My religious beliefs are dense and complicated. I’ll start by saying I’m sorry if this offends anyone, but it’s how I feel and I recognize everyone feels different ways.
I believe that there is a higher power. I do not believe that he/she/it/they is/are actively involved in our lives.
I don’t pray, I don’t know how to pray.
I used to be very religious. I was raised Catholic, went to youth group, went to church every Sunday. But then the Catholic faith started making less and less sense to me. I broke from it in college and haven’t missed it, with the single exception of Christmas Eve.
I don’t believe in a Christian God. I don’t believe that people of other faiths are going to hell if they don’t accept “Him”. I don’t believe in hell or heaven at all, but a much vaguer type of afterlife.
I believe in the teachings of Christ, but I don’t believe that Christ died for our sins, etc. I believe Christ died for my sins in the same way that Jonah lived inside of a whale – symbolically.
I do believe in something. I just haven’t ever been able to put a name to it. I’m not atheistic or agnostic or Christian – if I had to pick I guess I’d say I’m a diest.
When people tell me they’re praying for me, I appreciate it. There are also lots of ways to do the same thing that prayer does, and I appreciate anyone sending concentrated compassion, love, and help my way.
When people tell me “It’s all in God’s plan,” I get pissed off. Don’t tell me that, ever, please. Especially now.
Today I got to the hospital at 6:45 to have my blood drawn for my repeat beta. I usually get there right at 7 when the outpatient lab opens. I was early today so I went down into the depths of the hospital to go to the regular lab with all the scary machines and stuff.
On the way out I passed the chapel. On a whim, I went in.
At first, I wasn’t sure what to do. I didn’t want to read the Bible. I didn’t want to kneel and pray. So I just sat, closed my eyes, and took some deep breaths. I felt myself relax.
On the way out, I noticed a prayer book. Every prayer had a check by it. It moved me to think of someone sitting quietly, meditating on all of these problems.
I read through them, and it helped put my situation in perspective. There is a lot of suffering in the world.
Then I wrote one for us. I wrote “Please pray for my baby, who is only the size of a grain of rice today, but is already loved so dearly. We worked for two years for this pregnancy and faced a lot of heartache along the way. Now I am finally pregnant and very scared.”
Oh my god you guys, today was such a clusterfuck. From fighting with the lab (again) about my orders, to waiting ALL DAMN DAY for my beta results, this tiny baby inside me is probably going to have flippers because I’ve been so stressed.
That’s right, I’m calling it. 4w0d. I’m flippin’ pregnant, ya’ll.
I suppose I need to use my words right about now, in addition to yet another photo of pee sticks.
The past few days I have been floating around in a cloud. Saturday morning we were snuggling in bed, and the anxiety had worn me down. It was 6dp5dt and I asked A if I could test. He reluctantly agreed.
I am SO glad I tested when I did. I was able to enjoy the weekend instead of worrying through the whole thing. Every day that I wake up, pee on a stick, and find out I’m still pregnant is the best day of my life.
Do you remember when Becky tried to announce her pregnancy to Jesse on Full House? And she cooked baby back ribs, baby carrots, baby corn, etc? Ever since I watched that (how old was I? 8?) I have wondered how I would tell my husband I was pregnant. I imagined it being so romantic. (Of course Jesse had just gotten the news that the Rippers were going on tour or something, so it didn’t quite work out for Becky.)
With IF treatments that romance is stolen from you. But I have reclaimed it. I “break the news” to A about three times a day. On Sunday, over Chinese food, I copped a somber tone and said “Listen, there’s something we really need to talk about and I guess now’s the best time. I’m pregnant.”
Yesterday I texted him and said “We need to talk. I’m pregnant and I think it’s yours.” He responded “Whatever! We only did it anal!”
Of course, I don’t have the luxury of ignorance. I know so much. I know we have so many hurdles to jump.
There are three big letters on my mind: E, H, M. Is it Ectopic? Will we find a Heartbeat? Will I Miscarry?
I already know that the wait for the ultrasound will be the longest wait of my life. But I have a really good feeling about this, and I’m trying not to ignore that.
Beta is tomorrow. In the morning I will take my only digital HPT and I fully expect it to say “Pregnant”. I have taken the morning off work (I’m so useless here, anyway!) so I can spend the time waiting for the phone call with my husband.
Cross your fingers for a beautiful number that doubles by Friday!
So. Hubby consented to let me POAS this morning. I got this (sorry, I can't figure out how to rotate it):
I'm obviously excited. It's not negative. It's faintly positive. But these are also the internet cheapies that gave me a very faint positive on beta day when my beta was 2.5. So I don't completely trust them.
Of course, that cycle I was on hcg boosters. And I'm ~11dpo.
So I went out and bought 3 first response tests. The question is, do I do one today, or do I wait until the morning?
I thought I would at least have a few critical days to operate normally before I slid straight into 2ww insanity and misery. Boy, was that was foolish of me!
Let’s just review:
I have never been pregnant before.
I was sexually active and on BCP from 18-22 - no accidents.
I went off the pill and tried “naturally” between December ‘09 and May ‘10 – nothing (not surprising, since I wasn’t ovulating at all).
June – August ’10 I took Metformin – nothing.
September – December ’10 I tried naturally/with clomid and timed intercourse – nothing.
In January and April of this year I had IUIs. Nada.
In July we did IVF #1. Zilch.
Not so much as a chemical pregnancy to speak of. Never seen two lines except for when I’ve been on hcg triggers/boosters.
So why should I expect this to work? Because, ladies and gentlemen, it has the best chance of working of anything we’ve done, ever.
I never had hope for clomid/IUIs. I know many people conceive that way, but in my gut I knew it wouldn’t work for us. I was right because my eggs do not fertilize without ICSI, as we proved during IVF #1.
IVF #1 was such a disaster that I held out very little hope for our 6-celled embryo. I pretty much mourned the failing of that cycle the day we got our fertilization report.
So why would IVF #2 work? Nothing has ever worked.
But, why wouldn’t it work? We transferred two beautiful blasts and conditions in my hoo-ha were perfect for babymaking.
My pregnancy test is 9/28. All along, I have somehow thought this was a Tuesday. I woke up today and told myself “one week from today.”
In a meeting this morning, someone referenced Thursday, September 29. “Wait a minute,” I thought to myself, “that can’t be right. If 9/29 is a Thursday then 9/28 is…DUN DUN DUN…a WEDNESDAY!” Which it is. Which broke my heart because that’s another day I have to wait to find out if this worked.
Luckily with IVF, 3-5 days of the 2ww are occupied waiting to transfer. That’s nervewracking in its own way, but it’s not the 2ww pain. But now I’m past that and I’m freaking out. I am both dying for beta and terrified of beta.
Well, we have one embryo frozen - a hatching blastocyst.
I'm disappointed that of 17 eggs, 14 mature, and 10 great-looking embryos, we only wound up with three total embryos to work with.I'm also a bit annoyed that we have to pay the $700 to freeze one embryo. It would have been the same amount to freeze 15 or 6 or 1.
Mainly though, I just wish we would have had two to freeze. That would have made me feel so much better.
If this cycle fails, after transferring two blasts, I can't see myself feeling very hopeful about an FET with just one. I know it doesn't necessarily work that way, but how do you get pregnant from one if you don't get pregnant from two?
However, if this cycle works, it might be perfect to have one frosty. And we do have every indication to think this cycle will work.
Transfer was this morning. We transferred a blastocyst (Tiny) and an early blastocyst (Teeny). I was very happy to see the photo of them:
The embryologist was kind of a downer. I sort of wanted to punch her. She didn't compliment Teeny and Tiny nearly enough (I mean look at those faces!). Then she was not encouraging at all about our remaining embryos: 8 left, 2 have arrested, the other 6 are at morula stage, she basically can't give us any guarantees we'll have anything to freeze. Which, whatever, but be nicer.
I'm too tired to write more about the transfer. My brain isn't really working. I still have pain throughout my abdomen that feels like this:
need to take a massive poop +
menstrual cramps +
I did 3,000 sit ups yesterday. (clearly did not)
and all I want to do is sleep for the next two days, which I will probably do, with a short lucid period to watch the Emmy's (Go Modern Family!)
There has been a lot in the blogosphere lately about complaining -- more specifically, complaining about your children and your pregnancy via facebook/blogging. I don't wish to be involved in the drama, but I do wish to clarify my stance on the issue. It's pertinent in this day and age.
I don't like to read people's complaints about their pregnancy and their children. It rubs me the wrong way, due to the stage of life I'm in. It seems like if I had an ill/deployed/deceased spouse I would hate to see people complaining about their partner. Or if I were unemployed I would be annoyed to see people complaining about work.
However, when it comes to facebook, I realize most people have over 200 friends and they are not directing these complaints at me. And I am free to hide/block/defriend them, which I do, with a heavy hand. When someone is one-on-one complaining to you about their children, and knows you're dealing with infertility, well, that's insensitive and a different topic all together.
When it comes to blogging, well, no one forces you to read anyone's blog. Just stop subscribing. Which I also do, frequently, when the content isn't interesting to me any more, or when it offends me. It's the internet. There's a lot of shit out there and you can't read it all.
But I guess my real issue here is that facebook shouldn't be for complaining, at all. Facebook is not the place to live through your horrendous breakup with hourly status updates about the soul-crushing devastation you feel. (I had a friend who did this and it was SO. ANNOYING.)
The internet, in general, isn't really an appropriate place to document your child's diaper rash/UTI/circumcision/broken bone/etc. I know your child is a small person, but s/he is still a person, and has a right to a certain degree of privacy, meaning that the guy you got coffee with once in college doesn't know the intimate details of his/her medical history.
I also don't think the internet is a great place to lament about your mother-in-law, your boss, your partner, or your children. That's just not what it's for. I log onto facebook to see what my friends are up to: what movies they're seeing, if they're traveling somewhere, if they're running a marathon, if they've gotten engaged/married/divorced etc.
I don't have a problem with using facebook for announcements. "I'm pregnant!" "We have decided to get a divorce." "My child/husband/father/friend/aunt is in the hospital and I'd appreciate your prayers." "We lost a pregnancy and we are mourning." "I lost my job today, so if you have any leads, please call me." All appropriate.
"My kids are driving me f*cking crazy." "My husband is such a dickhead." "My mother-in-law is going to make me jump out a window." "Why did I spread my legs for my husband that night because this pregnancy thing sucks." Not appropriate.
It's facebook, it isn't a f*cking episode of Dr. Phil.
So to my 261 friends: please keep it light. Facebook is not the place for your deepest, darkest confessions.
And to the 35 of you I've hidden from my news feed: you suck.
All ten of our embryos are still dividing. They’re all between 5 and 8 cells, which is right where they’re supposed to be on day 3. I’m impressed that some have reached 8, because the one we transferred on day 3 last time was only 6 cells.
I cried tears of joy when I got off the phone with the lab. We are so blessed to have had such luck this time. I was up all night last night worrying about the embabies, certain that they would call this morning and tell me all 10 had arrested. I hope that one - or two - of them become our children. I am tearing up again as I type this.
Looking back on Tuesday, I’m starting to realize how ill I really was. I checked out for several hours. The pain was so intense at times that I couldn’t deal with it, and I don’t really think I have a low pain tolerance. I remember A picking me up from the floor for the third time in three minutes and asking him weakly “Do you think we should call the doctor?” (um, YES.) I just surrendered myself to him and gave up on functioning for the rest of the day. I’m so thankful I had him to take care of me.
I am still a little sore and very bloated. I still look about four months pregnant and wearing pants is a chore. But this discomfort is so worth it, if…well, you know.
I am so, so happy to have had this opportunity. My ten little potential children already warm my heart in a way I’ve never experienced.
Where to begin? I guess the easiest way is just a timeline.
6:45 am: check in for retrieval
7:25: look at the clock in the procedure room as I start fading away under the anesthesia
7:55: look at the clock in the recovery room. Wait impatiently for my husband to return.
8:10: ask for half a Vicodin. Nurse says if I'm having pain so early, I should take a whole. Nurse calls me an "egg machine" but can't remember how many we got.
9:25: A returns and tells me we got SEVENTEEN EGGS!! SEVENTEEN! I cry and text everyone I know to tell them the good news.
9:45 get in the car
10:00 hit with a wave of nausea and start feeling very uncomfortable
10:15 make A pull over so I can puke (but it won't come up)
10:30 get to my parents' house where our dogs are. Vomit in their driveway. Lie down and rest until 11, wake up to use the restroom. Pass out three times walking 15 feet from bedroom to rest room -- legitimate passing out, coming to on the floor and not knowing where I am.
11:30 talk to doctor in panic. He tells me to rest and call in a few hours if I don't feel better.
12:00pm the pain is bad. My abdomen doesn't hurt that much, but I have severe pain under my ribcage and shoulders every time I take a deep breath.
2:30 still can't stand up without feeling like I'll pass out. Call the doctor, he is unsure about what to do. Debate on going to ER in my parents' town but just really, really, want to be home.
3:00 take more Vicodin
4:30 finally leave my parents' house
6:00 arrive home and get in bed. In so much pain I can barely move. Every inhale is excruciating unless I breathe very shallowly. A goes downstairs to make himself some dinner and I get a spasm of pain that causes me to gasp, which hurts more because breathing hurts. I'm hyperventilating because I can't breathe deeply enough to catch my breath. Scream for my husband (he never gets to eat dinner).
6:30 arrive at ER.
7:30 finally get some pain meds (does nothing). Call for more and the nurse needs a doctor to order it. Have two more pain spasms/hyperventilating spells. All I want is to get comfortable enough to sleep.
9:00 nurse arrives to give me some serious painkiller. It brings me so much relief that I start crying. I say "I just want to have a baby" over and over again.
11:00 after 90 minutes of sleep and that hardcore painkiller, I feel like a new woman. I go home and go to bed. I wake up every four hours to eat and take more Vicodin.
8:15 this morning - embryologist calls to say of the 17 eggs, 14 were mature, and 10 fertilized with ICSI. TEN! TEN! That is 10x the fertilization we had last time. I am over the moon.
So today I feel much better. I am tender around my abdomen and I look four months pregnant due to my swollen ovaries. But this pain is manageable with Vicodin and a heating pad. I'm not sure why I reacted so poorly to the anesthesia this time when I had no problem in July. I'm not sure why I had such weird pain all through my torso. But the worst has passed.
Day 5 transfer on Sunday 9/18. Pregnancy test on 9/28.
I have 10 follicles on my right and 7 on my left. Some are smaller, but my educated, very optimistic guess is I'll end up with 10 eggs. That would be fantastic.
Estradiol is 2125. No wonder I have been so weepy lately. Last time it was only 675, so I'm hoping that means good things. I'm on estrace post-transfer instead of hcg boosters, thank god.
Retrieval is scheduled for Tuesday morning. Transfer either Friday or Sunday.
All in all the stims went very quickly this time. Being on vacation for five of the days helped. Yesterday I really started feeling my ovaries and I was exhausted and emotional all day. I hung out with my friend H last night and she really helped cheer me up.
My husband is being sweet and supportive, as always. The pregnancy test is scheduled for 9/28 and is birthday is 10/9. He said "Maybe I'll get a baby for my birthday!"
I do have things to look forward to if this cycle fails. We have Wicked tickets in October and I'm traveling to see the Indigo Girls in November, which I am SUPER excited about. They have been my favorite group since age 15. I will be okay if it doesn't work, but I hope it does.
I feel excited, nervous, and a little scared. It feels surreal to be doing it all for the second time.
Let's cross our fingers that this retrieval/fertilization goes more smoothly than the last.
My blood draw today was the worst. A little fainting, a lot of crying -- I'm glad it's over.
The sonogram went much better. I have 8 follicles on the right and 9 on the left, which is a substantial improvement over 5 and 6 (respectively) last cycle. I'm happy.
I'm going to stay on the same dose of stims (2 Bravelle, 3 Menopur) tomorrow, Friday, and Saturday, and go in for more bloodwork and another sonogram on Saturday. Earliest retrieval will be is Monday, but I have a feeling it'll be closer to Wednesday.
I feel fine these days. A bit bloated but that's probably vacation bloat, not ovary bloat : ) I have no pain yet and I'm just excited that this cycle is progressing.
Keep my in your thoughts/prayers/chants/voodoo/rain dances/whatever the next few days.
California. Dear, sweet California. I wish I never had to leave, but at the same time I was so ready to be home. Too many emotions for this hormonal girl.
I went to California to visit my friend, let’s call her Lucy, last Memorial Day. We did the Golden Gate Bridge, some shopping, went to Half Moon Bay, ate at the Cliff House, did Napa Valley, and lots of other awesome stuff in there. This time was even better.
She picked me up at SFO on Thursday and we ate at the Cheesecake Factory in Union Square. We got all caught up on each other’s lives – she’s been having a hard time with anxiety, depression, and insomnia, and she wanted to know all about IVF. I had the most amazing corn tamales. Then we walked around Nob Hill for a while and left the city. I was exhausted so we had dinner and visited with her mom and stepdad, watched The Graduate (one of my favorite movies and a tradition between the two of us) and went to bed.
Friday morning we went into Mill Valley in Marin County. It is a wonderful place – feels like you’re in a quaint Gilmore Girls-style town, you’d never know San Francisco is just miles away. The Eucalyptus from all the trees floats down and the whole town smells wonderful. We went into an awesome Whole Foods and got lunch.
We went to Muir Woods and saw the Redwoods. This was the highlight of the trip. The weather was perfect: 70 degrees, sunny, clear. The trees are beautiful, overwhelming, heartbreaking. But more than anything, the feeling you get among them is unforgettable. My lungs could taste the difference in the air and I found myself taking deep, cleansing breaths. In a way, it felt like being in church – so sacred. Everyone, even the children, was quiet and respectful, and no one’s cell phones worked, so everyone was in the moment, focused, in a way groups of people never are.
I felt like if I could just stand there among the trees for long enough, I would feel whole again.
But then we climbed Mount Tamalpais, which sounds more impressive than it is because you drive up almost all of the 2,500 feet and climb for about 20 minutes at the end. When you get to the top you can see the entire bay area: Sausalito, Berkeley, San Francisco across the water, all the headlands, and the marine layer rolling in, completely obscuring the GGB and looking all spooky. The sun was beating down on us up there and it was about 95 degrees. We stood for a while and I gulped water and felt, for the second time that day, totally overwhelmed by what I was seeing.
We descended the mountain and stopped at Stinson beach, where it was foggy and about 55 degrees – so the temperature changed 40 degrees in about 30 minutes. Crazy! We got an ice cream cone and then headed down to get on the interstate. The roads are very twisty and turny and I got a serious case of car sickness on the way down. I kept thinking “This is how you’ll feel when you get pregnant, so it’s just practice!” I was sick for about an hour but then we started driving in straight lines again and I felt better.
Friday night we had pizza, Ghirardelli brownies, and very expensive champagne for dinner : )
Saturday we hit San Francisco. We started at the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market, then walked up to Ghiradelli Square. We caught a cab and driver was a bit of a handful – we said we wanted to go to Alamo Square to see the Full House houses, and he claimed ignorance of what Full House was. He said “I don’t watch TV – I watch the Universal Channel.” Whatever, dude – there’s no way you lived in San Francisco in the 1980s and since then, at some point, you didn’t find out what Full House is! When he found out we were from IL, he started lecturing us about nuclear power and “Obama-Bush” (because there’s been no change between Obama and Bush). The kicker was then he pointed out the Mrs. Doubtfire house to us, and I said “So they play Mrs. Doubtfire on the Universal Channel?”
We were happy to be rid of him and Alamo Square was awesome. I actually enjoyed it a lot more than I expected to – the Painted Ladies are so neat to see and it felt like being on the movie set of my childhood!
Then we walked to Haight-Ashbury, which was neat to see but there’s really not a lot down there, in my opinion. We caught a cab to the Castro, which was AWESOME. I really loved the Castro. It’s no secret that I secretly wish I were gay. Unfortunately, I am not. I feel like gay people are a lot more likely to have my same values and worldview – I don’t know a lot of straight people who think the way I do, but a lot of the lesbians I know are on the same page with me. I fit in better with gays than with straights, in an odd way.
It was really neat to see all the history devoted to Harvey Milk – if you haven’t seen Milk with Sean Penn, rent it tonight. We ate at Harvey’s, which used to be the Elephant Walk, but was destroyed in riots and re-built. We walked the castro for a bit and I just loved the feeling there. Everyone felt uninhibited and happy and even the clerks at the Walgreen’s were a little more kooky than we get in the Midwest, but seemed happy to be selling us hairties and candy corn. I wanted to move there, and the best part is, I bet they would welcome me with open arms.
Sunday was a chill day – we slept in, had a mini-Glee marathon, and then drove into Napa. We briefly saw Chateau Montalena, and then we ate at Mustard’s. It was a nice, relaxing day. That evening we went to a yoga class. I used to practice and teach yoga 4-5 times a week, but that screeched to a halt when IVF got heavy-duty. It was nice to take a yoga class again, and it was Lucy’s first time. It’s always fun to experience things as a beginner.
All in all, it was an excellent trip, and I’m so sad it’s over.