Heartbeat

There was growth of the gestational sack this week, but no growth of the embryo. No fetal pole, no heartbeat. My RE wants me to continue meds, and  monitor again in a week, but the chances of miscarriage are extremely high.

 

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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.

 

Secret

How many of you are on Facebook? How many of you need more than the blogging community to vent, discuss, complain, cry, and have people who completely understand what you are going through to talk to, even if they are virtual strangers?

I have started an IVF Peer Support group on Facebook. It’s a “secret” group meaning no one but the people in the group ever see the posts, and it doesn’t show up in anyone’s feed unless they also belong to the group. I can guarantee your privacy.
Anyone who is dealing with infertility is welcome. From whatever stage you are in, you don’t have to be doing IVF, from first diagnosis, to starting Clomid or whatever, doing IUI‘s, IVF, anyone with autoimmune issues, anyone facing issues with fertility, including those of you that are now pregnant.

There is an embryologist in the group, and a nurse, so there are times that you can get your questions answered straight away. I will invite the RE from my clinic from time to time, to answer questions if there is anything that is really urgent and pressing.

The purpose is to get advice, share experiences and stories, give and get support, make friends, and have someone rooting for you, no matter what.

I’d like to open it to this community. If you’d like to join please contact me at jlko@att.net. I’m happy to answer any questions you might have. If you are uncomfortable with it, I understand, but I hope you will at least consider it. Lastly I do not work for nor am I compensated by my clinic, I started the group because as its well documented here, I just don’t have enough support at home.

The group is small now only about 8 people, but I’m hoping it will grow. I just wanted to offer, because crappy as my day has been, I’m determined to find a silver lining. And this might be it.

Confession

Confession time. I went silent or mostly silent after my friend told me that sometimes things are better kept to yourself and low-key until after the results are known. I decided she might be right. I didn’t mention it on my blog, or in any of the IVF message boards I belong to, or even the one I created. I didn’t tell my friends, I completely cut myself off. Or well, I almost did.

Friday August 10th I had a transfer of my lesser graded embryo, it was unfrozen Thursday evening, a small hole was made in the zona, and it hatched and expanded fully upgrading itself to a 6AA quality embryo. It was growing so quickly that they called me and asked me to come in early for transfer. According to my embryologist, ” it was ready to implant now!”

The transfer went smoothly, and I decided that this time:

1. I wouldn’t test before hand to find out the results. *this failed miserably*
2. I would actually take it easy during my 9 day wait, actually 10 because my 9th day was on Sunday the 19th and they are closed on Sundays.

As promised my husband refused to help me with the progesterone in oil shot. Which was mostly easy to do and I very much prefer over any of the vaginal suppositories. Until the night when I hit a vein. My bathroom looked like a crime scene, blood all over the floor, all over me all over everything. Yes my butt cheeks are bruised and sore. But I will take that over the suppositories any day. I’ve tried both kinds and for different reasons they are both equally disgusting.

I was so happy to have a rest from the Clomid, so happy to be doing something different, something that felt hopeful. I can’t begin to tell you how much relief I felt at not having to deal with an egg retrieval and just focusing on something entirely different.  I felt so relaxed for a few days. By day 2 I felt some cramping mostly on the right side, by day 3 I had implantation bleeding, which also left me happy and hopeful. Day 4 the cramps turned into pinching and continued for the next few days. By day 6 I was anxious, and by day 7 when most people begin to get positives albeit faint ones, I tested. It was negative. And devastating. I’d had so many symptoms, heartburn, gassy, sore boobs, constant “something is happening in there” feelings.

I kind of melted down at the BFN, but on Day 8 at 4:30am I got up again and tested again. Negative. Day 9 (today) negative.

I suppose that there is a snowball’s chance in hell that the beta will turn out positive, however if it is positive and the number is really low, as in too low for an HPT to detect at this point, chances are it will fail. If there is no sign of HCG in my blood tomorrow, then I was never pregnant and all these symptoms were in my head. If there is some trace of HCG in my blood tomorrow, but not enough to declare a pregnancy then what it means is the embryo probably implanted, and then died. Which indicates a chromosomal abnormality. The logical part of my brain knows that this is ok. Its better to end sooner than later. But the part of me that has had 9 egg retrievals with so little success, and been through so much over the last 10 months is sad.

My gut feeling is that it was a chemical pregnancy and I will soon be experiencing a very early miscarriage. Tomorrow I will know. If I am right, then I need it to be over and to move forward.

I guess if I had to pick a silver lining, then Id say, even though I’ve been on enough progesterone and estrogen to choke a horse and am bloated like a balloon, I’ve lost 7 pounds in the last 5 days.

I don’t have enough distance from it yet to be philosophical, hopefully it wont take me too long to get there.

Not Quite

Today is day 5 of my embryo’s development. I feel like I might be jinxing myself by writing, so I considered waiting, but I promised full disclosure about my journey.

I was told this afternoon that it has passed the Morula stage and was now something called an “Early Blastocyst” which means I needs to develop some more and expand before its considered a blast worth freezing. In women under 40, more than 90% of early blasts make it to blastocyst but in women over 40 because there are more occurrences of chromosomal abnormalities, sometimes they arrest at early blast. I will know more by Thursday.

If it arrests, well ok. It was probably an alien, if it doesn’t then I’m 1 step closer!

5 more days of Provera and Estrace and then a few days before a new cycle begins.

Controversy

I hate the term “bump” and wish we, as an English-speaking people would strike it from our lexicon. While I’m at it I also hate the term “hubby”, “preggo” and “fur baby” and many others. I have dogs. I love them. They are not my babies. I also have a husband who I also love, and if I ever call him hubby please feel free to punch me in the face. I am not now nor will I ever be “preggo”. Because it’s a freaking canned spaghetti sauce for the love of all that is holy.

I’m probably a little raw to be writing this today but I’m in a fuck it mood.

There are things about the online IF community that really bother me.

1. That some of you call yourselves infertile because you started trying 6 months ago and weren’t pregnant in the first month you wanted to be. The definition of infertility does not include you. I’m sorry.

2. That people have such a fit over pregnancy announcements. Yes it hurts. Quit bitching about it. Everyone else’s lives should be put on hold because you are having trouble conceiving? Get over yourselves.

On a kinder note, how can you possibly expect to have a grace bestowed upon you when you resent or have envy at someone else? I do not understand this thinking. Yes, it stings. Sometimes I have flashes of jealousy but actually letting it ruin my day? No. Its past time we put on our big girl panties take it on the chin and actually open our hearts to the new life they are beginning, weather or not we perceive them or judge them as deserving. If it’s really that awful for you, terminate your Facebook account and don’t look back. Become a hermit, let it define you, lay down and get comfortable in your misery. Actually don’t do any of those things, take your power back. Don’t let some unknowing person take your strength or your compassion for others.

3. That people avoid the mall because they don’t want to see other pregnant women. See bullet two.

I know that this post does not show the compassion or empathy that some of you deserve. I know it does not change how long some of you have been trying. But here’s the real truth. Most of you are barely in your 30’s or are in your early 30’s. You have at least another 10 years to keep trying. Trust me when I tell you as a 44-year-old woman, my time is fucking short. This isn’t what I wanted for myself, it isn’t ever where I thought Id wind up. But it’s where I’m at. Every month I face some new ugly surprise that makes continuing down this path scarier and scarier. Every month that’s failed costs me roughly 3k plus, and that doesn’t include meds. I have 2 blasts, that it’s taken me 7 months to make. The truth is I need 5-6 so that I can PGD testing them to make sure there are no chromosomal abnormalities. Statistically, the chances are of the 5 or 6 that are tested, maybe 1 will be normal or maybe none. If there is 1 that is normal and transferred, there is no guarantee that will become a live birth. Stare that in the face for a while. Because those are the cold hard facts of my situation.

My other choice is to carry on. To keep trying, to try to make light where I can, because no matter how this ends, it will not define my life or who I am as a person.

I didn’t want to be an old mom, but if I am given the opportunity to be one, I will be. People say… “well just adopt then”.. only no one wants to give a child to a family where there is someone who is over 50. My husband will be 50 in October. So that’s out. Fostering? Same thing.

This is my only option, aside from Donor Eggs which will mean having to find someone, and it costing another 30k. It’s still on the table but its a last resort for me.

I do not have the ebb and flow of even normal IVF cycles. I do not have the comfort of the same thing happening month after month.

I read so much misery and despair in your blogs. I see so many women sad and getting used to that misery. I want you to want better for yourselves. I want you to open yourselves to the grace of being happy for others who are receiving the gift you want so much.

In my 20’s I miscarried at 5 months. I know about loss. In hindsight though I was married at the time to an abusive alcoholic so it was probably the best thing for all of us. But it took me 2 years to get past it. And every year on the date of my miscarriage I count its age and wonder what that child would have been like and how different my life would have been.

I can’t change any of this. I can’t wish for things to be different, for me to be younger, for my life to have turned out differently, because it won’t. This is my reality. Its hard. In fact its the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Some of you have called me brave. I’m not. I’m terrified, I am scared out of my wits. To be completely honest after yesterday appointment, I did some writing on a project I hope will turn into a new job, talked to a friend for a few minutes and went to bed. At 7pm. When my husband got home around 9:30, I was still awake, but I didn’t talk to him about it, I just lay there with the covers over my head and tried not to think. Tried to numb the overwhelming feelings of fear. I eventually went to sleep, but “brave?” no.

When I got up this morning, I hoped Id feel better. I don’t. I’m still scared, still afraid. Still don’t know what is going to happen this cycle or next or the one after that. What I do know is I will face it, keep trying to move forward, fight my tendencies to isolate and keep trying. With or without children I am determined to try to find a way to make my life meaningful.

If I have alienated you I am sorry. it’s not my intention. There are times though with the points of view in this community are very one-sided, and I think for the sake of an open honest discussion you have to hear both sides.

If you take issue with anything I’ve said here please feel free to comment. I welcome opposing opinions and challenging questions.

And thank you for taking the time to read my ranty post.

Bridget Jones

I realized today that this IVF process has changed me. In some good ways and some bad ways but it’s changed me.

Think of it as my Bridget Jones List of trying to conceive via ART.

Comment translation:

  • g – good
  • vg – very good
  • vvg – very very good
  • nvg – not very good
  1. I no longer read gossip sites like Perez Hilton and Dlisted. Now I read a lot of infertility blog posts. g
  2. I watch enough trash reality tv that it’s really embarrassing. nvg
  3. I no longer care about anything any Kardashian as doing as long as my ovaries are not as empty as any of their head. vg
  4. I’ve eaten more fruit and vegetables in the last year than I have in my whole life (thanks for contributing this one husband) vvg
  5. I’m willing to try things like fertility yoga and meditation, things I’d have rolled my eyes at a year ago. g
  6. I’m willing to drink things that are abhorrent to me like huge glasses of wheat-grass. *this is really questionable*
  7. More people have seen the Queen Victoria in the last 7-8 months than have in my entire life.  nvg
  8. I’ve tried and continued with acupuncture. Even though sometimes I think he puts the one in my head there, to let the evil out. vg
  9. I take enough vitamins to choke myself, and sometimes do. g
  10. I’ve give up my beloved Diet Coke.  vg
  11. I’ve yelled at my RE. *Not my proudest moment I can assure you*  nvg
  12. I started a Peer Support Group for my clinic and omg people actually joined. g
  13. I have learned an entirely new set of acronyms and practically a whole other language *again, questionable*
  14. I actually get impatient for Shark Week to start so I can try again. *possibly indicates insanity*
  15. I’ve met, even if it’s just online, some of the best people I’ve ever known in my life. vvg!
  16. I have major control issues, I’m impatient and have a forked tongue. nvg
  17. The support offered by the blogging community has been amazing. Really. AMAZING. vvg!

The point of this journey is to wind up with a baby. It’s still my sole purpose, but I do think that for all its ups and downs, there have been some really special things that have happened a long the way. Somehow, fear and all, I do find the ability to hope, at least a little every month. Why else would I continue trying?

Bitter en Zoet *one of my most favorite bloggers!* made a comment to me last month “Magical Things Happen at the Circus”.  I try to think of that when I’m feeling particularly down.

One more Provera pill until the Circus begins again!