Good things only happen to some people. They don’t happen for people like us.

On Thursday, we received notice that my husband’s endocrinologist was leaving his practice at the end of September. Due to the rarity of my husband’s disorder, finding a replacement endo is going to be a huge challenge. Add to the challenge, we live in Alaska.

Our insurance company has yet again switched their prescription plan, so we have been spending several hours getting everything sorted out. On Friday, yet another script was denied, and we paid out of pocket, left to argue more with the insurance company more this upcoming week.

We have been gearing up for a natural embryo transfer for the end of this month. Friday before we left for the cabin, the transfer was canceled for this cycle. I know it is for the best; you want everything to be perfect so better chance of it being successful, but it is still disappointing (that is putting it mildly).

I honestly feel at this point that this is how our life is going to be. Good things happening to others, but we will never catch our break. No matter how hard we try. The title of this blog comes from a text I sent my husband when we was talking about “our children”. I felt bad being the downer when he was trying to be positive. I’m scraping the bottom of the hope barrel right now.

This morning, I found the journal I started on 07 August 2013 when we first began to try for a child. I think of all the heartache and struggle we’ve endured since then. My marriage is stronger than ever, a rare disorder and infertility will test your strength as a couple. Right before I found out my transfer was canceled, I had lunch with co-workers. One had a baby in May, and she was there with her baby. An adorable and happy baby. It made my heart hurt, while I’m happy for her, as much as I try, they simply remind me of what I cannot have. I have another friend coming into town this week. She is very happy and very pregnant. I’m very depressed and very not pregnant. I simply do not want to be around that. I want to be left alone, to cry my tears in peace in my garden with my animals.

My mother-in-law has mentioned how aloof I’ve become the past few years. Reading that journal to my baby started in 2013, I realize how much more jaded, cynical, and depressed I’ve become the past four years. I look at our wedding photos, the happy and hopeful couple that had no clue what the first few years of marriage were going to hold for them.

We appear to be a very average couple. Very few people have any idea how often I cry, how financially stressed we are, or how tired we are from arguing with the heath insurance companies. It is hard for me to be happy for others when I’m working through my never-ending grief. It is hard for me to want to go out with friends because I simply don’t want to hear about how wonderful their life is. I don’t want people to say things they think are comforting, but they aren’t, they make me angry and more likely never to go out of the house again.

It reminds me how naïve people are when it comes to infertility. They will never know how bad it truly hurts. This has been my life for longer than I care to admit. I’ve heard all the advice, received numerous pep talks, and have over thought it all. When I need or want to talk about it, I will. I’ll blog about it or I’ll talk to a friend of choosing. If I don’t bring it up in conversation with you, I don’t want to talk to you about it. Leaving my five-acre haven, I’m reminded constantly of what I cannot and do not have. So I hide away, separate myself from the rest of the world and watch from a distance as other live the life I wish I could have. Life looks a lot different on this side of the fence.

Perfect family

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OPKs in FBKS

We are doing a natural transfer and I’m in need of ovulation prediction kitS (OPKs). I haven’t bought or used one of these in years. I hopped on Amazon since I’m needing them in bulk and to my surprise, you can buy them used! What?!?!

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I found a non-used one that seemed promsing. Turns out customers that bought this OPK also bought plastic cups. It took way longer than I’d like to admit why the hell people were buying plastic cups with and ovulation prediction kit. I’ve been out of this game way too long. The outdoor inflatable lounger chair and couch, I’m still in the dark. 😉

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A Somber Epiphany

I stumbled onto a new to me infertility blog and it goes back to 2013. I was like, holy shit that was a long time ago and they still are childless. It was discouraging, heart breaking, but I honestly felt a bit relieved that it wasn’t me. Then it hit me, we’ve been trying since 2013.

 

Recap and Game Plan

We are a little over two weeks post of our last egg retrieval. And I can officially say that that was our last round of IVF. There is no way in hell I’m putting my body through that again. Pretty much from the day after my first injection, I have to stop running because my ovaries go gangbuster on the hormones. I can feel my ovaries when I walk and have this irrational (perhaps rational) fear of ovarian torsion. No trampolines for me during IVF. Everyone, even fertility nurses, tells me that I’m doing so well and I’ll have plenty of eggs. Whoopie fucking do because that means shit.

Eggs out of here

On this third round, the protocol was modified yet again to avoid ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). Yet again, I developed OHSS. I have no idea how people go back to work the day after the transfer. I’m large, uncomfortable, and in pain. By the time I went back to work four days post transfer, I was using a rubberband to close my pants. Beats the first round when I had to wear maternity pants.

When I start to deflate and piss out all that water I retained (8lbs of it this round!), all day daily migraines begin as my body crashes from the hormones. This is followed by the heaviest period in history. Ten days post retrieval, I went to my local clinic for a polyp check so we can start on the transfers. “Holy crap, your ovaries are huge,” the Dr. remarked. That was 10 days after retrieval, after deflating, and after my period. Yup, IVF for me is weeks of pure hell.

The best thing about this round is our clinic did not give us a blow by blow about how shitty our embryos were doing as our previous clinic did. They told us how many fertilized on day two then gave us a report on how many they froze on day five. We went from 26 eggs retrieved, 25 mature, 23 fertilized, to four to freeze. A bit crushing but better than the other two rounds where we got 1 to transfer and 0 that implanted.

While I wish we had more in the freezer, a part of me is glad that we do not. After watching others go through transfer after transfer, the heartache and the money spent, I’m glad this purgatory is limited to four.

FrozenSperm

It is hard to wonder as we start the embryo transfers if we picked the right path. A friend of my husband had their adoption finalized today. They started adoption process when we started fertility treatments. It is hard not to second guess our choices especially when our house seems oh so quiet today and a bit too clean. I need to accept that this is our journey and we are on the right path even if it is a bit longer then we’d prefer. The next hurdle is going to be doing a natural transfer while living 4,000 miles from our clinic. This should be interesting yet I’m so glad the clinic is willing to work with us on this. A natural cycle transfer means no progesterone in oil shots. None. Zilch. Kein. I’m polyp free as of this week’s check. Now waiting to hear back on my thyroid values. Then once my period starts in a few weeks, we are on.

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As a side note for a friend that is thinking about heading down the IVF path that reads my blog: While IVF has been no cake walk for me (though I have consumed a lot of cake on this journey), I will say I’m glad we have done these three rounds of IVF. And I’ll still be glad even if this 3rd one fails because I will never wonder if. I will know. Everyone has a different experience with IVF and how their body responds. I don’t want my experience to deter you from trying, if you want to try. It is hard but doable.

Mom, I’m okay. Really.

I have been debating sharing my blog with my mother and have been thinking why I haven’t to date. She knows I have a blog but hasn’t pressed the matter. That is how my mother works, she lets me share when I’m ready. She doesn’t pry but is always there to listen when I get there. I always eventually get there.

My mother and I talk about infertility, IVF, adoption, and my husband’s disorder. We talk a lot about pretty much anything and everything. She lives next door, and we see each other often. Needless to say, I have been blessed with an amazing mother, and we are extremely close. She knows that infertility is hard on me, but I do not know if she really understands how hard. I want to shield my mother from this pain. I don’t want my mother to see me suffer, especially when there is little she can do to make it better.

Infertility is a world my mother, fortunately, didn’t journey through. My mother stopped birth control and three months later was pregnant with me. My brother was planned for a later date, instead, when I was 6 months old and still breastfeeding, she got pregnant with him. She has never dealt with the grief and pain of infertility until now as she watches me navigate it.

 

 

Both my family and my inlaws have been overly supportive. Something I’m thankful for since I know many folks going through infertility have family members that are aloof and utterly callous on the matter. I know that both sides want grandchildren but don’t press it, understanding we have little control over all of this. I am aware that this infertility is robbing my parents the chance at being grandparents since my brother is childless by choice. However, my parents were awarded the opportunity to parent two wonderful children (yes, we are wonderful). Shane and I, on the other hand, have lost both being parents and grandparents in one fell swoop.

My blog is my place to express all aspects of this journey, most of it extremely painful. I worry by sharing it with my mother, I’ll start to sugarcoat it to make her feel better. To shield her from this world she has only got a small glimpse of.

At the same time, I want to share it all with her. And to know that I am okay and I’ll be okay, but this is the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through.

Week to Go

We are well into our third IVF round, and I don’t have a lot to say on it. I’ve pretty much resigned myself to simply moving through this and seeing what it holds. Egg retrieval is scheduled tentatively for the 6th. I’m not putting a lot of hope in this but there is hope, or I wouldn’t be doing this again. It is going to be what it is going to be.

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Though I wouldn’t say, I’m completely calm on the matter. I did polish off an entire pan of brownies last night. Shane helped some, but it was pretty much a solo job. I’m also eating as if this is going to work. I’ve been doing the garden salad thing daily. It truly is a garden salad – it is all from my garden! I’m also keeping my protein intake high and keeping up with all those damn miracle supplements.

This has also made me feel like a horrible scientist going through this. In a normal experiment, you would change one or two variables plus have a control (I feel like a lab rat in a very messed up science experiment). For this third round of IVF, we have changed pretty much everything. Shane is on different meds. I’m on a high-protein diet. We are at a new clinic. I’m on levothyroxine for my thyroid. Shane and I are on 101 supplements that are supposed to cure infertility (I picked the ones that had at least some science backing to them). We are at a new clinic. Slightly new protocol. No fresh transfer and Lupron trigger (no OHSS in my future, hopefully!) If this works, I have no idea what variable was the magic bullet. If it all fails, well, at least I gave it all we had.

And I’ve previously mentioned that this is our last IVF round. I’ve stopped saying last. The word gives me heart palpitations. I don’t know if it is our last, maybe in a year, we will think a 4th round is a good idea. I simply can’t handle right now closing that door even if in all honestly, this is our last.

 

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Acceptance

I was brought up in the generation right before the “Everyone is a Winner!” generation. I grew up in the “You can do anything you set your mind to” generation. Why do we raise children on such false promises? I know reality is a tough pill swallow but what is harder is realizing as an adult, that no matter how hard you work, some things you simply do not have control of.

It has been hard to accept that I truly have minimal control if I will be a biological parent or not. I have minimal control of becoming a mother. Period. It is out of my hands, and I know life would be easier if I could accept it. Not roll over and take it, but accept that which I cannot control.

I have a good friend that has been looking for a job post-graduation and the pickings have been slim. In an email, she wrote that she is “working on adjusting my goals so that they reflect things that I have control over.” Yes!

I’ve been standing in the crowd, watching my life unfold on the big screen and yelling, “This wasn’t part of the script!” How do you accept that you may not have your dream job after you spent years going to school? How do you accept that you may never be a mother no matter what supplement you take, what fertility procedure you do, or which adoption agency you choose? How do you accept this when you have been told growing up that you could have it all if you simply set your mind to it? Have I not worked hard enough? Have I not sacrificed enough of myself to achieve this goal? I’ve done everything I should have done and more, yet I’m coming to realize that you cannot truly have it all, no matter how hard you work for it. Life simply doesn’t work that way. I need to accept this and get back to living my life, even the parts I don’t quite accept yet. Time to set goals I do have control of.

Accept