Tuesday, November 29, 2005

one minute ago I was eating nutella straight from the jar

I have decided to cautiously throw caution to the wind.
Today I consumed nutella, a pain au chocolat, a large coffee and all sorts of other things that contain sugar, fat, wheat, and caffeine.

Just yesterday, the temperature was a balmy 12 degrees (celcius). I stepped outside at 11:00pm and it felt like spring. It smelled like spring (but it may just have been the smell of half dead worms squirming on the sidewalk). My husband and I went for a walk. We admired everyones Christmas lights, and peeked in their windows to see what colour they had painting their living rooms. We bought my favourite candy from the corner store, held hands and strolled through the park.
For a few minutes I felt...not happy...but okay. And it felt good to feel okay.

A week ago I awoke to find the ground covered in a thick blanket of snow. I dragged out my boots and cursed my parents for having chosen to emigrate to a frozen tundra. Couldn't they have picked Australia instead?

A month ago I was getting ready for my trip to the Big Clinic in the Big City.

A year ago I found out (while staying with my brother and sister-in-law for Cycle #3) simultaneously, that my my sister-in-laws was pregnant and that my cycle was being cancelled .

Two years ago I found out that there was a good chance that I would never have a baby afterall.

Three years ago I awoke in a hospital bed, minus one ovary.

Four years ago I stupidly purchased a baby outfit thinking "it's too cute to pass up" and "i'll need it soon anyway". [This is the one and only baby item I've ever purchased for myself. I'm convinced I jinxed everything at that moment].

Five years ago it was bliss. My love and I were finally living in the same apartment, in the same city, in the same country. There he was beside me every morning. complete. happiness.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

relax and have some pineapple

It’s been 3 weeks since I went for an acupuncture appointment. I’m not sure whether I want to go back.
When my babymaking dreams were rudely shattered by the mean Dr. IVF at the first clinic I went to, I came home and started reading everything I could about this highFSH nonsense. Well, first I cried for days and waited for the end of the world. When that didn’t help, I got busy with my friend PubMed. I’m a girl that likes to back up decisions with evidence. Anecdotes, newspaper articles, old wives tales, internet bulletin boards… these may work for others. I prefer peer-reviewed publications (systematic reviews, meta-analyses, randomized-control trials…) in well respected, established journals. I can critically appraise a paper with the best of them. Funny thing is, the medical community had little hope to offer me. Shockingly, researchers aren’t tripping over themselves to figure out the hows and whys of endometriomas, high FSH, missing ovaries, and damaged tubes. I read whatever I could, and the more I read the more discouraged I became.

That’s when I turned to google (doesn’t everyone?) and internet bulletin boards. Scientific studies be damned. I was willing to try anything that might have worked for someone, somewhere, whether it was proven or not. I had previously scoffed at the airy fairy world of ‘alternative’ therapies. Unproven hooey, I would say to anyone (including my mother) when they visited a naturopath, homeopath or the like. But now that it was ME…well, proven or not, I was going to do anything I possibly could to make myself ‘better’.

So it began.
Weekly acupuncture appointments.
Daily supplements of Fish Oil, CoQ10, Royal Jelly, B complex, and aspirin
No more coffee
Cut down on sugar and wheat
The occasional shot of wheat grass (disgusting)
Organic meat and eggs
No alcohol
No tofu
Unda numbers

A good deal of this, I think, has/had to do with just wanting to feel like I’m doing something, in a situation where I have very little control. At the very least, I thought, perhaps there would be a placebo effect. I would trick myself into thinking I was getting better, and this would result is a calmer, more relaxed me. That in turn would eventually lead to a successful IVF cycle.
I’ve kept this up for two years. Has it helped? Clearly not.

I actually like my acupuncturist, and my sessions with her. She’s mildly hippy dippy, but not in a flakey way. But I’m paying for these sessions out-of-pocket, and maybe I could use this money for something more useful. Like counseling, or more vitamins, or a baby gift for my cousin (who was kind enough to send me photos of her newborn just days after I arrived home from my most recent IVF fiasco).
Or alcohol, because I’m pretty sure there’s no way I’ll make it through the rest of 2005 without a bottle of wine (or gin, or tequila) by my side.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

les jeux sont faits

The news, she is not good.

I really thought I had hit some kind of new low point. But, incredibly, things have gone from bad to worse.
Oh wait a sec, I said that in my last post....

Let me start again.
First things were okay, then they were bad, then they were good, then they were really bad.
Since my arrival in NY, I had gone from 2 follicles to 1.
The ultrasound on Saturday showed that there were likely 3! Two more had continued to grow overnight. Things were looking up.
My husband arrived that morning and we spent a lovely day together.
The Sunday ultrasound confirmed that 3 were looking pretty good.
"We'll call you in the afternoon", said my doctor, "and let you know whether we'll be triggering tonight or tomorrow."

I was relieved, even happy. It looked this trip was going to be worth it afterall.

We walked down to 1st Ave and cheered on the 37,000 or so marathoners. We enjoyed a delicious brunch and I decided to call my cousin (telling him I was in town for work...lies, more lies) to see if he could join us for dinner. He and his wife picked us up at the hotel, and we headed to the village. I hadn't heard from the clinic yet, so I used his cell phone to call and see if they had any messages for me.
We'll have your doctor get back to you they said.

I was a few bites into dinner when the cell phone rang.
We're sorry, the doctor said.

You've surged. You're ovulating and we're cancelling the cycle.

This I was not prepared for.

Apparently, Antagon is able to suppress ovulation in 99.9% of women. I am in that 0.1% group that it doesn't work for.
Isn't that special?

We flew home yesterday. After a 3 hour drive (from the airport to our home), I had 2 hours to cry, unpack, eat dinner and have sex (..well, you never know). Then I got ready for a 3 hour drive to our nations capital to attend a meeting scheduled for today which I hadn't planned on attending because of my 'vacation' in NY. But I just couldn't face the prospect of going to my office today, and didn't want to be an empty house by myself.

Friday, November 04, 2005

and then there was one

I really thought I had hit some kind of new low point. But, incredibly, things have gone from bad to worse.
The ultrasound this morning shows only 1 decent size follicle. The other one appears to not be growing. There are also a couple under 1cm, but they too look like they're just hanging around and not going anywhere.
And it looks like my left tube is blocked (despite 2 previous HSGs that had showed it to be open).

So...the million dollar question.
Should I stay or should I go?

If I go there will be trouble: this is my last try with my own eggs. I think it's pretty clear that my ovary is not up to the job. Goodbye to my whitechololatebabydream.

If I stay there it will be double: what are the chances that this 1 egg will produce 1 good embryo? And if it does what the chances it could actually implant, given the appearance of the toxic tube? Is it worth another week in NY? Is it worth going through the retrieval, the anxious hours of waiting to see if the egg has fertilized, the embryo is developing..and then 2 weeks of projesterone injections?

I think I have till tomorrow to decide.

What think?

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

not loving New York so much

This blogging thing is harder than I thought. Before I started there so many things I wanted to say. Now that I have a space to do it…nothing interesting comes to mind. I begin writing something, start checking other blogs and realize that someone else has said it better. And then there are days where there are so many things going through my head that I just can’t get my thoughts straight. Last week was one of those weeks.

Things got off to a bad start last Sunday when my period made an unexpected early appearance. This left my scrambling to coordinate day 2 bloodwork and ultrasound work in preparation for my last chance cycle at the big NY clinic. I also had to come up with a new set of lies for coworkers to explain why I’d be leaving for ‘holiday’ earlier than expected. Doctors appointments were made, thousands of $$ worth of drugs were purchased, flights were booked, hotels were called in a futile effort to change reservation dates. By Monday night, I was feeling more anxious than usual as I got ready for my first injections. Now, I’ve done this before. More times than I’d care to admit.

I should be used to this by now, but I find that instead of getting easier, each time I start a cycle it gets harder. Instead of being excited about this cycle I’m just waiting for something to go wrong. My husband thinks I’m being pessimistic. I think I’m realistic.

When we did the first two IVF cycles my husband held my hand the entire time. He prepared all the injections, worried about every bruise, accompanied me to each ultrasound, was there for the retrieval, the transfer and all the stuff inbetween. By the third cycle, it seemed silly to waste both his time as well as mine in waiting rooms. But he still prepared and did all my injections. It made me, well us, feel like we were in this together.

Last Monday, as I prepared for injections, I received a phone call from my mother who was knitting a baby sweater for my 4 month old niece. Around this time last year when my cycle was cancelled, my brother was announcing that they were pregnant with said niece. My mom went on to mention (as if I’d forgotten) that my cousin (married a grand total of 14 months now) was due on November 11. Hey, that’s the exact day I was cancelled last year. As I flipped through the mail, I noticed a card from a friend of my husbands. We had been to his wedding a couple of years ago. What’s this? I asked. It’s a Christmas card, said my husband. In October?
I looked inside the envelope, it was a birth announcement.
'That’s nice'. I said to my husband (apparently sarcastically). 'Don’t forget to call and congratulate them.'
‘Why are you like this?’ He said. ‘You don’t have to be unhappy about other people’s happiness.’
We’d had this conversation before. He is tired to me making sarcastic comments everytime we see a teenage mother with 3 children, everytime another friend gets pregnant after 2 months of ‘trying’, everytime I receive emails with baby pictures attached.

When I make these comments I want him to say “I know. This sucks for you. I understand. I’m sorry this is so hard. It’s not fair”
But he doesn’t. He can’t.
Instead he says “Don’t be so negative. Life isn’t fair”.
I know it’s not fucking fair. I just want someone to be on my side. That’s all.

So, I was in a somewhat fragile and state of mind as I got ready to prepare the injections. I was sure I’d told him I’d like to do them at 9:00pm.
At 9:00 I said “Can you help me with the injections?”
No answer. He’s busily typing away on the laptop, working on something that is clearly more important than this 6th attempt to make a baby.
9:10 “Can we do the injections now”

"Just give me a few minutes, I’m in the middle of something”
9:30 I head into the kitchen. “I can do them myself” I announce. “You don’t have to help”.

By this time, I’m furious, and upset. And I don’t really know how to prepare the damn injections. When he arrives in the kitchen, he’s annoyed with me. Why am I making such a big deal about this?

I’m starting cycle number 6. I’m 36 years old. My mother is knitting sweaters for my brother’s baby, but she’ll probably never have a chance to knit one for mine*. I’m reminded constantly of friends and family happily reproducing. All this is happening on the 1 year anniversary of my cancelled cycle. I can't bring myself to say any of these things to him.

An argument ensues. Things are said that shouldn’t have been said. It ends in tears. A fantastic start.

I spent the rest of the week thinking about how exhausted we both are. I am consumed by this IF thing. I’m either cycling, recovering from a cycle or gearing up for the next one. I used to enjoy my job, but now it’s just a way to distract myself during the day, and a way to earn money to pay for the next cycle. I used to enjoy thinking of renovation projects for the house. But now, what’s the point? The unused bedrooms are just a reminder that we don’t have children to fill them with. The borderline functional kitchen and bathrooms? If I had children I’d want them to be nicer, but they’re good enough for me. Besides, who has money for renovations. I loved cooking and inviting friends for dinner. Dinner parties are now a thing of the past. All our 'friends' have children. I can't bear to invite them and then listen to them blather on about swim lessons, their new Volvo, or the new cute thing little Ethan is doing. We no longer invite people over, and consequently they don't invite us.

My husband is exhausted too. He has supported me through the surgery, the failed cycles, and my mother’s cancer. He is trying to meet the demands of his job. He is still trying to deal all the unanswered questions he was left with when his eldest brother (the ‘rock’ of his family) put a revolver to his head a few weeks before Christmas. I look at him and I know that he's running hard just to stay in the same spot. He has no patience. He is tired. His back pain is getting worse.

Most of the rest of the week was spent in tears, silence and finally apologies.
On Saturday I flew into NY by myself.
So far, things are not promising. I have invested a lot in this cycle. This clinic is supposed to great at dealing with difficult cases. I am on the max dose of drugs on the most aggressive protocol. Yesterday they counted 2 follicles. That’s right, 2.

I wandered around the city after receiving that news, looking for a quiet place to sit and rest. No matter where I walked I seemed to be surrounded by moms with strollers, and the cutest toddlers dressed as bunnies, pumpkins, fairies, and firemen. Walking by a restaurant, I decided to stop for lunch. A notice posted on the door said “New Mom’s Lunch”. Inside every single table was taken by a new mom with her plump new baby. I decided to get take take-out from a nearby deli and eat in the nearest park. I got to the park which, it turns out was a playground, with a sign posted on the gates “Adults without children are strictly prohibited from using this park”

Talk about adding insult to injury.

*not only because I may not have a baby, but I'm terrified that her cancer will recur and that even if, by some miracle, I do end up pregnant one day it will be too late for her to know that child.