June 7-27, 2013: I’m NOT Pregnant Anymore

Friday, June 7, 2013

Honestly, distraction from it helps. It actually helps a lot. During my vacation two weeks ago, I was reminded that life can be just fine—perfect—still. Okay, okay—that was on vacation. But still.

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I know every woman is different; I know every cycle is different; I know every embryo is different. Yada yada yada. But I feel the positive vibes, I guess. Do positive vibes even do anything?

Maybe I’m just excited. I’m also scared. I hate the part where I can’t control anything. Right now I—or my doctor—can control everything.

I don’t like cheese right now. You will probably never know me to say this again.

OH INFERTILITY. Same shit; different day.

Actually, I don’t know what I want to eat anymore. It’s very frustrating because I have this passion for food. I don’t deserve to not be obese with my passion for food. But I’ll take all the blessings I can get, right?

Anyway, this verse means something to me. It actually means everything to me because the fear I have—the fear I always have—is rooted in my past experiences, my past heartache.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:18-19)

My egg retrieval will probably be Tuesday. My transfer will probably be next Sunday.

Third time’s the charm?

Please?

*** August 14, 2013: Amanda pointed this verse out to me in her first Mother’s Day reflection post. Thanks, Amanda.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Depressed. Hopeless. Sad. Heartbroken. Empty.

I don’t know what to do if this can’t work. Can it work?

Why do I have to deal with this?

Why does this exist?

How can I move on with my life?

When will I move on with my life?

What will my life be like in one year? In three years?

I just want this to be over.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

I am pregnant.

No, I don’t know what to say.

My armpits are sweaty, I have a dull throb in my head, my appetite is shot as I shove grapes down my throat. After all, it’s time for my second dose of Metformin for the day.

I have waited over two years to write those words: “I am pregnant.”

I am amazed. I am thankful. I am so happy. I am calm.

I feel the same, but then I realize the weight is gone. I haven’t felt it lift yet, but it is gone.

At 12:18 p.m. today I started peeing on a stick, and at 12:21 p.m. there was—undoubtedly—a second line.

I will have more later; right now, I am just in shock. I don’t know what to say.

*** August 14, 2013: Unfortunately, I started losing this pregnancy two days later. This post concludes my Before My Blog series.

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March 25 Through April 10, 2013

Monday, March 25, 2013

This last week has been hard.

What would I rather feel? Sadness and heartache or incessant fear?

Last Monday I went to the dermatologist for an annual skin check. I left that appointment in a very different mental/emotional state than I thought I would.

He thought I had skin cancer on my back. Yes, that spot I wrote about last year.

Last week was filled with fear, anxiety and a burden on my shoulders. Monkey-on-my-back of the week.

Well, it’s not skin cancer—praise God. I do have to have it—or some of it—removed on Wednesday; but it’s not cancer.

And yet, not 12 hours after I finally discover this good news, I’m worried about this lump on my head. Is it even a lump? What the hell is it? For that, I also saw a doctor last year. And—I saw another doctor about five months later. But—because I have this sick obsession with torturing myself—I am scared about it again. So, all weekend I was trying to find other lumps on my head. I couldn’t really find any, but I did find another tender spot. So, when I go to a different dermatologist for treatment on Wednesday, I will ask him about these spots.

Then I can only hope that I will stop driving myself crazy.

I’m also waiting to hear back from a psychiatrist. I’d much rather take antidepressants, but “I’m going to have a baby,” she says (while rolling her eyes).

Speaking of which, my frozen embryo transfer is next Wednesday. Crazy—six weeks came and went. Right now, we are doing estrogen injections every other night. I say “we” because my husband does all the work prepping the injection, then I just bend over and take it. Haha, I asked my nurse last week, “So these are intramuscular injections, so I inject them in the rear end area, right?” She says (and I can hear the smile in her voice), “Well, I hope your husband will inject it in your rear end area.” Oh heavens, I love that woman.

Speaking of rear end area and intramuscular injections: They are supposed to hurt really bad. But—they don’t hurt. In fact, I might prefer them over the tummy injections.

So, my mind has been preoccupied with fears that I’m going to die from some crazy disease.

I’d prefer a different form of R&R from fertility-related thoughts. Actually, I think I’d just prefer fertility-related thoughts.

Watch, I’ll finally get pregnant but won’t be able to enjoy it because another monkey will attach. I hate myself sometimes.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Today is my frozen embryo transfer.

On February 22, I tried to convince myself that April 3 wasn’t that far away. And it kind of wasn’t.

I’m excited.

I am just praying I don’t receive a horrible phone call from my doctor telling me the embryo didn’t make it to thaw. But—that’s not going to happen.

I don’t know if it’s because FETs are way less intense (in terms of what the body goes through), or this is my second try. I don’t know if it’s peace that God is giving me, or I’ve just dealt with some crappy issues the past few weeks so this hasn’t been the absolute center of the universe.

Okay—maybe I feel like I’ve already survived the obligatory failed IVF … so I have no more dues to pay. I mean, people always warn you, “Sometimes it doesn’t work on the first try.” Actually it can and it does, but that issue is now dealt with for me.

I’m so happy my husband is able to go with me. It will really feel special to see our little embryo on the screen and hold hands while it’s transferred!

I don’t know; I just have a good feeling about this.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I’m feeling doubtful today.

I was hoping these emotions wouldn’t surface. Maybe it’s because I’m stuck here in a window-less room.

I feel like it’s not okay to cry or be scared because it will open up a jar of emotions—a never-ending stream of all things dark. But I kind of feel like crying. Okay, now I am crying.

At least I’ll survive.

*** August 14, 2013: My FET failed. Insanity at work, my upcoming vacation and the opportunity to create more beautiful embryos in June (Ha, NOT!) offered some relief during this time, thankfully.

February 12-18, 2013

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

This has been a painful week—and it’s only going to get worse.

I’m so anxious. I don’t know what to think.

Nothing is different!

My mindset isn’t different! I’m supposed to have high hopes this time around! Or—am I supposed to not care this time too because it won’t be different just like all the other months?

But this is IVF! And they transferred a 1AB embryo—whatever the hell that means. And apparently I have a 75 percent chance of success. And I’m only 25 years old.

Will I be one of the lucky ones? I mean—not one of those lucky ones. Those people have no idea how easy they have it—with their beautifully synced reproductive systems.

But—will I be one of the lucky ones whose beta results are positive?

I look at the photo of my embryo every day and am reminded that they transferred a perfectly healthy embryo into my uterus!

Why does this have to be so hard? Why do I have to go through this? THIS ISN’T FUCKING FAIR! I hate this. I just want this to be over. I’m so sad and depressed and anxious and stressed out.

This is hell!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I just want to get my anger out. I’m so pissed off right now. Why do I have to go through this hell? What did I do to deserve this?

God—will you answer me?! What did I do?

Why can’t I just get pregnant like normal people—like EVERYONE ELSE?! Why do I have to go through all this heartache and stress? And to top it ALL off, I get to wait two weeks.

Nothing is different. I feel nothing.

Except my boobs are sore.

Nighty night, cuticles.

Is it possible to think about anything else?

Should I just take a damn test?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I had a talk with my husband last night. Thankfully, he knows exactly how I feel. It’s kind of nice when someone who really loves you can actually relate to you on an emotional level. I mean, my mom loves me—and her heart aches for my happiness—but she can never understand how I feel. Basically, anyone who hasn’t experienced infertility says the wrong thing all the time.

I guess I’m feeling better than I was yesterday. Well, I started feeling better yesterday at mid-day anyway, but today is better in general—I guess.

My husband told me: You can’t change February 18. It will be what it will be.

He’s right. I can’t change that February 18 is still five days away. On Sunday, I won’t be able to change that it’s “tomorrow.” The day of, I won’t be able to change the results.

My emotions during this phase of my fertility journey are very much like a rollercoaster. I am hopeful, then I fear this cycle won’t be different. I welcome “symptoms” and hope they are pregnancy-related—and proceed to remind myself that symptoms or no symptoms don’t matter.

It’s kind of a nightmare people. But—speaking of which—my God is good and has kept pregnancy dreams far, far away. I mean, I wake up every morning recalling a dream (which usually doesn’t happen, even though I know we dream every night). Some dreams are super clear, others I forget within five minutes of waking up. None of them have been pregnancy-related, that I can recall.

For kicks, here are the symptoms I have been feeling on and off:

  • Headache: Sometimes dull and sometimes requiring Tylenol. Caffeine withdrawal?
  • Sore breasts: They actually feel better today.
  • Dreams that I can recall the next morning or remember having.
  • “Twinges” in my lower abdominal. Dare I say uterus …

I was reading Shady Grove’s website (again) yesterday, and came across a link about stress. Hot dang, they hit the nail right on the head. Although, I didn’t know the stress of infertility was relatable to the stress of heart disease or cancer. Yikes! Here are some of the readings I found interesting from that link:

  • “Acute stress, caused by a single event (or your fear of it), makes your heart beat faster and your blood pressure go up. You breathe harder, your hands get sweaty, and your skin feels cool and
    clammy.”

    • I’ve experienced acute stress for sure. My blood pressure is all over the place. Last week at my transfer it was at 144 over 80-something; the second reading was at 138. I’ve had those moments of rapid heartbeat; they freak me out a bit. I’m glad to know they’re just stress-related and not you-have-a-heart-problem-related.
    • “Is stress causing my infertility? Probably not.”
      • Ha! I love this. Screw all you people who think you know everything. Although—as the website says—stress can cause hormonal changes and affect ovulation or lack thereof in some women, it doesn’t make someone infertile. I knew it! So all those people who told me to relax when I couldn’t have a baby; didn’t have the money for IVF; still don’t have the money for IVF; had to deal with incompetent idiots regarding my reproductive health and—well—overall health (RULING OUT CANCER) of my husband; had to coordinate with insurance to refer me to Shady Grove EVEN THOUGH I HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO GET PREGNANT IN TWO YEARS; the list goes on—those people can shove it. First, how can’t you be stressed? Second, HOW CAN’T YOU BE STRESSED???!!!
      • “Is infertility causing my stress? Maybe. Many women who are being treated for infertility have as much stress as women who have cancer or heart disease.”
        • I can honestly say that I am thankful it’s infertility versus cancer. Therefore, I believe the stress of cancer would be wayyy worse. But it is sad that some women experience that amount of stress. I mean, infertility is beyond heartbreaking. To date, it is the most difficult thing I’ve ever dealt with, but I think I’d be a lot more stressed dealing with cancer.

http://www.shadygrovefertility.com/stress

So, there you have it. Infertility sucks more than you can imagine.

I’m angry now.

I just really hope this works—the first time. I’m really looking forward to closing this chapter in my life.

I’m ready for complete closure.

This has been such a nightmare to deal with. I can’t explain the level of depression, anxiety, stress, heartache that infertility causes. You do everything you can; you spend all the money you have; you sacrifice as much as you can; and this is the reward. It just doesn’t add up to me. I mean, people have babies for FREE! That is such a foreign concept to me. I wouldn’t give up everything, but I would give up A LOT to have that gift.

I know, I know. I wouldn’t appreciate it as much.

But still …

I’m closer than I’ve ever been—and that scares the living daylights out of me.

Monday, February 18, 2013

I guess you never know how strong you really are until you awake with a heart full of hope, hear the news you were fearing this whole time, sit in silence … but are still able to cry and be thankful for the love you have in your life.

It feels good to cry.

IVF cycle #1 failed.

February 6-11, 2013

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Well …

There’s an embryo in my uterus. (!)

The transfer went really well yesterday.

I had to pee sooo bad during the procedure, but at least my bladder was full enough versus not enough. They transferred one embryo. It was a 1AB blastocyst. So from what I understand, it is an excellent blastocyst! Four other embryos are still growing and hadn’t quite reached the blastocyst stage as of yesterday. I am praying they have grown to the blastocyst stage by now.

They had a television screen high on the wall—perfect for a woman’s view lying down. It displayed a still photo of my little, itty bitty baby. They checked my wrist band, asked for my name and date of birth twice, and asked for my social security number. After the transfer, the embryologist checked the catheter to make sure there wasn’t still a little baby in there.

I laid there for about five minutes with a bladder ready to burst. The nurse gave me my discharge instructions—pretty self explanatory. I went to the restroom, and there had been so much pressure down there from the full bladder and “procedure,” all the pee was just trickling out very slowly! Of course I didn’t want to strain or push, but, seriously, it took me three tries to fully empty my bladder!

Now I’m within three hours of finally being off bed rest. I am starving!

I even have a photo of my sweet baby blastocyst!

Friday, February 8, 2013

I feel normal. No bloating, no cramping, no soreness.

I also feel relaxed and …

Anyway, I feel relaxed and the most stress-free I’ve felt in a long time.

I even find myself choosing to be calm. So, it is a choice—I guess. This is a good lesson for the future. Granted, this journey has had its moments—like finding out you still have to purchase over $1,000 worth of medication AFTER you’ve begun your cycle. I mean, I’m as happy as ever we started when we did, but December 7 was a day from hell.

Monday, February 11, 2013

I hate this feeling.

And it doesn’t help that there’s nothing to do at work.

It’s not that I’m doubtful; it’s just that nothing is going on.

I’m no longer relevant. Haha.

I guess I felt better when there was a daily activity involving it.

Now I just wait. There’s not much I can do.

After two years, it’s reeeeeally difficult to change my mind set.

This is what’s so horrible about it; it’s the most evil mind f*** that exists.

It just screws with my head.

But then I remind myself that this month wasn’t Clomid or an IUI … or just regular old trying.

This month was different.

This month was IVF.

Like the heavy duty stuff.

Like it doesn’t matter about eggs, sperm, ovulation.

A beautiful embryo was placed in my uterus six days ago. There’s no reason for it NOT to work.

And to think—I am amongst the highest success-rated group.

And it’s easy to have hope and positivity for other women. It’s IVF; it’ll work.

But this mind game is no different than other months. That’s what sucks. After the exhilaration of having the procedure wears off, I’m scared to admit … that I’m scared.

If the answer is no, I’m not sure I’ll be able to breathe. But the joy of it being yes: Can that joy really exist? Will I really get to experience that joy?

I hate this.

But it could be worse.

It could always be worse.

February 5, 2013

Today is my transfer.

I am excited to hear about my blastocysts and how they’re doing.

I’m pretty much just excited for today. I guess I’m a little anxious to receive the full report of how many blastocysts I have. Other than that—I’m excited.

The next two weeks, though? Not thrilled. But, at least it’s two weeks and not years and phone calls and coordination and testing and blood work and too much money.

I know so much more about my babies than other people know about theirs. I know where my babies were conceived, and on what day. That is pretty neat.

I can’t believe I have babies on a cellular level!!!

They just need to snuggle up to my uterus.

I can’t wait to see photos of my babies.

And it’s a Tuesday!

Tuesday isn’t particularly my favorite day of the week, but it is somewhat of a lucky day for me. I was married on a Tuesday. Good things can happen on Tuesdays.

I just can’t believe that the doctor will place a little, cellular baby in my uterus today.

Oh, Heavenly Father, I pray my baby implants!

This is going to be one heck of a two-week wait.

February 4, 2013 Part 2

Oh …

And have I mentioned that I already have pregnancy cravings?

This is ridiculous.

Grrr …

Get off my case bosses.

No I pretended I didn’t see you at the stop light because waving good morning to your boss at a stop light is awkward.

“I saw you this morning at the intersection of such and such, and you were texting—looking down at your phone and up at the light.”

Oh really?

I wasn’t texting.

I was prepping my phone to call my doctor after I park at work!

Slash—it was a stop light.

And slash—why the f*** are you watching me at the stop light?!

February 4, 2013

So … all of my embryos are still growing.

ALL EIGHT OF THEM.

Tomorrow is my transfer. I still need to talk to my doctor and discuss that … we are transferring one embryo. J Haha, I’m pretty sure it will only be one because—at this rate—they’re all pretty healthy.

Ohhh if only the office would ANSWER THE PHONE AND TURN OFF THEIR VOICEMAIL. I mean, they’re supposed to be open at 8 a.m. It’s 8:30 a.m., and their voicemail is still on.

I’m feeling much better. I just have this weird soreness in my abdomen. I don’t know what caused that …? But it’s feeling better each day.

There’s not much to report besides that my embryos were dividing into eight-cell embryos yesterday and my transfer is scheduled for tomorrow at 12:30 p.m.

Oh—and they want me to have a moderately full bladder by drinking 20 ounces of liquid.

Ummm … I might burst all over you the moment you open my legs, doc.

February 1, 2013

Yesterday was my egg retrieval.

I am just anxious.

Everything went well, I think. I hope my doctor isn’t beating around the bush or buttering everything up.

I was freaked out about the anesthesia concept, but they drugged me so much—whatever. I remember reciting my social security number and then waking up to a nurse taking care of me afterward.

Weird.

They retrieved 17 eggs. Good, I guess. My doctor called the recovery room and asked for me personally. At this point, I had been given pain meds and Benadryl, so I was out of it. He has such a serious tone—I wasn’t sure what he was going to say. He reiterated that they retrieved 17 eggs but only 14 were mature, I think. So, six to eight out of the 14 eggs were actually decent. The other eggs were crap, I guess. Our original plan was to fertilize eight and freeze the rest. This plan was made in an effort to maximize pregnancy potential (obviously)—but not left over embryos. Then there’s the battle of discarding embryos after our family is “complete,” which isn’t really an option for me morally, or potentially having A LOT of babies. He suggested fertilizing all 14 of them or tossing the six crappy ones. The embryologist and he agreed that freezing the extra eggs would just be costly, resulting in nothing basically. But he didn’t just want to go ahead and fertilize all 14 of them, because he knows that I, personally, am going to give all those suckers a chance in my uterus. I don’t want to discard any embryos; I also don’t want 14 babies thankyouverymuch. So, I asked him a few times what I should do. All the while I was high off my ass trying to communicate this issue to my husband. The doctor gave me the same answer: Either fertilize them all (which probably won’t amount to much concerning the six crappy eggs) or discard the six crappy eggs. He reassured me there were six really good eggs and they could sift through the rest for the next best two. I finally decided to just toss the extra six eggs. I feel like the outcome would be the same anyway; I trust my doctor, too. That may sound crazy to some people, but I told myself at the beginning of this process that every single embryo would get a chance. Fourteen pregnancies, though, would just ruin my husband’s and my life.

So, they fertilized eight eggs, and as of 8:30 a.m. this morning all the eggs were successfully fertilized! Now I am just praying that they will continue to grow. I want as many healthy blastocysts as I can get! I think they will call me with a report today between noon and 3 p.m. It’s 12:42 p.m. right now, so hopefully I get a call within the next couple of hours.

After the procedure I felt fine. There was a dull pain in my lower abdomen (duh); it then grew to a pretty uncomfortable cramp. It felt like a menstrual cramp and just gradually got worse, so the nurse gave me some intravenous (inter or intra?) pain meds. Awww, yummy. J Then I started getting this silly rash so she gave me some Benadryl.

I slept on the way home. The pain meds didn’t last as long as I thought they would, so I took a Vicodin toward the end of my dinner. That helped a lot—along with the heating pad my husband went out and bought.

So, going to the restroom is quite uncomfortable. Bowel movements aren’t fun. Other than that, I feel fine. After sitting down (at work) for a while, it hurts a bit to get up and walk. It’s a bit more painful and intense than I thought it would be. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing; they just don’t make a huge deal of it I guess. I’m glad I’m feeling better, though, because I think one is supposed to recover fairly quickly.

I feel very vulnerable right now. I am just praying for my little ones; I’ve already kind of claimed them as my little baby bears. I pray for the Lord’s protective hands over them.

This has been a looong process, and it’s almost over.

And—I should mention that my doctor has called me three times in less than 24 hours. He called to wish me luck yesterday; he called in the recovery room to discuss my eggs; and he called this morning to give me the report on how my embryos are doing.

Now that’s a good doctor.

January 30, 2013

If I have to spend another day doing nothing at work, I might go crazy.

My husband gave me my trigger shot at 4 a.m. this morning. It didn’t really hurt at all, which concerns me a little. But when you do exactly what your nurse said to do, there’s no sense in worrying about it, right?

I mean, right?

Haha, anyway my retrieval is tomorrow at 4 p.m. I’m pretty excited, a little nervous. I hope everything goes well. The whole anesthesia concept kind of freaks me out a little, but hopefully I feel tired when I’m there. I pray that I have some good eggs that are ready to be fertilized. I pray that everything just goes according to plan!

I think my husband is pretty ready for this whole thing to be over with. I don’t blame him! This has been a loooooong time coming. I’m more shocked that we’re actually here. I’m not enjoying this process, per se, but I am thrilled that we are finally going through it—considering our circumstances. So, I’m still kind of taking it day by day. I’m not sure if that makes the days go by faster or slower.

I have tunnel vision right now. I can’t really think about anything else outside of my situation. I mean, it is kind of a big deal. It’s the biggest deal for me!

Tomorrow I will eat a huge breakfast! Maybe I will sneak in a cookie right before 9 a.m. I don’t know how I’ll do not drinking any water for four hours, but IT COULD BE WORSE.

I can’t believe this is finally happening. I’m so happy there weren’t further bumps in the road beside my stupid cyst. I mean, truly, that’s a miracle.

So, I guess I’ll have a report tomorrow of how many eggs they retrieved. I’m not sure what other information will be available, but I’ll let you know what I know probably on Friday.

January 29, 2013

It’s still January?

Bleh.

Feel free to call me the Easter Bunny! Or Mother Hen, if you’d prefer …?

Lots of pressure down there, and I love it!

Today was my last appointment to check on my follicles! Tonight—we trigger. I’m pretty excited in case you can’t tell.  So, after I receive specific instructions from the nurse, my husband and I will have a trigger fest tonight. “They” said I could have a glass of wine, because this shot is intramuscular (yikes!), but I don’t really know if I care to. Okay, okay—to be honest, I won’t just want a glass!

So, my retrieval will be on Thursday! Big day! I wonder how many eggs they will retrieve. I wonder how many will fertilize. I wonder what my little embryos will look like! Hopefully the transfer is on day 3 (Sunday), because my husband can go with me. It might be on Tuesday, though. Either way, all is well as long as it’s what’s best for my microscopic, cell-dividing baby.

Wow, I cannot believe we have finally arrived here. This has been such a long time coming. I remember—two years ago—thinking and hoping I wouldn’t ever have to succumb to IVF. That acronym just sounds scary when you’re wondering if something is wrong with your reproductive system. People don’t just assume the conclusion of IVF. “There are other treatment methods. Infertility doesn’t automatically mean IVF.” True; it doesn’t. I was hoping it wouldn’t. And then, after about a year and a half, I was ready for IVF and hoping my new doctor wouldn’t steer me away from it!

I can’t believe I’m 25 years old—and I’m doing IVF! I’m so excited! I don’t think of it as a procedure I have to do because something is seriously wrong with me. I think of it as my journey to baby. Some people have sex; I do IVF. This journey is almost over (thank God), but it is something I will always hold in my heart. When I see my embryos, my babies, my children, I will never forget. I will love my children that much more. I will cherish my children that much more. I will be that much more grateful for my children. Every moment—good and BAD—I will cherish. Very few things in life will bring me the heartache this has brought me. I will always remember that and be grateful that if I can survive and conquer infertility, I can survive a lot of heartache. My babies are so precious to me already. They are my little miracles.

I’m just excited, hopeful, antsy, scared … I mean, this is the real deal.

Finally.

*** August 8, 2013: It’s safe to say I didn’t quite understand the 3- or 5-day transfer concept. 😉