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“.

 

 

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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).

 

 

 

Boot Camp Baby Bomb

Last year, around this time, I signed up for a boot camp with a friend.  It was in the time just before I got into the fertility clinic. Another little window for exercise.  I stopped the class when we started to “try”. There was no way I was going to lose another baby.  I know that exercising is very likely NOT the reason that I lost my babies, but in the back of my head there is always the wonder and blame.

“Maybe I shouldn’t have gone swimming”

“Maybe I shouldn’t have done those push ups”

“Maybe, maybe, maybe….”

To take the class in the first place, I of course had to fill out the medical questionnaire.

  • Recent Surgery? Yes, two D&Cs
  • Medication? (insert long list of fertility drugs here)
  • Recent Weight Gain? Yes (see above)
  • Reason to want to “Get Fit”?  So that I stop looking pregnant/ So that I can get pregnant

Tonight I went back to Boot Camp.  I have a small window to “Get Fit” so it seemed like a great idea! (And I’ve already filled out the stupid form, so I won’t have to fill it out again!)

Feeling extra sporty, I rode my bike to Boot Camp. I got there a little early and was waiting outside the studio with my friend.  A woman who had been in the class with us the first time arrived and spotted me.

“It’s so great to see you!” and she gave me a big hug.

As her body pressed up against mine, I realized that for someone who’s been doing Boot Camp for a year, she hasn’t lost ANY weight.  Then I realized why her stomach was so big.  I almost threw up.

I thought I was going to be ok.  I held it together and kept eye contact with my friend.  This will pass.

Then the woman came into the class with us.  She was going to do Boot Camp.  My eyes started to well up and my friend (bless her) pulled me outside the studio right before Niagara Falls started to pour out of my face.  I tried to explain to her (whilst blubbering like a three year old and gasping for air) that it was just so hard for me to watch pregnant people working out. Especially a class like that.  Don’t they have their OWN classes to go to?  I know that it’s healthy for pregnant women to work out, but after so many losses, it’s hard to watch someone putting their pregnancies at risk right in front of me.  I’m sure it’s not even a risk. I’m sure she’s doing all of the right modifications etc., it’s just difficult for me when EVERYTHING I do is a risk. It’s difficult to watch someone who is pregnant be easy and care-free about it.  Those days are so long gone for me.

My friend was amazing.  I can’t say it enough that I have the best “team”.  I told her how important it was for me to do the class and use this time to get in shape.  She helped me build up the courage to go back in, and she even blocked my view of Ms. Pregnant the whole time.  Thanks to the support (and the blinders) I left feeling great and I will go back.  “Get Fit!’

So I think we’re going to do this…

Tomorrow morning my husband and I have an appointment with the infertility counsellor I’ve been seeing for the past couple of years.  It will be strange to bring him to see her.  I’ve been talking to her alone for so long.  “Pavlov’s Dog” syndrome is totally in play with her.  Every time I go, I cry – even when I’ve been having a good day! I actually started to tear up when I saw her photo in an IVF information video!  I’m really hoping to control some of the blubbering tomorrow. (I guarantee my husband won’t be blubbering)

So here’s why we’re going:

Meeting with the counsellor is the first step for couples considering the IVF process.  We’ve had a few months to really think about it and talk about it.  The adoption could still take at least a year.  I’m 38 years old  – If we’re going to try, it has to be now.

The plan is to do IVF with genetic testing. If the embryos test abnormal, the process stops there. At least that would give us (a very expensive) answer.  If all goes well, we can start in October.  This gives me a little more time to eat the right things, keep exercising and wrap my head around it all.

Here goes…

Not quite a decision….

We’ve been sitting on our “news” for a couple of days. We haven’t talked about it much. I think the hubby is all talked out for the moment.
I contacted the adoption agency. We have moved from number 25 on the list to number 12. This is a big jump. I had been feeling negative, thinking that there hasn’t been much movement. The Special Needs program doesn’t follow a list the way the mainstream program does, but it does mean that people have brought their children home and that we are closer to ours. The rough estimate our contact gave us was another 6-12 months. This seems like forever to broken hearted me, but I know it’s not. The director of the agency is in Vietnam right now meeting children and will be making more matches when she returns in late July. That will be decision time for us. When she returns, we’ll have a better idea as to a timeline and the needs of the children that are presently waiting for families. Maybe we’ll even be matched (not holding my breath on this round).
IVF is still not off the table. I have this sting feeling that I need to try EVERYTHING before I “give up”. Once we have a better idea as to what’s going on with the adoption we will talk about it again.
In the mean time, the best thing I can do for myself (and my sanity) is to take care of myself. I have a month to eat well , exercise (something I’ve been too scared to do for fear of shaking a potential baby out of my body), be off of crazy hormone meds. This will (hopefully) help me start to feel like myself again. If we go ahead with IVF my body will be better ready. If the adoption is first, I’ll be ready to run after a toddler.
This is all I’ve got for now.

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Decisions, decisions

After months of “assistance” (cycle monitoring, injectable drugs, progesterone suppositories) I am yet to see a positive pregnancy test.

We went to the clinic just under a year ago to try to get to the bottom of our three losses.  Why was this happening? Will I ever be able to carry a baby to term? What can we do?

The diagnosis was “immature eggs”.   The solution was to take meds and monitor my cycle to correct the issue.  We’ve been trying this for several months to no avail.

I recently met with the doctor again last week to revisit the issue.  I just can’t understand why I could get pregnant 3 times with broken babies, and now, with help haven’t.

The doctor looked at my monitoring results (blood and ultrasound) from the past several months and let me know the devastating news.

This isn’t going to work.

The doctor, probably wisely, said to continue with what we’re doing is “just not good medicine”.

He gave us one option.  IVF.

This was a hard pill to swallow. When we embarked upon this journey, IVF was our “line”.  IVF was out.  IVF was not an option.

Now that I’ve had three babies in my belly and never been able to meet them, all of a sudden, having a biological child has become more important.  After all of this effort, it’s hard to stop here.

My husband and I have some big decisions to make.  Is it worth the gamble? Is it worth the expense? Is this the way we want to start our family?  We’ve already started the adoption process.  The wait could be long.  Maybe it’s time to just sit and wait.http://www.ivillage.ca/sites/default/files/imagecache/preganancy_article_main/IVF.jpg