Sunday, 21 October 2012

Post consult decisions

We had our post-consult with our current doctor last week.  I'll call him Dr. Michael.  I appreciate what he has done for us in the past.  He helped us make 11 eggs and transfer 6 embryos when two other doctors said we wouldn't create any.   That in itself we feel like was a miracle.

But now I feel like he's guessing.  And I have limited tries at this left.  D is ready to throw the towel in on the fertility front and move into adoption.  He's tired of the pain and heartache.  He just wants a family and he doesn't care how it comes.  He respects my desire to want to carry a pregnancy and so he's prepared to give it one more go with CCRM for me.  It's a lot of pressure.

Going into this meeting, I felt like our options were all over the place:
1. Donor eggs (but I don't like that there is limited or no contact with the donor, to be discussed at another time).
2. Gestational carrier - my best friend offered, and it was a sincere offer I think.  We could take my body out of the equation.
3.  IVF with our own gametes and my body.
4.  Surrogacy where the person donates their eggs.
5. Donor sperm

Dr. Michael said he doesn't know why something hasn't worked yet.  He said it should have worked by now.  That there must be something else going on.  He told us that he would like to repeat some of D's hormone tests as they were done years before.  He said that sperm quality is now thought to be a larger contributing factor to embryo quality than it was previously believed to be.   He also wants to repeat my hysterosalpingogram and do a laproscopy at the same time.  He wants to look at the outside of my uterus.  And also look at my tubes and determine if there is disease in them.  He said the disease may be leaking fluid into my uterus and stopping the embryos from implanting and thriving.   If my tubes were diseased and it couldn't be fixed he would want to tie them.

I'm really not sure what I think of all of this.

He also suggested that we do a day-two zygote transfer (of three zygotes) directly into my fallopian tube.  Called ZIFT (zygote intra fallopian transfer).  He said it is closer to mimicking my body's natural environment.

I asked about doing day 5 PGD to screen for genetic abnormalities, and he said the ZIFT would be better.

There's so much to think about and research.

This really threw us for a curve.  We weren't expecting this as our next option.  These weren't really on our list of options that we thought we had.  I thought if anything he would suggest donor eggs or a gestational carrier.  I appreciate that Dr. Michael is still suggesting new ideas and being creative to our problems.

I asked him which of the factors he felt was the biggest negative contributor to our lack of success in his opinion.  Was it my eggs, the sperm or my body (and the MTHFR clotting problem)?  He said that he no longer felt like it was my eggs (wowzers, I never though I would hear this!).  He thought it was disease in my tubes and possibly a sperm quality issue.  But he said he couldn't say for sure until I had the surgery.

Guess I'll get researching!

What a good weekend can do

Well, chalk one up for D.  I was feeling kind of down in the dumps a few weeks ago when a good friend mentioned that she might be coming to town.  Normally I would jump at the opportunity to have her as company.  I love her and having company! We live several hours apart and usually only see each other a few times a year.  However, we saw each other quite a few times over the late summer and fall.   When she texted, I was grumpy, lazy and feeling depressed.  And my favourite local singer (who I realllly love and doesn't perform a lot) was coming to a nearby restaurant the night she wanted to come to see me so she could watch her friend play in a band.

I actually debated if I wanted the company.  I thought, maybe I would just go to the nice restaurant and enjoy the music with D and some local friends instead?  Or maybe she could come but I would skip out on the thing she wanted to do and I would do my own thing.  D reminded me that we have fun when we are together and I do a lot of laughing and giggling.

I realized I was being silly. So I texted her back and said come on down.    A few weeks later, D got asked to speak at a work conference in Las Vegas during the same weekend.   So, I would have likely been alone most of the weekend, which is never the best for my mood.

We had such a nice weekend together.  As in, a better-than-Christmas-morning kind of weekend.  It was the perfect mix.  Friday we went to watch her friend in his band, we danced and had drinks.  We met some new people, friends of friends, who I really liked.  The next day we made a nice brunch and went shopping in the afternoon at a great mall that I had only experienced small parts of before.  We had a wonderful late dinner at an Italian restaurant that I had never been to.  The next morning we leisurely had coffee, and munched on homemade muffins and fruit.  Her friend wanted to see some model homes in the area, and I tagged along just for fun.  I love snooping through new homes.  Then after she left, I ate yummy leftovers, had a nap and spent what was probably the last warm day of the year out in my yard on the swing with my cat.

I loved it.  My soul really needed this weekend in such a big way.   I'm so grateful that D encouraged me out of my funk and into the right direction.

I'm also feeling good because I have three fun weekends away with friends coming up in November.  Having this many fun things planned and being able to enjoy a drink during them is pretty much unheard of for me.  I'm grateful that we have have our CCRM consult in late November.

I'm feeling very grateful.  For the wonderful people I have in my life, and many other things.  I'm happy that I have some extra bucks to go shopping with, (for now anyways - look out accounts receivable department at CCRM?).  I'm so happy my loving hubby knows me so well and has my best interests at heart, even when I don't.

I wish I could put the afterglow of this weekend in a bottle and break it out when needed.   Or, I'll maybe I'll glance back at this post another time.  :)

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

When my waterline is high

It took me a long time to figure this out.  But now that I have it has opened up a lot of new information for me.

I've been noticing that when my emotional waterline is high to do with IF, everything else seems a lot less manageable.  My house starts to look like a disaster.  I'm more snappy with D.  Things that I would normally let slide stick.   I try to control these feelings, but I'm an internalizer.  So this means that I just end up swallowing them.  And this strategy mostly comes back at me like a boomerang. 

Today I'm getting two of my wisdom teeth extracted.  And I can actually feel the anxiety kicking in.   And yesterday was worse.   

I'm not sure how to lower this waterline.  I need to find a new coping mechanism.   I think the internet (Facebook, Pinterest and email) are my biggest coping mechanism.  But the problem is that Facebook and Pinterest are also big triggers. 

I need to find something new. 

Monday, 8 October 2012

All or nothing

When I went to my second therapy appointment a few weeks ago, the therapist asked me if I felt I was an "all or nothing" person.  And well, the resounding answer is yes.   It can be one of my biggest strengths but equally it is one of my most troublesome weaknesses.

I left my job four years ago to figure out this IF stuff, and to catch up on all of the other things in life I had been missing due to being a workaholic. Thoughts of what kind of parent I wanted to be had changed my perspective on what I wanted from my career.  And also what I didn't want; a massively stressful and demanding job.  I also no longer wanted the reward of a job well done;  a promotion that promised more of each of those things, as well as a relocation to a new city.  So, after long discussions with D, I left on a one year sabbatical.  I left thinking I would take the year, get our IF problems mostly figured out and then go back.  Or find something else that I could jump into.   It was an all or nothing solution to our IF problem, and to my career problem.

Four years later, life happened including helping my sister recover from a massive illness.  I permanently left my job.  And now, I'm really feeling the strain of this strategy.   The distraction and joy that comes from a fulfilling career is not a part of my life.

I'm realizing that I do have a part time job, it is managing our IF.  In September, we did a frozen embryo transfer cycle. I counted that I spent over 50 hours that month driving to appointments, going to appointments, and researching IF related things, etc.   I'm grateful for the opportunity to have taken this time off, and I really feel for a lot of the women who write on their blogs and talking about how hard it is to manage IF with their careers.   Lately however,  I think that my new job is a lot worse than my old one.  It is becoming very depressing.  I've got nothing to show for all of my work.  Except a lot less money in the bank.

I don't want my old job and I don't want my new one either.  Until I can figure this all out, I remain, as I currently think of myself, a stay at home mom without any kids.

Friday, 5 October 2012

5 years

Five years is what I'm thinking about today.  Five years of dealing with IF has changed me, my friendships and my marriage.

Some good things have happened in my marriage because of IF.  There's no doubt.  D and I have grown stronger, learned a lot more about each other and what it means to support each other through something really hard.  We have dealt with the repeated loss and grief associated with infertility and we're still standing...together.   It has been difficult, and there have been fights and silence too.  But I think we are much stronger together because of IF.

It's sad to me that many mornings, D asks me how I'm feeling right away.  He can see my mood before I've even had a chance to really notice it.  He knows that some days I wake up in a cloak of sadness or anxiety.  Nothing may have changed from the day before, but somedays this burden feels heavier.  I'm sad that D has to see me like this and sad that I have to feel like this.

In my friendships, I've learned to be more comfortable around someone else's grief.  I've learned to not judge another's choices when they are grieving or in difficult situations.  Because, honestly you don't know how you'll react until you get there.  It has also made me more guarded in my friendships.  I no longer am as easy going about what I do and when I do it.  I'm cautious now, thinking about things like what fertility related news I may have just received, and whether I'll want to go to that gathering with a million kids.  I like to plan my "baby hangovers", (the fall out I feel after spending time with beautiful families) carefully.

Five years in, I not only think of the changes in my relationships.  I think about how IF has affected me.  I used to think that "everything happens for a reason", now I simply don't.   I think things are random and unexplainable.  I don't think God controls everything, and this is scary and relieving all at the same time.   IF has robbed me of feeling hope the way I used to.  It's robbed me of feeling like you just have to work hard enough to get what you want.  

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Letting it all hang out

I’ve been thinking of starting a blog for a couple of years.  However, doubts filled my mind:
Would it be helpful for me or anyone else?
Would it be interesting enough or be too negative? 
What if someone I know stumbled across my little corner of the internet, where I post my deepest fears and my uncensored ramblings about my life?
What do have to say that hasn’t already been said already?

I still have all of these doubts.  However, what changed is that I’m feeling like I could use a little (ok, a lot!) more sanity in my life. And I think writing will help me get closer to that.  I need this little space more than ever.

So, here I go.   I’m doing this for me, in spite of all my doubts. 

I’m not sure where to start? So much has happened in the past five years since we started trying to conceive.  For now, I think I’ll just start with yesterday.

Yesterday I finished putting together our medical records for our telephone consultation with CCRM.   I called the nurse at CCRM to see if they would like the information in any particular order?  She said no, that they would be organizing it themselves anyways.

Because we’ve been the patients of three other clinics now, not including the many specialists that my hubby has seen over the years, things have gotten really complicated.  Complicated as in adopting 8 donor embryos from two different couples, back to IVF with our own gametes, a couple of miscarriages and a clotting disorder.  I wanted to give the doctor and nurses the clearest snapshot of where we’ve been so they can give us the best advice on how to move forward.   Right now we’re all in.  I think this will be it for us.  CCRM represents our last ditch effort to become parents through fertility treatments.  They are the big guns, and we’re bringing them out.

After getting copies of all of our records, I consolidated them into a binder.  I made a summary page highlighting the information that I thought was especially important, and referenced the page number that it could be found on.   All in all, there were 236 pages of medical information about us.    It was an exhausting process to put it all together in some logical order. 

Seeing all of the information in black and white, in a 3” blue binder brought forward a lot of feelings.  It clarified a lot of things for me (more to come at another time on this).  It also created a lot of questions, and allowed me to see where things could have been done differently.   It gave me hope that maybe, just maybe, this new clinic might be able to see something different, or be able to help us get closer to our dream of becoming parents. 

Some of the pages made my eyes well up with tears.  Others made me feel full fledged burning anger.    All 236 pages left me in disbelief that this is our life, and that 5 years later, we are still searching for our way out of this IF hell hole.

Some of the pages that were the hardest to read:
·      The very first semen analysis (S/A) that DH did.  Not anticipating (as in, it never even crossed my mind that we could have bad news), I went to my OBGYN alone.  A few minutes later, I was sitting in my car with a piece of paper, a bunch of numbers I didn’t understand with the word “STERILE” written on it in.  Seeing that piece of paper reminds me of bawling hysterically in my car wondering how I was ever going to give D the news. 
·      The copy of the first ever FSH hormone test that I had.  It left me feeling confident in my reproductive abilities.  Ha!  One year later, I learned that my ovaries looked like they were 45 years old instead of the 28 years old that I was at the time.
·      The ultrasound pictures of the twins that we lost earlier this year at 8 weeks, and the blood test confirming another pregnancy loss at 5 weeks.

I want to find away out of this IF land.   That’s what this is all about.