I haven't updated my blog in quite some time, but I wanted there to be some closure. Shortly after my last post, I wound up in the hospital with a kidney infection. It was terrifying. I had reflux where my ureter was pushing my urine back into my kidney and some other possible condition that I can't spell or remember the name for. We were in the hospital for 4 very long days. It took more than two days for my fever to break. It was absolutely terrifying to think we had come that far and it could've all been over. After that incident, I was very tired all the time (hence no blog updates). I had to take an antibiotic for the duration of my pregnancy and we were told I was at a higher risk to deliver at any moment. Panic and excitement had set in.
At 36 weeks and 5 days I got up in the middle of the night and went to use the bathroom. When I came back to bed a gush a fluid came out instantly. I had peed myself. I was starting to get worn down. Luckily, I have no dignity anymore and tell people everything. A co-worker had told me I should call the doctor because that's exactly how her water broke and I should call the doctor. I had tested positive for Strep B so I was advised to call the doctor anytime I thought my water had broken as I would need antibiotics ASAP. I called the doctor and they told me to rush over. Alas, my water had not broken.
At 37 weeks and 4 days, I had my check up. I wasn't really dilated -- all seemed well. At work that day I stayed late to finish some reports in the event I had the baby over the weekend. For some reason I even sent them to my supervisor -- just in case. That night I was extremely restless and was really starting to wonder how in the hell I was going to make it 2 more weeks. I tried so hard not to complain and be grateful for every moment of pregnancy, but I was hitting a wall.
At around 3am (I believe it's been a while so details are getting fuzzy), I got up and went to the bathroom. As soon as I laid in bed a gush of fluid came out. I started crying unsure of how long I could keep peeing on myself -- especially in bed in the middle of the night. But wait...more fluid gushed...and more. I took my phone and ran to the toilet. I told Matt, "I think this is really it. I think my water broke." I called the doctor (while still gushing fluid on the toilet). I had to wait for them to call back. The doctor told me it sounded real and to head down. I wasn't feeling any contractions but I needed the antibiotics. We grabbed our bag. I changed my pants and put on a pad. Within minutes that pad (the heavy duty over night pads) was soaked as were my fresh pants. I put on another pad and again within minutes that one was toast too. Before we headed out the door, I grabbed some towels for the car (yes more than one) and put on a new pad that was soaked again in no time. We rushed to the hospital with excitement. IT IS REALLY HAPPENING!
I was so excited. I got hooked up to my IV and was ready to go. Contractions really never set in for hours. We walked around the hospital, watched TV, and waited. Risk for infection increases after 24 hours of your water breaking. I was starting to get nervous. I was still shocked by how much fluid would randomly gush out. On TV it seems like one big gush and that's it. It happened t me for hours. They even did an ultrasound to make sure I didn't have too much amniotic fluid. Who knew that was a thing? I didn't by the way--but it still just kept coming. The doctors and nurses would come by and check periodically. At one point the doctor said the lady next door was in the same boat. I was trying to not worry.
On one of our walks around the hospital we were coming back to our room. A dad to be came out of the labor room dressed for surgery and was crying. He banged his head against the wall a few times and went back into his room. At that point I realized there was not a single medical professional to be found and it was so quiet you could've heard a pin drop in the hallway. Panic had set in. This is the woman who was in my boat earlier.
Eventually they decided my cervix needed some helping out so I took some medication orally to try to thin my cervix. A few hours went by and not much progress was made. I was having some contractions. They eventually gave me a second dose orally. Because my water was broken they could not administer the medicine internally for risk of infection and because the water would just flush it out. Again, after hours of waiting not a lot happening. We decided it was time for medicine to induce bigger contractions. The nurse we had was ok, but socially awkward. She was nice enough. But before we had the pitocin started she gave me a lecture about my anxiety. I guess she read my file. She kept telling me how anxiety is ok (although it felt very much the opposite the way she was talking about it), but that I would need an epidural. I would be able to handle the contractions and because I have anxiety I would worry too much. I had been against an epidural unless I really needed it. So now SHE was in my head. I'm already in my head enough most of the time, but now there's a third party telling me I can't do it either. Matt had been so wonderful (as usual) through all of it so far. The contractions started. At first they were okay. At some point I decided Fentanyl was going to be nice. So I had a dose of that. Then it wore off and I had another. Then SHE came back into my head. "I can handle these contractions now...but what if they get worse? What if it takes too long for the epidural to kick in and I die from pain?" etc... So I asked for the epidural. At this point we had a new nurse who was an angel. I mean really..I'm not even sure if she was a real person or just an angel sent to my room specifically for me. She could not have been better.
We went for the epidural. The anesthesiologist was so nice. He talked me through every single thing that was going to happen. He was funny and had my kind of sense of humor. I was shaking. I'm not sure if it was the drugs or the anxiety or just being in labor or all of the above. But when I say I was shaking I mean it may have looked to a bystander as if I was having a seizure. I was thinking about the dad-to-be from earlier. I was getting nervous that something bad would happen. I sat hunched over with this man who was about to put a giant needle in my back. He told me what to expect before he did each step again. Suddenly I felt a large gush of some fluid running down my back. He did not warn me about this. Everything was quiet. Once it was all done he explained that he punctured my dural. He explained it all, but I wasn't taking in anything he said. My legs were so numb. I'm not sure if this is what it's like with a regular epidural, but I was freaking out. If someone touched my leg I couldn't feel it. When I touched my own leg it felt like I was touching a raw steak in the fridge. I was not connected to the lower half of my body in anyway. Anytime I saw someone touch my legs I had a full blown panic attack. Anytime I accidentally touched my cold, raw steak legs I had a full blown panic attack. I was not in a good place. I finally fell asleep. The nurses would come and change my position from time to time again inducing another panic attack each time. I was not prepared.
At some point 30-ish hours later there was a shift change with the doctors. The doctor that was leaving said I was at 5 centimeters and she seemed to think we would make it to a vaginal delivery EVENTUALLY. I was starving, tired, in a constant state of panic. I was thinking about how we were well past the 24 hour mark. I was thinking about the couple next door (which we did learn at some point everyone was ok). I did not want anything to happen to my baby. I had too much experience with things suddenly taking a turn for the worse. I knew how fragile this baby's life could be (and mine) and it only takes a second for everything to change. I asked for a C - Section.
Going into this I absolutely did not want a C Section. I wanted some part of my experience to be natural and not require medical intervention. I thought I would be devastated if I had to have a C Section. But at this point, I just wanted my boy to be healthy. The doctor did not seem to agree. Luckily, the new doctor on shift popped in about this time. I told him what I wanted. He took the other doctor out in the hall and came back in and told me I would be having a C Section. THANK YOU. He was about to go in to do the first C Section of the morning but told me he would try to push the other one back so I could go first. A few minutes later we were prepping for the C Section.
I was a little nervous, but mostly extremely grateful that this would soon be over. There were approximately 100 people involved in a C Section. I was glad for the birthing class we took or that may have been overwhelming itself. They had to prep me and then Matt could come in. It was the first time I was alone without him. I was getting nervous but I did some grounding exercises. "The wall is white, the ceiling is white, EVERYTHING IS WHITE." Ok that wasn't working. I tried counting. Occasionally, someone would ask me if I was ok. Yes. Stop talking to me..trying not to freak out over here. When they put the drape up it was practically laying on my face. That made me feel a little claustrophobic. But Matt was by my side so I knew I would be ok. Thanks to my spinal anesthesia I felt absolutely nothing. Didn't even feel the pressure they warned me about. I wasn't connected to my lower half at all -- which in this moment was relieving. Then I heard Matt say, "There he is!" I cried. Here he is. Then I got to see him and hold him. I couldn't believe it. There are no words for those emotions. I'm tearing up just thinking about it. He was so perfect and precious. He was so alert. He had so much hair. It did not feel real.
They took him to be cleaned up and do all the other things with him while I was also getting sewn back together. Matt left the room at that point. It felt like a long time before I got to see him again. I couldn't believe how bad the smell was when they were putting my insides back together. One of the nurses was literally on her first day of the job so I got to hear them explain every single thing to her. I was also kind of shocked by the casual conversation they medical staff had while I was still laying there awake...
We got into our new room. When they brought the baby into our room I recognized him as mine. I didn't think about that but I had only seen him for a few seconds but as soon as I saw the top of his head I knew that he was my baby! How cool is that?
I couldn't move or feel my legs for a long time. Then the reality of having a hole in my spine was setting in. If I stood up or sat up it was the most unbearable pain. I kept trying to convince myself I was getting better. We ended up staying 5 nights and 6 days in the hospital. Everyone kept trying to get me to do a blood patch. It's essentially where they take blood from your body and put it back into your spine (another epidural) and hope the blood seals the hole. There are risks involved (shocker). They could puncture another hole and then I would have TWO holes leaking cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). There was also the possibility that the blood patch wouldn't even help. We could wait a week and the headache *should* be gone by then. But it might not. I felt like everyone was pressuring me except the anesthesiologist. He seemed apprehensive to even do it. When a professional is apprehensive the patient is immensely apprehensive. Another anesthesiologist came later to talk to me again. She was wonderful. I think I cried. I think she cried. She promised my next delivery wouldn't be like this (if only she knew). She even went to the gift shop and bought me some really expensive chocolates. She also seemed apprehensive and said it would be better for the other one to do it since he knew my back. Oh I left out a minor detail. The anesthesiologist had explained that there are 3 reasons this happens. One is because the person moves. He felt like I was perfectly still and that wasn't the issue. Two is because the anesthesiologist goes too fast. He felt like that wasn't the cause either. And finally, the last reason is because the person has a difference in their spine. GREAT. I'm certain my back is weird and that's why it happened (why would my body ever be right -- leading to my serious pause for not wanting the blood patch). The next day the third anesthesiologist came by to talk to me. I was a wreck. I told him I thought I was better. I mean I was able to take part of a shower. That's progress, right? I should mention there was lots of crying on my part during this time. I felt like every time I cried the medical professional in the room took note. I kept thinking
"Great, they're already labeling me with PPD." The lactation consultant was the worst. Not only that but she seemed to always have a student with her too. I felt like I was pressured into the epidural and that went south and now I'm being pressured into the blood patch--surely that will go wrong too. At one point, I took a shower just to have a place to hide and cry. I cried a good long cry in the shower. I repeated my favorite mantra "I'm a smart, strong, sensual woman." I felt much better. I decided to do the blood patch.
They came and got me almost immediately after I made my decision. When they wheeled me down to the room for the procedure I thought I would die. I could not believe my head hurt so much. I had been confined to laying on my back for days. I only sat up to use the bathroom and take the two showers I attempted. I even had to nurse on my side. Matt even fed me while I was lying on my back (for days!). I realized I made the right decision. No way I could've made it to the car -- much less went home and taken care of a new baby. It was still terrifying. I was shaking SO bad. I can't even describe how badly I was shaking. Again there were about 5,000 people in the room. This is a very rare procedure so I think they got every medical student from everywhere to be in the room with us. I had to pee. Of course I had to pee. They tried to get me to pee in a bed pan but I couldn't do it. Apparently I do have some dignity left. So I hobbled to the bathroom with no grace whatsoever. They had to take blood and maybe do an IV. I can't remember now. I just remember that for the one billionth time in my life my veins failed me horribly. Blood was everywhere and it took two people to do it. I think I forgot to mention that I had to have 3 different IV's during labor because my veins suck that much. I had to hunch over a table with a rolled up towel. I dug my fingers into that towel so hard to try to stay still. I don't think I've ever experienced such deafening quietness. There was so much tension in the air. The nurse asked him a question in what seemed to be an attempt to break the tension. The anesthesiologist didn't answer her which made me more nervous. Later, Matt told me he was shaking his head no at the nurse. But, in just a few seconds it was all over and everything went smoothly. I had to lay on my back for several hours to let it set, but after that I felt like a new person!
The next morning we were free to go home.
I've heard women on the other side of infertility say they were grateful for their infertility. I would always read that and say "There is no way in fucking hell I will ever be grateful." But, here I am on the other side... I did feel grateful so many times. When I was hospitalized for the kidney infection I was so grateful. I was already prepared and understood how delicate life was. I think if I hadn't been prepared and truly appreciated how delicate life is I would've been way more terrified. When I had to undergo 4 million procedures to figure out what was wrong with me when I wasn't responding to the antibiotics I kept finding gratitude for IVF preparing my body to be a pin cushion. In fact, I was literally eating breakfast while they were drawing blood at one point and I owe it all to IVF. When I was in labor and things weren't going well, I was prepared. I think until you experience something really not going well you can't know how you will react. You can't know how it feels. But now that I've experienced the most important thing in my life not going well I am stronger. When they were trying to convince me to do the blood patch one doctor said, "After everything you've been through what's one more God Damn procedure?" Touche. I went several months with practically no carbohydrates. I can do anything, right? I am grateful for my infertility.
I am also grateful for our botched delivery. It sounds like a terrible thing to spend 5 nights and 6 days in the hospital. But our little turtle had a terrible latch and lost quite a bit of weight. We got extra time with the lactation consultants! That was priceless (unless you're an insurance company--then there is definitely a price and it's not cheap). Plus, we got extra time for him to sleep in the nursery! WOOHOO! I miss that nursery now :)
I used to absolutely loathe people when they would tell me "it will all be worth it in the end." I used to want to say back to them, "Yeah..well fuck you and your opinions." Why? Because I never knew if it would be all worth it in the end. There is so much uncertainty. Even while pregnant it never felt real. Truthfully even in the hospital it didn't feel real. For pretty much the whole time we were in the hospital I kept having this fear they would take him away and tell me he wasn't mine. Even Matt said it felt like we were borrowing someone's baby. I still have moments when I look at him and I can't believe he's all mine (well and Matt's). But everyone was right. It is SO worth it. Worth every penny, every butt shot, every blown vein, every appointment, every everything. But I solemnly swear to never tell an infertile woman, "It's so worth it" because I've been there and I know how 110% of the time you aren't sure if it will be or not.
I feel like infertility made our marriage stronger. We already figured out communication issues and compromising. I feel like we are such a great team. It makes me so happy that I get to raise this baby with the greatest man I could have ever imagined. Don't get me wrong. There are times when I'm tired and frustrated and have no clue if what I'm doing is right or wrong. I have moments of sheer panic. But somewhere deep down inside, I feel like everything will be ok.
So this is the end of our journey to start our family.
"At last, my love has come along. My lonely days are over and life is like a song."
I keep trying to write a blog post, but nothing coherent comes to mind. For some reason it is so much easier for me to articulate my sad feelings and far more difficult to share my happy feelings. It feels 1000 times scarier to share happy feelings. I feel like when normal people get sad the must think to themselves, “This won’t last forever.” But, when I get happy, I think to myself, “This isn’t going to last long and it isn’t going to end well.” I don’t know why my brain is programmed that way, but those neural pathways sure are strongly linked. I think after having disappointment after disappointment after disappointment the fall from happy to disappointed is just too much for me. It feels safer to find a neutral ground to stay in --not happy, but not sad either. I feel like if I talk about my happiness it will somehow end sooner.
Christmas was really 1000 times better this year than last year. Last year I didn’t even want Christmas to be a thing. I just wanted to hide until it was over. I hated that everyone was so cheerful. I didn’t feel like I had much to celebrate. But yet, there’s still this nagging in the back of my mind the whole time. We bought a few baby outfits. I loved picking through the ones we liked. I loved that Matt seemed to enjoy picking them out just as much as I do. When we paid for our carefully picked out purchase, I couldn’t help but think, “What if he never gets to wear these?” And not because we were going to have to many, but because what if he doesn’t make it that far? I wish I could have the blind optimism that we will deliver and bring home a healthy baby boy, but I know too many people with dead babies. I wish I could live in a world where all babies are born and all babies are healthy and all babies grow up to be adults. After IVF treatments, you don’t get to live in that world anymore. Every time someone would say, “Next Christmas is going to be so different!” I would say, “I sure hope so.” But the reality is no matter the outcome, next Christmas will be so different. We will either have the most joyous Christmas or the worst Christmas ever. Obviously, those making that comment had only the joyous Christmas in mind.
The truth is, I love being pregnant. Every time the baby kicks, I just never want it to end. The first time Matt could feel a really big kick, his face lit up in the best way ever. I love that he can’t keep his hands off my belly and we just lay in bed forever waiting for the baby to move around. I have gained way too much weight and I don’t even care (so long as the baby keeps healthy). Some days I feel proud of my body and I almost start to trust it. But it is really hard to trust your body after something like infertility. I feel really good about my body. Although, I will admit I do still have some worries about how I’m going to feel about my body when it isn’t carrying around a life. But that insecurity seems so frivolous and so far away. I feel like every time I start to feel “comfortable” in my pregnancy (meaning, the what ifs start to disappear) I hear a story about someone losing their baby at 38 weeks or how a baby dies at just a few months old. I just don’t think I can ever take a second of my pregnancy for granted and hopefully when the baby arrives I won’t take him for granted for a second. I welcome many, many sleepless nights.
I’ve been realizing how few resources there are on life after a successful IVF. I read everything I could on how to prepare for IVF. Now I’m having so many feelings and there’s pretty much no resources on what happens after you get pregnant. In a serious Google hunt, the best I could really find was up to hearing the heartbeat and transferring to a regular OB/GYN and leaving your RE. But there’s nothing out there about how I should feel or how others have felt. I still don’t quite feel like I belong at the OB/GYN. I honestly wish the OB/GYN office had the same unspoken rules of the fertility clinic. You know, no talking/no eye contact. People are way too willing to share in the OB/GYN office.
We went for our glucose test this week. Another lady was there doing hers too. When they brought her the drink, another lady (from across the room) said, “It’s really not that bad.” But it was kind of in this pretentious “I’ve already been there/done that” kind of way. The other lady responded, “This is my third child. I know.” Of course in my mind I’m like “THIRD CHILD?! Just flaunt your working ovaries why don’t you?” I would also like to mention that everyone was willing to share how horrible and disgusting they thought the glucose drink was and how miserable the test was in general. It really is not that bad. The drink wasn’t even all that gross. I was commiserating with a fellow IVF mom about it. We agreed that anyone who found the glucose test unbearable could not do IVF. I would rather do a dozen glucose tests than have my vagina probed multiple times per week and inject myself with numerous needles every day. Not to mention scheduling your entire life around what time you have to administer said shots. If the glucose test is the worst pregnancy has to offer, I’m feeling pretty good. (In case you’re wondering – I did pass the glucose test!)
I did find one scientific study of life after IVF. It was actually pretty depressing. They learned in a longitudinal study that women who had a biological child through IVF (no donor sperm or eggs were used in this study) reported higher levels of life satisfaction than women who had to stop fertility treatments and chose to be childfree. (No couples without fertility problems willingly choosing a childfree lifestyle were included in the sample). Marital dissatisfaction was also higher in couples who did not find success with IVF. They also reported that women who did not find success with multiple rounds of IVF would pursue additional fertility treatments if a new treatment was developed that produced a “modicum” of success. The article stated, “The study also suggests that the ‘crisis of infertility’ is never resolved completely and that the wish for parenthood can be readily rekindled with new assisted reproductive techniques promising success.” I don’t think any woman who has undergone IVF would argue that finding. It was promising for me that women who adopted did not differ significantly from those mothers who had successful IVF. But still, this gave me very little information that I was looking for.
I kind of feel like I’m in a dark cave trying to feel my way around pregnancy after IVF. No one seems to have lit the path before me in the same way life during IVF was illuminated. I keep trying to figure out what “normal” is. But then I remember, nothing about this is normal and whatever my reactions are –well, they just are. Every time someone who has had a successful IVF (with or without donor eggs/sperm) the first thing they say (after 3 betas and a heartbeat) is, “When will it feel real?” I’m almost 29 weeks pregnant and so much doesn’t feel real. I still have days where I’m shocked when I look in the mirror. I still have my positive pregnancy tests on the sink and stare at them when I brush my teeth. I’ll try to do something I maybe shouldn’t do and someone will rush to me and say, “Oh let me do that for you!” Which I admit is quite nice. Wish people had been willing to do more for me when my ovaries felt like grapefruits. IVF is such a silent treatment no one knows to help you. Even if they know you’re doing IVF they don’t really know what it feels like. But they know what being pregnant feels like so the empathy is real. No one really wants to acknowledge IVF. It’s like someone in a wheelchair or with a pronounced deformity (or Bell’s Palsy—something I’m also familiar with) – everyone kind of looks at you halfway. Like they’re trying to interact with you, but not make you feel uncomfortable or talk about the elephant in the room – which ultimately makes you feel more uncomfortable. I felt way worse (physically and mentally) during fertility treatments than I do pregnant so it’s almost hard to accept the help. I am at a point where I feel pregnant. It’s still so hard for me to imagine holding our baby, let alone bringing him home and being a family of three. I’ve seen many women who said it didn’t feel real until the baby was in their arms. Today someone told me their doctor (who had a baby via IVF) said it still didn’t feel real when the baby was in her arms. She said, “Whose baby is this? Is this really my baby?”
Some days I still struggle with having used an egg donor. The grief of not having a biological child is still very much present at times. Sometimes I still get so angry when someone says, “I’m so glad IVF worked for you.” IVF did not work for us. We still had to drastically uproot our initial idea of what our family would look like. IVF with donor eggs worked for us. To me the terminology makes all the difference. Of course, I even struggle with this too. I don’t want my child be looked at as an egg donor baby. I just want him to be our baby. But I also don’t want to undermine all that we’ve gone through to get here. I don’t want to undermine what all the other women who have used donor eggs have gone through. I don’t want there to be shame in using donor eggs. It breaks my heart how many women are so ashamed of having to use donor eggs that they won’t even tell their doctor they’ve used them because they never want their child to find out. I never want to keep this a secret from our baby. I know he might struggle with not knowing half his genetics and knowing that he will have many half siblings in the world. He may never even know how many. I know that might cause him to have an ache I will never understand. I will do everything in my power to help him find his siblings or egg donor if he so desires. I would much rather him have that knowledge from the start than find out later and resent me for never telling him. In a world with affordable at home DNA kits, I think it’s inevitable that they will find out eventually. I also hope that he can be proud of how he was conceived. Maybe it will inspire him to go into a science related field. Or, maybe he will want to be a fireman or a carpenter or an athlete. I don’t really care what he wants to be.
I still have moments where I’m sad he won’t be my biological child. Over Christmas, we watched a family video at my husband’s grandmother’s house. I noticed everyone has the same nose. It’s amazing how young kids are when they look like their families. You can see a little bit of mom and a little bit of dad or a whole lot of mom and very little dad – vice versa. I became overwhelmed thinking that whatever features our baby has that Matt doesn’t have won’t be mine. I will never know myself in another person. That can be a pretty overwhelming feeling sometimes. When I see the very commonly shared meme that says, “I used to be cool, but now I just argue with a smaller version of myself about *xyz*.” I’ll be arguing with a small version of someone else that I don’t even know. Then I also grapple with the worry that he may not feel like enough if he ever found out I had these feelings. He will always be enough for me. But maybe there will be times when I’m not enough for him because he may also wish to know who is donor is or his long lost siblings. Maybe in some way we can find empathy with each other in our own losses. I keep trying to remind myself not to judge myself on my thoughts. I just try to notice them and let them keep moving.
I also know in some way I will love him more because he isn’t biologically mine. Just like our own biological child, our baby would not exist if it wasn’t for us. We had to search high and low for an affordable clinic and then after looking through all of our donors we found the right donor for us. Then after traveling 8+ hours one way we had our baby transferred into my uterus. We worked so hard for him. I never thought we would be so lucky to get the stars (and my hormones) aligned just right to get our baby. As much as I hate the term “miracle baby,” it does feel like a miracle. I never thought I’d have the chance to be a mother and now that I’m going to get that chance, I could never take our baby for granted.
I remember when our first IVF wasn’t going well our doctor told me, “I’ve been in deliveries for biological babies and donor babies and the looks on the mother’s faces are all the same.” I do keep repeating that to myself over and over. Every family perceives that they have some challenge. Some families have real and unfathomable challenges. If this is our only challenge that would be something to be thankful for. Even if it isn’t our only challenge we will just keep rolling with the punches.
“I have died every day, waiting for you
Darling, don't be afraid, I have loved you for a thousand years
I'll love you for a thousand more” – Christina Perry, A Thousand Years
Man, it has been a long time since my last entry. I had to go back and read what I wrote last. I’m not sure why I’ve gotten so bad about keeping up with the blog. Lots of things have been happening.
Several weeks ago I got the weird rash all over my chest. I naturally did some googling. I figured it was nothing serious – probably PUPPS. WRONG. It was something called Pityrisis Rosea. The OBGYN said, “I have never seen anything like this.” Great. That’s exactly what everyone wants their doctor to say. She even tried to get the dermatologist from across the hall to come look but she wasn’t able to. So, I had to schedule an appointment for the following morning. The first thing the dermatologist said was, “I’ve never seen anything like this.” Lovely. She did some scrapings and had me wait for a while. Turned out to be something super rare. I had to take some heavy duty anti-virals (the shingles dosage) for a week. Turns out it is so uncommon they have no idea if it is harmful to the baby or not but there are some findings that are not good. Time will only tell. This happened about two weeks before our 20 week scan.
We had already started looking to trade in my Mini for a real sized car. We had a second appointment at a dealership the day after the diagnosis. Everything I read online was pretty bleak about having this rash while pregnant and I really didn’t want to go look for a new car. Matt convinced me to go anyway and we somehow ended up buying a new car. It felt important to know I was putting so much trust into my body when I felt so nervous. Plus, it was hard to pass up the deal on our new mom-mobile. I’m a sucker for a good deal.
Those 2 weeks were the longest two weeks I’ve ever waited. I had been feeling some movement from the baby (which is amazing by the way). Then, while on the meds I felt NOTHING. Not a single flutter. To say I was a wreck is a massive understatement. I just tried to focus on work and find some distractions. At our scan, I held my breathe almost the whole time. I really thought I was going to have a panic attack, throw up, and/or pass out. When we saw the baby on the screen, it was pretty magical. I had the revelation of “this is what everyone was talking about.” It was so worth everything we have done so far to see the 20 week scan. Although I won’t lie. I saw a giant whole in what appeared to be the middle of my baby and freaked out a little. Turns out it was his stomach and it’s supposed to look like that. He was really ornery and we didn’t get any good pictures of him. It also took forever to confirm his gender was accurate from our blood test. Our technician had accidentally referred to him as a her at one point. I would not have minded having a girl at all but I was concerned about potential implications of what it would mean for our blood test to say one thing but our baby’s body to say another. But there he was with his outdoor plumbing. There is really nothing cooler than the 20 week scan (so far). The following week we had a super fancy echocardiogram. His little heart checks out good so far. Although afterwards they gave us a lengthy list of things the scan can’t detect so it kind of felt like a waste of time. There could still be heart defects that we won’t know about until after birth.
We’ve had our first baby shower. It’s kind of weird. I want to go all in and be super excited but it’s still so hard. We made a lot of baby purchases over Black Friday/Cyber Monday. Our house is really filling up with baby gear. Sometimes I look at it and wonder what I’ll do if we don’t bring home a baby. Matt and some friends just finished painting the nursery this weekend. Now we just need to shampoo the carpet and put the furniture back in. I am pretty excited for that part.
We had our first birthing class last week. I must say that it was really worth the time and money. I introduced myself as Heather, the pregnant woman having a boy. Not as Heather, the infertile with donor eggs. It was nice to think I was being thought of as a normal pregnant woman. I even felt like a normal pregnant woman for the first time my entire pregnancy. We talked about labor last week. She really reiterated that it’s something you have to let pass through you and that you’ll need support. I think IVF/infertility has really prepared me for that. I was bottling everything up inside, but I’ve gotten much better at letting my feelings flow through me and asking for help when I need it amd being vulnerable. Pretty sure nothing makes you more vulnerable than labor. I felt like there were a lot of parallels between labor and infertility. Except at least you can time your contractions and know it will be over quickly and it shouldn't last much more than a day. There’s no knowing how soon infertility will end. Although I’m sure the physical aspects of labor are infinitely more intense than the physical aspects of IVF, but I still felt some connections there.
On the way home, I felt really confident and happy. I hadn’t felt that way for a long time. I have still been trying to get used to driving a large car after driving a clown car for so long. I had only parked in the garage a handful of times and never in the dark. I was feeling so confident I decided to try and park in the garage. I felt so capable. The little voice in my head was telling me not to try and park in the dark. I was sick, it was dark, and I was fighting a cold. I, regretably, told that voice to shut up because I was feeling unstoppable. But then, I ended up hitting the support column in the garage and really messed up the bumper on my brand new car that I hadn’t even made the first payment on yet. I lost it. I so quickly reverted back to the section of my brain that felt broken and useless. It was so discouraging to know that part of my brain was ready and waiting on me with my first major disappointment. It seems like every little mistake I have made since then has been another tally in the “I’m broken and useless column.” Before you ask, "Can't you just get it fixed?" Sure I can. If I werent drowning in debt from fertility treatments and knowing how much childcare costs.
Our second birthing class was last night. This time instead of feeling empowered, I kept wondering, “Which one(s) of us will need an unplanned C-Section,” “Will one of us lose our baby?” “Who will have children with significant (or minor) disabilities?” “Will one of us die or have serious complications?” Statistically, it is possible that those things will happen to one or more of our group of 10 women. The nurse kept saying over and over, “You have to trust your body and know that your body is made to do this.” My body was literally incapable of getting pregnant with my own eggs even after removing them from my body, forcing fertilization, and putting them back in. Will my body also reject labor? She said that we have had so much control over our pregnancy to this point and labor is the first time we won’t be in control. Well, boy won’t I be prepared?! I have not been in control or had any illusions of being in control for one second of my pregnancy. I realized I was not Heather the pregnant person. But, Heather the infertile person who got really lucky that an embryo finally took. For better or for worse, that is likely how I will feel forever. I guess I just have to learn to accept that.
We had another check up today and all went well. Everything still looks good. I think I have a pinched nerve in my back so I'll be starting physical therapy soon.
"I can't lose hope, what's left of my heart's still made of gold. And I know that I'm still fucked up, but aren't we all my love? Darlin' our scars make us who we are." -- Kesha
I’ve been very quiet for a while. I think mostly because I haven’t been sure what to say. For the first time in a very long time, I’ve felt quite speechless. I have to say that so far being pregnant is a million times easier than being infertile.
Am I tired? YES.
Am I uncomfortable? Some of the time.
Do I have horrendous headaches that seem uncontrollable? Multiple times per week.
Do I have other miserable symptoms, I'm not even referencing? Most definitely.
Am I waking up in the middle of the night sobbing because I can’t wake up from the worst nightmare ever and have no will to live? No.
Am I scheduling my day around what time I have to go to the doctor for blood work multiple times per week, staying home every night instead of going out because I have to give myself multiple shots, or getting up early every morning to take shots? No.
Am I avoiding alcohol and caffeine and having legitimate pregnancy symptoms that aren't real but are caused by the $5,000 worth of medication coursing through my body for months at a time? No. I'm actually pregnant so it makes avoiding those substances and having pregnancy symptoms way more tolerable knowing it is actually for something.
This will likely be an unpopular opinion among the non-infertile crowd but I truly believe women who find a healthy pregnancy unbearable would never make it through multiple fertility treatments. Whenever I hear women talking about how they aren’t good at being pregnant when their pregnancy is perfectly healthy and normal, I am glad for them they didn’t have to endure any fertility treatments. So far, pregnancy is a walk in the park compared to being infertile and going through IVF.
There’s truly no words to make someone understand the Hell of infertility. I don’t think people want to understand because just the thought makes them so uncomfortable. If the thought of infertility is that uncomfortable, just imagine for a moment how horrible it must be for every second of every day to be consumed by infertility. It’s infuriating to me how people seemed to have dismissed my infertility now that I’m pregnant in an almost, “I told you that you would get pregnant eventually” kind of way. People are so willing and eager to include me in the “pregnancy club” now. It’s insulting that people think my pregnancy experience started the moment I got pregnant. My pregnancy experience started long before that. I’m not sure if it started in month six when I started freaking out that something was wrong or if it started when I received my diagnosis or if it started when I actually started testing or when I started treatments. But, it did not start at conception. I have put my body and mind through absolute Hell to get pregnant. I’ve had 3 IUIs, a surgery (including a lost Fallopian tube and pregnancy), 2 rounds of IVF, and a Donor Egg Frozen Embryo Transfer. I literally cannot even imagine what it would be like to have sex, pee on a stick, get a positive stick and feel like I’m having a baby. I’m currently 15 weeks pregnant and most days I have to consciously remind myself that I’m pregnant. It's physically painful sometimes to talk about being pregnant for fear that I will jinx myself.
When I hit the second trimester I thought, “Whew, we made it over our first big hurdle.” Then I quickly remembered, “I have no clue what number hurdle this is.” We had so much failure. SO MUCH FAILURE. I’m not even sure how to classify the failures. Then we had to shift gears about what our family would look like – where it could come from. I had to find a place where egg donation was moderately affordable (with financing our eggs were $10,000 (not including meds/travel or all the other treatments paid for thus far) but most places charge $40,000-$50,000 just for egg donation). So, I found a place. Scheduled an appointment. Found a donor. Donor agreed. Donor did not pass screening. Found another donor. Donor agreed. Donor had late period but finally started. Donor produced eggs. Sperm was sent to facility and made it. Sperm injected into eggs and made 6 good quality embryos from 6 eggs (BIG FREAKING DEAL by the way). I started medications. Medications weren’t working. Upped dosages. Medication wasn’t working again. Upped dosages again (at this point I felt like this cycle would be canceled). Got the go ahead to not cancel cycle. Made the day long journey to Syracuse. Had transfer. Transfer took. Had to have 3 blood tests to confirm. Then an ultrasound to confirm again. And another ultrasound to confirm again because the first ultrasound was a little too early to really confirm. Then ANOTHER ultrasound to confirm heartbeat. Then I started the very slow process of weaning off the 10+ different medications I was on to get pregnant. Then after all that, I made it out of the first trimester. So I guess that’s why getting out of the first trimester really didn’t feel like I expected it would. I’ve already been through so much. I feel like I’ve spent so much time thinking about being pregnant and not being pregnant. I feel like I don’t know how to be pregnant. That sounds really weird, but after taking so long to get pregnant I just can’t comprehend that it finally worked. It’s like it somehow happened so fast when it did finally happen.
I don’t think I was really prepared for all the feelings I have. I had read many, many articles about pregnancy after infertility, but again it’s one of those things you can’t understand until you’ve experienced it. Then there’s also your own smugness getting in the way: “Oh I won’t be like them. I’ll be so happy. Nothing but happy.” Why? Because we don’t like to be uncomfortable. Some days I’m still so consumed by doubt, I literally convince myself I’m not pregnant. It is so hard to believe it’s real. Even though I’m showing now, it still feels like it’s just a dream. I still have my positive pregnancy tests on the bathroom sink and every morning I stare at them while I brush my teeth and remind myself I’m pregnant. I’ve made it this far.
Some days my anxiety is so high. Just because everything has been going well so far doesn’t mean things can’t go south quickly. We haven’t had our 20 week scan yet. I keep hoping that I’ll feel “safer” after that scan. But I know that things can still go wrong during delivery. Then even after delivery anything could still go wrong. Whenever I tell a parent this fear I always get some kind of stupid “that’s the job of being a parent—worrying” response. I had a 2.5 year head start on my worry that you did not have. Life is not fair and this is where it feels so obvious to me. I just want to blissfully enjoy my pregnancy, but I know too much. I am far more aware of how precious life is than the average non-infertile.
Some days I feel so guilty. Why did I get pregnant when all these other women can’t or haven’t yet? It took me 2.5 years to get pregnant –which honestly felt like an eternity. But, I know there’s women who are still trying after 5, 8, or 10+ years. I cannot imagine the strength of these women. I had to leave most of the support groups I was in because I couldn’t stop feeling guilty.
I still experience jealousy. I would literally give just about anything to be able to have sex and get pregnant like a normal woman. When I hear people talking about, “Oh with your first kid….” I generally tune out after that. This may be my only child. Just because we have five embryos left doesn’t guarantee one will work. Picking out a name feels impossible because this may be our only child. When we first started talking about names I was so excited, but now it just feels overwhelming. What I would give to be naïve enough to think a second or third child is a definite possibility and not just a pipe dream.
I think the hardest feeling I’ve had to cope with is the sadness. I am sad this baby will not be genetically mine. When I hear people commenting on how a baby/child looks so much like their mom/dad, or when someone says their baby/child looks just like them, or when I notice that a baby/child looks like their mom/dad I have this gut wrenching sadness knowing I’ll never experience that. I often wonder how I will feel when someone comments on how the baby looks like Matt. I wonder how I will feel if someone unknowingly says the baby looks like me. I think it is so hard to express this sadness because I felt like people would think I’m ungrateful for my baby. For some reason in our culture we perpetuate this belief that if you are sad about something you are not “grateful for all you have.” I cannot F*ING roll my eyes hard enough when people say that. YOU CAN BE SAD AND GRATEFUL AT THE SAME TIME. Stop telling people to be grateful, for the love of God. My therapist reminds me that this is the invisible type of grieving where no one brings you a casserole. There’s lots of invisible grieving because people are too damn afraid to be uncomfortable. If you disagree with that statement, it’s probably because having someone point it out makes you uncomfortable.
I’m also worried about how my child will respond knowing he’s not genetically mine. Will he hate me for my choice? Will he be angry that he doesn’t know anything about his maternal biology? Will he want to find his biological donor? How will that make me feel? What terms will I choose to refer to our donor with our son? I worry that Catholics or other religious people will think of my child as an abomination or a great sin. I hope he never has to hear anyone say those things about him because those things are not true. I feel that my baby is far more of a gift than a naturally conceived baby. (Maybe that’s just a mother’s bias. Obviously, my baby will be way better than everyone else’s children). These worries seem so unfair.
Even with all these not-so-positive feelings I do find room for excitement. When we found out our baby was a boy I could not have been more thrilled! I have always wanted a boy. I could already imagine Matt teaching him to play baseball and soccer (not that girls can’t do those things too). We’ve picked out a color for the nursery and have started baby registries (Target, Amazon, and Babies-r-Us –shameless plug in case anyone is wondering). These were all things I never thought I would be able to do. When I accidentally walk down “the wrong aisle” (aka the baby aisle), I don’t hyperventilate. Well…not for the same reason. Now I’m scouting sales on diapers instead of actively avoiding making eye contact with the baby on the boxes. I can’t wait to feel him kick. I’ve been having some fluttering feelings lately and I’m more than ready for full on kicks. I can’t wait for our next ultrasound. Getting weekly ultrasounds was quite addicting at the beginning. It has certainly been too long since our last one.
Feelings associated with infertility will be something I have for the rest of my life. I think my feelings will evolve and become more complex as time goes on. I think it’s the same way when a close loved one dies. The sadness isn’t quite so painful every day after a period of time. Occasionally, there will be strong bouts of sadness and longing. For me, it’s also not just the inability to have children, but I have diseases that will make my life more physically uncomfortable and possibly shorter. I’m at a higher risk for early menopause, stroke, dementia, high blood pressure, etc. I will likely require more surgeries in the future and medication (ironically enough birth control pills) to manage my endometriosis. I think the general public is unaware that significant, life-altering diseases are the root cause of many cases of infertility.
“What lies ahead, I have no way of knowin’, but under my feet baby, grass is growin’.” – Tom Petty
I have not done an update in quite some time. Mostly because I’ve been asleep every chance I get and also because I feel like I’ve gone through almost every day with bated breath. At this point, I’ve had three regular doctor visits with the non-fertility doctor. My first visit I went alone because Matt wasn’t back yet. Every single woman in the waiting room looked like she was about to give birth at any moment. I felt so inferior for some reason. Part of me was still bitter and angry that I had to spend so much money and work so hard to get pregnant. Naturally, I assumed that every woman in there got pregnant by accident or on her first try. There were women that looked much older than me and I desperately wanted to ask them if they used IVF. I started counting the women. There were 12 women that were clearly pregnant counting me. So, statistically 1.5 women (we can round up to two) likely had to use assistive reproductive technology of some sort. Part of me was also proud that I managed to get to that point. I wanted to just stand up and announce that I was carrying a $40,000+ donor egg baby. I felt strong. I wondered how many of these women would put themselves through what I have endured just to get pregnant. I don’t toot my own horn often, but I had to speculate that not all of them would. IVF is not for the weak.
When I met with the nurse practitioner, I was stunned at how little she knew about fertility treatments. She couldn’t understand how it had been so long since the last day of my first period and even insisted she put down a closer date than the actual day of my last period. She didn’t know how to calculate my due date either. When she started asking about our family genetics and she asked me about mine I kindly reminded her it didn’t matter because it’s not biologically my baby. I asked to put down what I knew about the woman who donated her eggs for us. I don’t think she knew how to respond because she still insisted that she put all of my information in. We never even recorded anything that I knew about the egg donor. It’s funny how taboo this is even in the doctor’s office. No wonder people don’t like to share that they’ve used a donor.
Our second OB/GYN appointment was 5 days after my last fertility doctor appointment. Our doctor was young, pretty, and very nice. Stark contrast to the fertility clinic. She answered a bunch of questions and gave us a bunch of information. She tried looking for our baby with a handheld ultrasound. I had no idea such a thing even existed. She prepped us beforehand that we might not see anything and not to worry if we didn’t. She wasn’t able to see anything but the gestational sac. When she said not to panic I pretty much instantly started trying not to panic. I kind of wish she hadn’t even tried to see anything. I spent the next week and a half trying not to panic.
As far as symptoms that I’m experiencing goes, it’s been pretty mild. Ironically enough, the side effects of my medications have been the worst part. But to be fair, the side effects are pretty horrific. It’s been almost a week since I got to stop my progesterone shots and I still have knots and pain around the injection site areas. On my third to last shot I got sloppy and hit a nerve. I wanted to cut my leg, hip, and a good chunk of my back off for a good 24 hours. The pain was unbearable and there was nothing I could do for it. Those shots are quite possibly the worst thing ever. So far, I’ve mostly just been tired. The fatigue is something indescribable. After experiencing pregnancy and depression, I can attest that there is nothing more exhausting than depression. The exhaustion of depression is unrelenting. At least, I can take a nap and find relief from the fatigue of pregnancy. My hands and feet swell up sometimes and I’ve had some pretty bad heartburn. I also get horrendous -- all day long -- headaches if I don’t eat quickly enough which can get tricky when I forget to take my thyroid medicine as soon as I wake up. I also have a stuffy nose and sneeze all the time. (Specifically it seems whenever I have food in my mouth.) I didn’t realize how soon I would need to buy maternity clothes because my cups already runneth over. It’s really crazy and cool how quickly your body starts to change. I would say the worst symptom I have is constipation. That is no joke. One day between my doctor’s visit with the handheld ultrasound and out last ultrasound, I had the best bowel movement ever. This was around the same time my food aversions were starting to subside. I immediately started freaking out because I was convinced I wasn’t pregnant anymore. I welcome my pregnancy symptoms with open arms. Whenever I have a clear pregnancy symptom, it feels so reassuring.
Starting work was weird. It was really scary, but great to tell everyone I was pregnant. The looks on people’s faces when I told them how far along I was, was also interesting. Most people had a clear look of, “Why are you telling people so early. Are you crazy?” Then when I would respond to this facial expression by saying I’ve already had 3 ultrasounds, it would create a new astounded facial expression. One day at work, someone said something about me being pregnant in front of another staff member who I knew had adopted a child. I weirdly got so defensive and felt guilty. I immediately blurted out that I used IVF with donor eggs because I had no eggs. In fact, I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what I said. We ended up having a very open and frank conversation about our difficulties. It was very refreshing. I’m glad people are willing to have these conversations.
Our most recent visit to the doctor was this week. I waited less than two and a half weeks between ultrasounds, but it really felt like a lifetime. I don’t know how normal pregnant women only get one or two ultrasounds without going totally crazy. It’s weird how anxiety provoking ultrasounds are for me. I’m really only used to getting horrible news and that makes it difficult to adjust to receiving positive news. I’ve read that many women who have gone through IVF have similar symptoms to those diagnosed with PTSD and I firmly believe that is accurate.
I was really hoping for an abdominal ultrasound. Alas, it was a transvaginal. I started wondering how many transvaginal ultrasounds I’ve had over the last year and a half and I literally can’t even come up with a ballpark estimate. I would say probably more than 20 would be a conservative estimate. This office has big screen TVs to view the ultrasound on which was really. It was pretty cool to get to see the images immediately. It was crazy how human it already looks. We were actually able to hear the heartbeat for the first time. I swear that place has Bose surround sound. It was amazing. It started feeling a little more real. I really didn’t want her to stop letting us see the baby.
I am 10 weeks and 5 days today. As I get closer to the second trimester, I am starting to relax a little more. But, I also know that nothing is guaranteed. Even if we are lucky enough to deliver a live baby, we have a whole lifetime ahead of us to worry something might happen. I think I am slowly starting to let go of that worry and starting to allow myself some enjoyment.
“Don’t worry about what you don’t know. Life’s a dance you learn as you go.” – John Michael Montgomery
Whew! I literally don’t know where to start. My therapist would probably ask me to examine what caused my procrastination behaviors--maybe later. A lot has happened since my last update. Last Monday I had my first ever ultrasound. Well my first ever OB ultrasound! I couldn’t even count how many ultrasounds I've had at this point. I’ve been wavering back and forth between “Throw caution to the wind” and “This isn’t real and isn’t going to work.” So far I’ve mostly been leaning towards, “Throw caution to the wind.”
I swore I wouldn’t buy any baby things until I knew for sure there was a baby in there. But, Sunday before my ultrasound someone posted an Amazon deal in the pregnancy after infertility support group I’ve recently joined. It was a beautiful crib for $75!!! It was even the color I wanted. I love a good deal so there was no way I was passing that up. I sent it to Matt and he liked it too, so I bought it! I didn’t even think about it. Well, I did think about it a little bit. It’s one of those cribs that can convert to a full size bed. I did have the thought of, “Well if this doesn’t work out we will have a headboard and footboard for our guest bed.” But I still felt good about it. Then a few hours later I saw a stroller on a yard sale page for FREE! My favorite price. I was the first to inquire about it. It felt like it was meant to be.
I didn’t sleep at all Sunday night and then I woke up really early. I had to wait for my appointment at 10:30. It felt so late. I was so panicky I really thought I would puke before or during my appointment. I was a wreck. Matt was able to participate via Facebook video chat. The doctor kept the monitor turned towards him for what felt like forever. Then he finally turned the screen around and I could see our little black dot. He told us everything looked great and that the yolk sac was very well developed for it to be so early. That was such great news!! I kept looking at my ultrasound picture all day. It just didn’t feel real. One pain of having to deal with two clinics is that I have to wait for CNY to call with my blood work results. I kept waiting and waiting. I was calling and calling. Then I realized there had been an awful storm in Syracuse and they didn’t have access to phone or internet all day! WHHAATT!? So I had to wait until the next day to get my results back. I had to wait until almost NOON because they had never received my results and it took them forever to get them. Naturally no one in Charlottesville would answer the phone or return my voicemails. I’m not joking when I say I called every 15 minutes between 8:05 and 9:00. Then CNY started calling at 9:00 for me. It was irritating. I did not get good news. My Thyroid officially crossed into the bad zone at 3.63 and my estrogen dropped below 200 (what they like to see) to 171. AHHH. I was panicking to say the least. I felt so mad because I missed a whole day of getting more estrogen and synthroid into my body. The nurse did say that it wasn’t a big deal and I wasn’t at risk of losing the pregnancy. For some reason hearing her utter those words made me nervous about losing the pregnancy. Unfortunately, I did have a day of “google all the things.” I found nothing good. No more googling. So, if I had to examine my blog procrastinating I think I was very fearful of sharing this information. Something about the idea of sharing it made it seem so much more real and scary. I just want to enjoy being pregnant.
I’ve actually been managing my fear and anxiety around losing the pregnancy much better than I anticipated (Thank God all those hundreds of dollars on therapy seem to be worth it!). I do check the toilet contents thoroughly to make sure there’s no blood, but other than that I’m not running to the bathroom every time I feel moisture or cramping. I also managed to buy some little onsies from etsy with no fear!
All week my pregnancy symptoms keep coming and going. It makes me unbelievably nervous. I think I would feel so much better if I was puking all the time. I haven’t really been sick-sick, but I have had very little appetite. I’m tired and I pee a lot. I’ve had headaches off and on. That’s pretty much it. One day my scalp hurt SO bad. It literally felt like someone poured acid on half my scalp. Everything hurt -- wearing my hair in a ponytail, touching my hair, laying on that side. Everything was excruciating. I had never heard of this symptom before, but apparently it’s fairly common. I am glad that didn’t last. I know I should be grateful and many women would love to have limited symptoms, but it just feels more real when I’m sick.
Last night I slept mostly through the night minus having to pee twice and then kick my cat out for getting into trouble. I didn’t feel like I was going to have a full blown panic attack this time. I felt remarkably calm—all things considered. Matt was able to participate via video chat again. We had the good doctor this time so he was much more considerate and didn’t leave us hanging. He let us see the monitor from the get go. I could see my little black dot turned into a full-blown nugget right away! It was so cool to see it. I could not believe how much little strawberry had grown! And without a moment’s hesitation the doctor pointed out the heartbeat! It was absolutely unbelievable to see it flicker. I also didn’t realize you could see the heartbeat and not hear it. I’m glad a friend told me that beforehand. He showed us the fetal pole and took all the measurements. Everything was right where it needed to be. Then he checked my ovaries and looked for signs of an ectopic pregnancy. It’s crazy how much they have to look for. Everyone keeps asking if I cried. I haven’t cried yet. But I was certainly grinning. My therapist keeps asking me what kinds of emotions am I having, where do I feel them, how do they feel. It’s so hard to describe. I feel like I’m grinning like a chimpanzee. I’m elated. I’m in disbelief. It feels like a dream I don’t want to wake up from. I can’t wait for it to really feel real.
I was in my therapy appointment when CNY finally called (naturally). So, I didn’t get to ask them any questions. But my thyroid levels are going down and my estrogen skyrocketed to over 1000! It’s crazy how much estrogen fluctuates. Everything else looked great too. I’m hoping to be weaned off of some of these medications soon! I definitely can’t wait to stop the progesterone shots and suppositories. At this point, I’m not even sure which ones are the worst! I still have a few more weeks of those though.
I really do dislike the term “miracle baby.” I feel like that leaves some sort of stigma on the women who don’t get theirs. Babies are miracles for sure. But, I feel like “miracle” makes it sound like those who get one somehow deserve it more than a woman who doesn’t. I don’t feel that way at all. No one deserves to not have a baby --especially when they've worked so hard. It’s pure luck. So many things have to go right and you just have to be in the right spot at the right time. I still can’t believe we got all 6 of our eggs to not only fertilize but we got them to good blastocysts and then we got pregnant on the first transfer. I’ve seen so many women use donor eggs and get nothing or only one or two fair blastocysts or three day embryos. Today I saw a woman only get two fair embryos with donor eggs and donor sperm. It’s all just a game of luck and patience. None of it is fair. I feel like our baby is a magical science baby instead of a miracle baby. This baby is a product of good science and determination. We have spent close to $40,000. It’s a shame when some people’s money runs out before their patience. That could have easily been us. It makes me so angry none of this is covered by insurance for most people. But, with all that being said, today’s quote is my favorite Doctor Who quote (since I’m now officially a Time Lord and all with my two heartbeats). “The universe is big. It’s vast and complicated and ridiculous and sometimes very rarely impossible things happen and we call them miracles.” I love my new little companion all the way to Gallifrey and back.
I haven’t done a blog update during my two week wait because I was afraid I’d give myself away too early. On Monday night, I was 4 days past my transfer and suddenly I did not feel very well. I got a little excited. I had been having some intermittent cramping and was trying not to read too much into it. But on Tuesday (5 days past transfer) I was SICK. I had a headache and I felt like garbage. I was so tired. I was SO excited. I even disclosed to my therapist that I felt sick, but what if it was all in my head?! He laughed a little… He said I looked so much better than he had seen me ever and that I was glowing. GLOWING?! Why would he choose that word? Now I was excited. I decided I could not take it anymore and I was going to test the next morning. I woke up at 4am. Did I mention I had also been having weird dreams and peeing ALL THE TIME? I decided I better pee on a stick then because it was my first morning urine (FMU) and I shouldn’t waste it. So I opened up a stick and peed on it. I sat there waiting. Nothing. Nothing. Not even a control line! WHAT?! How is it the one test I use is broken?!?! I waited forever. Peed on it some more. Nothing. I thought, “Okay universe. I hear you. I shouldn’t test this early.” I threw it in the trash and went back to bed. I kept tossing and turning. I know I’m pregnant. I went back in the bathroom dug the stick out of the trash and nothing. UGH. BROKEN STICK. So then I went back to bed. Tossed and turned. Tossed and turned. Finally, I convinced myself I could still pee and went back for round two. There on top of the trashcan was a pretty, positive two lined pee stick. I about fell over. I know you aren’t supposed to read them after a certain amount of time, but I have never had two lines on days old pee sticks. So, I decided I better do another one anyway – just to be safe. Immediately two lines popped up! I could not believe it. I took pictures and sent them to Matt right away. I couldn’t believe it. But I could because I FELT pregnant. But then I had to wait for my blood test. I had to go in that morning for a progesterone and estrogen check. I emailed my nurse and told her I had a positive HPT (home pregnancy test) and asked if I could move my first Beta (HCG blood work aka pregnancy test) to Friday. She said YES!
Friday I went in for my first beta. Naturally, the machine that reads the blood work was messed up so I had to wait ALL day for my first result. From what I hear, normal pregnant people go in and have ONE blood test that says yes or no and they get the results right away. But, for infertile people we have to wait, wait, wait. Because they are doing the testing so early they do a quantitative beta instead of a qualitative beta. So we get to see how much HCG is in our blood.
I went in to have my blood drawn. Everyone has been so rude to me in my local clinic since I switched to Syracuse. The nurse who is the worst at drawing my blood ALWAYS knows to go in my left arm because I have nothing in my right arm. But she strapped me up on the right side. Instantly I said, can you do my left arm? There’s nothing in there. She basically she already strapped my arm up and she could find something. SHE IS THE WORST at finding the good veins. So she sticks me. Pokes me, gouges me. Nothing. She left the needle hanging out of my arm and went for another nurse. The other nurse comes in and gouges me some more and finally hit the vein. When she plugged the tube in…..NOTHING. UGH. She switched to my left arm and hit a good vein on the first try. That was super annoying. I told her I had a positive home pregnancy test and she said, “Well you said they were trying different stuff with you. It must have worked.” REALLY?! No congratulations or nothing?! I also mentioned I had been spotting that morning and the nurse said, “Well we will say an extra prayer for you.” She didn’t ask what it looked like or nothing. Then I described what it looked like and she said, “Oh well, that’s probably just from the Endometrin.” Are you kidding me?!? I could not believe how rude they were…. So I waited impatiently for my results…
My first beta was an 88!!!! It really doesn’t matter what the first number is, it just matters if that number doubles. But I was happy with that! I was expecting closer to 50 given I was only 8 days past transfer. They expect it to double every 48-72 hours.
Saturday felt like it took a million years. I decided I would go to the store on Sunday to kill some time. I wasn’t feeling particularly pregnant (the sickness has subsided). For the first few days, I could only eat string cheese and strawberries. It was literally the only thing I wanted to eat. So, I’ve been referring to baby as “my little strawberry.” And yes, I’ve already been talking to the little strawberry. On the way to the store, I decided it was an Elton John kind of day and put on some Elton. Now I won’t lie. There’s a fairly lengthy list of Elton John songs that make me cry. But, I have never cried to “Your Song.” Until Sunday anyway… I outright sobbed! I couldn’t control it. Then I started laughing hysterically because I realized how ridiculous I must’ve looked! I’m sure I was quite the scene. So I now feel like little strawberry and I already have a song.
During this whole ordeal, I’ve never felt terribly optimistic. But now, I’m suddenly filled with hope and optimism which is very scary considering at any point this could all be over. I’ve had people say I shouldn’t share my pregnancy so early with the implication that it could end at any moment. I am aware of that fact. But, I’ve been trying for 2 and a half years to be pregnant and I want to fully embrace it. I want to enjoy being pregnant for as long as I am pregnant. Because even if my pregnancy had ended the second day, I am so grateful to be pregnant. Even if it doesn’t last. I have been happier these last few days than I have been in so long. I have loved this baby since before he or she was ever conceived and the moment I saw those two pink lines, I couldn’t have loved my baby more. No matter what point you lose a pregnancy you experience a great loss. It makes me so angry that women aren’t “supposed” to share this loss with anyone.
After I got back from the store, I put our little embryo picture in a picture frame with the Albert Einstein quote that says, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” I’ve had this picture frame forever and always imagined I would put our first ultrasound picture in it. Then I got out all my needles and medicines and made a heart with it. It was so overwhelming to see how many shots I’ve taken. And, it doesn’t even count the next 60 to 100 progesterone shots I will be taking.
So yesterday, I had beta number 2. I asked this time how long I would have to wait for the results and she said it would likely be in the afternoon. Luckily, around 10:00 they called. It was a 323!!!!! I could not believe it!!! I was expecting to have to go back Wednesday for another, but my numbers went up so much they said I didn’t have to. Everything else looks good too. Now I’m going back Monday for more blood work and my very first ultrasound!!! I am SO nervous. And I thought the two week wait was bad…
“I hope you don’t mind. I hope you don’t mind that I put down in words how wonderful life is while you’re in the world.” – Elton John, Your Song
I have traveled roughly 1000 miles in the last 4 days. I am utterly exhausted! This blog may be slightly incoherent due to sleep deprivation. On July 4th (Yup…I traveled on a holiday), I began my journey to Syracuse. I left to go to my friend Heather’s house (TWO HEATHERS!) This trip was basically an 80s movie minus all the mean girl drama. No …not really… Nothing like an 80s movie. Maybe more like an independent documentary film with shaky cameras and A LOT of in the car filming. So…anyway… I drove to Heather’s house on the fourth of July. Shockingly, there was really no traffic. We had a splendid 4th of July adventure. We went to watch fireworks and just as we left the car to walk towards the bridge to watch the fireworks, a torrential downpour started. We ran back to the car hoping the rain would pass. The city was still going on with the show, so we ventured back out to see the fireworks. The rain did die down, but it we were still soaking wet. I actually don’t mind being in the pouring rain. I was wearing my trusty Chaco’s. Wearing my Chaco’s in the pouring rain takes me back to my camp counselor days. Any time that can evoke memories of my camp days is a good time. And wearing Chaco’s in the pouring rain while watching fireworks definitely did that for me. We were laughing and drenched. It was a great way to start our trip! We got back to the house, showered, and went to bed.
We got up the next morning and let the DC area traffic die down before we got on the road. It was a long drive. We left Virginia and went through West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and then FINALLY New York. I honestly thought we would never get out of Pennsylvania. We spent 232 miles in that state. One thing that was neat was the scenery never really changed. Pennsylvania was a dead state in terms of radio station options. Mostly preacher stations, Christian Rock, and Gospel. It was a long 232 miles. We did find a few good stations here and there and heard some songs we hadn’t heard in quite some time. Alanis Morissette’s song Ironic came on and we both sang along. Listening to and singing this song, I had some kind of surreal experience. I kept thinking to myself, “How the hell did I get here?” Did I really mail my husband’s sperm to this clinic, buy some unknown woman’s eggs, and now I’m really going to have this embryo transferred into my uterus? Who does that?! It was the first time I really recognized this situation, I think. This was a lot of work. It was a lot of determination. I started thinking about how lucky I was to have a friend who would be willing to hop in the car with me – five-year-old daughter in tow – AND volunteer to drive me 400 miles in one direction at a moment’s notice. I felt immensely grateful, as I could not have imagined doing this last task to our transfer alone.
One thing I’ve discovered in therapy is that I don’t feel like I have a real family. I mean, I have my mom and dad, but I grew up far away from my mom’s side of the family and never had the chance to really get to know them, which is a shame. I am Facebook friends with some of my cousins now and I think we would’ve probably gotten along well had we had the opportunity. My dad’s side of the family isn’t really worth knowing. We don’t really communicate with them much. The cousins I did grow up with kind of drifted apart over time. Growing up, my dad’s friends were way more like my family than most of my actual family. I remember being devastated when I found out one of my dad’s best friends wasn’t actually related to us and his daughter (my best friend) wasn’t actually my cousin! I have 3 half-sisters that I don’t really know although I’ve recently reconnected with one of them and that has been nice. But, it’s not the same as growing up with a sibling and having that lifelong bond. I am so grateful to have her now. I always imagined having the “perfect” American family with 2 or 3 kids and getting to have that “real” family experience. I guess I also never felt like I had the kinds of friends that my dad has. I have definitely learned through my infertility that I have friends that are my family. That is a nice feeling to have.
We got really lucky and didn’t hit too much traffic, but there was construction everywhere. It ended up taking us about 7.5 hours to make it to the hotel. We stayed at the Maplewood. I cannot say enough nice things about that hotel! It was beautiful and the staff was very friendly. They even had good pillows! I was dying to take a shower and lie down. Although I didn’t drive, I was still exhausted. I did a lot of thinking. I had my first shower with a rainfall showerhead. I have to say those showerheads are incredible. It honestly felt like some kind of religious experience. It was exactly what I needed after all the emotions I had leading to that point. We ended up going to bed at 8:30! Unfortunately, I haven’t been used to sleeping more than 4 or 5 hours at a time and ended up waking up at 2:20 and I could not go back to bed. I ended up emailing my therapist all my newly discovered thoughts around 4am (which I have a tendency to do anyway…). It’s been so nice having his support through all of this too. He is one of the most supportive and kind individuals that I know. He offered to call me this week and has emailed me every day. After laying out all my thoughts, I was finally able to go back to sleep. Although my alarm was going to go off in just over an hour by the time I finished my middle of the night monologue.
Thursday morning, I got up and did my medications. I must say I suck at giving myself the PIO shots. It is so hard to do it alone. I just can’t do it well. I can’t reach around enough and I can’t poke myself fast/hard enough. I try so hard to do it fast but as soon as the needle touches my skin, it’s like I freeze. I’m sure it makes it so much more painful to have to slowly push it in with a lot of force, but I just can’t do it fast. I’ve had friends tell me not to think about it and just jab it in. But, there are SO MANY steps to prepping the shot I cannot not think about it. I’m constantly repeating the steps over and over in my head so I don’t skip one. “Open all the packs. Wash your hands. Wipe the bottle with alcohol. Check to make sure the needle is on tight. Insert air into the bottle first. Flip the bottle upside down. Make sure the needle is in the fluid. CHANGE THE BIG SCARY NEEDLE to the “little” “less scary” needle. Massage the spot. Put syringe in heating pad (This really does make a difference). Wipe the spot with alcohol. Don’t forget to take the weight off that leg. Make sure you’re doing the correct side. Pull the skin tight (Can’t do this very well). Stab yourself really fast (Can’t do this at all). Pull back on the syringe to check for blood. Rub the spot after the shot.” There’s so many steps. I’m sure I still left something out just trying to recount them. So, because I can never stab myself fast enough, it always bleeds something awful. I’m sure I look like a stuck pig. To do these shots without thinking about it, just seems impossible to me at this point. I’m not even a week in though. Hopefully, they become more automatic –except I always leave out at least one step. We will see.
Heather and I were both afraid of being late so we left super early. I was so excited about my transfer day socks! I found some with Tina from Bob’s Burgers that said “Butts, Butts, Butts” all over them. I also had my lucky pineapple underwear on too! (For those that don’t know, pineapples are now becoming another symbol of infertility because eating the core is one of those old-wives’ tales people do to help with implantation). We went to the free hot breakfast in the hotel. It was awful. I will say that was the one negative thing about the hotel. There weren’t many options for my keto lifestyle. Luckily, I traveled with my own avocado or I would’ve been really hungry. We ended up getting to the CNY Fertility Center about 20 minutes early. I had no clue what to expect, but whatever it was did not match with what was there. I had kept hearing it was like a spa. It is not like a spa. It IS a spa. Literally. People were coming in for waxes, massages, acupuncture. They have yoga classes. Aromatherapy everywhere. They were selling beauty and skin products. It was weird. I checked in with the lady at the desk and told her I was having acupuncture before my transfer. She asked me if I was alone and I said yes. She asked if I had a driver and I told her yes. Then she asked if I wanted a Valium. Literally. She hadn’t even asked me my name yet. I was relieved. I was actually worried that I would have to do the transfer without one. It was very much appreciated at my last retrieval. She seemed surprised my local clinic gave Valium for transfers. She confirmed I was doing acupuncture before and after retrieval and intralipids. Then she immediately took me downstairs to the locker room. I didn’t have to wait at all! She showed me the pool they have that is shaped like a uterus! No kidding! It was wild. She showed me how to use the lockers and where the robes (Yes. Robes. Not hospital gowns. Super. Fancy. Robes.) and sandals were. I changed into my robe. I was sad that I didn’t actually get to wear my transfer socks for the transfer. I had to take my socks off for the acupuncture. I went back upstairs and the lady had me go into my room. It was not what I expected at all. It was a serene blue color from floor to ceiling. There was nice crown molding around the ceiling. There was a massage table looking bed with warm, fuzzy blankets and of course the human version of the puppy pee pad. There was also an ultrasound machine with all the attachments. What I didn’t realize until later was there were no stirrups on this bed….
The nurse came in a few minutes later. She explained that I’d be doing acupuncture, intralipids, my transfer, and then acupuncture again. She showed me the picture of my perfect little embryo. She drew some blood. She got me on the first try with no digging around! She was extremely beautiful and had an awesome Jack Skellington tattoo on her forearm. The embryologist came in and answered some of my questions. She said my embryo looked beautiful and was graded a 3AA (Very good!). The acupuncturist came in and made small talk before doing the acupuncture. He asked where my husband was. I told him he was in Switzerland as he was getting his Ph.D in physics. He asked if he was at CERN. I was shocked! He thought it was the coolest thing and asked me lots of questions I couldn’t really answer. He then noticed and stated that my right eye doesn’t open as much as my left eye. I told him I had Bell’s palsy when I was 15. We talked about Bell’s palsy a bit and he asked about my infertility. I told him my diagnosis and what we had tried so far. He told me he would suspect I have an autoimmune disorder. I suspect this as well, but it was so validating to hear someone say this. When I was a kid I was sick all the time. My joints would swell and I was tired and miserable. We saw so many doctors and they all basically told me it was in my head and there was nothing wrong with me. I have lived with chronic fatigue and chronic pain literally for as long as I can remember. I felt like no one ever took me seriously. To have known this man for mere minutes say that he thought I probably have an autoimmune disorder was quite possibly the most validating thing I could have ever heard. He put two needles in my belly, one in each thigh, and one in each foot. He also put these weird clip things on each ear. He checked my tongue and told me it looked great. My old acupuncturist was always disappointed in my tongue. I must be feeling less stressed! He left me to be relaxed for a while.
He came back and removed the needles. The nurse came back in and hooked up my intralipids IV. She seamlessly hooked my IV into my veins with no problems. She told me I might have a weird taste in my mouth. She was not joking. Within a millisecond, I felt like someone stuffed my mouth full of mothballs! It was the weirdest thing!! My veins sucked down the intralipids faster than she even anticipated. She unhooked me and then the transfer was happening.
The doctor came in. I had Dr. Corley. He was very nice. The nurse put a bolster under my butt. I began to realize there were no stirrups about this time… It was a very vulnerable place to be. I had to put my legs in the “butterfly” position with the bottoms of my feet together. There were FIVE people in the room watching. I honestly don’t know what’s more degrading, this position or stirrups. Both felt equally horrible, honestly. (I’m pretty sure the valium is way more for the awkward, vulnerable positions than it is for any kind of physical pain.) But, Dr. Corley was very nice. He explained every single thing he was doing before and while he was doing it. He was explaining everything on the ultrasound machine. You have to have a full bladder for this and it’s super uncomfortable having the nurse pushing on your bladder with the ultrasound. But not nearly as uncomfortable as a speculum after having had so many suppositories. I had no idea how irritated the suppositories had made my skin. I could see the catheter going in on the monitor. He was having trouble getting the catheter in. I told him this was an issue last time and he immediately changed to a stiffer catheter and that did the trick. Then they brought the embryo in to be put into the catheter. He told me to watch the screen closely as I would see a gray flash on the screen and that was the embryo going in. I saw it! I saw the flash! It was seriously the coolest thing ever. I was so emotionally overwhelmed. Everyone was talking to me and giving me good luck. I have no idea what any of them said. I remember the doctor stressing to not do home pregnancy tests and “there’s no data to support bed rest.” Other than that, I didn’t remember a single thing anyone said after they left the room. I remember the nurse saying something about going to the bathroom. But I couldn’t remember if she said to go now or wait!! It didn’t matter. I just kept staring at the picture of the embryo in my uterus. I couldn’t take my eyes off it and I started to cry a little. I wish I had had my phone to take a picture of it. The acupuncturist came back into the room and asked if I had gone to the bathroom. I hadn’t so he helped me up and to the bathroom. It doesn’t matter how much my brain knows I cannot physically pee out my embryo, it took me forever to convince my bladder to empty for fear of losing my embryo. After coaxing my pee out, I went back in for my second round of acupuncture. I don’t remember where the needles went that time. I did get the weird ear clips again, but none on my belly. The acupuncturist did tell me that I needed to eat more calories than normal and you don’t have to tell me twice to eat more! When it was over I went back downstairs and changed into my clothes. I called Heather and she came and got me. I think I was in and out in about 2 hours!
I did ask if I could go to the zoo and they said that would be all right as long as I walked slow, took breaks, and didn’t walk all day. I LOVE the zoo. I am seriously like a 5 year old in a zoo. I had such a fantastic time. We got to see an elephant take a bath. A baby elephant was trying to get into some trouble with some zookeepers. We saw a penguin fight and otters chasing each other. We also saw a Tiger who seemed to be dreaming that he was chasing something. Then on our way out, we were stalked and chased by a lion through the glass – which I must admit that part was actually slightly terrifying. We made a pit stop to Harrison’s Bakery (I highly recommend) to get some cookies for my cat sitter. I did indulge and had some kind of delicious pastry and our 5-year-old companion got a cookie that was bigger than her head! Heather got a really delicious looking cannoli. After we got back to the hotel, I almost immediately passed out and took a two-hour nap. My friend and her daughter went swimming in the hotel pool. They came back just as I woke up. We played some games and went to dinner. I could not sleep again at all last night. I’m really not sure if it is my nerves, the trip, my messed up summer sleeping patterns, the Prograf or a combination. But, I cannot sleep at all.
We got up early this morning and stopped at Denny’s for breakfast. We drove straight only stopping for one bathroom break and to get gas. We literally hit no traffic although we did take a slight detour because Waze tried to take us on a route toward the beltway. As soon as we realized that happened, we redirected ourselves back to Interstate 81. No way either of us wanted to go on the DC Beltway! Early in the trip, my stomach was cramping horribly. I know I’m going to be symptom spotting every little twinge and anything I make up as a possible pregnancy symptom. After we got to Heather’s house, I decided I should probably eat something even though I just wanted to keep driving. I ate very quickly. I did hit some traffic leaving Northern VA but not too bad. Overall, with the stops, my trip home was a little over 10 hours. It was a long trip, but I’m glad I had a good friend as company!
It almost still doesn’t feel real. It didn’t feel real on the way up and it still doesn’t feel like it really happened. It’s so cliché, but it feels like a dream. I just really hope it leads to fulfilling my ultimate dream. I really hope this works. Our anniversary is Thursday and I would love to be pregnant as a late anniversary present. I’ve already calculated my due date (as I always do) and I just really want this to work. Everything about it would be so perfect.
So, here I am 1dp5dt (for you lay people, that’s infertile speak for 1 day past a 5 day transfer—and if you need that further translated my embryo was 5 days old at the time of transfer). I will have my first beta test on July 17th. I think they do 3 or 4 betas a few days apart to confirm your pregnancy. I’ve never made it that far so I’m really not sure what that stage looks like. I have to go back on the 12th to have my estrogen and progesterone tested. I was pleased to learn my TSH went down after taking the LDN! I hope it keeps going down!
Now to just kill 10 more days without going absolutely crazy….
“Well, life has a funny way of sneaking up on you
And life has a funny way of helping you out” Alanis Morissette
Today was a big day! (And it's only 9:30). This morning I started my daily PIO shots. I have been DREADING these. I absolutely hated them last time. The shot isn't horrible, but my butt got so sore afterwards and it felt like it never healed between shots. I felt like my butt was sore for a week after stopping the shots. So these shots were SO intimidating to me.
Last night I started watching YouTube videos of women giving themselves their PIO shots. I am immensely grateful for these women who are willing to do these things! I found one video of a woman who was on her 7th round of IVF. I cannot imagine. Even if IVF was free I'm not sure I could have done it 7 times. She said she felt like it was easier to do the PIO herself. It gave her more control over a totally out of control experience. That resonated with me because that's how I felt doing my own stimming meds. I'm also glad that I did some of my own stimming shots because that was easy practice compared to the PIO. So, after watching many videos I decided it would be a good idea to draw the quarters on my butt so that I knew where to do the shot.
I have the WORST visual-spatial skills and drawing on myself with a mirror was pretty difficult. I'm sure it was a sight to witness. I used a blue Sharpie marker and quartered off my butt and made the triangle area that was good to go for. But I had no idea if I was in the right spot so I took a picture and sent it to a nurse friend. She confirmed it looked like the right area. I was feeling pretty good about it.
Later I went to the bathroom and realized there was a blue mark on the toilet seat. I was like, "Hmm..that's weird." Then a few hours later I went back to the bathroom and there was another blue mark. It dawned on me. It must have been the Sharpie that transferred from my butt to the toilet seat! I laughed at myself. I tried to clean the mark off, but it wouldn't budge. I did some googling and realized it's alcohol soluble. Luckily, I have a lifetime supply of alcohol swabs from all these injections and it came right off. Oh, the misadventures of infertility.
When I tried going to bed, it was useless. I'm pretty sure I didn't go to bed until after 1am. I just kept tossing and turning. Tossing and turning. Tossing and turning. Then at 6:30am my brain decided to wake up and worry about it some more. You're supposed to take the shots at the same time every day (within one hour on each side), so I didn't want to take the shot too early. My cat River noticed I was awake and decided it was cuddle time. We cuddled for a long time. Then I got up and tried to kill time until 8:00. At 7:40 I started prepping. It took so long to get the medicine into the syringe. I kept staring at the blue triangle outlined on my butt. I kept repeating to myself the directions. "Make sure you don't have weight on that leg. Don't forget to pull the skin. Check for blood. Don't forget to check for blood. Don't forget to massage the area." I channeled my inner Tina Belcher and kept repeating, "I am a smart, strong sensual woman." I repeated it over and over to myself. Every time I would touch the needle to my skin my stomach would sink. My heart would race. After the third try, I started to panic. I almost started crying. I kept telling myself I could cry afterwards, but not before. I was on the verge of a panic attack for sure. My breath was fast and shallow. When I realized I was seriously panicking I just stick the needle in. I pulled back on the syringe to check for blood. No blood. Then I injected the slow moving oil. It was all in. My ears were ringing. My head was swimming. I threw the needle down and ran to the bed to lie down. Then I laughed at myself. It really wasn't that bad at all. But I still felt a little sick. I ran back over to properly dispose of my needle before a cat got into it. I could not find the cap anywhere! After blaming the cats and looking all over the house, I finally found it in the sharp's container! I have no clue why I put it in there. Maybe in anticipation of a cat trying to get it.
After having done this highly intimidating shot, I feel fierce. One thing infertility has done is shown me how much stronger and capable than I ever thought. I have managed to maintain a very restrictive diet, give up caffeine and alcohol, and I've lost a total of 25 pounds! I have endured the absolute worst emotional roller coaster one could ever imagine. Although I'm well aware that ride is not quite over yet. I've been poked and prodded by so many doctors and nurses. I've given myself my own belly shots and now I've given myself my own butt shots. I am kind of glad I've had the opportunity to give myself my own shots. It's liberating and empowering.
I've realized one of my new pet peeves is when people say, "I could never do that." I've heard this so many times when I talk about the ketogenic diet and the shots. Yes you can. If you want something bad enough, you can do it. That's why today's quote comes from the new Wonder Woman movie (although I must admit I have not seen it yet..I know I know...I need to!). “You are stronger than you believe. You have greater powers than you know.” -Antiope
I had my additional follow up appointment today. I have been SO nervous all week. On Monday, I was convinced I had ovulated. I was a total wreck yesterday. In addition to all of this stress my garage door is now broken. Because …when it rains …it pours. I was convinced that it was a bad omen for my appointment this morning.
I overslept my alarm this morning and was in desperate need for a shower. I rushed and showered, threw my hair in a ponytail, and ran out the door. I got to the doctor’s office and it was my favorite doctor doing the monitoring. He told me my lining was 7.6mm. I immediately made a sound of disapproval. He asked me what thickness CNY was looking for. When I told him it was 8mm, he measured my lining in a few places to get a better average. With the average, my measurement was only 7.5mm! UGH. I felt so horrible. At least I didn’t ovulate. Dr. Williams politely put his two cents in and said he would proceed with the transfer at that measurement. When the nurse was drawing my blood one of my two good veins was still bruised from last time. Then she blew my other vein. She examined both my arms looking for another vein. She decided to go through the back of my hand. She had to gouge me half to death to get the blood to start coming out. I paid my $372 for my visit and left.
Normally, CNY calls me between 9 and 11. I waited and waited. I had my therapy appointment at 11. I did everything I could do kill time. I was worried they call during my therapy appointment. My therapist had me keep my phone on, but no call was received. When I left his office, I immediately sent a portal message to my CNY nurse to see what was going on. An hour later she told me they hadn’t received my results. UGH. I called my local clinic and they said they had sent them, but they would send again. An hour later CNY told me that they still hadn’t got my records. UGH. Meanwhile during all of this I was waiting for the people to come and fix my garage door. It turns out my garage door couldn’t be fixed today. I felt slightly scammed by the first group that came to look at it and had to call another place. I felt so frazzled calling the garage door people, checking my portal, and waiting for phone calls. Another hour passes and the nurse gave me a different fax number to use. Just before CNY closed I got the call I’d been waiting ALL DAY for. They were going to proceed with my transfer!!!
Next week I am heading to my friend’s house on the fourth of July. I really hope traffic isn’t crazy. On the 5th we will ride up together and I’ll have my transfer on the 6th! It feels so surreal that this is happening. It feels like some sort of weird race against the odds. I have to beat the statistics.
I am feeling extremely overwhelmed by all the medications. I’m currently taking six medications. Some twice a day, some once a day, and some three times a day. Saturday I’m adding in 2 more medications, Sunday I’ll add another medication, and then on Tuesday I’ll add in one more medication. I am so nervous about messing those up. I am so extremely overwhelmed by the thought of doing the PIO (progesterone in oil) shots by myself. I don’t know how I’m going to figure that out, but I need to ASAP.
I’m so nervous. It really just doesn’t feel real. It’s so soon, but feels so far away. This whole process is so indescribably stressful and unreal. I feel like sometimes I have to remind myself this is my life and not some nightmare I’m trapped in. But I’m going to hold out hope. This absolutely has to work.
“That’s the trouble with hope. It’s hard to resist.” –Doctor Who