Friday, December 24, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Speaking of my husband, he told four people today. More than ever before. The sweetest story was when he told a coworker who has a one-year-old. They had also struggled for years (3 I think) to conceive. Lots of therapy. And basically they ended up getting pregnant while waiting to start IVF. I don't think they were very open about their struggle, but when my husband mentioned that we were having trouble while they were on a business trip, his coworker told him about how hard it was for him and his wife. It's made me feel closer to them from afar ever since, and it was just so nice for my husband to be able to finally give this friend the good news. Apparently he barely got into the office and said "so can you keep a secret for a couple of weeks?" and the friend immediately knew what he was talking about and jumped up and hugged him and told him how happy he is for us. I can't wait to see him tomorrow.
Finally, I'm struck by how different my work is from my husband's. My current boss has never had a trainee get pregnant before. None of the women in the lab have kids. So I'm continually expecting this news to hurt my career, and spend a lot of time thinking about how to show I'm still serious. I'm always surprised at how well people take it, no matter how many people I tell (10 so far? more?). In contrast, my husband works at a school where it seems like everyone is having kids all the time. They always have people on maternity leave, and his officemate has helped put together nanny-share arrangements for various people who work there. I think his life is a lot more normal than mine. But then again, when we were frustrated TTC, I could escape to work and throw myself into it without having constant reminders, and he had to go to work every day with happy pregnant people. Luckily, he's way better adjusted than I am : ) Still, I think this could be a great new advertising idea for lab science to draw in the frustrated infertiles.... "Biology: an escape from procreation" Catchy, right?
My future boss, starting in January, was actually a person I told when we started trying to conceive. And he and I have discussed the fact that we were using ART, and I had mentioned that it was looking like we’d have to start IVF pretty soon after I began working for him. I wanted to be as upfront as possible, since in a small lab any time off for a trainee can have an impact on a tenure-track scientist. But he’s a super family-friendly person, and a shoo-in for early tenure, so he has managed to be ridiculously positive about the whole thing. And in fact, he was one of the absolute first people I told when I found out I was pregnant. My husband agreed, he’s the person, after us, who probably has the most vested interest in this news : )
My current boss didn’t actually find out from me. I went into his office yesterday to tell him, but it turns out that a coworker I had told thought he already knew and spilled the beans. I thought that was fine, because that way I didn’t have to worry about his first reaction being inappropriate, but I also took pains to make sure he knew I was planning to tell him right away. I think we’re fine….
I told my two overseas supervisors in the same email message, and their reactions were completely opposite. One wrote back this morning responding to all of the logistical issues I brought up in my email (I won’t be able to fly there for my thesis defense when we had planned because it’s too late in the pregnancy, for example). I was a little surprised at this, since he’s a very family-oriented person, but I appreciated the logistical advice since he’s my main resource for that part of things.
What really surprised me was the reaction of my other overseas supervisor. He’s a great person, but we have always discussed almost exclusively science, and he has made a lot of sacrifices in his personal life for his career. He tends to be the most gruff of my advisors. And I see him less than once a year and speak to him only every 6 months or so. So I was completely shocked when he called me the moment he got the email. I wondered what he wanted to talk about so urgently (assuming it was logistics), but he launched into a description of how important the first 3-4 months of a pregnancy are, and urged me to take it easy over and over. He actually said “research will wait.” It was unexpected and really quite touching. He seemed so concerned about me. I have to say, it made me feel better about how lazy I’ve been about work in the last few weeks : ) It was just complete sweetness from the most unexpected source. And it made me feel great.
Monday, December 6, 2010
I made an appointment with an OB who was highly recommended both by my fertility doctor and by two coworkers. It seemed like it would be worth it to have such an awesome doctor, even though the wait for a new patient appointment is weeks and weeks. So I have to be patient about getting to see the kid again. It's really hard, because obviously my anecdotal experience with other people's blogs is that miscarriage is a major threat. So given my way, I would have an ultrasound every week to make sure things are going as planned. But I'm trying to remind myself that what will be will be, and that my symptoms are continual reminders that the baby is doing what it's doing : ) Luckily, the last picture we got (at 8 weeks 3 days) is pretty awesome:
(heartbeat was 170bpm)
If you're reading this, I hope you're well. I really appreciate this community, and I promise to be more in touch in the coming days and weeks.
Friday, November 19, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
My breasts have been really sore, even though I don't think they're any bigger. I haven't thrown up, but I do feel slightly nauseated a lot of the time. In the last couple of days that's made me feel like eating only carbs. Even though I'm terrified of getting gestational diabetes and hurting the baby, I'm trying to remind myself that at this moment the baby doesn't need much in the way of extra nutrition (keeping up with the multivitamin and fish oil supplements). Eating a little bit several times a day helps with the nausea, so I think it's probably morning sickness. I've also been completely exhausted, and having a hard time sleeping through the night. I think it's probably that I need to pee and that makes me sleep lighter, which makes me more sensitive to my husband snoring. So again, I need to recast this issue as a symptom, and therefore positive.
It's worth mentioning also that I suck at being sick. Seriously - even relatively minor ailments make me emotional and lazy. I frequently cry out of frustration when I'm sick because I hate feeling out of control so much. So even though I am trying to remember that these symptoms are a good thing, I'm also having a hard time dealing. Normally I just wait it out when I feel bad, but in this case, that comfort doesn't exist: it's going to get worse rather than better, and it's not going to stop for months. And that's a good thing, but it's also hard for me to deal with when I'm already having mood swings. Human beings are magical, and we can adjust to almost anything. So I'm going to be able to feel like myself again. This won't last forever, and I need to be gentle with myself that I'm not superwoman.
I'm also having a hard time not worrying about miscarriage. So many other people have dealt with this, and it seems foolhardy to think I'll get a miracle when the odds are so high. But I'm trying to remind myself that my betas were good, and I did another home pregnancy test today and realized I'm an idiot: when I took the first one, I saw that the line was pretty faint, so I thought today I would feel better seeing it go up. It was only after reading this one that I realized I had the lines reversed - the other one was super dark. Luckily, today's was too. But that was after I had a heart attack over the fact that the line was really faint. The CONTROL line was really faint. Some lab scientist I am : )
All of which brings me to the topic that will make me feel insanely guilty. Please stop reading now, all of you. I need to write it down, but it's just going to make you all hate me. So please, just stop here. My inability to work this week has made my ambition-related anxiety go into hyperdrive. I'm incredibly ambitious, and I love being good at science. I want to have a baby more than anything, but I also want to be a good scientist. During the years that we've been struggling to have a baby, I have funneled lots of my energy into work. I became a slightly frightening work-a-holic as a way to deal with the complete lack of control that infertility continually rubs your nose in. But by now, that approach is a complete habit for me (one I like). So much so that I feel terrible that I'm not being more productive in the last week as I adjust to being pregnant. I should be writing this paper, but I'm exhausted and nauseated, so instead I work way less than I used to. I'm realizing that I need to recalibrate my expectations. When I started doing this job, I had a totally reasonable balance of 10 hours per day, 5 days a week. If I was focused and productive during those hours I could get a lot done. In the last few years that has increased, so that now I feel guilty if I work less than 12 hours. Which is every day recently, and I'm feeling like I'm losing an important part of myself. I need to focus on recalibrating, and I also need to get into a new habit for writing. Before, I would go to the coffee shop and a decaf would help me focus. I need to get back in that habit but without the caffeine. I also need to get back on track with my writing buddy, who I've been avoiding because I can't handle telling her I'm pregnant. But I need to bite the bullet, and get back on track so that I can get a handle on this anxiety. Which now I feel like I can do.
In case you're still reading, here's the final, slightly hilarious symptom: I can't stand things being messy, dirty or disorganized. In general, I'm a totally messy person, and my husband does most of the housework. But in the last week I've done a lot of cleaning, because it makes me anxious to have things out of place. Our house isn't especially neat or clean right now, but I'm noticing, and that's a new thing. Pregnancy OCD. I wonder if that's a thing.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
The third beta was 2081, which they count as appropriate doubling even though by my count it's not quite (for 3 days later). So we scheduled the ultrasound for Friday, and hopefully that will make me more confident about the whole thing. I really need to tell people, because a) it doesn't feel real if it's a secret from everyone around me, b) I think about miscarriage a lot by myself and other people are too ignorant to be worried about that so they focus me on the happy part, and c) I feel like I'm lying by hiding this from important people. But the things that hold me back are a) I feel like I should tell my siblings before I tell other people (even though I feel like I'd rather practice on friends first), and b) I know if I miscarry I'm not going to want to have to tell almost anyone.
So at the moment my plan is to tell one close friend before Friday, and then tell my siblings over the weekend if the ultrasound goes well. I know it's stupid to be scared of telling them, but I really am. I'm the oldest, and this will change a lot about the family dynamic (or at least they will be worried it will). None of them have any experience with this area, and none of them has a very good filter, so I'm really worried they'll say something that will crush me without really meaning to. I know that's stupid, but it's there and so I need to get it out.
In other news, I've been exhausted and very slightly nauseated all week. I've been so tired that I have no idea how there are people who don't notice they're pregnant. Week 5, and I can't function at all like normal. Which sucks because I'm insanely anxious about work, and not getting it done makes me wake up early from anxiety, which means less sleep, which makes me more tired, which continues the cycle. So I'm trying to do some very basic easy yoga, to make me feel a little more physically competent. And I keep reminding myself that I'm accomplishing something at all times by growing a human being. And most importantly, that as long as I finish my PhD before the kid is born, it's really not going to matter that I couldn't finish by the end of 2010. It just means I need to tell my advisors way earlier than I otherwise would, since that's why I'm asking for an extension.
It's all going to be ok. Cleaning is surprisingly soothing right now, so I'm going to go do that. Thanks for listening to my anxiety-fueled ramblings.
Friday, November 5, 2010
Thursday, November 4, 2010
I'm pregnant. At least for now. And the stupid thing is that I feel like I should apologize to anyone reading this, because your infertility journey has probably been so much worse than mine, and I hate feeling like I'm going to cause someone pain by writing this. But I am, and I'm so unbelievably a jumble of emotions.
It doesn't feel real, although I'm hoping that the repeat beta test tomorrow will make me feel like it's ok to believe it. I'm also going to buy a pregnancy test on the way home tomorrow, so that I can pee on a stick and know for sure they didn't mix up the samples, and maybe holding it in my hand will make it seem true. This can't happen to me. IUI? But it's so simple. We started this cycle the day the doctor told us that IVF was probably our only shot. Can we really be getting what we've been dreaming about for so long? And how can I ever take on the responsibility of keeping safe, and growing this other human life? It's so overwhelming (and amazing - I oscillate continuously).
My husband didn't believe it either. Not really. I could tell it wasn't sinking in, even though his face in the first moment I told him was something I want to remember forever. And he held me while I cried out of happiness and sheer overwhelmedness. So many emotions. I need for him to come home tonight so that I can talk to someone about it again. I feel bad about it, but I lied point blank to my mom about it when she asked this afternoon, and told her the test is tomorrow. Because I am feeling so worried that it's not going to keep being true that I couldn't bear the idea of having to deal with her happiness today. So instead I get to tell her tomorrow, right? When there really is good news, and I won't have to snatch it right back.
My primary anxieties today are that the high HCG level (351!) either means multiples, or a molar pregnancy, and also that this happiness will only last for a few days or weeks and I'll miscarry. It has happened to so many other women, and it makes it almost impossible to believe that we'll actually get to hold onto this happiness. But at the same time, it's so insanely reassuring that our genetic material can combine at all, so I'm trying to hold onto that. I teased my husband that the fact that our first IUI worked means that the problem all along has been that his sperm weren't bright enough to get past my cervix.
The nurse called yesterday, and I asked her whether she was sure at least twice. I was so surprised. They always say they have bad news. Never good news! We have a whole routine. And yet she did. And they didn't call back all afternoon to say it was a mix-up.
I'm reassured by the fact that there are actual symptoms. Not definitive, obviously, but it explains a lot, in retrospect. I was exhausted all weekend, and the weekend before I slept for an entire day. I've had a variety of other health issues in the last couple of weeks, and they all show up on a list of early pregnancy symptoms. So maybe it's true. Maybe this will actually be the start of an amazing amazing adventure. And not the start of a dark period in my life. For tonight, I'm going to try to focus on the idea of a baby (or babies) next summer. Perfect timing for my teacher husband (and for me, assuming I can work successfully while pregnant). The timing he would have chosen two years ago (a year earlier, obviously) if I hadn't told him firmly that fertility isn't predictable, and that we were not stupid enough to try to time anything. Can we really be this lucky?
I think that's most of it. Maybe my life really did change in an instant. Just like every other part of this experience, it's very Schroedinger's Cat - I won't know whether my life changed yesterday until further down the line. But maybe. Maybe maybe maybe....
Sunday, October 31, 2010
My stress levels are way higher than I want. I kicked ass at a big work presentation last week (yay me!), but my mother-in-law is in town this weekend, so I’ve been struggling with that (very very quietly). I don’t know why: I love my mother-in-law like crazy. She’s wonderful, and I adore spending time with her. However, something changes when she comes to my house. I can’t stand her when she’s on my turf. And this has been true from the very beginning of my having my own place (with her son). I have no idea why, but it’s horrible, because I feel like the most terrible person in the world for being so irrational. And yet I can’t help it. So I feel trapped and claustrophobic and grumpy, and bad for feeling that way about such a wonderful person. It’s a lame way to start the week (she’s not leaving until tomorrow). But it’s all going to be fine, and I’ll feel better when I can get back to my routine.
Calming breaths. It’s all going to be ok.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Since then, I've been anxious, and I have no idea how I'm going to get through the wait until the 3rd. But I have a ton of stuff going on at work between now and then, so that's nice and consuming. My boss was really excited about my work today, so hopefully I can keep it up. I think I've done better work in the last year than I ever have or will again. I almost feel like I should confess to my coworkers that the only reason I'm so motivated and hardcore about work is because I'm failing so thoroughly at making a baby. I love that I have something to throw myself into, but I hate that I have to. Hopefully that part will change, and I can throw myself into getting my work done before I go on maternity leave : )
Monday, October 18, 2010
On Friday, I saw my doctor outside his office for the first time, and he seemed completely mystified about why I'm not responding to the Clomid at all. He said I should come back today, but that if I don't respond we'll probably need to give up on this cycle.
Today the ultrasound tech didn't let me watch the screen, give me a printout, or say anything to me, and from what I could see on the computer, nothing had grown. So I assumed this cycle was a bust. But actually, they told me to trigger tonight and we're scheduled for IUI tomorrow. So I'm trying to be positive but not gets my hopes up.
Please send positive thoughts and prayers my way, even though I can't believe that there's any chance this is going to work. The mature-ish follicles are on the right side (where the endometrioma is), so I think this attempt is doomed, but pray for me anyway, because it's going to be impossible for me not to hope.
Until today. I was headed in, and she and her husband were headed out. I had this moment of mutual recognition where I thought, "Oh this is so nice. She's going through this too, and how nice that they're trying for kids." She asked me what I was doing there, and I said "I'm a patient here." But it turns out she's not a patient - she's an egg donor. So it's not as happy a discovery anymore. And the conversation was way more awkward because her husband was there too. Although he was really nice about the whole thing, and he has a kid from his first marriage, so he's not a stranger to these things.
I'm trying to focus on the upsides: she can reassure me about the IVF drugs and needles, and we can help each other out with big injections if necessary. And because they're not going through IF, they have the energy and positivity to wish me luck on the IUI tomorrow and not know how unlikely that seems. So it's kind of nice to be buoyed by some kindhearted fertile people. And I'll just try not to think about the fact that it couldn't be a starker comparison that this coworker is the picture of fertility and I'm the picture of not. She wins, but if I get to have a baby, I definitely win too. And it's nice that I'll be able to be open about it at work when we start IVF - my future boss and loudest future coworker both know now, so there are only two other people to find out. Hopefully I can get through tomorrow without my current boss or coworkers finding out about the IUI. And I can keep from considering (too much) what happens to my career and my dignity if/when this (very lovely very fun) future coworker gets drunk at a conference and tells people in my field that I'm infertile : )
Sunday, October 10, 2010
It's worth mentioning (as an aside) that I am a champion grudge-holder. No joke, I still haven't forgiven my third grade teacher for putting me in the wrong spelling group. So, for instance, I will never not hate the awful doctor on a study that I participated in who read me a twenty-minute-long lecture on just relaxing. But with these friends the situation is different.
I'm relatively young (28) and I'm from a place where higher education is the norm, so almost no one I know has kids yet. Most of them are nowhere close. As a result, I'm the first friend for almost everyone I know who's dealing with this (obviously as far as I know, but in terms of educating people around me, other people's silent struggles are less relevant). I know their insensitive comments are made only because they don't realize how it will make me feel. So it seems like it might be worth mentioning how it made me feel, so that they are less likely to say things like that in the future. I also feel like it's going to be hard for me to be open with them in the future if I don't say something, because I'll be afraid of it happening again.
So I should probably say something. But the question is what. I think it's pretty obvious that both of them say this (one by email, one in person) because they see/hear how stressed and upset I am about the uncertainty of not being able to have children, and they want me not to be sad/stressed. (Obviously it has the opposite effect, but I think their hearts are in the right place.) But I don't know whether it will help to say this. The main concern is that they may feel like I'm correcting them, and will be uncomfortable talking to me in the future.
The one who said it in person, I immediately explained that "what you need to do is just relax and live and love" is not applicable to me - that I'm ready for the next step and that's all I want. She seemed to get that, so I don't know whether I should even follow up with her. I just figure it might be beneficial to explain that "jut relax" is never advice any infertile woman is ever going to want, so that she knows not to say it to anyone else either.
The one who emailed to say we just need to take a vacation, and it will happen for us is a slightly different situation. She's a very close friend, and she worries that she will face infertility in the future. When she wrote that, she had just gone to a seminar on adoption with me. I think she was feeling overwhelmed by how hard it all is (ART and adoption), and how much she hopes we can avoid IVF and adoption. But I still can't figure out how to reply and not point out how much I need her to support me where I actually am, and avoid wishful thinking as much as possible.
Any advice would be much appreciated! These women are both important to me, and are two out of the three friends I have told about what we're going through.
Friday, October 8, 2010
If I'm asking how long I have to abstain for, isn't that a signal that I have sex often? I guess the whole point is that they shouldn't assume, but it seemed hilarious to me that they assume I don't want to have sex. I know a lot of couples find IF so stressful that their sex life suffers (and seems like work), and I assume from the TV stereotypes that some married couples really don't have sex very often, but I just think it's strange that I seem to be such an outlier in my intense desire to do it with my hot husband as often as possible, babymaking or no. In any case, I'd rather be me than that nurse : )
Thursday, September 30, 2010
The meeting today went well, although there was something of a bombshell at the beginning. The doctor thinks that the cyst that has been on my right ovary for months now is an endometrioma, and is negatively affecting my fertility in addition to the PCOS. The options are to remove it (requiring surgery, possibly damaging the ovary, and potentially allowing it to come back there or elsewhere) or to do IVF (requiring IVF). Given that I don't have any symptoms from it, it's not growing so far, and removing it probably won't boost my fertility dramatically, we made a plan to start IVF this summer (or sooner if my work will allow it). That means we have 8 months in which to continue with TI, IUI, and potentially add FSH to stimulate more eggs. So we started a new cycle, the first cycle of IUI (!!) today on day 4, and I'm starting clomid tonight. November and December we have to take off, since we'll be traveling, but it feels good not to be missing this cycle.
So, overall, we're feeling good and purposeful. But I dread all of the medical crap ahead of me. We'll find out whether it makes me feel any better that now my husband is involved with the medical side of this (and more intimately, since he has to give a sperm sample each time). Wish us luck!
On Friday I got the call that the test was negative. It was a really hard afternoon. I couldn't fake it at work, and barely made it to the parking lot before starting to cry hysterically. I made it home safely despite my impaired ability to drive and cry (side note: I've gotten really good at crying-and-doing-something-else through this process.). I spent several hours crying, and was having some thoughts about the kitchen knives (not ours, but my parents steak knives. I know, TMI). I decided that that was a bad thing, and since my husband wasn't going to be getting home for hours, I decided I had to go out. So I went to get a haircut (a self-destructive act in my world, and one that would allow me to exert control). So I got a haircut, and then some amazing frozen yogurt, and then I went to Trader Joe's and bought food and bought myself some flowers. I kept it together through the whole trip, and then decided I was intact enough to go out with the friends we had plans with that night. So I survived that day, and have been limping through the ones since. The news that my mother-in-law has breast cancer (hopefully fully treatable) came on Sunday, so that's added a lot to the emotional load of this week. It's so cruel that you get bad news about not being pregnant while PMSing.
Friday, September 24, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
But today all I can say is, are you fucking kidding me? One of my favorite shows of all time is How I Met Your Mother, and I have been looking forward to the season premier all summer. I knew they had an important plotline about two of the characters trying to conceive, but I didn't realize that the episode was going to end with an entire discussion about her nervousness that she wouldn't be able to get pregnant and he would be disappointed. We were watching with a friend, so we couldn't talk about it overtly, and so it was the most awkward TV watching moment I've ever had. I seriously want to kill someone. Sigh. Just had to vent. Are you fucking kidding me? They're not just TTC, but we actually have to deal with a female infertility plotline (that will of course turn out to be all in her head, because a comedy is obviously not going to dash our characters' hopes for the next 2 years). FML.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Right. So I kind of forgot the key part of the equation. The way that this Clomid cycle worked out, the first day of Rosh Hashana was the day of timed intercourse. So we needed to have sex before going to temple, and then try again that night. Conceiving a baby on your way to synagogue. It's an incredible way to start the new year if it works (and believe me, if it does, this child will be dedicated to the Lord in every way I can find, given that they are going to be whoever they are going to be). But if it doesn't, it seems like the most painful way to begin the new year: with hope that turns out to be unwarranted. So I'm spending today, the second day of Rosh Hashana, researching adoption and trying not to feel disappointed that I don't feel pregnant, nor hopeful that I might be.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Monday, August 2, 2010
Sunday, August 1, 2010
I saw a bunch of cute kids today, and that made adopting an infant seem like a good option. I need to consult a rabbi to figure out how the whole Judaism thing works with adoption.
Monday, July 26, 2010
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Identifying with Jennifer Garner is not an ok thing in my world, and seeing the desperation on her face during their first meeting with Juno felt so familiar that I cried. Yup, two days into round 2 of Clomid and I'm that person. Crying during random scenes of Juno.