Tuesday, March 28, 2017

off to the races and back into hiding

Well, away we go, I start Lupron injections on Sunday night.  Then about a month from then, I have a tentative transfer scheduled for May 2nd.

My next few weeks will be all about hiding.  Hiding needles and their hazardous disposal container from my parents and the Nibble when I'm with her in NYC on spring break.  Hiding the needles once again from my co-workers when I have to fly to upstate NY so the 15 of us can live in a cabin together for a research staff "retreat."  I don't even wanna do trust falls with these people, nice as they are.

Then there's the zumba classes I'll no longer be allowed to teach after transfer, doctor's orders, that will require some sort of lie.

Then there's the girl's weekend getaway with some of my oldest friends that I may skip out on.  I will either be not pregnant and sad, miscarrying and sad, or roughly nine weeks pregnant and an anxious wreck.  And in that third case, I will also be hiding self-administered PIO shots and coming up with creative reasons why I'm not drinking/getting a massage/doing all the things that girls on girls' weekends do.  While it could be pleasant and fun, it could also be stressful as all fuck.

Gah.  I know millions of women have survived IVF but all of my old anxieties are flooding back. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

window into the mind of the wretched

Wowzers, we have four embryos on ice, that's pretty amazing... But all of this has been way too easy- at least for these past few months, so I'm sure we are just due for some tragedy.  No one with a history like me walks out of this experience with anything but tears, right?  I am waiting for the call where we learn the lab's exploded with our embryos.  Or, something will go wrong with implantation.  Yeah, it won't come as a surprise when I develop an immune reaction to pregnancy.  Or there's the possibility of ectopic, I mean I've never had one of those, and women like me don't walk around with two functional tubes their entire lives. Surely a life-threatening pregnancy is next on the list.  On the more mundane end of the spectrum, I could always develop issues with my lining because that would be a new frustrating curveball....Hmmm.... gestational carrier isn't an option for us, so, wow, this is really it.  I mean, sure, it's the bees knees that we get four IVF attempts, but wow, four rounds of lupron and PIO with never a living baby, well, that's a pretty horrible proposition, but it's also pretty possible given that I am a walking lightening strike.  A catalyst of doom.  Speaking of doom, yeah, there's my cervix.  Four D&Cs and a couple of hysteroscopies should ensure that even if I'm successful my pregnancy will fail because, you know, my cervix.  But yes, at the end of the day, it's a nice exercise, going through these motions like a woman who thinks they will hold a baby.  I guess I need to find an MFM now, someone who will be kind when I lose my next pregnancy.  Keep smiling right? Surely it's better than curling up in fetal position and crying every day, I mean, who the fuck has time for that.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

PGS results are in.

We have four normals.

Somewhere in a lab, sit four microscopic frozen embryos created from the DNA building blocks of a woman I actually do feel *some* inexplicable connection to, and the Viking.  In early May, one of them will be implanted in my uterus and I will try to grow a baby.

And if that baby doesn't stick, I can try again.

Breathe.

you get what you get

A few weeks ago when Viking and I were driving back home from the clinic, I looked at him and said, "You know, we could be in a position where we would be selecting an embryo by gender." 

It floored him.

"What would you want to do?"

"Well, I don't know... maybe a boy to balance things out?"

"Maybe..."

I'll be honest, I'm not even sure about the ethical position my clinic takes on this topic (I know clinics vary).  And who knows what we would get in terms of healthy embryos, hell IF we get healthy embryos....

I'll admit, when I allow myself to fantasize about babies, they tend to be girls.  Man, girls are hard, I am already dealing with body-image issues with 8 year old Niblet (AND HOW FUCKED UP IS THAT).  But girls are what I know.

When I look at my donor, I imagine the features of her potential female offspring, would a baby girl of mine have her large brown eyes (which greatly resemble my large brown eyes?)....then sometimes, I wonder what it would be like to raise a small boy, one who maybe looked like his dad.... And then, once again, I think of Niblet, the perfect composite of us both.

And then I think about how much of this process has sucked the joy of the unknown out of me.  The unknown is generally a dark and destructive place, you know, because it's where my babies die.  So far, of my babies that have been lost, most have been girls.

But what if we had one spark of normalcy, in a potential future pregnancy.... what if I didn't know what fertilized embryo was going to be implanted in my body?

This is where I'm headed on the issue, for now.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

crazy twists of fate or universe or coincidence or whatever

So bear with me as I write out the insanity of the last week:

First, my religious friend at work discussed in the prior post, well, the day after our hug, her 21 year old daughter is in a horrifying car accident.  Her jaw is broken, her kidney punctured, and she was put into a coma because of a brain bleed.  I am happy to say that she is finally out of the woods, with a lot of pain and a wrenching recovery ahead, but she will pull through.  I just can't believe that my friend had to experience this, quite literally the day after I was discussing maternal grief.

THEN, I get a call from the husband of my Pregnant Best Friend at Work (PBFAW).  Can you take our first daughter asap (she is now 17 months)?  PBFAW is going to need an emergency c-section and our family isn't here and Baby J knows you.

So, friends, I rush to the hospital and when I get there PBFAW and her husband are already in surgery and a nurse brings out Baby J.  Who thankfully doesn't take one look at me and scream at the top of her lungs.

I take her home instead of her day care, because 1) she has a wicked cold, and 2) It will be much easier on her Dad if I have her and he either picks her up from me or I drop her back off than to have a 6pm pickup deadline at their daycare.

You guys, I had a baby in my house.  For like, 8 hours.  I read to her, explored my SO NOT CHILDPROOFED house, fed her, changed four diapers (girlfriend can eat, let me tell ya).  Except for the moments of what the fuckery when I drag a high chair down two flights of stairs from my attic, with a toddler in tow, and then try to ram her into it to eat lunch, when OMG her thighs are stuck and I am pulling and pulling and can't get her damn leg out of the chair and she now officially HATES me, I think I did rather well. And Princess the cat handled things well too.  (I've always been a little worried about the potential cat baby dynamic in our house).


I even got her to nap for two hours.





That night I brought her back to the hospital to her mom.  And met her brother.  Who looks exactly like her.  And tried to hold my shit together in front of PBFAWs aunt, who arrived earlier in the day to help.

Can I tell you about PBFAWs aunt?  She has one living daughter, a beautiful 20 year old.  And one child that died at birth - she carried her to term, but the baby never survived the open neural tube defects she was born with.  And PBFAWs aunt also carried another baby, one that never made it to term. She was aborted in the second trimester after she learned that the baby was carrying the same defects.

I have met this woman a handful of times, she is lovely.  But I have no idea if she knows what I know, or if likewise, PBFAW ever told her my sad sad fertility tale.  All I know is that there was a moment in time when the two of us - by some crazy twist of fate - were standing in bittersweet awe over the bassinet of a squalling newborn baby boy.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Anger management and deep breathing

Three days ago day I walked out of a depressing staff meeting (is there any other kind?) and just had this hopeless angry wave of emotion come on me.  Outta nowhere.  And then I was angry and sad about being angry and sad and these vicious cycles just continue to momentarily fuck me up. But then I get back up...

Well, one close friend at work who knows why I get the way I get, and who is ultra-religious, tried to school me a bit.  She's not religious in the judgey fire and brimstone way, screaming SIN at unsuspecting heathens like me.  Instead, she is deeply troubled by my lack of faith. And pointed to my right hand:

I know I have never experienced what you've been through, I only know what my aunt went through (insert story of a woman who lost five million pregnancies and had a natural miracle birth in her forties).  Those rings make you angry.  You carry this anger because you haven't been able to achieve what you want to achieve and I think you need to stop wearing them.  I see how you look when you're upset, and you start twisting them and staring at them.

I took a very deep breath:

The rings aren't about achievement L. They're about grief.  They aren't just pregnancies.  They're babies.  My babies don't have graves, I have nowhere to honor them.  They don't exist to anyone but me.  I can't go to a cemetery and mourn them.  The finger on my right hand is all I've got.

She didn't have a response. It's ok.  We hugged and I think I did a fairly decent job of schooling her right back.


Then, at an out of town conference yesterday, another coworker walks up and says, "I saw you talking to L and looking so upset, I want to talk to you when we leave this conference and make sure you're ok."

Breathe.

Oh, it's ok.  I was just having a bad day.

About two hours after that, ANOTHER colleague walks up to me at said conference.  This one has the exhausted glow of a woman who has had two babies in the span of time that I've lost 7.  Her babies are 5 and 2.

Are you ever going to have another?  You'd have such an easy age-gap compared to mine - mine are always arguing about sharing toys.

Breathe.

Not sure.  Maybe.  Who knows.

Finally, yesterday was day 7 of my embryo development.  I hadn't received a report and was absolutely convinced this game was over before it started.  Because a few days ago I got a message that one embryo was biopsied at day 5, but I had nothing on the other ones, other than two were potentially arresting.


I emailed my IVF coordinator:  I'm checking to see if there's bad news because I haven't received any follow-up report from the lab....

Ten minutes later comes the report from the lab:  Five embryos have been biopsied and are frozen.  PGS report will come from my genetic counselor in 2-3 weeks.


BREATHE.