March 28, 2013

Digging Deep

I have read, and I have probably even said, that going through fertility treatments takes great strength. I believe that. And yet, I don't feel strong at all. I feel incredibly weak and broken. If I am whole, I am littered with cracks and chinks - so very fragile.

Today I feel normal, like myself, for the first time in 2 weeks. Last night, while I cried on M's shoulder, I told him he is enough for me. I don't *have* to have children. I *want* to have children. He said that I am all he ever wanted. I said I am willing to do another IUI in May and hope that I won't have the same extreme reaction to the meds. If I don't become a basket case at the end of that cycle, I can go through with the third and final IUI. If I *do* have a very strong reaction to the meds again, I am done. There is no point putting myself through the emotional meat-grinder ad infinitum when this clearly isn't working.

Yesterday I spent a lot of time exploring child free not by choice blogs. The room no one wants to enter on the Stirrup Queens' Blogroll. Every Infertile's worst nightmare. Their blogs are proof to me that there is life after treatment cessation, and it does not have to be full of sorrow over what might have been and crying over daily reminders of what you don't have. I also learned something important from their stories. By the time they finally stopped treatments, most of them were so emotionally exhausted, so completely heartbroken by their struggles, that they could not even consider other avenues of having children. They didn't have it left in them to go through the process of adoption even if they wanted to because of how much infertility treatments had scarred them. Others had kept at treatments into their 40's and were "too old for consideration" by many adoption agencies (public adoptions aren't as strict, but its very hard to adopt an infant that way).

Not that I am judging their (or anyone's) choices, but I don't want to be that. I don't want to keep at this until I am a beaten, bloody pulp, completely unrecognizable even to myself. That's not how I would choose to end it. I think IVF would do that to me. IUI is already practically doing that to me. I want to say enough is enough while I still have years left to grieve my loss, think about pursuing adoption, and enough of my heart and mind still in tact to carry me through the difficult filing process if that's what we choose to do. I'm not willing to let the pursuit of children destroy me and my relationships with other people. I can make peace with my life without having to go that far.

I know that medicated cycling makes me crazy. I also know that when I am *not* cycling, I am normal. I can see babies, mothers, pregnant women, and NOT want to hang myself. Yes it hurts, but it DOES NOT ruin my day. And I can keep in mind all of the wonderful things I *do* have, and the experiences that are possible in a future without children.

So I am digging deep, finding the strength to get back on the hormone roller coaster at least one more time. I can see the exit in the distance, and that definitely helps for now.

March 25, 2013

Standing at the End of the Road with Nothing in My Hands

This cycle failed so spectacularly. More than I was prepared for. I spotted so early. It was so obvious there was no room for even the tiniest hope. And I cried more over this failure than the last several put together. I couldn't tell you why.

I didn't think these last three cycles would be so painful. I thought I had perfected a certain level of emotional detachment. I can't seem to bury my hope and optimism deep enough, they still reach out to hurt me. I am so raw sometimes I wish I was on a deserted island. I want so badly to reach out, to my husband, to my friends, to my family. But what's the point? There are no words that make this better or bearable. I've never tried so hard at something I have sucked *so bad* at in my life.

And a part of me beats myself up for getting so upset over this. This is the *absence* of something - no one has hurt me, nothing has been done to me. Sorrow over something that has never existed is too abstract. There is real pain in the world, pain I will hopefully never know. I beat myself up for every useless tear. Being sad doesn't help anything and I should know better by now. M doesn't know what to do with me. He holds me and tells me he loves me, but he doesn't pretend to understand.

I don't think I'm afraid of living "child free". I'm afraid of living child free in a world that is very judgmental of that life. At a certain age "Are you married?" and "Do you have kids?" become some of the first questions asked upon meeting. And people make immediate assumptions when you say you don't have any kids. Some of those assumptions can be pretty mean. I can't control what other people think, I know that. And I shouldn't let it upset me because whatever they think, they are probably dead wrong. I know that too. But I didn't *choose* this life. It chose me. And that makes me very insecure. There's a big club that 80% of women in the world are a part of, and it is looking like I will be banned.

I honestly don't know if I can do this for another 2 cycles. I'm not stupid - nothing has worked up til now, there isn't any reason why it should the next time. There is no reason I know of why I shouldn't be pregnant, and yet I'm NOT. And my odds don't change based on how many cycles I do. It will always hover around 15%, more or less.  Its not like I'm getting all of my failures out of the way and there is definitely a BFP at the end of this road.

The end of the road...I thought the end was still in my future, but maybe it is my present. I just don't know if I have it in me to face more self-induced heart-ache. I want to live without this millstone around my heart, weighing down everything else in my life until all I can see is what I *don't* have. I don't know how some people manage to keep at this for years on end. Shouldn't I cut my losses and run while my soul is cracked in big enough pieces to still glue back together?

March 22, 2013


The TWW is hard - we all know that. I struggle with the first week because nothing happens that gives me any clues and I just have to reiterate to myself that there is a greater chance it *didn't* work than that it *did*. Then we get to 7DPO (or DPIUI as I am counting this cycle). I can start spotting as early as halfway through my TWW. I always *always* spot before AF arrives, just sometimes sooner and other times later. I had a weird pinch-y cramping yesterday in the area of my uterus. Then later that day, there was a teeny bit of pinkish-red blood when I wiped. My first thought was "Well, that was over fast", followed quickly by "But it could be *implantation* spotting!", remembering the weird cramps. This, however, was followed even more quickly by "Hahaha, God that is so stupid."

I dutifully headed to the lab for my progesterone blood draw this morning. The paperwork for this lab was folded up with optional lab work next week for a beta. As if I will *ever* be using that. When I went to the restroom later in the morning, there was more spotting. Guess its all downhill from here, folks.

In a way, its sort of convenient that my body gives me signals it has failed early. I have time to get used to the idea before the dreaded morning when I have to pee on a stick so I can gulp my conciliatory glass of wine guilt-free. Its not like if I wasn't spotting right now I would be living on hopes and dreams that this cycle worked. I would just be even more vigilant to remind myself that statistics are not on my side.

On the other hand, its very frustrating to be pretty certain you are not pregnant and yet to continue to deny yourself alcohol; especially when a day at work leaves you weighing the odds on homicide vs. developing a drinking problem. ::sigh:: It will be over soon enough I guess.


March 19, 2013

I Should Be Pre-Emptively Caged

I have really...*strong* reactions to fertility drugs. The side effects always seem amplified for me. I've known a couple women IRL who used HCG shots and they didn't have any noticeable side effects. But me? Well, right now its kinda like this:

Add some rage and then sobbing uncontrollably and you'll have a good idea of how my day has gone today. Damn HCG shot. And I'm only 4DPIUI and the shot will probably be in my system for another 3 days or so. Three more days of an un-caged crazy person. Good times for *everybody*!

I'd love to regale you with symptom spotting, hopeful thinking, and random factoids like what my potential due date is, but that's just not me anymore. I think I felt my boob twinge on Sunday or something. I'm out of HPTs and I'm struggling to decide whether to buy a box or just wait for AF. I HATE using pee sticks, I really do. But, AF always takes her sweet time to show up and I depend on alcohol as my crutch through the end of a failed cycle...just can't decide.

I really expected this TWW to fly by because of how insanely busy I am at work, but actually it is dragging *desperately* slow.

March 15, 2013

Lesson: Don't Complain

My IUI was scheduled for 10am. Around 10:50 the doctor was finally in the room.

On a normal day, I would be fine. I get it - shit happens, its people's health we are talking about after all. Besides, both my parents are nurses, I *know* how crazy the schedule can be.

But today I had a lot more going on besides the IUI. In fact, overall, the IUI was a major inconvenience in my day. Today is my mom's last day of work. She was laid off from a job she LOVES and has performed exceptionally at for over 10 years. This is a very hard blow for her and the rest of the family. So yeah, the IUI was really not my focus today. I needed to go buy my mom flowers and take them to my sister's house and then go in to work (which has been insane), but the delay was eating into all my spare time.

So I may have been a little snippy when Dr. B finally came in and I asked if they were really backed up because my appointment time was actually an hour ago. Cue brief story about two women who's lives were basically ruined this morning: one lost her early pregnancy and one might have uterine cancer. And that's why the doctor was late. And I'm the bitch who complained.

Lesson learned: NEVER COMPLAIN.

Anyway, the IUI itself went fine. 45 million washed, wiggly sperm - I told them Bon Voyage. Overall we didn't break the bank on this either: $210 for collection, wash, and analysis, $185 for insemination, $52 for the Ovidrel.

I was also anxious because M was with me, but he had to leave by 11 to go to work and for some reason it is very important to me that he be there for my IUIs. At least then I can say he was definitely present when I got pregnant (oh isn't that *cute*, I made an assumption I will ever be pregnant). It got really close with how delayed everything was, but M was able to stay. Although he left while I was still on the table watching the egg timer tick down.

If I get pregnant, I will know by Easter and, more importantly, M's birthday. But the more likely scenario is that on Maundy Thursday or Good Friday I will start spotting. I will have myself a cry, hate everything for a few hours, and avoid church (which is a lousy thing to do, but Good Friday service is the LAST thing I want to sit through when I'm already feeling so low). Hopefully by Easter I will be ready to smile again and move on.

Cheers, everyone!

March 14, 2013

Quick Update

Did my trigger shot last night around 9:30. Happy birthday to me ;-) IUI is tomorrow morning at 10! Part of me is getting excited and another part of me is hanging back and acting like everything I am doing is part of some ridiculous hobby. "Oh, shooting myself up with hormones? Yeah, its like fishing for me. I probably won't catch anything, but I'm having fun anyway, you know?"

No, it is not fun. But if that kind of mindset keeps me from being depressed, then I'll go with it. At this point, I don't even know what I would do if I got a positive pregnancy test. I've worked SO HARD over the past year to not allow my life to revolve around my IF treatments or planning for any "what if" children that a BFP would probably knock me on my ass and it would take me quite a while to adjust my thinking.

And that's another reason why it is easier to go through a medicated cycle assuming that absolutely nothing will come of it. Because 80% or more of the time, I will be correct.

I like being right, even when its wrong. That's deep.

March 11, 2013

So Happy Together

I take it back. I take back every bad thing I said about Femara. I'm fully converted and ready to skip through a field of daisies with my new best friend!

Why, you may ask? Why the sudden change when only a few days ago I cursed the name Femara?

Well, first of all, I'm extremely hormonal; so its to be expected that my mood will swing from spitting vitriol to hugs and kisses and ponies. Second of all, I had my mid cycle ultrasound this morning, on CD12. The right ovary is doing nothing, just chilling. But the left, Oh The Left!! Three BIG, JUICY (ew) follicles :-D Two 17mm and one 16mm. The nurse said this is an amazing response for Femara because they expect to see only one *maybe* two good follies. But *three*?? Three amazing, stupendous, GINORMOUS (for me, this early in the cycle anyway) follies? Its like a dream come true :-) I wanted to yell a big "Fuck yeah!" right there in the exam room.

So the plan for the rest of the week is trigger Wednesday night (my birthday, so maybe there will be good luck? As opposed to the last two years of cycles on my birthday...) and IUI Friday morning. This is going to be an expensive cycle because we're having M's sample analyzed again for morphology etc. I want to make sure his stats are still good enough that we aren't throwing away money on more medicated cycles. However, thanks to M's job, we have a Flex Spending Account where we've been squirreling away money each paycheck. So there's a few hundred dollars in it to help off-set the costs of the IUI.

My appointment this morning has put me in a great mood. I can even forget about the Hell-on-Earth experience that was my trip this past weekend. I can even forgive the fact I am turning 29 (just gonna keep claiming 28 for a few years more) and my birthday plans are completely jacked. Huzzah!

March 07, 2013

Wherein My Body Likes to Fuck With Me...

"Take Femara", they said. "Its SOO much better than clomid", they said.

Well you know what my body has to say to that?


I'm guessing at this point that my body revels in experiencing side effects out of the pure sadistic pleasure of watching me suffer. Or would that be masochistic...? The hot flashes started two nights ago. Two nights of lousy sleep so far. Also, M has been witness to some pretty amusing mood swings where I have thrown my phone and cursed like a sailor one minute and snuggled lovingly with him the next. He's old hat at the Jekyll and Hyde routine now, so these things don't even phase him.

I think the lynch pin that causes my side effects to go from "annoying" to "RUINING MY LIFE" is the lack of sleep. When I don't sleep well, things get weird *fast* because my thoughts get disjointed and irrational. One of these days M is going to find me frantically circling random letters in the newspaper and stringing a room with yarn making non-existent connections between current events. The aliens *are* coming ladies and gentlemen, please don your aluminum foil hats now:

Does anybody else have such a severe reaction to poor sleep? Anyone? ...Bueller?

Compounding the run-of-the-mill, infertility-medicine-induced crazy is a family trip I'm taking this weekend. My entire family (including my sometimes-belligerantly-grumpy dad and often-Debbie-downer brother) is sojourning North to visit our extended family for a long weekend. Now, I love my immediate family. And I *love* my extended family. But we are some jacked-up people who, 80% of the time, do a good job at pretending we all just waltzed out of a Norman Rockwell painting. The other 20% of the time? I couldn't say, I'm very good at suppressing memories ::crazed grin:: I'm just praying this is a pleasant trip with minimal drama and I can get back to my regularly scheduled level of crazy on Monday.

And Lord, please grant me some decent sleep before I accuse the cat of plotting to kill us. Oh wait... he is!

March 01, 2013

We Are a Go

Alright, kiddies, we're officially back in the swing of things.

In approximately 15 days I'll be back up in those oh-so-familiar stirrups for IUI #2. Aunt Flo had to pick the worst day of the week to arrive (Thursday), of course. The RE's office was booked up for Thursday and Friday so I get to wait until Monday (CD5) to get my baseline u/s out of the way. That is also the day I am supposed to start meds, so I get to PRAY that my pharmacy doesn't randomly run out of Femara because I have no room for error. That also gives me only 10 days to get my trigger shot ordered and shipped. Pretty sure that is the minimal amount of time they need. What could *possibly* go wrong, right?? ::panicked smile::

This schedule also inadvertently ruins my birthday plans because by the time I will have an available weekend to get together with friends (read: drink heavily) I will be halfway through my TWW...FML, while we're throwing acronyms around... Who wants to be 29 anyway.

At least I have advanced warning that Easter and the first week of April are going to be touchy, so I should start digging myself a cave to crawl into in the backyard. You know, to protect the public from my post-negative-pregnancy-test, ray-of-freaking-sunshine self:

 Oh grumpy cat, you know just what to say.

I'll be sure to update you all on the Femara side effects. Crossing my fingers that I won't have to endure those memorably horrific hot flashes... I could use your prayers/good vibes/ happy thoughts this month. I don't think I have it in me to be hopeful or think positive. I can get through this if I am as emotionally detached from the process as possible.