Obsessed with Pregnancy Tests?

So, before this whole infertility garbage consumed my life, I used to be a very positive, laid back person with a very Type B personality. After dealing with infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss for years, I became a Negative Nancy. Recently, I feel like I have become a little OCD, especially when it comes to checking pregnancy tests at home. Whether I am doing a cycle or not, the week my period is due, I find myself checking at least once a day, sometimes even twice a day. I use the ICs (aka “internet cheapies”) so I have a huge stash at home and don’t feel as guilty about “wasting” the tests (because that is esentially what I am doing. Wasting.)

The thing about the internet cheapies is that the pregnancy line is often very light and can be hard to see, especially at the begining of a pregnancy. I would know because I have used thme when I was pregnant and I have seen what the line looks like. So you would think I would know how to interpret these tests. But what kills me is even when I get a clearly negative result, I find myself constantly holding it up to the light, looking at it in 500 different angles, to see if maybe, just maybe, there is a faint second line there. I drive myself crazy! And then I essentially do the same song and dance every day until my period comes.

Why do I do this? I don’t know, maybe I need that glimmer of hope in my life. Although I hate to get excited about anything prematurely, only to be let down later.

Infertility is the worst.

Can I start IVF already?

Ah IVF. I hoped I wouldn’t need you. But now that I know I need you, I need you NOW. Why are there so many things getting in the way of our love, when we are clearly meant to be together? One thing I wish I knew about IVF- not only is IVF itself a process, but the checklist prior to starting is a process too! I have been ready since September 2018!!  Here are the things that got in my way:

-To my biggest surprise, I got pregnant in September- no complaints there! But then I miscarried in November. I lost a potential child and also months off my TTC timeline. It was (and still is) a VERY dark time for me.

-My hcg needed to drop from the thousands, to <2. And it took months for it to get there.

-Next, I needed a sonohysterogram. That didn’t take long at all, but I couldn’t even schedule it until my hcg was low, which, see above, took months.  I totally understand the reason why, but still, more waiting.  Side note- I got some pretty bad cramps from the SHG! Despite taking motrin before!

-Next I needed to wait for authorization approval, attend an IVF class and pick up my meds. All done, but boy did I make sure to move this along.

-Next, I needed to take estrace before my IVF cycle. And guess what- it messed up my periods. My periods were FINALLY occurring every 28-30 days for the past few months. And now on day 34, still no period in sight. No I’m not pregnant again. I now need to take provera to induce a bleed, so here goes another few weeks or so of having to wait.

So can I start IVF already? I’ll let you know when I know.

Frustrated With Your Fertility Clinic? Comment Please!

Hi all, happy new year. I was going to post something sappy about reflecting over last year and my hopes for this year, but no.  A lot of bad things happened to me last year including a miscarriage at the end of the year, so I’m not in the best place to be sappy.

I’ve been going to my fertility clinic for over a year now. The more time goes on, the harder the burden of infertility weighs on me, and I am trying not to let that tarnish my view of the fertility clinic that is supposed to be helping me.

But I am pretty frustrated with my clinic, and I want to know if this is a systemic issue across all/most clinics, or if I just have bad luck.  Like most clinics, bloodwork and ultrasound monitoring  is done in the morning. When I get my monitoring done, I usually get a call or email from one of the nurses to relay results and plan. This is fine. My problem is getting in touch with my doctor. If I want to talk to him, I have to go through the nursing line. I leave a message with the nurse, she talks to my doctor, he answers her, and the nurse relays the message back to me.  I trust the nurses, but when you pass along a message, who knows if things get lost or misinterpreted. This is not my doctor being a jerk– at least, I hope not!– this is how my clinic works. All doctors in my clinic communicate with their patients via the nurses. But getting a message relayed to you is not the same as having an actual conversation with the doctor! If I have any follow-up questions, the whole thing becomes a back-and-forth nightmare. And I am tired of it. Is it that hard for a doctor to get on the phone? I am lucky to be in a clinic that has a respectable name. And when I have an actual appointment with my doctor after a failed treatment, he does spend a lot of time with me. But if he orders tests and results come back after the appointment, I do not hear them from him. When I had the miscarriage, and they were unable to perform genetic testing on the products of conception, I did not hear this from my doctor. Not even a courtesy call to apologize or explain why.

Am I being unreasonable? Am I just losing my faith? Also, is your fertility clinic like this? What do you like/dislike? I think it’s good we know about the options available to us.

Coping with the Winter Holidays

The holidays have always been a tough time for me while I was struggling with infertility, but this year was especially hard, as I had a miscarriage right at the start of holiday season.

What I find so hard about the holidays is the emotional burden. Yes, holidays are supposed to be a happy time, however it is quite difficult to be happy just because you are “supposed” to be. I can’t be happy on demand. Not when I am still mourning my previous loss and not while I am unsure of what the future will bring.

What we do on the holidays is up to us. Sometimes, being with family/loved ones is a nice distraction from our problems. But sometimes it can make us feel worse. Thinking of all the traditions you loved as a child, and being unable to share it with yours. Seeing other family members with children of their own. It’s emotionally taxing! To that I say- do what is best for you.  I received news of my fetal loss the week of Thanksgiving.  I cried to my family over the phone but there was no way I could attend my large family gathering and put on a happy face, even for a few hours. I needed time with my husband to mourn, to reflect.

I’m not advising you to skip on holiday traditions, but rather do what will bring comfort the most.

As the new year is approaching, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting (more on that later, probably). Stay strong and wishing you all brighter 2019.

Infertility, Miscarriage and Grief

I will start this post the same way I ended my last one, by stating that there is no right or wrong way to grieve.  My recent miscarriage made me reflect on my fertility journey and I realized that I was grieving throughout the entire process, but in different ways. I’d like to share the different ways I grieved with you. Maybe you have felt the same. Maybe you have felt completely different. But if you are reading this my guess is you have gone through some sort of loss or heartbreak and I hope that sharing my experience can somehow provide you comfort.

1. The first time I grieved was after my first miscarriage. This also happened to be my first pregnancy. I was heartbroken,  I cried a lot, and took off work, but I was able to get “back on my feet” relatively quickly, with the help of rationalization. This was an early first trimester miscarriage. The baby would not have been healthy. This was nature’s way of doing things “for the best.” Also, so many women have miscarriages and go on to have healthy babies– at least that’s what doctors and non-doctors kept telling me. I’ll just keep on trying. I was sad but I had hope.

2.  Over the next 2 years, my hope was completely destroyed. Not a single pregnancy after trying on our own or with the help from our reproductive endocrinology friends. During this period, I grieved much more frequently, but on a smaller scale.  I was able to go to work, but sometimes I would cry on my commute to and from. I could get out of bed and function on a day-to-day basis, but if I checked social media and read about a new pregnancy, I’d be in a bad mood for most of the day. I found myself declining invites to baby showers and other baby related events. I was slowly withdrawing. During this period, I wasn’t grieving over a loss per se, but over the same endpoint- nothingness. I felt hopeless and helpless. The lack of control over my situation tormented me.

3. A second pregnancy, with a heartbeat detected, followed by a miscarriage (actually I’m still waiting for that to happen. That’s another story). This one hit me hard. I still cry daily. I couldn’t go to work for a while. I could barely get out of bed. I could barely eat. I did not want to see anybody or talk to anybody except for my husband. I was sad, devastated and angry. I strongly questioned my faith. I was in a state where absolutely nothing could make me feel better. I am still in this state and I don’t think I will ever fully recover. But one thing that helped a little is the passage of time. It made me realize that there are things I cannot change. I am in the midst of another loss, and I cannot reverse this. It will always be heartbreaking and devastating. I feel what I feel. But I have to move on. See my doctor, come up with new plans, take care of myself, go back to work and get things “back to normal.”

I  will end with this: if you are going through something, ANYTHING, that is getting you down, tell someone. A loved one, a friend, a co-worker, a therapist, a counselor– anyone. You might be surprised how supportive they can be. Support is so important during a time when you are most vulnerable.

From the Highest of Highs to the Lowest of Lows

I don’t normally like to share medical updates, but I think I have gone through every human emotion imaginable over the past few months that I wanted to share.

So remember when I told you that I needed IVF? (see Putting the I in IVF) I asked to take September “off” because I would be out of the country for 2 weeks for a conference and I didn’t want to miss any of the monitoring or have my trip interfere with scheduling the retrieval.  My doc told me “Sure, we’ll begin after your next period.” Well…

My next period never came.

WHAT?! No way. Iv’e been seeing my reproductive endocrinologist for over a year and I was not able to get pregnant AT ALL despite using all different types of medications for ovulation induction, trigger shots and even IUI. And now, I go on a completely UNMEDICATED cycle, and I conceive???? This is unreal. The last time I was pregnant was over two years ago. This is huge! Maybe I don’t need IVF after all! What a story!

Although my husband and I were over the moon with happiness, we were also cautious about our expectations, because the last time I was pregnant, it ended with a first trimester miscarriage. But so far, things were going well. I was going in for hcg checks every few days and the levels were appropriately rising. Good sign.

Then I went for my first ultrasound. They found the gestational sac and yolk sac, but no fetal pole. This worried me a bit, because during my last pregnancy, the ultrasound was not lining up with the expected dates. But my RE told me “don’t worry, you probably just ovulated late. Come back in a week, we should be able to see the heartbeat by then.”

I was pretty nervous. I kept thinking back to my last pregnancy where the heartbeat was never detected. I went for my return ultrasound. I told them I was nervous. They said “Why? Look, there is your baby and there is the heartbeat.” They found it almost instantaneously. Oh my God. This is really happening! Finding the heartbeat is such a reassuring sign! Again, the fetus measured to be younger than expected since my last period, but again, “I ovulated late.” They wanted me to come back in a week.

So I went back, this time without the hubby. Everyone was overly cheerful. The receptionist asked “is this your last visit with us?” My doc saw me and said with a smile, “still nervous?” He proceeds with the ultrasound. He stops talking. He shows me the fetus and the cardiac activity.  He tells me that the fetus was very small and did not grow appropriately. He then proceeds to measure the heart rate. It’s 90 beats per minute, which is slow.  You know things are bad when you can hear your doctor say “shit” under his breath. He told me that things didn’t look good. The fetus was still alive, so there was nothing we could actively do, but he wanted me to come back by the end of the week. That would either confirm the worst, or maybe a miracle would happen and everything would be fine.

Since then I couldn’t even bring myself to go to work. My husband and I were devastated. We let our families know, and they were devastated as well. They cried with us, and the grieved with us. I went back for my repeat ultrasound, and our worst fears were confirmed. I will be having a miscarriage. Again. They sent me for a slew of bloodwork and they gave me collection cups so they can study the products of conception. So now, I wait for this dreaded thing to happen. A piece of my heart has left and will never be replaced.

What went from an amazing 2 months changed to the worst week of my life in an instant. I’ll come back and write about the coping and grieving process, but in short, there is no wrong way to grieve.

 

 

Royal Pains

I have 2 work deadlines this week so what better way to work on them than to procrastinate?

I want to talk about the Royal Family for a bit, namely, the leading ladies. I’ve been getting so tired of hearing about them in the news all the time. Kate is pregnant! Again! And again! Meghan wants to have babies soon! Meghan is pregnant! Just like she wanted! At first I was like “how dare you ladies have no problems with fertility while a commoner such as myself is agonizing over it.” But I obviously have no hard feelings towards them. They’re not tormenting me on purpose.

It’s the media coverage I have problems with. The media doesn’t just report about celebrity pregnancies (suspected or confirmed), they SENSATIONALIZE it. It can get pretty annoying for anyone who doesn’t “care” about celebrity news, but for someone with infertility who is trying to take her mind off everyone around her getting pregnant, hearing about all these pregnant celebs does not make it easier! After Meghan Markle’s pregnancy announcement, for example, my Instagram explore page exploded with pictures of her and suspected baby bumps. I don’t want to see this! I don’t need reminders.

Do I need to flee to a deserted island to free myself of all this? Maybe I just need to visit Buckingham Palace for some fertility luck, since there seems to be an overabundance there.

Putting the I in IVF

Well folks, it’s official. I’ll be starting IVF soon.

I know I did not reveal much about where I am in the treatment process, except for the fact that I was making no progress.

So I decided I will share a little more. During my fertility workup, I was diagnosed with PCOS. I will never forget the words of my RE, he said “That is easy, you just need help ovulating and we can help you!”

Easy. And yet here we are.

I’m trying my absolute hardest to be optimistic, but I’m also terrified that I’m reaching the “end of the road” so to speak. I will do whatever it takes to have a child, I just hope it will work.

Fingers crossed.

Deja Vu

So, I’ve complained before about how difficult it is to deal with those around me getting pregnant as I struggle with infertility. It can get quite taxing to be happy for someone and feel bad for yourself at the same time!  Along with a string of other negative emotions!

Well, I’ve been noticing a new trend. The SAME people that were getting  pregnant and having kids and making me feel bad about myself are now getting pregnant AGAIN!!! I know I’ve been dealing with fertility issues for quite some time, but to see people get pregnant (not literally lol), have their baby 9 months later, wait some time, and then get pregnant again—really puts things in perspective. It also amplifies the fact that all this time I was “trying,” I could have had  who knows how many kids by now.

Just wanted to vent. I’ll keep this post short and [bitter]sweet.

 

 

Get Low

Ever have one of those days? Or weeks?

I want to take a break from social media. The amount of people I have snoozed or blocked for posting all things pregnancy/baby related is getting out of hand.  I can think of at least 3 people who have announced they are pregnant within the past month alone.

Fun fact: I realized something about myself . Not all parenthood-related posts trigger me (ie, make me feel sad and depressed and helpless). Only the ones related to the state of being pregnant- like pregnancy announcements, ultrasound pictures, baby bumps, gender reveals, baby showers- do. But pictures of babies and kids don’t make me feel as bad. Huh.

Anyway, I follow this one person on social media who is dealing with an issue of her own. The majority of her posts are filled with optimism, with the occasional “it’s okay to be not okay” message. And you know what, she’s right.

I don’t hide my feelings from my family and friends, but I do put on a happy face more often than not. I go to work every day and my coworkers would never guess what I am going through (except for the ones who know). Even my own family, who gives me  such amazing support, doesn’t fully get it that when I see my baby cousins, as much as I love playing with them, it’s still a painful reminder of the family I do not yet have.

So you know what? I’ve been more down lately. Things aren’t going as smoothly as I would like. I’m not going to repress my feelings.

Because this sucks.

And it’s okay.