Thursday, February 25, 2010

Healing and contemplating the adoption option

I've been pretty ok since my big disappointment last week.  Surprisingly, I"m not sad just disappointed.  I'm still living in the faith that I will be a mom one day, one way.  My husband and I spent some time this weekend reconnecting and contemplating our options.  I've jumped right back on the Weight Watchers and exercise bandwagon.  I think I just need Dr. B to call me every couple of months and tell me to lose weight in his calming and non-judgemental way.  I swear, nothing gets me on program like someone telling me that I need to lose weight in order to have a baby!  

We've been seriously contemplating the adoption option.  Seriously to the point where I think that might be our next step.  I've been researching programs and agencies and starting to make a financial plan to make it happen.  My family has been awesome.  I have two brothers and a sister (and a mom and dad).  My siblings are all married as well.  I didn't want to have to retell my story to all 8 of them, so I talked to my Mom, Dad, and sister and sent a mass e-mail to the rest of the gang telling them what happened and asking them to think about and open their hearts to the possibility that their niece or nephew may be adopted and of a different race than they are.  Each of them sent me a wonderfully supportive e-mail.  They all expressed that they would love our child no matter what.  I cried (and my Mom cried because, naturally, they all hit "reply all" when they responded!). 

Additionally, my Mom and Dad have given us a wonderful gift.  Mom has said that if we adopt she would volunteer to provide childcare for the first year.  The savings in the alone would help us pay for half of the adoption.  This is pretty amazing for her to do.  I would never ask or expect that my Mom babysit - she has her own life.  But, if she did this for us, it would make the adoption option so much more feasible.

So, now I'm obsessed with researching adoption.  This weekend, my husband and I plan on making a financial plan to be able to afford the cash layout needed for adoption and hopefully we'll schedule an informational meeting with an agency or two.

I am struggling a bit with feeling at lose ends and not having anything to look forward to.  I was like this after my first failed IVF last summer.  So, I'm working on coming up with some personal goals to help myself move forward - books to read, knitting challenges, home projects, etc.  It helps me mentally to have goals and a way to mark the time.

I'll keep you posted.  I haven't ruled out pursuing IVF again.  I'm not sure if we'll do that this summer, or if we will go full steam ahead on adoption and "reserve" IVF for an attempt at a second child.  We shall see.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Day 8 - Busted Cycle

I went for monitoring this morning, and things did not work out as we had planned.  Although my estrogen rose to 923,  and I only had 4 follicles (21, 18, 14, 12).  The nurse wanted me to come back tomorrow and then talk to one of the nurse about possible canceling if the response wasn't any better.  I asked to talk to my doctor at that point.  He wasn't in the clinic, but in his academic office.  Dr. B called me back within 2 minutes.  We talked about my response this cycle, and said he didn't know why it was so lousy - actual word usage.  We discussed that I only had this last insurance paid cycle, and I didn't want to "waste" it.  Therefore, he thought is best to scrap the cycle. 

Dr. B and I talked a bit about future plans. I asked him his opinion on me waiting three months or so and working on losing weight in the mean time.  He thought that was a good idea.  I said to him that right now I know that I want to use the insurance-paid cycles that I have, and that I could physically and emotionally keep going through IVF until it worked, but at some point, when it becomes my own money, I need to figure out where to throw it.  He agreed with me and said that I have other options.  He said that you could also consider adoption.  I can't tell you how much it touched me that he said that.  To me, that was him acknowledging that I am choosing to work with his clinic and validating my option of adoption.  I also said to him that he had always been very honest with me and that I'm sure he would tell me if he didn't think this would work.  He responded that he thought it could work, and that I shouldn't give up hope, but that it was just a matter of figuring out the right protocol and time. 

After talking to my husband and a few hours, I paged Dr. B.  I don't think that is the normal protocol in contacting your doctor through the clinic, but he's been so nice about it before.  He called me back in about 5 minutes. I asked him if I would ovulate on my own, and he said that I wouldn't.  So, we talked about options and agreed that I could trigger tonight and try to get pregnant through the Baby Dance method.  I'm not holding out much hope that this will work, especially with a combo of crappy eggs and crappy sperms, but why not.  Of course, Dr. B had to caution that 4 eggs could equal 4 babies.  To which I responded, "Really?  Do we really think that will happen?"  Of course, he said no.  So, hubby is buying a bottle of wine or two and we're going to "be romantic" a bit this weekend.

I think I'm also going to really think about my options and what I need to do next.  I'm going to make a new game plan for losing weight.  I may sign up for a running race at the end of May as a goal to work towards.  I may also reach out to a co-worker of my Dad's who has adopted three daughters from China.  I think that in the next 3 months or so, M and I will need to figure out if we want to start down the path towards adoption now, and then possibly try IVF in a few years for a second child, or if we want to close one door before opening another. I'm not sure.  We are at the point where we may age out of some international adoption programs for my husband.  Additionally, I am approaching 34, and we all know what happens then with female fertility.  A lot to think about coming up.

I'm sad.  Really sad.  My husband is sad too - probably more so than I've seen him after one of these disappointments.  I think I will pull my baby loss necklace out of storage again and remember the life that once lived inside of me.  I think I might also book a mini getaway over Mother's Day weekend.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Day 6 - the freak out

I'm on day 6 of stims and I feel like I'm not getting anywhere.  My E2 was 625 and I have two follicles on my right at 15 and 19 and "some" less than 10 on my left and right.  This feels like I'll never get there.  They reminded me that I need 3 at 16 or greater for retrieval and that I might lose the 19. 

I am on a different protocol this time, so I can't really compare to last cycle.  However, last cycle at 8 days my E2 was at 904 and I had a handful between 10 and 13 and I think a few bigger ones.  I guess I'm just having that "last chance IVF" freak out where I'm concerned something will go wrong and the cycle will be a bust.  Hopefully not, but if it is going to bust, I'd like to NOT go to retrieval so that I can live to fight another day.

The nurse says that Dr. B. doesn't want to change anything and that I should come in again on Friday morning for another u/s and b/w.  I'm holding myself back from calling him directly.  If I lose the 19 I might.  I'm just in that uncomfortable waiting place and I hate it. 

Monday, February 15, 2010

Random observation on IVF #3

I started Ganirelix today.  My husband and I had the day off today.  We went downtown for my ultrasound and blood work, and then planned on going shopping, catching a movie, and getting groceries.  My nurse called me at about 10:30 to give me the results of my monitoring.  My estridiol is about 332.  I have several follicles under 10 on my left and right ovaries.  Additionally, on my right ovary, I have one at 16 and one at 13.  So, she told me to take my Ganirelix as soon as possible.  I was 45 minutes away at the time in Macy's.  It's a good thing I wasn't working because I was able to finish up my shopping and get home by noon inject myself.  I asked my nurse how I was progressing, and she said that I'm a little bit slow, but we'll see.  Hopefully this cycle isn't a bust.  I can't remember how big the lead follicle usually needs to get before you trigger.  I also don't have any experience with Ganrilex. 

Also, the injection sucked.  It felt like the needle was pretty thick.  I had a hard time sticking it in my thigh, and it felt like it stuck on the way out.  Nothing like Follistim which slides in like butter.  The Ganirelix has a warning, "do not take if you are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant."  WTF???  I thought that was funny.  It also warns that it may cause headaches.  Since I've had a headache almost daily, I'm really excited about the prospect of that.  Good times.  Oh well, it will all be worth it if I end up with a baby one day.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

And were off!

I started stims on Thursday.  So far, so good.  It was a little strange giving myself my injection on Thursday.  It's been so long since I've had to do that, that both my husband and I felt a mixture of happiness and sadness about it.  But, I'm happy to have the chance again to have a baby, and am hopeful that the third time is the charm.

So far, I don't have any symptoms, but I did get to skip the Lupron this time as I'm on an antagonist protocol.  I've heard that Ganirelix can be a bit of a bitch, so we'll see.  I don't know if I'm imagining it or not, but I feel some twinges in my ovary region.  So, I'm hopeful that means that my ovaries are starting to ramp up.  I'm working on giving them some positive reinforcement.

I am trying to occupy myself during this cycle by focusing on taking some control of the rest of my life.  I've recently read a book called The Happiness Project and I loved it.  I'm inspired to take a more active role in what I do and surround myself with.  So, I'm working on organizing my house, I'm planning on clearing out my closet this weekend and getting rid or putting away all the clothes that don't fit or that I don't like.  I'm getting a haircut today and a new style.  I'm experimenting in the kitchen.  I'm studying for a professional certification exam.  I'm disconnecting from work on the weekend.  And, finally, I'm working on doing random acts of kindness for my husband.  All of this is helping me to feel like I'm making some progress in my life and in my goals, and distracting me from the BIG GOAL that I'm struggling to achieve.

I'm also super excited to be cycling during the Olympics.  Talk about a distraction!  I love it and really enjoy watching all the sports and the human interest stories.  It would have been ideal if the Olympics were during my 2 week wait, but not so much.

And finally, I just want to thank everyone who reads my blog for all the support.  It is amazing to be a part of this community and have a group of people out there who check in on me during this process and provide such wonderful support for me in all my ramblings.  I can't imagine going through IVF and the infertility struggle without a support group.  Thank you all for giving me such wonderful support!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Cautiously Optimistic or Self Preservingly Negative?

During IVF #2, I was easily in the cautiously optimistic camp.  I sought out statistics and used them to comfort myself with their soothing numbers and message.  I would tell my self that the success rate of my clinic was, on average, above 50%.  Therefore, it was likely that my IVF would be successful.  Once I got pregnant, I comforted myself by saying that the chances that I would carry the baby to term were very high.  Chances were that things would work out ok.  After I saw the heartbeat, I comforted myself with the statistics that said that once you saw the heartbeat the chances of miscarriage dropped way down.

I was clearly walking in the sunshine with a "half-full" glass.  And, we all know how that worked out.

So, as I embark on IVF #3 tomorrow, I am trying to decide which camp to belong to this time.  I know that no matter what I tell myself, my body is going to do what it wants.  I know, that if I should get pregnant, not feeling the joy of it won't keep miscarriage away.  Not sharing my happy new won't keep miscarriage away.  Not knitting baby clothes, buying a few baby items, thinking of life as a mom, and celebrating the secret joy of having a life inside of me won't keep me from feeling the pain if that life should slip away.  Life is short and pregnancy can be fleeting.  If I'm lucky enough to get pregnant again, I don't want to waste what little time I might have being afraid.  I want to celebrate while I can because I'd take the pain of miscarriage again just for the hope and opportunity to have a baby, even if I am never able to have one.  It's worth it to me.

On the other hand, statistics may not be so comforting to me this time.  I am trying a new protocol.  Which, hopefully will improve my crappy fertilization rates.  But, it might not.  Dr. B has told me that my odds of miscarriage could be 50% or higher.  Of course, this is a guess as we don't really know why I miscarried.

How do I balance this need to celebrate and be hopeful with this need to protect myself should I not get pregnant or should I miscarry?  I need a game plan to keep it together.

Monday, February 8, 2010

IVF #3

My morning started off with a bit of excitement.  I am still adjusting to the time change after vacation, and I had an early start this morning because I wanted to get to to doctor close to 7 a.m.  I had been forgetting to take my prenatal vitamins at night while on vacation.  I found them in my makeup bag this morning, so I popped one.  Well, about 45 minutes later I started to feel nauseous.  About 30 seconds later I was throwing up.  Happy Monday!

All is clear on my ultrasound..  That's the first time I've gotten the go-ahead on my ovaries at my baseline ultrasound.  Yeah!  The plan is that on Thursday I start with 225 of Follistim and I go back for my next ultrasound and blood work on Monday.  So, this is going to happen.

I'm trying to balance the hope with the fear right now.  I really want this to work, but I'm starting to get to the point where I want to know if it will work or not so I can move on. 

I also put away my baby loss necklace.  I think that I needed to close that chapter, at least for awhile, so that I can focus on the possibilities of lucky number 3.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

That was fun...

We are back in Chicago after our amazing and wonderful (and needed) trip to Hawaii.  We had the BEST time.  The first four days were spent on the North Shore of Oahu.  I loved seeing where my husband used to live back when he was in the Army - very cool to learn more about that part of his life.  Our resort in Oahu was great and we had amazing views of the ocean.  I loved just sitting out by the pool and watching and listening to the surf.  We went kayaking and saw green sea turtles while we were there.  Very fun.

We then moved to Maui, which is just gorgeous.  It is amazing how different the two islands look to me.  Again, the resort was gorgeous.  While in Maui we did a couple really cool things.  We went bike riding down the volcano - Haleakala - which was super scary but fun.  And, we went on a whale watching cruise and saw a ton of humpback whales.  That was so amazing, I can't even describe how cool that was.  We also spent plenty of time relaxing by the pool / ocean and enjoying sitting in a hammock and feeling the sun on our faces.

We both feel rested and relaxed and hopeful after our trip.  I even bought something for my future child - a little t-shirt that says "Little Turtle" in hawaiian.  I washed in and am putting it away for when I birth or adopt a baby.

We are now trying to get ourselves adjusted to the time change and get ready to jump into Monday and a new IVF cycle.  I have a baseline ultrasound tomorrow morning.  We needed this vacation so badly and enjoyed it so much, that I feel like I can handle what comes next.

Here are a few pictures of our trip to Hawaii.  Enjoy!