Saturday, 24 December 2011

Busy Busy

Just a quick note to let you all know I'm still here and all is well. I've got my parents visiting from the USA and they are keeping me busy. I've tried to find time to write, but have just been too busy. I have been reading your blog posts when I can and am wishing you all well.

Hopefully I have time soon to get some of these words out of my head. This Christmas is both happy and sad for me. Lots to say but no time at the moment.

Busy busy.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Waiting For The Christmas Spirit

Christmas is in full swing around here. The tree is up, the house is decorated, and all the presents have been wrapped. Plans have been made for most of the big meals. Dinner out for Christmas Eve, a huge dinner in for Christmas, and even a special meal for Boxing Day (which they celebrate here in the UK).

Unlike most years, it won't be just the two of us. My parents arrive today for a 2 week visit. In addition, we have invited some expat friends over for Christmas dinner. Because of the nature of The Hubby's job we always have to be home at Christmas time. As a result, since living over here we usually spend it on our own. I am looking forward to having a house full this year. I think it will help to make things feel less lonely and more like Christmas.

Now if only I can find my Christmas spirit.

We will have a house full of guests, food, and Christmas cheer. The Hubby is absolutely buzzing with enthusiasm and excitement, but I'm not sure I'm feeling it just yet. I want to feel it, but I'm not quite there yet.

I approach this Christmas with mixed feelings. I'm sad of course that we will be spending our second Christmas without our son. He would have been old enough this year to rip open presents and try to take the ornaments off the tree. I'm sure we would have spoiled him and got him way too many presents. Somehow I think this time of year will always feel empty without him.

We had lots of tears this year when we hung his ornaments on the tree. I wonder if that will happen every year? I suppose it probably will.

I also have been thinking a lot about the fact that I am pregnant again this year. This means that I have spent 2 of the last 3 holiday seasons pregnant. This time around it feels as much like the best gift ever as it did the first time. A little miracle just waiting to be born. I don't have the same sense of unbridled joy this time around. I suppose that's because this time my joy is mixed with my grief.

But it does give me hope. Hope that next year we will have a living child to share Christmas with. It is with that sense of hope that I'm doing my best to get into the spirit this year. Because we deserve to be happy, especially after all we've been through.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Done With The Meds

Last night I "shot the pooper" for the last time. So as of today I am officially off the IVF hormones. I am done with needles and suppositories and all the crazy mood swings that go along with the hormones contained within them.

Wait, I'm pregnant right?? Right, so the crazy hormonal mood swings will most likely continue. But at least they will be due to my own crazy hormones and not due to the extra ones I've been pumping through my body.

Surprisingly I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. Mostly I'm relieved. Keeping the schedule of injections and all the rest of it is stressful. It will be nice to live my life without that constant fear that I will miss a dose and jeopardize everything.

I can't tell you how many times I had to wrack my brain to make sure I had indeed done my injection that day. It's a stress that I no longer have to worry about.

It does feel strange though. I've been digging into my bag-o-meds on a daily basis since August,,, and that's just the meds for this cycle. So it will be a huge relief to not have to bother with it all.

It also means I'm approaching my second trimester. A fact that seems amazing to me. How has it already been that long? Not that it seems like yesterday when I got my first positive test, but it's already been almost 3 months? Really??? I'm approaching my second trimester? Wow, that denial thing I'm doing is working really well.I seem to have lost all sense of passing time.

I am slightly scared to be off all the meds though. It's my understanding that they have you take the hormones after the transfer to help your body keep the pregnancy going. Obviously I'm no doctor and I'm sure I'm not saying it quite right, but you get what I mean. There is a part of me that has felt a bit more secure knowing I was taking a bit of extra hormones to keep my little Frosty on board. Now that I'm off the hormones I have to depend on my own body to do the same thing.

I know that pregnancy is unpredictable and the hormones wouldn't have kept anything from happening if that is what was meant to be. But the extra medication feels like a bit of a security blanket. There is a small part of me that wonders what harm would come if I just took the hormones for an extra day or two. Or an extra week?

As tempting as it may seem, I will not be taking my medication beyond what my Doctor has prescribed. I don't know if it would be harmful to take the hormones after the recommended date. Maybe they have you stop now because it would be bad to continue. The last thing I want is to do anything to cause harm to Frosty.

The other reason I won't take the hormones past today is because at some point I've got to go off them. I suspect I will be a bit scared whenever that day is. So no matter if it's today, or two days from now I've still got to do it. A leap of faith if you will. Trusting that my body will start doing it's job without help from supplemental progesterone and estrogen. Trusting that this time things will end well. Now that's a tall order isn't it??

Monday, 12 December 2011

Frosty Is Hanging In There

Today I went in for my 12 week ultrasound. Well actually I'm only 11 weeks and 4 days but you get the idea. I was doing a really good job at keeping mellow and relaxed. Right up until about an hour before the appointment time. Then I got all panicky and stressed but managed to hold it together without any tears. This is a huge improvement in my book because the last scan I couldn't sleep the night before and was a total mess the whole day.

It was really great to get to see our little Frosty again. He or she was moving all over the place and has a good healthy heartbeat. It's such a relief each time I get to see and hear that wonderful heartbeat.

All the measurements look great. I won't know the full results which include our chances for downs syndrome and a few other things until later this week, but I'm feeling pretty positive. At first our doctor was asking us about having an amnio and wanting to know our feelings on the test, but once I reminded him that we used a 20-something egg donor he retracted his comment. He said that based on what he can see, he thinks it will be highly unlikely that our results will come back with anything to worry about it.

After the appointment The Hubby asked me when we want to start telling more people. I didn't have an answer for him. I know we're almost at 12 weeks now and even though I know there is no "all clear" I do know that after 12 weeks you chances go way up. So at some point we will need to start telling people.

Telling people makes it all seem so much more real. I've been doing a pretty good job of living in a bubble of denial because so few people know. Once we tell more people, I will have to come to terms with the fact that I am indeed pregnant again. It is real,,, it is happening,,, it is real. And that's a pretty scary place for me.

I think he sensed my hesitation and understood that it was based mostly on fear. I say this because he sent me the most amazing text message about an hour later.

It said, "You deserve to be happy today. You deserve to believe that our son is looking after you and his baby brother.. or sister. I love you with all my heart." 

What an amazing man I married!

He's right of course, I do deserve to be happy. I deserve to be joyfully telling people that we're expecting again. I deserve to not be riddled with fear this entire pregnancy. I deserve to be able to feel hopeful and to not always be waiting for the other shoe to drop.

So I'm going to do my very best to embrace the joy when it comes. And to try not to dwell on the fear and sadness as much as that's possible. After all, Frosty deserves for his/her parents to be as excited now as we were about his/her older brother. I'm not exactly sure how I'm going to manage this, but I'm sure going to try.

Friday, 9 December 2011

The Last Jab

Last night I did my last injection of del Estrogen.

The very last jab!! <---Insert cheers and applause here.

I can't tell you just how excited I am to not have to inject myself with anymore needles! I still have to "shoot the pooper" twice a day with progesterone, but only until next week. Then I'm DONE with all the hormones. I can't wait!

Our next ultrasound is on Monday. This is the NT scan where they check for your risk of downs syndrome and a few other things as well. I'm hoping for a good result on this one since our egg donor is in her 20's. I'm also happy for another chance to see Frosty.

I am praying that there is a good heartbeat and we can see our little Frosty wiggling around in there. I have this lingering fear that we will go in on Monday and see nothing. The Hubby gets mad at me and tells me to have positive thoughts. So that's what I'm trying to do.

I am having positive thoughts.
I am having positive thoughts.
I am having positive thoughts.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

What I Want For Christmas

Christmas is quickly approaching and The Hubby has been asking me what I want. I still haven't been able to give him an answer. It's weird because usually I have no problems coming up with ideas for presents, especially if they are for me. There's always something I want, maybe a new handbag, maybe some jewellery, maybe clothes. But this year I'm drawing a blank.

This is not like me at all. I have been wondering what is wrong with me that I can't figure out something, anything that I would like to see wrapped under the tree this year.

Part of the problem is that I usually get clothes and being 10 weeks pregnant makes that a difficult one. I'm still in my normal clothes but soon to grow out of them I'm hoping. It's too early to buy maternity clothes, especially when I've already got a box of them down in the garage. So new clothes are pretty much out for now.

Another part of the problem is of course that we have spent a crazy amount of money this year on our fertility treatments and the travel required to do so. So obviously we are on a much more limited budget than normal.

But the largest part is that really, all I want is a living baby. One that I can take home in a car seat instead of in a tiny urn. My due date isn't until June and I certainly don't want my baby to come in time for this Christmas. I guess what I want is to know for sure that he or she will be born healthy and live a very long and happy life. I want my rainbow baby.

I want a guarantee that nothing will go wrong this time.

I want the peace of mind of knowing that all will end well.

That's what I want for Christmas this year.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

My Super-Classy Infertility Glossary

Fertility treatments,,,,,,, ahhhhh good times! I don't know many people who have gone through them who don't look back in horror at some of the indignities they entail.

I know, I know,,, you will tell me that bringing home a healthy baby is worth all the needle sticking and vaginal probing. And I'm not one to disagree. If in fact I am able to bring this baby home so it can cry all night and poop and pee on me I will be eternally grateful. However that does not take away from some of the things I've chosen to endure in order to get there.

What I'd like to talk about today is the actual process of getting pregnant via these doctor-assisted means. If anyone had told me that someday I'd be injecting myself with needles and doing twice daily suppositories in order to get and stay pregnant, I'd have told them they were crazy. It truly is amazing the things we are asked to do on the quest for our take-home babies.

I have found over the years that the only way to cope with losing what was left of my dignity is to laugh and make jokes. To that effect, I have given the various bits and bobs of my infertility journey nicknames. Nicknames that I am now going to share with all of you. An infertility glossary of sorts. I should probably preface this by saying that I am super classy and so of course my glossary is full of very classy terminology (insert sarcasm here).

Still interested? Then read on, but you have been warned!

Auntie Flo- Your period, which either comes when you don't want it to. Like when you're hoping you might actually be pregnant. Or doesn't come when you do want it to. Like when you're wanting to start a new IVF cycle.

My bag-o-meds.
Bag-O-Meds- The giant bag you end up having to buy to house all your super-expensive IVF drugs.

Beta Test- A form of torture. You think you might be pregnant (especially if you've cheated already and peed on a stick) but you still have to take the blood test to see if your hormone levels agree. If you get a 0 then you're out. If you get anything besides a 0 then you have to test several more times to see if your cycle was a success or a failure. It's a long drawn out process and even then you end up having to wait for the ultrasound to see if you're actually pregnant.

Collection Room- The one and only sacrifice our dear husbands have to make. And when I say sacrifice I am laughing hysterically. This is the room where you hubby goes to wack off into a cup. My hubby has been in many of these and tells me that the quality of both the accommodations and reading material can vary widely depending on the facility. From the bathroom of a lab with no dirty magazines to the Rolls Royce of all collection rooms which has leather reclining chairs, porn on demand on the TV, and a remote control. He thinks that a tour of this room should be done before final clinic selection.

Egg Donor- An angel from heaven. A woman who decides to donate her eggs so that sad, sorry, grieving, over 40, infertile women like me can have a baby. I believe there should be a special place in heaven for egg and sperm donors.

Frosty- Our little frozen embryo who has decided to stick around for the past 10 weeks. I am hoping and praying that our little frosty grows into our take-home rainbow baby who will cry all night and pee and poop on us.

IVF- A process that relieves you of your future children's college money before they are even conceived. Unless you are lucky enough to have health coverage that pays for it, in which case I am super jealous and am not sure I can be friends with you!

My jabby jab survival kit.
Jabby Jab- All the injections you have to do along the way. Some are tiny needles and go into your belly. Others are large needles and go into your leg or hip muscles. Some of you have your husbands or friends do them for you. Others, like me, have to jab yourselves. Either way, they leave you with bruising, swelling, numbness, and sometimes itchiness too. Oh, and what they don't tell you is that you have to continue them even after you find out you're pregnant!

License to Carry- The note you get from the doctor that says you can fly on airplanes with all your drugs and needles. Having travelled from the US to the UK for treatment and also travelling from the UK to a few countries in Europe for vacation, I have found this note completely unnecessary. None of the security screeners I encountered ever even asked me about the mass quantities of needles and liquid hormones in my bag. They were always much more concerned with my big boobs and the fact that my underwire bra always sets off the metal detector. I got lots of extra pat downs, but never a bag search.

Mr. Wandy- The beloved vaginal ultrasound wand. This tool of joy is used for all sorts of things. To check your ovaries and follicles, to check your lining, and also to check if you have a viable pregnancy. He is usually dressed in a condom with some lube, but at one of my clinics they just stuck a bright blue rubber glove on him. Nice!

Pee Stick- The Magic 8 Ball for women trying to conceive. You pee on it and it tells you your future, pregnant,,, or not pregnant. The fancy digital ones not only tell you if you are pregnant, but they also tell you how far along you are. It is the only item I am aware of that is socially acceptable to pee on, then take photos of (to post on your  blog of course), and then pass around to your friends and family to examine. Just imagine trying to pass around a wad of used toilet paper and see what kind of responses you would get.

Poking The Bear- All those hormone injections can make a girl a bit testy. At times one can feel like a raging bear ready to explode. At some of these times, The Hubby thought it was funny to say things to try and set me off. At these times I would glare at him and say, "Don't poke the bear." Sometimes it worked and sometimes he went ahead and poked the bear anyway. He paid dearly for those times.

Shoot The Cooch- After receiving the good news that you don't have to inject your progesterone in your leg anymore you may want to cheer. Until you find out that you have to use this plastic popsicle stick looking "applicator" to inject it into your vagina twice a day. I took to referring to this a shooting the cooch because cooch is such a classy word for vagina. Oh, and no one tells you in advance that sometimes this can cause spotting. Until you start spotting and freak out and have to call the nurse. Spotting is bad!!

Shoot The Pooper- After you start spotting and are sure you are having a miscarriage they tell you that the vaginal form of progesterone can sometimes be the cause of the bleeding. You sigh in relief because you know that you are not losing your baby, you just have a sensitive cervix. Your doctor tells you he will switch you to the anal form of progesterone. Good times!! Since I could no longer announce I was shooting the cooch I changed my terminology to shooting the pooper since that was now what I was doing. Amazingly, this process is not nearly as horrifying as it may sound. Or maybe I've just got no boundaries left.

Sunglasses- Another side effect of all the hormone injections is random crying episodes. I have found these episodes especially enjoyable and not at all embarrassing. Ok, I lie. I find them absolutely horrifying and terribly embarrassing. As a result, I highly recommend carrying a large pair of sunglasses with you wherever you go. That way you can pop them on when your hormones decide that crying in a grocery store, or on public transportation is a great idea.

So there you have it. My super-classy glossary of infertility. Have I missed anything? Do you have a few of your own that you think should be added to this list?? If so then feel free to add yours in the comments,,, or email me if you're too embarrassed to admit yours in public.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Getting Ready To Say No

Thanks so much for all the comments regarding the baby shower invitation dilemma. I am leaning towards not going at this point and if I can overcome my guilt then I will not be attending. I don't know why I feel guilty about not going, but I do.

Perhaps it has to do with the fact that another mutual friend told me she won't be going either. I won't tell her story here, but basically she is fed up with the Mother to be (M2be). Like me, she feels that M2be isn't the friend we thought she was. In addition there have been some things that have happened between this friend and M2be that I wasn't involved with which resulted in very hurt feelings for our mutual friend.

The three of us, plus a couple of others who no longer live in the UK, were a very tight group at one point so this "slow unfriending" has been awkward for us all. Our mutual friend has done a much better job of disengaging from M2be than I have which has not gone unnoticed by M2be.

Our mutual friend feels that it would be hypocritical of her to attend the baby shower after all that has happened. So she let me know a few days ago that she won't come and will make her excuses. She let me know so I wouldn't be expecting to see her there, something I greatly appreciate.

I told her my dilemma with baby showers in general and she totally understands. In fact her response was like many of yours. She said that I should do what I feel is best and not worry about hurting anyone's feelings. She said that I should only do what I feel I can and nothing more.

This is where my guilt kicks in. Like many of my friends here in London, M2be is living in a foreign country far from family and friends. I can imagine that when she started trying for a baby she imagined her London baby shower filled with her closest new friends. Since then, two have moved out of the country and two of us are really not her close friends anymore. Even knowing that, she has chosen to invite the two of us who are still here.

I know it's not my fault about those who moved away, and it's certainly not my fault about what happened between her and our mutual friend. But I feel like our absence will be felt in a way that will hurt M2be's feelings. I hate hurting people's feelings. Yes, she is flying home to have a baby shower with her friends and family there, so it's not like this is her only shower,,,, but still the guilt fills me. 

I am somehow stuck in this place where I try to please everyone when really I should focus more on myself. Since losing my son I'm much better at this, but the shower invitation issue proves that I'm not all the way there yet. I don't actually have to decline until I receive the actual invitation so I've got some time to prepare myself.

PS- Wow, seeing all this written down makes it look like a whole lotta drama! Ugh, I despise drama!