Not-Quite-Two Week Wait

Thank you all so much for the good wishes and positive thoughts on my last post!

I’m happy to report that I’m PUPO (pregnant until proven otherwise) with one beautiful embryo.

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Please stick, and stick around.

I had a chance to practice some positive thinking and meditation on the 200 mile trek to the fertility clinic, which helped my anxiety a great deal. We had a small hiccup when we got there, though. My RE excitedly informed us that they had thawed two embryos and both were high quality. The problem was that we had decided early on that we would only transfer one. I guess she forgot. Fortunately, the one not transferred was re-frozen. However, for a brief moment I did question our decision. But, ultimately, we weren’t willing to risk multiples.

Before my transfer, I spied this little rabbit just outside the clinic. That has to be a good sign, right?

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My spirit animal?

So, my worst fear wasn’t realized. In 9 days, I’ll know if the transfer worked.

 

Schrödinger’s Box (FET update)

It’s 24 hours before my FET. I’m sick to my stomach with fear. Fear that none of my embryos will survive the thaw. It’s an unwelcome turn of thought, as, just a few days ago, I was imagining myself crying happy tears at seeing 2 beautiful pink lines on a test, and crafting ideas for an announcement to friends and family. I’m trying desperately to recover those happy thoughts, but I can’t find them anywhere. I’m on the verge of tears. I can’t concentrate on work. I keep running through all the scenarios:

a) None survive the thaw. End of our family building journey.

b) One survives, is transferred, but doesn’t implant. End of our journey.

c) One survives, is transferred, implants, but results in early pregnancy loss. End of journey.

d) More than one survives, one is transferred, remaining are not able to be refrozen. Negative pregnancy test. End of the road.

e) More than one survives, one is transferred, remaining are re-frozen. Negative pregnancy test, but another transfer is possible next cycle.

f) More than one survives, one is transferred, remaining are re-frozen. Pregnancy achieved, but results in early loss. Another transfer possible.

g) One survives, is transferred, and pregnancy is achieved. Healthy baby born approximately 9 months later. End of family building journey.

h) More than one survives, one is transferred, remaining are re-frozen. Pregnancy is achieved. Healthy baby born approximately 9 months later. End of family building journey, except that we have to decide what to do with our remaining embryos.

I know it doesn’t do any good to obsess over the possibilities. Whatever is going to happen, will happen, and soon. Deep down, I know that whatever happens, I’m going to be okay. If it’s the end of the road, I’ll find a way to cope. If I get pregnant, a whole new set of fears will emerge, and I’ll cope with those, too. But, for now, I’m staring down at Schrödinger’s box, terrified of opening it, but terrified not to open it. (Does that mean I’m also in Schrödinger’s box? Kind of like those nesting Russian dolls. Nesting Schrödinger’s boxes?)

I’m a Loser Again!

Starting weight:  236

Current weight:  214

Weight loss so far: 22 pounds

After being stuck in quite the weight loss rut for the last couple of months, I’m finally back to ticking off the pounds. I kind of “yo-yoed” for a while, gaining and losing, gaining and losing. I toyed with giving up the diet, but my coach convinced me to keep going, and I’m so glad she did. The truth is, I feel so much better staying on plan (which is very low carb, high fat, moderate protein). The times I’ve indulged too much in carbs, I’ve paid for it with stomach pains and a general feeling of “blah.” I still struggle with carving out “me time” and exercise, but I figure one challenge at a time is enough. This food thing is a BIG challenge for me. Though I’ve always known I needed to make life long changes to my food choices, it’s only now just dawning on me that my current plan is probably going to be permanent. By that I mean that for the rest of my life, I’m going to have to avoid carbs for the most part. I’m not unique in this way, I know, but it does surprise me a little. At the start of this, I thought one day I would be able to go back to eating bread and pasta on a regular basis, but now I don’t see that happening. And I’m totally okay with that. As long as I always remember how awful I feel after eating that stuff.


In other news….

My little monkey is closing in on 20 months! Life with a toddler is crazy. And amazing. And frustrating. And exhausting. And fun. Seeing her learn new skills and new words seemingly overnight is incredible. Here are some things she’s done or said recently that have made me delight in parenthood:

When greeting the cats: “Hi! How’s it going?”

Counting to six.

Naming the colors purple, yellow, blue, green, and brown.

Asking “What’s this?” followed immediately by the answer.

Feeding her dolls and putting them to bed.

Chatting to herself before falling asleep.

Goes to bed calmly without any resistance.

It’s not all puppies and rainbows, of course. She IS a toddler after all. She throws tantrums, insists on doing things on her own that she simply cannot do, demands to watch a certain show then promptly throws a fit as soon as it starts, and gets sick all the time (and shares it with us). She’s at an age where she wants me to play with her all the time, but I simply can’t (and, quite honestly, don’t want to), leading to feelings of guilt and resentment. I’m so exhausted all the time, I rarely have the energy to do the things I really want to do, like finish knitting the blanket I started for her loooong ago, or read a book, or watch a movie that isn’t animated, or do chores without interruption. I know every age, every stage, is fleeting and things will change and probably soon, but knowing that doesn’t make it any easier right now. That stuff I listed above makes it better, and as much as I want those things to cancel out the negatives, they simply do not. The good and the bad all just swirl together, which is pretty much all of life, right?

Stuck

For the past month, I’ve been stuck at the same weight. That’s actually the good news. The bad news is that it’s because I’m largely out of control (again) with my eating. Obviously, I’m not as out of control as in the past, otherwise I would have gained weight. But it’s still rather upsetting for me. Things were going so well, and then I started cheating a little here and there, adding in an extra snack (or two or three), or ignoring portion sizes. Once I started, I couldn’t stop.

Part of it is the anxiety of my upcoming FET. It’s still more than 2 months away at this point, but I’m already on edge. My husband and I gave it the old college try during (what we thought was) our last natural cycle before I started birth control – no temping, but I did use OPKs – and of course I didn’t get pregnant. In fact, good old Aunt Flow showed up just 7 days after I ovulated. Nice, huh? The nurse had instructed me to notify her when I got my period in March, which turned out to be March 1. I assumed I would be starting birth control at that point, but the RE said I couldn’t, that I would be on it for too long before my baseline, which could cause me to become too suppressed.

So, we technically have one more try to make a baby the good old fashioned way. But I don’t want another try. It’s too stressful. Besides, my LP is pretty much nonexistent at a whopping 7 days, so even if one of my lazy ovaries released an egg, and even if that egg were half decent, and even if that egg managed to navigate through my mangled Fallopian tube and meet up for a party with the hubs’s sperm, and even if the two combined in a chromosomally normal fashion, it wouldn’t stand much of a chance in my stupid, trigger happy uterus. But then I feel guilty for not wanting to try, because I know some couples would kill for the chance. And, hey, who wouldn’t love to save $6,000? Sigh.

I suppose I should just stay focused on my weight loss journey. That, at least, is a much more realistic goal. I just have to get myself unstuck.

20 Pounds Gone

Starting weight:  236      

Current weight:  216      

Weight loss so far:  20

Things that weigh 20 pounds: a car tire, a fat cat, 2 bags of sugar, 4 chihuahuas weight

Lately, my weight loss program hasn’t been easy. I’m an emotional eater, and lately, my emotions have been getting the better of me. Our upcoming FET, our empty savings account after paying for our upcoming FET, a toddler who hates to sleep and doesn’t want to quit breastfeeding, an increasingly demanding job, a decrease in “me time.”

I’ve been able to maintain a steady loss, despite falling off the wagon on a regular basis for the last month. I’m glad for that, but I’m disturbed by how often I “cheat” on my program, as that’s really the goal here – to reduce my emotional eating and make better choices more often. I need to restart and refocus in order to get back on track. In a few days, when I meet with my coach again, I’m going to ask about making a few changes to my meal plan. I think maybe it’s too restrictive, leaving me wanting and vulnerable to cravings.

Overall, I feel pretty awesome! I’m proud of myself. I’m more comfortable in my own body. My clothes fit better. My wedding ring fits again for the first time in 2 years! I have a long way to go in terms of dealing with stress and food, but I’ve accepted that it’s going to be a struggle for the rest of my life. If I can make good, non-emotional choices most of the time, I would consider that a triumph!

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FET Update

Visiting the fertility clinic for the first time after a successful pregnancy was a surprisingly pleasant event, at least in my experience. In some ways, it felt like coming home – familiar and (oddly) comforting. I knew what to expect, and I was looking forward to the friendly faces and encouraging conversation I came to know so well. Perhaps it was mostly that the weight of desperation and despair had long since lifted from my shoulders with the birth of my daughter, but, this time, it’s a dramatically different experience.

After registering and updating my information (including insurance, which doesn’t matter anyway, as our infertility benefits have been exhausted), my husband and I take our usual seats near the large windows. I hadn’t really noticed before, but this time it occurs to me that the rather large waiting area, full of comfortable single chairs and sofas, never held more than a handful of people at a time. On first glimpse, you would think they simply overbuilt, but then you notice how the people space themselves for optimum privacy. No awkward glances at someone sitting across from you. No possessively clutching at your purse and coat to make room for someone else. There’s plenty of space for a very good reason.

The first person we speak to after the registration desk is the financial counselor. After recapping our phone conversation from a few weeks ago and pointing out which expenses are included in our prepayment and which are not, I write the second largest check in my life and hand over my credit card for the balance. Ouch.

Next up is the nurse. Again, everything we discuss has been discussed before, and the only new thing is to pick a date for the transfer. The optimist in me finds it strange that I actually get to pick the date of conception. I find myself trying to quickly calculate potential due dates, then decide to make the most of the long Memorial Day weekend, and choose May 26, a Thursday. Since the clinic is 200 miles from where we live, they recommend an overnight stay after the transfer, so that I can rest. It will be a 5-day weekend for the both of us, practically a vacation – or a second honeymoon. You know, just like all those fertile people who get pregnant on their honeymoons!

My FET protocol is about as simple as you can get without doing a completely natural cycle – or at least that’s how it strikes me, compared to a fresh cycle: Birth control, oral estrogen, vaginal progesterone, baby aspirin, and a prenatal vitamin. NO INJECTIONS. I will need to repeat the saline sonogram and trial transfer.

So, that’s it! The fun starts May 9, with my baseline ultrasound. Of course, the first thing I noticed when the nurse showed me the calendar was that I take my last birth control pill on May 5 – the date I miscarried 5 years ago. Has it really been 5 years already?

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The BIG DAY, provided all goes well.

Moving Forward With FET

Butterflies in my stomach! Our upcoming FET is so much more real now. Last week, I spoke to my RE, who was just lovely and very positive about this FET working for us. We talked about breast feeding, and how I will need to completely stop before starting the estrogen, as the hormone is transmitted through breast milk. We haven’t had our calendar visit with the clinic yet, so I don’t have an exact date, but it won’t be until at least March or April. That gives me a little more time for C to self-wean, but I have serious doubts that it will happen that way.

I’ll have to repeat the saline sonogram (which hurt like a motherfucker the last time), and have some basic blood work done. The protocol is simple: Birth control for a few weeks to time it to the schedule, estrogen to plump my lining, then progesterone (Crinone).

We have 3 embryos in storage. They will thaw one at a time, because we’re doing a single transfer this time. Last time, we were okay with the idea of twins, but this time… not so much. For one, I can hardly imagine what it would be like with ONE newborn and a toddler. In addition, I’m pushing 40, and I just don’t want a risky(er) pregnancy. I realize it’s possible that I could end up with twins from transferring one embryo – if that happens, we’ll deal with it – but I’m just not interested in tempting the fates. Considering the fact that both embryos implanted the last time… well…

The hardest part will be the cost. Our infertility benefits were exhausted with our fresh IVF cycle, so we have to pay 100% out of pocket this time. We’ve been saving for it, so it won’t be a huge burden. But if it fails the first time, I’m not sure how we will pay for another try. I’m trying not to get ahead of myself, but I can’t help but think that we used up all of our luck getting pregnant on our first fresh cycle. Is it possible to get that lucky a second a time?

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