Monday, 17 February 2014

A little perspective

Things are slowly starting to return to normal around here.

After about a week of drowning my sorrows in wine, homemade french fries and chocolate, I realized that a) junk food wasn't actually making me feel any better and b) I had put on three pounds.  So last Monday I started working out again and slowly weaning myself off my newly reinvigorated sugar addiction.  Work was busy, which kept my mind occupied, and the pity party crying jags have steadily become fewer and farther between.  While we're both obviously still sad about what happened, and pretty far from making any kind of decision about what we want to do, we've started laughing and joking again too.  Valentine's Day provided the perfect opportunity to go out for a nice dinner and remind ourselves of how we used to be before all this.  Not to mention giving us the little nudge we needed to...ahem...resume our marital relations (which were prohibited post-FET, and then just didn't happen because no one wants to have sex with a snotty red-eyed mope).  It was sex without pretense or purpose other than to be close to the one you love, and it was wonderful.

Then, something else happened that could (should?) have knocked me back down.  A few weeks earlier my mom had had surgery to remove a suspicious lump in her breast that had been inconclusive after a needle biopsy.  While everyone in my family had pretty much resolved ourselves to getting the bad news that it was cancerous, we hoped that the doctors would tell her that they had gotten it all and only minor follow-up treatment was required.  Unfortunately, it turned out that the margins weren't clear and although the cancer is small and low-grade, they will need to operate again to either remove more tissue, or possibly the entire breast.  Radiation and/or hormone therapy will follow.

Admittedly, when Mom first told me the news I had a brief moment of thinking "nothing goes right for our family, I can't take much more of this, when will something good happen for us?"  But then I strangely started to realize that, in the grand scheme of things, it could be an awful lot worse.  So far we have no reason to think that this won't work out much the same as it did for M's mom, who went through a very similar diagnosis in the fall and just last week got the all-clear from her radiologist that she doesn't need any more treatments.  Hopefully my mother's situation will be much the same.   But even if it's not...being miserable isn't going to help anyone.  Right now the last thing that my mom needs is to worry about me when she should be focusing on herself.  And I can't support her if I continue to be so self-absorbed in my own problems.

I also started to think about people who get really bad news, like a terminal cancer diagnosis.  I found a few blogs of people who have been living with terminal cancer for years, and who are still doing everything they can to extend their lives even if it means painful treatments and surgeries and pretty much daily agony.  I wondered how I would ever cope if I was in that situation.  Would I just give up and wait for everything to be over, or would I somehow find it in me to forge ahead and wring every last drop of enjoyment out of life while I could?  

At the end of the day, what's happening with my mom provided me with a pretty much-needed lesson in perspective.  I hate to use the old "other people have things so much worse" argument, because infertility brings its own unique kind of loss and grief that no other condition does.  It's world-shattering and life-altering in an incomparable way.  Being miserable is the easy thing to do in response.  It's so much harder to force myself to look beyond it and appreciate all the things I do have to be grateful for.  A wonderful husband, a beautiful home, a loving family, a cuddly dog, a solid job, and the health (mostly) of people I love.  My mom's news was the slap in the face I needed to look at these things again and really see them for the gifts that they are.  I guess that's what they call a blessing in disguise?

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Jumbled thoughts

A week ago today, I got my first BFP.  Then, just as quickly, it was gone.  And with it, any chance I had of a biological child.

It's easy to see why they say not to make any major life decisions while you're in a state of emotional distress.  My mind is all over the place.  While I previously thought that we'd move on to donor eggs if this cycle failed, now I'm not so sure.  The thought of doing any of this ever again fills me with dread and fear.  While I know the odds of success are much higher with donor eggs, they're still not even close to 100%.  Something many of you already know all too well.  The idea of draining what's left of our savings, only to fail again, is unbearable.

If we did go the donor route, where would we go?  Which country?  Which clinic?  Should we pay more for a guaranteed program so that we would get our money back (to possibly pursue adoption) if we fail, or gamble by paying less for just one cycle in the hopes that we'd get lucky on our first try?  What about donor anonymity?  It doesn't bother me, and in some countries it's mandated by law, but would that be fair to a child?  If you want to read a whole lot of stories from donor children who are plenty pissed off that they don't know their anonymous bio parents, go here.  To hear some of them tell it, they'd rather not even exist than be the product of a third party anonymous donor.  M thinks most of the stories are written by angsty teenagers who are in the "I hate my parents / searching for my identity" phase, but I'm not so sure.  There's so much to think about.  It's overwhelming.

On the other hand, would we find peace if we just decided that we were done and walked away from it all?  If we resigned ourselves to a childless life, and resolved to make the absolute best of it with just the two of us?  In the past few days we've talked a lot about how much sadness this struggle to have children has brought to us.  How we've spent basically the first (soon to be) three years of our marriage in a semi-constant state of anticipation, disappointment and heartache.  Sure, we're not constantly sad on a day to day basis (well, not usually).  We've had fun and good times.  But I think we both feel like we've weathered more than our fair share of troubled waters for such a short marriage, and that we deserve some happiness for a change.  Would we find that by stopping treatment?  Or would it just make things worse, knowing that we're giving up forever on the idea of being parents?

I guess I feel like if I knew what path to take, everything would feel better.  But I know that's kidding myself.  I just feel so unbearably sad, all the time, and I want it to go away.  I don't want to have to go to work or see friends and smile and lie and say "good, thanks" when people ask me how I am.  I don't want to have to avert my eyes from the cute baby in line ahead of me at the grocery store because I might lose it and start crying.  I don't want to have to hide my face when my thoughts get the better of me and I start weeping on the subway, big fat silent tears dropping onto my parka as everyone sneaks glances and wonders what's wrong with me.  I don't want any of this.

I just want to feel normal again.  But I don't know how to do that either.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

My chemical romance

No point keeping anyone in suspense.  By beta HCG this morning (11dp5dt, or16dpo) came back at 14.  In the nurse's words, that's "extremely low".  She tried to maintain a positive attitude by saying that "all hope isn't necessarily lost", but I thanked her and told her I knew enough to know how this would work out.  She didn't contradict me.  At 14, I probably wouldn't even have gotten a line if I'd POASed this morning, so clearly my HCG is dropping from whatever it was at its peak when I got my positive tests.  Though I have to keep taking my meds and go back in for confirmation on Friday, it looks like I get to add "chemical pregnancy" to my infertility resume.

In other firsts, today I saw my husband cry for the first time.  Thank you, infertility, for finishing off our last IVF in such a gut-wrenching way.  Nothing like the old "fake 'em out" move before twisting the knife.  You really got us.  Good on you.

In the "things that went right today" category, Toronto is currently in the midst of a snowstorm.  They shut my office at 1pm and sent us all home.  There couldn't possibly have been a better day for it.  I'm currently in fleecy pants, tissues on standby, ready for those moments (and there have already been quite a few) when it feels like it's just all too much to bear and I can't breathe.  Including the one in which I called and told my mom the results, and couldn't help but blurt out "I'm never going to have a baby, mom!" before both of us dissolved into tears.

Thank you to everyone for reading and commenting and supporting me over the past few days.  The love and support I've gotten from all of you is overwhelming.  I had no idea when I started this blog just over a year ago that I'd have literally hundreds of people rooting so hard for us.  It makes this very heavy burden just that little bit lighter to bear, and you have no idea what it means to me to know you're out there.

And please, though I know it will be well-meant, no "I know someone who had an HCG of 6 at 18dpo and it doubled and now they have a healthy baby!" stories in the comments.  If that happens to me don't get me wrong, I'll be overjoyed.  But it's not going to and it won't help me to hear about it.  The only thing that will help right now is time.  Time, and copious amounts of crappy, gluten-filled food.  Eat my feelings?  Yes, please.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

To be or not to be?

That is indeed the question.  Just when I thought that the crazy train was about to pull into the station and let me off, it revved up again, crashed through a barrier and is now on a dangerous runaway trajectory.

I tested again this morning, 10dp5dt, and the line is not darker.  It is not lighter.  It is the EXACT.  SAME.  AS 8dp5dt.

See for yourselves

We all know this is not good news.  I know HPTs are supposed to be qualitative and not quantitative, but I've seen enough pee stick progressions on blogs in the last two years to know that lines get darker.  Especially after two days, when the HCG in my system is supposed to have doubled.  These FRERs were done at the same time of day, with FMU, and they're from the same box.


Of course today ended up being not too busy at work, so I obsessively Googled all day and just got myself more and more worked up.  Virtually none of these stories end well.  It's always a chemical pregnancy, or an endless cycle of low betas that ends in an early miscarriage.  While all of the commenters on various forum posts go on and on about how their lines were light and now they have a kid toddling around, the person asking the frantic question "15dpo should my line be darker???" always seems to end up with a bad result.  And right now, that person is me.

Double fuuuuuuck.

I stopped at the pharmacy on the way home and bought more FRERs, as well as a Clearblue Digital with the pregnancy date indicator.  I had held my pee all afternoon and tested with the digital when I got home.  I still ended up getting a "Pregnant 1-2 weeks", so there's that.  But since I'm technically 15dpo, I should probably be "2-3 weeks" instead.  

Triple fuuuuuuuuck.

Obviously, I've gone insane.  I've gone from "OMG I got my first BFP!" happy dances to "yeah, this isn't going to end well" depression.  I called my clinic and bumped my beta up to tomorrow morning.  I feel sick to my stomach, and it's not from HCG in my system.  It's from dread.  Why does this have to happen?


Sunday, 2 February 2014

Surely you can't be serious

Last night M and I went to a pub to meet up with a friend of his who was in town.  I luckily had the "designated driver" excuse to explain why I wasn't drinking, but you bet your sweet bippy I was wishing I'd tested earlier that day so that I could have gotten my BFN out of the way and start drowning my sorrows. 

I started wishing for booze even harder once I realized that, in the larger group that I'd just been introduced to, one of the couples had just announced that the reason wifey wasn't drinking was because she was pregnant.  I mean, seriously.  Seriously?  

I am serious.  And stop calling me Shirley

This morning, I woke up at 5am to a mild night sweat.  The back of my neck was damp and there was a lone trickle of sweat between my boobs.  I thought to myself, well, that's that.  My estrogen levels must be dropping.  I only get night sweats before my period.  I started reconsidering whether it was even worth it to bother testing this morning, if it was only going to put me in a pissy mood.  That could wait until beta day on Thursday, certainly?  My brain started running around in circles and my stomach wound up in knots, but I finally managed to doze off again.

M woke up around 7am and told me he couldn't get back to sleep, so he was getting up.  I figured there was no time like the present.  I got up too, and went into the bathroom and peed in a cup.  I normally test alone, but this time I didn't think I could handle it.  It felt too momentous.  Our last embryo.  I took the cup and went downstairs.  I sat on the couch next to M, dipped the stick, set a timer to three minutes, and turned the test upside down.

The timer went off.  I took a deep breath, turned the stick over, and saw something that I've never seen before in my whole, entire life.

Please tell me you guys see what I see!!

I'm not gonna lie, the line is faint.  So faint, in fact, that M didn't even see it at first and thought the test was negative.  That was, until I exclaimed "Holy shit!" and jumped up to look at the test under lamp light.  There was a second freaking line!  Cue hugging, explaining to husband how an HPT works, and taking obligatory pee stick photos for blog.

I don't quite know how to feel.  Happy, obviously!  But also cautious.  I'd definitely feel better if the line was darker, but (of course I've already Googled this, silly readers) it seems like BFPs on 8dp5dt are all over the map.  Some are barely there, while some are really dark.  And considering that I tested at 7am and my transfer was at about 2pm last Saturday, I was technically only really about 7.5dp5dt.  Ugh, living with this overly analytical brain is exhausting sometimes!

So for now, I'm choosing to go back to the happy place that I was in on 5dp5dt.  You know, the one where I was the most pregnant that I'd ever been and decided to think and act like it.  I liked that place.  And while a lot can happen between now and my beta on Thursday (for instance, I'm sure many more sticks will be peed on and over-analyzed to see if the lines are getting darker)...for now, I'm actually pregnant.  

You guys.  YOU GUYS.  I'm freaking pregnant!

Saturday, 1 February 2014

7dp5dt: A week on the crazy train

Choo choo!  All aboard the crazy train!  No, actually, don't get on.  As much as I'd love the company, it really effing sucks here.  At least they have good snacks.

The weekend of my transfer, I was doing pretty good.  M settled me onto the couch, handed me the Xbox controller and proceeded to bring me anything I wanted.  This included copious amounts of Chicago Mix, a deliciously evil treat that I discovered in the gluten-free section of the grocery store.  For those that don't know, Chicago Mix is a delectable combination of cheese popcorn and caramel popcorn, providing the answer to all your salty/sweet cravings.  It ranks up there with my beloved Lindt 70% salted chocolate.  But don't worry, the embryo got some healthy food as well, and lots and lots of rest.  The most I moved around all weekend was to go upstairs to pee.

Monday was 2dp5dt.  Both M and I took the day off work.  I was starting to go a little stir crazy on the couch, not to mention the fact that my back and neck were feeling a little creaky from all the sitting/lying around, so Monday afternoon I found myself a nice easy pre-natal yoga workout on YouTube and went downstairs for a little stretch.  I had to fight the Little Voice a bit, as it was laughing at me for having the nerve to think of myself as "pre-natal", but I ended up feeling much better afterwards.  

Tuesday, 3dp5dt, was when things started to spiral out of control.  I think the problem was that M went back to work, while I stayed home one more day.  Despite having a dog to cuddle with, video games to play and lots of Chicago Mix to eat, for some reason I couldn't get my brain out of my uterus.  I started Googling.  You know, the usual.  "Early pregnancy symptoms", "3dp5dt symptoms", that kind of thing.  I also did something that I've never admitted to anyone before, because it's so fucking stupid and crazy.  I consulted a Magic 8 Ball.  Not even a real Magic 8 Ball, but an online version.  As if some program written by a Computer Science 101 student has the supernatural ability to somehow know whether or not I was pregnant.  And yet, when the answer came back as "My sources say no"...I felt deflated.  Defeated.  Done.  If that's not the definition of crazy, I have absolutely no idea what is.

4dp5dt, I went back to work.  Possibly the best thing I could have done at that stage.  I had plenty to catch up on, and precious little time to worry or Google.  I still managed to find some time to obsess; I mean, you didn't think I could totally control myself, did you?  HAHAHA.   You're stupid if you did.  Dummy.

Then, magically, sometime on 5dp5dt, I had a moment.  A moment of clarity, if you will, where I realized that right now I might be the most pregnant that I will ever be.  An embryo had been put inside me 5 days ago, goddammit, which by every definition meant that I was pregnant.  And I could either enjoy it, and act and think like I was pregnant, or I could spend my time in a huge funk worrying about some time in the future when I might not be pregnant anymore.  A zen-like calm settled over me.  Man, those 24 hours were the best I think I've had in my whole infertility journey.

And then poof!  The calm was gone and the crazy psycho bitch was back.  6dp5dt, and the doubts all started to creep back in.  The Little Voice started shouting at me.  "You don't actually think you could be pregnant, do you?  That's hilarious!  It's insane!  You're fooling yourself if you think that, and the sooner you can test and put yourself out of your stupid misery the better, you stupid stupid cow!  AHAHAHAHA!  You, pregnant!  I die!!!"  Just to shut that damn voice up, I probably would have tested if I'd actually had any HPTs in the house. 

Today is 7dp5dt.  The FRERs have been purchased.  I'm at least hoping I can make it through until tomorrow morning, because I've already Googled enough to know that if I get a negative I'll just wonder if it was too early, or if it was a false negative because I didn't use FMU or something.  I'm pretty confident in an 8dp5dt FMU result, and I'll at least have to whole day to mourn before having to drag my puffy cried-out eyes into the office on Monday morning. 'Cause yeah, for the record, I'm pretty confident we're heading for another BFN.  For the record, the Magic 8 Ball agrees.