As The Ovaries Turn: IVF #2 On The Horizon

Things are moving along here in baby-making land. I had my hysteroscopy a couple of weeks ago and that went well. My doctor said that she did see a slight curve in my uterus, but neither she nor the other doctor she discussed it with felt that it was an issue. So no additional surgery needed, hooray!

I’m currently estrogen priming, which entails taking estrogen pills twice a day. This is to ensure that the follicles grow at the same rate during the stimulation phase of IVF–a greedy, over-acheiving follicle is a very bad thing indeed. Once my next cycle starts, I’ll have a day two ultrasound, and if that looks good (fingers crossed no cysts!), I’ll start injections that night. Of course, the pharmacy is being dumb (long and boring story), so I’m not altogether sure that we’ll get our medications in time, but hopefully we can borrow from our clinic if needed.

I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to blog during this next IVF. I really want to keep my head on straight, and I wonder if the blogging play-by-play last time increased my anxiety. Or maybe I would’ve been an Anxious Annie no matter what (let’s be honest). I might even take a full-on blogging break for a bit to make sure I’m feeling centered. Who knows, dudes. I’m saying all of this, but I might be back posting again tomorrow, all like “Did you guys miss me?!” I guess I just want to let you know that if I do drop off a bit, it’s not because something is wrong.

One of my teachers on this baby-making endeavor, Julia Indichova, often talks about how this journey does not need to feel like a prison sentence. It is only our perspective, she says, that makes it feel like a punishment. I think this is very wise. Some days I do feel trapped in a jail of my own making–like either I’m stuck waiting indefinitely or I have to give up completely. Some days are really, really hard. But other days, I am able to shift my thinking and see this all for what I, deep down, truly believe it to be: a great adventure. An opportunity to become more compassionate towards others, and also towards myself. A chance to get well acquainted with hope and faith.

Thankfully, today is one of those days. I’m feeling pretty good. I don’t know what will happen with the next IVF, and right this minute I don’t really care. Because right this minute I am feeling grateful. I’m thinking about the two pairs of blue eyes–one big and one little–that I get to look into each day. I’m thinking about the cold rain on my face as I left work this evening. Normally, that rain would have pissed me off, but today I was like, yes!

Because, really: how lucky I am to feel that rain. How lucky I am to hear and see. To have good, plentiful food to eat. To know deep love. How lucky I am to feel each breath–a constant rhythm, a reassurance that I am here, right now, exactly where I’m meant to be.

IVF #1: Day 2 Report

Holy moly, this day got away from me. I’m sorry I am just now updating you guys.

Here’s the deets. Of the six embryos that fertilized:

One is acting like a kook and not dividing normally, so it’s out of the race. I applaud it, though, for being an original.

Two have turned into “perfect” 4-cell embryos.

Two are 3-cell embryos. One of those 3-cellers is fragmenting and the embryologist suspects that it might also drop out.

One is a 2-cell embryo.

So we have five left. Five, five, five! Keep going, guys! You can do it!

As of now, we are tentatively set for a day 5 transfer on Thursday — Thanksgiving. Fingers crossed that things are still looking good when I get the call from the embryologist tomorrow. And please keep sending your thoughts and prayers to my little buddies hanging out in the petri dish. They are obviously loving all the attention because whatever you’ve been doing is working!

I’m feeling so much gratitude tonight. And so much hope.

The Reset Button

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Last week, our family traveled to Vermont. For me, it might have been one of the most-needed vacations ever. The weeks leading up to our trip were filled with fertility treatments, dental visits (seriously, people, they never end) and just a general sense of family unease. Tim and I were fighting. I felt distant from Lettie. We needed a place to start fresh. Vermont, as always, delivered.

The air is crisper there, even in the summer. There’s nothing to see but green and green and more green. Our dog Beaker ran around off-leash like a wild runt.

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Lettie played in the grass, dipped her toes in mountain ponds, checked out salamanders and frogs, and explored like a champ.

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At times, it felt like there was no one else in the state but the three of us. And I liked it that way.

We hiked.

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And hiked.

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And then hiked some more.

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We went out to breakfast.

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And dinner.

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And walked through quaint towns.

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It was a perfect week. In such a serene setting, it was easy to give myself permission to put my worries aside. To not think about the future. To appreciate my family just as it is now. It’s easy to get caught up in fertility treatments and the possibility of future babies. Scary easy. I am thankful that we got this time to breathe and regroup.

This morning, we found out that our fourth and final IUI did not work. Now we take a month off. After that, it’s time to pull out the big guns and head on over to IVF Town.

I’m scared—not really of the needles or the meds or the bajillion monitoring appointments. I’m mostly scared because IVF is the final frontier. After that, there’s pretty much nowhere else to go in terms of fertility treatments. It’s the last stop.

I’m also grateful. Grateful to science and doctors and insurance for even giving us the chance to walk down this road. For whatever reason, it appears that IVF is meant to be part of my life’s journey, and I want to accept that with grace and compassion.

I feel blessed that, before things get really crazy, we had this week to reconnect as a family. I’m telling you, Vermont is like a salve to the soul. If you haven’t been had the chance to bask in its majesty yet, jump in the car and get thee to the Green Mountains!

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Letter to My Little Lady: You, Me, Gratitude

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You at 13 months, snuggling with Grandpa Charlie.

Dear Little Fish,

Lately your dad and I have been finishing each day by telling each other what we’re grateful for. We’ve only been doing it a couple of days, but so far I love it. Feeling grateful makes me feel happy. It makes me feel loved. It makes me feel like anything is possible.

One of the things I am most grateful for, of course, is you. Today you are thirteen months old. Thirteen months! I thought I’d take a moment to tell you about some of the times over this last year with you that I’m grateful for.

The first one goes back to the very first day you were born. After you swooshed out like a speeding bullet, they tried to put you on my chest, but they couldn’t because the cord was too short. I felt your weight on me for just a second before they cut the cord and whisked you to the other side of the room. You cried the whole time you were being weighed and tested. Then, at last, they put you on my chest. And you stopped crying. Instantly. You just chilled there, looking around the room, taking everything in. Our doula even commented that she had never seen a freshly born baby that calm. The amazing thing is that you are still like that. Almost always, if you’re crying or upset about something, you calm when I take you into my arms. I am so grateful for this bond that we share, grateful for whatever it is between us that makes you feel safe.

Another time that comes to mind is Christmas Eve. You were just five months old then. You, your dad and me had trekked up to Vermont a couple of days earlier to spend the holiday with Grandpa Charlie. It was our first Christmas without Grandma Peggy. I don’t think any of us knew how it would go. We all sat together after dinner and read you The Polar Express. It was a long book for a little baby, but you sat through the whole thing and actually seemed interested in it. The couch we were sitting on was soft, I could see the lights from the tree out of the corner of my eye, and there you were, all snuggled up on our laps. And you know that? Somehow Christmas was still magical, even despite all of the loss we felt. That was mostly because of you.

Then there’s the moment you decided that you love cats. Admittedly, I don’t remember the exact day, but it wasn’t too long ago. You just up and decided that cats were the best thing ever. Every time you see one you scream like a screech owl, giggle and generally act like a lunatic. Your joy at seeing something as simple as a cat—something that I see all the time and don’t give a passing thought to—makes me feel joy. I start to see the world through your eyes and what I see is incredible. Cats? Awesome! A red block? Awesome! Random people on the street? So incredibly awesome!

Those are just three of the zillions of moments with you that I’m grateful for. I’m grateful for you every single day. It’s hard to stay sad or anxious or angry when I see your smile. I always tell your dad that I’m not sure how wars are still going on when there are baby smiles in the world.

So thank you, Fish Face, for coming into my life. And thank you for being the craziest, screechiest, sweetest, best little girl there ever was. Here’s to one great year, and many more to come.

Love,
Mom

Babies: creating world peace, one smile at a time.
Babies: creating world peace, one smile at a time.

These Lovely, Golden Days

Mamacita, circa ??
Mamacita, circa ??

My brother posted the above shot of my mom a couple of weeks ago on Facebook. The word that immediately comes to mind when looking at the photo is golden. It’s not just her blond hair or the yellowy morning light surrounding her. It’s more than that. My mom is glowing. She has her cup of coffee, she’s being photographed by the man she loves, and one or more of her children is probably not too far out of the frame. To me, it looks like a snapshot of a lovely, golden life.

I can’t say for sure, but I don’t think my mom was too much older than me in this photo. I was likely a young child then. I’m almost certain that the back-then her and the current me are in similar life stages. Somewhere about the 15th or 16th time looking looking at the photo, I realized that we share more than just a life stage.

It’s that golden thing. I feel it, too.

I’ve had a rough year. I’ve been pretty open about that. And in some ways, I’m only now just beginning to feel deeply sad about the loss of my mom. I think for so long, I pushed my feelings back because my brain couldn’t handle taking care of a newborn and processing that loss at the same time. It’s finally catching up with me, and I’m ok with that.

But I’m also sort of insanely happy. This last year has certainly helped me appreciate my blessings: I get to share each day with the best man I know. I’m a mom to a beautiful baby girl. When I really think about it, I’m hit with a sense of awe that, holy shit, I have everything I’ve ever wanted. When the younger me used to dream about what my future life would look like, I dreamt of exactly this. A love, a family. I have somehow arrived exactly where I wanted to be, and now all that’s left to do is cherish, give thanks and enjoy.

Sure, there is still sickness and death and anxiety out there. There’s no avoiding those things, and I will take them as they come.

But right here, right now?

This is golden.

Happy Mother’s Day

Card from Baby Girl.

Well, lookee here, my first official Mother’s Day!

Even though Tim can’t be here with me to celebrate, it’s been a good day. I got a card from my friend Danielle, a card from Tim and a card from the Little Fish. I’m sure she picked that one out all by herself. Several people in the coffee shop this morning wished me a Happy Mother’s Day and I even got an MD shout out from a little girl on a scooter. That was the cutest.

How am I feeling today? Pretty sappy. And grateful. So, so grateful that on this Mother’s Day I am carrying a life inside of me. It’s pretty surreal to think that next year my daughter will be around 10 months old. She’ll probably be crawling all over the place. She’ll have her own distinct personality. I will know her face, her smell and the sound of her voice by heart.

I am also a little sad because my own mom is thousands of miles away from me. To boot, she was not feeling well enough to attend Mother’s Day brunch this morning. But I am also grateful. Grateful that we got to talk on the phone. Grateful that she is here. And grateful that I have a mom who loves me so much.

I’d like to take a moment now to wish a happy day to all the moms, moms-to-be, and moms who are still waiting for their little miracle to be conceived.

A world of love to you all.