Friday, 31 May 2013

This one thing

Today I'm wondering why this one thing, infertility of course, can leave such a gaping hole in your life.  Especially in the midst of so many other good things.

I have so much to be grateful for.  And many things to look forward to.  In so many ways my life has turned out better than I ever expected.  Yet, today, despite lots of other good news in our lives, I have a feeling of discontentment.  I feel disgusted with myself, why can't I just be happy?  So many people can rise up and feel happy with so much less.

It's difficult to distinguish the feelings of discontentment, grief and loneliness that are infertility related from other things.  My fear is that it is not infertility after all, but maybe a wretched personality flaw or something.

Would a baby or two would change this anyways?  Am I just wired to be like this?

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Ho Hum

Feeling a lonely tonight.  There are things to do but the rain and the quietness of the house is making me feel a bit melancholy.  Trying to focus on the good things coming up soon.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Fertility frenzy

So, my period showed up on a Saturday.   I called my local satellite clinic and asked if I could come in for my baseline suppression check.  They told me that they can do the ultrasound but there is no one to do the blood.  I will have to go to another lab to get that done.  I say that's fine by me.

I try to pick the lab and verify their hours, but I can't dial any of their 800 numbers because I am calling from out of country.  So, I call the nurse back to ask for her help.  She says not to worry because the technician is going to come in for me.   Phew.

I have my blood drawn then go for my ultrasound.  And, she finds another cyst.  This time it's bigger than the last.  I try to remain composed until I leave the office.  I thank them for all of the organizing that they did for us.  They tell us they will see us next month.

I cry for the hour drive home.  The last time they cancelled the cycle my blood work was ok, but the cyst was over their maximum 15mm threshold.  I know it's over for this month.  Also we figure it out and think that July is likely a bust too because it's right around the time we would need to be at CCRM we are both in a wedding.

Cue a massive dose of feeling sorry for ourselves.  I feel like this is it.  This is the end.  This is all I can take.  I want to move on to greener pastures.  I am done with this bullshit.  I'm done feeling bad all of the time because of this.  I have very limited emotional strength left and I want to use it up on something that has a higher chance of things working.   Maybe we should donate the $5,000 of meds we have at home and move on to egg donation.   D starts talking about fostering.  I envision having a foster child, getting attached and then the child being taken away from us.   I snap back at D no way.

We got a call from CCRM that my blood work is showing as within the acceptable range.  My estrogen was 55 and my progesterone 0.5. Whoop-de-do.  Dr. Surrey has reviewed everything and if we can have it aspirated that day, or the next day we can proceed with the IVF.


We're confused but happy.

We call back our local clinic to see if the cyst can be dealt with within the 36 hours.  The doctor that is supposed to be on call isn't there.  He apparently reviewed the clinic's cases and then went on vacation with his family because their was nothing on their docket.  I was not because I am a satellite patient and I did not call in to say when I was expecting my CD2 (which I was not asked to do, nor do I ever even know in advance).

The nurse tries to call back of the on-call doctor with no luck.  Then she tries to get a local hospital or OBGYN to help us.  Nothing.

We call CCRM back and ask if the cyst can just be aspirated within 48 hours, on Tuesday.  What's the difference of 12 hours, right?

CCRM says no.   She also tells us that there's a possibility of the cycle being cancelled within the first 3-5 days of starting stims if the cyst comes back.

We go and do a quick errand for a friend.  Then we laid around the house and felt sorry for ourselves.  In the process we made a big mess of our house.  Eating pizza.  Laying in bed.  Laying on the swing outside and reading/surfing.  Acting like complete pigs.

We thought up a new plan.  We call a friend whose wife is a physician.  Maybe she has some contacts that could help us?  They don't know about our IF, but we decide to disclose because this is important.  She does not.

We called our fertility clinic from three years ago.  We have their on call number and think maybe the doctors are doing procedures on Memorial Day?  Maybe they would consider this for us because we are previous patients?  We call but can't get past their after hours secretary.

Our satellite clinic calls back and suggests that they can do the procedure first thing on Tuesday.   We think about lying to CCRM and just doing it "our way" anyways.    We remember the little talk CCRM gives everyone on their one day work up about us coming to CCRM for a reason, and trying to follow the doctor's advice, if you want the doctor's success rates.   We decide that it's a bad idea to lie.

We suddenly think, "why can't we go to Denver for this?".  We call CCRM and they squeeze us in for an appointment at 10:30 a.m. the next day.  It's now 5:30 p.m. We tell them we will check flights and call them back.

There is one leaving in 1 hour 40 minutes.  But the airport is at LEAST a 1 hour drive from our house.  And it's a long weekend with city traffic.   The flight is not cheap either.  We decide we can't make it in that time frame.  If we had 20 minutes more we could have made it work.

We decide that maybe our local Canadian doctor's office might be able to do something tomorrow.  It's not a holiday on Monday.  Maybe that will work?

I call first thing in the morning, but my OBGYN on vacation.

I call a local fertility doctor.  Maybe he'll be sympathetic?  The secretary says they only do it in in an operating room, and there isn't one booked for today, so he can't.

We give up.  It's over for this month.

Pretty much if my period came on ANY other day this month it, or we had thought of traveling to Denver just a little bit sooner, we could have worked it out.

The only silver lining is that we have a sweet mostly free trip now booked.  D gets the trip because of a volunteer position that he holds.  We were going to skip it, but now we get to go.  England, Holland Luxembourg and Belgium here we come!

PS) Any favourite destinations there? We are taking suggestions!

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Memorial Day

If I'm ever not sure on when my period is going to come, I should just look at the calendar.   If there is a holiday or long weekend, or vacation plans that make it difficult to get lab work that will be when it will come.   CD1 this month on a long weekend, and if all goes well with the suppression check, D and I will miss an expenses-paid trip to London, England in mid-June with his work.  Seriously!

Thankfully we have amazing nurses at our clinic that go above and beyond for us.  One has even come in for us on her personal time and told me that she says prayers for us.  They are beyond sweet and understanding.

Hoping all of my American friends are having a good Memorial Day!

Friday, 24 May 2013

Saying Goodbye

When Grandpa first had his stroke, the message from the doctors was very serious.  It was massive.  If the bleeding stopped within six hours there might be a chance that he could survive.  Thankfully, the bleeding did stop.  We started talking about therapy and how things would be when he left the hospital.

A few days later, he had a seizure.  And when he awoke, he had even more use of his affected arm than before.  It seemed like a small miracle.  News spread to the small town that they lived about the seriousness of the situation, but also about the positive outlook that we shared.

Then, the seizures kept happening.  The doctors started doing more scans, only to find that his brain was not recovering, that the bruise was getting larger.  They told us that he wasn't going to recover.  They asked my Grandmother to decide if she wanted to keep the IV in his arm.  If they removed it, they said he would pass within 3-5 days in a less painful way.  If they kept it in, they thought he would live 2-3 weeks.

My Grandmother made the agonizing choice of what she thought he would want.  With her children, she decided to remove the IV.  When Grandpa heard the news, he decided to take matters into his own hands and take out the IV himself.

My Grandparents have often come across as rather un-emotional towards each other.  I've never seen them kiss or hug, or hold hands.   I mostly saw their love towards each other in the consideration that they gave to each other, and the time they spent with one another.

After everyone including Grandpa was aware of the situation the atmosphere in the hospital room started to change.  Grandpa started calling meetings with his children to say goodbye to them.

He spent hours with each of them telling them how he loved them.  They told him how they felt for him. They laughed and they shared some of their regrets.   Grandpa wished that he hadn't worked so many long hours and that he spent more time with them as children.

I know he had many of these moments with Grandma too.   I can only imagine the things they must have been saying to each other.  It makes me tear up just thinking of it.  I can't even imagine having to say goodbye to my D.

Grandpa's body was very strong.  Despite having his IV removed, he continued to live for two weeks.  We watched him grow thinner by the day, to the point where his dentures no longer fit.  Mere weeks before, he carried a muscular 200 lbs on his 6ft frame.  He was debating renewing his golf membership at his favourite club, opting instead for the first time in a long time, to play around at various courses instead.

For his last two weeks, he spent a lot of time worrying about the people he loved and his funeral.   He would speak to us in what came out as only a whisper.  He would tell us about the music he wanted played.  Sometimes, my Grandmother would lean in to better understand what he was saying.   She would lift her head up, teary and say "Yes, we'll play Amazing Grace" and kiss him on the lips.   She said that even at the end he never lost his pucker.  She stroked his arm, and they kissed all of the time in their final two weeks.

He wasn't a religious man, but in the end, to my surprise, we learned that he was a spiritual one. I think he found some comfort in quiet moments that he shared with a Pastor.

I like to think of his final weeks as a big love-in.  Where we just showered him with love and warm affection.   I know though, that his final weeks were partially filled with torment.    He had more to give, he wasn't ready to leave us.  And that breaks my heart.  I now know what I want to do for others I know who are dying.  To me, dying has been simplified a bit.  All you need to do for the person is to show up, and shower them with love in whatever way you can give it and they can receive it.

I had the chance to tell Grandpa that I loved him.  I watched him tell D to take care of me.  I wanted to thank him for every thing he did for me that I could remember.  Especially for that summer he hired me to live and work at his business.  I don't know why, but the moment never felt right for me to say these things.  Instead I gave him lots of kisses and rubbed his back when it was sore from laying.

My Grandmother says that she is grateful for small mercies.  She says she can't imagine how some people go through terminal illnesses for not months but years.  I think she's right and thinking of all of the pain that some people endure makes my heart so very heavy.

I think what I learned most from being by Grandma's and my mother's side was death close up.   I saw regrets laid out for all to see, and love freely given.  I saw a mother and a daughter clinging to each other on their deepest days.  I saw my Grandmother vowing to pick up and continue on.

My Grandmother's sister said it was like watching the end of a great love story.  I couldn't have put it better myself.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Mother's Day Blow Out

That's how I'll always think of that day now.

[I know I said I may not write about this but I need to.  I need an outlet.  And if it's not here it might be at an inappropriate time.  Letting these thoughts just roll around in my head is turning them more toxic by the second.]

After we bought the new place D's Mommy dearest starting acting a little out of sorts.  She always measures a little bit unstable but until this point it's always been manageable for us and her.  The news of the new place sent her off the richter scale.

For a few weeks, her behaviour wan't quite normal. However we mostly just ignored it, chalking it up to the stress of the news that we wouldn't be around for a couple of months.   Not a huge deal we thought, as they usually travel south for a couple months in the winter themselves.

In the weeks preceding my Grandpa's death,  we had been asking MIL to choose a date to come and spend a weekend with us in the new place.    We were excited to show them our new place.

Every time D asked, she said they couldn't come.   She amped up the excuses and told us about how our cats wouldn't get a long (traveling without hers is not an optional in her mind), and about how Gramma (who lives with them) isn't good enough to travel.  This is sometimes true, but lately she's been on road trips of equivalent length and has been doing well.  Every single time that D talked with them he asks them to come and visit.   Every single time they break out one of their excuses.  D was very frustrated by this.

I told D that if it was up to me, that I would just say to her  something to the effect of "you know we would love to have you visit us.  Please let us know when you are ready".  D said the fact that I even would consider saying such a thing to his mother means I really have no clue about how she operates.  I guess I don't.  I just don't like the idea of feeding into their games and us begging them several times a week to come visit us.  Shouldn't they WANT to come see the place that their son, their only child just purchased?  I figured if they want to see us, and the place, then eventually they'd come.

He says that if we said that to her, that she just wouldn't come and she would hold a grudge forever.

Um, okay. Nice.

We have a rule in our relationships with our parents that I deal with mine, and he deals with his.  This has worked well until this point.  It keeps us out of messy waters with our in-laws.   So I backed off trying to influence their visit to us.

Fast forward another couple of weeks when my Grandfather passed. It was the day before Mother's day.  Mother's Day is a bitter pill in itself for me to swallow.  Combined with a very difficult and emotional month with my Grandfather's illness and death, as well as news of a neurological problem my mother is having, it was a lot to take in.

We have spent every Mother's Day for the past 8 years with D's parents.  This year, because we were away, we arranged to send MIL and his Gramma some potted baskets for on their deck.  They love potted flowers of every variety.  We thought it would be a hit.  D called his mother on Mother's Day to wish her well, and see if the delivery arrived.

She says they did.  When D asked her what she thought, she told him they were guilt flowers.  A few short minutes into their call they launched into the biggest fight I have ever seen them have in our 8 years together.  She ranted and raved without listening to a word that he had to say.

I was preparing a hot meal to bring to my Grandmother's house for a family gathering.  I had to leave without D because the fight they had left him so emotionally raw that he needed some time to cool down before heading into a big gathering.  We drove separately.

After talking with D, he told me that there are several things bothering MIL.  She is pissed about not getting every major holiday with us.  That she thinks we are moving away.  That we don't know how much work Gramma is.  That we are all gathered around my Grandpa and no one is there helping her with Gramma.  That she doesn't talk with D's Dad about anything anymore.  That she thinks all we are doing at the new place is partying with my family.

I don't want to go into each point, but basically they are all bullshit.  D an exceptional son to them.  The things she was saying couldn't be farther from the truth.  Except the holiday thing. That's true.  We spend most of them with my family, and celebrate with D's before or after the holiday, with the exception of Christmas, which we spend the morning with them and then drive to see my family.   We had already discussed that we could spend more time with them on the holidays because we will be spending the summers with my family. I thought it was a fair solution.

I was so proud of D because I heard him standing up for me during their fight.  He told them that I only get to see my family six times a year because of the distance, and yes, they are on holidays because that's when we have the extra day to make the 5 hour drive.   He told her "Do you think we have it good? Because all of our friends have babies except for us. All we have our miscarriages".

The fight went on and on.  I'm probably not even capturing it all, but you get the gist.

Reflecting on this now, I feel even more frustrated by it.  Maybe she could have thought of how difficult that day was for us.  It's already one of the worst days of the year for me.  Compounded to be even harder because my Grandfather just died the day before.  A day that I need my husband.  A day that we need to be away from them and their bullshit.

So, so, selfish.

The next day, she called D and said that she wants more holidays with us, and she wants to come in a few days for a visit.

In hindsight this timeframe was way to close for me after such a big fight.  I needed way more of a cooling down period than a few days.  But, because she was playing so hard to get I didn't want to give her any sniff us us not wanting her there, because I knew that she would run with it.

I was hoping the visit was just what she needed and would calm her fears.

I think that maybe she does feel better now that she has visited.  However, all the visit did was fuel my anger.

Here's some of the reason's why.

- Did not lift a finger while she was there.  Not one dish brought to the sink, zippo.
- Did not thank or appreciate any of the meals that we prepared that were her favourite things.
- Sat in her bedroom for hours at a time on her computer uploading photos.  'Cause that's polite.
- Declined any invitation to do anything.  To eat out, to take a walk around the new neighbourhood, to ride bikes (which they do at home), to take a scenic drive, to go on a local boat cruise.   All offers to do things were met with passive aggressive responses and snarky tones such as "we can't do that, Grandma's not good enough.  You just don't see it because you are never around".  Yet when there was a sale on at a local big box store, she had no problem leaving Gramma behind.   I offered to stay with Gramma so they could go out together.  The answer was no.
- She yelled, reprimanded and was down right mean and threatening to Gramma "SIT RIGHT THERE AND DON'T YOU MOVE!" (so much so that I just wanted to pack Gramma up and have her stay with us forever).
- She wouldn't tell us how long she was staying.  I tried to make plans with her to go to yard sales (something she loves), and all she could tell me is that they might have to go because Gramma's not good enough.  Even though they had only got there the day before.
- She told D that she didn't want a family-fest happening there while she was there (meaning my family). We wouldn't have invited them anyways.  Last I checked though it is my house and I can invite or not invite anyone I please!
- She did not offer any condolences and told me that she "would have sent something for my Grandpa, but she had no idea what his name was anyways" - the ultimate insult of the weekend, WTF!!!

Her visit was a complete misery for me and everyone around her.   When I told my aunt about it, she summarized "She's not happy and she's letting you know".  I agree that she is.  In every passive aggressive way that she possibly can.  Pot-shots galore and snarky-ness.   It seems it's come down to a power struggle between her and me, and unfortunately it's happening through D.

When she acts like this, I don't fuel her in any way or respond to any of her comments.  I simply say "ok", walk away or pretend I don't hear.

I'm not sure how I'm going to cope with this now.  To this point, we haven't had a fight, but I can feel the coals are red hot.  If  I see her behaving like this again, I'm not sure I'm going to be able to be as polite and accommodating as I've been so far.

I'm sick of the guilt trip that she is laying on D.  I'm sick that he feels stuck in the middle and like crap for considering my needs (which for the record are at this point only to be with my family two months of the year).   I feel like she is trying to poison our new place, and D's enjoyment of it.  She feels bad about her life, and she's trying to bring us down with her.

What she doesn't know, is that if it was up to just me that we would move.  That we are (for now) choosing to keep our home local to them, only because of them.  We could list our house and be gone in a blink of an eye.   We'd see them six times a year.  Wonder if that would work out better for her?

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

And... we're back.

Sorry for the hiatus, Friends.

It's been a whirlwind of a month filled with so many satisfying peaks and very low valleys.

I want to end on a good note, so I suppose I'll start with the Valleys.

The Valleys

After a month long struggle in the hospital, my Grandfather passed with our family by his side.  We visited often and were thankful for the opportunity to say goodbye and spend time with our family.  Someone close to us (who lost her husband) gently reminded us of this,  and it was helpful in getting through a very difficult time.  I have a lot  to say about this, and I want to do so in a separate post.  I feel as if I took a month long course on love, death and dying.   It's a lot to process.

My Mother-in-law decided to act like a complete jerk for several weeks. She's unhappy and she's been letting us know in every passive aggressive way possible, complete with a fireworks style capstone event on Mother's Day, the day after my Grandfather died.    There's more on that to come....maybe.  D reads this blog from time to time and I'm not sure if I can be even remotely tactful at this point.  Very, very sour is how I'm feeling on this topic, folks.

The Peaks

We have successfully waited out another month and are ready for my cycle to start.  I'm hoping that our baseline check looks as good as last time.  Our fingers are crossed.  It could be any day.  I have made plans to go to Colorado with my aunt for the first part of the trip, and D will join me later on.

Something I've been quiet about here, but I'm ready to share about is that we purchased a cottage.  The timing of this was truly a blessing as it allowed us to be closer to our family during such a difficult time.   Being there for the past three weeks really affirmed our decision to purchase.  I felt content.  Which is  a very strange feeling for me.  It surprised me that it came during a time filled with so many other difficulties.  I think the fact that I could feel it even though we were coping with some very heavy things is telling.  More on this to come too.

For now though, I plan to catch up with what's been going on with all of you over a nice cup of tea. Boy, I missed you! (and my computer).