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

Advertisements

My last supper

This was it. Except mine was reheated leftovers from the night before. I had visions of my last pre-IVF meal being a hot dog with pop chips. It came to me in yoga class. The salt, the deliciousness of a good all-beef hot dog. The guiltless pleasure of pop chips. But when I got home and realized we had leftovers, I decided to dive into those instead. I hate throwing away food. And to go with my tasty reheats: two glorious classes of wine. I had previously promised myself that after a dinner party last Saturday night I would cease drinking alcohol. But then we had an amazing meal on Tuesday, and a crisp white wine was in order. So with the hubby away at guys night chomping on steak and kicking it with some high class bottles of wine, I decided to partake a bit myself. Not the best combination, reheated chinese and merlot, but it was delicious.

I lied in my previous post. Sorry. I actually inject the cetrotide today. Then I have to wait for CD1 at which time I call the doc and head in for my baseline ultrasound. Then the big meds begin. I feel both at ease and emotional about this second try. I now know that there are two outcomes: pregnancy and no-pregnancy. The first time around I expected only one. I know the routine of the meds, the sting of the needle in my ass cheek, the acne that will burst forth onto my face with the strength of ten hormonal adolescents, the weird satisfaction I get from injecting a tiny needle into my belly because it reminds me that I am stronger than I think I am. But then there are the emotions, the unknowns, the moments of grey and waiting and hoping and forward thinking. Those are the things that will drive me into the ground. But at least I know that’s coming.

So, after a fabulous last supper and an amazing last pre-IVF day (which included a 3-run walk-off home run at the baseball game I went to), I’ve decided I’m going to swing away. For you non-basebal lovers, this means I am going to step up to the plate and not worry about where I’m going to hit the ball. I’m not going to bunt. I’m not going to question. I’m going to drive the ball as far as I can and with everything I have. I have taken six months off of running, I have thrown myself into yoga and meditation, I have been drinking my mud martini twice a day (chinese herbs), going to acupuncture, visualizing myself giving birth, seeing Hubby as a father, thinking all the right things. And now, I’m going to make it happen. I’m going to swing away and come up pregnant. There, I said it.

dfb

A swirl of emotions

First off, I read this post and then headed over to what was posted about infertility etiquette. What a great website. What a great piece that I’d love to share with many people. Who knew it was Infertility Awareness Week? I’m aware of my own issues, and definitely have been struggling with them over the last few days. Here’s what I’m feeling:

1. Talked with the IVf coordinator who works with my doctor. She is super nice. She gave me the briefing, all of which is not new the second time around. I have this great sense of confidence in myself because I know what’s coming. My hubby knows how to give injections like a pro. I know what meds go where and when and why. But …

2. Talked with the financial lady. Again, she was super nice, but this is where my confidence and my positive outlook started to fade. I still cannot, not even a little bit, get over the upcoming cost. What an impact this will have on our life. I do wish we lived in a state that mandates coverage for IVF, but we do not. We have nothing. Not even office visits are covered, so as the financial gal rattled off the details and the numbers added up, I felt myself doubting this cycle, doubting our desire to become parents, doubting my faith in myself. It’s an awful feeling. My hubby has said we just need to embrace the cost. It is something we cannot control, but IVF is something we’re committed to one more time. But still. When all is said and done, we’ll be in close to $16k. Mix in the $14k we’ve already spent this calendar year and I feel horrible. Like make myself sick. Throw-up. Cry at random times. Horrible.

3. In the midst of all of this shit came some pretty wild news: the students at the high school where I teach voted me as the graduation speaker. My school does not invite outside speakers to graduation, rather one graduating student and one faculty member address the students and parents and friends. I got the news last Friday and at first I was in such a grey mood from previously mentioned thoughts that it didn’t really sink in. But then I saw some students who were excited and eager to hear me speak, and I thought — this is pretty fucking cool! That’s when I realized that I am hormonal without the help of meds, I am emotional as we head into IVF #2, but I cannot let this cloud every aspect of my life. I must compartmentalize all that I am feeling about my infertility, deal with those feelings, and then let the other parts of my life shine through. It is those other parts, those parts that are pretty fantastic, that will carry me during my times of doubt and dismay.

4. So it was in yoga, this evening, that I had this clarity. (ding! ding! ding! I get it why my BFF has fallen head-over-heels for yoga and dedicated much of the last decade to mastering it and teaching it.) As my teacher said — Embrace who you are. Accept where you are. I let out a HUGE sigh as I recommitted to both of those ideas. I am not good at this right now. I want to fast forward five months, maybe even just two, so I know how this all turns out. But, seeing as Doc from Back to the Future is nowhere to be found in my life, such a feat is not possible. So instead, I will continue to breathe into what I’m feeling and figure out how to let it all go …

dfb

Practicing Stillness

After our January IVF failed, my dad told me my body just needed more time to become a mother. I had just finished my first ultra-marathon not four weeks before starting stims (I did have the race of a lifetime!!), and while I told myself this wouldn’t impact my IVF cycle, sometimes I wonder if it did. My dad’s not a doctor, but he questioned my body’s ability to move from marathoner to mother in such a short time. So, I changed my training plan and moved into yoga with the hopes of helping my body move into mother mode. And it was in what has become one of my favorite classes (Yin Yoga) that I was reminded how important it is to practice stillness.

For me, stillness comes when my husband and I sit down to eat dinner. This might sound wacky, but it is at the table that we find silence and a moment of togetherness unlike the rest of our day: we read the newspaper. Sure some people see this act as an act of avoidance — no need to talk to each other when you can read the newspaper — but in fact it’s one of the moments when we share more than ever. “Listen to this …” or “Can  you believe …” are the common phrases of the meal as we share what we read. Of course those moments are punctuated with silences. But those silences are not uncomfortable or awkward; rather, they’re the welcome moments of respite from a hectic day.

I am constantly thinking about finding that moment or two of quiet, that moment when all thought fades away, and I am just left to be. That is what I loved about running. The clarity. The silence of my mind. The clean sweat not just from my pores but the sweat from the clutter of my day. In finding a new and less physically stressful way of moving into that stillness I’m hoping to be better prepared for the mother part of my life. The marathoner will return, she is my best self, but for now I will embrace stillness in the yoga studio and in the small corners of my day. I will practice it daily and give into it with grace. From stillness I know I can only grow stronger.

dfb

AMH makes an appearance

If only my eggs looked this good! With Easter around the corner and talk of eggs in the air, my doctor (new doctor) thought it was time I rallied for the dreadful and dreaded AMH test. I think it’s the one test all fertility-challenged women want to avoid. Why? It’s said to be a pretty good indicator of a gal’s eggs supply. Now, I didn’t have this test before my prior IVF (why? no idea!), but my new doc said the information would help him out as he planned my June fun. As if he needed any more info on my low egg count. (If you don’t remember, I was hopped up on crazy amounts of follistim, but the doctor only harvested three eggs, all of which were immature. Awesome.) Not wanting to start off on the wrong foot with the new doc, I obliged and got the test. The results: .91. I have a low ovarian reserve. Shocker!

I’ve come to realize that the reason I go to acupuncture and blog is to help me keep things in perspective. There’s always someone with a lower AMH (acupuncturist’s words were: that’s borderline low, but I have other patients with a much, much lower number) and someone with a worse situation than mine (the gal who’s been through seven IVF cycles!). Of course, I’m also turning into that story friends tell other friends about the girl who’s struggling with infertility. Sweet!

So to reclaim some of the negative energy around the awful AMH test, my brother and his wife have decided to name their baby such a fab name her initials will be AMH! How crazy is that? Sure, I’m reading too much into it, but now I have two AMHs in my life, and one will surely be more exciting than the other.

I’ve also decided to take a few steps in preparation for our June IVF: I joined the local yoga studio and I’m seeing a therapist. The first was something I needed because my energy is gone and my lethargy is over-powering. I know a lot of this has to do with my lack of training or running, but I’m not running or training as much because I feel like my body needs a break. But like most training-plan-obsessed athletes, I don’t work well without a game plan. Enter the yoga studio with bargain basement pricing. I’ve been to three classes in four days, and I’m excited to get into a routine that gives me some peace of mind and some exercise. The second item is also a step I’m taking to try and get my head around what’s going on. It’s not like I don’t know I can’t get pregnant, but as my hubby said the other night, we operate in one of two modes: obsession or denial. I figure there’s got to be a third, more healthy option. Right? Who knows what June will hold. Who knows what another round of IVF will cause. And while I know my husband and I are a strong unit, I also know we’re being stressed in the most significant ways: emotionally and financially. If it were simply one or the other, no problem, but mix the two together and it’s exhausting.

I head to the doc in a few weeks for yet another baseline ultrasound and a mock transfer. Then we wait and fill prescriptions and step fully into the chaos that will hopefully, just maybe help us expand our family.

dfb