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I am a complete basket case today.

Before we went to bed last night, I lounged on the couch with Catch lamenting my complete lack of symptoms. No cramps. No twinges. No sore boobs. Nothing.

I tossed and turned forever last night. I don’t know when I finally drifted off, but I woke up at 2 am needing to pee and then proceeded to toss and turn for another eternity. Sometime in that eternity, I started feeling lots of uncomfortable tightness in the region of my uterus. I got very hopeful. I convinced myself that it’s totally going to work. Unfortunately, now that I am officially alert, I am fairly certain I dreamed it all because there was also a strange bit about hanging out with someone who was unconscious after a head injury and really wanting to take a pregnancy test, but not having any with me.

The night before, I had a dream about a sea turtle. I woke up convinced that a seat turtle must be some great symbol of fertility, but alas… not so. Apparently, “To see a sea turtle in your dream indicates that you are cautious when it comes to expressing your emotions. You may also be a little emotionally sheltered.”

Hah.

It’s safe to say that my bizarre progesterone dreams are kicking in.

This is going to be a really, really long week. Beta is still a very full, very painful week away. I am back at work today, and while part of me misses my little nest of blankets on the couch where I felt like our embryos were safe and warm, part of me is also hoping for some distraction.

Please, please, please let this work.

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.

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.

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.

Suboptimal Outcomes

A million years ago in another lifetime, I got myself hooked on some infertility blogs. I was in my early twenties and single. Getting pregnant was the absolute farthest thing from my mind. No matter, though—I sat there scrolling through tens of thousands of words from women going through precisely the thing that I am going through right now. Was it some kind of subconscious intuition? Am I psychic? Probably not. Probably, I just really loved the drama. Also, the women whose blogs I followed back then were intelligent and witty and interesting.

So, I have been following Julie at A Little Pregnant for over a decade. That’s crazy, right? Oddly, I don’t believe that I have ever once commented on her blog. Mostly because back then, I was afraid to jump in amongst a crazy group of infertile women when I was just a casual observer who could not in any way fathom what they were going through. Now that I AM a genuine member of Club Infertility, she is a genuine parent—which can be just as hard to relate to when you’re sitting where we are.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, Julie posted a response to this article about the overuse of IVF technology. Her response is funny and poignant, and anyone who has stared or will stare IVF in the face should read it and enjoy a smile.

I hope that ten years from now, we’re all making school lunches for our own suboptimal IVF outcomes.

Consider Yourself Warned

I am so sick of thinking about babymaking. I am sick of peeing on sticks. I am sick of examining my cervical fluid. I am sick of planning my life around a 4-week(ish) calendar.

I’ve been sitting here thinking about how I might knit my RE a scarf for the holidays, and I realized—CRAP. I will still be seeing my RE over the holidays no matter what happens with the FET. I have enough goddamned time to knit my RE a freaking scarf. (To thank her because she takes really good care of me/us… EVEN IF I AM NOT PREGNANT.)

Also, I am fucking sick of acronyms. OPK? Why is it called an Ovulation Prediction KIT when it’s just a flipping stick that you pee on? What about that makes it a freaking kit? In my mind, a kit is something a bit more involved—with bottles and charts and beads and laces or something. It should be an Ovulation Prediction Test. Or hell, if I’m going to nitpick, let’s nitpick the “P.” Prediction? My ass. If those stupid things were truly capable of making predictions, half of us would be pregnant by now.

So yes, good morning. I apologize for the early morning swearing. I got very little sleep last night, and whatever side of the bed I woke up on was most definitely wrong.

Today is cycle day 14, and Fertility Friend is officially wigging out on me. I stopped temping ages ago because I am the worst sleeper in the history of sleep, but I do use FF Fertility Friend to track everything else. Unfortunately, all of my medicated cycles have confused the hell out of the poor app, and it has absolutely no idea what’s going on with this “natural” cycle. (Can you really consider it natural when you have surgery on your uterus?) So according to Fertility Friend, I should be ovulating sometime between last Sunday and the next millennium.

The only reasons I care about ovulation this month are a) I’d like to get this FET frozen embryo transfer rolling, and b) my right ovary feels like it’s going to explode.

It’s odd, because I do not recall having pain quite this significant when stimming for in vitro fertilization. (See what I did there?) You would think my ovaries would have been most sensitive when they were totally enlarged and filled with a whole mess of large follicles, but no. It seems that righty here is still mightily pissed off about the whole needle-stabbing/suction bit at the end of August and she wants me to be totally aware that I got anesthesia while she got mauled by surgical steel.

Fortunately, there was a glimmer of hope in a darkening ovulation prediction test this morning. I am hoping for a positive tomorrow, which is still within a pretty reasonable normal window. Having said that, it probably won’t happen because not a single thing about my cycles has been normal since January of 2013.

How are you this morning? Please try to keep your responses acronym-free lest I lose my fragile mind over an “OK.”

I should really know better than to throw something like that out there because the last time I said something comparable, this was what happened:

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