A Look Back and a Plan for the New Year

The last few years have been very difficult. Holidays like Christmas, New Year’s Eve, birthdays, Mother’s Day even Halloween always remind me of all that I have lost.  For years now I have suffered through “the worst Christmas ever”, only to have it trumped the following year.  On New Year’s Eves I have put the pain of the previous year behind  looking forward to a “fresh start” only to face another difficult series of events.

Christmas was hard.  It’s impossible not to think about what might have been, what Christmas in my home SHOULD be like, the celebrations that are happening  in the homes of my friends and their new families and where we could have gone on vacation if we hadn’t have spent our money on a failed IVF.  I got through it.  There were tears, arguments with my husband and loneliness but I got through it.

I got through New Year’s Eve too.  I thought a lot about last year’s New Year’s Eve reflection.   I knew last year that 2013 wasn’t going to be a good one.  I wasn’t being pessimistic, I was being realistic.  This year is a little different.  This year there is actually a chance.   Not a guarantee, but at least a chance.

My husband and I were approved for adoption over a year ago.  The original estimated wait time was 18 months.  The numbers have gone up and down since then, but it does mean that REALISTICALLY, we could be matched with our child this year.

As frustrating as the fertility treatment fails were, I’m glad that I did them.  I can say with confidence that I tried “all the ways“.  It doesn’t mean that I’m not mourning the loss of that potential biological child, but it does mean that I need to shift my focus towards the adoption.

Unlike fertility treatments, focusing on adoption alone feels much less productive.  There are no calendars or early morning appointments.  I had to consider what “focusing on adoption” meant to me.    I think it’s going to mean the following:

  • getting into shape to prepare to run after a potentially terrified running toddler (I’ve heard stories about this from other adoptive parents)
  • taking care of myself, continuing acupuncture and mourning my losses so that I’m ready to be a happy parent
  • continuing and possibly increasing my involvement with the adoption agency. ( I currently write for the newsletter)
  • saving money so if I get my referral the trip to Vietnam and time off work won’t put me into enormous debt.

That’s a start. If the adoption doesn’t go through this year, none of those actions will be a waste. They’re all positive things.

My husband wants me to start considering that our life may not include children.  I’m not ready to think about that.  For now I have to assume that I will have a child. I just “can’t choose when“.

 

 

Now what?

Just a quick update because it’s still a little raw to write about.  My pregnancy test was negative.  IVF didn’t work for me.  It feels like a loss in so many ways.  My heart is broken.  Now I need to figure out how to move on.  Today I have an acupuncture appointment and lunch with a great friend planned.   I guess that’s a start.

Image

This is it!

then there were two

then there were two

The time is now.  My eggs have been retrieved and now I’m waiting.

The whole process so far has been exciting, exhausting and time consuming.  As soon as we decided to do IVF, I decided to do everything in my power to make it work.  That way, I’d know that I’d tried everything.

I’ve been exercising a lot.  I’ve been going to bootcamp twice a week and jogging or swimming on the other days.  I’ve changed my diet.  I’ve cut down on wheat, dairy, soy and sugar and I’ve cut out alcohol and caffeine all together.  I’ve been going to acupuncture/Cranial Sacral therapy and reflexology.   I feel good, I’ve lost weight and if nothing else, it’s given me a sense of control over this whole crazy situation.

The weeks building up to the retrieval were stressful.  They found a cyst and almost cancelled the cycle.  They decided after all to go ahead with it.  My estrogen was sky-rocketing but my follicles were growing slowly.  We were really going day by day and altering the doses of my meds.  The only way for me to get through it was step by step.  I was far from thinking about embryos and tests and transfers, I just had to focus on follicles and getting to the retrieval.

We got there! The retrieval was on Saturday (a day later than originally scheduled). It was SO painful.  They had to move around my ovaries to get to the eggs.  Ouch. The team in the OR were great though and hubby was really supportive. We were able to retrieve 14 eggs.

The numbers game has been the hardest part.  We started with 14 eggs.   From the 14 eggs, 9 were fertilized.  I thought this number was pretty good and I started to relax.  The next day I got the call that 6 embryos had survived, 3 were thriving and three were a little behind.

Today the doctor called me directly (never a good sign).  Only two embryos have survived and now I had decisions to make.

1. We send the two embryos for genetic testing (sending the embryos for testing was the original plan).  Sending only two is very risky because they don’t all survive the process.  It’s also very expensive for just two embryos.

2. We wait until day 5 to see if the other embryos grow, freeze them all and transfer at  a later date.

3. We transfer the two survivors on day 5 and skip the genetic testing.

After a good cry, I called my husband and we made our decision.  We’re going with option 3.  There are risks involved with all the options!  I’m feeling ok about skipping the testing.  The fact that so many embryos didn’t survive is maybe the answer we needed.  Maybe we just needed some good strong embryos.

I have another check up/blood and ultrasound tomorrow and if those little guys survive, we’ll be doing the transfer on Thursday.

One step at a time…

Here goes….Time to buy some socks?

After about 8 gallons of ginger tea my cycle started which means they can fit in IVF before the clinic shuts down for the holidays.

This is it!

I’m on the birth control pill now until Thursday.  I have an endo-biopsy scheduled for tomorrow…apparently this is to beef up the lining? I’m pretty sure they’re just looking for more excuses to poke me.  Our egg retrieval is scheduled for November 15.  (I guess I need to buy some socks? I’m finally starting to understand everyone else’s posts. What’s the story with pineapple?)

My husband wanted to have a big talk the other night.  The “We need to be prepared for this not to work and prepare for the idea of not having children” talk.

I shut it down.  I’m not ready for this talk.  I’ve been working so hard to be calm and positive.  I’m on a fertility cleanse, I’m exercising, I’m going to acupuncture, reflexology, Cranial Sacral therapy, losing weight and going to counselling.  All of this, although sparked by the fertility treatment, is contributing to me being a calmer and happier person.  I’m not ready to let go of the peace that I have just found.

Here are my worries and “what ifs” and potential road blocks – just to get them out of my system:

– no good eggs

– no good sperm

– no fertilized eggs

– genetic testing proves that embryos are all abnormal

– embryos don’t survive

– I get pregnant and lose another baby

 

There – it’s out and now I can let go of my worries.  I’ll just take it one step at a time  (and I’ll take those steps in my new socks).

 

 

 

Prepping (grumbly tummy and sobbing at acupuncture)

I have an appointment to set up my IVF protocol on October 4th.  In keeping with my summer resolution, I’m doing all I can to prepare.  I’m working on getting healthy and I’ve started going to acupuncture.  All a part of feeling “productive” I guess.

I have friends that have gone through IVF (some successful).  Several of them went on a “fertility diet” to prepare for the procedure.  No dairy, no soy, no wheat, no sugar, no alcohol, no caffeine.

The alcohol and caffeine are the easiest to cut it out.  I feel like I’ve been pregnant so often in the last couple of years that these have been cut out most of the time.  Dairy, soy, wheat and sugar…that’s another story!  I love bread. I love bread with cheese on it!

I’m not going to go 100% on the fertility diet.  I think that would be setting myself up for failure.  I also think it would take away from some of the joys I do experience in my life. My husband works long hours (this month he’s on nights and we don’t even cross paths until the weekend).  Our time together is important.  We like to go out to restaurants. Cutting out all of those foods all the time would mean cutting out the restaurants (or at least the good ones).  I have to find the balance, so I’m cutting those things out Monday to Friday and doing my best to cut down on the weekends.  Did I mention I’m also a vegetarian and my kitchen is under construction?? It hasn’t been easy, but I’m managing (grumble grumble).

My favourite part of preparing has been the acupuncture.  This is something I have always wanted to try. The only thing that held me back was the expense. It’s still expensive, but considering the cost of IVF I want to do everything that will work in my favour.

The Naturopath that I’m seeing does a combination of acupuncture and CranioSacral therapy. I didn’t even know what CranioSacral therapy was before I started and admittedly I was kind of a sceptic.

On my first visit, after a full medical check up, the doctor placed the acupuncture needles in me.  For the CranioSacral therapy, she told me that she’d be placing her hands on parts of my body.  At first I didn’t feel anything beyond good old fashioned relaxation.  She held my feet, she held my legs, she held my arms.  Then she placed her hands on my hips.  I was instantly overcome with sadness.  A knot formed in my throat, tears rushed down my face. It took everything in my power not to full-out sob.  Next, she placed her hands on my shoulders, back to relaxation. The tears were gone. Then she placed her hands under my head, lifting and supporting it  – the sobbing started right back up.  To clarify – I’ve had my head held before, I get my hair washed at the salon – this was different, I can’t even explain it.  When it was over I felt that a huge weight had been lifted.  I feel like I should have done this ages ago especially after the losses.  This might be exactly what I needed to help me let go.

I have gone back once more since the first visit and had a very similar reaction.  Relaxed most of the time and this time the tears started when she held my pelvis.  It’s no coincidence that these areas are what are bring the sadness forward. Time for me to heal.