There must have been a memo that went out to all of the newly pregnant women in world that said “post your pregnancy announcement on Facebook on Christmas Day!” and so they did. That said, my timeline was FILLED with happy kids opening presents, beaming parents, and Pinterest inspired announcements of family expansion. Not that I fault anyone for this, it was just more annoying than I expected. I was prepared for presents and sleepy kid bed heads but not the “our family of three is about to be a family of four!” or the photo with the mom, dad and baby shoes (gag, by the way. It’s over done people, think of something else!).
That’s all I got peeps. I hope everyone survived the holiday and it was as Merry as it could be even if that means you are hung over today. Bring on 2014, Bitches!
Here’s the thing about unresolved infertility… you are perpetually stuck somewhere. Stuck waiting for a new cycle to start because you had to skip one, stuck in the two week wait, stuck in the throws of hormonal manipulation. Right now we are stuck waiting for our IVF cycle to begin. We aren’t doing anything which, for a planner like me, is hard. I like a plan and I like progress. Set goals, work toward goal, achieve goal. We are stuck in the “work toward goal” phase. This is just all the stuck-ness from a treatment standpoint.
Right now I am feeling more stuck in that pre-kid phase of life. I am old enough to have plenty of kids and yet we don’t. It leaves people wondering “do they want kids? they better get moving, she’s not getting any younger!” And we haven’t reached the phase where we are comfortable with the fact that we don’t have kids and are moving forward with that chapter of life. We’ve been stuck in wanting kids but without kids stage for nearly 4 years. I’m getting tired of it. It’s this phase where our siblings have had not one, but two children and those kids have graduated from diapers and are starting school. We’ve endured pregnancy announcements and are on to round two or even three from some friends. We’re the ones sleeping in, staying out late, cocktails when we want them, dinner when we want it, food sometimes in the house and sometimes not and it feels like by the time we have kids our friends will be back to this place. They will be ready to socialize again because their kids will be old enough for a sitter or to go to the grandparents and we’ll be the ones chained to the sleeping and feeding schedule. Our nieces and nephews are reaping the benefits of energetic, healthy parents. They are enjoying their grandparents as we enjoyed our parents. I want that for our unborns and as time ticks on, age starts playing a factor for the grandparents. They slow down, the wear and tear of a lifetime of raising kids and now spoiling grandkids takes a toll. I want time to speed up for me so that we get to the part where we have a baby but I want time to slow down so that our parents stay the way they are.
This stuckiness feeling has really crept in over the last couple of days and the reason is that our last close kid-less friend, got a kid. I say “got” a kid because they went the adoption route and their son was born. We are thrilled for them. They had some fertility issues that they decided not to deal with and instead went straight for adoption. They were matched with a birth mother after their book was completed for about 2 months and the mother was already 5 months along. While there have been so many emotions and anxiety (and they aren’t out of the woods yet) with respect to this journey, it was too fast for me. I wasn’t able to really process. I didn’t have 9 months to get ready for our friends to be parents. Neither did they but this isn’t their blog! 🙂 These specific friends used to be able to relate to social situations and family pressures (not that we have many) and now they can’t. That bond is broken. Happily for them, unhappily for us. They have their son and that’s all that matters and truthfully is all that should matter. That feeling of isolation was just amplified more than I anticipated. So now, we’re stuck with a bunch of friends with a bunch of kids and we’re the people just hanging around.
Rant #1 – My husband and I are taking Doxycycline for 7 days in prep for our cycle. I have read a few things online about this and in most cases, it seems this is usually taken by the man during my stim cycle. However, our clinic has us take it before and has both of us take it to reduce the risk of any bacterial infection in the reproductive systems (?). I gotta admit I kind of tuned out when the nurse told me why we were to take this drug. I pretty much heard “take it for 7 days and do it anytime before you start stims”. Anyway, on with the rant. It says to take this with food but no where does it say that you should take it with extremely large quantities of food or you are going to end up yacking your brains out. No where does it say that, no. So here I am the infertile woman with effing morning sickness because I can’t get the food mix down for the AM pill. Seriously!!! Today, I think I have the magic formula because so far so good… This actually kind of grosses me out from the yucky things to put in your body standpoint but oh so delicious. I had a sausage McMuffin and an orange juice from the golden arches then proceeded to get my regular morning white chocolate mocha from Starbucks. Yep, that’s right folks. I’m sitting at a good 1,000 calories and it’s 8:12 in the morning… it will be worth it if I don’t have to ralph in the ladies room at work. Bleh.
Rant #2 – We have a marketing consultant for my firm. We’re accountants and we can’t market so we hire people to tell us how crappy we market and what we could do better. I actually really like the concept but I now hate our consultant. She’s a nice enough person and she is really quite good at getting us accountants to do a bunch of stuff we are uncomfortable doing so needless to say she’s good at her job. Anyway, I digress. I had a coaching session with her the other day and we were chatting about gender bias and the fact that retaining women in the accounting and finance profession is hard, blah, blah, blah and she says something about her company and thinking that once she got pregnant she would be fired. Then she says she didn’t they could have children because of her PCOS so she hadn’t given her career with a child a lot of thought. I responded something like “oh yes, PCOS, I know about this” and she stopped dead in her tracks and we started talking about my journey. This is totally fine. This is not the rant. She then takes her turn to talk about her journey and basically tells me they thought they couldn’t have kids and were fine with that but that she was off of birth control pills for 4 years so she feels like it’s fair to say they struggled for 4 years but they never sought any medical attention. She then says “you want to know how I got pregnant?” At this point, I am realizing we have nothing in common except a diagnosis and I’m thinking of ways to change the subject but of course I bite. She then goes on to tell me about how all you have to do is go on the Paleo diet. The effing Paleo diet?! That’s your solution?!?! Thanks. I’ll get right on that. I sure hope that Israeli clinic I bought by drugs from will take them back and refund my money so I can give eating like a caveman a shot. Wow, I never thought about changing by effing diet!!! Sure there are probably benefits to this lifestyle diet. Whatever, whatever. Take your advice and shove it lady. Not helpful. I guess I feel bad that she thinks she had it rough with their struggle/non-struggle and I guess I am glad she never had to experience all of the things that a lot of us go through because she may not have survived. There is the chance that she may have been being flippant about their journey to protect herself as well. I don’t know. One thing is for sure, she never got sick of people giving her advice on what they ought to do to get themselves a kid. She clearly has no idea, or forgot, how destructive this type of advice can be. Paleo diet… srsly, bring on the cake. And Brenden Fraser? Yeah, I never really liked him. Zing!
Here’s the part of the story where I start to question what in the hell I am doing with my life. This journey to kids (or no kids) causes this state of questioning often. It’s usually when I think I am firmly rooted in a plan that the doubt starts to creep in and I begin to work on convincing myself that the plan isn’t the right plan for me.
I’ve always thought I wanted kids. I like kids, I am decent with kids and I would like to think my husband and I would make some pretty awesome tiny humans. After our loss last year I really started to question if what I thought I always wanted was because I truly wanted it or because I thought I should want it. I decided that maybe I didn’t want kids after all. I attempted to plant the seed with my mom and my mom-in-law and my sister and my sis-in-laws to get a read on the level of disappointment they would feel if we chose to live child-free. There was definitely some level of dashed dreams and disbelief but apparently I wasn’t super convincing in my pitch as they didn’t really believe my story. I ran through the gauntlet of what our life might be like without kids. We could travel, we could focus on our careers, we could volunteer more, and the list goes on. I don’t know what life with a kid looks like. I know it doesn’t look super glamorous for a lot of new moms but they say it’s worth it. Is it? I know what my child-free existence looks like right now and it looks pretty good. A life with kids? Well, it’s a big black hole of unknown. Will the joy that children apparently bring ease the pain we’ve endured? Will it erase the scars of failed attempts and loss? I have a really hard time believing that it will.
The real truth is that I have figured out a way to ease the stress and slow the emotional roller coaster and that is to attempt to resolve that kids just may never be our reality. I know we are embarking on an IVF cycle and I should be hopeful but right now the protection mechanism is to plan. The white space that was February and March is starting to fill up and the only thing I know to fill it with is grief and resolution. In my heart of hearts (is that even a real saying? it makes no sense) I don’t see myself as a parent. Also, if this cycle fails I am not sure that we have a lot of other options. The money tree will be as barren as I am.
We’re looking down the barrel of 4 years on this path. Enough time to endure the second “I’m pregnant” announcement from just about everyone I know and enough time to damage my spirit and alter my view of our life. I feel guilty that I have saddled my spouse with this potential destiny. I feel guilty that my parents may never see me parent. I feel isolated in the struggle. I just want it to be done. I am glad that we’ve chosen to go the IVF route because I want to be able to say that we tried our hardest. There are so many women who suffer multiple losses and go through multiple rounds of treatment because they want motherhood so badly. I just so badly want to feel better. I want to feel less bad inside. I want to feel in control of my life. I want to resolve. I am so frightened about the outcome of this cycle. Terrified. Confused. Does this questioning mean I will fail because I didn’t want it enough? Am I bringing it on myself? So many questions with so few answers.
Today was my first IVF type appointment. Yes, I had a CD 3 ultrasound a few weeks ago because my Doc hadn’t been up in my business for over a year but today was IVF prep. My husband came with me to the appointment which was great. He has all of our scheduled appointments on his calendar. It was more important to him, than me, that he be there today but it was sure nice to have him (except for one small reason but I’ll get to that).
First up… trial transfer. This is where the doctor basically practices the embryo transfer. He wants to make sure he has a clear map of how to navigate through the cervix and well into the uterus. It felt like a pap which isn’t something I want to do every day but it’s not that big of a deal either. The worst part is that I needed to have a full bladder and the Doc was running a little late and then the nurse was really pushing on my belly with the ultrasound wand thing so needless to say I thought I might pee on the doctor. Then I would have laughed and that would have turned out badly. Side note: Today was my first non-vaginal ultrasound. No dildocam for me! Well, not in the usual sense anyway. See next section. The Doc felt the path to my ute was relatively straight forward so I guess that’s a good thing!
Next up… hysteroscopy but first I got to pee. The amusing part was that for the TT, there was quite the audience. My husband, the doc, the nurse and some other lady were all crammed into the exam room. Not sure who the random lady was but what do I care? My lady parts are free for all to see! At least that’s what it feels like. After using the restroom, I took my half naked self down the hall (covered in a gown of course) and got in the full calf stirrups for the hysteroscopy. This is where the Doc uses a smaller dildocam, one with a light, to get a good look at walls of the uterus. He threads this long, fiber optic, camera with a light up in the girl parts and then shoots some water up in the uterus to inflate it so he can really see. All the while, this is all being broadcast on a TV. A color TV. The bad part about having my husband there is that when the doctor swung the camera, which was on, down from the counter there was a full picture of me spread eagle and my husband starting giggling like a 14 year old which then made me laugh which then makes for a moving target for the Doc. He handled it like a pro and then we got the full tour of all of my parts… in color. Oh did I already mention that? It was actually kind of interesting. The Doc said my uterus was beautiful and I’m taking that to the bank! Basically no polyps or anything. The hysteroscopy, however, was not nearly as uneventful as the TT from a pain standpoint. Holy cow… that hurt! It was like bad menstrual cramps but I knew it would end because my Doc told me it would be quick. He was right.
After the hysteroscopy, we met with one of the IVF nurse coordinators who went through the $3k worth of drugs I brought in and made sure we knew what was what and which needle went with which vial, etc. It was a nice refresher and there was this crazy pen needle thing that we needed to learn how to use.
For now, I am feeling good about our plan and the direction we are heading but I have some stress and anxiety about the whole thing. I think I am feeling some of the effects of stress in the form of fatigue and restless sleep. I feel a bit like I am in the middle of tax season. I used to attribute this feeling come March/April to the fact that I look at a computer screen all day but I am starting to think it just might be stress. My work is stressful and I am accustomed to a certain level of stress so I don’t typically notice it. I think a tired brain and sleepy eyes could be a symptom however. This upcoming tax season may be a real bear. I will need to remember that no matter what happens with this IVF cycle, that I have to devote some time and energy to take care of me.
And now onto the wine… or a hot toddy. And chips and salsa.
Well it’s a snow day in Oregon. Where I live, we don’t get snow. Like at all. So when we do the whole city shuts down. I probably have a good 4 inches. I was planning on working from home this morning anyway so it didn’t really dampen my style much. I am actually typing this as I let the dye on my hair poison my brain. A couple of thoughts on this snowy day:
1. I think I am in a much better place than I was last year at this time. The snow makes me feel excited rather than stranded. I don’t hate my house as much which is good. I might actually walk over to a friend’s house and force her boys (ages 3 and 6) to build a snowman or something with me.
2. While the Facebook posts about pregnancy’s and newborns are tough (and I saw 3 yesterday), I think snow days are also hard. This surprised me but the pictures of all the kids out playing… the joy on their faces just radiates. I want a radiating joy small human to throw snowballs at!
3. I wish I had some Bailey’s for my coffee… How far is the nearest liquor store?? Maybe that’s how I’ll get out of the house. 🙂
Time to go rinse!
It’s been about a week since I’ve been back on birth control pills. I say back on because I took birth control pills from about the time I was 17 until I was about 28. Then we joyfully tossed them aside and got started on this whole family thing all bright eyed and bushy tailed. Ha. Haha. Hahahahaha…. what a joke! I was off of birth control pills for about a year and a half without any additional hormonal interference. However, as a PCOS-er my hormones are whack anyway so I don’t recall noticing much difference. I then went back on birth control for a month or two here or there to regulate and prep for a new cycle, etc, etc. I also went on birth control pills back in January as my RE felt that it might regulate my mood and hormones after my miscarriage. Well, I never really went off of them until September. I went off of them because my acupuncturist suggested it (and I do whatever people tell me too…not really but he had some valid points) and because I finally realized that I would have these headaches during my off-week. These headaches seemed to be getting worse with each passing month or I just became acutely aware of them. Who knows. Anyway, I was off of birth control for 2 cycles (24 days and 45 days… irregular much?) and am now back on in prep for the January IVF cycle (My RE only does IVF during odd months. There’s a joke there I think). In addition to the birth control, I started DHEA and my baby aspirin over the weekend.
I have read several blogs where the women have said things about the evil, horrible birth control pill and I always thought “woa, thank goodness I never had anything like that in the many years I was on it!” I don’t know what it is and maybe it’s the pills but holy hell Batman, the rage-y feelings these last couple of days has been off the charts. I didn’t notice it then but these last couple of months have been a Chinese herb zen compared to what these last few days have been like. I feel like I could claw someone’s eyes out. I had a meltdown because one of my bosses (in an email that I got at home, thank goodness) made a suggestion about how I could improve this staff networking event I am planning. Really? A tiny suggestion and it brought on a wave of distress and anguish about my horrific boss. Who, mind you, is not horrific. I haven’t been able to sleep, my heart is racing a little bit the smallest little thing creates a cry-lump in my throat or I get really hot and literally seethe. I do not like to be hot. It starts the stress sweats and then I have to go the dry cleaner more often and I smell like hot deodorant. Overall, I feel totally irrational!! What’s that about? Have I always been this irrational, rage-y person or am I the zen? I doubt I am totally zen but this quick temper thing, which I have always identified myself as having seems to have snuck back up on me. Amusingly, I found myself thinking the other day that I was totally knocking this therapy thing out of the park and that all of my neurosis would cured in no time! Wrong. I’m one crazy bitch! The real question is will the real Slim Shady please stand up??
Maybe I have always been impacted by my own personal birth control pill horror story and never noticed it! If I am ever off them and back to zen state will anyone even recognize me? I would love to be zen so I doubt it’s really in me 100%. I mean, seriously, can there be Zen Type A people or is that just an oxymoron? This is a new brand of birth control pill for me. Are there special pre-IVF birth control pills? Is that a thing that I didn’t know about?? Is that what the nurse meant by “continuous-active”? I assumed that meant, don’t take the placebo. Well whatever it is, this is just the beginning so hold on to your hats team, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.