Saturday, April 28, 2012

Tick Tock. Tick Tock. Tick Tock.

I've come so far.
Mr. T has come so far.
Our families and friends have joined us on the roller coaster.
Did you know my mom hates roller coasters, yet she's been on this ride with us too?

Thank you again for all the comments, emails, texts and facebook messages. They are all filling my heart and have made the past 48 hours bearable.

I am hoping. I am praying.

Tomorrow can't come fast enough.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

72 hours to go.

After 13 months it is crazy to think that we may get a final answer on adding to our family in less than 72 hours. I am still a bit crazy (OK- a LOT) but I'm trying to hang on to sanity. My biggest coping skill this week was staying super-busy. By staying on the go, I haven't had too much time to focus on symptoms and whether or not I was or was not feeling anything. I am having a really hard time staying positive, but am grateful for those around me who are. I am living vicariously through them in their positivity. I remain neutral but hopeful.

As Beta-Day approaches, I've realized that I've gotten myself in a little bind. Mr. T and I have decided to be fairly upfront with our struggles with infertility. We have shared and you all have read, step by step where we are. I don't regret our decision to go public for a second. I have found a level of support in the blogging community that I never knew existed. I have also found, that by keeping our family and friends in the loop, our ties have gotten stronger, relationships have grown and I feel closer to many more people. With all that said, I'm not sure how we'll share our news on Sunday. Either way, there will be so many emotions..... 

So if I duck out for a while, don't assume the worst.  

Monday, April 23, 2012

Don't Ignore

My husband.

Don't Ignore,
Your friend. Your son. Your brother. Your cousin. Your uncle.

Don't Ignore,
The other half of infertility.

Day after day we (the identified patient), go to our doctor's appointments. We get our blood drawn. We have an ultrasound. We wait for our follow up call and we obsess about what we ate. What we didn't eat. If we took our medicine correctly. If we are keeping our stress level down. We will obsess over lab results and spend an inordinate amount of time on the Internet reading anything we can find about these lab results, our treatment plan, success stories and painful stories.

In this revolving door of doctor's appointments, our other half often gets overlooked.

It is not intentional and it is not on purpose. But it happens and it adds another level of hurt to this already emotionally draining situation. My husband has seen more than anyone should see in their pursuit to have a child. I'd say that our journey deep into the world of infertility treatments has been more emotionally taxing on him than on me. Why? Because he has been impacted first hand and then had to quickly gather himself to pick me up as a I crumble. He has had to stifle his tears in order to take care of our son, because it was apparent that I could not pull myself together. I would also venture to say that he has suppressed his needs so that my path is smoother. And over time, it would begin to seem that he has it all pulled together and the conversation then shifts back to how I (the identified patient) is doing. All the while, my husband has been just as emotionally impacted as I and 'just deals.'

I often talk about the feeling of losing control. I believe this is also true for our spouses or partners. But again, they are one step further out of the loop. But when asked to be a part of the solution, my husband's role was carried out in a sterile room with some cheesy porn loop playing on an old TV. Talk about being marginalized. Talk about taking on a supporting role. Roles are important. They define us and right or wrong, many men view themselves as the problem solver. The protector. The person that makes things happen. What I've learned with infertility is that there may never be a solution. No one person has the ability to fix the problem and all the money in the world may not make things happen. I can only imagine how frustrating this is to the other half of infertility. 

I'm quite sure if you asked my husband his thoughts on this process he would tell you that he would trade places in a second. How am I sure? Because he's said so.

I can tell you this. There is no one else in this world who could have walked this road with me. There is no other person I could love enough to want even go down this path. I cannot will us to have a successful outcome, but I can ask you all to please not ignore my husband. This hurts him just as much as it hurts me. 

The Don't Ignore blog post theme has been organized by RESOLVE with a goal to increase the conversation about infertility and to inform the public that: 

  • Infertility is a disease that affects 1 in 8 couples of reproductive age
  • There are many ways to build a family 
  • Help reduce the stigma by bringing attention to the details/issues/costs surrounding all ways people diagnosed with infertility can build a family.
  • Understand when to seek the help of a specialist

For more information on infertility or to learn about National Infertility Awareness Week, please visit either link.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

If you need me, I've moved to Crazytown.

I thought Clomid was challenging... 
This two week wait business is enough to drive the sane, mad.
The amount of scholarly ridiculous research I've done on Dr. Google, MD, is embarrassing.

But in all seriousness, What's a girl supposed to do?

In the days following my egg retrieval, I felt calm. When we learned that all 3 fertilized, I felt relieved. I thought that we had a chance of beating the odds and getting a fair crack at pregnancy. Then we actually got the chance to do a pros/cons on embryo transfer and I was dumbfounded. I started to feel numb but grateful.  Relieved that we had crossed so many hurdles and maybe just a little excited for the future. But now, I am all over the emotional map. 

In the last two weeks I have been at my doctor's office 8 times. There were almost daily check-in's. I was doing something EVERY.SINGLE.DAY to promote pregnancy. Injections. Accupuncture. Supplements. Bed Rest. After this morning's blood work, I will not go back for another 7 days. And aside of 1 more accupuncture session and some supplements, there is nothing more to do. But wait. 

That is way too much time for my mind to wander. It leaves me entirely too much downtime to obsess over everything.  

Let me share all the thoughts I had while taking 15 minutes to prepare lunch today:

My stomach hurt, Was that pain from implantation?
How did I feel the week before I found out about being pregnant with Toddler T?
I wanted Chex-Mix and a Coke for lunch.
Do I want that today?
Oh, maybe I do, because my brain is psyching myself out.
What if this works?
What if it doesn't?
Is it time to say, When?
My progesterone level is 19. My Estrogen level is 204. 
Is that good?
(Runs to Internet... crap- why are other girls reporting higher numbers)
Are higher numbers better?
Should I switch to decaf?
This is going to work.
It might not.
I can beat the odds.
The odds are insurmountable.
Should I be thinking about names?
Did I loan my bouncy seat to anyone?
I think I should get things together for the consignment shop.
Hmmm, what would my due date be?
Back to the Internet to plug in due date based on 3 day transfer.

I am halfway until the finish line of this race and I'm not sure I am going to make it.  On the one hand, I so want to act like there is no reason to think that I will not get good news. On the other, I'm afraid of the hurt if invest too much time in imaging a pregnancy that never comes to be. Right now, it feels safe to follow up every positive pregnancy thought with a grim statistic. That is the rationale that lands a girl in Crazytown. 

Please feel free to share your tips for getting through this two week wait or any of the irrational thoughts that may have popped into your brain during this time.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Step Aside Modern Medicine... It's Nature's Turn

I am home resting in my bed.

My phone is to my left and my laptop on well, my lap.

My mom is downstairs and Toddler T is napping.

I had two acupuncture sessions today. One before transfer. One After.

Mr. T and I were in a position to make a choice about how many embryo(s) to transfer and made a decision that were are comfortable with.

Aside of Crinone, supplements and my pre-natal vitamin,  there is no more medical intervention from this point forward.

Today and tomorrow I will rest and allow nature to step in.

I am feeling relieved.

I am hoping that the next 2 weeks go by quickly.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

'Twas the Night Before Transfer

I'm pretty sure I won't have visions of sugar plums dancing in my head.
I'm pretty sure it will be a repeat of Saturday Night. 
Maybe I should have another big glass of wine?
I mean, isn't pretty common for conception to occur with the assistance of wine?

It feels surreal to be sitting here with a transfer scheduled for tomorrow morning. At times, it is inconceivable (no pun intended) to think about how many twists and turns this trip took.  Our journey into the world of secondary infertility started innocently enough at a friends' wedding weekend. There were so many special things about that weekend. It was Mr. T's birthday. It was one of his best friends getting married. I love his bride. It was held in the city where Mr. T and I lived, dated and got married. It was sort of a homecoming weekend. All of that,  and we were ready to expand our family. It seemed so fitting. So special.

15 months ago, we were so innocent. We weren't jaded, hurt and overhwelmed. We had no idea about ectopic pregnancies and AMH/FSH levels.  I had only had routine blood work once or twice in my life and had never once had an internal ultrasound.  I believed that we would be successful in the same manner in which we were with Toddler T.  I had no way of knowing the depths of soul searching I would do. The hurt I would feel. The disdain I'd feel for my body and the feeling of a total loss of control. 

So, I sit here on my couch. Toddler T is asleep in his bed and Mr. T is out at a dinner for work. I am responding to all the good luck text messages I had received since yesterday. (I picked the WORST time to drop my phone into a glass of iced tea yesterday. And for the record, putting it in a zip-lock bag with rice does work.) I am struggling with what I want to say and how I want my words to come across. This is a terrifyingly exciting feeling to be having. Terrifying, because, there is a chance this doesn't work. Exciting, because it could.  

Over the past 13 months, I have often said that my problem isn't getting pregnant. It's getting pregnant in the RIGHT spot. I have since learned that I had a few more issues than that. But tomorrow, I will have surpassed those issues. Yes. I'm a poor responder. But dammit I made some eggs and they even fertilized and started to divide. Yes. I have undetectable AMH and a high FSH. But I'm also only 34. Tomorrow that is in the past. Tomorrow I am asking my body to do what I BELIEVE it can do. Support an intrauterine pregnancy. It is time to put my money where my mouth is.

I grow babies well. Toddler T was born at 41 weeks and 9 pounds 1 oz. 

I can do this part. I know I can. I just needed the chance.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Fertilization Report

Last night, I tried to stay up late. My thought was that, since I had slept the day away, it would be better to force myself to stay up later in the hopes of sleeping through the night. My theory could not have been anymore flawed. I hardly slept. The variable I wasn't counting on, was the fact that it was 88 degrees yesterday and I still had my down comforter on my bed. Yes, that was it. I couldn't sleep because I was hot. I'm sure it had NOTHING to do with the fact that I was having a recurring nightmare all.night.long. 

The phone rings.
I answer it.
A male voice says,
The line goes dead.

Over and over and over through the night. It was like I was starring in my own horror movie.

Fortunately for me, that was a nightmare and the reality was very different.

My phone rang at 8:50 am.
My mom quickly occupied Toddler T.
I answered it.
A male voice says, "Hi, this is Matt. I'm one of the embryologists. I just wanted to tell you that 
I repeated back what I heard
My mom came over an hugged me.
I was in shock.
I called Mr. T
I heard the relief in his voice.
I felt relief in my bones.

My mom, Toddler T and I packed up for a trip to the library, a picnic in the park and then a quick splash in the creek.

The T Family made it through one more hoop. I pray that the embryos keep growing. I pray that they make it to transfer day. (Tentatively scheduled for Wednesday).  

Strangely enough, I still have a sense of calm. I do not know what the future brings us, but the feeling of dread is lifting. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

One finished line crossed, a few more to go.

Hi all-

A quick update on the egg retrieval today. It went great. I thoroughly enjoyed the propofol and spared the nurse anesthetist any bad Conrad Murray/Michael Jackson jokes. The whole procedure only took 15 minutes and Dr. Compassion did not have to go through my abdomen. He retrieved 3 mature follicles that held 3 eggs. This was a huge relief as I was terrified that although I had follicles, they would be empty. 

Right before the procedure, I had a quick conversation with Dr. C regarding  ICSI. ICSI was initially used when the fertility issue was severe Male Factor. Since this has never been our issue, we never thought we'd go down that route. Well, as I wrapped my head around the idea that we were only working with 3 eggs, it seemed more appealing to actually force their fertilization. Dr. C agreed. So, now I wait to clear this next hurdle. Tomorrow at 9:30ish, I'll be getting a phone call from the lab to see if these eggs fertilized via ICSI.

The next topic covered was the idea of transfer. I was hesitant to plan too much, because before we can transfer we need fertilization to occur. But, Dr. C wanted to mention it. So we had the conversation. You may hear a lot of talk about 3 vs 5 day embryo transfer. In my case, we may not even wait 3 days. When there is concern over egg quality and when you are working with a limited number of eggs, there is a growing push to transfer embryos back on day 2. As Dr. C put it, I'm a better incubator than the lab.

Hope he's right.

But tonight, I take my mom's advice and am thankful for a successful retrieval. I'll say my prayers for good news from the lab tomorrow.

Thanks all, for your messages, good wishes, phone calls, text messages, emails and support. It has meant a tremendous amount to me. 


Mrs. T

Saturday, April 14, 2012

12 hours from now,

I will be in the operating room getting ready for my egg retrieval. I hope to already be feeling the effects of the propofol and hope that my mind will be fuzzy. I also hope that I get to sleep tonight. 

By design, we had a very full day today. It started with blood work at 9:45. I also made the bold move to donate my unused cetrotide, syringes and other supplies. The nurse asked if I was ready to donate the supplies without knowing if this worked or not. I am, because I truly believe that one way or another I will never inject myself with that particular medication again. She wished me good luck and I headed out the door.

From there, we drove to the Zoo. It was a the most perfect day. Toddler T loved it and I was great for Mr. T too. You see, as a stay at home mom,  I get to go on these outings all the time. Toddler T is so used to activities, that the first thing out of his mouth, in the morning, is, "Where are we going on our adventure today, Mommy."  I love any chance to watch Mr. T see our son explore something new. It also helped that Toddler T loves ammals (animals) and there was a playground. 

We headed home and put him down for a nap with the promise that when he woke up, we'd be off to the park. He napped and we kept our word. We hit the park and spent the entire time in the sandbox. Next was pizza and then a special trip to the ice cream shop with the carousel. I wasn't joking when I said we had a full day.

Now, I am home. Toddler T is upstairs in his bed (not quite asleep) and the thoughts are creeping in.  I'd like to keep them at bay and settle in and watch a movie.  That's going to be tricky because A. I'm starving (Dr. Compassion has requested that I stick to a clear diet today. Chocolate Italian Ice is clear, right?) and B. I'm so nervous.excited.relieved.scared.sad.hopeful.anxious.terrified.eager.

Pinot Grigio is clear too, right?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Pulling the Trigger

I got the call this afternoon. Tonight is the night. HCG trigger shot given tonight at 8:30pm with my egg retrieval scheduled for Sunday at 8:30am.

I have been unusually calm today. I attribute that to two things.

  1. I got to spend the day with one of my oldest friends, Minnie. We met freshman year in college and continue to speak daily. It also helps that our children are 6 weeks apart. Minnie was one of the first people that I called after the first ectopic pregnancy and she then went on to share the information with our group of friends so I didn't have to.  She has been by my side through this whole process and has fielded one or two phone calls from me as I was hysterically crying. But today she was my fresh air. Even better our kids (who have known each other since birth) finally got the memo that they might have fun when they play together AND that they don't have to fight over every single toy in the playroom. She reminded me throughout the day- that all it takes is one.  
  2.  I received a phone call today from my doctor. I do believe that I might need to change his name from Dr. Neutral to Dr. Compassion. Having come from a clinic where I had to plead for a quick phone call from my doctor, I was floored that he called me, personally to come up with a game plan. He actually said, "I'm calling to see how you are doing." Then we got down to business. We reviewed the facts. I have 3 follicles. They may not all contain viable eggs. I may never do better than this. Therefore, it is time to retrieve them.  Then he said the second, most wonderful thing. "You have been on such a long and hard road. This cycle has been really hard and I am going to see you through it. I'll be with you on Sunday morning."
That was what I needed. I know my odds won't change but I have the feeling that his heart is in this. I really believe that he is pulling for me, no matter how much of a long shot. I can sleep better knowing that regardless of how the follicles need to be retrieved, he will find them. He will even look for immature follicles and allow them the chance to mature in the lab. We will not leave any stones unturned. 

But now it is done. My part of this IVF cycle offically concluded with my self-administration of the HCG trigger shot. I have given this my all and I now turn it over to a higher power.  

All it takes is one. All it takes is one. All it takes is one. All it takes is one. All it takes is one.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Dreaming of the finish line in spite of the roadblocks

I am trying to stay balanced in this sea of IVF quicksand.

Every morning brings me to my clinic with blood work and ultrasounds. I never expect much and am always waiting for the doctor to tell me that the road ends here. I never really could see myself at egg retrieval and I know part of this was a way to protect myself from my never ending fear that I was going to be cancelled due to poor response.  When I met with my doctor, two days ago, we talked about this paralyzing fear that I had. He said the ball was in my court. If I was comfortable going into egg retrieval with 3 follicles, than so was he. I again asked him, if he thought I'd ever do better than that. He responded that this response of between 2-4 was as good as I'll probably get. So, with that, I decided to put my anxiety in its place. I have been embracing the idea that I need quality and not quantity. I have been repeating "It only takes ONE." ad nauseum.

I was proud of myself for working to keep positive when it feels like EVERY odd is against me.

Then I went to my appointment this morning. 

Over my last few ultrasounds, there has been some difficulty in locating my left ovary. I've had to assist with putting pressure on my lower left abdomen from time to time. I never complained. I never thought much of it. This morning, one of the doctors mentioned that my ovary was hard to find. (Hmmm, hard to find?) He then said that it was behind my uterus. 

Then he said, "You need to understand that it is going to be very difficult to extract follicles from the left ovary. We may not be able to get them. I just wanted you to know ahead of time, and not be surprised."

Every positive thought drained from my brain as I tried to comprehend what the implications of his words were in relation to my ability to get pregnant.

I believe I cursed. This is very out of character for me. I then apologized and asked of the 3 follicles I have, how many were on the left ovary? You know, the one in hiding?

Two. What are the chances? I produced a mere 3 follicles. I get on board with quality and not quantity, only to be told that 2 of the 3 may not be able to be retrieved. I couldn't even take it. The tears welled up in my eyes and I was just stunned by this recent development. The doctor tried to help. He told me that if they had to use aggressive manipulation, while I was under anesthesia, he would try to get the ovary in position. 

God bless the nurse and her ability to realize that I was about to fall over. She walked me to a consult room to give me my teaching sheet about the HCG trigger injection and told me about an abdominal retrieval.  Apparently, my doctor has been known to go through the abdomen via laparoscopic surgery in order to retrieve hidden follicles. Knowing that there was a possible Plan B for retrieval made me feel so much better and able to get back to positive thinking. I mean, what's one more scar on my stomach, I am far from bikini ready at this point in my life.

 I left, picked up Toddler T and drove him to nursery school. During his afternoon nap, I got my daily instruction call from the nurse. I'm starting Cetrotide tonight and there is talk of HCG trigger Friday night with retrieval on Sunday. It then occurred to me to ask if my doctor would be doing the procedure on Sunday. I did. He's not. It's not his weekend on call and Dr. Downer was on. Yes, the same one that 'just wanted me to know, he might not get the eggs', is going to be the doctor doing the procedure.

I expressed my concerns to the nurse. I mentioned that my odds aren't great (to say the least). I asked if an abdominal retrieval was possible and what are my options if Dr. Downer doesn't know how to do it?  I'll get some answers tomorrow at my appointment. In the meantime, I am hoping that if my doctor is comfortable doing an abdominal retrieval, that he might, out of the goodness of his heart, come in and do the procedure himself on Sunday.

This my new mantra. It's getting longer.

Ovary, please come out of hiding. Estrogen, please keep rising. Follicles, please keep growing, survive retrieval and fertilize. Embryos, please grow for 3-5 days, implant and develop into one healthy baby.

Say that 5 times fast.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Keeping my anxiety in check.

These past few days have been tough and emotional and draining. Emotions like these are not the best for a girl who can get anxious from time to time. I have been taking short breaths, afraid to fully exhale, afraid that if I disturb too much, I will be cancelled again. I know that to read this, it must sound crazy. But when you struggle with anxiety,  every single small action, thought or feeling is magnified to a crazy level. When you hear good news and non-descript news, your brain flashes right over the positive and fixates on the negative. You lose sight and then the thoughts and the worries grow exponentially. 

This is where I was yesterday. In my brain, I had my cycle cancelled. I googled until I could find enough 'scholarly research' to support my belief that there was that I was going to make it to egg retrieval. I cried and felt defeated. I was alone with my thoughts and let them run wild. I was lucky that my mom wasn't at work and able to spend a good portion of Toddler T's nap time on the phone with me. 

What kills me is the idea that this cycle will never be textbook. No doctor will ever look at my flow sheet and remark that I'm looking good. The theme has been more, "Let's see what we can do with this." I will never respond well to the medication and in turn produce only a small amount of follicles. I will never go into an Egg Retrieval anticipating double digit follicles. In fact, my doctor told me that he is only expecting between 2-4.  It is exhuasting to constantly play the odds in my brain. Going into and Egg Retrevial with only 3 follicles, how many will be mature? How many will fertilize? How many will make it to 3 or 5 days? How many will take? Will they be viable? Will this work? 

My brain hurts.

I am anxious and I am battle weary and have been desperate for something positive. I am also learning that I need to put the anxiety in its place. For right now positive is, that I went another day without getting cancelled. In a perfect world, I'd embrace this idea. But the reality is, I'm competitive. I like to win. I like to believe that if you follow the rules, you will be victorious. Unfortunately, infertility doesn't play by these rules. You can do everything 'right' and still walk away empty. I hate that. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Forcing a Square Peg into a Round Hole.

It doesn't work and it never will.

I am feeling like I am round part and this IVF cycle is the square peg.

I am feeling defeated, scared and hurt.

I am angry that I can't seem to catch a break.

I am furious at this faceless, heartless thing called Secondary Infertility.

I am tired of getting my blood drawn.

I am tired of holding my breath during an ultrasound; waiting for the confirmation that things look merely OK and not great.

I am tired of feeling a deep hole in my heart whenever I see my son hold a baby.

I want to be hopeful.

I want to believe.

I'm not sure I have the energy for it.

I want to feel lifted up by faith and not let down by it.

I want to feel peace in my heart about whatever comes next.

I am wondering when enough is enough.

I am weary about thinking up a new plan.

I so wished my phone call with the nurse went a little better, perhaps tomorrow's blood work and ultrasound will go better.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Throwing a Hail Mary and Walking out with an Elmo Balloon

This is how I summed up my feelings about this round of IVF to Mr. T, while taking an extended drive on the turnpike, yesterday.  It followed a series of events that were frustrating and only now (with 24 hours of distance) funny. Let's start at the beginning.

We had a busy, but fun Easter Weekend. Saturday, we surprised Toddler T with tickets to see Sesame Street Live. The shrieks that he gave out when we told him were worth the price of our tickets.  It was everything I expected. I knew we'd walk out with overpriced souvenirs. I knew we'd end up buying snacks (even though I packed a fair amount). I knew he'd love it but struggle to make it through the entire show. It was precisely 5 minutes into to the second act when he looked at me and said, "Come on, Mommy, Let's go see something else." I told him that this was it. The SHOW is what we are seeing. Then he looked at me and said, "But I want a boon (balloon)." Crap. Oh no. Not that balloon. Not the Elmo balloon that had been paraded through the crowds at intermission. I read about those balloons and heard they are pricey. So, I distracted him with a soft pretzel. The show ended and Mr. T and I attempted to usher him to the car. Past the Boon Man. He asked again. Mr. T and I suddenly went deaf. Mr. T said, "If he asks again, we should just get him one." Now, so you don't think I'm a stingy mom. We had already picked up the Elmo binoculars (partly because I was so shocked my almost 3 year old asked for them with the correct name) AND an Elmo spinny-light thing. But, we heard the voice again. From high atop his daddy's shoulders, Toddler T asked and began pointing at the Boon Man. We divided and conquered. Mr. T to the car with him. I, to the Boon Man.

I had $4 dollars in my wallet. That should cover a Mylar balloon, right?

Wrong. The man looked at me and said, "$10." I responded that that is ridiculous and walked back to the car. Planning to tell Toddler T that we just weren't getting any. I was going to draw a line in the sand. I was going to stand my ground. I was going to bet my wedding ring that Mr. T would be outraged as well.  I got to the car and Toddler T asked for his Boon. I told him that we just didn't get it. Mr. T gave me a look and I said something about them being $10 and isn't that ridiculous and it was cash only anyway. But deep down inside, I knew, we'd be leaving with an Elmo Boon.

Out comes Mr. T's wallet and back across the parking lot I went to retrieve a $10 Elmo Boon. 

Four years ago, before I was pregnant, I would have thought that any parent that spends $10 on a balloon might have been an idiot. But, we're not. You only become the idiot when you give into every wish, demand, request, every time. I'm pretty sure we are not going to be at Sesame Street Live on a regular basis so I feel confidant that I didn't set a precedence that $10 balloons are the norm in the T household. 

On a much deeper note, I've started to believe that he will be our only child and wanting to take advantage of that. I'm sure people could think that I'm on my way to raising a child with no limits and won't his little world be rocked if he has to share it with a sibling. But I don't know that it will happen. I am dutifully saving his outgrown clothes for a future sibling. But the reality is, they may go to a friend or a consignment sale. It is such a challenging balance and I'm not sure I'm keeping my balance these days. So for now, maybe he is getting spoiled. My feeling is this, I will be consider myself a very lucky mother if the worst thing I deal with is getting him to adjust to a sibling.  

Dealing with my secondary fertility is all about balance and control. This past weekend was a great example of not being in control and trying to carry on like everything is perfectly normal. The T family had a low-key morning at home and then packed up to take a family trip to the RE's office. Mr. T played outside with Toddler T and his new Elmo binoculars while I went in.  

During the ultrasound, the doctor counted 4 follicles spread out through both sides. This was sad as, I seemed to have lost two in the past few days and not gained. I teared up a little bit and told him that I really wanted to go into egg retrieval with just a few more. He then asked me if I had filled the prescription for Ganirelix as I might need to start it that night. 

Um, no.  I didn't have it. I'm gun shy with ordering too many medications. There's no greater feeling of failure than looking at hundreds of dollars of medication that you aren't going to use because your cycle was cancelled. And then the next wave of panic came over me. If I actually needed to start the medication that night, EASTER SUNDAY, I was going to be in a bit of a bind.  The specialty pharmacy was CLOSED for Easter. So, what was I to do? Use the only pharmacy that was open within a 2 hour radius of where we were.  It was in the complete opposite direction from my parents' house.  I didn't really have a choice. Had I gone to my parents' without getting the medication my luck would have been that I needed it and then I wouldn't have access to it. 

It was when we got on the turnpike and I thought we had gotten on headed west and not east that I told Mr. T this felt like a Hail Mary. We had a very quiet drive to my parents'. How many times can you talk about the fears, the anxiety, the powerlessness and the uncontrollable? Sometimes I think we've hit our max. For right now, there's not much more to say or process. This will either work or it won't.

I'll know more tomorrow after my next ultrasound and will hope that my body has realized that theme of April is eggs. I will rest well knowing that whenever I need the Ganirelix, I'll have it safely in my fridge. Why, because after a few tense moments of getting our GPS to work, making a u-turn near the turnpike, driving an hour out of our way and keeping the Ganirelix cold, the nurse called. Didn't need to start it that night after all. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Hunting for Eggs... Literally

Toddler T and I went to an egg hunt this morning and he looked pretty cute in his "Egg Hunt Champion" T-shirt. It was sponsored by my MOMS club and a fellow MOM mentioned that he was an enthusiastic Egg Hunter. I said a silent prayer that he wasn't actually bowling children over to get to the coveted eggs. As it turns out, he was simply enthusiastic and not a little egg demon and I didn't see him shove anyone who stood between him and that plastic egg that held the promise of chocolate. Toddler T is all about Easter eggs and the fact that the Bunny is coming TO.OUR.HOUSE and might BRING.HIM.PRESENTS!!!!! It was a really fun morning and he has no idea that I already hid the majority of his candy. 

A quick aside on MOMs clubs.  I joined my local chapter about a year and a half ago. I was working part time and looking to meet up with local moms and maybe join a playgroup. It has been one of the best decisions I have made as a mom, especially as first time mom, raising her child in an area that she was not too familar with. Now that I am home, full time, the benefits have just grown tremendously. If you are a mom, check it out. If you are waiting to become a mom, stick this resource in the back of your brain... it might be helpful one day!

Turns out, the MOMs Club egg hunt was the second egg hunt of the day. The first, occurred at 7:15 am and was conducted with an ultrasound!  My anxiety was high as I am caught right in the middle of "This is never going to work." and "Of course this is going to work, we've been through enough." I honestly never know which thought I'm going to have at any given moment. So, back to the internal egg hunt and my rising anxiety. The covering doctor performed the ultrasound and told me that she has zero expectations for the first monitoring appointment during the stimulation phase.  She plainly informed that I have 6 follicles split evenly between my left and right ovaries. 

Later on in the day, I got a phone call from the nurse that I am to stop taking the estrogen and that I will be seen again on Sunday morning at 10am. Yes, for all you Christians out there, that is Easter Sunday at 10am. To be fair, I wasn't going to be at Church, I was going to be in the car headed to my parents' house.  As I've mentioned in previous posts, my belief in religion is strong, my track record at attendance of Mass is spotty. I'm not upset that this appointment has interfered with my attendance in a House of Worship. I'm upset because it is out of my control. I wanted to spend my Easter Sunday the way I wanted too and not at the hands of an IVF flow sheet. It is just another reminder that I need to surrender control. This total surrender would be so much easier if I knew that IVF was going to work.

But, I don't and I'm not the RE, so after Toddler T has opened his basket, I'll slip out the door and see if the Easter Bunny has left me some more eggs.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Why's and What's

Why is this such an emotional roller coaster?
Why are so many women denied the opportunity to get pregnant on their own terms without a team of specialists?
What more to I need to prove?
What will happen if I'm cancelled again?
What if my best isn't good enough?

These are all questions I can't answer and it's clear to me that I am in the reflective stage of this IVF cycle. This is all too familiar, I start to have trouble sleeping. I begin to live my life in 72 hour increments. (The average time between doctor's appointments) I begin to google the hell out of statistics about IVF success with DOR, the estrogen priming protocol and poor responders. I feel the weight of the emotions and the subtle anxiety about the possibility of failure.

Then, I try my hardest to live the catch phrases that I've taught many families over the years. I keep coming back to the self-fulfilling prophecy. In a nut-shell, it can be summarized as follows. If you think you will succeed, you will. If you think you will fail, you will. I am trying to be hopeful. I am trying to believe that our story ends with a baby in our arms.  There is only one problem with this, I cannot will this to happen. If I could, I'd already be pregnant.

If you are reading this, may I be so bold and semi-entitled to ask you to;  Say a prayer. Light a candle. Make a wish. Call on a favorite Saint or other Deity of your choice and just ask for some extra strength and hope to be cast my way. Tomorrow is another appointment to track how my body is responding to the drugs and if history is my guide,  this is usually when the wheels start falling off my reproductive bus. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Hang on, Its Cycle Day 2

And so the ride begins. 

Toddler T and I were lucky enough to have a sleepover party with Mana last night (my mom). While Mr. T was out of town on a fun golf work trip, I needed to get to an early morning doctors appointment. So, Mana packed a bag and slept in the guestest room (at least that's what Toddler T called it).  

I had one awkward moment during my blood draw. The poor nurse just couldn't seem to find a vein and all the while 1 Stick Wonder Betty was pacing around the blood draw room. I wanted so badly to just please ask Nurse Betty to step in and get the job done sans the under the skin fishing for the vein. But, I thought that might be in poor taste. So, I waited until the Nurse couldn't do and then Nurse Betty flashed me a smile and bam- 1 Stick! Done and Done.  I wonder if I can just page Nurse Betty everytime I need blood work done. She knows that she's the only one who gets on the first try and so do I. 

I find this clinic to be so official. Because I am officially starting today, I got a mini-physical. Blood Pressure, Height, Weight (So not fair to be weighed after Mr. T has been out of town for 5 days and I've been living off of kid-friendly food and not my diet!).  Ultrasound was good and the blood work just came back. I am good to start my stimulation medications tonight. 

I am trying to take it one day at a time. I feel slightly less crazy and I think it has something to do with dropping the Lupron. I received an email from a family member who pointed out that everything is growing in the spring and why should I be any different. I want this to be my cycle. I would love to look at Mr. T and know that we were past all of this. 

This morning as I was waiting to be called back for my blood draw, a couple walked out of the back office and checked out. I noticed that they were holding a tell-tale 3x5 inch grainy picture. I heard the girl tell the receptionist that they were so surprised the baby was bigger since their last ultrasound and soon they'd be 'graduating' to her ob/gyn.  I was a little surprised by my reaction. I wasn't jealous. I thought, "Good for you! Congratulations on graduation!" I tried to imagine Mr. T and I leaving the clinic with a grainy picture of our Tiny T and I couldn't. And that made me sad. The weird thing is, I can't imagine it, not because I think that day will never come. But because I am so guarded. I can only look at the next step. Not the bigger picture. My graduation day will be to make it to Egg Retrieval. Right now, I envision, that I will wake up, groggy and disoriented and Mr. T and Dr. Neutral will both be talking about retrieving a fair amount of good looking eggs. Baby Steps.

I left the appointment to go home and bring Toddler T to nursery school. Today was his Easter Egg Hunt and Party. I then turned around and drove to the speciality pharmacy to pick up $800 worth of drugs. Then right back to school to pick him up to go back to Target. I needed to refill my prenatal vitamin and finish off some Dollar Aisle Easter Basket Shopping.  A few things about the Target Pharmacist. 1. I no longer need to tell him my name. 2. He informed me that the prescription for my prenatal vitamin had expired. I laughed and said, "Wow, that's how long I've been at this without being successful." Maybe that was over-sharing, but I got the script in August of 2010. At least I'm not worried about having low folic acid levels.

Now I'm home. Toddler T is napping. I am counting down the minutes until Mr. T arrives. This has been the longest time he's been away, but it has also been the easiest. This year, I wasn't working and being a single mom. And, Toddler T is getting to be more kid and less baby. We Faced-Timed Daddy and he thought that was pretty cool. But still, let's be honest after 5 nights and 6 days of single parenthood... I'm ready for a break.