Rewind

The day we were to meet with our RE I was anxious to get it over. I was in a better place than when I was immediately dealing with our last failed cycle, but I still didn’t want to hear that we’d exhausted all of our options to conceive using my uterus. We arrived to the office on time and then had to wait.  Finally our doctor appeared and called us back. I refused to look her in the eye. I couldn’t take a pity glance in my direction as we meandered down the hall.  I think I even tried to deflect it with a stupid smile on my face. What did I have to be happy about at that moment?

Once in her office, she sat us down and consoled us on our last round. I prepared for the rest of the speech about how they never can really know everything and how sorry she was about not finding us success, but it didn’t come. Instead she breaks out her game plan of how to continue to try and get me pregnant. Do what?

We have one embryo left, so she feels like we need to use it in a FET round.  Then, if that doesn’t work, she wants to stimulate me again and try at least one or two more rounds after genetically testing the embryos.  If those failed, then we’d look to a gestational carrier for any remaining embryos we have left. Three more rounds of IVF? Gestational carrier? I was elated, but all my husband could do was think of money flying out of our bank account.

Beyond the expense, there is the emotional side of all of this that has taken its toll on us as well.  Even if we had all the money in the world to pay for more rounds, would we want to sign ourselves up for more possible defeat?

Right now, I’m not allowed to think about getting pregnant, so I’m not. I say that because I’ve started seeing a new acupuncturist. We have a three month plan for TCM treatment and then three months off, at which time I can think about all the baby making I want.

While it wasn’t the speech I expected to hear, I am excited about the possibilities with our next transfer.  We’ll do another hysteroscopy the month before the transfer.  Send good vibes for this one to stick!

Advertisements

Sometimes You Need a Lift

It has been a long week. A and I found ourselves beaten down by sluggishness on Thursday and wondering what the heck had caused us to feel that way. Oh right. We found out that we had a BFN and stress ensued. We also met with our therapist for the first time last week.  Releasing all of what has been on our minds for the past several days probably let out a whole bunch of  dark juju weighing us down (yes, that is a clinical term).

I was really nervous going back to work on Tuesday after the weekend we’d had. Saturday morning I was on the verge of tears and my voice got all croaky when I cheered on our XC runners at a race. I assumed my emotions were tied to being around children and the difficulty I was having facing the facts that I wasn’t going to be able to bring one into the world. I wondered as I got ready for work in the morning if I would have the same struggle once I was in the halls and in my classroom surrounded by the kids.  I really wanted to just go back to bed and be done with it all for a bit.  I told A that I didn’t think I could do it, that I didn’t have what I needed to face the day, but he assured me that I could. I didn’t believe him deep down, but put one foot in front of the other until I found myself dressed, out the door, and on my way.

I didn’t have anything to worry about. The great thing about teaching is the fact that you work with students, at least that’s what I think.  I promise them to never bring whatever is going on outside of our room into our room, meaning that I’ll work my tail off to keep a positive outlook even if I’m not feeling positive.  I knew I couldn’t walk in there and have the devastation that was taking place in my heart hanging out on my sleeve for everyone to see.  I had to find positive energy from somewhere and to be honest it came in various forms from them.  There wasn’t anything specific that they said or did that day that made things better, it was just being around them, being their teacher, being what I love.  I found myself smiling with ease. Grin plastered across my face like a fool, but it wasn’t fake. It was for real. It came from deep inside and bubbled up to the surface, lifting me from the darkest depths of my sadness.

Balancing IVF treatments and teaching is hard. I can’t turn off for periods of time and work at my desk. I have to engage despite wanting to turn the lights off, lock the door, and hide under my desk. I can’t explain to them what we are going through. I can’t tell them that I have to be out because of blood work, ultrasounds, or transfers. I can’t respond to parents who want to know why I haven’t gotten the last assignment in the grade book yet. I can’t say that it is because I’m trying to balance one of the most stressful things a person can face with one of the most stressful things a person can be. In a lot of ways, I feel like I’ve had to hide something that is really integral to who I am, or at least who I have been for the past 6 years, from my students even though I ask them to write and share about their lives all the time. It also requires that you give a lot of yourself. You have to focus on their needs and concerns, when you likely don’t even know how to manage your own at the moment. As hard as it is though, I am thankful for what I do.  This week was long and hard, but I feel like if I were doing anything else I would probably still be struggling to get out of bed and put one foot in front of the other. Though I can’t tell them how grateful I am to have them in my life, or at least all of the reasons I am grateful, I am thankful that they are.  They rescued me this week.

Now to get to all of those essays.

Processing

The two week wait is over and the results are in. A heartbreaking BFN.  I’ve stopped all of my meds and am waiting for my period to show up. Four days out and still nothing. So I get a bit conspiracy theory crazy and think, “self, could it be possible that the lab was wrong?” Then the imagination runs wild with what could possibly have happened. You bring up the images of your vial full of blood and have doubts about whether or not your birthday really was on it. You get on the internet (first mistake I think for anyone going through IVF is to have access to the internet 48 hours pre or post procedures or test results) and find that yes, people have had false positive beta tests. You too could have a miracle. You go to bed at night sensitive to every twinge or feeling that might be a period beginning. You obsessively examine the toilet paper after each pit stop to see if there signs of a beginning period and your heart soars when there aren’t. When it doesn’t appear by day four post the negative beta, you just can’t shake the thought that maybe the lab was wrong, so you ask your sweet husband to purchase a pregnancy test, which is of course negative.

I’m not really ready to let it go. I probably won’t be until my freaking period finally shows up. Until then, I’m still freaking waiting. Beyond the conspiracy theories, my processing has gone something like this:

My immediate reaction on Friday was a cold numbness, which turned to anger, then turned to selfishly looking at all of the things I would be gaining if I wasn’t pregnant and IVF is over. My body, morning cup of coffee, traveling to all of the places I’ve ever wanted to go, doing things at the drop of a hat because I want to and don’t have to worry about child care, sushi, and the list went on from there as my husband and I numbed ourselves on an expensive meal and way too much wine, though delicious and well deserved wine.

Saturday morning arrived and anger hit when I checked FB.  Some random girl I went to high school with posted that much to her shocked surprise, she was pregnant with her third child even though she’d had her tubes tied. Yay! Are you there, God? It’s me, the woman desperate to have just one baby of her own, and I’m drowning in anger at the injustice of this FB post. Can you throw me a freaking line? My second reason for infertility patients not to have access to the internet 48 hours pre or post procedure or test results: Facebook.

I’m also still processing that this might be our last IVF and our last chance at conceiving our own baby.  Remember that post about realizing we would be okay as a childless couple? Yeah, that clarity seems to have escaped me for the moment. Besides obsessively checking the internet for stories on false negative betas and grumbling at everyone I know with a child on FB, I’ve been researching surrogacy and mentally shifting my entire 401k over to our savings account so that we can start that process ASAP. There have been many emails to friends and acquaintances who have successfully adopted to get advice. I’ve signed up for informational meetings to look into the adoption process.

The problem is that we have one more embryo left. We also have one fresh round left with Attain, which could set us up nicely with bank of embryos to use in surrogacy if that’s the route we choose to take.  I really don’t want to walk away from our last embryo, but I’m not sure what our RE will say at our post IVF consult. Last time we met, she was leaning towards this round being it.

Here’s one of the hardest things to deal with at this point for me. How do I define myself now? Is our journey to conceive over? Who do I become if it is?

My heart is breaking and saying it has no idea who I am and that no, the journey cannot be over.  I’m 34 years old and I know that is still young enough to have a healthy baby, but for whatever reason my uterus does not want to support a life. Surrogacy and adoption are both very exciting options for me, but the cost is so huge. We’ve borrowed pretty much all we can at this point. Fostering is something else we’ve talked about, but right now all I can think about is raising an infant. I know that sounds horrible, but that’s been the dream for 6 years. I always thought we might foster after we’d had our own children.

This summer, I assumed that if this round could get underway, we’d have some idea of what direction we were heading in and life could move forward. Now it seems that even with knowing the round wasn’t successful, I’m a muddled mess of tears, anger, and anxiety at what to do next. What I would do to be back in the Rockies right now getting my clarity back.

Anyone know of helpful ways to mend a broken heart?