt like an idiot for never having investigated the term. It is the most perfect way to sum up the last 12 months. We have been through a storm. Two, if I am being technical.  I'm not quite sure that the pain of these experiences will ever go away in their entierty. I am sure, that this pain will change form. I am sure that it will move to the background a little more everyday.  It will become a little more dull and less sharp.  

Throughout the past 12 months, I have felt ravaged, physically and emotionally. There have been days when I have been full of hope and days where I make peace with being a family of three. What this quote does, is pay tribute to the road many of us have found ourselves traveling while looking to the promise of the future. 

While I wait for my rainbow baby, I am strengthened by our friends and family. They have stepped in to provide the sunshine and hope when I feel dark and scared. 

Rainbow baby, we are waiting with open arms.   

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Daily Minutiae

minutiaeplural of mi·nu·ti·ae

                                  Noun:       Trivial details of something

Potty Training: in pull-up purgatory. Toddler T finds sitting on the potty less enthraling, so underwear have been replaced by pull-ups. Diapers are no longer acceptable to him so we are playing a waiting game. But, I'm ok with it. 

Existentialist Crisis: Over. Why? Several reasons. 
  1. Just by writing my thoughts down, I felt less jumbled.
  2. I recevied many messages both public and private about the idea that God does not hand you more than you can handle, regardless of how it winds up in your lap or in my case, uterus. I found this comforting and a good dose of reality. 
  3. Mr. T spent an overnight at a man baby shower. I can assure you, no one was writing down the dad's suspected weight, or measuring his stomach.  In reality, it was a last hurrah for him, as this man-shower also coincided with playoff games.  None of that is important. What is important is that several of the attendees where dad's of multiplies via IVF.  They got to share their perspectives and that was much appreciated.
  4. I am excited. One, Two.. I'm ok with either.  I am just ready to get to the point where I am pregnant. I am ready to think about names, and baby clothes and Christmas Cards and all those other things that pop into your mind when you are pregnant.
Weekend Agenda:

Friday: Aquarium!! Mommy, Daddy and Toddler T Day!!!  Followed by, dinner at a new Mexican Restaraunt (Just Mr. T and I.  So excited. Dinner, Adult conversation and a margarita!

Saturday: Entertaining our friends' girls while the parents pack up their home for an upcoming move. It is true, the more the merrier. A whole morning can sail by when Toddler T has a few pals to keep his attention.

Sunday: Playoffs... a few more weeks and then football is behind us.

But the best of all- Next Friday will be here before I know it and that is my FIRST monitoring appointment to see if I can go ahead with the stimulation meds for IVF 1.5!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Pulling the Higher Power card

There has been a facet of infertility treatment that has always been ironic to me.  I have always been intrigued by how people can use religion to justify or condemn infertility treatments. More so, I am really intrigued when people may use religion to justify or condemn portions of infertility treatments. Religion and the treatment of infertility have one thing in common, they are filled with grey areas that can be open for personal choice.

Why the religious focus today?  Today, I am grappling with choice versus higher power.

When Mr. T and I envisioned our family we always looked at 2 kids/2 parents. It seemed like a good fit. Occasionally, I thought about 3 kids/2 parents but never felt strongly about it.  So, we fell into the idea that we would be a 2/2 family. Man-to-man defense as opposed to Zone Defense. It worked for us. When we started meeting with Dr. Specialist, he assured us that at my age coupled with the current standards of care in IVF, we would be looking at a single embryo transfer. This made sense. 2/2 family and we are happy. Then, the cycle was cancelled, my AMH was ridiculously low for a girl my age and I've been labeled a 'poor responder'. Dr. Specialist changes his recommendation and talks of a 2 embryo transfer.

This is where everything gets murky.

Twins run in both our families. I even joked when I was pregnant with Toddler T, that it must be twins. I looked like I was carrying quads. But, no.. just one little/big boy. After he arrived, Mr. T and I felt relieved that we had been given one at a time. But now, I'm that much older, we are paying out of pocket and I hear myself saying things like "Lots of people have twins."

Now it is murkier.

I believe in religion and faith. I do believe that there were lessons to learn this past year. Perhaps, Mr. T and I are going to be better parents if our children are further apart in age and someone up there knew that.  This belief has made the past year bearable. But then, I got off the higher power train and met with Dr. Specialist. IVF is medical and scientific. From a religious standpoint, you could argue that God provided individuals with the talent, intellect and determination to become a doctor who specializes in infertility.  Therefore, we are just taking a detour to get to the final destination in God's plan.

But how much is too much? How much control should we have?  Because I am in the middle of what I have always found to be ironic. I have heard Infamous Multiple Moms say the same thing over and over and over.  Usually something like, "Well it was god's plan for us to have 8, 6, 5 kids at once."  But really, was it? Did God plan for us to have this much control?  

How can an individual talk about the unpleasant sides of IVF (read: selective reduction) with religious fire?  How can one claim that reduction is immoral or not God's will, when many religions teach that birth control or any type of infertility treatment is immoral? So, it is ok to break religious views to get pregnant.. but not ok to really struggle with carrying multiples?

If I were to have gotten pregnant, on my own, with twins or above. It would have been what it was. It's not like I would have left the other at the hospital and said, "No, sorry, we didn't sign up for two."  But here, we are being asked to do just that. Sign up for something that we had always wondered if it was too much.

I'm not sure I have any answers. It is a challenging discussion to have internally, let alone with other people. I have always thrived in a black and white enviornment and have struggled in the grey. I know that while I don't know the total plan or how much say I'm supposed to have in it,  Mr. T and I will try to make the safest and most reasonable decisions for our family.  And whether we continue to use man to man or make the switch to zone defense, we'll be just fine.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Well, that was fast.

A new record on a broken New Year's Resolution.

It is January 8th and I completely broke it. You see, my hope was to write a blog entry in a few weeks about the success of my resolution. I was planning on being very proud of myself and hopefully, helping someone who is dealing with any type of fertility treatments avoid this mistake. Since I'm not too proud of myself, I will share my broken resolution. So, since you can't learn from my tale of success.... learn from my mistakes.

In 2012 I was not going to live my life by the calendar.

"Examples, please?" you ask.

Here you go.

In 2012, was going to refrain from saying any version of the following:

  • The next time I get my hair cut, I will be pregnant.
  • Oh, perfect, I can wear a maternity dress to that.
  • XYZ event/holiday/celebration will be OK, because I will be pregnant.
  • Toddler T will be exactly (____) fill in the blank, age when his sibling arrives.
  • I can't do that, because I will most likely have a doctor's appointment that day.
  • I shouldn't be able to do that, because I'll probably be doing my transfer/retrieval/bed rest that day.
  • By the time we have Toddler T's two and a half year old well visit, I will be pregnant and can ask the Doctor for advice on expanding a family.
You get the point. Not pretty and a little crazy.

So what did I do today? Why is my resolution broken?

Well, I looked at a sample Lupron Micro-Dose Flare Calendar and then calculated my information. This coming from a girl who has been through a cancelled cycle. I know better, I do. Red circles on a calendar mean nothing when held up against the results from an ultrasound and or blood work. But, I did it.

And guess what, it is bringing a little smile to my face to know when the 'magic' might happen.

So, if I had to offer up a little Monday Morning Quarterbacking (The playoffs are on in the T Household.), I'd say this. Sure, look at a calendar for this month and the next. But try your hardest not to fantasize the events that are further off than that. I've been to weddings in my spanx and not a forgiving maternity dress. I switched hairdressers because during my last cut, I hinted to expanding my family. I've celebrated holidays and birthdays with a different wish than I intended.

I brought those experiences on myself and I made things harder than they needed to be. But... once in a while, it feels right to think about the positive side of what if and have a date on the calendar to mark it by.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

And we're off

I started my day at the baby lab at 7:30am.  It was very dark and very cold when I left my house. Funny, I was kind of feeling the same.  I have been thinking a lot about this upcoming cycle and my conflicting emotions and a 45 min car ride at 6:45 am was just the time to address them.

I am not going to lie, I am dealing with an incredible sense of fearing the process and already dreading a negative outcome. 3 months ago, I went in for cycle day 1 blood work, left with a tentative calendar and a prescription for birth control. I left in a state of euphoria and hope. Finally after 9 months and two ectopic pregnancies, I  was leaving a doctor's appointment with hope and the belief that success was guaranteed. (To be fair, no one guaranteed me that success BUT I was doing IVF for tubal and not hormonal issues.)

Fast forward to last night, I am not feeling euphoric or hopeful. I am feeling anxious as I have the experience of being let down.  I could not sleep. I was feeling conflicted. I really and truly wanted to get this IVF show on the road.  Yet, I also found myself taking some comfort in the forced break. You cannot fail at what you cannot start. This forced break both infuriated and protected me.  And now, it was over. Cycle Day 1 was here. (Mother nature stepped in and helped this girl out). What I was waiting for and dreading was here.

How's that for a mixed bag?

Dr. Million.pictures.on.the.wall said that if I did not succeed at this upcoming cycle, then he would have a very clear picture of what my overall chances of achieving a pregnancy via IVF would be.  (not good) Therefore, I look at this cycle as my 'best and final offer' cycle.

So, where I am I tonight?  It is once again dark and cold outside. But I am toasty under my most favorite brown blanket. I am still feeling a range of emotions. I am feeling vulnerable. I am feeling scared. I am feeling anxious.  I am about to find a fair or carnival and shake down the fortune teller for her crystal ball because God knows, I am not a patient person. But most importantly, I am feeling hopeful.  I am going to take the very real but negative emotions and attempt to put them in the backseat. I acknowledge that they are there... lest anyone think I am running around with visions of rainbows and cute little puppies in my head. But they cannot take over. They cannot be the drum beat that I hear. I will try and be positive. But then I have to not be so positive that I've named my additional offspring.

This is a tricky dance.

In the meantime, I will pray. I will take my baby aspirin and prenatal vitamins. I will put my faith in this new protoco (microdose flare)l. I will hang on tight to this bumpy ride. I won't take the baby name book out just yet, but will review the injection video on youtube. When you are paying cash for really expensive drugs, the last thing you want to do is screw up an injection. I did that in the first cycle. The only positive thing was that I got to use the phrase "I just flushed xxx amount of money down the toilet" and it was true. I literally flushed the improperly mixed meds down the toilet. I Will not make that mistake again.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Our tree is down.
Ornaments packed securely away.
I have vacuumed the family room 3 times.
I have my eye on an arts and crafts project for Valentine's Day.
Toddler T went to nursery school in pull-ups and came home dry.
Tomorrow I go back to the baby-lab for blood work and an ultrasound.
I hope to get an idea of what we do next.

This is how I balance.

I'm a mom of pacifier dependant, potty training, humorous toddler and I'm also trying very hard to give him a sibling. Here is a good example. I canceled my baby-lab appointment today. I can hear the gasp's. The remarks. "What, she cancelled a baby-lab appointment?" or "Who does that? " or "IVF treatment above all else!!!!" Now, please exhale and let me explain.

Balance, It is healthy.

I made the appointment for my blood work and ultrasound while sitting in my friend's kitchen and helping two, two year olds get settled for lunch. Something was nagging at me the whole time. Something felt amiss. Then I got home and realized. Toddler T will be back at nursery school this morning. In pull ups. After a week's vacation. It was important for me to go with him. To take him to the school bathroom and explore it. I could not be in two places at the same time.

So, I balanced.

Toddler T to school today. Non-critical lab appointment tomorrow.

It felt to take some control.

Because if all goes well, in a few weeks I will be back to living life by the IVF calendar and will be surrendering control to Dr. Specialist.