No IVF’ing Way

This title isn’t really indicative of this post, it’s just so damn witty that I really liked it and it will now be the new title. Deal.

But, to sort of justify it, I will actually write something about IVF, namely, I still really don’t feel like doing it yet.  I just don’t feel the hurry that I did before.  I think three years of go-go-go infertility treatment has finally caught up with me.  

This has become more apparent when Mr. X and I have had several discussions over the past few days about scheduling an IVF, which have mostly focused on December/January. 

There are a couple of problems with this plan.

1)  Say I start the BCPs for an IVF cycle in December and then stim in late December through early January leading up to an egg retrieval and embryo transfer in late January.  But – and there is always a but – I am scheduled to go to a conference in early February. I can’t miss this.  However, if I get a BFP, I will probably feel as if it is repeat of last year’s episode while on travel.  Only, this time I will be on business in addition to being away from home.  I do not want to be traveling at that stage.  I will already be stressed and remembering when I was pregnant and going to the airport bathroom every 15 minutes to see if the blood was gone will not be the best way to spend the day. 

2) What about doing the pills in Jaunary and stimming in February? Same problem, except this time I would be travelling during stimming. And, it’s a five day conference.  I seriously doubt that Dr. Salsa will agree to let me shoot up for five days without monitoring. 

3) Even if I do manage to get all of this done, I would get pregnant in February. For the Third Time.  And, then I will miscarry in March. For the Third Time.  I will have a D&C in April. For the Third Time. See a pattern? So do I, which is why I’d like to get pregnant in a month other than February, if I can help it.  It’s purely psychological,  but we all have our little mental quirks.

Of course, there are problems waiting too – Mr. X’s travel schedule gets heavier and we do not want to use frozen specimens on a fresh IVF cycle if we can help it.  Putting it off will also mean waiting for a late 2009 or even 2010 (Space Odyssey) baby. 

I do know that being back in an RE’s office with the dildocam was jarring.  And, I know right now, the last thing I want to be doing is sticking a 1.5 inch needle in my ass. Every night. I like being able to drink wine, have a Diet Coke and take a bath (I can even do all three at the same time!). I like not having to worry about weird bleeding and morbid outcomes.  And, I particularly like being in control of what happens to my body.

All of this could be academic – if my Clomid Challenge comes back showing that my eggs are closer to 50 than I am, then, all bets may be off.  Or, if I find out that my FSH is normal, then I may be inclined to try again.  I just know that right now, I’m content to drink my wine and take my bath.

Confessions

I have been wanting to write these past few weeks about something that is growing inside of me (no, not that something) – something that has solidified enough that I felt it was time to blog about it. 

How do I say this?

image: Ravenelle

I’m really beginning to feel as if I want to live childfree. 

Damn, that was hard to write.  Have I just thrown my IF cred out the window?

I started having these thoughts a few weeks ago, right after our FET was a bust.  They brought me such a sense of relief and control, it was breathtaking – kind of like when you realize that you are off the hook from doing something that you really didn’t want to do.  At first, I thought it was just a symptom of us getting back into the game too early.

But, I’m still having these thoughts. It’s to the point where I’m not really planning on when we do the next IVF.  I’ll find myself feeling thankful that I don’t have children when I’m out somewhere and there are exasperated parents everywhere being harrassed by their kids.  For every one kid that is truly a ‘neat kid’ that makes you think, yeah, I’d like to have one, there are ten that are such monsterous nightmares that you are thankful to go home to your empty house.

I have spent the past three and a half years with one goal in mind: to have a child. It has been all consuming and dictated just about every major decision we made.  When I did get pregnant, I was overjoyed at the thought of the new life that was taking hold inside of me.  When the rug was pulled out from underneath us (twice), I was devastated.  I still miss my babies, and probably always will.  I was also still determined to succeed and have a child, preferably a biological child that I nurtured for nine months. 

But, now, I’m beginning to rethink my definition of success.  Is it to have a child? Then what? We’d still have to raise the child and what kind of child will we have? Even if the child has all of our genes, they are their own person, and will probably never look, act or speak the way that we imagined.  We will still have expectations and they will still be dashed – some for good, some for bad – and there will be times when we look at that child and wonder what we were thinking. 

To me, success after infertility has always implied that you have a child, by hook or by crook. But, what if success is actually learning all along that this wasn’t what you were meant to have?  Or, that what you want may not actually be a child? The more I think about it, it seemed as if for a while there, I wanted to bring a child into this world simply to ‘win’ the battle with infertility, to prove that I could do it.  I feel as if the real reason we started trying to have a child got lost in the years that we spent actually trying to have a child. 

Maybe I’m having these feelings because I’m so tired of disappointment and loss.  Maybe, deep down I didn’t want a child at all, who knows.  I do know that there was a time when I really wanted to make a child with my wonderful husband and raise that child with him. 

Now, 3.5 years down that path, this simple wish has become a complicated path and we have had the time to really question if that wish is right for us.

Back to Basics

So, despite the fact that the Mr. and I are most certainly, definitely on a hiatus from needles, dildocams and anything else that is sharp and stuck in places where the sun don’t shine, that doesn’t mean that we are eschewing all attempts to get in a family way.  We’re most definitely still ‘trying’.  Of course, ‘trying’ Old School.

image: ewitch

For the first time in over a year, I’ve broken out the thermometer for the morning basal temp and I’ve been charting the results. But, I’m not doing the OPKs and I’m so not doing the hide-the-cervix game.  I figure my cervix has earned the right to stay hidden and avoid molestation for a while.  The Mr. and I will also indulge in a little afternoon (or morning) delight depending upon the day, on days 12, 14, 16, 18 and 20.  We would do it on day 22, but he’ll be out of town.  He’ll start cutting back on caffeine and booze as will I.

I have conceived (somewhat) naturally before – with an IUI, so I know that egg and sperm can meet together.  Whether they will do anything is beyond my control, so the only thing I’m out is time, some good old fashioned lovin’ and maybe an el cheapo HPT.  That’s an investment I can do.

Conversations

Epic conversations are usually triggered by some small event, a question, a glance, a mutterance.  And, sometimes, they are triggered by a seemingly terrible events. I’ve had several epic conversations over the past few days since those terrible two days last week. 

image: b_d_solis

Conversation No. 1: the most important of them all, took place with Mr. X over a period of several hours and several locations and focused on that question: what next? I have been supremely blessed to have married a man who gets me and who is usually squarely on the same page as I am.  With respect to infertility, we have been on the same page pretty much the entire time and I know how fortunate I am.  Thankfully, we are still on the same page.

That page happens to be: 1) take a break, 2) flirt with the idea of maybe this isn’t all worth what may or may not come out of my hoohah in nine months and maybe people who choose (emphasis here being on CHOOSE) to live childfree have something with that idea, and 3) maybe do another IVF.  I was so relieved to know that he felt the same way that I did.  I was incredibly relieved that he had also been thinking that maybe not having children wouldn’t be the end of the world and that we could have a wonderful life that would be full and rich.  I felt so guilty that I was having those thoughts, as if I was giving up on him and our desire to have children.  So, it was very nice to know that he was having them too. It doesn’t necessarily mean that we won’t ever have children, it just means that right now, we need a break to evaluate what we really want. Then, maybe, we’ll do another IVF. 

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What 10 Days in Paris Taught Mrs. X

Bon soir, my dears. As you can tell, I have returned from Paris and I am as mellow as mellow can be. Mr. X and I had a fabulous vacation, full of gorgeous weather, wonderful food, fabulous wine and of course, many adventures. Sure the exchange rate was atrocious and the prices reminded me of New York and London (I swear it was roughly $6.50 for a Coke in a restaurant. Really), but we used these as an excuse to walk everywhere, check out free museums, and linger over dinner.

And, for the first time in longer than I can remember or even quantify, I didn’t care about infertility, miscarriages, pregnancy or any of it. I. Was. Free. And it felt damn good.

I can chalk up part of it to the vacation mentality, the knowing that when you wake up in the morning, the most difficult decision of the day is which section of Paris to explore (terrible choice, I know). But, I also think that Paris itself gave me some perspective. Allow me to explain.

On our first full day in Paris, we headed over the to Musee de Cluny which is the museum of the Middle Ages housed in a former abbey built around 1490 – this was before Columbus even reached the Americas, before our little nation was even a blip on the radar screen. Part of the museum’s structure is also the former Roman baths built in the 1st – 3rd century. I was literally standing next to stones that were cut over a thousand years ago by hands that are now nothing more than dust. I still think this is so cool.

The people who built these things – the Romans, the Normans, the Gauls, the Visigoths – never probably thought that these buildings would last past their lifetimes and certainly not over a 1000 or 500 years later. They were preoccupied, as we are today, with their lives and making it. In the end, though, the one lasting thing they did that is still tangible is to build these churches, forums, baths, etc. Their legacy, their lasting contribution in the world is measured in stone.

It struck me, then, and again and again during our time in Paris, that my life is so insignificant in the greater scheme of time and the world. It doesn’t really matter if I am able to procreate or not – my life won’t be judged by that. In fact, in 100 years, it probably won’t be judged by anything because no one may have even heard of me. And, probably even more surprising, I am perfectly fine with that.

I also got the distinct impression from the Parisians, both with and without children, were supremely engrossed in one activity and that activity only: enjoying life. Lingering over coffee, people watching at sidewalk cafes, reading in the park. Everywhere I turned were people who weren’t constantly checking their Crackberries or hurrying everywhere. It was so refreshing and so different from the life we lead here.

What surprised me even more, though, was how disgruntled the women with children looked. There was one evening as we were heading back to our apartment where we were standing at an intersection waiting for the light to change before we could cross the street. Next to me was a women with a toddler in a stroller. The kid was wailing her head off and looked to have been crying for some time – her face was red and her hair was all toussled. Her mother, though, was just staring into space and I couldn’t help but think that what she was thinking probably went along the lines of, “What the hell did I get myself into with this kid?”

Of course, she could have just as well have been mentally composing a shopping list, I’ll never know. But the sadness on her face coupled with the fact that this kid was screaming her head off and the lady wasn’t even moving led me to think I had pretty much hit the nail on the head.

If I had to sum up what all of this rambling means, I’d say that this trip reinforced what I’ve been trying to practice for sometime now which is to recognize that having children isn’t everything and shouldn’t be the sole focus of my life. When you are in the trenches, it’s hard to see farther than the next battle in front of you, but, let me tell you, life outside of the battle is pretty sweet too.
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Part of our trip to Paris included a complete unplugging from the Internet and TV and I loved it. Yes, you heard that right. I didn’t have a TV for 10 days and it was fabulous.

I’m still trying to practice a modified form of this unplugging, so I may not be posting as often for a while. Of course, I could say this and start posting everyday. Anywho, I’m still enjoying the honeymoon from not thinking about infertility as a result of our trip, so I’m not quite ready to delve into my four-letter word project – not to mention the fact that I still haven’t finished those damn Atlantic magazines to find the answer to the word question.

Instead, I’ll probably entertain with stories of Paris. I doubt I’ll hear much grumbling from the masses.

Vampira Tales

Thanks to everyone for your lovely wishes on our anniversary and Big Red finally showing up. Only in this alternate universe of infertility would I be happy that my period showed up the day before my wedding anniversary. We had a wonderful dinner and talked about all of the wonderful times we have had together. Then we went home like the old married people we are and went to sleep at 10:30pm.

Yesterday, I had another date with Vampira at the blood lab to get my weekly HCG reading. The first time I went to the lab, the person was wonderfully efficient and I hardly felt a thing. The second time, I had Vampira – a different lady who was exceedingly nice (and dear Lord was she cheerful which is not compatible with me at 8am on a Monday) – but it was a terrible stick. My entire arm felt bruised for the rest of the week, and I swear I still had a slight bruise yesterday – a full week later.

Well, yesterday, when I went back for my weekly bloodletting, Vampira was there by herself, which meant I was at her mercy. I had her poke the right arm this time since the left one still hasn’t completely healed and wouldn’t you know, another terrible stick. I don’t know what I’m going to do when I go back next week and she is still the only one there! Can you tell someone to poke you better next time? It seems like that would be like telling someone to brush their teeth differently after they had been brushing for 30 years.

Despite being poked to high heaven by Vampira and looking as if I am offically a junkie, there is good news. The quant is now in the triple, rather than quadruple digits. As of yesterday, it was 886 – a nice 63% drop from last week, in case you were wondering. It is 88% lower than my first post-D&C quant. I know, though, that it will probably take at least a full six weeks (or maybe even longer) like it did last time to get to the magic

I had the same flash of frustration that I had each prior Monday when I realized this and understood again that the frustration was due to my desire to feel like I was making some kind of progress in getting pregnant (rather than getting unpregnant). But, then I thought of the alternative. What if I was able to get pregnant next month? Frankly, that would suck. I would be wreck and would be pregnant in Paris. So, I will continue on my path to acceptance that a slow drop in the HCG means a long time to heal and actually be ready to try again.

We also haven’t gotten the results from the karyotype. I looked back at my records from last year and saw that we had them at about 2.5 weeks after the D&C. It’s now been 3 weeks. I mentioned it to the nurse and she is going to check. I’m not giving much thought as to what the results might show. This is one area where my predictions totally suck, so I’m just not going to waste my time.

Off to bed, and hopefully, tomorrow morning, I will not wake up freezing with a cat hogging the covers. This actually happened this morning. I haven’t decided if I should forgive him.

The Ride is Finally Over

image: nic0
It is with great relief that I report that I have finally been allowed to get off the pregnancy rollercoaster.

Everything went fine this morning. I had my Sweetie, my family’s love and all of your good thoughts with me as I went through the familiar routine of the D&C. I had the same anaesthesiologist who I saw not eight weeks ago for my egg retrieval, and I told him that I really did not want to run into him again – except at the mall or something. He wholeheartedly agreed.

The nursing staff were wonderful, as usual. This is the third time I’ve been to this center – not a statistic I enjoy to be sure – first for my lap in October 2006, then my D&C in April of last year and now this year’s booby prize. The only mild annoyance was the intake nurse going over my medical history and saw my last D&C and very sympathetically called me a “poor thing” for having to do this twice. She was very nice, but I just wanted to be treated like anyone else there.

Now a little recap of the ride, shall we? It started out with an optimistic turn in the Positive and Doubling Beta Loop followed by some twists through Anxiety Canyon. Then there was the dive down Spotting and Cramping Hill bottoming out in No Baby Ravine. The slow climb up Imminent Miscarriage Mountain began, complete with the ominous clicking as the car slowly makes it way against gravity. Instead of being released into the torrent after reaching the top, we were sent into the Loop of Disbelief following by the ups and downs of Hope and Despair Canyon. Next, it was through the Loop of Guardedly Optimistic followed by the ups and down of Hope and Despair Canyon again. And then, we were unceremoniously plunged into Heartbreak Ridge, after which we were directed to D&C Station.

My ticket’s been punched, I got my souvenirs and I never, ever want to go on that kind of ride again.

We are officially leaving the Amusement Park of Infertility for a while, taking a break to remember what we have, find what we have lost, discover new things, make new friends, reconnect with old ones, go to Paris, live decadently, and step away from tests, needles, Dr. Uterus, embryos, eggs, sperm, and everything else that has ruled for the past three years.