Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Bittersweet Birthday

Tomorrow's my birthday. One more year until I officially hit "advanced maternal age" standing. I have mixed emotions about this birthday. I remember thinking when I was pregnant with Benjamin that when I turned 34 I would have an approximately one month old baby. Now I'm having another birthday with empty arms, and for some reason the birthday makes the burden harder to carry. For some reason special days like birthdays and holidays are rough. Our son's absence is felt more acutely.

But I do have some fun things planned to celebrate. I'm going out with my co-workers for a treat tomorrow afternoon. And Mr. Chop and I will be going out for a nice dinner and then we will celebrate with my family over the weekend. I know I am loved, and I have many people to love in my life. I am truly blessed. I just wish the blessings would extend to the baby I so desperately want.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Complaints Department

So, I need to get something off my chest.

The woman in the office next door to me is newly pregnant. She did IVF, and this is her first pregnancy (she is just over 40). While I'm glad for her, it sucks to be me and constantly hear about it. I mean, all day long. She's only about 8 weeks pregnant, and she should be happy to finally be pregnant. That's a wonderful thing. But she complains all day long about feeling sick. Not sick enough not to go mountain bike riding (WTF? after conceiving via IVF at an advanced maternal age?), but sick enough to complain. She's told just about everyone, whether in phone or in person. I know this because I can hear everything while I am sitting at my desk trying to work. Now, you'd think she'd be a little more selective about who she tells and when. But no.

W. actually said to me, earlier today, that I probably don't want to hear her complain about food not sounding good and "what she would do to have just one meal that tastes good". I just nodded and smiled. I went through all of that and worse, I was in quite a bit of pain and on bed rest. And what did I get? Nothing but a dead baby and a lot of grief. But she complains about everything she can't eat: sushi, blue cheese, coffee and wine. I really don't know how I'm going to deal with much more of this. And she is constantly eating pot.ato chips. Crunch, crunch, crunch.

I really can't stand it. Sure, she should be happy. She should be ecstatic. But please, enough with the constant complaints. And have some respect for me. And everyone else in this little tiny office space. I don't know how I'm going to stay at this job much longer. That is, without losing the little bit of sanity I have left.

Speaking of the job, I have little to nothing to do and have to do my best to look busy. I know I should be glad to have a job at all in this economy but it's just been so lousy here for so long. Unfortunately, the job market is the pits right now and I can't see looking for another job while I'm in the process of going through another round of treatments. It's just not that easy to slip away for appointments when you've just started a new job.

But, speaking of treatments, last Saturday I started the BCP which is the first step of my FET protocol. Here's my protocol (if I can get through it without my joints and lungs giving me too many problems):

August 1 Start lupron injections.

August 7 Take final BCP.

August 14
Suppression check. Transvaginal ultrasound to determine whether ovaries have cysts and that no follicles are being formed.

August 15
If suppressed decrease lupron and start estrace supplementation at increasing levels to mimic natural cycle. I will also be utilizing acupuncture to prepare my lining for hopeful implantation.

August 29
Endometrial lining check. Literally, my endometrial lining will be measured via ultrasound.

August 30
If endometrial lining is acceptable reduce estraceand start PIO injections.

September 3
Possible embryo transfer, if all goes well.

I'm feeling really scared about whether the estrogen will send me into a world of hurt again. And wondering how I will get through all of the minutes and hours between now and all that is to come, or not come, ahead.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Feeding the Good Wolf

I heard a wonderful story recently about dealing with the emotions of sadness, loss of control and wondering how things could have been different if only. . .

Self defeating thoughts go around and around my mind. And then they translate into other areas of my life, where I just can’t stop worrying. Worrying about whether I’ll ever get pregnant again. Worrying about if something happens to Mr. Chop or my parents. Worrying about whether I will ever physically feel well again, which I’m sure doesn’t help my health situation at all. And I am learning that worrying about something does not prevent it from happening.

So sometimes you need a good allegory to help you sort things out.

An old Cherokee Indian was speaking to his grandson:

"A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy. "It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil--he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is good -- he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a long minute, and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

I’m going to work on feeding my good wolf. Just consider me a work in progress.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Fourth of July

We had a lovely long weekend. Saturday we went to a friend's birthday/Fourth of July party and Sunday we celebrated my dad's special day.

I had a little meltdown on Friday, the day before the holiday. It seems that holidays -- any kind -- do this to me. I thought about how Benjamin should be here. I thought about how everyone we know seems to have a baby, or babies, or now children who are far from babies -- except for us. Somehow the reality of a holiday always makes our house feel even emptier. And our house always feels empty, because we have a house perfect for a family -- five bedroom, three bath with a nice backyard -- and totally inappropriate for a couple with four cats. And yet another holiday went by without having expanded our family.

But I did take some time to think about how lucky I am to have a loving husband and wonderful parents. And so much around me to be thankful for. And I tried to take some time to be hopeful, but that was hard. Because after four years of this, it's hard to imagine that our dreams of a family will come true. But we have to keep on trying.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Is Pain on the Horizon?

At my post-op this past Monday we were given the go-ahead to do a FET cycle after my next period arrives. I'm excited that we might, possibly, really be moving forward. But I'm also scared to death. Dr. S wants me on a protocol that includes estrace, and since I still have joint pain from my time on Premarin this winter I'm not keen on it. I'm really afraid that my joint and lung pain will intensify. Worse, I'm worried that whatever is going on, likely an autoimmune problem, will be raised from whence it sleeps and that it will create real problems for me.

After taking the Premarin I would literally wake up in the morning nearly unable to move my hands. I had the strangest sensations and my hands hurt intensely all the time. I still have joint pain but it is much less intense. And even though I've been told by multiple doctors that I don't have lupus or rheumatoid arthritis because I have had two negative ANA (anti-nuclear antibodies) tests and a negative rheumatoid factor, I don't believe it. Something is wrong with me and I fear that I will never feel as well as I did before my pregnancy with Benjamin. And I worry that it will get worse and I will be told I shouldn't get pregnant. Ever.

Mr. Chop and I learned that Dr. S prefers to use some or all of our Day 3 embryos. This was a surprise because we thought the four blastocysts would have better odds. On the contrary. Actually, blasts have a harder shell and have a poorer thaw rate than their junior counterparts. So I guess we'll be going with the Day 3 boys and girls.

So now we wait. And pray that problems won't develop. Oh yeah, and that the FET will work. And that a resulting pregancy will bring us that child we long to hold.

Friday, June 26, 2009


Benjamin's estimated due date was today. I feel so much sorrow, and there's nothing to do with it except to try to move on. Some days I feel like I'm moving forward. Not today. Today it feels as though I will always be in this place. So lonely.

I wish things were different.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Goodbye Septum

I had my laparoscopy and hysteroscopy late last week. And while my RE, we'll call him Dr. S, was expecting to find damage from my D & E or my D & C procedures in January, there was none. I feel really fortunate about that. What the doctor did find, however, was a small uterine sub septum or a versus arcuate uterus.

A uterine septum is a congenital abnormality of the uterus. In the most extreme cases, it can actually cause the uterus to be divided into two separate chambers. The above illustration is courtesy of a blog about Mullerian Anomalies and actually shows a full septate uterus. My septum was partial, and in Dr. S's opinion, was either a small septum or could have even fallen within the spectrum of a normal uterine shape. Septums can cause repeat miscarriages and be a factor in infertility.

In my case even though the septum was small, the doctor felt it created hostile territory for implantation. He likened it to trying to plant a seed in concrete. Septums can cause miscarriage because the tissue is nonvascular. Unfortunately Dr. S does not know whether it had anything to do with my pPROM at 15 weeks. But it certainly wasn't helping our fertility situation any, and I'm glad to be rid of it.

I've spent the last couple of days recuperating. I don't know if it's the anesthesia or my general health issues, but I have been absolutely exhausted. I took have a day off yesterday to nap. I could easily sleep 16 hours a day right now.

To "celebrate" Father's Day, Mr. Chop and I went to see the new Pixar movie, "Up". It is an incredible movie, but for those of you dealing with infertility and loss, and are in particularly vulnerable times, I would recommend not seeing it. At least not right now. Without giving the story away, there is a very poignant montage describing the love a couple have for each other and their inability to have a family. Ever. I spent much of the movie with tears running down my face and so did Mr. Chop. It is a wonderful movie that is well worth seeing, just make sure you're in the right mental space for it.