Wednesday, October 29, 2008

This and That....Frick and Frack

Everyone I know who has gone to the fertility guru had an unsuccessful first attempt at IVF -- and a successful attempt on try #2. I'm hoping those odds work in my favor.

This morning, Jill picked me up and after a quick stop through the Dunkin Donuts drive-through for bagels, we headed to Syracuse. Dr. Richard Gere was as charming as usual -- of course, I took a valium when I got to the office so that could have something to do with it -- and we hugged and squeezed hands and he had encouraging, spiritual words to say over my belly.

And then the speculum was in, the internal ultrasound was in, the catheter was in...and then Frick and Frack went in. In to 9mm of uterine lining, into a belly that wants them to hang on tight, into their mommy who will do whatever it takes to encourage them to burrow in and thrive.

When I got home from acupuncture this afternoon, I talked to my mom, who proceeded to tell me that she spoke to Buffalo Dave this morning. (For those keeping track, Buffalo Dave is my friend, broke my heart, and is also my parents' stockbroker.) He asked how I was doing. And rather than the easy "she's should give her a call" she said, "at this moment, she's being inseminated." (I've given up trying to explain the difference between all of the procedures that I'm going through.)

I took a deep breath. "Please don't tell people what I'm doing, specifically."

"He knows you're trying to have a baby."

"Yes, but I don't tell people, specifically what I'm doing each day throughout this process. If they are interested enough in my life, they will ask me, they will call me to give me support. Without that, they don't have a right to know."


"Just please respect my wishes. I don't need him calling me in two weeks to find out if I'm pregnant."

"He wouldn't do that."

"Not the point. Even if you think people are on the approved list, please don't tell them anything. Tell them if they are that interested, they should call me."

I know she means well. I know she's excited. But she needs to respect my wishes, and she needs to respect my boundaries.

Another example, she told my sister-in-law last month, "well no baby this month."

As if my sister-in-law (not my sister-in-law in Virgina) has said boo to me about what I'm going through in the past 18 months. No one needs a scorecard of my pregnancy tests, unless they earned the right to know. And they earn it by showing me support. Frankly, as much as I love Buffalo Dave, he hasn't earned the right to know the details. And certainly most people in my own family haven't earned the right to know the details.

I know I set standards for other people too high sometimes, I expect of them what I expect of myself. And I'm usually disappointed. My friend in Rochester is in the process of adopting from Colombia. All the paperwork is in order, they are just waiting. And waiting.

Last week, I sent her an email: "I'm not going to ask if you've heard anything, or if you have any news or when you think you might hear something or even how you're doing...I just wanted to let you know that I'm thinking of you."

If more people -- who am I kidding, just one person -- could send me something like would go a long way.

Enough negativity. I'm going to get into bed shortly, listen to my meditation CD, track 2 "post transfer," and try to get a good night's sleep.

Happy burrowing, Frick and Frack.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Big Shot

When Casey brought me a dead mouse, I would have loved for someone else to have dealt with the dead carcass.

When there is a bug or a spider in the house, I would rather someone else kill it.

And I'm sure, when I'm exhausted to the point of tears and there is a crying baby, there isn't going to be anyone else to get up to change the diaper or give the bottle.

And so it goes now. There is no one to give me the progesterone in oil shot. And so I have to do it myself.

I cringe and deal with the dead mouse. Psyche myself up to squish the spider. And drag myself out of bed to soothe the baby.

Tonight, I got home from the gym, pulled out an alcohol wipe, the medicine bottle, the syringe and two needles. I pulled my sweat pants down my hip a little, cleaned a spot, sucked up 1cc of oil (it's really thick and took forever), and then reached around, contorted my back, and stuck the needle in. I pushed the plunger slowly -- slow and steady -- as the oil went into my right buttock.

And then I massaged and kneaded it, so as not to get a clump of oil. And I was done.

So the crying the other night, the worrying about doing this on my own or not being able to do it on my own....I did it. I gave myself the shot -- what everyone called "the hard shot" -- and managed to do it with little fanfare and little pain.

I can do this.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I Can't Do It

I went this morning for my uterine lining check -- three layers, 9mm, nice and thick. So I will start doing the progesterone in oil shots on Friday. These shots are much different than the previous shots I had to give myself.

Whereas before I was using a half-inch needle that went just below my skin, in my stomach, where I could pinch the fat (one good reason to be happy about the faux baby bump), this one is inter-muscular with an inch-and-a-half needle. So basically, I have to give myself a shot in the ass, with thick oil that will come out slow.

I thought I should practice putting the needle in tonight, just in case I had trouble with it, I would still have two days to figure it out.

Well....I pulled out my box of meds tonight, an alcohol wipe and the needle. I tried grabbing as much skin as I could, I tried sitting on one hip, rolled to the side and sticking it in that way. I got it in a little and couldn't go any further. I have a couple of little spots of blood and will probably bruise.

And then I started crying. I have to be able to do this. This is like one of my tests. If I'm going to be a single parent, I'm going to have to do this that aren't fun, that don't feel great, that I would rather someone else do. But there isn't anyone else, I have to.

I wrote an email to one of the nurses on campus and basically asked her if she could jab me in the ass tomorrow, just so I can feel the level of pain. That's what I had to do with the previous shots, and look at how good I got to be at it. Right?

I don't feel quite so positive about this experience. The needle is huge!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Shades of Red

More about J of Baltimore. It has to be the baby, or impending baby, that is keeping his attention on me. As I've mentioned, he and I have been friends for seven years. In those seven years, we have, for the most part, ignored or at least have not acted on the undeniable attraction between us.

For the past few years, every six months or so, we would get into a raunchy text conversation, flirting heavily, but leave it at that. When I'm in Baltimore, we try to get together for a drink or breakfast, and it's business as usual, nothing improper.

But then, this past June, we chatted on the phone one Friday afternoon. He was in South Carolina golfing with his brother, I had just gotten home from happy hour with some friends. I can't remember exactly what he said, but whatever he said, led me to believe he knew I was trying to have a baby. (My former boss and several former co-workers know I'm trying, and since J is on the board, they could have mentioned it to him.)

Once we got past the misunderstanding -- he had no idea -- I ended up telling him what I've been going through the past year. And made a joke that if he hadn't canceled on me the last time I was in Baltimore, I would have told him, was planning on telling him in person. So I gave him the scoop, told him I was having surgery the following week, and he was curious about the whole process. How did it work at the doctor's office, how did I choose the sperm donor, how long does the process take. He was full of questions.

I had my surgery and two weeks later, he texted me to see how it went. We ended up texting back and forth, getting more than a little flirty, and then he ended it with "we would be so great together. gotta go, but this should happen."

About a week after that, the texting turned into a phone call, and since then, since the end of June, he doesn't go two or three weeks without a phone call or a text. Most of it ends up with nothing but sexual content, but almost always he asks about the baby process. What's the next step? Am I okay?

He was one of the first people I wanted to tell when I got my positive test result. I tried to call him, but got voice mail. I didn't leave a message, but a few hours later he saw the missed call and called me back. He was so excited that I was finally pregnant. It was genuine happiness for me, and for him since he's been so interested in this whole process.

And so the following week, it was so hard to call him and tell him I was no longer pregnant. And he said all the right things, including texting me later that day to make sure I really was okay.

I don't know what he's thinking, or feeling. I only know that I never make the first move. I always (well....almost always) wait for him to call me, because as Bubbles says "you're busy, you're making a baby, you don't have time to think about him." But he' reeling me in, whether he intends to or not. And at some point, I'm going to need to have the hard conversation. At some point, I'm going to have to ask the hard questions and find out what the hell is going on in his life.

Is this a game? Is he playing me? I truly believe he cares about me, but to what level, to what extent, I have no idea. I can't even venture a guess, because it will only set me up for something that probably isn't there.

And honestly, at this point, I don't want the answers to those questions. I'm enjoying the attention, I'm enjoying him wanting me. It's like I've replaced Chris with J. The same sort of relationship, the same sort of feelings.

I know I should think more of myself, that I should be asking him those hard questions and kicking him to the curb if he doesn't give me the answers I deserve, but I can't. It's just easier this way. And he may not be doing this baby thing with me the way a traditional partner would, but he does feel a part of it. And I can't let that go.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hump Day Blues

Just when I think I am okay this month, just when I start to think positive thoughts for the next cycle, something hits me -- yet another person (in my life or someone in the news) is pregnant, or I saw the picture of the embryos on the fridge, or I get an e-mail chain forward thing and the person wished for me to have a baby.

And then I cry. Or I got to sleep early to try not to think about it anymore. Some days I'm just fine. Once I got over my period on Sunday, I felt good. I felt good about moving forward. I had my baseline ultrasound and blood work -- the first step for the next time. But the past few nights, I haven't felt hopeful, I haven't felt good.

I wonder how many more times I can take this. How many times can I be hopeful and then be crushed, and survive the disappointment?

I talked to a friend at work today who is also going through fertility treatment. Her issues are different from mine, but we both understand what we're going through. Sometimes we are the only ones who can understand what the other one is feeling, or thinking.

We've both had so many road blocks. Today, she found out she has Hep C. Not a death sentence, but the treatment of it will take time. Time that feels like she doesn't have if she wants to get pregnant. And her husband, sweet as he is, has children from a previous relationship -- so while he can sympathize with her, he doesn't understand completely.

And so April and I are trying to be supportive to each other, trying to be the shoulder to cry on, trying to be strong for each other.

I'm not sure what any of this means, and how any of this is interesting to you, my dear readers, but it shows the kind of mood I'm in, the kind of scrambled brain I've had the past few days. And how one moment I can feel so good, and for no reason at all, in the very next, I'm sitting at my computer crying.

Not only do I feel out of control with the baby thing, but also the weight thing. I've tried to let it go. I know that my body and my brain are in direct conflict with each other. My body is trying to prepare itself for pregnancy. For the past 18 months, it has been given all sorts of hormones to prepare for a baby. And yet, in my head, I still try to count calories in and count calories burned, try to weigh myself every day without wanting to throw the scale through the window.

And no matter what, I have no control. My body is hungry when I've just eaten. Tired when I'm at the gym and should be wanting to work out for 90 minutes. My belly is swollen with no baby in it. I need to try to get control of one thing, just one aspect of my life. And I don't know how that is possible at this point.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Shark Week

I stopped taking all of the hormones on Tuesday night, and last night before bed had the tell-tale signs that my period was coming. When I woke up this morning, I had it full force, along with a pain I've never felt before.

The pain is bearable. I'm not doubled over or anything, but it is beyond the usual cramps. And I don't know if that pain is real or because what it means. I thought I was okay and was able to move on this month. Apparently not.

It hit me hard this morning. I sat in my office and cried. I sat in Hope's office and cried. It's just not my period, but what is being washed out of my body with it. And even though I shouldn't think of this as a miscarriage because it was just a chemical pregnancy, how can I not.

There was never a heart beat, and even for the four days that I thought I was pregnant, I was extremely cautious. I never got truly excited about the pregnancy. Either way, this is different than getting a negative pregnancy test.

This was thinking that the last 18 months of ups and downs, of having hope and being crushed, was all finally worth it. This was the moment that I had been waiting for, the moment that everyone promised me through all the other negative tests was going to be worth it, the moment that would make me forget the pain and disappointment of the last year.

And this moment is now being absorbed and flushed away.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

It's Officially Over for this Month

I went for more blood work this morning. My hCG level was 13. Was I really pregnant and now I'm not?

The nurse said that I could have been, and I miscarried. Or it could have been a chemical pregnancy. Either way, she told me to stop taking all my medications and call her when I get my period.

I skipped the gym for one more night. I'll go back tomorrow.

I wasn't hopeful last night, so unless someone else makes me cry, I've been okay today. I still have two frozen embryos in the freezer. As soon as I get my period, we'll start the frozen transfer protocol.

And lucky me, I get to start giving myself shots again!

And I know it's not the end of the world, no matter what it feels like right now. I still have choices, options. I'm going to an adoption seminar on November 1st, no matter what happens. And even if I was pregnant right now, I would have still gone. I have to continue to work on plan B.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Not So Fast

I got my blood work done again today, and my hCG level dropped. To 20. Not good. It was 47 and it should have doubled in 72 hours.

It's puzzling because my progesterone level is still going up. So it could have possibly, maybe been a lab error but it's not looking good.

I have to go back to the lab tomorrow and have the test repeated. Needless to say, I'm not in the mood to write much, to do much, to talk much. I already have my pj's on, I'm watching Days of Our Lives from today, and there's mac-and-cheese in the oven.

I'm staying somewhat hopeful, because really what else is there?

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Knock Yourself Up

I wrote the post for today in my head so many times over the past few days, and now because of the results of my blood test this morning, I can't use any of it.

I went for blood work this morning at the hospital, and it took forever. There was only one person taking blood, and she was a talker. So after 25 minutes of waiting, with only three people ahead of me, it was finally my turn.

And then when she saw what the test was for, "are ya hoping for good news?"

"Yes." Lip quivering.

"How long have you been trying?"

"About a year and a half."

"I'll be praying for you."

I thought was I going to lose it right there in the middle of the outpatient lab at Cayuga Medical Center. But I held it together, made it to work and made an attempt to start working on a website.

My cell phone rang about 9:15. I saw the 315 area code and my heart starting pounding. I was practically crying when I said "hello."

"'s Linda from the fertility guru's office. You haven't taken any hCG, right?"

"That's right."

"Well good then....your test is positive."

And then I lost it. The tears spilled down, my face scrunched up, and I grabbed a tissue and balled it up in my hand. "Really?"

"Really. Your hCG was 47. We like it to be around 40. You'll go again for the same test on Monday to make sure your numbers are moving up the way they are supposed to."

And just like that, my life changed. Every little sign that I had this week, that I chalked up to something else -- always hungry, the weather changing; twinges in my lower abdomen, I haven't had my period since August; and tender breasts, I am taking 300 mg of progesterone every day -- it all seemed to make sense. I wasn't reading too much into it all. I'm really pregnant.

I know it's early. Way early. And so I'm being cautiously optimistic about it all. Not looking at my Target registry that I made 15 months ago. Not buying anything. I haven't even told my mom yet!

But feels like this will stick. And as my very wise friend said to me this morning, no matter what happens, you know your body can do what it's supposed to, you know you can get pregnant.

And she's right. And it is. And I can.