October 28, 2013

One Plain Old Line

Another negative pregnancy test this weekend.  I am handling it surprisingly well, considering how optimistic I had been feeling.  I am somehow compartmentalizing the news, ignoring it, and staying numb-ish.  No tears, no real surge of anger.  Not sure why.

Enjoyed the family Halloween gathering, even if the inside out caramel apple recipe was a major bust.  Don't make those ahead of time!!  My first ever broccoli soup turned out to be majorly delicious.  Thank you, smoked bacon Gouda.  My house is cleaner than it was last week by a huge margin thanks to pre-company nonstop cleaning.  If I didn't have company, who knows how big the dust bunnies might grow to become at times. 

Mostly I'm feeling tired, crampy, and numb, which is okay for today.  I was going non-stop all weekend, including Friday afternoon and evening, and I am just spent.  Tomorrow is another day.  Next month is another cycle.  Inhale.  Exhale.  Repeat.  Enjoy not crying and not feeling like a basket case.  Appreciate having no obligations to meet today.  Watch backlog of DVR'd shows.  Take nap, if needed.  Inhale.  Exhale.  Repeat. 

October 24, 2013

Picking Scabs

It's not something I am proud of, but I have a compulsion to pick anything that can be picked.  I usually can't stop myself from pulling hangnails, squeezing pimples, biting loose skin on my lip, or messing with almost healed scabs.  It takes a concerted effort to stop myself from pulling and scraping at things until I bleed.  I've always been this way.  This propensity extends beyond how I deal with my body.  I frequently must pick at things in my mind, revisiting negative thoughts and fears over and over again until I wear myself down to a state of depression.  I have really tried to work my way out of this mental habit, and I have had some success with improving things, but during the two week wait, my psyche relapses into negative picking.  Just like last month, around eight days after my IUI (yesterday), I started to feel so out of control.  The first six days seem to go so much more smoothly, but as I move into the second phase of waiting, my ability to talk myself off the ledge just disappears.  Well, I still try to talk to myself in a positive way and stop obsessing, but it just doesn't take.  On months when I feel "possible symptoms," I feel slightly insane. 

Alfred Tennyson said, "Hope/Smiles from the threshold of years to come,/Whispering 'it will be happier'..."

Again with the hoping!  Having success with more eggs this cycle has reignited my naive hope from years past.  I actually googled a few baby name meanings and looked at clearance baby clothes while shopping this week.  Somehow, hope's "whispering" is falling on receptive ears this month.  I keep envisioning taking a positive pregnancy test, the sigh of relief, the possible due dates (July 8), etc.  I so just want to leave this infertility nightmare dance behind and start a new phase of my life.  Logically, I know that there is like an 80% chance nothing happened.  I know in my mind that sore boobs and light cramping probably mean nothing as far as conception.  I inevitably suffer a major crash after fantasizing about things working out, picturing all of the opposites of what I want to happen.  It is easy to picture a negative test, the numb shock, the anger, the crying.

The rage rolls in as all of this mental battling unfolds YET AGAIN.  I am so tired of this feedback loop.  So tired of hearing my own whining.  So tired of not being able to live my real life in a more embracing way while going through this waiting.  I just want to know the answer now and be able to deal with it and move on to whatever reality is.  

In the meanwhile, I am trying unsuccessfully to distract myself with a Halloween gathering this weekend for my family.  My initial enthusiasm has waned to a sort of numb feeling due to my anxiety over whether this treatment worked, but I am hoping, at the very least, the weekend activities will help me cope with a negative pregnancy test, if that happens.  I have my Pinterest recipes all lined up to try and pumpkins at the ready for carving.  I just need to stop picking scabs long enough to get into the spirit of things.

October 15, 2013

Made It

Another cycle in the record books.  I feel such a sense of relief to be done with the first phase of this month.  No more shots, blood draws, ultrasounds, and office visits.  Had my IUI today after triggering on Sunday.  I am feeling more hopeful than I have in months.  There were actually two ripe follicles, so I am calling that "doubled chances."  Whatever small chance we have, at least it's doubled!  

Also a major positive today was the actual procedure.  After enduring three IUI's over the past months that ranged from very uncomfortable to last month's very painful, I did some investigating on Mr. Google about the catheter not going in easily.  Lo and behold, I easily find a plethora of sites with recommendations to go into the IUI with an almost full bladder.  The crap peddlers at my clinic have never once mentioned this to me, even after the difficult times I've had.  I usually pee right before I go in so that I don't have to go after (fearing illogically that all the stuff that just went in might roll out if I go after).  Today I loaded up on fluids and crossed my fingers.  The insertion was a snap!!!!  Only normal pap smear like pain and done in seconds.  I literally did a double take, and said "is it over already?"  What a nice change up over last month.

My left ovary where the two larger follicles are is sore right now, and I am envisioning the release of two lovely, healthy eggs about to happen.  Please let one of them be the one.  Please let the next two weeks pass surprisingly quickly.  Please let the people who are installing our wood stove that we bought over a year ago actually show up tomorrow and install it.  I will take it as another good sign if the saga of the wood stove can be over and done with finally.  Maybe a toasty fire will make the two week wait fly by.

October 12, 2013

Cycle Day 10

Went in for my fourth cycle monitoring visit this am.  Well, first I overslept my alarm, shot out of bed 30 minutes before my appointment, freaked out dropping stuff and running in circles, left all disheveled, and made it there 10 minutes late.  Of course, we were packed in for the daily cattle call (worse on the weekends since fewer offices are open), so I ended up waiting quite a while to be seen, all the while with my horribly humpy and falling apart pony tail and bed sheet wrinkled, make-up free face on full display.  It was a good exercise in practicing not giving a crap what people thought about me.  Apparently I set my alarm for 7:45 p.m. instead of a.m.  Classic me lately.  On the plus side, I got an extra half hour of sleep and the blood technician mentioned that I look like I've lost a lot of weight since my picture was taken a few years ago at the office.  Yay!  

Also good to find out was that my ovaries did grow more follicles this cycle with the higher dosage of Bravelle.  It is nice to see more than one, even though most of them are still immature and not viable.  I have a large one at 19+ and a second one at 15+.  Since I am not surging on my own, I am not going to trigger tonight in the hopes that the second follicle will grow some more.  Maybe we can get two eggs out there this month.  I also had like two 10's, a 9, and three smaller others.  I am very grateful to see more responsiveness.  I have been worrying that if/when we go to IVF, my ovaries will not be capable of growing more than one egg.  This development takes the edge off that fear a little.

As usual, the security people at the front desk of the building make my day a little brighter.  The weekend guy (whom I seem to know pretty well these days) saw me all flustered, asked if I was running late, and then waved me straight through to the elevators without making me sign in.  It's so nice to encounter some humanity.  Then, of course, the blood tech Heather noticed my improved weight and managed to not hurt me one bit with her needle.  Awesome.  As a supreme bonus, the doctor on call today was the Physician's Assistant at the office, and she is, by far, the best person to see.  She doesn't do the morning monitoring too often, and she is SO much nicer than the actual doctors.  (Mini-rant: On Thursday when I was at the office and mentioned to my actual doctor that my left side/ovary was tender and throbbing, he basically intimated that it was all in my head!)  The PA is more leisurely, more personable, and just plain nicer.  Whenever I have her for a procedure, I leave the office feeling like I have a real doctor I trust and I like.  Today I interacted with real human beings!!!  I am grateful.

Even though I have to be there tomorrow at 7:45 (ugh), I am feeling positive today.  It feels so wonderful to have better results and deal with positive, nice people.  Sometimes I realize that I give all these people too much power over my feelings and mood, but I can't seem to let stuff slide off me.  At least on a good day like today, the opposite is also true.  I'll take it.

October 7, 2013

Bravelle Go #2

"We dream to give ourselves hope.  To stop dreaming-well, that's like saying you can never change your fate."

Amy Tan, The Hundred Secret Senses
 
 
In retrospect, I think I was feeling much more hopeful as I started treatment last month than I realized.  Having a new protocol to follow with unknown possibilities was stressful, but it was also a little exciting.  The quoted odds were initially better and, whether logical or not, something about doing something different makes you feel like, 'hey, maybe this time I will get a different result.'  Now that I am restarting with the injections to stimulate my follicles as of two days ago, I feel like I am back to my regular, ho hum mentality.  We are upping the dosage of Bravelle slightly, so there could be more that happens, but I feel resignation that my body can only do what it can do.  I go back tomorrow for a check in to see what the follicles are doing.  
 
I feel numb, actually.  This whole process has changed me in little and big ways.  I told my husband the other night, "now that we can get health insurance for the IVF, maybe one of these IUI's will finally take."  However, even as I said it, my mind immediately cancelled out the thought as totally unrealistic and ridiculous.  I don't believe in signs and quotable ironies anymore.  I've made up too many stories in my head over these years that never come true. Reality has beaten away my propensity to look for meaning.
 
Maybe I am just bummed out because it has been rainy and gray all day.  Maybe I am getting hormonal from...the hormones.  Maybe I am protecting myself emotionally by staying flat and trying to keep my hopes down.  Who knows, and does it matter why? 

October 3, 2013

A Light in the Distance

We got some good news on the infertility front!  As I am sure you are aware, unless you are living under a rock, a new little something called the Affordable Health Care Act (aka Obamacare) was passed some time ago.  October 1 was the day the information became available in my home state regarding the plans under this act.  (We currently have no IVF coverage under our insurance plan and no way to obtain that coverage due to the size of my husband's employer.)  Today we finally found out that we will be able to purchase an insurance plan for me through the new exchanges with IVF coverage (3 tries) and with 90% of IVF medicines coverage. 

WHAT. A. RELIEF.  Seriously!  Having been told a year ago that IVF was our best hope, we have been pondering how to reconcile mortgaging our financial stability for the MERE CHANCE of a pregnancy through IVF.  Not even a 50/50 chance, really.  I mean, how does one decide to throw $15,000 out into the universe for a chance?  (Obviously, I mean how do non wealthy people?)  It's like the biggest raffle ticket you ever bought, only your whole future and family is on the line.  Sure, it's worth it if it works.  If not, you are double whammied and then possibly face the same decision again.

I am literally breathing easier right this minute.  What a load off of my mind and psyche.  We've been dragging our feet on moving to IVF because we were hoping we could get more chances for the same or less than one chance would cost us out of pocket, and now it seems our patience is being rewarded.  Even with the monthly cost and deductible, the money we've been setting aside will be enough.  I can sign up for this coverage and have it go into effect January 1st as long as the nut jobs in Congress who don't care about regular, productive, middle-class citizens like me and my husband don't somehow screw this up for our family.  

Of course I still hope that we won't need to go to IVF.  We will give the IUI another go this month and possibly November/December.  If those don't work, though, I don't have to panic over anything other than the normal, horrible stress of IVF as a medical treatment.  That feels awesome to me right now.


October 2, 2013

Five Stages

Well, the at home pregnancy test told me Monday morning what my body seemed to be telling me all weekend--a whole lot of big fat nothing was growing.  Another month down with nothing to show for it.  Today my period confirmed reality.

I am kind of just cycling through the infamous stages of grief--denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance.  I would probably substitute a combination of numbness/avoidance in place of denial, but otherwise, it all fits.  My very logical husband says the anger isn't productive, because who do we have to be angry at, really?  I say, well it doesn't matter if it's productive, you can't talk yourself out of feeling what it is you feel.  As the years have gone by, the denial and bargaining are less predominant.  The anger and depression phases seem to strengthen.  The moments of acceptance are where my peace and sanity lie.  "It is what it is."  I hear that rolling around inside my head as a quiet chant.  Even just accepting the feelings of anger and depression feels more peaceful.

On a positive note, going through these cycles of emotions and ups and downs has benefited me in one way--I am getting better at seeing the impermanence of any given feeling.  I can note that the sadness will pass.  I may feel totally different tomorrow than today, or in five minutes from now.  This realization does not come easily to me.  Sometimes it feels like "bad" feelings will never end while "good" ones are doomed to evaporate before I can even relax and enjoy them--not just infertility stuff, but in the rest of my life.  Coping with my feelings about infertility, I hope, is giving me some better resilience to accept myself.  I feel what I feel.  It isn't healthy at all to tell myself I "should" feel more positive, or I "should" be able to handle things better.  I keep working to accept myself and accept my feelings instead of fighting them and judging them so harshly.  I feel proud of myself for being gentler on myself.  I keep learning to parent myself, in an odd way, telling myself what I might tell a beloved child whose flaws I'd never magnify in the way I magnify my own.  

For now, this is where I am.  I am resolved to climb aboard the hamster wheel for a 35th attempt at getting pregnant.  I accept that the previous 34 failures in no way guarantee or earn me anything this time.  I accept that I control so very little of all of this whole process and its result.  It is what it is.