On Monday while I was driving to the clinic for my beta I was doing my best to prepare myself for a result that I was already pretty sure of. I'd been praying for peace and beginning to wrap my head around the idea of IVF in the next couple of months when this song came on the radio.....
Yesterday after posting about my less than stellar beta results, I decided to venture onto the SART website to boost my spirits about our upcoming IVF cycle. And boost them it did! This is screen shot of the 2009 report for our diagnosis at our clinic. Perhaps I should start mentally preparing for twins :)
(click to make larger)
I spent the better part of the afternoon having a bit of a pity party for myself, but after a couple hours sulking at our misfortune I decided that I needed to make a choice. A choice to either accept what comes next or choose to walk the other way, at least for now.
I'm accepting IVF. I am accepting what comes next. I'm accepting everything goes with it, including the end result... either way.
... and they are again the same as they always are. It looks like IVF is officially on the horizon. We have the option of one more IUI cycle with injectables, but to be honest, I just don't have it in me. My doctor made it very clear before she went on maternity leave (fitting) that we could move on to IVF whenever we were ready... we are ready-ish. Our doctor wont be back until mid April, so that means we will have a natural cycle and a much needed break from any fertility medication. Once she returns, we will get set up to begin the IVF protocol with the following cycle. All of this is terrifying and but kind of exciting all at the same time. A 70% chance over a 25% chance is pretty appealing at this point!!!
I'm afraid the "signs" from earlier in the week were trumped this morning at 5am when I sleepily put my thermometer in my mouth. My temperature has been higher than it has ever been for that last week or so, and I was beginning to let hope (to be honest, a lot of hope) creep in. Today however, it dropped. My beta is tomorrow morning, so I'll drive 40 minutes each way to confirm what I am already pretty sure of... I'm not pregnant. I guess it is time to drag out the old white folder and give it a more serious look.
Tonight while I was on my way to meet a friend for dinner I saw two signs that nearly made me pull my car to the side of the road just so I could get a picture to post... it was raining, so you'll just have to take my word for it.
The first was an adopt a road sign. The road was adopted by BFPS. Which was comical because those letters stand for an elementary school that I interviewed with a couple of years ago... I can't imagine if I worked there now and had to constantly look at things labeled BFP!
I had barely recovered from the BFPS sign when I looked up just in time to see another sign, I'm not sure what it was for, but it clearly read PUPO.
I am not typically a 'signs' kind of person, but I am 9dpiui.....
I've had a lot of people ask how things went with our parents after we shared our infertility story with them. The short answer is.... great!
For so long, we (mostly me) were worried that there would be endless questions, awkward moments and enough pity for all of the infertiles of the world. We thought there would be opinions flying and judgements made. And to be honest, maybe there have been. Thankfully though, we haven't had to hear any of it.
We didn't go into extreme detail in our email, but we made it very clear it has been a very long, hard road with many treatments, fertility drugs, and dejected spirits. We were also abundantly clear that we hoped this wouldn't become a topic of conversation, and much to our surprise it hasn't. We asked that if they had questions they email them to us and allow us to decide together what we were willing to share. So far, not a single question. We received an initial email back from both sets of parents that was short, sweet and supportive of our choices for our family.
We saw both sets of parents last weekend for the first time since the email and although we did receive a slightly tighter hug upon arrival, a few thoughtful glances when families or babies were being talked about, in general it was business as usual.
For the moment, I am happy with our decision. We have their support if we need/want it, and more importantly we don't have to tip toe around anymore making excuses for not being able to make it to an event.
Some days are hard. Some days I feel like it may never happen. Some days I just need to take a step back and realized just how blessed I am.
So, today in an effort to count my blessings I decided to tally up all of our infertility costs from September through the first week of March.... oh.my.gosh. Wondering why this painful number ($11,628) makes me feel blessed? Well, I've mentioned it before... we have incredible insurance. Of that large price tag, we've only paid a fraction (about 1/8). If that isn't reason enough to feel blessed, I'm not sure what is.
I was recently talking with someone about the SART website, so today I was intrigued to see if there were new stats for my clinic since the last time I looked back when we were choosing a clinic. After looking at the 2009 success rates, I was curious about other places across the nation. I was very surprised at the vast difference in success rates at various clinics. I am counting myself blessed that my clinic has some of the highest success rates that I found for my age group. It makes the possibility of an IVF cycle a little easier to stomach.
So even though I am currently finding myself 6.5 months into treatment still not pregnant, I am still counting myself blessed. The situation could ALWAYS be worse. Sometimes that is hard to remember on the hard days, so I just have to go out of my way to remind myself :)
I seriously hate how no one makes eye contact. Everyone sits in their corner of the room, or when it is busy, with one chair separating them pretending that they are the only one in the room. I know those first few trips to the clinic are hard, I get that. BUT, in that room is one of the ONLY places we, as women (and men) struggling with infertility, can find company among an entire room of people who are in similar situations. Why do we sit in silence?
I spend my time in the waiting room of the clinic trying to take a peek at people's socks. Is that weird? After reading this post over at Womb For Improvement, I have been wondering about what people wear or don't wear on their feet when they have an ultrasound. On Friday a woman dropped her socks on the way back to the ultrasound room... I guess she wears socks no matter what. I, in case you were wondering (and I'm sure you were), wear socks most of the time. If I am wearing shoes that don't require socks, then I go barefoot for the ultrasound (always with painted toes.) Fun fact: for all of the undress from the waist down appointments I've had, I have NEVER worn white socks. Perhaps, I just found my fertility problem?
The phlebotomist that usually takes my blood has had three hairstyles since we started treatment at the clinic. I don't think I've had three hairstyles in the last five years! In addition to this, it is somewhat alarming that I am at the clinic often enough that I notice new haircuts or fun new scrubs that the nurses have.
My fertility clinic is a little like the old TV show Cheers... everybody knows my name. When I walk in the the girl at the front desk says something like "_____, you're all checked in." Then, when I'm called back to either have blood drawn or be placed in an ultrasound room there is always small talk, because we see each other like twice a week. I see these people more often than I see most of my close friends.
...my husband, a RE, a nurse and myself all in a TINY exam/ultrasound room. I am not exaggerating on the size. Within the room there was the exam table, a small stool for the doctor, a counter with sink and cabinets, an ultrasound machine, one chair, a large garbage can, a magazine rack and one of those bendy spotlight things. Keep in mind that this room, containing all of the previously mentioned items and people, is only about 6'x10'.
Upon arrival to the room, the nurse gave the usual instructions about undressing from the waist down and then we were left to wait for the doctor. Once the doctor arrived he gave us all of the information about my husband's sample (which was the best one yet!!) and then briefly explained what was about to happen. All the while I am thinking to myself, "really, you are going to explain an IUI to me right now? Check out my chart, this is NUMBER SIX! I am pretty sure if you gave me a mirror and a third arm I could do this myself!"
Once we were educated on what was about to happen, he grabbed the end of the bendy lamp out from the side of the exam table that was right up against the wall and asked me to put my feet in the stirrups, lay back and scoot to the edge of the table. As the doctor begins "preparing the cervix" the bendy spotlight flickers and then goes out. Perfect.
It is important to note at this point, that said spotlight was plugged in behind the exam table that was pushed up against the wall of the tiny exam room. Let me also point out the the outlet it was plugged into was about half up up the exam table, about mid torso while I was laying down.
So, once the doctor realized that it may be an issue of not being firmly plugged into the outlet he stands up and proceeds to examine the issue from right between my legs... which of course are still in the stirrups. He is reaching for the plug to make sure it is fully engaged in the outlet and all I can think about is what if he loses his balance as he reaches? He is going to end up in a VERY awkward position!
This of course all took place moments after the "scoot to the edge of the table" comment that nearly always makes me giggling after another blogger (who shall remain nameless... HI!!) told me about her not so graceful, unintentional dismount from the exam table at her IUI recently. Let's just say I scoot with a little more care now!
Needless to say, number six was memorable!
I am feeling really hopeful about number six. I had two follies, a nice lush lining, we had a great sample and the doctor said that the insemination went perfectly and he was able to get right up to the top of my uterus. I REALLY hope this is it!
Tomorrow is the big day.... our sixth and final IUI. Six.
I managed to find a little hope for this cycle after Friday's ultrasound appointment. As of Friday, I had two follies that looked like they would be plenty mature, and my lining was thicker than it has been in the past with a triple stripe pattern. I am trying to believe that this might be it, but with our track record it is SO hard!
After sending the email to our parents about our struggle with infertility we received two very short and sweet responses that were absolutely what we were looking for. Both my husband's parents and mine offered their support, love and prayers and both simply stated that they knew whatever we decide to do, would be the best thing for our family. Music to my ears!
We are finally sharing our struggle with our parents. We decided that sending an email would be the best way for us to tell them everything we wanted to say to them without turning into an emotional mess or being bombarded with questions right away.
We are SO ready to be done with this secret keeping. It is too hard. We're tired of pretending that life is grand. We're tired of coming to family gatherings prepared with responses to baby questions. We're tired. We're broken. And most of all, we're tired of smiling about it.
So there you have it. After tonight, we will be out of the infertility closet to our parents. I'm sure after I push send on that email I will be neurotically refreshing my email for the rest of the evening to see what they have to say about our 2.5 year secret. Please, please pray that this goes well!
Yesterday I brought something home from my baseline appointment that I had been hoping and praying for the last six months would not EVER enter our home. I think deep down, I knew it would, but it doesn't make it any easier to have a shiny white folder on my coffee table.
Let me explain. This is not the first folder to make a one way trip from the clinic to my coffee table. First it was shiny blue. Blue= IUI/oral fertility drugs. It was scary because it was the first, but now looking back, that reading material was like a children's book... maybe even a fairy tale. Then came red. Red was full of information about IUI with gonadatropins. Red was more like a choose your own adventure book. Although exciting with possibilities, it was also terrifying all at the same time. The side effects sheet alone had me shaking in my boots. Then yesterday. Yesterday I brought home yet another folder. The final folder. The dreaded shiny white folder.
The white folder is all about IVF. I don't even know what kind of book to liken this folder to. Instead I will just list its chapters for you...
IVF Registration Financial Agreement Cost Breakdown Pre-Treatment checklist Psychological Services In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Explained Sonohyserogram Acupuncture and IVF Participation in IVF Procedures IVF Medications Side Effects: Gonadotropins Facts about OHSS Complications of Multiple Gestation Egg Retrieval and Embryo Transfer Comprehensive Chromosome Screening Do's and Don'ts for a Treatment Cycle ART Glossary Fertility Pharmacies Anesthesia
Yesterday I hardly got past the first few "chapters" before I started to get a little nervous. Then I stopped to remember a bible verse that I'd read just a few days ago... Psalms 46:10.