Celebrity IVF

Generally I’m not a Celine Dion fan. I do like some of her music, but I wouldn’t have gone out of my way for any of it. But now…consider me a fan.

You haven’t heard? After undergoing 6 rounds of IVF Celine and hubby Rene are expecting twins. Read all about it here in People Magazine. I applaud her for “Coming Out of the Infertility Closet”. I wish more celebrities would be as open and honest as she has been. I wish we could all be as comfortable as she seems being open about our infertility.

Perhaps if Hollywood were more open about all the fertility treatments they undergo the rest of us wouldn’t find it so hard to share our journeys with others.

Updates and Realizations

This post started as simply an update. I intended to tell you about my recent appointment and my beginning to share the news with my RL inner circle. It took me somewhere else…I’ve always found I’m more honest with myself when I’m writing…and I think this is something I’ve been hiding from myself or just ignoring for a while now.

I went to the OB on Tuesday. It was an uneventful appointment. (I’m told this is a good thing.) Personally I find it a bit unsettling. I’ve spent the better part of the last two years knowing exactly what my hormone levels are and exactly what is (or what wasn’t) going on in my uterus. So for me to spend more time in a waiting room then with a doctor…it makes me nervous. And you know what? I’m nervous enough about this.

But everyone…from my best friend (who goes to the same group of doctors I do) to my brother (my SIL is in her 3rd Trimester) has assured me that this is great. They only monitor you closely if something is wrong. They keep up with your hormones with your urine samples. And check on the fetus (I just can’t bring myself to use the B word yet…more on that later) by listening to the heartbeat. So I should relax. Everything is fine.

I can’t help but flash back to when we were “trying” and all anyone would tell us was we had to relax and it would happen. I didn’t like being told to relax then…not so thrilled with it now. Because you know what? Telling someone to relax tends to cause the exact OPPOSITE effect on said person. Me? It pisses me off too.

But I digress…things are progressing along nicely. I have been so nauseous and sick that I’ve lost 5 pounds. Because of a change in health insurance I was able to get a full ultrasound at this visit. That was amazing. I measured exactly 10 weeks. The heart rate was 160. I can’t decide if it looks more like a peanut or a gummi bear at this point but you know what? You want me to relax? Show me that everything really is fine on an ultrasound. Give me one of those every day! THAT is relaxing.

The OB doesn’t want to see me for a month. A MONTH! Seriously are they aware for the past year I’ve been seeing a doctor about my uterus practically daily? A MONTH?! Do you know what can go wrong in a month?! The doctor told me to go for a Nuchal Translucency. (That’s done in another office.) So I made that appointment for January 29th. (Hence the strategic scheduling of the Nuchal 2 weeks after my last appointment and 2 weeks before my next.)

I should relax and just enjoy being pregnant right? If the last two years have taught me anything it’s that my body will fail to work properly. Twice they put embryos exactly where they are supposed to go only for one to somehow find it’s way to an ectopic pregnancy and the second to fail to do anything at all. So no…I don’t see myself relaxing and enjoying anytime soon. Honestly…I’m afraid to relax and enjoy. I’m afraid to believe. I want to…I don’t think I have ever wanted to believe in anything more than I want to believe in this.

I was talking to IvoryGirl today and said that I am ever so slowing beginning to believe that it might be okay. That’s all I can muster. I want to…I do. More than anything I want to enjoy this and be happy about it. I want to look at baby clothes when I shop and be brave enough to walk into a maternity clothing store. I just can’t. My reaction to both is still…it’ll never be mine. Hell my immediate reaction to someone’s pregnancy is still jealousy. It takes a moment to realize I don’t have to be jealous anymore.

I’m just not sure I’ll ever be the oblivious happy pregnant chick. I’m sure that sounds selfish but I know too much about what can go wrong. I have heard too many horror stories. Shed too many tears for my fellow infertile sisters when their joy…their world… is demolished. The pain of the loss I suffered with the ectopic pregnancy is still very real and raw…even now nearly 9 months later. Had that pregnancy been normal and healthy I would be getting ready to greet that child so soon. And I can’t get past the knowledge that February 16th is rapidly approaching …I can’t. I don’t know how. I want to focus on what’s going on in my uterus currently and celebrate that but I’m still mourning the sibling that will never be…

And I don’t know how to stop.

Updates & Uncertainty

I’ve spent the last few weeks in a bubble that has nothing to do with TTC. It was nice. I focused on my job, the sale of our condo and the purchase of our house. Both sales went through (finally!) and we moved about a week before Thanksgiving. Hooray!!

We’re still settling in…but as of this moment all of our new furniture and our new washer and dryer have all been delivered. Settling in can take as much time as I want. The gig I’m currently on is coming to an end, so things are quieting down at work. I’ll be unemployed after the end of this month. (This is just the way things work with what I do…it was expected.)

So for the first time in I don’t even know how long every single thought in my head wasn’t about TTC. (That’s not to say that I haven’t been thinking about wanting a child of my own with every waking moment.)

I did end up “coming out” to my Uncle and Aunt…but not my cousins. Well, blurted out was more like it. (My poor Uncle had to call my Mom and get clarification on a couple of things.) But my Aunt and Uncle now know the basics…that we’ve been trying for two years and have been going through fertility treatments for over a year and that I’ve had 2 IVF cycles. And as it turns out…their daughter (the cousin who is like my baby sister) took 3 years to conceive. I had a wonderful conversation with my Aunt. She told me a bit about her struggles. She also said that the one things she learned was that you shouldn’t ask why…because you’ll never know. That’s probably really good advice. She also told me that my time was coming. For once that statement didn’t annoy me, because she’s been where I am to some extent. But the lesson was that in coming out to my Aunt and Uncle not only did I find more support but I learned that even within my family I am not alone. That helps…more than I thought it would.

Thanksgiving itself was actually nice. I initiated games on their Wii almost as soon as we got there. It helped to keep me distracted. My SIL is visibly pregnant. That took the air right out of my lungs and sent me straight for the wine. I think I downed two glasses before I felt like I could breathe. There was quite a bit of talk and excitement about her pregnancy, but it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. Having my Aunt and Uncle there in addition to my parents was helpful. All in all it wasn’t horrible and I survived.

I’ve come to realize (just now in fact) that I “survive” things more and more rather than just experiencing and enjoying them. I survived the family reunion over the summer. I survived being told by my baby brother and best friend about pregnancies. I survived my Godson’s 1st birthday party. I survived Thanksgiving. I survived the family dinner that we had on Saturday night to celebrate my Mom’s birthday. How much more will I have to survive before it really is my turn?

Anyway…while I have been living in this non-TTC bubble….the pain, the loss and the abyss of sadness are all still there. I think that maybe I’m just dealing with it better. Or maybe I’m just ignoring it better. Or maybe I’m just medicated.

But my point is that I didn’t even realize any of that until the RE’s office called yesterday afternoon to pull me right out of my bubble. Because you see it’s CD 33…Aunt Flo should have shown her ugly face by now and she’s no where to be found. So my favorite nurse (Margaret) called to see if I still wanted to go ahead with the PGD and IVF cycle. She has some forms she needs me to sign if we’re going ahead with the PGD.

“Margaret,” I said “What is PGD?”

She went on to explain that this was the testing my RE and I talked about after my last failed cycle. PGD (Preimplantation genetic diagnosis) is basically a test run on the embryos after fertilization and before implantation to see if there are genetic abnormalities. I’m still researching…

The last conversation I had with my RE is honestly a big blur. He told me all about this PGD stuff and how he wanted to integrate it into the protocol for my next IVF Cycle. I can’t remember any of it. I don’t remember the pros. I don’t remember the cons. I just remember that he thinks at this point genetic abnormalities are the reason neither IVF cycle worked for us. (And just so ya know…this added step will, of course, add to the cost of the IVF cycle.)

But I keep coming back to my reaction immediately following my finding out that I wasn’t pregnant.

I just don’t know that I can do this again. I don’t know how I justify spending all this money when I don’t know when my next job starts. I don’t know that I can keep doing this…the highs and lows of having all those hormones in my system…the anxiety and anticipation that just exists with an IVF cycle. I don’t know that I can handle constantly updating the people who know I’m in a cycle and all the questions that come with that. I don’t know that I can survive another negative beta…or worse a miscarriage.

But I don’t know if I can accept a childless life. Hell…just the thought forces the air from my lungs and sends me to the bottom of the abyss.

So I’m feeling a bit (okay a lot) lost. I just don’t know…

Ignoring the Anniversary

So I ignored an anniversary earlier this week. Sue me. This past Sunday was the two year mark of my going off BCP. Can you blame me for wanting to ignore it completely? I have nothing to show for it. (Plus the bulk of my week this week has been all about trying to get a closing date set so we can move.) I knew it was there. All day Sunday when NewsBoy and I were packing I was acutely aware of what the day meant. All week long I was hyper aware of the fact that I am now in my third year of trying to conceive my first child.

I had hoped that I would hit this anniversary knowing I was pregnant. I had hoped this last round of IVF would have worked. It didn’t and I’m not. So I’m now in my third year of trying to have a child, a place I never in my wildest dreams expected I’d be. And yes, I am glossing over a lot of tears and discussions and poking and prodding. But the down and dirty details are as follows: in the last two years I’ve had 12 negative pregnancy tests. In my first year I only had 6 cycles while trying to regulate things….my longest cycle to date is 73 days. I’ve been through four cycles with Clomid…and two IVF cycles. And I haven’t a thing to show for it. All my scars are on the inside…you can’t see them.

No matter what else is going on in my life, (you know, like buying and selling a house…have I mentioned that I’m doing that?) the heaviness that surrounds my heart is constant. Yes, I have learned to live with it…I guess you could say I’ve redefined normal. But not a day goes by when I don’t think about the miscarriage I had in July. I should be 27 weeks today. I’m not. And I don’t know that I will ever get to be pregnant.

The “Negative Nelly” (that’s what my Mom used to call me when I was all negative about things) in me keeps screaming that I should just give up and accept a life without children. The Jewish Mother in me keeps telling me to ignore her because my time will come and I should keep fighting.

I am a fighter. I can’t think of one instance in my life where I didn’t go after something I wanted…when I didn’t fight. (And I’ve never wanted anything this badly.) I was raised to go after whatever it was that I wanted. I was taught that if you wanted something you go after it until you get it. But how much more can I take? How much further can I go? Do I go through a third IVF cycle? A fourth? I just don’t know if I have the fight left in me.

Not for the Faint of Heart

I have to tell you…this whole buying and selling real estate thing is quite possibly more stressful then IF!

I never thought I’d say it but…I’m glad at this point that IVF # 2 didn’t work. With the amount of stress and anxiety that I’ve had in the last two weeks that is real estate related I would have certainly miscarried. (Not to mention that job stress thing.)

Maybe my Mom was right…there is always a reason.

The Morning After

So while I’m still overwhelmingly sad that this cycle didn’t work I am feeling a bit better about things. (Okay so there were 2 glasses of wine, 2 Xanex and a Prozac in there somewhere…sue me.) I’ve even realized a few things. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

1) This BFN is, in a way, better (easier) then my last failed cycle. Last cycle I got pregnant and miscarried. For a while there…however brief it was…I was going to have a baby. I even (stupidly) went online and found out what my due date would have been. (Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!) For those of you playing at home…I’ll be needing a lot of extra love on February 16th.

2) I CAN breathe. After finding out in June that my pregnancy wasn’t going to go the distance breathing was hard. Smiling was hard. Everything was hard. I felt like a zombie most of the time. It was like there was this weight on my heart. Hell, I’m not sure that it’s gone even now. I’m not sure that it will ever go away. But I don’t have that this time. This is more sad and feeling sorry for myself that we went through everything that goes with an IVF cycle for nothing. So that’s something…right?

3) I am not in any way ready to give up on having our child. I gave that some serious thought. It’s pretty much all I’ve thought about since I typed it last night. Since I found out I wasn’t pregnant really. Could I live my life childless? I’m sure I could…if I had to. And that I think is the key. I’m not ready to give up on our child. Which leads me to…

4) IVF # 3…I have called my clinic and scheduled my follow up appointment. Now we have to wait until 2010 because we are out of insurance but come January we will do this again. But I think there will be a few changes. I’m going to switch doctors within my practice. I started with a doctor who has since left the practice. When she left the other two (male) doctors split up her patients. They have since hired a new female doctor. I adore her and have asked for her to be my doctor. I also will discuss with her at length my staying on the Prozac while going through IVF and pregnancy. I’ve read the studies and after two cycles of living on the edge of tears and not being able to focus…I think it’s time I just accept that I need this medication no matter what.

5) I’m a very lucky woman. (Okay so I knew that but stay with me…) I have several amazing support groups. My ladies on my message boards, who continue to amaze me with their strength and compassion. The friends and family who do know what NewsBoy and I are going through have been wonderful in their support of us. My WorkWives make it easier to go to work and deal with the insanity every single day. Without them I’m not sure what I would do, their friendship is like air to me. And last, but certainly not least, I have NewsBoy. This man seems to have infinite amounts of love and patience for me. When I said that I knew I wasn’t pregnant yesterday morning without even pausing he said “so we try again.” And last night when I said I wasn’t sure I could do this again without even pausing he said “so we stop.” even though at this point he wants a child (or our spawn as he lovingly refers to our future child) as much as I do. I love him more and more every day.

And now…I think I will just go sit on the couch and watch some really bad daytime TV. I mean what’s a mental health day without Susan Lucci right?

There Are No Words…

They don’t have words for this. The debilitating and overwhelming sadness that you feel every time the nurse calls to tell you that she’s sorry but you aren’t pregnant. It is completely 100% all consuming. It’s all I can see, all I can feel, all that is in my head. It has tainted every single thought I have.

I think maybe we need new definitions for what it is that we go through…perhaps an Infertility dictionary would help the rest of the world comprehend this? It’s just a thought. (Maybe it’ll stop people from asking if we are having kids. I’m pretty sure the next person who asks me is gonna get an earful.)

Of course I’ve been here before…way too much. I went off the pill in November of 2007. November 8th to be precise. So in about a week I’ll have my second anniversary of trying to conceive my first child. I spent the first year trying to regulate my cycle. When it was clear that wouldn’t work my OB/GYN started me on Clomid. That was a year ago this past September. So after a year of fertility treatments, and that 2nd anniversary looming in about a week today’s news hit me that much harder.

I can’t think straight about anything. And with so much else going on in my life this is not a good thing. I keep thinking in the same circle. You know the one…cause if you have been doing this for any amount of time you’ve thought these things too.

You know the “maybe if this wasn’t such a stressful time it would have worked.” Or the ever popular “maybe my body just won’t accept or hold a pregnancy.” And my favorite “maybe I just have to accept I don’t get to have kids.”

Yep that’s just a sampling of my current downward spiral. Good times, right?

I actually chickened out earlier…I called the voice mail to check it, heard that there was a message and promptly hung up on it. I told NewsBoy that there was a message. “Do you want me to check it?” I honestly didn’t know. Somewhere inside I knew that I wasn’t pregnant…that yesterday’s HPT was correct…but this would have made it real. As long as a nurse didn’t tell me anything there was still a possibility…no matter how remote.

Of course, NewsBoy checked it. I had run to the bathroom to try and collect myself and psych myself up so I wouldn’t break down completely when I got the news. (Yea that didn’t work at all by the way.) I got back to my desk to learn that NewsBoy had gone to lunch. So I grabbed my phone and went to my favorite hiding spot…the stairwell. I texted “did you check it?” His answer…”Do you really want to know?” Honestly I didn’t know and said as much. He told me, and well tears ensued. I texted a co-worker (not the work wife I’ve mentioned before but someone who I’ve worked with for years and is a friend in addition to a co-worker…we’ll call her Work Wife 2) She brought me more tissues and comforted me. I was able to pull it together enough to drive home. (Although there were some points where there is just no way I should have been driving. I kept talking to myself the whole ride home “you can do this…just a little longer…just keep it together…almost home.”)

When I finally arrived home I texted NewsBoy and my friend to let them know I was home safe. I dropped my things and walked to our bedroom and immediately collapsed into a puddle of tears and sorrow right there on the floor, clutching to the bed. Somehow I got into my pajamas and onto the bed. After a few more texts with NewsBoy I lay down and just cried. I’m not sure how long that went on…at some point I fell asleep. (Thank you Xanex.) The next thing I was aware of was NewsBoy crawling into bed with me and pulling me close.

I cried on and off all night. We watched some TV. We talked. I cried. We talked some more. I admitted that I’m not so sure I can do another IVF cycle. This cycle specifically was hard. I reacted to the drugs differently; the embryo transfer was very difficult and lasted over a half an hour (and that was just for the doc to get the catheter in the right place!) I just don’t know that I can do this to myself again.

But the question remains…can I live without a child?

Perhaps I just focus on one thing at a time. I’ve decided a mental health day is in order. I’m staying home tomorrow, so I’m free to cry all I want. Maybe I’ll call my shrink. Although I’m not so sure what he can do to help me with this one?

It’s about 1:30 in the morning now…I’m going to try and get some sleep. (Thanks to another Xanex I’m calm enough now to fall asleep I think.)

Good night.