1 is the loneliest number

Took my Hcg test and it was 1. As I told a friend … it wasn’t 1 million or 1 thousand. It was just 1. Here’s a little secret, I peed on a stick the morning of the test and knew it would come up negative. Made it a little easier to manage the day seeing as my doctor never got in touch with us. What, you ask? That’s right — apparently she doesn’t take faxes on Saturday, so she didn’t know the results until I called her at 7:30 P.M. Is she is a crazy bitch or is she just into torturing people? We think a little bit of both. Alas, there’s nothing we can do except crack open a bottle of wine, enjoy an injection-free morning, and look forward. And look forward we will do.

But, hindsight being 20/20, we have had some thoughts about our process. Firstly, failure was never an option for us. We never thought about it. We never thought IVF wouldn’t work. We thought once we got my eggs and my hubby’s sperm together, the rest would take care of itself. Secondly, because we never expected to fail, we never asked some key questions. Namely: what is the average number of cycles a woman goes through before conceiving? Nationally it’s three. Some women go through IVF more than 8 or 10 times. Some go through it only once. We all go through it for different reasons, but we would have gone in with a different mindset it we had asked about the national average. Of course it’s an average, but looking at three cycles (cost and emotional toll included) is different than expecting only one. Thirdly, at certain points along the way we needed to demand better care. This is not to say our doctor didn’t work to her best ability or the hospital to its, but there were some moments when our doctor treated us like a problem, like infertility, and not a couple dealing with a tough and very personal issue. Friend of ours who went through IVF thought we’d have a different experience because we went to a private doctor not a teaching clinic. Not so. Apparently jaded (at times asshole) fertility docs are everywhere.

Now — what to do next? I have never been so excited to be off hormones. And red wine never tasted so good. Even bad wine tasted like nectar from the gods. I’m hoping the night sweats fade and the leaky va-j-j  is almost cleaned out. Of course, I know many of these symptoms will return when I do get pregnant, but for now I am happy to return to my body with my hormones.

Lots of conversation is to be had as to how we’re going to proceed. We’ll know more once we check in with out doc in person, get a second opinion, and move through the options how we can best build our family. For now, I am throwing myself at the mercy of the best acupuncturist in SF and listening to everything he tells me to do. He’s cheaper than IVF, and I love seeing my mom when I drift off. Not a bad deal.

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Double dip depression

Just like the economy, I too have experienced the double dip. On the Monday before our transfer our doctor was a little too forthright with her opinion. She knocked me down. Slapped me around a bit. Made me feel like a problem not a patient. We rallied, we painted the bathroom, we held to each other tighter than before. The second dip was a little unexpected and came on Wednesday. It was awful (my new favorite word).

The two week wait really should be called two weeks of hell. Ok, I take that back. Not all 14 days of the two weeks is bad. It’s the final five day push to my blood test that have been the hardest. I have been distracted. I have been lethargic. I have been over analyzing every small feeling in my body. My face looks like that of an acne plagued high schooler. My boobs are sore. My ass is tired of needles. And my brain … well it hurts from trying to not think but clearly thinking way too much.

So on Wednesday as my husband went to a meeting and I stayed in the office to “work”, I dipped into real sadness. It was overwhelming. If I had a private office I would have cried at my desk. Instead I attempted to grade papers — HA! — but really ended up color coding my day planner and reading stupid stuff on the internet. Then I went home and sulked while listening to an audiobook. My husband tried to be funny and light-hearted. He tried to cheer me up. But it just made me mad. That’s another thing I have learned through IVF: it’s ok to be angry. As long as I know I’m angry I can tell my spouse: I’m angry right now, but it’s not about you.

With Thursday came a clearer head. My sleep has been terrible as I’m not only raging with hormones but also stress, but I woke up able to remind myself to keep this all in perspective. And while I don’t mean to sound trivial about how much this hurts, it honestly could be worse. Much worse. I have good support around me. A loving spouse. An adorable dog. A great job and career. In the grand scheme of life, this is just another moment. It’s not the moment. Just one. It’s during our hardest times that we must remind ourselves to look forward and around rather than back or into the things we do not have. As we settle into where we are rather than where we wish we were we can avoid the double (or triple) dip and just go with it all. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself.

Blood test in less than 24 hours! Here’s to some closure and a new beginning.

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Small moments

I am a teacher and I love my job. Yes there are moments when my students drive me mad (like on Monday when they were complaining about a quiz), but for 95% of the time I do believe I have the best job in the world. I also work at a great school with good colleagues, so that helps. So it was from my work that I got my daily dose of glee:

1. Ninth grade girls eagerly wanted to know if I had finished The Hunger Games during my absence last week. I didn’t. They want to have lunch ASAP so we can talk about the book and which boy I like better. Adorable!

2. A parent has agreed to speak to my class on a topic about which he is an expert. His child is not even in my class this year.

3. A writer has promised to skype in to my writing course to talk about his experiences in the writing world. I love technology.

Four days until the blood test …

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Daily joy

“… joy’s soul lies in the doing.” — Shakespeare’s Troilus & Cressida

Here’s my pledge for the week: feel gratitude for the little joys I experience each day. I do this regularly, but I feel like as this week moves forward this practice is even more important.

My joys

1. Taking my dog for a long walk. Doc said no long walks until today. Funny how much I missed this nightly ritual with my husband and our dog.

2. Reading my BFFs blog and (again) realizing why she’s my BFF. Our divergent yet parallel experiences astound me.

3. Laughing at my hubby when a snot bubble exploded out of his nose on the drive home from work.

4. Getting a hysterical youtube video from a friend.

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The wait continues

So I am in the midst of the popular and ever exciting 2ww. You have no idea what that means, either? Two Week Window. I’m starting to learn some fertility jargon and abbreviations and this is the first one I may be willing to use. The two week wait happens after ovum harvest and transfer. Doc needs to make sure all of the trigger shot is out of my system and the only HcG detectable is coming from my own body. Let’s hope there’s plenty of that when I get my blood test on Saturday.

So, until Saturday, the only thing I can focus on is resting, relaxing, and looking forward to getting back to work and life. Back to work and life as a pregnant lady, of course!

I’ve had plenty of couch rest and bed rest. Many days to relax on the couch, sleep off the stress of stimulation, and otherwise do my best to welcome our little embryo into its new home. I’ve gotten some acupuncture, eaten plenty of chicken and pineapple per my acupuncturist’s recommendation, and laughed a lot with some close friends. Thank goodness for good friends near and far. It always amazes me how females can lift each other up even during the worst of times.

My goal is to be in good spirits. I feel I have experienced a year’s worth of emotion in the last week and  I’m just not willing to give into the chaos of anything but a positive outcome. Pun intended. 😉

It’s raining. It’s perfect indoor, soup weather. Dog is snuggled by my side. Law & Order SVU marathon is on. Do I live in paradise? Yup.

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And then there was 1

“Are you sure you called the right people? The doctor really wants us to head in for a transfer? You’re sure? Ok, we’ll be there are 9:15am.”

That was the conversation my husband had with our doctor yesterday afternoon. In the midst of our mental health day (we were already resigned to the fact that this cycle was not a success, so we decided to paint the bathroom), we got the news that in fact our embryos were still chugging along in the lab. What? Craziness.

This morning our doctor transferred in one 8-cell, B-grade embryo. The other little one didn’t make it (it arrested — fancy word for stopped growing). But the other little miracle made it to the perfect transfer size and we couldn’t be more excited or proud. Now, we know we have a long road ahead of us and a lot of shots of progesterone in my ass (seriously, why are these so painful?), but we’ve made it farther than our doctor ever imagined so we’ll take it!

We have many supporters both near and far cheering for us, thinking of us, and praying for us. Where would we be without them? And of course, where would we be without our dog. She’s the best nurse, best snuggler, best thing to take your mind off the chaos of IVF. If you are going through IVF or any sort of fertility bullshit, get a dog. She’ll save you more than you could ever imagine. And, she’ll look adorable in a hairnet!

Cautiously optimistic. Reporting from the couch.

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Still at 2

When you don’t hear from your doctor you start thinking about the worst case scenarios. The eggs fell apart. We need to do this again. But then the doctor calls and really tells you what you never, ever want to hear: you could go through this again, but I would start thinking of Plan B — either egg donation or adoption. I appreciate that my doctor is to the point and focused on success (success meaning we expand our family), but seriously?! This is what she’s thinking?? You might as well slap me, maybe shoot me, and otherwise tell me I’m a failure. Awful. Terrible. Worst thing to ever hear. Ok, not as bad as my mom’s death, but this ranks a very close second. So I cried. And then I got a hold of myself.


WHAT THE FUCK???!!!!!!!!

Things could be worse. I did not get news that I am terminally ill. Neither did my husband or best friend or dad or brother or others that I love. As my BFF reminded me: miracles happen. As another friend reminded me: there is more than one way to become a parent. And, this process might not be over …. there are two embryos fighting the good fight in the lab. Yes, two! They are beating the odds and we’ll know more tomorrow, but we’re hoping those little suckers are fighters, just like me. They are long distance athletes: like me they get stronger the longer the race goes on.

Here’s to the two little ones in the lab. Here’s a big F-U to the world (momentarily). And here’s to getting a grip on this and conquering it. Like I said in my first post … put me on the starting line and I know I will finish. I may stumble and cry and take a few hits to my confidence, but by god I will finish!

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