Bonne Chance

One of the things I really like about my clinic is that they only give you instruction sheets for as far as you have gotten.  So, your stims sheet will only go to retrieval.  Your retrieval sheet with only go to transfer. And, your transfer sheet, will go to beta, the end of the line.  It really helps to compartmentalize the process and not get you ahead of yourself.  And, there are so many instructions on each sheet, it would be three pages easy if they gave them to you all at once.

Today I got the post-transfer sheet complete with the date of beta day*. 

scene'sAnd I got embryos.  Oh, did I get embryos. Four to be exact.

Yes, you read that right. We went from three to four – although, if you want to be nit-picky, we went from two to four, two being how many we transferred last time. 

After my acupuncture session, I headed over with the full, but not really uncomfortably so, bladder to the prep area where Mr. X was waiting.  The embryologist came out and spoke with us about how many contenders were left standing.  Of the 7 from Sunday, three had arrested (as had the four cell, but we weren’t really expecting a robust future there).  We had three beauties left and a nice looking fourth that while not at the level of its three counterparts, was still better put back than left to the freezer, which it probably wouldn’t have made it into.

Dr. Salsa and the embryologist both agreed that given our history, it was not that aggressive to transfer all four and see what sticks.  It also means that we had none left to freeze, but for some reason, that doesn’t bother me.  I think alot of that is because I specifically asked the embryologist if I should be concerned about the quality of the embryos that we were going to transfer since there were no others that made it and he said no. 

So, four it was. No bladder drama either this time, which was a real nice change from last time.  And, I wore the wonderful earrings that my friend made for me. On the left side, it said “Bonne” and on the right it said “Chance”, good luck, which some how sounds so much more encouraging in French.

Bonne chance, little four. 

image: scene’s

*I must disappoint those of you who want to know the date.  I share all kinds of things here, but that is just one thing I cannot bring myself to divulge.

Second Verse, Same as the First

“I’m scratching my head at this one.”

This is what Dr. Salsa said when he called this afternoon to confirm the BFN.  We make beautiful embryos, including one that made it to freeze – which for this clinic is apparently a big deal.  I’m still (relatively) young.  I responded well to the stims. Mr. X’s swimmers, while not particularly abundant, are good.  So, he’s scratching his head at why it didn’t work and why I am – yet again – on the bad side of the statistics.  I didn’t find his head-scratching particularly comforting either.  It makes me feel all the more broken, especially when he mentioned that of those of us who had negative cycles, most were not a surprise (women in their 40s, etc).  Me? I’m apparently a genuine medical mystery.  Even with a 60% chance of getting knocked up, I still can’t seal the deal. 

Personally, I would say that it was my old friend Luck. Or lack thereof.  Shit happens.  This was particularly expensive shit, but I know that I did everything I was supposed to do to make this work. So, while I am very, very disappointed and not a little sad, I have no guilt.  For whatever reason those two little buggers decided not to stick around in the posh accommodations that I so thoughtfully (and at great expense) provided.  Ungrateful brats. 

i-can-haz-boozeOn a slightly lighter note, thanks to everyone for your suggestions on what to do this weekend. I was particularly impressed that no one caved and used the dreaded ‘s’ word.  I even warned Dr. Salsa not to use it and he obliged. It was the nicest ‘negative’ call I ever received.  Once I’m ready, I am to follow up with him and the embryologist for the Failure Meeting.  I think I need to do some boozing before then, though. Thank God I got Mr. X that margarita machine for Christmas! 

I’m sure I will be pondering quite a lot over the next few days, but there is one question that is playing like a broken record right now:

Will it ever be our turn?

Sneak Preview?

Despite having been pregnant twice, I can honestly say that I have never had a positive home pregnancy test.  In fact, I think I’ve peed on a stick all of maybe six times in my life and each time the absence of the second line mocked me. 

tony-newellMy streak continues. 

As of 9dp5dt, Brand X HPT refused to show that second line. 

I’m doing surprisingly ok with this information as it confirms the lack of symptoms that I’ve had (boobs have been annoyingly calm and uninflated or sore) and likely spares me the chance of a D&C in April.  It also resolves the angst which has been building since Monday.  And, I have to admit that I’m a little bit relieved (although not like last time), which means that I was probably almost ready to really be pregnant again, but not quite. 

I’m sure the anger and frustration will come eventually, but it hasn’t hit yet.  Forewarned is forearmed.

Beta is on Friday (the 13th!), still leaving me the opportunity to suck down some booze this weekend whilst eating herbed brie and chugging a Diet Coke with lime.  

I will ask one favor, though – please do not drop the S word (‘sorry’ or any version of ‘sympathy’). Instead, feel free to use other ‘s’  words (shit, suck, shitty shitty bang bang) and tell me what your favorite thing to do is after a failed IVF cycle.  I’ve got a whole weekend coming up that will likely be filled with that three letter BFN combination, so I need some ideas!

image: tony newell

Everything Zen

I could tell you that I have been and am on pins and needles waiting for The Answer. I could tell you that I have been debating with myself about whether or not to pee on the dreaded stick. I could tell you that I’ve been lurking on sites about symptoms at 6dp5dt. 

Unfortunately, I would be lying.  And I suck at lying.  I could never play poker successfully because I suck so much at lying.

zeneraNo, I’ve been surprisingly zen.  I know that I have done everything I can and it is really no longer up to me – well, other than the big no-no’s like shooting up heroin, and rollercoasters.  Luckily, I’ve never acquired a taste for either of these.  Mr. X and I have also discussed how we want to proceed in the event it doesn’t work this time and once again, I am greatly relieved to realize that we are on the exact same page.  We’ve also been discussing other options for our lives regardless of whether we end up parenting.  Building or renovating our dream house has been batted around quite a lot.  In other words, we’ve got plans that extend beyond and do not depend upon what may come to pass.  And that is a great comfort.

I think I’m also still so grateful to be released from the mindsuck of bedrest.  I knew daytime television was a wasteland, but geez.  Even HBO didn’t do much to help stem the tide of mediocrity.  So, to be able to go back to work and get up when I wanted to (!), stay standing for more than 5 minutes (!) and ponder questions headier than how long has it been since I got up last? has been a wonderful gift.  G and I have also been training for pet therapy which is as much about him training as it me, so that has been a great distraction as well. 

And so, what have I been doing with myself if I haven’t been obsessing over the fact that I am in the two week wait?  Lots of stuff.  I’ve been working, cooking (I baked a cherry pie!), reading, visiting with friends, watching BSG with Mr. X (Xena, how could you?!) and enjoying  our first full week of gorgeous warm weather. I also have been guilty of major animal snorgling. It is an excellent way to spend any time, let alone the dreaded 2WW. 

Other than the morning butt shot, no caffeine and no booze, you wouldn’t think that I am where I am. And that’s just the way I like it.  

image: zenera

A Thousand Points of Light

One of the more important differences between Dr. Salsa’s methods and those of Dr. Uterus is that Dr. Salsa places a great deal of emphasis on the holistic and mind/body connection aspects of infertility treatment. He was the one who really recommended that I try acupuncture.  He asks how you are doing emotionally as well as physically.  He gets it and that’s been a welcome change.

flickrolfThere was a time, not that long ago, though, that I didn’t put a whole lot of stock in alternative medicines and theories.  It was a big step for me to start acupuncture.  Still, even after this long road, there are still some aspects of alternative and holistic medicine that I have trouble accepting.  I had one of those moments as I was being impregnated with my two embyros on Monday and Dr. Salsa instructed me to begin talking to them as they were heading down the catheter.  I cheerily agreed because the man had delicate implements in delicate places, but my inner cynic said no way.

It’s not that I didn’t want to do the absolute most to ensure that this works.  It’s that I didn’t want to start thinking about those two little blastocysts as people. Not yet. Because, if neither of them decides to stick (ha) around, then I will mourn them that much harder.  This is precisely why I didn’t want blastshots of the embryos from my previous cycles.  I knew that I would begin to project all manner of human characteristics on them so that should things go awry – and let’s face it, with me that always seems to be the case – it wouldn’t be as hard.

Luckily, I had an alternative that while recognizing the life potentially taking hold of me, didn’t elevate it to the status of personhood that would have required me to have a non-stop conversation with my uterus. 

jesse-gardnerDuring my pre-transfer acupuncture session, the acupuncturist gave me a pep talk of sorts to get through the two week wait.  She warned against the effects of worrying and offered alternatives to allowing myself to get mired in it.  One alternative involved a visualization technique but with a twist.  Should I feel that worry coming on, welling up inside, I should imagine those two little blasts as points of light that grow stronger and stronger with every deep breath and feeling of relaxation.  Kind of like little headlights in my uterus that instead of dimming, get stronger each time the engine turns over. 

So far, I haven’t had much worrying, other than if it is possible for my ass to begin to blend into the couch. But, I have been visualizing those two little points of light and mentally sending them invitations to stick around for a while.  For now, though, I’ll leave that talking thing to the professionals.

images: flickrolf (top right); Jesse Gardner (bottom left)

So, Um, Yeah

I’m trying to avoid thinking about the Giant Elephant in my corner of the Internets.  You know, that thing that starts with a number and whose ending rhymes with ‘hate’ (how appropos).  You would think that since this is my 8th one (not counting the other pointless ones where I didn’t know if I ovulated and later learned that it didn’t matter because with my tubes blocked, no egg of mine was going to meet any sperm unless it was in a petri dish) I would have gotten used to it.  This isn’t really something you get used to as much as something you tolerate.

image: wendypants

I won’t lie and say that I’m blissfully ignorant of the tweakings and twitchings of my nether regions.  But rather than just register them and forget them in the space of one second (oh, was that my ovary?) like I do during non-major months, each is now followed by a furious round of The Is-It-or-Isn’t-It-Something-That-Is-Of-Any-Consequence-Whatsoever-Game.  And of course, I can’t stop because this is The Big One: the first time since my last miscarriage that we have a real shot at producing a squalling infant who will hopefully not inherit my nose.  Sometimes, I even allow it to escalate into thoughts of This Just Might Work.

And, then, I try to talk myself down from the ledge.  Hilarity ensues. 

I also can’t be blissfully ignorant that I am in That Period Which Must Not Be Named because I have to pretend as if I am pregnant.  So, it would seem that my attempt to stick my fingers in my ears and chant “la la la la” all day is not going to work.  After two false starts out of the gate where what I ate in the end had nothing to do with how things turned out – I could have drank like a fish both times and still had the same result – it now seems almost like this grotesque charade – no wine, no cheese, no caffeine, no baths, no eating dirt (didn’t do that one anyway), no exercise.

But, do it, I will, if there is even a small chance that I will have a live infant(s) in my arms nine months from now.  I still want it.