"Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy. "

31 August 2010

Acceptance and Irony*

I think acceptance is finally setting in. After 3.5 years of this, I'm finally able to talk about it in a normal conversation. Here's my example:

Yesterday, I was walking the dog and my neighbor, who just popped out her third child was outside with her 2 older girls. I don't know this neighbor all that well, but we smile or wave in passing. Well, this time,  we struck up a conversation about their new addition and then she proceeded to ask me  if we have any kids.

Normally, this would have stopped me in my tracks, and made me feel inadequate and just respond coyly, "Not yet." with a smile on my face, mostly to be vague.

But this time, I just felt compelled to be as normal and as a matter of fact about it and said, "No, we don't. We've actually been trying for quite a while"

And she responded with a very genuine, "Oh! I'm so sorry. That must be hard. I will pray for you in church."

And that was it... I thanked her very much and there was no drama, no stupid comments like "just adopt" or "have you tried putting a pillow under your ass". It was a normal adult conversation about a struggle and I didn't hide. I didn't run. I didn't lie. I just was me... all of me..

So I guess I'm finally accepting this journey and weaving it into my full self.

*(The Irony part of this story has been edited out for confidentiality reasons... sorry!)

29 August 2010

Consultation Update

I traveled to Chicago last friday for an appointment with the clinic that is performing an efficacy study on a particular IVF drug. The study is in phase III of the clinical trial and if you know what that means, you'll know that they've already shown this drug to be effective as the one it is being compared to (daily injections of Follistim) and they now just need to validate previous results in an older population. And yeah for me, being "old" is actually a good thing for this.  What's more exciting is that if I get in I will have an all expense paid IVF cycle. (I'd rather that sentence read "an all expense paid trip to Hawaii"... or something like that. But alas, one has to accept where one is at in their life, right?)

And everything seemed to go well. I'm basically in! I fit all the criteria and pending a few more blood tests, semen analysis and a sonohystogram (sometimes called a fluid ultrasound), which I expect should go well, I'm IN!!! This means I could be poking myself with needles in early October! WHEEEEE! (Never thought I'd write that sentence either... lol!)

I'm feeling pretty calm about it all right now, but am sure as time grows nearer, my anxiety level and emotions get a little out of wack. We'll see.

So, keep your fingers crossed and pray that the rest of our blood tests turn out well and we'll be back in the cycling game shortly! I'll keep you posted.

25 August 2010

Thanks for Stopping By (ICLW)

For those of you who are visiting my blog for the first time due to ICLW (International Comment Leaving Week), ...Welcome and thanks for stopping by!

I thought I would used this post to recap about my last almost year of blogging so you don't have to wade through all of the prior posts. I'm copying another bloggers format, because I loved the way she did it.. just a simple Q&A, as if someone was interviewing me.


Q: How did your blog get started and what is it about?
A: My header on the blog pretty much sums this up. B (the husband) and I are trying to concieve our first child and so far, after 3.5 years, many treatments and a lot of $$, we've not had luck. A few years back,  B and a few other supporters suggested that I journal in order to help me release some of the emotions that go along with this struggle. I tried and tried to write in an actual paper journal, but the words just didn't flow. Then one day, I thought, hey, maybe I'll try to type it out! Lo and behold, words come much quicker from my brain to the keyboard, than they do to a pen.

Secondly, I figured, this was a good way for me to communicate this journey to our friends and family without a) them having to ask me about it when they felt like they were prying (which of course they weren't, but I'm sure they still feel like it sometimes) and b) me having to feel like this is the only thing I talk about, ever. Here I can update everyone at once, and they can read it on their own terms. Its a win-win.

Q: What do you blog about  most?
A: As I said above, I mostly blog about the thoughts and feelings that swarm around in my head and heart as we try to figure out how to build our family. Infertility is a journey, as I'm sure you've heard, and so I simply write about it here. From techincal, medical info, to our next steps, to the fears and feelings in my head. Its all here.

Q: What do you like about blogging?
A: I LOVE the support I get from family and friends and I LOVE the comments! Its my favorite treat of the day, to see a comment from people and know they are supporting me or thinking of me. It helps give me fuel to continue down this road.

I also like the fact that this is a permenant record of a part of my life in the recent past. I don't ever want to forget what a life changing event this has been for me and B and maybe others in my life that have been touched by this too. I want to be able to look back on my posts and remind myself when I finally am a mom, to never ever take it for granted.

Q: Who are you?
A: I'm a lot of things, but mostly I'm the following; A wife, a best friend, a sister, a daughter, an actuary, a triathlete, a gourmet chef (in my head at least), a dog-mom, a vegetarian (ish), a wanna-be hippie, a wanna-be dancer, a yogi, a nurturer, an idealist, an encourager, a support group leader, a know-it-all (some may say:-) ... and a future mom.

Again, thanks for stopping by, and hope you come back!

18 August 2010

... but I'm Still Crazy

Even after my previous post, even after feeling good about understanding letting go, I still come home and nag B about having a beer.

I know, I know... let it go, but this is what infertility makes you become...

...a crazy woman who feels guilty and conflicted about every little thing that she puts into her body that is not 'fertility friendly'

...a crazy woman who thinks her husband should feel the same way, especially since we have a semen analysis coming up that will help us determine if we are allowed to be in the free IVF study (and of course beer affects that... RIGHT?!?!?!...).

... a crazy woman who understands what it means to let go, but doesn't always know how to do it.

Damn you, infertility!

17 August 2010

I Think I'm Beginning to Understand Letting Go

In one of my prior posts, I struggled to understand exactly what it meant to let go. I wondered if I was supposed to apply this advice from many to our baby journey. Did I have to give up hoping and trying altogether and just pray that a baby would drop out from nowwhere into my lap? Did I have to move on to adoption, which would eventually result in a child, even though I didn't feel at all excited about starting that particular journey?

When I pondered what it meant to let go, I usually had this pit in my stomach that I thought was encouraging me to stop trying for and wanting B's and my own genetic child.

Last Friday, I went to my favorite yoga teacher's class after work. She kicks my butt but also has a really peacful manerism about her that makes me feel bliss...while my butt is being kicked. Its a great way to end a work week, sweat out all of the stress taking hold in my muscles and open up my mind by trying to listen to what the world wants from me. As I was breating through a particularly butt kicking pose, I kept getting the image of my baby in my mind. I could see my freshly cleaned and diapered newborn curled up on my chest, nuzzled into fetal position. I could literally feel the warmth and aliveness wash over me. And for the first time when thinking this deeply about holding our baby, I felt peaceful and present, instead of fearful and full of sadness. I felt that this could be real... and I felt like I had let go of a lot of pain of the past.

And then at the end the class, as if on purpose, as we were laying in our last pose, the teacher read a passage, and guess what it was on... yup! you're right... it was on letting go.

I don't know if the universe knew that I needed to hear that particular passage that day, or if its just the fact that most of her readings really resonate with me on a regular basis because they are so applicable to all of lifes struggles. Regardless, I needed to hear it.

And here is what I took away from her thoughts on letting go:

I think letting go in this instance means that I need to release the pain of the past and the strong drive and desire to control every minute of every day when it comes to things that may or may not affect our ability to concieve. What has happened has happened. We've had 3 failed transfers.It sucks. Its painful and it was the hardest thing that I've had to go through yet in my life. And its over.

But that doesn't mean it needs to define me as I go forward. It doesn't mean that I can't consider IVF again in some form or another. What it does means is that I need to acknowledge the pain of the past, but know that I've been living my very best life that I can through this journey and forvive myself for the anger and jealousy and fear. These are all simply learning stages through this journey. I can "let go" and open up my mind and body to the present moment and let what is going to happen, happen. Even if I am making decisions about our next steps, it doesn't mean that I'm not letting go.

I think that is a very subtle point. Letting go doesn't  mean giving up all control or all decision making abilitites. It means releasing the emotions and weight that you carry from your past trials. That heaviness is destructive to not only you, but to those around you. Experience the sadness, know that it will come and go, but don't hang on too tight. Release the grip.

And in doing so, you can open up your heart and mind to the pureness of what is here today, of the warming images and little pieces of possibilites that give you fuel to continue.

Get it?

14 August 2010

Plans A, B & C

Can you still call it a plan A if you've already tried and failed at other attempts? If you have already exhausted plan A, B and C? Ok, so maybe its plan D, E and F... Whatever it is, we've got PLANS!!!

Over the past month or so, we've poured (ok, I... who am I kidding.. I've poured) over test results and research and second and third opinions. I've had countless vials of blood drawn. I've schemed to get as many of the tests covered as I possibly can by my insurance and I've spent way too many hours on the internet consulting Dr. Google. With all this information, I've even created a spreadsheet of possible causes, issues and next steps (maybe I'll add it to this post later...) And from this, a path, not necessarily clear, but a path nonetheless has formed. And I'm very excited to get back on the trail.

So here's the plan(s)....

Plan A: Metformin. One additional thing that came out of all of these blood tests other than the immune results, is that it seems as though I'm insulin resistant, which simply means that my body's cells do not process the signals from insulin properly and it needs more than the average person to get the point. Because of this, many things can happen in women, including PCOS, weight gain, among others... luckily I don't have those, but I do have hormone imbalances that are shown by adult acne (yuck) and oilier than average skin along with spotting before my period and throw in some anxiety for good measure. All of these things are signs that my hormones aren't working quite right. So Metformin, along with exercise and a low gylcemic index diet, helps your body re-sensitize itself to insulin. Then, the hope  is that the female hormone system should go back into balance. There's also lots of evidence showing insulin resistance is highly correlated with inflammation (not sure which causes which, but they occur very often together) and thus an explanation for implantation failure. So I started Metformin yesterday, as a pill at mealtimes, and I'l be on that indefinitely.

Plan B: I'm pre-screened to be in a FREE IVF study!!! Yippee! Its not the ideal protocol for me (too technical to get into here), but its a FREE cycle. So I'm going to attempt to make it through to transfer. Because it is a study being sponsored by a pharmaceutical company, I have to quite a few different hoops to jump through, the first of which is a final screening consultation with one of the REs running the study, which is occurring on August 27th. After that, if I pass certain blood tests, I will then be able to start taking meds and growing eggs and hopefully if I grow enough, I will make it to retrieval and we can try another transfer!!!

While I am excited about this study, I'm also cautious because 1) the FSH dose is lower than I've been on with my other two IVF cycles, so I won't make as many eggs and 2) there will not be anything else allowed into my body for help with the potential immune issues that I have. But its a free cycle and I might as well give it a shot, right?

Then, if neither of those work,... Plan C: We're going to try (and have to pay for :-( ) one last IVF cycle here with my local RE... with 2 twists...1) We'll add in some meds to help with the potential immune issues to aid implantation, and 2) we're hoping that we make enough good quality embryos to transfer into both me AND a gestational carrier (more on this in a later post)... AT THE SAME TIME!!! eep!

My thoughts behind this double transfer are as follows: We don't have endless amounts of money to continue with IVF cycle after IVF cycle. We're fortunate to be able to think about affording one more, however, we have to draw the line somewhere. Also, if we do use a GC, I'd like to be able to transfer a fresh embryo, rather than frozen, because the odds of implantation and a successful pregnancy are increased, thus being more cost effective. And finally, I want to at try some of the immune interventions at least once for me, but we simply can't afford to do 2 more IVF cycles, especially if we are going to pay more for a surrogate in the end... So I think that this double transfer is the most cost effective and highest probability of success in one shot. And yes, we would be THRILLED to have "twins"

I'm so excited to have a plan back in place. I feel at peace again and am more hopeful that I've been in a while. It worries me of course that the peace is really just a false sense of hope, because I'm putting up another wall or two in front of my future. But I find comfort in these walls.

And I'm going to need that comfort because this fall is going to be a wild ride! Get ready....

03 August 2010

My Baby Knows

Yesterday I found out that a person I know is pregnant from her first IVF... and it stings. I was so down last night thinking about how frustrating this journey is, how random it seems to be. How while I have new directions to follow, I still don't know the best path to take.

But sometimes it doesn't even seem that random. Sometimes I feel like I'm always getting the shit end of the deal. I know.... I'm just feeling sorry for myself. But thats a really hard thing NOT to do in this situation.

So just when you feel like all hope is lost, you have a dream that gives you some strength back.

Dear Baby,

Thank you so much for coming to me last night in my dream. I think you know that I needed to see you and that holding you in my dream will give me strength to continue on this journey. I can still feel how it amazing it was to hold you last night and show you to the world.

I can't wait to meet you and hold you in this reality too.

Love, Mom