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.

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.

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!!