flash forward

Maybe it’s all the redditing that has distracted me from writing here — I feel as though I have people who understand me and this journey, so I feel less inclined to shout into the void. Anyway, there’s no time like the present to resume, even if it’s just for me.

I’ll be 28 weeks tomorrow. WTF, am I right? Our CVS results came back normal — baby doesn’t even carry the balanced translocation. I cried when I told my mom. This is really happening. As I write, I’m getting kicked or punched or head butted. There is a future human inside of me. It’s all quite surreal.

Throughout this, I’ve been trying to figure out how to stay myself — I’ve always struggled with anxiety, and yet I describe myself as laid-back. Maybe that just means I’m anxious and can’t commit? Anyway, I’ve been practically stoic during this pregnancy — I spent some time with the home doppler before the movement became regular, I still poke the baby when I want reassurance, but I’ve also not taken pregnancy too seriously. I’ve been lucky, of course — no real symptoms outside of fatigue and hunger, though as my standard line goes, “I like to sleep and eat, so pretty easy so far.” I’ve gained probably too much weight (25 lbs at 26 weeks yayyyyy) but nothing shocking. As far as preparation? My nesting has been throwing away everything that isn’t nailed down and buying everything off my registry on craigslist months before my shower. We don’t have a nursery — eventually baby will move into our second bedroom, but even then it will still function as an office or second bedroom (still up for debate). I feel like we are getting the bare minimum of baby stuff. I got a doula so I don’t need to go nuts prepping for childbirth, for which I have no plan other than “everyone comes home alive.” I’m just surprisingly zen about all of it.

Well, except for mat leave and that I don’t/can’t have childcare worked out yet. That makes me itch a little bit. More on that another time — gotta ease back into this. But all is well in my land. What a GIANT difference a year makes.

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a not-so-brief hiatus

So, what has happened since June?

I had a great summer, where I learned to be a full human being again. I was open and vulnerable with the people I care about.  I became willing to try again, to go all out. I found out our new insurance didn’t cover IVF. We downshifted to IUI, only to have my doctor throw a fit when he found out we travelled to Mexico City, despite the CDC categorizing it as low zika risk. I got pregnant (barely) and lost it a few days later. It didn’t even phase me. I found a new RE, and made an appointment.

And then on November 6, after an evening of margaritas and old fashioneds and burlesque, I took a test at 11 DPO. Pregnant. The next day we had our consultation with our new, very surprised RE, who we let talk us through a course of treatment before mentioning that I was a “little bit” pregnant. She took my blood and said she hoped that this was the one for us.

Two days later was the worst American election in history. I cried that I may be bringing a child into this world. I still hoped that this child would come.

The new RE was a dream, despite never seeing her for treatment. She did three betas. We saw her for an ultrasound at 5w6d, and to everyone’s surprise, we saw a heartbeat. I laughed hysterically at the image. Who was I to finally have a life inside of me, growing?

13 weeks later I sit here in maternity pants I bought off a Facebook buy/sell group (a giant bag for $70! What a steal). We have never gotten this far. She (MrCrackr is convinced it’s a girl) looks like a real, healthy, baby all of a sudden, with a chubby belly and big feet. I bought an at-home doppler and can hear the whooshing of her tiny heartbeat in my dreams.

Tomorrow I will go in for my CVS with a doctor who has done the procedure over 27,000 times. And then we will wait. We’re hopeful that this baby has balanced genes — we’ve come so far! — but we know better than to ignore the possibility that we have a hard choice ahead of us.

My fifth pregnancy, and I may finally make it out of the first trimester. I may finally make it to motherhood.

check it to wreck it

Let’s begin. It’s been awhile since I’ve thought about peeing on a stick. I haven’t done it since early January. First I was pregnant. Then I was too scared to get pregnant naturally. Then IVF failure. So this month, we’re trying again. I have so many fears about it, but I am not letting it rule my life. Or so I say.

Except this morning where I ordered pregnancy tests from Amazon and spent time on all those graphs I’ve studied so closely about when to test.

The tests come Wednesday (9 DPO). I’m going to try to hold out for Friday (11 DPO) but won’t go further than that as we are going on vacation and I will want to have (limited?) cocktails with friends if it’s negative. I’m actually feeling kind of gross today but that may be from lack of sleep, too much sun and fun over the weekend, and general anxiety about how to fit in all my work this week when all I want to do is read reddit and pee on sticks.

Not a great time to be distracted now that I’ve finally gotten myself back on course.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Welp. My period started this week. And no tests, nothing to look forward to, except perhaps to look back and to try to have sex on the right days and not think about it too much.

shrug i dont know reactions unsure shrugging

I also started anti-depressants. So far I’ve been feeling better (less teary, less hopeless) but more headachy. I’ve switched to taking all my pills at night and hope that will help. The only thing rage-y about the whole experience was that the psych kept trying to convince me to spend $6K to test our one embryo because it *might* be normal. I really needed him to write me a Rx so I had to hold myself back from punching him in the throat. #adulting

Star Wars harrison ford shrug han solo who cares

Without the rigid structure of IVF, it seems we’ve got mountains of time between now and pregnancy, between now and a baby. We had a  phone call with our doctor after the final results were in (one sad little embryo out of 19 eggs) and we’re going to do some more tests (Sperm DNA, repeat my day 3 tests next month) but basically he said next time — end of summer — he’d do more stimulation for longer. Okay. I’m not sure we can expect drastically different results from that. Is it really worth it? What do we do if it doesn’t work again?

idk shrug elmo i dont know television

I’m trying to get myself used to the fact that 2016 might not be my year either. It’s June now, and we wouldn’t do another retrieval until August, so… September/October for transfer if we’re lucky? And if it doesn’t work, well… who knows how long it will take us to wrap our minds around that and figure out next steps. Donor sperm? Donor embryos? Adoption? More dogs? I’m just not sure.

harry potter idk shrug confused dumbledore

wtf

Well, this cycle was a heaping dumpster fire. I’m so mad I already used the gif!

19 eggs retrieved, 11 mature, 5 fertilized, all of those made it to day 3… but we only have ONE frozen (untested) day 5 embryo. Yup folks, that’s right, after all of this, we don’t even have a second fucking embryo. I do better on my own, frankly. At least then I get pregnant! And I don’t have to listen to the shots song as often.

We planned to take a break for a few months and that’s doctor’s orders anyway. He basically said next time I would stim longer and more to get even more eggs, and we’ll order a sperm DNA test to see if there’s something going on besides the BT. The low fertilization (even while using ICSI) and drop off between 3 and 5 days leads him to think it’s mostly male factor. But of course he reminded me several times that of course it could be egg quality and apparently I have borderline FSH so, tick tock, I guess? Fuck.

I feel like there’s no reason to be hopeful anymore. What reason do we have to expect different results next time? What if I o get pregnant again and it’s just another loss? I can’t lose my mind, it’s already gone. I’m just feeling so hopeless.

nineteen

HOLY SHIT.

Nineteen eggs were retrieved today.

eating 30 rock yay cheering liz lemon

I mean, from 12 follicles? I think my doctor was trying to set my expectations low (I had a feeling but wasn’t trying to get my hopes up).

I’ll get a fertilization report tomorrow, and then every other day. They’ll freeze on days 5 and 6 — was very happy to hear the embryologist is a patient guy who let’s blasts go to day 6 if they need the extra time. I’m hoping that from this 19, that we get at least 6 to blast — then the odds are in our favor for PGS.

Other than that, I feel like rotten garbage after the retrieval.

fire garbage dumpster dumpster fire garbage fire

I had hoped things would get better! My stomach looks like I’m four months pregnant, so that’s fun, and I can barely get off the couch. Maybe I’m taking another day after work after all. I’ll have to find something else to watch on Netflix.

I hope the embryologist picked all the good sperm. We told the BT sperm to play dead, so hopefully it worked.

dead play winner award

Go eggs go!

finish-ish line

Retrieval is tomorrow! HOORAY! I’m feeling super sore where I injected my HCG shot and very, very crowded in the old abdomen. I was texting a friend that I was buying special ER day socks and she mentioned that my”taco was stuffed” so now I have taco socks (in addition to seahorse socks — if we were seahorses, S would be the one with the crowded belly, not me!)

Shaking Food GIFs food & drink taco tacos taco bell

The clinic also finally let me know (after much pestering) that we probably can’t do a transfer in June. Well, I’d be looking for a few months off and it looks like I’ll get it. Hopefully we can get things moving when we get back from vacation. Knowing us, I’ll get pregnant again and it will actually be normal, and I’ll be one of those annoying anecdotes of “my sister’s friend’s yoga friend did IVF and then got pregnant while waiting for her transfer! So just RELAX. I KNOW it will happen!” Blergh. I would never do that to you guys. I’ll tell everyone it’s an IVF baby no matter what. Wink.

The Huffington Post wink rashida jones

Here’s hoping for lots of eggs tomorrow. It certainly feels like Easter up in my ya.

cartoon chicken egg eggs chicks

crowded

Egg retrieval is all scheduled for Wednesday. I’ve got 12 embryos ready and waiting, mostly on the right side. Lefties are getting a pep talk.

Cheezburger seinfeld new york city metro subway

Everybody get ready!

bravery

Mother’s Day weekend was hard. I tried (and failed) to go to a baby shower — I drove for an hour only to leave after 45 minutes because it was just too hard to be around other people’s kids.

Starting stims this past Sunday, I’ve actually felt, emotionally, one million times more like myself. I’ve been social, I’ve been travelling for work, and I’ve been more active, though I’m trying to be gentle on myself.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the difference between “bravery” and “fearlessness.” I will never be fearless. I have a lot of thoughts and a lot of anxiety, which makes IVF either the exact right thing for me (so many things to try to control!) or the exact worst thing (so many things to try to control!).

Being brave is being afraid, naming that fear, and moving forward anyway because it aligns with your values and goals.

I never had a fear of needles, but if you told me a few weeks back that I’d be giving myself my 25th shot in the belly this morning, I think I may have gotten into my car and driven into the ocean. I am truly trying to take it one day at a time. And today, I go in for my ultrasound to see how many follicles are growing, whether they are growing at the same rate, and a better idea of when retrieval will be.

There are countless things that could go wrong, at this stage and at any stage.

But as my mom told me when I had a promising ultrasound during my last pregnancy (at about 6 weeks- no heartbeat yet, but everything measuring on track):

I have every reason to be hopeful.

And even though that pregnancy didn’t work out, I would not have grieved less had I been less hopeful. I deserved that hope. We are entitled to hope, as human beings. It’s the belief that things have a least a chance to work out that gets me out of bed every morning.

I was thinking last night about how the swell in my abdomen could be cysts, or a twisted ovary, or that nothing is growing except my addiction to ice cream instead of booze. I told S (Mr. Crap? Mr Cracker? Bahahaha) he needs to be there for the ultrasound — in my mind, because I can’t even process ahead of time how I will feel if it’s bad news. What if I only have a few follicles? What if we have to cancel?

But to me, right now, bravery is moving forward in spite of the fear and pain. It is brave to be hopeful, to be optimistic, in the face of so many heartbreaks.

I have every reason to be hopeful.

And please, please, please, let there be good news.