What a Difference a Year Makes

Last February I created this blog. I had been struggling with my diagnosis of infertility and I felt lonely, confused and completely helpless. I hadn’t yet gone to a fertility clinic, I hadn’t yet met my RE. I was scared to, honestly. I didn’t know what they would say to me, or if they would take me at all.

A year ago, on February 16, 2016 I wrote this post. Frankly, it was at one of my lowest points. I’m not sure if it comes through entirely in that post– it took a while for me to feel comfortable enough, even in the anonymous internet sphere, for me to be raw with my emotions– but it was a very tough time for me. I started getting a lot of depression after that appointment. I can’t tell you what set me off, exactly, about the cysts- they’re cysts, not a nuclear holocaust- but I do know that it sent me into a dark place for a while. I think it was the utter loss of control and the lack of a plan forward. I remember sobbing in the stirrups (not the last time either) and feeling completely utterly without hope.

I had to create this blog because I was struggling. And that struggle didn’t end soon after. Hell, it’s still not over- the grief and trauma of infertility or recurrent loss doesn’t end when you get pregnant. But through time, connection with all of you, through my IF therapist, through my fertility clinic, through meeting new people and actually BEING HONEST about what I was going through- things really did get better. I had a plan. I had a support group. I had my authenticity.

And here I am. Just shy of 11 weeks. I have acne and bloating and gas and heartburn and I couldn’t be happier with the reason why. I also am in awe of how far I have come from just 1 year ago, and what a wild ride it has been. I know this is something everyone says, but I mean it- a year ago I never pictured myself here, pregnant, healthy, full of hope. I had no plan forward and no one to take me fully seriously (the place I went to before my clinic was like ‘you’re young and skinny, you’re totally fertile, so here’s some femara, check back in 6 months’).

Every day is a milestone, every minute of being pregnant a momentous occasion. But it’s not only the past 2 months that have contained milestones. I went through so much over the course of a year. I had my first cysts, my first clinic visit. My HSG (old place never offered that to me???) Our first IUI. The end of IUIs- when I realized where we were. Everyday shots for my follicles. My egg retrieval. The agony of waiting to hear about those eggs and embryos. My FET. The heartbreak of losing our embryo. The depression that ensued. My ERA biopsies. BOTH of them. And all the feelings of faith and loss in between.

The reality is that everything- my first cysts, my HSG- in the moment, they were all momentous. Frightening. Hard to get through. A big relief in their aftermath. Just because it seems like a piece of cake now doesn’t mean my first IUI wasn’t wrought with fear and hope.

I guess all I mean to say is: I have been through so much in a year. I am blessed beyond belief to be where I am right now, but I’ll never forget what I went through to get here. The scary, grief-stricken moments of infertility live within me and I’m proud of myself for getting through every month of them. So grateful to be sitting where I am today. And so thankful for all of you who have guided me, sent good vibes or prayers, kept your toes crossed, gave me advice and support. Couldn’t have done it without you.

My [revised] Supreme Court

Last post, (and the one before) I wrote about my 9 embryos. I didn’t think I’d get my PGS results until next week at the earliest, but they came in today!

SEVEN of my nine were chromosomally normal!!! 

This is amazing news. I was shaking for so long after the call. My magnificent 7. The other 2 were completely “incompatible with life,” for which I am a little grateful, as they are not actually babies, and would never live, and therefore, destroying them isn’t any kind of weird moral complex.

So I no longer have the typical amount of Justices for the Supreme Court, but hey, Scalia passed away so there are only 8. I need to kick 1 more off, and I’d like it to be Thomas, because he sleeps through everything anyway, but, given my sex breakdown, it has to be a woman! I wouldn’t kick out RBG, so I guess I’ll kick out either Kagan or Sotomayer.

I’m obviously a gigantic nerd.

Other than that, I got my period today. It has been EXTREMELY heavy. Like, bleeding through everything. I have an ultrasound today at 5 pm (and I feel bad for my RE) to see if I have any cysts. Fingers crossed!

I am so so grateful. I can’t forget this.

 

 

Schrodinger’s Ovaries

I am sitting here on a rainy Thursday, wondering how I will get through the next 30 hours. My day 5 results should come in tomorrow afternoon. This is the one I have been waiting for.

My day 3 update yesterday was good. 11 of the 13 embryos are 8-celled, at grades 1 through 2.5. Another little guy is 6 cells and grade 2, and my slacker is 5 cells and grade 3.

It occurred to me that if I don’t get an update tomorrow- if I never get one- then in my own universe, my 13 embryos are all still there, still alive, still growing strong.

Once I do hear, the reality of my universe will change. Things will be either good or bad, or just okay. I will know how many are strong and how many died off. It could be all of them. I will know, in some real sense, what my 13 embryos are actually doing. Are they alive? Have they arrested? Do they have still 6 cells? Have they hatched? It all rests on this phone call.

It made me think of Schrodinger and his cat. And the idea that- by looking into the bag- you will have in some sense “caused” the event to happen. Before Schrodinger looks, his cat is alive and dead, simultaneously, the reality of which he does not know. But by looking, he will, in some way, have killed the cat or willed it alive.

This entire time I have been worried about the time period between days 3 and 5. Anything could happen. But I can be like Schrodinger- and maybe not look. Then maybe it will be okay.

For now, I am existing in the space of both good news and bad. I picture myself getting each kind of news and living in that universe.

I am trying to be brave, strong, and distracted. To make it through today. To get to bed. To sleep. To wake up and try not to make myself sick waiting for that call.

13 Embryos?

Got the maturity and fertilization call: 18 out of the 21 eggs were mature, and 13 of the 18 fertilized normally. There is 1 more guy that they are still waiting to see develop. So I could potentially have 14!

4 fertilized abnormally, which my RE said is an expected number.

I’m happy, I think. Honestly I know 13 is a great number, but I also have to be real: in the back of my mind, I am constantly worried about quality, which won’t be revealed until day 5. So although this update was nice news, I anxiously await Wednesday’s quality day 3 report, and even more anxiously await Friday’s day 5 news. I know plenty of people on online message boards who had numbers even better than mine are and ended up with 0 day 5s. So I am not at all out of the woods.

It’s all pretty scary. But the truth is that it is entirely out of my hands now. Come on, embryos. I love you already.

 

Egg Retrieval Update

I am currently resting at home. My retrieval was at 8:45 this morning, but we did get started a little early. I have to say that the staff at my fertility surgery center was so lovely and sweet and made me feel more comfortable. My RE is actually out of town, so for the past week I have been seeing a male RE who is actually the founder of the practice.

I was a bit nervous to go under anesthesia- it had been a while- a decade or so. And that was just wisdom teeth, so no IV. But when I got wheeled away, my RE was really kind and rubbed my feet and told me I was doing a great job, and that everything was fine. The nurses were wonderful as well and adjusted me and then told me exactly when they were putting in the sleeping drugs. “You may feel a bit tingly,” one of them said. And about 30 seconds later I felt my whooooole face go tingly and numb and I was out like a light.

I woke up some time after, in my room, after being wheeled back. The first thing I said was “Oh….I thought I was with my cat!” The nurses giggled and kept bringing it up to me as I continued to awaken. It’s true though- I had just been dreaming about being snuggled up to my little buddy!

Mr Upside returned from delivering his “sample” about 1 minute later, and I was still in a major haze. Everyone helped me wake up a bit and I realized I had a lot of cramping. So, they gave me some IV meds and then some goldfish to fill my stomach and then I got a Percocet.

Oh, and in the meantime, my RE came back in the room to tell me I did a great job. And the # of eggs they got. Oh, did I bury the lede a bit? We got 21 eggs 🙂 

The next week will be a rollercoaster or sorts, most likely. I know that not all 21 will be mature or fertilize and I’ve long been concerned about egg quality. But for now, we can rest in thankfulness, and the positive. We got 21 eggs.

I am feeling a little nauseated and gross today, for obvious reasons, but it’s a rainy Sunday anyway and I’m happy to sit here with my husband and cat (finally!)

xoxoxo. Thanks so much for everyone’s support on here!

T minus 1: Google is Always a Bad Idea

Tomorrow is my egg retrieval. We have to be there at 7:45 am for an 8:45 retrieval. I had to really push for that early time because they originally gave me an afternoon time and I CANNOT fast that long. So I am really thankful they came through.

When I went to the RE on Thursday, my estrogen level was 1800-something. I had about 20 measured follicles, though some of course were not mature. My biggest was 20.

When I went BACK to the RE on Friday, I had about 16 measured follicles and I had a couple at 21 or 21.5.  I felt really good about that. When my RE was finishing up and he noticed my estrogen came in from this morning’s draw- at 1600-something. He noted it, said “hmm,” and asked if I was on menopur. I said no, but I am on Cetrotide. He said “well, that could be it.” And then I got dressed and met him outside.

So, basically, I was so happy that I was going to trigger, I ignored what he said about E2. The last night as I was going to sleep, I remembered it and decided to google.

mistake.

I can’t say anything I found was good. It seems strange that I could continue to grow and have my E2 drop. I am worried about quality, and I am worried about empty follicles.

I did have 4 that weren’t measured that seemed to drop off from the day prior- maybe they disappeared overnight and that’s why?

I only have 1 day to ER so that means only 1 day of obsessing about this. Or at least some parts of this.