Tag Archives: #ivfbreak

Today is Next Month

It’s February 1st, as evidenced by the new red candlesticks out on the dining table (hip hip huzzah for Crate & Barrel Christmas clearance and gift card from my dad).  I’ve never been one for cheesy, illegitimate holidays, but this year I’ve been waiting eagerly to put these bad boys out and I’m guessing it has something to do with the abounding eagerness to get going with IVF that’s up in here.  In my mind and conversations with others, the phrase “We start IVF next month” has been on repeat.  But today, next month is here.

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We finally got off of the questioning roller coaster — IVF, adoption, IVF, adoption… — in mid-January and I was ever so ready.  The toiling and uncertainty were taking any potential restfulness of our “break” right out and I again found myself crying in inappropriate places like acupuncture.  We landed on IVF and were talking just tonight about how comfortable and at peace we feel with our decision.  Not because we feel especially hopeful that it will work — although as he pointed out, the odds at 45-55%/cycle are the highest they’ve been since trying to conceive — but because we’ve become increasingly certain that we want to give IVF a shot.  (I needn’t note pun intended.)  If we didn’t give it a try, I think I would always look back and wonder and ask “what if?”  And because the best predictor of IVF success is age, the best shot we can give it is now.  It feels really good to have sat with this decision and continue to feel at peace with it.

I’d like to say that, since then, I’ve been zen- and mother earth-like, but in all honesty it’s been more like an exhibition of failed nervous energy management.  Mainly in the form of trying to find something I can actually do during the wait like scheduling appointments and looking into a potential lower-cost option for meds, but also of course unnecessary baking/cooking and celebrating that Downton Abbey is now airing in the States.  (Nevermind how horrific the last episode was re: the poor infertility advice offered.  Although, I will say, if DA is taking up male factor infertility as one of its themes, I give it kudos.  Also, I forgive you, writers, for betraying me with Cybil’s pregnancy after all she went through last week.  May she rest in peace.)

So here’s our IVF timeline.  Of course this is all tentative and I’ve learned that with IVF you must expect the unexpected.  As someone told me the other day, it has a way of taking on a life of its own so the best thing to do is to expect it do so and roll with it.

Feb. 7: Predicted Day 1 of cycle
Feb. 9: Day 3 of cycle, start birth control for ~14 days, during these two weeks do testing (I have to repeat the saline ultrasounds, nooooooo!!!), nurse training, order meds, etc.
Feb. 24: Day 1 of Stim Phase (injections & every other day monitoring/ultrasounds)
Feb. 27: I turn 31!  Guess who’s getting a $12-15,000 birthday present this year?
March 5-9 (somewhere in there): Retrieval
3 or 5 days after retrieval (depending on embryo growth): Embryo Transfer
2 weeks after retrieval (approximately March 19-23): Blood test to learn the results

So, February is here and we’re a few weeks out from the real start of it all.  My acupuncturist gave me great advice today to enjoy the last week of a medication-free body and not paying attention to all the details that come with IVF.  Also, our trip was never able to happen so we’re doing a stay-cation next weekend and checking out a great local spa, so lots of good, relaxing distractions in place.

And now, in the vein of distractions, I share a YouTube submission by my dear friend and IVF supporter, Jess.  Some people have been asking how they can bring a meal or otherwise support us during IVF, which is so kind and thoughtful.  Jess will be sending out emails and coordinating that for us and we’re very thankful to her for that.  (I’d be curious to hear from others who have gone through this what kind of support they found helpful or wished they’d had, if you want to leave a comment.)

From Jess this evening: “Hoping you are having a Buttermilk the Goat type of weekend – well, except for the knocking your friends over part…”

And the same goes for you, my friends.

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Today I’m Rich

“And He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” -Rev. 21:3

This verse is giving me great comfort today, as I’ve realized lately that much of my questioning and struggle boil down to the question, is God good?  Scripture says it outright countless times, yet I still find it hard to believe.  Believe at a heart level.  I question how a God who is sovereign and good could allow the kinds of suffering that I see and that I experience myself.  My own suffering pales in comparison to some of the horrors occurring in others’ lives and around the world.  How do sin and the fact that we live in a fallen, broken time and place factor in?  It feels easier to swallow that sin and brokenness are the default for now but that Jesus is entering into it and redeeming it all even now.  It somehow feels more compassionate — but perhaps just easier to swallow — that this suffering isn’t what the Lord wills, that He wants something different for us, wants us to not have to anguish for the past two years, wants our bodies to be working, wants us to be parents already, wants to take away the pain, is crying with us and wants to wipe our tears.  Can He be as good and as compassionate if He is willing this suffering and this situation for us?  For others around the world?

Not easy questions, not ones I am really trying to answer here.  And maybe it doesn’t even matter.  If I play with the ideas in my mind, I tend to think so — think in my head — but in my limited human-ness it seems to break down somewhere, leaving me wondering about a sadistic god who would will such pain for greater good.  I hate to even write the words.  Could there be a greater good?

For the longest time that has felt impossible and at the very least, trite.  But I dare say I’m beginning to experience some of it.  See it, taste it.  Taste and see that the Lord is good.

I’m coming out the other side.  It sounds crazy to say when we haven’t even started IVF yet, we haven’t a clue what the outcome will be.  I’m feeling more like myself again, only a more mature, seasoned version.  A little deeper, a little more dimensional.

My friend Katherine, someone I’ve grown closer to only through this time of suffering, is one of those people who just gets it.  I can pick up with her and instantly feel understood, not to mention less like a crazy person.  Katherine wrote me after our final IUI attempt failed and I asked her if I could share it here on my blog.  It is just too beautiful to keep to myself and I hope some other infertiles can find it useful.  Her words encouraged me greatly at that time and continue to as I’m beginning to experience some of what she talked about.  (As an aside, her email is also a perfect example of how to be an amazing friend to an infertile.  I keep it in my inbox and about five other cards in my journal, all containing priceless words my amazing friends have sent me the past year.)

Hey –
Just wanted to drop you a line and let you know that we’re thinking about you guys.  [My husband] told me that you came in for prayer about next steps, which was sad news (since I was a little behind on the blog and hadn’t heard about this month yet) and also so encouraging that you guys are doing things like getting prayed for.  I can think of about 1000 times we should have done that but it never occurred to us.

I am so sad to hear that your little one did not arrive this last month.  We really mourn with you, my friend.  Such an exhausting and grueling process. It’s very exciting news that you’re moving forward with IVF, though.  On to a new adventure.  🙂  I know it may not feel like it, but you are in the thick of something big in your life.  If you were to graph your growth over time (the inside kind, of course), it is taking a steep upward turn these days while you gain a treasure-trove of experience, wisdom, future empathy for other women going this path, and all sorts of other things that you might not have wanted, but are getting nonetheless.  Count on it – if you hang in, you will get your baby one day – and unlike all those other lamos who got pregnant on the first try, you’ll have that treasure trove to go with it.

Needless to say, I hope and pray that you have both of those things very soon.  🙂  We’d love to see you guys sometime soon.  We can talk and lament over this stuff, or just ponder the final scene of DA.  Either is fine.  🙂

How beautiful is that?  (And great that she deeply empathizes, mourns with us, has faith for us, and relates to the feeling that super-fertile people are lamos. 🙂 )  I replied to her that I would hang on to this image because, at that moment and for a long time before, I was not feeling an ounce of growth or feeling God’s nearness.

I am beginning to get a very real sense of this treasure trove, though; I think that day is coming.  I’m increasingly aware of a feeling that I’ve gained something the past two years.  In a time that has felt so dry and agonizing and empty.  I think that depth and dimension are exactly what she was talking about.  Maybe He can use this — whether He willed it or not — maybe this treasure trove is worth the suffering, and that He, in fact, in all His goodness helped me in the suffering and brought and is bringing this treasure into fruition without an ounce of my own effort.  I never thought I would say that and really mean it — not as a defense against my pain and confusion — but I don’t think I imagined what and how good the treasure could be.

We still await a child.  We still do not know how or when the Lord will bring him or her to us.  We wait and we wait.  We wait and are in anguish and are comforted.  We wait uncertain and fearful and aware that He desires to wipe away our every tear.  We wait, praying He continues to build that treasure trove, praying that above all on the other side the treasure is good and that we will know and taste His goodness.

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Today I Found Seven More Gray Hairs

Well it’s been forever since I’ve blogged.  Like most posts I’ve read the past week, it’s been a wild month with all of the holiday rush and unfortunately this outlet of writing has neared the bottom of the list.  I now find myself on vacation at the coast, but with only a day left before returning to work.  And pre-mourning of course.

I’m learning more about what this pattern of pre-mourning and complete dread of returning to real life are: my life feels completely in limbo.

Besides all the cooking, hosting, partying, wrapping, and attempted-but-failed-reflecting-on-Advent of the past several weeks, there’s also been some serious decision-making.  And subsequent swings.  We decided a few weeks ago that we just weren’t quite ready to start IVF yet.  It was a week before we’d begin birth control and we were pretty sure, but just not positive.  I couldn’t imagine feeling okay with being this unsure just a week before beginning such an intense process, so we canceled the appointments and the trainings and settled on giving ourselves the three months for acupuncture and dietary changes and aiming for end of February.  I’m realizing now that said holiday bustle served as a convenient buffer from feelings about waiting.

I was feeling good, enjoying the idea of a break, brainstorming how we could make it feel restful and not just like killing time, dreaming about how to finance a little getaway to somewhere tropical.  Now that things have slowed down a bit the ache has returned.  We’re on vacation, where the past two years we were certain we would have a baby by the next.  I walked these same shores dreaming of having an infant with us next year, bringing a pack ‘n play in tow, our child getting great time with her grandparents and aunt.  This third year I’m finding myself more realistic, more guarded with my fantasies.  I begin to imagine it happening by next year, having a little one with us, but if we don’t start IVF until February, those chances are really slim and I quickly reel myself in.  If we don’t start the adoption process until then, count on two to three more Christmases without a baby.

As New Year’s Eve is here — also what would have been Day 1 of stims — I need to just call it, this year has sucked.  I’ve had some rough ones: my parents divorcing, moving 500 miles away from my dad, dealing with my crazy mother, breaking up with the love of my life (which I eventually ended up getting to marry!).  But this one goes down as the worst.  And as I look in the mirror this week I see it on my face.  Literally seven new gray hairs in the past three weeks.  (Shouldn’t the opposite be true now that we’re on a “break?”)  I’m vainly worrying that any physical beauty I did have is now behind me and that I’ll be an old, gray woman when I’m a new mother, not the perky, energetic kind wearing a yellow frilly apron that I’d imagined.  I feel like my body sucks and is failing me in this most important, female way.  Infertility has taken it’s toll in so many ways.  Not the least of which is that I’m tired of not knowing in the slightest what the next year is going to hold.

In each of the moments of returning to real life that have come at the end of a vacation the past two+ years, I thought it would all be changing soon.  I’m getting tired of that hoping, though, and realizing that, too, shouldn’t be assumed, because it hasn’t changed.  Still no baby in these arms, still hanging in at a job I’m lukewarm about, still going to appointments all the time, still seemingly zero control over our family building.  Will my life be any different this time next year, or will it still be hanging in the balance of uncertainty?  Still waiting.

Tonight I’ll drink my champagne — heck yes, thankyouverymuchbreak — and toast to 2012 being over, ushering it out gladly.  I’ll also try to breathe in and breathe out and try to welcome 2013 with whatever it does or does not bring.  While many things externally are exactly the same as last year, I do know for sure that on the inside I am a different person.  Hurt and wounded in some ways, absolutely, but also better, stronger, more grateful, aware of what I can take, learning I’m a fighter, and wanting it all even more.  Cheers to that, too.

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Today I’m Opting for Dandelion Tincture

In my last post I lamented about the digesting bitterness of dandelion tea.  Well my acupuncturist also recommended dandelion root tincture (those little drops you put in water) and — lo and behold — it barely tasted like anything!  In fact I’ve faithfully partaken (if that’s a word) most nights since then.

I’ve been noticing lately that things can seem really crappy initially, and overwhelming and impossible, but with time perspective comes and things seem to work out or at least feel more tolerable.  I have a way of working myself up initially, as if I need to worry and be wound up in order for things to make the best decision.  What if I took this laid-back, I will be okay no matter what attitude from the get-go?

Now, I’m not saying infertility isn’t serious or is something to be minimized or simply mentally overcome.  I’m just wondering if sometimes I work myself up over things prematurely.  Today something stressful was beginning to happen and I told myself out loud, “It’s okay.  Whatever happens it will work out.”  This doesn’t mean it will be easy, and — I won’t speak for you, but for me — what I have in my head tends to be way worse than it actually plays out.

Of course this switcharoo happened with the dandelion root, but I’m also beginning to notice it with other things.  Like the idea of taking a few months off before we start IVF.  As I thought more about this option last week it felt impossible, unbearable to wait.  Any.  Longer.  (Reference: Phil Davison video, watch it all but especially 2:45-3:10.)  I’m beginning to think, though, that I would be okay and maybe it would even be helpful to give my body a break, use my lighter schedule for fun things and not appointments, not talk about IF all the time, maybe resume running a little bit.  And at the very least that if we’re a month in and time off does not equal a mental or physical break, that decision can simply be undone and we can schedule IVF for the following month.  Things aren’t always so permanent and dire.  I’m kind of tired of myself for always taking things so seriously.

Then there’s the family situation I referenced a while back.  I finally took the time to address it yesterday and, within hours, someone had responded expressing understanding in my point of view and is going to bat for me.  I suddenly feel completely free from taking responsibility for that situation.  It is still as rocky as I initially perceived, but it’s not up to me to carry the burden.  Similarly with work — if things don’t unfold in a way that works for me, that’s not the end of the world, I have other options, life goes on.  Not as bad as I felt to begin with.

I’m also finding myself more in the Christmas spirit, which I definitely did not see coming two weeks ago.  This will be our third Christmas trying to conceive, third Christmas certain we will have a baby by the next one.  I was struggling to muster up the energy to care about putting up the lights and tree, preparing for our annual cocktail party, even opting for NPR over Christmas tunes.  But this week I’m feeling more at peace, partaking in some Christmas cheer (elf yourself never gets old) and enjoying the excitement of buying gifts and putting out the Peanuts nativity scene.  My killer pandora station with melancholy Christmas songs doesn’t hurt either, you know, what with “Wintersong” being more fitting for an infertile at Christmas than “Santa Clause is Coming to Town.”  (Might I suggest Mindy Smith and Sarah McLachlan holiday as seed artists?)

For whatever reason, I’ve felt happy today unlike I have in several months.  A gift, I think.  An answer to the prayers of so many people who are pleading with the Lord for relief and a baby for us.  I’m enjoying a brief reprieve from it, however temporarily, and giving myself the permission to not have it fill my mind for a few moments.  So in closing, I again turn to Phil.

“Drastic times require — what?  {Drastic measures!}  Right!  Who said that?!  Yes!  Drastic times require drastic measures!”  Infertility is serious, IVF is certainly a drastic measure, but today I’ll choose the longer-term view.  And I’ll choose the tincture approach over getting all Phil Davison about it.

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