Thursday, May 27, 2010

decision: made

I know I said that we would wait to make a decision on our final IUI until AF showed. Unfortunately, AF has forced that decision a little early. I started spotting this morning (after another BFN). Of course, she would start her arrival on the first morning of our vacation. So the choice has been made.

We will not do our final IUI.

This is a bittersweet moment for both of us. In a way, it's a huge loss. For me, it will mean mourning the loss of having a child without using extreme measures of ART. It will also mean one more shot--only one more chance at having a biological child.

But I also feel a huge sense of relief. It's hard to explain. When I told Joey what I felt and he agreed, a sense of peace washed over me. I cried, of course, but for me this really meant accepting that IUIs just weren't going to work for us. And that's ok.

There's a lot more that I want to say about this, but right now I just don't know if I can put it into words. (Plus, I'm just too impatient to type anything else on my iPhone.) Thank you all so much for the love and support.

More when I return . . .

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

decisions

The room has finally stopped spinning and I am doing better. Thank you all so much for your support and love. If AF shows, I will assess whether I feel like continuing with our 5th (and final) IUI as planned. Yesterday I felt so defeated, I couldn't think about going through another cycle. Today, I'm not so sure. So, we will go off to NYC this weekend, have fun, and decide on the IUI when we have to. I need to listen to my body and my heart when AF arrives to be sure. To be honest, if our final IUI fails, I'll be relieved to have a six-month break before starting IVF.

Of course, I would love to be pregnant in those six months, and then three months after that. But, at this point, I'm beginning to realize that the odds for that happening are slim.

As for my breast, my surgeon reassured me that it is not life-threatening. Meaning, he strongly believes this is not cancer. For some reason, the cells in that breast are multiplying in ways they shouldn't--but not in a way that he thinks is cancerous. This is the same way the lump was formed. After the u/s, we may know more. Honestly, I think he is stumped. I am stumped. And I wouldn't be surprised if he sent me to some kind of specialist. Though, who would I see? There's no such thing as a breast specialist, is there?

Today I am looking forward and not backward. Today I am looking to tomorrow when we leave for our NYC trip. This is what keeps me going right now.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

mad world

This morning I went back to the breast surgeon. I have been experiencing some discoloration and pain in my breast--not limited to the area of my incision where the lump was removed. My breast has also been getting harder. It's not scar tissue and Dr. O doesn't know what it is. He just knows there is another mass there (to the right of where the original mass was) of some sort.

I go back in next week for an ultrasound. Last time, the ultrasound and mammo showed nothing and we didn't see the lump until I had an MRI. This time, they will do the u/s and then an MRI if necessary, skipping the mammo step.

This morning, I also got a BFN. I don't know if I am going to do the last IUI if AF shows. But I am not in a good place right now to make any type of decision about anything.

Monday, May 24, 2010

two years

Two years ago today, I married the absolute love of my life.

It's been two years since we tied the knot and I bet we never thought these two years would take us to where we are today. I know that things haven't always been easy. In fact, I can probably count the "easy" times better than I can count the "not so easy" times. But every time we fall, we still manage to pull each other up. You are my rock. You are my prince charming--the one part of a fairy tale that I still hold on to. You are the person who makes me laugh, who dries my tears, and the only person I will accept "I know things will be okay" from. You are my other, and better, half.

Today also marks two years of something else. Two years of trying to achieve a goal that we have not yet reached. I don't want to think about that today, but it's impossible not to. Our anniversary will forever be tied to the day we started trying to have a baby. But that doesn't have to be a sad thing. It can be a positive thing. It is a struggle that has made our love and our marriage stronger. It has made both of us more compassionate and understanding, and I can't imagine going through this bump in the road with anyone else but you.

You are an amazing person, and I fall more in love with you every day. Thank you for everything you have ever done for me. The last two years have been a roller coaster. I only hope the next 50 will be just as interesting and exciting, bringing us even more joy and happiness than we already know. I love you more than you will ever know and I am so blessed to call you my husband and my best friend.

Love always,
Me

Friday, May 21, 2010

may ICLW

Hi and welcome to all of the ICLWers. If you are staring at the screen in confusion about ICLW, click on the yellow button to the right and then click here to read my intro post from last month's ICLW. Because there's really no need to rehash our story. Not much has changed since last month. The only difference is that we are now on our fourth IUI instead of our third, meaning we are one step closer to IVF.

A few people commented on Monday's post and asked about our future plans, should this IUI be a bust. We will do one more IUI (in June, so long as everything looks good) and then move to IVF using my eggs and Joey's sperm. We will only purchase one IVF cycle and we will most likely go to a clinic outside of the Orlando area. Because of finances and the amount of time I will need to be gone from work to do IVF in a different city, we will wait until January. In the meantime, I'll begin acupuncture and we will begin the consultations, blood work, and financial paperwork with the new clinic.

It might sound weird, but I am already planning a weekend getaway for us to the beach in late June in case this and next cycle don't work. Either way, going to the beach for a couple of days will be the perfect way to celebrate a miracle or the perfect way to escape reality for a weekend while we try to cope with what could have been. If we do need to move on to IVF, I am at peace with that. But we still need a chance to grieve on our own.

In the meantime, we have another week or so left in this cycle. My plan is to test on Wednesday morning since we leave for our trip to NYC on Thursday. This way I'll be able to get a beta on the way to the airport if the test is positive, or I'll be drinking blood marys in the airport if the test is negative.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

the carls


We interrupt this regularly-scheduled programming for a post that has nothing to do with infertility:

As most of you know, Joey and I moved into our first home recently. So far, it's lovely. Things are coming together very nicely. The downstairs, with the exception of the transitions for the wood floors and wall art, is just about finished. The upstairs still needs some work, but everything should be done in the next couple of months.

The economy the way it is, a lot of people in our neighborhood are renters. It's a pretty quiet place. Most people have kids and dogs and can be seen walking with one or both as the sun goes down. People grill out on their back porches or sit and chat with other neighbors on chairs on their front porches. People wave when you drive by and, by 9 pm, our community is dark and quiet for the most part.

We love everything about our new home and our new neighborhood . . .

(Can you tell there is a "but" coming here?)

EXCEPT for our next-door neighbor.

Let's call him Carl. Carl appears to be the only person in the neighborhood who isn't friendly. He doesn't wave and he isn't considerate of others. How do I know this? Well, when I get home from work at about 6 pm, Carl is usually home already, playing his obnoxious music on his surround sound to the point where I can't hear my television when I'm trying to do my afternoon yoga. If it's not music on the surround sound, it's a video game or a "blow everything up" movie--all of which he has been known to leave ON when he leaves to go off, get drunk, and not return until about midnight.

Carl is pushing 40. He has two children (of course he does!), neither of whom live with him full time . . . probably so he can enjoy his party lifestyle. I've seen no less than five different women at his house to spend the night, all in their mid- to late twenties. Carl also has a dog, who he keeps locked in the garage all day and occasionally all night. The poor puppy cries and cries for someone to listen.

Carl is a moron. After complaints from neighbors, letters from the HOA, and two visits from the sheriff's department, Carl continues to pretend as though he lives in a house two acres from the nearest neighbor--instead of living in a townhouse community where he shares one wall with a single mother who is still in school and works full-time from home and a couple who are trying to have a baby and who both work full-time and go to school. What Carl doesn't realize is that every time someone complains about him, the owners of the property are notified.

I don't care how stupid Carl is or if it takes getting him evicted to get my point across, but I will not put up with this. This is our first home and we purchased a home in a community where we thought we could bring our first child into, and that has been ruined for me. Even Joey, who is normally the non-emotional, level-headed person in our relationship, is upset over this (he is the one who convinced me that we needed to go to the police).

Of all the people in the neighborhood we could have moved in next to, we had to move in next to Carl. At the end of the day, I know we are doing all we can to take care of this, but it's frustrating and it makes me angry. Not to sound all "woe is me," but why is it that everywhere we go and anything we do, we have to deal with the Carls and the Carl situations of the world? I'm tired: physically, mentally, and emotionally. Give me a break for once, would you? Anyone. Anyone who is listening.

All I'm asking for is a little peace in this madness.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

the threesome of infertility

Actually, a "three-way" might be a better way of putting it . . . a three-way fight between denial, pity, and sympathy. Recently, I have determined that people you open up to about infertility fit into one of these three categories.

Category 1: Denial

I'm going to group ignorance into this category, too, because I think ignorant people are out of touch with reality. In general, ignorant denial-ers are the people who say the following:
  • "Just relax. You'll get pregnant!"
  • "You know, so-and-so just adopted and now they are pregnant. You should adopt a baby. Then you'll get pregnant."
  • "God chooses who he wants to become mothers. Maybe you were not meant to become a mother."
Straight-up denial-ers are also the people who say nothing at all. They may act like you never said anything to them about infertility. They never ask how you are doing. They don't realize that baby shower invitations and e-mails full of ultrasound photos might upset you. If you try to discuss your upcoming procedure with them, they change the subject to the weather, American Idol, the gulf oil spill, etc. Sometimes, they stop talking to you all together or they blame you for their shortcomings as a friend or family member.

Category 2: Pity

You know exactly what I am referring to when I say "the look." It's the look you get from people when you tell them about infertility and they pity you--like you just told them you have the high-five or cancer. They practically offer you their uterus and all they can say is "I am so sad for you!" They call way too much and they do things to try and make up for your lack of procreating abilities. They are overly friendly and overly annoying. "Sorry" is the number one word in their vocabulary, as if they were the ones who made your eggs age faster or your husband's sperm disappear. Overall, they mean well, but you must constantly remind them that you 1) aren't dying and 2) it creeps you out that they always cry when they talk to you.

Category 3: Sympathy

Sadly, not many people exist in category number 3. These are the people who sympathize (or, in some cases, empathize) with you and your husband. They call and ask how you are feeling, but not so much that you feel overwhelmed. They say realistic things when a treatment fails like "This royally sucks" or "That is so unfair." They think of you enough to send you a note of kindness on holidays that involved babies or anniversaries of TTC or loss/failed treatments. They are there to listen when you want to vent about your latest pregnant friend and they are there to help you take your mind off of infertility when you just need a good laugh. Some of them have been through infertility themselves, and they offer advice and wisdom about how to get through some of your darkest days.

Looking over these categories, I think each of us knows the person or persons in our own lives who fit into each description. It's important that we surround ourselves with the right people. These are the people who are going to make up your support system. These are the people who are going to make this journey easier for you. And I think we all know which category these people fall into.

Who is in your support system? Who fits into the two other categories? And, if you aren't infertile, which category do you consider yourself a part of?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

welcome home

I stepped away for a week, but for me, it seems much longer. Let me tell you: every one of your comments of support meant the world to me. Some made me cry, others made me smile. I truly appreciate all of you. I hope you know that.

But even though I missed each and every one of you, I'm happy I took a break. It was a very stressful week at work and I needed to simplify my life for a week. I needed to take a few days and deal with the emotions and internal conflicts I felt about this community and my place within it. Not all of these internal conflicts are resolved, but I am getting there.

One day at a time.

My fourth and almost final IUI was on Friday morning. As of Tuesday, I had two follicles (16 and 19 mm) on my left ovary. I triggered on Wednesday night, so we can assume they were around 18 and 21 mm, respectively, at that time. I took Friday off, determined to do something for myself after the IUI. Joey's numbers (aside from the count, which was down slightly from last cycle) were drastically improved: 17.5 million, 59% motility, moving rapidly, and over 33% normal morphology. My RE did the IUI this time and he was pleased and confident. But, as I asked him to do from the beginning, he was realistic. He told me we needed to consider that, if this didn't work, next month should be our last IUI. I told him we discussed it and agreed.

One day at a time.

After the IUI, I hopped into the car, rolled the windows down, and drove to the beach to watch the launch of the shuttle Atlantis. 11 years in Florida and I have never seen a launch from that close. It was amazing and well worth the 3 hours I spent in the car (for what normally is a 40 minute round trip). It was very symbolic for me. It was the last launch for Atlantis and there are only two more launches until they end the program.

There are only two shots left for us to have a biological child.

Right now, I feel good. Very good. Tomorrow I will begin reading and commenting again, but I may not post another entry for a few days. We'll see how the next few days progress.

Monday, May 10, 2010

it's not good-bye

Last week, I wrote about feeling in between--feeling in between not being pregnant and not being pregnant. But I also feel in between in other ways. I feel somewhat lost in infertility. What do I mean by this? Well, I'm not just starting out. I'm not temping, or using OPKs, or heading out to my first visit with the OB about trying to get pregnant. But I'm also not on the other end of the spectrum. I have never experienced pregnancy and I haven't done IVF.

Where does this leave me?

Lately, it leaves me feeling lonely. I think this feeling of loneliness is a good reason for me to take a break: from my blog and from Twitter. I don't know how long this break will last. A few days? A week? There's really no way for me to know. It will last until at least after my IUI. Right now, what I do know is that I need to step back. I can't relate to still having hope every cycle. I can't relate to loss. I can't relate to getting a BFP. I can't relate to the ins and outs of an IVF cycle. So commenting on these things feels awkward for me. I never know if I am saying the right things. I'm trying. I really am, but at times it feels overwhelming. I want to heal everyone and I can't. That's impossible. And my words just don't feel like enough right now.

So, that's that. My hiatus begins today.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

happy mother's day

to my amazing mother, who battled cancer and raised my brother and I on her own.
to my mother-in-law.
to my grandmother, who I miss every single day.
to those who have lost their mothers.
to all of the amazing mothers out there who appreciate and love their children.
to those who are pregnant after battling infertility.
and to those who are still struggling to get pregnant, those who are waiting for a phone call from their adoption agency, and those who have lost . . .we have yet to meet our children, but we are all still mothers at heart.

Sending each of you love on this day.

Friday, May 7, 2010

what's happening?

Since there's really nothing new to report about my lady parts (I'm on my fourth day of Femara. Woo!), I figured I would do a general "life" update to end the week:
  • Our couch is being delivered tomorrow, which means that I will finally start to post before and after pictures of the house. It also means that my husband and I can stop trying to squeeze our fat asses on the tiny loveseat that's going to reside in the guest room.
  • Joey is out of town this weekend, helping my mom move my brother out of his dorm room, but I won't be alone. Harley (my miniature dachshund) is coming to stay the weekend since my mom will be gone, and my best friend will be spending the night, too.
  • Also happening this weekend: I am taking the GRE. I've been studying, but I am still very nervous about the math section. My math skills were never great, and I haven't done some of this stuff in years. Ugh.
  • Yesterday marked three weeks until New York City! I could not be more excited/ready to take this vacation. We are leaving at the end of my 2WW, too, so the distraction from all of the infertility stuff will be nice.
  • We found out today that our first-time homebuyer's tax rebate is going in the mail next week. This is GREAT news since we are flat broke. You are welcome, Home Depot, for the boost in your sales.
That is pretty much it. Exciting stuff, huh? I hope everyone has a good weekend. I'll save my sappy, "woe is infertile me" Mother's Day post for Sunday.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

acceptance

Going through infertility is similar to going through the stages of grief. I have written about this before in my blog--about how I feel as though I am constantly jumping from stage to stage in no real pattern, but that I have never felt that "final" stage: acceptance.

Well, something has happened over the last couple of days. A feeling of acceptance has crept into my body. It is a slow process, but I can feel it in the back of my mind. I have waited on this feeling for a long time, and it is finally here.

Acceptance does not mean I am giving up all of the other stages of grief. There will still be days and moments of anger and sadness. But I think the stages of shock and denial are over. In 18 days, we will reach our two-year wedding anniversary and our two-year anniversary of trying to have a baby. It has taken two years, but I am no longer shocked about this process or any part of it. I am no longer in denial. In a way, acceptance is the last step to me giving up control.

Acceptance is me admitting the following:

I am infertile. This does not mean that we won't have a baby. We will have a baby. It will not be the way I imagined or the way my husband imagined. It will not be in the timeframe we imagined (it already isn't). It has and will continue to require us being patient.

Bargaining, pleading, begging, and getting angry with God or anyone else will get me nowhere in my quest to have a baby. Getting angry with my friends and family for not understanding is normal, but I also have to understand that they will never truly "get" what we are going through.

There will be days when I am sad and mad and this is okay. I need to let out my emotions and talk about my infertility in order to cope with each negative and move forward in this process. Ignoring things will not make them go away--it will only make them worse.

Randy Pausch said in his last lecture, "We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand." This, infertility, is the hand my husband and I were dealt. It doesn't mean we won't win the game. It just means we will have to work harder to win it.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

in between

Infertility, and going through failed treatment after failed treatment, has pushed me into living in a different world: the world of in between.

Things in this world are never black and white. Everything in this world is gray.

I am not alive, but I am not dead.
Outside it is light, and inside it is dark.
I am not asleep, but I am not awake.
Outside I am happy, but inside I am sad.
I am not a parent, but I feel like a child.
Outside I am calm, but inside I am terrified.
I am not pregnant, but I am not pregnant.

I am just stuck, somewhere on the fence, waiting for someone to lift me up and pluck me down onto the greener pasture—the place where things are black and white, the place where I am happy (inside and outside), and the place where I am awake and alive.

I am not in hell, but I am not in heaven.

I am in purgatory, awaiting my fate.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

on to the next one

My date with Wandy went well. I had to wait an unusual amount of time in the waiting room and, as a result, they didn't charge me a co-pay.

My uterus and ovaries look "perfect" and I start Femara tonight. Since my follies progressed so quickly last time, they want to see me a day earlier this cycle on CD 10 instead of CD 11. So, I will be going in next Tuesday for my scan. I imagine my IUI will be on Thursday or Friday morning.

The nurse seemed just as disappointed as I was that last cycle didn't work. Again, she used the word perfect, but perfect for me would equal pregnancy.

Maybe my standards are too high.

In completely unrelated news, I am sure now that most of you have heard about the devastating floods in Nashville. Joey and I lived in Nashville for two years and it makes me so sad to see the pictures of our former home. The flood has displaced many of our former friends and coworkers.

So, if you could, please take a moment today and send some good thoughts to the people of Nashville. It's a truly beautiful city with wonderful people and these images just break my heart.

Monday, May 3, 2010

IUI #4

AF arrived in full force yesterday morning. I go in tomorrow for my CD 3 u/s.

I really have nothing else left to say. I'm exhausted in every sense of the word.