Saturday, November 29, 2014

Showing Some Basic Compassion for Infertiles

I just read a story where someone announced their pregnancy (not even out of the first trimester) at Thanksgiving dinner, in front of a relative that she KNEW was struggling with infertility.  Not surprisingly, that infertile woman cried in the other room for 20 minutes.  And the OMG pregnant person is being a really big person because she isn't demanding an apology from the person she humiliated because she couldn't bother to give her a heads up before this little display.  Wow, how generous.

As someone who has been on the receiving end of this, I'm so humiliated for this poor woman at Thanksgiving dinner.  It's bad enough when it's just oblivious fertiles who are all ME ME ME and have no idea what you are feeling.  But if someone with a freaking infertility blog knows you are suffering with infertility, for fuck sake, why not just give her a heads up?

I'll never forget when my smug pregnant family member announced her first trimester pregnancy not long after my awful, life-threatening surgery, that killed my baby.  Not everyone knew about the surgery.  I didn't even think this relative knew about it.  But she made a veiled, humorous reference to ME and to the surgery.  I will never forget that she made me cry in front of probably 20 family members.  I will never forget that she knew I was suffering and used it against me.  Our relationship will never be the same.

Infertiles obviously know everyone else in the family is going to get pregnant, and we are supposed to smile and send money and gush about your glow, I know.  But if you're going to announce it at dinner so that this whole holiday can be about you and your wonderful, magical pregnancy, just give me a heads up so I don't humiliate myself by crying in front of everyone again after another failed cycle.  I don't think that's too much to ask.  And I'm never going to apologize if you can't have basic compassion for me after I trusted you enough to tell you about my struggles in infertility.

Giving Up

Today is 7dp5dt.  I woke up to blood.   I mean serious blood everywhere, and I started to cry.  I sat there on the toilet and just cried.  In the country at a beautiful cottage full of wonderful food and family.  Two days after Thanksgiving.  Eventually my sperm donor woke up, and he had no idea what to do.  He just started packing the bags so we could leave.  And then he got some really, really bad news from work.  So bad they sent it on Saturday after a holiday.

I was still Googling.  Blood is no big deal.  It says so on the instructions.  It says so on the internet.  Way too early for a period anyway right?  In 20 mins it had stopped and was just some dried blood.  WTF.  Even though we were around loving family, we didn't tell them anything.  We just left.

I had one Wondfo pregnancy test left, so I took it.  Negative.  I'm not even going to buy more.  There is nothing I can do about it.  Why do I even try to convince myself I'm in some kind of control?  I do still have a stack of Wondfo ovulation kits, for all the good those did me.

Life has been punching us in the face all year.  I just thought maybe we could have some good news.  And after everything was finally going perfectly, and everything finally seemed like it was working, life reminds me that it can take it all away in a second.

I understand now why people give up on fertility treatments.  Heck fertile people act like IVF is just like ordering a really expensive pizza.  Just order another right?  There were a couple IUIs that gutted me, like curled up in a ball for a day gutted.  But most of the failures I kind of expected.  10% success rate, you know.  It wasn't the end of the world.  Just a couple scans and a catheter.  Try again.

IVF wasn't like that.  I let myself believe it would work.  And it took SO MUCH: resources, physically, emotionally, time.  I feel like an idiot for going through all of this in a process that doesn't even work that well.  What did I think 60% meant?  It meant I was flipping a coin, more or less.  I don't know if I can take any more failure.  I don't know if I can take any more bad news this year.  I mean just for this Christmas I wish I could get some good news for a change.  Just waiting for this stupid beta on Monday, I guess.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

When the Bee Stings

Last night, I got stung by a freaking bee.  I haven't been stung since I was a kid.  The day before Thanksgiving at 9PM.  A freaking bee.  Inside.  At night.  God.  That's what I get for going to the country for Thanksgiving.

It started to swell up and I started wheezing.  I started Googling like a mad woman.  I didn't even have anyone to call.  I mean I have a couple nurse or doctor friends, but I wasn't about to ask them "What do I do when I get stung by a bee four days after my 5dt?"  I couldn't risk a trip to the ER.  I took two Benadryls.  Normally, I would have taken like ten with an allergic reaction, and Benadryl is safe during pregnancy, so I tried to talk myself down that it was ok.

Even if Benadryl is OK, poison obviously is not.  And then started to freak out and I was hysterically crying that what if this stupid bee messed everything up after all this.  I'm sure the fun progesterone emotions helped my stay cool and collected.  And then my breathing got shallow, and I had to go lie down to keep myself from having a full on panic attack.  After all I've been through being so cautious and making it through so many risky parts of this process, I get stung by a stupid bee.

I haven't even had any HERBAL TEA since the transfer.  I've been off painkillers, antacids, even getting my nails done or my dye job touched up.  I use fragrance free lotion, and I even changed my shampoo.   And here I am on Thanksgiving five days after transfer with a random poison affecting my breathing.  I feel fine now and the swelling is way down.  I'm not taking anymore Benadryl though.

I feel better now.  It's Thanksgiving and I have a lot to be thankful for.  Even if it fails, I have five frosties on ice.  Now I just have to cool it for a couple days.  I've decided that this is going to work, and I should test positive in the next couple days.  A negative this morning means nothing.  That Monday beta seems ages away.  Can't believe I got stung by a freaking bee.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

What a Difference in One Day, 3dp5dt

Wow, this has been a whiplash day.

Last night, 2dp5dt, my cramps kicked in like I've never felt before.  It felt like my uterus being ripped out and then they started rippling through my lower back that started spasming all night and I freaked the hell out.  At 10AM when it was still excruciating, I called the nurse practically crying.

They fit me in for a scan, which showed nothing.   No fluid.  Ovaries even looked less swollen than the doctor expected.  Dildo cam didn't even feel sore.   Everything was perfect.  No signs of infection.  Take some Tylenol.  Ugh.

And then a few hours later I started to perk up.  I started to feel like a human again!  I even got the lovey, pot-smoking feeling of progesterone that all is good with the world.  I FIT INTO PANTS WITH BUTTONS!

But I still have to make it to sleep tonight.  I haven't managed to sleep a whole night on progesterone and my terrible nightmares are back.  I hate progesterone.  Here's to hoping the insomnia will fade and all will be good.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Taking it Easy

Transferred two, and now I am taking it easy.  This is surprisingly hard.  I couldn't lift the pot of all the food I made for the potluck.  I couldn't help with any of the bins of Christmas decorations or with putting up the tree or hanging the lights.  And I still can't work out, which is driving me insane.  I can't even really bend over to pick things up without squashing my tender ovaries.

Of course, I've been POAS every day after reading all these people who tested positive four, five days after their 5dt.  And then the cramping started.  Last night, 1dp5dt it felt like straight up period cramps, maybe the milder kind.  And it hasn't stopped today, 2dp5dt.  The nurse hasn't called me back, and I can't figure out if this is good and means I'm pregnant, or if something is very wrong.  The Tylenol did nothing, as usual.  I've never actually been pregnant in my uterus, so maybe that's just what it feels like?

The lab froze 1 5AA, two 4AAs, 1 4BB and 1 4BA, for five good quality blasties total.  I guess that's good, and I hope that's enough because I really don't want to go through that again.

I still can't wear pants with buttons, but I feel better than before the retrieval.  I can still kind of feel my tender ovaries, but it's getting better.  Here's to hoping for a BFP soon.

Edit:  Nurse called me back.  Cramping is normal and means nothing, even if it's really bad.  Great.  Tylenol.  Spotting is also OK, and everything is fine unless I am bleeding heavily or bloating up.  So I guess I am supposed to feel this crappy.  Great.

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Friday Before, Implanting Two or One?

Tomorrow is the big transfer date...

The doctor called to tell me that the embryos are high quality and look so good that based on my age the recommendation of the ASRM is to only transfer one.  He said they would recommend two if I were older, if they were lower quality, or if I only had two.  Hmmm.

Then, without missing a beat, he said only 5% opt for one transfer in my age range.  And it's my decision.  Nice.  He said my odds would be about 40% with one transfer, 60% with two.

I'm kind of pissed he didn't tell me this earlier.  I feel like I would have done some research on why this is the recommendation.  I mean, I get that the ASRM is probably just covering its ass after Octomom and twins are risky, I get that.  Twins are also expensive and a drain on the system, blah blah.  I hear NHS only transfers one in this situation, probably because they would rather pay for a cheap FET than twins.  (Or make the patient pay for the FET!)  Makes sense to me financially in a country with reasonable healthcare.

I'm also kind of pissed he didn't tell me more doctor advice, like how serious risks with twins really are.  Now I'm wishing I had time to go see the OB.  Ugh.  I really wish I had his opinion.  I think I might text him, I guess.

I can buy insurance to cover my twins.  I am 32 and healthy, and there's no reason I shouldn't be able to carry twins as well as anyone else.  I recognize there are risks to twins, obviously.  But my mom with the zinger.  If my grandmother, who was 4'11" (1.5m), carried twins in 1949 to almost full term, then surely I can do it.  We have a lot of natural twins in my family, and other than one miscarriage, they haven't had any problems.

Besides, I have already decided I'm going to have my twins by Christmas, and to do that, I need to implant two.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Million Updates

Well, IVF just got real, and you know what, we might actually be able to pull this off.  All I've wanted for Christmas since 2012 was to be pregnant.

Retrieval Monday, and it was ROUGH.  I puked my guts out after like three times all over the recovery room and the heating pad.  It was humiliating.  I could feel my painful ovaries just knocking around things and into each other.  They said it would be painful because of the "manipulation" to get the eggs.  What???  They wouldn't give me any real drugs, so I took half a 7.5 Lortab, ironically from my ectopic a million years ago.  I also happened to have a really nice heating pad from that ectopic, which I swear I don't remember ordering, and it was unused.  Best thing ever!  I can't believe they didn't warn me I would need a heating pad.  Do people just have these lying around???  Half a Lortab did the trick, and then Tylenol took it down to just yucky crampy feeling of too big, raw ovaries.

Tuesday was still rough.  It hurt to sit, it hurt to stand, it hurt to lay down.  It really hurt to change from one to another.  I was at high risk for OHSS, as I expected, so I am supposed to have a high sodium, high protein diet.  I have been surviving on Gatorade, sunflower seeds, and protein shakes.  Really haven't been very hungry because I feel like crap.

Today, Thursday, I feel better.  I kind of have a waist now, so that's a good sign.  Swelling is way down.  If I sit still I feel OK.  I can't even imagine exercising or anything though.  I read someone ran four days post retrieval, and I can't even imagine that jostling.  Ouch.  I went to the grocery store, and even that walking was probably too much.

29 eggs harvested, 20 mature, 12 fertilized.  Right now, 2 are looking slow, and the rest are looking good enough to freeze/transfer!  On Saturday we are going to transfer two!
 I'm kind of in disbelief that everything is going well. It's been so long in my life that everything has gone to plan I don't even know what to do!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Stay Calm and Avoid OHSS

Triggered last night, Stim Day 8, surgery is now less than 24 hours away.  I changed my mind on my ignorance policy and asked for vague stats.  I have over 15 follicles on my right, and over 10 on my left.  Holy crap, that explains why I'm off balance and it hurts to wear clothes, walk, sit down, lie down, or stand.  Maybe if I could float in zero gravity it wouldn't hurt, but I doubt it.

My estrogen level is almost 6,000.  A quick check on Dr. Google, MD revealed that I should immediately panic because such a high estrogen level means I will get OHSS.  Nothing has been easy in this whole process, so that would seem about right for my lack of luck.

But my estrogen was 2,500 before the trigger, so now I don't know how accurate Google MD is.  The nurse said everything looked absolutely perfect, so why am I panicking now?  I even listened to her voicemail again.  Everything looks perfect.  I could really use a drink.  Or some Oxy tomorrow, but my doctor only lets you have Tylenol BOO.  Maybe I can get some better meds after my surgery.

I really shouldn't have googled everyone's nightmare results from painful retrivals and OHSS.  I couldn't sleep and I kept reading them for hours and hours.  That isn't going to happen to me right?  I just need everything to go as planned for once.  I need to be one of those women who wake up the next day feeling relieved and refreshed, pop a Tylenol, and everything is just fine.  And then I'll have a glass of nice wine in no pain in the beautiful winter weather.  Maybe even wearing pants with buttons.  Yes, that will be me.  And twins by Christmas.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Ignorance is Bliss Stim Day 7

I went full on ignorance today, stim day 7.  This morning, I asked for no info at my scan.  Just tell me if it looks ok, if there's something I need to know/do/eat/show up for and if we are still on schedule for the retrieval.  I asked for no information about my estrogen level when the nurse called with my dosage.  There's nothing I can do about it, and besides, I can always change my mind at my next scan, tomorrow.  On Saturday.

I feel like my lower regions just keep expanding.  When I stand I'm off balance.  It feels yucky and bloaty and sometime crampy.  Ugh.  I'm wearing yoga pants and working from home at least, since I put my client meetings earlier.  Whose idea was this again?  My husband said that if he had to do IVF for us to get pregnant it would just never happen.  Great.  Thanks.

Doctor said we are on schedule for Tuesday or Wednesday retrieval.  That's awesome because then I can drink at my friend's Thankgiving potluck on Friday.  Lawd knows I've earned those delicious drinks.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Massage on Stim Day 6

My reiki guy canceled yesterday, which is for the best because I was feeling so blah and bloated and in my cozy fleece, not really wanting to brave the cold for some energy waves.  I did carry around my rose quartz in my purse though.

This morning, I had my regular massage guy, who it turns out is also into reiki, so I guess I got a two-fer, ha.  Still not really sure what reiki is.  I normally get pretty athletic massages with all the working out, but this one was hot stones, and it was HEAVEN.  I was so bloatey and achey and just blah, and I walked out feeling so much better.

A relaxation hot stone massage with the table heater and all that was soooo nice, exactly what I needed.  I booked one for Monday too, Day 10 of stims.

My estrogen was up to 1200 on Stim Day 5, which I guess is high because they knocked back my Gonal to 75, and no Menopur at all.  Now I am TOTALLY FREAKING out that I am going to hyper-stimulate and it will all be cancelled or I'll end up in the hospital or something.  It sure feels like a lot is happening down there.  The swelling actually feels like before my ectopic ruptured.  At the time, I thought it was a nice full feeling, now it's sheer panic.

I guess I will know more at my scan tomorrow.  I'm still believing in my twins by Christmas!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Bootcamp and IVF Do Not Mix

Don't try this one at home.  BOOT CAMP ON DAY 3 OF STIMS WAS A TERRIBLE IDEA.  I woke up with every muscle we worked out stiff, sore and achey.  It was like when I went to boot camp after being sedentary  for a few years and was so painful and sore all over.  But it was even worse because it also had a touch of flu ache that semed to almost radiate.  It was awful.  And I had to work early and deal with a bunch of clients.  UGH.  I could feel every muscle from every crunch or push up.  It was only my upper body though, so I guess my squats and lunges weren't so bad.

So I took the only non-fertility/prenatal drug that I have touched since I started Lupron.  One non-extra strength Tylenol.  I could still feel every oblique.  Every shoulder muscle.  Some weird muscles in my neck.  I think there's even a muscle at the base of my skull.  I've been going to boot camp for months, and I didn't think those exercises were doing anything.  Clearly they were.  Ouch.

My massage guy was booked, and I felt AWFUL.  I was only getting more tense and achey, and it was completely freaking me out.  So I did the only thing I could think of.  After I dealt with my clients, I went to get a pedicure and sat in the massage chair at the nail place.  It has never felt better, andI usually find it annoying.  In 30 minutes I went from feeling like I had a half flu to feeling almost human.  I almost fell asleep in the freaking chair.  So no more boot camp.  I'm just going to take it easy now.  And also, something is clearly going on with my circulation, so maybe I need more massages and stuff.  Eight days to retrival!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Whoa Nelly, Stims Too Fast!

I was cleared to exercise until tomorrow, Day 4 of stims.  So today, Day 3, I went to boot camp and then to Zumba at lunch.  It didn't feel right.  I was dizzy, I was uncoordinated, I feel bloaty and awful, and my body was telling me to STOP.  So I did.  I felt like an idiot walking out 10 minutes into a Zumba class, but whatever, just pretended like I had an important call.  Now exercise is over.

My E2, Stim Day 3, was at 405, which is good, I guess.  They lowered my Menopur dose.

I booked two massages, one this week, one the day after retrival, and I booked a special private yoga session with a new age-y reiki yoga kind of teacher two days after the retrival.  We're going to focus on fertility and healing and no inflammation or something.

I also booked a reiki energy session Wednesday based on the rec of the yoga instructor.  I have to bring a crystal.  So I ordered a rose quartz crystal.  I'm not even sure what all of this means, but I have plenty of time on my hands if I'm not going to the gym and it can't hurt.  And I would love to focus on something I feel like I can control or at least have a stupid distraction that isn't googling terrible medical things.  So reiki it is.  I would do pretty much anything if it would help, including carrying around a rose quartz crystal.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Junkie in the Bathroom

On Friday, I shot myself up with Lupron in a restaraunt bathroom about halfway through a nine-course wine pairing dinner.  I got to have exactly one glass of wine, and it was over so soon.  Oh, I hardly knew you, delicious minerally white burgundy chablis.

I thought this would be quick, but I was not smart enough to balance my purse and the alcohol and the syringe and I dropped it all at one point.  Luckily, I was alone and I just laughed.  Good thing I brought another needle.  This was ridiculous.  I moved to the wheelchair stall, which didn't help.  I still didn't have enough hands or enough surfaces or hooks or something.  Eventually I figured it out.  I hope I didn't contaminate myself in a beautiful bathroom that looked clean enough.

I did it quickly, I didn't overthink it.  And then I was back at a nine course wine pairing with no wine, which was a big deal.  I bet the other couple thinks I'm pregnant, but they didn't ask and we didn't volunteer.  Just an awkward silence.  I wish I could be truthful and live in my truth or whatever, but I can't be any more exposed right now.  So instead, I'm just a Lupron junkie in the bathroom.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Being a Friend to an Infertile

I really liked this post from The Runaway Stork about advising newbie infertiles navigating this treacherous territory.  I posted that the thing that surprised me the most was my friends' shitty responses.  I have great friends (I thought) and they love me (I thought) so they will support me!  It will be great!

Last night I was crying my eyes out to someone I thought was a dear friend, and she made a joke about me borrowing her kids.  She was holding my hand after my surgery recovery.  How could she not get it?

I know it's crappy to be a friend to an infertile, especially as a friend with kids.  It's not their fault their bodies worked correctly.  It's not their fault IVF is so painful and stressful and time consuming and expensive.  And what are they supposed to say exactly?  It's hard.  There's no good answer for anyone.

Looking back, I wish I had educated more of my (close) friends.  I wish I had texted that I was having a hard time. I wish I texted that I just screamed for fifteen minutes in my car in the parking lot of an infertility clinic.  I wish I had told them when I needed them and no one was around.  I wish I had said that I just needed someone to cry with me after another loss.  Another failure.  There were a lot of times I was not OK, and I felt like no one could hear me.  It's why I started this blog.  So I could scream into the silence of cyberspace instead of my car.  And maybe pretend like someone can hear me.

Looking back, I would have told less people.  I feel like so many have used this information to hurt me, even if it isn't what they intended to do.  Those that did know and should have cared didn't.  I wish I were less exposed.  I wish my friend I cried my eyes out just sent a text and said "hope everything goes well at the doctor" or something.  I wish someone gave a shit.  I wish the friends I confided in actually cared about this precious, precarious situation.  I wish it weren't a fucking joke or no big deal to them.

And maybe I could have been a better friend too.  Maybe I could have been there more when someone lost her mom or got fired instead of stuck in the pit of my own hurt and resentment.  Maybe I could have at least stopped by the 1 year old's birthday party.  Or maybe I could have sent an email about why I couldn't.  I didn't because I didn't understand.  And it made me a crappy friend.  I didn't educate them because I didn't understand.  I'll never know if it was them or me, but I know it will never be the same.

Tonight I'm going to dinner with Leah, who is opposed to IVF and doesn't know I'm doing it.  I get exactly one drink tonight, so that should be a dead giveaway something is off at a nine course wine pairing dinner.  Maybe she'll think I'm pregnant.  I know there's no way I'm telling her.  I can't take any more exposure, especially to someone I know will be hostile.  This will also be the first time I get to shoot myself up in the bathroom of a public place because of the timing, so that should be fun.

Funny thing is I never expected my husband to get it because men, but I did expect my female friends to get it.  Maybe that isn't fair.  Maybe it's a journey you just have to walk alone.  No one can be strong for me, and at the end of the day no one gets it.  Maybe expecting too much from people so removed from the process will only lead to disappointment.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Stims Coming Soon, Feeling Good!

On Saturday I start my Gonal F/Menopur combo.

The doctor said I could have ONE drink on Friday.   Hooray!  We are scheduled for a fancy dinner with some friends, and I am looking forward to that one drink.  I am going to look forward to that one drink for two days and I am going to savor it, because it will be my last for a while.

I am also cleared to exercise all I want until Tuesday.  I scheduled golf, Zumba, boot camp, latin dance, pilates, and spin in that time.   Last call for endorphins.

Doctor also said no need to do acupuncture.  I guess the literature is mixed, and it can help in some cases, but I'm straight tubal, so no need.  Awesome.  I hate acupuncture, and I love my massage guy, so I'll just stick with that.

I laid out all my syringes.  I am so excited.  I feel really hopeful and empowered and just EXCITED.  This is a great feeling.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Giving Up Working Out?

Tomorrow is my first scan since I started Lupron injections.  I guess it's to make a plan for stims to start on Saturday.  Wow.  This is getting real.  The one thing that has kept me sane so far is working out an unreasonable amount.  I've seriously become some kind of gym person.

When I went to my first fertility consult, a few doctors ago, two years ago, they said I needed to lose 40 lbs to do IVF, or more accurately that I needed a "normal" BMI to do IVF.  I was just a boring, sedentary fattie, but I knew something had to change or I wouldn't get my baby.  Even then I knew over a year of IUIs would fail, I guess.  Since then, I've been working out five times a week and lost almost all that weight.  I'm still a touch over "normal" but the new doctor didn't seem to care at all.  I don't look overweight anymore and I'm definitely more fit than a lot of "normal" people.

Since we actually started IVF, I doubled my exercise to boot camp in the morning for an hour plus zumba/yoga/pilates in the evening.  It was the only way I could think of to deal with the stress since I can't drink.  Boo.  It's also the only way I can think of to prepare to carry these twins to make myself as fit as I can in this moment.

I know that once stims start exercise is dangerous, and I can't do it.  Ugh.  I need to ask the doctor I guess.  Cold turkey for 2WW and then the first couple weeks?  That's a long time...

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Feeling Good on Lupron

I'm still feeling pretty good about Lupron.  I am still tired.  It's the weirdest thing.  I just hit the wall at some point and I'm out like a light switch.  Bra on.  Sunglasses on.  WTF.   But that's cool.  I'll take it, especially for a medication that is supposed to have insomnia as a side effect and compared to progesterone and Clomid which did give me wicked insomnia.  No hot flashes, no headaches, no other problems really.  I do have to pee all the time, but that's no biggie, and I better get used to it.

Lupron has really lifted my mood.  Or maybe it's getting the cycle started.  I don't know.  This feels more manic than my usual good mood.  I feel pretty good about this cycle, about the universe, about my friends.  I've had so many great phone chats in the last couple days and everything just feels great at this moment.

Of course, stims start next weekend, and then shit gets real.  But for now, me and Lupron are cool.