Friday, November 28, 2008

One year to the day

My dearest baby Aditi,

My precious baby, my little miracle – you stayed with us only for a few weeks, but what a difference to made to our lives!!

Last year today we found out that you had left to go be with God. Your Dad and I did not want to believe or accept what the doctor was telling us. I often wondered in the days and weeks later, what I had done wrong, and if there was anything I could do to change the news we received on Nov 28, 2007.

I am sorry that my body was not more ready and comfortable for you, my child. I am sorry if I could have done something differently but didn’t. I would do anything – anything at all if I could change the outcome! I would readily give my life if I could save yours.

At the same time, I am honored that you did come into our lives. You made us Mommy and Daddy, even though we were never able to meet. We were about to give up, when you came into our lives. I can never describe to you the hope you brought for us. I can never describe to you the emotions that Daddy and Mommy felt.

Our arms are still empty, precious baby, but our hearts are full. The house is empty and silent, but if I close my eyes I can see you. Daddy tells me he too feels your presence and that you’ve been helping encourage him with his work project.

Seeing your presence in our lives has given us the courage and strength to go on and try again. We have met with some more challenges, but we know that you and your siblings are sending us the strength we need. I promise you my child - Mommy and Daddy will not let you down. We will not get weak and give up.

I love you forever,
Your Mom.

Nov 28, 2007

We went in for a regular u/s appointment. This was supposed to be our last appointment with the RE, and he was releasing me to a perinatologist after that.

No heartbeat.

D&C scheduled for Nov 30.

Texted my manager about what happened.

Couldn’t sit, couldn’t stand, couldn’t breathe, couldn’t imagine.

Decided to leave everything and go away to Los Angeles for a day and come back for D&C.

After driving in silence for 2 hours on Highway 5, we started feeling like we had been thrown in the middle of an ocean – trying to swim to the shore, but the shore was nowhere in sight. 

Running out of steam. 

Feeling like the wheels were turning but we were getting nowhere. 

Big rigs passing by on the freeway, and us feeling tiny and miserable and helpless and confused.

Then the realization that no matter how much we run, or drive, we will not be able to change what has happened. We turned around and drove back home.

I never imagined that I would last a day after hearing that news, yet here I am, one whole year later, 2 more losses later, still with the nerve to try again.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Giving Thanks....

Today, I wanted to make a list of things I am thankful for. But this morning, we heard about the terror attacks in Mumbai, India, and all our attention has been diverted since then.

I guess in my simple mind, I will never understand what anyone gets out of terrorizing a society, taking innocent lives and leaving widows / widowers and orphans. Terror breeds terror. Violence sparks revenge and more anger. When will this madness end?

The raw, exposed vulnerability of a society ravaged by terrorism cannot be the answer to what the terrorists want. A lot of violence across the world gets given the name of religion. No religion promotes violence. No religion says it is good to kill on the name of religion. I wish simple sensibility prevailed across the world. I wish…..

I will make my Thanksgiving list, and will start with being thankful for the lives that were spared. I am thankful for the Anti Terror Squad, and the police departments that have been fighting all night to bring the city, the country and the world some peace, while putting their lives at risk.

On matters of personal consequence to me today, I am thankful for:

1) My DH. I am lucky to be with him, and am grateful for him every single day. He has been my rock through all our struggles. He goes with me for EVERY appointment – even if it is a monitoring u/s, or a simple blood draw. He does it so I know he’s in it with me. He loves me through the dump I have become, and still says I look pretty on days when I can’t stand to see my reflection in the mirror. Yes, things have been tough, but there is no other person in the world I would rather face these challenges with. 

2) My pregnancies. I am eternally thankful for having had the blessing of being pregnant, even though for a short lived, fleeting length in time. I am grateful for having known our daughter Aditi, and her siblings who are now with her. We have known and loved them, though we never got the chance to meet them.

3) My parents. Their love and support mean the world to us. Their calm belief in our strength and perseverance keeps us going.

4) My siblings. My brother and his wife, my sister and her husband. They are so loving and caring, even though they don’t quite understand the depths of the darkness IF brings with it.

5) My IRL friends who call me every day to see if I’m ok. My IRL friends who have reached out to us despite the fact that we’ve become crazy people.

6) All you ladies – each and every one of the wonderful women I have “met” in cyberspace. You may not know how much your support and encouragement and comments have helped in moving us along. It’s like your hands hold mine and carry me along some days. I am so very grateful for each of you.

7) My body. Despite everything I have put it through, it bounces back each time, ready for the next haul. It’s here now, waiting for the next IVF to start.

8) I am thankful for Simba. He has literally licked away my tears many many times and has brought a smile on my face when I thought I could not go on any more. He hates to cuddle, but he comes and puts a forepaw in my lap every once in a while, and I know he’s there. ☺

9) Our home, our careers, our education and all material things that make life easy.

10) Technology and advances in medical science that will hopefully help us achieve our dream of having a baby. A few years ago, none of this may have been possible.

11) I am thankful for our spirit and determination. We’ve had a pretty freaky, loopy roller coaster ride so far, but are hanging on – hopefully for a happy ending.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Nity nominated me for this award the other day. Thank you so much Nity! I am always touched by the faith in your posts. I am always inspired by your unwavering belief. 

I am supposed to give this award to two blogs - blogs that have me hooked! There are so many that I'm hooked on! But since I have to choose 2, I'm going to pick Lorraine and April


So for today's topic, I have an incident to relate. Yesterday, I had some stuff to mail out, and I had to go to the post office. Our post office is quite close by, so I decided to walk there. 

As I was walking out from the post office, I noticed a kid coming down the street on a skate-board. He must not have been more than - I'd guess 16-17 - dressed in t-shirt, long shorts, socks and sandals (Yes, YUCK!!) and a baseball cap. He crossed past me as I walked home. 

A few yards later, he came up from behind me again. I stepped aside on the sidewalk so he could pass by. He didn't want to pass by apparently! He wanted to make conversation. Huh? Conversation? With Me?? 

Him: Hi
Me: Hi
Him: What's your name?
Me: (While wondering where this came from) Why?
Him: Why?
Few steps in silence. 
Him: Did you go to the post office?
Me: (Thinking - Yes - you saw me coming out of there, so why are you asking?) Yes
Him: Do you live around here?
Me: Yes.

By this time we came to an intersection across which is a little dog park where DH was playing fetch with Simba. I cut across the park and joined DH. The skateboard kid circled around all the time we were at the park. 

The reason I'm relating this story here: IF has taken my sense of humor away also! I should have been amused / flattered even, that a kid was making conversation with me. The only thing I could think of was "You want to talk to me? I have a long long long sob story that you're not going to want to hear!" The other thought it my head was "Kid, I'm almost sure your mother is younger than I am, so quit acting funny and go away!"

Sad. I need to get my sense of humor back.....

** Update** I just realized that I didn't mention that I was creeped out by this little fella. Completely. I was so glad that this incident had happened pretty close to where DH and Simba were, and that DH is a big man, and Simba is a huge German Shepherd. 

Monday, November 24, 2008

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad

Today is my parents' 39th wedding anniversary. 39 years of life spent together, a family raised, many traditions set and shared, many laughs shared and many many moments strung into wonderful memories.

Mom and Dad are quite different from each other. Mom can't stop talking and chattering and laughing. Dad is quiet, mostly engrossed with his newspapers and his thoughts. But he listens to Mom. Well, she makes sure he listens. 

In my siblings and me, they have instilled a great family bond. My brother, sister and I are great friends. There aren't any unnecessary egos in our relationship, and that bond has come from the upbringing our parents gave us. 

Dad always wanted us to be completely independent. His logic was "We are not going to be with the children for their entire lives. We have to make sure they grow up sensible, to be able to make their decisions themselves." Mom would worry, Dad would calm her down. I went to college across the country, and my mom would be on edge from the time I left home, till the time I reached college and could be contacted on phone (there were no cell phones back then, so when you were out, you were really out). 

I grew up in India, and that's where my parents still live. In India, to a large extent, arranged marriages are still the norm. (A lot is changing now, but parents would still like to make the matches). When I decided I wanted to marry DH, and I told my parents, their reaction completely surprised me. Dad said he did not want to ~make~ me marry someone else, because then I would be unhappy, and would keep my husband unhappy. And that would make DH end up marrying someone else, and they would be unhappy too. My parents did not want to be responsible for 4 people being unhappy. Worked out well for us. :-)

My parents have recently learnt to use the internet, and I am so proud of them for doing that! My biggest surprise came when my dad pinged me and said he had got a webcam and a skype account and he wanted to video conference with us! When you live half the way across the world, that's a great blessing! 

In the 37 years that I have known my parents, I've never seen my dad angry. He is so calm in the face of so many ups and downs in life. I've never seen my mom stop supporting him. They have always laughed their way through anything that challenged them. There is tremendous amount of respect and love in their relationship, and even now, they share a spark which is so rare. 

This post is to wish my parents many many more years together. Many more laughs together, many more moments together. 

And I sincerely hope that one day I can give them their first grandchild (unless my brother or sister beat me to it - which wouldn't be too bad either), and with their help, I can instill the same sense of family and sensible, honest independence in my children. 

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Degrees of infertility

Of late I have been thinking quite a bit about infertility. I’m sure you’re surprised – why should I be thinking of infertility? I have such a full life, right? Yeah right! ☺

No but seriously – I’ve been thinking and I wonder if some infertiles have it worse than the others. The more I think, the more I feel like the answer is not that simple. IF is very subjective. And before I start – please, I am not making ANY judgments here.

What is infertility? This is what Wiki.pedia says about the topic. Most of us know most of what’s mentioned there, and most of us unfortunately are among the “1 in 7 couples” (I thought for some reason that it was 1 in 6 couples).

So a couple starts trying to conceive and 84 out of 100 couples will be pregnant within the first year. Now the catch is to know WHEN you can get pregnant. A surprisingly large number of women do not know their cycles, and their fertile times. Therefore, they are not getting pregnant purely because of lack of timing. After a few months of frantic research, or even panic attacks, most women figure their cycles out, and a large number will get pregnant. I actually know people that have panicked – and by panic I mean really panicked – gone and seen doctors and even spoken to doctors that they felt they needed to get started with ~ get this~ IVF. In one real life case, the sensible doctor took the couple through a detailed presentation of a typical IVF cycle – the shots, the ultrasounds, the retrieval, the fertilization, transfer etc. That freaked this couple out even more and caused a bigger panic attack. But that panic attack brought some sense into the couple. They were pregnant within the following 2 months – naturally. (Of course)

Then there is the group that needs medical intervention to the extent of clomid / femara, and that, along with timed BD, does the trick. Infertile? Perhaps not. Sub-fertile? Maybe.

The next group is given clomid/ femara and goes through IUI cycles.

The next group does injectables with IUIs. How many IUIs are enough? My RE had wanted to move us on from IUI to IVF after we had done 5 IUI cycles. I believe 6 IUI attempts is typically when either the doctor decides to ask the couple to decide for IVF or the couple decides and either proceeds with IVF, or other routes.

Financial strain plays a huge part in this decision-making. Only a limited number of insurance coverage actually covers infertility treatment, and not a lot of us have thousands of dollars lying around to bet on perhaps a 30% chance at conception.

Some are lucky to have good insurance coverage, and after 5 or 6 IUI attempts, their frustration and desperation pushes them to do something more aggressive. I know I moved onto my first IVF with 2 feelings. One was complete despair and frustration and therefore the feeling of “Bring on the big ones!”. The second was complete belief that IVF would work. I mean – that’s the mother of all treatments in infertility isn’t it?

Then there’s the group that ends up repeating IVF attempts again and again.

Then there’s the group, which conceives, but does not get to the happy ending of bringing baby home. Pregnancy losses takes you right back to the start line. You start all over again. I am unfortunately part of this group.

Some will achieve success and get to realize their dreams of having a baby, and life moves on. Some may not be so lucky.

My question is simple – Can these situations be compartmentalized into “degrees of infertility”?

To me, the answer is not as simple. While it would be easy to say yes – the first few groups are in the “easier stages of infertility” and the latter groups have a “rawer” deal in the whole thing, at the same time, these conclusions are drawn in retrospect. What happens WHILE the first few groups are still trying? Going into a treatment cycle, nobody knows if their first round of clomid will work, or if they will need to spend the next 5 years of their lives spread-eagled with their feet up in stirrups in a doctor’s office.

Infertility is one part diagnosis and treatment, and one part analysis and stress. The part of analysis and stress gets worse with time. But I think the acceptance and ease with which we are able to stick injections into our tummies becomes easier with time.

With each cycle there is hope. But with hope there is deep dark despair too. The stress that a person in each of the groups mentioned above is going through COULD be similar. Then there is the personal threshold too. I could be the types who panics at not getting pregnant after 3 months of “trying”, or I could be the types who is more calm and does not let the stress get to me so easily.

Repeated failures manifest themselves in so many ways. Stress in relationships, stress in social interactions, loss of confidence, the feeling of being let down by your body, the feeling of failing, feeling isolated and “on the outside”.

When is the point when you move from the hope / despair cycle to bitterness? Is that when you really have it bad?

Again, please, I am NOT trying to make any judgments here, I’m not saying one group has it easier than the other. It may appear so – but I feel the answer is very subjective. The pain, the loss and the despair are pretty unifying.

That is why a community of IFers “gets it”, and sometimes someone who has moved on from being an IFer to having a baby suddenly stops “getting it”. The community of IFers that gets it could be from any of the groups above - the stress they are all under could be so similar. 

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Think about it....

Every couple that is TTC imagines how it would be to get pregnant. They imagine the pregnancy, the glow, the swelling belly, waddling stride, the ultrasounds, the oohing and aahing of every milestone. Every couple hopes for a smooth, uneventful pregnancy, with no "alarm" situations. 

Heh! I try to put myself in that place. You know - positive thinking and all that. Here's what goes on it my head:

If I do get pregnant, and do reach the stage where I get released from my RE to a regular doctor, I'd probably have to go to a perinatologist (a high risk pregnancy OB). Why? There are several reasons why a pregnancy may be considered high risk. Some that come to mind to me are:

1) Previous miscarriage? Check.
2) Previous ectopic? Check.
3) Advanced Maternal Age? Check.
4) Uterine Anomaly? Check.
5) IVF with PGD? Check. 
6) High BP? Check. 

I wonder if one perinatologist will be sufficient for me! These are things that I KNOW are on my list. I hope this is where my list ends, and I hope it doesn't grow longer!! 

Oh well - que sera sera. Whatever will be will be. 

Friday, November 21, 2008

Updates and grounding

We are getting prepared for our last IVF. Some things are falling in place, some are still up in the air. We still have over 5 weeks before we travel, so there is time on hand. 

First the updates:
  • After making me wait forever last month, my Aunt F decided to show 5 days early this time! And I almost missed noting CD 1, since I was bleeding from the surgery, and then that got converted to breakthrough bleeding because of the BCP. I took my last BCP, and 2 days after that I started bleeding again, so I was assuming I was ~still~ showing effects of the BCP. Thankfully I called CCRM because I was a little worried, since by then, I had been bleeding for almost 3 weeks straight! They figured AF had arrived early, and juggled my IVF calendar around accordingly.
(Yes, I realize that my poor body is crying for relief. I have promised my body that this is it. I will not subject it to any more torture)
  • My IVF meds prescription is to be sent to my mail order pharmacy today. I should get my meds in a couple of weeks - given the holidays next week etc. 
  • We booked our stay in Staybridge Suites in Denver. We heard good reviews from others who stayed there. They offer free breakfast every day and free dinner on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of every week. (The dinners are called "Evening Reception" but they told us on the phone that it only means they don't serve heavy 4 course meals!). They have free wireless internet, free laundry facilities and a fully functional kitchen in each suite. I think we'll be comfortable there. 
  • We booked our rental car as well. CCRM has discounted rates through a couple of car rental companies, and we got a good deal. 
  • Air tickets still remain to be done. We are going to finalize those this weekend. 
Before all this, we still have to go to Denver one more time for my post op appointment. I am desperately hoping my uterus looks more suitable to having a baby grow in there. My heart is being torn between absolute hope and absolute despair several times everyday. 

I'm reading blogs and posts from people who've just cycled at CCRM, and there are stories that range from disastrous to wonderful. Reading these stories is like a reality check / grounding exercise for me. I'm trying not to put all my eggs(pun unintended)  in one basket. I want desperately for CCRM to make magic and do a miracle for me. At the same time, I want to go into this cycle expecting the worst. I don't want to keep my hopes up so high, that the fall hurts too badly. 

I know I should think positive. I know I should not panic and bring bad energy into the cycle at any point. But I want to be realistic about my expectations. CCRM may be the best, but we all know in IF, there are no clinics or REs with 100% success rates. Even they can't make miracles where things are going wrong. There are so many things that could go wrong. Of course I hope and pray nothing does go wrong, but I will admit that more than once in the last few days, I have wondered if it would be more sensible to pull the plug here and say "Enough!" and not commit to spending thousands of dollars that we really cannot afford to at this point. 

I also know I've come so far and if I stop now, I will always wonder "What if....". So we are proceeding with the IVF. I don't know what the outcome will be. I hope for the best, but am preparing myself for the worst. 

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Her Own?

Here’s a little background on this incident.

I’ve been in touch with a couple of girls with whom I went to high school – all those many years ago. Let’s call them A and B.

"A" is a girl who I’ve mentioned here before. She got married, and after a couple of years, they discovered they weren’t getting pregnant. Her DH was against the idea of taking their private lives to doctors etc, so they decided to make their family by adopting. They first adopted a girl, and then later a little boy, and now they have a full family life. "A" has been in touch with me sometimes frequently, sometimes not so frequently. We haven’t met that often because we both live in different places now, and I don’t get to see her when I go home.

"B" is another girl who I’ve been in touch with off and on. She got married, had 2 kids, got immersed in being a stay at home mom, looking after her kids and hubby. Till very recently, she lived in the town where we grew up, so I got to see her every time I went home. She was never very connected online, so but for those visits home when I met her, there wasn’t much other interaction.

Recently, both "A" and "B" have connected with each other on a social networking site. The other day, "B" pinged me, and this was our conversation:

B: I see A with 2 children in many pictures. Who are they?
Me: They are her kids.
B: Her own? I thought she had issues. Good that things worked out for her.
Me: (Silence. I was trying to figure out how to answer that one. Yes, they are her own kids, but if I just say that, I don’t want B to say something insensitive to A. If I say they’re adopted – am I implying that they aren’t hers? I also had an under-current of anger in me. Why was it B’s business? Why does she need to know?
Finally I said: Yes, they are her own. She adopted them.
B: How sweet of her to adopt.

(And by the way – in all these years, "B" has NEVER asked me what’s going on with me – and I sort of appreciated that. But now I wonder if people talk like this behind my back. I guess they do – but like this?)

I was ruffled not just for A, but for myself and any other girl out there who is suffering from IF. Why is it the business of the world to ask and know and judge everything you do?

Tomorrow, if my IVF doesn’t work and I’m left with this raw wound gaping at me, and if at some point in the future, I do decide that I am ready to move forward with adoption, are people going to ask, “Are they her own?” or “How sweet of her to adopt”?

“Sweet”?? I think the sweet part would be the birth mother agreeing to trust us with her baby. The sweet part would be the baby embracing us as her own family. My action would be sweet if I were bringing home a bunny rabbit or a kitten! “How sweeeeet!!”

I know it shouldn’t bother me – the world will talk, and I can’t stop it from doing that, but it did bother me. It bothered me and made me defensive and “protective” of my friend "A". I know the pain she must have gone through before they healed their hearts with their adopted children.

I don’t know if I would have had the same sensitivity if I had not been dealing with IF myself. I shudder to think how I would have reacted – would I have said, “No they are not her own. They’re adopted.” ? God, I hope not.

IF has put so many things in perspective for me, made me so much more sensitive to other people’s situations, that in some ways, I am grateful for the challenges I’ve had to face.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Shout it from the rooftops!

Shelby nominated me for the "I will not be silent about infertility award" - thank you Shelby. Yes, I'm at that "far along" stage of infertility where I'm beyond shame, and am one step away from roaming around with a sticky note on my forehead announcing "I'm infertile!"

The rules for posting this award are:

1. Link to this post so that others will read the original story behind the award
2. Nominate 4 others who have not been "silent about their infertility"
3. Enjoy speaking out and speaking up :D

And now my nominations:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My bucket list

Heavyheart created a bucket list on her blog today, and tagged me to create one as well. Here is my bucket list - these are 10 things I would like to do before I die. 

1) Have a baby. Have a family which includes a few more human beings than it currently does.

2) Re-claim the person that I was before all this happened to me. I accept the fact that no matter where my journey ends, I will always carry these bruises. The badge of honor for being part of the IF world. I want to be able to re-claim my personality and try and find the old me. She was fun to be around! ☺

3) Travel. I want to visit all the continents and see the world. I’ve traveled a little, but there is so much more to see. I want to go to Australia, Africa, East Europe, South America…. All with DH of course!

4) I want to touch another person’s life enough to make a difference to that person – in a positive way. The ideal part of this would be if I could have a baby to nurture and help shape the personality of.

5) I want to have enough money to be able to run a fund that pay for IF treatments for those that cannot afford it. I know how much of a handicap money can be in the IF struggle, and I want to be able to make it easier for some people.

6) Rebuild some of the relationships I have lost over the last few years. I really miss some of my friends, and have great memories of fun times with them.

7) Be simply, positively, absolutely happy. Just be happy. Wake up happy. Look forward to the day. Go to bed happy.

8) Work out and make my injured leg strong enough so I can run and do things I could before the injuries – and if possible “forget” that it was ever injured!

9) I want to own a house on a beach. I want to wake up to views of the ocean, and go to bed hearing the waves.

10) I want to go on a cruise.

This is a nice way to put things in perspective. I am really not sure how many people to tag, so I will tag Nity, Nancy, April, Nichole, Lisa

What's on your bucket list? 

Monday, November 17, 2008

Out of the closet....

On her post yesterday, April talked about being open about infertility. She wrote really eloquently about the struggles to come out of the infertility closet. She wrote about how raw and exposed she felt talking about IF.

I have always been open about my feelings and more willing to talk than DH. He did not want to get our families involved, and he did not want them to know details of our personal life. So he didn’t tell his family, and I respected his wishes and didn’t tell mine.
He respected my “need” to talk to some of my closest friends, and so I was open with some friends right from the beginning.

After a while though, it became harder and harder to shield and answer questions from our families. At that point, we had been married over 6 years, and both sets of parents were keen on receiving “good news”. I got tired of lying to them, so I told DH that if he wanted to keep it from his family, he could. I was not going to keep my pain from my own parents any more. So I told my mom. It was so “relieving” to tell her, because now suddenly, I could talk to her without pretending that we weren’t ready yet, or that life was so cool and we hadn’t thought of having a baby yet.

DH saw the relief I felt, and the ease with which I was now able to converse with my folks, so he told his parents too. Informing them took a lot of pressure off of us. It made it so much easier to deal with things.

The support we received was incredible. The questions stopped – at least “those” questions stopped. Now the questions were more like “What does the doctor say?” or “What’s the next step now?”

Our IF was “unexplained” for the first 6 years. I think it was easier for us then to talk about it. “Doctors can’t say what’s wrong. All tests have always come back normal.” When DH’s balanced translocation was discovered, it added a layer of complexity to our situation.

I did not want to tell my family about his translocation, because I did not want any negative thoughts about him, ever, even subconsciously. DH told his family, and then we discovered cases among his mom’s siblings, which we now can attribute to the BT. His mom’s sister had 2 babies that died, and from the symptoms, they probably had an unbalanced translocation on the same chromosomes that DH’s BT is on.

We were suddenly dealing with chromosomes and percentages and genetics, and we did try to explain to some of our friends. I don’t think most of them got it. We were talking about doing a biopsy on the embryos (PGD), and most people did not understand what we were talking about. We were talking day 3 biopsy, vs. day 5 biopsy and the culture in the lab and FISH analysis etc. For even an average IFer, these are complex discussions. For a fertile friend for whom getting pregnant is only equated to intercourse, these were discussions that were Greek and Latin to them.

Then I got pregnant, and subsequently miscarried. After that, I completely shut off from the real world. I turned to online message boards, blogs and friends that live in my computer.

Since then, one chemical pregnancy and one ectopic pregnancy later, now, when I have the diagnosis of my T shaped uterus to add to the complexity of our case, I seem to have closed off from the real world even more. There are possibly 3-4 people in real life who know the entirety of our current situation.

I told my family about my uterus, and he didn’t tell his. I guess we do this out of protection of each other in front of our families. We told a couple of friends – the couple that are still friends enough to want to know.

However, I now find myself exhausted, and feeling very raw and exposed and vulnerable every time I go into a detailed discussion of all our issues. It’s one thing to say, “I’ve done 6 clomid cycles, 5 IUIs, 4 fresh IVFs so far” and leave it at that. It’s a whole different ballgame to get into chromosomal discussions, and uterine shape discussions and biopsy discussions!

So while I am definitely out of the closet, I’m tired. I am really tired of being infertile. I am tired and disgusted that I’ve let my IF become me. I’m tired at the length of my story on this topic. So tired that sometimes I have a hard time remembering how many clomid cycles we did or how many IUIs we did and whether the IUIs were with injectable drugs or with clomid!

I’m running out of steam, and I’m so ready to close this chapter. Come February, and whatever be our outcome, I am going to stop being infertile. I will either be pregnant, or I will be childless. ☹

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Birds of a feather flock together

It’s so nice to meet a set of people that get it!

Shelby invited DH and me to have lunch with her sisterhood today. These are women Shelby met through her support group meetings and they decided to take their kinship beyond just the support group.

Of late, I have become extremely socially inadequate and deficient. I find myself avoiding meeting any new people, because I dread the “What about you? Are you married, do you have children?” part of the conversations.

When I told Shelby I was ready to join them, I confess that I was a trifle hesitant. But I decided to go anyway.

I am so glad DH and I went! These ladies all get it. They were all in my shoes! In fact, one of them introduced herself, saying “I’m so and so, and I’m extremely fertile.” I laughed and responded, “Try beating me at being fertile!”

There were laughs, jokes, stories shared and I felt such a comfortable camaraderie with all these ladies. I guess you know you had fun if you get home at 6 PM from lunch!

I’ve always hesitated going to any kind of support group. I felt it would be awkward talking about my IF to people I didn’t know. But if these are the kind of friendships that can be formed, I’m missing out on so much! Moreover, it’s easier to talk about IF to strangers that get it, than to try and explain to friends and family that don’t!

The great part was that a few of the DHs were there too, and it was great to hear their perspective to things too. It’s a rare moment when you find 3 men asking each other “How do you do with the shots?” and then hear them describe to each other how they do the shots. Very cute.

We are all now wearing the “Wear to make aware” pomegranate colored thread on our right hands. This is the common thread of infertility. I feel sort of empowered! ☺

Thanks Shelby for organizing this! Everyone else – it was so nice to meet you all!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

My cellular evolution

Yeah the laugh's on me today. I am the most absent minded cell phone owner in the world. I leave my cell phones all over the world. Thankfully, at least in this department, my luck works. I also get the phones back! Each time....

The year: 2002. Place: Miami, Florida. The phone: Basic Samsung - even this picture is that of a newer model. Mine was not even this fancy. 
We were there on vacation, and were walking around the "Coconut Grove" area (?? I am not sure I remember the name of the place well - it was a Coconut something area). We walked through several streets, stores, and at some point I realized I did not have my cell phone with me. We tried calling it, and we tried re-tracing our path, but who knows when I had lost it!
We called the service provider, and informed them that the phone was lost. We told them to suspend the account and figured we would get back home and deal with it. 

We came back home, and got a voice message on our home phone saying "I am calling from the Guess store in Miami. We found this cell phone in our store, and are calling the number listed as "Home". If you have lost your phone, please call us back."

God bless them - we called them, and they shipped my phone back to me. Service was re-instated. Problem solved. 

I was teased by DH and friends for a while after that for being so taken up by trying on clothes that I had no idea that I had left my phone behind. 

The year 2005. The place - road trip to Seattle. The phone: Sony Ericsson
We had driven with some friends to Seattle. On the way back, we stopped somewhere for food / break / walk around. This place happened to be an outlet mall type place. We walked around, ate, stretched, walked the dogs (We had a total of 3 dogs traveling with us). 
We got back in the car and started driving. About an hour later, I reached into my purse looking for my phone.
It was nowhere to be found. And nobody wanted to turn back and help me look for it because we had NO idea where I could have left it. 

I got teased some more. We got home, did the same drill - called the service provider, informed them that the phone was lost. They said I had insurance and they would ship out a replacement phone to me. 

Over the next day or so I called the outlet mall company, and we finally tracked the phone down. I had dropped it at a Rockport store - doing what? You're right. Trying on shoes. 

I did get the phone back, but in the meantime my replacement phone had arrived and we figured it would be a pain to get service changed from this one to the old one again, so we let it be. 

Yes - I got teased a lot again! First I was trying on pants, then I was trying on shoes!!

This was the replacement phone I received, and this was the only phone I did not lose! 
I actually liked it. It was small enough to go into my pockets, it was light enough that it didn't feel like I was lugging a weight around. It was basic and functional. And the best part - I didn't lose it!

Then in 2006, DH decided he wanted to buy me a high tech phone. I protested all I could. I told him I did not want to check email on the phone. I told him I did not want to have internet access everywhere I went. My personality is very addictive, and if I am given the option to be online, I WILL be online all the time. 

Nope - he still got me this phone. Way too heavy for me! Way too high tech. I decided not to take the data plan, and use it just as a phone. 

The year 2007. The phone: HTC 8125. The place: Local Mall.
I realized in the mall that I didn't have my phone. I assumed I had left it in the car because I didn't remember picking it up from the car. But it wasn't in the car. We called it several times. Someone would answer, but not talk back. After a few days of this, I gave up. Until one day I got a call from my cousin in London, saying she tried me on my cell, and someone named Andre answered the phone. She of course wanted to know who Andre was!! :-)

Andre would not answer when I would call, though! Then, one day, I got a voice mail at home, saying "I have your phone. If you want it, call." 

Long story short - I had to meet shady Andre in a shady corner of town to ~get this~ BUY my phone back from him. He said someone sold it to him for $20, and he thought he could sell it for much higher, but since I had a password on it which he couldn't crack, he couldn't do anything with it. He could only receive calls, and all the calls on it were for me! Pointless, right? So he sold me my phone back - minus the leather case and the stylus of course. 

That phone finally stopped working this year. Now I have a new iPhone. 

Today, lunch. We went out for lunch, and I left my phone at the restaurant. Thankfully I realized it just 5 minutes after leaving and we drove back and I got my phone back!
DH is glad that the episode that was to happen with this phone has happened, and I have recovered the phone without having to deal with the likes of Andre!

But he cannot stop teasing me now. I'm embarrassed, but glad that he's laughing - even if he's laughing at me! 

Thursday, November 13, 2008

One more anniversary

This is the first time we saw our baby's heart beating, last year, today. 

Tears of joy streaming down my face.
Tears of joy streaming down DH's face.
DH holding my hand so tight that my fingers could have fallen off.
Me: speechless. Too many knots in my throat for anything sensible to come out.
DH: Also speechless. And then finally "Thank you Doctor"
Dr. M: Also speechless, but smiling like a proud grandpa. "Don't thank me, there is a higher power. Thank that power."

4 days later, on Nov 17, I woke up to bright red bleeding. We panicked and called the hospital. They called us in and did another u/s. See how much bigger the baby already was? She was doing well. Her heart was beating fine. 

This was the last time we saw our baby's heart beating, but we did not know that then. If we had known, we may have asked Dr. M to let us watch it longer. 

If we had a baby girl, she would be named "Aditi". In Sanskrit that means "Mother of God". She went too early to be with God, but we long for the day when we will all be together again. (Testing after the m/c did reveal it was in fact a girl - and that was what I had felt all along.)

(The pictures are a little grainy - but that's what we have. I have removed my real name to protect whatever is left of my identity - which is little, considering my most intimate details get discussed here!)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

New Years Eve plans have been finalized

So guess what? I'm going to be in Denver on New Years Eve, taking FSH shots and getting blood drawn. 

My nurse called today with my protocol! My goodness - I can't believe how excited that phone call got me! Yesterday at this time I was all blue and down in the dumps. Today I can't stop smiling at the thought of taking shots and growing my eggs! Ha! How many people do I know in real life who would be EXCITED at the thought of injections? Not many....

So I'm going to start Lupron and dexamethasone earlier in December, and Gonal-F and Menopur after Christmas. We need to get a couple of u/s and bloodwork appointments here in CA before we travel to Denver on Dec 31. My first appointment in Denver for IVF monitoring is on Jan 1, 2009. Fresh day, fresh year, fresh new beginning, with a new uterus. I'm almost willing to take that as a sign! 

The only thing I am concerned about is the dosage of Gonal F. I've been on 1 vial of Menopur and 300 iu of Gonal F for my last couple of IVF cycles. CCRM has me on 1 vial of Menopur and 150 iu of Gonal F. 

I am worried we won't get as many eggs as we need because of the lower dosage. I need to get extra eggs because of the number game we play with DH's translocation. We need as many as we can get for PGD, because our earlier PGD cycles have resulted in only 10% of the embryos being normal/ balances for transfer. I have emailed the nurse about my concerns, although I'm pretty sure they know what they're doing, and will get phenomenal results even with lower dosages, but I needed to ask. 

Now all I need to do is WILL time to fly. And of course look for tickets and accommodation, and figure out where we can leave Simba. 

I am also realizing the finality of this. This is it. Our last hurrah. Our final foray. So much rests on this one cycle. I'm so scared to hope, but hope I must, because that's what the world rests on. I am no exception. I hope. 

Monday, November 10, 2008

Got Hope?

I’ve been trying really hard, but I’m finding it very hard to hold on to hope any longer. I know it all – think positive, believe in the power of vision – and believe me, I’m trying. I’m trying to be hopeful but I’m failing miserably.

I cannot help but wonder if I’m questioning fate too much. 7 years, failure after failure, heartache after heartache. Is fate not trying to say something? Am I not sticking my tongue out at it saying: “I’ll beat ya!!” But who’s stronger? Me or fate?

Lately I’ve been thinking if I may have been better off not going so far down the route of seeking treatment. I know someone who discovered she was having trouble with getting pregnant. This girl’s DH did not want to go to doctors and seek treatment. They have since then adopted 2 children and life has gone on for them. I know these decisions are personal to each couple. Why was it not such a “seemingly simple” decision for us?

Am I better off knowing the extent to which I know my IF, or is she better off – not finding out?

I’ve been wondering what will life be like if this last IVF doesn’t work out. What will “normal” be like? I shudder to think of that outcome. Yet, it is a very very possible outcome.

The thoughts in my head have been clouding up my brain so much in the past few days that it’s been hard to even put them into words. If this IVF doesn’t work, then what? Would we go back to being on birth control? This probably sounds like a completely stupid question, but in my scared mind, it isn’t. Given DH’s translocation, and the fact that only 36% of his sperm are of normal chromosomal makeup, there is a large possibility that we could have an embryo with an unbalanced translocation (in the rare even that we DO get pregnant on our own).

Are we ready for the trauma of possibly more miscarriages? How about the trauma of having a baby with special needs? DH’s translocation with his specific break points could (in extreme cases) lead to a child with an imperforate anus, or with kidney issues amongst various other developmental delays. More than the inconvenience to us, is it not a tragic life for the child? A baby with an imperforate anus will not live, but one with other milder issues could live. I would hate to be the one responsible for giving such a tragic life to my own baby.

What does one do? Go back on birth control? I know a couple of you reading this are dealing with translocation issues of your own. What would you do?

If I do get a BFP, I’m still going to be completely freaked out because how does one relax and enjoy a pregnancy any more? I am freaking out at the thought of a BFP as much as I am freaking out that it will fail. How do I calm my mind down? I just feel like I’m living Murphy’s Law – If anything can go wrong, it will.

So far it has…..

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Now for those who are....

Firstly, thank you so much for all your comments! I am touched more than you will know to receive so much response and support.

It’s also so relieving to know that I’m not alone in feeling what I feel. IF does feel very isolating. Sometimes I feel like I’m standing still, and the world is whizzing past me. A lot of memories and emotions seem blurry. It feels like I am here, stuck holding on to my dream, while the rest of the world is busy living their dream.

But through all this, and through the pain and the anger and bitterness, through all the lost friendships and distanced relationships, there have been many shining stars.

My true friends – who, like G said, are here, holding me up. My true friends IRL – who have not judged, and who have cried with me when I cried, and been there for me when they felt I needed a hug. I cannot ever repay what they have done for me. You know who you are – you know,  you who call and check on me every day, you drop in with food, or hugs every once in a while. Thank you thank you thank you! 

My friends from my online message boards, and my friends from the blogosphere. You will never know – but some of you have ended up meaning more to me than many IRL friends ever could. Most of you I haven’t met – yet – but I am sure we will meet, at some point. There are so many that I wish I could meet!

I had the lovely fortune of meeting with Shelby, and spending an amazing evening just talking! There was no awkwardness, no feeling of “But I don’t even know her”. I was shocked to see the time when we got up to leave! I look forward to meeting her again, and of course, any other bloggers from the Bay Area!

IF is so very isolating, yet at the same time, so very strengthening! I never thought I would ever have the kind of resilience and dogged determination to keep fighting IF like I have. IF has brought DH and me so much closer. Sometimes it feels like we don’t need the rest of the world. It has made me much more compassionate, and much more tolerant and sympathetic of others. IF has also brought to my life a crystal clear clarity of my priorities. I know what I want and how far I’m willing to go to get it!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

To those who were.....

I’ve never been the kind of person who lives totally in the present and forgets the past. You know, the kind of person who moves on from one stage of her life to the next, makes new friends, forgets the old, and doesn’t look back. I am in touch with people I went to high school with. My BFF IRL is someone who’s been my best friend since we were two shy 5th graders. We still meet once or twice every year, hang out, talk, remember our childhood and giggle over silly things, while our husbands shake their heads and wonder what got into their wives.

I have always had lasting relationships. I’ve made friends with co-workers and I’m in touch with co-workers I worked with 10-12 years ago, even though we now live in different countries. It’s never been easy for me to give up on a relationship and move on.

We started TTC very optimistically. Then IF hit us. We did not know how rocky the road ahead was. Slowly we saw all our friends move on, get pregnant, have their babies, and start getting immersed in their children’s lives. We were open with our immediate circle about our struggles. Some of our friends broke their pregnancy news to us gently; some came over and told us specially, so we would not hear from others. Some didn’t care, and we got the “Guess what? DS turned one, and on his birthday we decided to have another baby, DS is now 13 months old and I’m pregnant!!” announcements.

Our road kept getting rockier. We stumbled, we fell. We ran into walls and fell again. Got up and tried moving ahead again and again and again. Slowly, people stopped knowing what to say to us, or how to be around us. Slowly our immediate circle crumbled.

This is a post to remember all those relationships, because the memories sure are beautiful.

To you – who moved away, and kept in touch on phone once in a while. I can’t explain to you the torture that we’ve been through. I can’t explain that the reason I don’t answer your calls anymore is because I have nothing to say. I can’t lie and say “All’s well”, and I can’t explain my whole sordid reality to you. No, I am not ignoring you (despite what you may think). I am only protecting myself. But I do have great memories of times spent together.

To you – who heard of my pregnancy last year, and “decided to go for it to have your second child”. Of course I lost my pregnancy and 2 more after that. Your baby must now be 2 months old. We have not received a birth announcement yet. I don’t have the courage to reach out and congratulate you. You probably don’t know what to say to me. I do miss our times together, but I do not think those times are coming back ever again.

To you – who got pregnant the first month trying for each of your children. You never understood where I was in my struggles. You were too immersed in your life, and I don’t think I could have changed that. Again, I cherish the memories – your laughter still rings loud in my ears!

To you and you – who had your babies just before my due date. I cannot tell you the pain I feel in my heart, just by thinking of you. You have something I don’t. I cannot make myself meet you, and see your baby, because my own would be the same age. You have been great by keeping a graceful distance, and I am sorry, but I don’t think I will be able to cover that distance any time soon.

To you and you – who choose to want to be in our lives, but only at a superficial level. It feels like you want to be friends with us, but not with our IF. You want us to hang out with you and be happy, but you will never ask us what is happening in our lives since my miscarriage one year ago. That happy face is hard for us to project. So we retreat.

To you, who knows everything that is going on in my life, yet choose not to reach out to us and talk. Perhaps you don't know what to say. The irony of everything is, you don't have to say anything at all. 

To you, and you and you, who don’t even know what is going on in my life, because I can’t explain it to you. I can’t bring you on the same planet as me, leave alone the same page.

I have great memories of our times with all these friends, but IF came in the way. IF changed me, and changed me in a way that is unfixable. Even if we ever get to hold our baby in our arms, I doubt if the scars of IF will ever fade away.

We’ve lost so many friends and relationships because people don’t get it. I can’t expect everyone to make me the focus of their existence and “get” my problems. Likewise, I can’t put my issues on the back burner and smile for everyone always. IF has taken more from us than our ability to have a child.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

"Ejection Day"

While a new president gets elected, I got my balloon "ejected." Cheesy, I know :-)

But, YYYEEAAOOWW!!! OUCH!!! The taking out of the balloon wasn't as simple as everyone said it would be! Apparently the balloon was sort of stuck in my uterus - Dr M. thought it could be static or something. 

It went something like this - he put in a speculum, then asked the medical assistant for a syringe to "drain" the fluid inside the balloon. As the saline drained from the balloon, my uterus protested like crazy! Oh the cramps!!! :-(

Then he started to try and get the balloon out, and it wouldn't budge. I could see him panicking a bit. He did an abdominal u/s, and saw that the balloon was nicely deflated. So he tried again, but no go. Still stuck. By now my palms were sweaty and my uterus was completely in rebellion. 

Dr. M then decided to do an internal u/s, to make sure that the balloon was in fact totally deflated. So he put my tail back in, and removed the speculum and did another u/s. Yup - totally deflated balloon right there. He put the speculum back on, and tried again. By now I was squirming my butt around on the table in pain. 

Finally it gave. Came out in 2 seconds after that. Phew!!!! I'm glad I'm done with that. That's one thing I'm not going to miss having! 

The real clincher? The size of the thing. It was tiny! The balloon part was just so tiny. But, as DH pointed out - it was tiny in deflated state.  Here is a picture of a similar balloon. No - this is NOT a picture of MY balloon ;-)

See the tail? See why it was so uncomfortable??!! YEEAAOOWW!! 

Monday, November 3, 2008

Appliance breakdown!

We have this silly joke where we say "My bad luck is good these days" or "My good luck is bad these days". That's what is happening here in this house!

A week ago, the dishwasher collected a whole bunch of water on the bottom. Soapy water. We pulled out the user manual and did everything we could to troubleshoot. Didn't help. We tried everything we could, then I finally hand-washed 2 days worth of dirty dishes at one shot. We know a plumber in our neighborhood who came and fixed the dishwasher. It was a silly silly problem. The water outlet had got blocked with some metal pieces (not sure where the metal pieces came from!). 

Yesterday I noticed the freezer temperature on the front control of the refrigerator blinking. Uh-oh. Not good. Out came the manuals. Again, we did all we could. Didn't help. A few years ago, the exact same thing had happened with the refrigerator, and we had ended up having to BUY a new one, because they couldn't fix the broken one. Morons that we are, we bought the exact same model again. When that light started blinking yesterday, I was like - Alright then, this is a goner. DH thought I was over-reacting, and that he'd be able to fix it. 

This morning, he's singing a different song. Obviously, given that now there's water leaking out from under the refrigerator!!! We are now going to be frantically eating things from the freezer and calling for repairman appointments! If history does repeat itself, the repairmen won't be able to fix it, we will have to throw a lot of food out, and we will have to replace the refrigerator!!!

If we have to buy a new refrigerator, I'm not buying a Sam.sung side by side again. We bought it 2 times, and both times it's had the EXACT same issues! I think I'm going to buy the cheapest and hardiest one I can now! Darn it!!!

We could do without these issues right now!! But I guess, we can't choose the issues we get, right? Can't choose the hand you're dealt, just play it the best you can....

On the other hand, my CD3 blood work results came back great. FSH is at 7.9, LH at 5. something, and AMH at something which the nurse said was "excellent". I can't remember the level right now. My FSH is higher than I ever remember it to be - I last knew of it being 3.something. It's still great - I'm 37, and my FSH is nicely under 10. I know it's still all good, but I can't help but notice how much higher it is now! 

(Little confession here. I wanted them to prescribe me Met.formin so I could lose some of the weight I've gained with all these cycles. At first they said they wanted to see my CD3 results. Once they got the results they refused to prescribe it to me! :-( They say I don't need it, and since my hormones are perfectly balanced they don't see any reason why I should be on it! Blah!!!)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Deserted House

We ran. Couldn't bear the thought of spending yet another Halloween sitting at home handing out candy to the cute little Princesses and Supermen and Spidermen. I want to be taking my kids out trick or treating!! I don't want it rubbed in my face every year that we are miserable infertile people and that there are no kids in this house going trick or treating! 

This year we decided we couldn't deal with it. We didn't buy candy. We got in the car and scrammed. We made sure we stayed out till it was late enough for the trick or treaters to be in bed. And when we got back, Simba kept running to the front door like he was telling us "The doorbell has been ringing all evening!! Open the door - let all my friends in!!!" 

If next year at this time we don't have an infant (or aren't about to have one), then this is going to become tradition with us. Get out and have a good dinner out on Halloween. "Self Preservation" is what I call this anti social behavior that I allow myself to indulge in!