All the Sun For You

A mom, two boys, a husband, and a whole lot of adventure!


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We Could Not Fail

I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about our IF past anymore – it’s been over four years since we first started trying to have a baby.  That number surprises me, because although it seems like a lifetime ago on most days, it feels like just yesterday on others.

Today is one of those days that it feels like yesterday.

***

When we did our first IVF cycle, I didn’t think we could fail.  I spent tons of time researching success rates with our IF factor, I specifically researched and memorized the stats from our clinic, and I built spreadsheet after spreadsheet so that I could track my cycle and not miss a single thing.  In my mind, we were going to be the, “one and done,” because our diagnosis was clear.  Our diagnosis was easy to treat.  Our diagnosis was the one that people wished for.

I get really irritated when I read comments on people’s blogs saying to, “think positive – positive energy goes a long way.”  As my RE says, positive thinking does not get you pregnant.  If it did, we would have been the, “one and done.”  I truly did not think we could fail.  I thought that we would walk out of the RE’s office 8 weeks later with at least one healthy baby in my uterus.  The thought that our cycle could fail never occurred to me.

It should have occurred to me that things may not be perfect when I stimmed way too fast over the weekend just before egg retrieval.  My dosages of Rep.ron.ex and Follis.tim were cut in half on Friday afternoon and by Monday, I had at least 13 follicles at target size or larger for trigger.  I didn’t worry too much because we were told things looked good – and they did.  By the time we did our egg retrieval, we got such glowing reports that there was truly nothing to worry about.

Our RE retrieved 16 eggs.  This cycle was already looking perfect.  By the next day when we got the fertilization report, I was convinced all over again that we could not fail.  Of the 16 retrieved eggs, 15 were mature and 11 fertilized with ICSI.  There was no reason to worry – they had plenty of embryos to choose from.  I was excited for the transfer and I couldn’t wait to see how many embryos made it to day 5.  Instead of worrying about my embryos, I challenged them to all make it to the freezer.  It was a game in my head.

We could not fail.

By transfer day, I was hyped up on positive mental energy.  WE.COULD.NOT.FAIL.  We arrived and were told that we had 9 strong embryos and the two being transferred that day were both graded 4AA (“Perfect” by all REs’ standards).  I smugly grinned, thinking to myself, “one and done.”  When we went in for the transfer, I asked how good our chances were and our RE said well over 75% – and the embryologist held her fingers up signifying that she thought both would stick.  That is what I wanted to “hear!”

The transfer was done and we were told that 3 “wonderful” blasts were already frozen and that they thought the other 4 would make it to freeze as well.  We were on cloud nine.  Not only did we have 2 perfect embryos where they belonged, but we also had 3 in the freezer for when it was time to persue baby #2 (the other 4 were frozen the next day).  Cue another smug grin.

I spoke with my little sister on transfer day as I did my obligatory bed rest.  When I said, “I can’t believe it, I may actually finally be pregnant,” she quickly responded with, “I have something to tell you I’m 12 weeks pregnant.”  I was stunned, shocked, bitter.  How could she tell me this on the one day I’d worked so hard to get to?  What was she thinking?  She took the wind right out of my sails.

She wasn’t the only one.

My two week wait was hell.  I promised B that I wouldn’t test, but a friend of mine convinced me to test at 8dp5dt in the evening and the test was negative (it was digital).  We chalked it up to being too early to test (not to mention not using FMU), but in my heart I knew it was probably right.  My friend and I were stunned because we both thought that there was no way this cycle could fail.  I got a non-digital test, and with not enough urine in my bladder, I tested again – BFN.  I knew I couldn’t trust that one because I hardly peed on the stick.  But… I kind of knew.  I told B when he came home that it was negative and he said to wait until Saturday for the real answer.

I was struggling with my little sister’s (MLS’s) announcement.  Here she was, with one baby already, and had already lapped me again and was pregnant with baby #2 with only one ovary?  How, how, how?  My mom was in the thick of my cycle and driving me nuts with questions and the such.  I emailed her the night before my beta that MLS’s announcement was hard on me, that I knew it was wrong to be struggling with it but that I was.  My mom knew I’d had the BFN’s earlier that week.  Her response was, ‘you can’t focus on MLS’s good news right now.  You’ll get your own good news tomorrow.’  She sent me a “suck it up and get over yourself” lesson via email.

I did not get good news the next day.  We went to the clinic for my beta and I just had a bad feeling that we’d failed (I mean, I already had 2 BFN’s under my belt), but tried to remain hopeful.  The waiting room was packed and I looked around, guessing at who would get BFP’s and who would not.  That’s just terrible of me – but I did it.  I lumped myself into the 50% of people who ‘looked like’ they’d get a BFP.

Good God.

We were told we’d get the call by noon.  B volunteered to take the call and that made me happy.  We had a two story townhouse at the time and he locked himself upstairs in his office, waiting for the call.  He didn’t want me to hear the phone ring when it did.  I sat on the sofa downstairs and obsessed.  As time went by, I knew we were going to get bad news.  I was convinced that they saved the BFN calls for last – that they liked to call the BFP’s first and get their follow-up betas scheduled before they called the poor gals who weren’t going to get to schedule follow-up betas.

And then I heard the phone ring.

And then I heard B slowly walk towards the stairs and take a couple steps down them.

And then I said, without looking at him, “It didn’t work.”

And he said, “It didn’t work.”

And I sobbed.  I sobbed more than I’ve ever sobbed in my life.  Just writing this makes me cry now – 2.75 years later.

B came over and held me on the sofa as I sobbed and sobbed.  He cried too.  It felt like that lasted forever.  It was the darkest moment of my life (and still is).

I pulled myself together long enough to send an email to my family with the subject line, “it didn’t work,” and simply wrote in the body of the email that I wanted time alone and to please not call or write.  That wish, of course, was not respected – but I knew it wouldn’t be.

I texted my dear friend, M, who had been through the exact same thing just one month prior.  She called me immediately and we cried together on the phone.  She couldn’t believe it.  I couldn’t believe.  We had both failed.  We had both not beaten the odds and would have to try again.  She confessed that she didn’t have much hope for herself anymore – that she needed this to work for me so that she knew it could work for her, too.  We were both beside ourselves.

B and I decided we needed to get out of the house.  We headed to a convenience store to pick up some soda and snacks on our way to rent some movies.  We went to a gas station that we had never gone to before – one that had never crossed our minds.  Why we chose to go the way we did is beyond me because it wasn’t the most direct route to the movie store.  When we pulled into the parking lot, I saw a familiar car.

My friend, M, was there.  My friend – who helped me navigate the IVF process and cheered me along even after she had her first failure*,  who was the only phone call I took after my official BFN that day – was at the same convenience store as us.  M and I met on her way out and my way in as our husbands waited in the cars.  She held me for quite a while as I cried on her shoulder, and she cried on mine.

A few days later, after the storm had passed, M and I talked about how neither of us ever went to that particular gas station – ever.  That that night, it was out of the way for both of us – yet we both ended up there at the exact same moment when we needed each other the most.  I’m not religious (but am spiritual), but to this day, I truly believe that that chance meeting of ours was not by chance.

***

I drove by that gas station/convenience store on my way home from lunch today.  I have never stopped at it – not since that night when we found out that we’d failed our first IVF cycle.  In my mind, I refuse to go there.  I’ve never said that out loud to anyone, but I will NEVER go there.  Driving by it is one thing, but going in would tear my heart out.

It’s been more than two years since that awful day, but I am still brought to tears when I think of B coming down the stairs, echoing me saying, “it didn’t work.”  We are fortunate in that we have a very happy ending with a beautiful little boy who wouldn’t be here if that first cycle had been a success, but the memory of that moment – that moment when I realized that WE FAILED – will always emotionally bring me to my knees.

 

* M’s next cycle was cancelled but she was successful on IVF #3 and is once again pregnant now with baby #2 who will be born a week from TODAY! 

 


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The Monday Snapshot – ChiBLOGo!

What a weekend!  I will write more about this later, but let me just wrap it up in one (incomplete) sentence:

Best weekend in a long, long time!

No Baby Ruth, Josey, Mommyhood, Blawndie, Courtney, SRB, Miss Ohkay, Mellow Mama, and Rhianna

This is part of a weekly feature called The Monday Snapshot over at PAIL. Click here to join in!


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Ruined for Nothing

I’ve had a hard day – I mean – the type of day that brings you to your knees.  It all started yesterday, actually, when Matthew’s cold was getting obviously worse and we had a major diaper situation at a restaurant over lunch.  It was not good and our return home was even worse – and neither of us really ever recovered.  Matthew’s cold got worse by the hour and I didn’t get to rest at all until he was in bed.  It was exhausting.

So yesterday was hard, but today was almost impossible.  Matthew feels even worse and is showing it.  He’s actually a really good “sick baby” and still sleeps through the night until his normal wake-up time, but it’s not as good of a sleep so he wakes up cranky.  He was cranky all day and even though he had a 2.5 hour nap, it wasn’t a good nap due to his cough.  He woke up 3 times and cried a bit.  It was heartbreaking.  Dinner was a challenge because he doesn’t want to eat solid food right now, which makes me think he has a sore throat.  Matthew threw his chicken at me from the moment I put it in front of him and even refused his grapes, which he usually devours. He had only cottage cheese and veggie pouches tonight for dinner – which I’m ashamed of.  He’s a sad baby  😦

To make the day worse, I got a bill from Medi.a.com for $264 even though we cancelled service on 10/11 and paid in full before that date.  I absolutely lost my shit over this because we even have receipts saying we owe them nothing – and calling to talk to them takes a freaking lifetime.  I spent 10 minutes on hold (shorter than I expected) and then talked with the gal who insisted on talking with B since it was his name on the account.  I explained to her that she would much rather discuss this with me because he hates them more than I do – so she talked to me.  I swore on the phone – not my proudest moments, but I am so sick of this cable company screwing everyone simply because they can.  I swore several times.  It wasn’t good.

So I’ve had a rough day… and it was after the call with Medi.a.com that I realized why I was in such a bad mood.

It wasn’t Matthew’s crankiness.

It wasn’t the Medi.a.com bill (even though, HOLY HELL, that made my mood way worse).

It wasn’t my lack of rest.

It wasn’t because B is out-of-town tonight.

It was because I needed to give myself my own PIO shot for the first time (aside from the three I did in my thigh while pregnant with Matthew and OMG that was a mistake.  OUCH!).

I watched a couple of videos during the day, trying to get pumped up for it, but the videos scared me even more.  I was trying to figure out who I would call to do my shot.  The neighbor next door who is a nurse?  My friend who did all of her own?  My friend’s husband who’s a doctor?  B’s coworker’s husband who’s a nurse?  I would have felt bad springing my need on any of them, so I wondered if I should suck it up and do it myself.

I watched Keikos’ video and read through the comments.  I noticed that Shelley commented a few weeks ago that she had to do her own PIO shots because her husband would be out-of-town.  So… I emailed her.

I just love this community!  Shelley emailed me back right away with a step-by-step description of what to do.  I read it, and thought, “you can do this.”  She was so helpful and pumped me up so much – to the point that I just wanted to get to it so I could say it was done!

I did it.  And it was no big deal.  It did not hurt.  There was no blood.  I didn’t throw up.

(But my hands were still shaking a bit afterwards.)

An entire day ruined for nothing!

 

 

 

 

 


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Not to Pass

The ALI community sure has been busy this week taking part in the “To Mom or Not to Mom” Open Salon hosted by Keiko and Pamela.  I am not one who really enjoys “assigned theme” posts  because they feel too much like school to me (HA!) and I’m a terrible procrastinator (and a week to get my assignment done usually is not enough time).  Hell, I buy the PAIL book club book every month and have yet to read one and take part in the discussion.

But today’s topic over at The Infertility Voice and Silent Sorority grabbed me, and I must comment.

The question posed is do we pass or not when it comes to sharing our infertility story?

I have chosen “not to pass” since we first started trying to have a baby.  I am an open book – I put almost everything on my blog because I have no filter and I’m just an over-sharer in general.  I love to share – there – I said it!

But that is me.  That is not you.  Nor do I feel that it should be you.

“Should infertility disclosure be an obligation for members of this community?”  No – absolutely not – but I feel that it is MY obligation.  I feel that it is MY obligation to share our story with someone who I think may be struggling in an attempt to make them feel not so alone.  I was lucky – I had close friends who both had struggled, or were struggling at the same time as us, with infertility.  The three of us were, and still are, thick as thieves.  We always will be.  Those two ladies were my lifeline – they kept me sane.  They kept me from taking B’s head off every.single.day because they were my outlet for sharing my frustrations, jealousy, and anxiety about our infertility.

Some people don’t have offline friends who have been through infertility – or at least – they don’t know they do.  And that’s because some people decide to “take the pass” (which is fine).  For those people – the ones who feel alone and isolated – I will always share our story.  I will share our story if I know or think that you’re infertile or not – because if there’s any chance that you are (or that someone you know is) – I don’t want you (or them) to feel alone.  If knowing that I’ve been through it too will bring some peace to just one person’s mind – then it’s all worth it to me.

No one should suffer alone.  As long as I know you (or ran into you at the vet) – you won’t.

 

 

 

 


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Expectations

Our beta is tomorrow.

I won’t be posting the number here on my blog.  I will simply notify if we’re looking good or not – but that is all.

And here’s why.  We’ve been here before.  We’ve been through 4 cycles now and so far, have 1.1 kids to show for them.  We’ve had the flat-out negative beta, a questionable beta (ended in an empty sac), and a super high “it must be twins” beta.  I learned very valuable lessons from each situation – the number means nothing specific and I don’t want speculation.

Speculation is normal.  Everyone has their own experiences to draw from.  We like to see other people with similar experiences (when they’re positive experiences).  I’ve seen quite a few bloggers with high betas lately and most of their commenters say, “I bet it’s twins.”  Well – I had an unusually high beta for 10dp5dt and betabase even had me at the highest end for twins.  Turned out I did have twins, but lost one before the ultrasound (could see its sad little sac degenerating away).  I always think about that when people post about their high betas, and then commenters chime in and speculate that twins are onboard.  It literally nauseates me (because of my own personal experience).

So I will avoid all of that speculation in an attempt at self-preservation.  But I will let you know if it’s looking good or not.

I also think that many blog posts (and their titles) announcing beta numbers and ultrasound results can be triggers for those TTC (#1 or #5 – it doesn’t really matter, right?).  I’m not judging here – just saying it’s not my cup of tea.  I am ultra-sensitive to this – I tend to follow lots of gals and guys still trying for their first take-home baby and I ache for them.  I don’t want to post anything that could upset them, especially something that pops up in their reader when they could be having a rough day.  I don’t want them to see my post title of “Baby on Board” and be caused even a moment of heartache.

So tomorrow, I will not be posting my beta numbers on my main blog.  I may put them in my TTC timeline – I’m not sure yet.  I do ask, though, that if I put the numbers there, please do not speculate within the comments as to what you think they mean.

This is weird territory for me, I feel like I’m straddling the fence.  I am excited, but I’m also still an infertile who very much feels that pain.  If I’m not feeling it for me, I’m feeling it for others.  And the truth is, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  This is who I am.


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On Earning It

When this transfer was done, I thought of our remaining five embryos and felt such peace knowing that if this cycle doesn’t work, there will be others.

THERE WILL BE OTHERS.

I know that FET’s work – one of my best friends is proof of it.  Many out there blogging are proof of it.  A friend of a friend is proof of it.  It can work, and why can’t it work for us?

Well, it can.

And we’ve earned it.

“Deserve” is not a term I use often (ever?) – because I don’t really believe in it.  I believe you usually get what you get with the amount of work you put into something – or – sometimes you get lucky and sometimes you don’t (which is the case with IF).  It’s that simple to me.  Does anyone “deserve” anything over anyone else?  I truly do not believe they do in most situations.  The word, “deserve,” implies entitlement to me, and I don’t believe in entitlement except when it comes to things such as family building.  I believe everyone “deserves” the family they want in their hearts, and no matter what journey anyone has travelled to get there, they don’t “deserve” it any more than anyone else.

So I won’t use that word here.

Some people have to work harder at building their families, and some don’t.  That’s just how it goes.  It’s sort of like life – some people always seem to land on their feet, when other people seem to struggle at every turn.  Many people earn their families more easily than others, and many of us fight the hard fight to get there.

Some harder than others.

And that’s OK.

I will never believe that I worked as hard as someone who has lost several babies, or suffered a stillbirth or infant death.  I truly believe that people suffering from RPL, stillbirth, and infant loss worked harder for what they earned in the end.

Right or wrong, I just do.

I can say, however, that after 2.5 years of trying for babies, having my ovaries probed twice, experiencing some very scary OHSS, getting hundreds of burning shots in the stomach, getting over 100 IM shots in my butt, having 2 unsuccessful IUI’s, having 4 transfers, and experiencing 1 early miscarriage – this cycle, as easy as it’s been, is hard-earned.

If it’s successful – we most definitely earned it (and it would also be a spot of luck).

It it’s unsuccessful – there will be others.

THERE WILL BE OTHERS.


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Another Minute or Two

As everyone knows, I had a two-hour massage before my transfer on Friday.  I was so looking forward to this and it did not disappoint.  I was wondering what in the world could take 2 hours to work out of my muscles, but there are still two knots that wouldn’t budge completely after an hour of work.  After that hour, we decided to move onto other parts that needed some relaxing.

I asked the therapist if people fall asleep a lot on the table, and she said yes – all the time.  I vowed not to do that – I was going to enjoy every minute.

I thought of all sorts of things on that table.  I thought about the transfer, about Matthew, about B and the trip we’re planning.  My thoughts began to be fleeting and I’d catch myself… falling asleep.  I’d rip myself from my dozing state to be back in the moment.  But there was one thing that came to mind at a particular moment and I let myself stay dreamy.

My grandmother and I were very close.  We were good friends most of my life, but really enjoyed each other in my college and adult years.  My grandparents struggled a lot with their relationship with my parents, and in turn, that struggle was unfortunately passed onto us kids.  It wasn’t my grandparents’ fault.  They tried very hard to be involved in our lives.  I have hundreds of good memories with them – and I like to remind my sisters of these memories because their memories are more jaded by my parents.

As my massage therapist rubbed my arms, I was in an in-between state of being aware of what was going on, but letting my mind wander with direction.  I remembered going to the circus with Grandma and Grandpa, my Grandpa dressing up as the Easter Bunny, us kids shouting for Santa Claus up the chimney with my grandparents laughing beside us, and sleep overs with my grandparents.  I thought of my grandma dressing up as Ms. Hannigan from Annie and filming a scene of the movie with  my older sister and me (Grandpa behind the camera), I thought of Christmases spent in the game room watching the adults play card games, and I thought of holiday dinners around the dining table that wasn’t big enough for everyone.

During holidays, the kids would sit in the kitchen at the kids’ table, which was fine by us.  We’d go into the dining room and say grace with the entire family, load up our plates, and step 10 feet away to enjoy dinner together goofing with our cousins.  Grandma insisted on having dessert at every meal (and why wouldn’t you????) and would dish up her famous red velvet cake (Waldorf Astoria Cake), angelfood cake with the lightest frosting ever (delish), or a black forest cake – all three of which are still favorites of mine.  Again, we’d eat at the kids’ table and then help clear dishes afterwards.

But we never did dishes right away.  Some people would get up and play games, some would go play the organ, and some (most) would sit around the dining room table and chat.  That was when I would move from the kids’ table to the adult table.  I’d cozy right up next to my grandma and she’d whisper sweet things to me.  And she would always take ahold of my arm, roll up my sleeve, and gently rub the soft underside of my arm – from my wrist to my elbow – from my elbow to my wrist.  Over and over again.  I would feel dreamy – I loved it – and I would wish in my head that it would never end.  Grandma did this throughout the entire conversation and as she would start to roll my sleeve back down (because it was time to open presents), I’d ask her for, “just another minute or two.”

She always said yes.

That’s what I thought about during my massage.

My grandma.

And about how much I miss her.

 


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The Mom Stays in the Picture

Over at Pail, a news item was shared about moms not being in photos with their kids.

Let’s be clear – I do not have that problem!

Call me narcissistic or whatever, but I LOVE having my picture taken with Matthew and B.  Being a SAHM, most of our “funnest” moments* happen during the day when B is at work, hence, no one is here to capture those moments on “film” (or on memory cards – HA!).  I’ve mastered the art of self-photos and I take them daily.  Most times, I’m unshowered, without make-up, in jeans and a t-shirt, and wearing a hat.  I would call this, “my uniform.”  Most pictures of Matthew and me together have me in “my uniform” and I wouldn’t have it any other way – because that is just how it is most mornings.

Showers are a luxury.  Perfectly quaffed hair is a gift!  Make-up beyond eyeliner and mascara is a novelty that usually signifies to B that he’s about to get lucky (if he so desires – HA!).  But smiles and laughter with my family?  Those are the norm around here and I insist on capturing as many of them as I possibly can!

Here are a few of my favorites.  You’ve seen many of them before (because the narcissist in me posts them regularly**), but here they are in one spot.  There are a few nuggets of tiny baby Matthew, which occurred before I was blogging!

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* I hope you all know that I know that “funnest” and “funner” are not real words, but I like them!

** I actually post these photos on a regular basis because this blog is for Matthew, and I want him to see these photos of us together since I’ve failed at creating a baby book for him so far.  Ugh!


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Strategy

I am so relaxed about this cycle, that I was wrong last night when I said my ultrasound and blood work would be today.  They’re tomorrow.  As of right now, my lady bits are still their natural color.  We will see what tomorrow brings.  I don’t have high hopes of walking out of there without a prescription for estrace tablets.

I like to be prepared, it makes me feel in control.  When I started my lupron injections, I loaded up my shot kit with a week’s worth of needles and alcohol pads – and I did that each Saturday night after I depleted the week’s supply.  It was sort of fun.  It made me feel like we were making progress – that we were moving forward.

When it comes to PIO, I load up the needles differently.  I don’t know how long I’ll be doing PIO shots – it all depends on whether or not this cycle works.  If it works, I will need 3 months worth of needles (that many would never fit in my kit at once).  If it does not work, I will need 17 needles. The last thing I want to do is unload my shot kit if I get a negative beta – therefore I am very strategic so that I don’t have to do that.  EVER.  I don’t even want to let the needles wait to be unloaded until the next cycle starts because I want to start that next cycle with a positive attitude – a fresh mindset.  So I load up the kit with the exact number of needles I will need to get to the beta – and that is all.

I loaded up my kit tonight.  There are 17 pink needles (used to draw the PIO into the syringe) and 7 shots with black needles (black needles are used to inject).

Pink = pain

Black = butt

My kit is not large enough to hold 17 shots with black needles, so I load those up weekly.  You can bet the farm that when we get to the week of October 21 (beta will likely be on the 24th), I will only be loading up 3 shots with black needles to get me through the night of the 23rd.  If I fail the beta on the 24th, there will be no more pink or black needles in my kit – which is how I want it to be.

Ice packs are in the freezer just waiting for Sunday.

Here we go…