Let the games begin!

We got the call this morning that a Day 3 transfer was in our future. Sure we would have loved a Day 5, but since I have advanced maternal age at the ripe old age of 35 1/2 (HA!), the clinic’s protocol is to go with a Day 3 transfer if there aren’t five 6-cell embryos. I had four 8-cell and two that were 5-cell. So, I just missed the cut-off. Oh well. Lucky for us, we had some choice this time. We were also part of a new study that takes pictures and video of the embryos growing, and gives a recommendation as to the healthiest ones in the batch. So with some choice and some added information, we decided to return two, grade 1 embryos to their homeland. The winners were embryo A and embryo E. From here on out, they will be referred to as Arturo and Eva. My dad thinks this is a little wacky, but I figure I should start talking to the kids as they settle in for a lengthy lease.

We did have lots of conversation about how many embryos to put back in. We are fortunate to have a doctor whom we not only respect but we also trust. He suggested two so we’d hopefully have more to freeze. Why waste a good one if all three took, was his theory. I like that. We would also be prepared (if you can be) for twins. Triplets, no way.

I saw my acupuncturist directly after my visit and have been instructed to eat pineapple daily until Sunday, and chicken once a day until my pregnancy test. I spent lots of time on the couch, watched some bad tv, napped, and otherwise told Arturo and Eva to enjoy the new location.

As I think back to my last cycle and the two week wait, I have vowed to do some things differently. I know that as my blood test date approaches (7/23) I will get anxious and crazy, but I’m hopeful some changes along the way will help me cope with the uncertainty.

1. I will not google. Well, I’ll google things like yelp reviews and stupid baseball stats and funny videos, but nothing fertility related.

2. I will do my best to embrace any and all symptoms I experience. I already have some mild and wacky cramping from the high dosage of progesterone I’m on (all confirmed normal by my doc), but bloating and boob soreness and anything else will just be part of the experience and not a sign of something bad or good.

3. I will meditate for one hour each day. I made myself a playlist comprised of some really great music my yoga teachers play. I listened to it prior to retrieval and during the transfer, and it really soothed my nerves. I have a space all set out for my meditation, some embryos to focus on, and some baby dreams to have!

4. I will practice gratitude daily. In each of my yoga classes when the teacher asks us to set an intention I say the same thing: gratitude in my thoughts, gratitude from my lips, gratitude in my heart. I have said this in every class I’ve attended since joining the local studio, and gratitude is something I strongly believe in. Regardless of what life throws us all, we must be grateful for what we have. Especially during this period of uncertainty and wait, it is gratitude that will lighten my burden. I realize I sound like a complete hippie nut job, but I’m ok with that.

For my first act of gratitude, I want to thank all of the ladies who read this blog and cheer me on. As I told my husband this morning …. if I only had the women in my real life (both colleagues and friends) you would think having a baby was as easy as getting dressed. So, it was on-line and among strangers that I learned that I was not alone. This is a gift I can never thank you enough for.

More to come. Eva and Arturo say hello!

dfb

Imagination Cul-de-sac

I am not crazy, but today I heard something profound. It didn’t come in yoga or in some great piece of literature. Rather, it came from a 45 second clip I heard on NPR. Some musician was talking about the power of the imagination and how we can imagine the path before us. The problem with most of us, he said, is that we’re in an imagination cul-de-sac. This got me thinking. I don’t believe that everything I want is out there. I’m not pessimistic; I’m just a pragmatist. I also don’t believe I can “call in” everything I want if I focus hard enough. I’m not lazy; I just know that bad shit does happen to good people … like me and all the other infertile girls I know. So why did this idea of an imagination cul-de-sac strike a cord? Well, I think it did because I’ve been in an infertility cul-de-sac for more than two years. And I’m ready to break out. I know that this desire to break out comes with some risk. My breakout might include kids or it might not. Both options come with their own pros and cons, but, regardless, I’m just tired of where I am. I’ve put a lot of things on hold for our baby-making efforts. We’ve put a lot of time and energy and money into it, too, and we’re ready to move. (Not to go all English teacher on my readers, but this is what James Joyce focused most of his work: stuckness.) We’re ready to be somewhere else. Aren’t you?

Here’s to a new road map, a new street, a new neighborhood. Here’s to a road that doesn’t involve a turnaround or a dead end. Here’s to the certainty that anything, everything is better than being stuck in the land of if. Here’s to using the word when.

dfb

 

Band-aids

I know what you’re thinking: these are adorable! Truly the best band-aids a gal could ever get. I agree. And this year Santa was very good to me in anticipation of my many shots. I found a box of these in my stocking come Christmas morning. My acupuncturist has commented on them, as has my fertility doc. It’s funny how such a small thing can make such a large shot seem not-so-bad.

I’ve also come across some of the nicest folks in the recent days. There are the amazingly pleasant and cheery lab techs who have taken by blood not once, not twice, but three times. Tomorrow’s the fourth! The lovely ladies at my doctor’s office who welcome me with smiles and cheers and hugs. The colleague who stopped by my office just to thank me for some worksheets I sent him. I am continuing to feel this overwhelming joy and gratitude, this energy around me that is lifting me up. I don’t know if it’s the long term effects of the stimulation drugs or what, but it sure feels good. It’s helping me focus on the now and block out the shoulds. Finally!

Had another appointment today and everything is going well. My four follicles are in tip-top shape. Little number five is growing like a champ and catching up quickly. Phew. Progesterone and Estradiol levels are fabulous as well. I am in great shape to make this baby happen. Woot! Woot! Head back to the doc (and lab) one more time tomorrow for the final schedule of the trigger shot and retrieval. Getting very, very excited.

Meds taken: Repronex, Omnitrope, Follistim, Cetrotide
Injections: four (counting the blood draw)
Daily highlight: Having my husband correct me when I was visualizing our kids: “Please speak of at least one boy as I’d really like one.” My visualization work is rubbing off on him.
Best email: From my dad. He encouraged me to talk to my mother. She’d offer no promises, but plenty of help.

dfb

All signs point to summer

In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer. — Albert Camus

I have had this quote over my desk since my mother died three years ago. A friend sent it to me in an email and it helped me realize that at some point my sadness would fade, my winter would disappear, and the beauty of life would return. The return to summer and the struggle I faced was hard, probably the hardest sadness I’ve endured in my life, but with time I have healed and learned to manage not without her but without her alive. This process of trying to get pregnant or wanting to become a mother myself has, at times, made me miss her more than I ever thought I would. I miss her guidance, her humor, her stories.

So it was perfectly timed that I had this amazing moment during acupuncture today when I could see my mother. I could feel her with me and felt her warmth in my chest and hands. I don’t know if it was some extra strong visualization on my part or just the joy I’ve been feeling this afternoon, but it was a gift.

Doctor’s visit went really well. My estrogen and estradiol levels are fabulous! I have four gorgeous eggs ready for take-off, and if my doctor has her way, I’ll have a fifth ready to go in two days. We’re pumped for four as it’s my hubby’s lucky number. It was also my mom’s. Crazy. I head back tomorrow for another ultrasound and round of blood tests. Looks like retrieval will be Saturday and the transfer most likely on Monday. As my BFF said — MLK Day is a solid day for the transfer. Wasn’t it King who said, “I have a dream …”

Meds taken: Repronex, Follistim, Cetrotide
Laughs: more than ten
Best laugh: When hubby made a hat out of part of my paper ultrasound gown
Doctor’s response: “Are you bored or are we seeing each other too often?”

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Fertile visualization

A friend who’s gone through IVF told me to visualize my egg meeting my husband’s sperm. Make it happen in the mind and it will happen in reality. Here’s what I’ve got:

My eggs: they’re salty women with heavy Southern accents. I’m seeing women who know how to take charge but who like to have fun. Oh, and they also wear crowns. My gyno always called my eggs “The Queen” (as in, you want the boys ready to go when the queen comes through the gates), so my gals are wearing crowns, too. Of course.

His sperm: The idea of Mr Peanut just came to me. I like the monocle. The top hat. The cane. The gloves. The whole thing. Mr Peanut says, “Stay classy San Diego.”

The meet-up: Think red velvet room at a hipster bar.  First words out of my eggs’ mouth — “Where the hell have you MFers been?” Then the party begins. I know, it’s pretty specific, but these are the thoughts in my head as I drift off to sleep each night. If I see it it will happen, right?

Meds taken: Repronex, Follistim, Omnitrope
Shots given: 2
Locations of said shots: high haunch and belly
Best thing hubby can say before each shot: I love you
Band-aids used: Hello Kitty

More to come as the stimulation and visualization continues.

dfb