Monday, December 28, 2009
Jan 2009: The first half of the month was spent in CO. I went through my 5th ER – 31 eggs were retrieved! Yes, CCRM did seem to be the answer to our prayers! The rest of the month was spent in waiting for fert reports, growth reports, PGD reports (we did a freeze all cycle). We have 4 PGD normal embryos!
Feb 2009: I started prepping my lining for FET. My lining didn’t seem to be growing very well. Almost the entire month was a whirl of lupron, estrogen patches, delestrogen injections and ultrasounds.
March 2009: I was still on Lupron! It had been almost 7 weeks on Lupron and I was going insane. My lining was not growing, and nothing seemed to budge it. I tried acupuncture, “bone soup”, hot foods, delestrogen, estrogen patches, estrace suppositories and everything else I could think of. But no luck. I called off the cycle and decided to take a break.
April 2009: I was on a break, and we were in need of a salary coming into the house. I started looking for a job, found one and started working. My uncle (mom’s brother) in Nashua was very sick and I spent a week there with him and his family. It didn’t look good, and he didn’t look like he would make it much longer.
May 2009: When AF came, we decided to get back on to the FET bandwagon. I started Lupron and all of the same insanity again.
June 2009: My parents came from India – to be with my uncle and help him and his family out. Uncle was deteriorating. In the meantime, my lining was doing the same “no growth” pattern as before. I was now on heavy doses of delestrogen and patches and suppositories. My FET date kept getting pushed out because my lining wasn’t good enough. At the end of the month, my uncle passed away.
July 2009: Most of the month was still spent on Lupron and estrogen. By the time it came to FET at the end of the month, I had been on Lupron for about 8 weeks! Crazy? Yes, absolutely! My lining barely made it to the minimum required level, and we decided to proceed with transfer. We transferred two beautiful looking grade AA blastocysts.
August 2009: BFN. Not much to note for the rest of the month. How many people do you know who are childless even after 5 IVFs? Besides me, I can count maybe 2-3 others. Not a whole lot. It’s a sad, sparsely populated club to be in.
September 2009, October 2009, November 2009: Honestly, it’s all a blur. I can’t remember much of what happened in these three months. Somewhere along the line, we started talking seriously about domestic adoption. DH is the project leader for our adoption program. He did all the research and we finalized on the agency we want to go with. We also got a potential birth mom situation that made us so excited.
December 2009: Here we are, at the end of a year that I hoped would bring us the answers we needed. CCRM did not turn out to be the answer to our prayers. We are on the brink of 2010, and we are still looking for answers. We still have 2 frozen blastocysts but we are out of steam. I also am not sure my lining will cooperate any time soon. Most importantly, I am not ready to stick another needle into me – not for the foreseeable future. We have filled out our application forms for domestic adoption and have sent them in. We are waiting for our home study to get done. We are trying to be hopeful for 2010, but have been let down and disappointed too many times before to put much hope into our hearts. We are more realistic now, more cautious with the dreams in our minds. My motto is: Hope for the best, but expect the worst. Who knows, life may pan out somewhere in between.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
It all started 2 months ago. When I wrote this post, we were close to finalizing which agency we would go with, and we were close to initiating the entire paperwork. We wrapped our minds around bringing home a baby of a different race, and started visualizing in our minds a baby in our arms, a baby that we would love unconditionally – our baby.
And then we got a call – from the same agency that we were finalizing to sign up with. Hold your breath – they told us they had been contacted by a social worker in Nevada, who had been contacted by an Indian family. There was a young girl in this family who was pregnant, and they were considering placing this baby up for adoption.
As you can imagine, our world did an instant flip flop! The agency said they remembered us from our conversation with them, and since it was rare for them to come across an Indian baby up for adoption, they thought of asking us if we would be interested.
IF we would be interested??? Of course we would be interested!!
Mind you, we weren’t even signed up with the agency yet, so they really had no obligation to bring us this potential match! So in our naïve minds, we started believing this was meant to be! This was the universe’s way of cutting us a break, and making something easy for us. We couldn’t stop smiling!
The agency gave us less than 2 days to prepare our “Dear Birthmother” letter and our profile booklet. We worked like insane people on a mission! Writing, selecting pictures, creating the profile, printing, binding, rushing to the agency etc.
And then the wait started. I literally had my phone attached to me like an additional appendage all the time. How cool was this! Unlike other couples who usually don’t get the chance to “customize” their profiles and letters to the birthmom’s situation, we had been so lucky to have some information about the birthmom. We knew she was Punjabi (ie, from around the part of India my family is from), so our pictures depicted our Indian roots more than we would have initially imagined. Our letter was written in English, and I also wrote out a copy in Indian! Our profile literally was screaming: “Pick Me! Pick Me!”
We were so sure this was going to work! I mean, how couldn’t it? There had to be karma involved in this, right?
One week went past. No phone call. Two weeks went past. No phone call. We followed up with the agency. They had not heard either, and they promised to follow up with the social worker. They came back saying the social worker had not heard anything either.
One month went past. No phone call. Now it’s almost 2 months. I’m not carrying my phone like it’s my lifeline anymore. The agency never heard anything back. They feel no news means it didn’t work out. And I’ve stopped hoping too. Yes, there is that tiny little sliver of chance that MAYBE, just maybe, it will still happen, and that the birth mom and her family (her dad was the one driving the entire conversation with the agency in the beginning) may still call us. But then there is the very real and probably more likely possibility that we will never hear from them.
We don’t know if they didn’t pick us, and picked someone else from another agency, or if someone within their family / friend circle offered to take care of the baby or if they decided not to put the baby up for adoption after all. Who knows what their reality and situation is at this point.
But it was good while it lasted. The shine and sparkle in our eyes was worth it! We allowed ourselves to hope so much about this working out that we actually had conversations revolving around me taking time off from work, and us having to figure out day-care etc.! Pre-mature yes, but it was a huge first for us.
We had never before come within touching and feeling distance of a baby like this! This birth mother is due on Jan 27! If this match had worked out, we really would have had to have all those conversations and decisions in place by now!
But I guess it’s not so simple in my life. The universe and karma and fate and whoever else is not cutting me any slack. The adoption ride may turn out to be as crazy a roller coaster as our IF treatment ride. Hop on and hang tight!
Saturday, November 28, 2009
And then the ultrasound when our world came tumbling down.
The RE’s shaking hands as he tried desperately to find that heartbeat, to dismiss his suspicions. His voice, higher pitched than usual, saying “There is no heartbeat”.
Numbed silence from DH and me. No tears, no words, no nothing. What could we say? Then the whole whirl of things – someone saying “Let’s schedule the D&C”, someone coming and hugging me, saying “I’m so sorry”. DH and me looking at each other, holding hands, still numbed and silenced by the events.
Two years to the day.
They say time is the best healer. I think time just dulls the pain. The actual pain remains forever. The loss remains forever. All time does is make memories dull and faint. I can feel the choking lump in my throat as I type this right now. The pain is still there, right at the surface.
If anything is fading, it’s my memories of how it felt to be pregnant. That was the only pregnancy I felt anything. Not being able to sleep on my tummy as I usually do, because my breasts hurt so much. Not be able to stay awake past 8 PM because I was just SO exhausted. Wanting to eat meat that was cooked with a lot of spice. I am not a beef eater – I didn’t even know how it tastes, but I swear, watching those steakhouse commercials on TV at that time would make me want to go eat steak right then!
But those memories are fading away. Every week, every month, every year, I am further away from the time I was pregnant.
I’ve been working very hard at accepting the cards that have been dealt out to me. I got tired of being angry at the universe. But then it’s days like today when the floodgates open, and everything comes pouring back in. Why us? What did we do wrong? Our baby would have been almost a year and a half old today. We should have had a home full of toys, and baby clothes and diapers and formula, and baby food. Instead, it’s just us, 2 more years older, no closer to having a family now than we were then!
On this day last year, as I wrote a blog entry, I was getting ready for my CCRM IVF. I still had hope. If my uterus was the problem, we had "fixed" it. If DH's translocation was the problem, we were doing genetic testing anyway. The cycle at CCRM HAD to work. Well, it didn't. We all know how that IVF cycle turned out.
Today, I feel miserable. Simply miserable. We did all we could, because we had the ability to hope, and we had the stamina to keep trying. We lost.
Monday, November 16, 2009
We started the month by kicking off some of the steps for home study. We got our fingerprinting done first, because fingerprinting results take up to 3-4 weeks to come back. (Of course my finger printing wasn’t without drama! We discovered that my little pinky fingers don’t “print” very well. I have faint lines on my palms anyway, and the little pinkies are practically “smooth”. The fingerprint technician was making jokes with me, saying “If you ever turn to a life of crime, use your pinky fingers, so you don’t leave fingerprints! She then started referring to me as the “Pinky Finger Bank Robber”! Ha! Can you imagine that? I on the other hand couldn’t help but wonder if my fingerprints are getting eroded and my fingertips are now smooth because of all the “drumming my fingers” I have done in the last 8 years! So much of infertility and treatments involved waiting, doesn’t it? Hence the finger drumming…. get it? Get it?)
Then we got our medicals done. And as always, not without drama. No sir, in my life, nothing is without drama! DH went to his doctor, got a physical exam, got some blood work done, and was on his way. For me, drama.
As part of my physical, my Dr. ordered some blood work and X-ray. I went to get my X-Ray done, and after I was changed into the paper gown, the lab tech asks me “So I think I asked you this already, and you told me you are not pregnant, right?” No, lady, you did not ask me, and yes, while I am not pregnant, it shouldn’t be SO obvious, should it? I should at least be asked!!
Then I went to get the rest of my blood work done. I filled out my name and DOB on the check in form, and I get called up immediately.
Nurse: “Is this for your son?”
Me: …………………………… “No” (Couldn’t for the life of me figure out why she would assume that, till she pointed out that I had put 2009 in the “year” on the DOB part of the form!! D’oh! Why me?)
I finally get called in, and the phlebotomist puts on her glove and looks for my vein. She finds the vein, looks up at me, and says: “Looks like you’ve been poked a lot”. I said yes, and asked her how she could tell. She said she could feel all the scarring in my veins from the blood draws I have had earlier.
I could have let myself get sucked into the unfairness of it all, all the reminders, all the drama, and question the universe about the injustice that has been doled out towards me, and I did, for a tiny bit. I did have a “Woe is me” pity party for a little bit. But I am not going to allow myself to get sucked into that whirlpool again. I’m focusing on the end goal this time, and I have my sights set on bringing baby home.
The agency that we have selected as our adoption agency had an “Adoption Day Party” this weekend. DH and I went, to make use of the opportunity to meet other people in our shoes. It was an awesome experience. We met some birthmoms, and some adoptive families. There were little babies crawling / running around, and it was pure joy watching them.
Meeting the birthmoms was the best part. Talking to them brought images to my mind that this could work. We could, at the end of this, bring a child into our family in this way! We can actually do it! I hugged some of the birth moms after they shared their stories with us, and felt that all too familiar choke in my throat, and the sting of tears in my eyes. These birth moms are mere girls! 18 years old, 20 years old! They look like little kids! If we had had children at their age, some of them could actually BE our children! (I mean age wise)
I don’t know how our path ahead will be. I don’t know how rocky or smooth our adoption journey will be, but I do believe that somewhere in the universe, the wheels are turning. And our baby is making its way towards us. Only, none of us know how, and when it will all come together. But it will. It has to.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
A little over a year ago, Shelby commented on my blog for the first time, and she said she also lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, so I said: “Let’s meet.” We met one afternoon, and hit it off. It was so easy to talk to Shelby. She is wonderfully witty, compassionate and very warm.
Shelby had been going to a local support group in San Francisco, and she had met some other ladies there that were also going through IF struggles. She asked if I would be willing to come and have dinner with the group some time. At first I hesitated. I had never been to support groups before. I had never talked to “strangers” about my situation in life (I mean, I do talk through my blog, but I have the cover of anonymity here). Shelby asked me if I would be more comfortable if the group included spouses. That way I could ask DH to accompany me. I did, and that’s how I first met “the ladies”.
Our group met quite regularly after that. Sometimes for brunch, sometimes for a drink, sometimes at someone’s house. Everyone was at various stages of their journeys. LW was in the decision making space in between her IUIs and IVF. M was doing IUIs. J was coping with immune issues, and doing IVF coupled with very severe transfusion procedures. OC was going through IVF, and it worked! ME was going through DE and it worked! KW had just had a miscarriage after IVF, and then got pregnant naturally! Shelby’s IVF worked! I was going for my uterus surgery and getting ready for my last hurrah IVF at CCRM.
One by one, it seemed like the group was achieving success. It became a little difficult to be the one(s) left behind. I had by now been lapped several times through the years, so in a way, I was expecting it. But it still made it hard for me to meet the group, especially when the majority of the group was pregnant. We met a couple of new ladies, also from the support group that Sarang met Shelby at. The group sort of started growing in a different direction.
Sarang (her blog is private, so I can’t link it here) was phenomenal through the changes. She reached out to all the pregnant girls one on one, met with them, checked in on them regularly, all while she was going through a failed IVF and failed FETs.
I, on the other hand, let myself withdraw. I felt I needed to. I called it “my coping mechanism” or “self preservation”. I went through my cancelled FET, and subsequently my failed FET, and fell into a dark deep place in my life. I am doing much better now, and now, as I look back, I realize how much of a hand each and every one of these ladies had in gently pulling me out of my trenches. I got emails, voice mails, phone calls, text messages, flowers, and hand written cards in the mail! Each time someone reached out, it put a smile on my face.
See, I had spent 8 years struggling alone with IF. I had never explored support groups. I had grown used to dealing with my failures and losses in my own way – which mostly meant closing down from the rest of the world till I regained the energy and the strength to face life again. Receiving these notes and flowers and messages felt different. And I am so very thankful to everyone for being there.
So Sarang, MV, Shelby, ME, OC, KW, JC, L – if you are reading this, thank you from the bottom of my heart! You rock! You don’t know how much you have helped me by just being there, and by reaching out to me when you knew I needed you, though some of those times, I didn’t know it myself!
OC and ME recently had their babies, Shelby is due soon, and so is KW. MV, Sarang and JC’s journey still continues. My journey continues too. The routes may have changed for some of us, but the destination remains the same – parenthood.
The group continues to meet – sometimes in big groups, sometimes one on one. We now have more members. Recently, Meg found my blog and reached out. She and I met for dinner a couple of months ago. Meg is beautiful, and warm and funny! I introduced her to the original group (or at least the ones still on the TTC bandwagon from that group). Meg introduced us to Melissa, who is a sweetheart! Sarang brought in a few more ladies, and the "new group" met just recently.
So now we have new faces in the group, but the bonding remains the same. The stories are different, but the struggle is the same. And it is so easy to connect with these ladies because everyone gets it. Everyone is in different stages of her journey, but the emotions are the same.
We meet at restaurants and bond over food. And as any veteran IFer, none of us are ashamed of talking about our body parts, or medical procedures, or TTC terminology. I am sure many a fellow restaurant client on the surrounding tables has had trouble ingesting their food if they have ever overheard our conversations! We giggle over stories of cervical mucus, sperm counts, fertilization rates, number of eggs retrieved etc, while proceeding to eat pizza, or chinese food, or whatever else it is that we are eating. No queazy stomachs at our table! On the tables surrounding us? Who knows? And frankly, who cares? Would they rather have queazy stomachs from overhearing IF conversation, or would they rather be us, having that IF conversation?
So this one's for the girls!!
This one's for the girls
Who've ever had a broken heart
Who've wished upon a shooting star
You're beautiful the way you are
This one's for the girls
Who love without holding back
Who dream with everything they have
All around the world
This one's for the girls
I recently noticed on my blog traffic monitor, that someone came to my blog by googling for "real life IF meetings in San Francisco". Whoever that was, if you are reading this, and if you are one of us that needs support, I am sure our group will be more than happy to welcome you. Leave me a comment, and we will include you in our next get together.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
We are not US citizens. We are permanent residents, and because of that, international adoption is almost ruled out for us. It’s ironical and sad that this route is so difficult for us, because as far as adopting a baby in India would go, we would be close to the top of the list of preferred adoptive parents for the orphanages and the adoption system in India. We are Indian citizens, living overseas. Most orphanages in India love that combination. However, the immigration rules for the US will not allow us to bring into the country a baby adopted internationally unless we “co-reside with the baby in the country of adoption for 2 years”.
That almost clearly eliminates the international adoption route for us. That is, unless we decide to uproot ourselves from here and go back to India, and we don’t think we can do that. Everything in life is at such a crossroad right now anyway. We want to keep as much constant as we can. So we are trying to keep our home and place of residence constant and work around available options.
As we began “interviewing” agencies and facilitators for adoption, and started asking questions, another piece of information started becoming more and more obvious. It will be almost impossible for us to be matched with a baby of Indian origin. Simply because there aren’t many Indian babies that become available for adoption.
We understand why. It’s cultural. We could get VERY lucky and get matched with an Indian baby, but chances of this actually happening are very slim. As part of our routine questions to the adoption agencies we are talking to, we always ask if they have placed any babies of Indian origin. Most have not had any Indian baby placements. One has, but the frequency has been 2 in the last 8 years. So that’s another option that we see as almost non-existent.
So not only am I having to process the loss of the biological connection, I am also having to process the loss of the ethnic / race connection. We thought it would help us if we spoke with other families that were built through transracial adoptions. Agencies are willing to refer us to families, but they are all families where the adoptive parents are Caucasian / American, and the adopted babies are ethnic. We have so far not been able to find a combination of ethnic (Indian) parents with Caucasian / American children. I had mentioned this to the hyno-therapist when I had my session with her last month. She told me to think of DH and me as pioneers in this field. She said: “If you can’t find the role models you are looking for, you become that role model”
Interesting thought, but still it has been a lot to process. DH has a very wise head on his shoulders. He processes situations like this very practically, and once he is done processing, he is ready to proceed. I, on the other hand, have had many apprehensions. I am trying to deal with each apprehension, and I believe that I am making progress. And with that, I think I am coming to the place where I am accepting that our family is going to be created in a unique way. I am trying to stay focused that the goal is to become a parent, as opposed to the goal being to become pregnant.
We have started talking to our families about their thoughts on transracial adoption. I have spoken with my brother and sister, and during both conversations, got the complete support that I wanted. While I was talking to my sister, I had a very powerful vision of DH and me visiting India with our adopted baby – and in my vision it was a little girl with curly hair and a beautiful laughing face – a very “white” baby, with chubby cheeks. In my vision my entire family was fawning over the baby, and everyone was just so happy! It made my heart skip a beat, and then I realized this was the first time I had actually envisioned an adopted baby in our lives, and more over, this was the first time I had envisioned my family with my baby (biological or otherwise).
I think we are finally ready to move ahead with starting to fill out paperwork and commit to a home study to start with. I am not freaking out about this any more, and I feel we can do it.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
I had first heard about “hypnosis as a therapy” from a couple of "now ex-smokers" who claimed they did one session of hypnosis and had completely quit smoking after that. One of the people had been smoking for over 20 years, and had never been able to quit, but one session of hypnosis did wonders for him, and he has not had the urge for even a single puff after that.
I always wondered how that worked. I mean, what can one session of any kind of therapy do? And what is hypnotherapy anyway? One would imagine that the therapist would hypnotize you. And then what? Do they “make you” do goofy things? So I was always very wary of any such therapy. I mean, I’m wary of regular therapy too! Perhaps that explains why I have never been to a therapist so far.
But then Jill mentioned that she was considering hypno-therapy geared towards fertility. And she wrote a couple of posts about her experiences with the sessions she took. I found myself more than curious. As I read and researched, I realized that this was different. They don’t “hypnotize” you. In fact, your session could be done on the phone! From the comfort of your own home. Thank you Jill for sharing your experience!
I knew I needed help – there was no doubt about that. I needed help to sort out my thoughts, and I needed help to be able to decide on my path forward. I decided to try one session of hypnotherapy, because I felt like that would help me on the sub conscious level, and that’s where I needed help. So I set up an appointment.
The therapist and I spoke for about an hour. I went over my IF background, and told her that I was having trouble staying positive any more. And that I was letting my negativity take over many aspects of my life. And at the crossroads where we were (ie, “Where do we go from here?”), I wanted to somehow get that positivism back into my thinking. I knew we had some very big decisions in front of us, and I did not want my bad energy affecting my decisions. I wanted us to be able to plan our future with a balanced mind. In short, I wanted a clean slate.
The therapist asked questions about our backgrounds, and our families, our religion, our culture etc. She commented that I seemed to be quite “left brained” – and that she got from the fact that I tried to have my life totally planned out and in control. I got my education, got married, got a job, bought a house etc – all left brain activities. She said that trying to have a child is part left brain, part right brain activity. The right brain or the creative side of your brain plays a very important role in TTC, because one has to be able to visualize the child that one is creating. And one should not forget that the child is creating you too – ie, the child is making you a mother. It is a very important transition. She said it seemed like over the years of TTC and IF treatment, I had let the left brain take control – to take TTC as a project and get the treatment done, one after the other, one step after the other. She was going to try and “wake up” my right brain, so that there could be balance on both sides.
She also said that I needed to thank my uterus / ovaries for all the stuff I had put them through – all the IVFs, the D&Cs, the surgeries etc. And it struck me that I had spent the entire last year “not trusting” my uterus. Quite contrary to what she was saying. She asked me what I thought my uterus would say to me if I were to “meet my uterus for coffee”. My first reaction was “I think my uterus would take out a gun and shoot me in the face for putting it through everything I have”.
I told her I was at the junction where we have to decide what to do next, and no option seems easy. She said that she obviously could not make my decisions for me, but she would try and help me clean my slate enough so I could make my decisions myself, sensibly.
I asked her if I appeared like too much of a gone case, or if there was any hope for me. She said I was exactly where I was supposed to be, given everything I had gone through. She then sent me an audio file that I have been listening to. She said that I should not feel pressure to have a particular kind of reaction to the audio file. If I “fell asleep”, it was ok. If my brain felt alert, it was ok. Basically, whatever reaction I have, is the reaction I am supposed to have. No rights and wrongs. I would gain from the recording any which way.
And I do believe it is working. More than anything, I am determined to make it work, because I know I need it to work. I need a clean slate to be able to move on. My slate is not sparkly clean yet, but I believe it’s getting its first erasing.
If anyone is interested, you can check out the hypnotherapist’s website here.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
I have been quiet for a few weeks in the blog world. Things have been going on in the real world, and some of those things have helped bring me to that calm place I’m in currently.
1) DH saw my last blog post, and realized how badly I was doing, and how much I needed him to step up and be there for me. And step up he did. He surprised me one day with a folder full of notes and comments from the calls he had been making to adoption agencies. It was so heartwarming to see that he was taking charge and doing the research. He brought me up to speed on his research, and we attended a couple of orientations too.
I have definitely had my doubts about adoption, and I’m sometimes not sure if I’m ready to move ahead with it, but I’m definitely in a much better place mentally about the process than I was even a few weeks ago. And in getting all the information through the research that DH has been doing, I am finding myself opening up to the idea even more.
I will write a complete post about my feelings, my doubts and how I’m trying to process them.
2) DH and I had some very deep discussions – amidst lots of tears and bared feelings about our opinions on adoption, and where our doubts were stemming from (this too requires a separate post), and we had some pretty intense revelations about each other and about us as a team. Just by talking to each other.
3) Jill wrote a couple of posts about the hypnotherapy sessions she went through, and her experience really intrigued me. Many of you have suggested that I see a therapist, or get onto medication. Somehow that didn’t seem to be the option of choice to me. When I read about hypnotherapy, it made sense. So I decided to take a session for myself. It’s been about a week now since my session, and I have to admit, I really think it is working. The objective we had set for my session was to “clean my slate”. I told the hypnotherapist that I had a lot of negativity and bitterness set in my mind and sub conscience, and I was beginning to have a very negative energy around any step I took. For example, for my last FET, for the most part, my attitude was “It’s not going to work anyway, let’s just get it over with”. I had stopped envisioning babies in our house. I had stopped even wanting to parent. And I knew I needed help. The hypnotherapist is located in CO, so our session was on the phone, and she then sent me an audio file that I have been listening to. It has been only a week, but I know it’s helping, because I have been feeling so calm since then. (This TOO requires a separate post!)
In my last post I was talking about options, and trying to decide which path to walk down. I think we sort of know now. We will sign up with an adoption agency (we’re not fully there yet, but are working towards it). Depending on how things go – we will figure out next year if we want to proceed with surrogacy or do one attempt at a fresh IVF here locally, or if we want to try one last FET with our remaining blastocysts. We will leave that decision to next year. I’m trying to give up on my need to have the next 10 years planned out inside my head. I’m trying to be in the moment and take it from there.
So far, so good. I hope I am able to continue feeling peaceful, because this sure feels nice. I was getting sick of being who I was becoming. This is a very concentrated effort to regain my life and enjoy living.
Monday, September 7, 2009
You can run but you can never hide from the reality of your life, can you? It always comes back to bite you in the rear. And reality could be in any form. You could take a firm decision to enjoy your long weekend and not think about life and IF, and you could get asked the “So when are you having kids” question right in the beginning of the weekend, when you’re happy and just slightly buzzed on nice strong mojitos. Or it could be in the form of the sight of an obviously newborn baby wailing loudly, and being rocked to silence by an obviously inexperienced dad in the park on a sunny afternoon. You walk silently by, and all you can do is reach out for your DH’s hand and squeeze it.
It’s been over a month since our BFN and it hasn’t been easy. On the outside, life has gone back to being routine. But the emptiness comes back to haunt us and taunt us every day. I feel disillusioned from most things in life – from my job to household chores to working out to even just relaxing. No fun in anything.
I guess my heart and mind needs an anchor or a goal to look forward to, and there is none right now. Of late I have been feeling like a balloon floating away into the sky. No destination, no goal, no plan, no “next steps”.
DH is a little bit in the “ostrich mode” – ie, dig your head in the sand and ignore the problem, hopefully it will go away. I realize he is tired of IF, and wants to lead a normal – hormone free, treatment free life for a while. I find myself closing off from him a little bit because I find him avoiding any discussions of next steps. At the same time, I don’t want to push him, because I don’t want him helping me with our next steps out of force from me. I want it to come from him. I don’t know when that will be.
And I alone don’t have the motivation to do anything on my own. There’s so much that needs attention, and I’m just not up to giving attention. My list grows daily:
1) Find a new job. I took this one because I needed a job at that time. I don’t like it, and clearly I don’t fit into the work environment. But I’m not motivated enough to do anything about it. I’m not even confident enough to do anything about it.
2) Get back to working out and living healthy. Obviously I need to. I need to be able to fit into my regular clothes. One can wear tents only for that long! But do I have the motivation to go to a gym? No points for guessing the answer to that one.
3) Get the house in order. I’m not even motivated enough to cook food any more. I’m happy canned soup and bread. The house needs cleaning and care. I’m not giving it any attention.
4) Feel worthy again. I don’t even know where to begin on this one.
I’m trying to figure out what to do next with my life, as far as IF is concerned. And I need your inputs. I know some of you have been in the situation I am in, and I’m hoping someone can give me some advice / suggestions on how to navigate the maze inside my head. But PLEASE don’t tell me to “just adopt” or something like that. There’s no “just” anymore – it doesn’t work that way.
I’m also listing my options down, because, who knows – just writing them out could bring me the clarity that I need.
So here are my options, and my thoughts / analysis:
I have 2 remaining frozen blasts. Not the best quality, but still, at least they’re there. And they are normal after PGD.
Option 1: Prep for FET again, and attempt another transfer?
Analysis/ Thoughts: I don’t trust my uterus. And I don’t feel confident to try another FET right now. I don’t know if I may feel differently after some time has elapsed. But for now, I feel “safer” knowing the blastocysts are frozen.
Option 2: Use a surrogate?
Analysis / Thoughts: We can’t afford a gestational carrier through an agency. It will take us a long time before we can gather that kind of money. Also, I’m scared because surrogacy is not guaranteed either. What if the surrogate gets a BFN or has a miscarriage or something? Would we be able to deal with that?
But on this topic, I do have some “hope”. I have a cousin who has offered to carry a baby for us. We are not jumping at the offer just yet, because I feel like she is offering herself to me out of extreme emotion. And while this decision is emotional, it also has to be thought through practically. For one, my cousin doesn’t even live in the same country as I do. She has two young children. And a job. And a life. There’s a lot to consider. But it does give me some hope to know that she has offered, and when the time is right, it will be a matter of working things out on the logistics front. This is an option that I don’t want to exercise any time soon. I guess because this is the only option right now that has any “hope” – and I want to have hope for as long as I can.
Option 3: Adopt?
Analysis / Thoughts: We started exploring the idea, and started talking to agencies, until DH decided he didn’t want to proceed just yet. Our finances need to be in order first, according to him. And while we get them in order, even researching adoption is not an option for him. I don’t agree with him on this, but I don’t want to take on the research on adoption on my own. For 2 reasons – 1) He obviously needs to be part of it, and if he’s not part of it, there’s no point me researching it at all. 2) I want him to take the lead on this research. I’m tired, and bitter, and seeing negative in everything I do. I need him to hold my hand and lead me forward. So I’m stuck on this one.
Option 4: Do another fresh IVF?
Analysis / Thoughts: We had decided that the CCRM IVF would be our last one. But now that we’re done with that, I find myself wondering if I should go back to my regular RE here who did get me BFPs 3 times, one for each IVF I did with him. I wonder if I should just rest my body a bit and try one more time locally here. I don’t have an answer to this one. Of course it would be out of pocket, and there’s the money situation again!
Option 5: Live Child “free”?
Analysis/ Thoughts: I have found myself questioning my intent several times recently. There was a time when I would see DH with friends’ babies, and my eyes would tear up thinking what a great dad he would make, and wishing I could have given him a baby. Of late, I see DH with friends’ kids, and I ask myself “Do I see him doing this on a sustained basis”? And the answer is always “No”. Perhaps it’s self - preservation, that I’ve been protecting my heart for so long that now it believes I don’t want a baby any more. Or perhaps it’s something deeper than that. So I ended up asking DH what he thought. My question was “Do we even want to parent anymore?”
At first his answer resonated with my doubts. He said he wasn’t sure. He said he had been thinking the same thing, and he too could no longer see himself running after kids.
Two days later we talked about it again. And we realized that we should parent. If we already feel like there’s no value in our lives today, how would we cope for the rest of our lives? How will I cope when my brother and his wife get pregnant, or when my sister gets pregnant? It’s one thing to cope with friends’ announcements, and a totally different thing to cope with your siblings’ announcements. So this option is almost wiped out. But I leave it on the slate because doubt comes back to me every now and then.
So there you have it – the whole 9 yards. Sorry the post is so long, and if you have come so far down the post to read till here, Thank You!
What would you do?
Friday, August 14, 2009
So what went wrong? How did we get to come back empty handed (or empty wombed) from the Mecca of Infertility?
At first we were in the dreaded “undiagnosed” category. All my tests always came back normal, as did DH’s. The only thing the RE’s ever had as an excuse was my irregular cycles. In my opinion irregular cycles are the easiest treated diagnosis of IF. I know girls who go months without AF, but when they started TTC, one or two rounds of clomid was all that was needed.
After years of being undiagnosed, and uncategorized, we discovered DH’s Balanced Translocation. I don’t know if we were more alarmed at the discovery, or more relieved that we had finally found something! I kept asking the doctors to give me a reason why my treatment didn’t ever work. I have a scientific, logical mind. I can only buy the “bad luck” answer for that much. Not longer than that. Give me a reason, and maybe I can put closure to the questions in my head.
With PGD tested embryos, we figured there was nothing that could stop us from bringing baby home. How wrong we were.
In 2007, when I first got pregnant after IVF#2, I was on baby aspirin for the first few weeks. At about 8 weeks I had an episode of bleeding – major bleeding. Convinced that we had lost the baby, we rushed sobbing to the RE’s office. He checked, and showed us that the baby was doing fine. He showed us the spot in my uterus from where the blood was coming, and he said “Maybe you can stop the baby aspirin now – your blood may be getting too thin”
I stopped the baby aspirin that day, and that was the day the baby’s heartbeat stopped (approximately, because when the missed m/c was discovered 10 days later, the baby had not grown much in size from that emergency u/s day)
I had a D&C, and the RE ordered a repeat loss panel for me (though it was my first loss – he wanted to make sure we didn’t miss anything)
Then we discovered MTHFR (I call it the mother fucker gene). I should never have stopped that aspirin. And I will never understand why doctors don’t check all this before an IVF procedure! Why can’t these tests be done as part of our pre IVF work up??
The next IVF resulted in a biochemical pg, and the one following that resulted in an ectopic that they could never find. I had another D&C then. And methotrexate to kill the poor embryo that was growing somewhere where it shouldn’t have. We still don’t know where it was.
Then we went to CCRM for our last and final cycle. During the one day work up, Dr Schoolie said he thought my uterine cavity was tiny, and could be the reason why I was not being able to stay pregnant. He did a surgery on me to fix the shape and grow the size of the cavity. So, in the course of 12 months, I had had 2 D&Cs and one uterus surgery.
The result? Poor uterine lining. Dr Schoolie thinks it’s the D&C’s that “damaged” my lining. I don’t know how he can be sure the surgery did not contribute to the damage. It’s the same process right? Scraping the insides of the uterus?
Last week, after my BFN, right after the nurse from CCRM called with the news, Dr. Schoolie called to say he was “shocked the cycle didn’t work”. Yes, we were shocked too – I was getting BFPs locally, and I got nothing at CCRM!! He also said that given the fact that I have never carried a pregnancy to term before, and the fact that my lining does seem badly “damaged by the D&C’s”, it may make sense to look at surrogacy for the remaining 2 blastocysts we have. He did mention that if I wanted, we could try to prep my lining again. I told him I did not trust my uterus. He then said, “In which case, honestly, you should consider using a gestational carrier”
So from being “undiagnosed” to becoming someone that probably can never carry a pregnancy to term, what a downhill slide huh?
Bottom line – our struggles with TTC and with IF ended up making me even more infertile. Now I am definitely barren. Before this, I could dream and carry a hope in my heart that it will work - someday, somehow. Now I know it won’t.
Trying to conceive made me infertile. Perhaps I just should not have tried so hard?
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
That’s right, folks. BFN. Big fucking negative. 2 great quality 4AA grade blastocysts killed mercilessly by my barren empty womb. I’m that woman that contributes to the BFN parts of clinics’ statistics, so that the stats average out.
What the hell am I talking about? It’s about time I came out and told you what I’ve been up to in the last couple of months.
I’m sure some of you may have wondered why my blog was so disjointed recently. When Nikki has 4 blasts on ice, why is she going all over the place, exploring adoption, and then seemingly not even exploring adoption any more, writing infrequently, and writing irrelevantly?
Very simple explanation. No, I wasn’t nuts. I knew we had those 4 blasts, and after we called off our FET in March, DH and I had decided to take a little break, and then prep my stubborn lining again. I just didn’t want to write about it on my blog, because I was feeling a lot of “performance anxiety”. I told some of you individually, but didn’t want to blog about it till it was done. It was, after all, our last hurrah.
With Aunt F in May, we decided it was time. We got all set up, and I got on BCPs. Started Lupron on June 3, and went for my first lining check on 7/1. FET was scheduled for 7/7. Of course my lining was too thin. FET got pushed out to 7/16. Lining check got repeated on 7/10. Still too thin. FET got pushed out to 7/24, and then I realized Dr. Schoolie would not be there for my FET on 7/24. I requested for a date when he would be there, because after all this, I wanted him to do the honors. Specially since he had done surgery on my uterus, and “knew” my uterus well. So we got rescheduled yet again to 7/27. Lining check was on 7/21, and my measly pathetic lining measured at 7 mm “from the most flattering angle” – according to the local RE here.
We flew out to Denver, and brought home 2 of the best quality blasts we could. They thawed 2 blasts, and both thawed beautifully. 100% cells survived, one was hatching, and the other almost hatching. Beautiful. According to the embryologist “you couldn’t even tell the blastocysts had ever been frozen”
Of course I needed additional help – hormonal help. My protocol had been very aggressive from the beginning, but by the end of it, I was on this:
2 Estrace suppositories daily
2 Delestrogen injections weekly
2 Estrogen patches every other day
3 Endometrin suppositories daily
1 PIO shot daily
1 Prenatal daily
2 Folgard tablets daily
1 Baby Aspirin daily
1 Blood Pressure medication daily
Fast forward to 8 days later – yesterday. I POASed. BIG FUCKING NEGATIVE!
9 DPFET – Today – Beta test – BIG FUCKING NEGATIVE!
Why? What have I done to deserve this? Why can my fate not turn around, for once? How much more do we have to go through? I have quietly ploughed on for more than 8 years. My TTC resume now reads:
8 + years TTC #1
6 clomid cycles – BFN
5 IUIs – BFN
5 IVFs – 1st BFN, 2nd missed miscarriage, 3rd chemical pregnancy, 4th ectopic pregnancy, 5th (Freeze all FET) BFN.
The last year has included 1 long drawn out IVF cycle – 6 trips to Denver, and $$ that we could not afford to spend, but did, in the hope that it will all be worth it.
So after countless shots, suppositories, surgeries, treatment cyles, losses, heartache, pain – here I am, as empty wombed as I was when we embarked on this journey.
The prospect of growing old childless is looming large upon us. It's a scary thought. Some of you know how dark and scary that place is. And though I know I will never regret my TTC journey and all the treatment we went through, I know I will always regret not being able to have DH’s and my child.
You will probably still wonder – what about the 2 remaining blastocysts? I am NOT trusting them to my killer uterus. I will keep them frozen, or if I find the strength in my heart to go through surrogacy, I will. But I am not putting another embryo into my body. I’m done. I’m so done.
Sometimes you can’t fight fate. Fate is sometimes stronger than we are – we believe that if we try hard enough, we can achieve anything in life. Maybe not.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
DH and I like watching these dance shows. Yeah, we're "those" people!
So anyway - the other day, this piece came on. It was a tribute to breast cancer, and was beautifully executed. When the piece got over, I quietly reached out for a tissue to wipe my tears. I had such a huge lump in my throat that I couldn't speak. I turned to look at DH, and I saw him reaching out for a tissue as well. He too had tears in his eyes.
When we finally spoke, we realized that we had both seen the piece as being very fitting for a couple fighting IF too. The struggles, the despair, the anger - it all comes out so beautifully! The girl seems to be helpless, turning to the man for support, trusting him, wanting him to make her pain go away. The man tries to lift the girl up out of her (their) sorrows as much as he can. When he is alone, he struggles too, but becomes strong for the girl when he is with her.
Monday, July 27, 2009
The conversation went something like this: (The sequence of sentences may be mixed up a little, because I was too shocked to be able to remember everything, and you’ll see why I was shocked)
Me: I wanted to let you know that at some point DH and I will be going to Denver for our “treatment”.
Him: What treatment?
Me: Our fertility treatment – I had mentioned it to you before, right?
Him: What treatment?? OH the pregnancy one?
Me: Yes, the pregnancy one (controlled eye roll here)
Him: How old are you?
Me: I’m 38.
Him: You’re 38????
(This “You’re 38??” and “Yes” was repeated some 5 times)
Him: How long have you been married?
Me: 12 years, and we’ve been trying since 2001.
Him: You’ve had some abortions right?
Me: NO I HAVE NOT HAD ANY ABORTIONS! I HAVE HAD MISCARRIAGES OR PREGNANCY LOSSES!
Him: It must be very hard.
Me: Yes it is.
Him: I used to be like Hitler in my house, never cared about anything until my wife had her operation.
Me: What operation? You mean she had a C-Section?
Him: Yes – they take the baby out, and they ask us to cut the cord. That moment changed me. That’s when I realized the value of a lady.
Me:……………………….. (Thinking to my self – Oh my word!!! Which means, there is no value in my existence at all!!)
I picked my jaw up off the table, muttered something unintelligible and left the room.
In retrospect I think there is so much I should have not said, or that I should have cut the conversation short right in the beginning when I got the drift that he wasn't evolved enough in the EQ department. But at that time, I was just so shocked that I ended up sitting there like a sputtering gold fish, enduring this!
Oh BOY!!! What would you do if anyone spoke like this to you?
Friday, July 17, 2009
But to the couple dealing with IF? It pervades every aspect of life. At least for DH and me, that is the case. It impacts relationships, confidence, career, finances, body image – just about everything!
I look back over the years, and there’s so much that has changed, so much we have lost…all because of infertility. This is what my infertility has done to me….
- Relationships – Let’s see. How many relationships have changed, and how they have changed!! The most important one – DH and my relationship. On the one hand, it has matured and grown deeper, to a level where we really really “get” each other. We’ve both become protective of each other, and will unconditionally put the other in front of anything else in life. However at the same time, our relationship has suffered – deeply so. The spontaneity has left the relationship. Much of the laughter has left. Much of the intimacy has left. In its wake – there’s a lack of self confidence, and poor body image.
- Relationships with our families have changed. Our families love us, and hurt because we hurt, but nobody gets what we are going through. And I can’t blame them – only when you’ve walked in our shoes will you know how badly they pinch. There are times that I want to talk to my parents, and tell them how I feel inside, but something holds me back. I end up projecting my same old “I’m brave, I’m fine, my life is good” face to even them. At the same time, I can’t help but feel “guilty” that they don’t have grandchildren or nieces / nephews!
- Relationships with friends - if any still remain! Most of our “friends” have fallen off our radar. They don’t know what to say to us anymore, or they end up saying or doing things that hurt, causing us to retreat further into our shells, in some cases, far away enough into our shells to never come back. The ones that are still around are constantly treading on eggshells around us. Social isolation - yes, that's us. I got tired of putting on a happy face for everyone, and I got tired of expecting people to understand. I gave up.
- My career – What’s the point of having worked so hard at getting at an MBA degree when my life was going to become all about my IF? Any time that I have a choice to make, I have chosen to overlook my career. I’ve taken “lesser” jobs, I’ve given priority to my doctors’ appointments and treatment schedules, and needless to say, I’m nowhere close to my classmates in terms of achievements professionally. It hurts to see people be able to focus on their careers and rise, while everything else in their life happens smoothly. For the general subsection of my friend circle / classmates, children have been born and are growing up without even a tiny bump on the road. Part of it were choices I made, and part were situations I had to deal with.
- My confidence levels. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I have ended up feeling inadequate as a woman. As a wife, daughter, daughter in law. Reproduction is known to be one of the things that drives all creatures to even exist. And I feel like I have failed at the reason to exist. How then can I even dream of ever feeling confident again? Do I spend the rest of my life in isolation? To add to the feelings of inadequacy, there are the feelings of ugliness and unattractiveness. All the extra weight - the tight clothes, the pants that don't fit, the old pictures that mock me with my own skinny face smiling back at me!
- Hope and the ability to look forward and dare to dream. I can't any more. IF has taken it all away from me.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
My life is average.
Remember my uncle in the east coast? The one I went to meet? He had been so sick for so many years, with each episode adding on to the previous one. The final event in March this year when his lungs collapsed was like the last straw on his back. He was on ventilator, and being fed through a tube, and with no hopes being given by any doctor that he would ever recover from it. It was really sad - his brain was alert and active, but his body would not cooperate. His muscles had atrophied over the years and he had been on a wheelchair for a few years. He wasn't able to do anything for himself anymore, and it was not getting better. He decided he had had enough. He requested the doctors to pull the plug a couple of weeks ago. They took him through several psychological and medical evaluations and then decided he was sane enough to be making the call he was.
My parents came from India, and were with my uncle when the ventilator was removed. The doctors had said it would take 2 - 3 hours after the ventilator was removed for his oxygen levels to be too low for him to survive.
But no - 3 hours went by, 5 hours went by, 12 hours went by and he was doing ok. We were all confused. Were we witnessing a medical miracle? The doctors were shocked, and they said they didn't know what to say any more. Finally it was 3 days after the ventilator was turned off that my uncle passed on. His family, my parents, my DH, and a couple more relatives were with my uncle in his final moments.
It's been a couple of weeks now. My parents are back in CA with us - they will stay for a little more time before they head back to India.
I've been busy trying to soak up every moment with my parents while they are here, and therefore have been inactive on the blogs. I'm sorry that I haven't been commenting much on your blogs, and I haven't been writing at all. I do try and read most of your posts, but sometimes am not able to sit and comment back. I will be back to being more regular soon, I promise!
Monday, June 15, 2009
It also happened to be Father's Day, and for once, the day meant more than just calling and wishing our dads in India. We went out to lunch, smiling ear to ear, barely able to contain our little secret. Only, our little secret was growing in a place it shouldn't have been. We didn't know that. Over the next few weeks, life went upside down - yet again.......
I still have those pee sticks. I can't bear to throw them away. What if I never see double on a pee stick again? What if Father's Day and Mother's Day will always just remain days when we are children wishing our parents?
From then till now - we have not been able to complete our next and our last and final IVF cycle. It's been the longest cycle ever! I somehow feel more confident and comfortable thinking my blasts are lying frozen, than I would if I were in my 2ww!! Frozen blasts symbolize hope. Man, I sound so pathetic now, don't I?
Sunday, June 7, 2009
The answer more or less is unanimous: You just know.
Like I know now. I think it’s over for us. I have finally accepted that you really can’t fight nature beyond a point. I’m spent, tired and helpless. Yes I’ve got 4 blastocysts on ice, but for the first time in my IF journey, I don’t feel like I have any hope left. And I know I’ve been repeating this over and over again, but what can I do? It is what it is. I am feeling entirely dismal and hopeless.
So in an effort to try and focus on having a family instead of focusing on trying to get pregnant, we decided we should attend a few adoption information sessions. A local support group held the first one we went to. The moderator suggested we start attending information sessions that are held by the various adoption agencies in the area, so that we could gather information, and make our decisions on what route is best for us. So a few days ago, we attended a session by a local agency.
While it was very emotional to just be there at these sessions, they were also very informative. Some of you mentioned you’d be interested to know more about what we found out, so I thought I’d list out some of my learning here:
1) Adoption is NOT as expensive as I had believed it to be. I was under the impression the whole process could cost us somewhere in the range of $50k. But apparently not. The average cost seems to be more in the range of about $15-$20k. (Big sigh of relief here. While that is still a lot of money, it’s relatively a whole lot easier to manage than $50k)
2) The average time for an adoption to be completed is about 16 months. This is for domestic adoptions. Of course things go quicker in some cases, and in some, they don’t. International adoptions could take upwards of 2 years.
3) International adoptions are limited to some countries that have been approved by the Hague Treaty. Being of Indian origin, we were pleased to confirm that adoptions from India are allowed under the Hague Treaty. However, we are not US citizens. We are permanent residents, and that could pose a problem in the International Adoption process for us. We still need clarity on this, and are trying to find out more details on whether we would even be allowed to pursue international adoptions.
4) On average, children adopted through international adoptions are usually older in age, and most international adoptions are of children between the ages of 1 and 4. Infant adoptions are possible usually only through domestic adoptions.
5) The county adoption / foster adoption is the cheapest of all. We have not got a lot of information yet on this, and I am going to try and find out more.
6) In domestic adoptions, the trend is moving towards open adoption across the country, where the birth parent(s) are involved in the child’s life in some form or fashion. The moderator described the birth parents as “an additional set of in laws”. This is something I have to get used to. I do understand how an open adoption is good for the child, and how the child would obviously feel more secure with the knowledge of his / her roots and birth parents, and how it would be good emotionally and psychologically for the child. However, I am still trying to make myself accept this mindset and I’m not sure I know how to. I can’t really explain why I’m having trouble accepting this kind of openness. I guess my next point may explain why I’m conflicted.
7) The home study process is a 4 step process: 1) The social worker meets both of you together. 2) The social worker meets you alone 3) The social worker meets your DH alone. 4) The social worker comes home to complete the home study.
You have to have “dealt with the grief of your infertility” before you jump into the entire process. The home study part itself could be emotionally very challenging, obviously. They will want to know about your childhood, your upbringing, your values, your ideas about parenting, your idea about each other’s roles in parenting, specially in disciplining the child, why you want to adopt, your income, and possibly many more such “interrogatory” questions. And that is where my conflict comes in. We have already been dealt a rough deal in life, and the “surrendering of ourselves” to this kind of exposure / questioning feels unfair to me right now.
For so many fertiles, the criteria for qualifying as a parent is oftentimes just a faulty condom, or an extra drink or two, or at most – a playful romp in the bed. Do they ever need to prove that they are capable of bringing up the child they are producing? Obviously not.
It bothers me that we would have to go through a validation like this, and then also have to have the birth parents involved in the child’s life. (I’m not judging the process here, and I’m not saying it’s right or wrong. I’m just saying that at this point, this concept is hard for me to process.)
Perhaps I’m so torn and conflicted because I’m not done “grieving my infertility”. So it brings me back to the question in the beginning of my post.
How do you know when you are done? How do you know when it’s over? How do you know when you are done grieving your infertility? When do you accept the loss of your biological children? Any thoughts?
Saturday, May 30, 2009
There was total drama – with firemen, and smoke and ladders and everything! Here are a few pictures that DH took with his phone:
But even a burning building was not going to stop a group of determined IFers to get the information they wanted. Our group crowded around the moderator on the sidewalk, and asked her to continue talking! (If IF teaches you something, it is resilience! Nothing can deter us much any more.) It wasn’t the best place to be holding an adoption seminar, but there we were, all trying to ask questions, and listen to what the moderator was saying over the noise on the street!
We finally ended up walking over to the Hya.tt across the street and sitting on the floor in one of their lesser used hallways to continue our session!
The session was very very useful. But at the same time, very emotional. Each time the moderator said “First you have to deal with the grief of your infertility”, I had to wipe tears from my eyes. For the most part of the session I had a lump in my throat that made it hard for me to ask the questions I wanted to.
The moderator herself is an adoptive mom, twice over, and has dealt with her share of IF before they adopted. She told us a lot of important things about the process, logistics, and emotions of adopting. DH and I have come back with a ton of information, and a list of things to research on, and make decisions about. She helped dispel some myths and misconceptions that we had about the costs and the process of adoption, and she brought in a lot of clarity for us.
We are still not sure if we are jumping into the application and home study process immediately. But we are beginning to think along those lines, and are beginning to agree to find out more. This itself is a huge step forward in the process for us.
Adoption is a beautiful thing, obviously, but today, for me, it is a very emotional piece to process. It’s the realization of acceptance, the apparent finality of giving up TTC. Yes, we still have the FET and the 4 embryos, but who are we kidding here? What hasn’t happened so far is very highly unlikely to suddenly turn around and happen now. I’m at the point where I’ve begun to accept the fact that I may never have a pregnant belly.
I’ve finally broken my addiction to hope, and it has been rough.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Whether you think that your dreams are messages from your subconscious or not, there is no denying that the visions your mind creates while you're sleeping can give you some insight. So evaluate the strange images that have been invading your snoozing hours. Analyze them long enough, and you'll start to see some patterns emerge -- patterns that you need to change. You are being warned about something, so heed those warnings.
I can't believe the coincidence that I should have such a random dream, and then this should come up as my daily horoscope!
Sunday, May 17, 2009
In my dream, my mom is pregnant. And it’s one of those “oops” pregnancies. My parents are worried about how to break the news to me (much like most of my IRL friends don’t know how to face me once they get pregnant). It’s like I am so incurably infertile that it’s all that my family and friends see about me any more!
So anyway, back to my dream. My parents are worried about breaking the news to me, but they finally take me aside and tell me they didn’t know how to tell me, you know, because of how long DH and I have been trying to get pregnant on our own. I don’t say anything to them, and without any real conversation, it becomes understood that I will bring up the baby they have as my own.
So flash forward – poor pathetic me is bringing up my own new born baby brother and passing him off as my own child. (Why did my dream select a baby brother over a baby sister? No idea.)
How disturbing is that? On so many levels. Right from the fact that they didn’t want to tell me, to the fact of course that my 61 year old post menopausal mother can get pregnant and have a baby and I can’t, to the fact that I’m bringing up my baby brother and pretending he is my baby. Also, my relationship with my parents is very good, so I have no idea why my sub-conscience would come up with something so insane!
OK - I think I need help.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
And now, I’m having withdrawal symptoms. Not the usual kinds though. I’m not dying to go back on the drugs. I’m not dying to put my brain back into the fog it has just broken free of. Quite the contrary. In fact, I wonder if I even want to proceed with this FET at all any more.
It feels like I have wanted a child, and been denied that for so long, that now I don’t want it any more. It’s like scar tissue in my heart, you know? From the hope that existed there, that has been dashed so often and so badly.
It’s been one month since I started my job. It’s been 2 months since I called off my FET. The last two months have felt nice. I’ve enjoyed my wine (OK, not just wine – I’ve enjoyed my cocktails as well ☺ ), I’m enjoying fitting into my regular clothes and not feeling like a bloated, water soaked pin cushion! I feel almost brazen confiding that I have not even taken my pre-natals or folic acid for 2 months. I just don’t feel like taking them any more.
DH and I are enjoying leading a normal life, and not being on a drug / patch / injection / suppository / appointment / blood draw schedule for the time being. I’m enjoying laughing again. I mean, not that I wasn’t laughing before, but I was certainly down in the dumps more often than I was laughing.
I met a couple of my IF sisters last weekend. Sarang (her blogosphere name) is part of a local IF sisterhood that came together a few months ago. She is dealing from a recent failed IVF cycle, and I am so proud of her for dealing so well. Meeting her on Saturday for breakfast brought out so many emotions that I had shut away for the last 2 months. She was asking me about my next steps and it suddenly made me realize how far I had mentally distanced myself from the thought of starting to prep my uterus lining for FET. It’s like I had this wax coating on my emotions.
So while I on one hand I’m enjoying being drug free, on the other hand, I know I need to get moving on with FET / adoption research, or whatever else it is that I need to do. The age time bomb is ticking away! Sarang gave me some ideas about adoption that I am going to research on. I am also planning to attend a session on adoptions, which a local support group is holding soon. Sarang, thank you for being there, and helping me sort out my lost and numbed emotions recently. Thanks for reaching out and doing all that you’re doing!
On Saturday evening I met Darya! It was so nice meeting her! She was in San Francisco for a conference, and I went up there and met her for a drink. It was really nice to hug her in real life – after having sent her many many hugs over the internet over the last year or so that I’ve “known” her. And it was so easy talking to her in real life! Like we’d known each other forever!
Darya – I wish you many many more conferences in San Francisco! I will come and meet you for a drink after EVERY conference that you attend here – how about that? Thanks for all the support you’ve given me over the last year – it was so nice to meet you!!
ALSO: In case anyone is interested, a friend of a friend has some meds to give away. (I will delete this part of this post in a few days) So if you or anyone you know is interested, and needs the meds, leave me a comment with your email address, and I will send it ahead to my friend. Here are the details:
Full cycle of menupur (Bravelle brand) that will expire 7/2009.
If you know anyone who can use it and their insurance does not pay for it, I am happy to let them have it.
They cost about $2K without insurance.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
And I think I speak for many of my IF sisters here – I have endured each Mother’s Day for the last 8 years, thinking, believing, hoping, praying, while desperately and fervently wishing that this is the last Mother’s Day that is breaking my heart. Next year, I will have my little baby in my arms, and I too will be wished “Happy Mother’s Day!” For 8 years I have pretended to ignore the commercials and the announcements, and have wondered how it would feel to wake up on Mother’s Day to breakfast that my child(ren) made for me, to clumsy but heart tuggingly cute hand made cards, smudged drawings, and squeals of laughter, all the excitement in the air!
But instead here I am – hoping to go to bed on Saturday night, only to wake up on Monday morning. Hoping to slink away somewhere on Sunday, to try and avoid the obvious. And it’s all because we physically don’t have our children in our homes and in our arms.
The other day I saw a Mother’s Day commercial on TV, and I turned to DH and said “ I’m a mommy too, aren’t I? So what if my babies are all dead?” I know it broke his heart to just hear that being said out loud. But isn’t that the truth?
Our babies may not be here in flesh and blood, but they are here in so many other forms:
In the form of every dream that we have had where we’ve seen our babies’ faces, or felt their hugs.
In the form of the imagination of what our babies would look like – for every time that we have looked at our DH’s face, and imagined a baby with those eyes, or that smile.
In the form of every treatment cycle that we have gone through – and the 2ww when we are PUPO
In the form every embryo that we have ever created through ART
Sadly, even in the form of every chemical pregnancy, every miscarriage, every ectopic or every pregnancy gone wrong – those were our babies. They just grew angel wings way before they should have.
We are all Mommies. The world may celebrate Mother’s Day only for those with living babies, but let’s not forget to remember our babies that were, or could be, or should have been. We are all Mommies, whether or not we have babies to cuddle and kiss.
I hope I don’t offend any of you by saying this, but I do want to wish all of us a Happy Mother's Day. Many many hugs to all my IF sisters, and many thanks to all of you for holding my hand through some of the roughest days of my life so far.
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Then I started posting on the boards and made some friends. One by one most of them got pregnant, or adopted and moved on. I stopped posting on the boards because I just ended up feeling like a bitter, unsuccessful oldie, still there, still trying. I was left behind again.
Then I started blogging – and now I’m noticing the same thing. One by one, so many of the blogs I read have gone from being IF blogs to becoming pregnancy blogs to parenting blogs.
I’m left behind again. Yes, there are some people from each group that are also still here with me, and I can feel their pain. It feels terrible to be left standing in one place when the world is rushing past you. How infertile am I, that even the IF community is getting pregnant before me?
And I’m not even talking about my IRL friends any more. I don’t even expect to have a child that will be older than any of my IRL friends’ kids. On the other hand, if I do have a child, I expect to be that pitiable older mom with a young child, feeling totally out of synch and out of sorts!
I don’t grudge anyone her success or happiness. Not at all. In fact, I’m happy for my IF sisters when they get to the other side of this roller coaster. I know many have been to hell and back on the infertility journey, and I’m so glad and relieved for them when they reach their goals and get the BFP or get matched with a baby they are adopting.
But I’m tired of being left behind all the time. I’m tired of being tired of treatment. I’m tired of enduring. Out of stamina. Spent. Ready to give up.
It doesn’t help that pregnancies and pregnancy announcements are everywhere! Everywhere you look, you’ll get blindsided! DH is not spared either. The other day, he was out in the park with Simba, and he met one of our neighbors. She usually brings her toddler out for a walk around the time that DH takes Simba out. They hadn’t run into each other in a while recently. She met DH, hugged him and he asked her how things were, and where she had been. She unzipped her jacket, revealed a very pregnant bump, and said “I’ve been busy – I’m due in 10 weeks”. DH didn’t have a response for her. He came home and told me how blindsided he felt at her news. All I could think of was “Thank goodness it wasn’t me outside in the park getting to see that pregnant belly”
There is a commercial complex being constructed in a nearby downtown. I remember seeing the signs “Ready in June 2009!!”. This was early 2008 or maybe late 2007. I remember thinking “June 2009 – that’s far away. We’ll definitely be pregnant or have a baby by then!” I crossed past that construction site yesterday. There are huge buildings, almost ready for business. And then it struck me. June 2009!! It’s almost here! And me? Left behind again. Not pregnant, don’t have a baby, and in a worse mental situation that I was one year ago. Buildings have been made, and I haven’t been able to make a baby! Shame on me!
No sign of AF. No idea when she’ll show. On top of that I’ve had the worst possible cold and sore throat for the last couple of days. No fever, else I’d be sure I got the swine flu, and given my luck, I wouldn’t be surprised either! I’m sneezing and coughing and every pore of my body feels like it’s blocked and “woolly”.
And no, being all clogged up does NOT help my not so sunny disposition much! ☹
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Is my new job keeping me that busy? Not really. My new job is just that – a new job. I have realized I’m not going to get any intellectual stimulation in this new job. And I have realized I probably cannot make a career out of being in this company. So, unless things change, I’m treating it as just a new job. I will work diligently, but I’m not hoping for or envisioning a long-term plan with this job.
Where am I with IF? Nowhere. I find myself not thinking about IF or not planning my next steps. Maybe it’s just the feeling of “snapping free” from a long and terrible 12 months of treatments, losses and failures. My chemical pregnancy was around this time last year. I was so numbed out. At that point I thought the only way forward would be upward. But no. Little did I know what was in store for me for the rest of the year.
Now? Now I’m just numb. I think it’s because right here, right now, the state I’m in, I have “hope”. No, I don’t have hope that I will have a baby at the end of this, but I have hope because I have 4 frozen embryos. My body has not yet killed the 4 embryos that we have. I feel like if I proceed with the FET, and it doesn’t work (either by way of a BFN or by way of another pregnancy loss), I wouldn’t even have that one ray of hope that I’m so desperately hanging on to right now.
And this is very unlike me too – I’m usually the kinds who barrels right ahead with any treatment, or any “next steps” that we have. But this time, it feels different. It feels like it IS the final hurrah, the last crusade. If this doesn’t work, then we don’t think we have the stamina, capability or just the patience to try any more. I may be stuck where I’ve been for 8 years – trying to conceive a child, but time hasn’t stopped. I turned 38 last month, and I do realize I’m fighting a losing battle now.
Weeks had gone past and we hadn’t talked about IF and our FET. But last week DH and I spoke for a little bit. Very tentative plans – what should we do about FET? When should we attempt it? As of now, we feel like we will probably shoot for June or July. Of course a large part of the attempt will now depend on Aunt F, and considering that I’ve subjected my body to various drugs and hormones over the last year, I’m not sure when Aunt F is going to visit. I’m on CD 21 today. I plan to call CCRM with my next AF, so see what our schedules can be like.
So we’ll see. I don’t have the capability to hope for myself anymore. I don’t have the energy or the stamina to think of new options or to ask the doctors any more questions. I’m totally out of steam and I want this nightmare to be over.
I want to wake up to a normal life. Life was not supposed to be like this. Something went terribly wrong somewhere…..
Friday, April 17, 2009
Me: No. I have a dog, though!
New Manager: Oh – what kind of dog do you have?
Me: German shepherd.
New Manager: Whoah!!!!!
In my head, I was dying to continue the conversation, and the imaginary continuation was:
Me: Do YOU have kids?
New Manager: Yes.
Me: Oh, what kind of kids do you have?
New Manager: Boy (or Girl)
But no, the conversation didn’t go that way. Instead this is how it went:
New Manager: Where do you live?
Me: (Telling him where I live)
New Manager: Oh yes – I know the area. Yeah, see, you don’t have children; it doesn’t matter where you live.
Monday, April 13, 2009
I’m glad I went and stayed with them last week, and I hope my visit helped them, even a little. My uncle had to have a tracheostomy, and has now been fitted with a tube through his throat through which he will breathe. They have also put a tube into his tummy through which he will be fed. As of now, he will be dependent on the breathing and feeding tubes for as long as he lives, unless some miracle happens and he gets strong enough to breathe and eat on his own.
It was all very emotionally draining to experience, and if it was emotional for me, I cannot even imagine how my aunt and my cousin must feel. And of course how my uncle must feel going through all this. He has been sick for the last 9 years now, and it’s always been one episode after the other, with no real diagnosis. They’ve gone through an inordinate amount in their lives, and guess what? Their struggles started with IF too! I will write about them in detail in a separate post because the perspective I have gained last week deserves its own blog post.
It was DH’s birthday last Tuesday, and I was not here, and it tore me apart to not be able to be with him that day. But we have wonderful friends, and I organized with some of them to take him out to dinner and make sure he had a nice day. The dinner was planned as a surprise for DH, and it worked pretty well!
The last couple of weeks have just zipped past! Why is it that time goes by SO SLOWLY when we’re on a treatment cycle – like the painfully long and slow days during the 2ww or during lining prep for FET, and just completely zips past otherwise? I have hardly had time to sit and think about IF, plan my next steps or anything!
In other news, my job hunt went way better than I anticipated. I got a couple of offers, and I accepted one of them, and I actually just started a new job today! I’m excited to be back in the game, and I’m proud that things moved so quickly once I had decided to look. I was so scared of facing an interview, and it so ended up that I got an offer for every interview I went for, and I did manage to do good interviews without being broken down by my IF experiences of the last year. So, as of today, I’m employed!
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
(The video is courtesy youtube - but I think it's ok to put it here since blogger and youtube are both part of google anyway!)
Monday, March 30, 2009
They know we are seeing a doctor in Denver, and they know my “treatment” was getting postponed week by week, and they know that we called the cycle off and are now on a break from TTC. And they have been very supportive through it all. Obviously they love us and hurt for us, and obviously they find themselves helpless but still want to help.
While I keep them vaguely informed of stuff, I don’t go into too many details. For various reasons, I can’t. One reason being that there is a huge “language barrier” – no, it’s not that my parents and I don’t speak the same language. Of course we do, but my mom’s English is not that great, and I don’t know how to explain IF terms in my mother tongue. I mean, how do you say IVF or FET or Balanced Translocation in any language but English? So I sort of try and explain in as simple a way as I can – like telling them that “They take my eggs out, and they “make” embryos in the lab.” They know that our embryos are frozen right now – I don’t know how much of that they understand, but I’m ok with them not understanding everything. They don’t have to – I think it might scare them knowing all the details of our procedures.
There is also the reason of being protective towards DH and him towards me. I never told my parents about his BT. I didn’t want anyone to feel or say anything about him, even unintentionally. We have enough challenges in our lives, and really don’t want added dimensions on top of our complexities!
And then there is the whole “comfort” issue. How can I talk to my parents about vaginal ultrasounds, or DH’s sperm, or fertilization, or some of the completely shamelessly invasive stuff we go through? Some people may be comfortable talking to their parents about everything, but I never could.
So anyway, now they know that we have stopped our “treatment” in Denver. They also know that we’re looking for work, and that the economy is so tight right now. I understand that they want to help, and I don’t know how to explain to them that the best help they can extend is by staying supportive and not intruding.
Some of you may know how big astrology and horoscope reading is in India. Many marriages are finalized only when the boy’s and girl’s horoscopes “match”. Many parents get their children’s horoscopes made when the child is born. Many important decisions are taken “when the time is right.” Many ventures, and trips are started “when the stars are right.” Of course marriages happen “at an auspicious day and time.”
My parents thankfully were never the kinds who went very strictly by horoscopes. They have always been a good mixture of tradition and practicality. They didn’t even get our horoscopes made – they always told us (my siblings and me) that what we made of our lives was up to us.
So what my mother did recently shocked me, and made me realize how much of an effect my IF has on my parents.
She got our horoscopes made, and sent them to one of her friends who specializes in astrology. And she told me that she had done this. I protested. I told her it didn’t make sense. I told her it would just make me feel superstitious if my FET date didn’t match her “good dates”. And I don’t need superstition added to the mix of all my stress anyway. And I tried to tell her that. I said she could find out and keep the dates for herself if it made her feel relaxed.
Last night she told me she heard from her friend. And she proceeded to tell me that the time is good for us right now. I told her I am not going back to Denver right now – she said she meant that our time is good now for a few months, and chances are very high that I will conceive.
It’s like this added pressure you know? I mean, I’m not angry at my mom, and I’m not complaining, so don’t get me wrong. She is doing what she can do – and this is out of even her comfort zone, but she’s doing it because she’s helpless to do anything else, and she hurts for us.
But I’m struggling with how to tell her to not “pressure” us this way. Or should I just listen and keep quiet - let them assume I'm following their suggestion? What would you do? I don’t want to offend her, but I do want her to understand. Any suggestions?