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It opens both ways!

On 27th of May, 2012 the Golden Gate bridge turned 75 years old. Many events were organized to celebrate this landmark day. K and I had also planned to join the crowds and the merriment. What we didn’t know is that this would end up being quite possibly the crappiest day of our lives.

Late evening, after an exhausting day spent protesting against the inevitable, I lost my 6.5 week old pregnancy for unknown reasons. I remember everything about that day so vividly. Sitting in the ER waiting for an interminably long time to hear the results of the final ultrasound. The sullen teenage girl who had sprained her foot and needed a crutch to walk. The middle-aged man wearing a Golden Gate 75th anniversary t-shirt. I remember even the inane thoughts running through my mind -would the teenager go home and argue with her mother? Did that man have a good time at the celebration? I wonder how crowded it got.

My last conscious memory before being wheeled in to the OT for an emergency D&C was that of the sweet nurse from triage expressing her condolences and of me thinking this is where I would have given birth had my baby survived. As I woke up after the procedure, I remember the anesthesiologist looking down at me with concern in his eyes. He smiled a sad smile and said how deeply sorry he was. My groggy brain couldn’t comprehend. Why was he sorry? Has someone died, I thought. And then it registered. My baby. Instinctively my hands sought out my belly. It had obviously never reached the swelly stage yet it felt achingly empty.

I was wheeled over to a recovery room. I will never forget the expression on K’s face as he walked into the room. His eyes were misty with unshed tears yet his entire being radiated love and concern for me. We drove back home quietly, the silence stretching out beyond us like a limitless chasm of numbing grief. He walked me to the bedroom. I sat down on the bed, the same bed where for two weeks daily I had spoken to my unborn child, already a mother from the day two lines turned pink. It had taken us more than a year to get there and yet it was all over in a span of a few hours.

He went to get a glass of water. The devil claimed my sanity in just that instant. I slammed the door shut and turned the lock. I didn’t know what I wanted to do but I needed to be alone. The walls were crowding in on me. It was suddenly stiflingly hot where moments back I had been shivering with cold. I wanted to scream aloud my burning rage, the ‘why-me’ I had been quelling for so long. But my grief was beyond noise of any sort.

The door knob turned. And then a few sharp knocks as he asked me why the door was locked. I stayed quiet. I had to face this alone. With him, in his arms I would lose myself in a torrent of tears. I needed to feel this primeval anger, to savor it almost. His knocks grew more urgent. I stood up. I did not want to hurt him and I know he was probably worried sick. I’m okay I shakily managed to say. Open the door, he insisted. I need to be alone I replied, my voice sounding distant and alien to me.

Silence, for a few moments. Then a frenzied rattling as he employed brute strength to pry the door open. The noise was awful. It was close to midnight. I could not take it anymore so I opened the lock, letting him in. He was angry with me, so angry. And terrified. Don’t ever do that again he growled at me and walked away, his stiff back betraying his fear. Even then, as now, he loved me to madness.

The next day, the maintenance guy came to repair the door which had taken a solid beating from all the rattling. He looked pissed. The knob could not be repaired, he said. We would have to manage. I wanted to shake him and tell him that I lost my baby, I didn’t give a rat’s ass to his sodding door. But of course I didn’t. Instead, I murmured an apology and an assurance that it wouldn’t happen again.

It’s been a year and a half since then and the door knob works only one way -when it is turned in the opposite direction. Today, however, as I got done with my yoga and opened the door it —opened! The right way I mean. Just like that. After months of struggling with it and cursing it relentlessly, today it just opened like it was never damaged.

It felt like a sign. Perhaps it is time for me also to forget the damage I have incurred on my self in this journey. Perhaps it is time to just live like it never happened!

0

Here we go!

Today is day 1 of our treatment cycle at CCRM. Today, K and I started our ten day course of twice-a-day Doxycycline. I got my period late last night and now have to wait for my LH surge to show up. Ten days after I get a positive OPK I start taking Estrace twice a day and from there on the ball starts rolling. My tentative date to start stimming is the 20th (although I think it will probably be the 18th, given my expected date of surge) and I have an estimated retrieval date of Oct 31st! Which means that we expect to fly out to CO sometime around the 22nd-24th of this month.

There’s many things different about this cycle -the estrogen priming, the cetrotide (I used ganirilex last time), the saizen and the dexamethasone. Also the stims are lower to begin with which is something I’m happy about. I am following a strict policy of singular faith in my doctor and no crazy, anxiety-inducing Dr Google searches! If I start thinking of just how many variables are at play here or how long the entire process is likely to be, I know I’ll just implode. So, one day at a time it’s going to be. Right now my focus is to make the most of each day with good food, moderate exercise, meditative visualization exercises and a special treat to just indulge in :).

It’s been a lazy Saturday so far. I woke up to the incessant chatter of rain and a palette of multi-hued green, always a beautiful sight! I’ve not had much by the way of PMS or aches/ pains but I’m taking it easy and generally staying away from household chores etc. Instead, I plan to make best friends with the couch & my favorite throw and get a little caught up on my dissertation related work (which I am lagging SO far behind on!). Hubby’s been an angel, getting me choice delights to tempt my recalcitrant tastebuds with… bless him!

In a way it’s all so fragile. I feel us beginning to hope again – the painfully tender, green & eager stalks of hope trembling their way into the world amidst a sea of concretized disappointment. I want to cover them up with my hands, cradle them, coo and soothe them to suppleness. I want them to ignore their loneliness and their habitat and forge forth towards the sun.

I realize that this could be the beginning of the most beautiful, the most coveted phase of my life or another stepping stone in what has already been a pretty enervative journey! Either way, my goal is to try stay in the moment and stay somewhat neutral especially since disappointment still hovers around in dark shadows and hope, teasingly, skips in and out of view. What matters right now is that I have this wonderful, blessed opportunity and I’m going to relish every bit of it. I’m going to dip into my faith and wrap it around me snug and tight.

Wish me luck!!

2

Seductive dalliances with the perennial what-ifs… plus, a calendar!

Last week was emotionally draining. After the consult with Dr S, the realization that we’re about to cycle again hit me and it was all I could do not to get overwhelmed. Distraction intervened in the form of a trip to LA to meet with the dissertation committee. I flew out early morning and got back in around 10. Perhaps it was the physical exhaustion (flight was delayed on the way back), perhaps it the sudden influx of pregnancies in my department or perhaps it was the reinvigorated tussle between dissertation related inertia and enthusiasm -I came back home feeling subdued unlike my characteristic chattery self.

Also weighing on my mind was the big, white elephant in my inbox -CCRM had finally sent the calendar (it looks like the study schedule for a ridiculously competitive exam!) and I have been largely ignoring it, watching it burn a slow hole on my laptop screen. Going with an altered protocol this time means there’s a lot of stuff I’ll be doing which was missing in my previous IVF attempt–adding in estrace, cetrotide, dexamethasone, saizen etc. I swear each time I look at the calendar I can feel my blood pressure escalating at the thought of what lies ahead. I know I should be excited but I’m mostly apprehensive.

Friday, however, brightened my spirits. I went for an early acupuncture session and as always Y managed to relax my frayed nerves. I drove back home feeling significantly better. The rest of the day was a busy blur as I worked on my stuff and K micro managed a Dish TV installation (goodybye pricey Comcast!). I was aghast to walk in on him and the installation guy happily routing a thick, black wire right in the middle of my beautiful living room, smugly announcing that by making sure half of it was submerged under the rug, aesthetics were all taken care of! Men! Friday evening was spent on the couch, watching movies (free HBO for three months!) and guzzling herbal tea.

Saturday, I got to know that my brother (who recently moved to the US and lucky for me, found a place just down the street!) was moving back to the other side of the planet with his family. I am happy for him; this is something he’s wanted for a long time. But it’s hit me hard. Having them here was just so wonderful. They came at a time when we were at our most vulnerable and it felt good having someone to talk to when our first cycle failed. Sis-in-law and I often went out for errands and shopping trips and my nephew is such a delight to be with. It’s going to be tough seeing them go. For the first time ever, we’ve had family here in the US and, that too, living so close to us. It brings me back to the feeling that were my own family complete today, perhaps I would not feel as rudderless and raw all the time. What makes the situation worse is that I work from home and afternoons are really the loneliest times. As I went for my afternoon walk today I passed by my nephew’s school and felt a jab of sadness that soon he won’t be studying in there anymore.

I’m trying hard to stay even-keeled both for the cycle ahead and for the love of my life, my darling husband who patiently supports me through everything even as his eyes tear up often at seeing me sad. One hug from him and the world doesn’t seem such a threatening place anymore. The what-ifs, though, are always around, hanging out in the dark recesses of my mind, waiting to pounce upon me and smother me with their what-if-ness! Just do, don’t think, I keep repeating in my head like a mantra. It’s hard though. I can feel depression creeping in as the fear of another potential failure paralyses my senses. I find it hard to move on yet I only find solace in movement -in walking, in doing the most basic tasks –cleaning, scrubbing, washing dishes, sorting laundry. Sleep teases me, promising a lingering embrace one moment and the very other, deserting me without warning.

I sit on my bedroom floor typing this post. As I look up skywards, I will the clouds to ebb away and for sunshine to become a part of me.

2

The Liebster Award!

Leibster

A  big thanks to Rachel Malburg for nominating me for the Liebster Award (by the time I got to finishing this post, two other bloggers – maybemamamcnabb and chaoscream were kind enough to nominate me as well! What with all the appreciation from WordPress editors & users and now this, I’m sure feeling lucky!

I’m listing the award rules here (which I have shamelessly poached from Rachel’s blog):

THE RULES

1. You must link back the person who nominated you.
2. You must answer the 10 questions given to you by the nominee before you.
3. You must nominate 10 of your favorite blogs with less than 200 followers and notify them of their nomination.
4. You must come up with 10 questions for your nominees to answer.

Here are my nominees:

1. Finding beauty In spite of myself

2. Third World Country Girl’s Blog

3. Definitely Maybe

4. For Whom the Bell Tolls

5. Keep Culture Weird

6. A Horse and A Carrot

7. Body Karma

8. Live, Love, Laugh & Just Keep Swimming

9. The Odd Spot

10. Ksirahsirah

My questions to the nominees:

1. What made you start a blog?

2. How has blogging impacted your life?

3. What are you passionate about?

4. Life-defining moment?

5. Marooned on a deserted island, what three things would you want with you?

6. What’s the most outrageous thing you have ever done?

7. What was the last thing you purchased over $100?

8. What’s the last stamp on your passport?

9. Favorite quote?

10. All-time favorite blog?

And finally, here are my responses to the questions I had to answer:

1. What was  your first job?

It was a summer job as a call center exec selling mobile phone connections way back in 1999!

2. Why did you start blogging?

To document my journey and share my experiences as a mom-in-waiting.

3. What kind of family did you grow up in?

Close-knit, incredibly loving and supportive.

4. Is this where you thought you’d be in life at this age?

At 36, trying to have a baby after a miscarriage, two surgeries, a failed IVF and several thousand dollars down the drain? No!

Married to the best man out there, working on a PhD and living a full life? Always hoped to!

5. What is your favorite place you’ve visited?

Kuaui, Hawaii. Heaven on earth 🙂

6. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Vietnam or Alaska

7. What’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever purchased?

Hah! That would be our last IVF cycle… if that counts as a ‘thing’!

8. Cat or dog person?

Dog

9. What is your favorite book?

Have more than one. Although ‘Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime’ stands out.

10. What’s your favorite movie?

Ahh, this is a tough one. As a doctoral student of film, I find it hard to confine my liking to any one movie (or director for that matter!). In general, I like stuff by Woody Allen, Scorcese, David Lynch, Wong Kar Wai, Dibakar Bannerjee, Yash Chopra and Anurag Kashyap).

4

Cloudy with a chance of tear-falls!

I woke up today feeling craptastic. The weather outside echoed my sentiments. It was cloudy, dull and uninspiring. I willed myself out of bed and got busy reinstating the house to some semblance of order from its nightly state of slipshod-ery (my darling husband has quite the knack for creating chaos!). I set oatmeal to boil for him, ignoring the rumbling protest in my tummy. I should eat, my mind reasoned, it’s important for me to eat on time everyday. Screw that, said my heart. I felt awful, a naked piece of yearning in a slowly careening-out-of-control world. What if this doesn’t work? What if, after another round of injections and monitoring and medication and travel and sleepless nights and hormone-induced emotional hell, I am still sans baby? Still flat-tummied and still bereft? How will I go on? You have a backup plan, persisted the annoyingly sensible voice in my head. Something’s gotta give, sometime. I stuck a mental tongue out at this piss-pot. How do I blame others for always expecting me to be strong when my own frickin’ mind doesn’t allow me the luxury of self-pity?!!

Depositing the steaming hot oatmeal in front of K (buried about ten thousand feet deep in his cyber world of emails, presentations) I walked over to the bedroom and started folding the laundry with energetic enthusiasm, hoping to drown the voices in my head. As I tidied up the room, my eyes fell on the journal I had started earlier this year. Wanting desperately to believe that my baby could listen to me even if he/she hadn’t taken form yet, I had taken to writing letters to my unborn child. Painfully honest, searing letters from a guilt-ridden parent-to-be who feels personally responsible for taking so long to get her baby in this crazy world. I wrote about my hopes and my disappointments. I wrote about baby’s family and how they were all awaiting her arrival. I wrote about my misgivings and my fears. I started by writing everyday but could not keep that up for long. On days I felt particularly down, I could not write. Perhaps because it made me feel like a cheat. How could I tell my baby that I believed in her existence and yet acknowledge being submerged in despair. I continued writing though, sometimes more frequently than others.

And then the IVF started. I wrote with a purpose now. I felt the time was soon that she would come to me. I told her to hang in there. When we were told that we had made only 3 blastocysts which would be biopsied, I begged her to be one of them. I told her I would make her the happiest human being on earth if only she would trust me and let me be her mother.

It did not happen. One email destroyed our carefully constructed world of hope as all three blasts turned out to be abnormal, a heart-rending revelation made all the more painful with the realization that all three were baby girls. My baby girls. Whom I could not give birth to. Because nature likes to screw with me. I cried so much in those days that I thought my body would stop making tears. I wailed and screamed in sheer pain; I ranted against a heartless God who was seeing all this happen and yet not doing a thing about it. I was told that donor eggs were my only option going forward. I lost a part of my heart that day. And, from that day onwards, I could not write to my baby. I could not face her after what happened. Even though I know I could not have done anything to prevent it from happening.

Seeing that journal today brought back lingering painful memories. Perhaps brought back into focus because we are about to start another IVF cycle. About to place our trust in medicine and in science and in God all over again. As I commence, anew, this effort to make my baby, the one person I long for most is my mother. I want to hug her tight and feel her love for me, calming my festering wounds and soothing my fears. And then, I want to let the tears fall.