Fertility Clinic, Round 2

Our second round at the fertility clinic was everything that the first one should have been, and better. We saw a doctor who listened to everything we had to say, had read our file prior to us entering the room, and treated us with the basic humanity, respect, and compassion that I had expected when we first walked through those doors.

The basic upshot of the whole appointment was the confirmation that what we have is unexplained infertility – neither of us is at fault, neither of us has anything apparently wrong, we just can’t seem to conceive a baby. This doctor also thought that we should try a medication that promotes ovulation, and went into detail as to why – basically that the more eggs, the better the odds of one making it to contact the sperm. He did listen to my concerns about the amount of crazy I experience when I take anything that messes with my hormones. He suggested Letrozole over the clomid variation we were prescribed last time. Letrozole apparently has fewer emotional side effects compared to clomid, and a slightly lower risk of birth defects. So we will try this for a few cycles, and then go back in March to potentially look into IUI. Unless by some miracle the Letrozole works in the next couple of months. The range of efficacy among infertile couples ranges from 10-30%. In couples with diagnosed infertility I suppose any significant change is good. I mean, our odds without intervention are shy of 1%, so we will be drastically increasing them through this. So we shall see.

My hopes are up… but I’m trying to keep them in check. I don’t know how far we will go through fertility treatments – even this is beyond what I said two years ago was our hard stopping point. But time and experience changes perspective and action, so here we are.

I have not kept anything in check enough not to have considered that the timing of my getting pregnant in the next few months would be perfect from a career/academic perspective: I should be finished my masters in early July of 2018. I am working between two clinics where I feel valued and am building solid practices, as well as flexible hours that might work around a baby’s schedule. And how we would rearrange our house to accommodate another human being… you know, just the little things.

So we shall see what happens, and how far this goes. How far we go…

-Me

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Nothing and Everything

So it was nothing. It was just a fault in the test strip, and it meant nothing. I don’t know why I let my hopes get so up. We have been trying to get pregnant for over four and a half years, with no success – not even a blip on any radar. So why I thought this time would be different is logically beyond me.

I took it quite hard. Every time my period starts when I know that our timing was exactly what it should have been, I feel like a human failure. Winter isn’t great for me from a depression/SADs point of view in general, and I find that all the hoopla around Christmas makes me feel stressed and pressured to feel things I don’t really – the forced cheer is daunting at best.

Oh, also, my birthday was last week. Every year my birthday is a bit of a life review for me, seeing if I’ve done what I wanted to do, achieved my goals, etc. Since there is a pretty glaring piece of my life plan missing, even though I’m ok on the other fronts – professionally, personally, academically. Which makes my wallowing in the grief surrounding infertility that much more annoying. Well it’s annoying for me, and I feel like if I actually talked to anyone else around me about it instead of just occasionally blurting my thoughts out here, that anyone else iI talked to would also find it annoying.

I’ve had a weird feeling for a few months that 32 will be a pivotal year. No logical explanation, I just think it will be. We had talked to the doctor and gotten a referral for the fertility clinic that was due to happen on April 2nd, 2018. On my birthday last week I got a call: The appointment is now Monday. And I am so overwhelmed that I don’t know what I’m feeling. I’m excited, but terrified, and I know that my expectations are too high. Because really, after so many years, what can a new doctor really offer? So this appointment, this progress, it is everything and nothing. Because if they can help us, if there is a chance of my getting pregnant, of us having a baby, that is everything. But the far more likely reality is that there won’t be anything they can do, so this will be nothing.

We need to know. I need to know. Because having a baby, being a parent, it’s everything to me. And right now it feels like we have nothing.

-Me

 

Driving Myself Crazy

I have this morning off, and it’s been productive, and I am happy about that, because there are a lot of things that I needed to get done which i’ve also needed to get done during normal banking hours…

So I sent a flurry of messages to one of my lovely and tolerant friends that basically was this:

“I have been so hyper productive this morning, I’m so proud – I have made all the appointments and cleaned and then re-arranged the house”

“then re-arranged again because I didn’t like what I had done”

“then drove myself crazy because i’m late, and so i’m hyper-evaluating all of the things that might signify something, but really mean nothing”

“Except there was a very faint second line. So faint it might be just my imagination, except [Husband] saw it too..”

“But it’s probably nothing”

“But what if it’s not nothing?”

 

Yeah, so thats my head this morning. I am lucky to have friends who will take that flurry of crazy and be ok with it. I am lucky to have a Husband who came to terms with my crazy well over a decade ago and can ride it out with comparative calm.

I know that the odds against my being pregnant are astronomically high. I know that I am in all likelihood driving myself crazy over an imaginary shadow on a small stick of cardboard with reagents on it…

But thats the thing about hope. If I let it, it will run wild and all I can think of is this.

So now I need to go to work, to teach a Mommy-and-me fitness class that boarders on torture for me, because they talk about… all the things that new Mothers do, and I just feel excluded.

-Me

Beginning Again…

As we discussed potentially looking into adoption, my Husband and I realized we are not totally ready to give up on having our own biological child. So I went to the doctor and got a new referral to the fertility clinic, and we have an appointment in April. Because that’s how long it takes to get in to see the specialist – 6+ months. I was apprehensive about going back to the same clinic where i’d had the really lousy experience over two years ago now. It turns out Doctor Hudson, who was the utterly charming dipshit we saw before, has since retired. We won’t be risking having to deal with his lack of professionalism, patronizing bedside manner, or general idiocy again. In the meantime I have more blood tests, and my Husband has another sperm analysis, and around we go again – we need to exhaust some potentials before we can commit to the adoption process.

There are some differences this time around: My Husband is fully on board this time around, and has a better understanding of how daunting this process is emotionally. We’re older, more financially secure, we own a house now… We’re in a way better place in terms of our relationship than we were when we started trying to conceive over four and a half years ago.

A weird thing about revisiting fertility treatment options… I was already hesitant to share details about my struggle with infertility the last time around. I’m naturally a private person, I don’t like to share personal details, and there was no part of me that felt equipped to open up and have any kind of a conversation about something that felt like it was destroying me from inside out. This time around, the few people I did talk to about it think that i’ve put it behind me, and I kind of like it that way. I don’t like to think people see me as a sympathetic entity, and i’m too proud to admit that I’m going back to this place of mental chaos.

I am very much my own worst enemy. Even I can step far enough back from this to see that. But I am afraid that I when this fails I’ll have to admit once again that I can’t have a baby, and I already feel like a failure. If i’m going to fail again, I would prefer that it were just my Husband and I who know about it…

Failure is not just an option, it seems like the most likely outcome of this renewed effort. And I don’t want mine to be public knowledge any more than I did last time around.

Someday I’d like to have the courage to share and be open, but today is not that day.

On a side note, I do have a weird feeling about being 32… Like if it were going to happen, this will be the year.

-Me

FOMO

I don’t often experience FOMO – as a card carrying introvert, I take avoiding situations to an artform. I was lucky enough to spend the last week on a road trip all over Jasper and Banff, camping along the Athabasca river, checking out glaciers, lake Louise, hiking up through the mountains to the teahouse at the Six Glaciers. It was amazing. I am lucky that the friend I went with is also happy to be alone in her own head, because I think we achieved the perfect balance of company and alone time. I had a hardcore anxiety moment driving into the crowds of Banff and Lake Louise after four days away from people in general – between the crowds and the poorly laid out traffic patterns, I had a bit of a meltdown – just needed to get back to the campsite and away from people. We ended up grabbing some ciders, heading to the campsite, and having some pretty intense conversations about life – which was way more my speed.

I had started that morning sobbing down by the river. I keep thinking that i’ve laid the issue of fertility to rest – that I know it won’t happen, that after four and a half years, the details are written in stone, and I just need to accept them. And mostly I have – I’m finding it easier to talk about my infertility, I spend less time crying and more time focussing on my work and getting on with my life. There seems to be a natural ebb and flow to the degree of my anxiety with regard to how settled I feel, and I suspect at least some of it is hormonal. I have noticed there there are generally about two non-consecutive days each month or so when I just feel like shit, and that day was one of them.

So the intense conversation: It basically came down to the fact that I am not done thinking about having a baby. A biological baby. The simple reality is that we can’t afford to consider most options right now – we just bought our house, and I just quit my full time job so that I can pursue more lucrative, if less secure options. There is no feasible way for us to pursue expensive fertility treatments at this time. And I don’t know that I could handle the pressure, stress, or the potential disappointment of going that route. Also, frankly, I don’t know if I have the full support of my Husband. He tends more towards the “it’ll happen if it happens” mentality about most things – he will work his ass off for his business, and he started a successful business during a recession, and a decade later it’s still going, and I am so proud of him… but when it comes to things closer to home, he either leaves them to me, or ignores them (or both). The simple reality is that I want to be a Mum. I want to coparent with my Husband. I knew I wanted to marry him and for him to be my life partner at 19, when I realized I wanted him to be that person forever (we didn’t get married for another five years, but that’s irrelevant). Dammit, I want us to have OUR child. I think that’s why I haven’t argued too much with him about the adoption factor – I know we would both love any child in our care, and that we would never go into that without being all in. Its just that I always thought it would be our little genetically linked jerk we would be raising, and however logical and pragmatic I try to be, that’s what I keep coming back to – I want to see what our genetics result in. We have the potential to have an absolute holy terror of a child… and on some level I want that. And I continue to want that, even though I know it isn’t a likely option for our future. So… FOMO – so much fear of missing out. So much figuring out what I fear missing out on… and some knowing that I already see what i’m missing out on, and that just makes me more sad.

I’ve always thought of FOMO as more of a social thing. In this case, it’s just about life – what do I think i’m missing out on in this life, and How can I either learn to be ok with it, or find a way to experience it?

Socially, I am mostly happy to just be at home, or hiking with my puppydog, or seeing a friend now and then… Life.. Lifewise I feel like i’m missing out on a huge part of it, and I am having a lot of trouble reconciling with that.

-Me

Breast Reduction

So I did it – one week ago I hopped up on the surgical table and went under, and a lovely and supportive lady surgeon, with some serious skills, took a scalpel to my 36H+’s. All told she took ~2.5lbs off each side – a little over 5 lbs total. (900g+/side, verging on a full Kg bilaterally). I am lucky in that I respond really well to anaesthesia, so I came out of the surgery with no nausea, minimal pain, and pretty oriented. The first day I was definitely a little stoned – nothing huge, it wasn’t until a friend of mine dropped by and I tried to keep up a conversation and count crochet stitches that I realized how slow I was … I was not able to do those two things… and was very, very mellow.

Basically I was done with the meds by three days post op, and the pain has been totally manageable. The itchy skin healing sensation is somewhat crazy making. but that’s fine – it means things are doing what they should be. Seven days later, my main frustration is that I can’t sleep in my normal position on my front and curled up in all sorts of awkward positions with my arms flailed over my head… I am stuck sleeping on my back until the sutures heal and the skin doesn’t feel like it’s pulling apart.

So sleep isn’t easy when not doped up on pain meds… But otherwise i’m thrilled. My breasts haven’t been this perky ever – not even in high school. I’m an almost 32 year old woman with breasts that don’t require any support… it’s kinda awesome. ¬†Even the surgeon seemed amused when I giggled about the extra four inches of torso I suddenly have.

And I look thinner – and fatter, because although i’m fit, I do have some abdominal fat I need to work on. But thinner, because I don’t have an extra five+ pounds of tissue cantilevering out over my stomach.

So upshot is, this surgery was the best thing I could have done. It’s gonna be uncomfortable for a while, and that’s ok – I didn’t need a ton of time off work, but i’m glad I have it, because I am tired, and sleeping a lot, and that’s pretty normal while letting my body recover.

So here’s to modern medicine, socialized medical care, and no more back and neck pain.. not to mention some adorable breasts.

-Me

 

 

Waiting

T-five days to surgery. It’s not a big deal. I’ve been enjoying a whole lotta puns about it being a superficial surgery.

Except that for me it is a big deal. I am choosing to have someone take a scalpel to my tissue to make some significant changes to my body. Three pounds off each breast (ish). I am hoping that this makes a huge difference in my neck and shoulder pain. I am not expecting a miracle, but I think not having ~15lbs hanging off my chest will be helpful. My Husband is fishing for the week, which is fine… Honestly, not having him around means that I can clean the house and keep it that way, and get a bunch of little misc. things done around the house to make sure it’s in a state that won’t drive me crazy while I’m not able to lift or move anything. Never mind the scrubbing and cleaning. However, not having him around also means I have a lot of time alone in the evening without a foil to bounce any thoughts that occur to me…

Friday, Friday I go to get this done. Five more days.

I’m not any better at waiting than I am at humility.

-Me.