Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Why I Love Creme de la Creme

Last year was the first year I participated in Creme de la Creme, hosted by Mel at Stirrup Queens.  It's a list of best blogs for the year, chosen by the authors. It's a great way to start the year--reading what bloggers have determined are their best blogs, this time from 2014. I usually find new people to follow and read from this list, but for some reason last year was the first year I actively participated.

It's hard, choosing a blog post as your best for the year. How do you pick? Is it based on what you think was your most informative post? Your most touching? The post you loved the best, or the post you think will help people the most? Is it a chance to give a blog post that you loved but that wasn't viewed as much as you thought it should be a second life? Or is it, as Mel says, a chance to post up your best work, a sample of your writing style, your own personal top choice for the year? (But in choosing that post, all of the previous questions apply.)

Last year, I chose a post I wrote when grappling with the question of genetics, while in the midst of DE cycles. It was What's Passed On, and I felt it was both a post that was informative and spoke to the unique struggles of those using donor gametes to create their families and showed my sense of humor. I had a lot of posts in the running, as I tend to be indecisive, but ultimately I decided on that one.

What I love about choosing a Creme de la Creme post is that it forces you to review your year. Which can be eye-opening, and also kind of painful, but also a little awe-inspiring in how much you've actually written over the course of (almost) a whole year. Going back to January, where we were just making the decision to continue on the medical treatment side of things due to all the second opinions that opened wide the doors of possibility on our epic failure to get and stay pregnant, was interesting. Seeing my mindset during that time of uncertainty and rejuvenation of hope was a mixed bag. Oh, January 2014 Jess, you thought everything was going to be A-OK.

Then, to read all the various ways that things have continued to go awry was a little painful. Every post up until our latest failure was just rife with hope. Uncertainty, and fear, but mostly hope that the end was nigh. I didn't know yet that things would just keep getting so much more complicated. I didn't know the depth of the pain I would find myself in.

It's like a time capsule, although one that hasn't marinated very long. To see your raw emotions and thoughts during cycles and decisions over the past year in little snippets of time frozen on your blog is kind of a gift. I don't often go back and read old posts. Creme de la Creme forces me to do that, and while it can hurt a bit to see how much hope I put in our last cycle with B's sperm, and our first donor sperm cycle, and thinking that our early October hysteroscopy was going to give the all-clear and get me started on another chance to get knocked up by November, those didn't quite work out the way we'd hoped. Instead we're stuck in limbo, again, and wondering if we are closer to the end of the medical side of things than we thought.

Wondering if we can stomach another fresh cycle, even if it's included in our package and will only cost us the medication prices.

Wondering if we are spinning our wheels and every mishap is a cosmic nudge into another direction to create our family.

Deciding to flood my brain and our coffee table with excellent books on adopting, and opening that door more than a crack so that we aren't left in the dark with both doors fully closed if infertility treatments ultimately fail us. Creating that door of hope that was so eloquently stated by The Unexpected Trip, a way out of the darkness and failure we feel with the medical process.

I am truly thankful to the Creme de la Creme process. It is a reflection that hurts, but also reminds me that I am capable of hope in the direst of circumstances. That where there is the slightest possibility I can rally the troops and give all my might to the cause of building my family -- whether through pregnancy or through adoption, which is seeming more and more likely.

I did finally choose my post. I wanted to choose the one that was most informative, but it was long, and a little wordy, and ultimately I went with the one that I felt was a tight, honest, emotional post with a dash of humor. It was a little exhausting choosing, but I did it, and I think I did it well. It only took a week of agonizing to make a final decision. (!)

You, too, can choose your best post! I really, really encourage you to participate in Creme de la Creme. Follow the hyperlink to Stirrup Queens (or google Stirrup Queens and scroll to a mention, won't take long). You have a best post. And it's healing to go back and read through your archives and realize how much you've written, how much you've shared, how much you've educated, how much you've experienced out there on the blogosphere. Go, do it. You won't be sorry.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Why Aren't There Adoption Books In The Store?

I feel as though there's been a shifting in book stores, at least where we live. All we have available are a few branches of Barn.es & N.oble, some better than others. The one that is near the Mexican restaurant where we go nearly every Friday is not one of the better branches. They have replaced a lot of their book real estate with information and displays on the N.ook, and they have created a huge display of toys and games. I am all for awesome educational toys and games, but when it feels like the "stuff" is getting top billing over the books, in a store whose subtitle is BOOKSELLERS, it irritates me.

Especially when I have the contrast of towns we go to in New England that have beautiful, book-filled, independent book stores. Stores like the Northshire in Manchester, VT (I could live in there), the Maine Coast Book Shop in Damariscotta, ME, and about a zillion others. They have the big box stores, too, but for some reason their independent stores thrive. Here in Rochester it's Big Box or online book shopping. Most of our used bookstores have gone the way of the dodo as well. Which is really sad.

This past Friday, I decided that it was time. I have a huge library of books on infertility -- resources on navigating treatment options, resources on navigating the emotional side of infertility treatment, books with exercises to help you make your decisions and see what is truly important to you in this morass of suffering that 1 in 8 of us gets to trudge through. Most of them have a chapter on adoption, or a chapter on When To Stop Treatment. But overwhelmingly, it feels the message of the books is that if you want to get pregnant, there is a treatment for you and it is largely possible. one chapter out of 20 or more is not making it feel like that endpoint to this leg of things, that shifting from trying to get pregnant to trying to have a family through adoption or resolving to be a happy family of two, is as common as I suspect it is. Even my blog feed is full of people who eventually make it to the other side, who have pregnancies that are scary and fearful but who, eventually, experience pregnancy through infertility treatment. I am starting to think that that may not be where we end up.

I always knew that was a possibility, but it is so hard when you are shown all these options and the treatment paths are so promising and there's always a next new SOMETHING. But, we have been thinking long and hard and while we aren't quite at the SORRY CHARLIE part yet, it feels awfully close. This new scar tissue piece is very frightening. We have always been open to other family building options, and we have done a fair amount of research in the past year especially on domestic infant adoption, in terms of identifying an agency, going to an orientation, exploring their paperwork and their website, and following the journey of friends who are currently pursuing this path. BUT, I could not bring myself to buy a book yet. I wasn't sure I could start putting the energy into adoption that I've expended in spades towards infertility treatment, only to be left, five years later, 7 IUIs and 10 IVF transfers and 12 times under anesthesia (5 of those general) later, holding nothing but pain and grief. Feeling beaten. Feeling that we may never ever get the answers we seek, that while there always seems like a solution is out there, it just never seems to work out for us. How much longer can we continue down this path? I'll tell you, I'm tired. And I want a family. And I don't want to expend all my energy and be left a husk of myself and THEN pursue adoption.

So, while we are not quite ready to make this shift yet, because we still have frozen embryos and there's still a possibility my uterus could accept a baby, and while I can't do two things at once (kudos to you guys out there who have a foot in infertility treatment and a foot in adoption -- I do not have the stamina to throw myself into both worlds and admire those of you who can), I think it's time to start exploring more and getting more information on adoption. I am being honest here -- I don't want you to think that I view adoption as a last-ditch effort. That's not it at all. For me, pregnancy has been really important. It's an experience that so many take for granted, and an experience we really wanted to have. And it wasn't an impossibility, not in the least. But now that that's looking less and less likely, the ultimate goal that we have is TO HAVE CHILDREN IN OUR HOME. To be a family of more than two. To have that beautiful chaos. To get the chance to be the awesome parents we just know we are, under the scars and scabs of all this loss. And if we can't be pregnant, if that is not the path we can follow, then we want to start the parenting piece as early as humanly possible, and the best way to do that is domestic infant adoption.

But, again, being honest, there is a lot of fear wrapped up in that process. I know we aren't the only ones who are scared of the potential losses and risks and the not-so-great stories that lurk out there. But, aren't there those for any family? And the thought is that flooding ourselves with information and positive stories and the truth, not the myths or the fears, we will feel more comfortable with the risks and focus less on what the adoption path would mean losing and more on what it would mean we gain as a family. We were scared of IVF, too. Anything different and outside your own experience is scary. And, again with the honesty, there is grieving to be had. If we go down that path, we are changing our reproductive story. It could be the perfect story for us, but it is definitely different than what we originally imagined all those years ago. It takes adjusting to.

So, after the Mexican food on Friday, we traipsed over to the big box bookseller and I decided that I needed to get some books on adoption. The single chapters aren't enough. And, you would think, there would be AT LEAST ONE book in that big old store on a family-building path that so many people choose. You would think.

I had no idea which section these books would be in, since I doubted they'd be in the Health and Wellness area that the limited selection of infertility books reside. (Seriously, their section for infertility is pathetic lately, and focuses on the tracking books for people seeking to take charge of their fertility, way before all the needles and ultrasounds come into play.) So I went to the Information Desk, and a very pleasant young gentleman tried to help me. He looked up "adoption" in the computer system. He came up with very little.

"Let's check the Parenting and Family section, because they used to be over there," he said, after I watched him struggle on the computer and said, "Having some trouble finding them?" in a completely unsnarky tone.

Over we went, to the section full of baby books and pregnancy journals and week by week pregnancy books. THERE'S A LOT OF THOSE. No adoption books. Then he shifted us over to the "Children with Problems" section, where the guides on food allergies, ADHD, autism, learning disabilities, psychological disorders, single-parenting, etc. live. WHY WOULD ADOPTION BE IN THERE? Luckily, it wasn't, minus one book that was "20 Things Adoptive Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew." I don't think I want to start my information gathering with that one, a title that implies, at least to me, that there's a lot of messing kids up, unintentional or otherwise, happening in adoptive families.

"I think I'm looking more for books intended for people who are starting out on an adoption journey," I said, starting to feel the pinpricks behind my eyes.

"I figured, but I'm really having a hard time. There's a book called Happy Adoption Day..." No. I did not want a picture book celebrating a day that's already happened. Someday, maybe. But that day? I just wanted to book that was a guide like all the ones I have on how to survive infertility treatments.

Then, the most bizarre. He called the manager to see if there was a new section after their rearranging extravaganza they'd apparently undergone with their family books. "Nope, I can't find anything. Yes, I put "adoption" into the computer, and the most books we have are romance novels." WHAT??? He got off the walkie talkie thing and I just stared. "Seriously, you have more romance novels on adoption than you do books on the actual process?" I couldn't believe it. And I laughed, a sardonic, WTF laugh, because I've seen pregnancy romance novels in a certain red bullseye store, and I just didn't know that there were also romance novels focusing on adoption. I mean, I guess that should be looked at as progressive that there are trashy fluffy novels surrounding both family-building options. I just wish there were as many INFORMATIONAL books.

So, my search was fruitless. An entire store with many sections, and nary an adoption guide to be found. Not in Family and Parenting. Not in Legal. Not in Psychology or Sociology. NOWHERE. I went online instead, and have been met with a slew of books, and I don't want to buy a zillion, just maybe two, and I don't know where to start. I'm going to look at our portfolio of information from the adoption agency, and see if they have a reading list.

But how about you? Do you have any books that you've found to be helpful when looking into this option? Again, we're not quite at the "taking action" part of this piece. Again, I can't have both doors wide open at once, I just don't have the emotional bandwidth to do that. Even though when looking for books, one of them said "Each year you wait after 35 whittles down your adoption options and how appealing you are to birthmothers/expectant mothers." Awesome. So while my fertility is naturally dwindling even though it's getting a serious hand from all our various maladies, so is our appeal as possible parents. That seems colossally unfair. But, what part of all this is?

If you have informational book recommendations that are not Harlequin romances, please please comment and share your wealth, especially if you have gone through or are going through this process. What was helpful? What made you feel hope again? What will help us navigate this whole new world, since it appears the door is creaking shut on our ability to have a healthy pregnancy? It can't hurt to do some serious exploring now.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Recovering, Trip Anxiety, The Internet Is Not My Friend, What A Wonderful World

Okay. I have a had a few days to get used to this new lovely turn of events, to a new piece of less-than-optimal news, to another delay. I am no longer on pain meds of any kind. I am ready to start a new week of school and pretend to be a well-adjusted person again. I could not decide on a title for this kitchen-sink post, so you get them all.

After this hysteroscopy where my lining was Krueger-esque, my pain levels were a bit higher than usual. I have a sensitive little ute. (You like that? I have decided to rename my uterus into something different, because I am tired of the word "uterus." Maybe it will catch on.) Procedures that are supposed to be "uncomfortable" are usually downright painful, and procedures that are supposed to leave you crampy for a little bit leave me crampy for a lotta bit. This time I was on my couch on Friday, writhing in pain, sobby and nervous that the pain was scar tissue reforming. On my ute. I was in touch with my doctor, and I started taking a ridiculous amount of ibuprofen, and then added a little hydrocodone to the mix. SO GLAD I took Friday off. I had felt ok, crampy but ok, until I decided to blow out my hair after my shower, a shower that is always frustrating because I can never get all the gummy adhesive from the monitors off my chest. I think some is still there, lurking, even though I have taken MANY SHOWERS since Thursday. I wanted to look good, to try to encourage my insides to feel as good as my outsides looked, and I wanted to go out for Mexican food as is our weekly Friday tradition. No dice. Apparently standing for the 30 minutes it takes me to transform my curls into swooshy straightish hair was not what my body wanted. It sucked.

I was supposed to go visit my best friend this weekend, seeing as how it's a three-day weekend for us school folks. I had the green light medically, as long as I took it easy. She had given her three kids the strict no-jumping policy, and let them know that I was not quite as fun as usual this time -- no lifting, no throwing, no chasing, no plasma cars. I was all set to leave Saturday, and then Friday came and my body was very, very displeased. I wasn't planning on leaving until Saturday anyway, but I decided to leave a little later.

My mind was also a mess, because I had googled "uterine scarring infertility." Do yourself a favor. If you have that discovered in a hysteroscopy, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT'S HOLY, DON'T GOOGLE IT!!! It is horrific. I apparently don't have the worst of it, even though technically it is Asherman's Syndrome (pardon my spelling, I can't factcheck it because I don't want to see the horrors associated with it), it's not the horrible stuff. It's not webbing that is adhering the walls of my ute together. It's not preventing me from having a period. It's not as severe as what's all over the interwebs. But, the information I found on the impact on fertility was...scary. Horrifying. Depressing. Things like implantation difficulty (like I don't have enough of that), preterm labor, complications, fetal death... nothing good. A lot of talk about gestational carrier for severe cases. So, uh, let's hope my scarring goes away by my early November HSG. Let's hope that none of that applies to me.

I had asked my doctor, tearfully, if this was the beginning of the end. He said no, but he was worried. We are worried. What if the worst case scenario is not it, but it IS a road to badness? We feel closer to the end than ever. But not upset about the delay so much. I feel like I'm okay with the delay. What's another delay? At this point, all I care about is the endgame. Just tell me there's still an endgame, tell me that we're still in this game in some way. Timing never quite works out the way you plan, so if that's gone... so be it. Just let there still be a game.

I did manage to get on the road to see my best friend and her very busy family of five, after two hours of waffling and tears and decision making that was way harder than it had to be. I wasn't sure I should go. What if going made the scar tissue come back? (Ridiculousness) What if I got there and felt like crap and couldn't make it home? (Unlikely) What if what if what if? (I could do this all day) In the end, I went. Bryce convinced her it was the best move, and convinced me too. Maybe it wasn't such a bad thing to get away from the mopey house, to go somewhere different and try not to think about everything so much. Maybe it would make me feel better, emotionally. Because Bryce was very wise when he decided that the worst pain I was feeling wasn't physical, but emotional. I had a case of the hopelessness, of the why-mes, of the everything-is-doomed-itis. The thing about being around three children 7, almost-6, and 3 1/2 is that they don't let you be gloomy-doomy. You end up reading silly books and getting jumped out at and having to lock the bathroom door every single time because the one time you don't you expose your booty to a delighted three year old girl. "I SAW YOUR BUTT! THE RUDE ONE WITH TWO Ts! AHA HA HA HA HA!" Three year olds are hilarious. And also kind of like insane terrorists. But mostly hilarious.

It was a great weekend. I felt like crap for some of it, but I got to have fun times with the kiddos and fun adult times with my BFF and fun times with her husband, too, because I went to college with him (small small small small world), and I got to see my BFF's mom and aunt, who I haven't seen in forever, and so it was a lovely visit. I didn't get too terribly sad. As in past visits, the contrast between their home and ours was incredible -- the activity, the beautiful chaos, even the screaming and whining and sneaky kicks under the table. I want it, all of it, and it makes me really sad to think that the day we have it seems just so far away. But I didn't cry myself to sleep, and I didn't feel horribly sorry for myself most of the time. The only time I was really teary eyed was this morning, because of a beautiful handmade book from school that the middle child made to the lyrics of the song "What a Wonderful World." On thinking about it, I'm pretty sure he showed me this book last time I was down there in January, and it made me kinda sad then, too, but it was beautiful. Each line was it's own handmade picture (red roses, skies of blue, dark sacred night...) and the lyric typed and glued in. This song gets me every single time I hear it, like makes me sob uncontrollably, and when it gets to "I hear babies cry, I watch them grow" I lose it, utterly. So to have this amazingly clear five year old voice singing it and seeing the three baby pictures of my best friend's beautiful babies made the leakiness come from my eyes. Did I sob and dissolve? No. Did I need to excuse myself? No. Did it hurt my heart, and maybe my ute? Yup.

(On second thought, "ute" sounds kind of crude, maybe a little gross. But I still kinda like it.)

So I sat and leaked and was filled with so much love for this family and for the family that doesn't exist quite yet, and was very very glad I had come. I was also very very glad I was going before I got too sad sappy and scared these lovely children and their mommy. It was a good visit. I'm sore, and tired, but I loved loving on those kids. I loved walking with my friend and catching up. I loved imagining what it would be like to have a third of that activity in my own home, to have a construction paper book that could pull at my heart strings for different reasons, to have so many baby pictures on the walls. It makes it so I can almost picture it again without feeling kind of broken and lost.

I'm healing, in every possible way. I'm hopeful that the next few weeks bring my lining back to its original state (if not a little better), and we can be on the road to having our own little family causing chaos and sending out massive ripples of love throughout our home and our lives.

34 years of friendship, right there! Was my head always so much bigger???
So, in this picture I am actually about to fall over because I overestimated my
sense of balance. But, you could see it like I have my arm around my invisible
future child, who will be in this picture in a few years but hasn't quite appeared yet.
Or does that make me sound crazy? 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Well, That Could Have Gone Better

Well, my uterus has been fully scoped, and I am home recovering. We had to be there at 12 yesterday, and spent a lot (a LOT) of time waiting before my 3:30 surgery. We didn't leave until after 7 yesterday, so we got home about 8:30 or so, and I was not feeling so hot.

There was a lot of manipulation up in my nethers.

The good news: No polyps. Not a one. Not sure if pathology will come back on what was removed and show any polypoid tissue, but polyps are the least of my worries right now.

Instead of polyps, annoying but easy to remove polyps, they found scar tissue. Adhesions. A lot. It was not what they expected to find.

Here is a picture of the scarred up portion, the top half, of my uterus (I promise, no gross ones this time, just uterine scarring):

When doing word association upon seeing these pictures, at 9:30 at night on Bryce's phone and not when I was squirming in pain before the drugs kicked in, all I saw in my head was Freddy Krueger. This is not a good association for any part of your body, especially a uterus, let alone mine.

I saw that hole looking thing in the top left and bottom right pictures, and was like, "that's my fallopian tube opening, right?" and Bryce sighed and said, "No, honey. I thought that too. That's where there's an absence of scarring. That's your normal lining. They had to remove the scarring to find the opening of your fallopian tube."


Not that it matters about the tube part, they aren't needed for IVF whatsoever and I've only got the one anyway thanks to the Ectopic Experience, but it's that extensive? WHAT THE FLIPPITY FLAP?!?

Apparently, this is all new, too. Here's a photo of the banding from last time, evidence of some scarring, that was removed last hysteroscopy. I thought that was scary, but look how minimal in comparison:

Oooh, look at the scary line. 

Nothing. It's like nothing. My new uterine accoutrements are much more...prevalent. Much more...significant. Much more...terrifying. And of course, much more...upsetting.

They did remove it all, but apparently scar tissue comes back within 3-5 days if it's going to. So I'm on a benadryl regimen, on the Pill, and hopefully that will keep my body from being its inflammatory self. This is not infection-related. That was my first thought -- what about antibiotics? Am I somehow getting infections that are causing this? But nope. No infection, just a very weird response to a very weird unknown trauma.

And it's bad. It would definitely impact a healthy pregnancy. Even if my embryos found a non-scarred up portion of my lining (and the bottom half looked just fine), that scarring could impact normal expansion. Or bloodflow. Or something. It's just bad.

So, it leaves me wondering, WHERE THE HELL IS MY GOOD NEWS??? I mean, there are silver linings: a) I asked for this surgery to make sure all was good in there before doing this somewhat experimental, crazy stimming frozen cycle, and boy am I glad I did. b) because if we hadn't, those embryos wouldn't have had a real chance. c) while I have to wait, more, it's to make sure I have a beautiful landing pad, and the lost time is worth it to have optimal conditions, assuming that can exist in the hellish landscape that is my womb.

So what's next? What's the new plan, since I can kiss a late October/early November transfer buh-bye now?

1) Benadryl for a week, twice a day, to try to hamper any inflammatory response and hopefully curb more adhesion creation.
2) Pill for 3-4 more weeks, to keep estrogen going to my body and do something related to calming my lining down so that it can grow nice and evenly after the scarring is gone for good.
3) HSG, my FAVORITE of the uncomfortable tests, to see if the scarring has returned at the end of the Pill time. That's the dye test that's typically for seeing if dye spills over your tubes and they're open, but it's also a cavity test. If the scarring has returned, the top of my uterus will be all jaggedy and asteroid-like, not the smooth baby haven it's supposed to be.
4) If the scarring returns, another hysteroscopy. But how do we make sure it doesn't return again? A question I don't have an answer to.
5) THEN, and only THEN, can we proceed with our cycle. Which may very well land during the holidays. Wheeee. But whatever, at this point, whenever it's good, that's when we go.

Not the plan I was hoping for, but a plan nonetheless, so that's good I guess. My doctor is really upset about all this. It's not what he was expecting, either. I mean, zillions of women (maybe a slight overstatement) have hysteroscopies, and do they create thick scarring afterward? Noooooooo-ooooooooooo. Why am I so special? He was nearly in tears talking to my husband about the plan, the delay, the extensiveness of the adhesions, the dangers of a repeat performance. That's something we can be so grateful for -- our doctor truly cares and we are a priority case. He is going to an industry conference next week, and he is going to peddle our case all over, looking for reasons, for answers, for treatment plans. He is on the case. I did ask, "Does this mean we're done? If the scarring continues, are we done?" And he didn't think that was necessarily the case, but that he is worried. Which makes me want to vomit.

Here's hoping he can find the answer. Here's hoping I can hold my shit together through ANOTHER bump in the road, another way that our case is complicated, another instance of my body doing everything it can to ensure we can't have a baby. I swear, am destined to carry the next Hitler or something? Is the antichrist coming my way and so the Universe is throwing roadblocks down to prevent horrible events from coming to fruition in the future? BECAUSE THAT'S HOW IT FEELS TO ME. There must be some "greater good" reason why we just can't catch a break. Because otherwise, there's just some serious cosmic sadism happening here.

Poor Bryce, he was upset, and he told our doctor that he was super worried about me. Because I would take this personally. (He knows me so well.) Our doctor said, "She's as responsible for this as she would be for getting the common cold." Which is helpful, and logical, but that's not where my brain is. I know I'm not shoving wire hangers up there, I know I'm not doing anything crazy that would cause that scarring. But it's just one more reason why my body is the failure. Why we can't get pregnant is up to a zillion factors at this point, but it's all coming down to my recalcitrant womb, and that makes me very, very sad. And then Bryce told me that he said, "I just feel bad because it's one more Christmas where Jess can't put anything on the card but us and the cats...she was so hoping to be able to announce on the Christmas/New Year's card." And I started to cry in the car, because I hadn't even thought about that piece of things. It's true, and it's sweet that Bryce knows me so well that that is definitely a side effect that will cause me sadness in a month or so when I start putting that together, but I hadn't thought about it. Because yes, it's true, I'd been doing the math to see if we'd be 12-13 weeks by the holidays and I could put "Happy holidays from Bryce, Jess, Lucky, Abner, and Baby T coming this summer!" Oh well. I can only hope next year there's a baby on the 2015 card, six years after we started the journey to have a little person join us in our house.

Well. Not to end on a sad sap note, although I'm feeling very sad sappy, here is a goofy picture of me, waiting in ambulatory to be taken down to the OR. There was no earthly reason to have us show up 3 1/2 hours early, because the pregnancy test pee (ha HA ha ha) and the bloodwork took maybe 15 minutes. So, we read. Note: it is impossible to look good with no makeup, bedhead ponytail, and the awkward gurney angle. So hilarious that the book I was reading is Awkward, a young adult novel one of my students has read. Perfect.

No good angle for a gurney shot... just use your mind to photoshop out all that jawline chub.

So, no door slammed in our face, but it felt like just another chip at our hope stores. I hope there's an answer lurking out there, an easy fix, something that will make my body a good home for those embryos for a while and not the Scorch Trials it currently seems to be (ha ha, YA dystopian lit reference, ha ha). I feel much better today and am laying low, super glad I took the whole day off today. Maybe I'll meditate all day on a nice, smooth, even uterine lining, as if I have any control over that. Maybe it will listen. Any good thoughts or intentions towards my uterus would be much appreciated, as we wait for our next steps and hope to clear this latest and greatest hurdle on our way to FutureBaby.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A Trip to the OR Sends Us On Our Way

It's amazing how time moves so quickly.

It was only a few weeks ago that the hopes of our first DS cycle were shattered, and I was left puddled on the floor. Then it seemed so far away until our next try. Something that always makes me mad about the journeys of the infertile--reproductively "normal" people get to try every single month. For me, for all IVFers, there is so much waiting and testing and waiting and drugs to cycle through before new attempts can be made.

But, here we are.

Tomorrow I go in for another hysteroscopy, my fourth, to check me out for those pesky polyps before this lovely fancy protocol gets off and running. Really wondering why I can seem to grow polyps no problem but a baby is so hard, but it makes sense to check out my innards before we use our last two frozen blasts. My polyps are shifty little buggers. They don't show up on saline sonohysterograms. They don't show up on HSGs. Nope, only in the OR do they show their nasty, blood-tipped faces.

Is it possible they could do my surgery and find nothing? Yes. I actually hope yes. All is not lost, because they're doing the scratch biopsy while in there to get my lining all injured and then overcompensating with super lushness. But it would be nice to have no intruders growing in my baby landing pad.

I've been super stressed trying to get everything set for my absence. The surgery is tomorrow, and it's no incisions, all through my lovely super dilated cervix (thank you, general anesthesia). So originally, I only took a half day on Friday. BUT, enough people convinced me that with my original time of 1:30, maybe I should give myself the whole day the next day to get over the anesthesia. And the cramping I tend to get after these lovely procedures. Last time I got a blissful dose of demerol in the recovery room, because I was in so much pain. It kind of concerns me that these procedures are always so painful...what's going on in there?

I'm glad, really glad, that I took the whole day on Friday because today I got my arrival time and surgical time...and it shifted. My hysteroscopy is now at 3:30, not 1:30. Arrival time is 12:00, which means leaving for Buffalo by 10:40 or so. I won't be out of surgery until at least 4:30, so the next day off is probably for the best.

Two days off is kind of scary so early in the year, but I have my plans all set, my materials all accounted for, and I am finally able to let it go and just do this thing. I felt queasy about it last week, but now, I'm good.

I have a plan for the whole not-eating-or-drinking-after-midnight thing, now that my surgery is at 3:30 and I will be eating for the first time that day at, oh, 5:00 probably. I ate my face off at dinner today. The directions said "eat soft foods, like macaroni and cheese or pureed vegetables." What self-respecting un-dentured adult eats pureed vegetables? I never had instructions like this before, so I threw caution to the wind this time. I ate a BLT, cajun corn, and sweet potato fries. I'll have a snack at around 11:30. I'll drink a ton of water to try to plump myself up, because I shudder to think of the IV making its way into my dessicated veins tomorrow afternoon after not being hydrated. I am also staying up late, so that I can sleep late, and hopefully be unconscious for most of the water-and-food-free hours. I am a cranky girl when I'm hungry. "Wow, you're hungry" is my husband's incredibly polite code for "Get some food in this girl, STAT! Major bitch alert!" I can admit it. It's ok.

I also feel good about my ticker this time. Last time I was terrified, sure I'd somehow arrest on the table. Not sure why, because I am a pretty healthy, if a bit chubby, lady. But this time I've been using my gym membership from that Groupon and going to do the elliptical for 50 minutes 2-3 times per week, getting a good sweat on and noticing that my heart rate is getting better. Also doing yoga/pilates at least once a week. I've lost a few pounds, nothing earth-shattering, but it's my ticker I'm most happy about.

After the hysteroscopy, I just wait for my period to come and then we get back on this horse and ride it hard. Baseline comes quick, then Femara on day 3. Before I know it, I'll be on Follistim. And then... transfer. Not gonna lie, putting embryos back in me makes me incredibly anxious. I have lost a lot of faith in my body's ability to not death ray anything that comes within. Maybe I can convince them to up my valium dose, or sedate me entirely.

However, I am slowly building up my hope. After tomorrow, I can really feel like I'm moving towards a hopefully different outcome, and that this can all be over soon. I am so ready to move on to morning sickness and bloat for a purpose and boobs that hurt not because of shots but because of a tiny being that will need them to be functional food providers. I am ready to have the next time I'm in an OR be only the possibility of a C-section, and maybe not at all. I am ready to move on to things that have happy endings. And it all starts tomorrow.