Infertility…you are a big bitch!

For the past few days I have been feeling a little cranky…correction a LOT cranky.  I knew Aunt Flo’s visit was coming soon even though there is always that “maybe” she won’t come hope but I knew she was about to arrive with her cramps, bloating and wanting to eat everything that isn’t nailed down.  I tried to tell myself that either way I will be fine.  If she doesn’t come then obviously that’s good but if she does then at least I can go on vacation without worrying about being pregnant.  And I can drink all the wine I want.  Well she finally showed up this morning which then led my emotions to spiral into a variety of different feelings.  I finally settled in on just feeling plain pissed off.

Last week, I posted about the 10 things I have learned by going through infertility.  Well this week, I just want to say F*** You Infertility!  You are a nasty bitch!  Maybe I am finally moving into the second stage of loss and grief: anger.

This is my Top 10 List of What I Hate About Infertility:

1.  All consuming- I hate that infertility consumes my thoughts even when I don’t want to think about it.  One minute you are fine and then the next you feel like you are being swallowed up whole.  I hate that it has consumed the past two and a half years of my life.

2.  Roller Coaster Ride- I NEVER liked roller coasters and now I am on what feels like a never ending ride.  I hate that I can feel 20 different emotions in the span of an hour.  I hate that in one month I go from being hopeful to being disappointed and then it all starts back up again for the next 28 days.

3.  Jealousy- I hate that I feel jealous of other people with children or people who are pregnant.  Sometimes I am even jealous of my husband who already got to experience having his girls.

4.  Isolation- I hate that infertility makes you feel so very alone.

5. Hormones- I hate that I have to inject myself with hormones to try to have a baby when my body should just do that on it’s own.  You feel 10 times worse on them and some of them even mimick pregnancy symptoms!  Just cruel.

6.  Decisions- I hate that I have to make so many decisions just to have a baby.  The really hard decisions like if we do IVF and have more than one embryo, what do we do with the rest?  If we do chromosomal embryo screening and one comes back with Down’s Syndrome what do we do?   If we can’t have a baby of our own then what do we do?

7.  Crying- I hate that I cry so much.  I hate that even if I am not actually crying that I am fighting back tears.

8. No control- I hate that I have absolutely no control over whether or not I will have a baby.

9.  Miscarriages- I hate that I had to experience the joy of pregnancy only to be taken away multiple times.

10.  Broken- I hate that I feel broken into a hundred pieces.  Everyday is a constant struggle to put myself back together and just when I have a few pieces fixed, something else breaks.

So that’s just how I am feeling right now.  It kind of feels good to get it out.  Anyone else have anything else they would like to add to the list?

At my last support group meeting, our leader left us with a final thought: “You won’t be infertile forever.  Eventually you will either have a baby, move on to a different option or you will decide to live childfree. But you won’t be struggling with infertility forever”  I remember feeling such relief when she said that because sometimes it just seems like an endless battle but after hearing that I felt like maybe there is light at then end of the tunnel.  Maybe not today or tomorrow but one day…

 

 

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Alaska!

So it’s been awhile since I have written, partly because it has been super busy the last few weeks wrapping up the end of the school year and partly because I didn’t really have much to say.  We did however just get back from our Alaska Cruise and it was AMAZING!!  We left out of Seattle and visited Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, Ketchikan and we were supposed to stop in Victoria, British Columbia but we had some “technical difficulties” with the ship and got there too late…that part sucked but we still had a great time.  I got to experience some new things like a helicopter ride, walked on a glacier and tried escargot (it was awful but at least I tried)

reneeglacier

Me on the glacier!

View from the helicopter:

glacier

This trip did NOT however help my diet but with food like this who cares right??

   lobster          lavacake

For me this trip was such a welcome break from everything and it really was so nice to literally disconnect…no emails, facebook, texting, etc.  I talked a lot about this trip with my therapist who I have now nicknamed Dr. Crazian (short for crazy asian doctor).  I love her!  She lets me get all of my craziness out, calls me out on my shit and always seems to give me a fresh, objective perspective on things.  Dr. Crazian really wanted me to set aside all of the infertility stuff and just be in the moment of this awesome adventure so that by giving myself some distance maybe I can gain a better perspective.  The great thing about vacations is that you can remove yourself from it all much more easily and not be surrounded by all of those memories and triggers of daily life.

I was able to do this until day 4 of our trip when Aunt Flo decided to join us…4 days early no less!  And of course, there are always those few days before she arrives where you start thinking maybe she won’t come?  My boobs are kind of sore does that mean I am pregnant?  I feel different than usual, does that mean something?  You get your hopes up just a little bit in thinking maybe this will be the month and then NOPE there she is in all her red glory.  Besides being a buzz kill in the romance department, it’s also just another reminder that you are NOT pregnant.  On the flip side to that, this is usually when I open a bottle of wine and eat soft cheese free of any worry that I could be damaging another human being.

When we came back from the trip, I had this expectation that I would come back with a whole new perspective and I would finally have some resolution as to what to do next.  But I didn’t.  I definitely had moments of clarity such as when we were on the helicopter looking down at the huge glaciers and beautiful mountains around us.  It definitely makes you feel like you are just one small part of this HUGE world…just like infertility is a small part of my huge world.  I felt extremely lucky to be experiencing this trip and all of the other things I have in my life.  I could also see my husband and I traveling to all of the different places we want to go which is something we wouldn’t be able to do if we had a baby or at least not as much as we would like.  I enjoyed just being the two of us and feeling like a normal couple again.  At the same time I also felt like I was “cheating” on my baby dream because I was starting to imagine what it would be like if a baby doesn’t happen and some of it looked kind of nice.

So I guess the big questions for me right now are do I feel like we have done enough and will I feel like it was enough 5 years from now?  If I don’t do IVF will I regret it down the road?  I know I am not ready to give up just yet but still not sure how much more fight I have left in me.  I also realized that both lives, one that includes a baby and one that doesn’t, could both be pretty amazing and that is a comforting feeling.  While I wish I didn’t have to be on this infertility journey, there is no one else I would rather be on this crazy ride with than my husband and best friend.

alaskacouple

Alaska 2014

Feeling Antsy…

I have been trying to think of the best word to describe how I am feeling right now and the only thing that I can think of is…antsy.  For an infertile, this is the feeling you most often get after you have tried something and it failed and you don’t really feel like doing anything because you are so tired of all of the poking and prodding and disappointment but yet you feel like you SHOULD be doing something.  Or maybe you kind of want to do something but not really but maybe you do and all that back and forth makes you antsy.

I finally got my period after 10+ weeks post D&E and feel how I always feel about my period…I am not really happy to see it but at the same time it’s arrival signifies a new cycle and new possibilities…maybe.  Dr. F recommended that we do a hysteroscopy just to make sure there was no scar tissue from the miscarriages or anything else going on since my last one last year.    So when I called to schedule it because as everything in the infertility world it has to be done on a CERTAIN day…days 9-11 to be exact.  They also wanted me to come in to do ANOTHER day 3 follicle count and bloodwork.  I am tired of bloodwork, my veins are tired of bloodwork and I am sure the nurse is tired of me coming in for bloodwork.  But off I went on Day 3.

Dr. F eagerly greeted me with a “So are we moving on to IVF??”  While I appreciate his enthusiasm, I still give my standard answer these days of “we’ll see” because it’s about as noncommittal as you can possibly be but yet still polite.  As I laid on the table waiting for my ultrasound, I got really sad looking at that f***ing machine.  I couldn’t help but think that I should be coming in for my whatever week ultrasound I should be on (honestly I have stopped counting the weeks that I would have been with this last miscarriage because it’s just too depressing) but instead I am looking at an empty uterus and my shitty ovaries.  Unfortunately things only continued to go down from here.  Dr. F informed me that my antral follicle count was 6 which I already know is on the really low side and almost half of what it was in January when it was on the lower average side.  On the positive side my FSH level was 8.4 so at least that hasn’t given up yet.  When I left the office I started to feel that awful infertility depression coming over me again…that pissed off, sad, angry, bitter, lost feeling.  I hadn’t felt it in awhile and I am attributing it to that damn ultrasound machine.  It can either be your best friend or your worst mother f***ing enemy.

Fast forward, to Day 9 and hysteroscopy day.  For those who are not familiar with this procedure…it is where they dilate your cervix and insert a small catheter into your uterus.  They then inject saline and a small camera so they can take a look inside your uterus.  It’s not too bad except for some mild cramping when they dilate your cervix but it only lasts a few minutes.  If you haven’t had one yet and you do end up having one I do recommend taking a look at the screen…I promise you will have a new found respect for your uterus. The worst part is when they have you spread eagle with nothing but a very thin paper sheet that barely covers you and you are waiting for the doctor to get started.  It’s so awkward…for everyone.

During the procedure Dr. F noticed an area of “junk”…yes those were the words he used!  Normally he is very straight and to the point and only uses proper medical terms.  So when I said he excuse me he proceeded to tell me it was probably leftover “matter” from the pregnancy and that most likely with my next cycle it would be gone BUT because there’s always a but…IF we proceed forward with IVF then they would need to do another hysteroscopy to make sure it was all clear.  WONDERFUL!  I also expressed my concern about my low follicle count from the previous week and asked at what point would they not recommend IVF?  He looked at me like I had 5 heads so I kept with my question as to how low was too low of a follicle count for IVF?  He told me “when it’s zero than it’s too low”

I left with mixed emotions. While I appreciate his let’s not give up until we have to attitude at the same time do I really want to put myself through all of that with such a low number?  He did say it varies from month to month and my body is still just get back to normal so it could be better next month. This is what also makes me feel antsy…all of the coulds, shoulds and maybes.  Nothing is ever just yes or no but I guess neither is life.  So for now, I am trying to be ok with antsy and all of the coulds, shoulds and maybes.

 

I thought this would be most appropriate for today’s post:

You think I'm a bitch? You should meet my uterus. #infertility humor

My Story and Welcome

If you are reading this you are either a fellow infertile, former infertile or a “sort of “infertile who isn’t ready to commit to that label just yet or you are a family member or friend of mine.  Regardless of who you are or why you came, I welcome you to my infertility blog with open arms.  I started this blog at the suggestion of my husband who thought it might help me to write about my feelings but more importantly to spread awareness and connect with others who are also on this crazy ride.  Being able to share stories, talk with others and just vent has been my lifeline on this journey.  Please feel free to comment, share stories or ask questions.  This blog is just as much yours as it is mine:)

Here is a timeline of our journey thus far:

January 2012- officially began “trying”

July 2012- got our first PREGNANT

August 2012- found out our 9 week ultrasound that our little one stopped developing around 6

weeks:(

September 7, 2012- had my 1st D&E

December 2012- got our second PREGNANT

January 2013- after weeks of bloodwork and ultrasounds it was confirmed I had a blighted ovum:(

January 3, 2013- had my 2nd D&E

February 2013- Began seeing our fertility doctor AKA Dr. F

March 2013- Clomid Challenge test…responded well so Dr. F recommended doing an IUI so we said sure!  IUI #1=fail

April 2013- all testing was normal BUT very low AMH level…official diagnosis: Poor Ovarian Reserve…my ovaries and I were not happy to hear that news!

June 2013- began injectable hormones Menopur for IUI #2 =fail

end of June 2013- had my first “meltdown” during my consultation with Dr. F to which he recommended I take a little break but offered to monitor me in a “natural cycle”

July 2013- got our third PREGNANT!

July 2013…two days later HCG levels confirm a chemical pregnancy:(

July 2013-October 2013- took a much needed break

October 2013- got our fourth PREGNANT!  Surprise!

October 2013…two days later another chemical pregnancy confirmed:(

November 2013- found an awesome support group through RESOLVE

December 31, 2013- Consultation with Dr. F who recommends IVF with chromosomal embryo screening but Aetna says oh no…you have to do 3 rounds of something else first before IVF and you have only done 2…BOOOOO!

****my insurance disclaimer: I teach in NJ therefore I have, according to Dr. F, “the Cadillac of fertility coverage!”  And yes I do feel VERY blessed to have this coverage and believe that ALL woman should have fertility coverage.  However this can also be a curse as it keeps you on this crazy ride for a lot longer than it sometimes should and makes it that much harder to know when enough is enough.  So I am not complaining by any means nor am I not appreciative but sometimes it just makes it harder to make the right treatment decisions.  Really Aetna I do love and appreciate you beyond words!***

January 2014- started another round of Menopur injectables for IUI #3=success!!  Our fifth PREGNANT!

February 2014- all looks good…HCG levels…fabulous!  4 week, 5 week and 6 week ultrasounds…fabulous!

March 2014- 7 week viability ultrasound…HEARTBEAT!  FABULOUS!!!

March 13, 2014- no heartbeat:(…not fabulous:(((

March 14, 2014- had my 3rd D&E

End of March 2014- started acupuncture and seeing my new Asian therapist

April 2014- genetic testing on our little one comes back showing an extra chromosome- trisomy 16

April 2014-present- I have no idea what we will do next…TBD

 

So this is where we are at now, that awful what the F do we do now? stage.  It sucks…

 

Some inspirational quotes that get me through and hopefully they will help you too:

You were given this life because you are strong enough to live it. #infertility #inspiration #hope

Dear God,      I've tried my best, but if today I lose my hope please tell me that your plans are better than my dreams.                                           #infertility. I am so close, though .... each day gets harder ...