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

30 November 2010


First, I wanted to say THANK YOU! I have more than 50 followers! Yippee! Thanks for following my story. It really means a lot to me. And so do all of your comments. I love the blogging world for the community it has built for those of us walking this path. It helps me realize that I am not alone and that there are others out there who have walked this path before and have succeeded. And it gives me strength to keep walking and hoping that one day my dream will come true, in some form. So thank you, deeply from my heart. I hope that I have been able to support you as well.

Next goal... 75! or shoot, should I try for 100???

Secondly, thanks so much for helping me decide which blog post to enter into the Creme de la Creme contest. I asked you for your help last week and the clear winner for my entry is "The Hot Pink Paperweight". Wish me luck!

Ok, so where are we with our next steps, you ask? I'm still not sure. All I know is that I need to make a decision because this limbo is eating away at me. I feel anxious, I'm not sleeping well and I feel like I could scream at most everyone who is in my way or does something that irritates me just a little bit.

For the last week or so, we've been heavily weighing our options. They mostly come down to either  trying one last time with my body or moving on to donor eggs. We've considered adoption and its just not a door we want to open at this time. But as I consider these options, I get a little voice in my head that still doesn't believe that I'm here... I still don't believe that we've been at this for almost 4 years, that we've tried multiple IUIs, IVF, diet changes, immune testing, exploratory laparoscopy, yoga, acupuncture, 'not trying', 'relaxing' (and PLEASE, DON'T TELL ME TO RELAX)... And nothing has worked.

And so we are still here, still trying. But the tables have turned on us. No longer do we fit into the group that has a high likelihood of IVF working. We are now in that group of, "Yeah, you could give it another try, but a better bet with your money is adoption or donor eggs"... I'm sure like others of you who have been give the same talk, there's a part of you that is in shock, hurt, deflated, and then there's another part of you that just turns to stone, and doesn't believe, and doesn't understand really what this means.

And when you finally do get a small glimpse in your head of what this means, that this could mean that we aren't going to end up with a full genetically linked child, that we are going to have to grieve that loss and figure out how too and who to tell... well, I guess I can't just expect myself to make a decision and be happy with it. Either way, it sucks.

On one hand, we can try one last time with my body, but statistically we'd be throwing away a lot of $$ that we could be using towards the donor eggs or adoption. On the other hand, I don't want to regret not giving it one last shot, with a protocol that would be tailored to MY body and not a clinical trial protocol (like my last study), and with other methods that might help the potential immune issues as well... one... last.... try...

Anyways, I'm rambling, but it is a true picture of what is going on in my head. I only hope that I can sort it out soon and find my way back to peace.

23 November 2010

One Good Egg

The first month or so after a failed IVF cycle are filled with so many emotions and thoughts racing through my head that they really clog up my ability to find peace. I'm constantly battling in my head between next steps. Should we try one last time with my eggs? Should we look more into donor eggs? Or should we adopt?

These I guess are my new options. After my WTF appointment with the study doctor (RE #5), I had all of my records sent to my doctor here in town (RE #2 - IVF #1&2.. and who we'd go back to if we tried more). She's fantastic. I really like the way she communicates and thinks about these things. She's smart, knows the research well, lets me give her my thoughts on the research and she's honest. I had a follow up with her last Friday. We sat and talked for about a half hour about her thoughts. She said that while it is likely the protocol wasn't good for my body, and potentially it could have just been an off month for me, when the embryologist in the study mentioned that my eggs were 'spongy and grainy', it confirmed her thoughts as to why my first 2  IVF cycles failed. Once again... sucky eggs. Everything else looks just about perfect for my age, except my egg quality.

She would agree to try one last time with my eggs, but the chances of success, from her opinion are only 5%.  FIVE.... PERCENT!


I've now entered into a whole new world. A whole new thing to have to grieve and figure out how to process and come to terms with.

On the brighter side, she said, donor eggs would yield about a 70% chance of success, which is very attractive, but we're not there yet. I've spent a few hours here and there over the past few weeks researching donor eggs, as it's never been on my radar before. Now that it is, I need to understand it before we can make a decision if this or adoption is the next best step for us.

So far, I've found the donor egg world is just SO overwhelming (granted so is adoption, but we've looked into that already somewhat and so are comfortable with that... to the extent we can be). I've found myself this past week looking at all sorts of people I pass at work, or in the grocery store, or at the gas station... worrying about, what if we pick a donor, and our baby looks like THAT!  Or what if our baby is ugly and I don't love it. I know these might seem like irrational fears to some of you, they also might seem very bitchy, but I assure you if you were in this situation, the first time you even let this idea of donor eggs enter your head, you'd go through the same thoughts. I know there are a lot of positives to this choice too, but I'm not there right now.

Currently, today, I'm really attached to my hair and my legs (figuratively AND literally ;-) )  They are two of my favorite traits and I really wanted to be able to pass those along to my child. Again, while this is not important in the whole scheme of things its something little that I'll have to let go of. Is this selfish? I don't even know. I'm so confused internally right now with the feelings I'm having. Is it important enough for me to possibly experience pregnancy and carry my child to do this? What about the donor, what responsibilities do I have to her? And then all the fears of, should this be the option we choose, and should it work, how do you tell your child and when and what will they think and ....?

My brain is spinning and I'm still trying to figure out a way in my head to do one last cycle with my body, even though logically, financially this doesn't make sense. But I'm an addict in some way. I think many of us who go through multiple IVF cycle are. We're addicted to the hope of maybe... just maybe... we'll find that one good egg. And our dreams will come true.

20 November 2010

I Need Your Help!

I'm going to enter the 'Creme de la Creme' contest that Stirrup Queens hosts every year. The idea behind the contest is to enter my best blog post into the pool of posts written by all of the wonderful bloggers in this infertility/pregnancy blogosphere.  If you didn't take time to read the 'Creme de la Creme' link above, it is, in short, a yearly award to honor moving, inspiring writing.

If you spend some time browsing through this world, you will realize how while we may not all have been writers at the beginning of this journey, something tragic has brought out this creative side. For me, I've really found a new part of myself that I'm really enjoying exploring, along with some great therapeutic writing.

So, this is where you come in!!! I need your feedback so you can help me decide which post to enter.

Here's a few of my favorites you can look at (yeah, there's a lot, as I looked through them I couldn't decide), or if you have another one that I didn't choose, please tell me.
Please leave your vote in the poll on the left sidebar by December 1st so I can meet the deadline to entry. I'd really appreciate your feedback. Thanks!

17 November 2010

Reminder to Self

Even though you are down,
Even though you feel like you are never going to achieve the family in the way you so desire,
Even though many days you want to just sit in bed with your dog and cry and sleep... (or drink ;) )

You are still able to find joy in other parts of your life
You enjoy being around other people
You can still make people laugh
You get excited about new challenges
Sometimes you even feel smart and can solve problems

Remember these joys on those dark days
Remember these fleeting moments of contentment and peace

And hold onto those feelings when you need them most
And know that the sadness will pass and joy will return

16 November 2010

Quantity vs Quality

Up until this week, because I didn't think it pertained to me, I had never really paid too much attention to the differences among the following words, describing conditions I didn't think I had: Premature Ovarian Failure, Diminished Ovarian Reserve, Poor Egg Quality.... What do they all mean? And what pertains to me? Here's a great link that explains the difference between Egg Quality vs Egg Quantity (POF, DOR). And now I guess its something I need to understand...

you see...

I had my "WTF" appointment at the end of last week with the RE who ran the study I participated in. He was nice and cordial but he told me pretty much everything I already knew after researching all last week about the drama that was my last IVF cycle. Basically, not only are my ovaries starting to fail (ie, Egg Quantity is diminishing) but ALSO, my Egg Quality is sucky. I think that I must have a lot more red dots than green dots (this makes sense if you read the link).

So now we have a real diagnosis, I guess, .... sucky eggs. My eggs are old. My eggs are too ripe. My eggs have rapidly declined from my first IVF cycle way back in the spring of 2009 when I got beautiful day 5 blasts with some to freeze... And only about 1.5 years later, I can't even make 2 eggs that mature and develop normally by day 3. Does this really happen that fast? Really? Part of me doesn't really believe it, but the other logical part of me says, maybe this is just something I need to accept and have as finally a true answer to our almost 4 years of infertility. Sucky eggs.... Suck.

But there's nothing that I could have done about it, right? I mean, maybe, but really, not a lot.  Can I blame the intoxicating substances in college? Can I blame the environmental toxins we live in and ingest on a daily basis? Can I blame the stress of an unpredictable childhood  (no need to divulge those family secrets...maybe someday if you're lucky ;-) ... Am I the 'canary in the coalmine' for what we are doing to our planet? Or is this just a random act of nature that has no real reason other than that some of us get good eggs, and some of not so much...?

I guess right now I'm ok with out a solid 'why' answer, or something to blame. I guess I'm finding more comfort in thinking that there's nothing that I could have done to prevent this, other than possibly trying to start our family earlier.

But I refuse to go down that path. I refuse to do the 'should have' dance. I refuse to make this about my fault.

Do I wish that I would have thought more about my fertility ages ago? Yes
Do I think that I would have listened to anyone trying to tell me that my egg quality declines as I get older? No

So now we have to sit with this new information and figure out what it means to us and our next steps, because we're not done.... oh no... I refuse to live a childless life! I will be a mother and I am NOT going to take this lying down...

(Although I wish I could have gone about being a mother that way... Yes... I went there)

We have another consult with my RE here in town on Friday to get another perspective. If anyone has stories of hope, please feel free to share. I'm struggling to find hope right now, even though I'm trying to be strong.

05 November 2010

Birthday Musings

Today's my birthday. 36.

I'm not sure how I feel about that number.

Yesterday I woke up and thought to myself, "Crap. Tomorrow I'll be 36. Crap. I'll be 36, my house is half unfinished, I have no savings account and I have no children." Not exactly where I wanted to be.

Birthdays are hard in the infertility world, as well as holidays, which are also just around the corner. They mark the passage of time and remind us that once again, one year later, we're still climbing this mountain, and the top doesn't seem to be getting any closer. They remind of us the lost time that we could have had to be raising our children and seeing the world through their eyes. They remind us of the due dates and what if's of failed cycles past.

But as I am reminded by many friends and family who know of our struggle, birthdays are also a time to reflect on the good and beauty we do have in our lives.  In that vein, here are a few special things that have happened to me this week.

First, I received a beautiful prayer shawl in the mail from my friend J.

J said that she felt helpless in wanting to be able to make things better for us but has learned a lot through this blog about being a good friend and listener. (I'm so glad that this has helped my friends and family learn about this struggle! That's an amazing benefit to opening up to everyone about this).  Anyways, basically the blanket represents all the hope that she has for us that our baby will come soon. When I'm feeing up or down or just need a hug, I can snuggle up in my beautiful blanket and feel all of my friends and family holding us, hoping and praying for us.

When I got the package and read the card, I fell apart... in a good way. I realized that I have a hard time accepting gifts and love from other people. I don't think I feel worthy of their effort, like, "Oh, no big deal, I'm fine! Don't worry about me." But I need to let others express their care, concern and love for me and B.  And I need to learn to let it warm me and build me up and give me hope. Because this struggle is bigger than any one person can handle alone.

Secondly, another friend sent B and I a letter after he found out about our most recent failed cycle and it was seriously the nicest thing anyone has said about us. It was a heartfelt, encouraging and honest letter letting us know that no matter what shape our family takes, no matter how we get there, we are loved and we are already adding to this world in a beautiful and inspiring way. I can't do the letter justice with out reprinting it here, which I think I'll just keep between B, myself and the author, but I was simply humbled by it. No other way to put it.  And yes, I feel apart, in a good way, when I read this too.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you both, and to all who have come out to comfort us recently and along the way! You brightened my days and helped me realized how much I need all of you in this.

So what do you ask does one infertile do to celebrate her 36th birthday? She takes the day off work, sleeps in late (9am!), makes a cup of (decaf) coffee in the french press with cream of course, sits in the sun on her couch with her dog and blogs. Then, she goes for an hour massage and after that, get's on a plane (and plans on buying a 7$ glass of crappy wine on the plane) with B to Washington, DC for a long weekend and a work seminar early next week.

I will find time today to revel in the good that is in my life. Thank you all for helping me see this.

P.S...If anyone has any suggestions of places to eat/visit in DC this weekend while we are there, say so! I'm kind of a food snob and B's a beer snob... just sayin'.

02 November 2010

Close but No Cigar

As election night is being analyzed on my TV, I have my own results to report.... We aren't pregnant.... anymore.

We had another chemical pregnancy, just like my first IVF cycle.

I'm really kind of numb right now and am not sure exactly why I'm not freaking out too much but I think maybe because we are already developing plans for our next steps, even though we're don't know exactly which direction to go.

Here are two things I do know:
  1. I was pregnant this cycle. I felt it in my body and for 3 days, it was bliss. I could feel my body reacting to the embryos, accepting them and encouraging them to stay. I was thinking finally, this hellish journey is over and we can move forward and release the heaviness that hangs in the air. 
  2. There is no other person in this world who I would rather have with me in this, and that's B. He keeps me grounded but lets me mourn. He keeps me focused but lets me think out loud. He keeps me comforted but lets me sob. I love you B and we will be parents. I know we will.
Today, I don't have much to say except that I'm taking this moment by moment since my thoughts change so much and so quickly.  During the day, I'm grateful to have a job that helps me focus on other things. I also feel like I have a lot of things to research and budgets to figure out and next steps to plan.

But all of that can wait for a while.  Right now, I need to crawl into a hole for a few days and regain my emotional strength and peace of mind. I need to crawl into a hole and mourn the loss of my 2 little embryos and feel them watch over me. I need to crawl into a hole and find a quiet mind so I can listen to what the world has in store for me.

I truly hope that our next steps are our last. I'm getting really tired of this.

The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Wait

I haven't been in the two week wait of an IVF cycle since late September of last year. At that time, it was my 3rd wait.  I had had one one fresh and one frozen that prior spring. This is my 4th 2ww and I know well how how my mind cycles through hope, sadness, peace and madness. But mostly, I hate that I have to go through this process.

For this post, I thought I'd collect some thoughts that go through my head during this wait so you can get a feel for the madness that is my mind during this wait. B always said that I'd never ever want to be in his head for a day, since its a scary place. But I feel like I could top his scary place right now.

  • I fear the decisions I will have to face if this cycle doesn't work.
  • I fear all of the sympathy from all of the people I know that will know that this cycle didn't work. I don't want to cry in front of them and I am uncomfortable when people feel sad for me. 
  • I fear what all of this has done to our financial stability.
  • I fear B and I will not have the same thoughts on next steps if this doesn't work and it will cause us some tension.
  • Because I can't control this outcome, I try to control other things, like every aspect of B's actions. Sorry B! You know I love you. I will try my hardest to curb my controlling "remarks".
  • Because I can't control this outcome, I try to control other things, like what I eat, what I do to my body and mind. I try to will those embryos in my body to continue to grow and stick around by visualizations, meditations.... Come on, Kathleen, fertiles don't need to do this to get pregnant, do you really think that it will matter for you?
  • I'm angry at everyone. I was in Whole Paycheck Foods and people were just pissing me off. They were running like chickens with their heads cut off on a Sunday afternoon trying to get their grocery shopping in for the week and bumping into me as I slowly move through the world like a zombie. And I just wanted to scream, "YOU PEOPLE ALL SUCK! YOU DON"T KNOW WHAT I'M GOING THROUGH. BE NICE TO ME!!"
  • I think of those 2 little embryos and just dream of the what if, what if they both stuck! I hope hope hope that we have twins!
  • Thank god for work. I felt like a normal person today on my first day physically back at work in 2 weeks. Not only was my mind occupied with things other than googling success rates of day 3 4-cell embryo transfers (not good btw) but they actually missed me! Flowers, and a card and a gift certificate to a resaurant I want to try. It gives me hope that I will survive a letdown because there is more in my life than just infertility.
  • I hope that every time I wake up in the morning I will feel something: nauesa, tender boobs, cramps, anything.... something... (alas.... nothing)