Thursday, June 30, 2011

Fun Games with Needles

Fresh IVF Cycle #2.... the exciting journey continues.

Part Two-  Fun with Needles

For the past ten days, I have had the unique experience of waking up to a well-balanced breakfast followed by a nice healthy needle stab to the thigh.  Because of this once (or, in my case twice) in a lifetime opportunity, I felt that I should use this special time to reflect.... to ponder.... to consider... all of the fun things you can do with needles.  Here's what I've come up with so far:

1.  Needle ratings - Each morning, I rate my needle stab to see if I can come up with a personal best stab.  How do you rate needle stabs, you ask....well, my ratings are based on a number of factors...insertion pain level, amount of blood left on the alcohol swab, and level of bruising....  And yesterday, June 29th, I had a personal best....  That's right... It might have even put professional needle stabbers to shame!  Minimal to no pain, zero blood found upon needle removal and a mere dot left on the thigh to show for it!  Take that Nadia Comaneci!  A perfect TEN for needle stylings and technique!!!  Pretty fun!

2.  Needle-based conversations - At work, I started a very exciting conversation about needles.  It began with another colleague and I (she has also done IVF).  She said that she chose to do her needles in her stomache... to which I responded, "No way! Seriously.  Thighs are waaayyy better."  We then proceeded to discuss the pros and cons of thigh versus stomache needles...  I know.  Interesting huh?  But it didn't stop there. Next, we played a very scintillating game of "Would you rather..." with other colleagues...  We asked, "if given the choice would you rather have a needle in your thigh or stomache?"  Minutes of entertainment for all!  Pretty fun!

3.  Thigh Artwork - Like an undiscovered blank pallet, my thigh used to be...but not anymore... thanks to needles of fun, my thigh is becoming a lovely piece of abstract art!  The colours are stunning... pale purples, red, yellow outlines and soft greys...and, better than Picasso, the pallet is constantly changing!!!  Pretty fun!

That's all I got for now... but I'm sure there will be more exciting adventures in needles to come....

T Minus 7 days until the stims begin!!

Thanks for your continued support!!  It is greatly appreciated.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

T Minus 12!

Fresh IVF Cycle #2.... the exciting journey so far.

Part One- Suprefect (suppressant medication to induce menopause-type rest of the ovaries.  Counterintuitive? Perhaps.  Sending the body into menopause in order to get pregnanct??  Who thinks of these things??  I guess it is supposed to assist in the calm before the storm.)

June 21st - Injection day one of suprefact, which was marked by a celebratory black and blue marking on my thigh!  Bruise was massive and kinda awesome, shadowing the shape of my vein.  So, of course, hypochondriacal me considered the possibility that I might have a blood clot.  Because, you know, blood clots occur in 1 of a million or so patients.  I have never won the lottery with those odds, but a blood clot... seems more likely my thing:)

June 22nd - Injection day two.  Much better injection.  Figured out that you should probably stop squeezing your thigh fat before you pull the needle out.  Prevented the the geyser-type blood eruption that happened  yesterday.  Go figure.  The things you learn during this journey.  Decided that I probably did not have a blood clot. 

June 23rd, 24th, and today - Becoming a seasoned needle veteran already.  I have officially mastered the perfect squeeze and release thigh fat timing.  Woot woot!

Side effects thus far -  Unless you count the ones that have been conjured up in my always overactive imagination (e.g., the aforementioned blood clot), then I am happy to report that I am side-effect free!  (knock on all surrounding available wood). 

T Minus 12 days until I begin the big boy meds!   Rest ovaries, rest.... the storm is a-brewing.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Useless Advice I Want to Give Back

I'm not one to hog all of the fertiles wonderful words of useless advice without giving any back.  Oh fertiles.  Your random, unscientific words of wisdom.  They mean so much to me.  And so now I offer similar advice back to you.

Fertile Complaint:  I never go out any more.
My Advice:  I guess going out wasn't in God's plan for you.

Fertile Complaint:  I feel fat.
My Advice:  Being skinny just wasn't meant to be for you at this time in your life.

Fertile Complaint:  I am so tired after having this baby.
My Advice:  Just relax.

Fertile Complaint:  My breasts have deflated after having the baby.
My Advice:  Well, maybe you just aren't using the right positions.  Have you considered standing on your head.  Or learning to walk on your hands.  That should keep those girls upright.

Fertile Complaint:  I'm an anxious mom.
My Advice:  I heard that if you go away on vacation all your worries will simply lift away.  You'll come back and be a free-spirited mom without a care in the world.  I know this lady who couldn't stop worrying about her kids for 10 years.  Then she took a vacation.  And now she even let's her kids run around in traffic without a helmet.

Fertile Complaint:  I'm concerned that I may be pregnant again too soon.
My Advice:  Don't adopt.  Because everybody knows that adoption is a sure way to get pregnant.

You're welcome fertiles. 

I'm there for you.


Friday, June 17, 2011

Hoping for the best but expecting the worst

I can't believe how different I am going into this IVF cyle.  The me that existed before my first IVF  is pretty much non-existent now.  Before IVF#1, I was so incredibly naive and optimistic.  I believed, with almost 100% certainty, that this was it...the magic wand required to cure all my infertility woes.  The doctor told me she saw no reason it wouldn't work.  60% success rate was the stat she quoted for me.   All of the laws of probability were aligned in my favor.  And who am I to question doctors and probability laws?  I was practically buying maternity clothes and painting a nursery before IVF #1.  But that was then....

And this is now....

I will never forget the simultaneous feelings of shock and devestation that seeped throughout my body when I first found out that the IVF had, in fact, defied the probability laws and failed.  My heart numbed a little bit that day.  And I progressively numbed a little more each time another medically assisted cycle failed. 

And so I go into this cycle a little more tainted, a little less hopeful.... and a lot more numb.   I have tried to build up a protective wall around me that cannot be penetrated by yet another failure. 

When I think of  all of the possible implications of another IVF, spent... medical side effects that my body will be forced to endure....non-stop needles and medical appointments..... cancelled vacations....all of those things are entirely irrelevant when compared to the most significant  and overriding potential implication........ it might not work.... ....and then I will be left to put myself back together, yet again.... I will be required to muster up the energy to put a smile on my face as my friends talk about their babies and pregnancies... and speak to me with voices laced with pity.... I will be required to pretend that it is okay... to fight back the tears.... and go on living... with a little more numbness....

And so when lovely advice-giving folk say that you have to be positive.... that you have to believe it is going to work... throw it out to the universe.... use the freakin' Secrets... they obviously don't understand the potential horrific implications of positivity.... positivity can set you up for unprotected ,RAW, gut-wrenching failure...

I have wholeheartedly embraced optimism in the past... My mantra for a year was dripping with syrupy optimism... Optimism despite my first miscarriage.  Optimism despite finding out my tubes were allegedly blocked.... Optimism despite thousands of snow-white pregnancy sticks... 

And you know what?  Contrary to the advice-givers predictions, optimism did not work.... positivity did not magically result in a successful pregancy.  I tried it all... unfailing positivity ...  I dreamed.... I stood strong...I threw it out to the universe.... I told myself that it WOULD work.... no room for space for negativity.... but it failed anyway.  The universe didn't care.... and so now I will do it my way.

As the brilliant lyrics said it best, I go in to this IVF "hoping for the best but expecting the worst"...

Translation:  I will thicken my walls with numbness to prepare for the worst case scenario.,,, But despite my efforts,  I will never be able to rid myself of that pesky, yet brilliant, God-given gift of hope!


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Beautiful People

After 3 and a half years of struggling with infertility, I find myself easily frustrated by ridiculous things that come out of fertiles mouths .... the condescension.... the trite remarks....  the obnoxious cliches... many of which I have commented on in previous blogs.

What I don't acknowledge enough, however, are the lovely and heartfelt comments and gestures that I have also encountered throughout this difficult journey.... the beautiful people.  And so I share them with you today.... the beautiful people in my life.

1.  My friend 'H' who is not someone I see often, but a very thoughtful soul.  She struggled slightly with becoming pregnant with her first daughter.  After attending our third or fourth baby shower together, she sent me a card in the mail... no fanfare... no condescension...  it simply read, "I know that all of these baby showers must be difficult.  I can't begin to imagine what you are going through.  Please call if you ever want want to talk.  And know that I am thinking of you."  A beautiful person.

2.  My colleague 'L' who has very significant health and auto-immune issues of her own for which she is receiving weekly treatments.  Despite facing significant side effects from mulitple medications, she is eternally optimistic and has a constantly bright smile lighting up her face.  She sent me an email on my birthday that read, "Wishing that all of your birthday wishes come true this year (clearly implying my infertility).  When I blew out my own birthday candles this year, my wishes were for you."  A beautiful person.

3.  My mom who often doesn't know what to say, but tries so hard to help make me feel better.  Ironically, she is one of the most fertile females in the universe.  Apple... far from tree there.  During her own mother's day celebration, she took me aside and handed me a jewelry box that contained a locket.  She said, 'read the pamphlet inside.'  The pamphlet said, 'this necklace is a native symbol of hope and fertility.'  Although she didn't know how to express herself, she said, 'I wanted you to have it. For hope.'  A beautiful person.

4.  My in-laws (Yup.  You read it correctly.  The in-laws).  Even though my DH and I are their only shot at having grandkids.  Even though they are the quintessential grandparent-sort and desperately long for grandkids.  Even though their faces lit up with uncontained excitement when DH and I announced our first pregnancy.  Even though I'm sure that their hearts broke a little the day that we announced our first miscarriage.  Despite all these things, they have never EVER made a negative or selfish comment.  They have always put my health before their own undeniable longing for grandchildren.  They have even encouraged me to consider not doing another IVF, making a long speech about how they are so proud to have me in their family and my health is more important to them than grandchildren.  Beautiful people.

5.  My sister-in-law 'T' and my oldest brother 'D'.    A few months ago T called me and said,  'D and I had a long talk today.  We don't think it is fair that we have been blessed with two beautiful daughters (my darling neices) and you haven't had the chance to experience parenthood.  So D and I agreed that, if you ever need a surrogate, I would love to do that for you.'  She said that, even if it meant that they couldn't have a third child of their own (they have always wanted to have three kids)  because her body couldn't handle another c-section (her deliveries have been particularly difficult) she and my brother agreed that they would be okay with that.  She spoke with such sincerity that it choked me up. My brother D is of the quiet sort and generally does not openly express concern or emotion.  So it was particularly touching that he was the one who apparently initiated their conversation.  Beautiful people.

There are many days when I dwell on people who do and say obnoxious things.
But today, I want to pay tribute to the people who do and say beautiful things
Instead of being trite, they are sincere.
Instead of being condescending, they are truly empathic.
Instead of giving useless advice, they listen.  They are there when you need them. 
They are truly beautiful people.  Beautiful people that I feel blessed to have in my life.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

What I Have That 'They' Don't.

What I have that they don't...... (and by 'they', I am talking about those lovely, often-smug pregnant and new mom friends of mine).  Yup.  I realize this is lame considering that I want more than anything to have what they have.... considering that I am about to pay thousands upon thousands of dollars just to have a 36% chance of getting what they have)....but, hey, pretending for a minute in order to cheer yourself up isn't the worst thing in the world, is it?.... And so...

What I have that they don't have.... in no particular order.

1.  Random napping.
2.  Glorious weekend sleep-ins
3.  Uninterupted nights filled with sleep.
4.  No need to repeatedly watch Dora and her exciting adventures.
5.  A stretch mark-free belly.
6.  Breasts that do not resemble flaccid condoms.
7.  A lifetime free of worrying about purchasing birth control.
8.  A DH that will never have to get himself snipped.
9.  Double income with no daycare expenses.
10.  Unlimited access to afternoon and evening outings with no concern about finding a babysitter
11.  Conversations about topics other than poo, diapers, breastfeeding and being tired.
12. A facebook profile picture that is actually my own face.
13. Unlimited access to photos of my ovarian functioning.

Ahhh...........  Life is good  (told you that there's nothing wrong with pretending...........)


Saturday, June 11, 2011

I'mmmmmmmmmmmmmm back!!!

It's been a while.  After my 4th failed IUI, my heart and head needed a rest from it all.  Thanks to all of you ladies for your wonderfully supportive words. 

It is amazing how my life resembled something close to sanity when I became fertility-med free over the past two months.  I think I may have only googled Infertility-related searches every other day.... an impressive reduction when compared to my three - twenty infertility daily searches while in the throws of treatment cycles.

And so I am feeling reasonably good, reasonably sane... even able to inquire about my sister-in-laws pregnancy.   Oh yeah.

That being said........ do we really need sanity in our lives?   Perhaps sanity is overrated.....

Who needs sanity when you have the option of replacing it with daily needles, early morning ultrasound, super-awesome mood swings, daily obsessions and a general sense of self-pity? Apparently not me.

All my long-winded way of saying, "here I go again!"  and "THIS IS THE BIG ONE ELIZABETH!"

The one I said I would NEVER EVER do again...............  But, it seems that the expression, "never say never" applies doubly in the infertility world.

And so.... as of June 21st, the first needle will land.... to mark its first bruise on my snow-white upper thigh... in honour of the start of my 2nd fresh IVF cycle.....

Crazy?  Perhaps.  Certainly not sane.