Fall is here. The pumpkins are on doorsteps, the kids are waiting at their bus stops in the morning as I drive to work, the leaves are falling and it is way too chilly for flip flops. I still have all my summer clothes out from our labor day beach weekend–I guess i haven’t officially accepted that summer is over.
The beauty of a new season is that it symbolizes a new beginning. A new season opens a new chapter ..new hope and opportunity for change. It’s a time to start over. Get a new wardrobe of comfy sweaters, boots and cozy socks, go back to school or work, redecorate the house and get your butt back to the gym. You can finally look forward to what’s next and leave the last season behind.
But at the same time, it is also a reminder of the time that has gone by and a time to reflect. It’s fall again..already? Im another year older. I feel very nostalgic thinking about all of the falls from the past. Just the smell in the air brings back so many memories of being a little girl.. and also of college days–being back at school for the start of a new year . Then there are memories of my 20’s that seem like they just happened yesterday. Being in my best friend’s beautiful fall wedding 4 years ago, going for long brisk walks with my dog who is now too old to make it up the stairs, getting dressed up in silly costumes for alcohol soaked halloween parties and taking day trips with my husband (then boyfriend) to New Hampshire or Maine to soak in all the fall colors .The start of this fall is reminding me of how fast time has gone by, and I wonder how I have changed. Certainly one is wiser in their 30’s than in their 20’s. While I certainly live a much healthier lifestyle now (much less frequent alcohol, cigarette and sun exposure) I am still lousy at keeping my house clean and still dont really understand the stock market. I do know that I appreciate my friends and family more now and am thankful each day for all the blessings in my life.
Mostly, this Fall 2009, I am reminded of a year of enthusiastic trying gone bust. Four whole seasons have come and gone and we are still at the starting line waiting for the buzzer. I just hope that I am better now than before. If there is one small measly crumb of positive in this garbage situation, I want it to be that this year, when this finally happens (and it will!) we will be better parents(to-be) than last year. We’ll be stronger, more focused , aware and more prepared. Last year I would have cared if my ass doubled in size, but this year I say, bring it on. Last year we probably wouldn’t have realized just how lucky we were, what a miracle conception is and how many things have to be “just right” for a pregnancy to be successful. Last year I might have fretted over the nursery not being decorated or that my days of eight hour slumbers were over. This year we’re not going to sweat the small stuff. With this new season ,Im looking forward to new beginnings… and being better in every way.
I went in for my 3rd IUI this morning. It felt almost routine as I signed in, grabbed a coffee and selected my magazines of choice to read after the procedure during the 15 minute rest period. Next to the couples in the waiting room who were obviously new, I felt like a regular.. a real pro. It’s so easy to spot the newbies with their nervous, embarrassed and eager looks. I remember feeling the same way- so excited to be taking this big step and embarking on a new journey. It felt almost scandalous in a way, especially because I went in before the obligatory “year” mark.(Once again, growing up in Catholic schools where they don’t even believe in birth control can definitely make one feel wild and sinful seeking reproductive science after trying for only 8 months.) At that point I was concerned that there was something wrong and wanted to at least be evaluated. It was almost good news hearing that I had polyps. Aha! We found the problem so let’s fix it! I was sure that after they were removed it would be smooth sailing. Well here I am polyp free 6 months later and past the year mark. I guess I’ve officially earned my infertility VIP badge.
I stayed home from work today since I have a have a head cold and also because I wanted to rest after the procedure. I had gone back into work after the past two, acting like it was any other day. “Sorry Boss, Im just running a little late this morning. Im totally focused on this project and dont have anything else on my mind! Just a ho-hum day. I definitely didnt have a catheter inserted into my uterus an hour ago, injecting 90 million of my husbands “washed” sperm inside to hopefully fertilize one of the 3 hormone stimulated eggs that could be hanging out in there. And I definitely could not possibly be pregnant with triplets either. Nope not me, Im just having a regular Wednesday, ready to work work work. Oh, this Tylenol Ive been popping? It’s just from a slight headache, probably from looking at the computer screen too long. Has nothing to do with an insemination procedure I just had in hopes that I will soon be knocked up”
So no, I didnt feel like doing that today. I do know that the mind controls the body somewhat. If you are feeling crappy mentally, chances are you are feeling crappy physically too. So today Im just going to think happy, fertile thoughts. Im going lie on my comfy couch under my warm blanket and hope that magic is happening inside my belly. Im going to rest my soul…. and try to believe in small miracles.
Just got off the phone with the nurse who called to give me today’s status update on my follicles and baby making abilities. It’s usually the same nurse that calls each time and I must admit she’s not the warmest person to be delivering such news. You would think that having this job, calling us frustrated, emotional and anxiety ridden women, she would at least be a little more sensitive and a little less business. Whatever.
She said that tonight is the ovidril trigger night and Wednesday will be the scheduled IUI. Apparantly I have 3 mature follicles so she warned me that while there is no gaurantee that this will result in a pregnancy- there could also potentially be 3 eggs released increasing the chance of a triplet pregnancy (not a huge chance at 19, 16&15.5mm but a small one). Sooo, as long as me and my husband are aware of this and open to the option of “selective reduction”, we can proceed. Ummm, sure I guess. The conversation felt more like a retaurant reservation, or hearing the prognosis from my car mechanic. Certainly not the insane notion of reducing my pregnancy. I know that if faced with this reality I would do what was reasonable and safe, and of course understand the dangers of high order pregnancies,,but I still feel like I need a bath in holy water.
Not sure how I feel right now. I guess Im excited, but it’s hard to let myself be excited anymore since it only leads to more disapointment. The nurse was kind of a debbie downer- basically telling me that I could either have zero or three, but if there are three I’ll have to knock one off. I guess I will just hope and pray for at least one or two, and not worry about what comes next.
Waiting for another call from the doctor. The ultrasound this morning was positive and exciting–showing a large amount of follicles. The technician was different from yesterday and much friendlier. We chatted about the weather and how we enjoy seat warmers in our cars. It’s always nice to have pleasant small talk to distract you from the awkwardness of her shoving the jelly covered wand up your wahoo and then pushing it around for 5 minutes looking at your ovaries. She said she thought it looked like I had too many follicles for an IUI and that they would possibly convert the cycle into an IVF. Yikes. I wanted to cry when she said this because it was both scary and thrilling to imagine having an IVF right now. The chances of a successful pregnancy are much higher, but at the same time it would the last stop. If IVF doesn’t work- we’ll really be that depressing couple who cant have kids. After the first couple months of “trying” I had joked about being that pathetic, sad infertile woman who looks longingly at the baby items in the grocery store and who desperately travels to Russia to adopt a 6-year-old. Now that I am faced with this reality it’s not so funny anymore.
The other option right now would be to just cancel the cycle to reduce the chance of multiples. As much as IVF is scary and extreme, I would rather just go for it than wait another long, unsuccessful and depressing month to start over again. Admittedly, I know how lucky I am to even have these options and feel somewhat guilty about it. I look at IVF as a luxury of sorts, an extremely expensive mechanism to get pregnant using the best medical technology available in the world. Not to mention the fact that growing up Catholic has made me feel guilty about taking these non-traditional steps to conceive. Ethically, is it the right thing to do? I know couples try for years before even considering taking these drastic measures and then cannot afford them even if they wanted to. And then there is me, living in a state where insurance foots the bill. I dont even know how much it costs, 10K, 12K? It feels decadant..and almost like cheating a little bit.
But actually, I know Im not cheating. Ive done everything right. I fell in love with the right guy and was careful not to get pregnant during the 7 years of sleeping together pre-marriage. We waited another year after just to make sure we were ready– emotionally and financially. We wanted to be the best parents we could be and to have the best environment possible for our baby. Ever since then Ive been charting my cycle, taking my temperature, taking ovulation tests and having lots of sex.. even on nights when I was exhausted and in a bad mood, just because I was ovulating. Then it was the painful fertility evaluations,the polypectomy, 7:00 am ultrsasounds&blood draws, nightly hormone injections and 2 failed IUIs. The waiting, hoping and hurting..again and again. I’ve done more for a baby than most, although there are so many more women going through more. While it’s not about “earning” anything or being self righteous…. I just know I deserve this.
I feel like a single girl right now waiting for a guy to call as I keep checking my phone to make sure the ringer is on and the battery is still charged…..
Today is a positive day. Im hopeful and excited. Im imagining all of the moments that will be the happiest of my life: finding out Im pregnant, telling my husband, holding my child for the first time, seeing my parents with my child and most of all- -being our own family. The nurse told me today I have “a lot” of follicles and that I should come back for another ultrasound tomorrow morning. She said they might want to pull the trigger early (take injection that forces ovulation) to reduce the chance of multiples. So there is a chance this could really actually happen?!
Two months on Clomid with no results had crushed my hopes. Ive been feeling depressed and this stronger hormone medication has only made it worse. Im afraid that this agonizing process will go on forever and/or that I really am truly not able to get pregnant. I dont know how I will handle seeing 5 of my friends have babies this fall if I still am unsuccessful. This past week has been the roughest yet.Ive been saying “fuck it” to eating healthy and exercising and have put on a few pounds. Ive been laying down each night so that my husband can give me my injection of hormones, and a couple nights I just laid there and cried. My husband wants this as much as I do and we have prayed together asking god for this blessing. But what is possibly even sadder, each month that Ive gotten a negative result, I can see that his heart breaks only for me.
Im waiting for the call. Each time I go for bloodwork and ultrasound the nurse calls me that afternoon to report what my estrogen levels are, how many follicles I have and what size. They changed my medication this month to Gonal-F injectibles so Im hoping that the report is positive. Supposedly this medication is stronger and is what is used to create lots of eggs for IVF retrievals, although that they need much less follicles for an IUI than an IVF. I reminded myself of this after the unfriendly ultrasound technician told me this morning that she’s “certainly seen a lot more” after I asked her if the number of follicles looked good.
In a nutshell: I have unexplained Infertility. Trying for a little over a year. Had surgery to have polyps removed. 3rd IUI next week. I know that the odds are on my side at this point: we have just begun treatment and I am under 35. But it is still very difficult not knowing why this is happening and if I will ever be pregnant. Not being able to get pregnant..all of a sudden it’s a real thing that I cant laugh off anymore. This has become a significant part of me, my marriage and my journey into motherhood. Ever since I was a little girl I’ve dreamed of being a mom and knew it was the most important thing you could ever do and that it would be my primary purpose in life. I never even considered this not being an option.
This past year has felt like limbo….a year in between. Im post the exploratory phase of my 20’s and the carefree newlywed phase. Im ready for the next phase but cant reach it. I’ve been telling myself to enjoy the freedom, sleep in, stay out late and to enjoy romantic evenings with my husband. Ive been trying to savour all of these pleasures knowing that they are fleeting, but the novelty isnt there. At 33, I look back at my teens and twenties and feel satisfied that they were lived with a free spirit, countless wild nights full of adventure. My husband and I have also enjoyed countless nights filled with spontaneity and passion. Now Ive turned the corner. Im ready for the wonder, sacrifice, life alteration, exhaustion and unexplainable love. My child free existence is not eccentric or fabulous. Its more like a lay over between flights that turns into Groundhog Day. It’s being on the edge of life, going around and around in a revolving door but never finding a way out to enter your destination.