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?

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

Don’t Make Me Use My Angry Infertile Voice

haxed

I’d like to think that even in the midst of this struggle, I maintain a certain level of self-control and politesse when coordinating with Dr. Salsa’s office.  They are just trying to help us realize that elusive goal and I try to let them know that I appreciate that by being polite and courteous.  There is hardly ever a need to raise one’s voice or be just plain rude. image: haxed

But, this credo was sorely put to the test this week.  On Thursday, to be exact.

When I was at the office for my whirlwind of a visit last Friday, Nurse Chipper (as in she’s always chipper and happy and actually chirps) promised that she would have my IVF schedule ready by the following Wednesday.  I called her on Thursday because I hadn’t heard anything. 

I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt, that she had forgotten to send it to me the day before, that she was just finishing it up and would have it over to me in no time.  What I didn’t want to hear is what she told me:

Nurse Chipper: “So, I was looking at the calendar [WHICH WE BOTH WENT OVER AD NAUSEUM ON FRIDAY] and it looks like the lab will actually have to close the week that we had looked at for your retrieval, so we are going to have reschedule your cycle.”

Me: Silence. Inside, I’m beginning to feel that heady mixture of anger and disappointment.

Nurse Chipper: “See, the lab has to close for one week every three to four months for an inspection and this just happens to be that week.”

Me: “And they can’t move it?”

Nurse Chipper: “No, it depends upon the inspector. And, I knew that they were going to close it, but I just didn’t know when. But, now I do know.”

[What I wanted to say: THEN WHY THE F*CK DID YOU POINT OUT THAT WEEK AS BEING A GENUINE POSSIBILITY AND NOT EVEN MENTION THAT THIS WAS A POTENTIAL ISSUE!?!?!]

What I did say: Really big sigh.  “I have the worst luck in the world.”

And, then it just got worse.

Nurse Chipper: “We can move it up so that we have a retrieval the last week of February.” [WHICH IS THE EXACT WEEK I TOLD YOU MR. X IS OUT OF TOWN, IN ANOTHER TIME ZONE FOR THE WHOLE WEEK.] Or, you have to wait until the end of March to begin stims and have a retrieval in April.”

[What I wanted to say: I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS BULLSHIT!!! HE IS GOING TO BE SO PISSED BECAUSE HE SCHEDULED THAT TRAVEL ON THE ASSUMPTION THAT WE WOULD DO EVERYTHING THAT REQUIRED HIS PRESENCE IN MARCH!!! AND NOW THAT I’VE DECIDED THAT I’M READY, AND OH YEA, I STARTED THOSE G*DDAMN BIRTH CONTROL PILLS ALREADY, I DO NOT WANT TO WAIT UNTIL THE END OF MARCH!]

Me: “Like we discussed last week, Mr. X will be out of town that whole week.  But, let me talk to him and see if he can move his travel schedule. I also really don’t want to wait until the end of March to get going.”

“Nurse Chipper: “Ok! Talk to him and then give me a call back so that I know where to put you on the calendar.”  No sorry, no I should have told you that this was a distinct possibility when we went over the calendar on Friday, no oops. 

And, when I tried to call her back that afternoon with questions that Mr. X and I had about scheduling, I’m informed she’s gone for the day. At 1:30pm.  I appreciate that you work on Saturdays, lady, and I don’t begrudge you the right to have your time off. BUT FREAKING TELL ME SO THAT I DON’T GET EVEN MORE FRUSTRATED AT EVEN MORE INFORMATION THAT YOU AREN’T GIVING ME THAT IS KIND OF IMPORTANT.

How did it end?

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The Fortunate Ones

Whenever I feel myself falling into the depths of self-pity at what has befallen Mr. X and I in our quest to do that which comes so naturally to others, I inevitably try to remember that things could be a lot worse.  I freeparking10remember stories of friends’ loved ones who are battling cancer or are in need of organ transplants.  Or, I remember that we are supremely fortunate that we have some insurance coverage, when so many others do not.  I think about how lucky I am to even have a choice about whether to have a child.  There are still many, many women in the world who have no say.  I remember that while infertility sucks more than 50,000 vacuum cleaners, we are still so fortunate.

But, inevitably, I think of other women who appear to have it all and still managed to have a child with little to no fanfare.  Women who did not greet the news of a subsequent pregnancy with dread remembering the outcome of the first.  Women who have no concept of poking needles in unpleasant places or gingerly sitting down because their ovaries are so swollen that plopping oneself in the comfortable chair can mean spasms of pain.  Women who buy maternity clothes right when they find out they’re pregnant, without a single thought that things might not progress that far to justify them, and then have a trouble-free pregnancy. 

While letting the jealousy seep through and feeling the bubble of why starting to come up, I try to put myself in the position of others who have dealt with things that I have never dealt with. People with inoperable cancer, amputees, people with incurable diseases.  To them, I probably appear normal and, probably worse, I appear as if I take that normality for granted.  I flaunt my health, my complete set of limbs, youthful vitality and good color.  I probably inspire the same feelings in them that my more fortunate friends have inspired in me, namely the feeling that this person doesn’t deserve the gifts that they have been given because they do not appreciate how fleeting and miraculous they truly are.

And, I inevitably lay blame for the blithe attitude squarely at the feet of society that preaches what is ‘normal’ and ‘expected’ and to what we are ‘entitled to’.  Normal is to have a baby when you are ready, not a minute before, to have a relatively uninteresting pregnancy that allows you to design the nursery and make your birth plan, a relatively pain free delivery, nd then to have a blissful time bonding with your new baby while they instinctively figure out how to breast feed.  I have to admit, that this was my idea of normal and that I was entitled to have that experience. 

freeparking-6It was a very rude awakening and an even more excruciating process to retrain my brain to recognize that these are not in fact normal, but abnormal.  People who manage to have these outcomes are fucking lucky with a capital “L”.  You might say that this is my inner bitter infertile talking.  This is my way of rationalizing that which cannot be rationalized.  I don’t agree. 

When we met with Dr. Salsa for that first appointment, he showed us a graphic illustrating the outcomes of all pregnancies. It was a pyramid, not unlike the food pyramid, which just served to crack me up even more.  Do you know how mnay pregnancies out of all of those that are conceived actually result in a live infant? According to the food pregnancy pyramid, 15%.  Yep.  Mr. X and I were actually in the 30% of pregnancies that make it to being detected (yay us).  

Recognizing just how incredibly hard it is to make a baby even without assistance has humbled me and kept me grounded, while also sparking even more jealousy for those who appear to have no difficulty doing it multiple times.  Perhaps it’s enough that I know how lucky they are, even if they don’t.