A negative test after my 8th IVF, second donor attempt (first donor FET) where my uterus was sparkly and plush and everything looked so good was bad enough. That's a Monday that just sets the WRONG TONE for the week. Luckily I had a half day sick day to accommodate the test uncertainty and possible devastating reaction.Good thing, too. But then all the crying exacerbated a cold I'd had that moved into my chest and I sounded like maybe bronchitis and so took another half day in the morning to go to the doctor.
Funny story. A year ago I switched my asthma medicine from a less pregnancy-friendly but more effective purple diskus to a slightly-less-effective but more pregnancy-friendly orange diskus. Because I was so sure I'd be pregnant soon. Twice over. And now my cold exacerbated my asthma to the point where my lung capacity on Tuesday was 64%. Which is, um, NOT GOOD. So I ended up on a steroid inhaler 2x a day for the next month and... MEDROL. Yup, the same Medrol that did not help me un-reject a beautiful hatching blast is now marginally helping my horribly inflamed lungs. I am on one of those dwindling dose packs and am thrilled to see that you don't have to be on 64mg to experience feelings of overwhelmedness and horrible insomnia. 24 and 20mg does that as well. AWESOME. Oh Medrol, I did not miss you. But I am feeling a bit better and hopefully within a week I won't sound like I have consumption minus the wasting away. Because thanks to all that PIO, I am at the heaviest weight I have ever been. And I don't get to go maternity clothes shopping. So I have to do something about this once my legs aren't freaking numb and needle-y so that I don't just cry every time I try to get dressed in the morning or catch my reflection in a car door. (Which, by the way, is like a funhouse mirror. NEVER look at your reflection in the side of a car. It is HORRIFIC.)
AND THEN, my grandmother, who had fallen and fractured her femur last week and got transferred from the hospital to the rehab unit of her assisted living facility organization, took a sudden turn for the worse yesterday. We had seen her on Saturday for an early 95th birthday party because my parents were headed to England to visit family for a bit over a week. The timing wasn't great but Grandma looked pretty well and seemed in good spirits, like her usual self in some pain but not anything horribly concerning. There was a schedule my mom set up with various family members to be sure there was someone with her in and out each day, and everything seemed just fine. Not great, but fine. Grandma enjoyed her lemon cake and the company of my sister and her husband and youngest stepson, my mom and my stepfather, and me (and eventually Bryce who unfortunately had to work until the last 15 minutes because things at his job are icky at the moment). My mom asked me to bring my violin, and given that my test was two days away and I'd been having the numbness and my thighs were so sore I was limping and school had been busy and I hadn't practiced in forever, I was hesitant. But I brought it anyway and it was actually really nice. We played a bunch of hymns with my mom on the hammered dulcimer and my sister on a travel guitar and then my sister sang a song she wrote herself. It was a regular Von Trapp family moment, but Grandma enjoyed it and that was important. Because when I came back to visit on Wednesday, I almost could not recognize her. She had requested more pain medication because she was hurting a lot, but she had crossed over into incoherent. She wasn't fully aware of who was in the room. She was hallucinating. She was having conversations with people who had been dead for years and even her beloved dog, Snickers, made a return from the other side to keep her company in her hallucinatory state. She looked sunken. She looked frailer than frail. Her breathing was labored. I left in hysterical sobs and my uncle brushed tears from his face throughout the time I was there. We thought it was the beginning of the end. It was possibly related to the massive doses of oxycodone she was on, but it seemed like just so much decline in such a short span of time. So, I had to go and call my mom in England to just give her the information about how her mother looked so that I didn't feel like I missed an opportunity to let her make her decision of whether or not to come home early in case my grandmother didn't make it. That was so awesome. I can't say how many times I said it could be a medication issue but that the way she looked and sounded and acted I was worried she wouldn't make it a week, but again she could pull through. My entire family is coming into town this weekend. Today she was better. Which is great, and no one ever regrets more time with a 95 year old powerhouse of a matriarch.
But, yesterday was a low low low point. Because it was so devastating to see her so weak and mentally out of it. Like at times not even in this decade. And part of my devastation was entirely selfish. Part of my devastation was compounded by walking in to the room, realizing my uncle was in the room and so that tiny writhing woman really was my grandmother, and seeing an iPad on the counter with a picture of my cousin's newborn on it. I am super excited for this baby because she had struggles of her own and she is a hard-won baby that took five years to get here. But to know in that moment that I was supposed to tell my grandmother my good news and to feel that I may never ever get to tell her that I am pregnant was an overwhelmingly gaping hole of a loss. I could not believe it. I mourned it. And even now I mourn it, because I don't know how long my grandmother will be with us. And I don't know if this will ever come to pass. I want to believe it. I am doing everything I can to make it happen and it just won't. She has intimated multiple times in a very roundabout way that adoption would be a great option for us. And believe me, I am considering it more and more BUT I AM NOT THERE YET and it is not something that I can rush or go into simultaneously. I know myself well enough to know that I cannot pursue both options fully at once. And for the love of all that is holy, we are doing everything we can to make the right decisions for ourselves and it is not an easy thing to do. It doesn't come without forethought and research. It may not always be fully understood, but we are not ready to move on to something else. We still have six opportunities (well, probably less than that once they are grown out to three days) still waiting, we just have to decide how to best do that before we are at the true crossroads. And I don't know how long this will take. And the thought of never ever getting to share joyful news with my grandmother that I finally made it and I will be a mother is heartbreaking. Especially yesterday when it seemed to both me and my uncle that that moment of finality was imminent.
And, in a moment that was both hilarious and heartbreaking, I peed on a stick yesterday. I actually went out and bought a two-pack (I could not resist) and peed on a stick even though my beta on MONDAY was undeniably 100% ZERO. Because my body was still tricking me with the PIO side effects and I wasn't convinced. In part because it was so hard to believe that THIS MUCH CRAP could fall from the sky at once. Maybe it was all a mistake. Maybe I was really pregnant and it wasn't too late to save it with an evening shot of PIO. But it was no miracle. Everything could be that sucky. Bryce was worried that I would be more upset with the negative pee stick. It just made me feel like, phew, now I can have a glass of chardonnay and not worry that I am killing my miracle baby. Because somehow in all of this I am still a Pollyanna who believes that miracles like that are possible despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. On the other hand of things, now I have a spare pee stick haunting my cabinet. Maybe this is a magical pee stick. Maybe I am meant to have this lone pee stick for a future cycle that will actually result in a double line that stays. Or maybe I just had a moment of psychotic weakness where I thought that there is some limit to the series of unfortunate events that one person can trudge through in a short period of time and so this must all be a big mistake. Oh well.
So, this week has sucked. It's an understatement. And I am really really jealous of celebrities right now who can check themselves into rehab facilities under the "mental exhaustion" category. Because I am MENTALLY FREAKING EXHAUSTED. I wish some magic lottery ticket would make our next attempt AND a weeklong stay at some tropical spa where I could lounge with cucumber slices on my eyes and a fruity drink in my hand and forget that I am grieving in every possible way...possible. But this is real life and it is hard right now. And unfair. And I am sorry that I don't have a more positive spin! But I will end with a lovely picture of me with my grandmother, on Saturday, when she was doing well. Happy birthday, Grandma. I'm glad today was a better day.