Speechless for a Change

I haven’t said much in the days leading up to today’s embryo transfer. I tried to write almost every day, but words just sort of failed me in the midst of all of the excitement and anxiety.

Here we are, though. 2 embryos successfully thawed and transferred. We’re pretty damn excited about it.

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Please stick around, little ones. We’re already pretty attached to you. November 10th cannot possibly come soon enough.

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Feeeeeelings…

Holy estrogen, batman. I am a freaking wreck. The world ping pong champion couldn’t keep up with the back and forth, up and down thing I seem to have going on.

As I waited for my RE to come in for my ultrasound this morning, I thought about how this could be it. This could be my last lining/ovary monitoring ultrasound ever. With a bit of luck, the next time I visit with the dildocam will be for our embryo transfer on Thursday. After that… well, I don’t really need to say what I’m hoping for after that. In the midst of all of those thoughts, I started to cry. Of course. Because if I’m past feeling any shame about waiting half naked to be penetrated by a latex-covered wand, I’d better find some new way to embarrass myself.

I regained my composure just in time for my RE to come into the room so I could complain about how the estrace is making me constipated beyond belief. (See above, re: no shame.)

I was a ball of anxiety until the doctor proclaimed that my lining is 10.1 and appropriately layered, and my ovaries are appropriately underachieving. This is the only time I will ever celebrate underachieving ovaries.

The only thing holding us back from an official green light is today’s blood work, and we won’t have those results until later this afternoon. If everything is on target in terms of hormone levels, we are officially clear to transfer our two best embryos on Thursday morning at 10:30. If that’s the case, I will start taking progesterone, doxycycline and Medrol tomorrow in addition to the estrace.

There have been a few pregnancy announcements on Facebook this week that really got to me. While I am not immune to the charm of the tiny pumpkin with the ultrasound photo stuck to it, I am also not immune to the punch to the gut that comes along with them. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t hyperventilate for a moment before I started to cry.

Sometimes I am strong. Sometimes I am not.

Sometimes I am overwhelmed by the unfairness of it all. Sometimes, I am just grateful to be able to walk on this path of fertility treatments at all.

Sometimes, I have hope. Sometimes, I forget that I have hope.

Back and forth. Up and down.

Don’t mind me—I’ll just be sitting over here feeling ALL of the feels.  Gosh, I can’t wait to start progesterone tomorrow.  I think I may have to be 50 Shades of Crazy for Halloween.

One Year

This time last year, we were starting our first clomid cycle. It’s been such a long year. Looking back at everything my mind and body have been through over the past 12 months, it’s no wonder I’ve been struggling. Who wouldn’t be?

A year ago, I could not have imagined that we’d be sitting where we are right now. Back then, I wouldn’t even entertain the idea of IVF. I didn’t really think we’d need it, and I couldn’t see how we’d ever afford it even if we did.

In the beginning, clomid felt extreme. At the moment, we have 7 cryopreserved embryos hanging out in a lab and two of them will soon take up residence in my uterus. Now who’s extreme, clomid?

It seems that fertility treatments move you conveyor-belt-style from one “I could/would never” to the next. Suddenly, you realize that in 365 days, you’ve done everything you said you couldn’t or wouldn’t ever do to try to make a baby.

We could never do IVF.

I could never give myself an injection.

I will never get used to this.

So here I sit with an empty savings account and a full sharps container trying to remember when I last felt uncomfortable about spreading my legs for a stranger. March? April? One thing is certain: No one in my RE’s office has EVER asked me if I am a natural redhead.

Happy anniversary, infertility. The traditional first anniversary gift is paper, but all I want is a divorce.  You have until next Thursday to sign the papers and get out.

10 Days…

There are 10 calendar days to kill until our FET. At my check on Friday morning, the labs were exactly where they should be, my ovaries were quiet, and my uterine lining was 6.something with the triple stripe they like to see. We’ll check everything one last time this coming Friday. I am trying my absolute hardest to CALM THE FUCK DOWN, but—well, it’s hard.

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We spent the weekend camping at El Capitan State Beach, which is probably one of my all-time favorite places to go camping. It’s notoriously difficult to get a reservation—you have to plan many months in advance—but if you enjoy ocean scenery, it’s totally worth the wait.

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This year, we camped at site #4. I had no idea what to expect because I’ve never stayed in this particular part of the campground before, and I don’t know that I’ll camp in that area again. We were right next to a dry ravine where a family of skunks have made themselves at home, and they didn’t think twice about strolling through our campsite. Once the sun set, we had to be on guard for every rustle of leaves. No way was I going to end up with two skunked dogs. Fortunately, we managed to avoid being sprayed, but it didn’t make for particularly relaxing evenings.

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We weren’t as prepared for this trip as we usually are. Somehow we managed to forget the “camping box,” which is the precious container that holds all of the crucial elements—can opener, corkscrew, lighters, utensils, spices, etc. We also forgot dog food. Whoops. Once I sorted that out with a trip to the store, we thought we were done with surprises. And we were—for a few hours. Until we woke up Saturday morning and tried to put the water on the stove to make coffee and learned that our stove was broken. Propane was shooting straight out of the part that connects it to the stove. Fun.

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Of course, as long as you have fire, you don’t NEED a stove, but we planned our meals around that damn stove, so things were a bit complicated. It’s hard to cook pancakes on an open fire. Oh well. We managed!

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Complications aside, it was a nice weekend. The fresh air, sunsets, and stars were positively medicinal. I’m trying my hardest to hold on to that peace as we roll into another week.

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Happy Monday, all.

Solid Ground

When they carried Goose out of the exam room where she had taken her last breath, I started to panic.

The past few weeks (months?) have been so overwhelming and intense. The heart palpitations and anxiety were getting worse along with my feelings of depression. I saw a doctor early last week for a referral to mental health services, which was both terrifying and a relief. Terrifying because it reached the point where I knew I needed to talk to a professional, but I did feel a sense of relief that I was taking steps that would (hopefully) start helping me feel better.

Then, my period started on Friday and it was sort of strange. The fog started to lift. I had a bit more energy. For lack of any better way of explaining it, all of a sudden I started to feel a bit more like myself.

We were on our way home from a really lovely faux anniversary brunch on Sunday when my mom called to tell me that she thinks she needs to take Goose to the vet. In an instant, my delightful champagne buzz melted away, and I switched into dutiful daughter mode. When we got home, I changed quickly and headed straight to my mom’s house to help her with Goose.

I stayed pretty focused on my mom and our Goosie all afternoon—until it was over. As the door closed behind Goose and our tears intensified, I wondered what this was going to do to me. Would it push me back toward that edge I’ve been teetering on since June?

We stepped quietly out into the dark evening without our big red dog and drove home to my mom’s house in silence. Inside of me, a voice was screaming that this year, the fall season was supposed to be about life, not death. Almost everyone Catch and I have ever loved and lost has been lost in the fall—and it’s not a short list. Would the progress I’ve been noticing the past few days disappear into a pumpkin spice black hole?

As it turns out, no—it won’t. Don’t get me wrong—I am still grieving for that goofy oaf of a dog. Even though I no longer lived with her, she was a huge part of our lives and I feel her loss tremendously. What’s different is how I’m coping with those feelings. I am sad, but I am okay. I am functioning better than I have in weeks. The heart palpitations have lessened along with the anxiety. I am getting work done. I am slowly emerging from the shell I’ve been hiding in. There is no black hole in sight. Even with this new grief, I feel better than I did two weeks ago.

This really solidifies my belief that my depression and anxiety were closely linked to my hormones. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I started to feel better on day 1 of my cycle, nor do I think it’s a coincidence that all of this started with those birth control pills in July and worsened throughout the IVF drugs and the subsequent polyp removal.

I am grateful that I was able to force myself to reach out for professional help. I am grateful that as I cried on the couch a few weeks ago while seriously considering all of the ways it would be better if I didn’t exist, I recognized that what I was feeling was both wrong and scary. I am also grateful for whatever CD 1 did to bring my life back into focus.

I would love to change this season from something we mourn to something we cherish. I would love to see some life come from all of this death. October 30th, we’re more ready for you than I thought. Let’s plant those seeds Reese’s Pieces.

The Reese’s Pieces

First, thank you so much for all of your kind words on our Goose. It meant a lot that so many of you stopped to say something thoughtful. We miss her so much. Twix wandered my mom’s house for an hour yesterday barking at every door and entryway trying to find her buddy. I wish there was a way for us to explain it to her.

CD 1 was Friday—the 5 year anniversary of our fake wedding. (We were legally married in 2008, we just didn’t tell anyone until our fake wedding.) I actually hadn’t even considered the date, and I just happened to wear my red Converse—aka, our wedding shoes. I don’t often wear them, so it was pretty random that I happened to pull them out that morning. I like little signs like that.

I headed to the RE yesterday to find out whether we’re moving full steam ahead for an embryo transfer this cycle or not. My ovaries and my lining were as they should be for CD 4, and they called last night to confirm that my blood work was also where it needed to be, so all systems are go!

I started taking estrace last night, and if everything goes according to plan, our transfer will be Thursday, October 30th. Just a little over 2 weeks away. Beta is scheduled for November 10th. In her email with the calendar, our nurse said that I have, “enough meds to get you through to your pregnancy.” As if it was a given.

I’ve mentioned before that our dogs’ names are Twix and Rolo. When we first learned that we’d have 7 embryos frozen, Catch started referring to them as the Reese’s Pieces. It sort of stuck. We’re both thoroughly amused right now that we’re transferring our Reese’s Pieces during Halloween candy season. Seems fitting, no?

I can’t say enough how freaked out I am about all of this. It’s pretty surreal that I actually have a shot at getting pregnant this month. For real. I haven’t had a two week wait since July. It’s not THAT much time, but it feels like it’s been ages.  I’m out of practice.  Fortunately, this particular two week wait will only be 11 days. 

If you have any experience taking estrace, I’d love to know what it did to you in terms of side effects. I guess I’ll know soon enough, but I’d love to be able to warn Catch of what she may be coming home to on Thursday.

Silly Goose

There’s so much I want to write about, but a very sweet girl deserves a post all her own.

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Yesterday evening after many hours at the vet, Twix and Rolo unexpectedly lost their best friend, Goose.

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Goose was my mom’s dog.  We adopted her as a family ten years ago.  I was living with my mom at the time, and she had decided that her new house needed a dog.  It had been a number of years since my childhood dog had passed away, and she was ready.

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We met Goose one day at an adoption event at Petsmart.  She jumped up on my mom, knocked her on her rear end, and then sat on her.  It was love at first sight–for all of us.

Meeting Goose for the first time

Meeting Goose for the first time

Goose’s name was no accident. When we first brought her home, we thought it was a ridiculous name.  We tried for weeks to change it, but noticed a trend.  Goose would be out back rolling around the grass with her insanely long tongue hanging out the side of her mouth, and we lost count of the number of times we said, “Come here you silly goose,” or “you are SUCH a silly goose!”  She was meant to be Goose.  Our silly Goose.

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About a year later, I moved in with Catch and we brought Twix home.  I wasn’t sure if Goose was ever going to forgive me for bringing that puppy into her life, but Twix wore her down and the two became buddies.  Twix would stand on the couch and Goose would sit on the floor and they’d wrestle while we all sat and laughed.  Goose could always make us laugh.

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We’ve had our share of adventures and car rides with the Gooser. From camping trips to beach excursions, if it involved a ride in the car and a body of water, she was all in.

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I can’t imagine our family without our Goosie dog.  There is not a single person who is important to me who hasn’t met and loved the Goosie.  She was our comic relief, my mom’s best friend, and just the sweetest, silliest, most devoted and loving dog you could imagine.  She loved to swim, and she’d chase balls in the pool forever if you let her.  She loved tearing the squeakers out of stuffed toys.  She loved us–with all her heart–and was so loved in return.

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Rest in peace, sweet girl.  Wherever you are, you have our hearts.

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Work

We’re having a friend, her husband, and her tween daughter over for bunch on Sunday. It’s supposed to be over 90 degrees. I have no idea what to make. It’s been so hot. Just the thought of turning on the oven makes me sweat. So far, I have fruit salad. Mimosas or sangria? My favorite sangria recipe is a bit too potent for brunch, so I’d need to tone it down a bit. Thoughts?

Catch used to have a friend who called me Molly Stewart. I was the queen of entertaining. I don’t know what happened, but we rarely entertain anymore. My hostess skills are rusty. It really sank in last night for the first time that I will have to clean and pretty the house AND prepare food this weekend. For people who are not my wife and who may actually care whether the napkins are clean and the silverware all matches. (WHERE DO ALL OF THE TEASPOONS DISAPPEAR TO? Did they get cold and run off to a house that eats less ice cream? Are they resentful over the lack of dish sauna—aka dishwasher—in our household?)

Anyway, it all sounds so exhausting. Do you suppose Amazon will deliver a prepared brunch—still warm and in appropriate serving dishes?

Brunch was not supposed to be the point of this post. I sat down to tell you about how hard the past few weeks have been. How depressed I am. How as I sobbed into our couch cushions on Tuesday evening, I considered how much easier it would be if I could just cease to exist.

Life goes on, though, doesn’t it? There is work to be done. Housework. Marriage work. Health work. Job work. It’s endless, really. All I can do is hope that if I continue to go through the motions, at some point—if I just keep working—I will stop noticing how hard it all is.

5 DPO Spotting…

…if this was an IUI cycle, I might be excited, but this is a totally unmedicated, un-spermed cycle. I am kind of freaking out. It is way too early for my period. If my hormones are THIS out of whack, we have no business kicking off a FET cycle.

Thanks for nothing, universe.