So a few days ago I decided to tackle The Drawer.
The Drawer is a faux-leather box, one of three, that go in the bottom of the coffee table. The other two hold magazines or binder projects for razored magazines. This capitalized one holds all our fertility miscellany. It was sort of organized at one time, but now is a place to shove paid bills, receipts, old protocol sheets, etc. Well, not anymore. Now it truly is organized and a beauty to behold, but the process of cleaning it had an interesting and not entirely unexpected effect on me. I was shocked into tears at how much STUFF we have related to our cycles. I decided to take pictures of the different items in the drawer to document the sheer volume and variety of infertility-related crap that I have been holding on to for just about four years now. (Ouch, it hurts just to say that).
|Hot mess wristbands.|
|The crazy in me sorted them by age. They are in descending |
order from 33 at the top to 37 at the bottom. I need help.
This was the sight that greeted me at the bottom of the drawer once I'd taken everything else out. Years and years of hospital wristbands from years and years of treatment. There are IUIs in there, and egg retrievals, and embryo transfers, one pericentesis from a lovely case of OHSS, one laparoscopy at the bona fide hospital that required an overnight stay, one hysteroscopy at the ambulatory surgery center that didn't, and maybe a couple HSGs for good measure. Fact is, it's way too many wristbands to also not include at least one for the delivery of a freaking baby. Why do I save these? I honestly don't know. I found one that was labeled with a sharpie, "First Egg Retrieval." Isn't that cute. I think I wanted to keep them as a baby book memento, and then it just became a way to chronicle this trip through hell in little plastic bracelets. I'm sure I'm missing a few. I just can't bring myself to get rid of them until I have the magical ones that bring us to the end of this journey. When I showed a friend the picture the day I cleaned, he said, "Why not just keep the winning one? It's like scratch-off tickets, you don't keep the losers." But in a weird way, each of these tickets represents embryos and tries gone by, and I can't let them go yet.
Hilarious Accordion File
|I don't know why I can't fix|
the orientation of my photos.
Rubber Banded Stack of Assorted Cards
Over the course of our journey, we have received a lot of cards and well wishes. I have received things in the mail from people I have known all my life and from people who I haven't seen in years but have connected with on facebook. Cards, gift certificates, flowers, owl paraphernalia, elephants, `tokens of hope--you name it. I am incredibly blessed for the support that we have received. Unfortunately, the bulk of these cards come from when I was recovering from my ectopic pregnancy surgery. That was a really, really rough time. There are a few cards in there of excitement from our parents, who were thrilled that we were actually pregnant, but that arrived a day or two before it all came crashing to an end in the OR. Those are hard but important to hang on to. We have some letters of encouragement or responses to blogs I've written where I felt lonely and people felt the need to reach out and make me less so. I so appreciate all of these, and so can't get rid of them. Even the hard ones. Especially the hard ones. I don't always reread them, because that would cause a major flow of tears, but I love having them close by, a reminder of how loved and supported we are in this crapfest of a struggle to get pregnant.
At the beginning of the journey, I bought myself the bigger of these two notebooks. It has three sections. The inside cover says, "The Family-Planning Fertility Notebook." It starts with a timeline of how we will get started (in August 2009, two months before we got married because hey, at 33 who
|Gagh! Upside down! The bigger one has the sections. Note |
the botanical "fertility" theme continues...
I was so ambitious when we went to do our first IVF. I wanted to chronicle EVERYTHING. I am a
|Nope, not writing from right to left, |
the picture is upside down. Again.
Four File Folders of Paperwork
So far I haven't spilled where all my IVF paperwork is, so here it all is--one folder would not hold it all so I repurposed those folders they gave me with my protocols and consents and all that stuff to hold the ridiculous amounts of paperwork that I have. I recycled a whole bunch, too, because how many copies of a fact sheet named "Preparing the Uterus for Transfer" do you need? I have meticulously filed and organized all of our paper into the following system:Blue: Photos and surgical sheets. (Here are all our pictures of our embryos and transfers, as well as some really neat yet disturbing pictures of my uterus inside and out, thanks to the hysteroscopy and the laparascopic removal of my tubal pregnancy. Why on earth would I keep pictures of my tube starting to bleed from the bulge of the pregnancy? Because even though it's sad, it's also really cool from a scientific perspective.
Green: All protocol sheets and reports from our four fresh and two frozen IVFs with my genetic material, as well as information/fact sheets on injectable medications and the ins and outs of testing and IVF cycles.
First Red: Medical receipts for this current year, split into FSA receipts and then out-of-pocket bills/receipts. There are a few things sprinkled in there that aren't fertility (eyeglasses, dentist) but it's overwhelmingly fertility related. This will make doing our taxes so much easier, as before everything was just dumped into The Drawer and had to be painstakingly organized and filed between FSA and not at the beginning of the year. I have saved us time!
Second Red: This one is for Donor Egg cycle materials. I have put our special photos of our blasts and our transfer in there, as well as the mock cycle and actual cycle protocols. That's all on the left side. The right side is free and clear, waiting for our FET information and photos and positive pregnancy test. (See? Despite being faced with FOUR FOLDERS FULL of infertility winning the battle, I still have space for the belief that we WILL be successful in our FET. I have to, or I'd be a crumpled mess all the time.)
There you have it! What was once a swampy mess of paperwork and photos and medical expenses is now a highly organized drawer that is not spilling infertility over onto the floor. I feel so proud of my organizational skills and a little more than a little overwhelmed at the extensiveness of the contents of said drawer. It is a little less intimidating and horrifying now that it is neatly put away, in preparation for putting it all away FOR GOOD.