Monday, February 28, 2011

An Object in Motion

I was going to pop in on Friday with a quick update, and then Saturday happened, and then Sunday happened, and then today happened, each with their own update-worthy events. The moral of the story is: Blog. Do not pass go, do not collect $200, because life moves fast.

Here are the first two posts in the queue:

Friday’s post: I feel like myself for the first time in weeks!

I didn’t notice it until the day was mostly over, but during the late afternoon on Friday, I realized that I felt better than I had in weeks. I spent the whole month of February feeling like a hollow shell of myself. I went through the motions of going to work and coming home but I was doing the bare minimum in both places and I couldn’t figure out how to pull myself out of it. I was making up errands to run at lunch to avoid talking to co-workers, dropping really important balls at work, falling back on uninspired, lazy dinners for Elliot and barely eating myself, and sleeping like crap. On Friday, I paused what I was doing for a minute and noticed I’d felt like Me all day. I’d accomplished things, I’d talked to people, I’d had moments of feeling like I was competent enough to hold my job… It was really nice. The contrast made me all the more aware of how dark and cold the previous weeks had been.

Saturday’s post: New camera!

M and I have tossed around the idea of upgrading to a DSLR for a while now, but the expense has always cut the conversation short. The idea is always there on the back burner but the time is never right to make the investment. We experienced a bit of a financial windfall last week. Well, it wasn't a windfall exactly... or at all. It was really more of a gentle breeze that swept away a few leaves so we could see the pathway underneath. Specifically, we did our taxes and found out that M is getting a hefty refund (All hail the Adoption Tax Credit!) and we applied for and received a credit card with a 0% intro APR and a exorbitant limit. [Side note: It's no wonder so many people are buried in debt in this country. There is NO explanation for why we should have been given this much credit except that the company is hoping we'll hang ourselves with it.] The purpose of applying for the credit card was to finance a major trip we're taking with M's family this summer and also for TTC expenses our HELOC can't soak up, so that funding stream is already spoken for. And of course, the tax return is promised to sperm, ultrasounds and Fol.listim (oh my!) before it is even received.

About that trip... It will be a great time, no doubt, but it's not "our" trip. M's brother has set the itinerary and we really can't afford to extend our time there to do our own thing on one end or the other. So, as glass-half-empty as this makes me sound, it's made saving for the trip feel like more of a burden than it would if we were splurging on a vacation of our own choosing, and the fact that it is falling during such an expensive year for us (again, not our choice) makes it even harder. The anticipated hemorrhaging of money has resulted in some major belt-tightening around here over the past several months. We aren't eating out except in a pinch, and then we're only using group.ons and gift cards. Since the holidays, we have refrained from shopping for anything but bare essentials. We've cancelled our cable and our gym membership. Our landline, net.flix and other monthly expenses we can live without are next on the chopping block. All this is just to say we've been making sacrifices and they are likely to linger long after the trip and the IVF cycle as we continue to pay them off. 

Between the tax return, the 15 months of free financing at our disposal, and all of the cost-cutting we've done and will continue to do, I decided we each deserved one "treat" purchase on the new credit line. (I say "I decided" because as sensible and pragmatic as M is, she is ALWAYS down to splurge on toys and I am generally opposed to all such purchases - one of the many ways in which we balance each other out.) Once we'd decided to take the plunge at some point during the credit card promo period, it only made sense to buy the camera (and M's new 4) as soon as possible. The sooner the purchases, the more time to enjoy them, to get value out of them... and to start paying the darn things off! The cards arrived Friday, we went shopping on Saturday, and the plastic has since been locked up in the safe where it can stay out of trouble until its designated purpose beckons!

It amuses me up a bit that I've had as much guilt over the purchase as I have. I mean, once you've stared down a $12,000+ IVF cycle, $700 for a camera really should seem like chump change. Still, the little voice inside my head is nagging me... "Gah! That could have been three days of Fol.listim! You are so irresponsible!" I just keep reminding myself that we work hard at our jobs and we NEVER spend money on things like this, and as splurges go, this one is a really good investment. I'm excited to see the value it will add to our family memories for years to come. And also, it made this months' photo project so much more fun!

OK, I'm packing it in for tonight. Coming soon to this space: Sunday's post: Meet The Beatle! (a.k.a. we picked a donor) and Monday's post: The appraisal for our refinance came in way higher than we expected! Should we move? Help!!

Oh and also, my blog has a new look. It's nothing fancy - no need to click over from your reader. I actually won a custom blog design back when I was hooked on giveaways so this was mainly housekeeping to prepare for that transition. I'm hoping to get the code for that soon. In the meantime, I'm just excited to have a blogroll that bears some resemblance to the blogs I actually read these days, rather than the terribly outdated one it replaced. It's the little things in life sometimes, isn't it? :-)

February: Gray

Too many pictures this month so I did two. :-)

Check out some of the other contributors here.

Friday, February 18, 2011

WTF indeed

First of all, thank you SO much for your kind comments on my last post. It's delicate subject matter and yet everyone was able to hold my hand across any differences of opinion or experience and I really appreciate that. Just one more example of how our community kicks @ss.

So... WTF appointment yesterday. No real surprises there, except that I couldn't stop crying during the meeting. I kind of thought my shit was more together than that. Pretty much everything is on the table. Her recommendation is to go straight to IVF with anonymous donor (AD) sperm but she will support us in any of three main options with a handful of variables:
  • Up to 4 IUIs using AD, with or without clomid and/or monitoring (estimated cost $850 each without monitoring or $1200 with, pregnancy rate 15%). She recommended an HSG first which I vetoed. Not going down that road ever again.
  • IVF with AD, with or without ICSI (estimated cost $12,500 without ICSI or $14,000 with, pregnancy rate 56%). This is where she would recommend we start. She initially said we don't need ICSI since we did it on half our embryos with KD and it made no difference, but when I reminded her we'd likely be using a different donor this time around, she conceded that we might want to consider it as an insurance policy because "weird things happen."
  • IVF with KD, MESA and ICSI (estimated cost $19,000, pregnancy rate 56%). While she agreed to help us if we go this route, it was clear she didn't think it was a good option due to cost, level of invasiveness, and logistics of KD being out of town. She estimated the cost of MESA to be around $5,000 but admitted that was only an educated guess as she is fairly removed from the financial aspects.
I have no idea what to do. My resolve to switch to AD took a serious blow while we were sitting across the table from the RE, preparing to make it all official. Any clarity I thought I had a couple of days ago seems to have evaporated into thin air. I just can't seem to reconcile my grief over the potential change to AD. Is my unease worth paying an extra $5,000 for? It shouldn't be - that I know - but what if I just can't get over this hurdle? Does the idea of spending nearly $20,000 on a high-pressure IVF cycle sound better? Not really. I just want to wake up and find out this is all a bad dream, but I know that isn't going to happen.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

paradigm shift

Disclaimer: I am petrified to hit publish on this post. I can't imagine a greater emotional landmine than how and why and with whom we build our families. I'm baring it all here, even the unflattering bits, as part of my own process of sorting through it all. If you feel the need to check me on something, please remember that I'm in a fairly raw space right now and be gentle if you can. And also, please believe me when I say that I genuinely value and respect all of you and just because I may feel on a gut level that one path is a better or worse fit for me and my own family, it doesn't mean I think I'm "right" or that anyone else should feel the same way. I LOVE the way the glbt and infertility communities I am a part of have quilted families together in the most diverse and wondrous and creative and resilient and loving of ways. Please don't revoke my membership card when you see where I am struggling. OK, enough fine print. On to the post...


If you'd told me a week ago I'd be writing this post today, you'd have been able to knock me over with a feather.

I think we might skip the appeal to KD and proceed with anonymous donor sperm. I'll pause while you pick yourself up off the floor. Oh wait, that was me that just fell out of my chair, not you.

Our WTF appointment with the RE isn't until tomorrow and we're not sure what she will present to us in the way of options, but here are the four courses of action as I see them now:

1. We cut our losses and embrace the idea of raising Elliot as a single child. We accept that while we will always be smaller in number than we hoped, we will have more available money, time, and other resources with which to enrich our lives in other ways.

2. We pursue fostering and/or adoption. While I think being a foster parent is possibly the highest calling that there is, I can say without a doubt that I'm not cut out for it. My parents fostered for a while after I left for college so I know whereof I speak. 99% of what I know of adoption I have learned from my blog friends and what I have taken from them is that the process is hard and expensive and risky and hard and long and hard. I exist in constant awe of adoptive parents and those waiting to be matched. I just don't know if I have the strength (or the finances) to do it myself.

3. We approach KD with our hearts on our sleeve, pleading with him to undergo MESA in service to our family. We commit to out-of-pocket IVF ($10000) plus meds ($3000) plus MESA ($3000) plus ICSI ($1250) and hold our breath through the highest stakes IVF cycle one can imagine. Hopefully we'd get snowbabies, but there are obviously no guarantees. Speaking of no guarantees, it's possible they wouldn't even get enough viable sperm from him to complete the cycle and since they prefer to do MESA at the same time as the egg retrieval, we could get all the way through stims and retrieval and then have no transfer to attend.  There is always a chance an IVF cycle will fall apart at any stage, and this just adds one more major hurdle for the cycle to trip over. Yes, this risk can be mitigated by doing the MESA in advance and freezing, but then we are further compromising the quality of already iffy sperm. We have a lot of questions for the RE about all of this and it's very possible Dr. Google has steered us wrong in one or many ways. Lord knows we are not experts (or even amateurs) in the male factor arena.

4. We buy some sperm off the internet and continue TTC with that. My official infertility diagnosis is Unexplained, but everyone's "hunch" is that I had endometriosis. Since E was born, my periods have been dramatically lighter and less painful, which adds credence to this theory since pregnancy can reverse symptoms for a while. With that in mind, we could ask the RE (I can't believe I'm about to type this) if it would be a worthwhile exercise to go back to IUIs. Don't get me wrong - I would NEVER retrace the steps we went through to get to Elliot. I'm talking about 2-3 cycles, tops, just to rule out the possibility that it could be that simple. It would certainly be nice to pay $1000 for a BFP via IUI versus $15000 for the same outcome via IVF. This wouldn't be an option with KD because MESA requires the use of IVF with ICSI (again, per our internet research, which we would love for the RE to contradict us on).

Let me pause here for a moment to sound like a spoiled child and state that I want NO PART in ANY of these options. None of them. I am filled with a mountain of grief and a streak of rage that this is the crossroads we are at. I have spent the past couple of weeks mourning the fact that I have to walk down any of these paths, but walk down one (or more) I must because as you probably noted, doing nothing isn't actually doing nothing. There are many times in life that you can legitimately avoid a situation by remaining still. This is not one of those times. We have to do Something or Nothing and every single pathway has lifelong outcomes attached to it. And from where I sit today, I hate them all - giving up on a second child altogether, subjecting ourselves to the gauntlet of fostering or adoption, imposing upon KD and taking on $17000 in IVF debt when we still haven't finished paying off Elliot, and walking away from our chance of a bio-sibling for E. I'll pass, thanks. Here is what I want: I want to go back in time to before KD's vasectomy to bank a dozen vials of sperm so that we could proceed with the conception of a bio-sib for E in our own way, at our own pace, and with plenty of reserves to take the pressure off. But the door has closed to that possibility and I am left with four alternatives that pale in comparison to the option that was lost. My job now is to pick the one that makes me feel the least eviscerated, even if only by the narrowest of margins. I know I won't always feel this way and I'm slowly easing myself over the hump. Really, I am. I'm just not quite done being sad and angry about it yet.

Here comes the shift; the lemonade, if you will...

M and I had a good talk on Friday night in which I rattled off every stream-of-consciousness thought that had run through my head since we'd last discussed the situation several days earlier. It was a bunch of "And then I think.... but then I feel like... which leads me to.... but on the other hand..." The initial crack in my reasoning came when I said "I just don't want a future child of ours to approach KD in 20 years and ask why he was the donor for Elliot but not for him or her, and I can't imagine that KD wants that either," followed almost immediately by "well actually, that doesn't really hold water considering any future kid who would be in a position to ask him that wouldn't ever have existed if KD had continued to be our donor." Hmmm...

In the end of that conversation, the plan was that M and I would collaboratively draft an email to KD laying it all on the line - our myriad reasons for asking him for something that was very possibly unreasonable to ask for as well as the financial and logistical hurdles we were prepared to take on to make it happen - and if he said yes, we'd find the money (read: credit) somewhere because we agreed it was worth it to us. One of the (many, many) things I said that night was that the decision came down to what we wanted the story of our family to be. It was a quick comment and, if I'm honest, was used more in relation to what I did NOT want the story of our family to be, but it planted a seed that grew roots overnight and on Saturday afternoon, I told M I'd changed my leaning.

A big part of me honestly believes that everything happens for a reason. The rest of me believes that our psyches generate meaning for whatever happens to us. Either way, the end result is that everything ends up feeling As It Should Be, and I know that will be the case with whichever path we choose. This is cemented all the more by the fact that there will - hopefully - be a living, breathing child at the end of our road (yep, option 1 is sooo off the table, but I'm guessing you knew that already) and that child will provide the ultimate meaning and purpose for whatever path we choose. That particular end will justify any means. So knowing that, and having faith that whatever option we choose will feel right in the end, the questions become: What do we want our story to be? What do we think our story is meant to be? What decisions can we make now to ensure that our story is one of empowerment and choice and not just extra struggle?

Is it meant to be that we just have to cry more, work harder, and go deeper into debt to have the full bio-sib we we're meant to? Are we simply supposed to have to overcome more hardships to strengthen ourselves and/or our relationship, or to affirm that building our family the way we always envisioned it is worth any cost, no matter how outrageous? Can that really be the answer? Maybe, but it just doesn't seem right somehow. Alternatively, is there a completely different child out there waiting for us and KD's vasectomy is simply the signpost for the detour we need to take to find him or her? If that is the case, we can beat our heads against the signpost and maybe even get around it, but at what cost? If we can find faith enough to follow it, what great rewards await us then? Perhaps our story is that we had to let go of what we hoped our family would be to make room for something even better. Perhaps my story is of challenging my own misguided notions of Normal and Perfect to find the family that is actually perfect for me. Another thing my mom has always said about me is that since my personality first emerged, if I decided 5+5=10, then 5+5=10; not 4+6, not 7+3... 5+5, and only 5+5. It's not a good quality to have, and maybe the universe is pushing me to evolve past it.

One of the things I have struggled with a lot since learning of KD's vasectomy is the certain knowledge that I would not have agreed to use him as our KD had I known this would happen. We were clear with KD from the first conversations we had about him being our donor - we wanted at least two children and, barring some unforeseen tragedy that would leave he or I unable to reproduce, we wanted them to be full bio-siblings, so if there was any sliver of doubt in his mind that he wasn't in this for the long haul, we wanted to know up-front. The awareness that his vasectomy would have been a deal-breaker for me is a bone-chilling thought when I consider what would have been lost. We would never have had Elliot, and what an unthinkable tragedy that would have been. We'd have a different child that I'm sure we'd love just as much, but it would not be him and so yet again, I am reassured that everything happens for a reason. We needed to not know KD's vasectomy was in our future in order to have Elliot, and now, perhaps we need KD's vasectomy (and my chemical pregnancy) to have occurred to steer us in the direction of our next child.

I realize that my obsession with bio-sibs is uncomfortable for some of you to read and I want to clarify a few things about that:

(1) I don't think full bio-sibs have any inherent importance, but in our specific scenario, I do believe they could serve a unique purpose. We're in uncharted territory with the "special-uncle-slash-KD" situation we've embarked upon. I don't have any murky feelings about it myself and we have always planned to be open with Elliot about how and why we did what we did. I trust that in the long game, he will be able to see the beauty and love in his conception story and I hope he will always feel positively about it, but realistically, I'm sure there will be one or more times in his development where the weirdness factor will win out. In those times, I wanted to be able to give him the gift of at least one other person on Earth who is in his exact shoes, and he in turn would provide that for them. I wanted our children to know no matter how much confusion or anger they felt toward us or how isolated their unique origins might make them feel at times, there would be someone else in their family to lend just a little normalcy to their experience, and to make them feel less alone.

(2) I am not against anonymous donor sperm. When we switched to it for a couple cycles while TTC Elliot, it was a non-event for me emotionally. In fact, the prime emotion I recall was relief to be trying something different that might finally WORK, damn it. If one of those cycles had worked, then yes, my preference would be to use the same donor for future children, but I do not believe it would feel as critical to me as it does in this case. However, given where we stand today, I have this persistent discomfort with the thought that for one of our children, we can facilitate access to any shred of family history he may wish to inquire about, but for our other child, all we'll have is a detailed medical history, an interview transcript, and a baby picture. It's not the lack of history I can't get past. Again, we rolled the dice on that a couple of years ago and it was no big deal. What I'm hung up on is the injustice of being able to give something to one child that I can't give the other. Not insurmountable by any means, just something to come to terms with.

And finally, (3) I will fully admit that I love to notice how Elliot's jawline is identical to M's fathers, how E and M have the same hair color down to the last reddish-blonde highlight, and how I sometimes catch expressions fleeting across E's features that I have seen before on M's. And you know what? I am not going to apologize for that. I'm not saying it carries even an ounce of weight in defining our family and none of those things make M "more" E's mother than she would otherwise be, but it's fun. Who among us doesn't enjoy seeing resemblances of themselves or their loved ones in their children? Can't we all agree that in an ideal world, we'd love to conceive a child that was a direct biological descendant of both ours and our partners? This isn't a possibility for so many of us for so many different reasons, but is it really wrong of me to like the fact that M and I - through nothing but pure luck - were able to get pretty darn close the first time around? Yes, seeing those traces of M and her family in Elliot are meaningless in the grand scheme of things, but it's something I treasure and will miss when we do things differently the second time around.

Did you catch that? I said when. I'm waiting to talk to the RE tomorrow before officially moving all of my eggs to the other basket, but I think I have a good idea where we are headed. There is a very real possibility we'd be forced into anonymous donor sperm anyway if KD said no or our cycle with him was a bust. Rather that run that risk, I'm inclined to proactively heed the cues the universe is sending instead of waiting to be steamrolled by them. Yes, our options have already been restricted somewhat, but there is still power to be claimed at this point. If we decide now to skip straight to anonymous donor sperm, it will be our choice, and we will always know that, instead of feeling like it was something we were forced into when we literally had no other options left on the table.

This doesn't mean I don't have moments of looking at Elliot and realizing we'll never get to meet the reshuffling of his gene pool that feel like a white-hot poker right through my gut, but I know they are simply part of the process of getting to where we need to go. The bottom line seems to be this: When we look back at the decisions we made at this all-important juncture, do we want to say that our family was built on a foundation of genes and money or flexibility and love? Put that way, I don't even feel the need to dignify the question with an answer.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

the weight is unbearable today

My FET buddy had her ultrasound today; the day I would have had mine if the pregnancy had stuck. She is pregnant with twins. She has two perfect, healthy babies growing inside of her and I have none. I truly thought I was prepared for this but I wasn't. I feel like I can't breathe. If I am this torn apart now, how will I survive when those babies are born?

I had a great post planned for yesterday - a shiny, happy, "making lemonade" post. But I never got around to writing it and I really wish I had because it would be such a welcome oasis in this wasteland of a blog. Maybe I will get to it tonight but probably not. At this point, it's probably best put off for a different day anyway.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

better today...

... for many reasons, I suspect. Here are a few:
  • I'm spotting. AF is the last thing I need to physically close the door on this experience and she appears to be scratching at the door.
  • Getting all of that stuff I have been blogging about lately (especially yesterday) OUT into the open took a big weight off my shoulders.
  • Lots of pep talks to myself about perspective and, sadly, lots of suffering in the world around me to remind me how relatively lucky I am.
  • All the supportive comments that have been left on this blog in the last week and a half. I know this blog has been a complete drag to read and it's tough to keep commenting when there's nothing good to say anyway, but your patience and virtual hand-holding (even as I've been totally MIA on your blogs) has really meant a lot to me.
  • Putting down the smart phone. I know this sounds like a weird one, but I have intentionally "unplugged" from my this week and I actually think it has made a difference. It's something I've been wanting to test out for a while and was forced into it this week by a desperate need to turn down the noise in my head. More on this soon, in a totally non-chemical-pregnancy-related post. (Yes, I do intend to talk about something else one day. I promise.)
  • M and I joined forces last night to solve an external problem totally unrelated to TTC. While we are certainly not opponents in this latest round of TTC drama, we're not exactly on the same page with it either and that has been a challenge for me to navigate. It was refreshing to unite against a shared "enemy" and remember what it feels like to be unequivocally on the same team.
  • A little bit of plain ol' time.
  • There is actual, non-metaphorical sunlight breaking through the clouds today. I am reminded that time will continue to pass, that spring will eventually come, and with it, new chapters of our story will present themselves.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


I feel myself slipping into the quicksand. I do this. My mom said that even as a tiny child, I was like a dog with a bone once I got something in my head. I'd like to put the worry to rest, I just... can't.

Newest development as of Monday night: There are no remaining vials of KD's sperm on this planet. But we knew that already, right? Yes and no. Yes, we received this news over the summer and I grieved it mightily at that time. But then a few weeks ago, I read this sentence on KD's post about his vasectomy (on his blog I'd forgotten existed): WifesName and I aren't going to be having any children, but should it be necessary, there is some genetic material stored for those who may need or want it. I'm sorry... what? That's us, right?! It was like a ray of light, albeit a filtered one. On one hand, it couldn't possibly be referring to what I hoped because surely he'd have told us about it and sent us a bill for storage but on the flip side, he has generously absorbed minor expenses before and what else could it possibly mean? The FET was just around the corner so I tried to strike a balance of holding onto this possibility (so as not to implode from the pressure of our "last chance" FET cycle) but not putting any weight into it until we knew what it actually meant. M asked him point-blank on Monday whether he banked anything prior to his procedure and the answer is no, there is nothing saved. I'm crushed. Again. Looks like I didn't do as good a job of suspending my hope as I thought I did.

My next task was to start researching MESA, TESE, and all of those other male factor treatments every lesbian couple should have a foolproof exemption from. The RE said we'd talk about these at our WTF appointment on 2/17, but that is practically a lifetime away. It's a minor procedure - no more invasive than the vasectomy he's already had - but I can't imagine he'll agree to do it for us. That statement is partially genuine (I am truly afraid this will be where he draws the line) and partially just me trying to prepare myself for the worst. History shows me this preparation is useless. I'll still be destroyed if he says no, so why am I bothering to worry about it now? And that is what I came here to write about before I was hit by a case of verbal (er, digital) diarrhea.

It's time to put down the worry. There will be plenty of time to worry and grieve if what I fear actually comes to pass. I have collected a handful of quotes over the years that challenge this charming personality trait of mine, and I'm feeling the need to have them all in one place so I can read them 10 or 20 or 1000 times a day while I wait for the next chapter to unfold. So without further ado...

We are more disturbed by a calamity which threatens us than by one which has befallen us. ~John Lancaster Spalding


Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind.  If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.  ~Arthur Somers Roche


We can easily manage if we will only take, each day, the burden appointed to it.  But the load will be too heavy for us if we carry yesterday's burden over again today, and then add the burden of the morrow before we are required to bear it.  ~John Newton


That the birds of worry and care fly over you head, this you cannot change, but that they build nests in your hair, this you can prevent.  ~Chinese Proverb


The bridges that you cross before you come to them are over rivers that aren't there. ~Gene Brown


Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.  ~Corrie Ten Boom

Monday, February 7, 2011

navigating the highs and lows

I had a pretty good weekend, considering.

Last week, I had a track playing in my head that just kept repeating "I hate my life" over and over again. I hate that M and I have to involve anyone else in our family building in the first place. I hate that even after we prostrate ourselves, it still isn't easy. I hate that we have so little say in when and how our family will grow. I hate that we have to weigh the value of another child against the significant, real, and enduring financial consequences to our family that continued OOP treatments will bring about. What a gut-wrenching equation. Most of all, I hate that we have to do all of these things when others do not. These things are not the prerequisites to child-rearing for most people. I hate that they are for us.

This weekend, I was able to coax myself into some perspective. I don't hate my life; I hate this part of my life. This part of my life is all-consuming right now, but it won't always be. There are many things about my life that are wonderful and should not be short-changed:

  • I have an uncomplicated, supportive relationship with a wonderful partner. During our ten years together, we have honed our ability to cut through the static and care for each other, even in the hardest of times.
  • We have a healthy, smart, and funny little boy that is generous with his hugs and kisses. The fact that he made it into this world seems more of a miracle to me now than ever.
  • We have good jobs and a comfortable home.
  • We have the unconditional love and support of both of our extended families.
  • We have the resources to try again. I'm not sure yet where they will come from. I do know there will be pain and sacrifice involved. But we'll make it happen somehow.
There are even silver linings to the loss of this pregnancy to be grateful for:
  • I'm fulfilling maid of honor duties for an out-of-town friend in April. It will be much easier to enjoy all of the travel and pre-wedding festivities (not to mention the bar at the reception) without any first trimester ick to contend with.
  • We just booked a trip to England in June. Part of the trip includes four days on a canal boat with KD and his wife and they... how shall I put this... let's just say there will be at least as much pub-crawling as canal-boating going on. I was fully prepared to be the sober chaperone, and also to manage the international flight with a toddler and a 20-week belly, but the trip will certainly be easier and more enjoyable without these considerations.
  • I'm not in great shape right now. I'd be better off to start a pregnancy 10-15 lbs. lighter than I am and now it looks like I will have time to make that happen.
When we were TTC Elliot, I had a mantra that helped me get through the BFNs.  I wrote about it here. The gist is that our child will be one in a billion, conceived at a precise moment in time, and to wish for that time to be earlier than it is meant to is to wish for a different child than the one we are going to have. So it is okay to wish that OUR child could be conceived earlier rather than later, but it has to stop there. Once the BFN comes, there is no point longing for the pregnancies or the babies that weren't to be, because they were never meant to be ours, and they had to be lost to keep our arms and hearts open for the child that is still waiting for us. (I should note that this is how I personally choose to think about this, because it helps me, but it doesn't mean I think anyone else should subscribe to the same philosophy.) Anyway, I tried to focus on that a lot this weekend too, and it took some of the sting away. Well, I think it did.

The problem with all of this is that today is another bad day, and I've lost sight of the sunshine I found this weekend. I thought I would be grateful for today's test as a step toward closure, but I had the same sick feeling walking into the RE's office today as I did on Thursday. This time, however, I got lost in the shuffle at the front desk and had to sit in the waiting room for 30 minutes prior to my test. While I was sitting there, I realized how different and scary that office seems now. We didn't move to the RE until IVF, so to me, that office has always been magical. After nearly two years of BFNs, we walked through their doors and left with a baby. Our experience with them has been strictly that you go to them when you need a miracle and, lo and behold, they achieve the unachievable. This failed FET has reminded me of the darker side of RE's offices; the side I was mercifully spared the first time around. Now they have dealt me heartbreak, too. My 30 minute wait also gave me the time to survey my routing slip, complete with the "reason" for today's visit: rpt qbhcg not a gd#  Translation: Repeat quantitative beta hcg, not a good number. Ouch. By the time I finally got back for my blood draw, I was hanging on by a thread. The nurse spotted this instantly and asked if I was okay. That was apparently enough to open up the flood gates. Teary meltdown in public = everyone's favorite way to start the day.

The nurse called while I was writing this post. Beta is down to "less than five." This is mostly good news, given the circumstances, but sad news as well. Nothing left to do now but stop my meds and wait to bleed.

*deep breath*

Today is a bad day. Tomorrow will be better. Tomorrow, the sun will come out again and I will remember the things I knew over the weekend: I am a lucky woman with so much to be grateful for. Someday, this will all be worth it.

Friday, February 4, 2011

"You are pregnant, but..."

That's how the conversation started when the nurse called with my beta results yesterday. She went on to say my number was 5 which is "very low" and the doctor wanted to caution me against getting my hopes up. No hope - check.

Apparently, 5 is the precise lowest number you can have and still be required to come in for a repeat beta. Lucky me! I should buy a lottery ticket. Ha. Next blood draw will be Monday.

In related news, I'm still in the grief bubble. It's wreaking havoc on our home life and I've got to shake it off. Poor M has been taking up a lot of slack this week, all the while coping with her own disappointment, and poor E is channeling all of my bad vibes and turning into a bonafide MONSTER - epic temper tantrums over nothing that last an hour or longer - and neither M or I are able to cope well given our already frayed nerves.

I had a local cycle buddy who had her FET 20 minutes before mine with the same doctor at the same clinic. She transferred three embryos and her beta was 1004 yesterday. I'm confused about what "day" our embryos were so yesterday was either 18 or 19dpo. Her 19dpo beta with her first pregnancy was 147. She's probably having twins, at least, and I'm having nothing. Genuinely over the moon for her. Genuinely devastated for me.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Digital BFN this morning. I knew it was coming and I still feel like all of the oxygen has gone out of our house.

I don't know where to put the pain. Normally, I could crawl under the covers for a couple of days until the worst of it passed, but Elliot and I are home on Snow Day #2 and he doesn't accept less than 100% of me, nor would it be fair to ask him to. There are many things that are easier about TTC #2. This is not one of them.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

January: Blue

A day late and a bunch of photo talent short, but here is my submission for An Offering of Love's photo project. The theme for January was blue, which kind of works for me right now. I'm not thrilled by how this month's collection turned out, but it was kind of a tunnel-vision month for me without a lot of photo-worthy activity. Oh well, I have eleven more months to redeem myself.

Where am I?

Oh lord, I don't know. I'm sad. Really, really sad. I sort of can't believe this is happening. I hate the way that sounds because I know so many of you have walked this path before me and it's not that I think I'm somehow different than you or immune to the blows you have fallen to but... actually, I guess I kind of did in a subconscious way. I thought my problem was Getting Pregnant, not Staying Pregnant. Once I had a couple of positive pregnancy tests under my belt, I considered the hard part to be behind me. Silly me, I should have realized that being 1 for 1 is just as likely dumb luck as anything else. I hope that this pregnancy was the exception to my body's rule and not Elliot's successful gestation, but I guess only time will tell.

I try not to engage in the Pain Olympics, but it's hard not to feel like a bit of a loser for being so leveled by this disappointment when many of you have stood gracefully on the other side of much worse. Good grief, I was pregnant for like five minutes. I've spent a lot of time today focusing on all I have to be grateful for. I am a very lucky woman. I just don't think I realized how much I wanted this pregnancy until I had it. Going into the FET, I thought we'd roll the dice and if it was negative, we'd break for a while to focus on some other stuff we have coming up and plan our next steps. When I got my BFP and started thinking about a 2011 baby (!!) and a two-and-a-half year age difference between our children, I kind of fell in love with it all. And then it was gone. And now I'm desperate - desperate - to try again, as much as the idea of another full IVF cycle makes me want to vomit.

M and I talked about money last night and came up with some options. I can't believe we're even considering another fresh cycle, but I don't know how to not consider it either. I think we may ask KD about TESE. He may say no, but I need to have asked. I am so head over heels for Elliot and as crazy as he makes me sometimes (ahem, today), I want another child with his exact hard-wiring. I know there's no way to parse out what is nature and what is nurture, and I also know enough about genetics to know that repeating the same equation does not produce the same outcome, but I want to at least roll the same dice if we can, you know? And if that isn't an option, we'll cross that bridge and it will be okay, but I'm not going there just yet.

In the meantime, I'm still having all kinds of symptoms and they're really pissing me off. I have always been really sensitive to biochemical changes - I react strongly to low doses of medications, etc. - and I guess this chemical pregnancy is pumping out just enough hormone to mess with me. I still have the full, twinge-y uterus feeling, the intermittent, mild queasiness, and the fatigue. This afternoon, I got terrible heartburn for the first time since I was pregnant with Elliot. All of these things combined with the fact that I didn't test this morning (so no fresh BFN to keep me grounded in reality) are messing with my head and causing me to fantasize about this all being a terrible misunderstanding. Faulty tests! Yeah, that's it! I'll go to my beta (rescheduled for Thursday, btw) and I'll die of shock when they call to congratulate me on my great number! Even as I type this, I know it's not true. I just need to get through these next couple of days and get some closure so I can stop torturing myself.

Thanks so much for all of your support and virtual hugs after my last post. I've read your comments over and over. The first few times through, they just made me cry, which is probably what I needed. After that, they reminded me of how lucky I am to have you all to lean on. I really don't know how people survive this stuff without a circle of friends to prop them up during hard times.