Feb 14 – Valentine’s Day

tumblr_o6q632vtQs1qzzhjgo1_500

Ah, Valentine’s Day. A day for love, and a secret baby pain day? You might be wondering how? How could an overly commercial day dedicated to love hurt my heart?

Social media. It is a real bitch. All day long people with pictures of their babies in “My First Valentine’s” onesies or “My mommy is my valentine” t shirt. Blah blah blah. Or the pregnant ladies holding their belly saying they can’t wait to meet their valentine. bleh.

God dammit, can I get one fucking day or holiday where it isn’t rubbed in my face that I can’t have a baby?! I mean when will it fucking get easier?!

Sorry. I am just hurting today. It was another day where I was emotionally cutting. I am on day 39 and even though I know that damn test will be negative, there I was peeing on a stick. Like an idiot.

Naturally, it was negative. I may be two rum and cokes in while posting this. Normally not my reaction, but I felt like I needed it today.

So here is to more drinks… and staying off facebook.

 

Advertisements

Jan 2 – New Year, Same Nightmares

The holidays are a bit stressful for us infertiles. All the pressure about family. The focus on kids. The revolving door of relatives, well meaning but insensitively joking about not waiting too long to have kids. Not wanting to explain over and over that you want a child more than anything but you can’t.

Luckily the holidays were low stress for us. No family came into town. We sent our gifts to family early. We video chatted with our friends in Colorado, as they are the only people in our lives who actually exchanged gifts with us (what I mean is our family takes gifts from us, but doesn’t send anything back). We don’t do gifts for each other. We did Christmas Angels instead. It was just us and the furkids. Playing board games until midnight and relaxing.

New Year’s was much of the same. We stayed home with the dogs. Which turned out to be a good thing since they opened a fireworks tent about a mile away and we could hear people popping off fireworks all night (from like 9 pm) and our rescue furkid was very unhappy about that.

But deep in the back of my mind, despite all the smiles and fun and low stress and low pressure, I am still hurting. I tried to glaze over Christmas Eve, our missed due date, only to cry when packing up the Christmas decorations.

I tried to ignore the hurt when I scroll through my Facebook feed of all my friends and their kids. The baby’s first pictures. The two women who just had babies last year were both in my IVF support group. I am so happy for them, but it hurts so much. It seems like most people I befriend in my group end up with their miracle baby, while we sit and wait.

The more I try to avoid thinking about the pain, the worse my sleep has been getting. I have stress dreams about tornados. Usually I spend all night running from tornados. This weekend I tried to hide in a “safe” place but the tornado “got” me. I woke up immediately as I was being swept into the tornado (yikes). Last night’s dream was one of the worst ever.

In the dream my hubby and I were watching his sister’s baby (full disclosure his sister passed away about 6 years ago so I don’t know why she was in this dream). We were in our master bedroom bottle feeding her (a little girl) with our beagles around us. It seemed very much like when we had foster babies. A little later in the dream, his sister walked up to me took the baby from me and put her in the stroller. She waited at an elevator (no idea why we were now in a building with an elevator). As she is about to get in the elevator she says ‘I shouldn’t be trusted to watch her baby since I had lost my own’ (referring to my miscarriage). In my dream I slink down and cry and say ‘why would you say that?’

Ouch. That one hurts. His sister, when she was alive, was the nicest person I know, so it was extra hurtful to have the nicest person I know say that about me. I know the miscarriage was not my fault, but now I wonder if I am ignoring those feelings. I am a master avoider, according to my therapist. I don’t even notice I am doing that sometimes.

With the pressure of the holidays gone, I hope that my anxiety will die down and I can actually get some sleep. Night after night of nightmares is exhausting and getting old.

I hope your holidays were less stressful than mine and here’s to a better year than the one before! Happy New Year!

cheers-holiday-party-new-year

Dec 22 – Surgery Postponed

We were all set to have my hubby do his varicocele surgery. They were also going to take some sperm while they were in there and have us freeze it in a procedure called TESE. That is where they cut a tiny hole in the scrotum and take sperm directly from the testicle with the theory that sperm inside the testicle is “better” than ejaculated ones. It took two weeks of playing phone tag with the scheduler woman, we’ll call Kitty (not her real name).

A few days later she calls my work phone and cell phone and leaves messages saying that they haven’t been able to move my hubby’s surgery to earlier in the day (they had it scheduled for 7:30 at night) and that they were worried we wouldn’t be able to get the surgery done that day. Now this is why I am confused. Why can’t we just do it in the evening and skip the TESE part (since the infertility clinic wouldn’t be open for me to drive the sample over to them to have them put it in their freezer area). Well the assistant they scheduled cancelled and they can’t find a replacement.

I say just cancel the surgery. We will reschedule next year. She calls me 7 times to confirm that it needs to be cancelled because other people want his time slot (huh? I thought they couldn’t do the surgery?!?!?!). Whatever. I just cancel.

We are now going to have to wait until next year. Not only that but my hubby’s insurance changes next year. Instead of covering 80 percent of any procedure it drops down to covering only 50 percent (ouch). Plus the deductible doubles from 3k to 6k (double ouch).

In addition to that, we made the tough decision to close our foster care license. One of the other foster parents in our Facebook support group, who received the last baby we had, sent us some updated pictures of her. They were so great about thanking us for taking care of her until they were able to receive her (they had her brother already). It was so nice of them to share that with us and it made me cry. I wish we had been able to get a baby of our own to adopt. It just didn’t work out that way for us.

Another co-worker said this week, why not just adopt? I had to explain how expensive it is, the home study process, the law where the mom can change her mind and take back the kiddo, how the costs don’t get reimbursed when that happens, how international adoption is more expensive than it is used to be and all the red tape due to the issues in other countries where babies were stolen and put up for adoption. After all that she said “Oh wow, I thought adoption was free.” I laughed at her. I didn’t mean to. It just came out. Luckily we are friendly so she understood and wasn’t offended. I explained it could be “free” after the tax credit reimburses you if you adopt from foster care but we were wanting a baby and it is very difficult to get a baby without first fostering them (hence the path we took).

I am trying to hold it together but it has been a tough month emotionally. December used to be my favorite. Now with the knowledge that our baby would have been due Christmas Eve, it hurts. My birthday is also this month. I turned 35. I have never been upset or wishing I was younger until this year. Due to my extensive research trying to convince my work to add insurance coverage I know that 35 is the beginning of the end for fertility (according to research – obviously there are plenty of women who have babies into their 40s). If I believe my mother -who is a compulsive liar- she went through menopause at 38-40ish. Which means we are running out of time for me to have a baby.

My hubby’s holiday party was this month too. There were 2 pregnant women and one couple that brought their newborn (even though it is a kid-free party). That was the toughest night. Thank heavens for my hunny. He made me some coke and rum drinks and was my designated driver that night. During the white elephant gift exchange (where people take turns opening gifts and you can “steal” a gift that was opened on your turn – up to 2 steals and then it is safe). I got this beautiful throw blanket. It was soft and fuzzy and a nice grey color. One of the pregnant women “stole” it from me and said it was to keep her and the baby warm. I had a very hard time being nice to her after that.

I am not going to say that 2018 will be a better year. I just don’t believe stuff like that anymore. I can’t. I feel like I have become a very dark person since IVF. Hope is a dirty word. I hate anytime I feel hope because I am always let down by it. Hopefully that is something I can work on in therapy.

I have been going to therapy for a little while now. My therapist is of the cognitive-behavior school of thought. Not my favorite, but she is right about some things. Things I need to hear. I don’t focus enough on myself (I am terrible at self-care). I focus on the negative a lot (who can blame me). We went no contact with several family members this year and it has been difficult to say the least.

I hope you are having a better holiday season than us! Wishing you all the best during this holiday season. May 2018 be a better year for all of us!

happy-holidays_2014

 

 

Nov 29 – The Ugly Side of Infertility

main_champion-studio_shutterstock_237581392You may be thinking what is the ugly side of infertility? The jealousy of random pregnant women you see? The tears streaming down your face when you get another negative test? Having to go through with a D&C because you miscarried?

Well, yes to all of those. But there is another ugly side most people don’t talk about. Money troubles. Since we have done IVF treatments we have been struggling to keep up financially. I was laid off after we shelled out the 10k (after insurance) for our two rounds. Then my husband changed companies and they put him in a lower position than he interviewed for, it was only supposed to be temporary.

I was bait and switched at my job when I took it and promised a promotion for almost two years. For almost three years we have been struggling. We are still 14k in credit card debt. Let our second vehicle go and have put my student loans in forbearance.

The final insult, since we haven’t been able to keep up we have not made payments on any of the credit cards and we are now getting sued. We are paying two off right now and already paid off two since I got my latest promotion. But if they continue to sue us we are going to lose. We can’t keep trying to pay them all off at the same time. We are struggling. Emotionally, financially, spiritually.

 

Nov 5 – Nothing Interesting

Another month passing without much change. We won’t do the surgery until the next year and we have decided with my new job that we should not be fostering right now. Especially since I have to travel to the main headquarters next month for a few days.

The holidays are always hard now. I was so excited for Halloween. I organized a department-wide costume contest and potluck at work. I decorated the house. I watched the family friendly Halloween movies (I am a wimp and can’t handle truly scary movies). I organized an awesome costume for work. I was a witch. I custom decorated my hat with glitter tulle, feathers,  and spider ribbon. I bought a spider jeweled pin and a spider necklace. I even had a realistic crow I carried around as my “familiar” all day. I bought candy to put out for the kids. I couldn’t bear to actually hand the candy out.

Then, of course, my period is late. The department near mine did a small trick-or-treating event for young children. I wished I was pregnant, knowing that I was not. I was not. I left work early one day to avoid breaking down at my desk. I even let myself daydream about if I was pregnant when I would be due. Cruelty to myself. Or my ’emotional cutting’ as I like to call it.

I wish so much that we had kids. I missed our foster kiddo from last year, the one we took trunk-or-treating. I missed being part of the holidays the way other people are. It was hard to be on the outskirts of social circles once again. “Bad Moms’ Christmas” is coming out and the ladies I saw the first one with have not even brought it up. Actually the neighbor we used to see all the time hasn’t been over since the last foster kiddo we had almost 4 months ago.

On a different note, I recently started therapy. I don’t know if it will help but I am willing to try. Only had 2 sessions so far. I am hoping to figure out what to do if we end up without children. Also we decided that we are cutting contact with my mom and his mom. We decided we are more important than the societal standards that you must always honor your parents. So I have some things to work through. It has been hard since we cut contact. My mother is telling everyone she is the victim. His mother is saying the same. We are the evil ones. We are the bad people. How could we do this to them? It’s laughable honestly.

Looking forward to next year, we plan to pay off our debts and save up for our last IVF round. We will have the hubby do the surgery next year and see if it helps at all. I am going to try to get in better shape. Which I am currently failing miserably at LOL. I put on 10 pounds this month! Sort of the opposite way I was wanting to go. /sigh.

I hope you had a Happy Halloween and have a great Thanksgiving!22792380_10214352648039321_3604155877681742849_o

 

Sept 29 – The Results are In

We went to our urologist appointment for our results. I was incredibly nervous about it. We even left early so we could wait at the office instead of at home.

The DNA fragmentation results were normal. Which is great. I was partially worried that our miscarriage was due to a quality issue with the sperm. So that was a big relief. Our miscarriage was just a miscarriage.

The blood work was mostly normal. Two of the tests were high, I think it was FSH and LH. They are the ones that regulate the production of sperm. So his brain is already telling the boys to step up production but they just can’t.

The semen analysis was about the same as before. Count was very, very low. Less than 1 million. Motility was good which is better than last time because it used to be low. Morphology couldn’t be measured due to low count.

Lastly the ultrasound showed he has a varicocele, grade 2. What that is, is an enlarged vein in the scrotum.

So what does this mean? Well the doctor said basically that clomid and vitamins wouldn’t help. His body is already trying to get the guys in line, they just can’t. We could try the varicocele surgery. It would involve going into the veins right above the scrotum and dropping a coil in it to get the blood flow to stop/reduced. They usually do the surgery on grade 3. They said it may or may not help. In general it can help. The doctor did say he does not believe it will bump our numbers enough to not have to do IVF. Which is kind of a bummer. It would be great if we could do IUI instead.

So basically we can try the surgery and it may or may not help. But it was nice to find out that we can still pursue IVF. We are deciding if we want to pursue these and IVF or just go straight to embryo adoption.

The surgery will be covered by our insurance. So that is at least good. They also want to do a TESE surgery during the varicocele one. TESE is where they take a few pieces of testicle with sperm to freeze. The doc said that for every 1 sperm ejaculated, there is 300 in the testicle. We could get better/more sperm from that procedure.

Hubby already said he is willing to try the surgery just to see if it will help. I think our plan is to try the surgery, see what it does to his numbers and then go from there.

test_results6

Sept 20 – Life Changes

o-RAINBOW-facebookIt’s been a while since I’ve written, waiting on our upcoming urologist appointment, but big changes have been happening. I recently was finally offered the position I applied for at my company this week. I start next month! They didn’t offer me what I wanted money-wise, but the future potential is greater than staying in my current position. I wanted a change. I didn’t want to be stuck. My goal was to get out of the current position within 3 years. Goal met!

In my new role, the hours will be longer and I will be required to travel twice a year. In light of this, I think we may not be able to foster anymore. Daycares by us are only open until 6pm. If I work until 6, that presents a problem. Travelling would leave my hubby alone to take care of the dogs and a baby. He is perfectly capable of doing that, but I don’t want to put him in that situation.

In addition I decided I have had enough of my mother and mother-in-law. We are no longer speaking with both. That’s right, both! I couldn’t take one more day of multiple texts from my mother complaining that she was “dying” when I spoke with her doctor the previous week and confirmed she was fine (the paperwork was on file for me to get her medical information – since I was executor to her will). This is the last time I am going to emotionally support her through another crisis that doesn’t exist. I am done!

I have been doing research on her mental illness and I am quite certain she is a narcissist. She is using medical illnesses as a way to manipulate and control all of us. My brother (yes the one who I haven’t spoken to in 2 years) cut my mom out earlier this year. She used to complain to me that he was a “cold fish” cutting his mother out like that. I used to try not to laugh because I was just waiting until my other brother was old enough that he didn’t need my monetary support anymore. He is now 16 and working. He can do what I did and pay for his own stuff. It’s not great but I have decided I am done taking care of my mother’s children.

Next week is our urology appointment and I am anxiously awaiting the results. I saw a onesie in Target this week that had a rainbow on it and said “oh hello there rainbow.” I bought it. I kind of took it as a sign from the universe that maybe, just maybe, we will get a rainbow baby at some point (a baby that comes after miscarrying a baby). Maybe I am just being optimistic. But I am in a great “getting-rid-of-junk-in-my-life” place. After cutting my toxic mom out, I am feeling better. Not perfect, guilt is a little in there, but I am free to do whatever I want without her voice in my head.

I’ll let you all know how the results pan out! Wish us luck!

 

August 2 – Halfway through Tests

153741144While trying to figure out our next steps we are doing some urological tests for my hubby. So far we did one where they will be checking his dna fragmentation in his semen. That one was an easy one for him. But it was not so much fun for me. The non-glamorous side of infertility. My hunny, um did his deed, into a cup. Then he went to work. I had to wait for an hour for it to liquefy. Then I had to use a dropper to distribute it between two vials. Then I had to wait for the dry ice shipment. I put everything in the dry ice shipper and then had to return ASAP to a FedEx that accepts hazardous matters. Closest one was twenty minutes away at the airport.

Next test put my hubby in a not so great mood. It was a ultrasound of his testicles. That was uncomfortable and they only had a female on staff. He was in a pretty crabby mood the rest of the day. I tried to gently remind him of all the stuff I had gone through, but I think it was more of a pride thing than actual discomfort.

We still have to go to our RE to do the regular semen analysis. Then the blood work. We are about a month and a half from our follow up appointment with the urologist. I really don’t know what to expect. I guess I was hoping for some magic bullet or miracle fix. Anything to avoid more IVF.

If the result is bad news, such as the fragmentation is high and not good, we might just switch over to embryo adoption. Our clinic does an in house program that is anonymous for it, which is ideal.

As far as fostering our bed is still on hold since I have not yet heard back on the new job I applies for. Two and a half months after applying, two interviews in, and they tell me interviewing stalled and it is just starting back up. UGH!

 

July 20th – Vivid Dream

Before bed I wanted to be what I call an emotional cutter and pee on a stick. For some reason I was really hopeful we were pregnant. We did it during the right time. My hubby has been choking down those vitamins I was making him take. We were on vacation during ovulation. I don’t know why, but I was dumbly optimistic. I thought the test was a dud, it took so long for the test line to show up. It was negative.

Earlier this week one of my co-workers who has infertility and recurrent miscarriages had her 6 week ultrasound because she had gotten pregnant off her latest IUI. I am so happy for her but she is so nervous (rightfully so, I would be a wreck with 5 miscarriages under my belt). Since I am the only person other than her hubby to know what is going on she talks to me about it a lot. Which is an honor, but also really tough on me.

Anywho, so last night I had a really vivid dream. I dreamed I peed on a stick and it did have two lines. I was so excited. I told my hubby that I just knew the vitamins would work. I started getting ready for work and I texted my co-worker who is pregnant about our positive test (because I should be able to share it with someone after all). Shortly after the alarm started to go off. I got up to pee on the other stick (again dumbly optimistic). And then I wiped, sorry I know TMI, and my period had started. A bit early considering this year’s track record. It was just deflating since I was still coming off my vivid dream’s high of seeing pink lines.

Needless to say, it wasn’t a great mood kind of day. Then I get a call from a local number I don’t know. They leave a voicemail. It is from the social worker (the lawyer assistant) from our first foster kid trying to schedule a meeting to see them before court! I called back and I was probably more annoyed than I meant to be. I explained that the kid hadn’t been with us in almost a year and she was pretty quick to hang up.

This frustrated me greatly. This is the kid’s lawyer. They are supposed to know what is going on with them! And they don’t even know that they are not with me anymore!

Yesterday someone decided to tag me in a video on Facebook. More unsolicited advice. It was a video about infertile people who couldn’t have kids even with treatment who were on the waiting list to adopt. They got a call about a kiddo with down syndrome. The people didn’t think they wanted to do it, blah blah. Then they felt they should, and did. Then they adopted two more. It is a nice heartwarming video BUT I feel like the intention of tagging me in it was to say you should do this. It is basically saying you should adopt. Not only that, but you should adopt kid’s with downs. I am not saying either way whether I want to or not. That’s not the point. The point is they are telling us how to treat our disease. Not every solution works for every family. It is so rude to suggest how to grow one’s family. That is SUCH a personal decision. Drives me nuts.

ok, rant over! I just wish sometimes people would mind their own business. I know that opening up and sharing our story to help others who suffer in silence opens us up to unsolicited advice and opinions, but I wish it didn’t.

July 13 – Urologist Appointment

Last week we were on vacation so we had decided to go to a urologist, since we have male factor and they didn’t run any real tests on my hubby at the RE when we were doing IVF.

I have been making my hubby take excessive amounts of vitamins for a month and a half to see if it impacted his analysis. Much to our surprise they didn’t run a single test. They farm out everything. Although they did do a, ahem, visual inspection and, ahem, a prostrate feeling inspection (much to my husband’s dismay). He was not too pleased with having the doctor’s finger up his bum. I spent the rest of the day trying to cheer him up LOL. But every time he complained I brought up another invasive procedure I had done during IVF and that seemed to stop the whining.

So we were sent home with several referrals. Four tests in total. One is a regular semen analysis they want us to go to our RE for. Second is an ultrasound of the scrotum (that sounds fun). Third is blood work checking hormones and such. Fourth is a sperm DNA test.

I scheduled the ultrasound for later this month (thankfully they are open on Saturdays). The DNA test is going to be interesting. The company is out of Massachusetts so they overnight a kit to you. You get a second overnight delivery of dry ice on your chosen collection day. Then the guy goes in a cup, lets it sit for an hour, then uses a dropper to move it to two vials. Put in the dry ice box and return it overnight to the company. Phew. Plus they only do the collection days on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. So the only way that works is by him doing his ‘business’ in the morning before work, me working from home to let it sit an hour. Me putting the sample into the two vials. Waiting for the dry ice delivery (around 10:30am) and then getting my butt to the FEDEX that accepts hazardous materials (because of the dry ice). Oh vey.

The blood test will be easy, there is a location literally across the street. The only tricky part of they are only open 8-4 Monday through Friday and most days that is not going to work for us. His work gives him a hard time about getting time off (they argued with him when he needed to get off two hours early to get a CT scan because they were worried he might have thyroid cancer).

The semen analysis at our RE poses the same issue as the blood work, their hours. Plus they are about 40 minutes away from us.

Nevertheless we will get these all done! Is it weird that I am excited about this? I mean I know nothing is actually happening but it feels like progress. Even if they say his sperm is not able to produce children it will be good to hear news. Then we can move on to embryo adoption (we are a both of us or neither of us DNA wise couple. Not an easy decision and not good for everyone). Embryo adoption is 10k versus the 15k but if it has a better chance then I am all for it. But I don’t want to do that until I hear for sure that we can’t have our own kids. Just because we miscarried doesn’t mean we can’t have our own kids. Miscarriage is pretty common, and we may have just hit bad odds.

On a side note, if you are going to watch “Vegas Baby” which is a documentary on Netflix right now, watch it with tissues. It is about IVF and IVF contests and how degrading they can be. I bawled the ENTIRE movie. One of the couples had a very similar story to us and it really hit home.

anamaria_class