Hope For The Diminished

Last year around this time, a fertility doctor told me that I would never conceive on my own. In the same conversation he also told me that IVF would never work for me after he chose a really crappy protocol for my first IVF cycle.

When my son is born in March, shitty fertility doctor will be one of the first people I mail a birth announcement.

Diminished Ovarian Reserve sounds like a death sentence in online chat rooms and blogs. Little hope and big fears of a childless life. I never bought in to the idea that my story was already written. My AMH level was a .60, my antral follicle count always hovered around 12 and I have never had anything but a normal menstrual cycle.

I spent the last year believing that I to could solve this thing with a steady cocktail of CoQ10, Maca, wheatgrass, acupuncture, blah blah blah.

Maybe I just got lucky. Maybe all my holistic approach to health and healing worked. Maybe when I was matched with my daughter through adoption, some magical adoption dust helped me conceive. I personally like to think it was my steady stream of dirty martini’s, an In-N-Out burger and an indifferent attitude about pregnancy at the time. I also think God has a great sense of humor and was giggling about his master plan for me to have two babes under 7 months.

Either way, here I am, almost 6 months pregnant with a baby boy. I am the furthest I have ever been. This past week I actually graduated (I did not know that could happen) from my high risk specialist. The doctor said both myself and baby boy (we call him Ax) are now officially low risk now and she predicts smooth sailing from here on in.

I don’t want to wax poetic about my pregnancy, but I do want to offer hope to those that may find themselves in the same fertility boat that I’ve been in. There IS hope for the diminished. The truth is, part of the reason we Google incessantly is that we all really want to find a story similar to ours where the person did conceive, have a baby or make it out of the fertility trenches in one piece.

So while my sweet son will not be in my arms for a few more months, I have made it this far and so can you!

Advertisements

From Another Mother

I am going to jump straight to the good stuff. I HAVE NEWS! I’M EXPECTING!

Not a biological baby, but a baby nontheless. We are cautiously expecting a precious baby girl due from another mother on September 2nd We were matched with a birth mother in a record time of just two weeks.

Our adoption home study was approved June 6th and we received the news on June 20th that we had been matched (which also happened to be my husbands 35th birthday).

After meeting with the adoption agency we were told we would be placed on a 6-month wait list before we were even shown to prospective birth parents. We were told it would take roughly a year after that to be matched. I don’t do lines. I never stood in lines waiting to enter a club in my early 20’s and I certainly wasn’t about to wait in line for my future child. So I took matters in to my own hands.

We started a Facebook page at the end of May announcing our plans to adopt. We asked our friends and family to share our story with everyone they knew. In the first week our Facebook page was up we had over 1,000 fans following our journey. The outpouring of love and support was tremendous. Even overwhelming. We had people whom we had never met reaching out to us to offer advice, support and potential birth mom leads. A college friend of mine who saw our story and connected to the page connected us with her next-door neighbor (whom I now call my adoption angel).

She connected us with the adoption attorney she had recently worked for her baby. Within two weeks of our page being live we had already been presented with 8 potential birth moms.

The past several weeks have been the greatest mind-fuck in the history of my ever. Nothing I experienced with my infertility traumas have come close to this.

I am in the process of preparing my heart and my home to be a mother to a little girl in just over two months, while simultaneously guarding my heart and my mind because there is always a chance that the birth parents decide to parent. In the infertility world I equate this to having to set up a nursery before embryo transfer.

A match does not guarantee a child. It is only a very promising and strong step towards parenthood. The birth parents have until 72-hours after the birth to change their mind. While I’ve quickly changed my Googling habits from searching for the meaning of my ovulatory cycle and twinges to baby swaddling and the best PRAM to purchase, it’s very difficult to remain indifferent to my current circumstances.

There is a huge part of me that wants to immediately set up a baby registry, start decorating the nursery and pick out a name. I’m in love with the idea of my potential daughter and think about her and the birth mom all day everyday. I desperately want to go shopping for little girl clothes and post something on Facebook about expecting. The problem is, she isn’t mine to claim quite yet.

The flip-side of the emotional excitement is the reality. We’ve already shelled out thousands and thousands of dollars for our attorney’s fees, the birth parents attorney’s fees and birth mother living expenses with the knowledge that should they change their mind we are stuck with a bill and get no baby. We could plan and read and love and end up empty handed.

So I have decided to approach the situation like a marriage. When my husband and I got married we eloped in France. We wanted to focus on the marriage and not the wedding ceremony. For this, baby girl is the wedding ceremony and parenting is the marriage. So I am spending the next 64 days focused on the marriage. It looks like it IS going to be the year of the baby after all. 🙂

I Don’t Want A Baby Anymore

“You’ve never really been a baby person”, my Mother informs me over the phone while I plunge my nightly Ganirelix shot in to my abdomen. As I load up my Menopur injection she says “if this (IVF) doesn’t work, you should give up. You could adopt a two-year old. That way your body won’t be ruined and you won’t have to worry about the sleepless nights”.

My Mother, is 100% correct. I am not nor have I ever been a “baby person”.

When I was younger I never played with dolls, I never babysat and I never planned my dream wedding or dream family. I spent my free time reading about far away places and other cultures. My dream was to travel the world and birthing a baby was a very distant concept. Even today when someone enters a room with a baby, I will oooo and ahhh over it and then quickly escape to adult conversation, glass of wine in hand. My short attention span only allows for me to dote for about five minutes before I move on to something else.  I don’t understand how people are mesmerized by a little person that does nothing more than sleep, cry and poop; unless of course the baby is their own.

What my mother forgot to consider in the course of our conversation is that motherhood,  continues after a baby becomes a toddler. It goes on after the toddler reaches pre-school age. It continues through kindergarten, high school, college, marriage, children and even death. Motherhood is a lifelong commitment.

I don’t want a baby anymore. I want a human.

I want a human with my husband’s blue eyes and my blonde hair.  I want a human with my husband’s laid-back demeanor and my curiosity. I want a human that laughs, cries and feels love, joy and compassion. I want a human that is so full of life and so full of imperfection that it makes them uniquely them. I want to mother my very own human with every ounce of who I am until I take my very last breath on this earth. I want to intimately  know the highest highs and the lowest lows of motherhood. When my human hurts, I will hurt. When my human feels joy, I will feel joy.

I believe my Mother’s advice, comes from a place of maternal love. Something that I  will one day experience. She watches her oldest baby physically and emotionally hurt and there is not a damn thing she can do about it. It has to be one of the most difficult positions to be in as a parent.

So she tries to rationalize the situation for the both of us by suggesting an alternative “if – then” scenario. But what my Mother forgets  is that I am her human. With my Dad’s forehead and her determination. My Dad gave me my love of reading, NPR and healthy eating, but my fight and perseverance, now that came from my Mother.

If I wasn’t my Mother’s human I may have given up a long time ago. She taught me to fight for what I want and for what is right.

So “giving up” is not and will never be part of my vocabulary.  If there comes a time where life requires me to adjust my sails I will certainly consider my options at that time. Until then, eye on the prize. Year of the baby. In it to twin it. I can’t wait to bring my little human home from the hospital come this fall. 🙂

Menopur Meltdown: IVF Day # 6

… And yesterday I had a monumental meltdown.

Hell hath no fury like a woman hopped up on 5 different types of hormones.

The IVF process has a habit of putting marriages under a microscope. Currently, under my marital microscope, my husband is grounded from participating in my injections after he gave me not one but two incorrect dosages.

The first alleged fail was the evening of Day 5 when he was supposed to give me 150 iu of Menopur and only gave me 75iu. I had not been refereeing his dosing so I was blissfully unaware until he mentioned it to the nurse at my day 6 blood work and ultrasound. The nurse immediately gave me the additional 75iu of meds and said it should not negatively impact my cycle.

The subsequent error was last night which was responsible for my emotional tailspin. In an effort to help the growth of my 9 maturing follicles my Dr. added 50 iu of human growth hormone. It was the first injection of the evening which came with explicit written directions from my Dr. After strike 1 on the dosing I made sure to actively participate in my medication prep by read the instructions out loud and having him repeat them back to me. The ONLY thing I did not do was check how much medication he put in the syringe. Moments after giving me the injections he started panicking a bit and announced he had given me double the dose!

And this is when I lost it! Not because the dosing was messed up, but because everything that moment represented. All the what if’s stripped me of any rational thinking and left me standing there emotionally exposed.

I cried. I bawled. I kept yelling how could you? How could you be so careless? How could you mess up again? How could you be so reckless with my body and the potential of our future? I cried some more. And then I had to stop and take the remaining three injections. After that I continued crying and wallowing in my fear that this cycle had been ruined, while my panic-stricken husband dialed the on-call  nurse.

I am not a crier nor am I overly emotional so this type of emotional reaction is reserved for once every three to four years and I was clearly overdue. In that moment, infertility won. What I have experienced these past three years finally got the best of me. It was if all the emotional pain, frustration and anger was funneled to this one particular situation.

All I could think about was how hard I’ve worked for those 9 little follicles to be developing. I have essentially stopped living to create a life. No gluten, no caffeine, no alcohol diet. My free time consumed with yoga, acupuncture, searching for wheat grass and up to 40 pills a day. I haven’t been in a hot tub or sauna in over a year. Gone are the days of running half marathons and doing triathlons out of fear of overexertion. And list keeps going.

So the idea that a few messed up injections could take me out of the running for motherhood this month was too much.

I’ll find out tomorrow morning what negative effects (if any) the dosing had on me when I go in for another round of labs and an ultrasound.

Until then, my husband and I will enjoy the imperfectly perfect spouses we are to one another. 🙂

In It To Twin It – IVF Round # 2

Image

Day F’ing: 1.

This round I am much more fearful of everything. Fearful that my body won’t respond. Fearful that if it does and they are able to retrieve the embyros they won’t be mature enough or high quality enough. And fearful if we are able to make it to the grande finale of the whole shebang that they will not implant. I know this time what can go wrong and what I am actually up against. My last round of IVF was pure blissful ignorance.

Since I am on a roll about divulging my current mental state I will also admit that I am in it to twin it. With the thousands and thousands of dollars that are slowly seeping out of our bank account I secretly and selfishly hope for twins.  Having twins would be an added bonus. It’s the BOGO (buy one get one free) of the reproductive medicine industry. In all seriousness though like all in this situation, I would happily and joyfully welcome one healthy, living happy baby girl or boy in to my arms after this process is over. The idea of twins is a nice, happy thought that I like putting out in the universe. 🙂

STATS of this IVF thus far:

Me: 32, diagnosed with diminished ovarian reserve. I’ve been told that while DOR is not an amazing diagnosis I am young enough and not in too bad of shape that I still have a really good shot of getting pregnant with my own embyros.

CD: 2

Antral Follicle Count: 11

E2 – 37

FSH – 11 (Yikes. At 32 that hurts to hear but it was not high enough to rule me out thankfully. It was also not surprising).

Protocol – 225iu Follistim an 75iu Menopur until day 3 only once a day in the evenings. How freaking lucky am I? On the failed cycle my doctor started me on 250iu Follistim twice daily with 50iu Lupron twice daily.

Will provide update on day 3…WHEEEEE!

What Does A Girl Need To Do to Get a Wheatgrass Shot Around Here?

IVF #2 is about to commence. My precisely packed cooler of needles and medication arrived today and it will be any day now that the poking a prodding begin again.

For those who are new to my blog IVF #1 I canceled in September of last year after the epic failure it was. I had an antral follicle count of 12 and after two weeks of stimming my body had only matured three eggs. My protocol was  follistim micro-flare Lupron after a month of birth control pills.  Long story short, my Florida Dr was a dick  (Dear RE You’re Fired)  so I fired him and am back with my RE in Los Angeles for this cycle. My LA RE seems to think my body did not respond because I was too suppressed with the BCP and high dosage of Follistim (600 iu a day).

Since my canceled cycle I took several months off to enjoy the holidays and shower my body with love and kindness. In last several months I have kicked it in to high-gear to prepare my body for this cycle.

This is what I have done thus far:

– Weekly Acupuncture since September

– Chinese herbs that taste just awful twice daily since September. My acupuncturist said my kidney line was shut down or something like that and to drink the herbs. I have no idea what I’ve been drinking but she has a wall full of birth announcements from past patients that she has helped so I believe her.

– 600 mg CoQ10 Ubiquinol daily ( 200 mg morning, noon and night). This was a recommendation made by my Los Angeles RE. I’ve taken them since September.

– 3mg to 6mg Melatonin nightly since September

– 5000 mg of Vitamin D since September ( It was found that I was deficient)

– a minimum of 8 hours of sleep a night since September

– Gluten free since September

– Daily 2oz shots of wheatgrass (last two weeks). Let me tell you, getting wheatgrass shots in Orlando is difficult. Some days I drive an hour round trip to drink this stuff. The only reason I added this to my regime is because Dr. Google tells me so.

– No caffeine, dairy or alcohol since January 1st. Actually, no. That is a complete lie. That is what I should have done. I have snuck in four glasses of wine in the past 15 days and I ate Cheese Puffs which surprisingly actually contain dairy. Yes, I know they have cheese in the name but I assumed they were so processed it was just a dusting of faux cheese flavoring. If there is such thing as infertile guilt I have it. But with everything I am trying to do to have the best odds at IVF #2 working I feel like I am going to lose my mind.

– Yoga 3 times a week since January 1st. My knees are killing me from kneeling so much on the hardwood floors of my gym’s yoga studio.

We will see if any of my crazy will make a difference. I will post my protocol as soon as I receive the official one from my Dr.

IVF Theme Songs And High-Fives

The past four days like clockwork, every morning at 8:30 am and every evening at 7 pm my husband has stabbed me with the baby-making juice.  With the exception of one shot they’ve all ended with a high-five and a kiss for the painless procedure. I’m really proud of him. He’s got a gentle touch and I barely feel a thing. My belly is beginning to show signs of tenderness and I have a headache that won’t quit on my 10 ml Micro Lupron / 225 ui Follistim protocol but this little party in my ovaries is in full swing.

In my efforts to stay on the sunny side of this less than stellar situation I have decided to do two things:

1. Have a theme song

Yes! I have a theme song for making this IVF cycle my bitch and it’s Katy Perry’s Roar. If you need to pump yourself up before your shots I highly recommend.  Thankfully it’s overplayed and on the radio every 15 minutes right now. I picture my follicles roaring like lions. It’s absolutely ridiculous, but nobody ever said IVF has to be serious.

2. A  list of things that hurt more than my injections

The injections really haven’t been that bad, but in case I forget I’ve been developing a list of things that hurt WAY more than one of my shots. A few that have made my list include:

– paper cuts

– Eyebrow threading (this is really painful)

– Bikini wax

-canker sores

– stubbing my toe

– rolling my ankle in a pair of heels

– Cat scratches

– Feel free to let me know what other things I should add to my tally. 🙂