April 27, 2012

NIAW – Don’t Ignore Joy

Posted in Infertility, Parenting tagged , at 1:57 pm by lifebytheday

This week is National Infertility Awareness Week and the theme for this year is “Don’t Ignore Infertility.”  Bloggers have been given the charge to blog with the prompt “don’t ignore…”

I truly hope that I don’t come off as being a smug parent (in the vein of Bridget Jones) with this post, but I’d like to suggest to people who are parenting (or pregnant) after infertility – don’t ignore the joy of being a parent.  I feel like so many people in this community end up feeling so much GUILT after getting pregnant, that it starts to bleed into their ability to enjoy their pregnancy and even their child after they have arrived.

When we got pregnant, I made the conscious decision to enjoy every minute – partly because I didn’t know whether that would be my only chance to experience pregnancy, and partly to honor the baby that we worked so hard for.  And as most of you know, it was not an easy pregnancy to enjoy. 😉  Then once A was born, I was so preoccupied with him (and trying to fit in a shower here and there) that I made a less-conscious decision to step back from the blogging community a bit.  I still read all of my regular blogs – usually while BFing in the middle of the night – but I never made it onto my computer to comment.  Sorry friends!  (I actually still have a ton of posts saved in my reader to comment on…it probably will never happen, but hey, good intentions! ;-P)

None of that means that I have ever forgotten about those folks still in the trenches – I regularly send out prayers and wishes that everyone who wants to have a child is able to – but I don’t think that feeling guilty about the fact that we were finally able to have a child will make it happen any faster for anyone else.  And to be honest, it made me too sad to think about infertility every single day.  I think that my mind needed a break from the sadness as much as my body needed a break from all of the supplements and needles and meds.

My approach with A has been similar to how I treated my pregnancy…consciously focusing on enjoying every minute, and not wishing his life away or pining for what has passed.  Although, the latter goal is getting harder and harder the faster he grows up. 😉  (I can’t believe he is 11 months already!!  11 mo. post coming tomorrow…)

Anyways, all that to say…if you are blessed with a child, through birth or adoption, thank God and then enjoy the heck out of them! 😀

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April 26, 2012

Sickness, separation anxiety and #2?

Posted in Infertility, Parenting tagged , , at 4:57 pm by lifebytheday

Phew.  Last week was a doozy…A’s first ear infection, which took until day 4 of a fever for the ped. to diagnose, and the simultaneous beginning of mommy separation anxiety.  Which was funny, and flattering, but exhausting!

I honestly thought that we had dodged that bullet, and had mixed feelings about it.  I knew that it was a common phase, and as his primary caregiver, I was kind of wondering why he hadn’t developed that attachment yet.  I chalked it up to the fact that my mom and aunt are his two other regular visitors, and we all have very similar voices and mannerisms…but I was secretly a little upset.  Then I got a little cocky thinking that he was just SO secure and probably wasn’t going to go through it at all, and boy did that come back to bite me.  With his ear infection he was the most uncomfortable when he laid down, so we went through four or five days where I probably held him for 20 out of every 24 hours.  I was EXHAUSTED, and surprisingly sore!  He’s a big boy. 😉  He finally turned a corner yesterday, and after (both of us!) took good afternoon naps, we were almost back to normal.

Yesterday was also my first time back at a regular gynecologist in I don’t know how many years…probably five?  Usually the RE would just roll in my pap with all of the other insurance-required testing, so I never felt the need to see another doctor.  I mostly set up this appointment to start building a relationship with the doctor I wanted as my OB “next time”.  I know, don’t burst my bubble.  But seriously, it was so refreshingly quick and easy!  And interestingly, my doctor pointed out that after I stop breast-feeding that I’ll be at my most fertile, and that I might even get in a few ovulatory cycles before my PCOS kicks back in.  I know that we’ve all heard that before, and that I really shouldn’t get my hopes up, but I was a bit surprised that he thought I might be able to get a few real cycles in.

I’ve always known that we’d try for a second at some point down the road, but thought it would be a while before I could convince S.  After the downs scare we had and everything we had to go through with A’s surgery, S was pretty sure that he only wanted one.  But the older that A got, the more and more S would make comments here and there about giving A a brother or sister…and finally a month or two ago, we decided for sure that we’d be trying for a second relatively soon.  We have two big weddings in September and October, and I’m kind of looking forward to having a few months “off” between breastfeeding and fertility treatments.  So right now, it’s looking like we’ll “try” on our own over the summer – it’ll be the summer of $ex, ha! – and then go back to the RE in September to start the pre-IVF testing up again.

I’m under NO delusions that it’s going to be easy this time around, but I honestly think that knowing that we are able to get pregnant will take some of the stress out of the whole process.  And at the end of every day, I get to come home and cuddle my little boy.  It all seems a little abstract right now, so for the time being, I’m just going to focus on weaning my little man and enjoying our summer!  There’s plenty of time for worrying later. 😉

March 8, 2011

Meant to be

Posted in Infertility, Pregnancy tagged at 7:07 am by lifebytheday

This post has been percolating in my head – and my heart – for a while now, but I’m pretty sure that it’s not going to come out exactly the way I mean it, so bear with me, okay?

I have come to the realization that this baby – and the path we had to take to get him or her – was 100% meant to be.  There have been times when I find myself remembering everything that we went through – all of the pain, sadness, money, worry, fear – and it almost feels like it happened to someone else.  Or maybe more accurately, like it happened to me in a completely different lifetime.  I can still remember everything in minute detail, but it’s almost as if I’m dreaming, or watching the replay through a curtain. 

When we got pregnant, I made a conscious choice to enjoy every minute, and (to try!) not to worry or feel guilty about being happy or excited.  I still have no way of knowing whether we’ll ever get to experience pregnancy again, so even with the physical challenges, I am loving being pregnant.  But by the same token, I still hate to complain – partly because I like to think of myself as pretty tough, and partly because I don’t want anyone to ever question that I know how lucky I am – but I am trying to experience and honor my feelings for what they are.  There are even some days when I just think of myself as pregnant and not “pregnant after infertility” and I think that’s a miracle in itself.

I still sometimes think about my original plan, which would have put me in the middle of pregnancy #3 (or thereabouts) right now, and I realize how glad I am that that isn’t how things worked out.  S and I are so much stronger and more mature after everything we’ve been through together, and I honestly don’t know if our relationship would have been ready for kids five years ago.  We were ready to be parents, but I think that now, we’re truly ready to be a family. 

I recently mentioned these feelings to S, and asked him, “don’t you just feel like this was all meant to be?”  His response?  “Well, yeah!”  (in the tone of “well duh, you idiot” lol).  I don’t know if it’s just S or more of a guy thing, but the hardest part of IF for him was all of the energy/effort/money spent with nothing to show for it.  Now that we actually have our baby on board, I think he has been able to see the value in what we went through, shut the door on it and move on.

I tend to walk a fine line between honoring our experiences and moving forward, which I think is a healthy place to be…both as a woman and a mother.  I don’t think we need to tell our child how much pain we suffered on our journey to find him/her, but I do want them to know how much we wanted and loved them.  And that they were always meant to be our firstborn.

January 5, 2011

Superstitions

Posted in Infertility, Pregnancy tagged , at 11:26 am by lifebytheday

You all know by now that I’m not a very superstitious person, but lately I’ve been realizing that some strange things are making me nervous.

And this is after all of the things that should have made me superstitious but didn’t:

  • starting to decorate the nursery (I mean, I painted before we were even pregnant!)
  • ditto for buying a diaper bag pre-BFP
  • talking/telling people about the baby during the first trimester
  • posting our news on FB
  • starting a registry very early
  • even talking with my mom about my baby shower, already

But these are some of the things that I’ve been superstitious about:

  • calling the priest that prayed for us to tell him we’re expecting (I called him when I was about 8 weeks and left a message, but got too nervous to return his message and call back!)
  • writing an email to my old boss and friend (she finally found out and emailed me…but seriously, why could I post it on FB, and not write an email??)
  • and this is the doozy – giving/throwing away my infertility meds. 

Every day, I see them at the bottom of my cabinet and every day I say to myself “I should really go through those…”  At first, I was waiting until we made it through the first trimester, even though I had no real reason to doubt that we would…and now?  I don’t know what I’m waiting for. 

It’s not like I really want the reminder of all of that pain and frustration, but for some reason, I don’t feel like I will ever be a “normal” pregnant woman, and somehow having those meds reminds me that I’m not.  Super twisted, I know.

November 24, 2010

Worries and wishes

Posted in Infertility, Pregnancy tagged , , at 11:06 am by lifebytheday

I’m experiencing a strange phenomenon where I’m actually getting more nervous the closer we get to the coveted end of the first trimester. 

I think a large part of it is that we haven’t seen or heard the baby in several weeks.  I get such a high from seeing an actual baby moving around inside of me that it keeps me aloft for days, but eventually, that bubble starts to deflate and I come back down to earth.  Another issue is that I now know (although I wish I didn’t) that it is possible to have a “missed miscarriage” without any bleeding or cramping…and although I don’t actually think that has happened, I don’t think I’ll fully relax until our ultrasound next week. 

The last, and strangest factor, is that I’m actually getting more nervous the more people that I tell!  I am pretty obviously showing now, especially for people who know me well, and so we were sort of forced to spill the beans to several of my parents’ friends recently.  And I’ve started telling other friends as I see them around town.  But for some reason, I have gotten really nervous and am really not enjoying congratulations right now…I just can’t wait to be officially in our 13th or 14th week, with proof that the baby is doing well.

In other news, I just had to share this post from a fellow blogger over at Waiting for our Miracle – it is a beautifully written, brutally honest post comparing infertility to cancer.  She did not (and neither do I) have any intention of minimizing the experience of cancer, but I just think that it is worth reading, and understanding, the true devastation that is infertility.

On this, the day before Thanksgiving, I am so grateful to be in a position where I can look back at my infertility journey and appreciate it for the lessons I learned and the gift I was given.  But as we enter the holiday season, my thoughts and prayers are with those who are still drowning in the sea of treatments and uncertainty, and struggling to stay afloat.  I hope that everyone is able to relax amongst family and friends this holiday, and appreciate the blessings that they have been given.  Even at your lowest point, there is always something to be thankful for.

October 25, 2010

What worked

Posted in Infertility, Pregnancy tagged , , , , at 7:48 pm by lifebytheday

First of all, thank you all so much for the thoughtful and insightful comments about my post yesterday.  I hope you know that it wasn’t intended to make anyone feel guilty, but was just my attempt at honestly recording my feelings at this point in my life.  I completely understand if there are people who need to stop following my blog, and if that’s the case, just remember that I will be rooting for you – all of you.

I have been holding off writing this post because I don’t want to jinx ourselves, but I thought that other IF-ers might be interested to know what we did differently this time around.  For background, I’m a high-responding, severe PCOSer with primary amenorrhea.  My problem has always been a quality issue in terms of growing and maturing follicles at a steady rate (and regularly get put on the lowest dose any clinic has ever seen).  So here’s what we did for lucky cycle #5:

  1. Met.formin.  I’ve been on Met.formin off and on for the full four years we’ve been TTC, and always on during active cycles.  That was one of the few things that all of the Drs and REs agreed upon and absolutely required for me.
  2. Gonal-F and Repronex.  My first two cycles we used Follistim, and had to deal with a lot of seesawing of meds.  In fact, seesawing was characteristic of most of my cycles, with the exception of this last one.  This time, my RE chose to start me on a super low dose and then tried to keep the meds consistent, just for a longer time.  I honestly think that this was the biggest change – I didn’t have any majorly huge E2 rises or drops and I feel pretty confident in saying that the slow and steady growth led to better quality eggs, and therefore embryos.  I also think that the combination of LH and FSH in the Gonal-F led to a more balanced response.
  3. ICSI and assisted hatching.  We did ICSI and AH for our fourth and fifth cycles, and I know that at least the ICSI made a big difference.  With our first two cycles, we only had one embryo fertilize (of approx. 16 eggs), whereas with our fourth cycle, we had seven embryos, even with the lower quality eggs.
  4. Medrol, baby aspirin, and estrogen patches.  My second clinic (where I did cycles 3, 4, and 5) prescribes everyone steroids (Medrol) for the four days following retrieval to aid in implantation, and baby aspirin for the entire 2WW to avoid clotting.  They also have their patients use estrogen patches (Vivelle) for the last week and a half of the 2WW.  I’m still not quite sure what this is for – besides to try and mimic a “normal” woman’s “normal” hormones – but these additional meds definitely couldn’t have hurt. 
  5. No acupuncture.  When I was on my year-long break (between cycles two and three), I did acupuncture regularly, and really liked it.  We were never able to regulate my cycles, but I did have one non-medicated ovulation which was a huge accomplishment.  But I stopped due to a conflict with my acupuncturist, and then switched to a practioner who was loosely affiliated with my RE’s office.  I didn’t have a great experience with him – in fact, I’m fairly certain that he’s the reason my third cycle had to be cancelled.  When I first met him, I tried to emphasize that my problem is over-response, rather than the more common under-response, but I always felt like he was just doing the regular fertility points and not really trying to get to know me and my body.  I chose not to do acupuncture with my last cycle and I think it was the right decision.
  6. Diet.  Many of you know that I have previously done a no-sugar, no-dairy, no-gluten diet, and also that I have not chosen to maintain that diet long term.  I found my body missing dairy too much, and never felt like the no-gluten made a difference one way or another.  The one thing that I know did help was the no-sugar – I felt much more energetic and generally more healthy – but I missed it too much to continue that forever.  What I have tried to do is cut way back.  I gave up all sugar in my tea/coffee, and switched almost completely to water and flavored seltzer water over soda.  I also cut back on sweets and cookies and tried to use real dark chocolate when I simply had to have a fix.  I also have gone completely natural/organic with my meats and eggs, and stopped eating anything with artificial flavoring or coloring.  Oh, and I switched to 1/2 decaf coffee and tea, and tried not to have more than one caffienated drink a day.  I honestly don’t know how much of that made a difference, but I know that I feel healthier since I’ve shifted to this more natural diet. 

So, that’s everything that I can think of…besides my “giving up” that I’ve referenced a few times ;-)…is there anything else that you’re wondering about?  I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have!

October 24, 2010

Tap, tap…is this thing on?

Posted in Infertility, Pregnancy tagged , at 5:20 pm by lifebytheday

Pregnancy after infertility is a lonely place.

I don’t mean to imply that I’m lonely, I have an amazing support system in real life…but it’s become very obvious to me that I no longer “belong” in the IF community, at least not in the same way.  It’s almost like as soon as you’re identified as “pregnant”, then you lose all credibility in terms of how much you’ve suffered to get there. 

I don’t want to seem like a hypocrite – I vividly remember not being able to follow or comment on the blogs of the newly pregnant – but it’s been kind of eye-opening.  I know that it’s hard to hear about people who have reached their goal when you’re still struggling to get there, but it’s just amazing to me how divisive TTC and children can be.  You would think that women would want to stick together, but there’s so much judgement, jealousy and guilt that it just seems to take over.

I would like to think that if we hadn’t gotten pregnant this cycle, that I could have continued to follow TTC and pregnant bloggers, but honestly, I don’t know.  I think part of it is natural, that we look for people that are the “same” as us…but there’s definitely another – more emotional and insidious – layer to this issue. 

I sincerely wish that everyone who is reading this blog is able to have the family that they desire…and that your relationships become strengthened through the challenge of infertility.  Prayers and best wishes to all.

October 22, 2010

My life in a nutshell

Posted in Infertility, Life tagged at 9:12 am by lifebytheday

I’m doing ICLW again (International Comment Leaving Week, for those of you not in the IF community 😉 ), in the hopes of meeting some new bloggy friends.  So, for those of you visiting for the first time, I thought I’d give you a quick snapshot of me and what’s been going on over the past several years.

I am 28, and have been married to my soul mate (my Irish leprechaun) for six years.  We live in a western suburb of Boston with our dog and cat furbabies – we bought a house and moved back to my hometown about two and a half years ago.  We love living life, but we’ve definitely had our fair share of challenges.

I was diagnosed with a severe case of PCOS (without the weight gain or hair ;-)) and we have been trying to have a baby for more than four years.  We’ve been through four rounds of Clomid, and five rounds of IVF – and just got our miracle BFP on our fifth – and final – IVF cycle!  I am now seven weeks pregnant and trying to wrap my head around the fact that we might actually be having a baby in 7+ months.

I would love to meet some other pregnant bloggers (I still can’t believe that I’m part of that club!) and some other IF-treatment veterans.  I had a great support system, both IRL friends and bloggers, and I’d love to give back to the community if I can.  So drop me a note and say hello!

Happy Friday everybody! 🙂

October 3, 2010

Shock and awe

Posted in Infertility, IVF tagged , at 7:52 pm by lifebytheday

I can’t quite believe that I’m about to type this…but I’m happy (and completely shocked) to announce that we’re finally PREGNANT!

Yes, you read that correctly…we are actually pregnant, successful from our FIFTH IVF cycle.

The whole morning was surreal…  I had decided last night that I was going to take a pregnancy test this morning, because I was CONVINCED that the cycle hadn’t worked and I didn’t want to have to deal with another VM from the nurse…”hiiii J…we’re so sorry…”  So I POAS’d first thing this morning and promptly put the stick back in the packaging and started getting ready for our beta appointment.  As determined as I was to know the results before the nurse called, I also didn’t want to have to go for a blood test already knowing that it was futile.  So S and I drove into Boston and back while I got increasingly testy and wound up. 

When we walked back into the house, I ran upstairs to get the test, just to pull the bandaid off and get the bad news over with.  I walked back downstairs and into the kitchen and pulled the test out of the packaging in front of S, with “see?” practically on the tip of my tongue…and then I looked at the test.  My mouth dropped open and I said to S, “Is that a + sign???” 

We noticed that the horizontal line was a bit fainter than the vertical line and I didn’t know which line actually meant pregnant…and since I had long since thrown out the original box, we ran upstairs to the computer to go online.  S was like “I can’t believe we’re looking up whether we’re pregnant on the computer!”  LOL!  We determined that the vertical line was the one that made it positive, but still didn’t completely believe our eyes.  So we divided and conquered – S made breakfast while I ran out to get some more tests – the digital kind!

Once I got back, I ran back upstairs (sensing a pattern here?) and did another test, and then flew back down to show S.  He was like, “how long do we have to wait for this one?” and I whipped out the test that said PREGNANT.  I’m sure it sounds insane, but even that didn’t convince us.  We were so nervous to get our hopes up that S actually peed on a stick as well, just to make sure that they were working, lol! 

By this time it was about 10:30 and we started wandering around the house, trying to find things to do while we waited for the RE’s office to call.  S even ran out of things to clean inside and started washing the cars!  At 11:30 (way earlier than normal), we got the call.  The test was officially positive, with a beta of 886!!!

We spent the rest of the day calling and visiting my parents and some close friends…and just looking at each other in awe.  I don’t think we’ll fully relax until the ultrasound, but for now, we’re trying to celebrate finally being pregnant!  Our next milestone is beta #2 on Tuesday morning, so if you don’t mind, keep sending those prayers and crossing those fingers – we couldn’t be more grateful for all of the thoughts and prayers that were sent our way, while I didn’t feel strong enough to pray for ourselves.

So again, thank you!  And thank you God for this beautiful opportunity. 🙂

September 29, 2010

A river in Egypt = ?

Posted in Infertility, Life tagged , at 7:52 pm by lifebytheday

DENIAL.

This is how I feel right now…

I keep telling myself that it didn’t work – partly because I really think it didn’t, but also so that the only place to go on Sunday is up.  I’m so focused on thinking about everything other than the 2ww that I actually forgot to start my estrogen patches for a day and a half. 

Poor S, he keeps asking me if I feel pregnant…and all I can think about is that I probably will never know what it feels like to be pregnant.

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