Signs Of My Times

The universe has definitely been sending me some smoke signals letting me know that it is rooting for me and my babies.  I consider myself spiritual, but not religious. I believe in God, the creator of all. I have also shown my human side a time or two by telling God to F off during my fertility roller coaster. (Sorry). Either way, he has made his presence known this week.

Transfer day:

My sister texted me a picture she took of a double rainbow that was close to my house back in Orlando. At first I thought: “yay good luck” and then my husband reminded me that a baby after loss is called a rainbow baby. A sign for my twin rainbow babies?

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Fear was definitely taking over. I had nothing to occupy my time after the transfer so why not downward spiral in to panic mode? My head started thinking about donor eggs and adoption and the usual suspects of a fertility back up plan. I started arguing with myself mentally; feeling as if I was going to create a self-fulfilling prophecy with my negative attitude on day 1. I rarely consume chocolate and almost never buy it. It’s not my thing.  With wine out of the question along with ice cream and cheese (since I cut out dairy) I bought a bag of Dove chocolates to nurse my emotional low. The first chocolate I unwrapped as I stood in the Target parking lot consoled me with this little wrapper wisdom:

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With my positive outlook of my plight in life renewed (thanks to the Dove chocolate wrapper) I decided to take myself on a lunch date to my favorite LA vegetarian/vegan restaurant Cafe Gratitude. A favorite among celebrities and hipsters alike, the restaurant lists its menu items in the form of an affirmation . It is with the idea that each person can practice affirming great qualities in themselves while dining. (SO LA, I know). In addition to the affirmational menu items, the servers always have a question of the day that they ask each guest. The question is designed to invite Cafe Gratitude guests to have new conversations or to bring their attention into the present moment. Something like, “What is blessed about your life?” or “What do you have an abundance of?” 

My question of the day:

“What are you creating?”

I just started smiling. I could not believe it! “What am I creating?”  HUMANS! Little tiny humans to one day call my own. It still makes me smile to think about how kind life was to me in that moment. Oh and I ordered the “I am thriving” and the “I am warm-hearted” and it was delicious.

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Yesterday’s mantra: Hatch and attach! Nothing out of the ordinary happened but i did have a dream about a little blonde boy named Carter during acupuncture. Carter was about two years old and playing in the backyard with my dog Baxter. I walked outside and called “Carter time to come in sweetheart” and he and Baxter came running towards me and then I woke up.  A bit bizarre considering I don’t know any little boys named Carter and I’ve never considered the name before, but hey, I’ll take it.

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My Mom called me today to tell me she had a bizarre dream that woke her up in the middle of the night last night. She did not want to call me because it was around 2 am PST and she also did not want to text me the dream because she was worried it would freak me out. So she texted me the below instead. In her dream she could see my embryos and they hadn’t attached to my uterus yet. She said someone appeared in her dream like a spirit or an angel telling her it was ok to be invested because it was going to work out. Then her dream began reversing and she saw one embryo attached and then watched the other attach. She woke up and thought: “I bet Jenna’s embryos attached  last night while she slept”.  Implantation typically begins the 4th day after a three-day transfer. It is during this time that the blastocyst continues to hatch out of its shell and begins to attach itself to the uterus. My Mom is totally unaware of  the timing and process post embryo transfer. The timing of her dream could not have been more spot on with what should be occurring.  I woke up this morning with mild cramping and it’s been on an off all day. It’s the first day I’ve experienced it since egg retrieval. A mother’s intuition perhaps?

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I Am A Vessel

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And now we wait! I had a 3-day transfer of two 8-cell top grade embryos on Saturday morning. I felt really good about it to the point that I was giddy. Our other 5 were still plugging away so I am hopeful they will make it to the blastocyst for freezing. I spent yesterday on bed rest all day and today was up and about for brief intervals. A trip to target and a 10 minute walk down Abbott Kinney in Venice Beach for breakfast.   I am wrestling with the fact that I no longer have control of the situation (like I really ever did from the beginning).  It’s all in God’s hands. I am just a vessel that is trying to make a comfortable home for my little embryo babies. I’ve found my mind veering off in to the fear of the “what if it doesn’t work”, “What if this”, “what if that” but have found that if I repeat my mantra’s “In it to twin it” and “year of the baby” it gets my head back in the right place. I already have mother’s guilt about everything! Please pray for me. It’s going to be a long two weeks! 🙂

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

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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.

Trauma Travel

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Trauma travel (Verb): The act of taking a trip to a foreign country and/or a super awesome locale to lick your wounds after life delivers a major bitch slap. 

I wish I could say that I am the great pioneer of trauma travel but I’m pretty sure Elizabeth Gilbert beat me to it.  Her little novel called Eat, Pray, Love (you may have heard of it? I’ve only read it a million times) found its way to the New York Times best seller list and became a blockbuster hit.  So while I am not the founder of this awesome method of healing I sure am working on perfecting it.

When the universe decided to make me its human punching bag last week by delivering an epic failure for my first round of IVF my husband and I decided we are way overdue for some R&R. After pulling the plug on stimulation day 10 after only 3 out of my 12 follicles woke up from their snoozefest I thought I’d indulge my non-pregnant self with things that I would not be able to otherwise do if I were with child.

They include: ziplining, massages whilst laying on my stomach, surfing, drinking adult beverages out of coconuts and hanging out near an active volcano. They will all be accomplished by the end of this month in Costa Rica!

For me, nothing cures the life shat upon me feeling quite like my passport and a plane ticket to anywhere but here. At this point it is safe to say I am an expert trauma traveler.  In the last 15 years if I have needed to clear my head and readjust my sails I’ve hopped on a plane.

Out of the 35 countries I’ve visited a handful have been to lick my wounds. When I went through major breakups in my 20’s Norway, Germany, Italy, Thailand and the Philippines were all there to give me the warm hug and kick in the ass I needed.

When I was laid off from the advertising world when the recession hit I dashed off to Norway and England to plot and plan my next career move.

When I lost my son Blake I got on a plane to New York City a month and a half later (which did prove to be a bad idea when I uncontrollably sobbed for hours in Central Park) So I headed to Seattle a few months later and the trip breathed a bit of life back in to me.

In January my husband and I explored Colombia a few months after I miscarried at 9 weeks.

I’ve learned that life happens in between positive pregnancy tests. When we are “trying” I feel as if I am holding my breath underwater and when we aren’t I’m allowed to come up to the surface to breath again.   I have learned and continue to relearn to find the happy in the “in between”. I try to avoid the “if I get pregnant then I will be happy” mentality because my in between  is that infinity pool overlooking the ocean in the photo above. I’m going to soak up all life has to offer in the in between.