Ok…maybe I’m not done :)

Oh the intoxicating allure of hope…  I sat in my car this afternoon cringing at the thought of hopping on the hope wagon.  Sure enough though, as soon the elevator doors opened and my husband and I walked through the clinic doors…I was drunk on hope again.

I don’t know if its the smell of the antiseptic or the color of paint on the walls or the familiarity of the chairs.  No matter what it is, I am comfortable in this all too familiar waiting room that flows with an undercurrent of hope all around.

Our appointment was good. It was like the movies when you see the single woman go in picking her sperm donor.  Do you want him to be 32 years old, 6’0″ with brown hair  and eyes with an Italian descent? Or perhaps 6’4″ with a Norwegian decent and blue eyes?  But after the guys details, we got their wife’s details…and now we get to pick the potential baby concoction that these two people could make.

We ended up with four files to choose from. No extra information provided other than what cycle they were on, how many embryos they had, what day # they are…and details on how their situation shook out. As well, we were told if we are the first to grab some of their leftovers.

Its funny, with IVF I learned how to interpret my results…but this is different, now we have to judge someone else’s results, make an educated crap shoot guess and roll the dice!  Luckily the doctor weighed in and gave her order of preference for us to pick from…this matched my initial thoughts, so that helps with the decision making.

My husband compared our appointment after we left to the excitement of the casino.  Should we put it all on red? or lucky #23? (Oh, how we do love roulette!)

Now back to the question…am I done?

I really thought I was done before I walked through those doors. Must have been all the questions I asked in my appointment, but the doctor picked up on my mood and noted that I was likely struggling from a bit of “fertility fatigue” and recommended the therapist as a resource.  I guess this feeling of  “being done” is nothing new and pretty common when you have been on the ride as long as we have.

So, am I done?  I don’t think so…but time will tell.

Done Try Again

 

 

 

Am I done? 

DoneHere I sit in my car waiting for my 3:20 pm appointment to start. I have been patiently waiting for 3 months.

This is the “WTF” appointment to look back as well as the “kick off” appointment for our next embryo donation opportunity…

I used to get excited for appointments like this. This time, all I can think… am I done?

The stress of the next round crept in this week. I have been clenching my teeth…that’s my first official signal. My mind has raced a bit, but mostly it’s just tired and cringing at the thought of meds and hoops to jump through for the next 6 weeks.

Then there’s my wallet… It’s less inclined to open and throw the money around like it has been in the past. It’s small potatoes compared to previous expenses…but the clasp is tighter than ever.

My husbands game, but I’m on the fence. Am I done? 

(I will follow up later)

Big. Fat. No.

Well, the verdict came down last week and the results were that my woman’s intuition was drunk on estrogen and progesterone suppositories. As confident as I was the last day I posted it was a positive, the minute I clicked publish the doubts rushed in and the subsequent hours before testing dragged on.

I know I thought it would be possible to hold out a few extra days, but that was really a silly thought as there is no waiting for results when the beta day rolls around. Like a kid on Christmas morning, I ripped open that home pregnancy test as fast as I could and raced to the bathroom.

Seeing the same old 1 line news was no surprise and as much as it was a kick to the gut again, this one was a little less painful.  I think likely because we have our adoption pieces in motion and we are officially waiting.  I feel fortunate that I avoided those extreme low feelings of grieve and loss….but then my husband questioned if we are just getting numb to the process (yikes, that is a scary/depressing thought).  Don’t get me wrong, it was still a bummer…but not the devastating fall from grace I have felt before. By the time the nurse called that afternoon with the officially beta results, I was doing pretty good….I was also extremely distracted by a hectic day at work (gotta love the timing on that one).

By far, the hardest part of the day was telling our donating couple that the treatment was a bust. We had spent some time building a relationship and I know we were all looking forward to our unique family bond we would have…but then *poof* it was gone. I think we all felt the loss for that relationship more than anything. I am going to have to have them over for dinner to say thank you or something…as their kindness has brought me renewed hope for the future despite the outcome we face.

So, where do we go from here? Well, firstly, we continue to wait for adoption. Secondly, the clinic informed me last week that because we were now officially registered in the Embryo Donation Program with all our paperwork in order, we can now move on to a second attempt with an anonymous donor. Our next appointment is 12 weeks away in August, so that gives us time for a little break in between. The best news is we can add normalcy back to our lives and relax and enjoy our summer in the mean time.

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The Homestretch

“No testing prior to June 1”… that is what the yellow sticker on my beta paperwork says. Hard to believe it is just a few days away now. Like a complex recipe… I am one part relieved, another part terrified and, of course, one big part excited too.

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Having been through two negative IVF results before, I can’t help but look at the week ahead strategically. I have received one negative result while at work and another one while on a road trip with my husband. I have to admit that I preferred the news while with my husband and away from a regular day of work/life. Unfortunately, this go around I have poorly planned my life and I am staring down the barrel of loaded mid-week test, I will have no choice but to learn of my results at work…however, I could delay my test a few more days? (Wow…can’t even believe I am suggesting that one!!).

Getting to the end of the two week wait is like reaching the end of an ultra-marathon of positive and negative thoughts (a true mind f*** if I do say so myself). However, for me this go around I seem to have tapped into my inner Jedi and I have found mostly peace of thought the last two weeks which is why I feel like it is possible for me to drag out my test date. How did I achieve this peace of mind? Well, I credit the inner work  I did earlier in April and May where I looked my greatest fears firmly in the face. I highly recommend the book “Rising Strong” by Brene Brown for anyone on this journey. I can honestly say that her words of wisdom and encouragement to lean into the discomfort of pain made all the difference for me today.

I do wonder if this thought of delaying is like bracing for another negative though…the truth is if you were to ask me now what I think my result will be…I truly believe it might have worked this time. I don’t have any symptoms to base the optimism on; I just have this feeling that “something” is different. The last time I was in the two week wait was in September and by this point in the process I knew it hadn’t worked. I was already grieving…and I hadn’t even peed on a stick yet; my certainty of failure was just plain old woman’s intuition. This time, if I was a betting woman on intuition, I would say it will be a positive test. (Yikes!! this is a truly terrifying statement to even think, let alone share with any one at this stage…but hey, I gave myself permission to hope with reckless abandon and by golly I am).

Now don’t get too excited for me…there is still what seems many days to go. This feeling is literally that…just a feeling. I haven’t gone out and purchased a crib yet, but I am quietly and cautiously optimistic today and I am hoping this optimism will lead me to the right decision this week. At the end of all this, ‘what will be, will be’ and if I fall, I will get back up again. I have such peace in knowing that I have done everything I can in this journey…so please share my hope that this time is our time too.

Transfer Tuesday!

That’s right, today is the day! I can’t believe that it is actually happening. Who would have thought a year ago that we would be in the position to accept direct donated embryos today?

You would think my head would be hectic with thoughts leading up to this morning’s appointment, but I am extremely calm and all those fears I had that I talked about a month ago in previous posts seem to have faded far into the distance. My mind has been eerily calm the last two weeks, which is why I have been a little MIA from the blog.  I figured… let the sleeping dog lie…versus spending time digging into something that really wasn’t there for me.

I must say though the lead up to today has been exciting. I gave myself permission to be excited and share and not worry about the results…and that’s exactly what I have been doing. I found myself wanting to be pretty open with close friends as to what we are up to this month and it’s been electrifying to see their enthusiasm. Most people’s jaws hit the floor when we explain how we came to find our donors and that just reminds me how lucky we are in all of this.

Last week, I had a therapist appointment…sort of like a little tune-up in preparation for the two week wait. I hadn’t been to see her since January as she was on maternity leave for a few weeks so I had to bring her up to speed on everything. After I shared all my hopes and fears about this transfer she picked her jaw off the floor and said, “When you talk I can hear the caution in your voice a little, but then there is this positive excitement bursting all around it as though you are in a big crowd of people and you just won the lottery and you desperately want to scream in excitement but can’t.” The visual she gave me has given me a smile for the last week, I had never thought of it that way, she definitely nailed it. I am realistic that the odds of this working are in the 30-40% range, but then there is all this excitement around that as with our embryos the odds were never that good.  It is like winning the lottery.

On top of everyone’s excitement, there has also been the excitement of the donating couple. She has been checking in with me by text the last couple of weeks and seeing how I am doing. The other night she said she was super excited for us and couldn’t sleep and I know her husband is feeling the same way too as he was the most excited at the beginning.  On top of everything else, I had to thank her for her excitement because it is most definitely contagious.

So if you are reading this post first thing Tuesday morning please send a little positive thaw vibe our way. If its after Tuesday, well I would be grateful for sticky vibes, baby dust or any little prayer our way for the next 2 weeks. My prayer this morning was for both embryos being transferred thaw out safely and then are transferred with the intent to grow, grow, grow.

TransferTuesday

Updates & Permission Slips

My last post was focussed on fear of failure and I essentially shared all the scary stories that float around in my head. I am happy to report after that post that I feel like my act of sharing powerfully resulted in me letting so many of these fears go. Of course they are still there at times, but rather than being in the front row heckling…they are now sitting towards the back of the auditorium that is my mind. Yay!!

In the world of the upcoming embryo transfer, things are definitely trucking along. I officially started treatment last Monday and I am now a slave to the five 4-hour alarms a day on my phone. I get the odd headache from the nasal spray, but aside from that minor annoyance I am fine. I do think I might be a little more sensitive though as I nearly cried at the accountant’s office when I realized I had forgotten an education receipt for our taxes. The tears were just beneath the surface and it was all I could do to hold it together as we left the office. I carried the weight of the world on my shoulders for no good reason other than that my hormones were amplifying the situation tenfold. Luckily my husband is strong and he took the weight of the world off my shoulders with a few quick reassuring words.

On top of the kick-off to drugs this past week, my husband and I also started the next big step – the building of a relationship with the donating couple and their family. It was going to be a night at the pub, but we ended up landing on a Sunday dinner together. We also got the pleasure of meeting their two children. The night turned out great, but ringing the doorbell was as nerve wracking as a first date. A half an hour into the evening we were chatting like old friends and eating make-believe fruit salad that their kids had whipped up in the play kitchen. It was a lovely night and it was good to be infused with their excitement and the hope we all have for a happy ending.

On top of all this, I also continued with my at-home self-help work. I finished the book “Rising Strong” by Brene Brown and I am contemplating running out to get her other book “Daring Greatly.” I definitely recommend “Rising Strong” to anyone as the emotional falls and uprising she talks about in great detail through the book definitely correlate with the infertility rollercoaster as well as many other crisis and failures we all face in life.

One big nugget that I am taking from the book is this idea of ‘Permission Slips’. Brown describes them as literal post-it notes she keeps in her pocket that remind her and gives her permission to feel emotions. Many of us suppress emotions, me included…especially when the emotional stakes are so high on the other end. I know if I am not careful, I could end up holding myself back from feeling excited about our upcoming transfer. Why? Well, because I want to protect myself from the hurt that follows disappointment (seems I err on the side of caution versus success). When I look back, I sometimes feel like I spent a great deal of time bracing myself for the worst with the 2nd IVF…this mindset obviously makes it very challenging to stay hopeful. She writes, “…writing down permission becomes a powerful intention to stay aware.”

This time around, I intentionally want to choose hope versus fear. So, I am giving myself a handful of permission slips to keep with me at all times. They are:

I give myself permission to get excited.permission

I give myself permission to not worry about anyone else’s feelings.

I give myself permission to forget about past failures.

And, most importantly…

I give myself permission to hope with reckless abandon.

Part II: I’ve got a secret…

So, directed Embryo Donation…what do you think about that? It’s an opportunity that appears to be in my cards, yet no psychic ever mentioned it. Seriously, NEVER did I think this could be part of my story.

(If you are scratching your head,  please read Part I).

That December day when my friend told me her friends were interested in donating embryos to us, it feels like a far off dream now. Maybe because she was phoning to tell me at 6:00AM, or maybe it was because it was Christmas and my icing sugar intake was through the roof.  Either way, I remember hanging up and thinking “huh!”…but in the back of my mind the infertile cynic also thought “as if!”  

Some would have jumped for joy or anxiously waited for the clinic to open that day to call…but I know it took me several days to call the clinic to see if they would even allow me to jump the line with a directed donation. I had read the Embryo Donation (ED) Program packet thoroughly, and in 5 pages there was one short sentence saying it was possible….but I didn’t believe it. There had to be more small print or a “but” clause I had missed, right?  The call with the coordinator was pleasant, the only “but” was that the donating couple needed to make their intentions known and also make the first move by calling her. *Sigh*…Yet another thing out of our control.

As Christmas interrupted regular work weeks and clinic staff took their holidays, I let it go. The New Year came and my hopefulness was in place, but it remained solely directed at adoption. I was eager to follow up with the agency and see when our home study could start. By the second week of January the first home study appointment was in place, and I thought…well, I guess I should also check in with the clinic….so, I called.

The ED Program is run differently than the IVF or IUI programs. For this small exclusive club, there is only one nurse who coordinates items. I was relieved I wasn’t calling just a general voicemail box that had you praying anyone would call you back in a timely manner. This program had a person…and when I spoke with her…she was happy to hear from me and was a most comforting voice. She informed me that things were moving along as she had received the donating couples paperwork. Next steps were for us to meet with the psychologist, do a home study (yes, one for this too), get our highly infectious disease blood tests done, and for lucky ole me…I would likely need another sonohystogram. Oh yeah, and of course we would need to pay the ED Program registration fee ($$$).

Just a few hoops… but, even with a doctors appointment and a psychologist appointment in the books for March, nothing was real. There was still time for the couple to say, “yeah, we changed our minds.”  So, our life went on and our energy stayed focused on the adoption home study. Luckily, the clinic is happy for us to use the same home study the agency is doing (finally, one small break on the pocketbook).

Skip ahead to last week…March 1st….our big date with the clinic rolled around. Even sitting in the waiting room I was still a skeptic.  Even when we sat down with the psychologist, I was honest and I told her, we didn’t believe any of this was true. She nodded her head and in her most professional voice explained that all that made sense as we were protecting ourselves from getting on that ugly hope/despair rollercoaster too early in the game. She also said, it was time to start believing it to be true.

The next two hours were a whirlwind…what we thought was a quick meet and greet with the psychologist and a short appointment with the doctor turned into a full morning. Mid-meeting with the psychologist…she said, “you do know you are meeting the donating couple today, right?” (WTF? Ooops!…It appears our dear nurse coordinator had forgot to tell us that nugget of news…).  In an instant, with this small detail in place, the feelings of a routine trip to the clinic was replaced with the nerves of a first date but on a whole new level.Secrets

When we all finally ended up in the little office together it was surreal and nerve-wracking. Here we were with this “magical” couple that we had only known of through a friend. We knew each others first names and the general bits and pieces the friend had shared with each of us, but that was it. As the counselor mediated, she suggested we work to build a relationship over the next few months. As we stared each other down, we discussed what this could potentially look like down the road…maybe the donating couple would be an aunt and uncle…maybe their twin daughters would be “special cousins”.  Either way, it was encouraged for us to be open with the child on who this donating family was and the role they had played in the child’s life.

So, in that small room, as we all nervously shared a bit more…an unspoken promise was made. If this treatment worked, they would be forever a part of our lives.

 

I’ve got a secret…

Did I catch your attention? Hope so. Its positive news…and, no, I am not pregnant…but one day I just might be.

Embryo Donation: Its something I have been sitting on for a few months now, it feels surreal. It’s the golden opportunity of pursuing a directed donation versus an anonymous donation through our clinic. Even writing this, I still can’t believe it might be true…but this week we had our first meeting…so I finally feel like it could really happen.

You see, back in the fall, I was out for a walk with a dear friend. She was listening to me vent as we pounded the pavement. She was empathetically listening to the gory details surrounding the disappointment of our 2nd failed IVF and the doctor’s decision to no longer recommend IVF. I explained our options were adoption or embryo donation.  As one of my confidants and key cheerleaders through all this, she asked me what I thought of the embryo donation path.

Of course I told her we are all for anything that gets us closer to starting our family, but that this option seemed unrealistic as the waiting list through the clinic is 12-18 months long (and there was still no guarantee). At that time too, we were exhausted from the infertility ride.  Adoption was the one route that guaranteed us a child…although the waitlist was longer. This journey is all about time and patience and all I wanted last fall was to get the adoption wheels (AKA: the sure thing) turning so that we could ‘hurry up and wait!’

What came next on that sunny fall day was a genuine surprise as my friend proceeded to share that she knew of a couple that had embryos. They had even mentioned to her once that they would like to donate them one day. Their story was similar to ours but had resulted in a twin pregnancy 6 years ago. They had held back donating the remaining two embryos over the years as they weren’t certain how they felt about the anonymous donation path.

Now, this isn’t your everyday conversation. It’s a unique situation for this embryo match-maker friend to be in the middle of and she didn’t want to overstep her boundaries or make anything awkward for us or them.  However, she did offer to go out on a limb for us and send them an email and let them know our story.

Of course nothing happens fast on this path to motherhood…as many of us know too well. This first talk took place in October and I went home with uncomfortable optimism and talked to my husband. The next day I told her…”go ahead, we’re game if they are.” It then took her a couple of weeks to write the email…because, well…it’s just not your typical email to send and it needed a special crafting with just the right word choice.  Something like, ‘Hi there – can we give your frozen em-babies to my friend?’….doesn’t sound as smooth as one would think.

I don’t think my friend even told me when she sent it, I just let it go and let be what was to be. Time carried on from here and we took our adoption seminar course and put our application in…and truth is…I forgot all about that little email. My energy was focused on adoption. Then my parents spun my world with their announcement of a separation (along with the fact my dad is switching teams) at the beginning of December. My head was full and my thoughts were pre-occupied…then…one morning, about a week after my parents news…after an early morning workout, I got a text:

Her: “Are you up?” (….it was 6am after all).

Me: “Yep!”

Her: “They said, yes.”

My head spun a bit as I had no idea what she was talking about at first. Then I remember at the same time as the phone rang. She was on the other end super excited…sometime between her going to bed and getting up that morning this couple had finally responded and expressed that they would love to move forward with a donation. For them, knowing the couple (us!), especially through a common friend, had made it easier for them to finally say yes.  As my dear friend spoke, I think I was in disbelief and likely a little bit in shock. Could this really be true? Well, yes…after this week…it appears it truly is!

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