Conceal, Don’t Feel

Infertility reminds me of the struggle that Elsa had to go through:

A kingdom of isolation

Don’t let them in, don’t let them see

Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know

Put on a show, make one wrong move and everyone will know

 

So many people who struggle to get pregnant feel like they have to hide it or it is something to be ashamed of. That thought truly makes me sad. People who get cancer don’t have to hide it from the family and friends, why should they have to hide this? It is a legit medical condition, nothing to feel shame about.

I feel that I’ve been extremely open about our trek with infertility. I generally post about things either the same day or soon after. That can be a little tricky sometimes. It means that whoever reads these posts knows intimate details about something that is usually between just two people. It also means that those who read this know when it is time for the big deal blood draw: the pregnancy test.

In general, the thought is that you don’t share news of a pregnancy until you’ve passed 12 weeks (or ever for some people) and are out of the so-called “danger zone”. Most miscarriages happen within the first 12 weeks, though they can happen at any time. I kinda get the reasoning behind that. You don’t want to get people’s hopes up and then have to break bad news to them. If you recall, and have been following me that long, that very thing happened to us at the end of 2014. It was our first treatment cycle with our RE, and by some miracle I got a positive beta. I was so elated that I just had to share the news right away. Alas, the joy did not last as the pregnancy was deemed unviable and I had a medically induced miscarriage. I was sad for myself of course, but also sad for those I had already told. I now had to tell them that no, I’m not actually having a baby. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. It is something I would not wish upon anyone.

On that sad note, I wanted to share with everyone that I may have to do that again. It will be hard, very hard to do, but I will do it if necessary.

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5dp5dt

Those is the IVF community know exactly what the title of this post means. For those who don’t, it means “5 days post 5 day transfer”. It basically lets others know that you transferred a 5 day old embryo 5 days ago.

For me, that means going into my clinic for a hormone check. Hormones play a big role in pregnancy. Like you kinda need them to have one. Throughout the first half of a womans cycle her body is creating estrogen to grow an egg. It peaks around 350 (if you don’t get pregnant). After ovulation, the ovaries then start producing progesterone. In my case, I take medication to make both.

When we went in on Tuesday for the embryo transfer my estrogen was at 389 and my progesterone was at 21. Those are pretty solid numbers as most REs (reproductive endocrinologists) like progesterone to be above 20. Today my estrogen was at 342 and progesterone was at 28. Those are even better numbers.

 

Here is where I start to get a little weird. I’m sure most of you will not understand, but some of you may.

Since the transfer I have often been rubbing my belly and thinking to the embryos. I haven’t yet spoken aloud to them, because that just seems silly (not that thinking to them isn’t silly, but you know, I’ve gone a bit crazy). In my mind I imagine that they’ve decided they don’t like each other, so took spots as far apart as possible to burrow. I have pet names for them, which I will not share. I don’t even think David know what they are. This morning I felt like I got some insight into them. I believe the one on the left side is a boy, and takes after his daddy. When I got out of the warm bed into the cold bedroom to get ready to go I had a bit of pain on the left side, like the embryo was complaining about how cold it suddenly was. Just like David does.

Yup, I’ve completely lost my mind.

 

At this point, either one, two or zero embryos have implanted and begun to grow. Actually, that happened about 3-4 days ago. I have been firm with myself and decided to not purchase any home pregnancy tests. I used my last one during the last round and haven’t bought any more. I will wait until I go in for a beta (the blood test that measures HCG, same as a home pregnancy test but with the actual level, not just positive or negative) to find out if this cycle has worked or not. It’s going to be hard, and I’m going to have to find ways to keep myself busy this week.

Best of luck to me!

An Infertility Journey Update; Protecting My Heart

Hold onto your hats, this post is gonna be a two parter!

 

Part 1: An Infertility Journey Update

At this point I like to think of it as more of a trek than a journey. Journey is too nice a word. Trek sounds tough and challenging, which is how life has been for the past 22 months.

Yup, we starting trying for a baby nearly 22 months ago. Wow. Looking back I was so damn naive.

As for what is going on now, we started a new FET cycle on January 21st. That means we did more tummy shots, more baby aspirin and more estrogen. If you remember my last post about estrogen pills I made it sound pretty horrid. Luckily, this time around has been much easier. I definitely feel less cray-cray, and I feel that I have a better handle on my emotions overall.

I went in for my third progress ultrasound with no expectations at all. I was figuring I’d have to go back later this week for another one. I was therefore totally shocked when I saw the measurement on the ultrasound. 8.2. Wow. Last time around my lining only got up to 7.9 before they started me on progesterone and had me do an HCG shot. I am amazed that my lining grew so well this time. And I’m still going to grow it for another few days before the HCG shot and start of progesterone. I believe that I will do both on Thursday. My doctor is currently out of town, so we’re delaying the transfer until he gets back.

As of this afternoon I am scheduled for a transfer on Tuesday morning. We will again be transferring two snowflakes (a term in the IVF world for frozen embryos). My mom has rearranged things in her schedule to come up and take care of us during my 48 hour bed rest sentence. Yay!

 

Part 2: Protecting My Heart

One of my cousins once told me that during this process it was important to protect my heart and I agree completely.

For those who aren’t infertile, pregnancy and babies are things to celebrate with lots of happiness. For those who are, however, both of those things can, and generally are, extremely hard to handle emotionally. I know that it sounds like I’m being “dramatic”, but infertility is P.A.I.N.F.U.L. It hurts. All the time.

For me personally, being around pregnant women and babies is very hard. I love love love babies, but hurts me to see them, especially when they’re cute. It’s even harder to see pregnant women, knowing how terribly I’ve failed at gaining that for myself.

Here is my most recent example: At David’s company they do birthday dinners for all the employees, and spouses are invited to go. I knew a few weeks ago that one was coming up, and I was seriously dreading it. Why, you may ask. Because none other than the birthday girl herself is pregnant (if you’re reading this, sorry J if you’re offended by me writing about this). I was very seriously considering skipping this one, as I knew I would be at the peak of my medication, which makes me extra emotional. I texted David that morning asking how late I could let him know if I wanted to go or not. He said 4. I texted at about 3:45, letting him know that I was feeling good enough to go. It took a lot of courage for me to say yes, knowing that I would have to see her for at least two hours and possibly have to hear about her pregnancy.

Luckily, I found a great way to cope. My thoughts through the whole night surrounded around “don’t look, don’t touch”. I just kept reminding myself to look only at her face. I’m very thankful she didn’t sit next to or directly across from me, as I would have had to get up and sit somewhere else. I definitely felt a little sad, but it surprisingly wasn’t bad. Then the part I was most not looking forward to: saying goodbye and hugging. I was extremely careful to just hug around her shoulders and keep my body a safe distance away. And to my delight there was no contact! (Sorry J!) This would have normally been a very emotionally sucky night that would have ended in tears, but not so this night.

I’m hoping that this new found information will make life just a touch bit easier.