He loves his cuties! So does Mama!
He loves his cuties! So does Mama!
I’ve been reflecting a lot on our IF past. I think this is because it’s starting to feel like it’s more in the past than in the present. It’s strange.
People have asked me what it was like to lose the pregnancy that resulted from our first FET way back in summer of 2010. They’ve asked if I still think about it. I’ve been asked if it haunts me. I’ve been asked how I mourned it. I’ve been asked if it will stick with me forever.
In fact, it’s never really haunted me and I don’t think about it much at all (if at all, really). Not like when we had our first IVF failure.
That’s weird, isn’t it, to not be bothered by a miscarriage? I think that’s what bothers me the most about it – that it doesn’t bother me and I think it should.
I never had any faith in our first FET. The 7 frozen embryos were from a cycle in which everything went perfectly until the very end, when I stimmed too quickly over the weekend before retrieval. That was the cycle that landed me in the ER with minor (but what felt like major) OHSS. After that first cycle failed, I wrote those embryos off in my mind. Something was wrong with them – all 7 of them.
When our doc wanted to do the FET, I knew it was the responsible thing to do. I knew it was not responsible to do another fresh cycle with 7 embryos in the freezer, with the very real possibility of adding to that collection. B and I truly want to give all of our embryos a chance (even those last 5 we still have in the freezer) and the thought of adding more to the freezer terrified us.
But I also knew it wouldn’t work. Not with those embryos.
The cycle did not go well from the start. My estrogen wasn’t rising appropriately so I was put on estrace tablets twice a day that had to be administered vaginally. Ugh. They were blue and dyed my lady bits blue and made my urine green. It was terrible. People who haven’t been through this may think this is a minor inconvenience and you know what – it really is minor. 😉 But at the time, the last thing I wanted to be doing in addition to hormone shots was MORE hormones put up my lady parts. It was just… humiliating. Every time I had to do it (have I mentioned I had to do it twice daily?) I would cringe and be on the verge of tears. I hated it.
My lining got better, but was never better than the minimum/average they wanted. I didn’t get all wrapped up in that because I knew it wasn’t going to work anyway. I sort-of didn’t care. I was doing this cycle out of obligation – not desire and hope.
The transfer went well and the blasts they put in were perfect (again). I still had little to no hope and had a hard time taking my bedrest seriously. I did enjoy my bedrest though – that is when I watched the first season of Glee back-to-back and fell in love with all the crazy talent on that show. We were living in a corporate (furnished) apartment because we’d sold our town house without a new house picked out (only we would do such a thing in a down market – we got freaking LUCKY!) – so I wasn’t even “home” for my bedrest. After 2 days, it was done and I went back to work, not thinking at all about the cycle.
I had some light spotting at 5dp5dt and got excited for the first time that cycle. I started testing at 7dp5dt and got a positive HPT – so I took the day off to celebrate with B. Here I’d been all gloom and doom about the cycle but it was seeming to have worked! Who knew?
I tested again at 8dp5dt and I got another BFP but it was not darker. I got a little concerned. Everyone will tell you that they don’t always get darker – but let’s be honest – they usually do. Gloom and doom came back and never left. Day after day, I tested and got faint BFP’s – nothing seemed to be getting much darker at all. I just knew we were in trouble.
We went for our first beta and I told them I’d gotten a BFP, but that it was rather faint. The nurse told me not to read into it and sent me on my way to wait for the call. We went back to our little apartment and waited. They called before lunch.
The target at 12dp5dt is 100 and more. I got a 76. B was happy with it – I was not. The nurse told him it’s not what they were hoping for but that they were being cautiously optimistic. I told him it was over. We returned 2 days later and it was 140 – not quite doubling. B said it counted as doubling and so did the nurse, and I called BS on them both. 140 is not 152. But the nurses were still obviously concerned because I was scheduled for another beta to check again.
We actually had a weekend away scheduled so we went to Atlanta and I was a freaking wreck the whole time. All I wanted was to get back and get my blood drawn so we could stop the charade and move on from what I was calling a chemical pregnancy. B stayed in Atlanta for work and I flew home alone to keep testing. at 18dp5dt, my beta was only 357 when it should have been 608. I knew we were in serious trouble and just wanted someone to call the game.
Two days later, my beta was 549 – far from the 1216 we needed. It was over. I asked the nurse to have a doctor call me with the results because I was tired of the song and dance, so the other doctor in the practice (whom I’d only seen once) called me to give me the news. He started by saying, “I’ve been told you like blunt honesty, so I’ll give it to you straight.” THANK YOU! That’s all I wanted. He told me the number and said it’s most likely going to be a miscarriage. Dr. C said that he wanted me to keep taking the meds, though, because he’d had a recent patient with similar betas and she was currently 20 weeks pregnant – and that he wasn’t telling me that to give me hope, but to explain why he’s making me keep up with the shots. We discussed what would be done if it is a miscarriage and he assured me I could have a D&E.
So I kept doing the shots and let me tell you – you don’t truly resent PIO shots until you’re taking them just to cover everyone’s asses, including your own 😉
Doctor C said that we’d have to wait 6 days to do an ultrasound because my betas were still too low to show anything on ultrasound. That made sense, so we scheduled it for 6 days later (when B would be back, so that was nice!). The nurse showed us the (empty) sac and said that that was what they expected to see at this point. I knew that was BS and when she left the room, I told B that she was just telling us that so that the doctor could tell us the truth. He sort-of scolded me for being negative.
We crossed the hall to an exam room where we waited for Dr. Y. He came in and immediately said, “I’m sorry guys, but this is a miscarriage. It’s an empty sac, there is not fetal pole at all.” God, I love when people are straight with me! I could have hugged him – truly! I did not cry – there was just nothing to cry about. There was no baby. I felt like I had lost nothing but time. I was relieved – I got to move on to a better cycle, one that may work (we had an agreement with Dr. Y going into the FET that we would only do one FET before returning to fresh cycles because of my lack of confidence in those embryos).
I was thrilled!
Dr. Y told me to consider my options and I told him I already had and wanted a D&E. He agreed, saying that the sac was not degenerating at all and it could take weeks for my body to figure things out on its own. The D&E was scheduled for 3 days later.
The D&E was no big deal. No tears. When Dr. Y came in prior to surgery, we laughed. We joked. I told him I was ready to be done and move on. I told him I wasn’t sad at all. He believed me. I thanked him for being a great doctor.
And it was over.
I walked out of that surgical center with hope that I’d get my period soon and start a new, fresh cycle. Because there was no fetal pole, I did not have to wait multiple cycles to start again. I started the next cycle exactly one month later.
And it worked!
I never think about that baby that could have been. In my mind (and biologically), there was no baby. It was an empty sac that was confused. That empty sac bought me the time to get to the magical cycle that created Matthew, and now this new baby that we’re expecting. It was part of fate’s plan for me.
And I’m totally good with that.
* Please note that this post is simply about how I felt about MY experience with an empty sac miscarriage. In no way am I implying that others in a similar situation should feel the same way.
We had a terrific Thanksgiving at my parents’ house this year – full of food, fun, and family! My parents usually like to have “just us” (sigh) for holidays and usually exclude our extended family (aunts, uncles, grandparents), but this year, they invited my dad’s side of the family and it was awesome! It was awesome because of that – and that alone. I love big family gatherings, and we finally got to have one this year!
We came back on Friday and spent the rest of the weekend as our family of three… sort of! We hosted a friends Thanksgiving potluck and we made the prime rib and an apple pie. Our friends brought traditional sides (yay since my parents don’t do traditional meals) and three different marshmallow dishes. I didn’t know how good marshmallow dishes could be (again, because my parents do nothing traditional when it comes to food) – I had seconds of them all!
We bought a tiny little tree for Matthew this year since he’ll be obsessed with it and would have a hard time keeping away from a big tree full of glass ornaments. Already, he’s loved on his tree over and over again and I don’t see it stopping. My sister came with her three kids to stay the night last night – craziness! We had left-over prime rib that we put in baked sandwiches with Munster cheese. They were better than the original roast (they ALWAYS are!) and everyone was happy! Fun times!
This is part of a weekly feature called The Monday Snapshot over at PAIL.
Matthew only falls asleep in his crib, in my arms, or in his car seat. He’s never fallen asleep on the floor playing, in a jumper, etc. Heck, he won’t even fall asleep in his stroller anymore and hasn’t since he was 10 months old.
But this happened today… And it was as precious as I always imagined it would be! Like Matthew himself, this moment was worth the wait!
On a whim today, we had photos taken with Santa. Last year, this went really, REALLY well. At this time last year, Santa advised us that the next year could be difficult and involve some fear.
There were tears.
And then B and I got in the shot and things got better.
All this tradition talk lately, and I realize that this is our tradition. We planned last year to always get a family photo with Santa, and I was hoping to be a little more prepared with proper hair and makeup but meh… life happens.
We will have breakfast with Santa next Saturday for our official Santa photo, but I’m pretty pleased with this one! This will be our holiday card photo… because I have got to get those out!
Taken moments before his double ear infection diagnosis on Monday – the infections he’d had since the fever started Thursday morning. You would have never know this kid was so sick!
Do you know what is like crack to me?
Other people’s crazy talents.
I just spent over an hour on Et.sy looking at felted animal creations simply because I didn’t know what “Waldorf inspired” meant. I bing-ed it (because my SIL posted a photo to FB mentioning it and I’ve always wondered what it meant) and all of these wonderful things popped up in the image results – all pointing to Et.sy.
I now want one – from one specific gal. She is crazy talented, and I’m so jealous of her crazy talent that I emailed her just to tell her how insanely talented she is.
I’m like that – I just can’t keep it to myself. I feel like I must tell these people how gifted they are, and how envious I am of their talent (in a good way, of course!). I must thank them for sharing their talent with the rest of us.
I am the same way with watching people sing (I’ve touched on this in the past when talking about my love of Glee). I cannot get enough of people who can belt out a song or two with perfect pitch and tone. I am in awe of these people, and I must go up to them and tell them if I get the chance (I do this in hopes that they’ll sing again so I can revel in their talent once again).
Same thing with dancing. I cannot dance to save my life, but my husband can! I love watching him dance with other people who are wonderful dancers. I sometimes think that’s weird of me – but I figure that I’m not a good dance partner and the man just has to dance sometimes. I LOVE watching him dance, especially with one of my friends who is also a crazy-good dancer! Of course, I must know the gal before I offer him up to dance with her 😉
Same thing with the violin. Man alive – that instrument takes talent! This instrument will likely be forced on Matthew in the near future just because it’s an instrument I so wish I could play myself.
That is all. I needed to admit my addiction before I could go to bed.
I’ve never been one to reflect much on what I’m thankful for on Thanksgiving because, well, I think that’s something you should do regularly and not specifically on one day. I was always annoyed as a child and young adult when we had to go around the table to state what we were thankful for, because in my mind, the list was endless and how was I supposed to pick just a few things to focus on? Once infertility entered our lives, I began to resent that table-talk even more as everyone would talk about how thankful they were for their multiple children, as we sat there wishing that we could have just one. It was awful. I think that I’ll always resent that conversation because of those 2 Thanksgivings of wishing for the opportunity to be thankful for a baby.
With that said, I do have one thing that I am especially thankful for this year.
Of course I’m thankful that we have Matthew. I am thankful of that every single day – multiple times a day. When he gets to be a little difficult at times (few and far between), I still always catch myself thinking, “I’m so thankful for this little boy.” He may get away with a little too much because of this.
Of course I’m thankful for my husband. I never thought I’d meet someone like him – and I certainly never thought someone like him would want to marry me. I thank my lucky stars all the time for him being a permanent fixture in my life. B has brought so many wonderful things to my life (babies, fitness, happiness, challenges, love) and I will always be thankful for him!
Of course I’m thankful for my family. Sure, they can be crazy, but without them, I wouldn’t have my best friend (my little sister) or my big sister who has helped me navigate some of the hardest moments in our family. My sisters keep me sane – and I am so lucky to have them. They are the reason that we really want a sibling for Matthew, because we know how much love and fun can come from sibling relationships.
Of course I’m thankful for my pregnancy. We had our 8w ultrasound today and all is just great! I still can’t believe that we’re here – that it worked the first time. I don’t think it’s sunk in yet and I find it hard to be excited because it just doesn’t feel real. But I’m very thankful for it. I’m thankful that we finally had an easy road when it came to TTC. I’m thankful that Matthew will have his own little friend in seven short months.
Of course I’m thankful for my friends – online and offline. I love them (you) all and I know that I’ve hit the jackpot when it comes to friendships. I have so many people I can count on for fun, support, idle chit-chat, gossip (gasp!), lunches out, and play dates for our kids. Because of my strong, wonderful friendships, Matthew is making strong friendships already at the age of 17 months. I could not be more thankful for this!
Of course I’m thankful for the life we live. B and I worked very hard, together, to get to where we are and we know that individually, we would not have gotten to where we are together. This is just a fact – we are a strong unit that makes great things happen when we work hard and focus on our goals. I know that we are fortunate, but I also know that we’re fortunate by hard work and not by luck. I am so thankful that we’ve made our life wonderful together!
So what I am particularly thankful for this Thanksgiving?
I’m thankful that I am done with IVF. I am thankful that I am done doing fresh cycles. I am thankful that I am done with the fear.
One of my latest posts talked about the cycle in which we flat-out failed. I was surprised by the support I got in the comments not because I wasn’t expecting support, but because what we endured was just part of the deal. It was what it was. It was hard, but we survived it. It still makes me sad, but it’s over and done and I’ve had a great outcome.
What makes my past failure so hard for me to think about now, though, is the many people still going through it for their first baby. So many commenters said that they couldn’t imagine going through IVF and the truth is – they’re right. Until you’re there, until you’re told that this is the end of the line for a biological child – you just don’t know what that’s like.
We didn’t know what it was like until it happened to us.
This is what it was like from our perspective (I just added these last two sentences because they should have been in my original post to clarify my intentions. This is the only edited part of my original post).
Many people get to start out with clomid, natural IUI’s, medicated IUI’s, stimmed IUI’s, etc. before moving onto IVF. We were not so lucky – our diagnosis landed us with trying one IUI as to “not waste the clomid needed for pre-IVF testing.” After that one attempt, we were told to move straight to IVF. We tried one more IUI because of the clomid challenge test but they wouldn’t even let us go through with it because it was a waste of time. We went in for the IUI, and we were benched that day. No surprise really.
So no – we didn’t get to move through the phases of IF treatment. We went from trying naturally to being told that we had one shot at having a biological child – and that one shot was IVF (in all fairness, we were told that we would try it up to 3 times but after 3 times, there’s no point). All of our eggs were in the IVF basket.
When we went to the RE, I thought we’d start with clomid, then IUI, etc. and I found peace in that. There was always something else to try if the first, second thing didn’t work. That peace was ripped away from us after a few tests, before our first IUI. We were never just put on medication and told to go home and try. Our diagnosis was straightforward and all we could hope for was success with IVF with ICSI.
That was it.
We were told that if it didn’t work in 3 tries, that it wouldn’t work.
After our first failure, I started to worry. What if the next one fails and we only have one try left? What then?
Stimming for IVF is hard. It’s hard work for all involved, but super hard on the female partner. Your ovaries get to be the size of grapefruits and they hurt. In my case, I had some OHSS which was not fun – it landed me in the ER because I couldn’t breathe. After retrieval, things got worse when I thought they’d get better. All I wanted was to feel normal again. And then we failed. There was no longer “normal” in our lives.
I know that many couples are limited in IF treatments because of finances or religious reasons. I get that. But honestly, it’s not the same thing. You can always try to find an IF grant (I’ve seen many gals get these), you can join an IF trial, you can take out a second mortgage on your house, you can save the money the old-fashioned way, you can borrow the money from family (if possible), you can change jobs to one that covers IF coverage (a friend of mine did this), you can move to a state where IF coverage is mandated, you can finance your IVF, you can join a shared risk program. THERE ARE FINANCIAL OPTIONS to extend your family.
But when you do IVF – you are at the end of the biological line. If it does not work – you are done. You can’t wish to win the lottery to pay for more treatments, you can’t borrow the money for another type of treatment, you can’t mortgage your house for the next option.
You are done.
And that is scary stuff. There will always be the person who can’t get to IVF because they don’t have the money – but it’s just not the same thing.
I have a child now, and one on the way. I am so far away from that fear of, “what if this does not work?” But that fear still creeps in. I feel it now for others. I feel it for my online friends who are still trying for their first baby.
It makes me feel cold.
It makes me feel helpless for my friends.
It makes me sad.
And it makes me thankful that I am done with that phase of my life.
It’s no secret – we’ve had a rough week. That rough week led into an even rougher weekend and today was the worst so far for our sick little guy. This cold, whatever the hell it is, is a bad one! Matthew’s been stuffy for a couple weeks at a time, but not like this – not with a fever too.
As everyone knows, we watch a little “Curi.ous Geo.rge” every morning together as a family. Matthew usually dances to the opening credits, drinks his milk, and then gets off the bed to cruise around and play with his toys in our bedroom. Today – he snuggled. Today – he watched an entire episode (consists of two short stories) like this:
This is part of PAIL’s Monday Snapshot… go on over and check out all the others!
** Quick update – we went to the doctor today. Matthew has a double ear infection with his right ear drum near rupturing. He smiled and played with the doctor the entire time – he is showing no signs of pain aside from last night when he couldn’t sleep. The doctor said that he’s in heaps of pain and that he’s had this for days. I feel terrible. He is such a good “sick baby” that he gave us no signs until last night that things were (really) bad. 😦