Thursday, April 28, 2016

Roller coaster

Back to the mood swings and I'm on a low thanks to AF. I was really sad this morning and sent my husband about 12 texts with reasons about why I'm sad and anxious ranging from worrying about our embryos and the results from the mole biopsy to being sad that I can't find my heating pad. I'm also anxious about having guests staying with us for the weekend (arriving today) when I'm so not in the mood.

I found some pudding and put on some Iliza Schlesinger to make me feel better.

Is everyone pregnant?

I used to think I'm not the jealous type. Lately I've noticed that when people announce their engagements, I mentally calculate and assume they, too, will be parents before us. It's a terrible habit I need to cut out but I noticed that I do it automatically.

One person I'm friends with on Facebook was known for complaining about her dating life and how she wasn't getting anywhere with all the losers she was dating. Those rant posts would come up on my newsfeed regularly for nearly three or four years. Then she got married and nearly instantaneously the rants turned to frustrated parenting posts. Unfollow.

There's another couple who got married a week after us and got pregnant on their wedding night. They now have four children and post frequent sweet family photos. Unfollow.

Two of the four other childless couples in my friend circle on fb have succeeded in having healthy pregnancies and are now parents. The third one got pregnant and kept it quiet on social media, trying to be sensitive to others still struggling, but someone else spilled the beans on her wall so now it's out. The forth couple is struggling with multiple losses and I know they've gone through IVF and PGD -- I hope that some of that Facebook baby dust is contagious and that they get their miracle baby soon. I noticed that the IVF awareness articles bother me as much as the family pictures. I don't want it to be relevant to me, I don't want to be different. Unfollow.

I have a friend who got divorced a year after I got married. She focused on school and career and in the meantime her ex got married and had a kid. I know her childlessness is different than mine, but I also know it hurts her to think what her life could have been like today had things worked out differently. She's dating someone seriously now (almost 7 years later) and I'm already doing the math in my head...

There's no way to Unfollow people in real life. You can only avoid it to a degree. Can't avoid it at the grocery store. Can't avoid it at work. Can't avoid it at shul where the preg ratio is probably 1:3 of healthy female adults.

So... if you can't beat 'em, join 'em! Working on it ;)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Spring break

My job schedules spring break right around pesach so I have off for the whole holiday, including Chol Hamoed (another awesome perk). Since my husband doesn't have off at the same time, and much more limited days off than I do, we save traveling for summertime and I'm having a stay-cation.

I made a list of adult things to do, like calling Verizon (ugh) and measuring some pictures so I can order frames. Another item I checked off my list was going to the dermatologist for an all-over checkup. In the past I'd go to get something specific checked out but never as a preventive visit. My dermy is very popular so a few months ago I figured I'd schedule it for this week when I'm off anyway. The appointment was weird - they literally check everywhere there is skin from head to toe. I've gotten a little desensitized regarding being shy about medical people up in my business so it wasn't so bad.

Everything checked out, except she was unsure about one mole. It was actually one that I had checked a few years ago and as far as I know it hasn't changed, but she recommended taking a biopsy "just in case." So I agreed and they snipped off a tiny chunk to send to the lab. I'll hear back in about 10 days. Best case scenario it's nothing and I don't have to think about it anymore. Worst case is that it's a problem -- cancer? -- and I have to go to a specialist to get it removed. Removal, stitches, and a few weeks of taking care of it so it doesn't scar. Either way, it's another wait. Now it's a race to see which results we get first: the mole or the embryos!

I've been reading a lot of blogs during my free time. On my search for new blogs to read, I've seen a lot of blogs that either haven't been updated in a while or have turned into pregnancy blogs. It's nice to see that people progress and that this isn't a stage forever.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Embryo update: Day 6

They were able to biopsy six embryos!  That's a great number so we're very happy. With the one from last cycle, that makes a total of seven going on a trip to Florida for some PGD testing. This ties for largest amount of embryos for a cycle - we had the same amount in cycle 2 but unfortunately the PGD test results indicated that none were healthy that time :(  Hopefully better results this time.

It's almost 5:00 PM and everything is done for Pesach!  Cooked, cleaned, organized, errand-ed(?) and done. I'm glad we got good news right before the holiday. I know it doesn't mean that they're all healthy, or that the healthy ones will stick and become babies... I know this is just one step. But it's a step in the right direction and instead of worrying we're celebrating this mini-milestone.

May we have many more milestones to celebrate soon.  Chag kasher v'sameach!


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Embryo Watch: Day 5 update

The nurse tried to keep me posted all day but she wasn't getting much info from the lab. Toward the end of the day we got the news that one embryo was biopsied, two-ish stopped growing, and the rest are at various stages of growth so they will give them a chance to grow one more night. She said her best estimate is that 4 +/- total may be biopsied but she didn't want to lock in a number because there's no way to know which ones will survive til tomorrow.

It's not bad news; it's just not final news so the wait continues. Always waiting.

In other news, I was very productive today while waiting for this update. I made chicken soup, matzah balls, fish, stuffed chicken, roasted chicken, meatballs, two each of zucchini, carrot, and potato kugel, chocolate cake, blondies, mandel bread, potato salad, and cheese souffle. Tomorrow I'll make cheesecake and salads. I'm feeling productive and full from the tastings menu ;)

Embryo Watch: Day 5

We haven't gotten updates yesterday or the day before. They say that they like to give the slow ones a chance before counting them out, and by letting them just be and do their thing even if they don't grow one night, there's a chance they might still develop. Today we find out how many survived to Day 5. If we were doing a fresh transfer, today would be transfer day. Since we're doing PGD, there's a chance they'll give the strong ones an extra day to grow before biopsying them.

If it was even an option, there are pros and cons to having a transfer today: the pros are that it's the first day of spring break and I'd have a week to rest. The drawback is that Pesach is in a day and a half and I'm still preparing - lots of cooking, organizing, last minute errands. Plus, not to mention the four cups of wine on Seder nights, which obviously could be exchanged for grape juice but still.

The bloating and exhaustion have slowly been getting better every day. I'm feeling better, but now I have a cold (or allergies?) and my head feels like a balloon. I feel like I'm doing things in slow motion, which is frustrating since I have a lot t get done and I like working fast and efficiently.

Since we're not doing a fresh transfer, there's time before we do an FET. By my calculations, assuming there's a healthy embryo to transfer at all, I still have to wait at least a week for my period and then three weeks after that on BC pills, per protocol. That's before we even start with the two weeks of pre-FET injections. That gives me about six weeks of waiting. Patience is not one of my strongest points and it frustrates me to no end that it takes so long between procedures. Still, the time will pass and I have a choice as to how to spend it. I decided I will take the six weeks to work on really getting healthy. Work out regularly, cut out unnecessary calories, be careful about the vitamins, etc. That way when an FET does come along, I'll know that I did everything in my power to help it succeed. The time will pass anyway; I may as well make it meaningful.

Right now I'm taking it one day at a time, and today we'll find out if any of the embryos won day 5.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Entertainment

I'm planning to do some serious vegging next week during chol hamoed. I'm now accepting suggestions for TV shows, websites, blogs, and youtube links.

I have Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Hulu. So far in my queue:
- Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, season 2
- Check for new seasons for Survivor, Suits, Orphan Black
- Iliza Schlesinger specials (if you haven't watched her yet, go find her specials on Netflix!)

Someone suggested Homeland but I'm not convinced. I'm also not a fan of House of Cards but I'm willing to give West Wing another shot.

Embryos: Day 2

Eleven embryos made it to today. The loss was expected but still stings. Still, 11 is great and hopefully most of them make it to blast.

Recovery took a different turn today. The smooth coasting I've had until now was no more. I was so bloated. Even though I think I slept well, I was exhausted and distracted. This morning as I was getting ready for work I was feeling ugly and gross. I had to pull myself together to keep from falling apart crying, for no particular reason. I had trouble walking and spent most of the day at my desk.

I was thinking of going home at lunch but ended up powering through. Wednesday is our last day before Pesach break and I have a lot of work to do. At home I cleared out a few cabinets and the freezer and called it a day - that's enough Pesach cleaning for today.

Tomorrow I'm planning to get the dairy and produce, then flipping the kitchen after work. I'm picking up the meat order on Wednesday. The goal is to have everything done by Wed eve so that by Thursday morning I can just start cooking. We'll see how that works out.

No embryo updates until Day 5 so all that's left to do is just to pray they continue growing.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Embryo update

Out of the 27 eggs from yesterday's retrieval, 15 were mature and of those 13 fertilized. So there are now 13 on Embryo Watch 2016. I couldn't help feeling disappointed with that number. I know it's a great number. I know that we are so, so lucky to have gotten this number this far. I'm just worried about having enough make it to blast stage so they can be sent for PGD testing.

In the end I know it doesn't matter because in cycle 2 we had 6 make it to blast and none were healthy to transfer, so logically numbers don't actually mean anything. Still, I was unrealistically expecting something like 18 embryos to make it to this point. That's insane and I recognize that. I also realize that my hormones are completely swinging again and that's contributing to the exaggerated expectations.

Recovery is going really well, considering. Either my body is just used to it by now or I had a super gentle doctor, but I'm feeling so good compared to previous egg retrievals. At one point I told my husband that I'm concerned they lied to me or that I misheard about the number of eggs because it doesn't feel like I was poked that many times. I'm bloated, as expected, but I don't feel the same pain as before. It's possible I'm also a pro at recovery by now: keep hydrated to flush everything out, stay upright for the hours after, keep the heat pack on.

I've been conservative with the pain meds. I just don't feel like I need them, even the Tylenol. It's been such smooth sailing so far that I've literally had to hold myself back from doing things like carrying heavy laundry. I was ready to drive last night and my husband outright refused to "allow" it (tee hee, like he can stop me. I didn't drive because I would have felt guilty if I'd killed someone else, but I felt confident that I could). I'm forcing myself to take it easy today so that I can be more efficient in Pesach preps this week.

Next embryo update tomorrow. I know it's unrealistic to expect all of them to make it, but I still hope they do.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

IVF 4: Egg retrieval

I'm so relieved that's behind us. To sum up what I assume is going to be a really long post, IVF 4's egg retrieval resulted in 27 eggs - wow! It's more than double the amount of eggs we had last cycle (12 eggs).

We both went in on Friday morning to sign all the paperwork. Something I forgot to mention in the previous post as part of the "So much news!" was that I told my supervisor about fertility treatment - whaaaaat! I know. Big news for me. I was emotional because I realized it was the end of my compartmentalization between work and home. I had to do it though, because if retrieval would have been on Friday I would have missed a big day at work. She could not have been more lovely about it. If it had to happen, I'm glad it was with this supervisor. So back to Friday, we both went in to the clinic to sign all the paperwork we didn't want to sign on Saturday. I needed to be back at work by 9:30 AM but the doc needed to go over a specific page with us and she was tied up until 9:00 AM. I made it, but it was a close call.

We got to the hotel on Friday evening around 6:30 PM. Because of Shabbat, I reserved two nights at the hotel and figured we'll just stay the second night, may as well. Since the door was activated by an electronic key, we were basically holed up in the room since if we left we'd either need to leave one person behind or have hotel staff help by opening the door for us. It sounds ridiculous when I say it out loud, but I don't make the rules!

I brought light meals and we had a lovely dinner. I took the antibiotic they had prescribed right around dinner time because I was told it would mess with my stomach less if I took it with food. It was better than last time, but I still had an unhappy tummy. It had been a long day and I was out by 9:30 PM. We got up early on Saturday morning and got ready to walk next door to the clinic. We got there by 9:15 AM, right at our appointment time. Our nurses were great and there were no issues getting vitals or the IV in. Since everything was already signed and done the day before, there was nothing to do but wait for my turn.

We waited in those hospital cubicles, separated by curtains. There were two other people having treatment, with the times staggered depending on when they triggered. We could, of course, hear everything. One patient got the most awful news. She was told that they were unable to get any of the follicles for some reason. The doctor was reassuring her that it wasn't her fault and there was nothing she could have done differently, but that didn't help the sobs coming from this poor woman. She had to go through two weeks of stims, and will have to go through the full recovery of the retrieval but without anything to show for it. I felt so, so bad for her.

When it was my turn, I was taken to the Operating Room and they took my glasses away. I leaned back and was told to take a deep breath... next thing I know I was back in recovery and it was 30 min later. The nurses took great care of me and my husband was there keeping me comfortable and entertained. My eyelids felt like they weighed 1000 lbs each, even though I felt clear headed. The doc came in to tell me the news that they were able to retrieve 27 eggs. It's such an impressive number, but I can't help buy worry about how many are actually mature? How many will fertilize? How many will make it to blast? It's obviously better to start with more, but I know that in the end it really doesn't matter how many you start with but rather what you end up with.

Our hotel stay left much to be desired. I mentioned some of this to the hotel staff when we checked out but not all of it because I didn't want to seem like I was just complaining to get something back (discount, points, etc.) - these were all legit complaints. So here is the full list: For starters, there was noise the entire time. Not just regular noise like plumbing and people walking in the hallway. There were doors slamming all night long. People yelling in the hallways at all hours. We could hear the TV playing next door and the guy peeing upstairs. During the day time, after the procedure, I was trying to nap in the afternoon while housekeeping crew was on our floor. They were shouting at each other for 45 minutes to the point where I got out of bed and asked them very politely if they could keep it down, to which the response was that she spoke no English. Beside all that, there was a loose metal sheet on the pavement right outside our window and traffic kept running over it at all hours. In addition, we had a small fridge in our room that kept ticking and shuttering loudly every time it cycled on. I am sensitive to noise in general, but this was completely over the top.

Beside for the noise, the room felt shabby. The mattresses weren't young. They were soft and were ripped at the seams. The door to the bathroom was warped and swollen to the point that it didn't shut all the way. It had patches of flaked plaster on it. There was an updated TV in the room, but no one had bothered to move the painting behind the TV when it was upgraded to a larger side, so it just looked neglected and out of place. There was also a stale smell in the air without the option to open a window.

The things that bothered me most was the two things I asked for when checking in that was totally within their control. When we checked in and got to our room, I saw there was only one chair near the desk. We were planning to eat our meals in the room, so I called the front desk and requested a second chair - any chair would do, I said even a basic folding chair was fine. Not only did they not bring us a chair at all, but they didn't even bother to let us know that one wasn't coming. They basically completely ignored this request. It wasn't like I was asking for the moon. They have a conference hall with folding chairs on the floor right beneath us, they could have found a spare chair.

The second request was for a specific wake up call. We needed to be at the clinic by 9:15 AM. I knew I would wake up in time but I couldn't just leave it to chance and miss the appointment so I asked for a wake up call at 8:00 AM for them to call, let it ring twice, and hang up. They asked if I want a second courtesy call (snoozer?) and I said specifically that I do not want any calls other than the original one because I will not be answering the phone. Of course I'm up by 6:00 AM this morning and there was no reason for the call at all. As expected the wake up call comes at 8:00 AM and rings for 5 times. A few too many, I think, but ok. Five minutes later they call again. At 8:10 AM they call a third time and I'm starting to get really annoyed. We're not answering the phone because it's shabbat, and either this is a persistent employee or an automated system. When it rings again at 8:15 AM and then again at 8:18 AM I've had enough and make my way down the stairs to the front desk. I tell the lady there that we asked for only one ring but that the phone hasn't stopped since 8:00 AM. She asked if we tried unplugging the phone. That's not the point, lady!!! Tell your people to stop calling! I go back to the room and it's finally quiet..... until 8:45 AM at which point the phone rings again. The message button lights up and the ringing stops. After shabbat I checked our messages and it was from a lady in Guest Services saying she doesn't want us to be late to whereever we are.

The mistake was the miscommunication from the person at the front who took the message to give us a wakeup call without letting them know the specific instructions, but there was also an error on the employee's part that she didn't bother checking with anyone before calling 6 times! It's not even like this was a Motel 8 where these things were to be expected. This was a four start Sheraton hotel in a ritzy neighborhood for several hundred dollars a night. It was unacceptable and we decided to check out early. Even though we had the room until tomorrow at noon, we checked out as soon as Shabbat was over and hauled ass out of there. I am not ungrateful that it was there when we needed it. But for the amount of money we spent on the accommodations you'd think they'd put in a little extra effort.

Staying in hotels really makes me appreciate my house more. It's also the reason I prefer to use HomeAway when traveling. The conditions are always so much better than hotels.

So that was our stay. The clinic was great about the whole shabbat thing and really made us as comfortable as possible. We even had a nurse escort us back to our room so we didn't have to worry about electronic doors or eruv. Now we wait to hear about fertilization progress over the next few days. 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

IVF 4: Day 14

So much news!

I have been in the clinic nearly every day this week. Everything progressed as expected. On Wednesday a miracle happened and I was in and out of the clinic within 14 minutes. I came in for a 7:45 AM appointment and by 8:00 AM I was already back in my car. That was the first and only time that has ever happened! The prior record was 36 minutes which at the time I thought was thrilling. At the Wednesday appointment they said things look good but that I need one more day, which meant no trigger that night, which meant no Friday retrieval.

This morning I came in and they said things look ready but they need to wait for the bloodwork to confirm. I was told there is "a lot of activity" and just by looking at the follicles they were unsure that I had the right trigger. I learned today that if your estrodial is over 3000 it indicates a chance for over 20 mature follicles and therefore they trigger with Lupron instead of HCG. They said for sure trigger is tonight but they will let me know which trigger to use, depending on bloodwork. I got a prescription for the Lupron and filled it just in case.

I got the call and my E = 2785 so triggering tonight with HCG. Trigger tonight means a Saturday morning retrieval. It had to happen at some point. We knew it was a possibility and are prepared for it. I told my nurse what we can and cannot do on Saturday because of Shabbat. To sum it up, basically anything done to me by someone else (blood pressure, IV, etc.) is fine, but I can't do things to break Shabbat (like stepping on the scale to get my weight, or signing forms). I told her we're not bringing anything other than our IDs. They've done this before and they know how to deal with it, but I'm sure they think we're completely bonkers. Whatever, I can't worry about that. We're going in tomorrow morning before work to get all the paperwork signed ahead of time, and I'll get briefed on the anesthesia protocol so that I can sign it.

I reserved the hotel nearby for two nights. Even though we only need it for 24 hours from Fri night to Sat night, checkout is at noon so I got two nights and we'll have the option on Sat night to either stay or go home depending on how I feel.

I requested a fridge for the room but I'm wondering how much food it can actually hold. When we go in tomorrow to sign the paperwork I'll pop into the hotel and ask some questions. I bet they've had religious people stay with them also so they might have some suggestions.

My cleaning help is coming on Sunday morning at 8:00 AM so that will be a big help. I'll plan to hang out somewhere else so that we're not in the way.

I tried to do as many errands for Pesach prep as I can until now, but at this point it's the last minute stuff that will do me in. I can't buy any of the fruits/veg/dairy until next week. I also can't flip my kitchen until the cleaning help is done. I just hope I bounce back quickly from this one because I have stuff to get done.

Regardless, first seder is in a week from tomorrow night. Ready or not, here it comes!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Zika

I read this news headline and had to swallow my panic: "Zika Virus is Scary and We Need Money to Fight It, Officials Say." What the holy hell?! I'm not quite freaking out just yet, but I'm very nervous. Why aren't more people worried about it?? The article states that, "Anywhere between 25 percent to 80 percent of the population could become infected as the virus moves across new countries." This is SCARY SHIT!!! Someone do something!!!

I've set up a contract with the pest control company to spray our land for mosquitoes throughout the summer. They also did a full assessment of the property and got rid of anything that might be a breeding ground for mosquitoes. I've got half a mind to set up a bat house in my backyard, since apparently they feed on mosquitoes, but then I'll have a bat problem and no guarantee Zika won't still sneak in.

If this cycle succeeds and we have a healthy embryo to transfer, I plan to have a conversation with the clinic about it. I don't know that they can do anything, but I have to ask. From the research I've done, it looks like it does affect non-pregnant people (fever, other mild symptoms) and then goes away. It's only dangerous to pregnant women because the virus causes brain damage to the fetus. Apparently if a non-pregnant woman gets the virus it's not a big deal - she's sick for a week or two then gets over it. It's unclear whether that builds up an immunity. Does she get affected again if bitten by another mosquito? What if she's pregnant the second time? So many unanswered questions.

Monday, April 11, 2016

IVF 4: Day 11

Weekend monitoring appointments are usually more involved than regular mornings. I went in on Sunday for a 7:45 AM appointment and got taken back for bloodwork 10 min later. By 7:58 I was back in the waiting room to wait for the ultrasound, just in time to see the opening sequence of the TODAY show. It wasn't until 8:55 AM that I was called back for the ultrasound. I waited in the smaller room for another 20 min before the technician came in.

Not only was the wait long, the appointment sucked too. The weekend staff is different than the regular staff, and everything was worse. I got stuck twice with the needle for blood because she went too high and missed the vein. Once the tech finally came in to do the ultrasound she pushed unnecessarily hard trying to find my right ovary. When she couldn't get it right away she pushed on my pelvis, hard. It was so uncomfortable. I've never had that happen before.

Worse than any of it, I was in a rush to get to my appointment on time so I ran out the door without my phone. That's right; I was stuck in the waiting room for over an hour without my phone. My emotions ranged from mildly annoyed to bored to concerned at what I was missing to panicky. By the time I got home, two hours after leaving, I was sure there was an emergency that I was needed for and was missing because I didn't have my phone. Thankfully, there was not.

I assumed that there would be another appointment this morning but when I got bloodwork results later that day I was told I don't have to come in until Tuesday, so I got a free pass today which was great since I had an early meeting.

As things stand it looks like retrieval might be Thursday or Friday. I was kind of hoping it might be over the weekend since those days are important work-wise. If it does end up on Thursday or Friday I'll have to tell my supervisor what's going on. I don't think I can take off those days without a good reason, and short of calling in with the flu and keeping up with the lies that would bring, I think it's less complicated to just come out with. My husband thinks I should tell anyway, regardless of when the retrieval is, but isn't pressuring me in either direction. I honestly don't have a good reason not to say anything, other than liking the compartmentalization of work and treatment. Since that's not a good enough reason I may have to suck it up and get over it. I'll know more after tomorrow's bloodwork results come in and decide then.

It's not much better if they say retrieval is on Saturday because then we run into Shabbat issues. Even though I was kind of hoping it would happen, I know it would be more complicated. Regardless, the numbers have been running higher this time so I doubt I would need to stim that long. Again, no use in playing the what-if game... we'll probably have more answers tomorrow.

As for symptoms, things have been very mild this time. Maybe I've just gotten used to things, or know what to expect. I've been trying to watch what I eat and walk regularly, so that might be helping also. Other than the swings I've had right at the start, I've been feeling ok emotionally. I'm trying to stay positive and not think about negative what-ifs. I really hope and pray this cycle results in some healthy embryos.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Pesach 2016

It's happening! A lot of people worry about Pesach prep but I love it. I love the planning, the lists, the errands, the mass cooking. I'm in my happy place when I'm surrounded by fresh ingredients that I get to make into delicious meals.

I've been making Pesach every year since we got married, and have been hosting Seder since year 2. I like hosting and my husband likes being home so it works out well. Every year I put together lists of everything, then keep a master list of all my lists to keep them organized. Lists includes menus, meal schedules, guests, grocery list, errands, things needed to get done, and so on. Over the years my lists evolved, with a transfer to digital lists about three years ago. I still prefer paper and pen sometimes but it's helpful to have the lists from year to year.

Grocery list so far:

Fruits & Veg: Potatoes, onions, eggplant, zucchini, carrots, melon, mushrooms, tomatoes, cucumbers, cauliflower, broccoli, bananas, apples, pears, peppers, lettuce, celery, berries, plums, spinach, horseradish, garlic, parsley.
Meat & Fish: Chicken, turkey chops, roast, cutlets, salmon, gefilte, zeroa
Diary: Milk, yogurt, leben, cream cheese, butter, shredded cheese, cottage, heavy cream, swiss, parmesean
Other food: Coffee, oil, seltzer, potato starch, duck sauce, nuts, tomato sauce, sugar, coconut oil, spices, chraine, salt, tuna, vanilla, eggs, dried fruit, coconut oil, chocolate chips, dates, coconut flakes, white raisins, pistachios, coconut milk, matza meal, wine
Misc: dish soap, sponges, paper goods, disposable pans, tinfoil, parchment paper

I'm sure there are pieces missing, but this is the start. The plan was to do all the shopping and errands before the egg retrieval, though I don't know how realistic is especially the produce and dairy. 


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

IVF 4: Day 6

This cycle is just swimming along. It's basically happening on its own with very little effort on my part. I remember the first cycle where I'd carefully prepare the medication and triple check everything. The nightly procedure would take 30 min or more, sometimes with me having to start over because I was so nervous. With this cycle, I go through it so quickly, usually with the TV in the background and forgetting it as soon as I log it. In fact, if I didn't write things down I'd likely not remember doing it at all. This morning I was scheduled to go in for bloodwork and as I was leaving the house I had to triple check the calendar to make sure the appointment was today. I'm basically coasting -- I've been here before, I know the steps, and it's just on cruise control now.

I find myself very distracted. This cycle is just one more thing happening, unlike in past cycles where it literally took over my life and all my thoughts. Things are busier at work, so that could be a factor. I'm also busy preparing for Pesach. All in all I'm not concered about phoning in this cycle. I'm still doing what I'm supposed to do, I'm just choosing not to let it engulf my every waking moment.

One of the thoughts that came to mind this morning in the waiting room was about how people dress for the monitoring appointments. I found myself judging the people who wore complicated outfits or wearing tights. In my mind, once the ultrasound is finished, I have a small window of time to get dressed and clear the room so that the next person can be set up. If you surpass the acceptable time frame because you had to put on tights or mess around with your complicated zippers, you're holding up the line! It was irrational and ridiculous - no one is spending hours getting redressed.

Pesach prep is coming along nicely. I have menus and shopping lists done. I'm debating between consolidating trips and doing all the shopping at once, or doing the non-perishables now and then leave only the fruits and veg to the week of Pesach. If the cycle proceeds as anticipated, the estimated date for the egg retrieval is 4/15 which is a week before Pesach. It's enough time to recover, but I don't want to leave any heavy lifting for that week. As it is, I'll have to do the kitchen and cooking that week so I'd rather leave as few errands and shopping for that week as possible.

My mood has improved greatly over the past few days. I was sad and depressed earlier in the week and I've oscillated to the other direction, being giddy and excited about everything. I'm expecting to swing back in the next few days but in the meantime I'm enjoying not being miserable. I had all these great ideas about things to do: learn a new instrument! Take a trip! Get another degree! The list goes on and the energy is endless. My latest thing is that I want to learn to scuba dive. We're working on saving for a big 10th anniversary trip for summer 2017 so maybe I'll work some of these ideas into that trip.

I think part of the reason I'm trying not to think about this cycle too much is because I'm worried about it. I don't want it to fail. If I don't think about it too hard there's less of a chance I'll go on the what-if roller coaster.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Separate

As I get older I find it harder to make friends. I never had an easy time making connections, but in school there was a natural common denominator and everyone was about the same age. I made a few close friends over the years and really tried to hold on. Relationships take effort and as friends had kids their lives naturally got more busy in a different direction and get-togethers became less common.

It's at the point now that I find myself with maybe one or two relationships that I'm trying to hold on to. A few years ago, taking notice of our dwindling circle of friends, we made a concious effort to make new friends. Easier said than done, especially for two anti-social introverts such as ourselves. I used to be much more outgoing and friendly, but life has changed me a bit and I find that I now abhor small talk.

During our Chicago trip a few weeks back, I had an epiphany I shared with my husband. Sitting in a coffee shop and hearing the conversation from the people in the table next to us conversing loudly about something going on at work, I realized that I hate small talk because it's so mundane and pointless but I love having deep, meaningful conversations. Unfortunately, you have to get through the small talk to meet new people and get to the real stuff. Maybe that's why I've taken to the blogosphere so easily? People are sharing their most intimate thoughts -- hopes, struggles, dreams. Sure, there's the occasional joke or vent but for the most part it doesn't feel like forced small talk.

When I found out a good friend was having a birthday party for her kids, I understood why we weren't invited but it didn't help me feel better about being left out. She invited over 50 people including kids and adults. We probably wouldn't have gone anyway, even though it would have been easy to blend in, but it would have been nice to be asked and given the option.

We're having a hard time fitting in at shul, too. Everywhere I look around there are kids and babies. It's a quick and easy way for people to connect as an unending source of conversation for even the most socially awkward person. For me, I try to step out of my comfort zone and talk to people but at first sight of it being awkward my mind goes into panic mode of, "Abort! Abort!" In the months we've been members at our shul, we haven't gotten a single invitation for a shabbat meal. We've extended invitations to a few different families. Either we were turned down (all legit reasons: out of town that week, family visiting, etc.) or they came and never reciprocated. Maybe it's us. There has been a slew of births recently and while I get sent an email about a meal train for the family, we don't get invited/notified to the bris. I tried volunteering for the recent mishloach manot project by the shul, but was told they're good with volunteers and didn't need more. There may be a whole bunch of legitimate reasons to explain all these away, but it seems like everyone is too involved with their own lives to extend a token of friendship.

It's hard enough to make friends myself, let alone finding a couple we both like but I'm doing my best to stretch out of my comfort zone to make an effort to make new friends. How do people make new friends? How do I do it without seeming creepy or desperate?

We're happy being together or with family. We don't need a lot of excitement to be content. It just feels a little lonely sometimes, especially when I feel purposely left out.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Weepy

I don't know how else to describe my mood other than weepy. It's a beautiful day -- almost summer-like -- and the house is clean: both things that usually make me so happy. Physically, I feel great since I haven't started any meds yet and the new diet/exercise routine is awesome. So what's my problem?

Beside the regular what-ifs that accompany a new cycle, I'm back to the thought that maybe I should get a new job. I started explaining it in a previous post, Leaning In . It's a new season, the weather is beautiful, and I'm thinking of renewal and change. Maybe I should be looking for another job, thinks I. Then I recycle all the arguments of why not. Then the pro arguments bubble up. There's never a resolution, but here I am thinking about how "everyone else" has their shit together with their fancy titles, their buckets of money, and amazing benefits whilst I keep peeking over to the greener grass.

I know facebook is not an indication of happiness for anyone - it shows only the highlight reel. I know everyone has their issues, even if they're not sharing them with the world. It still doesn't feel good to do a quick newsfeed scroll and see the perfection that is others' highlight reels... new cars and houses, fancy vacations, family outings, new babies.... etc. etc. etc. All normal things.

I'm happy with my job. It could be better, but for the most part I have a very enviable package. What they lack in salary they make up for in benefits. On some level I think that I keep going back to the career conversation because I feel like it's something I can control. The IVF treatment is so unpredictable and at times, especially during the waiting times, I feel so helpless that it's so incredibly out of my control. That's not a great feeling for a control freak.

Even though I have no guarantees, I need to believe that it will work. Otherwise I can't go through it over and over. I'm about to start injections again tonight for cycle #4 and I'm still confused why the other cycles weren't more successful. There's an element of control and there's an element of needing some good luck. We seemed to have hit a bump of some crappy luck the last two cycles.

I'm hoping and praying that we're successful and lucky this time around. I will do everything possible on my end... the rest is up to Him.

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