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.

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#Microblog Mondays: Returning to the Scene of the Crime

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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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Last week I needed a refill on my prenatal vitamins. Mine are prescribed to me, because that’s just how my fertility clinic rolls. When I decided to pursue IVF they wrote me a prescription for something like 2 years worth of prenatals. It has a higher amount of folic acid, and is split into two doses for better absorption, or something to that effect. It’s actually been to my benefit because since it is a prescription, it is covered by my benefits, and those suckers are expensive normally. Especially for someone like me who has spent 3 years taking them!

I get the prescription filled at a special pharmacy that stocks all matter of fertility meds, aids and a bunch of stuff for once you actually get pregnant as well. So it’s the same pharmacy I went to for all of my injectable drugs. I was there near every other day during the times of my IVF cycle, and subsequent transfer. I saw a lot of the same faces as would be at the clinic first thing in the morning because we would have our scans done and then be sent off to the pharmacy to pick up whatever meds were needed for the next steps. I never spoke to any of the other women, but we were pretty well all there for the same thing.

The last time I had to get more prenatal vitamins I was definitely not showing much, and I was still in the early days (in my mind) of my pregnancy. It felt weird not being there for more needles, swabs and meds to jack up my ovaries, but no one else would know that. This time, I was 6 months (obviously) pregnant. Luckily there was only one other person there at the same time as me but she was getting a prescription for some sort of injectable and they were teaching her how to use it.

I sort of wished I could sink into the floor. I felt bad walking in there with my big pregnant belly. It’s no longer a place for me, for which I am thankful.

*Alright, so it’s not actually Monday anymore but nothing was coming to mind yesterday when I was trying to come up with a post.

Scooped…Again.

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Sort of.

I’ve been wondering how to announce my pregnancy at work. I’ve felt as though my growing waistline was going to require some answers soon (though maybe it’s just me who notices, because everyone else still thinks I’m tiny). I work in a small enough department that an email was not really appropriate (too impersonal) but going to every person individually felt unnecessary, and attention seeking. Besides, how does one even start that conversation?

“Hey, how’s it going? Oh that’s good, well I’m pregnant so there’s that.”

It’s all just so awkward. I’ve been hemming and hawing about it for a while now but couldn’t come up with anything that felt right. I sort of had intentions to say something this week, but when I just couldn’t think of anyway to say it, I thought maybe I’d just keep trying to hide my (albeit little) bump for a little while longer.

When I came in to work today one of my coworkers came up to me and told me that she had a dream about me, and that in it I was pregnant. I’m not sure what my face looked like at that moment. I sort of chuckled and said something along the lines of “Ohhh, hmmm.” Very inconspicuous. I nearly just blurted it out right then and there, but I held my tongue. It caught me so off guard, I was left speechless.

But after she said it, I couldn’t stop thinking about how it would have been the perfect opportunity to say something, it was my in. I went into my bosses office a short time later and told her what had transpired (my boss already knows) and that I was going to use that to tell everyone today. She was excited because she didn’t want to keep my secret anymore.

So once most of my coworkers had arrive for the day, I went over to the one who told me about her dream, and I said to her that the dream she had wasn’t wrong. She just stared at me with wide eyes, and one of our other coworkers who knew what I was talking about came over and gave me a hug. Then, I had to fill in the couple of others that were there what the dream was. Everyone got teary eyed, and they were all very excited for me. I knew that would be the case, but I’ve been hesitant about sharing, to protect my privacy and in case something bad happens.

It’s sort of nice to have it out there because I might get a pass on a crabby attitude (which has been happening more lately), or not feeling great, or whatever. At the same time, now there are a lot of people who know, and it makes me terrified that something bad is going to happen, and I’m going to have to go back and tell all of those people. It’s mostly irrational, but one of the reasons why I wanted to wait and not tell anyone until I had to. But they are all excited, and want to throw me a shower, and fawn over me, which is sort of nice. I’m the youngest in my department by a long shot, and the first to have a baby in about 11 years, so they’re all like excited little mother hens.

I knew word would travel quickly to our other departments, and soon I had one of the ladies come over to have me confirm it. So I’m sure everyone else will know soon enough, which is exactly what I wanted. Tell a few gossipy ones, and the rest will hear about it. So that’s taken care of.

After the shock and excitement of my announcement wore down,  one of my counterparts suddenly realized I was going to be going on mat. leave and that “oh shit” look hit her face. I have to say it was pretty awesome. Being the youngest, I am by far the most tech savvy in the office, and everything we do is technology based, and changes a lot. So I am practically the in-house tech support. Not to mention I am a bit of a jack of all trades in our department, so I am able to help in several different areas and they are going to be slightly screwed when I’m gone. And it makes me a bit gleeful. Perhaps then they’ll appreciate my all around-ness. I know that sounds conceited, but there are certain times I don’t know how they manage without me. I mean obviously they do, I am not indispensable, but I am pretty useful. The look of despair on my bosses face at the thought of trying to find someone to cover my leave made me feel good.

I have some girlfriends to tell this weekend over brunch, and then I’m really in it with the world knowing. We’re not going Facebook official, I feel it unnecessary; the people who we want to know, will know and the rest don’t matter. Plus I know what it’s like being on the other side of one of those Facebook announcements and I’m not about to do that to anyone else. I’m no longer protected in my bubble of secrecy, and the attention shining in my direction is making me somewhat uncomfortable.

#Microblog Mondays: What’s in a Name? Pt. III

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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 think everyone does it, as a little girl, and then together with your partner; dreaming about the names you will give your children. I know J and I have discussed it for a long time, I have a list going in my phone, and we completely settled on a girls name several years ago (and it has stuck all this time, so I am confident it is the right one). Because we are finding out the gender early, we will be able to use the name throughout pregnancy so it will just feel right (hopefully) once attached to our newborn.

I know many people, once they know the gender of their children, in-utero, will announce the name along with the gender. We have no intentions of doing this, as I find people have an easier time judging a name attached to a (at this point) theoretical infant, before it is set in stone. The names we have chosen are definitely unique (nothing super weird, in my opinion) but would definitely garner some judgement, especially from the older, and more traditional family members (ahem, my mother for example). So we will have to use it only between J and I, careful not to let it slip.

Do you have names already pick for your children (or did you before you had them)? Would you (or did you) share them with anyone, or keep them close to your chest until there was a baby to attach it to?

#Microblog Mondays: What’s in a Name?

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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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Most people come up with a name for their baby in-utero, because using “it” or “the baby” all the time just isn’t as fun. There’s the typical, “bean”, “peanut”, ect. I wanted something original and cute (is it weird that I gave so much thought to this..?). In any case, in the first week after we found out I was pregnant, our embryo was the size of a poppy seed, so J was playing on that and he said “Poppet”. Like from Pirates of the Caribbean when the pirate calls Kiera Knightly’s character poppet as a creepy sort of term of endearment.

It sounded kind of cute, so I googled it and it came up as “a middle English word meaning small child or doll” as well as a term of endearment. I figured that fit, and so Poppet it has been. It wasn’t until later that I read the entire definition that also states that it is primarily used for a young woman or girl. Oops, sorry to Poppet if it is a boy. But we are really really hoping for a girl, so perhaps it is a foretelling…

Ushering in a New Year and a New Era

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New Years is never really a big deal to me, I find there is too much lead up, anticipation and time spent on trying to find the perfect thing to be doing. I also don’t do resolutions because I probably wouldn’t follow them and, I’d rather just make a change when I’m good and ready. But this time it seemed a bit more significant; this could be the year we bring a child into the world.

The past couple weeks have been crazy, with busyness at Christmas, being out of town with J’s family (and avoiding drinking, which I did, hopefully unnoticed). I managed to get a bunch of prenatal bloodwork done, as well as another beta. I had a bit of a scare when the walk in clinic called and told me the Dr wanted to discuss my results with me. They won’t give the results over the phone so it was very cryptic and ominous. They called at 8:45pm and as soon as I hung up the phone I got in my car and headed over there.

Being that it’s a walk in clinic, I saw a different Dr this time, so when he came into the exam room he asked what he could do for me. I gave him a brief explanation of my situation and that I had just done a bunch of bloodwork for early pregnancy. He looked over my results, ticked everything off, said it all looks normal and that I am indeed pregnant. He also gave me my beta, it was over 2000 and my fertility clinic told me it should have been over 1000 by that point so that was a relief. My best guess is that the walk in clinic didn’t realize I had already done a blood test for pregnancy and that’s why I got called back in. But I was glad to go, and find out my beta. It gave me some reassurance.

When I first got the positive test, and then beta confirmation I was elated, walking with my head in the clouds. I was trying to not get overly excited, and know that it is still early days. But I couldn’t help but let my mind skip forward. After letting things sink in for a while the excitement is definitely still there but it is more guarded and cautious. We’re not telling family until around the 12 week mark (as pretty much none of them know we went through IVF anyways). I did break down and buy a pregnancy journal. I’ve had my eye on it for ages. It has a page for the circumstances in which conception happened, and it has boxes for IF treatments. Won me over right away. I haven’t written anything in it yet. Probably won’t until our first ultrasound. Which speaking of that, we have a 7 week ultrasound booked for Jan. 16, and it can’t come soon enough.

It’s such a tricky place, this after IF limbo. Will I have a baby to show for at the end of this or will I get kicked back too soon, thrown back into the land of IF? I’m certainly not just a regular pregnant lady now. We went to a hockey game this past weekend with one of J’s longtime friends, and his friend’s wife. J failed to inform me that his friend’s wife was pregnant until a few days beforehand (and this outing had been in the works for at least a month). I was taken aback and at first thought didn’t want to go anymore. Then I remembered I’m pregnant too, not that we would be sharing that information with them. She is showing quite a bit already and due in April. Luckily she was very gracious and our visit did not revolve around her burgeoning belly. She was telling us how when her and her husband went to NYC when she was newly pregnant it was the worst. She felt so crappy and she cautioned us not to go on vacation during the early days of pregnancy as it was just awful. Yet here we are, sitting in an airport lounge, waiting for our connecting flight to Hawaii.

This trip was planned well in advance of our FET and though we hoped we may be pregnant by the time it rolled around, that was often the thought with many of our past trips. So we booked it, and decided we would just roll with it no matter the position we found ourselves in. Physically, I feel fine. No sickness (yet), a bit tired, my face has broken out terribly (I have problem skin to start with) and I had to manage my progesterone suppositories in an airplane bathroom. My mind is still reeling, and I hesitate from getting too far ahead of myself. I am grateful and elated, apprehensive and worried but mostly I am just trying to take it a day at a time.

I think of all you ladies still stuck in the land of IF and it sucks. I am so thankful for all of the love and support I’ve received. I hurt for you, and I wish nothing but the best for everyone this year, no matter what your circumstance. Wishing you all peace and strength to get through, the trials as well as the clarity and wisdom to know what’s best, for you and your situation.

Happy 2015.