FET #1: Takeoff

After a fun-filled 34 days (!) I finally made it to a new cycle and am currently on CD2. I’d say that it went fast, but it totally didn’t.

It was both disappointing and exciting to see AF. Disappointing since I’d been nurturing this secret dream of calling my clinic this week to proclaim, “Hey, Dr. C, cancel this FET cause by the grace of God, I’m pregnant naturally” (being 6 days late makes daydreams like these seem almost real). But it’s also exciting in the sense that—after months of physical and mental FET preparation—it’s finally happening and is no longer just a concept looming on the horizon.

I’m currently having the period straight from hades right now, complete with prescription narcotic painkillers for doubling-over-in-tears-type cramps, heating pads on my front and back, and slasher-film-style bleeding (thank you, endometriosis). What’s getting me through this temporary misery (besides copious amounts of Percocet) is the very real possibility that this could absolutely be my last period of 2016!

I had baseline and blood work today, signed even more consents, and was given my cycle calendar. Everything looked fine and my numbers were good (I always ask for my actual numbers. The clinic used to call me and be try to be like, “‘K. Your numbers are good” and leave it at that. But I always ask for a full readout of all the results cause I like to write them down and see how they change). Anyway, I know it’s just a calendar, but I’m pretty stoked about it, ’cause last time I had to make my own calendar and I seriously heart organization. As in, I organize my organizational material: I’ve a minor case of OCD. Even though the clinic gave me one, I’d already made my own blank calendar for this occasion and will probably end up using both cause, like I said, crazy organized and all… But enough on the calendar already.

I start Estrace tonight, as well as baby aspirin. I’ve been reading up on the benefits of taking baby aspirin during ARTs—and even well into the first trimester—and found practically all good things about it. There’s a few naysayers on the idea of course, but unless there’s an underlying medical condition it’s usually a nonissue. I asked Dr. C about the idea and he gave it his blessing, so hooray! I’ve stopped my Co-Q10 and DHEA and multivites. Now I’m just taking prenatals, Vitamin D-3, the Estrace, and baby aspirin. I take a 3mg Melatonin every night and forgot to ask the clinic if it was cool to still take it, but it’ll probably be alright up until the actual transfer. PIO injections begins sometime next week.

Here’s to a successful FET #1!

 

Doc1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Pics

Recently Google notified me that my Google+ picture account is almost full; I had no idea there was even a limit. I began scrolling through my account to delete the pics I no longer need. As I did, I was surprised to see how many pictures of things I have: Things that simply make me happy, things I want to remember for later, things I’ve bought or want to buy, random things I come across that I want to capture… There’s more pics of “things” than people or pets in my phone!

Today I’m sharing a handful of these things that make me happy. I’ve been pretty down in the dumps lately since I lost my kitty so I decided to cheer myself up and share with you guys random happy pics. This also has virtually nothing to do with infertility, which is kind of a nice change for once.

Without further ado:

  1.  Red raspberry leaf tea and chamomile tea. I love a good tea [almost] as much as I love a good coffee. But since I’m trying to phase the one out and increase the other, it helps to make tea drinking a fun experience (especially when using tea to wash down a vat of vitamins and supplements, as pictured). The fancy umbrella glass below is homebrewed red raspberry leaf tea with fresh lemon and a splash of agave nectar.

 

2. Raw shakes. These guys are tasty and packed with nutrition. They’re also my daily weekday breakfast when I’m rushing to get to the office on time. They make an easy on-the-go meal, are organic, all-natural, and vegan. What’s not to love?happy2

 

3. Ginger. I love fresh grated ginger: in teas, as a tea, in recipes, just to smell, etc. A knob of ginger usually costs me about three bucks at the grocery store. Imagine how stoked I was to find a pound and a half of it for less than $2 at a farmer’s market!happy4

 

4. This lil Starling. (Okay, not really a thing so much, but anyway…) Although I can’t be sure, I like to think it’s the same bird who visits my office windowsill each afternoon. Starlings are an invasive, non-native species in my neck of the woods, but I can’t help to think the lil fella’s pretty cute anyway.

happy5

 

5. Paint and sips. I’ve gone to about 4 of these so far at various places and they’re so much freakin’ fun. Paint and sips make my stick-figure-drawing-self feel like Picasso, Michaelangelo, Bob Ross… Wine is truly a great uninhibiterator.

 

6. Chocolate. Perfectly portioned treats to split with someone (or, on a bad day, to eat for yourself). This one was made by a family friend who recently opened her own bakery.

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7. Winter walks at this park. There’s something about the beautiful desolation of winter that I just connect with and love to experience. I’m pretty bummed to see winter leaving for the year; it’s my fave season.happy8

 

8. A healthy meal from my favorite café. Not only do they have great food, funky décor, modern day hippies working behind the counter, and outdoor seating, but they make a mean almond milk latte.

 

9. Re-growing foods: I live in a rental in the city, so it’s a bit tough to have a proper garden at my home (someday…*sigh*). When I learned how many foods can easily be re-grown though, I went to town and created a mini-lab in my kitchen! And, of course, I took pictures along the way to show off that it really works haha. Pictured below are green onions, carrot leaves (they’re edible!), and leeks. happy20

10. Classic paper books. It’s been a couple years since I’ve purchased a paper-and-ink book to read. I’m a voracious reader with not a lot of bookshelf space, so my Nook gets all the action these days. But recently someone gave me this book to read, and I loved not only the book itself, but the tangible paper aspect of reading it. The pic is sort of blurry, but it’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.

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Peace. 🙂

 

 

 

(Not Such a) Good Friday

At 2:00 a.m. on Good Friday I found myself racing up I-95 to an emergency veterinarian’s office with my much-loved 3-year-old cat, Pete, belted into his carrier beside me on the front seat. Within hours he’d suddenly grown very sick, and progressed rapidly from vomiting and lethargic to moaning and completely unable to walk.

At 4:30 a.m. I made the trek back home with an empty carrier in the backseat.

At 6:00 a.m. I finally fell asleep.

At 8:30 a.m. the vet’s call awoke me with news that Pete’s bladder had ruptured and fluid was filling his abdomen.

At 10:00 a.m. DH and I sat in a private room holding Pete and crying. It was too late to save him. When we were ready, the vet said, we should flick a light switch in that private room for the nurse, who would arrive prepared with the needle.

When the time felt right I simply nodded toward the switch. DH flicked it. We didn’t say a word.

At 10:30 a.m. I held Pete in my arms as the nurse plunged the needle into his IV. He was ever so slightly purring. Pete’s head instantly dropped onto the crook of my arm, he stopped purring, and I felt his life leave his body.

At 1:00 p.m. DH and I buried him beside my dad’s dog in his backyard.

And today I am here, completely heartbroken and blindsided by this loss. I firmly believe that animals do go to heaven, and that Pete is there now, restored and pain-free. It feels like there’s a giant hole in my heart, but I take comfort in knowing that God cares, even for Pete’s small kitty life.

May you rest in peace, my sweet Pete, until we meet again.

pete

Matthew 10:29
“Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.”

 

“You’re So Lucky”

On Saturday morning I drove out to the ‘burbs for a hair appointment at a salon I love, but with a different stylist than my usual girl. I got settled into the chair and we discussed the reason for my appointment. The very first comment the stylist made to me after hair convo was, “So, do you have any kids?”

Gulp.

I paused. Long enough that a fellow infertile might have caught the drift, but not so long as to be awkward. I truly didn’t know how to respond. It was like I momentarily froze. After gauging the overall situation, the setting, and the questioner, I replied “No.”

“Oh, wow. You’re so lucky! I have two and I’m a single mom and they drive me completely crazy.”


Half an hour later I sat down in the shampoo chair. A super friendly gal came over to wash my hair:

Shampoo Girl: “So! Are you married?”

Me: “Yep, I am.”

Shampoo Girl: “Do you have any kids?!”

Me: “Errm. No.”

Shampoo Girl: “Oh. Well, you can always start trying! Have you been married long?”

Me (not wanting to admit I’ve been married for 12+ years): “Just a little while….”


This is the very reason I’ve avoided going anywhere lately or meeting new people. It’s beyond difficult when someone asks the seemingly benign conversational question of whether I have kids, and this deep down part of me awakens and screams, “YES! I do have children!” Because I can’t say that.  We all know why. The follow up conversation would be extremely weird.

So I got to wondering: Am I really “so lucky?”

I can sleep in on weekends and go out whenever I want, for as long I want. I can spend my money on needlessly selfish things and take long vacations with my husband. I can decorate my house with fragile décor and leave sharp knives on the kitchen counter every single day of the week. If life is measured by these freedoms, then—in that case—I guess that I am “lucky.”

But you know what? I’ve had a lifetime of these freedoms. I’ve had fifteen years of undivided time to spend with my husband. I’ve had enough “me” to last forever; I’m pretty well over me, myself, and I by this point. I’d give all my money (and it seems that I am, too…) to be awoken in the middle of the night to feed a crying newborn, to scrimp and save my money and spend Saturday nights clipping coupons, to forego vacation plans, to baby-proof my house, to confidently answer “yes” when someone asks whether I have kids. I’d trade it all in a heartbeat to finally have a child of our own. So if anyone is “lucky” here, then it’s my scissor-wielding friend over at the hair salon who apparently doesn’t realize how blessed she really is.

When we decide that the grass is greener on the other side, we often forget the truth that all grass still must be mowed. This encounter brought that to my mind so strongly. Because maybe I’m very much guilty of the same thing, but in reverse. I realized that I have a tendency to think short-term, in that once I finally have a baby I’ll be chillin in those greener pastures without having to do anything further. But that’s not true, because as the saying also goes, the grass is greener where you water it. And for that much, I’m thankful that God can take something that would normally sting (the kids question) and turn it into an opportunity for a small lesson in humility and growth. Sometimes it’s the things we least expect….

grassgreener

 

PIO vs. Crinone

On the bottom shelf of our bathroom pantry, wedged tightly in the very back, is a big Ziplock bag. Inside of that bag is a month’s worth of unopened Crinone suppositories. Those babies set me back over $300 last fall: for a month’s supply. Of goopy hormones. That my body makes naturally. Yikes.

Dr. C is having me take IM PIO for the FET. I’m worried about how my butt will fare after being shot up daily for 13 weeks with progesterone… I’ve seen you guys’ pics: those dark bruises and dagger-like needles are almost enough to send this chick running for the hills. I have little choice in the matter though, since PIO seems to be the gold standard for REs.

Since it never hurts to check, I called my insurance company to inquire, and, as usual, they refused to cover the cost… apparently PIO isn’t “medical necessary.” (Fun fact: Last time my insurance company gave me this same runaround about stims not being covered, I asked the customer service rep if they’d cover a prescription for Viagra. She said they would. I then asked how Viagra was medically necessary. I have no shame.) Last week my nurse suggested I price out some local pharmacies for PIO, then get back to her about which pharmacy she should order my meds from. And holy canolis was I stunned (in a happy way!) when I had to make the not-so-gut-wrenching decision of choosing to spend $107 vs. $117 for my PIOs.

It’s refreshing while on this weaving, swerving highway of infertility when something—anything—doesn’t break the bank. To pay a hundred-odd bucks for one month’s worth of a medication is a downright steal compared to those pricey stims. It almost feels like I’m taking advantage of them for once. Almost.

There’s still the pesky matter of my Ziplock-encased Crinone. I can’t exactly return it to the pharmacy. And I hate to have spent so much money just for it to collect dust. So if we get a BFP and if my progesterone levels afterward are looking good, then Nurse says Dr. C might let me switch from PIO to Crinone. Those aren’t bad odds. Crinone is not without its own yuck side effects, but at least I already know what to expect with it going in.

At the end of the day, I’m not sure whether it matters how the progesterone gets into my body. I don’t understand why one delivery method is three times as expensive as another for the same hormone, but that’s why they pay people smarter than myself to figure these things out. It could just be a matter of convenience. I think I once read somewhere that, since PIO goes directly into the bloodstream, it can be measured via blood tests, whereas the progesterone that Crinone adds is not measurable on a blood test. Not sure how true that is. Like I said, though: people much smarter than me haha.

Either way, all my meds are ordered and should be delivered soon. I’m partly nervous and still partly neutral about the FET. I’m hoping my excitement levels will go up as I get closer to transfer. It’ll get real soon enough.

Peace.

 

 

 

 

 

Hope

As I was driving to work yesterday morning on a perfectly ordinary day thinking about nothing in particular, I suddenly found myself really, honestly full of HOPE about our FET. It sounds cliché, but it was as if a sudden ray of light burst open inside of me and I realized that, yes, I can choose to hope that this is it for us!

This is kind of a big deal because—up until that moment—I’d been pretty much resigned to expecting the FET to be a flop. Terrible, right? I’d felt truly awful for being so pessimistic. If the FET worked, how could I look at my newborn baby and not possibly be a bad person for having gone into this thing expecting him or her to not have made it? Our baby-to-be deserves faith and hope and expectation, not gloomy pessimism and low expectations.

For months I outright refused to discuss our frostie  being a possible child whenever anyone tried to cheer me up by mentioning that we still had a frozen embryo. I was still all messed up about the miscarried embryo. It didn’t feel right to just quickly move along to the next embryo like business as usual. Maybe we just had a bad “batch” and would have to start fresh. To me, the idea of the frostie being our take-home baby was a non-chance, a poor substitute. To go into this FET robotically with underlying discouragement and anger is not fair to this embryo. He (or she, but I like the idea of ‘he’) deserves to have someone in his corner rooting him along.

Hope hurts, especially in this risky infertility business where the odds are rarely in our favor. We always stay cautiously guarded, we learn to be only timidly hopeful. After all, we’ve ridden this roller coaster ride of hoping followed by letdown every single month. We know the flattening disappointment of yet another failed cycle. For some of us, this ride goes on for years. Hope is a step out of our comfort zone and into letting our hearts be open to the possibility of being hurt, of being wrong. Hope is not self-gratifying expectant demanding. Hope is not naiveté. Hope is not a guarantee. Hope is not having your head in the clouds.

Hope is essential.

Only God knows the outcome of this cycle. My hope is in Him.

Psalm 94:19
When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer. (NLT)

hope

 

FET Prep Festivities

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We’re about 6 weeks out from transfer. It sounds far away but I know how fast time flies, so now is the time to get started!

But before I go on, I have indeed been off WordPress for several weeks now. This here post doesn’t mean I’m totally back in the swing of things. Most days I can’t handle blogging or reading pregnancy posts. I’ve been going through some depression/withdrawal/isolation lately.  It’s been [and still is] a very real struggle. I can get up and go to work—and anywhere else that I absolutely have to—but nothing beyond that. Even those few things take major, major effort. I resent when I have to leave my house. I don’t want to interact with anyone. I know this is not normal. Maybe it’s a part of the grief process. Maybe it’s not. Either way, it’s there and some days are worse than others.

Back on subject:

With that said, I’m not sure how I feel about the FET. I’m mostly ambivalent. I’m neither excited about the possibility of a BFP nor bummed about a potential BFN.

If I’m totally honest, I’m Just Not Ready to transfer. But last year we’d purchased a package from our RE’s office that included 1 fresh/1 frozen cycle: therefore, we’ve already paid for this FET. The package gives us until mid-May 2016 to use our snowbaby; otherwise we have to pay for another FET from scratch. Starting a FET from scratch isn’t doable because we need that money for other things… So, yeah. You can appreciate my dilemma here. I pay for all this IF treatment business out-of-pocket and this ish is expensive… Leaving snowbaby frozen in perpetuity is not something that sits well with DH or I either, so—ready or not—we’re plunging ahead.

To be cautious, we chose an April transfer just in case something weird came up with my lining or timing, or which otherwise might push us back a month. I wish we had a few more months to do this. But we don’t. My current feelings on this topic are completely subject to change, though. So, onward!

Here’s where I’m at on the medical and physical end of things:

  • FET Consult: Is scheduled for Friday March 11. DH and I will meet with the nurse and go over the cycle in detail. We’ll sign additional paperwork and order my meds, which I already know consist of Estrace and PIO and post-transfer Medrol. Nothing hardcore in this department.
  • AF, March: I’m still waiting for my March period, which could come literally any time. Tomorrow? End of the month? Twice in a row? Who knows! AF comes whenever she feels like it these days, with or without warning, and (still) never following OV.
  • AF, April: Assuming I get a “regular” April period, our FET cycle will officially kick in at that time. If I end up getting two periods in March (very likely given my track record these days), then we’ll start after the second March period.
  • Supplements: I’m continuing my daily regimen of DHEA, CoQ-10, Vitamin D, and these super good multivitamin. About 2 – 3 weeks before transfer I’ll swap everything out for these prenatals.
  • Uterine Health: I scored 2 pounds of organic loose red raspberry leaf tea online for $18. This yields like a 6-month supply, there’s seriously SO much of this stuff! I brew it in half-gallon batches and drink cold, or steep individually for a hot beverage depending on the day and my mood. I drink two 12-ounce glasses a day, every day. My uterus should be super “toned” come transfer, whatever that means….
  • Acupuncture: I’ve only done acu once, pre fresh transfer… and I completely loathed the experience. Despite my personal feelings, I’m giving it a second chance. There’s too many studies and personal claims out there about acupuncture being beneficial for FETs. My first appointment is scheduled for March 10. I plan to go 1X/week every week, then 1X week of transfer, and, if possible, on the day of transfer itself. I may not enjoy it, but hopefully I’ll at least get used to it.
  • Nutrition: I already eat healthily, but—face it—there’s always room for improvement. Beginning last week I swore off anything unhealthy. At all. (Except natural dark chocolate bars in the event of an emergency. Unpredictable AF = unpredictable PMS = unpredictable cravings.) I’ve been drinking Raw Meal and Perfect Foods shakes every weekday morning since January and will continue until the day before transfer. These things actually taste pretty good with a bit of doctoring up, and I highly recommend them! No more raw foods post-transfer, even in powder form. I’ll miss my shakes!
  • The Big Bad: Okay, here’s where it gets ugly; please don’t judge. No one ever seems to talk about this on IF blogs. But after the m/c I picked back up on a nasty little habit of smoking cigarettes. Not good, I know, I know… I had been so proud of myself for quitting before, too! The stress and physical toll post-m/c was just too much, and I fell back to smoking like a long-lost friend. I swore it was temporary and I wouldn’t get hooked. But I got hooked anyway. All my hard work out the window. Now I’m quitting AGAIN. I’m currently on day 5 and it’s brutal. I only smoked about 6 – 7 cigs a day, but it’s the associations of smoking more than the act of smoking that make it so tough. I’m doing this cold turkey and on sheer willpower. I float between pissed off to livid to psycho-infuriated when I’m having a craving. It truly sucks. And I miss it (sue me). But quitting now gives me a solid 5 – 6 weeks to get nicotine and withdrawals completely out of my system.
  • Meditation: I’ve not tried this before, but many of you guys swear by it. A quick peruse of Amazon shows Circle + Bloom meditation CDs are waaay more expensive than I’m comfortable with, so unless I can score one super cheap I’ll leave meditation CDs on the “possibility” shelf.
  • Caffeine: I do love my 2 cups of coffee in the mornings; I also love my occasional third cup in the afternoons. I do not, however, love the single cup of coffee I’ve allotted myself from now until transfer. Like the Big Bad, cutting down on caffeine produces ugly withdrawal symptoms. On the bright side, simultaneous nicotine and caffeine withdrawal means I’ve only got to get over my addictions one time instead of dragging them out. Switching to only one cup of coffee/day now means it’ll be that much easier to completely stop after transfer. But still. It does kinda suck.
  • Exercise: I’m continuing with the gym 3X/week and walking on weekends. Now that the weather’s getting nicer, DH and I have been hitting up the track after work. It’s only two blocks from our house, and it’s so great to get fresh air instead of smelly gym air.
  • Scary Chemicals: I love making homemade household cleaners, homemade laundry detergent, and whipping up body butters in my kitchen. As a rule, I use natural, organic, enviro-friendly beauty products and avoid parabens, phthalates, animal testing, etc. This could be a post in itself I have so much to say on the subject! Anyways, I’ll continue with my natural and homemade remedies from now until transfer; and afterward, of course, too. My only exception to the Scary Chemical category is my hair color, which I’m getting touched up this weekend. After transfer I’ll let it fade into its natural mousy brown if we get a BFP.

I’m sure there’s more, but this list is already long enough. It all comes down to just making some {very specific} healthier choices as the FET gets closer. It’s a personal challenge I very much welcome.

I’ve had a tough time finding IF-related things to blog about lately.  I’ve started many drafts, but they’re just not doing it for me. So I’ll be posting as inspired or as anything happens.

Peace.