Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Shavuot 2017

Bringing in the holiday tonight with fresh flowers, delicious food, and a newly decorated living room. A friend sent a multi-piece work of handmade art. It's beautiful and fits so well with the colors of my living room. I know it was made and sent with love and I really appreciate it.

I called another clinic today to schedule a consultation. My current clinic is rated #1 for reproductive endocrinology. This new clinic is part of a hospital ranked as #1 in the country. I got the recommendation from a friend who recently had a baby girl after three years of consecutive miscarriages and she said they were warm and friendly. I don't know that we're going to switch, but I'd like a fresh set of eyes looking at our situation. Whether or not it's helpful, it feels productive and that's a step toward making me feel better.


Monday, May 29, 2017

Letting the tears flow

My community is going through a rough time.

Last Saturday a young woman who grew up here died in a tragic boating accident in the Everglades a day after her college graduation while out celebrating with her family. A mom of a 5th grader lost her 4-year battle to breast cancer and passed away last month. A prominent member of the congregation was in poor health and passed away last week. Most recently, a kid in my nephew's grade lost his 3-year battle with brain cancer. They had recently discovered an inoperable growth on his brain stem. The doctors sent him home and ceased all treatment. It's so heartbreaking. This spunky adorable child won't make it to his bar mitzvah because of this disease. My heart breaks for his family; for his mother. This is her baby. They fought so hard. Money was not an issue - they threw literally everything at this but it was just too aggressive.

So it's been a really tough few weeks. I don't even know what I want to happen to help get past this. I know bad things happen all the time; it just seems like this is piled up in a very concentrated area of my life. I know they're not happening TO me, but with it being added to my own personal problems it seems like things are piling up.

Work has been so busy leading up to a big event happening next week. I'm certain that something under my responsibility has fallen through the cracks because I've been so distracted. I don't know what and I'm worried about it. Just hope it can be easily fixed without causing any damage if or when its discovered.

The past few days I've oscillated between being ok and hopeful to being depressed and hopeless. I don't know how to feel. I have a void in my heart from this last loss and whenever I think about it I tear up. This pregnancy started on January 1 with the start of the new year and our new insurance and the prep leading up to IVF 5 which got us the embryo that stuck but ultimately failed and had to get taken out. My husband told me that when I woke up from the procedure last week I said something that broke his heart. Apparently it was a tearful, "They took out our baby." I don't remember it happening but it's how I feel every day.  I oscillate between wanting to try again right now and not wanting to try at all because I don't want to risk going through this pain again. We've only known failure. Even when we were succeeding it felt like we were waiting for disaster to strike. And then it did.

So instead of trying to feel better or cheer up, I'm just letting the tears flow. Feel the feelings. Embrace the pain. It feels human. It feels necessary. The chance at success is worth the risk of failure. Our experiences make us wiser and will hopefully guide our way once we're ready to try again. Until then, letting the tears flow.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Start of hiatus

My crown tooth has been bothering me the past few days. It's uncomfortable every so often but isn't at the point of constant pain yet. I have an appointment for the root canal next Friday and I hope the pain doesn't get bad before then.

I've been eating such crap lately. The nausea lifted nearly immediately after the procedure, just in time to eat plenty of comfort foods. I lost 6 lbs between transfer to d&c. I gave myself some leeway over the past few days. I plan to go back to healthy eating and exercise after the holiday this week. Until then: cheesecake and pasta.

We're stuck in treatment hiatus while waiting for my cycle. Nidah time is upon us in full swing and it's really hard. I started a list of summer projects I want to do over the next few months while we wait. We have to figure out what we want to do next regarding treatment but it's too soon to decide. We've talked a lot about options. I don't know if I'm going to schedule a wtf appointment. The doc already made it clear there's nothing to change and his recommendation is to just keep trying.

We need some time and space from this last round before we can think of what to do next.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Post-op

Feeling ok. Went to work today. I had some cramping, more so than yesterday, that I've been trying to sooth with Tylenol but will probably break out the good drugs before bedtime. My jaw also hurt today, like very tender to the touch on my jaw bone on both sides. I emailed my nurse asking if it was a new side effect of the anesthesia. I got a disturbing response: the anesthetist had to lift my jaw during the procedure. Yikes. I googled what that actually meant, which is when your breathing slows too much and they have to manually lift your lower jaw to get more oxygen into your system. Apparently this isn't uncommon. I find it quite unsettling but not sure why I'm so scandalized.


There are a few things I found helpful during this incredibly difficult time:

  • People who texted to check in. I liked that they cared enough to think of us. I liked that I got the message without having to put in the effort of a conversation if I wasn't up for a phone call.
  • People who visited. Whether it was just for a hug or a long conversation, it was helpful to have visitors. 
  • People who respected our space and didn't visit when we needed time to ourselves.
  • People who texted, "Is it ok if I bring over dinner at 6pm?" instead of just the generic, "Let me know if you need anything." I didn't know what I needed. I wasn't in a place to ask even if I did.
  • People who offered to do grocery shopping for us. Even though we never took them up on it the offer was appreciated. 
  • People who stopped by with snacks, like homemade brownies or a bag of cheese curls.

Things that were well-meaning but I did not find helpful:
  • Suggesting to us it might be time to switch doctors/clinics
  • Doing research online and making suggestions about what worked for someone somewhere
  • Saying "at least you found out before you got too far along..." 
  • Saying "at least you know you can get pregnant..."
  • Saying "maybe the meds are messing with the embryos... maybe you should try an unmedicated transfer"
  • Bringing up adoption and surrogacy
  • Asking if the doctors have any idea why this happened
  • Asking what we'll do different next time 

Things that lasted longer than my pregnancy


  • Sefira
  • My Pesach pedicure
  • The DJT presidency

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

D&C

I woke up crying this morning. Our appointment was scheduled for 9 AM arrival. I cried while getting ready. I cried on the way there. I cried in the waiting room. It was the same location as all of our egg retrievals so the nurses knew us and my own doctor was on rotation. We spoke a bit. Got the IV started (2 sticks), signed a bunch of paperwork, and waited for our turn. Cried the whole time.

I asked the doctor if they can do an ultrasound before they start. He said they do but that the patient is usually out by then. I asked to be awake for that part. He said he doesn't mind but that I will be exposed from the waist down, which may be uncomfortable, and then jokingly asked if I don't trust him -- I think he wanted to protect me from false hope. I said I know that we're not going to see anything new but that I needed the closure. I didn't want to wake up one day thinking "what if."

When my turn came up, I was walked to the OR and got settled on the table. The medical staff was setting up: adjusting my legs and arms, covering my legs in blankets, adding medicine to the IV, etc. I guess they always do this part but I'm usually out by then. The doctor did the ultrasound and explained all the parts while the nurse pointed out what he was saying on the screen. Before he gave the signal to knock me out, he made sure I had no other questions and was ready to start. They were really great - I appreciated that they took the time to do that.

In past egg retrievals my first memory is being back in recovery with my husband there. Today my first memory is being woken up in the OR to the anesthesiologist saying, "you're all done, time to scootch" and three or four nurses and medical people helped me move from the surgery table to the gurney. I woke up again in recovery where I cried some more.

The recovery nurse asked if I want a drink or snack. I couldn't decide what I want so my husband asked for water and ginger ale. She also gave me pain medicine. When I stopped crying my blood pressure went down. For the first time in three months I realized I wasn't nauseous. Silver lining. A little later I was released to go home.  When I got off the gurney I felt a gush and quickly put a chuck between my legs to catch it all before it made a huge mess. I wasn't in pain it just surprised me.

My husband scheduled to work from home the rest of the day so he could take care of me. He picked up lunch and went to go fill my pain prescription. In a slight hiccup, the date on the rx was tomorrow's date and the pharmacy was saying it's illegal to fill it early. So my husband raised some polite hell and told them to call the clinic to verify. They straightened it out and he was able to get the good drugs. So what if everyone at the pharmacy now knows I had surgery.

After lunch I passed out. I napped for two hours and woke up feeling better. I'm surprised at how different recovery is from an egg retrieval. I'm having some moderate cramping but that's basically it. No bloating, no headache, no gas, no shoulder pain. Physically feeling fine all things considered. I also haven't cried since getting home. Somewhere deep down it feels ok to move on now that it's behind us. I think I was also nervous for a new procedure and worried about all the things that can go wrong.

I have to go back next week for bloodwork to follow up on my hcg levels. This procedure was much more difficult emotionally than physically. Overall feeling ok.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Procedure scheduled

I talked with my doctor about scheduling the D&C for Friday. He said that there's a very slight chance that, depending on how many retrievals are scheduled, I might get bumped to the next day. The next business day is Tuesday. That's just not a risk I'm willing to take and ended up asking to schedule me for whatever is first available.

My nurse was out today so her backup, which I really like, called me. She was the first to ask me how I'm feeling. She explained the procedure and let me know what to expect.

They put me on the schedule for Wednesday morning. I'm worried about how long it will take to get my period back. Weird to worry about wanting a bleed when for so long that's all I prayed I wouldn't see in every bathroom trip. One step at a time; first we need to close the chapter on this.

It hurts me that my husband is sad. Our families are so pained by our grief. I'm numb at this point. I have to be able to push it back to be able to go several hours without crying. I assume I'll be crying a lot on Wednesday when I have whatever we thought was our baby scraped out.

Our embryo went through PGS testing but we're still asking them to test the tissue. Any data we can gather is information we can potentially use in the future. Although I'm not sure what new information they will tell us, considering we transferred a genetically normal embryo, clearly something was wrong and if it's possible to show up via testing we want to know about it.

I'm anxious about the procedure and worried about all the potential complications. I'm worried about recovery. Sad about the whole thing.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

This week

It's been a rough weekend. I took the rest of the day off Friday after we got the news. My supervisor was very supportive. I spent most of Friday in disbelief crying on my husband's shoulder.

We were scheduled to go to a family kiddush on shabbat but the thought of going to shul and being among all those pregnant women, strollers, and little kids was too much. I couldn't stop crying long enough to look presentable in public so we skipped it. My husband considered going on his own to represent but he didn't want to leave me alone. He's been amazing. I know he's processing it differently, and that he's not dealing with the hormones, but it's his loss too and I appreciate that he's putting my needs first. At one point I woke up in the middle of night to cry. It's just such overwhelming grief. Tears continued on Saturday.

We're lucky to be surrounded by love. I texted my siblings on Friday. I was hoping to be able to share the good news with them after we heard the heartbeat. Instead I had terrible news to share. We had visitors on Friday and again on Saturday. My sister came with her 5 month old which we dubbed the Therapy Baby. I talked about it over and over again. It was incredibly therapeutic to discuss it freely. I'm able to talk about it now without automatically tearing up. This morning we had a session with our therapist. It was pre-scheduled but timing worked out well.

I last spoke to my RE at 3:30 PM on Friday and he presented the options: do nothing and let it pass naturally, methotrexate, or D&C.  We're not even considering the methotrexate. Originally I wanted to let it pass naturally. I'm sick and tired of the medications and procedures and just want to let my body heal. The problem with that is that it may take weeks/months. The other issue is that my body still thinks it's pregnant along with all the side effects. Every time I felt a wave of nausea over the weekend I got angry and bitter. I couldn't believe I've been suffering with the nausea, the symptoms, the shots for so long for nothing. Just so ridiculous. At least when there's a baby you think there's a point. Essentially nothing has changed between Thursday and today except that now we know it's an empty sac and I just want it out.

We're leaning toward the D&C. I'd like to schedule it for Friday for two reasons. First, because then I have the long holiday weekend to recover. Second, because I want to see what happens when my body gets rid of the majority of the medications. I was worried about weaning off of the bloodthinners when the time came at the end of the second trimester. It was basically an experiment and I didn't know if the pregnancy would suddenly abort itself if I stopped cold turkey, since a lot women I know who take it need it for the duration of the entire pregnancy. Granted, those women are taking it because there's something in their blood to indicate its necessity, but we were throwing darts in the dark. I was tested and all came back normal yet we still opted to give it a try. Did it work? Who knows. All I know is that this is the furthest we've gotten so far. So this is a good a time as any to test it out: If my body gets a week break of shots, will it expel the pregnancy on its own - that's what I want to figure out.  A third reason which didn't really make it into consideration but is a bonus, is that it's our busiest time of year at work and I didn't want to feel like I'm flaking out. Obviously my health comes first and if I needed to be home/recovering I would. My supervisor would completely understand. It happens to be that it works out this way.

So what's next? Nothing.  My body will take time to heal. I understand that my period may not come for about 6 weeks after the D&C. It will be a forced break to regroup and recharge, which may not be so bad since we've been going at this non-stop since summer 2015. Maybe we'll take a vacation for our anniversary. Maybe we'll finally renovate something in the house. I don't know. I know that I want to try again. I know I'm not done. I also know that it's going to take time to recover emotionally. We were so invested. We were so happy. We were under the impression we were seven months away from meeting our miracle and the rug was completely pulled from under us.

I hate that my anxiety and fear won this time. It will make it that much harder to believe in the future. Not impossible, but definitely harder.

I've had a challenging time with prayer. It's hard to keep praying when I know it was in His control whether this pregnancy succeeded or not. It's hard to continue believing that his master plan is all for the best when you can't fathom why this didn't work. I guess it's not up t me to understand. I know that sometimes we pray and the answer is just "No." Doesn't mean I can't keep praying or trying.

In other news, I can now get that root canal for the crown that needs work. My pregnancy didn't work out and my consolation prize is a root canal. May as well get all the shitty stuff out of the way to make room for some good things in the future.

Friday, May 19, 2017

And that was it

There's little worse than having all your worst fears come true. The thing about infertility anxiety is that it's based on real fears; and when the worst happens it validates all the anxiety you were feeling until that point.

At 7w5d today's ultrasound there was no hearbeat. No fetal pole.  It's over.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Lag Sameach

Ten years ago my grandmother, my mother's mother, passed away on Mother's day. While it was a surprise that it happened that particular day, it was not a shock because her health was deteriorating. The following year it felt wrong to celebrate on Mother's day so we started the tradition of celebrating my mother on the Friday prior. It's been 10 years and we still think of my grandmother often, remembering her stories, her recipes, and her love of life.

My dislike for Mother's Day didn't start with my grandmother's passing, nor was it a result of our infertility journey. It has to do with the fakeness of the holiday. With everything being posted online it starts to feel like a contest of kids projects and husbands one-upping each other. I believe this holiday started out with altruistic roots and over time it became misconstrued and over commercialized. 

The inclusiveness has gotten out of hand. I saw a chart on buzzfeed (that I wish I'd saved because now I can't link it) which suggested different types of flowers for other women, i.e., those who have lost a child or lost their mother. They also had a suggestion for women who have chosen not to become mothers. I don't think those are in the same category! If you chose not to have children then you're not a mother and mother's day isn't for you. You don't have to be included. 

Through no fault of my own, I am not a mother and mother's day isn't about me. It may be painful and I appreciate some tactful sensitivity when appropriate, but I don't need special flowers on Mother's day. Grandparents Day and Fathers Day are also not about me - it may hold a little less sensitivity but to me it's the same concept. Why be inclusive where it doesn't belong?  

On Friday one of the friendly maintenance guys was going around wishing everyone a happy mother's day. When he got to me he asked if I have kids, and when I said no, he's like "Oh I thought you did!" Awkward. Why do we need to go through this conversation every year? I also didn't need the cashier at the grocery store this morning to wish me a happy mother's day. Isn't it pointless coming from people who never benefited from your role as a mother?

What is the point of a message like this on social media: "To my amazing mom....[insert long post]... and even though you're not on facebook I love you a lot!"  Are you serious? Why are you posting something she'll never even see? Did you even call her today? Along the same lines, I don't understand the posts starting with, "To all the awesome moms out there..." - why are you wishing random people a happy Mother's day? Doesn't that dilute any kind of meaning to wishes you possibly sent your own mom? 

Mothers should be celebrated. They should be put on a pedestal for the incredible work, devotion, and sacrifice that they do to make their children survive and thrive. Over the years I think the meaning of this holiday got lost. I'm not sure of the purpose of posting what your kids made for you on social media other than for humble-brag purposes, which are designed to make someone else feel bad. Why not just enjoy your kids and your new gifts? Why does it have to become public too? 

I hope that one day I can join the ranks of motherhood despite, not because of, this holiday. What am I missing? Do I just not understand the way the holiday evolved?  Maybe I just don't get it. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

First of the season

It's been a long week. I wake up in the mornings feeling hung over and groggy and puffy. Morning nausea lasts until lunch time and if I eat a solid lunch then it simmers down to manageable levels. I've been uncomfortably gassy and running to the bathroom constantly with a lot of TMI. There's a special gross-factor about taking pills with water on an empty stomach, while nauseous, and knowing the pills will make them worse. But sometimes happens when I'm running late in the mornings.

All that pales to the anxiety. Today that boiled over. I was running errands, getting stuff ready for Shabbat and for my mom for Mother's day. I thought I should drink more water but figured I'd get to it as soon as I got home. I later had some cramps that were.... different. Then I went to the bathroom and found discharge that was... different. I freaked out. I started contemplating whether this is the beginning of the end. At some point the tears started and I just couldn't stop. I decided to take a shower to try to calm down.  Things took a turn when I decided to brush my teeth to get rid of the gross taste in my mouth. Between the tears, runny nose, and sobs I gagged on the toothpaste and then threw up. Luckily it was mainly water but the whole thing just upset me more. First barf of the season.

My husband heard and came over. He helped me clean up and did what he could to try to settle me down. It wasn't until I thoughtfully and purposefully made up my mind that everything is from Him and that there's nothing I can do either way, that I started to calm down. 

I had more thoughts but it's almost Shabbat. It's just insane to realize that infertility trauma is for life. It never goes away and there's no time you feel you can breathe easy. Every day is a miracle; every day we get closer is just one rung higher to fall if it all goes sideways.  Praying and hoping that doesn't happen. 

Shabbat shalom.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Dentist and toots

I went to the dentist this morning for a cleaning and checkup. In general I usually have no issues with my teeth. There's one exception, a back molar, that needed a crown last summer. It's not even a year later and I'm having issues with the tooth again. In part, the crown is not getting enough contact on either side so they are replacing it at no charge. But it's also started being sensitive to heat in recent weeks and he's concerned the nerve may be dying. Being proactive, the dentist suggested getting the root canal now as part of the process of replacing the crown instead of waiting until it hurts and then having to replace the crown a third time.

I told the dentist that there's a chance I may be pregnant (that's as comfortable as I could get to mentioning it) and asked whether that may effect treatment. He said in that case wait until second trimester to schedule the root canal. He was talking loudly about trimesters and pregnancy, which made me think, "Ugh, keep it down."  Dentist left and the hygienist was so great about it - she kept saying, "When you have the information... So when you confirm..." She got me. She totally got me on this.

As I was walking toward the front desk, I saw my supervisor with her son sitting in the waiting room, smiling and waving as they saw me approach. Omg did she hear? Does she know? Immediately I worry about what was or wasn't overheard. It's not like she won't know eventually but it's too early. Too soon. Not ready. Anything can happen. She's a great supervisor and of all people to overhear, if she did, I'm glad it was her, but still.

In other news I emailed my doctor about some specific discomfort. I know it's normal to be gassy and that's just something I embrace as part of the package of this magical time. My concern is that when I get gassy I feel pressure on the left side of my chest. I'm not interested in dropping dead of a heart attack so I got nervous and emailed my RE asking if the meds I'm on are a possible culprit of this symptom.  His response was, "The symptoms you describe are not related to any of the medications you are taking. You could contact your primary care physician but doubt there is a problem."

While that's reassuring, I still put in a call to my PCP and am waiting to hear back from her. I just had blood pressure and cholesterol checked in March so that's also reassuring. It's still disconcerting to feel pain around the heart area. For all I know it's perfectly normal and not at all an issue and if that's the case it's not at all bothering me. I wouldn't even call it pain, it's more pressure and doesn't come with any of the other classic symptoms (shortness of breath, tingly arm, neck pain, sweating, etc.) that are known as classic heart problems. I'd still rather check it out just in case. I'm fine with being slightly embarrassed to be an alarmist or tell the doctors I'm gassy on the off-chance this is an actual issue.

Friday, May 5, 2017

FET 5: 5w5d on 5/5

Ultrasound today took about five minutes total. The doctor came in with a nurse. She started the ultrasound while the doc chatted with us. 

He confirmed that the embryo implanted in the uterus, cheered, wished us luck, and left for his next appointment while the nurse stayed behind to take more measurements. She also checked the ovaries to make sure they're back to normal size, which is protocol for IVF even after a frozen transfer. Before she finished she handed us a picture of the sac. 

We scheduled a second ultrasound for two weeks from now for them to check for heartbeat and do other measurements. That appointment is scheduled for half an hour. 

I've been having cramps on and off. Whenever they start up I drink more water and park my butt until they subside. I don't want my muscles atrophying but I'm also worried about straining too much. Every time I walk a bit I start feeling it - which could be completely normal, I don't know. I'll add it to the list of questions for my regular ob/gyn if I'm lucky to get to that point of being released from the fertility clinic.  

Shabbat shalom!


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

So far

When things get real, they get real very fast. There are so many things we did to prepare, physically and mentally: exercising regularly, taking supplements, establishing good sleeping habits, meal planning and better eating. When things take a turn, it's a completely different ballgame. Even though it's something we've been waiting for and hoping for for so long, it seems like things changed overnight. This is unknown territory, for starters. Everything is scary, everything is new. I'm happy to accommodate the new normal, it's just a learning curve.

I know a lot of my symptoms are due to the medications I'm on, though it's impossible to tell for sure. I fear if I complain it will suddenly go away, but the nausea has been constant since I started taking the meds (even before the transfer). I'm also really bloated and gassy to the point that regular clothing have become uncomfortable. There are random pulls and tugs, especially when I stand up after sitting for a while. Today was the first day my boobs have felt really sore and were instantly better when I got home and changed into PJs.

I've been taking it easy. I haven't worked out since the transfer which is probably not the best idea but I've been worried about putting too much strain. The most I've done is walked around the block, 20 min max. I've gotten the same amount of sleep but I wake up exhausted which makes my awake time less efficient - I can't run errands at the same speed; I get less work done in the same amount of time. We were running low on groceries and I had no energy to go or convince my husband to go so I ended up ordering most of the groceries on Amazon Prime. It was amazing!  Delivered to my house within two hours and I got 98% of what I wanted.

Shots have been going ok. I'm starting to feel like a pincushion and running out of places to poke. The bruises on my belly have gotten intense. My butt has all but lost feeling in the injection areas but ironically is now more sensitive during the stick. I'm filling sharps boxes more quickly than I can keep up that I started asking for two when picking up refills.

I now understand why pregnant women are constantly rubbing their belly. I used to think it was so pretentious and unnecessary. I used to think it was because people are mocking me and they're all in on it together. It's actually more simple than that: being pregnant is different than just having a bump with a pillow like they do on TV. There's constant activity going on in there and it's literally on your mind all day long. The rub is subconscious and likely unintentional. I apologize to all the women in my past whom I have judged unfairly.  

If I feel this crappy so early on how will I last until the end? What else could I have done to prepare better? I'm concerned about the next steps. I'm worried about how many things need to go right and how much time needs to pass before we have a baby in our arms. We're praying and hoping this is it.

For those still in the trenches, I'm thinking about you and I hope your world changes for the better overnight some day soon. 

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