5

6dp5dt

I’m a wreck. I thought I would be all zen waiting for my beta through this 9 day wait. But I’ve been obsessing over symptoms like a crazed freak. I don’t feel much which is really bringing me down. My breasts are just not getting sore (and they always do on natural cycles!) despite the copious amounts of progesterone I’m pumping in via PIO and Endomet.rin suppositories. I’ve had some ridiculously bad and extremely painful constipation (TMI, sorry!), I’ve been feeling bloated and gassy on and off with some light cramping. I suppose you could call these symptoms only I know the meds can mostly have these side effects.

My beta is scheduled for this Sunday but since it’s super tough to find a lab that will do it on Sunday, I will probably go in for a blood draw on Monday. That leaves us with the conundrum–do we test at home or not? I haven’t even bought any HPTs yet. I had truly thought I would be able to hold out till the beta but I am rapidly going insane. I keep bursting into tears, feeling like utter crap about the fact that I do not ‘feel’ anything. I am deathly scared of testing and seeing that terrible stark whiteness. Yet, I don’t know how I can survive these 3.5 days.  I’m reminding myself again and again that God has not led me here only to abandon me. He has my back and I need to trust and have faith.

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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.

8

The terror that hope inspires

I’m going to go backwards.

I will write about what I am feeling right now before I write about my retrieval. I need to talk about what I feel right now because it’s consuming me and I hope that expressing it might help give me some relief.

It was a good retrieval and a good fertilization report. Much better than what we had initially expected. God has been incredibly kind and despite immense physical discomfort that has lasted a whole month, I responded very well to the modified protocol and so far the results have been very encouraging.

Yet, with the exultation has come an incredible amount of fear. A ginormous, free-wheeling, snowballing fear that threatens at times to swallow me whole. My mind is caught up in an acerbic altercation with itself. The past keeps casting shadows of gloom over my relief even as the future tantalizingly beckons me forward. So what if you got a great response? What’s to say that these embryos are good quality? How many of them will make blasts? How many will be normal? Isn’t that what this whole thing boils down to?

I feel utterly light and peaceful one moment and mired in swampy doubt the very next. What the heck will I do if after all this we end up in the same place we were last June? With no chromosomally normal embryos. At least at that time we had the luxury of comforting ourselves with the fact that it was our very first cycle, we had a pretty low response and it could just be chance that things did not turn out right. Now, with the weight of America’s most successful IVF clinic riding behind us, thousands more dollars spent, all insurance coverage exhausted, another 7 months past… how will we console ourselves? With what will we look forward to the future? How will we breathe again?

I know K is scared too. Hope has really come knocking this time, forcing her way in even before we had a chance to decide whether or not we could have her stay as an extended guest. Fear, the houseguest who never leaves, skulks around inspiring dread. How will we handle these two hanging out together with us every day, every waking moment?

I relax when I am asleep. That’s not to say that I’m a sodding mess the whole day. I manage to keep myself busy. I am on a dedicated mission to de-clutter and organize my home. It keeps me sane. As long as there is order, I rationalize, there is life. Today I attacked the kitchen. I scrubbed the countertops and the sink till they could double up as mirrors, I mopped the floors, I washed dishes, I wiped down the cabinets. The more it shone, the better I felt. At night when I am waiting to fall asleep I plot my moves. I need to organize the closets. They are a mess. I need to sort and order. Give away what I don’t need. Throw out what is not usable. Sort, order, give, throw, clean. Even as I am contemplating a visit to the Container Store, I wonder briefly… is this the edge of sanity?

My life hangs in balance as every second, every minute, now becomes then. I feel like someone convicted of a crime, waiting on a judgement to hear her sentence. I feel like my ability to be a mother is being judged and the jury is out right now deliberating on whether or not I should be given this opportunity. I feel their arguments as my own apprehensions. My heart races. My mind wanders over to the dark side. I look at K sitting next to me, engrossed in his laptop. I want to hide in him. Sometimes, when we are lying down in bed and he holds me real tight, our limbs entwined, my face snuggling his chest, I whisper to him let’s stay like this forever, let’s be each other. I don’t know if he hears me. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and I listen to him breathe. I see him blissful in sleep. My heart wells up in crazy, mad love and I believe right then that we will be very happy.

I talk to God a lot. I offer copious thanks and I plead incessantly. Often, my eyes fill up as I wordlessly, bare my anguish and present my hope, my dream as a silent, fervent prayer. I feel he is listening, I feel he is telling me my time is coming. But I am also frozen with fear. I acknowledge my fear. I no longer try to quell it. This is happening, this is real. All of it. The good and the bad. I need to stay calm and live this one day at a time. Remember the right now. Right now all is well with the world. My husband sits next to me. He’s putting on a movie on Netflix. He is drinking wine. He looks so happy. I long to see that happiness on his face forever. Right now, I am going to stop typing, go snuggle up next to him and eat some cake. Because today is perfect and tomorrow will do its thing regardless of how I feel.

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.

0

A thousand years…

I know this song is not about a mother’s love for a child but somehow these lyrics ring so true!!

I have died everyday waiting for you
Darling, don’t be afraid I have loved you
For a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more

Time stands still
Beauty in all she is
I will be brave
I will not let anything take away
What’s standing in front of me
Every breath
Every hour has come to this

One step closer

It’s amazing how I can love and miss my baby so darn much when I have yet to see him/ her. Come soon, my love… I’m waiting with my arms wide open!

4

Those voices in my head…

In the past few days I have written many posts which I went on to abandon. They now lie half-written, awaiting their fate in my wordpress folder. Why did I not complete them? I don’t have a clear answer, only that each time I began with an honest attempt to describe my increasingly muddy feelings, somewhere along the way words fell short of being able to accurately convey the churning cesspool that’s my overworked mind right now. I have to do it though, for myself, else I feel my head just might explode into smithereens and well, mashed brain pulp is not my ideal choice of wall decor!!

It’s strange… this crazy place I’m in ever since we got back from Colorado. I swing from emotion to emotion like a restless monkey in search of elusive bananas (umm yea I realize the ridiculousness of that analogy but that’s the best I can come up with right now!). Everything seems stuck, I feel stuck in a crazy numbed place from which there doesn’t seem to be any way out. The world is moving, moving on as I helplessly look out from my insulated glass bubble. Did I mention the insulation is one-way? I can hear them perfectly but my cries or my relentless banging on the glass gets no attention. There are women getting pregnant, they’re swelling up in joy, rubbing their bellies protectively and I’m just watching them. There are babies all around–heart-beakingly cute, crazily adorable little people but they’re not mine and I am burning up in envy watching those whom they call Mom and Dad.

My husband works harder than ever before and it breaks my heart to see him scavenge for hope as we ride the positive-negative see-saw every single day, multiple times a day. He reassures me, he rubs my feet, he hugs me like he’ll never let go. But when he speaks about ‘his baby’, the child he hopes we will have, perhaps a little girl just like me… I fervently wish then that the earth would swallow me up. I silently rage at God, I grovel and plead–for him, if not for me… please, please, please.

There’s sadness and dark things happening to really nice people. Some are losing their babies, after years of trying and treatments. Others are fading away from what they used to be. No one has an answer to the white-elephant-like, ginormous WHY’s that silently reverberate across collective minds. Empty arms are aching reminders of lack. When I hear of this colossal suffering, I feel ashamed of my own grief. Yet, can grief or loss ever be compared? Is it a relative construct or a personal version of hell?

Amidst all this misery, however, there is life, clamoring to be heard. Life is shoving its way through despair and frustration and showing itself in two pink lines on a plastic stick. Life is showing its blurry face in a grainy ultrasound and making itself heard through a tinny flickering heartbeat. What am I more today? Depressed over the heartlessness of injustice or unhealthily covetous of the blessing of abundance? I am both, I suppose… and more. I am infinitely happy for fellow bloggers finally getting pregnant after years of disappointments and I am heartbroken for those who have experienced mind-numbing loss.

Every day I wake up with a sinking feeling. One more day gone, one less day without my precious baby, one day less of being a mother. Then I remind myself of all that I have. My husband, my life, my biggest blessing. All the comforts a person can ask for. A healthy body (umm apart from its reproductive dysfunctionality, that is!!), a brain that mostly does its job, a great family… there’s a lot to be thankful for. Yet this craving to be a mother has robbed me of the ability to purely enjoy life and all it has to offer. I am learning though. Learning that enjoying the present does not mean I have necessarily given up on the future that I so earnestly desire. Learning that it’s not just about me; there is another breathing, living person enduring this hell with me and for his sake I must get out of bed each day and smile and go for movies and cook yummy food and well… sometimes there’s no greater joy than doing that.

I stay awake some nights wondering why why why can I not dream of my baby? Why do I get inane high school dreams and dreams of people who are no longer in my life and why can I not, instead, just dream of being a mother? If it occupies all my waking time then why does my most cherished desire stay away from my dreams? Is it a sign? I don’t want it to be a sign. Other nights, I stay up worrying about our finances. We have already spent so much and there is yet more coming and God alone knows where the finish line is. We have had to buy a new car because our old one was breaking down all the time and we were paying so much every month. New car, however, means higher car payments. Our rent is going up. Again. In the past two years our rent has gone up by $350 a month! Yet anything else we seek out is still more expensive. We need to stay in the area because my doctor’s here, my acupuncturist is and well, yes I know we could move somewhere and find new providers but the thing is anywhere else would only be marginally cheaper. And I love where we live right now. I feel that if this is also snatched away from me, I will seriously slip into depression. I wonder if we will ever get out of an apartment and into a house of our own. I feel sickened with the realization that if my body could just do its thing, we would not be going through this hell.

I go out, meet friends and watch them with their kids. Some of them know how hard we are struggling, others (most) have no clue. They hug their babies, play with them and tell us that we should have kids too. I smile and nod as my heart goes up in flames. I play with their kids, especially the little girls. I hold them close, smell their baby smell and I wonder, in a strange and detached manner, can hearts actually shatter? Do they make a noise or do they just crack apart silently?

Some days I feel just fine. I am able to drive around, run errands and walk into Target and Costco and Whole Foods and not bat an eyelid at the swollen bellies, the adorable toddlers running amok; heck even the newborn aisle does not faze me. Yet there are other days when a partial glimpse, even, of a striped onesie can feel like a solid kick in the gut. I think that next year is certainly my year, I can feel my dream about to come true. I can feel that it is our time now. And almost as soon as that thought crystallizes in my mind, a gush of fear stands poised, threatening to drown it out. Determined, I start surfing baby strollers online. I will make this happen, I tell fear. I will NOT let you win. It is MY time. I look at the bangles I wear. One is for my baby. When I made a fervent plea to God to bless me with a child. That was in the summer of 2011. I truly felt that God has listened and in 2012 when I got pregnant I felt my faith was proven. Yet, it did not last… neither the pregnancy nor the certainty that it would happen.

So where does this leave me? Like every other day. Just as I embraced the intrusive testing, the needles and the procedures, the envy and the sadness, the yoga and the acupuncture, the need for patience and the necessity of faith.. I embrace the amusement park that is my mind. I embrace the insecurity and the fear, the positivity and the hope and through it all I remind myself–this, too, shall pass 🙂

0

Searching for answers…

In the past few days I have witnessed some of the most saddening events on a few of the blogs that I frequent. I have no desire to make public anyone’s anguish so I will certainly not be using names or url’s but suffice to say there is a whole lot of suffering going on out there that really has me wondering ‘why, God, why’?

Isn’t it already terrible enough that so many women have to bear the cross of being infertile and endure year after year of invasive testing, countless painful procedures and staggeringly expensive treatments only to have their hopes dashed again and again, that they also have to go through the heartbreaking ordeal of going through miscarriages and of losing their babies before term? How is their right to hold their beautiful, healthy babies in their arms any less than those of countless other women who get to do this effortlessly day after day without a thought to the magnitude of the dream it represents to scores undergoing the IF torture-fest?

I, of course, do not have any answers to the above. My heart aches for these women, all the more so because each one of them is so strong, resilient and so full of faith that even in these trying times they stay steadfast in their belief that God is with them and that he will carry them through. I feel humbled by their fortitude and deeply frustrated as to why this has to happen; what reason can exist behind such colossal suffering?

All I can do is pray for each and every one of them with every fiber of my being.