Monday, September 24, 2012

What Being Done with Treatment Looks Like

Before the ultrasound:

I have no idea what the ultrasound today will reveal or any ultrasounds thereafter, if we get there. I think it will be good news, a small milestone at the very beginning of many, many others. But I do know this. Should this not prove successful at any point, we are done with treatment for good.

I always wondered what it would feel like to be at the place where I was done. I thought I would be more torn, but I just knew that the game of the gamble wasn't for me any longer. Nevertheless, I do want desperately to add to our family.

Should this not go the direction we hope today or any day thereafter, Mr. S and I have decided to look into adoption. We haven't made a final call, but we have seriously decided to roll up our sleeves and do our homework and see if it's meant for our family. We're done with the lack of guarantee, the drugs, throwing money at companies for a 'chance'. It is finally time to move on and with both possibilities-whether the one I'm brewing right now or a child through adoption, I am filled with hope, but petrified all the same.  I do know this-whoever is meant to join us, will.

Post Ultrasound:

One little sack, measuring on schedule.  I would breathe a sigh of relief, but I've never been one to do that.  Even after my kid's birth I was still a worry wort practically in the same way I was before every ultrasound. Next appointment is in a week. There should be a heartbeat by then. Although my doctor basically alluded to the fact that I need Xanex BADLY, I can't have that, so I guess a bag of chocolate and a bath will have to do as I chew my nails to the quick in anticipation.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Little Embryo that Could

Once upon a time, I started a pregnancy out with low betas and low progesterone. This was following an IUI we were sure wouldn't take. But as the week went on, the beta and progesterone rose to low normal levels and within a few weeks we had two appointments: one in which we saw a perfect sac and fetal pole, and the other in which our little one's heartbeat clocked in at 120.

And then, the next appointment-silence.  No heartbeat. An embryo that had arrested weeks before.

The moral this tale taught me was that even when you think you're out of the woods, you might not be. Sometimes early signs are warnings of things to come.

But then another part of me has learned stories of fighters out there who defy statistics, fighters who once seemed out of the game but came roaring back onto the scene, proving everyone wrong.  I pray that this one is the latter.

On Monday, our beta was 325. A perfect doubling time every two days over a four day period of time would be 1300. Today, we were at 1580. I couldn't convince myself that today would be bad news. One day? Perhaps. But today is good news. I'll take what I can get.

I have no flippin' clue as to what's going on or how to feel about it.  Optimism with a huge piece of caution pie, please. And I know we'll know more at our ultrasound on Monday. No, strike that, we may not truly know until we either have this baby or don't. But at this point, that's a chance I'm willing to take.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Welcome to My Rollercoaster

As the nurse was drawing my blood, I began sobbing, openly. Normally I cover this up, but with a needle in my arm, I was locked to the chair so my only option for escape was to draw one hand slowly up to my face. Everything went quiet in the clinic, people shifted uncomfortably and smiled apologetically. Eventually, the lab lady offered me tea, which I declined. As soon as the cotton ball and tape were fastened to my arm, I booked it to the bathroom to clean my smeared makeup.

This was how my third beta went down.  This was Monday, but the beginning of the roller coaster was the previous Wednesday, the day before my first beta. I had convinced myself that I NEEDED to come home in the middle of the workday and take a test right then. I downed a bottle of water on the way home and after those requisite 3 heart-pounding minutes,  I was shocked at what I saw. SHOCKED.

NOT pregnant.

Because I was certain, down to the bottom of my core that I was.  From the day after transfer, I tried so hard to convince myself otherwise because I knew that if I didn't, I would have even farther to fall. (that's the reasoning of a jilted infertile pessimist for you)

Returning to work was not an option. I was a tearful, fuck-the-world mess. Instead, we left and I ate some very fried foods (and got sick from them, of course). The next morning, the morning of my beta, I decided to take another test with undiluted morning pee for posterity-just to be absolutely certain. I couldn't hold it past 5 AM, so in the dark of early morning, I went to wait for the results, but before I could stand up, it said it...pregnant.  What?

That morning, I was all smiles and chatter with the lab ladies. I squealed a little when my doctor called me with a 154 beta and went about the next day dreaming of G's sibling and nurseries. I know-dangerous, but I indulged.

And then the next day, it hit. I've felt it before-that heavy feeling of dread, waiting for the bottom to fall out. This is more than pessimism, more than the echo of loss or infertility. This was intuition, my body's voice, that knew the next day's news would not be good. And it was spot on. My second beta was 178. It barely went up, and was far from doubled.  My doctor proposed a few scenarios-either this was twins and one was petering out (yet still we would have seen that number go up more), we were waiting for a miscarriage or it was an ectopic. That's what brought me to that third beta on Monday.

So, when my doctor called Monday afternoon, she asked, "so what does your intuition tell you today?" with the sing-song quality of good news in her voice.  "It's not good." I said. Well, apparently it had gone up, close to doubling. 325. I was more than confused and back onto the roller coaster.

What do I think about this? I try not to think either way. Easier said than done. Tomorrow, Friday, is my fourth beta. I'll be sitting in that same chair trying to stifle tears and I'll spend that morning afterward with my eyes glued to my phone.  I can't see from where I'm sitting that this could be good news, but I want more than anything for it to be. I'm spending my moments balancing realism, impending grief and hope and it's exhausting. Either way, I'd love to get some definitive news and stop living on the roller coaster of the unknown.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Silent Monologue

Me: "Aw, what was the twinge? I'm getting my period I bet. I bet it's my period. Goddmanit! I bet it's all over."
Me (2 seconds later): "What if that's implantation cramps? Are there such a thing? Cause, it could happen. I could be pregnant!!"
Me (2 seconds after that): "Holy crap! My boobs are sore. They're never sore. But I'm certain it's the progesterone. It has to be. My boobs weren't even sore when I was actually pregnant. And there's just no way I'm pregnant. This is so not gonna happen."
Me (4 seconds later): "I went a whole four seconds without thinking about every twinge in my body. Go me!"
Me (2 seconds later): "What was that twinge? Damn it!"

Suspended Possibilities

This may very well be my last chance at another child and the weight of that hasn't completely sunk in. 

I held on to these two embryos for three years with a steel-laced grip. Changes, bills and tragedies piled high throughout that time, leaving me undoubtedly unprepared, so the decision to keep them in storage was almost always a no-brainer.  And then I realized the main reason why they were still waiting: suspended possibilities.

You see, I thought that as long as they remained, so too did the possibility of another child. Their very existence, the bill that I received every month, meant that the game wasn't over. And that once I went forward with the cycle, should it fail, meant that any possibility of another child would be gone with them.

While this could very well be true, I came to a place recently (though I'm not sure when) during which I was ready to let those possibilities fly, whichever direction they chose. I became ready to accept their destiny and as a result, mine. And in some strange way, I felt a peace in doing it. Letting go of this dangling unknown to see where it may go has been strangely freeing and yet anxiety provoking at the same time.  My cushion of insurance is gone.

How is it that the end of these next several days will likely reveal a turning point in my life? How can one treatment, a few snapshots in time, change a person's path completely? I know that well, but I still can't understand it. This game of gamble where so many put all of their chips down on one dream can either bring about the greatest thing imaginable, a child, or it can stop it on a dime. It's a dream giver, a dream crusher, and I will soon (but not soon enough) find out on which side of the coin mine will fall.


It was a split-second decision I made several weeks ago. After committing to halting our FET until I was ready, I decided that I was suddenly...ready. At once I was in a much better space both physically and emotionally and the timing at work seemed to make sense (which it rarely does), so I embarked on returning our 3 1/2 year old embryos. As of today, I am officially PUPO.

Weird. I have a coupla embies floatin' around in me, each deciding whether to stick around.  Maybe they've already made the decision. That stuff, well, it's still surreal, even after having experienced it the first time around (and watching one of those said embryos from three years ago go to preschool today).

The journey to this transfer was especially harrowing this time around and it wasn't just about being loaded up with crazy-making hormones. After attending a quick work meeting the morning of (I know, stupid decision, but I wanted to get it out of the way) and my son's preschool orientation for 20 minutes after that (it was worth it), Mr. S and I rushed off to the clinic for my pre-treatment acupuncture for what was supposed to be a 30 minute commute. We would have arrived in plenty of time. At that point, it was about an hour-and-a-half until transfer.  So, that 30 minute commute? Well, as we sat in inching traffic just fifteen minutes from our house, we discovered that our commute was projected to have over two hours of delays due to freeway closures.

  Cue all that is anti-relaxation.

It turns out that there was an officer-involved shooting on the freeway somewhere between our town and the clinic during which both the suspect and an officer were shot. Although I am now heartbroken for the family of the officer (who just passed away today), at the time, I have to honestly say that I was hyper-focused on what was in front of me, especially as I sat in a frozen stream of traffic with the fullest bladder imaginable. It was well beyond discomfort and into the seering pain stage.

After finally finding our way off the freeway, I peed for what seemed like 5 minutes straight and we got back on for another hour, taking a very diverted path. As soon as we arrived at the clinic, we did not pass go, collect $200 (no they collected far more than that) and did not do pre-acupuncture. Instead, I was ushered straight into the stirrups. As I lay there, it became one of the most odd de-ja-vu experiences.

Except, this was different. I'd been here before, but then, I haven't. 3 1/2 years later, I do not have the assurance of the package of 6 IVFs waiting for me or the non-elevated FSH ovaries that would make it possible for me to go back and do it again. But one thing I do have is a child. So, although de-ja-vu, I was looking at the experience with a very different lens. Nevertheless, my longing is no less.

And so begins the complete and total mindf%$ that is the *sorta* 2 WW. I forgot how intense it could be.  Namely, I forgot how much it SUCKS MONKEY BALLS. More on that....