Wednesday, May 18, 2016

New Year. New IVF. New Mood.

I really wish I had kept up on the events of the past year as a lot happened.  Technically, most were bad.  But I also wish I had kept a journal of the small miracles that kept me going during this dog of an infertile year.

For the record my son is now 2 years and 4 month old.  We've been starry-eyed for baby number two since taking home the first from the hospital.  It was a dream come true, and I secretly bought into the common notion that having a baby cures infertility.  I have seen it happen to so many: Once the first baby/hurdle is overcome, siblings will follow.  Nature and universe will it to be so.  Perhaps the universe and I are on two different schedules.  Or more likely, I am still just a mule.

For the record, since my son was 10 months old I have endured the following:
August 2012.  FET. 2 embryos.  1 didn't survive the thaw.  Other didn't take.  Failure.
November 2012.  New shared risk contract.  Awesome stim, awesome embryos.  4 frozen. 2 Transferred.  Tiny, confusing chemical pregnancy, beta at a 7 for days. Failure.
Husband lost his horrible job.  I went back to work.  It was really difficult to switch roles and begin work right at the beginning of busy season. However our life has been better since he lost that horrible job.
January 2013.  Frozen embryo transfer.  2 thawed. 2 transferred.  PREGNANT.  Awesome betas.  Then weird betas.  Then no heartbeat at six weeks.  Check again at 7 weeks.  Still no heartbeat. Confirm on March 15th, an enormous tax deadline, on a 15 hour stress filled workday interfacing with a whiny client, that I have indeed miscarried.  I smiled and acted kind and professional to clients and coworkers that whole day with only one hour long break to sob silently in the public bathroom and dry out my wrecked face.  I would never want to relive the two weeks of hell I endured in limbo wondering if I had a live or dead baby in me.  But whenever I feel doubt as to my ability to survive hard things I remember that day.  I am strong.  And as future horrible events came to pass and I felt like I might lie down and die, I eventually remembered that day, remembered that I am the strongest person I know.  
A D&C would have been lovely, but I decided I couldn't afford the luxury of a day off work.  I would have chosen differently if I'd known that I would still be chronically nauseated even with a dead baby.  It was the bitterest of pills.  Nauseated to my fingernails 24 hours a day on a 70 hour work week.  I miscarried exactly a week later.  My sister coached me through what it would be like, and I planned to head home when the bad cramps and bleeding started.  Sitting at my desk my cramps were their very awful, but totally normal level, and I remember groaning in my head "if my cramps are this bad I hate to think what the miscarriage will feel like".  Then I stood up to go to the printer, and my baby fell out into the Depend I had been wearing "just in case".  Shocked, I walked to the bathroom, pulled out the Tupperware I had hidden in my purse to capture the baby for testing, dumped it into the container, stared at it for a really long, wide-eyed while, hid it in my purse and then went back to my desk to turn off my computer and leave.  It is VERY noticeable to leave work at 2pm in busy season.  I told a manager "I am going home because I am sick" and by the time I reached the word sick I was shaking.  My voice and body.  I told her I had a miscarriage sitting here at work and couldn't work another minute.  To her credit she covered for me professionally and kept it completely confidential.  She was the last person I wanted to tell, but in that moment I realized the ridiculousness of stressing about work to extent that I had gone NASA style for a week, and had miscarriage remains hanging out in my purse like leftover lunch.  
 Because this was technically a second miscarriage my doctor talked me into the full panel of genetic testing on me, Lowell and the fetus.  This $4000 testing would cover every scientifically known reason as to why this was happening.  Apparently very few people are as desperate as we are, so no one at my infertility clinic seemed to know what to do with the baby.  It was a horrible circus getting them to accept my Tupperware.  It took over two months to get the results back.  I tested negative for everything of consequence.  My doctor told me that I was in the fraction of the fraction of people who truly have a problem that science can't even test yet.  Yay.  
August 2013.  Another fresh IVF.  Surprisingly poor stimulation.  I have always been a rockstar at this part, and they thought they might even have to cancel the cycle.  They put me on the max follistim dosage allowed.  The "old lady" dosage.  This was depressing and brought about new anxiety, but in the end I had one great and one medium embryo to transfer.  PREGNANT.  But low Betas.  Spent another tortured week with young nurses telling me I should be hopeful, as I waited to hear what I knew to be more failure.  Finally on September 15th I found out that I had again miscarried.  This one was so early that I just had a normal sad period.  
At this point I have two frozen embryos and one more fresh and one more frozen attempts on my contract.  I am so emotionally wrecked and depleted even thinking about going through the torture of another round I cry at the very thought.  Technically I am supposed to use my frozens next, but it doesn't seem right to put my "children" in my poisoned body.  I decide to forgo my free frozen, and go directly to my last fresh round.  My last IVF ever. Thinking about the fact of this being the last is both simultaneously the most heavy and most relieving concept I've ever grappled with and my poor mind can't handle it.  My losses have accumulated.  I am disturbingly happy and functional in my day to day life, but just under the surface is pain so intense it scares me.  The doctor suspects that my endometriosis  is why the last stim went bust so I have the choice of a laparoscopy, or three months of Lupron injections.  I chose the Lupron.  I have started the drugs for my January 2014 round.  
As I retype I get lost in the awful parts, and I forget that I meant to document the lessons of this terrible time in my life.
I would have thought that I would be feeling the love during all of this struggle, but from my standpoint, God was noticeably absent this year.  That compounded my pain, and I frequently asked Lowell whether my past conviction that my life is easier because of my testimony in Jesus Christ was actually wrong.  I didn't question my testimony, I was just experiencing so much pain that had no relief, had prayed so hard, been so disappointed and was not feeling any help or love at all.  So in essence, I believed I had a loving Heavenly Father, I just was broken hearted that he was not loving me.  
It would be hard to pick which event hurt the most, but it may have been our August 2012 FET.  It was the most positive and hopeful I had ever been and when I unceremoniously picked up the beta from the hospital and saw it was zero my heart felt turned inside out.  Driving home crying and shaking my fist & yelling at God with baby Vincent happy in the backseat I was overwhelmed by rage and pain and decided I needed some radio to distract my thoughts.  Some lame pop song about sex or gansta rap was what I had in mind.  Instead I turned it to the sweetest, albeit weirdest song ever, Fireflies by owl city.  I love that song, but in this moment I was disgusted at my "luck".  I thought in my head how I loved fireflies in Texas, and how happy they made me.  How I don't have fireflies anymore, but I guess I have dragonflies and I do love those.  *Note that these are just the weird stream of thoughts that aren't significant at all, normally.  Quickly I found some gross sex song, felt marginally distracted, drove home and went about my life.  That evening I looked out the window and noticed about 20 dragonflies in the frontyard.  The backyard could have had 100.  Flying in beautiful squares.  I called Lowell out to witness them.  He loves them too and we stood there in amazement.  They were enormous and beautiful.  They were flying so deliberately, yet calmly and were so close I could see their patterns and colors as they passed.  It was other worldly.  Lowell loved the show and new it was a special gift from nature that probably would never be repeated.  But I knew it was so much more.  I knew my Heavenly Father saw me beating my fist in the air, heard me cursing him.  He heard my thoughts about fireflies and needed me to know that he was with me on one of the lowest days of my life.  I know.  
Unfortunately, as the dark events continued, that wonderful event served not to buoy me up, but to make me question even more.  "Why did You show me love in what to me was such a personal and undeniable way, yet continue to allow me to destroy my heart time after time after time?"  Having babies is a commandment!  It is a GOOD thing.  I am not asking for anything selfish or unnecessary.  I am not ungrateful for what I have.  Further, I would quit all this madness this very moment if I felt it were right to adopt.  That would be wonderful.  I am not being stubborn!  I will do what you want, when you want.  I consult with you every time I do this.  And I feel I get a "go-ahead" each time.   I just feel this major conviction that I need to go to the end of the infertility universe to make this next baby if that is what it takes.  But it is taking everything I've got.  In more ways than a person can imagine.  I know You know this.  So why the torture?  
As previously mentioned, I became fascinated and scared by how much I could function and even feel joy and fun despite the pain.  In the summer I had a 

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