#Microblog Mondays: Tears Pt. II

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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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There is a brown bib hanging in our spare room closet, it has green lettering and says “Daddy’s Little Monster”. My husband calls our dogs little monsters (affectionately), so when I was shopping for my best friend’s first baby, back in May 2012, it seemed like an appropriate purchase for myself and J since we were about to start trying for a baby of our own. It is the only baby related item I own (besides a pregnancy book). Two and a half years down the road, I began to wonder if that bib was cursing our efforts (I know that’s not reasonable, but it started to feel like a bad omen).

On Dec. 20 when I got my first ever positive pregnancy test I took the bib out of the closet, put it on one of my dogs and sent him to my husband. He looked at the dog, looked at me and I held out the positive test to him. “Really?” he asked, incredulously. I nodded, and he pulled me close and tight. At that moment I began to cry, uncontrollable, gaspy sobs. All of the emotional weight I had been carrying poured out of my eyes and onto his chest. It felt so cathartic, and I didn’t realise the force that was behind them until they sprang forward. Here’s hoping for happy tears only, for the remainder of this pregnancy.

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The Follow Up

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Once I received my positive beta numbers I was sent into a tizzy with the next steps I needed to manage. After speaking with my clinic, the nurse advised me that I needed to get in for my next beta (that she couldn’t send me for), as well as a 7 week ultrasound (which she couldn’t book for me). My clinic has had their hand slapped by Big Brother (the Governmental overseeing body) and is no longer allowed to do any prenatal monitoring as they are specifically a fertility clinic and not an OB/GYN. So, the clinic advised me to contact my family doctor to order my next beta and arrange an ultrasound.

I don’t like my family doctor (she was very flippant and dismissive when I came to her after a year of trying to conceive), plus she only works 2 days a week and her location is no longer convenient to me as she is in a suburb of the city I currently live in (I used to live in said ‘burb, funny how I moved out of the ‘burbs and into the city to start a family). I don’t trust her to give me the care and attention I crave, since being under the watchful eye of the clinic. I’ll admit my fertility clinic is far from perfect but I know the people, the routines, what is expected of me and what I can expect from them. All of this prenatal stuff is new to me, and I’m struggling. My GP is away until Jan. 6 and her office was unwilling to help me, so I went to a walk in clinic.

A walk in clinic at Christmas time (well anytime really) is never a place I want to be spending my evening, because I know I will be trapped there for hours of unending boredom. I wasn’t wrong about that as I endured listening to the most odd couple pair of nurses manning the counter for 2 hours, before I finally got moved to an exam room, where I sat for another half hour. I feel badly for the doctors in walk in clinics. Most people are not super happy after they’ve been left to wait for several hours while generally feeling unwell so I tried to be patient.

When he finally came in, he asked what he could do for me. I explained that I was newly pregnant as a result of IVF and my clinic needed to pass me off to a doctor, but that I didn’t have one to be passed off to. I told him my clinic wanted me to have another beta done, and that I needed to be referred to an OB. There was supposed to be a fax sent to the walk in clinic with instructions from my clinic but there was some confusion and it went to the wrong clinic (that was my fault) and the clinic it went to shredded it, so I couldn’t even get it forwarded to the correct place. So I did my best to just ask for what I thought I needed. Once the doctor grasped my convoluted situation, he offered his congratulations, took my blood pressure, and checked my throat and lungs. He offered me some pearls of wisdom for pregnancy including (but not limited to); “no crazy sex, try to avoid potholes (so as not to jolt myself too hard), no heavy lifting, and don’t let myself get too physically or mentally exhausted”. Thank you for the vague, generic advice…

Afterwards he ushered me into his office to ask about my medical history, get me a bunch of requisitions and refer me to an OB. As he began filling out my medical history, he asked “why I had to do IVF, as I’m only 27” (his words). I gave him a sort of vague answer, concerns on my husband’s side of things. He asked how long we tried before IVF and I told him a little over a year naturally, then 3 IUI’s then IVF. He then asked me what an IUI was, I am not shitting you. I answered his questions, he gave me a requisition for an early pregnancy work up, my next beta, an ultrasound and a referral to an OB. Not only that, he asked me if there was an OB in particular that I wanted. Seeing as I had just spent two hours sitting in a waiting room, of course I had done some searching on rate my MD. The doctor I chose didn’t have the highest ratings, but she is at the same hospital as my clinic (which I very much wanted) and a lot of complaints with the doctor actually had to do with her staff so I think it will be fine. I appreciate that he gave me a choice.

I spoke to my clinic the day after I went to the walk in clinic and told her what transpired, and that I just asked the doctor for everything I needed and got him to refer me to an OB. She told me I did so good, not having had any of the paperwork from the clinic with me, so I’m glad that all worked out. She advised me to do my beta next week to see that it is over 1000, rather than just checking to see if it was doubling (since I only had the one requisition for another beta). She told me to book my ultrasound for the week of Jan. 11, we get home from Hawaii on Jan. 13 so I will have to miss a bit of work right after returning from holidays, but I don’t care. Though the clinic can’t monitor me anymore, the nurse is sending me a requisition for my nuchal translucency testing to complete between weeks 11 – 13 and referring it back to my OB (now that I have one). She told me I can stop progesterone at 10 weeks, but I am hoping I can see my OB before then so I can chat to the doctor about it, as I don’t want to just stop on my own.

The whole situation is still so surreal. Having a conversation with the walk in clinic doctor about my pregnancy just seemed so far-fetched. I toggle between trying not to get too excited, and my mind being blown. I feel a little like I am back in that naive spot of when I first started TTC. I’m a pro at infertility now, but I don’t know how to handle this whole pregnancy situation. J is so so excited. I sort of want him to take the enthusiasm down a notch, but really, can I blame him? I’m terrified of something bad happening, but if I try to remain stoic, is it really going to hurt any less if something does go wrong? If this had happened naturally I would have thrown myself into pregnancy books, and researching everything I could right from day one, but now I am hesitant and reserved. I will probably wait until at least having our 7 week ultrasound before I do much of anything. No sense in getting ahead of myself. I am going to enjoy this time, but take it day by day.

And on that note, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

#Microblog Mondays: Beta Edition

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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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This morning I went for my blood draw at the hospital where my clinic is located, which they advised me to do so they could get the results ASAP. My transfer nurse suggested that I call the clinic after I did my bloodwork to let them know it was done so they could call me as soon as they had the results. I expected to hear from them later in the afternoon, as is their M.O. My phone rang around 9:30 when I was driving to work. The nurse informed me that my beta was positive. I am indeed pregnant. It was at 131, a solid number. I am so relieved.

I peppered her with questions about what to do now, as the new protocol at my clinic is that they do not do any additional monitoring beyond the first beta and then they pass me off to my family doctor. My family doctor sucks, and I haven’t seen her ever since I started going to the clinic. I called her office to see if she was working and could order my next requisition (which my clinic wants me to do in the next couple of days) and she isn’t back until Jan. 6. I asked if another doctor could request the requisition and the receptionist said no, that I would have to go to a walk in clinic. So forget them. I will go to a walk in clinic for the beta, and have them refer me straight to an OB where I can go for my 7 week ultrasound.

The nurse told me based on my transfer date, I am 4 weeks today and my due date is Sept. 2, 2015. Merry Christmas to us!

*And for your viewing pleasure, our BFP pee stick (7dpt5dt)

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The Other Person in the Room

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Throughout this process, infertility treatments and trying to make a baby, I have been in some awkward situations. Multiple people investigating my lady-business, with my husband sometimes bearing witness. I’ve had ultrasound wands, needles, speculums, catheters and more used on me. I’ve had to give up all modesty as I lay under a light with my feet in stirrups for a nurse, doctor, and embryologist all at once, while my husband sits by my head.

And just recently J has joined me in the bathroom for my neurotic morning ritual of testing for pregnancy. In all previous cycles, natural and IUI I would try and be secretive in my testing and J would patiently wait until I told him my period had arrived (when it inevitably would), and that would be that. I started testing on Thursday (5dp5dt) and received stark white. I stupidly left the test on the counter as I showered and when I got out, there was a line albeit faint but it was well outside the allowed timeframe for accuracy and I dismissed it in my mind as an evaporation line. When I looked at it later in the day is was some what distorted and discoloured, proving my theory.

I tested the next morning, with J tensely waiting alongside, to be disappointed by another solitary line staring back at us. At that point J stormed out of the bathroom, declaring “No more testing!”. He later apologized, and told me he just hates seeing the negative, whereas for me it keeps me in check and doesn’t let my hope get too inflated.

He told me he wouldn’t mind if I tested this morning, but he wasn’t going to wait and he went to work. At first I was undecided whether or not to test but I can’t help myself and I had to do it. I propped the box up so I couldn’t see the test and set the alarm on my phone. As I stood in the bathroom by myself, I moved the box and leaned in to get a closer look. It took me a moment to realize there were two lines, the second faint but definitely there, and well within the allowed timeframe. I did a little freakout dance, hopping from one foot to another and thought to myself, “the one time I am completely alone, and I wish I weren’t”. But the test on the counter reminded me otherwise. I was not alone, there were two of us in the bathroom at that moment.

Lady in Waiting

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Today is 4DP5DT and I am already driving myself bat-shit crazy. I feel as though my emotions are in a ping pong match, shortly after the transfer I was feeling good, and hopeful but now I am feeling desolate and forlorn. I feel nothing, no different and I know that’s not necessarily an indication of anything but I can’t help but think it means the transfer didn’t work. Tomorrow will be my first day back at work since last Friday, I’ve had the last 6 days off work because I had some vacation time that needed to be used up before the end of the year. It has been a blessing and a curse. On one hand I didn’t have to worry about calling in sick for work for the transfer, and I got to just relax and take it easy over the past few days since the transfer, on the flip side I have way too much time on my hands and I can’t stay away from google. And I don’t even have any symptoms to google. Even if I did, I know I can’t trust that it isn’t just side effects from the progesterone.

After the transfer I wasn’t on bed rest, as it wasn’t recommended by the clinic. They just told me to “take it easy” for a couple days after transfer, no sex until the results are known, no strenuous activities and obviously no drinking, or other pregnancy related no-no’s. I’ve been really good with my limited caffeine intake, going cold turkey most days (though I had already reduced it leading up to transfer). I’ve been trying to eat fairly well, get lots of rest (I’ve been sleeping in, seeing as I’ve had so much time off). I feel like an imposter, having to act like I’m pregnant.

I’m lucky in that my clinic is doing my beta only 9 days after transfer (that will be Monday), as I know a lot of people have had to wait longer than that. I am so impatient that I went to the dollar store and bought some pregnancy tests today. 4 to be exact, so that I can test every day, starting tomorrow until the day before my beta. I fully expect it to be negative tomorrow, for one because it’s probably way too early still, and secondly because I just don’t think this worked. I know I’m being pessimistic, but I just feel in my gut that it’s not going to be this easy (Ha! Like how I consider “this” easy). Maybe I’ll be proven wrong, I hope so, but I fear not. Only time will tell…

#Microblog Mondays: ART

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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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The hospital bracelet that I get every time I go to the clinic says “ART” on it. Whenever I see that, it takes me back to my school years; I hated Art class. I know most students saw it as on opportunity to goof off and not take seriously but it was never in my nature. I am not artistic, I am analytical. I do not create, I scrutinize. But, this; I made this. We made this.

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The Face in the Mirror

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Today is my one year blogiversary, and I can’t quite believe it. Over a hundred posts, new friends made, celebrating the highs, mourning the lows. I am so grateful for the community I’ve joined and those that are here by my side. Looking back over some of my early posts, I feel bad for the me of a year ago. Not knowing what was to come, and how bad it was going to get. I spoke about how traumatic dealing with infertility had been and how I was in awe of those who had been through so much more and kept on going. Those who fell down the rabbit hole and came out the other side. I lamented I didn’t know how much more I could take (little did I know it was only just the beginning). Now here I am, where I didn’t think I would end up, and didn’t know I would survive (I suppose that’s yet to be determined).

A couple of weeks ago, I was having a down day. As I stood at the sink in the bathroom, I looked at myself in the mirror. Really looked at myself. And I had a hard time reconciling the me inside with the me staring back in the mirror. It’s an odd feeling not knowing yourself. Obviously, I know what I look like. I get dressed, do my hair and make up every day. But I never really stop to look. I make myself presentable but I avoid myself as a whole. I don’t look myself in the eyes, I see the pieces that make me, not the whole picture. It’s a little like when you glance at the clock to check the time, only to find that when you look away you still have no idea what time it is.

As I examined my face I concluded that I look the same (more or less), and yet different. More tired. Less youthful and naive. The excitement for life has dulled in my eyes, my mouth doesn’t smile as much as it used to. I’ve built up a wall, and perhaps that’s why I no longer recognize myself. It isn’t often that I let my guard down, so I never truly see who I am inside. I’m afraid soon the wall will be so tall and wide that I won’t be able to break it down. It all just feels like some elaborate set up, this can’t be real life, can it?

As my time in the land of IF has progressed I’ve found myself still frustrated with a lack of progress. Still with empty arms after all of this time. Except now, instead of pain, anger and sadness, I feel mostly feel numb. And that is one of the scariest things of all.

I look to other women out there who are still fighting for their turn, and I feel their pain and know their struggle. There are those who have enjoyed a brief time in the rays of hope, only to have them dashed again in the blink of an eye, with the dropping of a beta. I see the women who are in early, middle or late stages of pregnancy, many still afraid to enjoy this time; the mystery of pregnancy taken from them, replaced with knowing too much and too many fears. And then there are the women who have succeeded at what we all hope to achieve. They bring a little person out into the world, sometimes too early, but those babies are strong like their mothers.

I see those who have gone before me, and although I had wished not to follow their path’s, I look to them and hope I can follow them further down the rabbit hole and we can walk out the other side together.