IVF 3: FET


The unnecessary and unsurprising negative beta came in today.  I was shopping.  With some trepidation I think I can say I am doing okay.  With all my bleating about other people fast-forwarding me through the nastier emotions, I have to say: I do it to myself.  Yesterday I got up expecting to feel fine and it took me most of the day to figure out and accept that I was anything but.

Today is better.  I walked in to the RE’s for my blood test followed by a woman with two little girls, about 4 and 2.  While, yes, I did think "well, geez, how many kids do you NEED?" and feel resentful that she had to parade them into the fertility clinic with her, by the time I left I was able to "re-frame."  Or whatever.  She might have a bunch of embryos in the freezer and what else are you gonna do with them?  I thought.  And most importantly, that might be me someday. 

Similarly, as I got and didn’t pick up the "after 1:00" call from my RE’s office with beta result, I thought "one of these days, that call is going to go very differently." 

There was this guy, a friend, I knew him for a few years, but never really thought about him romantically, and then there came a time when it seemed like I bumped into him everywhere I went.  I always thought he liked me but I couldn’t be bothered.  I started getting to know him, and then suddenly over one weekend I decided maybe I was attracted to him after all.  We then entered into a scary time of him sort of asking me out to lunch or dinner when we would bump into each other, grabbing a bite after this or that, and this "hanging out" with a man I wanted to be more than friends with was something I had done before.  And swore I would never do again. 

One day after a few weeks of this, he called me up and said he thought we should talk "about all the time we’ve been spending together and what that means to us."  Shit, I thought.  How could I have gotten this wrong AGAIN?  Because it seemed like he liked me.  But every time a guy wanted to talk about "our friendship" it always, always ended up being about how he just wanted to be friends and didn’t want to "mislead" me.  Which of course most of the guys had been, thoroughly misleading, WHERE is my decoder ring, and that’s a different story altogether.  Those talks just always went the same way.

So I was a nervous wreck and finally he came over to my house and we started to have this serious talk and I just kept thinking Shit! How could I have gotten this wrong, how will I get through this without showing how hurt I am? until I realized he was saying "so it seems like we’ve been sort of dating these past few weeks, and that’s what I want us to be doing." 

Huh?

Somehow, after all the times I had had That Conversation, after all the times a man had gone out of his way to make sure I knew that he did NOT want to date me, and that he particularly wanted to assure me that he was NOT attracted to me, because boy they always have to make sure that part gets said loud and clear… this one was different.

So I married him.  And now I’m thinking, wow, it really only took one.  One unusual conversation.  One good man.  One ring to rule them all.  And yes, maybe I have had and will have more After 1:00 Negative Beta calls, but eventually maybe the conversation will go the other way.   

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Born_shoes

I get to buy these shoes, or something like them.

I decided that I would buy them if this cycle turns out negative, and as of today’s first-thing-in-the-morning POAS, it is.  Negative.

This is a little bit harder than I thought because over the weekend, particularly on Sunday, I felt so damn pregnant.  Felt like a rubber chicken.  Appetite came and went.  So tired.  So emotional.  So HOT.  Uggggh, if not being pregnant now means I might be able to get it done in non-summer months, sign me up.  Just that miserable, oily, fat, hot-all-over volcano feeling when everyone else is saying "It’s soooo nice out!" – yeah, that’s something I don’t mind missing out on. 

I was such a mess that I told my husband that I thought I might be pregnant after all, and now I’m racked with guilt that he has to go through the disappointment all over again when he gets up and I tell him.  But we talked about that, when he did what he always does when I am freaking out: suggested we go for a walk.  So we walked, and I told him I felt like I should absorb all the uncertainty myself, since it’s so much about my self-absorbed perception of the twinges, frissons, and other ephemeral feelings I’m having.  But like the very good husband he is, he asserted that he wanted to share what he could. 

I hate this.  Specifically the Charlie-Brown-with-the-football way that the hormones fake pregnancy, and so all the pregnancy signs are there except, hello, the BABY.  It reminds me of my premarital romantic / dating life.  It seemed like I was forever getting it wrong.  Thinking guys were interested when they weren’t.  Thinking they liked me for X when all they wanted was Y.  Not noticing guys who were interested until it was too late and they had gone and married someone else.  I always felt like I was going down the up staircase at rush hour in the subway.  The best I could do then, and hope for now, is to move from Nothing Going On to Anything Can Happen, and forgive myself for trying to decipher unknowable, unpredictable circumstances.

The interesting thing is that yesterday I started to think I was pregnant and I was scared.  Not just of the things that any intelligent person would be scared of, i.e., having children, but also of getting through that pregnancy time when I felt so rubbery and weak and exhausted and too emotional to deal with anything.

It scared me badly to think of being so physically incapacitated, even in context of achieving my heart’s desire and my goal.  And this is normal. I needn’t worry.  I’ll be fine, my husband is here to help, I won’t have to get up and run a marathon or do eight shows a week or take a final exam very often during the pregnancy – on the marathon and the exam that would probably be uh, never again, anyway – and it’ll be fine.  I was just scared.

If you’ve had children and your fingers itch to let me know that I’ll be fine, don’t.  I’m too angry right now to receive advice of any kind.  My first illogical / angry thought is, if I can’t even GET pregnant who cares how I will be WHEN pregnant?   

An illogical assumption that these things are linear, when the truth is, life can change in an instant.  Girls who haven’t had a date in ten years will meet some guy at the vet’s office and be married within months.  I am a linear person and assumed, in the hopeful room of my soul (I think it has a canopy bed and a fuzzy pink phone and posters of a younger George Clooney), that my efforts would trend upward gradually.  Maybe this time I’d stay pregnant a few more weeks before miscarrying, or maybe this time I’d just get pregnant for real.  I didn’t want the trend to slip back from a little pregnant last time, to … nothing. 

But that makes no sense. 

So.  I have the Big Diet, which broke down a bit when I felt pregnant, but only for a day, and not disastrously.  I have a pair of cute green shoes coming my way.  I have my beta on Wednesday and no expectations there.  I have, as always, a few more barnacles of experience and self-knowledge stuck to my hull as I move forward, slowly.  It’s not great, but it’s not that bad, and while it’s not true this week, it’s generally still true: Anything Can Happen.

My endo pain is definitely still here.  Since I was hoping it would go away, and that would be a pregnancy sign, I was feeling un-encouraged, so just took my first POAS and it’s negative.

Don’t say it.

I know.

It’s 6 days post transfer of an approximately 6-day blast, which is sort of soon. But not THAT soon.  That translates to approximately 11 days post-ovulation.  Yes, it was mid-day urine, I know that too.  A 25 MIU test.

Of COURSE I will test again. 

I just needed to make a decision: to hope, or not to hope?  I still hope, but in a grim, “there’s still a chance” desperate kind of way.  It’s just not an invested-in, well-fed hope, because I don’t see the signs, and I don’t see the point. 

I don’t need to be told to keep hoping; if I get a pleasant surprise, great.  I just can’t keep bouncing up and down over every weird pain.  I have too many.  There is a big difference between anxiety pessimism (“oh no! it probably won’t work! What’ll I do?  Life is so unfair!”) with acceptance pessimism (“well, crap, what can you do?  time to move on, think about other things.  No sense getting all worked up about this, it just doesn’t look hopeful.”)  Acceptance pessimism is more peaceful for me.   I can decide to not hope (much) and that’s one of the few things I can control right now.

It’s actually hope, repositioned; instead of hoping for this FET, I will hope for the next, fresh cycle.  I might get twenty pounds off by then.  My husband will have had 100 days+ of taking folic acid, which seems to help with some aging sperm issues. 

I have a preliminary calendar for Labor Day weekend-ish retrieval.  I’ve gotten in a week of dieting, with great success, more about that later, and can maybe have some success controlling at least some facet of my physical body.   I told my husband yesterday that I’m not seeing any good signs and he’s already “processing” the likelihood of an official negative.  I have made a financial plan B for how we can finance the next try and still move forward with other things we need to do.

Yes, it’s very fucking sad and angry and unfair.  No I’m not ready to see the neighbors’ new baby or hear about the rest of my friends who will doubtless be announcing their second and third pregnancies over the next months.  It sucks, but it could be worse and it is what it is.

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I seem to have a mother of a UTI.  Either that or the elephant that usually sits in the middle of our living room is now sitting on my bladder.  In either case, the act of peeing is now a mythical, longed-for thing, replaced in me by painful need and no relief.  Yesterday we bought a home test kit for UTI (yes! where the hell were those things when we were in college?) and it came up negative, and my symptoms yesterday afternoon seemed to fade.  Until, yes, 3 a.m., when the "gotta pee right NOW" feeling would not leave.  I worked myself into a middle-of-the-night lather that the endo has somehow got my bladder in a death grip, so this is what bladder cancer feels like, it’s not a UTI, it’ll just be like this for the rest of my life; or that this is pregnancy and it’s going to be this agony for 9 months. 

Now I figure the home test wasn’t right – I’m supposed to test with "first morning urine", which is impossible since I’ve been up half the night, and by incredible discipline only allowed myself a pseudo-pee every half hour.   I tested yesterday with afternoon urine, since that’s when it was, and I had to pee.  You know how it is with peesticks; have pee, will test.  That’s why they put two in a package.

Dr. Google says having a UTI is not instant death for the putative babies so I’m not worrying about that.  I return to my stance from yesterday, which is, they’ll either implant or they won’t, and they probably have no idea of the bad weather going on just next door.  They also may be contributing to it by making my uterus get bigger.

I have had very few UTIs in my life, and I understand some finger-pointing is in order since I guess they’re mostly sexually transmitted, or in my case, might be a "complication" of my transfer on Friday.  There has been no sex since Friday (unless you count the speculum) so my husband is off the hook.  But maybe it’s some irritation from the annoying blue estrogen tablets, or who knows.  Ironic that I was so derisive of the gloving & scrubbing OR procedures used for my transfer – maybe they’re over the top except they didn’t WORK.  Or who knows.

I’m waiting for my doctor or one of her minions to call.  Funny, I found one of those lists of drugs and their ratings for pregnancy the other day, and I noticed that one was marked "the preferred drug for UTI" and thought, hmm, do pregnant women get a lot of UTIs?  Yuck.  Not that I’m one of them, yet.  I know there is some bladder analgesic, I saw it at the drugstore, and I’m just hoping that or something like it is also on the OK list for a pseudo-pregnant person like myself.

Symptom watch is canceled for the near term due to distracting bladder agony.

P.S. I have had an ocean of cranberry juice, which now comes sugar-free, thank God.

P.P.S.  Why are prenatal vitamins as big as my head?  I dread taking those big bastards because they get stuck in my throat every.damn.day.  I would happily take 4 or 6 if they were smaller.  I don’t think getting Heimliched on a regular basis is good for the pregnancy (if any), do you?

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Well, our two embryos survived the thaw and are now inside me.  My doctor suggested way back in April that they would thaw and then "watch them for awhile," and this morning she told us the embryologist thawed them last night and they have been doing just fine for about 12 hours.  I don’t know about you, but I can’t help picturing a frozen package of hamburger, just thawing away on the kitchen counter, even though in these enlightened times we’re supposed to thaw inside the fridge. 

Anyway, the transfer went well.  The whole thing cracks me up, because if it weren’t for the embryology part, it could be done in the doctor’s office.  I think some clinics have their lab onsite, but my RE’s lab is located at the hospital.  So I have to wear a hospital gown, a showercap-looking thing on my head, get hooked up for blood pressure and get wheeled in to the operating room on a gurney.  My husband has to put on scrubs, showercap and little operating room slippers.  So they’re doing all these hospital-type of things to me for no apparent reason, except (I think) to justify the fact that we’re in an operating room, and probably to jack up the price, which thankfully is covered by my insurance.   

I dosed myself with a Vicodin and a half to make the speculum portion of the festivities go more easily (it only helped a little) but it did get my blood pressure down to an enviable 113/50.

I was feeling sort of brittle about the whole thing, just waiting for a phone call to say that the embryos didn’t make it; but when I asked my doctor if they were "hanging in there," she said they were more than hanging in there, they were looking fine and were at some indeterminate stage of blastocyst-ness (blastocysm?) that means there are "too many cells to count."

So I’m officially hopeful.

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