#Microblog Mondays: Means to an End

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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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For a little while now I have been uncertain how I feel about my career; part of it is due to insecurity and instability with my company, and part of it is that I’m not sure I’m still happy with what I do for a living. I’ve found myself increasingly dissatisfied, especially while we were struggling with infertility treatments. I kept seeing mat leave as my escape (I live in Canada where you can get up to 52 weeks paid leave), but the longer it was taking to get pregnant the longer my future with my company was. I’m fairly certain the negative pull that infertility was having on my life was affecting how I felt about work, so while I was perhaps slightly dissatisfied, the lack of control in the rest of my life heightened that feeling.

Now that I’m so close to being finished work (my last day is Aug. 14) I feel checked out, because I know my time here is limited. While mat leave is as an escape from work now, what do I do about my career afterward? I’m hoping things will have changed for J at his job and it may affect our decisions but for now I’m not sure I can see myself coming back to the same job. I need to work, we can’t afford for me to be a SAHM once my one year mat leave runs out but when I go back to work it will likely be for the long haul, so I don’t want to get stuck in something I don’t like.

I have thought about going back to school for something, but I don’t know what. Plus I did spend time and money to go to school for my current job and I don’t really want to throw that all away. My training is pretty specific to my industry, and even my particular job, so although it has many transferable skills, it would be difficult to completely change careers without further training. Said training that would take time and cost money. I’ve considered that I could do distance learning while on mat. leave but realistically, I don’t see that happening. My thought is to see what plays out with J’s job situation (possibly transferring locations, within our same city) and perhaps make a visit to a employment placement agency closer to when I am looking at coming back to work. I know I’m getting a bit ahead of myself but my career plans weigh on me.

What’s a girl to do in a career crisis?

IVF-iversary

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This day last year, we began the stop-start journey of our IVF cycle. It was CD3 and I had gone in for my first monitoring appointment in preparation to start my stims. My estrogen levels were initially deemed too high to start and they told me to call back on my next CD1, until the nurse spoke to my doctor and he ok’d it with a slight delay on starting my stimming meds. It was all a bit of a gong show, and that’s how it felt for the rest of the stimming process. I had two runaway follicles that got way too big and threatened to derail the whole cycle. My estrogen levels topped out over 20,000IU forcing us into a freeze-all cycle. I was mostly ok with this at the time, because I felt physically and mentally exhausted with all of the stress on my body and the meds jacking up my ovaries. I would have preferred not to be delayed any further but wanted the best possible chance for our embryos.

Little did I know that delay was going to stretch another 6 months. After waiting for my 2nd period after the retrieval, some ill-timed travels, a cancelled FET, a new protocol, an extra long (almost cancelled), drawn out FET cycle (including having two cysts drained) we finally transferred one of our five embryos to my uterus on Dec. 13. On Dec. 20 I got my first faint positive pregnancy test, and on Dec. 22 a positive beta confirming that pale pink line.

After a little over three years to date we have nearly reached the next stage in our journey. A year of trying naturally, a year filled with testing, waiting, interspersed with 3 failed medicated (unmonitored) IUIs and finally a decision to pursue IVF, we then spent the next six months in IVF/FET limbo hell, finally receiving our desired outcome. But once the test is positive it is a new game, worrying about the next beta, the next ultrasound, viability and ultimately a fresh baby in your arms.

When you’re living it, it is so awful, and you can’t believe it each time the seriousness level ratchets up; trying naturally to seeking assistance which turns into IUI, then IVF, potentially multiple transfers or multiple rounds and for some, beyond that. It seems never ending. I will admit that getting (and staying) pregnant has eased some of the immediate pain but it can’t undo the scars that infertility has left. I was “lucky” in that I only had to endure one round of IVF and one transfer (it’s sad that I’d consider myself “lucky” but there are many who have been through much more and much worse). I can also say that pregnancy is no bed of roses, though I have had it relatively easy for the most part. I can’t say it is really enjoyable being pregnant, I do not love feeling like a whale, and all of the physical discomforts that come along with it (though feeling a living person inside of me, and knowing that they are growing and thriving because of me is pretty powerful stuff).

But (huge emphasis on the “but”) I am deeply grateful, because I know I am one of the lucky ones. Even though we went through hell and back, it’s all been worth it. While we were in it, I wasn’t sure we’d survive, if it would work, if would I have regrets. It’s hard to keep going when you don’t know what lies ahead. And I can’t say that ART is going to work for everyone, or what the best stopping point is. My biggest measure of whether or not to keep going was “will I regret it if I don’t?”. Because initially (when we first started seeing our RE) I was against pursuing IVF, but as we began to run out of options I knew I would regret it if we didn’t give it a shot, no matter how scared, or mad or frustrated I was at our situation.

So I’m not going to tell you to never stop trying, because eventually you may get to a point where you have to, for your sanity, and physical well-being. I don’t know what that point would have been for us, as we, fortunately, never had to consider it (not too much at least, beyond deciding to pursue IVF). Take the path of least regret, therapy and time can help you deal with the aftermath, whatever it may be.

Looking back, year over year, it is amazing where we’ve been, and now, where we’re going.

#Microblog Mondays: Showered with Love

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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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I’ve had two showers over the past week, one put on by my coworkers and one hosted by my aunt. I survived  both, and overall they weren’t terrible (ha!). The one my work put on was a little cheesy, some of the typical games like chocolate in the diapers, but it was really nice of them and everyone is really excited for us. The one my aunt hosted was quite lovely as I may have made my preferences known early on, so I got my wish; a brunch shower with no silly games. I still don’t love opening gifts in front of everyone, as I just find it awkward and hate being the centre of attention. I may be able to avoid this at our last shower (in Aug.) as it is a coed BBQ and more of a drop in thing.

Most people obliged by our registry which I appreciated since there’s a reason I’m asking for certain things. Plus I’m sure if someone is going to make the effort to get us a gift, they want it to be something we need/want. My favourite gift, however, is not something off our registry.

My oldest friend, who I’ve known since elementary gave me something priceless;

“How wonderful life is now you’re in the World!”

A custom piece of artwork that she hand drew herself, using a quote from “Your Song” which is prominently featured in my favourite film; Moulin Rouge. And what a fitting quote it is, though our daughter only lives in the world inside of me for now, life is certainly wonderful now she’s in our world. This definitely elicited some tears from my icy heart.

*And there’s a little sneak peek of the nursery for now…

#Microblog Mondays: A Wish

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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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I originally heard out about this book over at Beloved Burnt Toast. Someone gifted it to her daughter for her first birthday, but really I think it’s a gift for the parent and more so for the child when they are old enough to understand how truly wanted they were before they arrived.

The story is about two elephants who create a life together, but in the back of their minds there is always that thought of growing their family. One day they decide they are ready, but time passes and their baby still hasn’t come to them. All throughout, they wish the baby was there with them. There is a point in the book where the elephants look quite sad, and it shows them “living life” but says that they make no plans. Then one day there is a rumble, and a storm, but in the end the baby comes to them.

I went to Chapters (the Canadian version of Barnes and Noble) to check it out, so I took the book and sat in a quiet corner of the store and read. By the end I had tears welling up in my eyes*. It is a very simple book, not very wordy but packs a powerful emotional punch. Later that day, J and I were out and about so I told him about the book and we stopped in the store so I could show it to him. We went to the kids section of the store to retrieve the book, and he pulled two chairs next to each other so we could sit together and read it. I was going to just let him read it, but when he opened the book I leaned in and we read silently, together.

When we finished the book, J looked up at me as the tears, again, welled up in my eyes and all he could say is “wow”. A few fat tears slid down my cheeks, as J and I both sniffled and tried to gain composure (as we’re still sitting in the middle of the children’s section of a large bookstore). He gave me a squeeze and a kiss and told me it was a really good book.

The book always shows the baby elephant in a boat in the sea on it’s way to it’s parents but never insinuates how it gets to them (their own pregnancy, surrogate, adoption, ect.) or what it took along the way, it just conveys the grief the parents experienced while waiting. And I know not everyone gets their wish to come true. But the elephant couple does, and so far it’s looking like we will too. This book put into simple words and pictures, the great complexity, the anguish it took to get here and the joy of our wish coming true.

We will be using it as the guest book at our BBQ shower as a way to share with the rest of our friends and family the journey we’ve been on.

*Sidenote: I am not a very emotional person, and even through pregnancy have not been overly emotional (besides bitchy) but this, got me straight to the guts.