Thursday, August 23, 2012

Repeat Beta: Fail

The beta came back negative, which was to be expected. So, I'm not really upset. It was a nice little dream to have, but alas!

Back to losing weight and getting healthier!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Confusing - TMI Post

This post is going to be a little TMI, so sorry if you are my family or someone who just doesn't want to know about TMI stuff...just close this window out now and don't read any further. Ahaha.

Now that you've been warned...

Things are a bit off. I googled like a man woman for stories that resembled mine, but was driving myself crazy doing it. I really don't like calling up the nurses and asking them questions, because I feel really stupid when I do. But, I sucked it up and called the nurse, and now I am glad that I did.

The convo went something like this:

Me: Hello. I am calling with a question and to make sure everything is okay with me.
Nurse: Sure, go ahead!
Me: After my last IVF cycle, I had a really heavy period and passed very large clots, but this cycle, it was a very, very light flow, and I spotted before and after the period. Then, I took my temperature this morning and realized that my temperature has never dropped from last cycle.
Nurse: *concerned* Oooh. Um, let me go get your chart.

(Before I continue, just to explain, after you take progesterone, your lining in your uterus is VERY thick. Therefore, it is normal for a woman to pass very large clots after a failed IVF cycle because you are taking very large doses of progesterone. As far as the temperatures go, your BBT temperatures go up after ovulation and drops the day or so before, or the day of your period. This is because your progesterone drops which causes a woman's uterus to shed the lining. If your temperature doesn't drop past when your period is due, though, it's a sign of a possible pregnancy.)

Nurse: Okay. So it's been two weeks since your pregnancy test. And your period wasn't normal?
Me: No.
Nurse: And your progesterone at the time of the test was 18, which means it should have dropped by now. No, this is not normal at all.
Me: Do you think it's possible that I ovulated really early?
Nurse: Ehhhh. In my experience, women tend to ovulate later after a failed IVF cycle, not earlier. I want you to come in for another pregnancy test tomorrow. It is a machine, after all, so anything can happen. I am glad you called, though, because this is definitely not normal.
Me: I was driving myself insane with Google, so I finally decided to call in instead. Well, I will see you tomorrow!
Nurse: See you tomorrow morning!


So...all of this, after I have mourned and gotten over the failure of the last IVF, just to have to go back to the doctor and experience it all over again? UGH.

On the same hand...I want to know what is going on with my body. And my feet have started swelling again, but I think that might be from all the sitting I've been doing with going to meetings for most of my day. That, and I've not been interesting in eating lately, even when I'm hungry.

I'm not optimistic at all. My luck, I'm just a freak of nature and this is all some cruel joke.

Also? Sorry for the TMI. But, I believe I warned you all before you started reading this blog, so DEAL WITH IT. ;)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Being Happy for Other People

One of the hardest things to deal with during infertility treatment is watching as everyone else gets pregnant but you. Of course, in perspective, this is not true. Not EVERYONE is getting pregnant. In fact, lots of women are facing infertility issues, it's not just me. But, when you are going through this, it just FEELS like everyone else is getting pregnant but you, and not only are they getting pregnant, but most of the time, they weren't even really trying in the first place. Not like I am trying. They aren't charting and temping and getting ultrasounds and blood draws every morning...but yet, they get pregnant, and me? I don't.

The last major meltdown I had over someone getting pregnant was when one of my friends announced she was having twins. It came as a blow, as I was just told by my clinic at the time that I'd have to wait two months to receive any treatment at all. I was devastated. It might sound a little ridiculous, but I even took off of work because I was too sad to go in. I had a really hard time being around her for most of her pregnancy, as it only reminded me of what I didn't have. Eventually, though, I had to suck it up, because I wasn't being fair to myself, nor was I being fair to her, and though it literally took me MONTHS to cope, I managed, and I am truly happy for her and her boys now. I can't wait to see them.

Since that time, I've had three unsuccessful IUIs and two unsuccessful IVFs. My situation has become a little more despairing. Before, I was hopeful for the treatment to come, and now, I am wondering what options are left for me when I've pretty much used up the ones available.

Last week, toward the middle of the week, I came to the realization that the second IVF did not work. In disappointment and grief, I posted in my blog, putting my heart and raw emotion out there for everyone to see. For the second time, I've had a LIFE put into me, an embryo, my little piece of me and my husband, and for the second time, I've failed to nurture it and let it die. It's a horrible feeling. It truly is.

I didn't know, at that time, that my best friend, Corrine, a girl who has seen me at my worse, one who has been there for me through everything and more...was reading my blog too. And I didn't know, at the time, that she was pregnant and terrified of telling me.

I didn't know that she had called my other best friend, Gina, in tears, asking her how she is possibly going to tell me now, after I've failed another IVF. They've debated on if it should have been something to say face-to-face or not. They lamented over what to do.

Finally, Corrine decided to tell my husband. She had him call her while he was at work, and she told him the news. My husband told her that he'd handle it, and when he hung up the phone, I'm sure all Corrine could do was hold her breath and wait.

My husband came home from work early. He put away his things, then came into the living room and said very plainly, "I am going to tell you something, and it is going to make you upset, but you're going to have to keep it together." My very first thought was that he was fired from his job, since he was home early and had been complaining about work all week. But, he said that wasn't it. And as I tried to figure out what else could possibly make me upset, he said, "Corrine is pregnant."

And my heart broke.

My husband didn't know that I had spent that morning crying, trying to get over the fact that my IVF was a failure. I finally reached a place where I was okay with this. A place of acceptance. And then he comes home with this news.

My first reaction was shock. My second reaction was to think, "But she wasn't really trying..." And my third reaction, which I said while breaking down into tears was, "This isn't fair."

It was only after I said this that my husband told me to come over to him, and he held me and let me cry it out. But, as I was crying, I realized that no amount of tears was going to change my situation. And worse off, my best friend was afraid of telling me something that she should have been proud about, not worried about how I was going to handle it.  I wasn't being fair to myself, nor was I being fair to Corrine.

I didn't take long to recover. I spoke with Corrine and let her know that she didn't have to feel like she was walking on eggshells with me, and that although I was having a hard time of it then, I was truly happy for her. And I am. I'm beyond happy for her. It still hurts that she kept something so wonderful from me for a month or so, and it hurts even more that I was the reason for that. But her intentions were in the right place. She was being so selfless.

A couple of days later, she invited me to go to her doctor's appointment with her to hear the baby's heartbeat for the first time. I was so touched by the offer, and I was confident in myself that I could handle it as well.

 I drove all the way back to Philadelphia to be there bright and early Monday morning so I could go with Corrine and her husband to her doctor's appointment. While I sat in the waiting room, I thought to myself that this will be me one day, but today is not my day. It's Corrine's day. When it is my day, I'm sure Corrine would do the same for me, and just be there.

Driving two hours back home was worth the thirty seconds of hearing that baby's heartbeat on the doppler, let me tell you. I would have driven halfway across the country for that.

It's not easy when everyone else is getting pregnant but you. It's not easy to keep thinking to yourself, "Well, maybe this time next year, I will have my own baby," only to get to this time next year and still have nothing. It's a horrible, horrible feeling. The biggest obstacle is learning how to overcome this feeling, though, and learning how to tell yourself that your time will come...eventually.

Until then, though, I need to genuinely learn how to be happy for other people when they share their news about their babies. Corrine won't be the last of my friends to get pregnant. I'm sure there will be others who will reach this place in their lives before I do. So, I can't keep beating myself up about it. Sure, it's not fair. Sure, it sucks. But for them, it's a beautiful thing, and I shouldn't minimize it just because I can't have it for myself right now.

In six months, my best friend will have her own bundle of joy, and I'm going to be there for her through it all, because I love her, and love transcends everything that I'm going through.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The WTF Appointment

I met with Dr. P. to discuss what we can do to prepare for the next IVF. This is pretty much how it was broken down...

1) My Eggs Suck: He didn't say this so bluntly, but it's pretty much what he was trying to say. In fact, they are starting to believe that I might not have even ovulated early the first IVF round. He instead thinks, in retrospect, that the eggs are dying before they can get to them, and the follicles are collapsing, as they would after ovulation. The eggs that they are getting aren't of the best quality, either. All together, they got six eggs from both cycles. Out of the six eggs, three of them ended up polyspermy, an indicator of poor egg quality since the eggs aren't acting the way they are supposed to after being fertilized with one sperm. They are letting other sperm in after that.

The solution?

2) Lose Weight: This is priority. He wants me to take these months off to focus on losing weight, which I'm fine with. I've already come down to this realization. He explained it to me like this: When I am taking my injections, the medicine has to travel through fatty tissue before it gets into my system and to my ovaries. The more fatty tissue there is, the longer it takes for the medicine to get to my ovaries. It's not being as effective as it can be because it has to go all that extra way to get there. This goes for both the injections and for my normal hormones. If I can cut down this fat, then I am creating less of an obstacle for the hormones to travel, and my body should respond the way it should to the injections and to my natural hormones. It will also improve my egg quality at the end of everything.

3) Take a Supplement Called Pregnitude: Pregnitude is a new supplement that is still being studied. In it's one official study, though, it has improved ovulatory function, menstrual cyclicity, and quality of eggs. Basically, it's a crap ton of folic acid and Myo-Inositol, which supposedly acts like Metformin. Dr. P. wants me to take this for at least two months before we move head. So, at the least, I am waiting two months for my next IVF cycle, if not more. He really believes in this stuff, so I am hoping it works.

On the flip side, he said that I am stopping the dexmethasone, and I won't be taking Metformin like the nurse said I would be. He said I'm not insulin resistant, so there's no reason for me to take it now, but he will have me take it during my IVF cycle. The dexmethasone wasn't doing anything, and he doesn't want me to be on it much longer because it thins the bones and because of complications like Cushing's Syndrome. He also said it won't help me lose weight.

As for the immunology testing, he said that his clinic doesn't test for it anymore, and he doesn't think it's a factor for my situation. The treatment for such things include dexmethasone, and since that hasn't done anything for me anyway, he really doesn't think it's the issue at hand. So, I won't press that any further, as I don't see a reason to.

So, that's pretty much it. I went to the gym on the way home today to renew my membership, only to find it has never been cancelled. Which is strange...because I can't find it being charged to any of my cards...soooooo....whatever! I'll start a new gym routine to go along with my diet and hope for the best. :)

Moving On

Hey, everyone!

The last few days have been days of recovering for me. I'm happy to say, though, that they've been pretty great, and I've not been struggling much at all. I am glad I took the HPTs early last week, because they gave me a chance to mourn ahead of time and put it behind me, which I really needed. I couldn't imagine having that news sprung on me with no inkling of what it might have been ahead of time.

A lot of people have been asking me what is next in my plans as far as TTC goes, and my answer has been the same: I'm going on a break. I'm not going to temp. I'm not going to track anything. I'm most likely not even going to use my fertility monitor, though I'm still on the fence about that one. I'm just going to let things be while I focus on getting healthy again. I think that's the best route to go, especially since I've been dong this non-stop for over half a year now. I'm pooped!

In a half hour, I will leave to go to the doctor to find out what the official plan is. I am bringing a notebook with me, and in the notebook, I've written down questions that I want to ask the doctor, so I don't forget. They are:

1) Ask about immunology testing: There's a newish theory (or practice) going around in the infertility world about immunology for women who have recurrent miscarriages or unexplained infertility (specifically after transferring good embryos during IVF). This theory suggests that the woman's own body attacks the cells that make up the placenta, therefore never allowing the embryo to implant. There are ways to treat this, fortunately, but unfortunately, I don't think my insurance covers immunology testing because it's still classified as being experimental. Also, I am not sure where my clinic stands as far as this goes, and the closest immunology endocrinologists are states away. Granted, many women do get on planes and go see these doctors...I just don't think I'm at that place yet.

2) Supplements: I want to learn more about the royal jelly supplement, which I've been hearing all sorts of great things about. Problem is, it comes from bees, and there are warnings out there that those who are allergic to bees can also be allergic to the royal jelly. I happen to be allergic to bees, go figure. .

3) Dexmethasone: I have been on it for almost half a year now to straighten out my DHEA levels. But, I've read that if you are on it for too long, you can develop Cushing's Syndrome from the elevated cortisol levels. I've researched Cushing's Syndrome, and two of the telling signs are weight gain and purple-red stretch marks. Guess what I've been experiencing?

4) Laproscopy: This is a surgery where they cut a hole into your bellybutton and put a little camera in there and take a peek around at your uterus and surrounding organs. It's to check for any abnormalities, specifically endometriosis. I don't have any symptoms of endo, but I do have "kissing ovaries" which, according to a study, is a telling sign of endo. I turned down getting a lap done before because the doctor didn't think it was necessary before my IVF, since he didn't think I had endo. That was before they mentioned anything about my "kissing ovaries" too. So, I want to revisit it. I've heard plenty of stories of women who never thought they had endo actually turn out having stage four endo. After having it removed, they went on to have perfectly healthy children. It's worth looking into.

Other than that, there's not much more to discuss. I'll probably start metformin today, and hopefully that will help out with my weight loss. Today is day four of restricting my calorie intake, and I wish I knew if it was working or not, but I'm still too afraid to step on the scale. I guess that doesn't really help things.

I am also thinking of starting the primal diet, which I've heard really helps people out with PCOS. My husband said he'd go along with it, so I'll at least have some support. The primal diet is pretty much a theory that we should go back to living and eating like cavemen. It's a simple diet and easy to follow. I need to look into it a little more first, but I am leaning in that direction.

I will have more to post when I get back from the doctor. I wanted to write up a post about my best friend's pregnancy and how I'm taking that, but it will have to wait. :)

Friday, August 10, 2012

IVF#2: Post Beta

Well, it is over. IVF #2 is officially a bust.

My WTF appointment is on Tuesday. I'll talk to the doctor then to figure out a new action plan moving forward.

Today is the beginning of my TTC break. I am not sure how much I'll update the blog from here on out...I haven't quite decided, but we will see.

Thank you, everyone, for your thoughts and prayers...again. It meant a lot to us.

Pre-Beta Part II

When I got to the clinic, I was a little more emotional than I wanted to be. Thankfully, my favorite nurse, Nurse A. was the one who was going to take my blood and talk to me about the next steps.

She could see it written all over my face that I was hurting. I could tell by the way she looked back at me, and by the tone of her voice. She asked me what was going on, and I told her that I'm pretty sure it didn't work. She asked if I got my period, and I told her that I didn't, but my tests were all negative. Her reply, of course, was that there is still a chance, to which I responded that I wasn't getting my hopes up over it. This is when I had to stop myself from crying.

She took my blood, and then asked me if I remembered what the plan was for moving forward. I knew the plan for if the beta comes back positive -- all I have to do is continue the progesterone. But, I told her that I didn't remember what the plan was for if it was negative, since she explained it to me as I was waking up from surgery. That made her laugh.

Basically, the plan is the same as my plan. I will start metformin right away, and I have to focus on losing weight. I asked her about the ER and what went wrong, and she looked at my chart and counted that I had seven mature follicles, so there should have been seven eggs. I asked her what causes the follicles to be empty, and she pretty much said that my weight and PCOS is a factor. So, while it sucks that I messed up my cycles by being overweight, it is also something that I CAN FIX, and make better.

So, she gave me some tips, pretty much to keep eating high protein and to work out regularly. She told me to eat lots of grilled chicken. Haha. Then she said that she's seen women go on breaks lots of times and come back to the clinic pregnant on their own, and that she hopes that happens to me. That I have to be as motivated now as I was before, and to get this ball rolling.

Then she gave me a hug.

I managed not to cry until I got into my car. Then, Florence + The Machine came on my ipod, and there's a part of the song that says "I'm not giving up, I'm just giving in." That's how I feel right now. I'm not giving up on this...I'm just giving in to the fact that it will happen when it should happen, and it's out of my hands until then. All I can do is focus on the weight loss and getting myself healthy again...and it will happen.

IVF#2: 14dp2dt or 16 DPO - Pre Beta

A little part of me was holding out hope that I'd get up this morning, take out my last HPT, pee on it, and get a positive result. As I watched the dye move across the place where the test line should be, a little part of me wanted it to turn pink right away, so that there would be no doubt in my mind that this worked.

But, there's nothing there. Not even the faintest of lines. Not the tiniest glimmer of hope. Nothing at all. Blank.

Today, I'll drive through traffic to get to the clinic. I'll walk in there and a nurse will take me into a small room to have my blood drawn. She'll pretend to be optimistic, and I'll smile and go along with it, even if I know this is all over with. I just want to move on.

I'll know for sure that this cycle failed by this afternoon. The last two months will have all been for nothing. All the waiting. All the shots I've had to give myself, all the shots my husband had to give me, all the raging hormones, the emotions, the desperate feeling that kept me will all have been for nothing.

The nurse will say, "You are not pregnant," and it will sting just as much as the negative pregnancy test sitting on my sink.

Today won't be easy...not at all. I'll be alone when I get the phone call, and I'll cry alone until my husband gets home. I'll be bitter and angry and sad...

But it is what it is. This was not my time. That was not the embryo who was supposed to make it. I have a friend who told me that though she struggled with her infertility, she doesn't regret anything she did along the way, because had another treatment worked, she wouldn't have the child she had today. Everything would be different. Quite literally, the son she loves today would not exist.

So, maybe this is why it has turned out this way. Maybe I wasn't meant to have THAT embryo. Maybe there's another one that is supposed to be my baby, and this all had to happen so that I could get to it.

This might have failed...but I am still hopeful. I am hopeful that the next few months are going to bring about something greater for me. Something that I don't have to take medicine for, or stab myself in the stomach with a needle for, or go under surgery only to wake up to disappointment. It will fall into place...that is my hope.

It may have failed, but I am not done fighting for my baby. I will never be done with it until I'm holding her in my arms, and I'll know for sure that all of this was worth it in the end.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Tomorrow Will Be Kinder

I was listening to this song in the car on the way back from my appointment today. It fits...though, maybe it fits for tomorrow and not today.

"Tomorrow Will Be Kinder"

Black clouds are behind me, I now can see ahead
Often I wonder why I try hoping for an end
Sorrow weighs my shoulders down
And trouble haunts my mind
But I know the present will not last
And tomorrow will be kinder

Tomorrow will be kinder
It's true, I've seen it before
A brighter day is coming my way
Yes, tomorrow will be kinder

Today I've cried a many tear
And pain is in my heart
Around me lies a somber scene
I don't know where to start
But I feel warmth on my skin
The stars have all aligned
The wind has blown, but now I know
That tomorrow will be kinder

Tomorrow will be kinder
I know, I've seen it before
A brighter day is coming my way
Yes, tomorrow will be kinder

A brighter day is coming my way
Yes, tomorrow will be kinder

IVF#2: 13dp2dt or 15 DPO

15 DPO. 90% of women test positive by 15 DPO.

I am not one of those 90%.

My tests are still coming up negative, and I pretty much have hung up hope for this cycle. Sure, there's the slight off chance that I go in for my beta tomorrow and it comes back positive...but this far into the game, if I don't have enough HCG to light up a HPT, then it probably won't be enough to sustain a pregnancy anyway.

I made an emergency appointment with my therapist today, since I've been struggling with the fact that another cycle has failed. As always, she helped me to keep everything in perspective, and I feel much better now. Sure, I'm crushed that I went through a whole, fresh IVF cycle only to watch it crumble from the day of the ER, but it's not the end of the road for me. I can keep going.

I just need a break.

And that's my plan. I am going to start the metformin, and for the next three months I am going to do nothing but work on getting me in a healthier state. This doesn't necessarily mean I'll lose a lot of weight, but as Dr. C. said to me, what matters more is that I am healthy and physically active again, not that I am dropping pant sizes. It's a strange notion when American culture hammers into your head that your dress size is more important than your physical well-being...but she's right. I need to focus on something that is more positive than saying, "I am going to lose x amount of pounds in y amount of time."

So, here is my game plan:

1. Go for my beta tomorrow.
2. If beta is positive -- yay. If beta is negative, schedule a WTF appointment with the RE to find out what we can do to make the next round more effective.
3. I already know that metformin is part of that plan. So, start that.
4. Join the gym. It's on my way home from work now, so there's no reason why I can't make it part of my routine a few times a week.
5. Get a fertility yoga CD to do on the off days.
6. Remind myself that this is not a choice, that I have to do it if I want to get my baby.
7. Stop charting.

I have to stay positive. I will be absolutely crushed tomorrow, and I will grieve, but I will have to get over it and move forward. That's all I can do. Just keep moving forward.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Hating Myself

I don't know why I decided to do this, but I did a very stupid thing. After folding all of my laundry, I decided it was time to purge my wardrobe of all the clothes I don't fit in anymore since I got fat. I didn't realize how much my body has changed until I ended up with 80% of my wardrobe in trash bags. I grew out of so many things that I have a full drawer that is empty now. A full drawer. Empty.

I sat on the edge of the bed and cried. I'm still crying. I'm crying over how much I hate my body, how I am afraid to step on the scale or look at myself in the mirror. I'm crying over the stretch marks that keep showing up, reminding me of my failure. I'm crying over how much I hate going out anymore because I feel like everyone is looking at me, judging me.

I used to like getting dressed up and going out with my friends. Now I hide away in sweatpants and loose fitting clothes, trying to hide every part of me that I hate. Every time I eat, I feel guilty. Everything I put in my mouth makes me detest myself even more.

I'm ready to change. Something drastic needs to happen. I am going to put this whole getting pregnant thing on hold, and I am going to push myself to get it together. That might mean I have to watch everyone get their baby before I do...but whatever. I can't go on like this. I want my clothes back. I want my life back.

 I want to love myself again.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

My Sister is Wonderful

I just wanted to share with you what she sent to me today. While I keep my faith close to myself and don't express it often, I really found this to be comforting:

I've been thinking of you extra today. There's always so much I want to say, but I know it's not really the kind of stuff you want to hear. But I'm really praying you can find peace in this great struggle you're facing, and a light in this dark cloud you're in. And that you can find peace in believing that even when God's plan is different than ours, His plan is surely better. And even if it's painful at times along the way -- even if it's gut-wrenchingly awful -- we want the better plan in the end. This is something I remind myself of when I don't get the first (or second, or tenth) plan I want... "Even if it's painful, I want the better plan." I hope you can find peace and believe this, even in this really horrible time for you. I love you!

And this:

Romans 8:24 ... "We are saved by hope. And hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has?"

I want the better plan. I want the better plan. I want the better plan...

IVF#2: 11dp2dt or 13 DPO Part II

Okay. So last night was a rough night. Obviously. I had a horrible time sleeping and only got about four and a half hours total. I woke up and took another HPT...negative. Great way to start out the day, right? Ugh.

I moped around for a little while, ate breakfast, put on my happy face for the husband, then moped around some more after he left for work. Then I crawled back into bed to catch up on sleep. This time, it came around a little better. I slept until noon.

When I woke up...I took another test. The last one in the house. Six hours passed by. So, something could come up, right? Right? Wrong. Still nothing. Still blank. I'm torturing myself.

That's when I realized that I have to stop this. I decided that I'd call up the nurses after their lunch time and ask if I can come in early for my beta. Hell, if my HPTs are negative at 13 DPO, there's a slim chance they are going to turn positive before Friday. I rather get this over with and not ruin my whole weekend with grieving.

So, I rehearsed what I was going to say to her over and over again in my head. Nurses are so intimidating. I hate asking them anything. I always feel like a little girl when I do. I was hoping that I'd get Nurse A on the phone, since she's my favorite and she'd understand my being neurotic over this.

After taking a shower and putting some laundry into the washer, I picked up the phone, swallowed up my pride and called. The conversation went something like this:

Nurse: Dr. P. and Dr. B.'s office.
Me: Hello, Nurse M., this is me, and I had a question to ask.
Nurse: Okay, go ahead.
Me: Well, I kind of cheated and took some pregnancy tests at home and they are all blank so I-
Nurse: I'm sorry, what did you say?
Me: *sigh* I took some pregnancy tests at home and they were all negative, so I was wondering if I could come in early for my beta.
Nurse: No. It's too early.
Me: *silence because 13 DPO isn't early, and my original beta date was 12 DPO* Really? You mean there's still some hope?
Nurse: Yes. Even a day makes a difference.
Me: Okay. Well, I guess I'll see you on Friday then. Goodbye.

End of convo. Sometimes, I feel like they just string us along. If 13 DPO is too early, then why would you have originally scheduled me to come in for my beta on 12 DPO? What kind of sense does that make? But fine. I'll cling to this little piece of hope that you planted in my head. I'll continue to endure the torture.

Naturally, the next step for a woman going through the TTC journey, after testing herself to death, is to open up her internet browser and type into google things like '11dp2dt BFN IVF' and see if anything worth while comes up. There has to be stories out there of women who have been through IVF, taken a test at the same time I have, got a BFN, and have somehow gone on to get their positive beta, right? Right. There are. Lots of them.

I'm sure I could spend all day reading about people who have taken HPTs the day of their beta, gotten a BFN and got a positive beta. And I probably will. Anything to feed the little seed of hope that is buried somewhere deep in my brain, asking to be nourished.

But I also have other things planned to keep my mind off of this. And they are:

1. Take a hot shower to regroup. 
2. Start the laundry.
3. Fold the laundry.
4. Do the dishes.
5. Bake cookies for the new neighbors.
6. Maybe blow things up on the xbox.
7. Come up with a new idea for a new book while my other books are in editing limbo.

Wish me luck.

IVF #2: 11dp2dt - Why am I awake?

It's almost 1 am. I got into bed at 11:30 pm. I wanted to go to bed before the husband so I had time to just lie there and cry. For a little while, I just stared at the window, numb. And then I thought about how I'm going to have to face the doctor sometime soon and have what we call in the IVF world the 'WTF Appointment" where you try to figure out wtf went wrong. I thought about how I'm going to have to sit there, probably all by myself, and listen to him tell me that I'm going to have to sit it out a couple of months and get my weight under control. I thought about how not only is my body managing to betray me in the way of fertility, but now it is also betraying me in this way as well. Finally, I started to cry, and I let myself cry it out for a little while before rolling over and trying my best to fall asleep. But my mind won't shut off. I can't sleep.

It hurts to be betrayed by your own person. As if there aren't enough things in my life to kick me in my ass when I'm down, now my own self is managing to do it. I'm tired of everything being a struggle. I've been struggling with major depressive disorder since I was in high school. Now I have to manage that on top of infertility and my weight. Every day is a battle.

I know I've said this before, but I am tired. I keep thinking about the people in my life who have managed to just get pregnant at the drop of a hat, and it hurts. Infertility hurts. It hurts to know that while nothing is happening for me, it seems to be happening for everyone else. And I'm a fish in a fishbowl, stuck watching as the world moves on without me.

I am tired.

Part of me wants a break, but the other part of me thinks that while I am taking a break, I am wasting precious time. That I am letting weeks and months go by that I could be trying for my baby...and it seems so backwards. How can I just stop trying? How do you let go of something that you've been holding on to for a year and a half now? And if I take some time off, by the time I get back into IVF, it will probably be next year...more waiting. More and more waiting.

I am tired.

I keep trying to convince myself that this is happening for a reason. Something like this just can't be subjected onto a person for no reason, right? There has to be some sort of explanation for why my ovaries can't seem to function right, or why my body isn't accepting the embryos that were put back inside of me. There has to be a reason why all of these people are praying and hoping for me, but nothing is coming of it...

I wish I knew the reason. I really do.

It could be worse, I know. There could be a ton of other things that could have gone wrong. I should be thankful that I at least have a chance, even if nothing seems to be coming of it. It is so hard to be thankful of something that isn't working, though. It's so hard to be brave and stand tall during all of this and pretend like it's not happening. It's hard to just smile at people and say, "We're trying," when they ask me when I'm going to have children. We're trying, sure. And failing. Well, I am failing. My husband works just fine. It's me who is broken.

Being broken sucks. I wish I could be returned for a new that will work the way I'm supposed to.

This is all so consuming. I am being swallowed up by infertility. I can't even look at other people's children without thinking to myself, "Why them? Why not me?" I'll never have the answer to that. No one will.

So now what?

Now, technically, I am 13 DPO. According to Fertility Friend, 75% of women get their positive test by 13 DPO. So, if I don't, I am officially in the losing percent. That means I have a less than 25% chance of getting a positive test after today. I will be numb. I'll shut off even more than I already have. I'll grieve for the week, only to be hit with a negative beta on Friday. Then I'll grieve through the weekend.

I'll pretend afterward that I'm okay, but I won't be okay. I'll be thinking about it every day. I'll be thinking about the picture of my one little embryo, which I've hung up on the fridge, and I'll wonder why I wasn't good enough to keep it alive. That makes three little pieces of me and my husband that I've failed to grow. Me. It is my fault.

I'll listen to people try to tell me that it's okay. I'll listen to their advice, their suggestions, their sympathies. But it's not okay. No matter how much you say it is okay, it isn't. This is not okay. I am not okay.

Somehow, I'll find the energy to move on, despite how exhausted I am. Somehow, I'll pick myself up and remind myself that we still have options. I'll shelve my plans for how I was going to tell my husband, my mother, my father, that it worked...that it finally worked...and I'll pretend to forget about it for a little while.

Somehow. I just don't know how right now.

Sorry for the long post. I had to get it all out.

Monday, August 6, 2012

What a failed IVF cycle feels like:

I found this article on another website and thought I'd share. Be warned, it will make you cry.

Fourteen days, 336 hours. Two weeks. To the infertility community it's 2WW or the dreaded two-week wait. It's hell, it's long, it's how long you wish the time felt when you were in Hawaii or falling in love. My 2WW started after our first round of IVF with me on a mandatory 72hr. bed rest, great, right? Not so simple, it let my mind wander and obsess on every twinge I felt in my nether regions. Cramps? Hmm must be implantation cramping. Note to self if I start spotting it is implantation spotting and in no way should be confused with my period. My boobs are definitely bigger and although all the hormones I have been injecting into my belly sure as hell could be the reason for the puberty like surge I am still comforted while laying in bed by the distinct possibility my two embryos are burrowing in and changing my body to provide baby nourishment. I listen to my IVF meditation tapes. My progress is punctuated by the title of the CD "Post Transfer: Week 1 of the 2 Week Wait" I started with the pre-injection CD. Now at least 50 injections later I am listening to a peaceful voice telling me to visualize my embryos growing and strengthening. I hear my IF doctor "70% chance, these embryos are beautiful." I always knew my husband and I would make beautiful babies. I focus on the picture we have taped to the closet door in front of me, the pictures of the 2 embryos we transferred and the 3 we froze, siblings for the 2 we have growing. I am proud of myself. We made it this far and it will work. This is all before I knew it didn't. This is all during the 2WW that I came to find out was more like heaven than hell because hell is knowing it failed. Because during the 2WW I believed, I felt, I lived like I was pregnant.

But back to me lying in bed. I cheated once, well what I consider cheating, I went on the Internet. Which simultaneously is the infertile women's best friend and greatest enemy. It supports our grandiose ideas of how to get pregnant, (back when we thought that meant having a lot of sex) like propping a pillow under our hips after sex to aid the sperm in traveling north. It also has stories of women drinking green tea for weeks prior to embryo transfer, eating only leafy vegetables and wearing socks all the time because cold feet equals a cold uterus. I was reading this in June, in California, stuck in bed trying to angle my body closer to the AC and fan. What?? Why didn't my doctor tell me that all my issues were due to a lack of green in my diet? Shoot, what do I do now? My embryos are already implanting and I haven't been eating greens like a rabbit although there was lettuce on my tostada last night I doubt that is what the women on the Internet had in mind. I know my uterus is cold, I am hormonal I am having hot flashes and the thought of socks is about as pleasant as starting the 2WW over again. Why did I research the Internet? I had done so well, I even avoided The Nest (read infertile girls Bible). I tell myself and ask my mother and husband to re-affirm that not only have I had enough greens but also my uterus is warm and cozy enough for my growing embryos. I feel better for a little while. My embryos are warm and floating in green leafy vegetables. Ok, some damage was done to my post transfer psyche but I think with a little help from my CDs my mind will be back to baby burrowing.

And then bed rest was over and I entered the living, breathing world surrounded by people who had no idea my body was creating a miracle right then and there. It was all I could think about, all I wanted to talk about. I scheduled my Beta appointment. On the 30th I would find out I was pregnant. Only a little over a week to go.

Then I did what most everyone told me not to do. I tested. Most of us infertile gals have a case load of pregnancy tests left over from the early days of conception or pre-diagnosis. I had at least 12 still and there was a girl on The Nest (ok, I internetted more than once but I needed confirmation that cramping was normal) that got a positive 5 days after transfer, it's Sunday and it's day 5. I break the cardinal rule and don't use my first pee of the morning. I wait the allotted time, which felt just as long as the entire two weeks. I look, it's negative. But surely the girl on the Internet was a rare case of a positive that early. I show my husband and he confirms that it's way too soon and he scolds me for cheating and he's not talking about internetting, I had promised I would not test. I feel bad. I feel un-pregnant. My gut tells me it's not too soon, my gut tells me it's over. I wake up on day 6 so that's 24 hours of increasing HCG and yes, I test again. It's still negative. I pour over every Google article reading only the ones that affirm what I pray is true, it's too soon for a positive I tell myself as I start crying. It's not over, it can't be. 70% could not have turned into 30% in just a few days. I ask my husband to hide the remaining tests. He does so gladly and I am proud of myself for not peeking when he hides them.

My Beta is on Monday so I decide to test again on Friday, this is 10 days post transfer and I know that either way at that point the test should be trusted. I tell my husband I want to find out I am pregnant the way most women find out, early in the morning with their husband still sleeping, I want those few minutes sitting on the bathroom floor being the only person in the world who knows I am with child. I want to cry and laugh and feel pure joy sitting on the cold floor no longer having to worry about a cold uterus. I don't want to hear the news from my nurse on the phone. I don't want to hear her tell me it didn't work and we can try again. I want to sit on that same floor and cry and scream and feel pure sadness. I want to be the only one, the first one who knows it didn't work so I can figure out how to tell my husband; the only person in the world who wants this more than me. That is my plan. It's busted to hell at 1AM Friday. I wake up with awful cramping, I run to the bathroom to do what I have been doing since the transfer; I wipe to make sure there is no blood, whew no blood. But the cramps are bad and I just know in that place where I am only honest with myself, I just know I am not pregnant. It's early but it is Friday so technically I can test. I pull out the digital I had secretly bought the day before to surprise him with. I wanted him to see the words Pregnant, at this point who wants to decipher whether or not there is a second line, I wanted it spelled out for us. I had a plan. I was going to wake up around 6, wait until 7 to test, get my positive and somehow wait until 8 so I could go and buy him a daddy to be gift. I had a plan and it was gone with two words "Not Pregnant." I had to believe it; I promised myself that Friday would bring an answer that I had to trust. But I didn't sit on the floor and cry; I walked over to tell my sleeping husband that it had failed, that I had failed him. I didn't want to cry alone. The look on his face devastated me in so many ways but mostly because he believed me, he believed I wasn't pregnant, he wouldn't be telling me it was too soon to know, he knew and I knew it was over. Wait, I read somewhere that digitals are not as sensitive as the two-liners, I tell him this and he pulls out the 10 tests he had hidden. We use 4. There is not a second line; all 4 have only one line. We both cry. I feel like they died. My beautiful, 70% chance of making it embryos died.

I can't go back to bed, I can't go lay down in the same bed that I lay in after the transfer and look at the picture that is still on the closet door and act as if my life wasn't just divided into two distinct moments. There are events in our life that are so poignant a line is drawn dividing life into two categories either pre-event or post-event. That is how I felt about knowing IVF failed; the last resort in the infertility arsenal failed so now what?There was life before I knew it didn't work and there was life after, I now was acutely aware of how much better life was before, it was the exact opposite of the gut wrenching disappointment of the latter. I looked around the room and saw the picture of our embryos, I saw the musical baby pillow that was my focal point during injections, I saw the prescription bottles on my bedside table, I saw my husband, and I saw them all differently. The innocence, the naivety was gone I was tainted. I actually believed it would work. I didn't sleep until the next night. I called my nurse in the morning thinking just maybe there was still hope; maybe all the tests were wrong. The pause on the other line when I asked if there was still a chance was all I needed. After all the tests, all the cramps, all the Internet articles it came down to one pause, one un-pregnant pause. I cried like I have never cried before, I cried so hard I was silent; the emotional pain actually physically hurt, my heart was broken. It would go on like this for at least a week. I was reminded each time I had to tell someone we weren't pregnant, after going in for the formality of the Beta, while packing away all IVF items, during the wait for AF and during shopping trips passing baby aisles.

The disappointment and loss is still new but I am healing. I miss thinking I am pregnant, believing for a short time that I have overcome infertility to become like the majority of women capable of creating and carrying a life in my womb. We have our 3 frozen embryos to concentrate on, to get healthy for. I refuse to go into the FET (frozen egg transfer) with fear and negative thoughts, these embryos deserve the chance the first 2 had, they deserve to have parents who believe in them and want them so badly despite the very real chance we might be hurt again. I do believe this will work, I have to because all there is during the 2WW is the belief that it is working and that finally after this painful journey we will be parents. The next 2WW will be easy compared to what I have been through.

Kristin Enrico has a Masters Degree in Psychology and works in Healthcare. She writes articles on infertility based on her personal experience.

IVF #2: 10dp2dt or 12 DPO

I am not feeling confident about this anymore. Then again, I wasn't feeling confident about it from the moment when I woke up from my ER to hear I only got three eggs. I've been actively ignoring the gloom that has settled in the back of my mind, the gloom of knowing that this isn't going to work, and not only am I going to have to go through this all over again...but I'm going to have to wait between cycles and put everything on hold to let the metformin kick in. I don't do well with waiting. Haven't I waited long enough?

Yesterday, I caved and took some home pregnancy tests. I am proud of myself for waiting it out until 11 DPO, which was a first. Usually, I start testing at 7 DPO and do it obsessively until my cycle ends. In either case, I tested, and I had faint lines -- but I also probably have the booster shot in my system, so there's no telling for sure. Last time, when I tested out the booster shot, it took around day 6 or 7 after the shot for the line to barely be there or to be gone all together. Yesterday was only day 5 past the shot, so I didn't get my hopes up. Instead, I said I'd test in the morning and see if the line is any darker.

So, I originally woke up at 3am for a potty call, but since the last time I tested was at 9pm the night before, I didn't feel like that was enough time to take a new test, and that I'd use SMU instead. I went back to sleep and woke back up at 6am to test. And what did I get? This:

For those of you playing at home...that's nothing. There's nothing there. Maybe the faintest, faintest of lines? But, really, I am not believing it. If I have to stand on my head to see anything on the test, it's a BFN for all I am concerned. Today would have been my original beta day if I didn't take the booster shot. Today would have been the day that they confirmed a pregnancy. So, I would expect, that if the doctors are confident that a pregnancy would have been detected by now, that there should be a line on my test by now too.

I've been scouring the internet for stories of people who have had a negative HPT at this stage of IVF, but a positive beta test, and there are a lot of them...but knowing myself, I wouldn't be one of those stories. I seem to get shafted at every turn of this process, so I'd only assume that I'd get shafted at this point too.

So, what else has been going through my head? I keep thinking about my egg quality, and how it apparently sucks. I keep thinking about how I might have to give up my dream of having my own baby and moving to donor eggs or embryos. I can't wrap my head around that idea right now...the very thought is devastating to me. How am I 27 and I can't even manage to get pregnant with my own child?

 I keep thinking about starting the adoption process, but then I realize how emotionally stressful that is, and how utterly time consuming the process can be, and how I just don't have it in me right now to play the waiting game anymore. I'm so exhausted. I'm exhausted, and the longer this goes on, the more alone in it I feel. Like I am sinking in quicksand, and no matter how loudly I yell for help, no one is coming to pull me free.

This process sucks. It really, really does. I'm really hoping that things turn around and this plays out a whole different way...but I've never been a very optimistic person...and it's getting harder and harder to be optimistic when Fate seems determined to continue laughing at me and putting me through this crap.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

IVF#2: 8dp2dt or 10 DPO

I am at 10 DPO right now. Some "normal" women start to take their pregnancy tests around now, even if it is still rather early for positive results. I used to start testing at 7 DPO, which is the earliest you can start testing. Last IVF cycle, I was testing like twice a day from early on to try and test out my trigger, if you remember me making all those posts with the tests to compare the darkness of the lines.

How many times did I test so far? NONE. I have managed to stay away from the HPTs, even if my willpower is waning.

My beta is in six days.

Last IVF cycle, it took seven days past my booster shot for the line to disappear and for my hopes to be crushed. I was 15 DPO then.

I took my booster shot on Tuesday. It's been five days. A line would probably still show up if I were to take a HPT right now, which is why I'm afraid to try. I don't want to get my hopes up again.

My husband came downstairs today and said, "What happened to not taking any pregnancy tests?" To which I replied, "What are you talking about?" And then he went on to explain that he "saw the tests" in the trash can. What he saw were these:

I guess they kind of look like HPTs when they are wrapped up, but that's a Crinone suppository, which is my progesterone dose for the day. I have to take them twice a day to keep my progesterone up where it should be. Part of me wonders if it is enough, since I sort of cheated and took my temperature the last three days, only to see it decline and not go up. :/ But, I am trying not to worry about that too much. I have enough on my plate.

As far as symptoms go, I'm symptom-free. That's a little worrisome too, but I don't want to read into it too much. Even when I take my HCG shots, I don't really have any symptoms, so I don't think I am as sensitive to the pregnancy hormone as some other women are.

Anyway. I think I will try to hold out until Monday. That will make me 12 DPO. Then, I will have a week to soften the blow before my beta on Friday. Or maybe I'll wait until Wednesday. We will see.

I'm getting nervous.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

IVF#2: 5dp2dt

Toward the evening today, I started to sweat. A lot. I am so hot right now, it's almost unbearable. It's to the point where I don't even want to eat. All I want to do is drink water. Lots and lots of water. I took my temperature and it is at 99. I'm hoping this isn't a bad sign of infection or something. Ugh.

I took some Tylenol. If it's still elevated in the morning, I'll bring it up to the nurses. I have to call them tomorrow anyway to find out if I take the Crinone twice a day like last time. That would mean no more PIO shots! Yay! My butt cheeks will be thankful -- they are tired of getting stabbed with needles. I am tired of getting stabbed with needles. It's so not fun.

9 more days until my beta test.