Sunday, January 27, 2013

My new normal

It's weird that infertility feels normal to me now. This constant state of disappointment feels normal. The constant research and doctor's appointments and waiting all feel normal. I am well over the shock of knowing I would need medical help to get pregnant. I long ago stopped expecting to see a 2nd line. I always hoped but never expected. I forget what life was like before TTC and infertility. I worry about what it will be like after. Is there an after or will infertility always be with me, regardless of the outcome? I feel like infertility has changed me and there is no going back.

IVF now just feels like a routine medical procedure I have to do every few months. Some people have dialysis or chemo. I have another round of IVF.  What started out as this completely overwhelming and scary thing has become just a normal part of my life. How did that happen? When I started down this road of RE's and testing and ultrasounds and injections, I never once thought I would become an IVF "veteran." I never thought it would take this many attempts. I never thought, 4 1/2 years after throwing out my birth control, that I would still be waiting to see a positive pregnancy test.

I am (hopefully) days away from starting my 3rd IVF and it has me thinking.  A lot. Probably too much. So I'm rambling. I'm ready to get this started. I'm nervous I'll be delayed again. I'm scared it won't work. I'm hopeful it will. I've done everything I can to prepare my body, so now I just have to trust it to do what I need it to do. And I have to hope the universe will throw me a little luck this time.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

It's electrifying!

And now because of the title I just gave this post, I have the Grease soundtrack running through my head. Thanks, self.



Anyway.

Today I had some supercharged acupuncture. Usually as I get closer to starting an IVF cycle, I get a little electrical stimulation added to my normally relaxing acupuncture session to really wake everything up. It doesn't hurt, mostly just feels like vibrating and pulsing, but it certainly doesn't allow me to fall asleep like I usually do. She started the session by telling me she wanted to expand on the endometrial biopsy I had last week and would be putting a couple of needles in deep so they would touch my uterus. Say what?!??! Um, no, thank you. That does not sound like something you should be able to do. Surprisingly, this was not painful. Once the needle is in, I can't actually feel what she is doing with it. She did the same thing for each ovary and I did feel a twinge of pain as the needle touched,  but it didn't last long. She then attached what looked like mini jumper cables to the needles that were touching my uterus and ovaries and started electrifying me. So now my ovaries are recharged and ready for some serious egg making and hopefully my uterus is good and ready for an embryo to implant.



And that's the latest in "What will Jen do this week in her attempt to procreate?"

Monday, January 21, 2013

Consolation prize

Welcome ICLW!

Here is the reader's digest version of our story...

My husband, SH, and I have been married for almost 5 years and have been TTC for a little over 4 of those. After a couple years without success, we were diagnosed with Diminished Ovarian Reserve and MFI. We were told IVF would be our best shot. We skipped right past medicated cycles and IUI and went straight for the big guns. Last year we did 2 IVF cycles. Both were BFN. The 2nd failed cycle was especially devastating so we took a few months off to regroup and are now about 10 days or so away from IVF #3. And now you are all caught up.

*******************

So, I have been thinking a lot lately about what we are going to do if this IVF cycle doesn't work. I know I need to be at least a little positive that it will work, but I also need to be prepared for if it doesn't. I need to make plans now while I am still calm and rational.

First, I decided we needed something to look forward to as sort of a consolation prize if it doesn't work. I want to plan it before we start so it's there for us if we need it (and we can cancel it if we don't). I mentioned this to SH and he said he had been thinking the same thing. He was thinking of Hawaii but after considering the cost thought that might not be the most practical idea. We decided to drive up to Napa and spend a few days wine tasting. We have always wanted to go and wine tasting is definitely something I couldn't do if I was pregnant. Plus, multiple glasses of wine will be a great place to drown my sorrows.






I think we are also in agreement that even if we don't end up switching RE's, we at least want to get another opinion before we take our next step. We really like Dr. N but it seems a little crazy to keep trying the same thing and hoping for a different result.  SH's family lives in Denver so we may go to CCRM (Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine) at least for testing and to see what their thoughts are. I am pretty sure my RE will really start pushing for donor eggs if this fails again and I am not sure I am ready for that.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with using donor eggs and it may be something we decide to do down the road. I am just not ready to give up on having a child that is a mix of both SH and me. Not yet. Not on the advice of only one person.

So that's the plan. The plan I hope we don't have to use.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Liebster!

Kimberly from No Good Eggs  and Julia from Finding a Way out of IF nominated me for a Liebster.  Thanks, ladies!
Here's what it is all about: 
This award is given to new or up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers…the award is then passed along to other bloggers in the same category to help spread the word and support one another.
If you receive the award, there are a few rules to follow…
  • Each blogger nominated must post 11 things about themselves
  • Then answer the 11 questions the tagger has asked
  • Blogger must then create 11 questions of their own to ask the bloggers they decide to nominate
  • They must choose 11 bloggers with less than 200 followers to nominate and link them on their blog post
  • Bloggers must be notified of their award!
  • No tag backs!
 11 things about me:
  1. I'm still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.
  2. I am a little OCD about wrinkles. I have to iron all my clothes before I wear them. I don't care about wrinkles I get during the day but I have to start out wrinkle-free.
  3. My dog is so anxious she has to be on prozac. She is also terrified of children.
  4. I don't like my name. Jennifer is the most popular name of my generation. There's too many of us.
  5. I lost my virginity to a man twice my age. (No need to alert the authorities - I was a consenting participant)
  6. I am an only child and always wanted a sibling. I still feel like I missed out on something. I really want more than one child and am afraid IF has ruined that for me.
  7. I am a huge procrastinator. 
  8. I have terrible vision. I can't see anything without my contacts or glasses, but I refuse to get lasik. I am terrified I will be that small percentage of people where something goes wrong.
  9. I studied abroad in Cambridge, England for a semester during college.
  10. I love Disneyland. SH and I have had annual passes for years. Sometimes we go just for lunch and to people watch.
  11. I have been swimming with dolphins twice.
It's too much for me to answer (and for you to read) all 22 questions so I am just going to pick a few from each person who nominated me:
Questions from Julia:
Do you share your blog with people you know in real life? Nope. SH is the only one who knows about it.
Do you remember your dreams? If so, what was the last one you remember having? I do remember them sometimes. I can't remember a specific dream but I dream a lot about searching for things. Frantic searches.
If money was no object, where would you travel to next? China
What is your best childhood memory? Not necessarily the best, but a good one...Saving up my money to finally buy this awful pink, frilly bedding for my canopy bed because my mom wouldn't buy it for me. I loved it so much.
Best gift that was ever given to you? SH gave me a trip to Paris for my 30th birthday.
What do you like most about blogging? Connecting with other people who actually get what I am going through.
Questions from Kimberly:   
What one quality can you just not stand in other people? Just one? I'll go with being inconsiderate.
What is your favorite room in your home? Living room. Comfy couch and big TV.
What is the best meal you have ever had? I have eaten some amazing meals in amazing restaurants, but probably the best would be crepes from a street cart in Paris or enchiladas from a hole in the wall restaurant in mexico.
Pick one for the rest of your life: movies or TV shows? So hard but I think TV shows have the edge. So horrible to say since I work in movies and SH wants to make them.
If you start a book and don’t like it, do you finish it or ditch it? Ditch it.
How did your parents choose your name?  It was the only name they could agree on.
My questions to you:
  1. What's your biggest guilty pleasure?
  2. Snacks...salty or sweet?
  3. What's your favorite book?
  4. How did you meet your spouse?
  5. What's the scariest thing you've ever done?
  6. Who would you want to play you in a movie about your life?
  7. Do you have any hobbies?
  8. Do you prefer the city or the country?
  9. What is the farthest place you have ever traveled to?
  10. Do you have pets?
  11. What was your first job?
Bloggers I nominate:
I think most of these bloggers have been nominated already so I won't be offended if you don't answer my questions. Some may not be totally new, but still new-ish. I also couldn't find 11. I know they are out there...I just haven't gotten to them.
  1. Aramis at http://infertilesmurf.blogspot.ca/
  2. Amber at http://oldladynobaby.blogspot.com/
  3. http://findingthepeacetothepuzzle.blogspot.com/
  4. Mia at http://gypsymamasjourney.blogspot.com/
  5. http://mybrokenoven.wordpress.com/
  6. jAllen at http://minetocommand.blogspot.com/
  7. Luna at http://themoononastickplease.blogspot.com/
  8. Vanessa at http://yeahscienceblog.com/
  9. http://idioticinfertility.wordpress.com/

Thursday, January 17, 2013

coming up for air

A few days ago I decided to start watching Down.ton Abbey. And that's all I have been doing for the last 3 days. That and eating brownies. I am not sure why it took me so long to jump on the bandwagon, but now I am obsessed. The most important lesson I have learned: women do not have opinions until they get married and then their husbands will tell them what their opinions are. I have asked SH to provide me with a list of my opinions. 



My marathon was briefly interrupted this morning by a trip to see Dr. N for an endometrial biopsy. I had come across a couple articles that claimed nicking the uterus the cycle before IVF could help improve implantation.  I guess the theory is that the lining will grow back "stickier." I first asked my acupuncturist about it since she specializes in fertility to see what she had heard about it. She told me her sister-in-law in Israel had it done because she was dealing with IF and got pregnant. Needless to say,  she was eager for me to try it but wasn't so sure my RE would agree to it since he can be a little conservative. It also isn't common practice in the US from what I can tell.  Well, much to my surprise, I talked to Dr. N about it and he said he had no objections.  After talking to my nurse, I determined that Dr. N is not at all convinced it works so he doesn't recommend it, but also doesn't think it can do any harm so he is willing to try it if that's what we want. He told me this morning that he had done it on one other patient who had read the same articles and studies that I had. She had multiple failed IVF's and wanted to try it. She is now in her 2nd trimester. I guess he needs more than one case before he believes it makes a difference. I am just happy he was willing to do it. I wasn't sure what to expect and was really nervous because my acupuncturist kept telling me how much it would hurt.  I was starting to question my sanity for requesting this painful procedure.  Either I am a masochist or just willing to try absolutely anything to see that 2nd line.  It definitely hurt but it was manageable. The valium and motrin probably helped. Mostly the valium.

Also,  Finding a way out of IF and No Good Eggs have nominated me for a Liebster Award.  Now that I am through my Down.ton Abbey marathon, I can start working on answering and asking questions.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Nowhere is safe

This morning I went to the dentist to have my teeth cleaned. Thankfully, I didn't need any x-rays so I avoided having to tell them "No, I am not pregnant. Please shoot me full of as much radiation as you would like."  The dental technician was looking through my file and tells me "Oh, Virginia did your last cleaning. She just had a baby boy." Um, ok. Not sure how that is relevant to my gum health. I don't see the same technician every time I go so it isn't like I have any particular interest in their personal lives. I seriously couldn't pick Virginia out of a lineup. I realize she is just trying to make conversation and has no way of knowing that I don't want to hear random birth announcements so I let it go and stare up at the picture up on the ceiling. Then I start tuning in to the conversation my dentist is having with another patient across the hall. They are telling birth stories. 12 hours of labor and no epidural. Come on! Like a dental cleaning isn't torture enough. Between that, my dog whining to go out at about 5am and the awful traffic I sat in just to get to the dentist, I have been in a terrible mood all day. I just got up on the wrong side of the bed, apparently. Boot camp is in an hour and I really hope that snaps me out of this mood. If it doesn't, I am stopping for brownies on the way home.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

off to a slow start

Despite my New Year's Day optimism, I am having a hard time embracing the hope and promise of 2013. I am still feeling pretty shell shocked from the last year and I am terrified of getting my hopes up only to have the universe smack me down again.  I spent the first week of the year pretty much holed up in my apartment. Having my cycle delayed threw me off a bit, but I have now emerged and am starting to take baby steps towards my resolutions.

The first thing I did was sign up for a month of boot camp. I went to my first class monday morning and am so glad I did. I haven't been for about 5 months and I forgot how much I loved the trainers and the general atmosphere. The only time I have ever been excited about working out is when I go to these classes. I was especially happy that all the stress and holiday eating didn't do to much damage and my weigh in wasn't too painful - I lost some muscle but didn't gain any weight.  I am also not as out of shape as I feared. Don't get me wrong, I am super sore today (it was tough lifting my arms to wash my hair) but I was actually able to keep up with the running which was a pleasant surprise.

Now about that positive attitude... Well, it turns out you can't just turn off 38 years of pessimism and negativity.  This is going to be a much tougher process. My first instinct is always the negative thought.  But now sometimes I catch myself and try to remember what I do have instead of what I don't. More often it's SH who reminds me of the things we do have and that we will make it through this.  I just wish the universe would give me a break and send me a little reassurance.  Let me know that positivity and hope are worth my time and effort because right now they seem pretty futile.



On a side note - when did old people get to be so rude and inconsiderate?? SH and I went to a movie this afternoon and somehow ended up in the geriatric screening. I think we were the only people in the theater under the age of 60.  First, the theater was less than a quarter full, we were in the middle of the empty back row with 3 empty rows in front of us and this old lady comes and sits right next to me. SH and I literally just started laughing. She probably thought we were crazy. I switched seats once the previews started because I can't share an armrest with a stranger if the movie isn't sold out. Then during the movie these old people couldn't have made more noise if they tried. It was so distracting. They were crumbling empty plastic bags unnecessarily, shaking the ice in their cups - can they just not hear it? I have been less annoyed at a saturday matinee of a disney movie.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Well, that was disappointing

Today did not go at all as I expected.

My period showed up yesterday right on schedule (sadly, sneaky christmas sex while visiting the in-laws did not provide a miracle, get-out-of-ivf-free card) and like all good infertility patients I immediately called my RE, Dr. N,  to let him know. I have been a little nervous about getting back on the roller coaster, but also ready to get this IVF show on the road. I need to start moving ahead again. I have also been nervous about this first u/s and seeing how many follicles I have these days. I was excited to see if all the supplements and herbs and acupuncture have made any sort of difference, yet terrified that my count would just be worse.

So, this morning I head to Dr. N's office for my baseline u/s and blood work. I even remembered to drink a bunch of water this morning to make the blood draw a little easier. When I made the appointment I was told that Dr. N is on vacation until Monday but apparently it isn't a problem as far as getting my cycle started. I don't go to a big clinic - it's only Dr. N - so there isn't another RE for me to see in his absence.  I was a little disappointed since I wanted to ask him some questions before we got started, but I figured it would work out somehow.  Since Dr. N wasn't in the room for the u/s I had no idea what was going on. He usually tells me what I am looking at and how many follicles they found. The u/s technician does not give me any information at all. As soon as it's done, the nurse takes the printout and goes to call Dr. N and tells me to meet her in her office when I am dressed.  She is already off the phone by the time I get to her office. That can't be good. The good news is I have 9 follicles. 9! That's the most I have had in the last 2 1/2 years. Woohoo! During my last IVF cycle I had 6. The bad news is I also have a cyst. It's 1.3mm and their cutoff for proceeding with a cycle is 1.2mm. Great. They say it's no big deal and should go away on it's own and we will just postpone to next month. I am actually glad the cyst is big enough for them to postpone this cycle. I think if it was smaller and we moved ahead and it didn't work, I would always wonder if it was the cyst and we should have waited. I want the best conditions possible for my embryos so snuggle in and make themselves at home.

So again I wait. Our 3 month break had already turned into 4 months because of the holidays. Now it's another month of waiting. I am tired of waiting. I had planned on this month being full of doctor's appointments and injections. I even got a pedicure the other day and got turquoise nail polish in anticipation of spending a lot of time in stirrups over the next 2 weeks. Now I don't know what to do with myself.  I haven't made any other plans. Sigh.

On the plus side, CoQ10, DHEA, melotonin, and chinese herbs are working. Or at least one of them is. Now they'll just have a little more time to work their magic.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Seriously?

The universe is not wasting any time in testing my commitment to my resolutions. In the first 24 hours of 2013 I received a baby shower invitation AND a birth announcement.

Still maintaining my positive attitude. Mostly.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year, Fresh Start

 Finally. The crapfest that was 2012 is finally over. We didn't even bother to stay up until midnight last night. SH is sick and I didn't see much point in seeing 2012 through to the bitter end. The sooner I went to sleep the sooner it would be over.

someecards.com - Let's never speak of 2012 again.



I am not going to dwell here on the things that happened last year. Instead I am going to keep looking forward. Strangely, I am starting to feel a little hopeful for a new year and a fresh start. I don't usually make resolutions, mostly because I never keep them, but this year I think I will make a few: 

  • I am going to make an effort to have a better attitude.  Given my generally pessimistic attitude this one is going to be a challenge. When something is going wrong in my life it tends to cloud my perception of every other aspect of my life. Despite my infertility, there are still some good things in my life and I want to do a better job of remembering and appreciating the good things.
  • I am going to take more control of my life. I have felt recently like my life is at a complete standstill. I watch other people moving on with their lives and not just because they are having babies. They are buying houses, moving up in their careers and just generally living their lives. I have been letting life happen to me and feeling sorry for myself when it doesn't go my way. I can't control infertility but I can control other parts of my life and it's about time I started to do that. I need to stop pining for the life I thought I would have and start living the one I actually do. 
  • Find a new job. This one could be lumped in with taking control of my life, but it's something I really need to do so I feel it needs it's own resolution.  I work freelance and have been in my "career" for more than 10 years. Lately it's getting harder and harder to find work and the time between jobs gets longer and longer. Once I do get that now elusive job, it inevitably means I will have to work in another city for several months. It's time to get a more stable, permanent job so I can be at home. I have been thinking about it for a while but the thought of starting over terrifies me so I keep putting it off.  I'm not sure where to start or what I want to do, but it's time to get serious about it. Hopefully, putting this idea out into the world will finally force me to do it.
  • Exercise more consistently. Ok, this one is really cliche. But, I feel so much better when I do it. I started doing a boot camp workout earlier this year and loved it. I felt great and actually looked forward to going in the mornings. I really only stopped because I felt like it was too expensive and I should be saving that money for IVF. SH keeps telling me the money is worth it and to stop worrying about it. Exercise helps my mood and if I'm in a better mood than maybe I can accomplish the first 3 items on this list.
I'm watching the Rose Parade as I write this and the theme this year is "Oh, the places you'll go." It seems so fitting to me right now. I've set up some pretty big challenges for myself, but it's time to step out of my comfort zone and start living my life and going places. I'll also be needing a little luck. So, hopefully this year is lucky 13, not just for me but for all of us still in the trenches.

Happy New Year!