Day 1

For once, “Day 1” is not referring to any kind of cycle timing and that feels completely bizarre.

In this case, Day 1 is referring to the first day of my medical leave from work following my spectacular crash.

It is also Day 1 of National Infertility Awareness Week in the US.  This year the theme is “Start Asking” (#startasking).

I realized on Friday that I need to start asking for help and that’s what I have done.

How fitting, then.  Here we are on Day 1 and I am starting by asking for help and I want to encourage others to start asking for help.

A brilliant post by Sarah over at Infertilty Honesty got me thinking about the trauma that comes with infertilty and she referenced this article about how fertility treatments put women at risk for PTSD – half of the women in the study met the official criteria for PTSD. That’s a huge statement.  That’s time to #startasking for help.

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She Strikes Again

My MIL has struck again.  You might remember the incident after the funeral (WordPress is being difficult – see the post “Ties that Bind”), but I think she has actually topped herself this time.

We had a phone call a couple of weeks ago where they mentioned coming to visit and bringing some of DH’s “personal things” that they had been storing.  We inquired about the “personal things” as they had recently moved and delivered us 6 huge rubbermaid tubs of stuff.  I thought we had it all and I only recently just finished going through it!  She said she would “get back to us”.

A week or so later we received an email saying they were coming to visit, arriving on a Thursday night and leaving Saturday morning.  Thinking perhaps they had looked at the wrong days, I mentioned we would be at work on both Thursday and Friday.  To which she responded, they were aware of that but they could entertain themselves.  You see, they are on their way down south and they have a bunch of places they would like to stop at and spend some time at on their way down.  Ouch.  Clearly they would prefer that to spending time with their oldest son who they see twice a year.  Did I mention they are retired?! They can come any. time. they. want.

Also in this email was again the mention of the “personal things”.  I asked (yet again), what are these personal things?

She responded with an itemized list…of baby clothes.

That’s right.  Baby clothes and quilts that she made for my DH when he was a baby.

Baby clothes considering they don’t know about the recent failed IVF and IUI.

Baby clothes that have never been offered the THREE PREVIOUS TIMES WE HAVE BEEN PREGNANT.

Baby clothes that suddenly need to come to our house as we brace ourselves for the sad reality that in a few days his brother and wife will give birth.  The same brother and wife that got pregnant one month after we did and yet are still having their baby while we are not.

Baby clothes from my DH’s childhood to juxtapose that he might never actually have a child of his own to wear them.

Baby clothes that we can one day throw away with our dreams.

And calling them “personal things” – was she just going to stand there in our house while we opened the tub only to realize that it was baby clothes? And then take a twisted pleasure in our pain and discomfort?

Does she want to hurt us? I can’t fathom that ANYONE is that insensitive. It can’t be possible that she doesn’t get it.  Not after what just happened.

Right? Right??

What the hell am I going to do about this one?

Decisions.

January has been a big month for fertility decisions.

At the beginning of the month we attended a seminar on domestic adoption.  It was a full two day event and a very emotionally intense couple of days.  The seminar itself warrants its own post (or several) but in conclusion, we have given ourselves two months to reflect and talk about whether or not we want to proceed with domestic adoption. In the meantime, we plan to attend an information session on international adoption.

We attended the seminars at the advice of my psychologist who told us we need to evaluate adoption while we still feel like we have options.  As she put it, we don’t want to look at each other in 10 years and say “Why didn’t we look into adoption again?” because that could very quickly lead to blame and resentment.

We were also offered another fresh IVF cycle.  Which means the decision we were putting off now had to be made.

In the end, we have decided to proceed with another cycle and the Suprefact starts next week.

We did an old-fashioned pros and cons list but what it boiled to was that we might as well do this while we have the money and jobs as the economy is not getting any better and I am not getting any younger. It makes me angry, the money component.  After this cycle we will have spent the equivalent of what we intend to spend on my DH’s MBA on trying to get pregnant.

It’s a pretty tough pill to swallow.

 

With Grace

“You have been through so much and you have handled it with grace”. That’s what our Fertility Doctor said to us on December 15 and it was probably one of the nicest things he could have said – given the circumstances.

You see, we were accepted for our frozen embryo transfer in mid-November and it started with my old friend Suprefact five times a day. Very inconvenient if you have a professional job that requires meetings.

We decided not to tell anyone because everything would happen to close to Christmas and there are already so many emotions around this time of year, why add to the pile?! We are also tired of being the pity case. Tired of “helpful” advice and tired of having to share our never-ending bad news. We wanted this to be just us for a while.

After my period it was more Suprefact, low dose aspirin and some estrogen until my lining ultrasound the second week of December. Everything looked great and the estrogen was increased steadily over the next few days and they threw in some progesterone too. My purse was already a pharmacy, what’s a bit more? Nevermind the fact it’s vaginal progesterone 3 times a day. Sigh.

The transfer was scheduled for December 15 and we both took a vacation day. To say that we were cautiously optimistic would be an understatement. My acupuncturist was scheduled to come for the post transfer treatment. Everything was lining up perfectly.

And then the embryologist called.

He was exceptionally sorry to inform us that neither embryo survived the thawing process and there would not be a transfer today. Instead, we needed to come in and see our doctor.

Shock.

That’s really the only word for it.

We went to see our Fertility Doctor who was at a loss for words.  90% of all embryos survive the thawing process…but neither of ours did. Statistically speaking that’s rather incredible. For all the wrong reasons.

He spent a lot of time with us. He actually left, saw another patient, and then came back. He went through everything in our file. Every test, every result and every procedure. Everything is fine. Nothing is stellar but everything is where it should be or “pretty good”.

He told us he doesn’t know what to suggest anymore. We could do a chromosome testing IVF but he wouldn’t recommend that because it involves freezing and thawing again. We could do another IVF but there isn’t anything that can be done to increase our chances because our results last time were “pretty good” (not great but good). He would not recommend donors (sperm or egg) because ours are fine.  He wouldn’t recommend surrogacy because I do not fit the criteria (and it’s not really a thing here anyways). After all, I can get pregnant and I have been three times. There is nothing to suggest someone else could carry them further. Our antibodies are fine, our chromosomes are fine and my uterus is textbook.

He told us to go home and think about what we want to do and so that’s what we are doing.

As we move from one year to another New Year around the corner, it is already a time for reflection anyway.

Adults who Failed Sex Ed

“It was an oops”, “Announcing a whoops”, “ We weren’t really trying” or my personal favorite “We weren’t trying but we weren’t not trying” (Is that even a proper sentence?! Because it doesn’t even make sense!).  These statements are coming from adults who clearly failed sexual education in elementary school. Did you have unprotected sex? If so, you should understand that could result in a baby.

These are also really hard statements for couples with infertility to hear. We have been trying (and for goodness sake I do mean trying) and planning and preparing. Money has been saved, books read – heck, even a shortlist of names made. In our case it also includes tests, drugs, needles and a whole heck of a lot of emotion. And nothing. It’s hard to understand how people approach such a journey with such a laissez-faire attitude. And it is even harder to understand how these are the people for whom it always works out. Why you and why not me? Why not both of us?

If you are thinking about trying or if you are just begining your journey,  start with your cycle.  A regular cycle (25-30 days, 28 is apparently “ideal”) is important.  If you don’t have a regular cycle, you won’t know when you are ovulating. If you don’t know when you are ovulating, well then the rest of it is really hard.  I don’t think a regular cycle is stressed enough in our health classes.  I know a lot of women who don’t/didn’t have regular cycles and had no idea it would have such an impact on their fertility.  It can be an indicator of so many fertility issues – and most women have no idea.

I talked about ovulation sticks on my last post, but those work best if you know how long your cycle is.  If you don’t have a regular cycle and you have some money to burn, you can try the Clearblue Fertility monitor (there might be others but this is the one I am familiar with).  You pee daily (every morning) and it monitors how close you are getting to ovulating by measuring your lutenizing hormone (LH).  If you aren’t familiar with “LH”, don’t worry you will be soon.

Good luck.