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

A Weird Conundrum

So, something I am noticing that I am struggling with: I am starting to get on with my life. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I am getting over not being able to get pregnant – that remains a nice little black cloud in my psyche, but I am starting to see it more as a distant storm instead of an ever present shadow. As I am able to actually focus on the good things in my life, I have a weird sensation like i’m cheating on my unconceived, unborn child. Like somehow being able to build other positive things in my life is doing a disservice to the dream of having a biological child. I think it’s associated with the general grief experience, but it’s an interesting aspect. It’s like somehow if I can move on, if I can build a positive and fulfilling life without having imprinted my DNA on the next generation, I never really wanted it that badly.

I know that’s a load of crap. If I woke up tomorrow, or next week, or next year, and took a pregnancy test and it were positive, I…. I don’t have the words to express how happy I would be. I have dreams where it happens, and the disappointment I feel on waking and finding out it isn’t real is almost heartbreaking.

So as I actually feel like I am building a different life, and a good one… I find the feeling of being unfaithful to my original plan very interesting.

I think my Husband and I will take a very serious look at adoption sometime in the next three years. I think we will look at children who are in the foster system, not infants… and I think we will be parents. We will have a child, or children, and we will parent together. But in the meantime, I need to not feel guilty for trying to build a good life without my dream baby.

-Me

Apparently it’s time for a change?

Soooooooo, its been an eventful few weeks – on top of quitting my job last week, I got a call that my surgery date is much, much sooner than I expected. Initially they called me Monday to tell me that it would be June 27th. I rearranged my entire schedule around that with less than 6 hours notice, and tried to come to terms with the idea of being slightly incapacitated starting a new job.

Then on Tuesday I got a call from the bookings people that they had neglected to check the surgeons availability, and that the 27th wasn’t actually an option. So instead it’s been postponed to July 25th. Six weeks seems like a reasonable amount of time to prepare…

I will still need to take some time off quite early in my new job, but I will at least have a month to settle in.

In some ways having a breast reduction is another step in my acceptance of not being fertile. I had been waiting to see about the surgery until I had children, since breast feeding is apparently more difficult post surgery. Choosing to do so now is again admitting that it isn’t going to happen. I waffle back and forth between weird last minute hope and being accepting of the reality.

The limbo is waning. It won’t go away, it won’t be gone, and I will grieve on some level… but I am starting to concretely move on.

-Me

All of the things, and yet still the same.

You never know exactly when the next wave will hit. The moment that you are reminded, yet again, that you won’t ever hear a munchkin call out for Mum and be calling for you.

In other news, I quit my job on Friday. I’ve been frustrated by working for an internationally publicly traded company whose focus is the bottom line… For three and a half years. However much I love WHAT I do, the company for which I do it has been nothing short of disappointing. There is a significant amount of lip service paid to the value of teamwork, collaboration, supporting their employees, yadayadayada, but the reality differs. I have been repeatedly informed that I am not worth paying more than the minimum, and that I am replaceable. So it is slightly satisfying to see the look of panic on my managers face when he now has to try to replace me. I do have another job to go to. I’ll be working for the municipality where I live, and it will be much more community focused, which I think will be a good fit for me. What is terrifying is the fact that I will be taking a huge risk in terms of hours – this new job is based entirely on my ability to build and maintain a client base. And I think I can – I have done so before. But it is venturing out into unknown territory without a safety net, and I am unsettled.

I will also have significantly more free time than I am used to, and that is also unsettling. I am used to being so busy I don’t have time to think, and that is at least in part by design – if I’m busy, I can’t focus on the things that upset me, because there is no time. Now I will have time. my first impulse is to try to fill it – with anything: work, school, choir auditions, exercise, etc. I know I need time to slow down and regroup, and that it will be good, but my crocodile brain doesn’t want to give anything the opportunity to catch up.

Since quitting I have felt lighter than I have in a very long time. I know I made the right decision, I know that this will be the best in the long run, and the more time since I sent in my resignation the more sure I am that it was a good idea. I feel alive in a way I have not for a few years.

I need to believe in myself and my own professional abilities, I need to remember that I can, and have, in fact done this before. But the self doubt creeps in, and its insidious tendrils wrap around my heart and drag…

It will be ok. I will make this work. And worse case scenario, I can always find another job….

And in the meantime, I will continue to avoid thinking about that voice that will never call for me in the night.

-Me.