day 3 – just breathe

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this picture may simply appear to be two cute little humans loving each other. let’s be honest, they ARE pretty adorable. especially when they aren’t playing tug of war to the death over the same wind-up robot toy. this is a picture of two wee ones, cousins, in fact, walking hand in hand headed to the beach. and it makes me cry.

i know what you’re thinking. yes, i started injecting myself with hormones today. and yes, i probably am already experiencing the unfortunate mutiny of said hormones on my unaware body. so cut me a little slack here. but the tears are warranted. i look at this picture, i see my son holding the hand of his cousin, and all i can hear is my son asking “dada… where is MY sister?”

cue gut punch. i had been waiting for him to start asking these questions, but i was a fool to think i was ready to respond. and thankfully he asked amazing husband. but it got me thinking…what do you do? what do you say?

“mommy and daddy have been trying for years to give you a brother or sister?”  too confusing.

“mommy’s body is broken and we don’t know if you will ever have a brother or sister?” too depressing.

“we don’t know sweetie.” sad, but true.

maybe you say nothing, choke back tears and mutter something unintelligible about how babies are miracles and suddenly change topics while you struggle to breathe. “look! i see thomas the train!” and just like THAT the wind is completely knocked out of you by one, small, harmless question.

breathe. just breathe. that’s what i tell myself. move the air in and out…  but i find myself holding onto it. i’m scared. scared to let it out. exhale entirely. release. sounds so easy, no? i promise you it’s not. because inevitably when i do, it’s gone. and i am left searching for the next one, frantic, desperately needing that air. suffocating.

that’s part of dealing with loss and the grief that comes with it. a glimpse of how it feels, really. to me. when one minute you are fine and the next a messy heap of tears because that truly harmless comment just peeled back the scab to expose your never-healing wound. you suddenly can’t breathe. the air is there, right in front of you, you KNOW this… and yet no matter how much gasping you do it is thick and viscous, refusing to move. you stand there, frozen in time, suffocating.

so here i am looking at these two little people, and i see my son and his cousin, who he loves like the sister he wishes he had. and i start to tear up. because i feel like i’m letting him down. i wish he could understand the great lengths i am going to, the extreme measures i am taking, the countless times i’ve suffered heartbreak, all to try to give him someone to adore just as he adores his cousin. hopefully someday he will. in the meantime i can only tell myself to breathe. inhale. exhale. rinse and repeat. someone please tell me this gets easier.

Posted in IVF

day 1

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beginning /biˈginiNG/ (noun): the point in time or space at which something starts.

dawn. inception. conception. birth. origination. genesis. emergence.

i’m going to call it adventure. i might end up calling it a total crapshoot but i’m feeling REALLY GOOD today so let’s stay positive and say adventure. magician gave us the green light to proceed with IVF today. wow. just writing that out makes my hands tremor just a little bit. this day has been in the making for so long now. so many weeks and months have passed trying to get to this point.  to this stepping stone.  this beginning.

undertaking IVF is a feat in and of itself.  the level of commitment to the process is unreal: first off, how do you afford it? In the lovely state of CA 99.9999% of insurances do not cover one lousy cent of infertility treatment.  I am in that lucky majority and am paying 100% out of pocket. the staggering cost of buying a baby (as i sometimes like to call it) gave us a heart attack. any reputable place will charge you $10K JUST for a single cycle. that’s ONE ATTEMPT at IVF. not including the medications to stimulate. those will cost you anywhere from $4-6K.  FOR ONE ATTEMPT. most clinics will offer a package deal… buy 1 cycle for $10K, 2 for $15K or 3 for $20K, because let’s face it… there’s no guarantee this will work so you might need more than 1 try. or 2. or 5.  add in almost daily ultrasounds, blood tests, etc and you’re looking at another $1k? oh and mock transfer. oh and anesthesia for retrieval. oh and storage of your embies. and freezing of said embies. it’s never ending. let’s just say it gonna cost you about $20,000.  FOR ONE ATTEMPT. breathe into this paper bag… sit down. it’s okay.

if you can recover from the heart attack inflicted by all those zeros, then you have to be able to commit physically.  supplements to increase your egg quality. increase protein intake. more water. less coffee. no booze. oh hell no. sleep more. stress less. (if you have discovered the secret to this, kindly let me know.) acupuncture. (check!). and the needles. forget not the needles.

ok so you are willing to drown in debt and stab yourself repeatedly. now you have to commit mentally and emotionally. and you have to be able to accept the results. good or bad. despite everything else, this part is going to be the hardest.  it requires that you take a leap of faith with no guarantees of any success.  a leap is an understatement. you are jumping out of an airplane hoping your parachute will open.  or like walking onto a car lot, plunking down all your hard-earned money as well as your still-beating heart and saying “maybe i’ll get to leave with a car.”

maybe.

maybe not.

so to know today starts our adventure makes me both thrilled and terrified all at once. but a little more thrilled. okay. a lot more thrilled. this is our time. i can feel it. thank you all for your continued support, i am going to need it these next few weeks. i start the stabbing on sunday. EEK!

Posted in IVF

needles

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i have to say… and i never thought i’d say this, but i love,… LOVE… acupuncture.

serious.

i started going two fridays ago and i can’t believe i didn’t start this earlier. and everyone had been telling me for months “you should try acupuncture!”. yeah, i TOTALLY want to be riddled with needles. sign me up. but last month it was recommended by a friend who had gone through IVF and used this guy’s services. after losing the baby in august, i told myself i needed to be open to any and all avenues that might help me get pregnant AND take home a baby. when i say it like that i sound sane, but let’s be honest, i am desperate. i am willing to do ANYTHING to help have a baby. a new study says fertility increases if you eat dirt-laden grubs? i’m on it. stand on your head for 4.6 minutes a day at 10pm while facing a south-western direction? done and done.

but i don’t do things like THIS. like eastern medicine (read: needles). i am a clinician. i live in a world of black and white. cause and effect. take this antibiotic and BOOM there goes your sinus infection. don’t take it and, well, don’t complain when you still can’t breathe a week from now. but i tried to go in with an open mind. so when he had me lay on a table and show him my tongue… i was a bit skeptical. okay, a lot skeptical.  what is my tongue going to tell him? what i ate for lunch? if i brushed adequately? (oh god, did i brush my teeth??) he said it was a nice pink color (:::sigh of relief:::) and not too swollen nor too thin. i guess that’s good. now please stop looking at my tongue.

then he checked my pulses. for about 10 minutes. skepticism increasing. could he not locate them? instead, he told me he was feeling the flow to all my systems. or something. like, in Chinese medicine they classify the body in systems, so he was assessing my reproductive system and GI system (etc.) by palpating various parts of my arm. um… okay.  then he asked me 191761 questions about my health history and why i was coming to see him.  then cue the needles. i was really nervous. the first one was popped into my foot. i had clenched every muscle in my body in anticipation… and when i saw he was already moving on to a new spot to stab i realized “wow, i can barely feel this.” i concentrated on relaxing my muscles as he inserted 26 more needles in various parts of my body. and then he said chill out for the next 30 minutes. he turned on some soothing music i imagine Buddha would’ve listened to if he were still alive and i laid there.

and nearly fell ASLEEP. yup.

total relaxation.

totally bizarre. and guess what. the cysts are now GONE, not even 2 weeks after seeing my ovary swollen more than twice the size it should be. i give all the credit to acupuncture. even the magician was really surprised they cleared so quickly.

he also found a good size follicle on my L ovary (the side with no fallopian tube) and had me inject myself with a trigger shot to make it release so we could get the IVF train back on track.  :::cue official freak out:::  first injection. :::wringing hands:::

this is embarrassing. i’m a freaking nurse. i do this every day. but never to MYSELF. so i took a deep breath, and went for it. gotta say, didn’t hardly feel it. i must have ridiculously excellent technique. LOL.  so i should’ve dropped my egg over the weekend and i go in for another ultrasound next tuesday (9/22).  if all looks good we are a GO for IVF at the end of the month.  holy cow!!!

thanks to everyone for all your good thoughts and juju. they are much appreciated!

royal pain

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brilliant.

the royal princess and her proper uterus is pregnant again. all of 13 seconds after having his royal sweetness. that was JUST what i wanted to hear first thing this morning.

cue logging into facebook to three… count them,THREE… more pregnancy announcements.

shutting the computer…

can we have a do-over?

this is the bitch about infertility.  it never gets easier seeing/hearing/reading about people getting pregnant. never. ever. each announcement is like salt in a gaping wound. and the cruelest part is that it hurts no matter what stage of your journey you are stuck in. when i was trying for #1 and people were getting pregnant left and right, it hurt. in hindsight, of course, that was the least painful part, but i remember feeling the sting then.  even after having my son hearing announcements still hurt. isn’t that totally messed up? i should be HAPPY for them, especially knowing firsthand just how many things have to go RIGHT to have that baby. (it’s 29817254 things in case you are wondering). in my head i knew i should be happy for them. and yet my heart couldn’t bear to be. i didn’t have any reserve.

infertility robs that of you, it ROBS you of being able to feel joy for your friends on one of the happiest moments in their lives. it steals your ability to put aside your darkness and shower someone in love and the light that they so desperately deserve. and THAT, my friends, is the worst feeling: feeling like an utter asshole because you can’t be happy for your friends. it’s not about being selfish and envious, it’s about protecting your already-shattered heart. how can you genuinely smile when you are holding back a torrential downpour of tears? how can you live with lying to them? because that’s what i’d be doing, lying. desperately pretending and WANTING to be genuine but lying nonetheless. so i back away, quietly, and close up the doors.  so i respectfully decline shower invites and hope they understand. i block people on facebook not because i don’t like them anymore now that they’re pregnant but i cannot bear one more ultrasound picture or post about a pregnancy complaint. i can’t. the wheels will fall off and this train will derail. and i hope they understand. and if they don’t… well… can i really blame them? 

thank you, your royal fertileness, for another gut punch. sod off.