Beta #2

Generally the second beta is given 48 hours after the first one. But since the  first beta was last Friday, and the clinic I go to is closed on Sundays, I was asked to come back 4 days after my first beta. Which was this morning; 181.5. I was told not to worry about it, but coming in 98.5 points lower than the Dr wanted to see? Yeah that’s concerning to me.

Since my positive pregnancy test, Ive come to realize something. It doesn’t all end with a positive and then fade to whatever baby color that represents the gender and you go on happily ever after. There is a critical path, milestones to be met, a third beta, the first ultrasound, the heartbeat, because of my age a battery of tests that will come in November and December should I make it that long.

Somewhere around the 16th week I can start to feel safe. Maybe. Which for me, means it will be 2013, before I can stop worrying.

16 weeks seems a long way away.

Which led me to thinking about children. In IVF, you worry throughout the process, you are anxious about your levels, you bodies response, your results, your ability to make follicles/eggs, their quality, if there are male factor infertility issues, you worry about Everything. You change your diet, you take supplements that make you to produce the most expensive urine in the world. You worry about the cost, the toll it takes on your relationship, the toll it takes on you as a person.

Where does it lead? It leads to the elusive (you will worry about that too) positive test, and a whole new slew of worries and anxiety. Assuming the outcome is a live birth, you will then worry about that child for the rest of your life. I guess the upside of all the disappointments and anxieties that go with IVF and infertility, is that it prepares you better than most for parenthood.

What does it mean? I means I’m going to walk through my worries and anxieties 1 step at a time. I’m going to try to not to predict the future, because it isn’t written yet, and I’m going to do everything I can to get enough rest, keep stress at bay, eat well, and have faith.

From here on out, I am stepping into the unknown. I will be grateful for every day I have with this miracle.

 

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Cross Wind

A long with picking myself up and dusting myself off, I’m going to try some new things. First here’s my update.

I went to acupuncture yesterday, and today I am sore from the adjustments. All the needles were really tender, everywhere and still are today. Dr. P said some of my stagnation has returned. Probably from me being inconsistent with the acupuncture lately, and the fact that I ate bread and refined sugar for the first time in 4 or 5 months last week.

Eating bread after none for 4 months was like pouring flour and water in my stomach. It made my stomach hurt and feel really bloated. I also had my favorite candy, Skittles. Which after 4 months with none, taste very similar to how Pledge smells. Which is a pretty good smell I guess, but taste, not so much.

As a followup to my embryo status, I called today, on day 9, to find out what happened since I was supposed to hear from the clinic on day 7. I was told it was discarded on day 7 due to fragmentation but no one ever called me to let me know. Part of me is angry, because at the very least my clinic should be delivering the news. Good or bad.

I’m coming to realize that being angry at the clinic is really me angry at myself. Angry that my body has betrayed me and angry that I feel like I’ve failed. Again.

I’ve covered how much of a perfectionist I am. I’ve covered how I’m a bit OCD about, well everything. My acupuncturist says “I carry a lot of burdens” I asked him where do I let them go? Where do I put them? He said ” See? You’re looking for somewhere to put them down, you need to stop that and just be.” Which puzzles me because I’m not sure what that means. When someone says “just let it go” I never have any idea what the heck that’s supposed to mean. Go where? And how? Instructions? Anyone?

People have told me that I need to “let it go” my whole life. I get the idea. Kind of. I mean, I want to, I just don’t know how. And its one of those trite expressions that has always irritated me more than it resonated with any kind of real meaning.

After my meltdown earlier this week, Louisa, recommend and article on “self compassion” which I read, and loved, but I’m not sure how to get there. It’s another one of those things that doesn’t really make sense with me. I’m not sure what the difference is between self compassion and self-pity, so again I ask for an instruction manual. Something in English please. Don’t give me those Danish IKEA instructions  because unless there are pictures, I can’t read or comprehend it.

Which brings me to the new things I’m going to try. I’m going to try some visualization techniques. I got a visualization CD specifically for IVF, from Circle and Bloom. They have a host of other programs for fertility, and while I can’t tell you if it works or not, especially since I have only had it for 2 days, I can tell you, its relaxing, and for me now, that’s enough. There is also 35% discount for National Infertility Awareness Week, April 22, through 28th so have a look! They also have a blog, which you can find here: http://www.circlebloom.com/national-infertility-awareness-week%C2%AE-april-22-28/

In an email conversation with Joanne, the founder of Circle and Bloom, she said, “Can I make one suggestion while you listen to the programs?  Try to really let go of the past problems you have encountered.  Think of your body as a clean slate for this cycle and procedure. Put yourself completely into the visualizations and let go. And I do not mean fake positive psychology, I mean honoring your body and knowing that pregnancy is possible.”

Which started to click things into place. I’m not sure I’ve got it completely, but even I recognize that there is a theme here. If I’m not mistaken it’s letting things go. There is no magical solution to everything that has happened in the past, the bad cycles, the mistakes I’ve made, the regrets.

In my mind’s eye, I see it as releasing all those pent-up feelings of anger, frustration hurt and fear into the ether. Imagine black molecules that pollute nothing but you, your body, your life and hinder your ability to have room for anything good or positive. They weigh you down, teach you to be cynical, and not to trust that anything good can happen. I can not begin to tell you how much, I do not want to be that person.

I see it in terms of air propulsion, velocity, gaining enough forward movement that the negative washes off you like a cross wind through a jet-wash. Oh fine. Just toss my overcomplicated analogy and say “water off a duck”.

No matter the outcome of this journey, that’s not who I want to be. So I’m going to try to do some visualizations, positive thinking, learning more about this “self compassion” business and work on forgiving myself. Because ultimately, I think it’s really me I’m mad at.

I want that clean slate so much.

Retrieval #5

I’m still at the IVF center, having just finished the retrieval.

My husband is currently in one of the “Man Rooms” providing his sample. **snickers** (because I’m 9)

They prepped me, took me into the surgery, did an abdominal retrieval. Everything was fine until he said that they got it, but there was no egg. I got dressed, went to the waiting room saw my husband, started to cry. A few minutes later, the Dr. came out and said “We found the egg”. I am grateful they got it, I hope it fertilizes and if possible will be grown to blast.

I got another goldfish!

Now we wait.

Mulligans

Were you ever given a “do over” as a child? I’m pretty sure at one point or another most of us have had at least one.

As grownups, we all know that there are no Mulligans. Which is really unfortunate because I’d like to get a do-over on this cycle.

I’d have started it differently. More positive, with a different attitude. I’d have looked forward, facing whatever came next bravely and without fear. If I could do it again, I’d have not spent the last 2 weeks anxious and worried. I’ve tried to find some humor in it all, but this has been another tough one. I’ve felt and probably looked, like a tantruming child.

For the last 15 days there has not been a single moment where I was not scared. Not a single moment where I’ve been a peace with myself. I’ve spent the last 2 weeks trying to control something that is utterly, completely and entirely out of my control.

I didn’t look back at last month and say “I got a blast last month, so in theory, I should be able to do it again”. I should have. What I did instead, was look at every possible negative scenario, and psyche myself into a place where terror reigns. I kept trying to negotiate things that are not negotiable.

There are times when I find this experience so humbling. IVF is brutal. Just when I think I’ve got it figured out, it laughs at me and brings me to my knees. I think the lesson is, to be focused on the end goal not on the single cycle. *note to self*: REMEMBER THIS NEXT MONTH!!

In my work life, everything functions around milestones and the critical path. I’m meeting the milestones, I’m on the critical path. I’ve not strayed, my project has been delayed somewhat but its been moving ahead, so why do I keep getting mired down in the minutia? What am I fighting here except myself and my fear of failure?

I’ve asked a lot of questions this cycle. About my Dr, my protocol, where faith comes from, and how do I get some? Who invented liquid soap and why?

It takes a lot of strength and singular purpose to win a war of attrition. With other goals, I’ve risked big and both won and lost big. I won a war of attrition as a single person against an enormous, powerful and intimidating entity. Something happened during that process when I felt so down, so beaten that I got angry, grabbed hold of what I wanted, locked my jaw, stood my ground, and eventually I won.

I can be a force to be reckoned with when I want to be. Infertility isn’t exactly the same that but the principles follow.

Tomorrow I go in again for another egg retrieval. The raw feelings of vulnerability are already upon me. Whatever happens I have to accept it and move on to the next cycle.

I want to take a moment to say that I hope for the best. I hope they get a big fat healthy egg, that it fertilizes and becomes a second little goldfish.

I heard this song for the first time today, and it reminds me of how each month I seem to have to learn the same lessons.

Here’s what I’ve been listening to: