benched

photo (5)

 

frustrated doesn’t even come close to how i’m feeling this morning. pissed. annoyed. deflated. disappointed. irritated. sad.

so we started our IVF process almost 2 weeks ago after miscarrying our 4th baby… i started my suppression cycle by taking birth control pills. well, yesterday i had an appointment with my magician (reproductive endocrinologist) to see how my follicles were looking, and if everything looked calm, cool and collected i was to start stimulation medication this weekend. notice how i’m using the past tense already? :::ugh:::

oh hello dildo cam, i missed you so…. and first thing magician says is “hmmm…..”

DAMN.

you never want magician to be perplexed. never ever ever ever. i knew immediately we hit a roadblock. everything looks great with left ovary. 4-5 follicles ready to start ‘roids. uterus looks good. right ovary has suddenly gone ballistic and swelled up more than twice the size it should be. out of no where. 2 weeks ago it was normal. yesterday it was 40 shades of f*cked up. magician said it looked like it had secretly taken black market ‘roids and produced multiple eggs without our knowledge. ok he didn’t say that exactly, but that was the gist. i wracked my brain… what had changed in the last two weeks? i was on birth control, which should’ve SHRUNK my ovaries. UGH. my body can’t even properly prepare for treatments for its failure at reproducing. double fail. magician also suspected my HCG level (the one that is produced by a pregnancy) was still elevated (> 5) so i gave some blood to check it. yup. it is 16. triple fail.

so where does that leave me? BENCHED. for another month. stop the pill. see you in 2 weeks he says. i’m a pretty level headed, practical gal. i am fully on board with doing IVF under the best scenario possible. i want the best results, there’s no half-assing this. but i have to admit i am really upset about this. i want to cry and scream and punch things like my toddler. the only thing that was keeping everything together at the seams after losing my baby was jumping right into IVF. and now it’s come to a screeching halt and i am left in that sinking dark space again. just spinning my wheels. getting left behind. again.

vent over.

silence is golden

photo (4)

often times i am too-easily caught up in the have-tos and can’t-waits of life. the mama-mama-mamas and honey-dos. how can you not? we’re out of milk. mama jezzie barfed. did you get my dry cleaning. what’s for dinner. my paper is due tomorrow and i should probably start it soon. the oven won’t turn on. jezzie barfed again. excuse me mister, put down the scissors right now. can you drop off my prescription on your way to work, i need it tomorrow. why is the dog barfing again. and so on and so forth.

i am too easily-caught up. stuck in the tangled web of daily stressors, weekly assignments, monthly bills. and this wouldn’t be an issue except i generally suck at restoration. not as in refurbishing an old vanity. more like putting a sheen on my soul. i am too easily a mom first and then a wife, and THEN i am me, someone who deserves some shining up with a little elbow grease but just can’t find the time to whip out that chamois. i am terrible at stopping, even for a moment. hell, i don’t even pause. it’s like i don’t know how to. there is too much going on to slow down. maybe that’s what i tell myself so i keep going going going? i don’t know. what i do know is that eventually the wheels will fall off and everything will come to a screeching halt. with the next few weeks about to test me in ways i can’t imagine, husband encouraged me to take a breather and spend part of my lousy 1 week off of school (aka summer “break”) doing something for ME. so i took some vacation days at work and committed to a mini-vacay with the in-laws in Palm Springs. why i didn’t do this sooner is beyond me. i may not come back to work.

one of my favorite days during this week “off” was when amazing husband drove us down to del mar for a day trip just because. toddler was with his Tata for the day/night. i made sure to pack his ear infection and lovely hand foot and mouth disease with him. ain’t nobody got time for that. we drove down the coast and said not one word to each other. it’s amazing how beautiful silence is. and i didn’t get beaned with a flying sippie cup either. bonus. got out of the car, walked (without having to haul 60lb of toys/bags/stroller) to a park by the beach, and laid out under a shady tree. listened to the waves. actually heard said waves. amazing. listened to the sound of my breathing. even listened to amazing husband tell me we could do whatever we wanted in this moment. and so we stayed there even longer. went and had lunch at a local brewery. i got to order food and eat it while it was still warm. beers at 2pm on a wednesday. because i could. drove back home in silence. beaming. splurged for dinner at javier’s and then laughed our asses off at mediocre comedy that night with some of our favorite friends. and promptly was asleep in bed by 11. i call that a win.

one of my other favorite things was watching my 3 year-old niece perform Frozen’s Let it Go. only without the singing. just 4+ minutes of longing gazes and emphatic hand gestures. Queen Elsa is working on her lyrics. a short-lived encore performance broke out shortly after, initiated by none other than my husky little man. however the flowers lining the “stage” suddenly proved too interesting and alas, the performance was cut short.

after this week of relaxation, i woke up in the morning with a smile. felt a little shinier too. and looking back… it didn’t take much to feel that way. just a little effort really. i guess the lesson here is “hey guess what, you are important too.” write that down mommies. and give yourself a shine. ❤

day of hope

today is august 19th.

most people don’t know that today is the Day of Hope, a day near and dear to my heart. a few years ago i learned about August 19th Day of Hope (the carly marie project) as i happened upon the website by chance. i welcome you to check it out here http://carlymarieprojectheal.com/international-dates/august-19th-day-of-hope

last year i had posted an image on FB about the day of hope, but 365 days later and two more losses, a picture wasn’t enough. i felt compelled to act, to do SOMETHING. anything. if there is a lesson to be learned regarding infertility and loss it’s this: you can’t control a fucking thing. you can do everything within your power to have a baby, and it won’t happen. you can buy sperm friendly lube. take your temperature for 8127631265 days straight and overanalyze every dip of a tenth of a degree. you can pee on all the ovulation sticks. supplements for better egg quality, herbal remedies for fertility boost, special mantras and the list goes on. but in the end, you have ZERO control. but your neighbor’s 15 year-old daughter on crack can have a baby like THAT so F you universe.

so you move the focus to what you CAN control. after my first miscarriage i turned into the crazy coupon lady. dead serious. i got a binder and filled it with thousands of hours of clippings of coupons. i spent outrageous amounts of time at CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aids, “buying” more toothbrushes and deodorant than one would need in a lifetime. (they actually were free but that’s a different post altogether.) i would scan the circulars, sales, you name it. i memorized the lowest prices of ground beef and cheez-its. shopping for sales became my mission in life. i threw myself into it because it a) who doesn’t want free deodorant and b) took my mind off the fact that my baby had died. because that’s the hard truth of infant/pregnancy loss: all of a sudden your world stops and yet the rest of the world keeps on moving. what was supposed to be no longer will, and you are left with an ungodly amount of time on your hands to remind yourself of what will never be. coupons made me get off the couch. coupons made me shower every day. coupons encouraged me to leave the house again. and incidentally coupons built me an amazing stockpile in case the zombie apocalypse happens. i’m good to go. in all seriousness though, i thank god for those thin, flimsy little squares. they saved my life.

back to the day of hope… this time i set myself on making a prayer flag for my babies. i went to JoAnns hoping something would speak to me, jump out and say “THIS! this is perfect.” but nothing. i perused the fabric aisle, running my hand over the ever-so-soft minky fabrics. there was a beautiful handmade baby blanket on display. it was a soft gray minky on one side with blue and white chevron on the other. i let my mind wander and imagined one of my sweet angels wrapped in it, and instantly i wanted to bury my face in it and cry. somehow i took a deep breath and moved on, and in my meanderings i happened to find all that i needed, without crying. i call that a win. i went home and began. i put on some music that i used to play to my babies while in my tummy, and i cut. and glued. and cried. and glued some more. and the end result made me cry even more. but these were tears of happiness, that i had made something tangible to honor what was intangible.

a prayer flag is a piece of fabric often inscribed with words, or mantras, prayers or poems. it is said when you hang up the flag, the breeze takes the prayers and carries them all over the world.

i pray my love finds them up in the clouds, wherever they are. and to all my loss mamas, i pray your heart can find peace. ❤

http://carlymarieprojectheal.com/international-dates/august-19th-day-of-hope
http://carlymarieprojectheal.com/international-dates/august-19th-day-of-hope

challenge accepted

i am deeply touched by all your responses after having taken the leap of faith and “outed” myself as an infertile old bag. honestly, i did not expect to affect so many. it was my wish, but i envisioned this blog would sort of be like a pile of dusty papers at the bottom of a box stashed away in the corner of the garage: the one you pull out from time to time just to remind yourself of its contents before you throw it away. i did not anticipate my whispered words aimlessly floating in cyberspace would touch the hearts of so many already. especially friends and strangers (read: new friends) who too were struggling in silence. i am so glad i started this. and it’s only been 1 day.

i recently have had many people ask me about the IVF process, and i thought now would be a good time for a brief run-down on the unbelievably complex and convoluted way we grow babies in glass dishes. this will be a scientific explanation since we are all academics here.

step 1: find sad infertile old hag with only 1 jacked up fallopian tube and too many miscarriages to count. make sure she has husband with extraordinarily amazing reproductive “contributions” so sad old hag feels utterly responsible for said infertility.

step 1.5: tell old hag to take birth control pills in order to get pregnant. this will trick her eggs into calming the F down and make them ready for the ensuing craziness. this will take about a week and a half.

step 2: trick her ovaries into producing lots of eggs. make infertile hag stab herself repeatedly in the stomach, injecting medication that will stimulate the ovaries into growing multiple eggs, instead of the normal 1 a month. this goes on for days and days. she is really excited.

step 3: subject old hag to the ever-so-comfortable transvaginal ultrasound (read: dildo cam) more times than she ever wanted to, to inspect her eggs on ‘roids and see how they are responding to the meds.

step 4: when the eggs are finally observed to be taking selfies while flexing shirtless in the mirror, old hag gives herself final (hooray!) injection (trigger shot), this time a special medication to prep eggs for ER (egg retrieval).

step 5: approximately 36 hours later, take out the eggs. thankfully old hag will be sipping on Jackson Juice and not remember a thing. thank you in advance Mr. Anesthesiologist.

step 6: that same day, fertilize eggs. amazing husband finally has opportunity to contribute. we will be using ICSI on our eggs, which means a sperm is shoved into each egg, to ensure they fertilize. take no chances people, not a one.

step 7: we now have embryos. hope they continue to divide and grow appropriately for the next 3-5 days in their glass houses. no stones will be thrown.

step 8: the best looking embies win a ticket back to the womb (egg transfer or ET). if we are so lucky to have more than 2 survive the process, they will win a ticket to a cryo chamber, where they will chill until further notice (now called frosties). now amazing husband gets to stab infertile hag in the ass with medication to trick her body into thinking it’s pregnant. old hag is not looking forward to this.

step 9: pray for a miracle that the ET worked and old hag gets pregnant. also pray that old hag gets to stab husband. just once. just to see how it feels.

step 10: pray for continued miracles that old hag STAYS pregnant.

i think we covered everything, no? you might take issue with my use of the word old. or hag. or dildo cam even. (that’s what it IS people.) ok i’ll freely admit i’m not old. i’m 33. but my eggs are freaking old according to my lab results and ultrasounds. so there’s that. i’m essentially pushing 40 here with these eggs. and i am working with 1 tube. another roadblock to overcome. i fully accept the reality that odds are not in our favor. in fact, our odds suck. we are 1 for 5 so far. 20% success. it’s hard to look at that and maintain a glass half full mentality. so instead i fall back on my insanely competitive and immature nature and say to that: CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

suck it infertility.

Posted in IVF

suppression

IVF journey begins today!

photo (2)

suppression. what an odd term to use right now, when lately i had been willing my body to outwardly express the fact that it was, in fact, pregnant. to be fair, the last 17 months have been full of expression. joy and heartache. shrieks of elation and sobs of devastation. many side-eyes and major eye rolls at big pregnant bellies, and longing caresses of my ever flat, empty belly. unless we can express, we cannot deal. and so i find myself here.

today we begin our IVF journey. holy shit. just typing that out makes me take pause and i find myself holding my breath. i say “we” because even though my body will be enduring 98% of everything associated with this process, my husband is in this too. we are one in this journey, as we have been one in our struggle and one in our grief. having a united front to tackle infertility has been integral to our marriage. i can easily see how infertility can destroy even the strongest of partnerships. it is all-encompassing, all-consuming. your goals shift. priorities are no longer priorities. the financial hardship alone can break a marriage. but we have survived. infertility and losing our babies has unexpectedly brought us closer than ever before. and for that, i am so thankful.

but i digress.

for the last 17 months we have been trying ferociously to have another baby. and we have suffered the loss of four babies now, the last three back to back to back. ironically, our most recent pregnancy this month was a total shock. we were all set to begin IVF this month and for the first time in a LONG time, we weren’t even trying to get pregnant. i had thrown the calendar away. stopped charting, stopped calculating what days we needed to get down and when and how often and just said “fuck it.” and BOOM. two lines on the pee stick. in the past i wanted to throat punch people when they would tell me “just relax! you just need to stop trying and it will happen!”  assholes. that’s such a shitty insensitive thing to tell someone trying to have a baby. “hey you! stop trying for what your heart desires! then you might actually get it!” it’s like saying “hey, don’t work really hard for that promotion. it will just land in your lap!” except with infertility you don’t get rewarded for hard work. you still get kicked in the teeth.

but maybe they were on to something with the “relax” bullshit. but i will never admit that to them. nope. not. ever.

again, i digress. fast-forward to appointment with Reproductive Endocrinologist (read: magical fertility doc) Tuesday. he says miscarrying right now actually helps us time IVF and we can start now.

BOOM.

which brings me to today. officially starting my suppression cycle. took my first BCP this morning and with that, the first step towards our miracle. feels bizarre to be taking birth control to try to have a baby, but let’s be honest people… i’ll eat stinging jellyfish naked while standing on my head if it means i can take home a baby.

it’s okay not to be okay.

Ink (Used)

these words speak volumes tonight. i was asked by a good friend today if i was “okay.” :::takes deep breath:::

i know we’ve only just met. so forgive me for starting out uncomfortably deep. but it’s true: i’m NOT okay. not even close. sure, i’m here: in the present. i’m surviving. i wake up. shower. eat. feed the dog. attempt to be present for my child. make sure said child stays fed, dry, and out of the electric outlets. work. school. bills. attempt to be present for amazing husband. clean. more work. rinse and repeat. i’m treading water, miraculously. but is struggling to swim “okay”? is “surviving” a way to live? how does one stay afloat in the tidal wave of grief?

i am reeling from just losing my fourth baby. i’m NOT okay. i was so very blessed with what appears to now be a miracle child, my son, back in 2012. don’t get me wrong, i thank god each and every day for allowing me to be his sweetie mama. he is the light of my life. but as time ticks on, the dream for our family-yet-to-be-realized burns a deeper hole in my heart with each subsequent loss. and with each loss the highs are higher and the lows cut deeper than ever before. i am reeling. spinning like a top without a clear purpose or direction. and i’m NOT okay.

i will go into my dark rabbit hole of infertility and pregnancy loss later, as no one wants to start off with the raw, jagged edges of repeated soul-stabbing loss. i don’t want to lose all 4 of my followers with the first post. but on the same hand i am WHO i am because of that struggle, and truly, the entire reason i am compelled to blog stems from that broken part of my soul. ugh. i really hate that term “blog.” it sounds so stagnant and greasy. in all honesty, it is important to me to share with you my story. the story of my children. because they were alive. and they still live within my heart. and though not of this earth today, i honor them by sharing with others the imprint they left on my life. but more importantly, i honor them by building a community around me where the stigma of infant and pregnancy loss is eradicated. because we all know “it” happens. if you are like me, a woman in her 30’s, you’d be hard-pressed to not know someone who has suffered a loss. but it is often and quickly swept under the rug. it’s uncomfortable.

i want to break the silence. it’s NOT okay. it helps no one.

so here i am, at 12:30AM replaying this song “who you are” by jessie j (no judging) 19238263 times, which probably was written about self-image and loving yourself no matter what society says and here i find it completely applicable to the grieving mother instead of the pimple faced teenager struggling to fit in.

“seeing is deceiving, dreaming is believing, it’s okay not to be okay.”

amen sister.