Numb

Haven’t updated in a while. I have nothing new to share, or at least, nothing exciting to share. I did switch fertility clinics because I moved states for my job. The new clinic is working me up from scratch before we proceed with another transfer. I have lots of little things “wrong” with me, but nothing big enough to account for all my miscarriages, so that’s frustrating. I was supposed to have a scope with endometrial biopsy, but then covid entered our world…

I’ve mainly been working from home, which is nice, although I have been going to the office from time to time. Even though my family planning is on pause for now, I am oddly calm about it. I just found out 5 new people were pregnant over the last 3 days, and who cares. People make jokes how in 9 months from now there are going to be a lot of babies born, and I shrug my shoulders. (would I love to be one of them? Of course! What are the chances of me being one of them? Probably low.) I’ve been through so much physically and emotionally that I feel like I used up all of my negative emotions.

I’m sure they will come back.

In the meantime, stay safe, be well, and please be extra considerate of yourself and others.

Mom Culture

Hi y’all! How is everyone’s new year so far? Anyone feeling completely jaded? I am!

One thing I noticed is that I have a new trigger, woohoo! And by trigger, I mean seeing something that conjures up negative feelings and has the potential to ruin my day. Up until now, my biggest trigger was pregnant women. Trust me- baby pictures, pregnancy/birth announcements, baby showers and gender reveals are no walk in the park, but there is something about seeing a pregnant woman that honestly breaks my heart. Clearly these women are doing nothing wrong or offensive. It’ just that all of the happiness they are feeling, I am feeling the same intensity but in sadness, jealousy, bitterness and frustration. I have never carried a pregnancy to term, I wish I knew what that was like. I wish these women knew how lucky they are. Do they know hoe lucky they are? It’s funny, I know exactly how I feel in my head but I am having trouble articulating it.

Anyway, I realized a new trigger that I have, and it makes sense- MOM CULTURE. I don’t know if that’s an existing term or if I invented it. But when I say mom culture, I mean making EVERYTHING about being a mom, mostly on social media (and in real life too). Here’s an example. An acquaintance of mine recently had her first kid. She posted a picture of herself and some friends out to dinner. She captioned it “mom’s night out.” AND THAT DROVE ME CRAZY. It’ hard enough I had to see her other pregnancy related content. Now that she finally has some “intertiltiy friendly” pictures to share, she has to bring it back to the fact that she is a mom? Of course she is probably over the moon to be a mother, I don’t want to stop her from feeling this way. But for me, someone who doesn’t have any children and would do ANYTHING to be a mom, it just makes me so sad when I see all these moms flaunting their new status. Nothing against them at all, I promise. It’s a trigger. Makes me sad. That’s it.

Another example- someone I follow asked on social media if anyone gets their kids gifts for valentine’s day. An innocent question, but that is assuming that everyone reading that has kids. Clearly I don’t have kids, so just one more thing that doesn’t apply to me. Wonderful.

And then other moms join in. They call each other “mamma.” They talk about their growing families. Label themselsves as proud working moms or stay at home moms- because mom is their new identity. They post mom-related croud-sourcing questions. I hate croud-sourcing in general, but I don’t need to be asked where I can find the most sustainable, organic, chemical free crib.

I’m not singling out moms for being moms. But seeing the strong mom community presence is just a reminder of how badly I want to be included in this mom club, and how, through no fault of my own, I am still excluded.

A Very Un-ladylike Embryo Transfer

**this is an old post of mine that I drafted over the summer after my first FET. Figured I’d share it now. I did not post it in “real time” because I didn’t want to jynx anything. This was the FET that resulted in my 3rd miscarriage. I sounded so happy and optimistic below, sigh…***

When I first started blogging I told myself to try to stay away from my personal medical details, but once I got thrown into the realm of IVF I feel myself crossing the boundary between sharing and oversharing! Full disclosure, I get pretty blunt here- but not too graphic or anything. The purpose isn’t to scare you about transfers, but rather to provide some comic relief to this whole thing! Something where you can say, “glad that didn’t happen to me!”

Ok, so my transfer is a frozen embryo transfer. To prep my uterus for this, I have to take estrogen pills, no big deal, and then after 2 weeks or so, add progesterone. Injections. In the butt. Every day. The needle is larger and thicker than the needles I used for the stim part of IVF! (That’s because the stim meds were given subcutaneously and not intramuscularly).  The progesterone is in oil so it doesn’t go in as easily. This was and is so daunting. Every time I do these injections I am sweating by the time I am done. Some things that help is to roll the syringe in my hands before injecting. This warms the oil solution and makes it more liquidy. Another thing I do is inject slowly. Some people like to just push the whole thing in and get it over with, but not me. Once the needle is in, I don’t mind leaving it there a few extra seconds. I can actually feel the fluid while it’s being injected and I would rather feel that in slow increments, as opposed to one large bout of “ow!”. That’s just my personal preference. But to each their own. I also massage the area after I am done, to help with the absorption. But I still feel achy by the next day. If this is what it takes, then this is what it takes.

Next, transfer day! A day that is supposed to be so exciting, right? My husband and I enjoyed a lovely date the day before, and we went into the transfer feeling more calm than anxious. Anyway, unlike the retrieval, the transfer must be done on a FULL bladder. This helps straighten the uterus for catheter insertion and also makes it easier to view on ultrasound.  FYI: going to talk a lot about pee now.  So my clinic tells me to empty my bladder 1.5 hours before my retrieval. I do that. Then I’m supposed to drink 24oz of fluid to fill the bladder back up. I do that too, because, you know, I like to follow directions. Well in this case I wish I didn’t! By the time we got to the clinic I was so uncomfortable! I change into a gown and sit on the procedure chair, waiting. I can barely lie down. Docs are running late, of course. I tell my husband I don’t think I’ll be able to make it. There are so many rooms yet no doctor or nurse in sight. Hubby insists I go to the bathroom, but I don’t want to ruin anything. I’m pacing around the procedure room like a nut case and finally the doctor comes in! She says I can urinate but only for 5 seconds. So I go to the bathroom and do as I’m told. I still feel uncomfortable, but not nearly as uncomfortable as before.

The embryologist comes in and talks to us, gives us a picture of our beautiful blastocyst (yes I think it’s beautiful) and I clutch it with all my might, while using my other hand to hold my husband. The staff does a “time out,” and the procedure begins!  I do have to say, I really enjoyed seeing the lil frosty go into the catheter on the screen, and then into the uterus on the ultrasound!

But then I remembered- there is still someone pressing on my bladder. In fact, the staff was surprised how full my bladder was, even AFTER letting me pee just before! When everything was finished, the first question I asked was when can I use the bathroom again. They wanted me to lie down for 10 minutes first, but one of the nurses offered to bring me a bedpan just in case I needed to go while lying down. Well guess what. Five minutes pass, and no nurse or bedpan in sight. I don’t want to get up from my chair because I was told to lie down. In a semi panic, I ask my husband to please find someone to bring me a bedpan, because there’s no way I can go the full 10 minutes without taking care of business. I try my best to hold everything in, but, alas…By the time the nurse comes in with the bedpan, the damage was done. I still ended up using the bedpan anyway, because my bladder was SO FULL. And when I got home, i urinated again! (this time on a toilet lol). But what was supposed to be a calm and heartwarming experience was definitely heart-warming, but also…messy.

Of course on my way home I keep checking through Dr. Google… and I saw recommended fluid intake of 16-20 oz of fluid, not 24 oz!!! Hopefully I won’t have to do this again in a long time, but for my next transfer, whenever that may be, I am NOT drinking the full 24 oz of water before. And I am bringing my own bedpan.

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.

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.

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.