Monday, May 26, 2014

Excited AND Scared...

 Time has a way of marching on whether I'm ready or not... and so here we are, getting ready to go in for our actual retrieval-and-transfer cycle. I took my last birth control pill today (and antibiotic for the uterine banding and I'll take my last lining-stabilizing estrogen pill tonight... my medication list just keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger and now, for a short time, it will be just fish oil, prenatals with CoQ10, and Pregnitude! A relative reprieve!). Usually I'm all excited for that last BCP -- "This is it! Last Pill! For a really, really, really long time!" but I've been burned so badly on believing that things are "the last" anything (last cup of coffee, last glass of wine, last margarita, last stims shot) that it registers and then just kind of leaves me with more dread than excitement.

Don't get me wrong, like Little Red Riding Hood sings in Into the Woods, I'm both excited AND scared for this upcoming cycle. It fluctuates between 80-20 scared and 80-20 excited, and I think maybe the healthiest thing would be 50-50 but I can't seem to manage that. Like the song continues, "I know things now, many wonderful things..." except replace wonderful with terrifying. I am newly afraid of cancelled cycles. I would like to believe that it's a given that we will make it to transfer but I just am not as confident as I used to be on that front given my last experience. I would like to believe that it is a given that we will have frozens from this cycle, especially because it is split with donor sperm and there's this little piece of me that thinks of donor sperm as this magical, superhuman stuff that can fertilize a zillion eggs in one fell swoop, but I worry I can't count on that, either. (And I also worry that the donor sperm will prove to be the healthier embryos from the getgo and the fertilization report will be both encouraging and very, very sad for us and our attempt to join both our genetics together.) We've never NOT had frozens since our first two IVF cycles--with our current doctor at the helm we've always had at least two frozen embryos to transfer. But who knows? And then, the last time I transferred eggs that were mine into my uterus I got pregnant only to lose it two precious weeks later. Really, a week and a half. So there's that fear, too. There's the fear of not having an answer for why this hasn't worked for us and getting through all of our cycles with nothing left despite all the valiant efforts of procedures and treatments and searching for new things to address (that keep coming). There's also the fear of getting pregnant and being too afraid of all the things that could go wrong to enjoy it, and I have spent DECADES fantasizing about being pregnant. I am not naive, I know pregnancy comes with discomfort and pain and unpleasantness all the way around, but it also comes with joy and anticipation of a life-changing addition and the power to MAKE A HUMAN BEING inside of you. That has a powerful draw.

On the flip side, I am excited. I'm excited to actually make it to retrieval and see the difference a fancypants lab makes. I'm excited to give our genetic material another go and hope for the best. I'm excited to be Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise (except I am decided NOT excited for the beta testing). I'm excited to see follicles grow, hopefully more cooperatively this time with just the right amount of robustness, and I'm excited to see how many embryos we end up with, how many chances. I'm excited for the possibility that the extra embryos are icing on a pregnant cake, that maybe our number finally comes up and this ungodly hell is finally over. I dream about the day when we are no longer on this merry-go-round of torture in every possible way. I dream about finally being free to buy things for a baby that exists and not just in my head. I dream of taking all the things we've bought for the mythical baby out of drawers and crawlspace tubs and displaying them outwardly in our little room because it's finally REAL. I have excitement for these things. But first, mainly terror.

And exhaustion.

I did SO WELL with Egg Boot Camp. I have been on some supplements since JANUARY. I had been caffeine and alcohol free for months and had cut down on sugar in the weeks before supposed retrieval and I had been exercising regularly and doing lots of yoga and optimal acupuncture appointments and felt pretty zen. I am the opposite of that now. I realized the other day just how upset I've been about the cancelled cycle. I feel robbed, because I prepared so incredibly well for a cycle that went bust in a really irritating way, and I just got a bit burnt out on it all. There was no way I could keep all that up through June. No. Way. And, on top of it, I felt betrayed because I did all the things you're supposed to do to optimize your chances and my follicles were STILL not cooperative--they were robust but not evenly, they shot my estrogen to the sky without full maturity on my eggles, and all was lost. So... was it worth it? I'm not sure. I've been modified on everything, but I do not feel particularly prepared.

After the cancelled cycle I was really sad and really frustrated and I kind of gave myself a week or two to be completely hedonistic. But then I sprained my stupid ankle. So I was limited on the exercise front. And school has been insanely busy lately, even though annual reviews are over, so I didn't have as much time anyway even if my ankle wasn't preventing me from doing my yoga/pilates stuff and even walks. Then, once my ankle felt better, I went in for the hysteroscopy and was on an exercise moratorium following that. I've been able to do something for a week now, and I've been going for walks and doing light yoga, but I still feel like I am going into this cycle less than optimally on the physical front. And probably the emotional front, too.

The question is, is that so bad? Maybe I put too much pressure on myself. I did all those things and it didn't really make a difference with the cancelled cycle, so maybe I don't have to be quite so gung-ho about bodily preparation. I did start acupuncture back up on Saturday, and while I plan on doing the wheat grass shots during stimming, I think I'll do every other day. I don't think every day is necessary. Maybe I can be a bit more relaxed going into this cycle and that will help in some small way.

I wish I could turn off my insane need to control every little thing. I wish I could let go and really just let what it's going to Once we're in it I don't really have a choice, but this lead-up-time is fairly difficult. I want to be hopeful, but I fear worst-case scenarios. I want to give myself the best chance, but really at this point it feels like that's all it is--chance. If this is going to come through for us, if we're going to become parents through pregnancy, it's either going to mesh up or it's not. It's amazing to me how many tiny parts have to whirr and click at just the right time to make a baby happen. A tiny misstep and nothing comes to fruition. So who am I to think that drinking a frothy green juice is going to make a difference? That I need to be in prime shape for this to happen? I mean, I'm not in prime shape largely due to infertility, so it really feels like a losing battle. I only have a week left before I start stimming and strenuous exercise is off the table. Am I going to drop 8 pounds in one week? Not in any healthy way.

So, I spent much of this holiday weekend gardening. Preparing my vegetable bed for the Birthday Tomatoes my best friend sent me and ordering the rest of my veggies and herbs. I'm behind the 8-ball on planting, but whatever. I think we finally just passed danger of frost so I don't feel so bad. I plant pretty mature plants so I'm not worried. I did the first of my flower runs yesterday and moved stuff around. My lupines, the ones that got me so excited last year for producing one perfect flower, now have SEVEN buds (update--NINE!). Both plants are beginning to flower. Which is exciting but I also know is not necessarily a good omen for my own propagation. I wish it was, though. I've been tilling soil and digging holes and weeding and squatting and pruning and lifting and fertilizing all over the place. It's a good way to prepare in every possible way because I'm down in the earth and I'm caring for living things and I am making them thrive and reproduce and flower. Flowers are reproductive organs after all, so it's got to be good juju along with good exercise. I am righteously sore after yesterday's 5 hour long gardening spree. And it makes me feel good that I can create life. Not human life, not yet, but I am capable of making something grow.

I will end with pictures of my little flowerbabies, that help my body and my mind and have been the best preparation for this cycle I could do. They take my mind off my troubles, they condition my body, they bring me happiness and satisfaction. I hope they bring a little beauty to your day, too.

Lupine that's never bloomed before...
can you find the buds?
Lupine that bloomed last year, only with THREE
buds you can see ready to go and more hiding...
Also LOVE the Korean lilac behind it. 

And now for some columbine love... I have several varieties and they ALL CAME BACK this year despite a difficult winter. The pretty rose-and-yellow-colored one was a variety I had two plants of and they didn't come back at all last year. This year they reappeared under my bleeding heart. What a welcome surprise!

So old fashioned...

Like a happy purple daffodil!

This is my absolute favorite shot. Love the colors
and love how it turned out... so vibrant.


  1. Praying, hoping, wishing, lucky penny holding for you. :)

    1. Thank you, Lindsey! I so appreciate any and all happy baby juju that can help all this go well. :)

  2. I hope you can manage to keep yourself relaxed despite all that, Jess. Stress can make all your efforts go into waste. Just continue your acupuncture, and stick to your diet regimen. Moreover, don't forget to consult your doctor from time to time. Good luck! I wish you all the best!

    Milagros Max @ US HealthWorks

    1. Thank you! I am trying for the whole relaxed thing but it is not easy. My doctor is in on absolutely everything so no worries there! I appreciate the good wishes, thank you for stopping by.

  3. Ahh yes, the excited/terrified dichotomy. I'm right there with you. We will be beginning our IVF cycle in a couple weeks, and while not identical, my feelings about the upcoming cycle mirror yours. A merry-go-round of torture is an apt description. As for not sticking to your egg boot camp--I was so impressed with what you did and how well you stuck to it. But we are sort of half-assing our regimen. The results seem to be the same (for both of us) no matter what we do, and it just got mentally exhausting to keep going (not that I ever had the discipline you had) when it seemed so futile. Your garden is amazing--and I'm so jealous. We're in a rental so we can't do too much with our yard, but I did buy some clearance plants which I planted. They aren't pretty, but I'm hoping that they'll come back lovely next year. And if they don't, I only paid $1 each. Good luck, I'm thinking about you!

    1. Oh, no worries... I am totally half-assing it now too. I mean, now that I'm stimming I'm whole hog, but up until two days before I enjoyed all kinds of deliciousness that is not allowed on Egg Boot Camp. Because I just needed to feel like I was living, you know? But now, full swing. I'm excited for you -- even with the double-edged exciting terror, there is still hope there that this can all be over. Maybe. Maybe this time. Thanks for the kind words on my garden! It's my joy, although a groundhog is making swift work of my vegetable garden which up until today had three cherry tomatoes and was waiting for the rest, and then it became three stripped green twigs. GRRR. You could totally do container gardening--fun pots and window boxes on the ground... there are a lot of fun plants out there. CLearance plants are awesome--I love getting things at the end of the season and hoping they overwinter ok. So cheap. I also share plants with others because some are gifts that keep on giving through self seeding or going to seed and multiplying like mad. Then you can share for FREE. Try a little container gardening--I always like how rewarding it can be because annuals are so colorful and flower all the time. And you can move them! :) Thanks for the good thoughts, I'm thinking of you, too! :)

  4. I am rooting for you SO hard. You've nailed the inner speak that infertiles go through so well. I wish I could just be, but I can't. I trust my medical professionals, but I need to feel that I am doing everything I can to help my babies come in to the world as well. I hope that you can slowly move yourself from 80-20 to that 50-50.

    1. Thank you, Aimee! I'm sort of 70-30 now, so babysteps so to speak. :) I can't just be either. I decided I was going to do wheatgrass shots every other day and I am compulsively going every stinking day again. I hope our babies come soon and put an end to all this uncertainty and terror/excitement blending. Not that childbirth doesn't inspire terror/excitement and raising small humans for that matter as well, but it's probably different once you know they're coming. Arghhh. I hope you're well! Thanks for the rooting, I will take all I can get! :)

  5. I agree, the process can be both exciting and terrifying, all at the same time. I’m glad that you made it through just fine. It’s not surprising that you did well, because you made a lot of physical preparations like being caffeine-free for months, acupuncture, and yoga sessions. How are you doing, btw? I hope you've achieved great results by now.

    Vanessa Adams @ Chiropractic Wellness and Rehabilitation

    1. Sadly not so great... we got a BFN. With an early bleed. :( Sometimes all the preparation in the world doesn't make much of a difference...makes me wonder how much of this is just truly a miracle of all these tiny little cogs fitting into place at just the right time. Maybe the frozens will yield those great results we were hoping for! :)