Monday, December 31, 2007

Reality?

My sister has been here the last week with her husband and 2 year old. They just left this morning and the house is now very quiet. The last few weeks have been a bit crazy -- almost two weeks in Texas, one week at home by ourselves, and then a week with visitors. Now I think we are finally going to have some time by ourselves to settle into some sort of routine, or at least something approximating a routine.

It was really good to have E here (of course I have to say that since she reads my blog :)!) But seriously, we were able to get a lot done. We now have a crib and the nursery is almost put together. We bought, and returned, a lot of stuff and were able to get at least somewhat more organized.

Jonah is doing great. He is now 8 lbs! We know this unfortunately because he has a cold and we had to take him to the doctor on Saturday. He seems to be handling it pretty well though. No fever and the congestion hasn't interfered with his ability to eat (obviously since he has gone from 5 lb 11 oz. to 7 lb 15 oz. in under 3 weeks!)

I do think I'm still having a little trouble believing that this is real. It just doesn't seem possible that I can really be a mother. And yet, here I am, doing all kinds of "mom" things that I had always been a little scared of -- I've cut Jonah's fingernails twice, suctioned out his nose, given him multiple baths (sponge only so far as we don't have baby tub yet), cleaned his umbilical cord stump (and accidentally knocked it off a little early), taken his temperature, taken him to the doctor, etc. etc. We haven't been out with him much at all, especially now that he has a cold. K and I did go to a craft store with him on Friday and used the stroller for the first time. I had a quick moment of tearing up in the store as we walked through the aisles pushing a stroller -- again, it just doesn't seem real -- Us, parents! Pushing a stroller! Wow.

So as this year is coming to its end, I have to say it didn't turn out too bad. And, 2008 is looking like it is going to fulfill the name we prematurely gave it -- Two Thousand Great!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Sleep deprivation

Well it's 5:30 in the morning and I'm awake. In fact, I've been up since 4:00 and awake on and off most of the night before that. My little guy seems to have his days and nights a little mixed up and K and I don't quite have our system worked out for both of us to get sleep. Namely me - he seems to be sleeping fine at the moment. But I'm not complaining. I feel amazingly good despite the lack of sleep. I haven't been napping during the day though I've had plenty of opportunities, so I guess I can function on a lot less sleep than I thought. I expect it will start to catch up with me though, perhaps as soon as later on today, and with that in mind, I think I will force myself to take a nap today!

At the moment, I have implemented the Baby Bjorn and Jonah seems to be liking it pretty well. My reason was actually rather selfish as he didn't want to be put down and if I'm going to be up at this hour, I needed to make coffee. He cried at first and then settled down and now he is asleep against my chest. I think I'll leave him there -- no need to mess with a good thing.

Since I'm up, I thought I'd take the opportunity to backtrack and try to get this story down in whole.

Monday November 19, 2007
We went to San Antonio to meet with the agency in person. We were pretty sure that we were going to go with this agency but wanted to meet them in person just to be sure. Everyone was extremely nice and we felt very good about the decision. We left them with our photo albums and everything pretty much complete, except for paying the initial fee. We had considered staying the night in San Antonio just for fun but decided to go on ahead to Dallas (where K's family is). We left San Antonio and about an hour and a half into our drive the agency called. They had a situation they wanted us to consider and were hoping we could come in and look at all of the paperwork the next day. (The agency gets self-report medical and social history from all birthmothers as well as medical records from their doctor's visits, which includes agreed upon drug screening. Adoptive parents are also shown a picture of the birthmother). This woman was due in March and there were some issues with drug use during the pregnancy.

We took the call pulled over on the side of the highway. I was on the phone and honestly didn't take in too much. We were very unsure of what to do at this point. We were obviously very excited on the one hand but also apprehensive on the other. Neither of us were very familiar with this particular substance and its potential impact on a developing fetus. We stumbled around for awhile looking for a place where we could go and get Internet access. We ended up at a bookstore looking around in books and unsuccessfully attempting to log in to their wireless. We got in the car and strangely enough ended up in the parking lot of an Office Depot and were able to mooch their wireless from the car. We did some surfing in an attempt to learn more about the substance in question but after 15 minutes or so of this, we both realized that we weren't getting anywhere and what we needed to do was turn around, go back to San Antonio and look at all the information the next day. So, that's what we did (in a manner of sorts -- we actually stayed in a small town outside SA after a long-time of aimless wandering through residential neighborhoods and multiple U-turns).

We spent over an hour the next morning at the agency looking at the information and going back and forth over what we should do. I had been hoping that I would just know whether it was right for us or not once we looked at all of the information. But I did not get that feeling -- I just felt really unsure. Ultimately, that is what made the decision for me. After going round and round, I finally said to K that if we were having that hard of a time making a decision, it must not be right for us. So we turned it down and headed, once again, to Dallas. It felt strange to be turning something down. The decision was much harder than we had thought it would be but it also felt good in way to be able to say no -- to know that it wasn't the right situation for us and to have the confidence to go with that decision, not letting "desperation" cause us to do something that didn't feel right.

We spent Thanksgiving in Dallas with K's family and had a very nice time.

Monday, November 26, 2007
We called the agency and paid the initial fee (they take credit cards which is really nice!).

Tuesday, December 4, 2007
I got a call from the agency around noon. They had another situation that they wanted us to consider. Birthmother due in February and there was some drug use in this situation as well. They were going to overnight us the packet of information and we could take a couple of days to think about it. Once again, I spent some time researching the particular substance. K and I were both feeling a little overwhelmed by the possibility of having to make another difficult decision but agreed that we would wait to make any decision until we saw all the information.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007
K took me to work and dropped me off out front of my building. I work on the 14th floor -- my cell phone does not work in the elevator and sometimes it takes it awhile to get service again afterwards. So anyway, I went up the elevator, went to the bathroom and then went to my desk. My phone was ringing as I walked in but I didn't answer it in time. I noticed that my cell phone was still not working so I turned it off and turned it back on again. In this time (10 minutes tops) K had called my work phone (the call I just missed), my cell phone, and text messaged me. I called him back immediately and all he said was to call the agency, that there was another situation -- a baby that was already here. I grabbed my phone, a pad of paper and a pen and headed for the hallway (my favorite place, remember). I called the agency to get the details. They told me that there was a baby that had been born the day before. The couple had only come to the agency the week before but they did have information from them. The baby had been born early, about 5 weeks or so, and was a little small, 5 lb 11 oz., but was doing great. Both birthparents were going to sign the papers the next morning.

I was in total shock and unsure how to proceed. I asked them to fax over the information to me at work. I called K. He told me to wait to get the fax and then go somewhere with some privacy and call him back. I stood by the fax machine for several minutes while nothing happened. I called K again. He decided to turn around and head back to my office. I called the agency again to confirm that they were in fact sending the fax and asked whether they had called any other couples. They said no and that if we were interested, we would be the ones. I went back to stand by the fax machine. Finally it came through. I looked through it all as I waited for K to call. Included in the information was the delivery report. A lot of it didn't make sense to me, but it did include the apgar scores -- 8 at 1 minute and 9 at 5 minutes. I called by gynecologist's office and left a message for a nurse to call me to help interpret the delivery report we had gotten. K called and I met him downstairs in the lobby of my office. We looked through the information together, which included a picture of both birthparents, for about 3 minutes. Then I looked at K and said "What are we doing? He's here, he's healthy, he needs parents. This is it!" K agreed. We started making plans for what to do next. We agreed that I should go on ahead to San Antonio the next morning. K decided that he needed to stay and work and tie up loose ends and so wouldn't follow until the following day. I called my mom and said "Do you want to go to San Antonio? Tomorrow?"

K and I parted ways -- he went back to work and I went up to my office. I tried to think clearly and pull things together but not sure I managed that very well. I booked us both plane tickets and printed off directions from the airport to the agency and to the hospital. I pulled some of the work I was currently doing off the network and onto my desktop. I tried to clean off my desk a little. I packed up my laptop. I went to find my boss. He wasn't there so instead I pulled a co-worker/friend into his office to share the news and asked that she let our boss know. I told her not to tell anyone else at this point and that I'd call her the next day when we knew more. I headed home. At this point I was trying to think of all the things I needed to get done before leaving town but was having trouble even knowing where to start. The weekend before I had begun several projects around the house, primarily painting a dresser and bookshelf to use in the nursery and also beginning to work on the baseboards in the house (sanding them to get ready to repaint). I decided to go ahead and finish the dresser and bookshelf and so proceeded to paint one final coat on each of them. So this is how the nursery was left -- tarp on floor, newly painted bookshelf and dresser, several cans of paint, an old desk, half-sanded baseboards. No paint on the walls, no doors on the closet, no knobs on the dresser drawers, no crib, etc. etc.

Thursday, December 6, 2007
My mom met me in San Antonio the next morning. We rented a car and headed for the agency. We met the caseworker there and then followed her to the hospital. Both of the birthparents had been in that morning to sign their relinquishment forms. Jonah was in the NICU -- I think mostly because it was an adoptive situation and this gave us some privacy. He was early and small but was eating well and had no trouble breathing or anything. He was hooked up to a monitor but I think that is just standard in a NICU. So we walked in and could see his hair poking through before we even got close! I held him. My mom held him. The caseworker left and we just looked at each other and were like "now what?" The nurses were asking me all kinds of questions, like did we have a pediatrician? car seat? etc. And I was like, you don't understand, we don't have anything. We found out about this and were on a plane less than 24 hours later!

So Mom and I had a lot to do. K, in the meantime, was going crazy and decided to just go to the airport and try to get on a plane that evening. My mom and I headed to Target with a list of items to purchase -- my sister, bless her, sent me a very specific list of things to get so we didn't have to expend any brain power (of which we were short at this point) in choosing a car seat! We went to the hotel where I sent out an email to friends and family and then back to the hospital to feed Jonah. Then we went to the airport to pick up K. We dropped my mom off at the hotel and went back to the hospital to see Jonah. We stayed at the hospital until about 1:00 in the morning and then finally left, completely exhausted. I was totally overwhelmed at this point and feeling almost panicked. The next morning, however, I woke up thinking about Jonah and knew then that everything was going to be ok. We had a lot of hoops to jump through the next day before we could be discharged from the NICU (infant CPR video, car seat test, etc.) and didn't end up leaving the hospital until 7:00 in the evening. We took Jonah back to the hotel and spent our first night with our son.

Wow. That was really long. I think I'll stop for now. That's pretty much the gist of it anyway. The rest involves a drive to Dallas, staying with K's parents (in the house that they are currently renovating which added some interesting challenges to things), and having a Naming ceremony for Jonah (in lieu of a bris, as we had him circumcised in the hospital). We got the ok to leave the state on Friday and headed home to Colorado on Sunday. And so here we are. A little tired and pretty disorganized. But very, very happy.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Home, finally!

We are finally home! It seems like it has been forever since I have been back home but in fact it has only been 10 days. It is amazing how much can change in such a short time! I am going to try very hard not to get too overwhelmed with all I have to do now that I am back home - but that might be a little hard! There is so much and I don't even know where to start. I am, however, taking some time to just relax before jumping in and trying to organize ourselves for our new life.

We got in last night at 7:30 after 14 1/2 hours on the road. The drive from Dallas usually takes us about 12 hours, but considering that we had to stop to feed Jonah every 3 hours, I was pretty impressed by our time. The drive home was somewhat challenging - the worst was for our poor dog. She is used to having the whole backseat to herself on road trips and was probably pretty shocked to find herself in the back of the SUV squeezed in with a mountain of stuff and only room enough to lie down. We also had the front seat loaded with stuff and a large canvas bag full of stuff on the top of the car! Jonah and I were in the back and K drove the whole way home. Every 3 hours or so we had to stop to feed and change Jonah which I did on my lap in the backseat. He only peed on me and the car once!

We got in to snow on the ground and a driveway badly in need of a shovel. This has all happened so fast that we have absolutely nothing ready. Luckily my sister went shopping for us on Saturday and got us a co-sleeper so we were able to set that up last night before going to bed. That at least gives us a place for Jonah to sleep and it works pretty well as a changing table for now too. Now it is just a matter of going through all the stuff we acquired in Texas, finding a place for it all, figuring out what else we need, and trying to set up a nursery to put it all in!

As I said, I'm somewhat overwhelmed by it all but at the same time, I am so happy that I am just running on a constant high of awe at what we have been given. I plan on taking some time soon to backtrack and write in more detail about all that has happened these last couple of weeks, but for now, I just wanted to check in. I hope to check in on all of you to catch up soon as well!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Surprise!

Introducing...

Jonah William
Born December 4, 2007
5lb 10 oz.

So, we knew things could happen fairly quickly but we figured that meant more like 3-6 months, not 2 weeks! We got the call from our agency on Wednesday (Dec. 5) that a baby boy had been born the night before and were we interested? We of course had some moments of huh? what, really? And then of course, said Yes! I headed San Antonio the next day and K ended up following that evening.

Jonah was born a few weeks early and so was in the NICU for monitoring. He is perfectly healthy and we brought him "home" (hotel room) on Friday (December 7). My first night as a mommy got me 2 hours of sleep (K, on the other hand, slept better than Jonah)! Mostly I couldn't sleep b/c I kept wanting to look at him! He is so sweet and we fall in love more and more every time we look at him.
There of course is lots more to tell but I need to feed my baby! I'll try to check in again soon.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Understanding infertility

I am having a funny day with my reactions to things. Not quite sure how to sum up my state of mind. Melissa has a very thought-provoking post up comparing going through infertility to cancer. I think it’s probably something that we’ve all thought of in one way or another. Most people just don’t understand what it’s like to be dealing with infertility and the insensitive, judgmental comments from those on the outside are a dime a dozen. I posted a comment on the post with something that I had been thinking of months ago. Now that the comment is up there, however, I am not sure that I made myself clear and I’m not sure I am clear, myself, in what I was hoping to express. I am going to include my comments below, and try to talk about them more (and ask for your thoughts)


Comment #1
I've actually thought a lot about this comparison myself. What I have come up with is that it might be easier to make the point (which you made beautifully, by the way, so this is in no ways a criticism) by using a disease/condition that is not life threatening. I've thought about posting about this myself but your post is just too good of an opportunity to waste! When I've thought about trying to get others to understand infertility by comparing it to something like cancer, my concern has always been that my arguments would be dismissed out of hand because I was comparing IF to something life threatening and that would be hard for some people to overcome. I found myself thinking instead of an injury I had a couple of years ago. I hurt my wrist while at work and what at first appeared to be a minor injury eventually turned into something much bigger involving 2 surgeries, occupational and physical therapy, and more. As I was dealing with this (for what ended up being more than a year), I felt desperate to get proper function back to my wrist (and my arm and hand as well). You could say I went to extreme lengths to fix it. It was not life-threatening, but not having full function of one of my appendages did certainly compromise my quality of life, to say the least. And no one in my life ever commented that I was being desperate, or that it was "God's plan" for me to have a janky wrist. Of course not. It was a medical condition that most people would have gone to lengths to correct. And yet, when those of us dealing with infertility, a medical condition, try various different medical procedures to help "fix" the problem, we are judged for it. Definitely a double standard.

But, to tag on to Tracy's point -- a lot of these statements are coming out of ignorance. Since we made the decision to adopt and to let it be widely known that we are adopting, I've really come to realize how little most people understand about the process. I just take it for granted that people know more than they do, both about adoption and just the process of reproduction in general (not to even mention infertility). I am constantly amazed about how little people know. And most people have no reason to know any of this. While it is somewhat frustrating to discover that our friends who have 3 kids do not even really know what an embryo is, that's just the way it is! They obviously never needed to know that bit of information... oh well.

Comment #2
I just wanted to jump back in here to say that I am appreciating this post even more as all the comments continue to come in. It has really made me think and explore my own feelings even more than I already had and I am actually working on a post right now to continue my thoughts on this -- but I'm thinking that it may take me a little while to finish. I appreciate what Kathy V wrote regarding my earlier comment and think she's correct -- my analogy is not complete. I came up with it months ago as I was thinking about the tendency to classify women going through infertility as "desperate" and thought it would be a way to connect to people in my own life and get them to understand more clearly how I was feeling and how that classification of "desperate" was hurtful and misplaced (even though I've used it to describe myself at times). Of course, I've never actually talked about this to anyone, just explored it in my own head. But the analogy of IF to an injury is not complete b/c an injury such as I described is usually treatable and curable; whereas infertility is for most of us something we have to live with always. And as has been pointed out, it can also sometimes be life-threatening. I should know this, having had 2 ectopic pregnancies, but it's something I tend to push aside and not think about. It's only when I get the rare reaction of "how scary, you could have died" that I remember again how scary it was/is. I'm appreciating this post and the comments because not only have they got me thinking but also because of how nice and validating it is to read other people reacting the same way that I am. So thanks Melissa for starting such a good conversation!


I think perhaps the sign of a good blog post is if it makes you really think about something and question your reactions. So I used the comparison of my infertility to the injury of my wrist because it was something that I experienced personally and that the people around me, (friends, family, coworkers), remember and saw all that I went through. I think in many ways it’s a good analogy, but only up to a point. I have to say I was somewhat proud of myself when I came up with the analogy because I thought it might possibly really help people understand IF a little better – when I was first thinking about it what I was mainly trying to address was the whole issue of desperation and the negative connotations of that word, “desperate” that come to be associated with people struggling with infertility.

So my main point was that no one ever referred to me as desperate when I had appointment after appointment with doctors and various other medical practitioners in search of getting the range of motion and overall functionality in my wrist back. The difference between this injury and my infertility is, of course, that my wrist did eventually heal. The only sign that I was ever injured is the 3 inch surgical scar. And that’s almost a good thing. It’s like an outward sign of what I endured (since it was a work injury I like to show it off as my level of commitment to the organization!). The scars of my infertility are all internal, invisible on the outside. And despite all the doctors’ appointments and treatments and surgery, my infertility is not healed. And it never will be. I suppose there are cases where infertility is treated and cured, in a manner of speaking. But many, if not most, of us we will always be infertile.

For those whom treatment successfully results in a pregnancy, the infertility is not cured. It doesn’t just go away. Because the treatment was only successful that one time—I say this not to discount the joy of that success but merely to make the point that if the couple who had success once desire to build their family further, they are usually once again faced with their infertility to deal with all over again. And just because treatment worked once does not mean it will work again. In my own personal case, my infertility will never be “cured” – because I no longer have functioning fallopian tubes the only way I’ll ever get pregnant is through IVF. So this is where my analogy breaks down – I may be able to get someone to understand the desperation piece somewhat better when comparing it to an injury like a broken arm or leg, but it doesn’t get at the lasting nature of infertility. I think this is why we tend to go to an analogy like cancer. I didn’t want to go there, however, because that is not quite right either. To me, one of the hardest things about infertility is the fact that while the treatment is medicalized and involves large amounts of medicines and oftentimes surgery, in reality you’re not really “sick” (most of the time).

You’re not sick and yet you are taking large quantities of medication, often involving very large needles. You’re not sick and yet a lot of the time you feel like complete and utter shit. You’re not sick and yet you have more doctors’ appointments than anyone you know. You’re not sick and yet you are having surgery, often multiple times. And because you’re not sick in the traditional sense of the word, you also have to deal with the insensitivity of the general public. And, because reproduction is supposed to be something that just happens naturally, everyone feels entitled to have an opinion on the matter and to share their “expertise” with you.

But as I noted to my comments, most people really have very little expertise. I have become so intimately familiar with all aspects of the process that I often forget that others will not know what I am talking about. I just mention off hand that we have done IVF and throw around the terms transfer and retrieval without stopping to even think that they probably don’t have a clue what I’m talking about. So while I can get very upset (alright pissed off) by people trying to share their non-existent expertise or uninformed judgment, I try not to get too upset by sheer ignorance. I think it is unrealistic to expect most people to really understand the details of IF, just as most of us not directly impacted by it don’t understand the details of other diseases; however, I think it is completely justifiable to expect people to show more sensitivity and empathy. And not just for infertiles but in general.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

On your marks

The newest wait has begun. We are officially in the game. In other words, not only have we chosen an agency but have also given them a rather large “down payment.

So we chose an agency in Texas and decided that it would be a good idea to go down there and meet them in person before handing over a large chunk of money. K’s family is in Dallas, so we decided to go over the Thanksgiving holiday since we didn’t have plans for Thanksgiving anyway. We actually made quite a trip out of it. We flew into Austin on Sunday morning and visited with some friends. We then got up on Monday morning and drove to San Antonio to meet with the agency. They were very nice and spent almost 2 hours with us. We already had everything together and I think they were rather impressed when I pulled out 5 copies of our photo album and profile. We went through all of our paperwork and ended up with very little left to do. We didn’t’ pay the upfront fee while we were there because we were waiting for a credit card from the National Adoption Foundation to arrive but we did leave our profiles and photo albums. It felt a little weird to leave them there!

Anyway, we then went to Dallas to spend Thanksgiving with K’s family. Yesterday, we called the agency with our credit card number. So, we are now in the adoption game for real for real. And it feels really good. In fact, I have checked out several books on infant care from the library and we spent this evening clearing out the room that will soon be a nursery. Up until this point the room has served as one large closet for K, but he is now officially kicked out. And I am busy sanding down a dresser to get it ready to paint, and if that goes well it will be followed by a bookcase. We are also talking about ideas for painting the walls and decorating. I don’t want to go too overboard with getting things ready or buying a lot of stuff since we still have no idea how long we will be waiting, but it feels good to at least be able to start on this project (something I’ve been waiting to do since we moved in to this house 2 ½ years ago).

For the past 3 ½ years I have not let myself read about pregnancy or baby care (K actually hid the pregnancy books my SIL had sent upon hearing of our first pregnancy. They arrived the day that I took the methotrexate shot. I’ve since found them but they remain tucked away out of sight). I didn’t allow myself to think too much about what we were going to do with a nursery. And I certainly have not been able to think about, much less look at, baby gear. So it feels really good to be able to do these things and to know that I have a reason – we are getting a baby, we just don’t quite know when. There are still things that are hard for me, but I’ll save those for another post. For now, let’s just end on that positive note, because you never know how quickly things can happen. I was gone for a week and didn’t check any of my blogs. I got back to find out that R at WannabeRE has a daughter! Wow. That happened fast. If you get a chance, go over and congratulate her!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Questions

I’m assuming it’s a fairly universal phenomenon to question your own decisions based on the decisions of others, to sometimes feel judgmental of others whose choices differ dramatically from your own, or to question the validity of your choices in the face of others’ differing decisions. (Are you just wondering what the hell I’m talking about?)

Let me be more specific and put this in terms we can all understand (meaning, of course, infertility). The decisions to continue on with treatments, to pursue adoption, or to give up the dream of being parents are ones that none of us make lightly. We are all coming from different places, with different life experiences and infertility experiences, different diagnoses, different budgets, and different emotional and physical thresholds. Therefore, it is not at all surprising that we all make different choices in how to proceed in the face of our infertility. But that does not eliminate the judgment that comes with those decisions, both from friends, families, and strangers outside the world of infertility as well as from those in the infertility community. Besides the questioning and judgment of others, I believe that most of us probably question, at one time or another, ourselves and the choices we are making.

Example: One of my SILs struggled with pregnancy loss and secondary infertility while trying to conceive their second child. When K and I started trying, she was just recovering from her second miscarriage and beginning to move into infertility treatments. In the 3 ½ years since, they went through the standard IF testing, medicated IUIs, and finally to IVF. They attempted one round of IVF, which was unsuccessful and then immediately moved to adoption. They have since adopted two children. Their family is completed. (You can see where this is going I’m sure…) Ours has not even started. Which of course leads me at times to question our choices – especially the decision to try IVF a second time. I realize intellectually that everyone is different (see above statement) but emotionally, I can’t help but question myself sometimes.

And then I come to the flip side of the equation, which is judging others’ choices based on my own. And it’s interesting how it works both ways, and for me at least, I sometimes feel competing emotions all at the same time. When I read about someone who is continuing on with treatment despite multiple failures and years of trying, I sometimes find myself wondering why they don’t just adopt (yes, I’m very, very aware of the irony of this statement). I sometimes find myself feeling less than sympathetic towards those who determine that adoption is not the right choice for them or at least not yet. (It’s right for us, why wouldn’t it be right for everyone?) But then, I am often almost immediately hit with a competing emotion of questioning my own decision (It’s not right for them, am I sure it is right for us? Maybe we should try one more cycle…or donor eggs…) I have also found myself feeling less than sympathetic to those going through secondary infertility, or infertility a second time around (You already have one, quit complaining! We don’t even have that yet.) And then I remember that we also want more than one child and will have to deal with all of this a second time.

Which I guess brings me back to my original point, we are all so different. What is right for one is not necessarily right for the other. I think though, that it is often easier to see this when the questions and judgment are coming from someone on the outside – outside yourself or outside the world of infertility. It’s much harder to recognize it when you yourself are doing the judging (of others or of yourself). And the decisions are so hard. That is what brings me back. Couples who aren’t experiencing infertility never have to think about these decisions. No one would question a fertile couple’s desire for additional children. Most people just decide to have kids and have them. They decide how many they want and that happens for them. They don’t have to make the difficult decisions that we make – when and how and whether to continue trying.

I have always wanted at least two kids. But sometimes I find myself thinking that maybe we’ll just be done after one. My sister is dealing with this issue right now. She went through hell bringing her son into the world. She wants three kids. But right now, I think that the decisions and sacrifices (financial, emotional, and possibly physical) that will go in to making that happen for her is feeling too overwhelming. And I know it’s not as easy as saying “just adopt” or “just try IVF again” because she’s my sister and I know her situation, but I also know that it wasn’t that easy for me (and still isn’t). Which once again reminds me not to judge others.

What about you – do you ever find yourself questioning others’ choices? Do you ever question your own because of someone else? And how do you respond when someone questions you?

Monday, November 12, 2007

On cubicles and not working while at work

Ok. So I’m at work but having a very difficult time doing any of the things I’m supposed to be doing (like working). This of course is nothing new. Still, it’s a bit of a problem. I just can’t focus. The time seems to be dragging by. I can’t believe it’s only 3:00. The thing is, I have plenty of work that I could do. I just can’t seem to motivate myself. I don’t want to be here. I hate working in a cubicle and sitting staring at a computer all day long. My hand hurts and my shoulder is killing me.

My cubicle is in the back corner of the office, which I like because it’s right by the back door (meaning I can sneak in and out without anyone really noticing). But…I’m also pretty isolated over here and the only access I have to a window is to leave my cube or stand up on my tiptoes and possibly get a small glimpse of sky. The cubes are all designed so that you are sitting with your back to the opening. It is the most awkward set-up I can imagine and it’s obvious that whoever designed these cubicles never worked in one. The other problem with working in a cubicle is the total lack of privacy. I can hear just about everything said by those who sit closest to me and I’m sure they can hear me. Which is a problem when cycling, etc. and you need to make (or receive) personal phone calls.

I can’t tell you how much time I’ve spent in the hallway with my cell phone these last 2 ½ years. When I think back on this time, one of clearest images will surely be of me sitting in the hallway on my cell phone with a pad of paper and pen in mind hand writing down instructions or on my cell phone and crying or some combination of the two. I hate that fucking hallway. Come to think of it, I’m not so sure that I don’t hate my job as well. I’ve been trying to have a baby the entire time that I’ve been working here. No matter how good my job was (which it’s not), that would probably be enough to make me not like it.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Water, water everywhere

But nary a drop to drink.

I really hope that eventually I will get to the point where I am not bothered by seeing pregnant women and hearing about other women’s pregnancies. I can’t say I am at that point now. As we move further along in this process towards adoption, I am slowly coming to the point where I can believe that we really are going to get a baby at the end of all of this. And that is a very exciting prospect. I know that with adoption the question is when rather than if. But, I’m still having a hard time convincing myself that it will truly happen for us, and I probably won’t believe it until I’m holding our baby in my arms!

And while I truly believe that I am embracing adoption with open arms and all the love I have to give, I am still sad about what I have lost and will never have. On almost every adoption website I have been to there is a picture of a very pregnant belly somewhere on the site. And it makes me so sad to look at that and to know that that will (most likely) never be me. I will never get to feel my baby moving inside of me. I won’t get people reaching out to touch my belly and smiling at me for no other reason than that I’m pregnant. I will never experience the “surprise” pregnancy or surprising friends and family with our news. I won’t buy maternity clothes. I won’t get to breastfeed my children.

I have been trying to get pregnant for so long and wanting to be pregnant for so long. At some point along our journey, I really felt as though I had moved beyond the wanting to be pregnant. In fact, I felt that pregnancy itself would take too long and that I just wanted a baby right now! And for the most part, I do feel this way. Most of the time. But I’m still affected every time I hear about another friend or family member who is pregnant. And I still struggle every time I see someone else who is obviously pregnant.

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I started writing this post yesterday and stopped, assuming I could pick up where I left off. But…I am having trouble getting back into where I was going yesterday. After I stopped writing I checked in on some of the blogs I read. I ended up going to the blog The Unlucky 20 Percent (thanks Samantha) – at 20 weeks pregnant, Ann and her husband just learned that their baby has a rare and completely lethal condition. She is being induced today. I cannot even imagine what they must be going through right now. My heart aches for them.

But, reading her post yesterday really got me thinking. And not necessarily in the typical way you might think -- I’m not going to write about how it reminded me that the loss we are feeling could be much worse (although it did), because what struck me even more was that I realized that in spite of feeling sad about how things have turned out for us – I also feel relief.

Yes, relief. There is a part of me that is actually relieved to not be pregnant. And I realized yesterday, that it is a bigger part of me than I thought. My experiences with pregnancy were all very brief and sad and scary, and I know that if I ever get pregnant again that I will be terrified. In fact, for a whole year that we were trying, I didn’t know whether I was more scared of being pregnant or not being pregnant because the fear of another ectopic was so great.

So while I know that I will still have moments of sadness about not being pregnant and never being pregnant, right now I’m going to hang on to my feeling of relief.

I hope this doesn’t read like I’m saying I read her post and thought “I’m so glad that isn’t me.” I guess there is some of that in there but that’s not what I’m trying to get at. I mean more that I realize that with all the worrying I am doing about with adoption, I am relieved not to be worrying any longer about what is going on with my body. And more than that even. But I’m having trouble capturing it in words. Does this make any sense?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

Not sure what y'all are doing, but I'm blogging. And reading everyone else's blogs. I love getting comments on my blog b/c then I have new blogs to check out! So, thank you.

I'm not much into Halloween. K, on the other hand, is overly into it. He has been preparing for weeks. He has encased our entire entrance-way in black and installed multiple black lights. He bought himself a skeleton costume and is intent on scaring children. Oh, and he has spooky music playing out the window. He's been very excited about his plans and wanting to talk them through with me. I have to admit that I've not been overly interested. He's a bit over the top sometime. But, while I'll never admit this to him, it's kinda cute. He gets so excited over the silliest stuff. Which is one reason I know he will be such a good father. In fact, he's already planning how he is going to bring his costume and accessories to have fun with the nephews over Christmas.

Nothing new to report on the adoption front. We still haven't gotten any information from the agency that we are waiting on, but I did talk to the director again today and I expect we'll have something by tomorrow or Friday. I worked on our profile a little bit last night. As I was messing around with it I realized that I've never actually seen anyone else's adoption profile. K's sister was going to send us hers but somehow that never happened. And come to think of it, I think his brother was supposed to send us their's as well. Hmmm... The abbreviated profile we sent out to friends and family has gotten a good response though, so I'm thinking that our's will be ok.

The one really good thing about Halloween is that we have a lot of chocolate in the house. As K is busy being a skeleton, I'm thinking that he is probably not going to get around to making dinner. Seeing as how I've almost given up cooking completely in the last several months (alright, alright it's probably more like a year), I'm thinking that chocolate may be my dinner. Along with another glass of wine. And possibly some more tortilla chips. I know, I'm a health nut. So I'm off to raid our candy bowl. Trick or treat!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Walking anxiety attack

Is it possible to have an anxiety attack that just continues on and on? Because that is what I am feeling like at the moment. Not like severe, I can’t breathe, I think I’m going to die anxiety but more like a mid- to low-level, near constant feeling of anxiousness. It’s giving me an upset stomach, I can’t concentrate and I am not sleeping well. Issues are going on with my father that I can’t even bring myself to write about that are adding to my already anxious state. K jokingly said that perhaps worrying about my dad would distract me from my worries about adoption, but I quickly informed him that he was way underestimating my ability to worry. I can in fact worry about multiple things all at the same time with an equal sense of dread and dismay for all of them. A feat for which I am sure he envies me greatly.

On the adoption front, nothing much has happened. Other than my near obsessive searching of Internet sites on adoption and dedicated hunt for the right agency, no decisions have been made nor actions taken. I believe we are narrowing in on an agency, but that is based only on their website and a phone call with the director. I am still waiting to receive an application and information in the mail. Hopefully, everything we receive via mail will line up with what I heard over the phone (which hasn’t always been the case thus far), and we will feel comfortable moving forward with them.

The only piece of news I have is no news at this point but I’ll go ahead and write about it anyway. We received an email from a birthmother last weekend. I immediately wrote her back and we exchanged several emails over the next several days. She had apparently seen our profile on a free online adoption posting website that I had created a couple of weeks ago. We arranged for her to call us on our toll-free number mid-week. I worked from home that day and was an absolute nervous wreck waiting for her call. Which never happened. She did email to say that she was sick and would try to call the next day, but we haven’t heard from her since.

Now the thing is, we have no way of knowing whether she was legitimate or not. Unfortunately, I have read too many instances of couples being scammed to be very trusting. On the other hand, she could absolutely be sincere and there are a million reasons why we haven’t heard back from her. But I’m not going to pursue it. If she writes again or calls – great and we will continue to cautiously pursue getting to know each other. But if she doesn’t, nothing has really changed. Except that I am now even more eager to sign with an agency.

This very small experience of being in touch with a birthmother made me realize that this is not something I want to do on our own. I want an adoption professional in our corner advising us and working with us, and I also want to know that the woman or couple that we are matched with has a professional to work with and to advise and counsel them. This is a difficult, confusing, and very emotional process. Which is why we are having such a hard time deciding on an agency. It is such a tough decision with so much riding on it! But fingers crossed, we will make a decision soon and it will be a good one. I have looked up the agency we are leaning towards on the state’s DFPS website and verified their license and reviewed inspection reports. I’ve done a very thorough Google search of their name and have posted questions about them on a couple of online adoption forums (no response yet). I don’t think there is anything else that I can do. But I am still very anxious. I just hope that it will ease somewhat once we are officially signed up and on a list with someone. I’ll keep you posted…

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Never ending journey

I am honestly not sure how I get through my days. I am so totally distracted by what is (or is not) going on in my personal life (i.e., staring a family) that I absolutely cannot focus on anything else. I do not feel like doing any work, or any of my real work, but I feel guilty about the amount of time I am spending at work browsing adoption sites. Now I have to be honest – I never particularly want to do work. My job is just not that interesting. But, I’m usually fairly good at staying focused and am able to get quite a bit done in a day. I never used to be much for surfing the web at work and I've never been much of a chit-chatter. But these days (alright it’s more accurate to say these months…), I can’t go more than a few minutes without checking my personal email, pulling up a website or two, reading a blog, or simply sitting and staring at my desk and doing absolutely nothing. I don’t want to be here. I just don’t care about this place, or this job, right now. Unfortunately, we are about to spend thousands of dollars on an adoption which will also lead to us bringing home a baby (or so they tell us!), so we are not exactly in a position for me to up and quit my job. And in fact, this has been the case for years now.

That is one of the things that is hardest for me about all of this. I look at my life and where I am in my life, and it is not where I expected to be. And I’m not sure it is where I want to be. But I am so clouded by this one thing that I want and haven’t yet gotten, that I can’t make any decisions about any other part of my life. I don’t know if I am truly unhappy with other aspects of my life -- everything is so mixed up in my desire to have children that it is impossible for me to untangle the different parts of myself and my life to determine what I am happy with and what I want to change. Because the fact of the matter is – I’m not happy. Well, actually I’m depressed, which is different from being not happy, but I’m not sure that if you took the depression away that I would be happy. And that scares me. And it makes me really sad and fairly pissed off. I feel guilty complaining about my life – I know that in many ways I am very, very lucky. I have a wonderful husband and a wonderful marriage. I have friends and family who love me. I live in a safe place. I am healthy. I have a decent job. Etc. etc. etc.

But… there’s still this one thing that I don’t have. And it has taken over so much of my life. The fact of the matter is, having a baby has been guiding me and the decisions I make for longer than we have even been trying. I have always wanted to be a mom. I've always known that was important to me. I was not the kind of girl who had my wedding planned and children’s names picked out at 19 or anything, but I did know that it was what I eventually wanted out of life. And when I realized that K was “the one” I was not interested in waiting around very long to get married. And once we were married, I didn’t want to wait a terribly long time to have kids. We did wait a year before we officially started trying, but even during that time I was thinking about it. I would be working out and thinking about getting my body in shape to pregnant. When I finished graduate school and started looking for a job, I was looking for a place that would be “family friendly.” I actually chose my current job over another job because I thought this would be a better place to work when I got pregnant and had kids. I never really expected to be here 3½ years later. But then we started trying. And nothing happened. And then a lot happened but none of it was good. And my job was not going well, but I didn’t feel like I was in a position to leave. Because there was always something going on or about to happen. “I can’t leave my job, I’m about to start IVF. How can I start a new job in the middle of an IVF cycle? I can’t afford to quit my job – we are dealing with infertility.” And on and on. And of course, it hasn’t stopped. “I can’t quit my job. We’re trying to adopt a baby.”

I’m so tired of my life being ruled by all of this. I said early on that I did not want infertility to take over our lives, to define us. But, it’s nearly impossible for it not to. It seems to affect almost everything and I don’t know how to make it not. I just want to move on with my life. It feels like we started down a path and have stalled out. All around us other people are moving on and we are stuck. I know that having a baby will not make everything in my life better--I am not that naive. But, having a baby will get us moving again. And I’m starting to get very tired of the view here.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Another long week

It hasn’t been as long of a week as last week (which seemed to last forever before getting to Friday) but it has still been a long week. And another long week of waiting. And the hardest part is that in many ways, what we have started is just another reset of the clock. All the waiting we have done up until this point doesn’t really count. Because we are in a new game. We have to get in a new line. And we’re not even really in an official line yet. I don’t know what we’re in. It feels like we are in the line to get in line (with the small hope that somehow miraculously, something will happen and we’ll get to cut straight to the front).

I don’t know how to get myself to accept the fact that we are in a new game and that I have to readjust my expectations with regards to waiting time. I am so tired of waiting. It’s been years already.

The other adjustment is that of switching from the lack of control of infertility treatments to the lack of control of adoption. Surrendering control is something you have to do in both, but the types of surrender are different. And regardless, I don’t like surrendering control. Right now, I am waiting for an agency in Texas to get back to me. Their website sounds really nice. I got a good recommendation from someone on an online adoption forum. But I haven’t heard anything back yet. And it’s been, like a whole week (almost). I submitted on their online form (twice – because I wasn’t sure it went through the first time). I called and left a message. And I emailed. Think I might be a little anxious? Really?

But the thing is, we’re not really brand new to adoption. We got our homestudy done in May. We have been on lists with three attorneys in Arkansas since April. I’ve been sporadically browsing adoption websites for months. It’s just that now, it is for real. We want to get signed up with an agency (in addition to the networking we are doing) so that we know that we will get a baby eventually. No matter how long it takes, signing up with an agency will give us that assurance – and the sooner we can get on the list, the sooner the wait can begin.

But the decisions are so hard. Our agency here seems very nice. But their wait averages 18 months. Another agency we looked into in Texas has much shorter wait times, but more than 75% of their fees are due upfront and they are non-refundable! Other agencies we have looked at are just way too expensive. While others are for Christian families only--which we’re not. (I’m Jewish. K was raised Christian.) So, I was excited to find an agency that seems to have somewhat reasonable fees and wait times. I really want to find an agency that feels right for us but I also really want this to be the one that is right. Because I don’t want to look anymore. It’s all too overwhelming. I just want to know that we are officially in the game. With someone on our side working for us. Then I’ll at least know that the game clock has started and the waiting can begin (again).

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Next steps

Saturday was a better day than Friday. I don't think I cried at all. I did spend most of the day in front of the computer working on our adoption portfolio, but I think it is therapeutic for me. We knew before we even started that this cycle was our last. At least for now -- we have both admitted that we may want to come back to IF treatments at some point -- but for now, we just want to start our family.

So we had already decided that our next step was going to be moving full speed ahead with adoption. What we had not decided was how exactly we wanted to proceed. We have already had a home study with an agency here in Colorado but have not signed on with them to be included on their list of potential families. We are going in for a meeting with them tomorrow to discuss in more detail what those next steps would be and what their adoption process is like. But I'm just not sure that this is the right agency for us. I'm not sure that we even want to use an agency here in Colorado. My biggest problem is their wait time -- 18-24 months.

I know lots of agencies list average waiting times up to 2 years, but there are also a lot that have 6-12 month waits. K's sister's first adoption (2nd child, but first that was adopted) took 2 weeks. I'm not kidding. She went to the agency that K's brother had used in Texas and after talking to an adoption specialist for awhile, they broached the topic of a situation that had just come up -- 2 month old baby girl in cradle care who they were presenting parents to the birthmother the next day. They were presented and chosen and home with their daughter two weeks later. After KL was a year old, they got back on the list and brought home their son, P, within a year.

Now, I'm sure you're asking yourself -- why don't we just use that agency??? Well, their fees are $40,000. And unfortunately, we are not blessed with the same level of funds that K's brother and sister are. However, I have found a couple of other agencies in Texas with lower fees and similar wait times. So we are going to look into those as well. In the meantime, we have decided to go ahead and try networking.

Last night we sent out an email to friends and family with our adoption profile asking them to help us network. I was so nervous to send that email. I actually made K push "send" for me! Up to now, I have been rather private about our infertility. It's not that nobody knows, because a lot of people do, but it's not something that I have readily talked about, even with friends, and I have friends I have never said anything to about it. In some ways though, I am feeling somewhat of a relief in just getting it out there. For now, we have only emailed friends and family. Eventually, I may include colleagues, but I'm not quite ready for that yet.

We have already gotten back some very nice responses. My sister forwarded our email to something like 200 people (thanks E!) and several of them wrote her back the nicest responses that she sent along to me. I've also gotten some very nice emails from some of K's friends and family. In addition, I posted a question today on an online adoption forum and have already gotten several responses back on that. So that feels good.

Now it's over

Does preparing yourself for bad news help? I'm not sure whether it does or not. Maybe. But bad news is bad news and it hurts no matter how prepared you think you are for it. I went in for the blood test by myself on Friday. I got to talk to our favorite IVF nurse and told her straight away that I didn't think it had worked. I gave them K's number to call, turned my phone to silent, and went to do a presentation for work.

They had already called by the time I got home around 11:30. It looked like K had been crying ever since they had called. I didn't cry right away. My immediate defense mechanism was to pull out all my adoption information, turn on my laptop and get started on our next move. And to send K out to buy intoxicating beverages. In large quantities. K's defense mechanism is to sleep. He's very lucky that way, and I have to admit I am jealous of the quality and probably somewhat resentful. Right now for instance, it is 6:30 in the morning on a Sunday and I have been awake since 5:30 (I don't even normally get up this early to go to work). But I can't sleep. I went to sleep OK but then woke up around 5:00 full of anxiety and could not go back to sleep.

Anyway, back to Friday. After eating and drinking a bit, K went off to bed. I sat glued in front of my computer getting increasingly overwhelmed by the adoption information I was looking at but unable to pull myself away from it all. But finally something broke and I found myself sitting in the shower sobbing with the water pouring over me. At some point I ended up curled in a ball on the bathroom floor.

K and I spent the rest of the evening talking and crying. And drinking a little. And talking some more. And looking at adoption information together. And crying. And drinking. It was good actually and I'm sure it was healthy for both of us. I know I probably have more grieving to do and the pain will continue to hit me, but it was good to get a least some of it out.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

It's not over til it's over

Tomorrow is the official beta test. So far, I've had four negative HPTs. K hid my last test so I didn't do one this morning. Probably for the best. This has been an incredibly hard week. It has seemed to last forever and I've felt incredibly depressed. And angry. And sad. And ready for all of this to be over but also a little scared for it to be over. And badly in need of a drink.

Hope is a funny thing. Even at my most jaded, when I'm sure that there is no way that this could possibly work for us, and intellectually I'm telling myself that I know I'm not pregnant and that I'm prepared for the negative result, there is still somewhere inside me that last little kernel of hope that I can't get rid of. And no matter how much I try not to acknowledge it, a bigger part of me than I even realize will keep clinging to that hope until the last possible moment.

I decided to test at home this time because it was so hard last time getting the phone call that it didn't work. I thought that by doing tests ahead of time, I (we) would be prepared for the call, whatever happens. But I forgot about the reset button that automatically seems to get pushed on me anytime I see a negative HPT. I am first disappointed and sad and angry but inevitably I somehow begin to convince myself that the test could be wrong. That it's just too early. And so instead of really easing me into the bad news, each new negative test is just another fresh blow. And each test I've taken this week, the negative result has come up so quickly and so completely it's as if the test is mocking me: "Yeah right. You? Pregnant? What a joke."

To me, the pain of infertility is like a million small little injuries that never quite go away and just keep adding up. We've certainly had our share of bigger blows and disappointments, but in some ways it's all the smaller little injuries that are unseen but so many that make everything so hard:

All the phone calls I've made and taken at work, in the hallway so no one can hear me. Or see me crying. All the conversations about other people's children and pregnancies that I've endured without them ever knowing the pain it causes me. All the nameless pregnant women and couples with babies that we see and envy. And the guilt of not being able to truly feel happy for someone else's blessing because it only heightens our awareness of what we're missing.

And then there is all the grief for what we have lost and what we may never have that I haven't truly let myself feel -- and I still won't. Not yet -- I'm still clinging to my last shred of hope. Small as it is, I just can't let it go.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Happy birthday to me

Sunday was my birthday. It was a big one for me. I turned 30. As a treat for myself, I took a home pregnancy test. So far, I’m 0 for 3.

Sunday (9 dpt) HPT #1: Negative
Monday (10 dpt) HPT #2: Negative
Tuesday (11 dpt) HPT #3: Negative

Happy fucking birthday.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Just ignore me

Please ignore all advice and pointers that I have given up to this point, as I obviously have no idea what the hell I am talking about. In fact, feel free to ignore any future advice that I deign to offer as I cannot be trusted.

Case in point -- progestone shots. We obviously have no idea what we are doing. My right hip/butt has been so sore since Saturday night's shot that I can barely sit, much less walk or stand. To touch it is torture. Something definitely went wrong with that shot as I am always somewhat sore but never like this. And the trouble is, I can't see an end in sight. We have to keep giving the shots. I'm thinking that I might have K do the shot on my left side again tonight just to give my right side one more day of reprieve. But, I'm scared that will then make my left side so sore that I will really be in trouble. And the real bitch of the thing? I actually brought my heating pad to work today thinking that I could discreetly sit on it and get some relief, but it has, for some unknown reason, decided to quit working.

Continuing on in discussing my lack of expertise in anything -- estrogen patches. I thought I had discovered a sure-fire way to remove that sticky gunk, but alas, once again I was mistaken. My pumus stone scrubbing worked only the one time. Since then, the abrasiveness has been too much for me and hasn't worked particularly well anyway. The next time I tried the stone, I immediately got red and broken out and whether it's because of that or just the patches themselves, I am now red and itchy from all the patches. And sticky.

Emotionally, I am eratically vascillating between hopefulness that this might actually work to a downright surety about the fact that it won't. And, I am also obsessing on any symptoms that I may or may not have, including pain in my side and upper leg area that I distinctly remember from my last ectopic pregnancy. So now I have that anxiety thrown back into the mix. I mean, it should be impossible for me to have another ectopic being that my tubes are securely tied off, but I am not exactly feeling rational about my fears and anyway, nothing with me has ever been particularly "normal' or "as expected." I keep getting hit with waves of overwhelming fear, nauseuos-making fear. Fear of what? Just about everything. I'm scared of not being pregnant of course, but I'm also scared of being pregnant -- of being pregnant and it not working. Of being pregnant and living in fear day after day, week after week of things going wrong. And I'm also scared of a "borderline result" -- as hard as a negative result is, I think an ambiguous result would almost be worse -- part of my whole distaste for waiting. I desperately want this to work. But maybe even more than that, I just want to know one way or another. The uncertainty and the anxiety that naturally follows is driving me crazy.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Ready, set, wait

The transfer was yesterday. We transferred two embryos -- "Uno" our lone embryo from our last fresh cycle - 4 cells - and "Dos" from our first fresh cycle - 9 cells. They were grade B and B+ -- I can't remember which was which. Interestingly, they performed assisted hatching on them and to our surprise we learned yesterday that they had apparently performed assisted hatching on our last cycle. I have to admit that surprise is not the only emotion I felt at this news.

I actually wasn't expecting to hear any news of our embryos until Friday, as that was what happened on our last cycle. When I talked to the nurse on Wednesday, she did not have any news other than that the first 3 embryos had been removed from the freezer (I'm struggling over the terminology here -- it is all just a little weird when you put it into writing). But on Thursday, the lab called and talked to K. They were asking about removing the additional embryo (Uno) and informed us that the embryos were grading as A and A-. Then on Friday morning the lab called again and talked to K and said that they wanted to perform assisted hatching (in part because they had done so last time). I had been trying so hard to remain calm and proceed with life as normal, that I had gone into work on Friday morning. So K calls me at work and of course I end up in the hallway on my cellphone (I work in a cubicle so the only privacy I get is by going in the hallway or downstairs to the lobby) trying to figure out what was going on. I called our nurse to try to find out some more information. I let her know that I was pretty upset by the fact that assisted hatching had apparently been performed last time without our being informed--especially considering that this is not the first instance where our clinic has failed to tell us information. So then she transferred me to the lab so that I could talk to the embryologist directly. Apparently, assisted hatching is very commonly performed in our clinic (again something that was never discussed with us) and that she wanted to do it because 1) our embryos were not dividing well and 2) it was done last time. She assured me that overall the embryos looked good but that this would just give them an extra chance. So I agreed.

When we went back for the transfer, the doctor showed us a picture of our embryos. She had already marked 2 of them as "Y" and 2 as "N" One of them had divided but looked abnormal (the cells were all the same size and they aren't supposed to be). I can't remember what the deal was with the other one that we didn't transfer except that it obviously hadn't divided as well as the others. The 2PN (frozen on Day 1 of our first fresh cycle) had divided to 9 cells and the Day 3 (frozen on Day 3 of our second fresh cycle) was 4 cells and had not yet divided but looked as though it was about to.

So there you have it. I have been trying to stay off my feet and have moved from one couch to another over the last 24 hours or so. Trying not to freak out too much (I'm actually doing a better job than K). I've already determined that I am not waiting for the blood draw this time (which will be on October 12) and am trying to decide how soon I can realistically to a test and expect anything close to an accurate result. Tomorrow? Probably a little too early. I'm also trying not to think too much about our clinic. It's hard though. I can't help but feel very frustrated by our experiences there. But, on the other hand, there are some really good things about it as well. And honestly, I don't really have anything to compare it to. I don't know anyone else (in person at least) going through infertility right now. My sister and both of my sisters-in-law went through infertility but they only ever did IVF once. So I don't really know anyone that has had the kind of sustained contact with a clinic that we have had and what that experience has been like. It's hard for me to put our experience into any kind of real perspective, but it just seems like the fact that they have failed to tell us things like this is not ok. But, in the end, how much difference does it make? And what can we do about it anyway?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Never mind

I spoke too soon and so I felt the immediate urge to correct myself. My backside is now officially sore -- tender to both touch and movement. So apparently the thinner oil only ensures that the immediate aftermath of the shot is not as unpleasant as it could be and the soreness kicks in after 12-14 hours. Ouch.

Cycle update

Estrogen Patches
I briefly mentioned my estrogen patch woes in my last post but have decided that the issue deserves more attention than that. For those of you who have never gone through a frozen embryo cycle, let me provide a little background information.

In a fresh IVF cycle, estrogen patches are used after retrieval. You put one patch on and leave it on – only changing it once or week. Or so I’m told. Since both my IVF cycles were cancelled after retrieval, I never really made it quite that far. But, I understand the theory. A frozen cycle has none of the bells and whistles (e.g., Lupron, Follistim) of a fresh cycle but lots more estrogen patches (assuming that, like me, you are doing a frozen cycle with hormone replacements rather than a natural cycle with monitoring). So, you begin on Day 1 of your cycle, which by the way isn’t really Day 1 as in the day you started your period (so why in the hell do they ask you for that at every appointment?).

Wait. I lost my train of thought. Where was I? Oh, right. Day 1. Place one nice, small estrogen patch on your abdomen (preferably below the waistline where your underwear can help keep it from falling off). Replace patch every other day. After about a week, increase to 2 patches. Then go up to four. Then down to 3. Then down to 2 but change after only one day. Then back to changing every other day.

Don’t get me wrong--none of this is a particularly big deal. Aside from having to consult my schedule on a regular basis to remember whether I’m on an “on” or “off” day and to double check the number of patches to apply, the 1st couple weeks are a breeze. It’s just when you get several weeks in, like I am now, and the number of patches keeps increasing that things start getting sticky – literally. I mean, there’s only so much room on my lower stomach, especially considering that you’re not supposed to put a new patch in the same spot as an old one. So Sunday night as I’m trying to put my four new patches on, I look down to discover that there are little sticky squares all over my belly, red from trying to get the gunk off, and I can’t figure out where to put all of the new patches. So, I move to my ass – there’s plenty of room there…

Last night, I believe I discovered an effective method for removing the sticky residue – pumas stone. Don’t even ask me how it is I decided to try something I use on the calluses of my feet on my stomach, but I did. And it seems to work. Yes, it’s a little (a lot) abrasive, but if carefully done, the sticky stuff is conquered. My stomach looks remarkably better today (if you ignore the three new patches).

Progesterone shots
I feel like a total veteran of infertility and infertility treatments and in a lot (most?) ways I am. But on the other hand, when it comes to actual treatments, there is a lot that I haven’t done. I’ve only ever had one transfer. We never did IUIs, so the one transfer is my only experience with the whole catheter thing. And since both of my fresh IVF cycles were cancelled after retrieval, I’ve only done the weeks of progesterone shots for the one frozen cycle. (For the last fresh cycle we did the HcG trigger shot and one shot of progesterone). Last night we began the progesterone shots and while I was sort of blasé about the whole thing, I was also still somewhat anxious. I mean, there is just something strange about having your husband inject medicine into your rear end with a 2 ½ inch long needle. Luckily, the nurse had ordered progesterone in a thinner oil than what we used last time and it really makes a difference. I don’t want to speak too soon because often the soreness seems to build up over multiple injections, but for now, I am relatively un-sore. So I feel that perhaps I/we have this progesterone shot thing figured out (hope I’m not speaking too soon) and so I will pass along some tips that I have learned:

My tips for progesterone injections:

ë Lay down. The first intra-muscular injection we ever did I was standing up and it hurt a lot worse and I was much sorer the next day.
ë Warm the oil up ahead of time. We have a heating pad ready to go and use it to heat the oil up.
ë Count down. I tend to be a little jumpy, so to avoid this I have K touch the spot where he is going to do the shot and let me know exactly when he is going to do it.
ë Massage the injection site and apply a heating pad afterwards (especially with the thicker oil – for the thinner stuff this might not be as necessary—I’ll let you know in a few days)

The Thaw-out
I just now realized something and it is really making my heart pound. Our embryos will be thawed out today. I’m not sure what time and I don’t even know whether they will be calling to let us know (which means I will struggle with the decision of whether to call and bug them or be strong and wait for them to call). And speaking of thawing them out – isn’t that a really weird concept? It sounds like we’re talking about defrosting a chicken or something. Although, I like to think about my embryos more as popsicles.


Friday, September 21, 2007

Bored

Frozen cycles are really pretty boring. I know I shouldn't complain -- I mean, the good thing about a FET is that it is easy: less expensive, less invasive, etc. But, it's boring. No shots, no blood draws, only one ultrasound monitoring. Where's the excitement in that? Last cycle, I was shooting up with Lupron at a campsite. Now, all I get is some lousy estrogen patches. Of course, tonight I get to bump up to four patches. I can't wait. I love having strange, sticky patches all over my body that no matter how hard I try, I can't remove all of the sticky residue that they leave (FYI--alcohol does not work. Goo-Gone works pretty well but it's a little scary putting something that works on car grease on bare skin).

This morning was my first, and only, pre-transfer appointment. I went in for a quick visit with my good old friend -- The Dildo Cam. Of course, all they are looking for is a properly-thick lining in the uterus, and in my case fluid in the uterus (which thankfully there was none). I have to say it was not the best feeling in the world to be back in that office.

Highlights of the visit:


1) I didn't weigh as much as I did last time I was there (but I still weigh several pounds more than I used to...)
2) K using some piece of equipment that looks like a microphone to call for "vagina scan on aisle 5"
3) K taking a picture of me laying on the table (me, flipping him off in the process)
4) K and I looking around at the other couples in the waiting room to see if anyone appears more veteran (i.e., downtrodden) than us (they didn't) and then trying to make ourselves feel better by referring to them all as silly freshman
5) Me not remembering, and not even making a very good guess, the first day of my last period (I mean really -- how is that possible? Wasn't I just posting about that? But, no. Couldn't remember, even when handed a calendar. So, I guessed. And then got it wrong. It was listed in my chart from when I called to tell them that I had started. So why did they need to ask???)

That's about all there is to tell about this cycle for the moment. We start progesterone shots some time next week. So I'll be sure to check in by then. Finally, some excitement.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Emotional lows and lowers

I’ve been writing posts in my head for days now but haven’t put anything down in actual writing. So, here goes. You know how I said I had “calmed down” and “made a plan with K”? I guess that was premature of me. I had, in fact, calmed down and discussed a plan with K, but I only managed to stay calm for a few days. I thought that I was still being calm, but in fact, no, I was back to desperate, semi-crazy behavior. I can’t say that I am doing much better at the moment, but I have at least, once again (and maybe only for the moment) reached, if not a state of calm, then a state of semi self-control.

The back-story…I have mentioned before my feelings about adoption, but I don’t know that I have fully expressed my feelings. That may be, in part, due to the fact that I am not exactly sure how I feel. It varies day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. Some of the time I am still feeling very hopeful about being pregnant – about my actual chances of getting and staying pregnant – and very much longing to experience pregnancy. Other times, the thought of going through the waiting and wondering of pregnancy scares the shit out of me – my entire experience of pregnancy has been short-lived and negative and it is hard for me to visualize myself experiencing anything other than that. I also feel that I have been waiting to have a baby for so long, that the 9 or so months of pregnancy is too much. I want my baby now! Even though I try not to, I can’t help finding myself regretting and questioning decisions that we have made. The number of times I think “if only we had…” is enough to drive me crazy (and perhaps it already has…).

“If only we had started the adoption process rather than pursue IVF… If only we had decided not to go through with the tubal… If only we had done a frozen cycle instead of a fresh one this last time…” and on and on and on. While I dwell on many of these “if only’s” the first one and variations of it, haunt me the most. If we had moved straight to adoption, we’d very likely have a baby by now. But at the time, it seemed that the most expeditious route towards starting our family was IVF. We had every reason to believe that it would work for us: I had gotten pregnant before, so we knew that we were technically able to conceive. I responded well to the Clomid and all my blood work looked good. IVF worked for my sister on her first try.

But nonetheless, it hasn’t worked for us, and yet we still haven’t officially moved on to adoption. Instead, we are in a sort of in-between mode, waiting to have one more shot (or one last shot) at a pregnancy while dipping our toes into the adoption waters. But in my state of desperation, there is a part of me that keeps hoping that a situation will fall in our laps, that we’ll get a phone call about a baby being born this weekend and that we’ll be “saved” from making any more tough decisions or going through any more waiting.

While there is still a part of me that longs to be pregnant and that hasn’t fully resigned myself to the idea that I may never get to be pregnant and give birth to a child, there is another, equally strong part, that just wants to be done with the whole thing altogether. I just want to be a mother, and I know that adoption would/will be a very positive choice for us. I am ready for all of this to be done, one way or another. And so I have found myself desperately searching the internet for information on adoption. But rather than being systematic and thoughtful, I have been completely haphazard in what I am doing.

Prior to making the decision to move forward with this frozen cycle, we agreed that if it didn’t work, we would move forward whole-heartedly with adoption. We had not made any decision as to whether that would mean signing on with an agency or more aggressively pursuing an independent/designated adoption, but we had both agreed that this would be it for infertility (at least for a while). I had determined that I would work on getting everything ready for adoption (e.g., finishing our adoption profile and photo album, creating a website, research funding options and agencies) so that when/if the transfer didn’t work we would be ready. I think all of these things would make sense to do and would fall into the “systematic and thoughtful” course of action. This is not what I have been doing. In the process of researching these more sensible areas of adoption planning, I ran across several websites that post potential adoption situations. The postings are mostly from adoption facilitators but also some from agencies, attorneys, and, in a small number of cases, potential birthmothers. The sites are somewhat addictive because it makes it all seem so easy and so very close and real. I have emailed about several of these situations and have gotten myself excited about them actually panning out.

I emailed about a couple of situations that I never heard back about. But here’s the breakdown on the ones that I did:

Situation #1: This was through an agency. I actually talked to someone and think that it was a legitimate situation but 1) it was going to a lot more expensive than what we were hoping for and 2) there were circumstances that neither K nor I were comfortable with. I/we made this decision right away, so nothing lost. I also had the agency send me general information about their program, just in case.

Situation #2: This was through a facilitator. A match had already been found but…she would keep me in mind for future situations. She emailed me later that same day about a baby that was due that very weekend. If we were interested she would print off our profile and overnight it to the birthparents. I said “yes!” and to please call me if she needed anything else. She never called. I emailed her a few days later to see if there was any news. She never emailed me back.

Situation #3: This was through a facilitator. A match had already been found but…would we be interested in this other situation? Yes. I emailed her our online profile. A few days later she called me and asked if I was still interested and if so, she would mail our profile. I emailed her a more complete profile. That Friday I called to check in and was told that the FedEx with our profile had not arrived but that they were trying to locate it. On Saturday morning, I got up early and started doing some research about this facilitator. What I find out was not good. This woman does not have a great track record -- with adoptive families or birthmothers. Additionally, she has never called or emailed me since anyway. Needless to say, this was all a good reality check for me and led me to my previously mentioned state of calm and discussion with K.

But again, this didn’t last long as I found myself looking up the same sites the very next weekend in search of more situations. Which I emailed about. And heard back about two of them. K’s response was less than enthusiastic. At first, I was frustrated with his response. WHAT WAS HIS PROBLEM? THIS COULD BE OUR BABY!!

Then I took a step back and asked myself “What in the world am I doing?”

We had made the decision to move forward with a frozen cycle. If something turns up through one of the attorneys we talked to back in April, that is one thing. But for me to be randomly pursuing potential adoptive situations through unknown attorneys, agencies, and facilitators in various states across the country is absolutely ridiculous. Particularly since I am doing so without K’s true support and looking at situations that 1) he is not comfortable with and 2) he is not ready for. So…we had another long talk. We have decided that if this cycle doesn’t work, we will most likely sign on with the agency here in town that did our homestudy. And, I made him promise that we would have a good long talk about everything that we are and are not comfortable with at that point. I promised him that I would put a hold on my desperate searching and try to concentrate on what we are doing right now. So, I removed all the links to the adoption pages from my browser (Sad, I know, but I obviously have no self-control).

I can’t say I feel a whole lot better. But I know that this is the right thing to do. I can’t be splitting myself in two different directions. If we move forward with adoption, we need to do so with total commitment and put the infertility treatments behind us. But we’re obviously not there yet.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Frozen embryo transfer, blah, blah, blah

So I'm finding it very hard to get excited about this cycle. I FINALLY started my period and am scheduled for a transfer on September 28. But I'm just not really feeling it.

I really like the nurses at my clinic, the IVF coordinator in particular, but in terms of the doctors -- I could take 'em or leave 'em really and in fact, that sums it up pretty well as they seem to keep losing doctors. So, when the nurse asked if I wanted to set up a meeting with my doctor prior to transfer to discuss our options, I said no. I don't have the energy to go in there one more time than I have to and frankly, what is there to say? It's a frozen embryo cycle -- there's not a lot to do.

But, perhaps a meeting would have been nice. I had asked that they thaw 3 of our embryos from our first cycle (frozen on Day 1) and the 1 embryo from last cycle (frozen on Day 3). K went in today to pick up our consent forms and they told him that they would be thawing the 3 and only thawing the other 1 if the first three don't look right. Not really sure of the reasoning -- K is not exactly good at repeating information (in fact, I've yet to meet a man who is), so they could very well have told him something that made complete sense but he was unable to articulate that to me. Now, I had specifically wanted to try and transfer our embryo from the last cycle (I'm calling him "Uno") because I somehow have a good feeling about that one, but now it looks like that may not happen. I should be upset. And perhaps I am/will be. But right now I'm having trouble giving a shit. Maybe that's a good thing?

On the adoption front -- nothing is happening and I haven't written about it because I think I'm a little embarrassed? I definitely think that I was acting in a completely desperate, haphazard way which could have easily led me to make a poor decision. Thankfully I calmed myself down (at least somewhat), talked with K, and I think that we have come to some resolution as to next steps if this transfer doesn't work. I will write more about this, and my forays into adoption postings online, in a future post.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Oh, the irony

37 days and counting...

So I always find it ironic when I am desperately waiting for a period. About the same kind of irony as when I'm taking birth-control pills as part of an infertility treatment cycle. Or, getting my tubes tied so that I can get pregnant. Oh, the world of infertility is a strange, strange place.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

34 days and counting

and still no period. Why am I surprised? Actually, I'm not surprised. Of course I haven't started my period. Of course it's late. I'm actually not going to be surprised when this whole cycle is going to have to be delayed another month or so because of lab closures. I mean, I have run into lab closures 2 out of my last 3 cycles, and the nurse I spoke with last week mentioned that I might be running up against another. (How often do they clean that fucking lab? Is that a good thing? Or should I be worried that it's dirty enough to have to be cleaned so often?) Oh, and the doctor that did my last retrieval--who I had determined I actually liked? He's gone. Been deployed to Iraq. So, this cycle is off to a great non-start so far...

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Waiting is intoxicating (really)

I've already talked a lot about how the hardest thing for me in all of this is the waiting. But, the fact remains that that continues to be the hardest thing and I can't seem to get over it. I am struggling with an overwhelming sense of desperation and a need to do something, when in fact, there is so little that I can do. It makes me so incredibly edgy and just feels awful.

I am still waiting to start my period so that we can get started with the frozen embryo transfer -- I am, of course, late in starting making the waiting even longer. I am having trouble being very excited or even engaged at all in this upcoming cycle. Of course, I've figured out the timing of everything already -- depending on when I transfer, when I could first take a test, have a first ultrasound if it was positive, finish the first trimester etc. etc. But that's just standard procedure -- I've being doing that in some way or another for years now...

In the meantime, I have been browsing the web sporadically and somewhat haphazardly for information on adoption. As I said, I'm feeling this awful sense of desperation and it makes me rather than less than organized or systematic in how I am proceeding with things. So, I stumbled across several websites where adoption professionals (mostly facilitators, some agencies) post adoption situations. I randomly emailed about a couple of them and while none of the ones that I had emailed about were still available, I was given information about a couple of other ones. Supposedly, our family profile is going to be shown to each of these birth mothers soon.(!)

But, I don't really know much more than that. Totally obsessive, impatient person that I am, I was hoping it to happen immediately and to get a phone call or email right away. That hasn't happened. I don't really know what to think or feel. On Friday, when all of this happened, I was feeling incredibly excited and hopeful. But by the very next day, I was already feeling let-down and disappointed. Which I know intellectually speaking is ridiculous but my brain and emotions don't always coincide and no matter how many times I tell myself that 1) it hasn't been long enough to think anything one way or another 2) we haven't gotten ourselves invested (really) in either of these situations and whatever happens will happen and 3) we are about to start another frozen embryo cycle which could work and I can look forward to that .... I can't stop myself from thinking and hoping about the what ifs. What if one of these situations is the right one for us? What if one of these will lead us to our baby???

I can't help myself. It's all I can think about. But, as always, there is really nothing that I can do. So, I have been trying to keep myself busy, and mildly intoxicated. It is 2:30 in the afternoon and I am on my second glass of wine (which came after a beer). So far this weekend I have pulled a lot of weeds from the garden and yard (although my fight against dandelions is really a pointless, losing battle), made a batch of home-made pasta sauce, frozen a dozen or so tomatoes (we still have so many tomatoes it's ridiculous), cleaned the kitchen and bathroom, read most of Harry Potter - Book 4 (for probably the 5th or 6th time), taken the dog for a walk, had sex (which is truly amazing--the fact that I wanted to have sex, not the sex, although it was not bad), and.... checked my email about 100 times.

And now, my second glass of wine is gone. What to do, what to do? It looks really lonely and sad, sitting there empty. Hmmm... maybe I'll go pull more weeds. And then see how I feel. Perhaps I'll check back in here later. Or, perhaps I'll just get drunk. Really good and truly drunk.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Uncomfortable Encounters

So, I just finished this book, Feed, and there is a line in it that has stuck with me and has gotten me thinking:

"She laughed really short and harsh. I didn't think she should joke about that, because you just don't joke about your life. Especially because it can make people really uncomfortable, if you have something wrong with you, and you keep bringing it up in certain ways."

One of the reasons that I don't find myself wanting to talk about my infertility very often is that it seems to make people uncomfortable. And that makes me uncomfortable. They don't know what to say. And I always find myself trying to make light of the situation -- turn it all into a joke. And it never really goes over very well. Joking about it is obviously a defense mechanism in some ways, but just like the saying "if I don't laugh, I'll cry" (is that even really a saying?) sometimes laughing really helps. And so does crying. Before my tubal surgery, I found myself crying and laughing a lot. It became really hysterical to me that I was going in to have my tubes tied so that I could get pregnant. I mean, that's really pretty fucking funny. It got me laughing so hard, I cried. But, it's not the kind of thing that seems to go over very well with others...

Anyway, back to my original point. I think people are often made uncomfortable by other people's problems. I'm not sure what it is exactly, but it's almost like avoiding a situation will make it go away. Or by not acknowledging it, it won't be there? I think this feeling of discomfort makes people try to avoid these situations or people altogether. My guess is that this happens a lot. And that we've all probably done it at some point or another. It's just gotten me thinking. I know that I have felt uncomfortable talking to people (friends) before about some problem that I was having and have realized that I was uncomfortable because they seemed uncomfortable. And I wonder if I have made others feel that way--does other people's pain make me uncomfortable?

Maybe. I hope not. Or I hope that I am at least empathetic enough to listen without letting my own discomfort show. But what about the times when I have not called someone who was going through a difficult time (surgery, death in the family) because I "didn't want to bother them"? Was that really it? Was it really about them or was it more about me? I didn't want to feel uncomfortable. I didn't want to be bothered. I can't say with any confidence whether I have ever acted this way or not. But I know that others have seemed to act this way towards me. And it's got me thinking. If I have ever made someone feel uncomfortable by my own discomfort with what was happening in their lives, or if I've avoided someone for this, I am really sorry. It was about their pain, and I made it into something about me. And that isn't right. Knowing this, I can at least hope that I will never respond this way in the future. People don't always want to talk about their problems, their sorrows. And that is ok. But if they do, someone needs to be there to listen.

Which brings me to another line in the book that I thought was really good:

"You know...this isn't re: the world serving you some meg three-course dump banquet...She's the one who this is happening to. I don't know what you're saying to her? But I hope you aren't sulking weirdly."