Saturday, December 31, 2011

Oh, 2011...You Were a Stinker

I remember New Year's Eve 2010. I remember sitting with Bryce, saying "Good riddance, 2010! You can go away and leave us with a much better year!" See, 2010 had us losing our beloved greyhound, Doc, to organ failure. It had failed IUIs and a failed IVF that had been touted as our silver bullet, but wasn't. My job at the time was not the steadiest thing in the world. We were stressed out and full of disappointments. 2011 had to be better.

Hmmm. Now 2011 is coming to a close and I can't honestly say it was a better year. It started with our second failed IVF, with worse quality than our first and a raging case of OHSS. I spent the first three weeks of 2011 recuperating (first from egg retrieval, then from OHSS, then from the tapping procedure to remove fluid from my abdomen from the OHSS). I didn't go back to school until after Martin Luther King Day. And I wasn't pregnant. We did another injectible IUI as a stopgap before our third IVF over the summer. I stimmed for a maddening 20 days (that's a lot). I not-so-secretly hoped my ovaries would take off and we'd be converted to IVF. It didn't happen, of course. We had our best sperm sample ever, almost "normal" perameters for IUI. But we didn't have a miracle.

We got ready for our third IVF. We switched doctors and had a new protocol. I didn't work over the summer so we'd have a better chance. I transferred to a new teaching job. I spent time over the summer boning up on Earth Science and Integrated Algebra to prepare. We had our best cycle ever--best egg haul, best quality, best fertilization rate, best embryos. We transferred three. We got pregnant. Our numbers were low. We were the miracle for a short time--numbers that shouldn't have gone up did. But it wasn't time for our miracle. The pregnancy was ectopic and surgery, same-day surgery, was scheduled. I lost my tube. I lost my pregnancy that wasn't mine to keep anyway. I lost my belief that we could truly be the miracle. I missed the first week of school. I started my new job a little broken and behind the curve.

Meanwhile, our dog became a bit destructive and a lot anxiety-ridden. My ability to handle anything went out the window. We realized that we had made a mistake--our loving greyhound that we'd adopted in 2010 needed more than we could offer, given our current situation. He needed more space to run, more time with owners who weren't single-mindedly pursuing parenthood, a better family match altogether. I needed a household free of additional anxiety and responsibility so that I could handle everything else on my plate. We both saw re-adopting Kayak to a better family for him as heart-wrenching, but it was a particularly hard failure and loss for Bryce. It was absolutely the right thing for everyone (he's very happy in his new home, even though he's been renamed Ranger, which I don't particularly like but he's not my dog anymore so whatever). But it was more loss, more sacrifice. Not too long after we lost Kayak my cat started to lose hind quarter control and strength, mysteriously. I started meds for our bonus frozen cycle. As transfer day grew nearer, my beloved cat declined inexplicably. I had a beautiful transfer, smooth and seamless. The next day I had to euthanize my cat. I spent days sobbing. I think it was before blood contact and so it's unlikely that my emotional state influenced the outcome of our cycle, at least from a logical standpoint. Still, it was a negative. No dog, no cat, no baby. No miracle.

2011 was not stellar. There are definite positives, though, and it wouldn't be fair not to acknowledge them. Bryce's job is steady and he excels at it. My new job is fulfilling, challenging, and while no teaching job is particularly steady in this climate, I feel decently secure. We did get pregnant for the first time and we did enter into an upswing on our fertility trajectory. We have a great rapport and trust with our doctor. We have strangely more reason to hope than ever. We have a new cat who is infusing energy and coziness back into our home. We have happiness, and health, and prosperity. We are not looking to make a life-altering decision regarding treatment; we are still in a place of possibility.

Despite the positives, it still feels like 2011 had an inordinate amount of loss and suffering. I can only hope that 2012 is more cooperative. Maybe our miracle will come just in time for the Mayan Apocalypse. Ha. Ha. Ha. We can only hope. I don't think it's too much to ask that our lives stop resembling a horrible country song where all is lost, slowly and with a thousand cuts. It's time for a change in direction. Are you listening, 2012?

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