Friday, June 26, 2009

Hope Slut

I’m having an affair with Hope right now. It’s a very dysfunctional relationship. Hope is starting to feel like a hot ex-boyfriend who was really good in bed. An ex-boyfriend who cheated on me time and time again. An ex-boyfriend that I’m really not quite over yet.

When Hope comes into town and gives me a call I think about not answering the phone, but then I always do. Hope takes me to dinner and we flirt and have a really good time. Next thing I know we are at a bar and Hope is buying me drinks. I start to get tipsy and soon we find ourselves in the bar parking lot making out in Hope’s car. I can’t help myself. I start to think, “Maybe this could work. Maybe we could get back together.” So I invite Hope home for the night.

The next morning it’s always the same. Hope seems distant. Hope makes some excuse and bails leaving me alone, empty, and regretful. I swear to myself that I will not fall for this again. This is it. This is the last time. Hope is out of my life for good.

But it’s all a lie. Because next time Hope calls I will turn into a giggly tween again.

I’m a Hope slut.

Monday, June 22, 2009

I'm Only Human

When he told me his wife was pregnant the first thought that came to my mind was the thought that always comes to my mind in these situations, “It will be OK. You will be able to survive the showers, cards, and birth because by the time that baby is born you will be pregnant.” At the time my first IVF cycle had just been cancelled. I was bruised, but not beaten. I was still full of hope.

There has been one other pregnancy in my group, but I was insulated by a supervisor. I did not need to arrange a temp for maternity leave. I was not in charge of preparing a baby shower. I could be a bystander. This time I could not. This was one of my direct reports.

I have always found comfort in work. Sure there have been days I have not been as engaged as I otherwise would have been. There have been days that I have not added much value. But generally work is a refuge, a reason to get dressed each day. Work keeps me busy. Work helps me think about something other than my infertility. But this time it wasn’t so.

It was the Monday morning after my third IVF cycle was cancelled, the cycle where I made it to retrieval, but failed to make viable embryos. He came to tell me that he needed to have the following week off because his wife was to be induced. I couldn’t even fake excitement for him. I listened, marked it in my calendar, and nonverbally made it clear that I didn’t want more details. I felt badly that I couldn’t mirror his excitement, but I was just trying to hold it together.

A week earlier I had received my annual performance review. Surprisingly I had been given good marks, except in one area. I am to work on having a more positive image with my team. I am to be more accessible to them. I am to be more empathetic and caring. All good things, all things I agree with, and all things that seem impossible to do right now when I really just want to be left alone.

He was my first test after my performance review and I failed. I did not arrange a baby shower (Even though this is his second child, my office is very into celebrating life events). I did not arrange a card to send around to be signed by the team. I did not ask him to update me when the baby was born which led to a painful week of people stopping by my desk asking, “Do we have a baby?” to which I responded, “I don’t know.”

Yesterday I tried to absolve myself of my sins. I purchased a card and a generous gift. Reading the cards I almost started crying and found myself wishing that they made baby cards that were blank inside. My gift came in certificate form because I couldn’t face the little clothes and baby accessories. I’m only human after all…

Friday, June 19, 2009

A Very Merry Unbirthday To Me

On Tony's birthday our first IVF cycle was cancelled.

On our anniversary we were told we had no embryos to transfer for IVF try number three.

So yesterday was my birthday. The big three-two. I fully expected one of the following scary things to happen:

A. My little sister would call me and tell me she was pregnant.

B. My uterus would literally fall out of my vagina...probably at work in the middle of a meeting.

C. My husband's testicles would spontaneously combust leaving him with nothing but barbecued sperm.

None of the above happened. In fact, nothing too bad OR too good happened. It was just a day, which is how I like my birthdays. Hopefully I will survive my next 364 unbirthdays with no drama until my birthday comes around again...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Past, Present, and Future

The Past: I had my WTF appointment today. The results of IVF 1.3 are that my response sucked and my egg quality sucked (paraphrased and summarized by me). None of my embryos ever looked good and although 4 of my 5 eggs fertilized, only 2 fertilized normally (which was not shared with us during the cycle.)

The Present: I had acupuncture yesterday. I really liked the acupuncturist alot. I felt sort of lukewarm about the treatment. I was really jazzed about going. It made me feel like I was doing everything possible to make my next cycle a success.

My RE is not anti-acupuncture, but basically is of the opinion that if it feels good do it, but don't do it to improve IVF outcome. Now I am less jazzed about acupuncture and wondering if it is worth the time and money. (opinions and sharing of experiences welcome!)

The Future: We are planning on doing another IVF cycle. Our RE seems to think that based on my age (32 on Thursday) there has to be one good egg in me and we just have to find it. We feel like another IVF cycle is the fiscally logical option. We still have some insurance coverage for IVF, but no financial assistance for donor egg or adoption. If we had the option to take the insurance money and apply it to donor egg or adoption (where our chances of parenting would be higher) I would probably do that. However, our RE has hope and the money is there so we will keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Next up is an estrogen priming protocol or estrogen antagonist protocol...I can't remember anymore. I am to call when I have my next period. So this is a call to all my EPP sisters out there. What should I expect?

Monday, June 15, 2009

I'm Cold!!!

It's Monday and I'm celebrating the little things.

1. I really had the hot and sweaty symptoms of lupron this last cycle, so for now I am enjoying being cold!!!

2. I have a WTF appointment tomorrow!!! Here's how I did it.

First, I emailed my IVF coordinator hoping she would be as outraged as me at my July 20 appointment. She was not, but she did say that she would let me know if there were any cancellations.

Then I emailed my doctor and told him that I had a July 20 appointment, but that there were a few questions that couldn't wait that long and proceeded to ask my questions. He moved up the appointment.

Lesson learned: Go directly to the top!

Hope everyone has a great Monday!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Dear Mr. RE

Dear Mr. RE,

It’s me again. I feel like maybe we’ve had a falling out and I wanted to clear the air.

First, let me apologize for messing up your stats. I know these things are very important to you. I really wanted to help your clinic out, but I guess it just wasn’t in the cards. Trust me; this doesn’t make me any happier than it makes you.

I’m also sorry that I’m not that fun to be around. I know you find my addiction to Google annoying. I ask so many questions and sometimes challenge your answers. I rarely have a smile on my face and I regularly leave your office in tears. In short, I’ve been a real drag. I’ll try to do better.

Please remember that there is a silver lining in this cloud. I am a repeat customer. Sure you get to see the joy on the faces of those ladies you have helped and who have in turn helped your statistics. But don’t forget, those ladies leave you. They might come back to show off their newborn. I’m sure they warm your heart in a way I never do. However, I know you are running a business. Don’t forget that I’m still here. Don’t forget that I’m still a paying customer. Don’t forget that I haven’t left you.

I miss you already. I miss your optimism in the face of my pessimism. It used to be that we could hardly go a day without seeing each other. I miss doing things with you. Waiting is no fun.

In summary, I’m sorry that I failed you, but you failed me too. You made a lot of promises (explicit and implied) that you didn’t keep. We remain bound together in this struggle, so let’s bury the hatchet on this past cycle. I’d like to see what you have planned for me next.

A Heartbroken Patient

Thursday, June 11, 2009

WTF about my WTF Appointment

I'm looking for some advice from past exeriences and/or empathy about the unfairness of it all...

When the doctor called for the official cancellation of our transfer he said that someone from his office would call this week to schedule a follow up appointment. Of course that never happened so I called today to schedule the appointment. So now I'm all set up with an appointment for JULY 20!!! That's over a month away!!!

We are pretty sure we want to try another IVF cycle (more on that later), and we were hoping to cycle in August. Obviously that can't happen with a July 20 follow up appointment.


Question #1 - Does it seem ridiculous to anyone but me that we have to wait almost two months for our WTF appointment? To me waiting that long for any answers as to what went wrong seems a little cruel.

Question #2 - How soon is too soon to cycle again after a failed IVF cycle? Is it unrealistic to try and cycle again in August? Should I be shooting for September anyway?

Monday, June 8, 2009

Crossing Over

Thank you for all of your comments. We had a wonderful weekend. Getting away from the house and work was a great distraction. But now it’s back to life, back to reality. Today has been a much harder day than the ones before.

When Tony and I decided to do IVF I started lurking on various message boards. I remember lurking on a forum for IVF “vets” and reading a post that caught my attention. A woman posted that she was no longer joining IVF cycle support groups because she was sick of seeing others have first time success with IVF while she continued to be left behind.

At the time I felt guilty reading this woman’s post. I felt guilty because I was fairly certain that I had a good shot at being one of those first time IVF success cases. I also felt pity. I felt sorry that this woman could not find her success, but I could not identify with her pain.

Now things are different. If I read that post now I would find myself nodding along. If I read that post now I would not feel pity, but rather empathy. I get it now. I understand how it feels to transition from infertility that is treatable to infertility that may be terminal. It’s a different world and I’m trying to adjust.

Friday, June 5, 2009

A Study in Coping

I think I mourned this cycle on the day I found out I only had three follicles, because the cancelled transfer hasn’t really set me back the way my previous cancelled cycles have. Grief is not consuming my every thought. I have not gone catatonic, unable to get out of bed. Possibly I am getting used to disappointment.

Tony’s coping mantra has been, “I feel good that we got farther than we have before.” I don’t know if he really believes this or if he is saying this for my benefit. Maybe he has spent too much time working in the liberal school system, but this isn’t a circumstance where a participation medal will make me feel better. This is more of a “second place is the first loser” or “close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades” type situation.

Going through this stressful IVF cycle put a distance between Tony and me, mainly because I chose to be alone with my stress, alone with my worry, alone with my concern. The cancelled transfer has brought us together again. We have been holding each other more, stopping for hugs without words as we pass each other in the hallways of our house. We have been touching more too. There has been a gelling that is different from where we were a week ago.

I have been feeling an overwhelming desire to become more healthy. I think this is my subconscious trying to assign some sort of blame to this situation. Maybe if I hadn’t stopped going to the gym two months ago this wouldn’t have happened. Maybe if I hadn’t drank at that happy hour this wouldn’t have happened. Maybe if I ate more fruits and vegetables this wouldn’t have happened. I’m not really fighting this urge toward health because I figure being more healthful can’t hurt my situation. There is a strange comfort in blame. Blame indicates that something could have been done differently. Blame indicates that there is something that could have been controlled.

If there is no blame then the best case scenario is that the cancelled transfer was caused by bad luck; a pull of the slot machine that yielded nothing, building anticipation for the next pull that might be “the one.” The worst case scenario is that there is no one and nothing to blame, no bad luck, but rather we are trying to accomplish something impossible.

At this point I can only hope for one thing. I can only hope that my RE has learned something from this cycle. I can only hope that my protocol can be tweaked to coax my ovaries to respond better. I can only hope that somehow my egg quality can be improved. I can only hope that if we try this again SOMETHING will be different…better.

We are now waiting for the final call cancelling our transfer before we leave for our trip. The car is packed with luggage and a picnic lunch for our trip. We are sitting on the sofa with our shoes on. One call and we are out the door. I’m ready to leave. I am looking forward to getting away, recharging.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

It's Done

Bad news today.

All our embryos stopped dividing. No transfer today. The RE won't officially call the transfer off until tomorrow which I can't quite understand.

We are both doing surprisingly OK. Maybe we are in shock.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Does everyone else have a hard time concentrating on one thing for any length of time at this point in an IVF cycle? I'm going to write this post "bullet point style" because I can only think in bullet points these days.

  • Tonight I slept through the night for the first time in two weeks. I have no idea what was on TV at 3am this morning and that feels good.

  • Today I get my annual performance review at work. I'm glad the RE wants to do a five day transfer else I would not have been at work today which would have been difficult to explain. I have not told my boss that I am cycling again. The way this cycle has worked out I don't think I will have to tell. I am going to call in sick tomorrow and I already had Friday scheduled off. It is such a blessing to know that I won't have to tell my boss that I failed to get pregnant or that I succeeded but had an early miscarriage (if that happens). I feel like I have a little privacy back like a normal person.

  • I got a little snippy with Tony last night. He keeps referring to our transfer as an "implantation". He also asked me last week if he had to be at the appointment for the retrieval. Sometimes his lack of knowledge of this whole IVF process is so irritating and makes me feel like I am going through this alone (except for you guys). Sometimes I am bitter that he has the luxury of being oblivious to everything while I am analyzing every symptom in my body minute by minute. Also this is his last official day of work before summer break (he is a middle school guidance counselor). I won't even open THAT can of worms.

  • Tomorrow is Tony and my wedding anniversary. We are both really stressed out. We have been talking a lot about adoption. It doesn't feel like a time to celebrate.

  • Due to our anniversary we are going on a trip this weekend. Tony planned the whole trip as a surprise to me. We were so excited about this trip two months ago. Now if the transfer happens I won't be able to use the double jacuzzi tub in the hotel room, sex is out, and I will be too nervous to get any spa treatments or do too much walking around the quaint mountain town. If the transfer doesn't happen I plan on being drunk all weekend.

  • I have mixed feelings about doing a five day transfer. In a way I am hopeful that the doctor must feel pretty confident that there will be something left to transfer on day five else he would have done a day three transfer. I also keep telling myself that if the embryos aren't normal I would rather find out in the petri dish in two days than find out two weeks later with a BFN. However, if I don't have anything to transfer I will of course be crushed.

  • Thanks for all the support and encouragement of my embies. Reading your comments has been such a comfort.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Day 3 Report

The report:

3 'bros left.

1 2 cell
1 4 cell
1 8 cell

We are planning for a five day transfer on Thursday. I hope my eight cell makes it. I'm not holding out much hope for the others.

Not the best news in the world, but not the worst. *sigh*
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