Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Making of Spontaneity or What Changed?

After my ectopic, I spent YEARS in timed cycles, medicated cycles, and "perfect" IUIs.  I did Clomid, Femara, and injectibles, and nothing worked.  And then, in my two month break between IVF cycles, I got pregnant with a unicorn spontaneous pregnancy.  Trying to figure out the difference between then and now, I have three major things that I think contributed to this success.

(1) The stress level.  This is that annoying "just relax and it will happen."  That was the only month in three years I hadn't used an OPK.  I'm not sure if it was timed correctly, even today, I still think it was off by a day or two.  I'll never know because I wasn't even using OPKs.  I had to go back and backdate my period because I had honestly just given up.  Months before, I had screamed at someone who had told me just relax because obviously my body does not work, I don't have tubes, and obviously IVF is the only way anything is ever going to work.  So don't give me a stupid tip about relaxing, god.  I literally was not trying.  I had finally relaxed.   We were drinking heavily, having sushi, going out with friends.  I had put babymaking on the backburner until the next IVF cycle.

(2) My health.  In my first fertility consult three years ago, the RE said I needed to be at "normal" BMI, which meant losing 30 lbs.  I freaked out, but I made some choices, and I kept moving toward that goal.  Over the three years, I did that, but I also completely changed my lifestyle.  When we were on break from IVF, I was working out 2 hours a day, which is a BIG change from the sedentary fattie that walked into an RE three years ago.  Today, I'm right at the cusp of "normal" and I'm certainly fitter than most.

(3) The CCRM supplement cocktail.  When I changed REs, literally days before I started my first IVF cycle, I started a modified CCRM cocktail.  CCRM has a lot of different supplement plans you can look up, depending on what your issues are.  Mine was L-Arginine, pycnogenol, DHEA, fish oil, melatonin, a ton of CoQ10, and an over the counter prenatal.  I wonder if my years of dicking around with timed cycles and IUIs would have been helped by a few bucks worth of supplements.  I don't know if the supplements actually do anything, but I'm happy to keep this going.  I really wish I had tried these earlier.

We have another mandatory break before our next IVF cycle, and judging by my sperm donor's reaction, it might be even longer.  Maybe these three changes can get me another unicorn baby.  Maybe.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Graciela and Pivoting

I have one real world person who reads this blog.  My best friend Graciela, who lives thousands of miles away from me, and works insane hours so we never get to chat anyway.  Hi, G!  I started this blog, in part, so I could explain to Graciela how I was feeling, because my wordy, dramatic emails were ridiculous and a stupid burden on her, and really this wasn't about her, and I needed to get the words out to the world.

My post about giving up entirely on motherhood, probably one of the darkest things I have ever written, was written from bed where I had not eaten or showered for two days.  I did not have enough hope to open the curtains or even answer when G called me like six times.  She's an awesome friend.  To me, that post was invalidating my dreams and my life.  It was just giving up.  It was straight depression.

Graciela is a smart chick.  She runs a big ass company and makes big ass money.  She makes grown men cry, has a swanky apartment and a vacation house, and drops her own name to get into fancy restaurants.  She doesn't even have time for a pet fish because she is such a bad ass bitch.  She said she didn't see my post like that.  She saw it as a rational decision making post.  She said she thought that post was a PIVOT.  Now, there's a fancy MBA word for you.

According to Forbes, pivot "is properly used to describe smart startups that change direction quickly, but stay grounded in what they’ve learned."  So, yea.

To G, that post didn't say anything at all about my actions.  She said it was about my perspective.  She thought I would pivot my plans.  That is, I would keep up the protocol, just that I would stop focusing on it and put my energy elsewhere, which she thought was a good idea.

I think that sounds like an awesome idea too, but I'm not sure it's even possible.  How could I put myself back through the hell of IVF without it consuming my life again?  And without allowing myself to believe it will work?  And going every day without thinking about the next draw/scan/shot? And how could I do anything else when my baby's heart just stopped?  How can you be in the trenches of infertility and not think about it every waking moment?  Is that possible?

But maybe this idea is just crazy enough it might work.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Cytotec Done and Dusted

My followup with the doctor after my fun afternoon with Cytotec went well.  Well, as well as something could go after you spent a day with Cytotec.  At least I didn't need emergency surgery, and at least it was over in a day.  I'm working on a longer TMI post about Cytotec.  Maybe.

I was really impressed at both how professional and how compassionate this doctor was.  It was pretty amazing in such a shitty situation.  I guess I've never had a situation where I had a bunch of shitty choices explained so well to me, and felt so well taken care of.  I didn't exactly have many choices when my tube ruptured.  Especially with so little information out there about Cytotec, I really relied on her. 

Unlike my crappy followup from failed IVF, this really felt like I was being monitored and taken care of.  It was nice.  I guess unlike failed IVF, there was actually something that could be done and choices had to be made to handle this crappy situation.  I was so impressed by this doctor.  She really was all I could have asked for, and way, way more.  I expected business-like, hopefully knowing her shit.  She was way more than that, and I drew from her energy and from trusting her.  It was pretty amazing.

The genetic testing was $915(!!!), which I paid because I'm still below my deductible.  The doctor said it could actually be useful and that I should do it.  I have no fucks to give.

My sperm donor has completely shut down.  I think this reached his pain limit.  He wanted to make sure I was OK, and beyond that he refused to talk about anything.  He didn't want to hear about bills or medical protocols or anything.  He will not even talk about IVF or about anything until he is ready.  I guess 0/4 hit him finally.  Maybe seeing the one with the heartbeat finally made it real-ish to him?  I'll give him some space, not that it's my call.  The doctor said it's a mandatory two month wait to do IVF anyway, so there's time.  And he has to grieve in his own way.  No one can do it for you.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Cytotec or a Fun Afternoon

I HATE IT WHEN PEOPLE BRING KIDS TO THE FERTILITY DOCTOR.  I'm in an ultrasound to "confirm fetal demise" and there's a damn baby crying in the next room.  I'm trying really hard not to cry, but then your baby is hungry and my baby is dead.  It's in my face, it's in my lady business, and it's in my ears.  This baby, the furthest we made this in three years, is dead, and then I can't hold it back.  Your baby is fussing, while I watch embryo #4, the one real shot at a real baby, "deteriorate."

It's like when a fertility blog turns into a bitch fest about how OMG pregnancy is so hard.  How quickly you forget how this feels.  I would give anything to throw up on a conference call again or hold my boobs on the stairs.  Just take that shit outside, please.  I can't even deal.  Even at the fucking fertility clinic, the fertiles are always in your face.

She said I could have a natural miscarriage, it should take about three weeks, and I'll come in twice a week.  Or I could have a D&C.  No thanks.  Just get this over with.  I have a spare two days.  I filled the Cytotec and the hydrocodone at the pharmacy, which took forever.  Some asshole in khakis was getting a pertussis shot with his really pregnant and really skinny wife.  They were laughing about using Apple Pay.  Copays of $2.23/$4.76 (ins paid $18.46/$7.23).  No, my Apple Pay isn't set up, but wow, isn't that amazing.  The doctor put it WAY WAY back on my cervix.  That was not pleasant.  I thought my vagina was out of invasive gynecological procedures to try, but this one was totally new.  It was a different doctor than mine, which I was grateful for.  I think I liked her better.  Somehow she was both all business and very compassionate.  It was pretty impressive.  The visit was $180 because I'm still below my deductible.

They gave me a cup and some preservation media to get the "products" for genetic testing.  This may or may not be covered by insurance and it's $800.  The insurance agent said it required preauthorization.  At this point, I don't give a shit.

My sperm donor is in some one horse town in the heartland, so I'm on my own for this one.  Went to Walmart, the only place to buy the Gatorade Sabores de Mi Tierra, the only decent flavors, a lesson learned the hard way during IVF.  Limon pepino (misspelled lime cucumber) is the best, but sandia citrus is decent (not even spanish, Spanglish for watermelon orange, I think).  I got some godzilla sized pads, Gatorade, frozen pizza.  Ice cream.  Took my hydrocodone.  Opened a very expensive bottle of wine.  I haven't had anything to drink in 9 weeks and I've eaten almost all organic for 9 weeks, so this should be interesting.  Haven't eaten in days, choked down some food before shit gets real.

Doctor said this should take 4-5 hours and be all done.  The pills should make me sleep, she said.  The warnings on the consent form were dire.  The warnings on the bottle were dire.  Don't give a shit.  Maybe I'll bleed out and die and this nightmare will be over.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Miscarriage Choices

Tomorrow I have to make a choice about how to get my nine-week embryo, measuring six weeks out of my body after its heart stopped beating.  I was hoping this would magically happen overnight, but that didn't happen.  My body can't even figure out a miscarriage.

The doctor explained some of this to me last week, but all I remember was the pill or wait and see.

Googling cytotec was a hot mess.  I guess sometimes it's like full on labor, and given my doctor's stingy record with painkillers (Tylenol only after 29 eggs harvested!), that is terrifying.  Maybe they'll give me good stuff when the baby is just going down the toilet.  Some people think cytotec was no big deal, done in a few hours, bam.  After my (almost) drug free IVF and recovery from ruptured ectopic, I probably put myself in the latter category with pain tolerance and general pain level in my gentials over the last three years.  Especially if they give me good drugs, I'm sure I can deal.

I've got a whole free weekend of no travel and no work.  So that would be a fun and convenient schedule block for a miscarriage.  I could take all my oxy, bust out some rose, and have a bathroom floor party.  I'm telling a joke, but really, this is desperation and sadness.  I feel so dark inside, and I hate that I have to make this choice.  I had been leaning to waiting it out, but maybe I'd rather just take some oxy and be done with it this weekend rather than get a surprise at the Chipotle bathroom next week and bleed out for a month.

If you have any opinions on cytotec, or any good links, I'd love to see it.  Even with all I read, I feel like I am making a totally blind decision.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Whispering Directions

Oprah has a saying about how you learn lessons in life.  The video is amazing (here).  Life starts with pebbles, which you might not even feel because you are sleepwalking through life.  If you still don't listen, life will give you a brick upside your head.

In yoga today, I couldn't feel anything.  I was trying to center, I was trying to pray or reach out or something.  I used to feel like I could feel my babies in my spirit coming to me, that I was destined to be a mother.  I don't feel that anymore. I can't hear them.

Maybe all this happening at once: IVF failing, miracle unicorn pregnancy failing, sperm donor's client leaving, me getting a dream job I had scoffed before for motherhood, is a sign that I have not been listening to what the universe has for me, and maybe that isn't to be a mother.

I've had my eye on the prize for THREE YEARS of constant doctor visits, meds, crushed hope every single cycle, I am exhausted.  For three years, I've been walking through a pebble storm.  I called it bravery or not giving up or something.  Maybe I've just been ignoring the truth.   Life has been whispering to me for years now.  I played off the ectopic as bad luck, then came just some pills, no big deal.  And then the pebbles started to hurt after every devastatingly "perfect" IUI cycle.  And then life threw a brick at my head after my failed "perfect" IVF cycle.  And then I got a brick wall when the heartbeat of my living baby stopped.  That's four known dead embryos in three years.  Eighty (more?) trips to the fertility doctor.

I hear you loud and clear, life.  I heard you every time I curled up in a fetal position, crying.  I heard you, but I didn't listen.  Maybe I'm not on the right path at all.  I can't feel my babies anymore.  Maybe my dream has died.

I have spent three Christmases, soon to be four, focused on this one dream that the universe does not want me to have.  I was so focused on what I can't have, all my other dreams have been forgotten, and now I can't hear any dreams at all anymore.  What were they?  Where am I going?  What was it I wanted?  I can't remember those dreams anymore.  Maybe it's time to face that this is not my destiny.  Maybe life is pointing me in a different way.  Maybe three years and four dead embryos should show me that it just isn't meant to be.

Friday, March 13, 2015

No Heartbeat

How stupid I was for thinking I would be normal.  Nothing is normal.  Nothing ever will be normal ever again.

Last week, you could see the heartbeat, and everything measured normal, 7.5 weeks.  Next week, you'll be able to hear the heartbeat!  So I brought my sperm donor and my mother in law to hear the heartbeat of the first grandbaby.  We went to lunch, we talked about the baby.  I felt fantastic.  Everything was fantastic.  We had a laugh about disrobing and the dildo cam.  We were so excited to hear the heartbeat!!!!

And then the tech stopped being so chatty.  And then she got the doctor.  Measuring 6 weeks (not 8.5).  No heartbeat.  So I can either wait or take the drugs next week, or it might happen any minute.

How stupid was I to bring my mother in law to see the heartbeat.  How stupid was I for thinking this would work.   How stupid was I for thinking I would have a baby by Christmas.  How stupid was I for thinking I would ever get a baby at all.  How stupid was I for thinking I would be a unicorn.  I'm no unicorn.  I'm nothing special.  All I do is fail.  I'm no further along than I was three years ago.  Maybe I'll never have a baby.  Maybe suffering and loss are all I have been dealt.

How stupid to tell my friends.  How stupid for taking all of this stuff.  I have a whole closet full of baby stuff.   Is it like wedding gifts?  Am I supposed to return it now?

This Christmas, we will have a two-seater convertible and a bunch of medical bills.  My sister in law Hermione, due in early November, will have the first grandbaby, five months after she started trying.

I'm not OK.  This feels like the world throwing me down ten flights of stairs just to laugh at me.  I don't know if I should scream or collapse or just give up.  This hurts in a completely different way than all the times that came before.  This was my miracle unicorn baby, and I saw it, saw its heartbeart, felt it when I threw up my lunch.  I signed up for prenatal yoga.  I had a tour of a daycare scheduled.  I am so stupid.  It is over now.  Maybe this is never going to happen for me.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

When It Rains

Life.  Man.  There's no way to control it.  Like when you get a "spontaneous pregnancy" four days before your next IVF round is approved.

We went out to see my in-laws to tell them the big news: the first gradbaby.  I love my in-laws.  This is something we already did, and it didn't go so well.  But this time I had a scan and blood tests and everything.  The first grandbaby was a big deal to me, and I was thrilled to get to announce it, and I made her a cutesy photo frame that I know she will take to work.   For three years, I have worried that my sperm donor's sister would beat me to it, and it just has to be me who is the first grandbaby after trying for three years.

My sperm donor's sister was there, I'll call her Hermione.  Hermione said she had a dream that she and I were both pregnant and due at Halloween.  Creepy, that's not far off my due date.  Well, is it true?  If it's true you would know by now.  So Hermione took a pregnancy test, and it was faint and positive.  That would put is four days apart.  FOUR DAYS.

I was flooded with emotions.  The whole thing was so absurd after three years, I started laughing.  It turns out she had two chemical pregnancies, so it's been a rough ride for her too.  Wait, it is supposed to be all about me!!!  I was grateful I'll have someone to go through this with.  Wouldn't it be neat to have a cousin so close in age?  I was happy for her.  I was happy for her mom.  Aren't I glad Hermione didn't have to go through the hell of IVF.  We can share those awful family showers and stuff.  Wait, this was supposed to be me me me.  How could Hermione take this from me when it was so hard for me?  Won't my MIL love her baby more than mine?   A lot of thoughts I am working through, some not so pleasant reflections on me.  Some of these thoughts are downright ugly.

I'm still not sure what to think about it.  It's shocking that I have now had two scans and seen a heartbeat, and she just got a blood test and a prenatal Rx and won't get a scan until 8 weeks.  I guess that's the difference between real normal pregnant and my almost normal pregnant.  Life, man.  When it rains, it pours.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Not Very Spontaneous

To the Woman in the Waiting Room:

I sat next to you in the tiny blood draw waiting room, next to the corkboard covered in twins, for my beta to confirm my pregnancy, and I'm sorry for what happened.  I saw my nurse run by the blood draw station, and I yelled out at her to ask if I should be taking my progesterone.  Since it happened on a break, I didn't have any sheets telling me what to do!

She yelled back
"Because it's spontaneous, don't take anything but your prenatals."  And she was gone.

I could feel you tense up next to me, and I'm sorry.  There was nowhere to hide, and I know you were in the thick of your own journey through hell.  Maybe right after your failed IVF you put every ounce of your heart into.  Or maybe you were just trying not to cry in the middle of the hell of a chemical pregnancy.  Or maybe you just can't believe how many freaking times you have been to this office to blow some more cash and get more bad news.  Or maybe there's blood everywhere and you know this can't end well.  Or maybe you feel like such an idiot for thinking this time it would work when you know how bad the odds are.  Or maybe you were about to go scream in your car because you have been doing this for three years now, and it is never going to end.

And then there's this bitch with a "spontaneous" pregnancy sitting next to you.  God, even at the IVF clinic, the preggos have to rub it in.

If it makes you feel any better, I don't consider anything that takes three years and five figures very "spontaneous."