I’m too scared to be excited.

That’s the God’s honest truth.  It feels weird to say since we are somehow in the position we dreamed to be in, but wondered whether it would ever happen. Or how.  But now that the news is out there, when people run up to me and ask “are you so excited?” I pause and think “Kind of? Not really. Is that weird?”  It’s not that I am not excited, but it’s not on the top of my list of emotions.  It’s like 4th down the list behind shock, disbelief, and terror. This is not the oh crap I’m scared to be a parent fear (that is legit too).  This is like I am just waiting for this to crash and burn because I don’t know any other result, fear.

Now, let me go backwards and maybe I can explain. Kenny and I were taking a break.  Part of the reason I hadn’t written in a while was because I didn’t have too much to update at the beginning.  We decided that mentally, and physically, we needed a break completely.  We couldn’t handle anymore heartbreak, and my body needed some time to recover.  We had a trip planned to Paris in April, so in December we decided that we would actively try not to get pregnant until we got back from our trip.  That way we could eat, drink and be merry, and then come back refreshed and be ready to make decisions about trying on our own, IVF, donor “product”, etc.

Because, the interesting thing about our fertility journey was that getting pregnant was not necessarily the issue.  We had managed to have that happen 5 times.  So, we actually needed to try not to get pregnant in order to “guarantee” a break that we felt like we really needed.  Other people’s “break” might be more of the rolling the dice, just not mapping things out, ovulation kits, timing, etc.  Well, we tried that break one time (last September) and we know where we ended up that time…

So, as much as it pained me to be “wasting precious time” I also knew in my heart we needed some time to not worry about whether or not I was getting pregnant, and whether or not something sad would happen after.  So, that was our plan.

On Monday, January 15th I should have gotten my period.  I didn’t, thought it was kind of weird but also knew there was no way anything could be going on. Figured it was just a slight delay.  Next day, also nothing.  I texted one friend being like this is weird, but whatever.  And mentioned to Kenny that maybe after another couple of days I should take a test to just check.  But both of us were very confident it was nothing.

Then, tragedy struck. On Wednesday, January 17th I was working from home because of snow-and my commute is kind of a hike. I had texted my mom and my dad separately asking for my cousin’s last name for a reference letter I was writing-sounds weird I know, but he has a different name than the rest of the fam. Didn’t hear back from either of them, not that weird since they’re old and don’t have their phones attached to them.

But, then I got a text from my mom asking how to check the voicemails at the apartment. I thought it was a weird question because I had just taught my dad how to do it in their new place. So I told her how to check it from the home phone, knowing she works from home often.  Then, she asked how to check it from work.  I explained it.  But, paused for a second because, I thought, Dad is retired, so he is home all the time, if she is at work why would she be calling home to check the voicemails? Back to that in a moment.

I thought it was kind of odd, but neither are technically savvy so who knows.  About an hour or so later I got the worst phone call I’ve ever received.  It was my mom, crying, telling me she thinks my dad was dead. She said she called 911 and all I said was “I’m on my way.” Dropped everything, through a coat on and ran out into the snow.

The next few minutes are a complete blur.  There was substantial snow I had to clean off my car and thank god for an SUV I just plowed over what was on the driveway.  I dropped my phone in the snow while trying to call my friend.  For better or worse she had been through something similar, and she was the only person I could think of to call in this moment.  I finally got a hold of her (although felt guilty for calling anyone) and luckily she talked to me for what felt like forever even though it was only 2 miles.

The whole time I thought maybe I heard it wrong, maybe I was overreacting, or maybe my mom didn’t see what she thought she saw.  But when I pulled into the apartment complex and saw 6-8 fire trucks, ambulances and police cars I knew it was bad.  I hung up and went up the elevator with a first responder who was in no rush at all which made it all that much more real.  When I ran down the hallway mum was waiting outside the door.

She said she went to the office to work that day. When she left my dad was sleeping. But something inside must have had her guard up because she left one of the cordless phones on the bathroom counter, which she never did, and she left the apartment door unlocked which she also never did. *Just in case*

When she called the apartment and he didn’t answer she left a voicemail.  She called again, no answer.  If you know my dad, this is odd.  1. because he is home alone and bored and 2. because dude loved to chat.  The reason she asked me how to check the voicemail is because she thought maybe the visiting nurse had called and maybe she was there keeping him from answering the phone, but nothing.  Mum was supposed to go to lunch with a friend, but decided it was weird she hadn’t heard from him so she decided to go home instead. She went upstairs to find him on the bathroom floor, called 911, started chest compressions and called me afterwards.  Unfortunately, she already was pretty confident that no intervention would work.

That was the worst day. Except for maybe most of the days following that.  The medical professionals stayed for a while, they tried everything they could. But also felt that he had a massive heart event and that the result was instant. His cause of death was cardiac asystole coupled with long term coronary artery disease, diabetes and advanced kidney disease.

The thing that was crazy was that my dad was not a healthy man.  And his health had gotten worse over the last few years.  He lost several toes, he had several hospitalizations due to heart disease and retention of fluid, and eventually had a below knee leg amputation after battling chronic life-threatening infections. But despite all of this, he was always somehow “fine”.  So, even though we knew he wasn’t well in general, he was just kind of normal Big Cat.  I was just there Saturday while my aunt and uncle came by, and my brother and niece, to help hang pictures in their new place. It just seemed impossible. My dad was gone. How?

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The next several hours and days were pretty much a whirlwind.  When the responders determined that they did everything they could do, they called the medical examiner, and then next thing I know I was on the phone with a funeral home. (Blessing in disguise, the funeral home staff were unbelievable and made an incredibly horrible situation somehow bearable.)  I made tons of phone calls that day delivering this terrible news, telling people was maybe worse than hearing it myself. My dad was the best. Wicked funny, super generous, charming AF.  People loved him.  This was the worst.

That night my tiny house was filled with people. It was sort of fun?  If that is even a thing.  I drank an entire bottle of red wine (don’t worry it was organic. lol). Mum was staying with us, our place became kind of the meeting place for everyone.  The next day was already planning mode, going to the church, planning services, asking people to speak, planning the reception.  Can’t have an Irish funeral without a party, duh.

After all of the errands, mum wanted to be dropped at home.  To have a moment to herself and do some packing. Kenny went to get a haircut.  I headed to Walgreens to buy some poster board and glue to make some collages for the wake, while I was there, I told Kenny I was going to just pick up a test.  Just to confirm what we already knew which was I wasn’t pregnant because it wasn’t possible. But, since I drank an entire bottle of wine and felt I would likely be drinking a lot of my feelings for the foreseeable future, I figured I should just know for sure.

I came home, to an empty house for the first (and last) time in a few weeks.  Casually peed, and went about my business.  When I walked back into the bathroom and saw PREGNANT on the stick.  I legitimately screamed.  Not in excitement, joy or anything, but with utter shock and fear.  What I thought was “I really don’t need this right now.  None of us can handle any more sadness right now.”  I Facetimed my friend, and just held the phone over the counter. I just had to show someone, she was the one I texted earlier in the week saying it was weird I was late. Turns out she was a good ally for me over the weekend in multiple ways, but including giving me fake drinks.  Then I Facetimed Kenny and just yelled:

sway

I legitimately didn’t understand how this was possible. Granted, I was a math major.  I get that statistically some prevention methods are more effective than others. But, now we know for a fact, there is a reason they tell you in health classes that some things don’t always work.  Let’s just say, we may have some type of Olympic ski jumper on our hands.

ski

Anyway, my head was a cluster-eff to say the least. But now there was this other big thing going on while I was prepping for my father’s sudden wake and funeral.  The timing could not have been more insane.  Dealing with the wake and funeral and all of those emotions whilst having this on the mind was something else. I decided not to call the doctor or tell anyone else.  In my history, within 5 or 6 days of a test things were already going south.  So, I figured if, given everything that was going on in my world, I could avoid going to the doctor every two days to find out more sad things, then maybe I could avoid it.

I somehow managed to get through that weekend with the support of amazing family and friends and lots of story telling and memory sharing.  And a healthy dose of me keeping busy being in charge of coordinating things, which is my comfort zone. But the following Tuesday, 7 days after I was supposed to get my period, and 5 days after my test, I had a little spotting.  So, obviously, DOOM. I figured I needed to call my doctor and check it out.

They had me come in Wednesday morning for blood work which was also my first day back to work. Super casual day at the office post dad dying and awaiting this fate at the same time.  They called, and to my surprise said my HCG was something like 2300.  Now, to put in perspective, the highest I think my numbers had ever gotten before was like 700 and that was after days and days of testing.  So, I was like wait what. The nurse said this is a good start let’s see what happens Friday.  All the while I am still spotting on and off and I know this is my downfall.  Friday I go to a conference planning meeting in Boston.  Was kind of nice to be “working” but be outside of the office after that week.  I am heading straight from there to a cooking class I got for Kenny for Christmas and on my way out the nurse calls.  Remember, the key is your HCG should be doubling every 48 hours.  So, even though my first count was good, it would only matter if it kept being good.  So, as always, I had the number it needed to reach in my head all day.  When the nurse says 5400.  I almost choked.  I had NEVER gone above the 48 hour rule minimum.  I had barely hit it, come close or halted completely.  I had no idea how to react to this. She reassured me spotting was still ok (LIES.  I still don’t believe that even now, but.) my numbers were so high I didn’t even need to come back!  WHAT? Who even am I? They scheduled me for an ultrasound for Tuesday, which would be about 6 weeks.

You know you have had trauma when you tell your husband not to even bother coming with you.  I figured it by some miracle it was good, then he’d have to miss work more later.  And if it was bad, as we had been trained to expect, then I had experience dealing with it already. Talk about hardened.

So here comes my favorite light saber and she tells me that she sees the yolk sac, that I am measuring at 6 weeks 0 days (my count would have been 6 and 1) but the difference was minimal. She also saw a small implantation bleed which was not concerning…TO WHOM?!?! The doctor spoke to me afterwards, fertility specialist, so she is very cautious.  “Nothing we see here points to anything other than positive, but it is still very early and considering your history I’d like to keep you with us and check in 2 weeks. And let’s put you on some vaginal progesterone support”

I said please keep me as long as possible. Then I proceeded to fight with insurance and the TERRIBLE specialty pharmacy that shall remain nameless for hours who tried to not give me this medicine and almost made me commit crime.  See, at this point I am nauseous, hormonal, stressed, and grieving. Do. Not. Mess. With. Me.  Finally after my savior at the insurance company, Matthew, got it taken care of for me, I drove an hour into God’s country to pick up my medicine.  Because, you see, even though I wasn’t taking it before, now that I was supposed to take it, I needed it IMMEDIATELY.

When I picked it up, I had the pleasure of inserting it in a disgusting gas station bathroom, because I didn’t want to delay it another hour. So, then, I wait another 2 weeks.  This time Kenny comes with me.  Now we are at February 13th.  I go in, my regular ultrasound tech isn’t there.  The new girl says, “I know your difficult history so I am going to tell you what I see as soon as I see it.” I appreciated it, because I just needed to know either way.  Sometimes the hardest part in my previous experience was just knowing something was bad but not actually knowing for so long.

So, me and the light saber become friends again and as soon as she is there she says “OK there it is. And we have a heartbeat.”  I was like WWWWAAAAIIIIT.  Then she shows us on the screen the heartbeat.  Here’s the thing.  No one ever told me this was even a possibility this early.  I pictured hearing it later on in the process.  I had no clue.  So, shocked it was possible and shocked it was happening. Then she tells us the heart rate and says everything looks great.  I couldn’t believe it.  Then she says “I have to be honest. I was nervous to do this one because I was really hoping I would have something good to tell you.” You and me both sister.

I didn’t get emotional until I walked into the hallway and my nurse was crying. She had been there with us this whole time.  And then our medical assistant hears the commotion and walks down the hallway to hug us.  That was actually the moment I was like oh shit this might actually be real.  These people escorted out of the office multiple times sobbing before. These are medical professionals, so if they are excited I must be able to be excited. Right?

The nurse practitioner called me afterwards.  She gave me all my instructions, what was allowed and not, what to expect, it was all very matter of fact like this is real. I was still uneasy.  It was still early, I was still spotting.  Had even passed a clot which was terrifying. They doubled my dose of progesterone so I got to insert this medication up the hoo ha twice a day and had to lay down for 30 minutes so it would stay in. So hot.  Always wanted to know what progesterone suppositories twice a day for 8 weeks looks like? Well, you’re in luck:

prog

And, yes I kept them all and I have no idea why. So, then they just give you the boot back to a regular OB which made me nervous.  Because, well everything does, and because fertility people only deal with stressed, sad people so they GET ME.  But, I called and made an appointment for the following week.

In the meantime, I told my mom. I made her a little valentine with the ultrasound pic in it.  I wanted to wait because I knew no one needed anymore bad news, but I also wanted to loop her in if it was good news then at least something positive to think about. So, that was scary but exciting at the same time.  We told people very slowly. Part of me felt like it felt more real when we told Kenny’s parents or siblings, etc., but there was always this fear lingering. Turns out, that hasn’t gone away slash might not ever.

When I went to the OB, they were so nonchalant I didn’t know how to handle it. I guess that should be a good thing, but I keep wanting to ask them “you know this is impossible right? you should be more careful with me”.  The only thing I got from the midwife during my exam was. “WOW those must be really tender and sore, huh? Great nipples though.” Alright, lady. Thanks???

Appointment went well, got another little picture.  Another check point, but then had to wait until 13 weeks for my appointment with the doctor. FOUR WEEKS.  Damn that’s a long time.

But, the following Monday I came home from work.  My mom had actually fallen and unbeknownst to any of us fractured her elbow. When I went over there I had blood.  Not spotting but blood. I was like well shit here we go.  Every time I had a glimmer of hope seep in, there came blood to check me back to reality. I called the doctor knowing they were going to tell me to wait and watch it.  But, the next day I woke up with a horrendous stomach flu. Grossness coming from everywhere, fever, the whole 9.  The doctor, understandably, didn’t want me to come in like that but waiting during that was even worse.  Finally the next day I stopped puking violently and they let me come in.  Everything again looked fine, albeit hard to believe.

The next week I flew to DC for a conference, was staying with a good friend thank God.  After a snow storm was predicted I changed my flights to leave earlier just to be safe.  Normally I’d be like whatever, but in my current state I really wanted to be home, was worried about having enough medication, and didn’t want to get stuck. Then, on top of it, had blood again that Monday night in a restaurant so I was a wreck.

Called the doctor when I got home and they took me in again to check.  This time they did an exam to look for reasons for bleeding and there were none.  “Sometimes women just have unexplained bleeding’. But again everything looked fine.

At the end of that week I was done wth my progesterone.  On the one hand I was grateful because that was no fun and I was looking forward to not ruining more underwear with black discharge (TMI, but facts). On the other hand, I felt like that was my lifeline and it was scary to let go of it. But, since then *knock on wood* there hasn’t been any spotting.

But sure as shit, I did call and ask if it was reeeeeeeally ok for me to stop.  Up next was the appointment with the actual doctor. And waiting impatiently for our Cell Free DNA testing which checks for several chromosomal abnormalities, including Down Syndrome. The nurse tells me she is surprised I haven’t gotten the results yet, says she’ll go check the computer and be right back. But never.comes.back.

When the doctor comes in I’m already on edge, she asks if something is wrong and I was like “no this is just what I always look like when I am here.” She laughed and then said well I guess I should tell you your results with a smile on her face. So, she is either in the know and our results are good orrrrrr she hasn’t seen them and is terrible about facial expression management.  Luckily, everything came back good to go.  She gave me a rundown on my upcoming appointments and then went to check for the heartbeat.  Previously we could see it, but couldn’t hear it yet because it was too early.  So, she told me not to be alarmed if it took a while but then there is was.  It was so cool.  It was a good rate and she found it right away.  PHEW.  Good results plus heartbeat=I should be totally stoked now right?

Nope.  Not even close.  We did reach out to a couple of friends to take some potential announcement photos for us, and that was fun. But I still felt like I was playing dress up.  I was playing the character of someone who was 13 weeks pregnant but I was not myself 13 weeks pregnant. I was having my very own imposter syndrome moment. Like I didn’t belong in this situation even though I was somehow there.

I decided a funny way to tell my coworkers at a potluck because even though I would love to be showing more because it would continue to solidify the realness, it was getting difficult to hide it all day, every day.  And then at that point, I told Kenny we needed to just “bite the bullet” and share it widely.  I had been dragging my feet even though we passed the danger zone threshold. I realized I would never feel fully comfortable or excited.  See, I walk into every appointment expecting bad news and still jump when my phone rings expecting it to be them telling me there is something amiss.  I don’t know any different and I don’t know how else to feel.  I would love to be naive and walk in expecting for everything to be great.  I just don’t think I am capable of that.  So I keep being pleasantly surprised and that is good for now.  Our next appointment isn’t until early May, so I have 7 weeks between finding out any information which is a FREAKING LIFETIME.  I knew everyone and their mama would know well before that so I might as well have my moment in the sun of finally releasing my long-ago-created idea for a baby announcement that I never thought I would actually be able to do.

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Because that is fire and you know it.

I am not a particularly religious person (understatement).  But given this timing and all we’ve been through, it is pretty difficult to think this isn’t some type of heaven sent, divine intervention, guardian angel, miraculous, universe working in mysterious ways, whatever type of situation.  And I say to whoever or whatever…thank you.

Everyday I convince myself to enjoy it. To hope for the best.  To feel as though this is different.  Kenny has nicknamed the baby Anakin because…The Force is Strong.  I don’t do Star Wars, but I’m into the analogy so I am rolling with it.

Sorry for the incredibly long and emotional post, but I imagine the emotional rollercoaster of reading this is a tiny sliver of what it has been like living it.

Nonetheless as much as I am terrified I also feel incredibly blessed and grateful and meditating on the mantra The Force is Strong has somehow been working for me.

yoda

 

 

2017 Was Hot Garbage*

dumpster fire

*Mostly.

2017 was *mostly* hot garbage.  I don’t want to lump it all together and pour gasoline on the dumpster fire that it was, but I have 0 sad feelings about letting it go.  BYE-FE-LICIA; as happy to wish farewell to 2017 as I was to do the same to that saying. When I think about 2017 I think about strife and struggle and sadness, but I forced myself to dig through the darkness and notice the moments, both good and bad.

My dad lost part of his leg after a long battle wth Type II Diabetes, but we were showered with extreme generosity from friends and family after that which was beyond touching.  We went through an intense house hunt, and lost a BUNCH of houses (damn sellers market!), but finally got the perfect place for us which we’ve made into a home over the last few months.  Kenny left the job that has been a home for him for the past several years, but took on a new adventure which has provided him lots of new opportunities to grow.  We saw lots of friends find love, get married, have babies and have experienced joy through their joy.  I took my mom on a bomb vacation for her birthday.  My parents sold their townhouse and moved into a nice, accessible place super close to us.  Work and students provided lots of challenges, but I also won a pretty cool award in the spring.  I built some new friendships and rekindled others.  I published a blog putting all my biznass out onto the internet for all to read.  And, I felt the worst pain I could imagine feeling…multiple times.  But, I also survived.

Later on in life, when I look at 2017, I don’t think it will be my favorite year. Actually, I know it won’t be my favorite.  Pretty much it was trash. The highs were quite high, but the lows were the lowest.  And my memories of the lows, I know, will remain fresher than any of the highs.

In general, I do like to reflect at the end of a year, and I like the concept of a fresh start of sorts.  I am proud that I survived this year. That sounds mad dramatic.  I am a Leo, so.

Leo

But, I don’t know if I can honestly say the cliche “I came out stronger” and really believe that.  To be honest, I feel like I was pretty strong already, which is why I survived this mess of a year to begin with.  I come from a pretty long line of tough AF broads, we go through shit, we handle it, and we move on; from the little things to the real stuff.   While I had a lot of the real stuff, I am thankful I had, as my parents my say, the “intestinal fortitude” to somehow manage.  That plus lots of support from friends and family and, plenty of really fun distractions.

I’ve never been a resolution person. I feel like it’s all talk, not a lot of action.  And I hate no action.   I liked this post I saw my friend share on IG:

resolution

With that quote in mind, here I go.  Intentions, backed with action.  I do prefer to look forward than backward, because backward is kind of a sad shitshow of tears and doctors, so let’s talk 2018.  Here are some things I want to think about or focus on in 2018:

  1. The number, like it, it sounds good. (Full of logic, right?) The Hebrew word for life has a numerical value of 18, I remember my grad school roommate telling me 18 was an important number in the Jewish faith and that her and her siblings all have 18 letters in their full names.  I thought that was cool.   So I am hanging on to it, 18, life, living mine and hopefully (somehow) creating another life.
  2. Recommitting to taking care of myself.  This year has really effed up my feelings about my body.  Like REALLY.  I’ve always had a love hate relationship with the way my body looked, regardless of how fit or not I was.  But I never really had any issues with how it WORKED.  Like, when I did eat healthy or worked out, things worked, and I felt and looked better.  Internally, it did all the things it was supposed to do, luckily.  Cool.  But this year was different.  It did none of the things it was supposed to do, or that it wanted to. It actually did the opposite.  And then when I was going through periods of time where I wasn’t allowed to work out for weeks and wasn’t allowed to eat anything with folic acid (look that up, it’s a long list of everything good for you), it was like cool I will store all your fat cells like a hibernating bear.  LOL.  So, this year, it’s just about getting back to normal.  Back to healthy habits and healthy routines which I was able to maintain for years before this nonsense.  I’m not doing a diet, kind of don’t believe in those.  But healthier choices and reasonable portions are on the agenda, and back to my fitness routine, which I actually always liked.  Just looking forward to feeling like myself again.  Unfortunately, this plan coincides with everyone else on the planet joining the “tight train” at the same time, but I’ve never been motivated by group think.  I’m either in it, or not.  I usually wake up on a Wednesday and just decide “I’m going to be less chubby now”, and just do it.  So, anyway, me and Kenny are committed to taking better care of ourselves overall: sleep consistently, eat better, move more, the whole 9.
  3. I signed up for a support group for pregnancy loss which I am actually really excited about. (*side note, can you be excited about a support group for pregnancy loss??). First one is in January, and I look forward to whatever that may bring.  Collective cry circles, or whatever.
  4. Do. More. Shit.  I spent so much of last year hiding out, avoiding people, pictures, events, etc., I am excited to say yes and do more.  Partially we were hunkered down saving money to buy the house, which worked, WOO!  Then, we bought the house and were hunkered down not having any more money.  Still, technically in that part, but what. Then, it was just too hard to pretend to be happy when I was just sad.  Don’t want to be the one bringing down the mood all the time.  I was always the mostly positive, “Sally Brightside”, so I didn’t want to go from that to being Daria. 2018 will be the year of doing things.
  5. Grieving.  This sounds somewhat counter to the rest of my list, but it needs to happen.  Grief is a process, it takes time, and it is not linear.  I found this article right after talking with a friend: Grief. The idea that you could get exactly what you want and still have something to grieve feels strange, but it is real.  Check out this article, it was on point!
  6. Soul search. We are at a crossroads as far as this baby journey goes.  We are spending the first 1/4 of the year just feeling out what we want to do next.  Are we ready to utilize donor “products”, if so, which ones? Do we want to keep trying on our own, if so, for how long?  Do we want to try and sell body parts and go towards a private adoption.  We are spending some time just living life so hopefully the answer(s) will sort of come to us.

There’s a lot to do, a lot to think about, a lot to consider.  I am currently anti-hope.  That sounds terrible, right?  But, it’s the damn truth.  Hope hasn’t gotten me anywhere yet.  It’s not so much that I don’t have any, it’s just that focusing on that hasn’t been fruitful.  Instead, I am trying to focus on the things I can actually control. My body. My mind. My spirit.  I will take care of those things in 2018 and then we’ll just see what the hell happens from there.

And, if all else fails, if I get sad when thinking about 2017, I’ll just remember I met the mother-effing BACKSTREET BOYS.

BSB

Fertility is a MTHFR.

I hope you’ve all recovered from the This is Us blog post.  That was a doozie.  So EMOSH.

This one will be pretty quick.  In between our failed IVF cycle in early September and the DNC I had to have in October, we decided to get some testing done.  We planned on doing the sperm fragmentation test for Kenny and then get some blood work for me.  My doctor said there was a huge blood panel they used to automatically do for fertility patients, but because it was so much it could sometimes cause clotting and did not often lead to results that could be treated, so they stopped doing it for every patient.  But considering we were looking for answers I could opt into it, so I did.  I wanted to do that before the fragmentation test because that was so expensive and not covered, etc.

You never want something to be wrong with you, but as they were taking vile after vile of blood I was sort of hoping something would come back abnormal that they could tell me how to treat and then move on.  So, I got a call a few days later from the nurse who said they hadn’t gotten all panels back, but I did test abnormal for MTHFR.

Is that not the best name for a mutation ever?

I had never heard of it, but it is a gene mutation that approximately 1 in 2 people have.  So, it is pretty common.  But within the 1/2 that have it, there are types of mutations that can cause other issues that affect pregnancy and fertility.  So, I had to go back to the doctor to test for these other things.

The biggest issue you automatically have is that is that your body cannot naturally process folate, so that folic acid in your prenatal vitamin you’ve been taking for 2 years is totally useless.  GREAT.  So, they put me on a prescription folate which can be processed with this mutation to add to my regimen.  Yay more drugs to pay for.

Then they sent me back in to test for Homocysteine levels.  The 1/2 of us I mentioned above who have this mutation are at a risk for elevated homocysteine levels.  While the MTHFR mutation is not necessarily related to fertility or being able to conceive, it can affect the health of the pregnancy and baby since the folic acid critical to development is compromised.  But, in my case, I never got far enough along to where the folic acid would have been an issue.  But, elevated homocysteine levels are related to recurrent pregnancy loss, infertility, down syndrome, and others.  While I was waiting to get this back, I read up on it, because it was legit the first time I ever heard of either of these things.  (That fact alone was kind of annoying.  After a year plus of fertility care, why would you never mention this?  Why wouldn’t you test me just for MTHFR even if you didn’t do the full panel, since all my other stuff was normal? Ugh).

If you want to read a little more about this try this site. It gave me a pretty decent overview.

But, I got a call and homocysteine was perfectly normal.  WTF.  I didn’t want to have an issue, but it also could finally be a reason, a guiding light in the path of what to do now.  But, nope, normal.  There isn’t much you can do if it is not.  You can add or remove certain things from your diet, which would be good anyway.

But, in the end.  We did it, glad we did, but found nothing conclusive. Same shit, different day. “You should be fine, but you’re not soooooooooo”

But, after I had the DNC, a few weeks later they scheduled a follow up appointment for me.  It was with a different doctor, because my left our practice the day of my DNC. RUDE.  So, I knew I would have a placeholder Dr for now.  *Luckily* it was the same one who was on call to send me to the ER for concerns over my ectopic, and the same one who got to call me BOTH times when my IVF cycles failed to create any viable embryos. So, you could say we were familiar.

Kenny couldn’t come to the appointment because of work, so I went solo.  And I held it together until the medical assistant from my old doctor came in to check on me.  And then…cue the water works.  But overall I was able to manage human being level status mostly.

She wanted to do another check on the good ole YUTE aka uterus to make sure I had gone back to normal after the DNC.  She also confirmed the biopsy on the DNC tissue came back positive and had what they called “early placenta cells”.  Sort of a punch in the gut to be honest.  Like, I know this, but when they say it, it sounds more real.

Besides making sure my uterus was back to normal, her biggest recommendation was for us to take a break.  We had kind of already decided that anyway, but it was good she agreed with us.  Technically we were on a freaking break when all of this happened this time anyway.  But this will be more of what we call an active prevention break. You know, an APB.  She was also pretty anti the fragmentation test we were (maybe still are?) planning on doing.  She basically wasn’t sold on whether it really tells us anything useful, there’s not a lot of research on whether it truly determines chance of success or not. But we are still debating if it makes sense.

She also said something that stuck with me, that wasn’t anything mind blowing, but she was the first person who was so blunt about it.  As much as I liked my old doctor, and wasn’t thrilled about being thrown in limbo, I was also hopeful a new doctor would look at our files and notice something that was missed and maybe we would…TA DA…have a diagnosis and perhaps a solution.  That’s not what I got, but I got this *as close to a quote as I can get*

“Look, you don’t choose your partner based on their hypothetical eggs or sperm they produce.  If either of you were with someone else, you might be able to have a baby easily, perhaps.  You don’t have as many eggs as we would like, or hope, to see for someone your age, but if Kenny’s sperm was totally normal, we would only need one. Most fertility issues are complex, they are not often just one thing or one person.”

No one had ever come out and said that I had a low egg count for my age, even though I knew that.  It was always skirting around the issue like it’s “a little lower than we’d like, but…not out of the ordinary”.  But it all just made a lot of sense.  If I had a lot more eggs then we’d have more chances to fertilize with a bunch more of Kenny’s li’l guys and make an embryo that was healthy. But, if the sperm was 100% healthy, then we would only need 1 egg to begin with.  So, it is likely a combination of both of our minor issues combining together becoming a major issue.  It for some reason made me somewhat calm.

So, for now, we chill.  Once our minds are as healed as my YUTE is, then we will revisit and devise a plan.  But, currently, Netflix and (actually) chill.

This. Is. Us. **SPOILERS**

Oh, hello.  Your favorite delinquent blogger here!  I would blame my lack of blogging on traveling to work conferences almost the entirety of November.  But, it honestly had more to do with me having absolutely no energy whatsoever (maybe because I’m chubby? Maybe because I’m bored of telling sad stories? Who even knows anymore lol).  Nevertheless, here I am. Back again. Colleen’s back. Tell a friend.

shady

**IF YOU ARE NOT CURRENT (OR AT LEAST UP TO THE 2ND TO LAST EPISODE) ON THIS IS US, CLOSE THIS SITE, SHUT OFF YOUR COMPUTER, CATCH UP AND THEN COME BACK. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.**

you-have-been-warned

I thought about not watching the end of this season.  I actually saw a bunch of articles about people not watching it because it was definitely triggering for any of us who have dealt with infertility or pregnancy loss. If you don’t watch the show at all, you’re missing out, but have also probably saved a lot of money in tissues.  It is a cry fest every week for me, but I’m a sap anyway.  Though the last couple of episodes have been extra given the content.

Truth is, I saw this coming from the early episode where Kate was being weird working out a bunch and being shady around Toby.  As soon as she walked into the pharmacy I was like…I know what this is.  There was a tiny piece of me thinking is she getting diet pills or something, but 97% of me said she’s knocked up.  And then they end the episode with her at the GYN doing an ultrasound and confirming she is 6 weeks.  Of course this isn’t really accurate, because they don’t usually do an ultrasound that early, but still.  But since it was a “geriatric pregnancy” (WHAT A TERM!) and her weight, it is possible.

The timing was atrocious because I had just passed 6 weeks but also knew the pregnancy wasn’t viable.  So, obviously, the episode ended with me in a fight with Kenny. Because, that makes sense. Duh.  Legit though, I told him how the episode ended and he was like oh…should I wear these jeans tomorrow?  And I looked at him with the crazy eyeballs.

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Nothing inside of you said “Self, maybe you should have a different reaction to this statement.  Or realize this might suck for her?”

But, I related so much to her feelings when she told Toby and told him he wasn’t allowed to be excited because stats said this would not last and he needed to calm down.  But then his excitement was infectious and she started to get excited as well, even with that little voice in the back of her head saying hooooooooold up.  She finally told her family and things were progressing as they should.  So, each time you get a good report (I don’t really know how that feels tho haha) you get more and more hopeful.

As a fan of the show, I was hoping that they would go the less expected route, and actually have her pregnancy go normally.  Since there is so much heartbreak and drama in the show, you almost knew something bad would happen, the question was just when it would.  But I thought maybe they’d hit us with the okeydoke and everything would go swimmingly with other drama somewhere else.

They did one episode per triplet.  First was Kevin, and his was a mess.  Damn.  I am worried for him for real though.  He kept getting phone calls from Kate he was ignoring, so I knew.  Then Toby called, and if you weren’t sure before, now you were.  But then at the end they jus told you. So, in my head I am thinking, ok, am I watching next week?  maybe I will play it by ear.  See where my emotional state is at the moment and decide.

But, after reading a few posts about people not watching I decided I wanted to see it.  I wanted to see if I could relate.  I wanted to see if they portrayed it accurately.  Not that every circumstance is the same, but still.  I wanted to see it. I sob through every episode anyway so what’s the difference?

sobbing

So I cozied up on the couch with a blanket and a lot of tissues and Kenny left because he hates this show. I took notes on my phone because I wanted to remember the moments that stood out and my initial reactions.  And, here they are, for your reading pleasure:

  • How could I be this sad?
    • This part was actually in the preview.  And I connected so much to it.  Because all of my losses were so early in the process it feels like I shouldn’t be that sad yet.  Things didn’t even show up on screens yet.  But, yet…
  • I knew him already
    • If this is something you wanted before, or even figured out after you found out you wanted, you connect with the clump of cells from the jump. You start picturing things, even if your brain tells you to wait it out, your heart pictures holidays and outfits and all kinds of stuff.  So, even when it is early it is still soul crushing.
  • What if this was my fault?
    • The feeling of fault hit me the most.  Especially because she felt so much guilt about her body and her weight and whether that was the problem.  Even if logically you know that the healthiest, fittest, most organic eating women lose pregnancies all the time, and it isn’t because of that…inside you still think you could have prevented this or you cause this.
  • I feel like I took this from Toby
    • Ugh, this one got you right in the feels.  His reaction when she told him was so priceless and precious.  Like this was his lifelong dream.  It was adorable.  And to be the temporary home of the lifelong dream and then lose it, ugh.  The pain.
  • Vitamins. List of Questions. HCG.
    • In the beginning of the episode they show shots of the kitchen table with prenatal vitamins, a green shake, a list of questions for the doctor she was going to ask but never got to.  Everything just brought back all I have been through the last two years.  Especially the “making sure HCG levels are doubling every two days.” If I never had to hear the letters HCG used ever again I would be thrilled.
  • “You can go back to living your life”
    • The scene where they are in the hospital and the doctor or nurse is giving her the rundown.  This happens a lot, this doesn’t mean it can’t happen again, now that we know you can get pregnant you can try again, you can go back to living your life.  Oh really?  Can I?  Sure, you try it.  Just go live life…ok lady.
  • Ignoring calls and texts
    • This part is legit.  I didn’t do a lot of ignoring calls or texts, but more avoiding reaching out myself.  I didn’t want to be social really, but I also felt like I didn’t have anything fun or positive to talk about either.  I also didn’t want to say the words to anyone I cared about.
  • I’m going to work!
    • When she storms out of the apartment the next day going to work because “she has to” I was like YES.  This is me. I am sure this is a lot of us.  You don’t know what else to do.  You probably should stay home and sleep and cry and whatever else, but it is almost easier to just resume daily life and pretend. But then…
  • Watching the child dancing
    • Every freaking thing you try and do to distract yourself from your sadness baby shit pops up.  She’s singing at a restaurant at lunch and this adorable little girl starts dancing to her song.  She is doing just fine but then you see her face see the mom taking pictures of her and loving watching this moment and you think…I thought I was going to have this moment.  Maybe I won’t ever have it.  it happens to me all the time.  I came home from finding out my 2nd IVF cycle failed and saw 5 baby commercials in a row.  FIVE. Every time you’re at work and people are telling goofy stories about their kids, things they think don’t matter, and you think wonder if I will ever have these stores.  It’s EVERYWHERE.
  • Mom.
    • When her mom shows up and she just collapses.  I basically did that exact same thing.  There’s something about mom.  But then even that hurts because you think you want to be that person for someone else.
  • Seeing someone you love in pain
    • Toby’s monologue when Kate was being a d*ck to him.  So on point.  I also respond to extreme pain with extreme dickery. Defense mechanism 101.  But his speech to her about wanting to be there for her and knowing it was her body and trying to be the strong one, but this happened to him too.  DAMN son.  And when he goes to try and intercept the baby bath at Fedex, spending hours there trying to prevent something from hurting her worse. “The worst part of seeing someone you love in pain is not being able to do anything about it.  Just try not to make it worse.”  I didn’t ask Kenny, but I think he would say that was pretty accurate.
  • Eating feelings
    • When she storms out of her performance and walks directly to a buffet.  Girl displayed some strength walking away from the big plate of feelings she was about to eat.  But the search for anything to provide her comfort was so relatable.
  • Shower curtain
    • The actual way her miscarriage happened was very dramatic.  And I know sometimes they actually do happen like that.  But none of mine did, all terrible slow burns.  But the idea that walking around your house you see things that just remind you of that and Toby wanted to throw the thing away immediately. I cannot blame them.

Overall I thought they did a pretty good job fitting into a one your episode how this really feels, for so many of the people involved. At the end of watching the video I wrote a little blurb that combined my feelings with what I thought Kate was feeling.

It’s never just bleeding or losing a clump of cells.  It’s losing all your hopes and dreams.  Everything you’ve already envisioned despite trying to force yourself not to.  Its the idea of telling your parents the exciting news, it’s how you see your child playing with their cousins, it’s hairdos you’ve pictured, nursery color schemes, even fears of how you’ll pay for child care.  All of those things flash in such a short time after finding out you are pregnant and then in a blink again they’re gone.  Or in m case drawn out over weeks of questions and wondering.

Even though I sobbed uncontrollably I am grateful the experience was put out for the public to see.

I’ll be back.  Sooner than later.  ❤

“You May Resume Your Normal Activities”

So, after you have an egg retrieval for IVF they tell you that “you’ll get a period between a few days and two weeks from now”. Not vague at all.  But they also tell you it won’t be a normal period, and typically don’t consider the stats from your cycle until you have another period after that since it is already a little weird.

*Caveat, if you are doing a fresh cycle and not doing genetic testing like we did, then you’d only wait 3-5 days and then implant and not get a period.  But in my case we would have waited for a period anyway.

After we got the shitty results of our second IVF cycle in September, grieved for a while, and then went back to living (because what other choice do you have really?), we decided we really needed a break.  We wanted to have a physical and emotional break, as well as do some of the testing I referenced in previous posts to see if there were any relevant factors in there.

Also, because I am Sally-Question-Asker, I also called the doc to see if we should be actively “preventing pregnancy”.  I don’t want to break any rules (ever), but also wanted to know if we could just live our lives like normal married people which we haven’t actually been able to do for 18 out of the 24 months we’ve been married.  We’ve either been trying which means super HOT foreplay like counting days and testing hormone surges.  And then the even hotter after-tasks like putting pillows under your bum and letting all the blood rush out of your legs while you hold them up for 15 minutes (per the unsolicited advice as previously mentioned).  Nothing sexier and more romantic than that.  Except maybe the rest of the time when there was excessive sobbing, and snippy arguments due to horrendous unmanaged grief.

So, I wanted to just ask…can we live? Or should we take precautions.  Doctor said there were no reasons why she would recommend we need to prevent…”as long as I am comfortable”.  Well, sure I am comfortable pending something awful doesn’t happen. But anyway, her thought is that there is no evidence that our issue is anything other than a numbers game.  I BEG TO DIFF.  But, anyway.

So, here we are just living our lives.  There was no counting or planning or timing or trying or peeing on things.  There was just regular life, with perhaps a romantical weekend getaway or two that was…inspiring.

Anyway, I usually track my period, just for reference, even before my life was a shithole.  It is pretty straight up 26 days, on the dot.  But all this has made it a little less reliable.  Nevertheless I did put a note in my phone calendar when I starting bleeding after the egg retrieval but also wrote a question mark because it wasn’t normal.  Couldn’t tell if it was post retrieval spotting or an actual period.

I think this has been written before but I have a couple specific “tells” that give me a hint my period is coming.  They’re the Paul Revere to my menstruation:

“1 if by breakouts, 2 if by breast pain! Your period is coming!”

revere

*I’m laughing at my own analogy, that’s pretty good.

But seriously, I have decent skin but definitely have hormonal breakouts the week or so before my period.  I also have substantial breast pain, exacerbated by caffeine, which I haven’t really consumed since last October.  Regardless that is a pretty good sign my visitor is impending.  So, cue 3 and a half weeks-ish after my question mark in my calendar and I have no symptoms…

My internal monologue was like “naaaaaah”.  But I also looked back at the middle of the cycle and our anniversary and was actually…??? Oh boy.

I waited until after I definitely should have gotten it or at least had symptoms before testing.  Took a test on Thursday, October 5th. Negative.  Ok, I said to myself, felt a little disappointment but a little more relief to be honest.  This is break time, like what the eff.  Decided maybe it was just late or I tracked it too early.

Following day just went about my business.  But the next day.  I. Got. WASTED.  By accident.  Listen, when one of your favorite people has her cousin from Ireland visiting Boston and invites you to Lawn on D for an unseasonably warm day.  You sometimes get carried away having countless grapefruit margaritas. 12/10, highly recommend by the way. But still no period.

So, the next day, before we head to my parents to visit with them and my brother and niece, I decide maybe I’ll take another test.  Just to confirm it is still negative.

Wait

For

It.

EFFFFFFFING POSITIVE.  I call Kenny into the bathroom and immediately start panicking.  Johnny Calm is all “don’t be scared and also don’t have hope, just be”. OK BRO.  Sure, let me just go ahead and pretend this didn’t happen. LOL.  Also, they had just found an abnormality in my blood test, will explain in a separate post later.  But I was like no, why would this happen now, I just started this new vitamin, it couldn’t have “taken effect yet”.  But there that little thing was in the back of my head again..hope.  Sneaking back in, even when everything else in my mind is DOOM.

But I try and calm myself.  Called the doctors office just to leave a message. I already know the drill. Come in tomorrow for bloodwork, then 48 hours after that and let us know if you have any symptoms.  But this time they also said “congratulations”.  Which actually bothered me. A lot.  Because this wasn’t some generic OB that didn’t know me.  This was a doctors office that only handles fertility patients, and knows my history.  This has happened before.  Many times actually.  Maybe you should hold off on any congratulations for a hot minute. But just them saying that word had me saying maybe this was actually a time for congratulations??

I proceed with the cycle of go into the lab at the crack of dawn, give blood, stare at my phone all day, close my office door to answer phone call, find out temporary fate. Rinse. Repeat.  First call was HCG is 27, low, but positive (anything above a 10 is considered positive), and could be very early since I went from a negative test on a Thursday to positive on a Sunday. Go back Wednesday, same thing, this time level was 54. SURPRISE.  It actually doubled.  In all my other experiences, it never quite doubled which is what it is supposed to do. So, good start, right? Go back Friday, this time 103.  So JUST under, but still over what they consider normal which is an 85% rise.  REALLY been putting my math degree to use with all these percentages.

math

That Friday, “luckily” kicked off one of my biggest responsibilities at work.  So there was no stress at all. *insert eye roll emoji” But still a good distraction.  At this point I had started my favorite thing…spotting.  But kept repeating the mantra “spotting does not necessarily mean bad”.  But I didn’t believe it and I don’t think I ever will.

The next week and a half adds internal ultrasounds into the rotation of the blood giving and the phone calls and the waiting and the spotting.  I tell ya, I think I can say I have had my fill of light sabers up my hoo-ha for a lifetime.

After the first ultrasound, we got some pretty terrible news.  They didn’t see anything in the ultrasound in the uterus.  But they did see something questionable in the right ovary area. Which is where my last ectopic pregnancy was.  It wasn’t definitive but with my low numbers, spotting, and something on the scan, didn’t seem good.  The recommendation was wait two more days, have another blood test and scan and see.  But if it stays the same, then have surgery to remove the problematic tube which would likely cause this every time.  Recovery and out of work for 2-4 weeks, legit surgery.  It was pretty crushing, not the pregnancy not coming to fruition, unfortunately at this point I am somewhat used to that.  But the idea that I might need to remove a part of my body, especially part of my female anatomy, it just was really scary.

But, I went back two days later, this time by myself.  Different lady with the light saber, and let’s just say, she basically moved in and made herself comfortable.  I am pretty chill and have a pretty high tolerance for pain/discomfort, but I almost had to be like lady, I’m tapping out.  Turns out, I found out why it took her so long.  She did NOT see the same area in the tube, but she DID see something in the uterus.

Wait. What?  There IS something in the uterus.  She showed me.  Just a tiny little sac, but it was definitely there.  *There’s that glimmer of hope again* She figured what the first tech saw on the ovary was likely a little scar tissue from my last ectopic or something that is just always there but doesn’t always stand out.  The good news, a sac forming in the uterus means likelihood of another ectopic and need for surgery, pretty much diminished. But, it made the pregnancy real.  Real, but still not good.  Her quote was “I’m glad to see this doesn’t seem to be a suspected ectopic.  Unfortunately, I also don’t think the pregnancy is the one we were hoping for.”

See, at this point in my cycle, based on when I think my period started last, my numbers should be in the thousands and at that point it was about 500.  Also, my HCG was going up but the normal rises soon gave way to abnormal rises (or less than 53% in 48 hours).  Once you have more than one of those the pregnancy is considered abnormal and likely not viable.

The thing was I had grieved the pregnancy at the original thought of the ectopic while also grieving having TWO TUUUUUUBES (two chainz voice).  So, all of this news wasn’t as upsetting as I expected.  But what was upsetting was seeing this little tiny nugget in the weird oblong picture on the computer screen that had never been there before.  Between the previous pregnancies and the IVF treatments, I have seen this picture many times and there has never been anything in there.  This was shocking.

After the first abnormal rise, when the doctor told me she didn’t think this was what we were hoping for, she also said I would likely need a D & C, Dilation and Curettage if the pregnancy didn’t take care of itself.  But, wanted to be cautious and give it more time.  We did that and this past week despite more than two weeks of spotting, it never picked up enough to be a miscarriage happening on its own.  Even when it seemed like it was, it wasn’t. Of all the times spotting, I never wished for it to get worse, except this time.  Because then at least I wouldn’t require any intervention.  My body would be “doing its job” like they told me the other times, and taking care of something not viable itself. But alas.

D & C was Friday.  Having to schedule meetings and student appointments and not wanting to sound like I take a million sick days for no reason, but also not wanting to give the gory details. Ugh.  Apparently the new name is D & E, Dilation and Evacuation. Essentially they vacuum your Yute aka “removes the abnormal tissue from the uterus under twilight sedation”. (Does that mean I will see sparkly vampires?  I actually don’t know because I don’t read books or watch things about fake life. True story.). I prefer the name D & C, because even though this sucks, A Shit Ton, the thing that has made me consistently giggle, even in between tears, is me having this memory of my mother saying there was this procedure and it was called a D & C or a Dustin’ and a Cleanin’.  And that is 10 kinds of ridiculous, but if you know my mom, this is not a crazy thing to say.  I actually told her this and her response was “Doesn’t everyone call it that?”.  LOL, no mom, prob not. And it has given me a smidge of lightheartedness.

I honestly don’t know how to feel.  I have more questions than answers.  I was farther along than I have been in any of my other losses, 7 weeks 2 days.  Feels so much more real, even though the others were also real.  My numbers are hundreds higher than they’ve ever been before, also feels more real.  Despite abnormal rises, it has still been rising by tiny amounts.  Feels like my body and this little “yolk sac” as they call it, were trying to make it happen.  So, maybe it is a step in the right direction.  Maybe it is just another nail in the coffin of me or Kenny or both not producing usable material.  Who knows.

I will tell you what I do know. I am sick of feeling like this.  I am sick of allowing myself to feel a glimmer of hope pass through momentarily.  I am sick of picturing myself sharing happy news but then knowing in the back of my head it isn’t happening. I am SICK as hell of giving bad news.  So if you are my people, and you weren’t told about this directly, please don’t be offended.  I just can’t bear the thought of delivering this shitty news. AGAIN.  Even the thought that I would be in a position to give this sad news again is upsetting, let alone actually delivering it.  I don’t want my sad story to result in other people being sad. Or feeling bad for me. I am just over it.  The whole thing.

So, we are back on a break.  A real one with preventative measures, because no one can handle this again.  Definitely not me.  And definitely Kenny can’t deal with me because I am basically a nightmare currently.  Like an actual human nightmare.  I don’t want to skip things, but I also don’t want to do anything.  I want to talk to my friends and see them, but I also don’t want to answer the “how are you” question.  Because I don’t want to be fake, but I also don’t want to tell the truth.  I want to celebrate babies related to the people around me who I love (birthdays, births, showers), but it also causes me so much pain.  How can I feel so much joy for another person while also being in such intense pain?

As I said to my dear friend last week who happened to see me for the first time after 2 years over a weekend while thinking I would only have 1 tube soon: “It’s just another notch in a belt I didn’t even want to be wearing.” I hate belts.  Get this stupid belt with its goddamn notches off of me.

The procedure went smoothly.  Very quick and relatively painless (physically).  The worst part was when the nurse, different office than I usually go to says “So, I just want to confirm you’ve had 5 pregnancies but no children?” as she points to my record that has a 5 and 0 right next to it.  And I was like, yes, plus two failed IVF cycles. Correct.

They spend 30 minutes setting you up, 5 minutes vacuuming out your dreams, and then 15 minutes feeding your ginger ale and peanut butter crackers.

And then on your way out they say “Tomorrow, you may resume your normal activities.”

Sure, lady.  Sure I can.

Unsolicited Advice

What’s the deal with unsolicited advice?  I feel like I sound like a Jerry stand-up scene in an episode of Seinfeld, but honestly what’s the deal?

jerry

People get that making a statement is not necessarily an invitation to give advice right?  I feel like I have always been somewhat aware of this advice giving trend, and very much, guilty of doing this myself.  You get married, and then the next 25 people you meet who are engaged you feel the need to tell them all your tips and tricks, or whatever the case may be.  Or someone posts on Facebook about taking a trip somewhere and asks about recommendations for that place, you always see 8 posts from randos telling them they should go somewhere else… B*tch, did I ask you that?  I’m already going to the other place, step off.

I’ve noticed this more than ever throughout this fertility journey. Everyyyyyyyybody is an expert.  Everyone has the one piece of advice that will solve your problem.  And that’s the thing, we’re in the business of solving problems.  People want to provide what they think is a solution. We’re also not in the business of sitting in discomfort.  So if I am sad, and telling you my sob story, instead of just hearing and listening and potentially helping process, the automatic response is “You know what I did was…” or “My aunt/cousin/friend had this and they did XYZ and now they have like 12 kids”.

I talked about this a little bit before, especially in the beginning when I had already had one chemical pregnancy and then had been trying for a few more months with no luck.  I had endless people who inserted themselves into my bedroom talking about where to put pillows, legs, etc., what to do after, what not to do after. Definitely keep your legs up, definitely don’t go pee, and everything in between.  But what they didn’t know was that getting pregnant wasn’t necessarily the problem.  And little did they (or I) know, I would do that part successfully many times without anything to show for it.

Now that my struggle is all up on the internet for everyone and their mama to see, the advice giving is plentiful.  Granted, this is coming from a good place.  Especially from the people who haven’t had these experiences.  They’ll hear something or see something and pass it my way.  The thing is, I read it, I listen, I take it in.  And some advice I am likely to consider. But I can’t even keep track of it all. It is coming at me from all freaking angles and here is the kicker…it ends up in my brain as “if you don’t do XXXXX thing, then YOU messed this up”.  If I don’t drink the raspberry tea, if I do eat something someone told me to avoid, if I work out harder than I was supposed to, if I can’t afford acupuncture anymore, if I forget to do my meditation then it just gets translated into something you didn’t do. Your mistake. You didn’t do everything you could’ve done. Your fault.

It is just a lot to always be considering. Instead of just trying to live your life.  Which is hard enough to do in general. I have enough things going through my head without adding the endless advice I have received.

My mind is an exhausting place to be, always has been.  True story, my kindergarten teacher called my parents in to tell them they need to stop putting so much pressure on me because I was very stressed about drawing outside the lines…and my mom was like “HA! I don’t give a shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit about coloring.  She does this to herself.” So, this brain of mine came naturally, always racing, tons of pressure, high-achieving, effort-based success.  In my latest teaching endeavor I learned you might call this “Growth mindset”. You don’t believe you were born being good or not good at something, but that you are capable of learning and practicing and growing.  This is, in general a good thing. But, for me, it has also led to this effort=result mentality. So, in this shitshow of a journey to motherhood, the fact that my effort has had no impact on the results. And the beatings I have given myself over not working enough, not trying enough, not (insert any word here) enough, not being…ENOUGH. Ugh. The counselor at our fertility office has talked with me a lot about this and that how that outlook is my biggest challenge in dealing with this mess and the self-blame assigned to something that is fairly out of my control. Every piece of advice just feels like another thing I should be doing, and therefore something to beat myself up about later.

In many circumstances I have reached out and asked specific people for advice on certain issues-especially those who I knew had gone through IVF. Just getting the rundown from someone who has been down that road is certainly helpful.  I’ve picked up plenty of gems.  But I’ve also noticed this culture of advice-giving without being asked that I think is so interesting.  And the (sometimes) judgement that is implied when that is given.  Not just about this topic, but just in general.

Just look on your FB feed sometime, check out the random statements that are not questions people post, and then the flood of comments below that are not just reactions or generic reactions but things like “Have you tried…”, “have you considered…”, ‘My so and so had good luck with…”  I wonder if they realize no one asked them. LOL

I can only speak for myself, but the most support I have felt is from the people who don’t try and tell me what to do for my problem, but who just listen, ask questions to learn more or just validate the extreme shittiness.

I recently saw a FB post of a colleague who was frustrated with people who would (unprovoked) comment on her having one child, and ask why, or when she would have another one.  And then the folks who had similar experiences including people telling a woman who has one adopted child that “she would want a child of her own someday”. Excuse me, WHAT.  The ish that comes out of people’s mouths sometimes is so nuts to me. First of all, that is her child. Girl, bye, but thanks. Ew.

I went to sign up for a new gym a couple of weeks ago, trying to get my life together but that’s a whole different story. I fill out their registration form for a free trial, and there is a question on the form that says “kids yes no”.  I circle no which is already painful-and I’m just trying to take a Body Pump class, please leave me alone.  The girl processing it goes through all the amenities and then says “Oh, do you have kids?” Flips the form over, sees no, and I repeat no.  And she says “not YET *wink*”.

EyeRoll Gif

I Can’t. Can. Not. She’s beyond clueless, but I’m supposed to just smile and nod.  If I say something back to her, then I am the problem, then I am making her uncomfortable instead of just allowing her to say something that makes me very uncomfortable. I have to let people say all kinds of (unknowing) nonsense to me and just let it slide and not react.  Partially because it’s just is what is expected in general, just ask people who have to deal with microaggressions constantly. And partially to avoid getting arrested, because if I respond I will probably GO OFF. #Honesty

I don’t even know what the point of this blog post is, lol. But I guess maybe just take a moment to do some compassionate listening instead of dolling out advice and trying to problem solve. Could be good for all of us, especially me and my weird brain.

 

Generosity.

I never thought while going through this infertility struggle that I could say I feel blessed, but I honestly do.  While there have been so many moments of intense sadness, loneliness, and hopelessness, recently I have been feeling more grateful than anything.  WHICH IS REALLY EFFING WEIRD.  Don’t get me wrong, I am still mostly at least a little sad most of the time, lol.  But I also have realized more than ever that I have the bomb support system and I cannot imagine going through all of this without them.

Even when no one knows what to say or what to do (because what do you say or do really?) they still try, and they still do.  And it all means a lot even when I can’t accept it at certain down moments.  The generosity we have been lucky enough to (sometimes embarrassingly) accept has been overwhelming.  And I don’t mean just financial, but there has been that too.  Generosity of time, patience, understanding, space, everything.

Friends who have called and texted regularly just to check in.  Ones who have given space when they knew I couldn’t talk.  Ones who have given me grace for not being able to be the best friend I have ever been. Others who have been understanding when I couldn’t come to showers or birthday parties, when I would normally drive hours for those things at the drop of a hat.  Others that would come over and have a sweatpants day, or offer to come by with an iced (always iced) coffee after I got bad news. And others who have called or texted with absolute ridiculousness so I could laugh and be distracted.

And then we had people want to help lift the financial burden of this struggle.  That has been the hardest to accept.  Because you don’t want to need that money.  And you also don’t want anyone to feel like you need the money.  And you don’t want money for this bullshit, crappy, sad reason.    But when this has happened it has been completely unexpected, somewhat embarrassing, but also beyond appreciated.  More for the thought and the meaning behind it, than the actual financial generosity.  It feels like when we do finally have our little family, some way, somehow, it will be everyone’s success and celebration, not just ours.  That’s actually kind of a nice feeling, within a tornado of the worst feelings. ❤

When they say it takes a village, they do not lie.  We feel super grateful for everyone we have with us, near and far, in spirit and in person, for helping push us to keep going and to pick us up when we need that.

62 and 0.

Ok.

Ok.

Ok.

Bye.

That’s how I responded to the last phone call I got from the doctor.  Partially because I got this call in the middle of a session about student conduct during the opening weekend events that I planned. Wasn’t exactly a place where I could have any emotions. Partially because I knew way before she called what she was going to say.

I’ve gotten enough “Colleen, I’m sorry, but…” phone calls to be able to predict them before I even get them.

So, now that you know the ending, let’s Tarantino this.  We finished our second cycle of IVF and I had my retrieval on August 28th.  The whole cycle just felt weird.  Granted, I only have one thing to compare it to.  But it was strange.  I couldn’t tell if it was because I was doing so many more shots than last time or if the meds made me feel different, but the whole time just felt off.  I was trying not to do a side by side comparison because the medications and protocols this time (micro dose flare) were totally different.  But it’s hard not to think, “this doesn’t feel like last time” since it was just a couple months ago.  When I did think that, though, I followed that up with, well maybe that’s good?  Since we didn’t have a good result before, perhaps it is good it doesn’t feel the same.

But, every time I went in to get my bloodwork and ultrasound (every 2 or 3 days) I kept searching for more tiny little circles on the screen and there just didn’t seem to be a lot.  Remember, the whole reason we were doing this “more aggressive” protocol was to be able to generate more eggs than last time.  Get more embryos and then have a higher likelihood of getting some that tested normal.  So, the numbers were important.

In the beginning of the cycle I had about 14 follicles growing, but you never know how many will get to be to the right size for retrieval (at least 19mm).  As the cycle moved on, I had one dominant follicle on one side that was getting huge, but not leaving much room for any others, and then I had a few on the other side.  So, I already had a bad feeling that the numbers didn’t add up (this math major brain never escapes me).

I went into the retrieval with the hope (there’s that beyotch hope coming back again) that some of the smaller ones grew since the trigger shot 36 hours prior.  When I woke up from the anesthesia, the nurse came in and joyfully announced “We got 6 eggs!”. I immediately started crying, she was so confused.  See, she didn’t have the numbers from before, she didn’t know the entire purpose of this round was MORE.  Last time I had 9 and ended up with no healthy embryos.  When you say 6.  I think FAILURE.  So, it was tough.  Doctor came in and saw me, and tried to reassure.  Saying it’s not all numbers, sometimes it is quality over quantity.  But, from the jump I was uneasy.

The next day they call you with your fertilization numbers. The nurse who called, again was jubilant and exclaimed “you had 5 out of 6 fertilize! That is fabulous!”.  Now I know she has a bajillion patients, and that some have very few eggs to start with and that those numbers are *in theory* good.  But, again my inner monologue said “Nahhhhh, that’s terrible.”  Last time I had 9 out of 9.  This time I have 5 out of 6. Nope Nope Nope.  No Bueno.

But now I needed to wait from Tuesday until Saturday to get THE EMAIL that tells me how many embryos made it to day 5 and were biopsied for testing.  This is when I learned last time that we went from 9 embryos to two to test.  And that was a blow.  Luckily I was busier than ever at work all week training my student leaders.  So, I didn’t have a lot of time to worry.  But we had a day off on Saturday and that was D-Day.  I was in my favorite place, York Beach, so it was a lovely, relaxing setting.  But I was legit refreshing my gmail every 2 minutes looking for that email.  Alas, it never came.

I got my behind up at 5 am the next day to head to campus for one of the busiest and most fun days of the year, move-in day.  Again, the craziness of work helped distract from the anxiety of not hearing.  But it was constantly looming in the back of my mind with the 18485939296584 other things I was coordinating that weekend.  Kenny was in Maine having a grand old time with my family (slightly salty but it’s ok), but we were texting a lot about this information we were waiting on.  He, being his calm self, kept saying it’s a long, holiday weekend.  Maybe stuff is just slow.  I wanted to believe him, but I knew better.  I knew they were open every day because they needed to do procedures every day.  Once Sunday came and went with no information I knew I needed to call, but I also already knew the outcome.  Last time I got a phone call from the lab on Day 6 saying they got the biopsies and what to expect.  This time, no email from the clinic, no call from the lab.

I came into work on Labor Day after advising a late night event until 1am and staying over at a colleague’s place.  I called the clinic shortly after they opened. For some reason the way the woman who answered the phone responded to me saying “Hi, I was just calling to check on my email about testing.  I was supposed to get it Saturday and never heard” just confirmed everything I already felt.  She didn’t say anything specific, but the tone in her “Oh” just told me a lot.  She sent me to the nurse on call and I left a voicemail. Then, I waited some more.

In between then and receiving the call, I facilitated a surprise visit from a Celtics player to a student on our campus receiving a scholarship.  It was a big deal and was both stressful and fun.  Even though I was working my little booty off all weekend, I am still grateful for having fun colleagues, and awesome students, and exciting events to take my mind off of everything in the land of shitty-town going on outside of work.

Around noon, I ran over to check on our student conduct session.  I sat down with some coworkers and I get a NO ID phone call.  My stomach sank as I got up to head into the hallway to take it.  *Fun fact. When doctors call you from their personal phones from home on the weekends, they block their numbers.  So, I knew it wasn’t the nurse on call, calling me from the clinic to tell me not to worry that there was some email glitch!  It was a doctor, which means my case was passed on to someone else.  Not good.  And yes, I actually thought all of these things n the 5 seconds before I answered the call.

A Dr., not my doctor, but the same one to call with my bad testing news last time said “Colleen, it’s Dr. _____, I’m sorry but I do not have good news for you.  None of your embryos made it to the blastocyst phase.  So, unfortunately, we didn’t have any that we could send out for testing.  I am so sorry.  Please call to make an appointment with your doctor tomorrow.”

Ok.

Ok.

Ok.

Bye.

And then I walked over to the gym to meet a performer and get his AV set up.

Literally all of my hopes and dreams were crushed in one 30 second phone call.  And I just went about my business.  Because I knew.  Because I sort of had no choice. Because I didn’t know what else to do.

I was heading home around 5, I just needed to make it to the car before I lost it.  Powered through another 5 hours just going about my business.  People tell me that is “impressive”, but I just generally don’t know what the other option would have been.  I hoped I wouldn’t hear from Kenny.  I wanted to tell him in person.  I knew telling him would be the thing to break my wall of acting normal.  Of course he texted me right before I was leaving…”Assuming you haven’t heard anything from the doctor?”

*Side Note.  I had flashbacks of the only time I ever got a ticket, back in college.  I borrowed my mom’s nice, new car while my old POS was being repaired.  I may have grossly underestimated how much faster and smoother it would drive.  Got pulled over and got a hefty ticket.  The whole way back to my apartment I was trying to figure out what I was going to do, and how to handle it without telling my mom. I had to call her when I get there, because duh, and was doing good job avoiding until she says “How was the ride?  Uneventful I am assuming?” And then I was done, and had to tell her.

So, I had to text Kenny back and say I actually did hear.  And I heard the worst possible answer from them.  We have nothing.  We did all of this and have nothing. And now I have no idea what to do.

When we both got back to the house we had an hour of me being sad, but also angry and aggressive and stand-off-ish-because that is how I do sad. And then I crashed.  I felt bad, but I couldn’t handle being consoled at the moment.  The next morning we got up and got ready for work.  And that was the first time in this whole process that Kenny cried.  And that hit me the hardest.  The entire time he has been so calm, so hopeful, so positive. -often to a fault that made me want to punch him. But still, that is what I had come to expect.  But now, he was crying.  And I have only seen that really happen once before in 10 years. That is how I knew…this shit is bad.

I put him in charge of calling the doctor to set up an appointment.  I made one before the results, and the earliest they could give me was October 2nd.  That’s a whole other blog post about how you need to wait a month for an appointment to determine your entire future.  But anyway, he called and could only get it moved to September 29th.  One day earlier, thankssssss doctor’s office.

Now, we are left with heartache, exhaustion, and questions.  So many questions.  After last time we were given essentially two options.  (1) It could just be a numbers game, and we need to get your numbers up so we have more options to choose from or (2) it is possible we have fragmentation of DNA coming from the sperm, because the loss of embryos happened between day 3 and day 5 which is when the father’s DNA starts to kick in. It wasn’t an entire panic moment, because option 1 wasn’t too bad.  But option 2 was really bad.  The sentence was “The test to check for fragmentation is $1000 and not covered by insurance. So, I would only recommend getting that test if you would consider donor material.”

Oh. It’s like that?  Yeah. With this time we were hoping for option 1, we get the numbers up, we send 4 or 5 to test, maybe half of them come back normal and we prepare for implantation. Yay. But instead we have nothing, started with less and ended up with 0.  The things going through my mind are endless, but here is a snap shot.

  • Everyone always said how cute our babies would be.  I always wanted to find out, but I don’t think I ever will.
  • What if I never get to see a sonogram that actually has a baby in it instead of just the white circles I am counting?
  • We could never afford a private adoption, they’re like $40,000.  How are we going to do that?
  • Would I even want donor sperm? If it won’t be OUR biological baby isn’t it better if we adopt a baby instead of getting donor material?
  • Can I figure out how to get a cute, Haitian sperm donor?
  • Will it be weird for Kenny if I had a sperm donor?
  • What if I get a sperm donor and that still doesn’t work?
  • I’ve put my body through so much. I don’t know if I can do this again.
  • What if we pay $1000 for the test and that isn’t the problem?  I don’t want that problem, because it is pretty much a dead end. But, at least finally finding out a reason would be good. Right?

These are just a few of the things I think about constantly.  But the biggest one is as much as I always wanted to be a mother, a parent, in any capacity.  I also really always wanted to be pregnant.  I wanted the belly, I wanted the swollen ankles (in theory).  I wanted the maternity clothes and the sleepless nights and to feel the kicks and to do a cute “announcement”.  The idea that might never happen is utterly terrifying.  But, so are all the methods we may have to go through to get there.  We talked about adoption years before we even talked about marriage, and were both open to it.  But also both considered it as an “in addition”, not an “only”.  And we are still open to it, if we can sell a kidney or something. But, if I am being honest with myself, I want all of it.  Maybe it is selfish. I do feel a little guilty knowing there are babies out there who need a loving home we could provide.  But I want to nurse a baby, if I can.  And I want to look at the baby and say she has my nose or my freckles or something.

And everything in my soul is crushed at the thought that may never be.  But, for now we are just left with more questions than answers.  So, I need to just sit and stew in my crazy mind of what-ifs and googling how to fundraise for adoptions or how sperm donors work or if you can adopt biracial embryos (yes, adopting embryos is a thing).

It’s just so much. My heart, and mind, and body are just so tired.  I feel like I lost a game 62 to 0.  62 shots, and 0, well…anything.

Sorry to end a LONG ASS BLOG POST on such a sad note.  But its the truth. And I am letting it all hang out tonight.

Hope is a Bitch: And other random things I’d like to vent about.

I don’t have an actual topic this week. So, I figured I would just list a bunch of things that “really grind my gears” related to this fertility nonsense. Because a lot of this sucks, a lot.  A friend of ours told me that me and Kenny were two of the most positive people he knew.  And I laughed.  I’ve always fancied myself a positive, hopefully person.  Really feeling like most often things will work out somehow, and that having a good attitude definitely helped.  Maybe not reach said goal, but at least putting you in a good head space to get there.  But I haven’t felt positive in over a year.  So, all I could say in response was “It’s hard to be these days.”

Figured what better way to celebrate my current lack of positivity than to complain about a bunch of things!  Here we go:

  1. Hope is a bitch. Excuse the language, but it is. Hope is there, in the back of your mind, helping you picture the future you always wanted, getting you through some bumpy moments, and then when you least expect it, she swoops in and punches you continually in the neck. And says “Oh no girl, not so fast.”  I’m always in this place of trying to stay hopeful, but as soon as I get my hopes up, crushed. So, you know what, Hope, I never liked yo ass anyway. (JK I will be hopeful again in like an hour, because it sucks otherwise, but whatever).

2. What is with these side effects? I gave myself 62 shots in the stomach in the last                two weeks. SIXTY-EFFING-TWO.  My stomach looks like it got in a fight with a bunch          of tiny leprechauns. And as a bonus prize for doing that I get ovaries the size of                  baseballs, bloating like you wouldn’t believe, exhaustion, HUGE BOOBS (I suppose              some would argue that isn’t bad, but when they’re already ample…) and extreme                mood swings.  In exchange for murdering your mid-section, you’d think you could              get some pleasant side effects like extra energy, glowing skin, white teeth, and                      inexplicable positivity. Come on drug companies!

3. Anthem, get your life together.  In the past two months I have gotten FIVE                         brochures in the mail from my insurance company about preparing for my new                 baby. 5. FIVE. One about lessons to prepare for the baby’s upcoming arrival, one                 about finding a pediatrician, one about delivery, I can’t remember the rest. But                   seriously. What-the-everloving-shit. BRO.  Do you not have computers?  Do you not             have records? Something in your system is telling you I have a baby arrival soon,               but nothing in your system is telling you I am being treated for infertility, had one             failed IVF cycle and am in the middle of another one? Do you know how much of a             punch in the gut it is to check the mailbox and get this stupid, useless piece of                       mail? Like, GET YOUR LIFE.

4. I want to light your Baby Shower invites on fire.  Ok, that’s obviously not true                 because I am not a horrible person (mostly) and I am also terrified of fire. Let’s be             real.  But I’ve gotten 4 baby shower invitations during the last two week taking IVF             medication.  It’s just like when you were in grade school and one of your classmates           was waving something you wanted in front of your face but they wouldn’t share it.             Like, damn Gina.  4 shower invites, all happening in the next two months while I am         here all swollen and bruised, sad and longing.  It’s tough.  And what’s harder is that I         love all of these people, like, a lot. There are a lot of hard things for me these days.             Even having lunch at work with colleagues all discussing the upcoming back to                   school plans, or hearing my coworkers reminiscing about the little awesome, and               annoying, joys of motherhood.  It’s all hard.  Simply functioning and trying to find             joy is hard when the life I want is not coming to me, no matter how much effort,                 time, prayer, faith, or money I put into it. But baby showers are just an extra special           kind of torture at this time.  I long for the time when I could go to one and just enjoy         it (or complain about the dumb games) and not feel pain.  I hope I get back there                 someday.

5. My life is a real life reenactment of the money with wings emoji.  It is INSANE               how much this costs.  Like money aggressively flying out of my bank account. And             I’ve said this before but I am beyond lucky for my insurance coverage.  But the costs         of this process have still really added up over the past few months.  We are lucky to           have the means to be able to cover the costs not covered by insurance, but it isn’t               easy.  And there are things we need to skip in order to pay for the genetic testing                 ($4600 in three months), and all the copays for prescriptions and visits.  Not to                     mention the time out of work every 3, 2, or 1 day during the medication process-                 grateful to have a career/employer that can work around this.  And this is                             before we even have a child that we have to pay for!  When I called to get a refill for         my meds, the girl told me that each of my prefilled pens were $900. $900!!!!  I paid             $0, for 16 of those pens.  So while I am bitching, I am not actually complaining,                   because without this coverage, we wouldn’t even be able to consider this an option             for us to pursue.  While I feel really strapped, and am counting pennies, I also find             myself sitting in all my privilege to even have IVF on the table.

Ok, vent session complete.  LOL  Hopefully by next post I will be back to my (mostly) positive self. 🙂

 

Excuse me, sir? I have a cooler full of drugs.

So, we are off and running again. More drugs, more shots, more no-drinking (BLAH), more bruises, more chart to fill out, more morning up-ya-address (as my mom would say) ultrasounds.  And, luckily, the day after I started I got to fly to DC and bring my drugs and ish through TSA twice!

Living the dream, taking my medications in the bathroom of Logan airport. Can’t imagine a better Friday night.

bathroom

Started IVF Cycle #2 last Thursday night.  This time, as I mentioned in a previous post, I am doing a microdose flare protocol which is slightly different than the typical plan. There are many different protocols based on the patient’s testing and particular issue.  They are all this magical concoction of suppression drugs, stimulating drugs and then trigger.  People respond differently, and as my doctor told me, “we learn through every cycle”.  Which was her attempt to make me feel like this was simply a learning process and not just utter devastation.  Good try, lady.

At the end of our consultation meeting following our first cycle, the doctor gave us two options.  She sounded hopeful.  Which was nice, because I was in Mach 5 DOOM zone.  Even though things went not as planned at all, she said everything on my end worked just fine. Just fine?  So you’re telling me this isn’t my fault?  Because I’ve been blaming myself for this for over a year and a half at this point.  While there wasn’t a particular cause she could point to, she said unequivocally that everything on my end was working exactly as it should and responded well to the meds.

Hallelujah

It was the first time in this entire process where I had a slight sigh of relief.  It was weird though, because the result was the same.  We had no healthy embryos to implant, and that was awful news.  But just the thought that this wasn’t my fault was a tiny beacon of light in the midst of everything else shitty.

I responded well to the meds the first time, I had 9 eggs at retrieval.  That is a good number, but they’d like 10-15 ideally.  Especially in my case, since for a reason unknown at this time, we lose a lot of embryos between day 3 and day 5.  When she told me that, it made a lot of sense, because all of my miscarriages have been right about 5 weeks (except the ectopic which was a whole different, long nightmare) which would be day 5-6ish after fertilization.  It’s a trend they can’t really explain.  It is possible there is some fragmentation coming from the DNA in the sperm, but it may not be that either. So, per usual…it’s a mystery.

So, the goal would be hope for a higher number of eggs, with another high number fertilized, and then a higher number to send to testing resulting in a higher number which test chromosomally normal. With that goal in mind, she gave me the two options.  Do the same protocol again, with high dosages which worked last time.  Or try this microdose flare, it is a somewhat more aggressive approach that can produce better results but can also have worse side effects.  Like over-stimulation which could cause: inflammation that makes you look 8 months pregnant.  Just what every woman doing IVF could hope and wish for. LORD.  It is typically used on women who are older or whose ovaries didn’t respond well to the traditional stimulation.  While mine did respond, this method seemed like it made the most sense to try and get the most eggs possible.  We know from science that you will lose things along the way, so the higher number to start, the higher likelihood you have something at the end. Why not try something that could give us a higher number to start with and then hopefully a higher number at the end (anything is higher than 0!)?  Plus, I was lucky enough not to have any crazy symptoms the first time.  My mood was pretty good, and I didn’t have the exhaustion or bloating people warned me about.  So, the doc seemed to think this flare could work.

At this point, I’m like do whatever.  Shoot me up with vampire blood if that will work (that’s weird, but it’s the first thing I thought of).  But, one week in, still feel ok physically, but the emotions and moods are ALL OVER THE MF-ing PLACE. #SorryKenny.  This type of cycle is typically a little slower so I am anxious to see how things start shaping up and how long I have to wait for retrieval again.  But it will be soon!

*On a totally unrelated side note, anyone who has been through IVF or witnessed it. I highly recommend you check out the HBO show Friends from College for a hilariously accurate, while also painfully accurate, display of a cycle (episode 4).  It made us laugh so hard and also made us (and by us I mean me) sob.  My favorite line from the woman having IVF was something like “You don’t know what Ia m going through right now, it’s like having a shitty full time job on top of my shitty full time job.”  I actually like my regular job, but still.  Keeping track of all this and the pressure to not mess something up is so on point. It is DEAD ON.