All out of options.

Without further ado, in the words of Dr. O, the outcome of our ultrasound today was “not optimistic”. Coming from him (the eternal optimist), this is basically the same as saying it’s hopeless. At 5w6d, there was a yolk sac, but no visible fetal pole. In a normal person, this could just be chalked up to it being too early. But for me, it’s ‘not optimistic’. There were some other lovely findings too, including a ‘periovarian mass’ and a weird asymmetrical thickening of my endometrium. His interpretation of these was they are ‘interesting’, and we shouldn’t ignore them. It doesn’t appear that they’re related to the pregnancy though (or what’s wrong with it), so it’s hard for me to care too much about them right now. He tried to reassure me that the mass ‘probably wasn’t cancer’ (probably?), but even that didn’t get a rise out of me. If it’s not related to figuring out what the hell is wrong with my ability to reproduce, it’s not much on my radar right now.

Honestly, I was super relieved to hear that the pregnancy was not totally normal. It sounds counter-intuitive, but I was really worried they were going to tell us that it looked totally normal and we shouldn’t give up hope yet. Then I would spend the next two weeks letting the hope sink in, and be extra special crushed when it (of course) wasn’t. Instead, now I get to spend the next two weeks before the next ultrasound feeling absolutely miserable with nausea (did I mention it’s awful now??) and dragging my feet to muster the energy to act like a normal human being at work all day. In fact, right after the appointment today I had to go back to work and stare at my computer screen, interact with other human beings, and basically pretend not to be a person-shaped ball of anger and frustration. That was fun.

Up until today, my emotions have been conspicuously absent. I went from being an emotional wreck in week 4 to being completely numb and emotionless the moment I started bleeding. I didn’t cry, I didn’t obsess over it, it just….was. But I knew that couldn’t last. And sure enough, my emotions chose the middle of our appointment with Dr. O to reappear. One minute I’m asking him logical rational questions, and the next my lips are shaking and I can’t eek out words. The thing is, I’d been keeping it together up to that point mostly by thinking about what comes next. As soon as I read the article about embryoscopy, the idea has been growing in my mind that we might be able to figure out whether my problem is uterine or genetic (assuming those are the main two options). It was a quick jump from there to, well if it’s genetic, we have options! We can try donor egg, sperm, or more likely, donor embryo. If it’s just our genetics screwing us over, we can fix that by throwing some other genes into the mix! The feeling of finally having options gave me such a feeling of lightness, it almost drowned out the pain of another loss.

I should have known better than to get my hopes up though (haven’t I learned by now???). We asked Dr. O about the possibility of doing embryoscopy, and he was not exactly supportive. He said he would be willing to do it if we really wanted to (and he’s done it before), but he doesn’t see any point. Basically, he thinks that it’s almost inevitable that our embryo would be developmentally abnormal, because, (duh) it didn’t develop. He doesn’t agree with the papers that I’ve read saying that abnormal development implies a genetic problem (karyotypic or otherwise). He feels that a uterine factor could cause the same abnormal development as a genetic factor. So, it wouldn’t give us any information if we did it. In fact, when really really pressed, he said he thinks my problem (and most people’s problems for that matter) are uterine, not genetic. This is just an opinion of course (he admits there’s no way to know for sure), but ultimately if we decided to do something like donor embryo it would have to be just because we beleive the problem is genetic not uterine. In other words, it would be an enormous roll of the dice.

So what’s wrong with rolling the dice? We’ve already done it 7 times, right? In my mind the difference is that with donor embryo (or donor egg, or donor sperm), it’s not just us involved anymore. The genetic parent’s of the embryos we’d receive worked insanely hard to create them, wanted them very badly, and donated them out of the generous hope that they would have a chance at life. Who am I to take their (probably perfectly viable) embryos and toss them in to my death trap of a uterus? It’s not a risk I’m comfortable taking unless someone can give me a decent reason to beleive it will work.

Given that, I’m now feeling like doors are very quickly being slammed shut in my face. Where last month there were at least a few doors left open (trying on our own, donor embryo), these are quickly becoming obsolete. I’m almost completely sure (lets say 99.5%) that we won’t be trying again on our own. I don’t care what the statistics say, I no longer beleive that I am capable of creating and/or carrying a viable pregnancy. Ever. I simply don’t beleive it anymore. The pattern is too strong. Every time I get pregnant it will happen the same way, unless we figure out what’s causing the problem and treat it.

Dr. O reiterated that there are simply no  more tests or treatments available though, and so trying on our own is pretty much out. If donor embryo is out too, we are at the end of our rope. The words I was trying to get out through the tears to Dr. O were “I just wish we had some sort of option left, we just want to have some chance”. So, I guess it’s the time we’ve been dreading. The time I spent years going through more wasted cycles and wasted pregnancies to avoid. The time when we have to accept that it is what it is and move on to the only option left: adoption. Now if I could just figure out how the hell to accept that, that’d be awesome.

 

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Holding pattern

I’m 7 dpo, and the antsiness is setting in hardcore. I keep opening up my ovu-tracker app or looking at the kitchen calendar wondering if by some miracle another few days have passed while I wasn’t looking. I was doing so well being patient during the tww the past few months, and all that appears to be out the window this month.

The problem is I’ve put a lot of pressure on this month. The longest it’s taken me to get pregnant in the past is 5 months, and this is our 5th month of trying this go-around. I remember very clearly that by the 5th month last time, I was going totally crazy, positive that my reproductive organs had crapped-out completely. So, the only way I’ve been maintaining some form of sanity (a meager one) this time is by reminding myself it’s taken this long before and still happened. If it doesn’t happen this time though, we’ve moved into entirely new territory. The territory of ‘oh shit, there’s something else wrong here’.

5 months has become an important landmark to me because of this, but when I started doing some reading it turns out its not completely arbitrary. From everything I’ve read, if you’re putting all the things in the right places at the right times so to speak, it should happen within 4-6 months. I’ve done everything I could possibly do this month, bbt and CM charting, minimal caffeine, extra folic acid (on top of a normal prenatal), acupuncture, full-fat dairy, I even started eating fish once a week or so for the omega-3s, despite being vegetarian for 15 years (yup, apparently I’m even willing to bend my principles a little if it will get me a baby). The stars aligned and we tried 3 whole times during my fertile period, and my CM did its grossly fertile thing. If it doesn’t work with all of that, things are just not looking good.

Rather than being totally depressed or anxious about what it will mean if this month fails, I’ve actually been pretty darn optimistic for most of the month. I even went so far as to promise G I’d be pregnant by his birthday (in December). I know, what was I thinking putting that kind of pressure on myself? It happened when we were laying in bed after our last ‘attempt’, knowing we’d done all we could. The topic turned to his birthday, and what he might want as a gift, and I, apparently in a post-sex high said “I know, I’ll get you a baby for your birthday!”. Dumbass. Well, at the time we both thought it was funny, but he’s brought it up a few times since, as if he believes it’ll happen. I had to put a stop to it eventually, explaining that it just feels like a lot of pressure for something I can’t control at all.

In the middle of all this, a friend from a local support group sent me a link to an article about a way to investigate miscarriages. I’d never heard of it, and immediately gears started turning in my head. Basically, what they do is after you’ve had a missed miscarriage (I suppose you’re sort of out of luck if it happens suddenly), they go in with a camera and actually cut through the sac and look at the embryo itself. I’m sure there’s a lot of factors that go in to whether you can do this or not, and whether or not it will work, but this article made it sound like a very simple procedure that theoretically any doc could do.

And what they see is whether the embryo looks essentially normal or not. If it looks normal, you’d assume that the problem was something external, like an implantation problem, or an immune issue of some sort. If the embryo has clear malformations, then you’d assume that the problem is probably genetic or developmental. Now, I’m not sure you’d know exactly what to do with this information, because it doesn’t really tell you much about how to treat it, but I would DEFINITELY want to know at least this much information if I could. It would make an enormous difference in my mind to have some clue about even what type of problem we have. For example, it would suddenly open the possibility of donor embryos or surrogacy. Not that I’m saying I would necessarily jump to doing either of those, but they’ve always been off the table in my mind because we have no idea if my problem is me or the embryos, so how do you know which one to even consider?? This would open doors to start considering if they should even be on the table at all.

Another reason to do this type of procedure is that you can be sure to get cells from the actual embryo for karyotyping, without having to worry about maternal contamination (ie, when you accidentally get the mother’s cells instead and the test comes back normal female, but it isn’t representative of the embryo). In my case, both of my embryos that have been tested came back normal male, so whatever our problems were, they weren’t chromosomal. What they found in this article though is that only something like 40% of the time when they observed a malformation in the embryo that was likely caused by a genetic problem it was picked up by karyotyping! This shouldn’t be shocking because there are just so many things that could go wrong genetically, and aneuploidy (the wrong number of chromosomes) is just one. What was shocking to me is that no one ever talks about this! When my embryo’s karyotypes came back normal, my doctor was surprised, but then basically wrote off the possibility that we have a genetic problem. I’ve even asked before, couldn’t it be something genetic besides a chromosomal problem? His answer is always, well yes, that’s possible, but basically shrugging it off as unlikely. Well, if this data is correct, karyotyping only ever had a 40% chance of finding a genetic problem if there was one!

This has all been swirling around in my mind the past few days, and honestly there’s not much I can do with the information yet. I’ll either be pregnant this month or not. I’ll either have another miscarriage or I won’t. So, what we’ve decided is that if I am pregnant this month, then awesome, we’ll take that for what it is and try to be optimistic about it. We will hope that either the things that have changed since my last miscarriage (less stress, acupuncture, thyroid medication, higher dose of progesterone) will make a difference, or that for some unknown reason that has nothing to do with those things,  it will go differently this time. If not, and I have another miscarriage, we will start to ask questions (and possibly be really pushy) about considering this procedure. If it gives us any sort of half answer that will be amazing.

And, if I’m not pregnant, we’ll call the doctor and see about figuring out why. I’m not sure if they will take me seriously since the standard is 6 months (or maybe I’ll just bend the truth and say it’s been 6 months), and I’ve been pregnant naturally so many times already, but I simply do not have the patience for another month of the same. Either way, things will be moving forward in one direction or another next month. So yeah, now I just have to manage to make it through the next few days….

***Update: In case anyone would like to read the article about embryoscopy, here it is. Also, there are other articles out there I’ve found today searching for ’embryoscopy’ and ‘miscarriage’ on google scholar ***

 

Flirting with chinese medicine

I had my very first acupuncture appointment ever today. I never thought I would do acupuncture, I’ve always thought of it on the same sort of level as numerology or something. I’m a skeptic, and I’ve just always believed in what could be demonstrated by evidence and data. This is what infertility can do though. I’ve lost all sense of control over my body and how it functions, so I’m grasping at whatever I can to feel like I have some sort of power over the future.

So here’s how it went down, just in case you’re one of the few infertiles left who haven’t tried acupuncture (I mean, seriously, it seems like was the last hold out). I filled out a somewhat detailed medical history, and then proceeded to wait 30 minutes before a room was available for my session. Once it was finally available, we walked in to a very comfortable room with a padded bed and an ikea rocking chair. The acupuncturist, let’s call her Beth, is a former member of our infertility support group, and has done acupuncture for just about all the members of the group. They all had wonderful things to say about her, including that she’s your number one cheerleader throughout the process of getting/staying pregnant, so it feels like you really have someone on your side. She was certainly very nice, and seemed genuinely interested in helping.

We talked for about half an hour, and it was nice to be able to talk through some of the medical details of my history with someone again. It’s been a year since I saw Dr. O, and he was never really interested in hearing my ‘theories’ of what my problem is, simply because there’s absolutely nothing he can contribute. That is, if I ask, what do you think it means that I have so much bleeding when I’m pregnant, is that a symptom of the problem, or is it the problem itself? Or if I’d say, well, the fact that X has happened every single time probably means Y, right? All I’d ever get out of him was, there’s just no way to know for sure. Of course he’s right, there isn’t any real way to know what any of it means for sure. But I can’t help but think maybe there are clues there, and if only he’d play along maybe we could find some sort of pattern hiding in the mess. I just want someone to be as anal about the details as I am, even if it is just conjecture. Anyways, I’ve gone off on a tangent here.

So, she listened thoroughly, and offered some feedback about several things I’ve been wondering about lately, including taking extra folic acid and baby asprin. I’ve already been doing the former (because it can’t possibly hurt), and I’ve been considering the latter. She didn’t really try to give me medical advice, but agreed that they aren’t dangerous and that it’s reasonable for me to consider.

She then spent a little time explaining, in a very general way, how acupuncture supposedly works. I say supposedly, because at this point I started to hear the voice of charlie brown’s teacher (wah wah, wah wah wah…). I shook my head like I was paying attention, but I didn’t even bother listening. The thing is, if I beleive acupuncture has an effect on fertility, or pain, or whatever else, it will be because it has some inadvertent medical effect. I simply don’t beleive that there are humors or whatever they are (see, I really didn’t pay attention), that control our bodily functions. What I do beleive is that perceptive people might notice that taking some sort of action, or treatment, has an effect on health, and then, in the absence of modern medicine, build up an explanation around it. In other words, it might work even if they don’t really know why it works.

After talking for a while, I got up on the table and she felt my ‘pulses’, and looked at my tongue. Now, I can beleive that there are signs about health in these. I also think they are probably rather subjective, so you might be able to feel/see a difference if you are looking for it. She gave me a short explanation of what she felt and what it meant, then started inserting needles. As much as I’ve always hated needles, I wasn’t that nervous about these needles until she started talking about them. I’d been so nervous about the fact that I was going to an acupuncturist at all, that I hadn’t had a chance to worry about the needles themselves until they were right in front of me. A number of people had told me that it wasn’t painful, and they were mostly right. I didn’t feel the needles in my head or arms, and only felt small pricks of pain in my feet. After a few seconds they started to itch a little, and by the time a minute or two had passed I couldn’t feel anything anymore.

Then came the hardest part. Laying still for 40 minutes. According to everything I’d heard/read, this is supposed to be the best part. There’s relaxing music and you can just take a nice nap if you want. Well, I am not physiologically capable of napping (unless I’m pregnant, and then I could nap all day…), and I don’t find laying still fun. I immediately felt antsy, like I needed to move just because I wasn’t supposed to. I thought, how the hell am I going to lay here for 40 minutes?? Plus, due to some mild degenerative disk disease, I get a lot of back pain when I lay flat. I try not to ever lay flat in bed, and the last time I had to lay still on my back for that long was to get an MRI. By the end of the MRI I was in excruciating pain. I started to get really nervous, so when Beth came back to check on me a few minutes later I asked for a extra pillow for under my knees.

Back pain problem solved, I proceeded to lay still and try to relax for the remaining 30 minutes. I did eventually relax, although my mind was still spinning and I kept hoping it would be time to get up soon. Beth returned to remove my needles, I got dressed, and that was it. She warned me that I might feel sleepy for the rest of the day, and I suppose I’m a little sleepy, but overall I feel pretty normal.

I made another appointment for next week, and I’m definitely keeping an open mind about the whole thing. I don’t think it can possibly hurt to give it a shot, and I do beleive that it’s possible it might help, even if it’s just a placebo effect of some sort. I’m feeling more optimistic about my chances of a BFP this month than I have in a while, so any tiny thing that can nudge me in the direction of finally getting pregnant is great. Then, I’ll worry about the staying pregnant part when I get there.

Fears and doubts

Today A Calm Persistence wrote a post where she talks about self-doubt, wondering if she is going to be a good mom, and if this might be why she doesn’t have a baby yet. This thought is something that’s been hiding out in the back of my mind for a long time. It’s not the kind of worry that pushes to the front and forces you to think about it often, but instead hides out where you don’t notice it, waiting to pop out at you when you’re not expecting it. It usually pops out at me when I’m already feeling insecure to begin with.

Really, there are so many things I’m unprepared for. What if I somehow manage to make it through infertility, just to find out that I’m a terrible mother? I feel like I can handle the baby years. Having a newborn sounds like a ton of work and unbelievably exhausting, but predictable. I know I’ll feel overwhelmed, and only get a few hours of sleep a night, and I’ll be excessively worried about whether I’m doing it all right. But these are all predicable struggles. It’ll be tough but do-able. What terrifies me is what comes after. Raising a child.

What if I can’t manage to discipline my kids and they run wild? What if I yell too much, or say no too much, or pass on my most terrible qualities? What if I’m too terrified of something bad happening to them that I can’t let them out of my sight? What if I’m too self-centered and can’t put my own needs behind theirs? What if there are social situations that trigger my anxiety and I fail them instead of fighting the anxiety and handling things head-on?

Some days I’m so worried about these things, and so sure that I’m not capable of it all, that I can convince myself that I’m not supposed to be a mom. That infertility is the universe’s way of saying that it isn’t meant to be. Some things just tend to work out for the best, and maybe it is actually for the best that I can’t have a baby, even though I can’t see right now. Isn’t my desire to have a child just a selfish instinct in the end? Maybe I should be thinking more of the best interests of my potential child rather than my selfish need to have a baby.

The rational part of me knows that this can’t all be true; so many people have kids and have no clue what they’re doing. They parent entirely by instinct (which may or may not be good instinct), with no intentionality or thought-process. I may have no experience yet, but I’ve spent so much time thinking about how I would parent. I’ve thought about what I would do in different types of situations, or how I would handle circumstances that come up. I’ve thought about how I would discipline them, how we would spend time together, even what foods they’d be allowed to eat or not eat. I’ve had 3 years to think about this since we started trying, but really, I’ve been thinking about these kinds of things ever since I started babysitting in middle school. I may end up being wrong about all of it, but just having put that much thought into parenting must give me some sort of head-start, right?

I know that these types of fears are normal for first time parents (or wanna-be parents in my case). But, infertility adds a particular kind of edge to the worries. We’ve spent massive amounts of time, money, and effort to end up with a child. If we finally get there and then fail, it seems like an extra special kind of failure. Not only did we fail our child, we also spent tons of time, money, and effort to have the opportunity to fail. Pretty pathetic. Plus, we have all this time to worry about the choices we’re going to make. When you decide to have a baby and get pregnant quickly, you only have so much time to freak out before it’s too late. We get endless amounts of time to worry about our potential abilities as parents before it ever becomes an issue.

At the moment, there isn’t much I can do about any of this; I’m not giving into the worries and giving up, but the thoughts will still be there hiding out and waiting for my low moments to pop back out.

 

 

 

A little grey blankie

Yesterday G and I decided to try something new. We bought ourselves a gift for our (still imaginary) baby. Does that sound like a totally morbid form of self torture? Jury is still out.

Here’s how it went down. A cousin’s baby shower has been on the horizon for a few months, and we finally hit the point where we couldn’t avoid buying a gift any longer.  We aren’t going to the shower (we live pretty far away so thankfully they wouldn’t have expected us to). The dreaded shopping trip was on my mind as soon as I woke up yesterday, and besides all the other obvious reasons why baby shower gift shopping as awful, I just kept thinking how unfair it was that after we’ve purchased so many gifts for other people, we might never be able to buy things for our own child. I’ve been dying to buy baby clothes since I was in high school and worked at a baby/kids clothes store. It kills me a little every time I have to buy something adorable for someone else’s baby, and know that I may never get to do so for myself.

As I was thinking about it though, I started to realize something. This perfectly represents my attitude in general, which is that I can’t plan for, shop for, or even dream about, having a baby, because it might never happen. The thing is, it will happen. I don’t mean this in the optimistic way that I beleive I will get pregnant and keep a baby, because I don’t fully beleive that. In fact, I don’t think its even necessarily healthy to think that, because it’s entirely possible it won’t happen. What I mean is that if we decide to do it, we can and will adopt. Adoption is terrifying and I’ve spent the past four months pushing it out of my mind completely, but if and when we decide to just do it, we will have a child.

A few months ago, during my second chemical pregnancy, G and I got so fed up we finally decided to get serious about adopting. We still felt like we needed ‘one more try’, but we felt so sure it wouldn’t work that we wanted to have everything in place to start the adoption process as soon as another pregnancy failed. It kept me a little bit more sane to know that plan B was in place. We picked an agency, talked about a lot of the decisions we would have to make, and even talked to my family about it. Then, thyroid testing happened, and the possibility that I might have found a fixable problem entered my mind. It was all over for adoption at that point. Even though I’m trying to be realistic about the chance that just taking a thyroid pill is suddenly going to fix my problem (it probably won’t), just letting that little bit of hope in to my mind has been a game-changer. I’ve been actively avoiding thinking about adoption and instead thinking I just have to be able to do this myself.

It’s not that I hate the idea of adoption itself, really. It’s that I hate the idea of the process, and what comes along with it. I want to beleive that when my baby is in my arms, I will not regret a single thing, but the process is just so terrifying/awful/unfair/expensive. Getting to that end point feels practically impossible, and during the whole process I will know that I didn’t have to be doing it. How would we survive the process and spend all that money knowing that we could have just kept trying? I’m worried that during the wait I’ll feel like I made a huge mistake, or feel insanely guilty.

Then there’s the issue of feeling like I have to share my child. Maybe I’m just being super duper selfish, but I want to feel like I’m the only mother my kid has. The thing is, with adoption, it’s not about you, it’s about the child, and knowing about/having a relationship with their birth family is usually what’s best for the child. Granted, when you have a baby yourself it’s also about the child not you, but there’s still no other family out there you have to share with. It feels like a huge responsibility to handle the birth family stuff the right way, and I just plain don’t wanna. It feels so unfair that I’d have to. And then there’s the horrible worry that I might end up feeling like I don’t bond with or connect with an adopted child enough. Rationally I don’t think this is a real concern, it seems like adoptive parents always have fears about this and it doesn’t end up being a problem. But I’m still scared. I play this horrible game where I look at kids on the train or at the grocery store and think, if that were my child would I be able to bond with them? Sometimes the answer is yes, the kid is so completely adorable I want to just grab them and hug them. But more often the answer is not so positive. Even just writing that I feel like a horrible person who probably doesn’t deserve to adopt. These are all awfully complicated things to try to put into a few paragraphs, but the point is, I’m terrified.

What does all this have to do with the little grey blankie though?? Well, the point is, by focusing on how hard and scary adoption is (well actually, ignoring it by pushing it to the back of my mind and not thinking about it as possible at all), I’m putting an insane amount of pressure on myself to be able to do it naturally. The past few months I’ve felt like I’m just not up for all that adoption entails, so I have to be able to do this myself. Every month I’m not pregnant is a reminder that I’m failing, and if I have the attitude that I have to be able to do it myself, then my failure means no baby ever. That leaves me unbelievably depressed and hopeless about the future.

So instead, what if I forced myself to remember that as hard as it might be, adoption is possible? That I will have a baby one day, however it ends up happening? I brought all of this up with G while we were still laying in bed yesterday morning, and I suggested that we try to remind ourselves that we will one day have our baby by buying something for that baby. Something small and gender neutral, that will likely sit in a closet for a ridiculously long time, but will get used eventually. He was not totally convinced, but was willing to play along.

blankieSo, when we went to Target to buy the baby shower gift, we picked out this little grey blankie. Cute isn’t it? It’s super soft, and fits perfectly with what I imagine our boy or girl nursery would (will) look like. This is the first, hopefully of many, things we get to buy for our baby. It may be a long long time, but our baby will eventually be wrapped up in it.

Like I said at the beginning, the jury is still out on whether this little experiment is going to work, or blow up in my face. It could be that before long it starts to be a mocking reminder of my failures, like my couple of maternity shirts hiding in the back of my closet. But so far, I think it’s helping. Yesterday after shopping, G and I went for a nice long walk around a beautiful park. We were both in a pretty good mood, and we talked a little about how the shopping trip went and how we were feeling. We both felt like the shopping trip was much easier than the last time we bought someone a baby shower gift. It could just be something about this particular couple, or maybe it helped to know that we were going to be buying something for ourselves too. We also agreed that we were feeling pretty calm and (mostly) at peace with this month’s BFN. In past months it’s taken me much longer than two days to get to this point, so that seems like a good sign as well. As for the future, we will have to see. The little grey blankie is now sitting on the top shelf of my closet, where it will probably sit for a very long time.

Today’s drama

It seems like I have a mini-meltdown at least once a week now. Not a full blown snotty, curl up in a ball cry-fest, but an ugly, re-do the makeup kind of cry. Today’s mini-meltdown was brought to you by the Today Show. Anybody see the segment where they follow a couple doing IVF? They showed the egg retrieval and then filmed what they called ‘the first time the moment of conception has ever occurred on live tv’. Well, on today’s episode the couple received a call from the Doc’s office with the results. Let’s be realistic here though, she’d probably already tested at that point. Of course it was positive. I couldn’t help but think it would have been more realistic if it was negative. Is it fair to give the public audience the impression that infertility is so easily fixed by IVF? 

I was handling it all pretty well, up to the point when they showed the couple getting the pregnancy test result. Specifically, it was the look on husband’s face as he heard the result. I won’t be able to do it justice, but it was a look of pure joy and relief. I know that look. It was the same look my husband had the first time we heard a heartbeat in an ultrasound. Tears were welling in his eyes as he kissed me on the forehead, so relieved and overwhelmed with happiness. It’s the only time I remember seeing his emotions that raw. That look was stolen, and I haven’t seen it since. In fact, in a lot of ways I feel like I’ve stolen that look from him. I want so badly for that to be him. He deserves it, and if it weren’t for me….well don’t get me started on where he’d be if it weren’t for me.

I don’t know the story of the couple from the today show, which makes it harder for me to feel empathetic towards them. I’m sure they had a rough time and deserve their positive. But the look on that husbands face fills me with so much jealousy and guilt. Will we ever have that look again?

 

“The Mommies”

On Wednesday nights, G and I go to yoga class. We try to make it three times a week, and Wednesday nights just work out well for some reason. Plus the instructor is pretty consistent, we know we’ll get a good work out plus a lot of stretching, not too hard and not too easy. We started going to yoga classes a little over a year ago, and I’m pretty impressed with myself that I’ve kept it up this long. Don’t get me wrong, I’m terrible at it. I’ve only improved very marginally over the last year, and I’m still the worst one in every class we go to (it doesn’t help that I’ve had a series of injuries that I have to work around). The only other kind of exercise I’ve done consistently for a year or more is walking, which is only because you can do it pretty much anywhere and it’s easy enough that I don’t try to come up with excuses to get out of it. Yoga has been like that too, it’s tough during the class, but then you end by laying flat on the ground practically passed out for 5 minutes, so you can’t help but leave with a positive feeling about the whole experience.

It just so happens that right before our beginner yoga class on Wednesday nights is a prenatal yoga class. We’ve known this for a while now, so we usually plan to leave at the last minute, and rush in after all bumps have cleared the room. Given all the other factors involved, it hasn’t been enough of a motivation to avoid this class. But, if we plan badly, or if there’s especially light traffic, we get there just in time for the slew of preggos to spill out of the studio.

Much worse than the pregnant chicks themselves though is the instructor. She doesn’t teach our class, I’ve only ever seen her teaching prenatal classes. She says things like, “great job mommies!”, and “you’re all such strong mommies”, and “don’t worry mommies, I’ll get everything picked up”. Now, infertility aside, I’m pretty sure I would not want to spend an hour listening to this woman. This instantly became a running joke between G and I. “oh goodie, we get to see all the special mommies today!” (to be read in the most high pitched snarky voice you can muster). “look at all the special mommies, in their special mommy outfits, doing their special mommy yoga!”. Thank god G comes with me to this class, if I couldn’t mock them beforehand I don’t think I’d manage to get inside.

Seriously though,  I wonder if I could actually ever take a class like this if I somehow end up miraculously pregnant some day. The annoying instructor aside, I always figured I’d be in the prenatal yoga class eventually. In fact, the first time I ever did yoga was during my first pregnancy. I was feeling so horrifically sick I couldn’t seem to do any regular exercise, so I borrowed a prenatal yoga video from the library to see if it might be a good alternative. I only managed to get through the video twice before I wasn’t pregnant anymore and didn’t have any need for prenatal yoga. I’ve hidden two pregnancies since we started going to our current studio. I couldn’t possibly come out and tell the class I’m pregnant like everyone else seems to do (at six weeks??) because I knew I probably wouldn’t be pregnant for much longer.

If I was magically 4 months pregnant tomorrow, I don’t know that I could go to prenatal yoga classes, and make baby registries, and do all the normal things you’re supposed to do. As much as I’ve been dying to be admitted to the club and finally get to do these things, I’ve built up so much hostility and put up so many walls against anything and everything pregnancy related. I march past the baby section in Target with my head staring straight down at my shoes, and I immediately scroll past ‘maternity photo session ideas’ and ‘what to pack in your hospital bag’ posts on pinterest, as if I might get burned if I peek. I’ve made these things completely off limits to myself, I can’t even start to think about them or I’ll crack. How could I suddenly  be expected to love these things if I got pregnant? I would feel like I was some sort of imposter, or a traitor.

I’m sure part of the answer is that it happens gradually, as you start to trust that the pregnancy is real. The anxiety might pass, but the feeling of being an imposter who doesn’t belong in the club, or a traitor to the version of myself that I am now probably won’t pass easily. I’m not sure I want them to. Ultimately, it probably doesn’t matter because I probably won’t ever be in a position to find out. I can play the games in my head, pretend that one day I’ll make it to the other side, but I don’t really beleive I’ll ever by one of ‘the mommies’.

Is today over yet?

I found out today that I need to have hip surgery. It wasn’t a total surprise, I’ve had hip/low back/knee pain for six months or so, and it hadn’t improved with weeks and weeks of physical therapy, rest, or anti-inflammatories. I was scheduled to have an MRI about a month ago when I found out I ovulated early, and had to cancel it. I’m really glad I did, because in the meantime I decided to fire my orthopedist and find a new one. He was kind of a jerk, and couldn’t be bothered to answer the most basic questions. The final straw was when his office didn’t return my calls for three weeks.

I saw a new doctor today and he was a million times better. He took a few more x-rays and after about 3 seconds of looking at them was ready to diagnose it as a hip labral tear caused by femoral acetabular impingement (FAI). I don’t know the details, but basically, there’s something odd about the shape of my femur that made a tear really likely. For a long time the pain wasn’t bad at all, and I thought it was just lack of flexibility and whatnot so I pushed myself really hard and probably made it much worse. Bottom line is, if I don’t fix it I’ll probably end up needing a hip replacement at some ridiculously early age, and if I do fix it I could still end up needing a hip replacement. Grrr.

So after the quick diagnosis, my new and improved doctor suggested getting in to do an MRI then scheduling surgery asap (insurance won’t cover surgery without an MRI first, even though he’s sure of what it is- excellent logic insurance guys). After the surgery I wouldn’t be able to do weight bearing activities like carrying around a fetus for at least four months, so what followed was the semi-humiliating experience of me explaining my pregnancy history. For most normal people, holding off getting pregnant for four months shouldn’t be a big deal, so I had to explain why I wasn’t willing to stop trying right now. I had to explain that most likely I will have another miscarriage before long and so I’ll be clear for surgery in no time all. Plus, I’ll probably never have to worry about carrying around a full sized fetus, so yeah. Despite being a doctor, he reacted just about the way you’d expect any guy off the street to react- he was super uncomfortable. He didn’t really know what to say, and just said, ‘well it won’t hurt to wait a little longer to have surgery’. I don’t blame him, he’s an orthopedist, he probably chose that area of medicine to avoid ever having to deal with ridiculous hormonal infertile types.

So, there are several unfortunate consequences of this situation. A) I will have hip/back/knee pain for a while longer. It’s not the end of the world, I can handle it, but it’s definitely annoying. B) If I manage to get pregnant and somehow have a normal pregnancy, it will probably aggravate the problem and I’ll have even more pain. Not too worried about that at the moment. C) If I have another miscarriage, after dealing with a D and C (just assuming I’ll need one, since I have every other time) and the very likely depression that comes afterwards, I’ll immediately have another surgery and recovery to look forward to. I’m pretty sure this is going to make an already depressing situation much worse.

The recovery time is 10 days on crutches, and no driving since it’s my right hip. Then I’ll have to avoid weight bearing exercise for four months. This is going to be really really hard because I have a really tough time motivating myself to exercise, but I still have enormous guilt if I don’t exercise. I’ve finally gotten a routine that works for me- walking 2+ miles 4-5 days a week, and yoga 3 days a week. I’ll have to give up both of these. I could do low impact exercise like swimming, but it’s not like I have a pool in my back yard. I’ll probably end up needing to get a gym membership to use the seated bike. I kind of hate the sound of this, and I’m worried instead I’ll just end being a lazy piece of crap for 4 months. Plus, I’m already the worst one in every single yoga class I’ve ever been to (not joking, even 60 year-olds trying it for the first time are stronger and more flexible than me…). I’ve managed to improve just a teeny bit since I started a year or so ago, and I’m going to lose all of that and start over at square one. I really think this whole thing is going to be a mess and I’m not sure how I’ll get through it on top of dealing with another miscarriage.

I also happened to catch a pregnancy announcement on FB  today that I really wasn’t expecting. It’s G’s cousin, and they haven’t even been married a year. I’m not FB friends with her, so I didn’t see her original announcement a few weeks ago, and instead just caught an off comment she made on another family member’s page. I literally screamed ‘ARE YOU F’ING KIDDING ME???’ at my computer screen. This announcement hit G harder than I expected too. He happened to get home from work early, and was stuck at home feeling crappy for a long time before I made it home. By the time I got here he was looking really dejected and lonely. This is so completely unlike him, I was really surprised. I tried to get him to talk about it, but all I could get out of him was that he feels like life is passing us by. Ditto.

And as if that isn’t enough for one day, my poor baby kitty is a druggie. For real. She’s on some serious narcotics and totally stoned. We took her to the vet yesterday because she’s been peeing outside her litterbox, and they found blood in her urine. The vet is pretty sure it’s nothing serious, but one of the possibilities is a lower respiratory disease that’s treated with painkillers. They gave her a shot that lasts a few days and she’s totally loopy. It would be adorable if it wasn’t so sad. I’m sure she’s fine, and she seems to be enjoying her trip in the meantime, but she’s just my little baby and I hate seeing her like this.

Thank god it’s the weekend tomorrow….

Three days, three BFNs (angry, negative blogger warning)

dark clouds3 days, three tests, three pink lines. That just about says it all. I just want to scream, or cry, or throw something. I am almost definitely not pregnant. I’ll keep testing for a few more days, just in case, but there should be something there by 11dpo, even just a barely there faint line. I’m just not sure how much more of this I can take. The thought of more months of this, testing and waiting, and testing and waiting, it makes me not want to get out of bed in the morning.

I feel like it’s just never ever ever going to happen. I feel like I’m in a deep hole without a ladder. There is no way out of this hole. I will wait eternities to get pregnant, just to miscarry. We’ve all heard of the women who had 10 miscarriages before having a success. If it took me six more miscarriages, and it took me five months to get pregnant each time, plus the time for pregnancies and recovery, it would be 5 more years before I had a baby!! The thought of adoption is not only unappealing to me at this point, but feels like it would never work. My issues and emotions around adoption are a topic for another whole post, but to keep it short I feel like I couldn’t emotionally make it through the process, because I’d have in the back of my mind that we didn’t have to be doing it. We could always keep trying. Just trying isn’t costing us much money (at least until I need another surgery), so how can we pay $40,000 and rip out our hearts emotionally when we don’t have to? I have absolutely no means to change my life, except to give up having a family. And that’s definitely not an option.

I know I’m being overly negative. First of all, there’s still a chance it’s too early. If I was off by even a day or two about when I ovulated (which is possible), it might still be just a little too early. Plus there’s the fact that I’ve been peeing so much during the night (warning- tmi coming) that my pee is practically clear. Maybe it’s just way too diluted to get a valid result this early. Before testing this morning when we were still in a half-way decent mood G and I joked that we should boil my pee down before testing.

I also know that it hasn’t actually been an eternity. It’s been four months, and two of those I had chemical pregnancies. In my mind those should count towards time trying, since I don’t really see them as real miscarriages. I know not everyone feels the same way about this, but to me, they were just wasted months. I was seriously annoyed, but there was nowhere near the emotional devastation and recovery of a miscarriage. I just got my period and ovulated again the next month. That’s just my own feelings though, not to take away others’ right to be very upset about a chemical pregnancy. My point is though, if we counted those as miscarriages, it would only have been two months of trying. I’m not sure that makes me feel better, but at least it might imply that I’m not losing my ability to get pregnant.

I just don’t even know what to do with myself at this point. Every day of waiting is another small torture. Haven’t I paid my dues yet?? Will it EVER be my turn???