Aspirations, Part II

Oh, my peeps. You make me smile with your good wishes and thoughts.  And, for this grouchy infertile, that is saying alot.

But, enough about you.  Inquiring minds want to know.  What was the haul?

Leo Reynolds

Yep, 14 eggs.  A new Mrs. X record. 

Hopefully, there will be lots of mature little buggers in that lot that are begging to be fertilized with the best and the brightest troops that Mr. X could muster.  The embyrologist will call tomorrow with the fert report. 

In the mean time, I will be happy that so far, we’re doing pretty darn good.

image: Leo Reynolds

Hope and Hubris

I had my first monitoring appointment with Dr. Salsa yesterday and he was pleased.  My right ovary is putting on quite a show. 

look_westThe left, not so much. He wasn’t too concerned, though. He told me in his delicious accent, “Your ovaries are telling me that they are young, my friend!”  They were telling me that he was jabbing just a little too hard, but hey.  Later, I asked not to be told what my E2 level was.  It is just fodder for unnecessary angst.  All I wanted to know was whether it was good and if I should continue on my current dose of Follistim.  The answer to both questions was yes, with a follow up in two days.  

So, why can’t I shake this feeling of fatalism? That no matter what we do, it won’t ever work?  I can’t stop thinking that because it is me, me of the long sordid saga of infertility treatments that nothing in the fertility realm could possibly ever work out for me, including growing good eggs.

I think it all goes back to one little word: hubris

I’ve come to realize that even now, I feel as if my first miscarriage was a punishment of sorts for my hubris in thinking that because I was pregnant, I would have a baby.  I felt entitled to have that baby.  I had given enough, wanted it badly enough, and damnit, I had finally gotten the elusive BFP so I was going to take that thing out on the road.  I started to look at baby names and thinknig about how I would take a few months off of work after the birth. I made plans. And then, wham. And with my second one, I got excited, used lots of exclamation points, and then again, wham. The result is that I am conditioning myself to not get excited about anything fertility-related because that will result in whatever gains being taken away. The minute I publish that exclamation point, it’s all over.

To me, hope has become hubris. Having any amount of hope feels like a set up for the inevitable smack down. The two have become so intertwined that I don’t know if I can separate them.

image: look_west

Putting a Number on Hope

velo_cityBoiled down to its essence, inferitility treatment is a numbers game.  Everything about the process is quantified – number of follicles, number of sperm, percentage of motility, dosage of medication, size of cysts, size of follicles, number of eggs retrieved, number fertilized, number transferred, HCG number, number of heartbeats, heartbeat rate, measurements of the fetus, days of pregnancy,  number of miscarriages, the list just goes on and on.   And, statistics loom large with every decision, from how many IUIs to try to how aggressive to be in the number of blasts that are transferred during IVF.  Numbers are everywhere in infertility, often making a clinical process seem even more cold.  

You would think that there were some areas that were immune from being quantified, such as feelings.  Ah, if only.  When I was filling out the questionnaire for the acupuncturist last week, that last wall fell with this question:

On a scale of 1 to 10, with one being the lowest and ten being the highest, how would you describe your current level of hopefulness towards attaining your fertility goals?

Rather than treat this as one of those quizzes in Cosmo where you put down the answer that you know gets you the most points and proves that you really are boyfriend material, I knew that I needed to answer the question truthfully.  Much like you are instructed to blurt out the first thing that comes to mind in a Rorschach test, I circled the first number that came to mind:


I used to have hope of probably around 7.  If I could pinpoint that moment when my hope dipped below the magic halfway point of 5, though, it would be when I learned that my second miscarriage was also a monosomy, after we had been assured that it probably wouldn’t happen again.  I lost a lot of hope in that fiasco and most of it has not returned.  I don’t know if it ever will.  Like money, you learn not to put too much hope on the line lest you lose it all.

I have no idea what the acupuncturist will do with this information.  Like the rest of the questionnaire, it may go unread.  But, I thought it was interesting that of all of the things that we have left in this journey of infertility that have not been reduced to numbers, couldn’t they have left hope alone?

image: velo_city

A Lot of What IFs

Forgive me for being dense lo these many years, but it was just this morning – yes, this morning – that I realized that the abbreviation for infertility IF is also the word ‘if’.  Not much gets past me! 

I’ve had a bad case of the IFs this week.  What IF this works? What IF it doesn’t? What IF I have a third straight miscarriage? All of these questions have arisen out of my mental thrashing this past week about whether I am *ready* in that euphamistic way to really have a legitimate shot at getting knocked up again.  I mentioned it to Dr. Uterus when I saw him on Monday, and he immediately offered that we could postpone things.  But, my answer was ‘no’ and that I was more excited about the prospect of getting pregnant than I was fearful at the prospect.  I’m not excited about the 2ww, the beta agony or the any of that – but the idea that I have a real shot at the big P again? Yea, that’s still exciting. 

In retrospect, this is still an extraordinary thing – it’s like saying that the last two times I put the gun to my temple, pulled the trigger, and I was shot, but I’m still hopeful that this last chamber will be empty. 

Hope is a drug, I firmly believe.  And, I’m still addicted. 

But, it is what allows me to continue this journey, continue to traverse this rocky road with the dream of making it out on the other side, with my sanity intact carrying my child. 

I still hope more than I fear.  And, that is the only way to go forward. 

image: Poagao