Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Crossing my Fingers and Dreaming of Normal

I've had versions of this same nightmare a lot over the last 3 or 4 years.  I'm pregnant and so happy, but with these tiny twinges of doubt.  I'm in labor and I get to the hospital to have my baby as my doubt grows and grows.  Right when I suddenly remember that I was never actually pregnant, the doctor tells me, "you aren't pregnant!"  There isn't actually a baby at all.  And then I wake up.

I had no idea how real that fear would feel when I actually became pregnant.  I still have to have my pregnancy tests sitting out on my bathroom counter to believe that it really happened and I'm actually scared to take another one in case it were to come out negative, but that's only half of it.  The other half is the fear of getting to my ultrasound next week and there just being nothing there - an empty uterus or a uterus with a non-viable hanger-on.  I wish I could say this is a crazy person nightmare and a totally unfounded fear, but we all know that it's not.  Being enmeshed in a community with so much loss - being a person who has defied all statistics thus far and had bad luck after bad luck - having seen friends and family members go through bad things in early pregnancy, it is really hard to just believe that this will all be good and normal and boring for me.  That nightmare feels so real and so so close.

My mantra has been, "Women get pregnant and have babies all the time.  Women get pregnant and make it through an entire pregnancy and have healthy babies all the time.  Women who took years to get pregnant make it through an entire pregnancy and have healthy babies all the time."

I'm sure all pregnant women go through this.  I can't imagine how you couldn't feel some serious fear over something so important.  I'm also pretty sure pregnant women who have not suffered Infertility or loss don't go through it the same way that those of us who have, do.

So, I find balance between being SO excited (and overjoyed and full of hope and full of plans) and this other stuff that is less fun.  I imagine it isn't going to go away quickly.  I have an ultrasound.  That'll be some reassurance, if it is good.  Another ultrasound 2 weeks later = more reassurance.  Passing the first trimester = huge.  Passing the point where a baby is likely viable if born, that's another.   I just hope I get to each of these.  I hope as each passes, I lose more fear and hang on to more of the good stuff!

ANYHOW.  I've been doing some thinking about what to do with this blog, and I think I've decided.  I have no interest in this becoming a pregnancy blog, or a mommy blog (barf-o-rama at that term), or even just a place I share baby stuff once I have a baby.  It's a blog about the trying to create a baby.  I don't want to turn it into something else.

So, that said, I will keep using it for a minute.  Definitely through these first two ultrasounds.  That still feels very much like a part of my Infertility journey.  Maybe through the first trimester, but that depends on what is going on and what kind of stuff I am feeling like posting.  Definitely if I experience a loss of this pregnancy.  Definitely if I decide to try again someday.  I am basically thinking about what I have wanted to read on other people's blogs when they got to this point, and what I no longer wanted to see.  I want this blog to remain a safe space for women who are experiencing Infertility. I hope that I am able to give some hope.  Those who want to follow my continuing journey elsewhere, when it moves from here, can follow me elsewhere!

So, where?  Funny you should ask!

If all goes well and you want to see pictures of baby bumps (and eventually babies) and everything that goes along with that, I'll just move you on over to the currently empty Harbinger of Birth blog I set up ages ago.  I archived for myself and deleted all the old posts that were on there (there were less than 10).  It was too painful to see the words of a 2009 and 2010 early hopeful trying version of myself.  Blank slate, now.  I'll definitely let you know here when I'm moving there for good.

And today...today I am 5 weeks and 1 day pregnant.  I am feeling symptoms that I hope are an indication of an actual healthy pregnancy (and not side effects from the progesterone I still have to inject every night, or wishful thinking, or anything else).  I am tired....very very very tired.  I am always tired in a way that feels like I'm coming down with a cold or am hungover or something.  My boobs are sore.  So so sore.  As I described to a friend, there are times where I feel like a light breeze hurts as if someone had tit punched me.  I am slightly nauseous sometimes.  Especially when I first eat at the beginning of the day.  Nothing major, nothing I would call "morning sickness" but perhaps a hint of what's to come.  I have mild cramps often.  Some days they are just there all day.  Some days they come and go.  Some days I just have more of a "full" feeling in my uterus.  Like I ate a huge meal and my stomach is overstuffed, except it's not my stomach.  This isn't dissimilar to how my ovaries felt, actually, when they were full of eggs before the egg retrievals.  I get strange pains sometimes - on both sides of my abdomen, down my legs occasionally, even deep inside my butt cheek.  Nothing sharp or horrible, just like things are already sort of growing or stretching or moving a bit.   According to Dr. Google all of this either means everything is great OR me and this embryo are both dying.  Ha.  Dr. Google is a bitch.  Honestly, though, it just seems like everything I feel is just a normal thing to feel and nothing I feel is a normal thing to feel.  It's amazing how different it is for everyone.

Crossing my fingers and dreaming of normal.

Thursday, December 26, 2013


Yep!  Still pregnant!  Second Beta results in today and it went up to a whopping 665!!!  I am 4 weeks and 3 days preggers (which = two weeks and 3 days from conception) with a tiny McKellar embryo.  Estimated due date, September 1, 2014.

For those who like math/care - they want to see a doubling time of appx 48 hours (or less) of these HCG numbers.  My doubling time was 33.51 hours!  You can find all kinds of calculators on the Internet to help you figure out doubling time.  I used a couple and they each had different averages listed.  This one shows 48-72 hours, which I am well faster than!  This one shows 31-72 hours: a range that I am in.  Barely.  In all cases these are averages, and in any case a faster doubling time is not a problem.

Now my HCG level makes me fall squarely between the average for single pregnancies and for twin pregnancies.  On Monday I was just barely above the single pregnancy average.

The thing about these numbers, though, is that everyone is so different, and they don't really mean anything other than it appears to be a healthily progressing pregnancy thus far!  Which is great news, and the only available news, so I'm just gonna go with it!

So, what's next?

An Ultrasound on 1/8 - just under two weeks from now.  That is the ultrasound where they make sure the embryo is where it should be (my uterus, not my fallopian tube).  They may see a heartbeat then, but they may not.  At that point I get my "pregnancy instructions" if things look good.  I'll let you know what that means when I know!

Then, an ultrasound 2 weeks after that on 1/22 where they will be able to see if it is growing normally and has a heartbeat.  At that point, I think, I move on to a regular doctor if everything looks good.  Still early.  Things could still go horribly wrong.  But still...


So, that's where we are now.  And this is what I feel like inside. (Even though I'm not really making that face. I mean other than for the picture, of course.)

I got to work at 8:12am this morning and haven't been able to eat all day, so haven't taken a lunch break. This means I am about to go home.  Celebration dinner tonight!

Monday, December 23, 2013

My New Favorite Number


As in the number of my HCG levels according to my Beta result today!!!!!

Sorry to keep you all waiting, but I didn't want to post this before I heard back from Olga, the nurse, about my blood results.

I can't really focus enough to tell you everything, but I had two positive home tests yesterday and have been in a daze ever since.    Today it was confirmed that my numbers are, "exactly where we want it to be".

This chart gives a sense.  We are on day 15.  I go back on Thursday for blood test 2 and we hope to see the number having doubled by then.  An ultrasound probably about a week or so after that.

I really really really deeply and truly did not believe I would ever be pregnant.  There's a lot that can still go wrong.  There's a lot before this pregnancy becomes a baby.  Regardless, though, this is a game changer.  Today I am absolutely verifiably no doubt about it actually pregnant.  For the first time ever!  I even have the horrible amazing heartburn to prove it.  I love you heartburn!  I am trying to focus on the positive, and to not be scared of all the things that can go wrong.  If they do, I will survive.  I want to embrace the good for a minute of this horrific process!

(I won't post a picture of my pee sticks, cause ewww pee, but they are pretty beautiful!)

These shoes are so much happier than the last several times I've posted them!

OK.  I'm at work, and I have 39 minutes until Ian picks me up, and I'm crying again.  I need to go think about something else, as if that's possible for a minute.  OMG I have no idea how to actually be pregnant!

(edited to add:  I will continue to post here, but I'm not going to post news on my regular FB page until I feel more secure (after 1st trimester likely) as there are hundreds more people reading that than this.  Feel free to comment anywhere ova-related, but try to keep it off my normal page, if you don't mind!  xxoo everyone.)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

7dp3dt Check In

I don't have a lot to report.  I'm feeling pretty distracted.  Compared to some past cycles, I keep sort of just not thinking about the fact that there are embryos in there.  Life is pretty busy, so I'm sure that's part of why.  Busy time of year and stuff.

So far all my blood draws have been fine, so the G-CSF is not causing my white blood cell count to go too high.  That's good.  Next blood draw is Friday morning.  YAY BIRTHDAY BLOOD DRAW!  After three in one week, though, the week between the last and the next is feeling pretty blissful!  

If any of the embryos are still alive, they would have solidly implanted by now.  So, at this point it's sort of a done deal.  Either I am or I am not.  Either I will or will not.

The back shots suck as much as always.  I don't always cry, but I always want to.   The belly shots are sort of just fine.  I got some great advice and can easily get the sticky patch residue off my belly now with makeup remover.  Duh!  Should've thought of that one myself.


Here are the embryos.  Blobby little guys.  The doctor said they were quite pleased with the thaw and that "none of them had freezer burn".  HaHaHa?  I'm pretty sure that was a joke, but hard to tell sometimes with docs I don't know.

This next picture is here cause it makes me laugh.  For some reason the Valium had a much stronger effect on me than usual on transfer day.  A day later I found this picture on my phone and was like, "huh?  what's this?"  Ian informed me, with shock that I didn't remember, that I had taken it just before changing into my surgical garb in the changing room.  I don't remember what he said the reason was, but I think something about how tired/high I felt.  Well, yeah.  I look it!

OK.  Cool.  So you are updated.  Laters.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The State of the Sharon

I haven't talked much about this upcoming FET.  Been sort of distracted and, I don't know, unable to really think about it.  I just feel so much better when I think about adoption, but I know some of that is a defense mechanism against more hurt.  Not like there won't be some hurt with adoption, too, but it is, at least, unfamiliar hurt!  

Here we go, though.  I've been on meds for awhile now, and yesterday had my lining check appointment with the transfer scheduled for next Wednesday.  We'll be transferring 4(!) 3-day embryos.  My lining looks good and my ovaries are as quiet as they should be, so all is well.

This is my schedule for the next weeks.  

It is insane looking to me.  In addition to all the same old same old, since adding in the G-CSF (Neupogen) I have that additional medication on this chart (that is a belly shot).  I also have very frequent blood draws (CBC w/differential) because of that shot.  These are to test my white blood cell count to make sure I don't over-react to the G-CSF in a dangerous way (in which case I'd just stop taking it).  I am the third of three current patients on this protocol at the clinic and people seem sort of excited about it, so that's kind of cool. One is in her two week wait, and the other will have her transfer earlier next week, I think.  The one patient they had before on this protocol did not get pregnant.  I feel happy to contribute to statistics and knowledge, whether it works on me or not.  

On the plus side, only a couple more days of nightmare insomnia inducing Lupron.  On the negative side, I get to have my first giant progesterone shot in my back in the middle of Ian's work holiday party on Saturday night.  My very good husband has secured us a private room in which to take care of that, since it's not as simple as a belly shot and will involve the lifting of my dress.  I usually only do that after a few shots of tequila, but I'm not drinking right now, so ya know...

The day I find out if the transfer was a success will be December 23rd (two days earlier than they usually make us wait, because of Christmas).  This is 3 days after my birthday and the day after my big annual latke party. I will probably test at home on the 22nd, which is the day I should be able to tell, so I can drink some ManPagnes (my best ever creation of Manischwitz wine and champagne - pronounced ManPain) at my latke party if I want to!  I will drink a glass of wine at my birthday dinner.  Sorry, embryos, but it's true!

Dr. Tran had wanted to do my transfer even though it isn't his week doing procedures, since it is my last one (and we like him and I think he likes us), but unfortunately he has his arm in a sling and won't be able to do it. That's a bit of a bummer.

I'm trying really hard to not think of this as what it actually is - my last shot, likely in my entire life, at having a biological child.  I, instead, seem to be viewing it as sort of the end of my torture.  There's good and bad to that.  I mean, it's good that I've reached a limit and am comfortable with it.  It's good that I've moved from hope and despair cycles into a readiness to move on.  On the other hand, it's not-so-good that every step of this cycle feels like hell to me.  The shots, the appointments, the blood draws, the planning...all of it.  I just hate every minute of it.  It feels so tiring and useless and I am so so so over it.  I'm so done.  Also, I can deny or not think about it as much as I want, but the truth is the truth and what it is is what it is, and I'm afraid of that hitting me intensely later.

I don't think the staff at UCSF really get that I'm done.  The nurse yesterday seemed surprised that I proclaimed this my last cycle when I will still have 3 embryos left frozen after this.  I guess I'm an outlier.  Nothing new there.

Yet, there is still this tiny bit of hope peeking through, as I enter this part of the cycle.  Cursed hope!

My beaten-up midsection would like to provide for you another State of the Union Report in captioned photos.
Circles where Ian will stab me nightly for at least 2+ weeks in my fleshy back bits.

Four estrogen patches and the sticky remnants and small cuts from countless that came before.  Nothing gets them off that doesn't also remove layers of my skin.  At least I have only had one bleeder with my Lupron shots, weeks ago, so no bruising!  

Anyhow, I've  been doing some Health Month over the last 2 months or so, and will continue through December, in order to just feel like I'm doing everything I can to feel good and create a welcoming body for an embryo/zygote/fetus/baby etc.  I just want to, when this is done, feel like I did what I could.  And I'd also like, when it is over, either outcome, to be in a better place to move forward than I've been for awhile re: my body.  So, to that end, I've mostly given up coffee and alcohol with a limit to one of each per week, and I don't always have the 1 coffee.  I always have the one boozeahol!  I've also limited my meat intake quite a bit.  I've started running again and am training for my first ever 5k.  I started piano lessons.   I haven't lost a single pound.  

I've gained 20 over the course of the past 2 years of these treatments.  I can't blame them entirely, but the combination of hormones, depression, lack of control over my body and what I can put in it, the fear of changing my eating in ways that might impact success rates, the amount of just sick or out of it that I feel, the inability to exercise through certain points of each cycle etc have all certainly contributed.   I just want to feel healthy and right in my skin again.  It's not the pounds that bother me as much as the general blah feeling and the sense that these pounds are essentially "pregnancy weight" for a pregnancy that hasn't existed.  It is not super pleasant to live in a body that is a constant reminder of what I want and what I do not get to have.

Anyhow, I also went to my regular doctor and got a new prescription for my anti-depressants and my migraine medicine and discussed birth control options.  The migraine meds and anti-depressants have been filled and are sitting on my bathroom sink, so I have them right away if this cycle fails.  The birth control will be called in for me when I email my doctor.  It feels good to be that secure about what I'm doing.  I look at those pills and feel amazing about being able to take back control of my body after this.  Obviously, if I get pregnant, I won't take them.  That will be the best possible outcome!  If I don't, though, I'm ready to move onward with my life.  

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Adoption Blogger Interview Project, 2013

As I've started to shift from talking exclusively about Infertility to talking about adoption, I have begun to discover, just as I did with Infertility bloggers, that there is a whole wonderful world of amazing people out there writing about this from their own perspectives.  I have already found a lot of comfort and a lot of information via Open Adoption Bloggers, which is basically a network of people blogging about open adoption from a variety of perspectives.  This interview project pairs up interested bloggers, who may be writing from any side of adoption, and allows them to get to know each other and to ask questions.  You can view all of the Interview Project posts that went up this morning by going here.  

I was hesitant about jumping into this, as I'm so new to blogging about adoption at all, but I decided to give it a go,and was so pleased to be paired with Megan who blogs at Our Family's Fingerprints and who adopted her Baby Girl in 2012.  I had the honor, joy, and privilege of reading her entire blog at Our Family's Fingerprints.  It was such an open and honest look at her experiences with trying to adopt and with living in an open adoption and I just couldn't wait to get back to the end (where I had started) to see how amazing everything turned out.It felt like it was written for me, just to give me the hope I need.  She is a talented writer, which means I felt hopeful when she felt hopeful, frustrated when she felt frustrated, afraid when she felt afraid, and joyous when she felt joyous.

She is also incredibly generous in her answers to my questions.  I didn't lob any softballs at her, and she answered them all with great care and so much detail, I feel honored.  Her answers both allowed me to get to know her even better, and gave me an unbelievable amount of information that I know will help me so much over the next months.  I hope that you'll enjoy meeting Megan as much as I did.  I'm so happy to have her as part of this new community of mine.

(If you are also interested in reading my answers to Megan's great questions, you can find them on her blog here.)

1.  Would you, overall, recommend breastfeeding with adoption?

That's a hard question to answer.  I'll start out by saying my experience was challenging for multiple reasons.  I had a breast reduction in my early 20's, which likely would have impacted my ability to breastfeed had Baby Girl been biological.  I had not done the protocol for very long as I started the long program and had to switch to the short program when we got the call at the end of January.  I lost 15lbs which in and of itself probably didn't help with milk production, but my weight loss was in great part due to the stress of being 8 hours away and alone.  To top it all off I was discouraged from putting her directly to breast until she had a preliminary test for Hep C (nor was she all that interested in being directly to breast after a month in the hospital on the bottle).  My milk never really "came in" thus I never got all that much, and the breastpump was painful for me.

With that all said I loved it.  Breastfeeding was the one and only thing as an adoptive Mom I thought I'd regret not getting to do and I'm glad I didn't miss it.  When things were quiet and working well it was an amazing experience.  I'm a strong believer in the important qualities breastmilk provides a child and I'm glad I was able to give her a dribble now and then.  This experience though has taught me to be more sensitive about parenting choices because you never know the reason behind bottle vs breast or a host of other parenting choices.  I only once had a woman tell me I should be breastfeeding to which I responded that I was giving her breast milk in the bottle so - bug off!

For Baby2 I have my at breast supplementor.  I liked the Medella version best because it allows you to start and stop the flow easily so you dont end up wearing the milk.  I will fill it with formula and feed him/her at breast.  I will not pump and I wont induce lactation.

I may pursue the milk bank for Baby2.  I believe I could have qualified Baby Girl for milk from our New England milk bank due to her NICU stay.  I know of other adoptive parents who have used online sites to get milk from other lactating mothers.  I recently read an article from the New England Milk bank, which reported that this is not a reliable source of safe milk due to contamination and improper storage.

I have cheered a few adoptive and bio moms thru breastfeeding.  I also now have supported moms who have decided that for whatever reason bottle is best.

2.  It seems as if you struggled for a long time to balance being prepared to have a baby with being too prepared too early which could potentially just be sad reminders.  You clearly felt that you were
expecting a baby, but yet didn't know when to expect one.  How did you make decisions along the way about what to purchase when?  Do you feel like your choices were the right ones or do you regret some?  Was it hard to see baby items in your house during the wait? 

I picked up little things here and there for a while.  A Onsie, a pair of overalls, a book.  At one point I started a registry, and I maybe put 10 things on it.  I didn't feel like I knew what I needed so I dropped it.  At two months in we painted my office/future nursery green with brown accent stripe, because I knew painting would be impossible with a baby around.  I wanted to do a mural but that project went on hold until the following year. 

At the one year waiting mark my MIL, SIL and I went on a trip together.  It was in part to help them get excited and realize that a real baby was coming.  It had the same effect on me and got me thinking about the mural again.  The January she was born I finally got my act together and painted the mural.  The night she was born I posted a picture of the mural on FB.  A week later we got the phone call and room looked like a huge confusion.  My desk and dresser mish-mashed with a changing table and crib.  While we were at the hospital DH dumped all my stuff in his office and put the finishing touches on the nursery.  Since I didn't keep much baby stuff out until late in our wait (months 12-15) it didn't bother me rather it got me excited.  Every now and then I'd rock in the rocking chair alone and quiet.  Had we had to wait another 6 months I may have packed things back up.  I dont know.

I'm glad I got the essentials - crib, cloth diapers, changing table, a few clothes, sheets, and blankets.  We have two drawers of blankets some of them never used.  I have hardly bought clothes since we received so many "hand me downs".  So much of the stuff you "need" you never use.  I think having spent a month in the hospital makes you realize how little you really need for a baby: onesies, diapers, some was clothes, towels, a basin, diaper cream, swaddle blankets, and a swing.

3.  Do you feel that the whole process of preparing for adoption prepared you to parent better or differently than other parents?  In what ways?

I don't think I'm a better parent but I think my perspective is different.  Waiting gave me a lot of time to watch other parents as well as the lovely parenting "style" question for our home study forced me to think and talk with DH about our parenting "style."  One big thing I decided while we were waiting was I was never going to make my child say "please" or "I'm sorry."  I had this epiphany at dinner w family.  DH asked my aunt "can I have the beans?"  She passed him the beans.  Her neighbor who was 8 at the time asked for the butter.  My aunt responded "please."  The little girl said "please may I have the butter."  Both DH and the girl had nicely asked for what they wanted but my aunt demanded a please.  So instead I choose to say please and thank you to Baby Girl.  "Please give me your cup."  "Thank you for putting your toys away."  She says all three.  I don't know if I would have ever noticed the interaction at the table that evening had I not been waiting to become a parent.

Last I have already started to teach Baby Girl that life isn't fair.  She can't see her Birthbrother M.  She doesn't get to live with D.  You can't have chocolate whenever you want.  Life wasn't fair to me when I wanted a baby to grow in me and life wasn't fair when the Mom she grew in couldn't care for her.  We get to learn from those things and maybe still see that even though those things stink - life also is amazing.  We get to wake up in a warm house and put food in our belly's.  She has a Mom to give her kisses when she gets hurt.  I already know I can't protect her and as hard as it is to see- I let her fall sometimes, because life isn't fair.  Never has been and never will be.    

I think as a whole I'm a lot like other Moms though.  No one could pick me out of a crowd and say "She is the adoptive Mom."

4.  Have you found the process easier the second time around?  Do you anticipate the wait being just as stressful, or do you feel more ready for it (and more busy with Baby Girl around)?

Yes!  I think waiting will be far less stressful.  The first time I had this crescendo of emotions the baby itch that just kept itching.  Initially I thought it would be just as stressful, because I was under the impression that our update expired when our original home study would have expired at 5 years.  That would have only given us a year and a half to get a placement.  I just found out the other day that our update will be good for 5 years as long as we do the yearly updates.

We also are choosing to only be open to instate adoptions, which we know will likely dramatically increase our wait time.  Our agencies average wait time is 18 months-2 years.  I'm guessing ours will be 2-3 years.  It would be challenging to be open to out of state adoptions with Baby Girl being so young at this point.  We also want a more open adoption for Baby2 as distance inhibits our ability to visit with Baby Girls birthfamily.

5.   At one point you posted about your fears (http://ttababy.blogspot.com/2011/10/fear.html).  Do you feel that these fears have dissipated, increased or changed now that you are a mother?

I'll highlight the ones that jumped out at me.

I was so terrified that D would change her mind once she met us.  I remember repeating this to DH as we drove down.  D has never seen our profile book.  As soon as I met D I realized that she likely had a million and one fears just like I did.  The fear never left me though until we left PA.  I told DH numerous times- if she lets us leave the state I think she is set in her decision.  It was a long emotional month.

I have some fear of Baby Girl feeling like I wasn't honest with her.  I was really careful when I wrote her adoption story to be truthful yet age appropriate.  In addition I had to choose wording that was protective of her privacy in case someone picked up the book.  When I explained her hospitalization I didn't write that she was drug addicted I wrote that "she needed medicine that only nurses could give." That statement is truthful, yet simplistic.  As she gets older I plan to explain that further but for now thats what I think is best as well as honest.

Baby Girls heritage is very similar to mine so I'm equipped to expose her to her cultural heritage.  Baby Girl I'm told looks a lot like DH ironically.  I have started to take the info I have gotten from D and J and used ancestry websites to get as much information about her ancestors as I can.  Its been so very interesting!  (I need to blog more about this)  I think this fear has morphed into will Baby2 feel different and disconnected if his/her heritage is drastically different than ours.  

I giggled at the fear of confronting people about being her "real mom."  My BIL stumbled and turned red when he accidently said "real mom" when he was recently asking about D.  I'm not fanatical about it, but for those that are family/close friends- they know better.

We never caught up financially and probably never will- but I have a perfect family.

My daughter had a rough first winter and I kick myself for not getting tubes earlier.  That was a huge parenting mistake.  She can hear again and is caught up with her language so I didn't ruin her.  Most parenting mistakes can be undone.

I never dropped her though she did nearly tumble off the toilet head first yesterday.

I slept thru her cries once when DH left the fan on and the bedroom door closed.  I felt horrible, but she was safe in her crib, a little wet and very mad.  Chalk it up to a life lesson for both of us.  Normally I not only woke up to her cries, but also any noise she made so I had to nix the baby monitor.  So much for that fear.

Her first fever was miserable but she had a winter of them so I'm a pro.  I learned bath tub trick doesn't work for all children.  My dear Baby Girl spikes a higher fever after getting into the tub.  Nothing says I love you more then holding a child when they throw up on you and you hold them tighter and tell them that its going to be "OK."

One thing I think bio parents get at the hospital that us adoptive parents never get are those one day or evening classes on parenting.  In some ways I was fortunate that Baby Girl was in the hospital for a month because I learned how to give a bath, take a temperature under the arm, and swaddle while I was there.  Over these past two years I have learned:  I'm not perfect; tomorrow is another day; I have to be willing to tell my daughter I'm sorry when I make a mistake and telling her I don't know is OK.

6.   Do you feel now that you are able to "just be mom" (http://ttababy.blogspot.com/2012/08/blog.html) or do you still feel like adoption is an every day part of your life as a mom?  Do you still struggle with the wounds of Infertility?

Adoption will always be a part of our life.  I am also just a Mom.  I think adoption within our home is much more frequent then adoption in the community.  What I mean by that is because Baby Girl looks like me no one makes stupid comments in the grocery store.  As far as the clerk is concerned- I am just Mom.  On the flip side to that it would be easy to become complacent to the idea of just being Mom.  We talk about adoption often.  Today Baby Girl was playing with the bear D gave her when she was in the hospital.  I made a comment about the bear being from D.  If something makes me think about anyone in her birthfamily I make a point of verbalizing it.

I do struggle with the wounds of infertility.  You mentioned PTSD of infertility treatments.  When we went for a second opinion recently I had to collect all of my medical records.  One office made me come in to fill out the form since there wasn't enough time for them to mail me the form and for me to mail it back.  Just walking to the front counter made me want out.  I felt panicked.  I no longer go to my OBGYN for my GYN needs.  I can't expect women to stop getting pregnant because I can't, but I do at times wish for greater sensitivity.  I however also realize that I can't expect someone to understand my pain who has never been there.

7. What are your most favorite things about your baby girl?

Thats like asking me to write a dissertation on love!  I love her strong personality and how smart she is.  She teaches me things about myself all of the time.  She also notices things that I have overlooked because I'm focused on the big picture and she is focused on every minute detail.  She makes me aware of the little things in life be it the pop music at Subway or the cat that is in the corner of a photograph.  She has the best blue eyes.  I love putting her to bed.  When I close her door and she yells "I LOVE YOU!" one last time in an attempt to get me to come back for one more kiss.

8.  Did you and your DH have an easy time coming to agreements along the way about all the decisions you had to make re: infertility and adoption?  If you didn't instinctively agree, how did you work through your disagreements?  How do you feel this has been on your relationship?

There are two areas we didn't fully agree on.  We agreed we would never do IVF before we got married- essentially I said I'd never do it and DH agreed since it was my body.  Once we were given the concrete information that the only way we would get pregnant was with IVF I could tell DH was considering it.  That is when I wrote the post about IVF.  In the end DH came back to his original conclusion which was "it was my body."  Tonight I asked him if he wishes we had done IVF and he responded "I thought about it again after we talked about it.  The more I think about it the more I think it wasn't for us."  DH is a silent thinker.  Often he will out of the blue give his opinion on something we have not talked about in weeks.

The other thing we don't fully agree on is foster care.  Similar to IVF I can understand why DH does not want to grow our family with foster care.  He has agreed that we can do respite care down the road when our children are older.

Both of these agreements came after long discussions and debates.  I think we both challenged the others way of thinking.  I also think both of us at least attempted to see if from the other vantage point.  I think we have had our fair share of opportunities to overcome challenges in 6 year of marriage.

On the preference checklist we were almost 100% in agreement.  Mostly I had to convince DH that his perceptions about disabilities were not accurate as so much is changing.  Also its not possible to skip some check marks because at one week of age there is no way of knowing for example: autism. Another disability DH didn't want to check was Deaf for a disability.  I was able to convince him that we were not expected to know sign language.  Also so much has changed in education of deaf children as well as technology that we would be able to learn with the child as they learned about the world.

9. If you could offer advice to someone at the beginning of the open adoption process, what would you tell them?

I was hoping you wouldn't ask me that question!  :)

I think my biggest regret was not getting excited.  I blogged about my reconciliation of this for Baby2.  I wish I had been excited, because it would have allowed those around me to get excited.  Now that Baby Girl is here and I'm excited about our trips to PA and open adoption those around me are too.  There are the nay sayers but I just ignore them.  Baby Girls birth family is our family's joy and I'm going to get excited about them.  If it makes you uncomfortable then too bad.  Most people are excited.  You will get stupid comments, but I think its worth it for the love/support.

Read.  Invite your friends/family to read.  You Can Adopt is a good easy read and up to date.  I think my favorite read was: Secret Thoughts of an Adoptive Mother.  My favorite adoption blog is:  100 Letters to You.  I recommend reading the First Mothers Forum which has helped me do my best at being supportive of birthmothers as well educated me on questionable practices in adoptions in the past and unfortunately even today.

Ask questions!  Dont assume.  I thought I understood some of the practices of our agency then we were placed using an out of state agency.  I was lost.  I didn't like what I saw.  Unfortunately it was too late before I figured things out.  I.e. the out of state agency doesn't provide post adoption counseling for their birthmothers.  One of the reasons we used our agency was because they provided amazing support for expectant mothers and then later birth mothers.  I assumed that our agency would only use other agencies that had the same services.  This is another reason we are only doing in state adoptions for Baby2.  

As for openness.  Know your heart will be guarded.  Do your best to let that guard down.  You are starting a relationship that will last a lifetime.  Be honest and open but also know feel comfortable verbalizing your boundaries.  We still have not nor plan on sharing our last name.  I didn't dodge the question when D asked.  I told her I didn't feel comfortable sharing that information.  Having uncomfortable conversations isn't easy but I think we built trust in being forward with her vs. dodging or ignoring the question.  Be prepared to do whatever it is you agree to.  Legally no you are not bound to your agreement but some day you will have to answer to your child.  There is no judge scarier to me then my grown children asking me why I didn't uphold my contract.  

Baby Girls family is an extension of ours.  I care about them as I do my own extended family.  I worry about D regularly.  I get excited when I learn of gains M (Baby Girls Birthbrother) has made in his language.  I can't wait for Di (Baby Girls Birthsister) to graduate college in two years.  I was honored that we were invited to Di's birthday party.  There is no way to really understand it until you live it, but its an exceptional amazing privilege to have them in our lives.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Some Relevant Things

Thought I'd just take a minute to share some things.
  • We found out the that our insurance is unexpectedly covering the costs of our meds for this last cycle, including the G-CSF.  Thank you very much, I will take those thousands of dollars back into my pocket (for like 2 seconds until I just give them to someone else).  Meds arrived today.  Injections don't start for a couple of weeks.  
  • Last week we went to this event.  Previous to that, I had spoken on the phone to the woman who works with expectant and birth mothers with that agency (who graduated from college with a friend of mine) and I met her that evening.  We had the opportunity to really talk to some birth mothers, as well as to more adoptive parents.  I got to meet Lori Lavender Luz, and I can not wait to read her book.  Her talk was incredible inspiring.
  • Then on Saturday we went to the orientation for that agency.  We got the homestudy paperwork, and are planning to get started on it, but we are attending one more orientation at a different agency in a couple of weeks, and want to be sure first.  We feel really good about these guys though.
  • We have met with more adoptive parents, and plan to meet with even more - people keep coming out of the woodwork and they are all amazing, warm, open and helpful.  
  • I know I have another FET and I even know that there's a chance it will work, but I also know that I will be OK if it doesn't, because I keep sitting in these rooms with my heart beating out of my chest with excitement over this potential way of becoming a family.
  • I'm reading a lot.  I'll share a reading list when I've gotten through more of these books/blogs/etc.
  • I've got my calendar for the FET.  It looks like this: 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Different Kind of Trigger

I have had the hardest time figuring out how to write about PTSD and trauma as it relates to Infertility and my experience.  There is this article I read, that really stuck with me.  Please, do read it before you read on in this post.  It's short and simple and it's the start of all of this.  That was almost enough.  Acknowledging it as and calling it trauma has done a lot for me in terms of beginning to heal, and move forward.  It has helped me make healthier decisions about what I am willing to go through or not go through.

Almost enough, I said, but not quite enough.  Because there is the fact that I can no longer read my favorite gossip magazines, making for sad airplane journeys without them, because the covers all look like this and make me feel like crap:

There was the point where I decided I needed to stop avoiding things that were triggers, and to let myself feel a little more in hopes that feel would = heal.  There was some crying that I actually let happen, while reading books, watching television commercials, listening to songs, reading notes from friends.  None of this, though, seemed like enough to explain what it feels like to roam through the day afraid that something unexpected would result in a flurry of bad emotion.

Then on Friday I went to see Dr. Norrell, my beloved Ob/Gyn.  I have been looking forward to this appointment for months (which is how long it takes to see her instead of someone else in her office) and the last time I saw her was when she referred me to UCSF for fertility stuff, so I was long overdue for my annual appointment.  She has been my doctor the whole time I have lived in SF and she is a fucking good one.  I have talked with her about so many issues in my life, and I just needed to talk to her about where I am right now. I couldn't wait, in fact.

What I didn't think about ahead of time was how being in her office might make me feel.  To be honest, "feel" isn't even the right word, because what happened was so different than how I feel when I see those magazine covers I posted above.  I walked in full of excitement, and what happened when I was sitting in the waiting room of that office was a physical reaction that I could not control.  It is the only time I have broken down in public during this whole ordeal, and it was not stoppable.  My body started shaking.  My heart started pounding.  I started crying.  I couldn't look up, had to use my hair to block my face.  I was just focusing on breathing as best I could until I got called out of the waiting room and into the exam room (where I was able to use all my cognitive behavioral techniques to calm my body down).  I felt so out of control, and it was scary.

That, my friends, is PTSD and Infertility.  It isn't something I can prepare for, or think away, because it exists somewhere very different from my thinking brain.  I couldn't even tell you what "trigger" I was reacting to.  The pregnant women everywhere looking happy with their friends and partners?  The way the staff was familiar with them?  The baby photos on the wall?  The breastfeeding positive signs?  The flyers listing classes for new moms?  Or just the fact that this is a place I always pictured next walking into excited and pregnant?

PTSD isn't the same thing as feeling sad.  It is a physical reaction that comes on when triggered by things that bring up past trauma and that can not always be expected.  Do I have this?  I don't know.  Sure feels something like that, though.  Dr. Norrell, on the plus side, was as amazing as I'd hoped, and part of this was her comfort and support when I brought up this idea.  She didn't blow it off as unreasonable.  Quite the opposite, in fact, she agreed completely that this process can equate to trauma and she accepted and acknowledged what I have been through.  She also offered me a variety of actually useful help, including information about her own experience as an adult adoptee, which I had no idea she was.  I asked her if she was willing to serve as my official doctor for any home study paperwork, and in fact, the reality is that she offered before I could really quite get the question fully out.

This all also makes me realize what an amazing job the UCSF Women's Center does of being a trigger-free environment.  I've always appreciated their clear policy about not bringing children into that space, but I'd never thought beyond that to what else is missing that is present in most doctor's offices.  I guess they are smart enough to know how to avoid a room full of panicked crying women, barely able to breath.

So, where to go with this from here?  I don't really know.  I have already decided that I'm near the end of the physical treatments.  I think that when I get through this last transfer, I will be able to really work on healing emotionally, and if I need help, I will get it.   I don't think this will go away right away, though.  I don't think that this last cycle working, even, would heal these wounds.  I don't think becoming a mother will heal these wounds.  I think I am just, now, wounded and I have to find a way for that to be OK with me.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

As Soon As I Adopt, I WILL NOT Get Pregnant

This is none of the posts I said I was working on.  Instead of those, I decided to do this PSA!  You see, I have already heard this uncountable times, so now I am going to publicly ask that you please don't say:

As soon as you adopt, you'll get pregnant.  (Or any variation thereof.)

This is bothersome, hurtful and actually offensive in so many ways, but I totally get why people might not think of these things, which is why I'm just going to lay it out here and share them and hope I never ever ever hear it again (unlikely).  Also, I hope no other prospective adoptive parents ever hears it again (also unlikely).  Do your part.  Spread the word.  Use your librarianly shushing technique if you hear people about to say it, or if someone says it about me to you.  Please.

If you've already said this to me, or someone else, don't stress out.  I do know you didn't mean it the way I felt it.  It didn't make me angry at you.  In fact I know you likely said it out of care and a desire to provide comfort. It doesn't though - it just hurts, and I want people to understand cause I have enough hurt, ya know?

Why this statement, in all its possible iterations, sucks (in no particular order):
  • It isn't true.  Statistically, about 5% of people who go through fertility treatments without success will get pregnant eventually on their own.  This number does not go up for those who decide to adopt.  It is the same regardless.  So, sure, it happens.  Rarely.  It is, though, just as likely to happen if we stop treatments and don't decide to adopt.
  • It feeds into the "if you just relax" myth, which is horrible.  If you just relax, your fucking cancer will go away, said NO ONE EVER because it makes no sense and is rude as shit.  If you just stop treating your cancer it will get all better, also said NO ONE EVER because it makes no sense and is rude as shit.  It's not my fault that I am unable to get pregnant because I can't "relax".  Something is broken.  My best chances at getting pregnant are through treatments, not through giving up treatments.
  • It implies that adoption is second best.  Once I am working on adopting a child, this will be the way I will be planning to build my family.   I will be excited and on a different journey than the one where I am trying to get pregnant.  Please, be excited with me.  Please don't make me think that you will consider my family to be not as good because of the way it was created.  An adopted baby will be my child.  It will be Ian's child.   We will love it, as much as if it had come from my vagina.  
  • I want my body back.  Getting my body back includes getting back on medication I miss, including birth control, that helps me with multiple non-fertility related health problems.  I don't want to get pregnant while on birth control pills, migraine meds, and anti-depressants, but thanks.  
  • It minimizes all the pain, all the cost, all the trauma, all the emotion that has gone into this process and our decision making thus far.   Guess what - I know you *wish* it were that easy for me to get pregnant.  It's not. 
I understand the desire to provide comfort and the frustration that comes from the lack of knowing how to provide comfort.   It's OK to not say anything, or to not know what to say.  It's OK to say you don't know what to say.  It's also OK if you have said this, or if you do say this.  I will forgive you in an instant, I will.

Try not to, though, OK?


Thursday, September 26, 2013

WTF Time

So, we met with Dr. Tran yesterday for our regularly scheduled WTF appointment and we told him where we were.  He told us that we are far more rational than many people on this journey, which I think he appreciates.  It also means, though, that he won't get to take us all the way to pregnancy, necessarily, which I think he really believes eventually he could do, if we had infinite money and time and emotional and physical ability to do this, testing all of our options (including donor eggs, surrogacy etc - each of which would be a real and expensive test, because we don't actually know if the problem is with our embryos or with my uterus). Ultimately, though, he wants what is best for us, and I think appreciates that we realize the limits that we've hit and he also acknowledges that he is at a loss - that whatever is going on with us is beyond what medicine and science have yet figured out.

I am ready to be a mom, and I am ready to be done with this process, after this one final transfer.  I do think that while Ian has become more and more and more ready to move onto adoption, I have become more accepting of one more transfer being what is best for us both.  We are, as usual on the same page.

So, Ian and I, prior to going yesterday, looked at timelines for things to decide when to do our last Frozen Transfer.  I was recently appointed to a super exciting committee (the Caldecott Committee, for those who know children's lit).  This is truly the opportunity of a lifetime, so we wanted to plan so that if this cycle miraculously worked, I wouldn't miss my required conferences.  We also need to plan around our travel schedule, and our financial situation.

Because this block of text is too much a block of text, I present to you this small picture of a tiny pig!  TINY PIG!

ANYHOW.  Initially, all of this was making it look like spring would be our best option, but we really don't want to walk into the adoption process with one foot still in infertility treatments and we also don't want to delay everything for so long.  So, we found a window much sooner, and are going to go with that (beginning of December for transfer - lots of me taking shots during my time in Ohio for Thanksgiving as per the usual) .  The UCSF lab closes on December 15th, so Olga (the nurse) is, as I write, making a calendar that takes into consideration my travel and that closure.  I just got off the phone with her, and she'll call back in 30 minutes to go over it.  (Oh, the things I talk about at my desk at work, with Tom on one side of my cubicle wall and Adam on the other.  I'm sure they just love it!)

Our plan, in regards to this timing, is to continue to look closely and deeply at our options regarding adoption in the meantime.  We have talked to some amazing people, and signed up for some info sessions at agencies.  I'm still working on other posts that get more into all of this stuff and what we are doing with it.  Anyhow, we plan to have all of our ducks in a row so that when this FET fails (I can't bring myself to say if it fails) we are ready to exit this world, and enter the world of domestic newborn open adoption with open hearts and excitement and information.

So, back to our WTF appointment yesterday.  Dr. Tran presented us with a few options, including two potential new additions to our treatment.  Both are brand new, barely tested and a shot in the dark.  One of them involved another biopsy for me, and fighting back tears I explained that I am done torturing myself physically, especially with such limited evidence of outcome.  So, that is off the table.  The other, though, involves an extra nightly injection in my stomach, which ironically, at this point, barely feels like a big deal to me.  So, we're going for it.  Why not?  Money is the only downside - as it is not super cheap.  There was the option to do it via a trial, where everything would be free, but it would involve a full fresh cycle, and again, I am done with the things that I now consider torture - and an egg retrieval counts, as does having to be there nearly daily in the middle of the day for blood draws when my sick leave reserves are so low.  Also, even without all of those issues, in the study we could be randomized into a control group where we don't even get the drug.  So, we are going to pay for the drug, which is G-CSF.  And this is it - this is all we know.  20 people.  Not science yet.  Being in the study would've been nice, not just because of the money savings, but also because then we are helping science, but I feel OK being a bit of a guinea pig this way.  We went all out on the IVF cycle and I am willing to go all out for this last FET for all the same reasons.

(For nerds like me, I think I found the study here.)

Also, we are transferring 4 embryos this time.  Dr. Tran did not appreciate our joke about quadruplets.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

So Much to Say, So Little Written

I have so so much to say, and have not written any of it here.  Believe me, I've started, and I'm sorry for those who care and are waiting.  I've started posts about the following:
  • Trauma and PTSD and Infertility and how I am feeling re: further treatments, my body, my emotions etc.  Our plans and why.  
  • Adoption Thoughts - What we are doing right now, where we are, our basic thoughts/plans
  • Adoption and Morals/Ethics - This is more about what I'm discovering and thinking about re: adoption and less about the who what where why when how
So, keep an eye out and I'll try to get some time to get them written.  We're heading out of town for a weekend of much needed relaxation time with awesome friends and the next weekend my parents are visiting, and work has been busy, as has life.

In general, though, I'm feeling mostly positive about the future.  I'm also mostly feeling, which is a contrast to the mostly not feeling I've been doing lately.  For better or worse.

More soon.  <3 you all.  

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

No Miracles Here

I'm not going to hit post on this until I hear back from the doctor's office, so you can assume that if you are seeing this, there was no great miracle (not that I expected one, but I know some of you did).

Another day, another blood test when I already know the result is negative.  At least this specimen box still amuses me every time.  

So, here's where I am:  I no longer believe that Assisted Reproductive Technology can fix whatever is wrong with me and that this is the way that I will become a mother.  I just don't.  I've hit a wall with it, and I hit it hard.  I can't imagine the world in which all of these negatives, when we are doing everything we can, will suddenly turn into a positive. I am tired of it.  I'm tired of the physical pain, the emotional torture, and of failing and failing and failing over and over again.  I find no hope in my heart when I think about continuing down this path and I am starting to really fear where it will lead me emotionally. I've been doing a lot of reading about trauma, PTSD and infertility and am recognizing some things in myself that are a bit scary and that are not improving the longer this goes on.  I will write more about this in another post at another time.

I was reading, the other day, this article on the Resolve website about how to know when it is time to move onto adoption and right at the beginning of the article is this paragraph (emphasis theirs):

Making that leap from infertility treatments to adoption is not to be underestimated. But how do you know when it’s time? Most adoptive parents say that they wish they had done it much sooner instead of wasting significant time and money on unsuccessful treatments. But they are speaking as happy parents with 20/20 hindsight. The turning point for many couples is when they realize that they would rather be parents than be pregnant. Often, around this same time, is when the idea of adoption begins to no longer seem like the next step in a series of failures, but rather the first step in an exciting journey that will end in success.  When you can embrace it in those terms is when you are emotionally ready to begin.

It just struck me.  I read this part again and again and again and I called Ian and I read it to him:
Often, around this same time, is when the idea of adoption begins to no longer seem like the next step in a series of failures, but rather the first step in an exciting journey that will end in success. 

I almost cried when I read that.  I am so tired of a series of failures.  So tired.  Suddenly adoption feels less like a consolation prize and more like a taste of hopefulness.  With adoption, I can be a mother.  With the path I have been on so far, I can not.  So, I think that's where I am.

I know it's not that simple.  There is a lot to process, there is a lot for Ian and I to talk about, and there are those 9 frozen embryos sitting in a lab at UCSF.  Also, Ian is not quite there.  But the time has come to at least add adoption to the conversation in a serious way.  I have a meeting with Dr. Tran in a few weeks, and I've told Ian and our nurse both that I will do another frozen cycle with the three embryos left that are supposedly also great quality.  And once those 3 embryos die inside my uterus like the last 9 have, I think I will be done.  Ian is taking steps he needs to take to process for himself where we are and where we are heading.  

I need to figure out how adoption works. I know infertility treatments.  I don't know adoption and it feels big and unknown and hard and new.  I will take any solid information anyone can give me about what has worked for them, especially in the Bay Area.

So, that's it for today.  No miracles here.  

Saturday, August 31, 2013


Not wanting to go into details at the moment, but I'll just say it is not looking good, and it is pretty safe to assume that this cycle did not work.  I'm putting that here to hopefully avoid too many people asking me about it, cause I'd kind of rather just think about/talk about other things.  I have a lot of thoughts and emotions around where I'm going next, but I'm not really ready to share them.  Instead I'll share a list of things that are nice, and make me happy, right now, at this very moment:

  • A surprise box of Jones Chips arriving this morning from my dad, which while it may not sound like much, is actually very much
  • I have a new nephew - just a couple of days old.  Babies are bittersweet for me, but of course I love him so much already, and I can't wait to meet him and my new niece soon (welcome to the family Garrett and Blake)
  • Three day weekend full of time with my husband and just the right amount of time with friends
  • Getting a chicken coop built today
  • Breakfast in bed from the best husband ever
  • Resilience

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Halfway Through Waiting

I realize that I didn't mention that I test next Tuesday, and I've had a few people ask me, so I just wanted to share that information.  Ian and I may or may not test at home before then, as a home pregnancy test result should be quite valid on Saturday.  I may or may not post results here immediately, depending on what results are and how I am feeling.  If I get good results, I may want to wait for actual beta numbers from the blood test before posting.  I may want to speak to my family first.  If I get bad results, I may feel like mourning alone for a minute.  I may feel like mourning with a small number of people.

It's one of a million ways I feel torn in two directions by the emotions of this process.  On one hand, I love so much how many people reach out and ask and check in and send thoughts and love.  It is really nice.  Please keep doing that!  :) On the other hand, it is hard sometimes to feel like I owe news to so many people and like so many people are let down by the news when it is bad.  So, if you poke me and I don't answer, know that I still appreciate the poke!  It just might not be the time or way I want to share news, (which I may or may not have yet to share), at that moment.  Your "sending good thoughts today!" is appreciated even if I already found out 2 days earlier that it is bad news.  I just might not be ready to reply to it.

So, all that said, check back here on Tuesday.  If there's nothing posted here yet, it probably means I'm not quite ready to share.  If there is, well, then you'll know!  And thanks for all the love.  I'm sort of continually amazed that so many people give a shit at all.  It's truly a gift - the friends and family in my life.  I appreciate you all.

(For those who wonder, I have no idea if it has worked - although at this point it already either has or hasn't.  I have no real symptoms to speak of.  Have had a cold for days, but nothing otherwise beyond the norm.  That's good news for me not having a ton of shit to constantly overanalyze and google all day long!)

About Me - an Infertility Timeline

There's this thing I look for on every Infertility blog I visit and it is always the first thing I want to see, before I dig into the meat of the blog.  It tells me everything I need to know to prepare myself.  It isn't something my family and friends will care so much about, but I can imagine I'm not the only infertile person cruising around the Internet who has this habit and who needs to know, before committing to reading, where this person is on her journey and how, in that very particular moment, I'm going to feel about it.  So, what a shame, I realized recently, that I don't have such a thing on my blog.

Funny thing is, it used to be that if I saw a list on a blog that looks anything like mine below, I would run run away because it seemed too sad and didn't provide the hope I was looking for.  Now, if this is what I see, I feel like I've found a kindred spirit.  When I see anything near this length, but with a nice BFP at the end, that's the best!  Thees days that's the hope I'm looking for.

Anyhow, I'll continue to keep this updated, and it is linked on the sidebar over there to your right.


TTC since 06/10
Diagnosis: Unexplained Infertility

03/12 - IUI #1 - BFN
04/12 - IUI #2 - BFN
05/12 - IUI #3 - BFN
06/12 - IUI #4 - BFN
10/12 - IVF #1 (3dt) - BFN
12/12 - FET #1 (3dt) - BFN
03/13 - FET #2 (5dt) - BFN
08/13 - IVF #2 (3dt) - BFN
12/13 - FET #3 (3dt) - BFP  (Beta #1 - 15dpo, 12dp3dt - 150, Beta #2 - 18dpo, 15dp3dt - 665, Ultrasound at 6w2d measured 5mm and heartrate of 120
Ultrasound at 7w1d measured 9.5mm heartrate of 119
Ultrasound at 8w2d no heartbeat.
MUA at 8w3d.
7/14 - IVF #3 (5dt - two fresh, one frozen) - BFN
11/14 - FET #4 (3 blastocysts - all chromosomally normal) - BFP (Beta #1 - 18dpo, 13dp5dt - 983, Beta #2 - 20dpo, 15dp5dt - 2160.
Ultrasounds at 6w3d, 7w3d and 8w3d all showing normal heartrates on 3 embryos, one of which is about a week behind in size.  Reduction 1/21/15.
Lillian and Matilda born 7/17/15 at 36 weeks 6 days. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Bros

The transfer went very well!  We found that all 12 embryos had survived until day 3, and we had 6 that Dr. Tran considered excellent (based on number of cells, uniformity of cells, and fragmentation).  This is in comparison to 1 or 2 in our last cycle that were of similar quality.  The other 6 vary from slightly less amazing down to not very good looking, and although I saw all the numbers, it was too much to take in and I just don't remember (I also might've been a little valium drunk at the time).

So, we transferred the best 3 and in my uterus they now reside, hopefully settling in!  Well, hopefully they aren't *all* settling in, but 1 or 2 are welcome to settle in!

Here they are!  Henceforth referred to as "the triplets," "the bros," or maybe, just for my dad, "Huey, Duey and Louie."

I am feeling cautiously hopeful.  I was thinking about it, and there are quite a few things that have changed since the last cycle, that I'm hoping will increase our odds.

  1. Medicine Protocal - we switched up my meds hoping for higher quality eggs, and it seems like we got 'em.
  2. Hysteroscopy - I had that hysteroscopy, which I had almost forgotten about until looking back on the blog.  I don't know that it helped anything, but we did remove a tiny polyp and a tiny septum so can't hurt.
  3. Biopsy -  Had the delightful endometrial biopsy aka tickle that can help. 
  4. Number of embryos transferred - We transferred three embryos instead of two.
Keep all your fingers and toes crossed for me.

In the meantime, I just had a second post published on Kveller (literally they published it as I was working on this post).  This is a post that I am advertising less far and wide because it is, as Ian put it, a little grim.  I wrote it awhile ago, and there were many weeks (months even?) between when I wrote it and when it was posted on Kveller.  It is "A Letter to all the Pregnant Women in my Life", which I'm not 100% sure about any of the actual pregnant women in my life reading (or any women who might soon become pregnant).  Part of me is dying for you to all understand and still love me, and part of me is afraid that those two things are not actually both possible.  Alongside that dichotomy is the fear of making anyone that I care about feel bad or sad in any way.  That is so not my goal, now or ever.

So, all I can say is that it is up to you.  It is not rainbows and flowers.  It is pretty raw and full of things that you might not want to know about me, especially at this time in your lives.  So, I sort of leave it up to you to decide if you want to choose a little bit of completely understandable, acceptable and fair ignorance, or full knowledge.  As I say at the beginning of the post, "It's not you, it's me."  Hell, maybe I'm making it sound worse than it is.  Fear fear kick in the rear.

If you want to read it, here you go.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Transfer Time

I've posted to Twitter and Facebook about how things went on Saturday, but haven't actually taken the time to write here.  So, it went, actually, very well.  We expected to get fewer eggs than last time, based on what we saw on the ultrasounds, and we were aiming for quality this time, more than quantity, in the protocol we used.   Lo and behold, though, we actually got more eggs!  A grand total of 20!  (Last time it was 16.)  Hopefully the quality is also better, but that is yet to be determined.  

Man, I really love anesthesia.  I remember laying down on the table thing, and Dr. Tran asked me my name, birthdate and why I was there and I said, "Sharon, 12/20/75, egg retrieval" and I remember thinking, "Should I have said my last name?"  My arm started burning like hell, and I asked if that was normal (where the IV was) and next thing I knew I was sort of waking up in a whole different place.  As someone who has a hard time falling asleep and sleeping well through the night, this kind of sleep just feels soooo good!  I slept pretty much most of the day at home on the couch, too.  Awesome.  I mean, I was in a lot of pain, but the sleep was awesome.

So, anyhow, on Sunday I got the call with the fertilization report and transfer time while I was in the bubble bath (where I have terrible reception), so that was delightful.  Of the 20 eggs, 14 were mature, and 12 of them fertilized, so as of Sunday we had 12 embryos.  Again, as a comparison, in our last cycle we had 10 embryos.

My transfer is today at 2pm and we will find out at that point how they are doing - if they all made it to day 3 - what the quality is - which ones we are transferring today.  The plan was to transfer three, and I hope that's still the case.

There are pros and cons to all these embryos.  The obvious pro is that this isn't our very last try.  We will most likely have embryos left to freeze today, enough for some frozen transferring.  It's less scary going into this knowing that.  On the other hand, I'm tired.  And more tries sounds tiring.  And expensive.  I also don't want to put off moving forward with other options for another year of frozen cycles and be in this exact same place for that much longer if none of them work.  Ian and I have agreed that after this fresh transfer, if it fails, we will talk more seriously about moving forward with the adoption process simultaneous to any future frozen embryo transfer cycles we may go for.  That makes me feel a bit more win/win about it (in a very non-win so far situation).

So, that's that.  I'll let you know how it goes today.

In the meantime, I thought I'd share this random blog post I found, because this person has the total same Infertility pet peeve that I do.  If you've ever called the thing that I am doing today "implanting the embryo" instead of "transferring the embryo", this is about that.

Yeah, I don’t really have a good excuse for my sensitivity, but I think it has something to do with the idea that whether an embryo actually adheres to the uterine wall and grows is such a hit or miss proposition—really something of a miracle. The word “transplant” makes it sound like something that is pretty routine …something within the control of the doctor. There are still some of the blessedly fertile (and ignorant) who believe that IVF is a guaranteed cure for infertility. You make embryos, the doctor implants them, and voilĂ —nine months later you have a baby. Nothing could be further from the truth.

And just so this isn't all wordy word words, here is a picture of my cat, Bella, supervising the writing of this very post.