Tuesday, May 31, 2011

And Their Off!!

AF has arrived!!! I went in this morning for my baselines and they said that everything looked perfect and I just found out that my blood work is perfect as well. Since AF started on Sunday, today is CD 3 which means that I get to start stims tonight! Since I wasn't supposed to get AF for another 2 weeks, I have been forced to revamp my timeline (which is just fine with me!) So here is the new timeline:

  • 5/31-Start stims. I continue with DHEA, Baby Aspirin, and B6 and both my husband and I take a 2g dose of ZMax. I start Dexamethesone, 5 units Lupron, 225 Menopur, 225 Follistim, and vaginal Viagra. Blood work and Ultrasound every other day for monitoring.
  • 6/6-IvIg Transfusion
  • 6/8-Estimated Day of Trigger shot with Novarel. Discontinue Lupron, DHEA, Follistim, vaginal Viagra, and Menopur and continue with everything else.
  • 6/10-Estimated ER
  • 6/11-Start Estrace, Lovenox, Crinone, and PIO Shots.
  • 6/13-CGH biopsy of embryos
  • 6/15-ET (yay!!)
  • 6/24-Beta HCG. If pregnant start HCG injections every 3rd day and continue with Estrace, Lovenox, Crinone, PIO Shots, B6, Dexamethesone, CitraNatal, and Baby Aspirin. 
  • EDD 3/4/2012!
I go back on Friday for my first follicle check. Last IVF I didn't stimulate very well and only ended up with 9 eggs retrieved so I am nervous about how many we will get this time. I am hoping with the increased dose of stimulating medications that we get enough eggs to work with...I just don't want to end up with OHSS!

Monday, May 30, 2011

What The Hell??

Late Saturday night, very early Sunday morning I started not feeling too well. Around 10pm I started feeling very nauseous and bloated and I had such horrible cramp like pains. I was unable to sleep at all that night. I got up around 5:30am and I figured out why I didn't feel so well. Blood was everywhere! Instead of bothering my doctor on the weekend (which I probably should have) I emailed the nurse from my clinic even though I knew she was on vacation until Tuesday. My discharge sheet says that if I have profuse bleeding, needing a new pad every hour, to call immediately. Okay, so my bleeding is not that bad so I didn't want to call. My husband started worrying me about the possibility that a vessel broke open from where one of the polyps were removed but I am sure that my bleeding would be heavier. What the hell could this be? OMG, could this be AF?? The more I thought about it, the more it made sense. I have really bad cramps, I have been totally bitchy (nothing new for me), I have been craving salt and grease, and the bleeding isn't stopping. Considering I am on BCPs I figured that AF was at least another 2 weeks off as I have 9 pills left...and then I remembered every other time that my body has overrode the BCPs. It totally makes sense now. I took almost 4 weeks of estrogen which mimics the first half of my cycle. I than took 3 days of Provera (which mimics the second half of my cycle) and I started bleeding. I went in and had baseline blood work and an ultrasound done just to see where my body was at. Since I was on the Provera, we expected my Progesterone to be high, which it wasn't. I stopped the Provera and started BCPs which probably caused a total drop in my progesterone and now I have AF!

This morning I decided to call my clinic to see what they wanted to do. They are having me come in tomorrow for yet another baseline ultrasound and blood work. When I spoke to the nurse this morning I told her that if this isn't my period then I am bleeding from the surgery which isn't a good thing at all. Since it looks and feels like AF, I'm sure it is AF! Now I am just wondering what this is going to mean for the timing of my next IVF...

Sunday, May 29, 2011

My Personal Pharmacy

Tonight I was going through all of my med lists for my upcoming IVF and I decided to get organized. I made a list of everything that I would use for the first month of the cycle. As I was writing the meds down, I would take them out of the "fertility" box and my fridge and check them off. After looking at my pile, I suddenly remembered how much really goes into this.

It is hard to believe that this is one month of medication. For those who have never gone through fertility treatments or IVF, this is a sneak peek into what we go through. From left to right we have Crinone which is a vaginal progesterone used after retrieval. On top of the Crinone is Follistim (stimulated egg growth) which is an injection that I give myself in the stomach beginning on the third day of my cycle right up until I trigger the eggs. Next set of boxes over is my Lovenox which is a heparin based blood thinner which I start after retrieval (also injected into the stomach) and is continued through the 32nd week of pregnancy. Next to that is Menopur (also stimulates egg growth) which is injected along with the Follistim. The bottles of pills consist of Prometrium (another vaginal progesterone supplement), Estrace which is also given vaginally after retrieval and this supports your estrogen, B6 supplement which helps support the endometrial lining, Dexamethasone which is a corticosteroid that prevents your body from rejecting the embryos once transferred back, DHEA which helps to lower FSH levels for better stimulation, and Baby Aspirin which used in conjunction with the Lovenox. The small boxes next to the bottles are Progesterone in Oil which is a shot given nightly in the butt until the 12th week of pregnancy. The other small boxes are vials of HCG which are given every third day through the 12th week of pregnancy once pregnancy is confirmed. The larger short box is Lupron which suppresses the pituitary gland (injected into stomach) which is given along with the Follistim and Menopur. The 2 blue boxes are ZMax (antibiotic) that both my husband and I have to drink before I start my stimulation cycle and the other small box is the injection that I give myself (stomach yet again) once my eggs are big enough and I am able to stop the Lupron, Follistim, and Menopur. This shot is often referred to as the trigger shot as it triggers your body to release the eggs from the follicles in the ovaries (Novarel). The only thing that I am missing is my Viagra (yes Viagra) which I will be using vaginally 4 times a day to help increase blood blow to my uterine lining as my lining has a habit of not thickening properly.

So that is what my next month is going to consist of. This is why I get so frustrated when people don't understand that it isn't as simple as saying "oh, you can try again next month," or "you have plenty of time." This isn't something that I want to prolong as it isn't the most enjoyable experience. Since I have been doing this so long it kind of triggers PTSD as you know what is coming and you really don't want to face it. Trying to keep all of this straight is time consuming, especially considering that all of these medications are specially timed throughout the day. It's not like I just pick and choose when I am going to stab myself in the gut. Plus these medications are like a mind altering substance where at times you feel possessed. They make you have hot flashes, give you headaches, make you bloated...you get the point. So the moral of my story is this; if you haven't ever been through IVF, do your best to be supportive. Understand that our lives revolve around this process once it starts. We are not bitchy because we want to be, we can't help it. You wouldn't be Positive Polly either, trust me!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Someone Was Watching Over Me...

I am happy to report that things actually went well for a change. I had a wonderful anesthesiologist that gave me a great cocktail of drugs, which I was more than willing to accept. After waking, the first thing I remember asking is "now what is wrong?" I was so afraid that it was going to be more bad news. The nurse that was in the room informed me that they removed 3 good size polyps and that the doctor said that my uterus looked great! (I never thought I would be so excited about having an attractive uterus!) So the plan is to proceed with IVF. I have 12 days left of birth control so this means that I will be starting stims around the 12th or 13th. I am so freaking excited! I had this eerie "positive" feeling today. I just felt like I have nothing to worry about and that everything was going to turn out just fine. I have always had this intuition every time I have been pregnant. Going in to each cycle I would either feel good or bad about the outcome...I was right every single time! The only fear that I have is either being oversuppressed again or overstimulating this time since they are upping my med doses. To put my mind at ease, they drew an Antimullerian Hormone level which will tell us how my ovarian reserve is. See, now I don't have to worry!

On a different note, something hit me this morning. Yes, this has been nothing but a freaking nightmare but there has been some good that has come out of this. On my way to surgery this morning my phone was going crazy with text messages and Facebook messages, no, not from my longtime friends and family, but from every single one of my friends from CNY that are either currently going through fertility treatment or have successfully graduated. It felt so good knowing that I had such a strong, positive force behind me. To my complete surprise, a friend from my infertility group was waiting in the parking lot for me when I arrived for surgery. Now let me remind you that it was 7:45am! She gave me a big hug and handed me a card. As I was waiting to be called I opened the card and inside was this completely heartfelt message that brought me to tears. There was also a little black pouch inside as well. I reached into the pouch and pulled out a metal with a guardian angel on it. I felt instantly comforted and safe. I actually slipped the metal back into the pouch and placed the pouch inside my sock so it could go into surgery with me. I would like to think that I did have a guardian angel watching over me today. I have decided that for every appointment along with my ER and ET for this cycle, my guardian angel will be in my sock. I will also wear a pair of lucky fertility socks that have been passed onto me by a good friend as well.

Today for a change, I feel good!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Technical Difficulties

Apparently blogger is experiencing some technical difficulties which is keeping the owners of blogs from answering comments. I just wanted to thank everyone for all of the support! I will respond to all comments once this glitch is fixed.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My Perpetual Black Cloud

I don't even know what to say today. I am completely numb. This morning I went in for my HSG feeling pretty good. The nurse came in and put in the catheter for my RE. When he came in I informed him that the only option he had was to tell me that the septum was gone. As he started the ultrasound I could feel the cramps from the dye injection starting. I wasn't really paying attention to this I was anticipating the news. My RE and the nurse stared at the screen and I saw their faces drop, pretty much the same look they would have when they would discover that we lost the heartbeat. My RE took a deep breath and said "well, the good news is that the septum is gone. The bad news is that you now have these three growths." I immediately started crying, thinking about how unfair this is. I think my RE was almost as upset as I was. He said that he is going to check the schedule to get me in for surgery ASAP. They are squeezing me in this Friday so that we can get a clear picture what is going on and that I don't have to torture myself longer than necessary.

Today I am filled with feelings of anger and sadness. I am not mad at anyone, obviously, I am mad at the situation. Why is it that this shit always has to happen to me? I have not been given one break since we started this journey. It angers me when people tell me to think positive and reprimand me when I don't. This is exactly why! I will no longer listen when people tell me not to be anxious. Have you had 4 losses? Have you had numerous complications after each of the losses? Did your last loss drag out over 12 weeks because it was discovered 2 months after finding an ectopic that there was also an intrauterine pregnancy as well? No? Then please, stop telling me to just relax or not to be upset because I have plenty of time to start a family. I have every right to feel this way. Please, don't judge me as you have not walked in my shoes.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Tomorrow is D-Day!

All night I couldn't stop thinking about my HSG. Tomorrow makes the determination of what my immediate future holds. I do understand that if I am told that I need more surgery that it is not the end of the world and I do want to do the right thing, however, the news will be quite devastating to say the least. I am so psyched to start the process again. I have done so much waiting over the past 2 years and I am sick of it. I truly believe that a person can only take so much of this "fertility crap" until they throw their hands up and surrender! At some point you reach a crossroad. One path leads you to anxiety, stress, heartache, loss of identity but it could eventually take you to your ultimate destination, parenthood. The other path is calm, serene, relaxed, fun, however, you never quite get to where you wanted to go. At some point, a person realizes that the road to parenthood is too bumpy and they can't quite handle the road anymore.  I am afraid that I am getting close to that point. At what point do I surrender? When is it time to say enough is enough and just focus on my marriage?

I cannot ask someone who has not been through the fertility process to understand what I am feeling. Most people see me as a healthy thirty-something that has plenty of time to start a family. That is not the case! These past two years have literally been hell. I have put my entire life on hold to start a family. I have given up my identity, who I used to be, what I used to enjoy. Surviving this process is not as simple as "going with the flow." You can't just say "whatever happens, happens!" This process involves much time and careful planning. In order to start an IVF cycle, your entire schedule has to be completely clear for the entire month. Since I work in a couple different states, it is absolutely impossible for me to do a cycle without some kind of advanced notice. For this IVF in June (hopefully), I've had to completely reschedule and put off meetings for almost the entire month and in order to do this I've had to get clearance from my boss. Since it is already the end of May it is too late to reschedule these meetings if things don't work out tomorrow. If I find out that I can't proceed with IVF I am going to have to anticipate another month of a clearing my schedule and somehow justify my productivity for the month of June. If I had the luxury of just doing a cycle whenever I wanted I would, but this is not reality. I am the primary supporter of my household and I am responsible for making sure there is a roof over our heads and food on our table. I have already planned on taking 6 months off for the end of pregnancy and birth of my child so I can't expect to take time off now without losing my job.

I really wish that sometimes people would keep their comments to themselves. Like I said, I understand that someone who hasn't been in this position before can't understand what it is like, but I wish that they would understand the same!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I Hate Google!!

For those of us dealing with infertility, we know that Google is the root of all evil. We Google everything! Now don't get me wrong, through Google you can find a lot of good information, however, it is also filled with a ton of bad, anxiety provoking information. You will find things that you never knew you had to worry about. For people like me that catastrophize everything, Google should be off limits. This afternoon my anxiety about Tuesday started spiraling out of control. All I can think about is what I will do if my RE tells me after the HSG that the septum isn't gone and I need more surgery. I know that he said that there was a small chance, but this evening I took it upon myself to find exactly what my chances are. I started Google'ing terms such as "uterine septum resection," uterine septum surgery," and "septate uterus surgery." Of course a million pages pop up and I start sorting through them. I came across an article on some small study that was performed here in the US that shows that approximately 40% of those needing resection will have remnant which will require an additional surgery(ies). As soon as I read that I started freaking out! 40%?? That seems a bit high! Since I am a medical freak of nature and everything that happens to me accounts for less than 1% of the general population (no joke) I am for sure going to need more surgery. I always refer to myself as the black cloud because if something bad is going to happen, it is going to happen to me. My RE even jokes about this with me but sometimes I get the feeling that he isn't joking...I think I scare him!

I have no idea how I am going to control my anxiety until Tuesday, although there is a part of me that wishes Tuesday would never come. I wish this entire nightmare would just end. If it's not one thing, it's another. I often wonder when I am going to catch a break. People always tell me that "God doesn't give you more than you can handle." If that is the case I wish he wouldn't trust me so much!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Fertility Free Saturday

Today I was talking with my husband about the warmer weather that will soon be upon us and things we could do to enjoy it. I tried to think back to last year and all of the activities I did to stay busy. I suddenly realized that my entire life over these past couple of years has revolved around fertility treatments and I have completely lost my identity. It is sad that I could not think of one activity, one hobby, as everything I used to enjoying doing I gave up to focus on getting pregnant. I realize that this is not healthy and I need to do things that I enjoy. So for this post I am making a list of a few things that I vow to do over the summer (I chose things that I could do pregnant as well...just in case!)

1. Exercise

Over the past 2 years I have put on a lot of weight...just looking at all my Size 4 pants makes me want to puke! I keep coming up with excuses as to why I can't exercise (surgery, sick, pregnant, depressed, etc.) I am done with excuses! I will continue to run a few times a week until I start IVF in June. Once I start, even when I feel like crap from all of the medication, I will find a way to stay active. I will either do yoga or go for walks. I am even thinking about joining my local YMCA. We have a really nice facility where I live and they even offer quite a few prenatal classes so I will be able to continue even after we get our BFP!

2. Brush Up on my French Skills

About 10 years ago I could speak fluent French and after years of not using it, I have become quite choppy with the language. Don't get me wrong, I could go to France and get around just fine but I am not as confident as I used to be with the language. For Christmas I received Rosetta Stone TOTALe Levels 1, 2, &3 and I am going to start actively using it. When I do have children, I would love to bring them up bilingual. I know people will criticize me because I should teach them Spanish but that is my decision and that is that!

3. Finish Odd Jobs in My House

My husband and I built our house 2 years ago and about 2 months after we moved in, I had the entire thing furnished, painted, wall papered, decorated, and landscaped (thank you OCD!) Now that all of the big stuff is done, there are small things that I would like to finish:
  1. Add Crown molding to office and formal living room.
  2. Paint spare bedroom
  3. Decorate and furnish sitting room in master bedroom
  4. Fix the few nail pops that we have
  5. Put additional coat of poly on handrails on main staircase in foyer
  6. Find painting to go over buffet in dining room and find a set of mirrors or wall screen to put on the large wall opposite of buffet
  7. Replace standard toe-kick on base cabinets in kitchen with matching decorative base and shoe molding and add molding around center island
  8. Change out square columns in entry way to decorative round columns
I know that this sounds like work but it is something that I truly enjoy doing!

4. Teach My Husband How to Cook

My husband couldn't cook to save his life. Okay, he can cook but his meals consist of scrambled eggs and grilled cheese sandwiches. He currently assists me with things such as cutting up vegetables and any other light prep work...easy stuff. Once I asked him to watch the chicken I was boiling to make broth as I had forgotten carrots and had to run out to the store. I was only gone for about 15 minutes and I come home to him sleeping on the couch, the water boiling over, and the flame burnt out on the burner from the water spilling over. Needless to say we had to air out our entire house before it blew up but we managed to avoid calling the fire department.

There you have it. I know it isn't much but it is a start. For someone that hasn't had a life in pretty much 2 years, I think I did pretty good coming up with this list!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

On Your Mark, Get Set, Go!

Last night I had a bit of a hiccup in my plans, but it actually was a good hiccup! I went for a run downtown and as I was running, I noticed that things just didn't feel right "down there." I went into to the local coffee shop to check things out and to my total surprise, AF arrived! So as predicted, my body once again overrode the hormones and did what it wanted to. I ended up going to CNY this morning for blood work and an ultrasound and they confirmed it. So tonight I start BCPs and I am scheduled for a HSG Tuesday morning. I am a bit apprehensive about this for two reasons. First of all, I have never had a HSG so I can't anticipate the pain. I have had a SHG and that was a piece of cake so I am hoping that it is similar. Secondly, moving forward depends on the HSG. My RE already explained to me that there is a possibility that the septum could still be partially there and I may require another surgery. This would mean another 2 month wait until we can start IVF again. So right now I am cautiously excited, but terrified about the possibility of not being able to start. I am so ready!

So here is how the next 2 months are going to go if everything looks good on Tuesday:
  • 5/19-Start BCP and Baby Aspirin. Continue with DHEA, B6, and CitraNatal.
  • 5/24-HSG
  • 6/10-Estimated arrival of AF (I am like clockwork)
  • 6/13-Estimated start date for stims. I continue with above meds and both my husband and I take a 2g dose of ZMax. I start Dexamethesone, 5 units Lupron, 225 Menopur, 225 Follistim, and vaginal Viagra. Blood work and Ultrasound every other day for monitoring.
  • 6/17-IvIg Transfusion
  • 6/23-Estimated Day of Trigger shot with Novarel. Discontinue Lupron, DHEA, Follistim, vaginal Viagra, and Menopur and continue with everything else.
  • 6/25-Estimated ER
  • 6/26-Start Estrace, Lovenox, Crinone, and PIO Shots.
  • 6/28-CGH biopsy of embryos
  • 6/30-ET (yay!!)
  • 7/9-Beta HCG. If pregnant start HCG injections every 3rd day and continue with Estrace, Lovenox, Crinone, PIO Shots, B6, Dexamethesone, CitraNatal, and Baby Aspirin.
Just looking at the above timeline, now I remember why this process is so exhausting and emotionally draining. Once stims start, my entire world revolves around IVF. I am going into this cycle with a positive attitude. Don't get me wrong, there is a part of me that is completely freaking out about this but that is all just part of it. Prayers that I don't need more surgery would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sex Life? What Sex Life?

I think that this is one of the least discussed topics during the ART process, however, the issue is very real. All too often, I hear of couples going through treatment who start having marital problems. Some marriages survive the process, others don't. The one thing that I have learned is that you need to be in this process as a couple, and if needed, an outside unbiased person such as a social worker or a psychologist should be sought out...and there is nothing wrong with this. My husband and I are both in therapy, separately, but we go. We both use therapy as an outlet. It is a way to discuss and deal with the emotions that go along with this journey. I still remember an argument that my husband and I got into right after our third loss. I was so confused and angry over the loss, that I looked for reasons to be mad at him. After each of the losses, we really didn't grieve as a couple. He can't stand to see me cry so he would avoid the situation entirely. Don't get me wrong, he was there every step of the way, but when it came to talking about the loss together, he was absent. We have now worked through it and I have learned that he thought by talking about it with me, that it would just upset me more and this is the one thing he didn't want to do. It was all just a lack of communication. We are now very vocal about the feelings surrounding the losses and those around the upcoming cycle.

The other aspect of this is the sexual part. Face it, without it, you can't make a baby. Most of us have started this process by using basal body temperatures, ovulation charts and timed intercourse as a means of getting pregnant. This means that sex turns from a pleasurable experience, to a carefully timed robotic act. You engage in it because you have to. I still remember one cycle very clearly. I had come down with the flu and I felt pretty much like I was hit by a bus. However, that morning my fertility monitor indicated that I was at peak fertility. This meant that it was time to do the deed. Did I want to? Absolutely not! Did I feel I had to because if I didn't we would miss our golden opportunity for the month? Sure did! Without getting too graphic I remember that I was running a fever so I was shivering violently thinking that I couldn't wait for it to be over. After starting fertility treatment, I was relieved at first as I thought that the whole process of timed sex was over. Little did I know that with IUI and IVF, there was a whole other set of "rules" that now applied. The first thing I learned is that my husband had to "clean his pipes" two to five days prior to the IUI or IVF. Then there was the collection process and then the IUI followed by "follow up sex" to increase our chances of conceiving. With IVF you are told to completely abstain from intercourse until your Beta test. You would think that things would be normal after that but with the use of vaginal progesterone, lets just say we both didn't have an interest in being intimate as it is the grossest thing ever! Following that I was either pregnant and had to continue the vaginal progesterone or I would have a failed cycle and have to start all over again. To make matters worse, every time I had a D&C we couldn't have sex for at least 2 weeks not to mention that after my second D&C I was catheterized for 6 weeks due to complications. Now I am currently recovering after having uterine surgery on April 12th and then again on April 28th. So since August of 2009 I have either been recovering from a loss, in a cycle, or dealing with other medical issues. So when has there been time to be intimate? The one thing that has really helped my husband and I through all of this is talking about it. I think the worst thing that a couple can do during this process is not communicate with each other. Has this been easy for us? Not by any means! All I can say is that I am looking forward to this all being a distant nightmare so my husband and I can get back to our normal lives. The light at the end of the tunnel is knowing that this is just a temporary journey and it will one day come to an end...hopefully a happy one.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Just Call Me Dr. Evil

Last night, after going through each of my cycle timelines, I decided that I was going to switch things up. Because I have an honorary pharmacy degree, or at least think I do, I decided to start taking my Provera yesterday which is a couple of days earlier then I was scheduled to. For those of you who don't know, Provera is a progestin hormone which is a form of progesterone. It is usually prescribed in tablet form to induce AF. It is generally taken for 10 days and once stopped, AF typically shows within 2 or 3 days. If you haven't ever taken progesterone, consider yourself lucky. As soon as I start taking it I can feel my horns emerge from beneath my hair...I feel possessed. I actually look pretty similar to Linda Blair in the Exorcist. However, I have the ability to go from Dr. Evil to a tearful mess in a split second. As I was driving down the Northway today I could feel myself looking for those drivers that I knew would piss me off, particularly those who drive the speed limit until you try to pass them, then they speed up (nothing annoys me more!) After drag racing with a minivan for about a mile, my IPod shuffled and stopped on a song that, when on hormones, I can't listen to without crying (Listen from the Dreamgirls Soundtrack.) I went from a drag racing bitch to a crying baby in about 2 seconds. Unfortunately, this is how I am going to be for the next 10 days. Lucky me...or should I say my poor husband!

On a positive note, I had dinner tonight with an amazing couple that I met a while back who have lived in this infertility hell as well. After 8 IUIs, 5 IVFs, and many tears, they were successful and are currently 28 weeks pregnant with a little girl. At dinner we talked about how people who haven't traveled this road can't understand what we are going through, therefore it is so important to rely on each other for support and guidance. My friend was telling me about some stupid things that people have said to her about not being able to get pregnant, something I think we have all experienced. We have all been told to "just relax, it will happen," "there is always adoption," or my favorite "maybe you just weren't meant to have kids." I like to think that people mean well, but really, how can they be that stupid?!?! My friend refers to these comments and other awkward comments as "tunaism." After I finished laughing I asked her to elaborate on that. Her explanation of this term was that "tunas are stupid fish, therefore, when someone makes a stupid comment without thinking, it is a form of tunaism." I love it! The one thing that this dinner made me realize is that, even though this journey has been hell, I have met some incredible people who will be in my life forever. For that, I am truly grateful.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Denial Ain't No River in Egypt

Today I learned that I am in denial about being in denial (yes, I just came from my therapy session!) Denial is a defense mechanism postulated by Sigmund Freud, in which a person is faced with a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept and rejects it instead. Specifically, I use minimization as my form of denial where I admit the fact but deny its seriousness (a combination of denial and rationalization.) The minute I start experiencing my feelings, especially anger, I rationalize why I can't feel the way I do. How does this relate to infertility you ask? I am working on dealing and experiencing the feelings that I have around this journey as I want to be in the best place possible when we start this next IVF. I haven't exactly dealt with the various emotions that surround my losses. Yes, we all know that I am sad and we can probably safely say that I am angry. I mean, really, who wouldn't be? When talking about the losses, not just the physical loss of the pregnancy but the loss of time/effort as well, my first instinct is to cry. I allow myself to cry for about 60 seconds and then there is a voice (no, I'm not schizophrenic) that starts rationalizing what happened, usually leading to the feeling that I am wrong for the way I feel. Anger is a completely different story. The minute I start to feel anger, anxiety kicks in to give this voice time to rationalize my anger, so I don't have to face it. I often wonder what it is going to take to get me to allow myself to experience these feelings. Maybe I am afraid that I won't be able to handle it. Maybe it is the fact that I have conveniently rationalized everything that has happened to protect myself and acknowledging and experiencing these feeling will only make me vulnerable and weak.

I have tried everything I can think of to help myself cope. I have bought angles for each loss, to acknowledge what I no longer have. I even went as far as buying a necklace that has a birthstone to represent each month of loss. So how come this hasn't worked? I'll tell you why. After every loss I forcefully picked myself back up, brushed myself off, and jumped back on the horse. Not once did I allow myself to grieve. It is so ingrained in me that crying/sadness/grieving are signs of weakness, that I have forced myself to deny the feelings I have towards these last couple of years. What has this accomplished? Absolutely nothing. I am always so concerned about what others think of me, and how they would view me if I allowed myself to feel this sadness, but in reality, it is me judging myself. I need to accept that it is okay to feel what I feel as they are my feelings and they can't be wrong. So now what? Do I allow myself to experience these feelings or do I keep them buried safely inside me to avoid the reality of it all? I think I now know the answer to this question...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

There's No Need to Fear, Anxiety Girl is Here!

Up until this evening I have been doing pretty well about managing my stress around this upcoming cycle. I have my notebook full of possible timelines based on every possible glitch I may hit. I knew this afternoon, when I got this notebook out and started manipulating my medication regime, that I was starting to go downhill. I realized that if I stick 100% to the original plan that it is likely that my CGH biopsy will fall on either Sunday July 3rd or Monday July 4th. I remember being told that if it falls on a Sunday, since my clinic isn't open, that they would have an Embryologist come in just for the biopsy. But what if the one that does the biopsies is on vacation? What if it falls on the 4th and they can't get anyone to come in? What if everything gets screwed up and my ER falls on one of those days? After realizing that I am now in the midst of a complete anxiety attack, I decided to email the nurse manager of my clinic, yes on a Sunday, to ask her how this would work. (I would just like to say that she deserves sainthood after dealing with me!) I felt much better after emailing her as I know that she will respond with an answer that will calm me down and assure me that everything will be okay.

After that episode my husband and I ran out to check his work schedule for tomorrow. Monday was the only day this week that he was supposed to be working. After checking the schedule, he informed me that his boss has him scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday as well. His boss has a tendency to put him on the schedule without even telling him. Since I live and breathe for routines, this does not jive with me. I immediately turned this into "Now what? What is going to happen when we start another IVF? How am I supposed to plan things? What happens if he schedules you and we don't find out until the day before my ER and you can't be there?" At this point I am crying and hyperventilating and my husband is looking at me as though my head was going to start spinning. All I could think about was having to juggle more things than I could handle. So to put things into perspective I made a list of everything that I have to worry about between now and my Beta:
  1. The Provera doesn't work and AF doesn't show
  2. The HSG/SHG shows that the septum is not gone meaning that I need more surgery, imposing another 2 month delay
  3. Because I am a creature of habit, AF decides to override the BCP (like it did last time) and I get AF early throwing my timing off
  4. Not realizing that AF has arrived because she is lighter than usual causing me to miss my chance to start stims completely
  5. Having a cyst which would cancel my cycle completely
  6. Not responding to stims
  7. Not developing enough eggs to have IVF
  8. My eggs not fertilizing
  9. Not having enough embryos for CGH
  10. My embryos not making it to blasts
  11. My lining not thickening enough
  12. Implantation failure
  13. BFN!
Sitting here looking at this list, I can say that, realistically, there is not one thing on it that I have any control over. This is what makes infertility so hard. The minute you start with IUIs or IVFs, you give up all control. For a control freak like me, this is not easy. This is something that I have struggled with since day one. Even with the losses, I had no control. Sometimes I feel like a sea monkey (remember those from the 80's?) Think about it...you have these little tiny "things" swimming around in their own little universe completely oblivious to what is going on outside of their little sea monkey world. All they know is that there is this greater power (a human) that replenishes their water as it evaporates and provides their food supply. They are at the complete mercy of this human and have no control over what this human does, or doesn't do, to their little sea monkey world. This is how this journey feels to me. I am at the mercy of a "greater power". So there you have it. I am nothing more than a fertility monkey at the mercy of the reproductive Gods!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Fertility Free Saturday

I have decided that each Saturday I will post about something without making any reference to my fertility journey because, hey, we need to take a break once in a while.

So today I thought that I would feature my pups. I am a huge animal lover. I started when I was five with a Guinea Pig and it took off from there. Currently, I have three dogs; Clancey a 10 year old Fox Terrier, Tiegan a 6 year old American Eskimo, and Charlie a 3 year old Chihuahua. I also have what is referred to as the bionic guinea pig as Coco is over 10 years old and still kicking. I have had her since college. It is a bit embarrassing that I still have a guinea pig at my age, but I can't get rid of her now.

This was from our Christmas card in 2008. It took me four hours to take this picture!
Clancey was a rescue that I took in back in 2001. At the time, I was living in a condo that had a weight restriction on dogs, so I put my name in at local animal shelters hoping for a small dog. I ended up getting a call one evening form a local shelter telling me that they had a terrier that animal control was taking from a home and instead of the dog going to shelter, they asked if I could take it. When we first got Clancey, he was completely emotionless. He had spent the entire first year of his life in a crate. He was not housebroken and had never been groomed. Today he is a completely different dog. In 2005, he was crowned Mr. Neuterverse through a charity event with a local shelter. He was also crowned "Most Patriotic Pooch 2008" in the town that I live in and was featured on the front page of our local paper.

Halloween 2009
 Tiegan I adopted from a local group that rescues dogs from around the country that are on "kill lists." She was rescued from South Carolina and brought up here as a puppy with her siblings. Shortly after arriving, all of the puppies started displaying signs of Parvo. Of the original litter, only her and her brother survived. She came home with me when she was five months old. Since then, she has excelled through obedience training with a local AKC Dog Club I belong to and has competed in both CPE and USDAA agility competitions. In 2006, following in her brother's pawsteps, she was crowned Miss Spay-America 2006.

Tiegan on the boat.
 Charlie is the newest edition to the family. He is not your typical rescue. I had heard through the grapevine that a locally private owned "store" had a Chihuahua that had some medical problems and also had some deformities so he was unable to be certified through the AKC. Since he had all these problems, he was put on clearance. This absolutely broke my heart so my husband and I went and got him. I would like to say that I am completely against purchasing dogs form pet stores and I only did this as it was privately owned and no one wanted him. He is now the king of the house and is very spoiled. I did try obedience training with him, but the fact that he is terrified of his leash, made it absolutely impossible. Instead, we purchased a dog stroller (I can hear you all laughing) and that is how he rolls!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Neurotics Build Castles in The Sky, Psychotics Live in Them, OCD'ers Clean Them, and Psychologists Collect the Rent.

Today I thought I would write about something a little different, although I am sure I will somehow tie it into my fertility journey at the end. Today was therapy day for me and today's focus was my obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) includes the presence of obsessions and/or compulsions that cause major distress or disruption to daily living. However, the way in which symptoms of OCD are experienced varies widely from person to person. Today my therapist, who I have great respect for, was trying to understand how bad my "OCD" really is. She got out a book and started going through the different types based on the nature of symptoms experienced. I will now break them down for you.
  1. Contamination obsessions with washing/cleaning compulsions: Yup, sure do. I hate germs of any type. I freak out if I need to use a public restroom, I cringe when people cough or sneeze, and I now have developed an uncanny fear of doorknobs. My husband has also started referring to me as the "mop whore" as I currently own over a dozen of them with my most recent purchase being the Rubbermaid Reveal Spray Mop (LOVE IT!) He actually makes fun of me as I have all of these mops (and use them all) yet we have a housekeeper!
  2. Harm obsessions with checking compulsions: Yup again. I have a fear of something happening to the important things in my life...my husband, my house, my dogs. Every day when my husband leaves, I have to say "I love you, drive careful, I'll talk to you in a little while" in that order as I have this fear that if I don't, something will happen. Will something really happen? Probably not. But what if I didn't say it and something did happen? 
  3.  Obsessions without visible compulsions or so-called “pure obsessions”: I do not have these (thank God.) These are unwanted obsessions surrounding sexual, religious or aggressive themes.
  4. Symmetry obsessions with ordering, arranging and counting compulsions: Yes, yes, and yes. Have you seen my house? It is completely color matched where I can take a throw pillow, for example, and bring it into any other room and it will match...perfectly. I also enjoy arranging things from shortest to tallest and everything must be in at least 2's and never an odd number. Not only do I do this with my house, I do this with food too. I can't tell you the last time, if ever, I was able to eat a bag of M&Ms without needing to dump them out and arrange them as required.
  5. Hoarding: Absolutely not! If I hoarded, how could I keep everything in order and arranged?
I know how some of these behaviors came about, as they started when I was a little girl. The earliest memory I have of these types of behaviors is when I would lick my hand every time I touched something...I think I was 8 or so. The pure thought that I did this completely disgusts me as I am the complete opposite now. I actually think I thought that licking my hand would clean it...not sure though. The more negative events that took place in my life, the more these behaviors emerged. In my first post about OCD (here) I talked about how my OCD has become worse since starting this fertility journey. It seems that this is how I cope with things; I first obsess over something which triggers anxiety. This anxiety induces a compulsive reaction/behavior and from this, I get relief.

My therapist said that these behaviors are my way of avoiding feelings that I do not want to face. Even though I will never admit it to her, she is absolutely correct. I can't help but think what will happen if I stop these behaviors?!?!

On a funny note, as I was writing this post, my husband walked in to inform me that we officially have no more room for mops as they are bulging out of my cleaning closet! Don't worry, I will find room.

**UPDATE: I would also like to mention that my post "I'm Not Fat, I'm Big Boned" got honorable mention today on Stirrup Queens which can be seen here.**

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Mohicans and Fairy Godmothers

I am officially the Last of the Original Mohicans. I found out today that I am now the last person from my original group not to be pregnant. Don't get me wrong I am ecstatic for them, I am just sad for me. At first, I wasn't thrilled about being part of this "group" as I was in total denial about my infertility but I have come to love these people like family. We have stuck together through the good and the bad, offering each other support. Just seeing these girls brought me great comfort as it reminded me that I was not alone in this journey. Today, however, I feel alone. I have been feeling so positive about this upcoming IVF and now I am feeling a bit overwhelmed. How many more months am I going to have to sit in the "infertility group" that I attend? I am starting to feel defeated in the sense that I am never going to be able to carry a baby. Yes, they fixed the septate uterus, but what if something else is also causing me to miscarry. I can't help but to be scared...terrified. I tried explaining my fear to my husband by using the following analogy:

Imagine if you go to turn on a light switch and you get a shock. You figure it was a fluke and you are willing to try again. The next time you go to turn it on, you get a shock again, this time you are a bit shaken up as you never expected history to repeat itself. You check to make sure that there isn't anything wrong with the switch but you fail to find any defects. Time passes and you go to turn the same switch on, yet again, you get a shock. You have now developed an intense fear of this switch which is automatically triggered every time you think about the switch and each of the shocks you received. For the fourth attempt, you pull out the big guns. You take every precaution to ensure that you don't get a shock, however, it happens again.

I then asked him if after all of that, if he would want to go turn the switch on again? Exactly!

On a completely different note, the "pee fairy" did end up paying me a visit, but it wasn't as expected. All of the fluid was making it difficult to breath so I ended up taking Prednisone early this morning (yes, I am my own pharmacist.) To my complete enjoyment, I ended up with some relief. It was similar to the feeling when you unbutton your pants after stuffing yourself to the point where you get chest pain. Yeah, it was that good! Unfortunately, it didn't last long. I ended up having no choice but to go to my Urologist. He decided to run some labs to check my kidneys and put me on Lasix to help get this fluid off. He also noted that I had some red blood cells and bacteria in my urine so he put me on an antibiotic as well. On a positive note, I left without a catheter this time, and really, what else could a girl ask for, right?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Gotta Go!!

OMG I feel so huge!!! Since my surgery two weeks ago, I have noticed that, well, I can't pee. I have put on about 7 pounds since the weekend and have become quite "puffy." This morning when I got up I decided that I just was too uncomfortable so I called CNY and the nurse suggested that I get in to see my urologist because of all the previous problems I have had with my bladder. I called my urologist's office as soon as they opened and the nurse there said that I could come in tomorrow afternoon but in the meantime, I could straight cath myself. Um, what? She said it as though it was no big deal, like I should have just figured that out for myself. Yeah, let me just reach into my back pocket and pull one out. Really? I quickly assured her that I was not going to die between today and tomorrow but if it came down to it, I would rather die (sarcasm). This is the same nurse from last summer when I had the catheter for 6 weeks, that suggested that I learn to straight cath myself so I could get the indwelling one taken out. Apparently there is a "class" through Bellvue hospital that teaches you how to do this, so I was referred to them. When she called it a class, I pictured a bunch of women who can't pee sitting around without pants, holding mirrors, and...ok, you get the picture. Well, it wasn't like that but I did go and one of the nurse practitioners walked in with a “anyone can do this” attitude as though she was going to teach me how to ride a bike for the first time. Needless to say, it didn't go very well. After 10 minutes of me balling my eyes out, she started feeling sorry for me and agreed that this wasn't going to work...that or she just didn't want to deal with me anymore. Either way, it wasn't something that I was going to do. So after that experience, when the nurse suggested it today, it was like PTSD. The thought of going through that again terrified me. So here I am, writing this blog, waiting for the inevitable combustion of my bladder to take place. I have fully prepared myself for a night with no sleep. Maybe I will get lucky and the “pee” fairy will come visit me tonight and make this all go away…

My goal for tomorrow is to walk out "pee tube" free, having a simple solution to this problem. I think 6 weeks of peeing into a bag is enough for lifetime. I have paid my dues!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Timing Is Everything

Well, I now have 17 days left on the little blue pill from hell and I start Provera in 8 days, but who is counting? Those of you who have been through or are going through IUI or IVF know that we become planners; planners in the sense that we have every day of our upcoming cycle planned out...WAY in advance. We have notebooks full of different timelines based on different scenarios such as AF arriving late or having to stim for longer than expected. The day that AF arrives, we already know our approximate day of retrieval and transfer based on the average number of days we are on stims, we know the first date we could get our BFP, the date of our Beta, our estimated due date, and the date we should be able to see the heartbeat. My obsession, like many others that have had difficulty getting pregnant, started with the ever so popular ovulation calendar/fertility chart.

I started doing these back in November of 2009 after our first loss. I went off of the pill in July after being on it for 16 years. The next time that AF showed was 4 months later, right after our loss. Since my cycles were irregular, my OB/GYN suggested monitoring myself for signs of fertility including increased basal body temperature (BBT) and my favorite, cervical mucus (note the sarcasm.) After much research, I came across a forum where everyone was using these charts. Boy was I confused! Sex Ed. in 5th grade really didn't go into detail how there was only a 36 hour window each cycle in which we could get pregnant. Hell, if I would have known this, I never would have taken birth control to begin with! After realizing that I had to get up at the same time every day in order for my BBT to be accurate, I purchased a fertility monitor that would tell me when I was ovulating.

This thing was great, all you had to do was pee on a stick every morning when it told you to, pop it in the slot, and 5 minutes later it would tell you if your fertility was low, high, or peak. The only issue is that you have a 6 hour window to do this and my travel was making this difficult. I still remember having to take a flight for a meeting and having to use the coffin like bathroom on the puddle jumper of a plane I was on just so I wouldn't miss my window...not a fun experience! After 3 months of using it, it worked. After my second loss in March 2010, all I could think about was how I was going to have to do all of this temp taking, stick peeing, timed intercourse crap all over again. When CNY told me that I didn't have to worry about a thing and to just call them when AF arrived, I was relieved. Little did I know how much more worrying I would do! Instead of just worrying about when I ovulated, I was now worrying about every aspect, of every cycle.

So here is a rundown of the schedule that I have made myself as of today. This is subject to change based on my body not cooperating and the results of the SHG:

5/17-Start Provera with Estrace and continue for 10 days
5/30-Expected arrival of AF, Start BCP and schedule SHG
6/19-Last BCP
6/22-Expected arrival of AF
6/25-Start stims
7/2-Trigger shot
7/4-Egg Retrieval
7/7-CGH biopsy
7/9-Egg Transfer
7/18-Beta HCG
EDD 3/30/12 *this date is a bit overwhelming for me as this is the same exact due date I had from the loss in August. Now sure how I feel about this...*

So there you have it. I know that this seems like a bit much, but it makes the time that I have to wait so much more bearable.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Is This Day Over Yet?

I have spent the past month or so prepping myself for this day. I started layering on the protective armor as if I was going to war. Every day I would put on another layer so that I would be properly shielded from the upcoming attack. Unfortunately, all that prep work didn't do any good. The minute I woke up today I was overcome with sadness. My armor was not strong enough to withstand today's ammunition. Today, I had nothing to celebrate. I was surrounded by people who were happy and excited for this dreadful holiday to be here. Me, not so much. How could I celebrate a day that brings me so much pain? Today I should be holding my child in my arms, thanking God for the gift he has given me. But I have nothing. Nothing to show for the pain, heartache, and loss I have endured. Today, I am not alone. I am connected to others who are feeling the same. Some who have had their babies taken away, and others who have faced loss through repeated failed cycles. For this we are mothers. We are the mothers who have gone to hell and back for the child we have yet to meet. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you today. I know that this is a difficult day for all of us, but please take comfort in knowing that you are not alone.

After each loss, my husband and I buy an angel and put the date of loss on the bottom to commemorate our angel babies. They are with me in spirit and I am comforted just knowing that they are watching over me.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Question of the Year

As some of you already know, I underwent a uterine septum resection back on the 28th. It was found during a routine hysteroscopy that my RE decided to do to ensure that I didn't have any polyps or fibroids. He also wanted to check the condition of my lining as I have a chronic problem with it being thin. So after nearly two years of hell, and four miscarriages, we finally figure out that I have a septate uterus. Many people are asking me "Aren't you mad?" or "What are you going to do about this?" Every time I am asked that question, I freeze. I really don't know what to say. Should I be mad that the last 22 months have been a complete waste? Should I be mad that I have put my body through hell, injecting myself with viscous hormones and other drugs time and time again, without the possibility of a successful pregnancy? Should I be mad that I have had four very precious, miraculous gifts taken away from me when all of this could have been prevented? Sitting here, looking at those questions I just wrote, I can't help but cry. I can feel this burning sensation resonating thorough my entire body, as if I were on fire. However, I am quickly overcome by complete sadness for myself, my husband, and what we have lost.

After being in and out of therapy for the last 19 years, yes 19, I am finally starting to allow myself to experience emotions that I have never felt before. I have become quite good at letting myself feel sadness, however, letting myself feel anger has always been difficult. Today was different though. As I was going through a stack of papers that have been residing on my nightstand for the past eight or so months, I came across a stack of adoption information. Before going into my last IVF cycle, my husband and I met with two adoption agencies so I would know that we had other options if the IVF didn't work. Looking at this stuff made me remember the feeling of hopelessness I felt going to these agencies, knowing that my dream of creating my own child may never happen. My anger starts to set in. Knowing that if time and care would have been taken when I had the SHG this past fall, this recent tragedy could have been prevented. I even had a pelvic MRI in March of last year when I was hospitalized for nearly two weeks as I was experiencing horrible abdominal pain with my second pregnancy. How could they have not seen this?

So to answer everyone's question, yes, I am angry. I am not angry at anyone in particular, just at the whole situation. I am allowing myself to feel this anger as it is the only way I will be able to move on and move forward with our next cycle of IVF.

I can grieve my losses, cry tears of sadness, and even become enraged with anger, yet nothing I do can turn back the hands of time and take it all away. I am going to allow myself to feel the way I want to feel, then take all of that energy and put it into making my next cycle the best one yet.

Friday, May 6, 2011

I'm Not Fat, I'm Big Boned

Actually, I prefer the word "puffy." It sounds so much less permanent and more like an ailment from a illness or disease, something that isn't my fault. What triggered me to write this post you ask? Well, this morning I woke up kind of late and for those of you who know me I am a complete prima donna and I can't leave the house unless everything is perfect; my hair, my makeup, my outfit. So this morning my alarm goes off 45 minutes prior to the time I need to leave the house. So, since I take 45 minutes just to flatiron my hair (I have a modified afro), I decided to just pull my hair back into a low ponytail to save time. I first did my makeup because pulling my hair off my face without any makeup results in me looking like Mick Jagger. So after plastering on my completed face, I swept my hair back and secured it with an elastic band. I then grabbed my hand mirror to make sure every hair was perfectly in place when I suddenly noticed that I didn't recognize my neck. Where did all this creases come from? When did my neck grow to be as big as the Incredible Hulk's? To me, I looked like a petite version of the Michelin Man. (It is important to understand that this is actually the first time I have pulled my hair back in a long time as my hair has been too short.)

Since starting this journey almost 2 years ago, I have put on a considerable amount of weight. Between being pregnant 4 times and injecting myself with the same hormones they use to beef up cows, I have put on a good 30 pounds, despite my recent 14 pound loss (YAY ME!) With the warmer weather right around the corner, I am finding myself getting depressed and discouraged over these rolls, divots and lumps that now adorn my body. Until further notice I have boycotted shorts, bathing suits, and any other article of clothing that will make me resemble Kirstie Alley. Unfortunately, this incredible girth expansion is something that goes along with fertility treatments. There are very few women that I know that haven't plumped up as a result of IVF or IUI, and I am not saying that I hate them, but I do. So today I have decided to take an official stand..."I may have put on weight, I may not fit into all my cute summer cloths, and I may even look a bit like Marshmallow Man from the Ghostbuster’s, but dammit, I am doing this because I am a fertility force to be reckoned with. I am willing to do whatever it takes, for however long it may take, to create that one thing in life that I long for, a family of my own."

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Little Evil Blue Pill

So today I was driving around and the birds were singing, the sun was shining, little girls with braids were skipping through fields full of sunflowers and I was looking for some innocent victim to unleash my wrath on. I am on Day 8 of the pill from hell Estradiol and to think that I have 22 more days to go, makes me want to take a long drive off of a short bridge! Over the past few days I have turned into Dr. Evil and I am out to destroy the world! I have developed an amazing ability to turn any nice, fun, enjoyable situation into a horrible, painful, wretched ordeal. Okay, maybe I'm not that bad but my horns are sure sticking up beyond my hair. Oh, and the constant nausea that is resulting in uncontrollable dry heaving as I lack the ability to ever vomit again (long story) is adding to severity of this unpleasantness.

On a positive note, I have officially changed my blog over from a cheesy blogspot blog, to an official website with my own personal domain. I am hoping to find a way to take what I have been through and turn it into something useful and positive that could help others who are going through similar experiences. So, feel free to share this site with everyone you know. I have a great deal of knowledge and I am more than happy to help in any way that I can!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Something hit me today, and it hit like a bag of bricks. Over the past year or so my OCD behavior as intensified. It has become so much worse that I sit for an hour at a time, two days a week, in therapy to try to overcome these behaviors...and to apparently get in touch with emotions that I have ignored my entire life, but that is another story for another time. When I was sitting having coffee today with one of my "Fertile Friends," (I hate that label!) I realized that these behaviors have intensified since I have going through these loses. I have been aware that they have become worse over the past couple of years but I never made that connection, or maybe it was because I didn't WANT to make that connection. I have had a really difficult time my entire life opening up to people and talking about my feelings and emotions, hence the "Professional Therapy Client" title that I have earned over the years. So today I went out on a limb and I tried talking a bit about how these behaviors came to be so bad. I started remembering how the first loss was a very new experience for me and I was naturally devastated. I somehow recovered quite quickly and jumped back into the world of TTC. When I got pregnant unexpectedly the second time, never in a million years did I ever think that it would happen again. I started telling my friend about what went through my mind the moment I looked at the ultrasound and realized that the heart was no longer beating. I remember grabbing the pillow that my head was resting on and pressing it over my face as I let out this ferocious scream. Since this was my last ultrasound before being discharged from CNY to my regualr OB, my husband was not with me. The nurse recognizing that I was not okay, called my husband to come get me. I really didn't say much. I just remember them telling me to come back in the morning for a D&C. I don't remember much between that and the next morning, but I remember not sleeping at all the night. All I kept telling myself is that they were wrong and that everything was okay. I actually called CNY as soon as they opened in the morning and told them that I wasn't coming in for the D&C because they were wrong. I was convinced that if I had another ultrasound that everything would be okay. I called my primary care doctor and asked him to please order an ultrasound. When I started sobbing uncontrollably on the phone is when he finally said to come right in. Needless to say, I was wrong. The ultrasound tech came in, started looking around on the screen and said "I am sorry, your baby no longer has a heartbeat." This feeling of failure suddenly came over me. God had given me this precious gift and I wasn't able to protect it. I failed as a mother.

As a child, I learned how to protect myself at a young age and that eventually turned into an obsession to protect everything in my life that was important. I have developed rituals that I truly believe help keep bad things from happening. This experience was the first time in my life that I was not able to have some control over what happened. In a way, I was angry that I could not attribute anything that I did to what happened. At least if I could do that, I could prevent it from ever happening again. Since starting this entire journey, I have been forced to give up all control, something that is very difficult for me. I am very vulnerable and I don't like it. Learning how to give up control is one of the greatest challenges I will ever face in life. I am just hoping that one day, I can overcome this fear.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

When life knocks you down you have two choices-stay down or get up.

After a yearlong "hiatus" from blogging, I have decided to come back. I have realized that I need this more than ever as I do not have the strength to continue this journey alone. So much has happened over the past year (I will recap in a minute) that has left me feeling alone, ashamed, and heartbroken. I have no idea how I am still standing but somehow I have pushed ahead and I am still fighting. So as promised, here is a recap:

Last March I went through my second miscarriage after getting pregnant naturally. It sadly ended right before my 9th week. After going through this trauma, I decided that I did not want to do this on my own anymore. Since I was already an established patient at CNY, I was able to jump right into ART. Since we knew I was able to get pregnant, we decided to start with IUI. The IUI in June was a bust so we did another one in July. Happily it worked but sadly it ended, yet again, right before my 9th week. To make matters even worse I ended up with some major problems after the D&C. My bladder ended up shutting down (not related to the D&C) and I was catheterized for over 6 weeks. After a break so I could heal, we did a 3rd IUI in October but it didn't work. At this point I was done with IUIs. I was already injecting myself with an ungodly amount of medication for the IUI, so why not move on to IVF which will increase our odds of success.

We did our first IVF in December. We found out two days before the New Year that we were pregnant. Unfortunately the joy was short lived as my HCG went down and then it plateaued so the pregnancy was deemed ectopic. Initially, my HCG declined steadily over the first couple of weeks following the Methotrexate injection but then it slowed and ended up plateauing. I received a second round of Methotrexate and that seemed to do the trick. About 9 weeks into my HCG decline, my numbers started going back up. My RE was concerned that I was pregnant again, but I quickly informed him that you needed to have sex to get pregnant, so we were able to quickly rule that out. Since I already had 2 rounds of Methotrexate, my RE decided that we were going to do another D&C and another round of Methotrexate. About a week later, we received the pathology reports from the D&C. It said that there were "products of conception" in the sample which indicates that I had an intrauterine pregnancy as well as an ectopic. So not only was I dealing with the initial loss, I was now dealing with the fact that I lost two babies, not one.

After all of this my RE decided that he would not let me do another IVF until I had a hysteroscopy. This was done under anesthesia and was a very quick, painless procedure. I remember being wheeled out of the recovery room back into my room where my husband was waiting for me. I looked at him and said "so everything was fine, right?" He looked at me but didn't answer me. I immediately got upset and demanded that he tell me what was going on. I was so upset that I could only make out part of what he was saying so I yelled for the nurse. Not realizing it was almost 6pm, and not that I cared, I demanded that she call my RE as I needed to speak to him immediately. As soon as I heard his voice I calmed down but I wasn't expecting the news that he was about to deliver. He informed me that I had a septate uterus and that is what was causing all of these miscarriages. Just to confirm, he sent me for a MRI the following day. On the 28th of April I went back into the hospital and had the septum removed. I am on Estrogen Replacement Therapy for 3 more weeks. During my last 10 days of Estrogen, I will take Provera which is a progesterone based drug, and this will induce AF. When she rears her ugly face I will start on BCP and go in for a SHG to make sure the septum is completely gone. If all is clear I will be able to start my next IVF cycle the middle of June. I am excited but my RE did say that sometimes a second surgery is needed, so I am not too excited.

So there you have it. I think I did a great job recapping this nightmare what I have been through since my last post.