Monday, 29 August 2011

When Wearing Underwear Over Your Clothes Isn't Funny.

Picture this, you see an elderly man walking down the road. He is carrying a bag from a supermarket containing ice cream. He is wearing trousers, his pajama top, and his underwear,,,, over the top of his trousers. Sounds like a really funny story right? A grown man walking around with his underwear over his clothes. If you heard this story about a stranger you would probably laugh out loud.

Except for us, it's not funny at all.

This man is my father in law. He suffers from dementia.

The hubby got the call last night from his brother telling him the news. Apparently my mother in law noticed that he had left the house. She had no idea where he was. The fact that he was out was not unusual because he loves to walk and wander around town. He takes "walks" just about every day. But this time was different because she had not heard him leave the house. He was gone for a long time and she was getting worried about him.

I can only imagine her shock when he finally returned home happy as can be with his newly purchased ice cream.
  • Part of her I am sure was relieved that he was OK. 
  • Part of her I am sure was horrified that he had been walking around in such a state. 
  • Part of her must be wondering what the people working at the store where he bought his ice cream must have thought about an 84 year old man wearing his pajama top and underwear over his clothes walking around their shop. *I wonder about this part myself. 

My heart is breaking today for the hubby. This is not the kind of news you want to get about your father. Especially when you live on a different continent and can't just pop over to see him. It's been a couple years since he was able to hold a conversation over the phone so the hubby can't even call him. I can only imagine how difficult it must be for him.

We all know in theory how dementia goes. But to see this happening to a parent is not theoretical. It's real, and it's happening, and it's not going to get better. It's only going to get worse.

I only wish there was something I could do to help.

*Pouring my heart out with Shell.  

Friday, 26 August 2011

The One Where I End A Friendship?

Life as an expat has isn't always easy. You move far away from family and friends. You have to learn a new culture and in some cases a new language. You are desperate for any connection to home. As a result, in most countries, the expat community is a very close knit one. Bonds are formed fast and quick.

Oh, you're from my country?? Oh, you like drinking wine? Oh, you are free for lunch on Tuesday?? All these things can be the basis for the beginning of a friendship. Expats are like college freshmen, searching for new connections far from home. We cling to each other like long lost family members. Any connection, no matter how slim, warrants invitations and hopes for the future.

We are all lost souls looking for connection, and we cling to each other. We form friends in fast-forward. Skipping the normal getting to know you process and vetting by other friends. After all, most of us have no other local friends. We need each other in a way that no one else can understand unless they have been a foreigner in a strange land.

As a result an acquaintance can quickly rise up the ranks to become your BFF. You form an intense intimacy that doesn't exist in many places beyond college and summer camp.

At first it feels great. You are welcomed to your new community with gusto. You get invited to parties and lunches. You feel like people want to get to know you. You form fast connections and feel much less homesick.

But what happens after the flush of new friendship wears off? What happens when you really get to know your new friends? What if you decide that you don't really like them after all? What do you do then?

That my friends in bloggyland is the dilemma I am currently facing. I have been an expat for almost 6 years now and have seen many new friends come and go. I am familiar with the idea that as an expat you are constantly making new friends to replace the ones who move away. But in all my years I've not been in the situation I find myself in now.

How do I extricate myself from a friendship that I no longer want to be in? I recently told you all about this person. Probably not everything, but if you read my previous post you will get an idea of what I'm talking about.

I made friends with this person shortly after finding out I was pregnant with my son. She was there through it all, and now she has let me down. Not just in the ways I've written about, but in other ways as well. Not being kind to people I consider friends. Not being the kind of person I thought she was.

I don't think I want to be friends with her anymore. But it's complicated by the fact that we're part of a very small community. A community that talks and gossips.

I hate drama. The last thing I need is for her to go around telling people that I cut her off because I couldn't handle that she was pregnant. That has nothing to do with it. Sure, the timing is bad,,,,, but the truth is that this was coming long before she shared her news with me. But to end the friendship now, I just know she would think it was due to her pregnancy.

I know, I know,,,, you will tell me that I should have an honest conversation with her and tell her how I feel. Trust me, if I thought that she would listen or be even the slightest bit receptive I would give it a shot. But I know her... she's very defensive and does not respond well to criticism.

In no time flat my feelings would get twisted in a way to make her the victim and me the crazy lady whose baby died and can't be happy for anyone else. This is not what I want. So I've got some decisions to make.

How to extricate myself without causing unnecessary drama?? Is that even possible?? Ugh,,,, It's too much to even think about right now. 

Thanks for listening.

Thursday, 25 August 2011


I think one of the things I hate most about infertility (besides the obvious) is that everything takes so much longer than you think it will. Pauses, and delays, and waiting,,,, it's enough to drive a girl crazy.

When we were first informed about our negative pregnancy test the nurse said there was no medical reason to have to wait. She said we could start our frozen cycle with our frosty as soon as my period arrived.

Awesome!! Some semi-good news for once.

Not so fast there missy! It seems that there may be a delay.

I get an email from the nurse a couple of days ago saying the clinic is busy and they may not be able to fit me in until mid-October but she is still trying for an earlier date. Needless to say I am not at all pleased by this news. The hubby and I have a pretty packed schedule and cycling in September would be so much more convenient.

We have already pushed back our trip home to see the family twice and if we cycle in mid-October then I will have to do my beta test somewhere in California,,, where I don't currently have a fertility clinic. Ugh! Plus I really don't want to be getting the news while we're traipsing around the state visiting various family members.

I can't imagine I will take a second negative nearly as well as I took the first and don't think the family really wants to be around a moping crying me. Not to mention that the hubby could potentially find himself trapped in a car with a moping crying me for hours on end as we drive ourselves like ping pong balls from one family members house to the next.

I know I'm being very glass half empty here and it's possible that the cycle will work and I will get a positive test. But even then I'd rather not be staying with various family members when I get the news. I want to get the news at home, where I am comfortable, where I will have time to process the outcome before being bombarded with all that family time.

So I fired back an email saying that I really need to cycle in September. I have not yet heard back which I'm hoping means she is still out there fighting my corner and trying to get me a better date. I assume that if there was no flexibility then I would have already gotten a no in response.

So I cross my fingers and hope for the best. I just hate all this waiting!

Monday, 22 August 2011

Are You There New Normal? I'm Still Trying To Find You.

Come out come out where ever you are...... no seriously, stop hiding... ok this isn't funny anymore, just tell me where you are so I can find you already.

I tweeted this last night and it hit me that it would be a great opening for a blog post. Poetic in a way, and yet so very much how I'm feeling right now.

It's been a whole year now since my son died and was born. A whole year. I've been through a full year of milestones now, lived through all the "firsts." A whole year navigating my way through the fog that is grief. In a way it's an accomplishment, but I'm left asking myself where am I now?

The main reason I started writing this blog was to try and figure it all out. How could I possibly live without him? What would a life without my baby be like? How would I manage normal day to day things? How would this change my relationship with the hubby? So many questions to muddle through and no guidebook to help me figure it all out.

As I have said over and over again, I loved my old life. I was happy and healthy and babies didn't die. When I heard those terrible words (there's no heartbeat) from the doctor I knew life would never be the same.
  • I knew I would have to grieve and that things would be different but I did NOT want my entire life to fall apart. 
  • I knew that I would be sad for a while but I did NOT want to be completely devastated all the time. 
  • I was absolutely determined to get my life back. And not just any kind of life,,,, but a life where I wasn't crying in public and falling apart at the slightest things. 

So a year on how am I doing on my quest for a new normal? I've had lots of moments where I felt like my entire life had fallen apart. I've had lots of moments where I was completely devastated all the time. I've had lots of moments where I cried in public both with and without the shield of my sunglasses.

But I've also had happy moments. Moments when I felt hopeful. Moments when I had fun with my friends. Moments when I was so in love with the hubby I thought I would burst. Moments where for just a while I forgot that my son died and just allowed myself to experience joy.

Some days I think I'm doing pretty well. Other days it's like I'm right back at the beginning. Days when I am hit with a flashback out of nowhere. A day like yesterday.

Last night the hubby informed me that some of his employees will be in London for a meeting in a few weeks time. His team is scattered across several countries so they only get together a couple of times a year. For years we have invited them to our home on one of the nights for dinner. We try to impress them with some good old American food. Usually BBQ chicken and corn on the cob. I used to make my "famous" chili for them which was an absolute favorite all around.

I used to make chili for them. In fact I made chili for them the night before I found out that my son had no heartbeat. You see, we were supposed to host them all for dinner that night after my scan. I had bought a bunch of chicken and spent hours making the chili the day before because we all know that chili tastes better on day 2.

So immediately after we get the news that our lives have been shattered into a million pieces we have to call his team and tell them they can't come over for dinner that night. When we get home I'm faced with a HUGE pot of chili. What on earth am I going to do with all this chili now? Neither of us were hungry that night as I packed my bag in preparation for my C-section which was scheduled for the next day. So the pot sat uneaten in my fridge until my lovely friends came over to clean out the nursery and baby stuff. I told them they could eat it but I've always suspected they dumped it down the sink.

So last night when the hubby suggested having them over again I knew what was coming. "They really want some of your chili this year," he tells me. Apparently they love it so much that it's been specially requested. I'm not sure if it's the timing of this visit to the one last year, or the memory of making the chili itself,,, but I totally lost it.

Hysterical crying about chili! *Yes, about chili.*

"I can't make chili for them," I tell him. At first he doesn't realize why,,, because of course he had forgotten about the chili. But not me. Apparently chili is now a trigger for me. I realized that I haven't made chili since my son died. And I'm certainly not going to make it again, in August, for the same people as the night before my life fell apart.

So how's that new normal going??? I'm not sure just yet. I feel like I take 2 steps forward and then 1 step back. It's frustrating sometimes, but I try to be gentle with myself. After all, if I really want the life I love back then I have to start by loving myself,,, right?

**And apparently in my new normal I no longer make chili.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Just Added- Trying Again Timeline

I write about a lot of things on this blog. It's all a bit of a brain dump as I jump freely from one topic to another.

I realize that this can make it hard to keep up sometimes. So I've added a tab at the top to keep track on my donor egg IVF journey. A timeline of where I'm at and where I've been.

So if you're a new follower and want to know how I got here you don't have to wade through all my other posts to figure it all out.

Although I do hope you will still read them at some point. Just saying! : )

Here's a link to the tab, or you can just click on the words Trying Again Timeline near the top of my page, just next to My Story.

Saturday, 20 August 2011


On Saturday the 13th we honored the memory of our son with a balloon release. It was quite an emotional day for us and I was touched and honored that so many of our friends and family (both in real life in in the bloggy world) wanted to join in. I wanted to share some of the balloon photos that I received.

I love that they were sent from all over the world in honor of my son. I hope he got them all!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

When Newly Pregnant Friends Say Stupid Things

What do you do when someone close to you says something completely insensitive? That's the question I've been asking myself ever since my lunch with the girls today.

I had a lunch scheduled today with three friends, two who I know very well and one who I am just getting to know. It's been planned for a while now and even though I did just get the bad news yesterday that my donor egg IVF cycle was a bust, I was looking forward to it.

To help make this story make sense I'm going to give them nicknames and also give you a bit of background.

  • Friend A- Is a close friend. She's been with me through my pregnancy and the death of my son. She knows all about my struggles with infertility and the fact that I was doing an IVF cycle. She knew I had my beta test yesterday but I had not told her the results yet. She is also newly pregnant and I knew but the 2 other ladies did not. I am absolutely thrilled and happy for her.
  • Friend B- Is also a close friend. She met me after my son died but is well aware of my loss and my struggles with infertility. She also knew about my IVF cycle. Unlike friend A, she already knew my test results were negative because I told her a few hours after I found out. She is an infertility veteran as well. She now has two beautiful children but only after years of struggling. 
  • Friend C- Is new to town and we are all just getting to know her. She does not have any children. We know through a mutual friend that she has had an ongoing struggle with infertility. Apparently it is a very sensitive subject and she has never spoken with any of us about it.
So basically you've got 3 infertiles and 1 newly pregnant fertile sitting at a table. What could possibly go wrong??

Anyway, because I don't know Friend C very well I didn't want to talk about my failed IVF cycle in front of her. Partly because I know she has her own issues with fertility, but mostly because it's private and I don't share my struggles with just anyone. So conversation during this lunch was mostly small talk and chit chat. Not that there's anything wrong with that,, in fact sometimes it's nice to simply enjoy light hearted conversation.

Near the end of the meal, Friend C left the table to "powder her nose." I took this opportunity to tell Friend A about my negative pregnancy test. She expressed her sympathy and asked how I was doing and what we're going to do next. I quickly told her about our frosty and how we can try again as soon as I get my period this month. Friend C came back to the table and we changed the subject.

A few minutes later Friend A decided to share her pregnancy news with Friend B and Friend C. Of course they were happy to hear this wonderful news. They offered their congratulations and asked all the normal questions. After sharing how far along she was, when she's due, and telling us how she is definitely going to find out the sex of the baby she throws out this gem.

"Yes, well we weren't going to start trying until August, but it was our anniversary night and we'd had a bunch of wine and it just happened a bit earlier than we had planned."

Just like that, she throws out one of those flippant comments about how "oops" we got pregnant without really trying. To a table full of women who have all struggled to get and stay pregnant.

She says this to the group and to me,,,,, not 5 minutes after I just shared with her that my donor egg IVF cycle had failed. The first time I had tried after losing my son. I was in shock and felt like she punched me in the stomach and then slapped me in the face.

Is she serious? Did it not even occur to her for a second that it might not be appropriate to comment on how easy it was for her to accidentally get pregnant a few months before she was going to start trying for real? Did it not occur to her that I was only 1 day away from my own bad news? Did it not occur to her that Friend B and Friend C have both had issues with infertility? Did it not occur to her that a comment like this could really hurt our feelings?

You could justify it a little by saying that she may not be fully aware of what Friend B and Friend C have gone through. I don't actually know what she knows about their struggles. But I do know that she if fully aware of mine. She has been there for a big part of it. And yet she still makes such an insensitive stupid thing?? I would expect this type of comment from someone I don't know very well. But I would never have expected a comment like this from her. Someone who is supposedly a good friend.

I just don't get it?

What would you do?

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Beta = Not Pregnant

My 2 week wait is officially over and my beta came out negative. I can't say was surprised because I finally cracked and peed on a stick a few hours before the call came in. I figured I could live with the "false negative" the nurse scared me with for a few hours.

Alas, the phone call only confirmed what the lovely digital stick had already mocked me with. I am not pregnant.

I'm disappointed for sure. But I'm not devastated. It took us more than one IUI to get pregnant with my son and it took many years to even get that far. The hubby and I never do things the easy way. Why get something done quick and easy when there is a longer, more painful, and more costly way,,,, right?

Denial you ask? How can you possibly not be crushed at the negative result? I have to say that I don't think I'm in denial. I gave the tears a pretty good chance to come but they never arrived. The old me would have buried myself in bed for a good old cry for sure.

But the old me had never been pregnant before. The old me didn't realize that getting pregnant is only the beginning of the struggle. The beginning of the worrying. And the beginning of all the things that can go wrong.

I suppose losing a full term baby gives you a different perspective on things.

Yes, I'm disappointed. I wanted to be one of those success stories. Someone who tried egg donation and got pregnant on the first try. I'm not happy that we have to go through this all over again. I'm not happy that I've been injecting myself with hormones for nothing. Or that I spent a week in Spain and didn't get to drink any wine or eat any jamon iberico (and I really love that stuff). Going through a full IVF cycle and coming up with a negative beta is definitely a knock back.

But the knock back of a failed cycle is nowhere near the crushing blow of losing your baby at 36 weeks. I'm not negating it or brushing it off saying it's nothing. But it's nowhere near the worst thing that's happened to me this year. I've been through much worse.

Plus we have a plan already for cycle #2. The nurse told me to stop my injections and wait for my period. She said to expect it to be heavier and more uncomfortable since they worked hard to get me such a good thick lining. Ugh, I am not looking forward to that. So to prepare for this I went out to the store and bought myself a PMS kit. What is a PMS kit you ask??? Well here it is.

Everything a girl needs. Notice the Spanish wine to help make up for last week.
If I'm honest I'm sure I'll need more wine and more chocolate, but I didn't want you all to think I'm a total alcoholic! Oh, and even though the Rolo bag says love to share, I'm definitely not sharing them!

Once I get my monthly friend I can go back on the birth control pill and get ready for my frozen cycle. Don't forget, I've got a frosty waiting for me at the clinic. According to the nurse, it is another grade AA blastocyst. And the frozen cycle goes faster than a fresh one because I don't have to sync up with anyone else and we already know we've got a good embryo.

So while I'm not happy that things didn't work out the first time around, I am happy that we've already got a plan for cycle #2.

Pouring my heart out

Monday, 15 August 2011

We Survived... Thanks For Helping Us Through This

Saturday we celebrated my Son's first birthday in heaven. I want to thank all of you for your love and support through this very difficult time. Your comments and emails brought much needed light to a very dark time. I want to thank all of you who released balloons for my son. A baby you have never met.

I loved getting the photos in my inbox. I plan to publish a post with all of them very soon. I just need to figure out how to make one of those cute photo collages first.

I also want to send a special thanks to I'm So Fancy and Jane from wordgeyser who wrote posts in honor of my son. Words can't express how happy I was to find your lovely posts in my reader. Here are the  links if you want to go and check them out. They're wonderful and I highly recommend you give them both a visit and a read.

It wasn't an easy day for the hubby and I. As we were just back from a week away as part of Operation Distraction, we couldn't just sit around all day and cry. We had actual things that we needed to take care of. Including food shopping, which I smartly ordered online and had delivered, picking up prescriptions, and of course getting his balloon for the balloon release.

At first I was angry that part of his special day was taken up doing normal mundane things, but then I realized that actually it was more "normal" to have other things to do.

Time doesn't stand still for grief.
Life doesn't stand still for grief.
Even when you want it to.

It was "normal" to have to do other non-dead baby things on Saturday. Because in the year since my son died, life has gone on. We still need to have food in the house. We still need to pick up medications. We still need to get more light bulbs. We still need to do all the normal things that normal people do.

Grief is an additional layer to a normal life. At first it's a smothering layer that blocks out all light and oxygen. But as time goes on, it finds a way to incorporate itself into the other layers of your life. Six months ago I wrote about the layers of grief. I had forgotten about that post until I began to write this one. Looking back at my words, I don't think I have much to add. Except that with time it does get easier to live life while also living with grief.

Obviously his birthday will always be a tough one for us. A day when the shiny top-coat we've painted over our grief chips away and we are left raw and exposed. A day when we feel that pain again, as if it had just happened yesterday. As if we had not even begun to heal.

A day when the layer where we keep our grief again becomes exposed and is once again smothering and all consuming. This feeling is like a familiar unwelcome friend who comes to stay and refuses to leave. A feeling that lingers longer than you want it to,,, but not for as long as it did in the past.

Yes it was a tough day. But we survived, because that's who we are now,,,, survivors.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

I Hope They Are Celebrating Your Birthday In Heaven

Today is the day you were born, your birthday.

It's not an easy day for your Daddy and I.

We had hoped to be celebrating your day with a huge party with lots of presents and your first chocolate cake.

Instead we are on our way out to buy a balloon to release in your memory. One perfect balloon for our perfect firstborn son.

I hope they are having a party for you in heaven and I hope you are ready for all the balloons that are coming your way.

We love you and miss you very much.

Mom and Dad

Friday, 12 August 2011

One Year Ago Today

One year ago today a 36 week pregnant me went in for one more growth scan and found out that my son had no heartbeat. I had no idea anything was wrong and could swear I had just felt him move. But I was wrong, they told me he had been gone for at least a few days.

That was the moment that my life fell apart.

I have spent the past year trying to pick up the pieces.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

The Balloon Release Is On! Want To Join In?

As many of you already know, August the 13th, 2010 is the day my son was born silently into this world. This Saturday it will officially be one year since we had to say good bye. It's such a painful thing and yet I wanted to figure out some way to honor his memory and very short life. I wrote about doing a balloon release here and was amazed at the positive response I got from all of you.

After reading my post and all your responses the hubby warmed to the idea. So I composed a short email and sent it off to family and close friends. Most of them live somewhere besides the UK so I figured an email was the best way to get the message out. I sent a copy to the hubby to make sure he was ok with it. He loved it and even asked me to send it to his family who at first he was a bit hesitant to reach out to.

Asking for help isn't something that comes easy for either one of us. I think that most of our family and friends think we are strong people. The kind of people that have their shit together and don't fall apart when things get tough. I think they would tell you that we have handled the loss of our son with dignity and grace. I've actually been told that by someone. I remember thinking, "Dignity and grace??? Can't you see that I'm dying inside?" But instead of saying that I just said thank you.

For whatever reason, we have hidden the depths of our sorrow from those around us. For whatever reason we feel the need to put on a public face. So this makes reaching out to ask others to join in honoring our son extra difficult for us. But I did it and it felt good. I'm proud to have reached the point where I can do something like this.

I stressed in the email that there was no pressure to join in, that it was strictly optional. I got some amazing responses and promises of participation. Time will tell what kind of response we get on Saturday, but it felt good to get the request out there. I absolutely love the idea that there will be balloons released all over the world in memory of my beautiful son.

It felt so good to ask others to participate that I am also going to extend the invitation to you, my lovely blog readers. I would absolutely love it if you would consider releasing a balloon in honor of my son this Saturday, the 13th of August. I would love it even more if you could take a photo of the balloon and send it to me. Someday I hope to gather enough strength to purchase and put together a memory book for him and these photos would be a wonderful addition.

I know that I blog anonymously and that I have never told you my son's name. But I wonder if you would be willing to do this anyway? To honor a baby boy that was very much loved and very much wanted?

To honor my son who I miss terribly?

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Frosty The Embryo

We officially have a frosty! Or is it an emb-cicle? Or an emb-lolly? Ok, that last one sounds gross. I best make my point before I spend hours trying to come up with cute nick names for a frozen embryo.

I got an email from the clinic letting me know that out of the 3 embryos that were still going strong on my transfer day (one of which we implanted) 1 was able to be frozen. Now I'm not sure what's good or bad when you have 5 eggs fertilize but I'm pretty happy about it. One perfect embryo to implant and one perfect embryo to freeze.

Obviously I'm hoping that the one I've got on board has snuggled in for the long haul, but it's nice to know that I've got a frosty as a plan B,,, or perhaps a future sibling if I may get that far ahead of myself. : )

In the meantime I'm doing all my injections and staying off the wine,,,, and I'm in Spain right now so that's really rough. My needles and I have been to Spain, then back to London, then to the US, then back to London, then to Spain again. I've jabbed myself at home, in hotel rooms, and even in a rental car (not while it was moving of course). I'm sure the other visitors to the Arlington National Cemetary wondered what exactly I was doing but luckily no one rapped on our window or called the police to report drug use in the parking lot. All of this in an effort to keep my hormone levels up. All of this in an effort to get that positive pregnancy test and a baby to take home.

I've got a bit more time to wait until my beta next week on the 17th but I'm keeping my hopes up that this one is a keeper.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Operation Distraction

I am back from the lovely US of A. Even though we didn't go to Washington DC as tourists, we did catch a few sights while we were there. Tomorrow evening we're off again, this time to Barcelona. The hubby has to go for work and I've decided to tag along. I will be spending quite a bit of time on my own since he will be pretty busy, but it beats being home alone, especially this week.

Our tourist excursions in DC and the week in Barcelona are all part of "Operation Distraction." You see, in addition to being officially in my 2 week wait from our donor egg IVF cycle it is also only one week until our son's first birthday. It's a lot to deal with all at one time so the idea is to keep me busy so I won't have lots of time on my own to dwell on things. I'm not trying to deny either event or it's significance and will give each it's due focus and respect of course. But the less time alone sitting on my couch I have to obsess, the better.

The timing of these two things couldn't be more bittersweet for me. On the one hand I'm super excited to think that this cycle could work and I could be pregnant again. On the other hand I'm super sad to think that it's been almost one full year without my precious baby boy. When we began this cycle it never even occurred to me that we would be waiting on results right around the 13th which is his day.

In fact, I felt a huge sigh of relief when I found out that my beta test won't be until the 17th of August. I'm not sure I would want to be having my pregnancy test results back before or on his birthday. I'm not going to cheat and pee on a stick before the 13th either. I want his birthday to be all about him, not about joy or sorrow over pregnancy test results.

As I mentioned before, we will be releasing a balloon to honor our son's memory. We will do ours privately but will be inviting family and close friends to release their own as well. Sometime this week I've got to draft that email letting people know our plans and inviting them to participate, but first things first.

So today it's a rush of laundry and re-adjusting to UK time. Tomorrow night I will be tucked into my bed at the hotel in Barcelona. I will of course be taking it easy to give that little embryo time to snuggle in for the long haul. I figure it's just as beneficial to lay on a lounge chair by the pool as it is to lay on my couch. Plus I won't be having to do any housework or dishes while I'm in Barcelona so really I'm going to be taking it easier than if I'd stayed home, right?

Operation Distraction is in full swing. Here's hoping it helps pass the time!

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Embryo On Board

Today we transferred one grade AA blastocyst. I need to go read up on the different categories but according to my doctor this is good. There are two other embryos that may be eligible for freezing, they will let us know in a day or two about that. But I'm hoping we won't need the frozen ones, I am hoping this one is a keeper.

The hubby and I have talked a lot about how many embryos to transfer. Ultimately we decided that if we had one perfect embryo then that's all we would transfer. The reason is because multiple pregnancies are higher risk. Any pregnancy of mine is already going to be high risk because of the placental issue that caused my son to die at 36 weeks. Add that factor (even though they say it was a fluke and not likely to happen again) to a multiple pregnancy and you're talking super high risk. I know first hand that bad things can happen even in perfect uneventful pregnancies, but we want to try and lower our risk of future losses if possible. Mentally we need to have the lowest risk pregnancy possible. So we're happy with our decision to only transfer one today.

I've been a ball of stress for a couple of days now. I think that somehow when you try not to think about something or stress about something it makes you think about that thing and stress about it even more. At least that's how it works for me. So I was just a bit grumpy and not so pleasant to be around on the ride over. We got to the office with my semi-full bladder and waited. Good thing I wasn't bursting for a pee because we waited about a half an hour after our scheduled time before we finally were called in.

I got up on this table and assumed the position. Giddy up! I've missed those stirrups. In the UK most clinics don't have them and you just have to put your feet on the table and open your knees. We had come into the room using one door and there was another door on the other side of the room. It reminded me of when you go to the vet's office (random thought I know). The doctor comes in the door we used and gets everything ready. Then the embryologist comes in from the other door. That's the door to the lab, where my embryos are. She confirms my identity and the fact that we're only transferring one embryo. Then she leaves.

Once we're all ready the nurse goes back in the lab door and says we're ready. Back comes the embryologist with a long skinny metal thing that is holding our embryo. The procedure itself was not painful at all. It hurt even less than my IUI. It is all over quickly. That is until when they check the skinny metal tube they discover that my stubborn little embryo is still hiding in there. So back into the position I go and they have to do it all over again. This time as we're watching the ultrasound we all see the little thing go in. Well we see something that looks like a worm or line and the nurse who can read ultrasounds tells us that's our embryo going in. Tube checked and the embryo was no longer in it. Second time was the charm I guess.

I'm now on bedrest for the next 24 hours and have to take it easy for a couple more days after that. I'm feeling tired and a bit crampy. I think the crampy is from the procedure today and the tired is a combination of jet lag and the stress leaving my body. So I guess we won't be doing as many of the touristy things in Washington DC like I'd hoped. But that's OK with me. We didn't come here for that. Although we will be going to a baseball game on Friday night.

It's weird to think that there is a little embryo floating around inside me. For the first time in almost a year I have to worry about what I eat and drink again. I need to eat healthy and give up wine not because I'm on some kind of diet or health kick, but because I'm trying to grow a baby in here.

I know that what happens from this point on is mostly out of my hands. I suppose this is where the "faith" part of taking a leap of faith is all about. As George Michael says, "Because I gotta have faith, oh I gotta have faith."

Monday, 1 August 2011

How To Honor His First Birthday?

We are still working out exactly how we want to honor our son's first birthday which is quickly approaching. I can't believe it's almost August 13th again.

I've been putting it off because thinking about it is so terribly painful. In a way I suppose I have been focusing a bit more on our IVF cycle than on my grief. It is easier to think about the future and all it's possibilities than the devastation that happened to us almost a year ago. As I wrote about here, the hubby is worried that we are somehow trying to replace him or that we will forget about him. But I have not forgotten, I am incapable of forgetting.

We have been very private in our grief so a big party is not for us. Plus the family lives in the US and we live in the UK so there's no way to get everyone together even if we wanted to. I think what we will end up doing is lighting a candle and releasing a balloon. Just the two of us.

I'm also toying with the idea of inviting my family and close friends to join in. Not with us in our back garden, but inviting them to release their own balloons. We did not have a memorial service or funeral for our son. It was too much for us. We had a private blessing and released his ashes on our own. It was what we needed at the time but I sometimes feel like we didn't give the rest of the family a way to pay their respects.

So I was thinking that if I let them know what we were doing then they could release their own balloons if they wanted. Or not if they don't.

I was even thinking they could take photos of their balloons and send them to me. Again, only if they wanted to. I could keep all the photos with the other mementos we have of him. That I may someday transfer to a memory book, but for now are all in a filing box. The hubby is a bit unsure about all this, but I'm leaning towards it.

So my lovely readers, what do you think of my idea to allow family and friends to join in?