I think I have been doing remarkably well considering the circumstances. I cried a lot when we first learned about DOR, but after a week or two, I started to feel more normal again. Then, after our follow-up appointment, I felt hopeful. Slowly the fear started to creep back in, but I was still keeping it together. Last night I cracked. A friend of mine recently started a photography business and most of her pictures are of babies. I was looking through her pictures and longing for a baby but also admiring how cute they were; then I saw the post of one woman’s maternity photos followed by the pictures of her holding her newborn. I just thought to myself how it’s so unfair that I can’t have that (at least not easily, and maybe never). I got a little teary, but that was all. I went upstairs to bed shortly after and J noticed my eyes looked wet, so he asked me what was wrong. Such a simple question, but it is what broke me. So I started crying and it took me a little while to stop. I thought of what my mother had said back when we first found out the diagnosis, that I will go through waves of emotions and that’s perfectly normal. So I tried to calm myself down and recognize that my breakdown is a natural part of this entirely unjust process. So there will be ups and downs and I am thankful to have this blog to be able to express both sides and for the support that you have all shown me.
Pregnant Kate Checks Out Jeggings at the Gap. WTF?! I am a sucker for celebrity gossip, but this seems like the most inane piece ever. I didn’t read it, but really, what could be so riveting about shopping at the Gap? Maybe it’s all about how she’s a Princess of the People, but come on!
I have some unhealthy habits. I was a very picky eater as a child and I’m still picky in many people’s eyes (but those who knew me as a child are amazed at how much I have expanded my horizons). My picky habits meant that my mom had little choice but to try to get calories, and whatever nutrients she could, into me however possible. So I ate donuts and peanut butter cups for breakfast, pasta with butter whenever possible, and McDonald’s almost exclusively when on vacation. Somehow though, I had an amazing metabolism and was always very petite. Unfortunately, I felt like the odd one out when I wasn’t obsessing over my body and losing weight once I was in junior high. So I started to think about it and obsess almost to fit in. What started as a way of trying to be a “normal teenaged girl” turned into unhealthy habits of the other extreme. I would never say I truly had an eating disorder, but I certainly engaged in disordered eating. I’m sure that my spurts of calorie counting messed with my metabolism and I just wish I had left it alone because now I find myself often fighting against my body. Of course, I should/could eat healthier (way too much fast food and not enough salad) and engage in a healthy amount of moderate exercise (I’m all or nothing and the all only lasts about a month), but I wish that my concerns with this didn’t come from a place of disliking what I see in the mirror and comparing it to the fictional “ideal” of photoshopped celebrities. I am still within a healthy BMI (although now at the top end rather than the bottom), but I can’t allow myself to be happy with that because I don’t look like I used to. I found myself wondering if a time would come when I would just let go and not even think about it because I don’t want to spend my whole life bouncing between total glutony and 6-day a week exercise regimes plus strict caloric intake restrictions.
Interestingly enough, in my daily perusal of People.com, I read Elisa Donovan’s Blog: The Waste of Talking About Our Waists – Moms & Babies – Moms & Babies – People.com. A lot of what she said is where I wish I was in my thinking and actions. I also found the part about people’s sense of entitlement toward commenting on pregnant women’s bodies interesting. It’s so true and I’m guilty of it (in a well-intentioned way). If you said the comments she related to a non-pregnant women, it would be the most socially-inappropriate thing ever. So as much as I love and want a baby bump, I will try to keep my thoughts to myself in the future! Check out her blog entry if you’re interested in issues of body esteem.
One of my oldest friends knows about my fertility struggles and our IVF plans (with me you basically just have to know my name for me to tell you what’s up, so of course she knows!) and she told me that she is close with two people who have gone through IVF. She gave me the email address for one of those people and my friend’s friend and I talked on the phone this past Sunday. At first I didn’t know how I would start the conversation because I had so many questions but I didn’t want to come off like I was interrogating her. Luckily we quickly found a rhythm and the conversation flowed naturally. She lives in my hometown and went to a different clinic than I’ll be going to, but it was nice to be able to connect with someone who actually knows someone I know (made it more real and tangible if that makes sense). This woman originally sought out help with conception for MFI and tubal issues, but came to find out she’s a poor responder. Her cycle was cancelled but she had a gut feeling that she wanted to continue, so she spoke to her RE and he was game (someone other than her RE had been the one to cancel her). She only had 3 (maybe 4 ) eggs retrieved, two of which were mature. One embryo survived and turned into her son, who is now three months old. She encouraged me to trust my gut and advocate for what I want. She also told me a bit about the adoption process in New Brunswick and I have to say I am so glad I’m not facing adoption there because the wait is so long and it seems like bureaucracy really gets in the way. Our conversation ended quickly because she had company coming, but I felt better after talking to her. I had started to doubt that first time IVF success was even possible with DOR. It may not be the norm, but she’s proof that it can happen and even a cycle that looks hopeless can turn out to be the one.
In the last few days, my fear has caught up with me. I had been so excited when we left the RE’s office because he renewed my hope. I still have hope, but fear has crept back in. I have minor fears about the actual IVF process. I am afraid of giving myself a needle. I don’t even tweeze my own eyebrows because I can’t bring myself to yank the hairs out (but I don’t mind when someone else waxes or tweezes for me). That fear is easily calmed though because I know that it will become easy once I’ve done it a few times. It’s just that first time where it will be hard to actually bring myself to puncture the skin. I am also “afraid” (in a vain sense) of gaining a bunch of weight from the medication, but I have heard the bloating goes away and I am holding on to that considering that I’m a good 10 lbs over anything close to satisfactory in my opinion and I am quite short so a little weight goes a long way. My main fear though, the one that got me crying last night, is that it won’t work. On one hand I hope that our wait to start IVF is short, but on the other hand, the quicker it comes, the quicker it might be the death of a dream. I know that sounds really pessimistic, but it’s reality. Our chances at a viable pregnancy all come down to how many eggs I produce and their quality. We just won’t know that until our first IVF cycle. I told J I needed a hug last night and as he obliged, he asked why. I told him I was scared. I think he thought I was talking about the needles, so I explained where my real fear was coming from. He said he didn’t think I needed to be scared because there was a 58% chance of having a baby. However, I had to remind him that it’s a 58% chance if I produce 7-10 eggs and I may not. He was supportive though and said that if the first one didn’t work, we still had two more tries. I can’t stress enough how much statements like that mean right now. We joke that I am the CEO and he is the CFO of the family. He is really responsible with money and if he says we can afford something, I never doubt him. Although he enjoys the finer things in life and we both treat ourselves to things, he can be hesitant about spending money too and he normally researches everything ad nauseum before making a purchase. So the fact that he seems comfortable with this HUGE sum of money and potentially spending it 3 times over helps ease my guilt. I think I feel extra pressure for it to work the first time so we don’t need to spend as much, but he is basically saying that the money doesn’t matter in the long run, growing our family does. So I appreciated his response and it does help, but I’m still scared. Having a baby and being a mom is everything to me. If IVF doesn’t work, we will wholeheartedly commit ourselves to the adoption process, but I am scared about having to start another intense, long, emotionally and financially draining process from square 1. Sometimes I even think about skipping IVF and going straight to adoption, but we can’t, we need to try. Otherwise we would always wonder. And right now I feel like I know way more about IVF than adoption so it does feel like a “safer” place at the moment, even though I am afraid.
So this post is two-fold, as you can kind of tell from the title. First, I wanted to report that I am finding ways to just live again instead of being perpetually wrapped up in everything infertility. It is still on my mind a lot, even if just in the background, but I am finding ways to also fit other thoughts in there. This weekend was a prime example. On Friday night, J and I enjoyed watching a movie together and I felt in the moment. On Saturday, I did more work on a scrapbook I am making using pictures and mementos from friends’ weddings. I had started it awhile back and I needed one of my friends to send me the files of some of her professional pictures. I could have easily sent her an email about it months ago, but as is the case with depression (and certainly my response to a lot of this is the same as a depressive episode), I had lost the interest in and the energy to do things I previously enjoyed. So I finally got around to asking for the files, ordering some pictures, and finishing off the pages for her wedding. Previously, I wouldn’t touch alcohol during the 2WW just in case, but now, knowing that I’m highly unlikely to be pregnant naturally and that the placenta doesn’t even begin to form until week 4 or 5, I figured a couple wouldn’t hurt. Several months ago (maybe in the summer?), I bought a jar of hibiscus flowers in syrup from the liquor store. So one night I put a flower (looked like a sea urchin) in the bottom of a glass of champagne and the other night I made a hibiscus daiquiri with some of the syrup. Both drinks were super sweet, but it was nice to kick back with a fun cocktail and to actually feel motivated to try out a new recipe. I was texting with a friend from home who lives in town and we were discussing another friend’s upcoming stagette (bachelorette party) and I offered to make some jello shots (I pinned all these cool looking ones on pinterest but never had the opportunity or inclination to make them) and games. That got me excited and I am excited just thinking about the wedding in Mexico! I did some cleaning and shopping as well, and also watched a bunch of season 7 of Dexter online. All of those things are so simple, but simple enjoyment had largely been missing from my life.
In other news, I have officially started moving ahead with IVF because I started my period today and had to call the period hotline. Something about the term “period hotline” makes me laugh (alert the media, my menstrual lining is sloughing off!). Anyway, I could potentially (but unlikely) hear from them in a couple weeks with an offer for treatment. At this point, I would have to decline for the time being because that would put stimming, monitoring, egg retrieval and/or transfer around Mexico and that obviously wouldn’t work. The trip is paid for and fun times will be had with the bride, groom, and friends, so as much as I want IVF, it’s going to have to work around the trip if offered to me too soon. Regardless, there’s an anxious excitement knowing that it’s one step, one cycle closer to being a chance at a dream come true. At the same time, I had a moment where I realized I have to be prepared for it not to work too. Not in a doom and gloom sort of way, but I have read that others weren’t warned that it’s not a guarantee (to me that was self-evident and didn’t require a warning, but still it is good to manage your expectations). I had gotten so hopeful that I sort of saw it as just a matter of waiting 1-4 months until I am pregnant, but it might take 2 or 3 tries or not work at all and then we’ll be starting the adoption process at square one. I am learning that I have to take one step at a time and I can’t always have a 5 year plan.