Wednesday, November 19, 2008

HOPE....where did it go?

The way I feel about IVF seems to change daily. I’m always sorting through how to be brave enough to do this again, or to do this 3,4,5 times or more. I know of someone that had to do IVF 10 times before getting her beautiful baby boy. Ten freakin’ times!! How did she do it? How did she find that courage. How did she manage to never give up HOPE? I don’t know if I will make it. I really don’t feel like doing IVF again, but I know it’s OUR path. I’m not quite sure how my husband still has HOPE and still manages to keep getting excited at this IVF possibility. I’m not there today, I would rather give up. But, I know if I did give up, I really would regret it. I would rather have a guarantee that if we try this again that it WOULD work the 2nd time! Because if it doesn’t work then I will want to try a 3rd time and I really just want to know that YES, it would work the 2nd time. I’m finding it hard to believe in myself as we make our way past the holidays and into the Spring when our excitement will begin again. I don’t want to be let down again. For some reason this month it is a bit hard to hang on to that HOPE that we can make it through all of this. It’s kind of hard to believe in myself for some reason but I HOPE that changes soon. I think maybe this month is hard because last November 8th was the first time we were told that IVF is our best option. Maybe I will find that place inside that gives me the strength again........right now I'm not feeling very strong or brave. Right now I don't have HOPE for our success.

Friday, November 14, 2008

I had a phone interview for an infertility program on Lifetime TV

A few nights ago I spoke with someone that is working on a reality TV project for infertility. She had a lot of questions about what my husband and I have gone through with OUR infertility and said they are going to choose 3 couples to follow. So, I guess they will make their decision about which 3 couples over the next few months and get to recording. I emailed her a pic of us and answered some very personal questions because it's IMPORTANT that people become more aware of this subject. If anything, I feel like I have accomplished something just by the phone interview because she DID learn a lot about the issue just by talking to ME! So, I am going to at least stay in touch with her to find out when the program will air because I'm telling all of my dumbass family to watch it. (that's not nice) BUT, I think people really don't understand. So, hopefully there will be a trend over the years for MORE shows about IVF and infertility in general. There was only ONE show I was able to find about IVF while we were submerged in the crap. It was a program on Discovery Health and they followed 4 couples while they were going through IVF. I just LOVED that show! I only saw one episode:) But, I still have it recorded on my DVR. The TV show DID help me know that I am not alone. So, this show they are about to begin recording is very exciting to me!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Judgement through the IVF process

I know that IVF is quite a new concept. I know that people don't really even know what it is or how it even works. I know that some people are even opposed to IVF and question the morality of it. I know that some people TRY to understand and I am so grateful for those people:) I know that people view me not wanting to go to baby showers or to be around babies as a selfish thing. It is not. It's not that way at all. I've tried very hard to work on self-PRESERVATION through the IVF process. Taking care of the emotional well being for someone going through IVF is just as important as putting your feet up and kicking back to relax your body. It's important to avoid people that can drain your emotional energy through the process of IVF too:) I will not share my IVF cycle #2 with some of the people that I was counting on to be there through my infertility journey. I just simply cannot AFFORD to deal with ignorance. I cannot put myself through trying to "educate" people when I go through IVF again--because I WANT to be excited for my opportunity to do IVF. I want to be happy and think of baby names. I want to go through IVF #2 with people that I KNOW will be there for me 100%. I want to talk to people that I know I can count on. I want my emotions to be safe and not judged. I want to accomplish TRYING all over again. It may not work the next time either, but I WILL give myself the respect to have a fair chance at this by only including people that I KNOW will be supportive:)

Friday, October 31, 2008

I'm just waiting on the IVF nurse

It was either the last week in September or the first week in October that I contacted MY FAVORITE IVF nurse. Well I have 2. The one that took my blood the day of my BETA for my first IVF cycle and I told her it's OK when she calls to tell me that it didn't work, because I already know (seeing as that womanly visitor came the day before my BETA) Well, she got tears in her eyes and gave me a hug! Amazing, because it seems like she was more upset than I was:) Her name is Crissy and I emailed her to ask her how we go about doing another IVF cycle? What are the steps. So, she emailed me to let me know that she will receive information about 2 more IVF "studies" at the end of October or in the month of November. (we did a study for our first IVF cycle that cut the cost to about a 3rd of the price AND we got the FDA approved drugs!) My other favorite nurse, well I don't know her name. She is the sweetheart that took care of me when I was coming out of my anesthesia after my egg retrieval. I knew her from some of the times that she took my blood before, but we really bonded after my egg retrieval. I really do look forward to seeing her again when I do IVF cycle #2. Wow, that's weird. I haven't ever "labeled" that cycle yet:) I really will have a #2!!!! Lucky me. haha. But, I hope that she is still there so I can ask her what her freakin name is, LOL. Hopefully she hasn't moved on from this clinic!

egg retrieval

oh yeah, we retrieved 6 eggs at egg retrieval. I had over 15 follicles, but, we retrieved 6 eggs.

IVF#1--May & June of 2008

So, the overall outcome was 3 embryos and only one made it to transfer. The one embryo did become a compacting morula, so that was good. It was actually a day 6 transfer, but I was very glad that we were able to transfer the one. The doctor seemed pleased with the quality, but had a lot to say about the overall cycle. He described this first cycle as being "in the valley". Bear with me while I elaborate, LOL. When you look at wavelength patterns or if you are traveling along the highway with beautiful scenery, there are the ups and downs. My IVF doc said that he typically thinks of patients to be within the medium range. (No peaks or valleys) but, patients CAN excel or go within the "valley" range of an overall successful cycle. He will be able to determine more from our next cycle--but with our first cycle, we were "below" what my body was capable of doing. So, he reccommended that I take various things into consideration when we try again. Lower stress, get lots of sleep, take into consideration EVERYTHING that I eat, as well as caffeine. So, my gameplan is this--I'm taking prenatal vitamins now (I've been on them on & off for OVER 5 YEARS!) I also take additional folic acid (because of my diagnosis with epilepsy that is controlled with 300mg of trileptal now) We are also learning more about healthy foods. I TRY to work on that, if anything cutting out fast food as much as I can or opt. 4 Subway, LOL. because it's the little things in life that add up and can make a difference. ANYWAYS--I totally got off track. We started off with Lupron, then we added Menopur and Gonal-F. Lupron was the worst with my mood swing stuff. Maybe because it was the first and my body was adjusting. But, the Gonal-F or Menopur was the one that burned. The egg retrieval was THE WORST!!! I felt so dizzy all day long and had a hard time coming out of the anesthesia. That really scared me. The next day I was fine, it was just a really weird experience for me. When they put the anesthesia in your veins (in the hand) it burned so bad and I was crying most of the morning on & off because it burned right there on my hand. When I was coming out of the anesthesia I really bonded with one of the nurses because I kept saying thank you for choosing this career, LOL. I kept telling her thank you for taking care of me now and making a difference in my life today. I was crying because I was "So happy to make it to this point in my cycle". She was just laughing:) I really was, the anesthesia made it all come out. I was crying tears of joy for a few days actually, hehe. It hurt to lose our 2 embryos, but I was just so happy to be at the finish line. I learned SO MUCH from our first IVF cycle. I learned to believe in myself and I gained back some of the self esteem that infertility takes away from you. I gained so much from watching my husband through the process. He cracks me up! I learned that the son I have now thinks of me as his MOM in every sense of the word. He believes in me and has faith in me to get through this infertility thing--and that goes a long way! I learned that not everyone in life is going to understand everything that I go through, but the ones that TRY are going to be there for life. I have learned who my true friends are and who I can always count on. I have bonded with complete strangers via the internet AND in real life. I have cried more in the last year than I have in the 33 years prior to doing IVF. I have also aged more in this last year than I have in so long. I hope that we reach our dreams and have a baby someday!! I would never take one second for granted of that child's life.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

My hubby

He is the most amazing man I have ever known in my life. I joke with him and tell him that the reason why we are still married after all of these years is because he wakes up, makes coffee and brings it to me each morning. That's a lot of years of waking me up. The best part of waking up is my hubby standing by the bed with my coffee mug, LOL. But, I DO think that the smallest of gestures can really go a long way. We compliment each other very well and have found a balance. It's just there. We are always learning new things about each other and there is nothing like going through the bullshit that is infertility to really teach a couple the importance of working together. I have watched him suffer so much and this really hurts him too. We have to do IVF because of low count, motility and morphology. His count was around 1 to 2 million the last few times we checked. Most people have success with a pregnancy because of around 80 million or more. I think it hurts my hubby because he already has a biological child and now has the contributing factor for OUR infertility. When our 1st IVF cycle failed, I have never seen him cry so much. The only 2 times I have ever seen my hubby cry in the past 10 years was when our beloved dog Penny was hit by a car and when our IVF cycle failed. It hurts him to the core. I think a lot of the part leading up to IVF and the actual process of IVF was when I really grieved--so by the time our 1st IVF cycle failed, I was just relieved. Happy to know we tried (THAT IS SUCCESS IN AND OF ITSELF) but also happy to have my life back. It was always the not knowing and having things up in the air that really pissed me off. BUT, my hubby grieved for the loss of our embryos. It hit him really hard. He gave me all of my shots but ONE!! hehe. And he was just taking a nap, so next time I really will wake him up. He said that's OK. Because I really didn't like that part--probably because I know already what's coming, but WHEN it's coming too:) So, he will do all of my shots the next go round 4 sure. (I hope nothing comes up where I have to give a shot myself) He supports whatever decisions I want to make about infertility and wants to see me happy. He's OK with us trying IVF again or trying adoption. He said that as long as I am happy--He would be happy. Smart man, the wife should always get her way, haha!!! His support means the world to me and I am so blessed to have found him. Even though he's disgusting and will probably never learn how to clean up after himself the way that I would like him to:)

Stress and IVF

I think it's very important for people to understand the impact of stress within an IVF cycle. Stress can contribute in a very negative way during IVF. When I went through my first IVF cycle, my doctor suggested that I was under stress at that time. We had over 15 follicles (he stopped counting at 15 because there were so many) but, yet I only produced 6 eggs. What the crap? There was no sign that my body was not capable of producing eggs with each follicle--I responded VERY WELL to the meds. I was only on 150 iu's of Gonal-F for crap's sake. That kicks ass!! So many ladies had to take 450 iu's of Gonal-F or 300 iu's. Even additional stims and I got by with 150 iu's and still produced over 15 follicles. I KNOW there was a stress factor in my first IVF cycle. I did way to much and tried to please way to many people. Why is there not a book entitled, "How to offer support through IVF for dummies"? There should be. People don't get the concept of cutting me some fucking slack. SO--now I wait until we do IVF again. I guess any time between January through June of 2009. I'm not as scared as last time, so that is good. I'm just sad. Because now I know that most of the people that I was counting on to be there WILL NOT be there for me during this struggle. I hope we can achieve success with IVF. I am also very cautious to not open my heart completely to IVF working just yet. I'm also doing acupuncture and that may contribute to IVF success. What is meant to be will be I guess:)

Friday, October 17, 2008

IVF doesn't fit into my schedule

It's SUCH an inconvenience to try to make it through an IVF cycle. Work is by law supposed to accommodate medical needs, but my current supervisor really didn't make it very easy on me to get through my first IVF cycle. At one point she was considering having me come in to "make up my time" although I had more than enough sick time and vacation time. I also checked with Human Resources just to make sure that it is OK to use sick time. The HR representative that I met with said that IVF is a "serious medical condition" and 100% use of sick time is OK.

So from where I am now, I really don't know if I can even do another IVF cycle. I am about another year away in terms of work accommodations. I am currently interviewing for other positions and looking for that "big raise" and an understanding boss. I will probably change departments before Christmas, then I reset the clock to waiting about 6 months in a new position before I can really ask off work to do IVF. BUT, I have to get more income coming in our household. IVF is fucking expensive. We have the money to do IVF again, but we need the financial stability so that we can raise a child. Why do people that don't even care about having children get to experience such a blessing? Teenagers get to have children and people that are addicted to drugs end up with babies they don't want. How does this happen? Why is it that I did everything I was "supposed to do" and now we are in this situation and could possibly never get to have a child. We both got our college degrees, we bought our house 7 years ago, we have been married over 8 years now, and have so much to offer a child. It's not just the baby that we want. We want to raise OUR child together, we have raised my husband's biological child together and did a great job. My stepson is such a great kid!!! And now, my husband cannot have a child unless we go through the process of IVF. It's astonishing to me how all of this has turned out. But, getting back to the topic---IVF really doesn't fit into my schedule. How am I supposed to go to graduations, weddings, funerals, even the grocery store and still maintain all of the hormones and the timing for getting the injections? How am I supposed to fit in baby showers before, during or after an IVF cycle when an event like that is not a positive expereince for me? How do I tell people to have some compassion and do not place expectations on me to feel obligated to attend every stupid event that I could possibly squeeze in while I'm doing IVF? I guess the answer would be to just tell people to leave me alone. I'm pretty fed up with the fact that people do not understand what an involved process IVF really is. I'm surprised by the ignorance that I have to deal with when I try to explain what IVF is and that I'm not just popping in to see the eye doctor, but there are actual MAJOR steps involved in the IVF process and yet people still think I could run a fucking marathon while doing IVF. No biggie. I can fit in everything into my schedule. I'm obligated to please everyone right?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

My cousin Jenny

Infertility is such a LONELY place to be. There is a lot of the unknown. There are a lot of very scary procedures involved, so many emotions to sort through each and every day and you lose people along the process of IVF that you thought would be there for you. But, throughout my IVF experience--I have always had my cousin Jenny. It's OK if I cry or say that I'm scared about things, she will not judge me for that. I don't have to worry if I say to her that I am in pain when I have to be around babies or look at pictures of babies in general. She would never place any expectations on me to feel or act a certain way. She just lets me be me. I don't have to hide the fact that it hurts me to stand next to a pregnant woman in the grocery store checkout line or that when ANYONE announces their pregnancy, a part of me is in pain because of it. Not because I'm not happy for other people, BUT because it is possible that I will never get to have children. Biologically, medically, physically. I don't have to pretend that those emotions are not there. I just try to make it through infertility while so many other people get to experience the joy of motherhood all around me. It's so easy for most people, I think a lot of people really do take it for granted. I don't have to pretend with my cousin when it comes to dealing with ANY of the emotions that are THERE when someone is dealing with infertility. There is no doubt that I would not have been able to make it through my first IVF cycle without her by my side. Although we live over a thousand miles away from each other, I feel her support right next to me always. I don't have to question if support will be there from my cousin, I JUST KNOW that she will take this IVF journey with me no matter what direction that we have to go. Or want to go.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Being brave, for other people

Our infertility journey has been a long and exhausting one. Sometimes I'm OK, and other days are not so easy. It's exhausting to maintain the emotional roller coaster that is infertility. But, it's really exhausting to feel like I have to tell people what they want to hear. Sure, I'm OK. Sure, we'll adopt if it comes to that. We are just fucking peachy. How could life get any better? Yes, what a blessing that we have infertility, because it will make us stronger. It's all part of God's plan. I'm so lucky. WELL, most people are not able to take that journey with me and deal with discussing the REALITY of how painful infertility can be.