On My Own Terms

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This weekend we officially moved into our new condo. It feels like it’s been a long time coming, and taken a lot of blood, sweat and tears. J’s parents came on Saturday to help us start moving things from our previous home, on the second floor, to our new home on the fourth, and top, floor. You’d think it’d be a pretty easy move, only 2 floors up, but you still have to pack all of your things to get them from point A to point B. We didn’t need a lot of help, since our tenants don’t take possession of our old unit until Nov. 15, but we did need some assistance with larger items, and some of the cleaning.

We went appliance shopping Saturday morning, and J’s mom had already arrived just before we headed out. She was going to help finish cleaning our new unit so it was ready to bring all of our belongings up. We left for a few hours, and while we were out J’s dad and brother arrived as well and sent J a text to ask what they could start moving. I told J I’d really prefer if they waited for us to come home before they started moving anything, as I’d rather be there to supervise since the majority of our house was not packed and I didn’t really want them just chucking stuff in boxes.

When we got home they were just hanging out waiting for us, and wanted to get going as soon as we walked in the door. So, we immediately started disassembling things, packing items away and loading already packed boxes onto a cart to be taken upstairs. There were 5 of us all together, including J and myself, and I felt overwhelmed with the magnitude of the task at hand. Boxes started leaving, most of the contents of our spare room was quickly whisked upstairs. Our mattress was moved upstairs, so I began the task of taking apart our bed so the pieces could be moved. I saw my father in law leave with an armload of coats from our spare room closet, things I hadn’t yet packed were being thrown into boxes and moved upstairs.

Anxiety was creeping up my neck as I noticed an empty front closet, a cartload of a mishmash of items. J came in from having just taken our massive couch upstairs, to ask me where my keys were, when he saw me just standing in chaos with a screwdriver in my hand, looking lost. He asked me what was wrong, and it all became too much. I was freaking out, I told him, I didn’t know where my keys were because I didn’t know where my coat was. Things were just getting out of hand. I felt bad that I wanted everyone to stop moving things, because I knew they were just trying to help, but I needed to sort through my own things, pack them the way I wanted, so I knew what was what, and not be rushed. I told J that I appreciated everyone helping, but I would prefer they help with the big things and leave the smaller stuff to us.

J went off to tell his dad to slow down, to let us pack things before they got taken upstairs, and the flurry of motion slowed down. Later, J’s dad and I rode the elevator up with a load of things, and he apologized for getting ahead of himself but I felt as though he thought I was being a little unreasonable, and he just trying to be helpful. J’s family helped move the rest of our large items, and then J’s dad asked if they were needed any further. We told them no, thank you, but we should be able to manage the rest and they excused themselves to leave.

J and I spent the rest of the evening carefully and orderly packing, and unpacking things. We organized the kitchen to our liking, spent time deciding what should go where. Cleaning things as we went along and making decisions on the layout of our new home. It felt good, just him and I working together.

Earlier in the day when I saw J’s dad moving a load of coats out of our spare room, I also spied a little bib in the pile. A bib that I bought in May of 2012, just before we started trying for a baby. At the time that I bought it, I was buying other items for my best friend who was about to have her first child. I saw the bib which said “Daddy’s Little Monster” and I had to get it. J calls our dogs his little monsters, and it just felt fitting, and exciting for the new chapter of our lives that we were about to begin. After so much time has passed, it just hurts seeing that bib hanging in the closet. The closet in the room that was meant to be for our baby, instead filled with old coats, luggage and other odds and ends we haven’t had to find another home for.

I have fertility related products strewn all throughout our house. Estrogen, antibiotics and prenatals in the spare bathroom; a multitude of vitamins and minerals in the cupboard above the stove, ovulation predictor sticks under the sink; and a pregnancy book in my night stand. I hastily tucked items away as J’s parents were pulling open closets and drawers.

It felt like an invasion of privacy all over again. Infertility has taken so much. I can’t bear to look at the bib in my spare room closet, I want to throw out the pregnancy book in my nightstand (yet can’t for the hope that I may need it). I want to quit with the meds, I don’t want to have multiple doctors probe me multiple times, to be able to impregnate me without my husband even being present.

When first trying to conceive, you feel as though it is on your terms. You decide when to throw out the birth control, because a spring baby would suit you, you finally paid off the student loans, you bought the big house, you scored the big promotion. And so you try, with excitement each month, until the excitement starts to wane, frustration takes its place and frustration gives way to worry.

As I am about to start the meds this week for my second attempt at an FET, I have hope that some of it may still be on my own terms. Let the meds do their job, and let us please get to transfer before Christmas.

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#Microblog Mondays: Looking Back, and Looking Forward

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Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

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One year ago today, I had my first IUI. I was stressed because the day before, I couldn’t tell if the line on my ovulation predictor test was darker than the control. I was used to the ones that either have an empty circle for no ovulation, or a smiley face for imminent ovulation. I like my predictor kits fool proof, what can I say. But my clinic suggested a particular brand, so I did what they said. Held their word as gospel, if I just followed their instructions to a T, maybe they would make me pregnant. In any case, I decided the test was telling me I was about to ovulate, and went for my IUI the next morning. I was happy that it fell on a Sunday and I didn’t have to miss any work, and also thankful that it wasn’t any later as I flew out of town that same evening, and was gone for 9 days on a work trip. In hindsight, I’m fairly certain that the OPK wasn’t quite positive, and had I checked the next day it would have been, but then I wouldn’t have been able to have my IUI and the Clomid would have been all for naught. Obviously it did not result in a positive pregnancy test, and probably wouldn’t have no matter what the timing, but I was rather distraught over the whole event.

Looking back at how worked up I was over the whole thing makes me realize how far I’ve come. Not that I don’t stress over every tiny detail still, but I have come so much further than I could have imagined, and I’m still standing. Now I am looking forward, with hope to the future, and knowledge of the past. No matter what comes, I have it within me to carry on. Life does not stop, even when dreams change, shift, or all together end.

The Age of My Heart

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On Sunday I had to go in to my clinic to redo my SHG, (my clinic does them every 6 months to ensure no polyps or fibroids have grown), but more importantly, find out what the new plan was for my next FET attempt. The SHG was a piece of cake this time. It was most uncomfortable when he inserted the catheter into my uterus but all the rest of it was rather dull. He took lots of glamour shots of my uterus. Everything looked good.

Dr. M moved the wand over to my ovaries, just to have a look, and again there was nothing going on with lefty, but when he moved to the right a good sized orb appeared on the screen. The cyst was still there, though I sort of expected that seeing as it had not resolved itself during my last period, as seen on my CD4 ultrasound. It also appeared as though I may be ovulating from that side as there was another smaller orb tucked in with the cyst. The cyst was measuring at 30mm but Dr. M seemed very unconcerned.

He was a bit more serious with me than he normally is. He’s a very chatty fellow, usually making somewhat off the cuff remarks regarding how he’s going to get me good and pregnant, yada yada. He was still sociable this time, but asked me why we were doing this again in a rhetorical way. I told him I didn’t know, and I had hoped it wouldn’t come to this. He lamented with me, in a somber way I’ve only seen from him once prior; when he told us we’d be best to pursue IVF after 3 failed IUIs. When he finished he didn’t give me any indication of what was to come just told me everything looked good and he would see me later. I realise he has lots of patients but I don’t think he even read my file beyond the fact that I was there for an SHG.

After I got redressed I went to wait for the nurse. She took me into the consultation room, I’m beginning to get all too familiar with these rooms, and told me another nurse would come soon to discuss my protocol. They always put me in a room and then just let me sit and stew for a while, it is probably the worst part because I usually have some idea what’s going on so I worry, but I don’t know enough to be looking forward.

The nurse came in and had a new protocol for me. So I wasn’t going to have to wait long for my next crack at this. And luckily because my period came so swiftly after I stopped Suprefact I will almost certainly be transferring before Christmas. She told me it is a protocol that they’ve borrowed from another clinic and is usually used for donor gametes (as that’s actually what it said on the top of the instruction sheet). She crossed out donor transfer and wrote FET on top instead. The protocol is near identical to their standard protocol with the main difference being that instead of using suprefact nasal spray to down regulate, it used Lupron instead. That’s right, I’m going back on injectables. Apparently it is supposed to suppress better, since my body pretty much overrode the suprefact.

Dr. M is the one who comes up with the new plan, so I know that he’s looked at my file and decided the best course of action but I’m once bitten and twice shy now. The excitement over beginning anew has evaporated and been replaced with concern over the protocol not working. Besides subbing in Lupron for suprefact, there is no additional monitoring scheduled, and not much difference in the protocol. I peppered the nurse with questions but she didn’t have a lot of good answers for me. I asked about the cyst posing a problem, and she just asked me if Dr. M was concerned. I told her no, and that seemed to be that. I told her I was concerned about my lining being too thick, my estrogen being too high, ect. but she seems to think none of it will be a problem this time. She couldn’t even tell me how much Lupron I am taking daily. It just said one unit, she told me the pharmacy would know, and go over everything when I picked up the meds.

The only reason I had early and extra monitoring on my last attempt was because they had modified my FET schedule around my Vegas trip. At first, when the last cycle got cancelled I was pissed at myself for trying to have my cake and eat it to, berating myself for not just delaying by a month to make sure Vegas didn’t interfere with the FET. Now I’m wondering if it wasn’t a blessing in disguise; if I wasn’t going to respond well to suprefact, I would have rather found out when I did instead of getting so much closer to the transfer only to have it unexpectedly ripped away.

So now I am due to start Lupron Nov. 14 and wait until my next period starts. At that point I call the clinic, they will advise me to start my estrogen and antibiotics CD3 and then after 12 – 14 days of estrogen they will have me come in for a lining check. It still just seems odd to me that they don’t do any checks before then… If all looks good on my lining check (as in I am at 8mm triple stripe) they will start me on progesterone and after 5 days of progesterone when my body is artificially ready to accept my day 5 blast, it’s go time. I am trepidatious about even getting to transfer. I’ve just seemed to have the worst luck in this whole process and I don’t want to get ahead of myself as I am wont to do.

Because my SHG/FET WTF (is that enough acronyms for ya?) appointment was on a Sunday I was very dressed down. Normally I am on my way to work after my appointments so I am dressed professionally with my hair and make up done. This time I was wearing a ball cap, old jeans, my converse sneakers and a zip up sweater. I have a boyish figure, and I’ve always looked younger than I am (I’m starting to appreciate this, but did not as much when I was a teenager). As I left the clinic, the nurse patted me on the arm and said “you look so young”. She said it almost in a sad way, like I was too young to be there.

In the grand scheme of things I am still considered young, at 27 years old. Especially given the fact that we are dealing with MFI, I am in an excellent position for IF treatment. People will say time is on my side and that I have lots of it. Though this may all be true, I feel as I’ve aged well beyond my years through this process. I may appear young, but ask me the age of my heart.

#Microblog Mondays: Renovation

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Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

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Over the past few weeks J and I have been renovating our new condo, and I’ll be the first to admit it has been a bit of a challenge. I’ve heard that couples that can make it through a renovation project together, can make it through anything. What about renovation and infertility? My strategy has mostly been to divide and conquer, I let J work on the physical parts of the reno, installing new fixtures, moving heavy items, cutting flooring, ect, whereas I prefer to go shopping for new items we need for the reno job. I visited three different Home Depots yesterday, and made double stops at two of them. I bought light fixtures, and door knobs; towel racks, and closet handles. You never realise all the pedantic little bits and bobs you’ll need for a reno job until you start doing it. And then you make umpteen trips to the hardware store because each time you move on to a next project you realise you’re missing some screw, or imperative tool.

Things are finally starting to come along, we’re getting much closer to being able to move in. The doors are hung, they have knobs, all of the flooring is in, trim is painted, it’s coming along. There are few more light fixtures to hang, a closet door or two, but the heavy work is over (besides the clean-up, but that I can handle). J and I both get frustrated easily, and don’t communicate very well when we are trying to replace/install/build something, so it has been a challenge to say the least. So now that we are nearing the end, and haven’t killed each other yet, here is my list of projects not to take on with your other half (unless you’re itching for a fight);

  1. Re-hanging doors; you hold the door, they try to install the screws (or vice versa) someone’s always yelling “Higher! Lower! No, not there, there!”

  2. Installing any sort of light fixture. Firstly, this requires some electrical knowledge, which neither of us have. Secondly, the person holding the light up gets sore arms, and dust in their face, while the person trying to install the light gets mad because the person below can’t “just hold it still for 5 seconds!”.

  3. Assembly of anything. Ikea shelves, a cardboard box. Doesn’t matter, inevitably, one person is going to get annoyed with the other.

  4. Holding a flashlight. Though this may seem like a simple task, do not be fooled. Inevitably, you will hold it too high, too low, or at just the wrong angle that eventually the person who needs the light will take it from you and hold in their mouth while simultaneously trying to thread some tube through some tiny hole.

5. Last, but certainly not least, do not fall into the trap of reading instructions out, while the other person tries to complete a task. No matter how straight forward this may seem, regardless of the fact that you will read the instructions verbatim, they will be snatched out of your hands with a “Lemme see that”, and you will be relieved of your duties. On second thought, maybe that’s a good way to get out of something…

No Rest For the Weary

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So much for getting any rest on vacation, although that’s probably too much to ask from Las Vegas. We flew in last Friday (Oct. 24) and it was a whirlwind weekend spent seeing the sights, walking the strip, and eating. Our friends got married on Saturday (Oct. 25) and it was a lovely, low key but intimate wedding. We indulged too much and slept too little. I found I was very moody all weekend. I would be having fun one minute and irritable and grouchy about something the next. I had a little fit the morning we were leaving for Vegas because I couldn’t find my phone. I would get hungry and tired during the day and it made me crabby. I still had a good time but I was having a hard time controlling my mood swings.

I stopped my suprefact last Tuesday and the nurse told me my next period should start a week or two after stopping the meds. I hoped it would come sooner rather than later so we could make our next plan. I woke up Saturday morning in Vegas to find my period had started, the day after we had arrived. I had been feeling sort of off ever since I stopped the suprefact, and more than likely due to the fact that my hormones went on a bender after the suprefact stopped suppressing everything. I was surprised and a little bit annoyed at getting my period so early. So much for any fun hotel romps.

I also realised that I needed to call the clinic and advise them of CD1. Needless to say I wracked up some long distance while I was away. Once I called the clinic and left my info on the IVF message line I counted the days and noted that my CD3 was going to be Monday, and we weren’t due to arrive back until just before midnight on Monday night/Tuesday morning. I told the nurse my predicament when she called me back and she said she would talk to Dr. M and if it was going to be a problem she would let me know. They wanted to check my lining and my cyst to see that I a) did indeed shed all or at least a majority of my lining and b) to see if the cyst was gone. From there we could determine the new plan of action.

So after a long weekend in Vegas, and a late flight home I got about 4 hours of sleep Monday night before I had to get up to be at the clinic for 7am Tuesday morning. I was the 4th person to be monitored so I had to wait a little but not too long. When I went back the monitoring doctor looked at my chart to see what it was he was to be checking for. I don’t like this doctor, I may have mentioned him before, he’s retired but still just does the monitoring ultrasounds. He just irks me for some reason. Anyways, moving on; he checked my lining and it was looking good and thin beside a bit of blood that was still being shed. Then he moved to my left ovary, all quiet and over to the right. The cyst was still there, and not diminished in size. Fuck.

He made some measurements printed them out, and when he was done he told me I could return to my change room and the nurse would be with me shortly. The change rooms are open on the top and the bottom, and the nurses station is maybe 10 feet away so I could plainly hear them talking when I was getting redressed. The doctor was telling the nurse the cyst was still there, and she was discussing the fact that my doctor (Dr. M) had suggested a natural cycle, but that it may not be possible due to the cyst.

I was put in one of the other exam rooms so that the nurse could come and discuss the next steps with me. This was becoming a bad habit, being the special case who gets put away in a room for further instruction. I waited probably around 15 minutes, as the nurse was finishing with the other patients still waiting for ultrasounds. The wait was painful, I was exhausted and felt kind of ill because I had been chugging water on the way to the appointment in anticipation I would need to do bloodwork as well (I have slim veins that get smaller when I am dehydrated), only to not have any bloodwork after all. (I am now wondering if that was an oversight, you’d think they would have wanted my estrogen levels…). When the nurse finally came in, she sort of seemed at a loss for words, tsk-ing and shaking her head. She told me that Dr. M had left me two choices; either to do a natural cycle (if the cyst was gone) or try a medicated cycle, possibly with different meds. But, she said it would not make sense to do a natural cycle with the cyst interferring, and she wasn’t sure what Dr. M’s plan of action would be for a medicated cycle, again because of the cyst.

I need to redo my SHG, because my clinic needs an updated one every 6 months (and me being an eager beaver did mine back in May when we decided to pursue IVF, in August) so the nurse booked me for an SHG on Sunday (as in today, now) and she said her and Dr. M will discuss “what to do with me”. Great, that sounds really hopeful. So not only do I get to have my uterus accosted (again) I may very well be getting the bad news that they are going to delay me another cycle, and surgically remove my asshole cyst. To be honest I sort of hope I don’t have to do a natural cycle because I believe it would probably end up requiring more monitoring, and more stress due to the fact that we would be relying on my body to do it’s job, correctly and in a timely fashion (yeah, right). We’ll see how that all plays out.

Besides dealing with the unknown of our next transfer cycle, we’ve spent the rest of the week continuing renovation on our new place. After a long days at work, it was evenings spent working on paint, and flooring, trying to reassemble everything so we can move soon, as our new tenants take possession Nov. 15. I am utterly exhausted, both physically and mentally.

Occasionally I have a feeling of heavy, deep sadness for all the time lost, and burden carried. When we were shopping in Vegas I had a moment of pain as I had previously thought we would be pregnant by the time we were on that trip. Before we found out we weren’t doing a fresh transfer, I had hope that we would even know the gender of our baby by the time we went to Vegas (I am planning on doing early genetic and gender testing) and that I might be able to purchase a few baby items. I think it was lurking in my subconscience and sprung on me when I realised what I wouldn’t be buying that trip.

Having said all of that, I am feeling eerily calm (about the uncertainty of our cycle at least). I didn’t flip out when they cancelled my cycle, I didn’t have a breakdown with my untimely period, I didn’t cry at my bad news monitoring appointments. I don’t know why, because I am certainly frustrated that nothing is working according to plan, that it is further and further delaying our transfer. Our imaginary due date keeps getting bumped ever forward. I mostly feel ambivalent, which is weird.

Here’s hoping for some good news today, though I won’t hold my breath.