Thursday, February 26, 2009

Day 5 Complete, Currently PUPO

From the very beginning of this cycle, long before the first syringe touched my bruised abdomen, I said that no matter how many eggs were retrieved, I wanted at least 2 to transfer and 2 to freeze. While I would have been thrilled with more, I had my mind steadfastly pinpointed on this minimum. However, after learning that only 4 eggs fertilized, I was pretty certain that this hope would not be fulfilled and braced myself to forfeit one of my frozen cycles on s.hared r.isk. That is until they called me this morning and let me know that I was still 4 for 4. Miraculously, all of them made it to blast!

My expectations were exceeded. While this does not determine the outcome, I am still grateful that we have come this far. My worst fears are allayed somewhat. I came into IVF terrified that my eggs would not stand a chance. I mean, IUIs give you very little information other than the fact that you can collect BFNs faster than OctoMom can accept government handouts. Still, this experience was harder than I realized it would be. It was a true roller coaster, and, of course, continues to be.

When my doc called me this morning, she happily told me that the lab put a smiley face on the final report, which they rarely do. It's these little things I appreciate. After biting my knuckles through the blinding, burning need to pee, and after my embies decided to not leave the comfort of the catheter on the first try, they finally settled nicely into my fluffy triple layer where I hope they will find the accomodations pleasing enough to set up house for the next 8-9 months.

So, without further ado, our two dead sexy rock stars:
Our other two stars needed a little more time to grow up and will continue on to day 6 before they determine for certain whether freezing will be an option. I really hope so. In the mean time, I am officially PUPO (pregnant until proven otherwise). Man, it's going to be a LOOONG 9 days...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Current Break Down

It could be better, but it could me much worse at this point:

  • 13 eggs retrieved
  • 7 mature :(
  • 4 fertilized
  • 3 of them are grade 1 (my clinic's version of super duper great) as of day 3
  • 1 is grade 1.5 (it's like an A- rather than an A+, not too shabby)
  • Day 5 transfer scheduled on Thursday
  • Putting back two
  • And PRAYING that I'll have something to freeze!
  • Stay strong embies!
I hate how this is a numbers game. I've never been good at Math!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Longing to Believe in My Miracle

I have been quiet as of late. Not sure what to write, but sitting here on the eve of my retrieval, I finally feel compelled to do so. This, my first IVF, has left me feeling a mixture of emotions:

  • Deeply disappointed at my body's poor response,
  • But not surprised.
  • Embarrassed...
  • And more infertile than ever.
At last count, and after many dosage increases, I had 13ish mature eggs at best (17 counting the little guys who will never be). My doctor was surprised by my slower-than-average response and while I prophesized that this would come to pass, I had no evidence to prove that it would be the case other than a deep intuition. Of course, then again, I had no evidence that I would miscarry last June other than my intuition and that happened as well. I think it's safe to keep listening to myself.

The feeling that this IVF was a lesson in futility and at best a 'trial' run to demonstrate my response for future cycles deepened as the days progressed. I suppose my absence here was an attempt to disconnect from that disappointment, but with each and every day I showed up for blood draws and ultrasounds, I was reminded. Nevertheless, I had so many saving graces along the way, the first being my non-blogger IF friend Sarang, the most thoughtful person on the face of the planet. I can't count the number of times she has surprised all of us IFers with thoughtful, hope-filled gifts. This time was no different. On a day when I learned that the doc postponed my retrieval by yet another day (3 days total), I got a package from her wrapped in a pomegranate ribbon. Inside was a beautiful silver necklace with two pomegranate beads, a pomegranate ribbon charm and a silver pendant engraved with 'miracle' dangling on the end of it. The enclosed card to me was simple:

"I believe in your miracle"


She believed and at once I realized, I did not.

When I think about all of this pain and effort, I don't think, "Hey, at least I might get a baby out of this." Instead I think, "This is necessary to move on. I must do this to accept that I will never have the child I've so long dreamed of."

So when you realize that others hold out more hope for you than you do yourself, it is powerful. It's powerful that friends I met just a handful of months ago have so much care and concern for me, so much understanding, many times more than friends I've known for years and it's powerful that I've allowed myself to give up, at least at this moment in time. Thank God for them.

When this is all said and done, I have big plans that I hope I will honor. If it's positive, well then, I guess my big plan will have already been put into place. Hopefully it's a plan that will stick (the words of someone who has obviously met loss). If it's negative, I think it might be time to take a break. I will no longer require myself to be a constant human petrie dish on a mad race against some undefined clock. I will take a moment to breathe, perhaps a small handful of months, and enjoy what it's like to no longer be a pin cushion constantly under the influence of artificial hormones and two week waits. I'll take a break from wondering how to explain my way out of a meeting because of a last minute ultrasound and I'll not pay attention to every single twinge in my body. There will be no pills to take, no shots to administer. And I'll do something about the 20+ pounds I let myself gain in grief. I'll try to begin to reverse that deep disappointment in myself. I planted it so deep that I know it will be hard to dig out, but I have to begin somewhere. Now is as good a time as any.

As you might be able to tell, I'm tired. No, exhausted. I'm coming off the end of 5 months of continuous treatment, still grieving my beloved dog, my lost baby, and I'm ready to turn my tired mind away from the singular focus that is infertility, even if just for a moment's time, knowing that this particular journey is not quite over...yet.

Monday, February 9, 2009

City Times and IVF

Great success! I have not yet gone officially bat shit crazy. No shaving my head, no running down the street naked singing show tunes (good news for the general public). In fact, after a few days on the Looneypron, my workload and mood swings simultaneously subsided, leaving me to suspect life circumstances as a major contributing factor. I am now on day 3 of stims and so far, so good. At least as far as the side effects go (I don't notice any except for a little cramping/bloating). Luckily, I found a way to get in some relaxing activity this weekend in order to counteract any mood induced states waiting for me on the horizon.

Mr. S. and I, accompanied by our dog, escaped to San Francisco (a town that we visit often but never tire of). While there, I had a productive and wonderfully relaxing acupuncture appointment and as I suspected, my 'gut' may be hindering my fertility and causing some auto-immune issues. What can I say? If fried foods and candy are the devil, then I am having a diabolical love affair. I often enter a double edged sword territory when I'm stressed, because this is the time I both crave these foods and also have the most trouble digesting them. So, after my wonderful appointment during which my liver was more or less described as the unwitting victim of my lifestyle choices, I proceeded to pour a mixture of cupcakes, martinis, sweet potato fries, and calamari down my throat that evening. It was quite simply, divine. I will say though that this was my last hurrah until I either receive a BFN or deliver a child. My money is obviously heavily on the last one, but if the former were to occur, Mama needs to start fitting back into her pants again for heaven's sake.

It is still surreal to think that I am in the middle of an IVF cycle. Of course the multiple daily shots help bring me into this reality, but all the years I have spent on this ride have consisted of futile attempts to not go 'all the way'. I was walking around first base preserving my IVF virginity for longer than should have been tolerated. If IF were my boyfriend, he would have dumped my ass long ago, but hey, everyone needs to get to where they're going in their own way. Consider me deflowered.

Now here I am and I am astounded at how negative I am. I mean, I'm no glass-is-half-full type of girl to begin with, but I believe no less than:

1. This IVF will not be successful. BFN-already predicted here.
2. This medication will do little to jump start my ovaries into producing a quality or quantity worthy of this effort.
3. And in fact, I will never have a child of my own.

Do any of these beliefs have any basis in reality or even history? Well, as is often the case with my illogic-prone brain, not really. Of course, any one of them is a possibility, but I have gone beyond this and have already embraced them as my reality. I just can't possibly imagine becoming pregnant again or at most, actually delivering a child. This vision has been completely wiped clean in my brain. So you can imagine what an act of futility this IVF feels like. Not exactly a message of hope I realize, but it is what it is. This is so telling of how long I've been on this journey, how many years of failure I've been met with.

If this cycle is unsuccessful, I will be taking a break because I'm finally realizing that I should have done so before embarking on it. I have been in consistent treatment since October, completing 3 IUIs and 1 IVF in the span of 4 months and quite frankly, I'm exhausted. I thought it would be good to keep with the forward movement but if this one is yet another failure, I think I will need time to lick my wounds.