Monday, October 18, 2010

An Outsider

I feel like an outsider.

It's been more than a month since my last post, and I can't believe it.

I'm a bad blogger......

Ok, now that I've gotten that off my chest, I really do need to apologize for being a bad blogger.  And a bad blog reader.  Like I said, my last post was more then a month ago.  I was a total ICLW failure.  Lots of people stopped by to say hi during ICLW week, but of course I did not comment nor read any blogs that week.  At all.

I feel like a traitor.  Now that I started my job (more than a month ago), I have been too busy and tired to read or update my blog.  And to be honest, work have kept my mind off of TTC.  Except of course those days where AF shows up.  Or I read pregnancy announcements on Face.book.  Or when we celebrated our niece's first birthday.

But all in all, not thinking about TTC have been good for me, and that's where the feeling like a traitor comes in.  I feel like I have abandoned the TTC community, but I have not!  I also realize that I really miss reading blogs.  And I do miss blogging.  But sometimes, it's also frustrating because I don't really have anything TTC related to update.

I'm also worried to that if start reading blogs again, I'll hear about positive pregnancies and baby updates.  I'm terrified that I will be jealous.  Of course we all hope that those in the TTC community eventually get their dreams of having a baby.  Yet, jealousy is always looming at my doorstep.

So, I guess this is just my way of saying "Hi", that I am still around, and that I have not fallen off the face of the earth.  I hope that you will still continue to read my infrequent postings.

And that I still have Baby On Mind.

Monday, September 13, 2010

A New Norm?

I survived my first week of work.  Well it was a short week, but still, I made it.  It was actually a nice feeling, to be back at work.  I have so much to learn, and I have some pretty major projects coming up.  I will be very busy starting next week.  But I am excited about the projects I will be working on.

This new company is very strict about their security.  I can't access my mail on Yahoo or Gmail.  I didn't even bother trying to read any blogs.  They have a "clean desk" policy.  No work related stuff can be left out on your desk after hours, including documents, email, print outs, etc.  Not even the org chart.  You have to either take your laptop home with you, or lock it up in your cabinet.  They do audit walkthroughs.  If they find your laptop sitting out at your desk after hours, they confiscate it.  Yeah, no messing around.

Needless to say, I have not check any blogs, nor updated mine.  I'm still trying to get into a more "normal" bedtime routine.  I'm not used to getting up early for work anymore since I stopped working.  I'm still working on it!  I'm also trying out different times to leave the house in the morning to work around traffic for my commute.  So far, it has not been too bad, around 35 - 45 minutes.

Today, I took a quick peek at my medical benefits.  Yup, there is a $10,000 lifetime benefit on fertility drugs.  I think there is also a $10,000 coverage for fertility treatments too, but I don't remember for sure.  At this point, we won't be pursuing any treatments.  The earliest, if we decided to do anymore treatments, will be 2011.

So, work is starting be a new norm for me.  A good thing, I guess.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Starting New.... Again

Sorry guys, I've been a really bad blogger.

I don't have any updates on the baby making end.

We've had family in town staying with us.  Remember when I mentioned how I accidently found out my SIL who is pregnant again, and how they will probably have a boy this time (their first was a girl), and will probably beat us to passing down Babe's family's last name?  Well I was right.  When they were in town last week, they announced that they had their ultrasound and found out they are having a boy.  And we were the first ones that they told.  When their daughter found out (the same time as when she told us), she cried because she had been wanting a baby sister the whole time.  Poor kid!

Other than that, I've just been busy trying to get ready for this new job.  I've been doing a lot of shopping for clothes.  It seems like I need everything since everything I had is either worn out or old.  It was fun, but boy the cost of clothes sure add up fast.  And I'm still looking at my closet going, what the heck am I going to wear?

In less 8 hours, I will be starting my new job.  It has been almost 2 years since I worked!  I'm nervous and excited at the same time.  I hope I remember how to work!

With starting this job, I will most probably be spending less time updating my blog, and even less time reading other blogs.  I hope you continue stick around this "lazy" blog.  I'll find out soon what my fertility coverage will be!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

New Gig

I have a new gig.  I'm starting a new job the day after Labor Day.  Yup, I got the job!

As some of you may recall (it seems like a really long time ago!) I had applied for a job in June.  I had to rush to apply for the job because they were looking to hire "ASAP".  Then it took them forever to get back to me to schedule the interview.  It took over a month between the phone screening interview and the actual in person interview.  Then the timing for the interview and my IVF cycle was close.  I had my interview on July 14th, and my egg retrieval was on the 16th, and the day-3 transfer on the 19th.

Well, I was finally offered the position last week which I accepted.  I had to go through a background check and when that was cleared, I had to take a drug screening test on Monday.  Yesterday I was informed that everything was good to go.  I start on the day after Labor Day.

I'm excited that I got this position.  And I am very grateful.  By the time I actually start work, I would have been not working for 19 months.  That's a long time.  I am thankful that I am able to get a job so quickly, even though I wasn't trying too hard.  Actually I take that back.  When I was first contacted by a recruiter about this position, I was not too interested because I was still in the IVF/TTC mind set.  I wanted to continue to focus on just that.  But then when I found out more about this and talked to a friend that works there, I was really interested.  I mean I really wanted this job.  But at the same time, I was torn because I was worried about what if I get pregnant, which I REALLY want to be.  But what if I don't get pregnant, then what?

So I decided that if God opened this door for me, why should I ignore it?  I should at least apply for it, and if it is in His will for me to have this job, then I will get it.  I guess a job is in His plans right now.

Here's what I will miss when I start this new job.
  • Being a "bum/lady of leisure" and just focusing on TTC.  This is great but in itself can be stressful because that is almost all I think about.  And with another 2 failed IVF cycles during my non-employed time, I am looking forward to something other than just TTC
  • I will miss having the freedom to "do lunch" anytime with friends.
  • Sleeping in (I'm such a night owl)
  • Not having to worry about having to work the next day.
  • Not having to commute to work

What I am not looking forward to
  • Commuting to work.  It will be about a 22 mile drive one-way for me.  This will suck especially during the winter months.  The one good thing is Babe and I can carpool if we want to.  His work is somewhat on my way.
  • 3 weeks of vacation a year.  When I left my last job, I had been there 5 years, and I had just increased my vacation days to 4 weeks.  I will miss that.
  • Though I am excited about a new job, a new location, new projects and new people, it is also scary.  I had been so used to knowing the people so well, having such great colleagues, I am just hoping and praying that I continue to work with nice people.

What I look forward to with the new job
  • The extra income!  It is nice to know that we will a little more breathing room when it comes to expenses.  We will be DINKs (double income no kids) again.  Though I'd rather have kids, anytime,  hands down.
  • Being a "contributing" member of society again.  Well, not to say that anyone that stays home is not contributing, but for me, I quit my job to work on having a baby.  After more than a year of not working and still no baby, it feels like I have been spinning my wheels for a while.  That is so frustrating!
  • Finally being able to shop for (work) clothes again without feeling guilty.  I have already done some shopping because I really need some work clothes.
  • The company I will be working for is a very large and great company to work for.  I have been told it is really hard to get in.  And they have good benefits.  When I start, we will be switching our medical benefits to my insurance instead of Babe's.  The best part..... they have fertility coverage!  I'm not sure what the exact coverage is, but in the benefits overview I received, they have $10,000 just in fertility drugs!  I'm not sure if we will do another round of IVF, but it is good to know that there is an option for that.

So what does it mean for me in the TTC sense?  I don't really know yet.  All I know is that I going back to work for now.  I am not giving up on TTC altogether.  Lots, if not most, people do IVFs and work at the same time.  With fertility coverage, we have the option to try another round.  Or adopt.  Or whatever.  At least we will have some additional income to pursue whatever comes next.

Monday, August 23, 2010

August ICLW

IComLeavWe Hello ICLWers!

It's already the 3rd day of ICLW and I am still slacking off on writing a post about it. Or commenting.  Thanks to all that have already visited here, and have left some comments.  I will get on it, I promise!

In a nutshell, Babe (DH) and I have been TTC for over 6 years.  We were first diagnosed as having "unexplained infertility" (I hate that word), with 4 IUIs and some surgeries thrown in for good measure.  We have done a total of 3 IVFs (one done overseas), with the last one just completed in July.  I got my period the night before my beta.   That really sucked.

Based on the last 2 IVFs, it was determined that we have egg quality issue.  Well, after TTC for 6 years and me just turning 37 in August, I suppose age is a factor.  Was egg quality an issue 3, 4 or 5 years ago when we first started trying?  I guess we'll never know.

For now, we are "taking a break" from TTC.  It's nice to be able to just not think about what cycle day it is, having to avoid alcohol, sushi or soft cheeses, taking prenatal vitamins, etc.  At least until we decide what's next.

So, that's me in a nutshell.  Looking forward to reading your stories.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mini Vacation

Last weekend, Babe and I took a last minute "mini vacation" to Ely, MN, about a 4-hour drive from St. Paul.  Ely is a small town, but has a few interesting sites to visit.

Our first stop was the International Wolf Center.  I have always wanted to visit, so this was a real treat for me.  The center has a museum and a large viewing area of the wolves.  There were 4 wolves in the main area for viewing, but there were 2 others there were retired and in a separate enclosure.  We also got to see the "What's for Dinner" program, where we were able to watch the wolves feed.  The center only feed the wolves once a week because that's usually how often a wolf eats in the wild.

A few very interesting things I learned about the wolf:
  • The wolves at the center had been "fixed".  This is due to the limited space the center has and are not able to accommodate wolf pups.  Also, fixed wolves show less aggression and makes them easier to handle.  They also do not want to to mix the different species of wolves.  Kind of sad in my mind, they're infertile and not by choice.  I guess no one is infertile by choice.
  • Wolves only eat about once a week in the wild.  But they can eat up to 20%-25% of their body weight.  So if you weigh 100 lbs., you would eat about 80 quarter pounders at one time!
  • At the center, out of the 4 wolves, one was female.  So by default, she was the alpha female.  However, at this time during the summer, surprisingly there was no alpha male.  The 3 males were in the process of feeling each other out, but not yet fighting to be the alpha male.  The wolves don't determine the alpha male during the summer because it takes too much effort to fight, and generates too much heat.  They wait until it gets cooler to do so.
  • Wolves do not kill their food.  They attack them, take them down, and eat them while they are still alive.  Most of the prey die from shock.  Shocking, yes?
  • Wolves eat every part of their prey - bones, skin, fur, etc.  The fur helps protect the wolves' digestive system from bone shards.  Wolves eat every part of their prey except the stomach.  Why?  Because the wolf's digestive system cannot handle vegetation, which is what their prey eats.  So they skip the stomach.
  • Wolves hunt in packs, and also sometimes cooperate with other animals.  Wolves have been known to work with ravens when hunting.  Ravens would circle above flocks of prey indicating to the wolves where there is food, and when the wolves are done eating, they would leave some leftovers for the ravens.
I am fascinated by the wolves.  I'm not really sure what it is, but I think they are beautiful creatures.  Here are a few pictures I took.  There is also some webcams you can view on their website.
Laying on the greeting rock

Wolves playing

Watching us watch him

This one came right up to the front of the display windows

Feeding time: The 3 in front feasting on a deer, the one in the back eating a beaver

The next day, we visited the Soud.an Underground Mines in Tower, MN.  We wore hard hats and went half a mile down to the mines in a caged elevator.  We then took the rail car deeper across to the mines.  It was interesting to see how iron was mined before the mine was closed down in the 60's.  The guide actually turned off all the lights in the mine for a short time to demonstrate how dark it really got down there.  We literally could not see our hands in front of our faces, it was that dark!
The mine shaft where we took the elevator down to the mines

Arriving about half a mile down from the surface.

Our tour guide with part of our group

We also spent a little time shopping in town.   I found this sign at a little tourist shop.
It's a bear trap!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Forgotten

I was on Faceb.ook tonight and saw this on my 10-year-old nephew's status:

"sadly, has no cousins..... :-( "

Sometimes I forget that we (Babe & I) are not the only ones affected by our infertility.

On my side of the family, there are the three of us siblings: My sister, my brother and I.  My sister has 3 kids (13, 10 and 6).  My brother is not married, and has no kids.  Me... well, you know the story.

My BIL (sister's hubby) has one sister.  She also is not married, and has no kids.

So that means not only do my nieces and nephew have no cousins, my sis and BIL have no nieces or nephews either.

My mom and dad have grandkids.

My brother has nieces and a nephew.

Babe and I have no kids (we're trying!!)

But my sis, BIL, and their family are affected by our infertility too.  I've never really put too much thought into this, but we forget that they do suffer a kind of loss too.  No wonder they are our biggest supporters!

Thanks, Sis and BIL!!  We love you and miss you guys!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Letter to Family and Friends

I found this letter on a few of my blogger friends' websites.  I'd like to share this with you too.  I can relate to almost all that was written.  Hopefully it can help you understand me and others that have to travel the difficult road of infertility a little better.

A letter, by Jody Earle.

Dear Family and Friends,

I want to share my feelings about infertility with you, because I want you to understand my struggle. I know that understanding infertility is difficult; there are times when it seems even I don't understand. This struggle has provoked intense and unfamiliar feelings in me and I fear that my reactions to these feelings might be misunderstood. I hope my ability to cope and your ability to understand will improve as I share my feelings with you. I want you to understand.

You may describe me this way: obsessed, moody, helpless, depressed, envious, too serious, obnoxious, aggressive, antagonistic, and cynical. These aren't very admirable traits; no wonder your understanding of my infertility is difficult. I prefer to describe me this way: confused, rushed and impatient, afraid, isolated and alone, guilty and ashamed, angry, sad and hopeless, and unsettled.
My infertility makes me feel confused. I always assumed I was fertile. I've spent years avoiding pregnancy and now it seems ironic that I can't conceive. I hope this will be a brief difficulty with a simple solution such as poor timing. I feel confused about whether I want to be pregnant or whether I want to be a parent. Surely if I try harder, try longer, try better and smarter, I will have a baby.
My infertility makes me feel rushed and impatient. I learned of my infertility only after I'd been trying to become pregnant for some time. My life-plan suddenly is behind schedule. I waited to become a parent and now I must wait again. I wait for medical appointments, wait for tests, wait for treatments, wait for other treatments, wait for my period not to come, wait for my partner not to be out of town and wait for pregnancy. At best, I have only twelve opportunities each year. How old will I be when I finish having my family?
My infertility makes me feel afraid. Infertility is full of unknowns, and I'm frightened because I need some definite answers. How long will this last? What if I'm never a parent? What humiliation must I endure? What pain must I suffer? Why do drugs I take to help me, make me feel worse? Why can't my body do the things that my mind wants it to do? Why do I hurt so much? I'm afraid of my feelings, afraid of my undependable body and afraid of my future.
My infertility makes me feel isolated and alone. Reminders of babies are everywhere. I must be the only one enduring this invisible curse. I stay away from others, because everything makes me hurt. No one knows how horrible is my pain. Even though I'm usually a clear thinker, I find myself being lured by superstitions and promises. I think I'm losing perspective. I feel so alone and I wonder if I'll survive this.
My infertility makes me feel guilty and ashamed. Frequently I forget that infertility is a medical problem and should be treated as one. Infertility destroys my self esteem and I feel like a failure. Why am I being punished? What did I do to deserve this? Am I not worthy of a baby? Am I not a good sexual partner? Will my partner want to remain with me? Is this the end of my family lineage? Will my family be ashamed of me? It is easy to lose self-confidence and to feel ashamed.
My infertility makes me feel angry. Everything makes me angry, and I know much of my anger is misdirected. I'm angry at my body because it has betrayed me even though I've always taken care of it. I'm angry at my partner because we can't seem to feel the same about infertility at the same time. I want and need an advocate to help me. I'm angry at my family because they've always sheltered and protected me from terrible pain. My younger sibling is pregnant; my mother wants a family reunion to show off her grandchildren and my grandparents want to pass down family heirlooms. I'm angry at my medical caregivers, because it seems that they control my future. They humiliate me, inflict pain on me, pry into my privacy, patronize me, and sometimes forget who I am. How can I impress on them how important parenting is to me? I'm angry at my expenses; infertility treatment is extremely expensive. My financial resources may determine my family size. My insurance company isn't cooperative, and I must make so many sacrifices to pay the medical bills. I can't miss any more work, or I'll lose my job. I can't go to a specialist, because it means more travel time, more missed work, and greater expenses. Finally, I'm angry at everyone else. Everyone has opinions about my inability to become a parent. Everyone has easy solutions. Everyone seems to know too little and say too much.
My infertility makes me feel sad and hopeless. Infertility feels like I've lost my future, and no one knows of my sadness. I feel hopeless; infertility robs me of my energy. I've never cried so much nor so easily. I'm sad that my infertility places my marriage under so much strain. I'm sad that my infertility requires me to be so self-centered. I'm sad that I've ignored many friendships because this struggle hurts so much and demands so much energy. Friends with children prefer the company of other families with children. I'm surrounded by babies, pregnant women, playgrounds, baby showers, birth stories, kids' movies, birthday parties and much more. I feel so sad and hopeless. My infertility makes me feel unsettled. My life is on hold. Making decisions about my immediate and my long-term future seems impossible. I can't decide about education, career, purchasing a home, pursuing a hobby, getting a pet, vacations, business trips and houseguests. The more I struggle with my infertility, the less control I have. This struggle has no timetable; the treatments have no guarantees. The only sure things are that I need to be near my partner at fertile times and near my doctor at treatment times. Should I pursue adoption? Should I take expensive drugs? Should I pursue more specialized and costly medical intervention? It feels unsettling to have no clear, easy answers or guarantees.
Occasionally I feel my panic subside. I'm learning some helpful ways to cope; I'm now convinced I'm not crazy, and I believe I'll survive. I'm learning to listen to my body and to be assertive, not aggressive, about my needs. I'm realizing that good medical care and good emotional care are not necessarily found in the same place. I'm trying to be more than an infertile person gaining enthusiasm, joyfulness, and zest for life.
You can help me. I know you care about me and I know my infertility affects our relationship. My sadness causes you sadness; what hurts me, hurts you, too. I believe we can help each other through this sadness. Individually we both seem quite powerless, but together we can be stronger. Maybe some of these hints will help us to better understand infertility.
I need you to be a listener. Talking about my struggle helps me to make decisions. Let me know you are available for me. It's difficult for me to expose my private thoughts if you are rushed or have a deadline for the end of our conversation. Please don't tell me of all the worse things that have happened to others or how easily someone else's infertility was solved. Every case is individual. Please don't just give advice; instead, guide me with your questions. Assure me that you respect my confidences, and then be certain that you deserve my trust. While listening try to maintain an open mind. I need you to be supportive. Understand that my decisions aren't made casually,I've agonized over them. Remind me that you respect these decisions even if you disagree with them, because you know they are made carefully. Don't ask me, "Are you sure?" Repeatedly remind me that you love me no matter what. I need to hear it so badly. Let me know you understand that this is very hard work. Help me realize that I may need additional support from professional caregivers and appropriate organizations. Perhaps you can suggest resources. You might also need support for yourself, and I fear I'm unable to provide it for you; please don't expect me to do so. Help me to keep sight of my goal.
I need you to be comfortable with me, and then I also will feel more comfortable. Talking about infertility sometimes feels awkward. Are you worried you might say the wrong thing? Share those feelings with me. Ask me if I want to talk. Sometimes I will want to, and sometimes I won't, but it will remind me that you care.
I need you to be sensitive. Although I may joke about infertility to help myself cope, it doesn't seem as funny when others joke about it. Please don't tease me with remarks like, "You don't seem to know how to do it." Don't trivialize my struggle by saying, "I'd be glad to give you one of my kids." It's no comfort to hear empty reassurances like, "You'll be a parent by this time next year." Don't minimize my feelings with, "You shouldn't be so unhappy." For now, don't push me into uncomfortable situations like baby showers or family reunions. I already feel sad and guilty; please don't also make me feel guilty for disappointing you.
I need you to be honest with me. Let me know that you may need time to adjust to some of my decisions. I also needed adjustment time. If there are things you don't understand, say so. Please be gentle when you guide me to be realistic about things I can't change such as my age, some medical conditions, financial resources, and employment obligations. Don't hide information about others' pregnancies from me. Although such news makes me feel very sad, it feels worse when you leave me out.
I need you to be informed. Your advice and suggestions are only frustrating to me me if they aren't based on fact. Be well informed so you can educate others when they make remarks based on myths. Don't let anyone tell you that my infertility will be cured if I relax and adopt. Don't tell me this is God's will. Don't ask me to justify my need to parent. Don't criticize my course of action or my choice of physician even though I may do that myself. Reassure yourself that I am also searching for plenty of information which helps me make more knowledgeable decisions about my options.
I need you to be patient. Remember that working through infertility is a process. It takes time. There are no guarantees, no package deals, no complete kits, no one right answer, and no "quickie" choices. My needs change; my choices change. Yesterday I demanded privacy, but today I need you for strength. You have many feelings about infertility, and I do too. Please allow me to have anger, joy, sadness, and hope. Don't minimize or evaluate my feelings. Just allow me to have them, and give me time.
I need you to be strengthening by boosting my self esteem. My sense of worthlessness hampers my ability to take charge. My personal privacy has repeatedly been invaded. I've been subjected to postcoital exams, semen collection in waiting room bathrooms, and tests in rooms next to labor rooms. Enjoyable experiences with you such as a lunch date, a shopping trip, or a visit to a museum help me feel normal.
Encourage me to maintain my sense of humor; guide me to find joys. Celebrate with me my successes, even ones as small as making it through a medical appointment without crying. Remind me that I am more than an infertile person. Help me by sharing your strength.
Eventually I will be beyond the struggle of infertility. I know my infertility will never completely go away because it will change my life. I won't be able to return to the person I was before infertility, but I also will no longer be controlled by this struggle. I will leave the struggle behind me, and from that I will have improved my skills for empathy, patience, resilience, forgiveness, decision-making and self-assessment. I feel grateful that you are trying to ease my journey through this infertility struggle by giving me your understanding.
Jody Earle


(Article found here)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Post-Birthday Post

So yesterday, Sunday, was my 37th birthday. Yes, 37th.

Originally I was going to write a "woe-is-me-I-am-37-and-too-old-to-have-a-baby-and-I-don't-want-to-celebrate" post, but I was too lazy to write anything, and I guess the urge to do that has past.  So no woe-is-me birthday post I guess.

My birthday day was pretty uneventful.  The church conference all day Wednesday through Saturday pretty much pooped me out.  But I had a great time, and was pretty encouraged from it.  Babe and I slept in on Sunday and went to the later church service.  Then I was craving Chinese food, so we went to one of our favorite Chinese restaurants.  We came home, took a nap, and later went out and cashed in on my free birthday coffee from Caribou Coffee.   We skipped dinner and instead, went and bought ourselves a small strawberry shortcake for my birthday "cake".  We ended my day with a chick flick - we watched "The Ugly Truth" at home.

All in all, it was a nice, lazy, relaxing birthday.  I got multiple phone calls from my family, calling me up from Asia.  It was fun having my nieces and nephew sing me a birthday song.  Actually we woke me up in the morning!  I also spoke to my mom and dad, and my brother.  It was a pretty uneventful day, and one that I am grateful for.  I wasn't in that much of a mood to celebrate anyway.  But still it was nice.

So yes, I am 37.  I used to think I was still in my mid thirties, just a tad bit over the dreaded 35 where fertility starts declining.  Well, there's no denying it now.  I'm much more closer to 40 than 30, or even 35.  But that's life.  And that's my life.

It's all attitude isn't it?  It's deciding WHAT I'm going to do with my life, and HOW I'm doing to live it that matters now.

Yeah.... if only I'm as positive and I'd like to be.

Oh, and yes, I am still planning on a 200th post / 100th follower/ birthday giveaway.  I still have to decide what to give away.  I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Still, by Hillsongs

This weekend, I am attending the Holy Spirit Conference, an annual conference on the Holy Spirit organized by the Lutheran Renewal.  It runs all day (starting last night) with main sessions and workshops, and runs through Saturday night.  If you are interested in this, you can actually watch the main sessions live here. (click on "for conference details" to view detailed info on speakers and times).

During our praise and worship session this morning (which by the way is AWESOME!), we sang the song "Still" by Hillsongs.  That song has always had a special place in my heart, especially during my TTC journey.  But this morning, when we sang this, I was especially touched by it.  I couldn't help but sing it with tears running down my face.

It is another reminder to myself....... "I will be still and know you are God."



Here are the lyrics to the song.

Still

Hide me now
Under your wings
Cover me
within your mighty hand

When the oceans rise and thunders roar
I will soar with you above the storm
Father you are king over the flood
I will be still and know you are God

Find rest my soul
In Christ alone
Know his power
In quietness and trust

Envy, Also Known As the "Why Not Me?" Post

Envy.

It's a sneaky little monster that sneaks up on you when you are least expecting it.  Even when you know it's there, it still surprises you when it shows it face.
(Image from here)

It's been almost a week since my BFN, and this sneaky little bugger has been popping up a lot.

I have been finding at least a few bloggers that have received wonderful news that they got a BFP.  That is great news for them, but why not me?

Reading some of your once-TTC-but-now-pregnant blogs has been difficult.  Seeing pictures of beautiful baby bellies, ultrasound pictures, hearing heartbeats, rising beta numbers, nursery pictures.  All wonderful things, things that I had hoped that I would be experiencing soon.  But not so.  Why not me?

Even reading posts about people currently going through IVF has not been easy.  Why are some people able to produce good number of eggs, eggs that fertilize, continue to grow into beautiful blastocysts and able to transfer good looking embryos?  Some even have extra embryos to freeze.  But no, not me.

Two nights ago, a good friend of mine, a high school friend, had to break the news to me that she is pregnant.  Somehow, I knew that was coming.  And to be very honest, I am very happy for her.  Like REALLY happy for her.

She had endured infertility for a few years, and had a miscarriage once too.  She was really in the depths of depression and could not afford fertility treatments.  But after lots of praying and trying, she was able to conceive naturally.  Her son is now 1 1/2 years old.  This time, her pregnancy was unplanned.  She was really hoping that I would be pregnant from this last IVF, so we could be pregnant together.  She held off on telling me until she found out it didn't work.  She was so sad for me, and was afraid to tell me that she is pregnant.  She was afraid it would hurt my feelings.

That is one of the sad thing about us infertiles.  At least in my experience, I want people to be sensitive to my infertility, but yet, I don't want people to treat me any differently.  I don't want people to be walking on egg shells around me all the time.  I want my friend to be able to share her good news with me without feeling guilty or afraid of hurting my feelings.  But yet, I expect people to be sensitive with news like that around me.  Makes me feel like someone with schizophrenia!  It saddens me that my friends have to be so careful around me.

Anyway, I am really happy for my friend that she is pregnant.  I'm not saying it is easy for me, but it really is good news.

At first when I was writing this post, I couldn't decide whether what I am feeling is envy or is it jealousy.  So I looked up the dictionary (Oxford American dictionary).

Envy: a feeling of discontent or resentful longing aroused by someone else's possessions, qualities or luck.

Jealous: feeling or showing of envy of someone or their achievements and advantages

Envious implies wanting something that belongs to another, and to which one has no particular right or claim.

Jealous may refer to a strong feeling of envy.

I think Envy is more in line with what I am feeling - wanting something that belongs to another, one that I have no right or claim to.   But jealousy would probably apply too.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

"Waiting" Video, by John Waller

First of all, thank you to those who commented on my "Waiting" post.

We all know how hard waiting is, whether it's waiting for a much wanted pregnancy, a baby, a husband, a job or whatever else we may be desiring.  When I posted the verses, "I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.  Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD", I hope you know that I am not that strong or confident or patient.  I can only try and hope, and pray to be.

Already I do not feel that strong nor confident.  Already I am impatient.  I am ready to give up on waiting.

But I will continue to hold on to the verse.  It helps to remind myself where I need to be, and not where I am right now.

A couple of people commented on my post about the song "Waiting" by John Waller.  It's funny because I have heard the song many times on our local Christian station, and in fact, thought about the song and the words right after I posted.  So since more than one person mentioned the song, I am sharing this with you.  I actually found a special version dedicated to all couples waiting for that precious gift of life.



I can only pray that I will be hopeful, bold, confident and faithful while I wait.

While I'm Waiting
I'm waiting 
I'm waiting on You, Lord 
And I am hopeful 
I'm waiting on You, Lord 
Though it is painful 
But patiently, I will wait 

I will move ahead, bold and confident 
Taking every step in obedience 
While I'm waiting 
I will serve You 
While I'm waiting 
I will worship 
While I'm waiting 
I will not faint 
I'll be running the race 
Even while I wait 

I'm waiting 
I'm waiting on You, Lord 
And I am peaceful 
I'm waiting on You, Lord 
Though it's not easy 
But faithfully, I will wait 
Yes, I will wait 
I will serve You while I'm waiting 
I will worship while I'm waiting 
I will serve You while I'm waiting 
I will worship while I'm waiting 
I will serve you while I'm waiting 
I will worship while I'm waiting on You, Lord

I Did It

I did it, something I didn't do because I didn't want to "jinx" it.  Well, it didn't matter.  Last night, I calculated my could-have-been due dates.

If Icsi or  Dicsi had stuck around, I would have been due with a singleton on April 8th, 2011.

If Icis and Dicsi had stuck around, I would have been due with twins on March 17, 2011.

I'm not really sure why I'm looking at due dates now.  Curiosity I guess.

If you are interested in IVF pregnancy due date calculators, check out this site.

Waiting

I am not sure what God's plan is for me in my life.  But I know that He has one, and it is good, a plan to prosper me, and not do me harm.  A plan for hope and a future (from Jeremiah 29:11).

I have been, and am still holding on to this promise.  It's not easy because I don't know what it is, and I want to know.  For now, I know that my plan is not the same as His, and that sucks.  But, I have to trust that He knows what He's doing.  Only He knows what he has planned for me.

When I was putting together the bible verses booklet for Jack and Ellie, I gave them this bible passage to encourage them.  Now I am also claiming this for myself.

Psalm 27: 13-14
13 I am still confident of this:
       I will see the goodness of the LORD
       In the land of the living.
14 Wait for the LORD;
      be strong and take heart
      and wait for the LORD.

I am claiming this for myself: I will see God's goodness in this my life.  I will continue to wait on Him, to be strong, and to take heart.  I will not quit.  And I will continue to wait and trust Him.

I know God is up to something.  He has something planned for my life.  I just need the peace and patience to wait on Him.

Monday, August 2, 2010

A Comfortable Place?

This BFN sucks.

I hate that we are at the end of this road, that the road does not continue for another 9 months.  I hate that all the hope we put into this cycle (and the last), ended with nothing.  I hate that I can't join my SIL, other bloggers, and other "normal" people in the world in the pregnancy/motherhood club.  I hate the thought that Babe and I may never have biological children.  I hate that we don't know what our next steps are.  Me being me, I just want to start planning for the next steps, and jump right in.  It does not help that my 37th birthday is looming, coming up this weekend.

On the other hand, I am in a weird position.  I am glad that I am currently not in TTC mode, though honestly I always am.  It's nice to be in a position to not have to think and worry if this cycle is going to work, or what if it doesn't.  Because I already know it didn't.  It's refreshing to not have to think about what CD I'm in, when the next ovulation window is, etc.  I am finally able to enjoy my sushi, white mochas, alcoholic cocktails (though I rarely drink), soft cheese, dairy, etc without worrying it's going to affect my cycle.

Having been TTC for 6 years, NOT being pregnant seems, though I hate to say it, normal.  It's a familiar feeling.  Dare I say a comfortable place?

Sometimes it feels good, because it's comfortable and familiar.  But it's not a place I want to be in.  It's like an old friend, that just won't go away.

After 6 years, we need a change.  The question is, what kind of change?

Friday, July 30, 2010

It's Official

Well, it's official.  It's a BFN (Big Fat Negative, for those of you who are not fertility challenged).

Dr. Hopeful actually called me to give me the news.  She seemed sincerely sorry that this cycle didn't work out.  I actually like her more and more each time I talk to her, which is not very often.  I usually work with the nurses.

Anyway, based on my last cycle which resulted in no transfer, and this cycle where my embryos were slow in growing, she is convinced the issue is egg related.  Well, no big surprise here.  She did agree though that the quality of the 2 embryos were much better, although slow ( I didn't mention that I did acupuncture and Chinese herbs this time).  And she had no issue with access to either ovaries.

My options for next steps are 1) consider donor egg, which would increase our odds to about 60% (I think that's what she said), or 2) try another cycle with our own eggs.

I told her we would probably not consider donor egg.  Plus we will probably not be able to afford another round of IVF.  In the back of my mind, I was hoping she would offer to do another round for a discount or for free, though I know that was probably going to happen.  I was right.

She suggested I have a phone consult with Andrology Lab director about the outcome from this cycle.  The last time I spoke to Dr. Lab Director, we had a very good discussion and I found him very helpful.  I will try to speak to him again this time, maybe next week.

So what's next?

I have no clue.  We'll probably take some time off TTC.  OK, you know that never happens.  Those of us who are fertility challenged never really stop thinking about TTC.

One thing for sure, I'm off my "diet restriction".  Which means, bring on the margaritas, cocktails, sushi, white mochas, soft cheeses and whatever else my heart desires!  I see many happy hours in my near future!  Start back my Zum.ba class.  Maybe train for a 10K? Just kidding, that would never happen.

I'll probably be reducing the number of blogs that I follow.  I hope you understand if I stop following your blogs.  Or I may keep "following" but may not stay up to date in my readings.  I'm already WEEKs behind in my reading anyway.  I now need to think about what we want to do next, if anything, and focus my energy on reading only certain blogs.  It's getting too hard to read once-TTC-but-now-I'm-pregnant blogs.  I hope you understand.

I never did get my mani/pedi that I thought about doing during my 2ww.  Maybe throw in a massage, that sounds good.  I know this sounds really terrible, but because of this failure (again), I feel like I don't deserve it, you know what I mean?  I know I shouldn't think this way, but I do.  I should be getting a mani/pedi/massage because I am finally pregnant, not because I'm NOT.

Would we consider another round of IVF?  Probably not.  Maybe.  Who knows.  I think if cost was not an issue, I would be up for it.  Is it smart to even consider trying again using our own eggs, knowing there is egg quality issue?  Probably not.  But I feel like I should not give up.  We were so close, or at least it feels that way.

Today, after going in for my beta, I met up with Annie from Cradles and Graves.  We both had appointments at the clinic this morning, and we both have Dr. Hopeful as our REs.  It was nice to be able to chat about how our cycles are going (or went).  I found out that the company I interviewed with (which by the way, still have not made up their minds and are interviewing some more candidates!) is the same company her husband used to work for.  And they have excellent fertility coverage.  So who knows.  IF, and a very big IF I get offered a position there, we could consider another round.

Through our conversations, I also suddenly realized that I did not take my Vive.lle (estrogen) patches during my 2ww.  I thought, OMG, did I screw up my IVF by forgetting to take these?  How could I have forgotten?  How could I be so stupid?

When I got home, I checked my IVF handbook.  When I found out I was having a day-3 transfer instead of a day-5 transfer, I moved all my info (dates, etc) from the day-5 schedule page to the day-3 schedule page.  And there was nothing about those patches on the day-3 page.  When I spoke with Dr. Hopeful, I asked her if it made a difference that I didn't take those patches.  She said not to worry, they don't do patches for day-3 transfers.  Whew!  That gave me a scare.  So now I have no use for all these Vive.lle patches.  Maybe someday, when we decide we are done TTC, I will donate those to others.

So far, I am doing OK.  Yes, I'm sad and devastated, but I'm also doing OK.  I'm handling this better than the last cycle because at least with this cycle, I expected that was a possibility of a BFN.  With my last cycle I was not prepared to have my transfer cancelled.

So yes, I'm doing OK.  At least for now.  But I don't know how tonight, tomorrow, or next week will be.  I'm sure there will be some venting posts in the future.

Thanks for all your encouraging comments in my last few posts.  It's really hard getting a BFN, and many of you know how that feels.  But I'm still grateful for the many encouraging and supporting words.  They are much appreciated and needed.

Period. Beta.

I got my period last night.

We're devastated.

The clinic wants me to go in to "triple check", just in case.  Whatever.

Babe thinks we should just save the money and buy alcohol instead (for me, he doesn't drink).

I'm still going in for the beta.  Just because.

This majorly sucks.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thoughts On This IVF Cycle

In less than 10 hours,  I will have my beta test.  God, I hope this works.

To be honest, I am not feeling optimistic about this.  I am still spotting, and I am having much stronger period-like cramps.  I know, I know, I've read that many people swear their periods were coming and were shocked to find out there were pregnant.   It would be great if that were me, but honestly, I'm not optimistic.  I know I should stay positive, but it's hard.  I'm not sure what we would do if this doesn't work.

I have been very emotional the last couple of days.  I'm not sure if it's dealing with Jack's cancer surgery, being worn out from helping out, hormones, feeling really tired, or just knowing that the beta's coming up, and it could be the end of our journey.  I've been weepy and have had a hard time falling asleep the last couple of nights.  

I try not to think ahead, but I lay in bed wondering what if it didn't work, what then? Another round of IVF (probably not)?  Adoption?  Will our lives ever be full?

But what if it DID work?  What would it feel like? Oh, I dare not even think about that!

I've been thinking about some stuff about this cycle for a while, so I'll put them down here.
  • This cycle was much shorter.   I didn't have to go on 12 days of Lu.pron, so things were happening pretty quickly.  Before I knew it, I was on stims, and egg retrieval was upon us.  But timing worked out perfectly for the job interview (still no news), egg retrieval, transfer, and being around to support Jack & Ellie through their difficult time.
  • There was less excitement this cycle.  We were more cautious.  Based on our last cancelled cycle, we know that things can go wrong.  We took things one step at a time.
  • This time I did not even see what my estimated due date would be if I got pregnant.  All I know is that it should be sometime in April.  When/if I get my BFP, then I will look into it.
  • I had very little side effect from the meds this time around.  I was not on Lu.pron this time, so I'm sure that helped.  I think the acupuncture and chinese herbs helped too.
  • I went into this cycle assuming that we only had one ovary to work with.  Fortunately, we were able to retrieve from both ovaries.  Unfortunately, we were only able to retrieve 7 eggs from both ovaries.  The last time we retrieved 8 from one ovary.
  • The good news however, the quality of the 2 fertilized eggs were much better quality this time, with no fragmentation.
  • We are grateful we were able to make it to transfer this time around.  We hope Icsi and Dicsi will stick around for the next 9 months!
  • Babe and I have been very blest to have people donate some of their unused/unneeded drugs.  That saved us a pretty penny.
  • I don't know what is in store for us if this cycle does not work.  This may be our last try.  Maybe.  Is this the end of our dreams of having biological children?  Would we consider adoption?  I just don't know.
  • Sometimes I wonder if we should have done the shared risk program.   We did have some insurance coverage, but it covered only one cycle.  I am starting to wonder if we should have signed up for it.

Tomorrow will be torture!

Spotting, Part 2 & 200th Post

Caution: Post may be TMI for some.

There was some brown in my discharge from Endome.trin again this morning.  And also more pink mucus on the applicator after inserting my morning dose.

Plus, I am feeling pre-menstrual like cramps today.

I checked with Dr. Google, and of course there are lots of cases of people that got BFPs from spotting, but I'm also sure there are lots that got BFNs.  You just never know.

I thought about calling the clinic to ask about the spotting, but I already know what the nurse is probably going to say.  It is normal to spot after IVF, especially with progesterone suppositories.  Beta's tomorrow anyway, so why bother.

Oh and I did just check.... I do have one home pregnancy test at home.  So, I could POAS if I wanted to.  

Very tempting.  But nah, gonna skip it.

Also, this is my 200th post!!  

I can't believe I have had that many posts!  I will be doing a giveaway later in honor of my 200th post and reaching more than 100 followings.  I have to figure out what to give away yet.

Spotting?

Caution: This post may be little TMI for some.

Just now, before I showered (I always do so before bed), I noticed that the discharge from the today's Endome.trin on my panty liner had a very light tinge of pink/very light brown.  And I mean VERY light.  I didn't think too much into it.

Then after I showered, I inserted my evening (or before bed) dose of Endome.trin.  I noticed that there was a bit of pink mucus left in the applicator.  This has never happened before.

I remember that I noticed this morning (or was it last night?) that I seemed to have some mucus when I showered.

Is this normal?  Should I be concerned?  Am I spotting?

Oh, and another thing, I noticed that my b00bs seemed to have "shrunk" to my normal size.  When I was on stims, and even after my transfer, my b00bs were fuller than usual.  They still were yesterday.  Now, not so much.

Is this a bad sign?  Am I over analyzing things?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

9dp3dt: What 2WW?

So it is now 9 days past my day-3 transfer.  I'm almost at the end of my 2ww.  I go in for my beta test on Friday morning.

The last week or so has flown by.  I have been keeping pretty busy.  I haven't posted anything for a few days because I felt that there was not much to update on the PUPO front.  No pregnancy symptoms, nothing.   I was experiencing some side effects from the Endome.trin including tiredness, cramping, and abdominal discomfort.  But that is pretty much it.  I'm not sure what that means.  I know lots of people get pregnant and don't experience any symptoms at all.  I'm trying not to think too much into it.

My transfer was last Monday and was on bed rest until Wednesday.  I took it easy on Thursday, just laying around watching TV.  On Friday, I watched Jack & Ellie's kids while they handled some legal issues before Jack's colon cancer surgery on Monday.  Saturday, Babe and I ran errands.  For Jack's surgery on Monday, I had emailed a bunch of Jack & Ellie's friends and family and requested bible verses.  I collected the verses they wanted to share them, printed them on colored 4x6 card stock, and held them together with a ring.   On Sunday, we went to church in the morning and later in the afternoon, a group of friends from church gathered at Jack & Ellie's to pray for Jack, Ellie and the kids for Jack's upcoming surgery.  It was wonderful to have so many people gather to pray and support them.  We gave them the booklet of bible verses then.  Then I stuck around to help out around the house with the kids, chores, etc. so Ellie and Jack could pack and do some last minute things before the surgery in the morning.  It was a long day and I was pooped out by the time I left around 9 pm.

Monday morning was Jack's surgery.  I spent some time with Ellie at the hospital while Jack was in recovery.  It's really tough to see a good friend go through something like colon cancer.  All I could do was try my best to help out in whatever ways I can.  Fortunately, Jack's surgery went well.  They took out the part of his colon that was cancerous.  He will still have to go through chemo therapy after this to take care of some smaller ones left in his small intestines that couldn't be removed.  But the best news is, none of his major organs were affected, so that is VERY good news. Please continue to pray for Jack & Ellie and the kids.

After my hospital visit,  I watched their kids until Ellie came home that night.  It was another long day.  Yesterday, I made homemade chicken soup for Ellie, and chicken broth (strained from the chicken soup) for Jack.   I brought those to the hospital and was able to visit with Jack for a bit.  He will be in the hospital for a few more days, but he goal is to go home by Saturday.

As you can see, my 2ww has been pretty busy.  Only 2 more days before I go in for my beta.

I have not had much time to think about if this cycle worked.  I am continually encouraged by the number of people praying for me.  Most of the same people praying for Jack & Ellie are the same ones praying for Babe and I during this cycle.  So I have been encouraged and continually reminded by these friends that they are praying for me too when I see them.  Also I know you out there in the blog world are also praying for me.

I know that during the 2ww, I'm supposed to take it easy, relax and try to stress as little as possible.  It has not been easy to stay relaxed these few days.  I have been busy with Jack and Ellie, but this is something I want to do.  Something I need to do.  Ellie is like a sister to me.  We are like family.  I know that if I were in her situation, she would do so much and more for me too.

I know its not the same thing, but colon cancer makes my infertility struggle seem so insignificant.  At least I am healthy.  I do not face the possibility of death.  I do not have to go through chemo.  Still, going through infertility has made me more sensitive to Jack and Ellie's situation.  Makes me think twice or three times before saying something or offering advice.  I know what it feels like to receive well intentioned but unhelpful, even hurtful advice.  I try to just be there for her, offering a hug, a prayer and support.

Someone asked how my 2ww is going.  What 2ww?  Keeping busy has helped me not obsess about it.  But I do think about it at night, when I lay in bed.  Though I don't think about it  during the day, it has kept me up at night.

I do think about what if this didn't work?  But what if it did?  WHAT IF IT DID??

Only 2 more days before I find out if my life will change forever.

Friday, July 23, 2010

One Woman, 2 Wombs, 2 Babies, Not Twins!

This lucky lady not only has 2 uteruses, but she is also pregnant with 2 babies at the same time.  But they are not twins!

At her first ultrasound, one baby was about 5 weeks along, and the other one 6 weeks.  She'll be having a double birth next year.  Read the article here.

I wonder since she has 2 uteruses, does she have 4 ovaries?  Does that mean she ovulates twice a month?  That sure doubles her chances of getting pregnant each month, right?

Can I just be half as lucky as her?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thanks, Facebook!

This was an ad on my Face.book page today.
So not only do I have do deal with pregnancy announcements, ultrasound pictures, birth announcements, baby pictures and "guess what cute thing my child said/did today", Face.book is also in my face with a "pregnancy solution".

Thanks a lot!

Yah, that one didn't get a "like" from me!

Psalm 139

Yesterday, I received this bible passage from one of my friends who are praying for and with us this cycle.  It is from Psalm 139 and I want to share this with you.  It is so appropriate after our transfer, and during our 2WW.


Psalm 139: 13 - 16 (New Living Translation)
 13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
      and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
 14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
      Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
 15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
      as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
 16 You saw me before I was born.
      Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
   Every moment was laid out
      before a single day had passed.