4

Tomorrow…

I knew it wouldn’t be easy. I knew it wouldn’t be stress-free. I knew there would be fear. I knew there would be worry. I was ready for it all (or was I?). That’s why, when the past two weeks brought some highly unnecessary stress in the form of some troublesome immune panels and a suddenly aggressive OB constantly putting me in the unenviable position of making hard choices (esp. considering my CCRM doctor is on the other extreme of the ‘believe in immunology’ spectrum), I wasn’t too surprised. Not happy, of course. But not surprised. Almost, perversely, relieved. I felt as long as it was just that little bit hard, it would be okay.

When the nausea hit me last week, I welcomed it with open arms. I’ve been relentlessly, 24/7 sick since a whole week now. I wake up nauseous, I sleep nauseous. I eat a bit, it abates. For about 30 minutes. Then, off we go again. I feel like I’m watching my own body from outside as it panders to the whims of this invisible dictator. But I don’t complain. Not just because I feel it might indicate that ‘stuff is happening’, but also because I’m used to having it hard. I’m used to slaving my butt off for what I want. That’s usually when I get results. So every morning I dutifully wake up and try my damnedest not to let my churning tummy get the better of me as my hubby injects me with PIO/ lovenox. It’s baby food, I reason.

I met a friend the other day. Someone who knows of my struggles. She walked into my bedroom and saw my ‘stash’ of syringes, needles, patches, suppositories etc. She told me I’m so brave. I felt like she was being exaggeratedly complimentary. I felt embarrassed. I’m not brave, I told myself. I’m just a mom, doing everything she can for her baby.

And that’s my soft spot. For all the treatment, the maniacal preparation, the doc visits, the shots, the blood draws and the ‘I’ve got to be ready for anything’ attitude, fact is that I’m so deep in it already. I keep telling myself I’m not involved but who the heck am I kidding? I might not sing lullabies to my little lentil sized wonder or constantly rub my tummy in gentle wonderment but I would be lying through my teeth if I said I’m anything less than madly in love. I might gently chide my husband as he wonders if we will have a girl or a boy but secretly, I look for names when he isn’t watching.

Which brings us to tomorrow. Tomorrow-my first ultrasound. The day when things fell apart last time. I so badly want to believe that it will go well tomorrow. It takes but a few seconds of quiet contemplation about what tomorrow means for me to start squirming in intense nausea-induced agony as my heart beats fast and my mind tries hard to calm it down.

 

18

Cautiously excited!

After the longest 9 days of my life which were spent agonizing over every little twinge and twitch and desisting from peeing on a stick, I finally did the deed right after getting my blood drawn for my first beta. Three different tests, all telling me I am pregnant! CCRM confirmed my pregnancy shortly thereafter. Here are the numbers:

9dp5dt: 351

11dp5dt: 892

Thanks to all of you who wrote to me. Means the world to me that you cared enough to want to find out.

Tomorrow’s an unknown but today, I am pregnant and I fill my heart with this knowledge!

0

A Transfer Tale/ How I became PUPO!

I’ve been sitting on this post forever. We had our FET at CCRM this past Friday. It’s been a roller-coaster ever since. Here’s our transfer story:

We booked an early morning flight to Denver one day before transfer (cheapest fare we got!) and somehow K managed to convince himself that the flight was at 630 when it was actually at 6. There was some rushing about and some angry muttering involved but we managed to make it in time for boarding. We reached Denver nice and early, found our rental and reached our favorite hotel, The Element, all in good time. That first day we didn’t do much -had some yummy pho at Viet Pho for lunch, came back to the hotel where I alternated between reading trashy novels and dozing off intermittently while K worked remotely. Dinner was takeout from an Indian place which we paired with a Bollywood movie on the computer!

Friday morning I got a call from CCRM to confirm that we were thawing one 5AA embryo. I had a quick non-soap shower (we had instructions on not using anything heavily scented), changed my patches, shoved the endometrin in and K gave me his first (and my third) PIO shot. It wasn’t all that bad; I mean it does hurt like a %@$#@# and throbs through the day but nothing I can’t handle. While he got ready, I paced the room partly out of nervousness and partly to let the PIO absorb. It was then that I heard a telltale whoosh sound. I yelled at K through the bathroom door–no babe, not the deo!!! I heard him cursing repeatedly as he remembered he wasn’t supposed to use it. Poor guy went right back in and took a second shower all the time yelling SHIT! SHIT! SHIIIIIT!!! We were concerned he wouldn’t be let in but it wasn’t an issue in the end.

We reached CCRM around 11.30 and checked in at the front desk for our labs. They took half an hour to call us in. The lab work itself was quick and painless after which we headed upstairs to the surgery center for the transfer. I was chugging water at a rapid speed by now. Soon enough, I was called in for acupuncture. We were directed to a room outside which was a whiteboard with my name which for some reason I really liked! I changed into the hospital gown and wore my lucky super girl socks (at least I hope they will turn out to be lucky!). K took a few pics of me, hopefully my last pre-pregnancy pics!

The lady who did the acupuncture was kinda reserved and a little aloof but I suppose she did a decent job for I was asleep pretty quickly. Although the valium might have helped! A little while later the lights were switched on, and the show was ready to begin. The embryologist wheeled in the incubator and Dr Su strode in, all smiles. He shook hands with both of us and asked me if I was ready. I nodded hard and he got to work. We signed some paperwork as he readied himself. He was pretty tickled with my blue and pink super girl socks which have little pink ‘capes’ behind them. He even showed them to John, the embryologist and they both solemnly agreed they hadn’t seen cooler socks before! He took my permission to tuck the capes in though cause they would’ve come in the way of his doing his stuff!

As soon as they showed me my little embabie, already hatching, on the screen, silent tears of overwhelming joy and love started streaming down my eyes. This is my child, I thought to myself. The transfer itself was a smooth, seamless affair. We could see where baby was in the uterus; kinda floated upwards in a gliding motion. It was beautiful, moving and precious all at once. Both the nurse and John agreed it was one of the smoothest transfers they had seen.

Once they were done, Dr Su untucked my sock-capes, wished us luck and confirmed that my tears were tears of happiness! I got the post-transfer acupuncture (was awake throughout, dying to pee!), got up to unload my bursting bladder and was then wheeled to our car and back to the hotel. I stayed on bed rest for the requisite 48 hours and we flew back home Sunday night with hope in our hearts and prayers on our lips.

5

How do I feel?

It’s coming sooner than I can say hello. In a week we leave for Denver for my first ever IVF transfer. It always amazes me that despite almost 3 years of TTC we’ve done so little when it comes to baby ‘cooking’. We did all of two IUIs and swiftly moved on to IVF. Our first cycle was a bust with no normals to transfer and we’ve spent the past year just making our embabies who sit cozy in a Colorado freezer as I type. Between my first (and only) pregnancy, the miscarriage and subsequent D&C, the swollen ovary that refused to go down for months, a gazillion different vaccines and shots that require you to abstain from sex and the IVF cycles, there’s been a TON of waiting around. So it stands to reason that my approaching FET inspires some crazy shit in my mind.

I flip-flop between feeling immensely hopeful and sure that this is it and then, immediately after, wondering why should I be so lucky now. Which is crazy, for ‘lucky’ is sure as hell not how I would describe the past three years of my life, ttc-wise. I know I have done everything possible to ensure the best outcome; controlled my diet (and my temper!), exercised, meditated and in general avoided stress and stressful situations to the best I could. I know that my body is capable of implantation at the very least and that my uterus looks good and makes a good lining. I know pregnancy and motherhood is in my fate. I also know that I damn well deserve this to work out. I wonder, though, if all this is enough.

I’ve been getting these signs (at least I am interpreting them as signs!)–a couple weeks back I found a pacifier on my patio. Granted, I have new neighbors who I suspect have a baby but then we’ve always had a family with a baby living next door to us and there have been no mysterious paci spottings ever in the past 2.5 years! I’ve been dreaming a lot about babies which, for me, is R.A.R.E. I remember a time when I would force myself to visualize cute, snuggly babies before I went to bed just so I could coax them into my dreams. None of the babies in my recent dreams were mine, however, and almost all were baby boys. A gender hint?

When we went to Cabo last week, the car that came from the resort to fetch us had a baby seat in the back. The driver was apologetic saying he did not know why there was a baby seat in the car when there were clear instructions to pick up a couple! And then today, I got this email from Shutterfly:

Screen Shot 2014-05-14 at 2.17.44 PM

 

Ermmm… to the best of my knowledge I have not signed up for Shutterfly or announced that I’m having I’ve had a baby!

So well, we’ll just wait and see how it goes. For now, I’m hunkering down and trying not to look beyond the present day. Preps-wise things are going fairly well. On day 6 of the patches, my lining was at 7.7-7.8 although e2 was low at 38. After an exasperating 3 days of waiting, I was finally told to add oral estrace to my daily regimen. Next check is this coming Friday and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a healthy lining and appropriate estradiol levels.

While the terrible hot flashes have finally retreated, daily lupron and estrogen make me look like I swallowed a massive watermelon. I am seriously bloated and unable to fit into any of my jeans or pants! I’ve heard progesterone makes it worse so I’ve that to look forward to. Next up on the ‘eeks–I can’t do this’ list are the PIO shots which start on the coming Monday. Fun times.

12

Thank you God!!

This will be a quick update as I’m rushing out for my acupuncture appointment. But since I’ve always been so liberal with my despondency on this forum, I thought it only fair that I share some truly brilliant news with all of you! After an extremely suspenseful week (more on that later!), today we got the call from CCRM.

Out of the 9 embryos that were biopsied, 6 were normal and 2 no result!

To say that we are in a delirious daze would be the understatement of the year! We have been so attuned to receiving disappointing news, I just did not expect something this wonderful!! My heart is overflowing with joy and I am so full of gratitude towards God and towards each and every one of you who take the time to read this blog and to comment and to support me!

We have a long way to go from here but today, K & I will be celebrating after a long time!!

Thank you God!

5

How did I get here?

Me, the DOR girl, also known as ‘poor responder’ … how did I go from that to a possible OHSS case with a day 10 e2 of 7100?! This cycle has totally taken us by surprise. I have been responding fast and my estrogen has been rapidly escalating. Yesterday Dr S opted to coast me for a night to try get the e2 under control (it had surged from 3200 to 5400 between days 8 & 9!!) but it ended up increasing even more. I am triggering tonight but he has canceled the HCG trigger (no sore bum yay!) opting instead for a double lupron trigger and I will be taking cabergoline starting tonight and injecting cetrotide for four nights starting the night of retrieval to prevent OHSS.

I have no idea what to feel. Mostly, I am just nervous (and super bloated & sore). I hope the retrieval goes well and I hope I don’t end up getting hyper-stimulated. Good wishes/ prayers much appreciated 🙂

6

Doing this…

Ignoring the half-dozen incomplete posts glowing in my drafts folder, I am going to jump straight to the present (with the promise of catching up on the older stuff very soon!).

Cue scratchy, ‘audiotape getting fast forwarded’ type of sound.

Today is day 7 of stims and my first day in Colorado. Broadly, things have been progressing reasonably well and it looks like my retrieval will happen on either Monday or latest on Tuesday. I had two local monitoring ultrasounds back home in SF and one in the morning today at CCRM. The follies are ripening and the estrogen is climbing and I’m keeping my fingers tightly crossed.

This cycle has been very different from the last one. There is the obvious difference of a new protocol; I took estrace for almost two weeks this time (the effects are quite like teasing yourself with a gun against your temple everyday!) and along with the jazzed-up hormonal cocktail that CCRM dished out to me last time, there’s also clomid (hello nausea and headaches!) making a special, 5-day appearance! Also, unlike last time this time I did not take cetrotide in the priming phase; it was only added to the mix mid-way into stimming.

Mentally, I’m in a very different place this time around. Riding the truckload of dread accompanying the realization that this was our last cycle at CCRM (unless of course I win the HGTV sweepstakes) and quite possibly the last one with my own eggs, fear terror & sadness (with a reluctant anger trailing behind) have come sailing in, entirely uninvited. The 2 months between my two cycles were days spent working hard on my teetering state of mind (more on that in a separate post). I went round in crazy circles, sinking to fathomless depths of despair & struggling to break the surface and then riding the buoyancy of self-administered hope and squeezing the future of its ability to provide the scantest reassurance. I would wake up crying in the middle of the night as an icy panic would creep up over me. Breathe, B-R-E-A-T-H-E my mind would urge my heart to pay heed. I forced myself to remember what is true today. I am well today, my life is full of love. Older (angrily discarded) platitudes would come rushing to my head —I’m a good person, I deserve to be a mother; God does well by his children…

I have battled with a crippling doubt, the kind of doubt that rips away every shred of innocence from your soul. I look back to the person I was and I marvel at how old I feel. I am proud of who I have become yet my heart aches with sadness at my inability to remember what ‘pure, unadulterated’ everyday living felt like. The joy of untainted expectation, the beauty of just living without the feeling that all of your life, everything that you believe in, everything you hold dear is being held ransom to this one event.

So what changed? Honestly? Nothing, really. I didn’t turn zen overnight and the panic attacks did not disappear. But I did not stop trying. Trying to live in the moment, trying to strengthen my faith (and this wonderful blog constantly inspires me to do so!), trying to be there for others… trying to be a better person (my only NY resolution this time!). Because it is only in this trying that I find solace.

And this is where I am today, sitting in my room in Littleton, Colorado typing out this blog post. In the next few days life could go in strangely unexpected places. I have no idea what will happen or how I will cope with whatever happens. All I am going to concentrate on is today and this moment, right now, when things are just fine.