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.


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.

What Will Be, Will Be…

Thank you to everyone for their prayers and well wishes last week. I was touched by all the comments from everyone in our lives and this community. The good news is that everything thawed out perfectly and we transferred two “nice looking” day three, nine cell embryos. (The “nice looking” comments were shared by the embryologist just before our little procedure was under way along with “good looking uterus” and “great lining” from the doc and nurse…just the words that every girl hopes to hear as her legs are in the stirrups before being impregnated).

Tomorrow will be 7dp3dt… or rather seven days post three day transfer; so week one is officially under my belt. My beta is scheduled for June 1…so nine days to go! I stayed relatively calm the last week and tried to not read into too many twinges or cramping. Not sure if it had to do with me having the week off or maybe I am still in the honeymoon phase or maybe the fact I feel fairly bloated the last few days is my hopeful sign.

This two week wait is not my first rodeo…and I feel like I know the traps to avoid such as Googling every symptom, testing or getting caught up in those mind circus “what if” thoughts. It is no doubt on my mind, but it’s not always the only thing on my mind which is likely the difference from the last number of go rounds on this crazy ride. I credit my pre-transfer self-help work that I did, such as listening to the “Power of Now” and keeping my therapists mantra/reminder that ‘what will be, will be’ at the forefront of my thoughts.  There isn’t anything I can do to change the outcome at this point, so I can move forward knowing that I have officially done everything that I can do…no regrets.

The other piece of news which could be helping calm the waters is that we officially got our adoption home study paperwork done last week. I dropped off our first draft with edits at the office on Monday and by the end of the week we had our official letter arrive in the mail stating that we were on the waiting list (Woo Hoo!) As much as it is exciting to be on the list (finally), the reality of the long wait (3 years) ahead is deflating to any sense of anticipating excitement. The good news is that at least the clock has started…the hardest part during the home study process was to know that things were moving forward, but the clock still wasn’t running.

Tomorrow I am back to work and I am ready to get back my life back to normal as best I can. Normalcy will help the remaining days of this two week wait to wind down (hopefully quickly) so that we can move forward again in one of two directions…pregnancy or adoption…the best news is that no matter the result we will eventually be parents.

Waiting (2)

SHG’s and Self Help

Well, another hurdle completed…I had my 2nd SHG on Friday to see if my uterus looked tip top shape for a transfer in a few weeks. The Sonohistogram is not my favorite test, but it’s also not the worst. If you haven’t had one, it is over in a matter of moments and when you hear good news it is all worth it in the end. Last week I heard good news… so now it’s just a matter of waiting for the administrative red tape to turn green too (tick, tock).

I will admit that last week I had all the confidence in the world that I would pass my SHG test. Everything with me always looked perfect on paper when it came to ultrasounds, X-rays and blood tests. It is how I learned to hate my “unexplained” diagnosis so much. It wasn’t until we tried IVF two times and watched the eggs and embryos fail…that it helped the doctor zero in on a poor egg quality diagnosis.

This week, I look ahead to the next phases of the transfer treatment and the truth is…it is the next part of this process where I start to have fears and doubts creep into my head. I know my body is healthy…my diet and exercise routine is solid, I know my hormone levels are good, I know there will be no issues responding to drugs, and lastly I am confident that my lining will be perfect too. So where do I need to focus if my body is healthy? Well, I have decided that this go around I need to work and dig into my head space as I feel like it was often in a pretty unhealthy spot for me during IVF #2.

The first IVF I did, I was hopeful and optimistic…when it didn’t work…it was a giant blow. Prior to that negative beta day, I didn’t know there would be no words to describe the grief that followed. I am in awe how some ladies jump back on the treatment horse right away, whereas I felt I needed six months off in-between to help heal, clear my head and try a few more things (COQ10 and DHEA). I was physically ready when I did IVF #2, but now I wonder if my head was healthy. On some level I doubted pregnancy was possible… maybe my ego wanted to show all those people who told me “everyone gets pregnant” that this statement wasn’t true. It was like I stubbornly wanted to have the last word and show the world “see, it’s not possible.” When I think back, I feel like I spent a lot of the treatment cycle bracing for the worst case and preparing myself for another negative result. After all, who wouldn’t want to brace themselves for the car crash they see coming.

I know I cannot go into this embryo donation opportunity like that version of myself that went into IVF #2. I cannot accept someone’s gift and then spend two weeks bracing myself for the worst – that’s ridiculous. Therefore, I feel like I need to get really honest with myself in the next few weeks and look deep inside at a few ugly monstrous thoughts I know are there. I have a few of them and they might surprise you, or perhaps you have them too? For one, I have this underlying fear of letting people down through all of this – my husband, my parents, my in-laws, my supportive friends…and this time…lets crank up the heat by adding a very excited donating family to the fire too. There is also this nagging underlying thought/question where I am wondering if on some level, through my whole life, have I had a subconscious internal dialogue (or self-fulfilling prophecy) going on that created this infertile mess. And, to round it all off, I may need to get all Dr. Phil on my ass and tackle the thought as to whether or not everything I fear in life boils down to a fear of being alone or death…(okay, death might be taking it all a tad too far…but you get the point).

So how does one tackle these monstrous thoughts? The first couple of low cost steps I have taken include reading “Rising Strong” by Brene Brown and listening to the book “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. Both are works of self-help art, which from what I have read and listened to already feels like the right and positive path to get a better understanding of myself and equip me with the tools to get through the donation transfer. Hopefully with the help of their words, I can acknowledge my fears and put them on the shelf so they don’t eat away at me during the two week wait. I also decided to pull out the check book one last time and sign up for some acupuncture sessions to help with the physical and emotional support I know I will need. I am very grateful for the fact that my acupuncturist is like this positive energy angel – she has been there beside me for all my treatments – I can’t imagine doing this next leg of the trek without her. Then there is also my BodyTalk person – another gifted person I am grateful to have found – my first session with her inspired this blog. She has since helped me understand myself better and show me that there is more to this journey than just the physical elements. Lastly, we might as well throw a therapy session into the mix as you can’t help but exhaust all aspects of my work benefits plan for another year.

I don’t know what to expect from this inside exploration, but I will likely end up sharing most of it with you. This blog and the act of writing is a form of therapy for me…putting ideas into words is like an act of translating myself for me. They say it takes a village to raise a child, but I think I just outlined that it might take a whole village to just get pregnant too.sbTherapy

Infertility: The Monkey On My Back

There’s a monkey on my back… have you seen him? Maybe you have one too? He’s not always there…sometimes he’s gone for a few days, sometimes he goes on an extended vacation…but whether I like it or not he has made my back his home. I tried to evict him multiple times but he likes to ignore authoritative messages. Lately, I thought he moved out… and I celebrated thinking he was gone for good…but then out of nowhere he’s back again.

You see, in the early days he used to be around a lot. At the first sign of a pregnancy announcement or the innocent question, “do you have kids?” He would be sitting on my back with two cymbals in his hand and he would eagerly clap them together with my head in between. Sometimes he liked to hang out down by my kidneys and give little kicks or climb over to my front side and punch my gut. On occasion he would whisper in my ear, “EVERYONE is pregnant but you.”

Monkey on the back

For the longest time I tried to ignore him, but over time I began to realize that he was a permanent figure in my infertile life. His manifesto is to remind me every chance he gets that I am a little bit different than the majority of women and that it hurts to be the odd woman out. You see it isn’t bad enough that the proactive approach to dealing with infertility involves crazy hormone therapy or invasive, painful procedures. There’s the emotional pains – the monkey on my back – that most don’t know about.

I dealt with his dumb-ass antics regularly for years while we tried every treatment known to science. When we started pursuing adoption and put the idea of our own pregnancy behind us, I rejoiced “the monkey’s gone!” And he was…at least for a bit.We were busy with work and getting our home study together. Every now and then I would remember how he made me feel and I would check in to see if he was home, but there was no answer so it really felt like he was gone….now I think he was just catching up on some sleep or went out for a carton of cigarettes.

Maybe it’s a coincidence, but the moment the embryo donation stuff got a little more real for us…I have noticed how he likes to tag along when I go out. There was the other night when we went to the sporting event…he was sleeping before we left…but the minute the two women told us we were so lucky to not have kids…it woke him up. That evening he gave me a little kick to the gut, sat on my spirits and whispered in my ear, “Yup, everyone has kids but you.”

Last week, he showed up unexpectedly at my lunch time spin class. Spin is hard enough, but it was even harder when he sat on my chest and started calculating how much we have spent on treatments and adoption. He also politely reminded me how the industry I work in is super unstable at the moment and that it was unlikely I would see a raise anytime soon. He even laughed when he told me we couldn’t afford a very long leave when we did get a baby because we have no savings left. If all this sideline commentary wasn’t bad enough, the darn thing put his hands over my eyes and wrapped his little fingers around my throat and gave a damn good squeeze. As my legs kept spinning on the bike, I panicked and started to hyperventilate and the tears started to well-up. Eventually I got so sweaty that he slid off my back…and I was able to give myself a mini pep talk – we will find a way to make it work…don’t worry about it ALL right this moment.

Of course he disappeared after the spin class incident…then last Saturday he showed up unexpectedly at a house party. I thought he stayed back at our house, but the minute I walked into the kitchen of people…I realized he was there. FYI – my infertile monkey friend has insane pregnancy radar. He zeroed in on one girl and whispered incessant comments into my ear:

“Hey, she looks a bit different…maybe gained a few pounds…didn’t she get married a few months ago?”

“…Oh, she’s all in black and is wearing tights with a big baggy sweater…that’s the early pregnancy uniform, isn’t it?”

“What’s she drinking? Is that water or maybe gingerale…”

“Did you hear? She gave up smoking…”

“Hey! Hey! Hey! Did you see, the host just started making a pot of decaf coffee for her.”

Needless to say, the commentary didn’t stop and it was like the spotlight was transfixed over this girl’s head all night. That monkey didn’t miss a single beat and with each comment my heart sank a little bit more. Eventually the news was confirmed; I overheard her husband tell my husband that they were pregnant. My husband gave his friend a big congrats and patted him on the back and said, “way to go buddy.” My husband sounded genuinely excited for their news…as for me – I just wanted to avoid it – not another one! 

As we walked out to our cars with the expecting couple, I took a moment and told that damn monkey to get off my shoulders and sent him packing to the basement. I then took a deep breath and croaked out to the new mother-to-be a  “Congrats!” and quickly got into our car before there was time for anymore pregnancy talk. There, it was over…I had acknowledged their happy news…I wouldn’t have to do it again.

Today my infertile monkey friend appears to be MIA again. I am feeling good and optimistic about the future…the embryo donation plans continue to move forward. I am even happy for our friends. Unfortunately, I can still hear the monkey murmuring something from the basement and I dread the next outing or pregnancy announcement moment. There is nothing I can really do… he can come upstairs at any time. I just need to learn how to tell him to f*** off a little more often…one day I hope to even put a lock on his bedroom door.

“You’re so lucky!”

This is a bit of a rant from a few weekends ago. You see, I found myself dumbfounded as a couple of fertile friends-of-friends told me and my husband how lucky we were to not have children. Seriously?

I had to bite my tongue. I desperately wanted to lash out in that moment…but I couldn’t. 2378464240399864090ron44aycI wrestled with whether I should make some snide sarcastic comment. The words even sat on the tip of my tongue ready to be flung…but I held it in and let the pit in my stomach grow instead.

I am pretty open with our journey with friends…so no one in my immediate circle would be so foolish as to say something like this. But, on Saturday I was reminded that there are lots of people out there who just don’t think; infertility is a foreign concept.

Saturday was supposed to be this super fun night out with a larger group of people taking in a pro-sports event. The evening included dinner before and drinks after. It was the type of event/outing I would have been all over five years ago before I was married. Needless to say, I was excited to go out and enjoy a few drinks on the town. It has been three years since I was able to say yes to something like this where I wasn’t in the middle of drugs or treatment plans. My spirits were up and my guard was down.

For the most part the night was fun, but there was this foolish/awkward moment towards the end of dinner when we were mingling with a few couples we had just met. As expected, the question of kids came up, “Do you have any kids?” and I replied with my well-rehearsed response “No, not at this point.” One of the two ladies said, “What, no kids? Oh my god…you are sooo lucky!” I awkwardly half smiled, while the wheels in my head went into overdrive.

Based on the expression on my face I expected the commentary to stop (I am sure the words “F*#k OFF!” were tattooed on my forehead), instead the second woman didn’t miss a beat and jumped in too, “No really, you have no idea how envious we are of you guys right now.”  From there they both proceeded to reminisce about the days of sleeping in and no kid commitments. The icing on the cake was that one of them even had her new baby sleeping in the car seat beside her.

As they chatted all I could think was, is this really happening? Do they have any idea what they are saying? My rational-self stepped in at this point and reassured me to calm down (they just don’t realize). In the moment I attempted to stay present, but my irrational-self started thinking of all the sarcastic come backs I could puke on to the table:

“Yes, our fertility doctor would think we were lucky too…or rather I should say his bank account is.”

“Yes, it’s so much fun going through 3 IUI’s and 2 IVF’s and taking clomid. Good times!”

“Yes, 37 consecutive failed attempts is a real blast….sleeping in so much better!”

Endless dark comments sat on the tip of my tongue…but in the end my rational-self  responded and said, “Oh, you have no idea” as I looked at my husband. He gave me an all knowing reassuring smile that immediately grounded me and gave my heart a warm hug.  Thankfully from there the subject changed as we had to leave for the game.

As we walked to the stadium, I could feel the pit in the my stomach and a bit of the shine of the night wearing off. Dammit! The monkey on my back was now coming to the game too. I didn’t do it intentionally, but I avoided those two girls for the rest of the night. I sat beside my best friend and told her what had happened. She was empathetic and decided the cure was another beer, which I agreed. I stuck with her for the rest of the night and picked my spirits up by sharing the news about our Embryo Donation opportunity.

The next day as I nursed my hang-over I questioned if I should have said something. I feel like people need to be educated, but I also know that I did the right thing by doing nothing in that particular moment.  It was foolish of both of them and I need to pick my battles and surroundings. I don’t want to be a ‘debbie downer’ or morph myself into a person others need to tip toe around.

There’s no doubt, they were being extremely foolish. If I had responded to them, I would have made them feel even more foolish and made the moment heavier for everyone in the conversation. I am no martyr, but understanding the impact of my words is more important to my spirit than an awkward moment.

I know in my heart that if the circumstances were different…a casual coffee or a more intimate setting…I would have politely corrected and educated them so that they would have realized, they were the lucky ones.


You Know What, It’s Going to be Alright…

February marks the anniversary of my first IVF experience….way back in 2015, I was riding the “CRA- CRA” train with obsessive thoughts. Valentine’s Day and the Family Day Long Weekend marked the days that I did my trigger shot and retrieval. At that time, I thought it was a good omen to be going through all that on the weekend that celebrated love and family. Unfortunately, things didn’t quite work out the way we had hoped and here I am a year later with 2 failed IVF’s under my belt and a long adoption journey ahead (sigh).

For those reading who might be new to my blog, to summarize quickly, last year my infertility struggle came to a conclusion after two rounds of IVF…both ending with 3 Day Transfers, nothing to freeze and a negative result. In October I was told that IVF was not the treatment for me (bum eggs). It was sad. I was depressed. I cried….AND I was broke (financially and emotionally). It wasn’t fair…I had taken a giant leap of faith into the universe and had been rewarded by falling flat on my face and then finished off with a beating to my soul.

After each failure, there was a period of depression…the little rain cloud followed me around and I felt glum 24/7; getting out of bed was often a chore. When I looked in the mirror, I saw the sadness in my eyes and I felt like there was no coming back from that dark place. After the doctor said no more IVF’s, we needed something to help us move forward so as to not get stuck in this dark spot. We took a few small steps toward adoption. It was our little bright light at end the dark tunnel. Adoption was a path that offered a “sure thing” for us…but not without its own hurdles to jump over, such as: a long waiting list (3 years), more money ($$), and a new idea of what a family looks like with birth parents in the mix.

This morning as I drove to work, I was listening to a podcast and the guy speaking was reflecting that the best teachings in his life came from his adversities. He said that in those moments of the hard stuff, he acknowledges they are horrible…but when you get through them, you can see the richness of teaching this horrible experience brought to you. Of course, the hard part is remembering in the middle of “the horrible” that there will be teachings. It’s a mature thought I would have struggled with a year ago, but today his words rang true to me.

A year ago, I was in the midst of “the horrible.” The toughest crisis I had ever faced; every hour of every day was consumed with the thought of babies, drugs or symptom spotting. My mind was a three ring circus. I was emotionally fragile and a mess of emotions due to being swaddled by drugs and hormones; bouts of crying were a given several times a week. I felt like I would never know the “old carefree me” again. But here I am, a year later, and I can breathe. My mind is quieter these days…occasionally thoughts creep in regarding infertility…but it doesn’t consume every waking thought. I even see shades of my old self emerging, I am a little more carefree and no longer shackled to the days of the month and next treatment dates. The biggest change (relief) is I don’t crumble at the sight of pregnant women or hearing a pregnancy announcement. I am happy to say that the girl who looks back at me in the mirror doesn’t have the sadness in her eyes like she used to, instead I see depth of wisdom, compassion and hope.

heartbreak and wisdom

Was it fair for me to go through all that? Hell No! Is it fair for any of us to go through this? Hell No! If I got a do-over, would I skip “the horrible” experience? Hell No! This struggle/disease, as ugly as it is, has given me something in return. Not a baby (yet!)…but I have a stronger marriage and a deeper connection to my husband. I know myself better today than I did. I know I can be taken to the darkest spaces in my heart and soul and I am capable of crawling back out and seeing the silver lining of life again. There is hope, there will always be more choices…we just have to open ourselves to them.

 So, I conclude, that somehow, I got through it. I wish I had taken notes…so I could tell you all exactly what to do, but I lost my pen and now I can’t remember the steps. What I can share, and what I want everyone to know, is that we’re all going to be alright. This infertility journey sucks…it feels never ending and at times feels all consuming…but you will find yourself again. Not exactly as you left her, but a version of her…whom I believe is a better person for it.




VIP for IVF & IUI folks: Bravelle Recall

Some may know this already but I just learned today that Bravelle, the drug that is subcutaneously injected to stimulate egg production during infertility treatment, has been recalled in the United States for anyone who took it between March 27, 2014, and October 2015. Per Ferring’s letter that my RE provided a copy of to […]

A year in retrospect…

I survived 2015. I think I deserve a medal for this one. In hindsight, 2015 will go down in the record books as the most difficult year of my life. Today, as I type, my soul is still wounded, but I know that each day I am getting stronger.

For nine months of 2015, my focus was a 100% on the quest for a child. Those nine months were spent either preparing for IVF, doing IVF, or surviving failed IVFs. We did two attempts of the miracle treatment– one in February/March and a second one in August/September. I have come to appreciate that IVF is a physical sprint and an emotional marathon. Nothing can prepare you for the emotions, mind games or physicality that this treatment demands from you. Most people just think it’s the money that is the hurdle, but really the money for treatment is just the first bitch-slap before the fight really starts.

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Mum’s the word…

Or rather, why has this blog been so quiet lately? To be honest, it started as just a little break until we did our adoption seminar and then it turned into an all-out hiatus. Here is a little recap of the last few months:sbTherapy


I consider October the month of pulling myself back together. We worked through our grief of the failed 2nd IVF and the news of our poor egg quality. As hard as it was to hear that our IVF treatment journey was at an end, I did get a lot of peace in knowing what the problem was for us and that we didn’t continue to fall into an “unexplained” category. To help rebuild our spirit, we looked ahead to the adoption seminar and pulled together all the bits and pieces of the adoption application with the goal to be ready to submit the week after the seminar.

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4 Tips to Help Survive a Negative IVF Outcome

Infertility is hard and turning to IVF can sometimes feel like a last resort for a baby. We all hope for our positives, but sadly there are no guarantees in this journey. So, how should we plan to manage the situation when a treatment doesn’t work?

After three and a half years of infertility struggles, multiple failed assisted reproductive treatments including 3 IUIs and 2 IVFs, I have personally had to experience and learn how to rebound from the worst news; including learning that IVF is no longer a treatment option.

This small list are my retrospective thoughts on what I feel made all the difference for me when dealing with negative results.

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