Monday, July 30, 2007

Happy Anniversary

So, Friday was our anniversary. I thought this year was sure to be our lucky year and that this anniversary would certainly bring good tidings, especially considering this year’s date – 7.27.07. Furthermore, two thousand seven was supposed to be a good year for us. Mostly because two thousand sucks had ended. Yes, oh yes, 2006 was not a good year for us.

2007, however, has certainly not been the year we had hoped it would be. I have to say it didn’t even start off very well, being that we spent New Year’s Eve stuck in a hotel in Amarillo, TX with all possible means of getting back into Colorado shut off to us due to snow. But still, we hoped for a good year. I mean, we really thought that we were due for some good luck after the disaster that was two thousand sucks. Of course we briefly thought the same thing after 2005, but it became obvious very quickly (January 2nd in fact), that 2006 was not going to be a good year for us. Forgive me as I reminisce back to January 2, 2006 – a beautiful ski day in the mountains, full of laughter and good cheer. Until K decided to run into a tree and break his leg. Oops, there goes 2006. And it continued to go down the toilet as … the cast for K’s leg didn’t work and he had to have surgery, my first two monitored cycles (once we could finally begin trying again in March) I ovulated on the right and so we couldn’t try that month, subsequent cycles where I was ovulating on the left were unsuccessful, K broke his hip mountain biking (no, I’m not kidding. The man really did break his leg, the same leg, twice in one year), my car was rear-ended and the insurance totaled it (luckily, we fixed that right up with a little duct tape – OK, not exactly fixed but at least got the bumper stuck back on…), my IVF was cancelled after retrieval due to fluid in the uterus. Did I miss anything? Possibly. But it’s really too depressing to remember everything. More depressing, I think, is the fact that 2005 was an equally bad year if not worse (2 ectopic pregnancies, 1 miscarriage, stolen car, wrist surgery, 3 months of silent treatment from father...) God, I need a drink.

2006 was seriously so shitty that we renamed it 2000-sucks. In fact, we tried to get a head’s start by renaming the Jewish year of 5756, 5750-sucks, in hopes that we would start off the new Jewish year on a better foot, but when that didn’t work (see above -- cancelled IVF), we were really truly hopeful about 2007. I mean, we knew we were starting the year with me getting my tubes tied. How much better of a way for a girl to start a year is there really?

Friday, July 27, 2007

Pre-natal Vitamins

Another cancelled cycle brought about the ritual cleansing of all artifacts related to IVF, pregnancy, etc. This cleansing was not nearly as dramatic as the last. I managed to do it all without once bursting into nears (OK, maybe just once but no more than that) and I didn’t throw anything (really). For me, the process begins by removing all the drugs and syringes from the bathroom counter, collecting all the paperwork laying around (calendars, schedules, etc.) and ritually burning them (I’m not kidding. I really do burn them. It’s cathartic, sort of), and of course, we can’t forget those assholes of assholes, the pre-natal vitamins.

After the failed frozen transfer, I threw them across the yard, aiming for the compost pile. I don’t think I actually made it in the compost pile. A few hours later, hanging my head in shame, I asked K to go and find them. (He already had and put them in the garage where they remained, unharmed for several weeks). I’m sure I’m not the only one who has a hate/hate relationship (no, I definitely don’t mean love/hate) with her pre-natal vitamins. When I first started taking them 3 ½ years ago, I did so with excitement. And after my first ectopic, I couldn’t wait to start taking them again – I mean, I actually cried when I started my period for the second time and could once again start trying and taking pre-natals. Alas, those glorious days of optimism have long since passed me by, and my pre-natal vitamins have become a symbol for all that hasn’t worked.

I hate the fuckers. I hate that in all the information on IVF, along with the directions for taking Lupron, progesterone and every other hormone in the known universe, they remind you take start taking pre-natal vitamins. As if every infertile woman hasn’t been taking those assholes for years. Of course I know the benefits of pre-natal vitamins (folic acid, etc.). I am also completely aware that the other suggestions that you can find regarding getting ready for IVF – eating healthy, stopping drinking, getting in shape prior to beginning– are probably damn good advice. But, for me at least, I was too damn tired and depressed by the time I got to IVF to worry about any of those things. I mean, how could anyone seriously expect me to get through any of this without drinking? Or God for forbid, without coffee? And when it came to the pre-natal vitamins, yes, I took them. Most of the time. Begrudgingly. And a lot of good it did me. They are now hiding under the sink in the bathroom with the remainder of my IVF drugs. And for the moment, good riddance.

Denied, again

We started the IVF process a little over a year ago. In the time since, we have managed to go to transfer once. Yep, just the once. So, basically, in the last year, we have had one chance to get pregnant. Pretty good odds, huh?

Once again, my cycle has been cancelled after retreival, and this time with much, much less to show for it. Delay and waiting is the name of the game when it comes to infertility. For everyone. But I have to say, I think we have encountered more delays and waiting than most. Take the last year for example. We had our first appointment with a new RE regarding IVF in July. At that point we were still working with another clinic on a very low invasive technique -- monitoring by ultrasound for ovulation and only trying when I was ovulating on the left. The day after our initial IVF appointment, I had an ultrasound showing that I was indeed ovulating on the left. So, we gave it the old college try and then proceeded to wait and see if anything was going to happen. 2 weeks. No period! Negative pregnancy test #1, #2, maybe #3? (who can keep count?) At some point I decided that I was very possibly ovulating again, so what the hell, let's keep trying, and waiting... Of course nothing happened except for delaying by several weeks our ability to move forward with pre-IVF testing. We finally got through all the pre-IVF testing and I got on birth control pills. First ultrasound (after 4 weeks of pills) -- cyst. Wait another week. By this time it was well into October (or maybe it was already November?).

But, the IVF process seemed to be going beautifully for us. I was stimming well and when we went to retrieval in early December, they retrieved 19 eggs. But then, that afternoon, I got the call. Fluid in the uterus. Lots of it. Chances for a successful transfer with this amount of fluid-- around 2%. Recommendation - freeze all embryos the following day. Get tubal ligation (they assumed the fluid was coming from my tubes based on my history of ectopics and presumed tubal damage). Do frozen embryo transfer. So, on to more delays. The rest, of course, is history, of which I may go into in more detail in another post, but on the topic of delay, it was not until March that we finally got to actually have a transfer, which didn't work. We decided to move forward with a whole new, fresh IVF cycle in May, and guess what? More delays! The clinic was closing for cleaning. One of the doctors was leaving. I had started birth-control pills to prepare myself for the cycle, but oops -- because of the clinic delays I was going to have been on them for too long, so let's delay even more before we could start! And now of course, here we are - delayed again. Transfer cancelled. Fluid in the uterus. (Boy, I sure am glad I got my tubes tied so as to avoid that problem.) Oh, and we only had one egg fertilize. So, now what? Frozen embryo transfer? Sure, that's a great idea. Only, you'll have to wait at least 6 weeks to get started...

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Crazy infertile woman

Or something like that. Angry? Yes. Scared? Yes. Frustrated? Yes. Wondering where the hell my real doctor, the one who actually knows me, is? Yes, yes, and yes. I understand that clinics rotate doctors, and I'm usually not concerned about who is seeing me -- hey, I'm not sure how much I actually even like my regular physician, so I'm not usually concerned. On the other hand, here I am a day away from trigger, with a remarkably unremarkable response taking place and a potential complication arising--I'd kind of like to talk to my doctor, you know, one I've met before. But, no. I am stuck with a doctor that I met for the first time on Wednesday and while she may be very nice (I really don't think so right now, but then I am high on hormones so who knows?) and may be very, very competent, she doesn't know me, and she doesn't know my history. (Oh, did I mention that she is brand new to the clinic--been there a week?) The cursory glance she took at my chart doesn't count, nor does the slightly closer look she took when we insisted.

I've felt for a long time that one of the worst things about infertility was the total lack of control one has. I have absolutely no control over what is going on with my body. I mean, what the hell are my ovaries thinking? And my uterus--we really need to have a long talk. I've also learned, through my experience with infertility as well as other unfortunate encounters with medical professionals in the last several years, that you have to be very proactive when it comes to your health. And I have been. But, there is only so much I can do. I mean, how many more times can I google "fluid in uterus and IVF"? I'm not going to find out anything I don't already know or haven't already found. In fact, I'd probably just end up back here, at my own post, since there isn't a whole hell of a lot of information out there. So, what to do but wait? Nothing I guess. But I'm good at waiting. Or at least I have a lot of practice at it.

Monday, July 16, 2007

When are you planning to have kids?

Why is that question so hard? You would think by this point I would have a pat answer that I could just pull out of my hat with no thought at all. But no, instead, my heart starts pounding, I fumble around with a silly grin on my face. Answer quickly and change the subject as quickly as possible. Uuuugghh. It’s silly really. I mean, if there’s any topic that’s been thoroughly covered in probably every infertility blog and online discussion board it’s this one. I’ve a hundred one-liners (some of them real zingers) tucked away for this very question. And yet, and yet, when it comes, I’m always caught off guard. I can’t’ respond and end up feeling like shit. Why is that? I’ve been pretty lucky over these past three years when it comes to the inappropriate questions and comments that many women/couples going through infertility have to deal with. I haven’t gotten a whole lot of them. Of course, we all get the question about whether we plan to or want to have kids, but I haven’t had to deal with much worse than that. And yet I still walk around terrified of someone asking me about having kids. I don’t know why I can’t just say “Yes. We hope to have kids some day.” And move on without feeling like a complete wreck. But I can’t. What about you? Does this question nearly bring you to tears?