Why Me? Now What? (A Personal Journey Through Infertility)

Saturday, June 10, 2006

I think I'm going to Puke

No, my stomach isn't hurting THAT bad... I am simply a bundle of nerves. I have a large bruise where I injected the trigger shot last night, and it is so tender to the touch, something that I didn't experience in the 2 weeks of injections leading up to last night. Although I am swollen, and have some sharp pains in my sides when I move around... I am comfortable as I lay in the bed with my laptop next to me. This is the only position that gives me comfort.

The moment has nearly arrived, and I now find myself so nervous... so unsure... so chaotic. I have not allowed to think of the "what ifs" through the last 6 weeks... but now I am looking at that concern head on. I have so much riding on the next 72 hours... all my dreams, my hopes and my desire to love a new child seems almost over whelming.

How do I stay calm? No wonder they sent me home with a valium for tonight. Would any woman really be able to sleep the night before a retrieval without it?

I feel like a million mice are scurrying around in my head, not willing to stop and allow for rational thoughts to form. I am a mess...

Please let tomorrow go ok....

Friday, June 09, 2006

10 Hours and Counting

So the moment has arrived.... my trigger shot is scheduled for 1:00am in the morning.

They are fearing OHSS, since at this morning's blood work, I was registering an estrogen level of 10,089.... they decided because of this fact, to lower my trigger dosage from 10,000 IU to 7,500 IU. I was taught how to use these new types of needles, and am ready to go... with a valium sitting on my bedside table for Saturday night. Sunday, I would wake up and head to the doctor's for my egg retrieval, scheduled for 12 noon.

It's funny... throughout this process we give ourselves "moments" to hang onto... dates, that signify getting through one stage and moving to the next. It's what keeps me feeling like I am accomplishing things, like the end is near, and like I am doing ok.

This moment in this journey signifies a big turn in the road, it is the start of the end... "trigger"... it's an appropriate word. At One O'Clock in the morning, I will trigger this next chapter in my life.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Another Day... another Ultrasound

Today is a better day, at least on the personal front. I have pushed my troubles with my "father" out of my consciousness until this whole journey is over. There are far more important challenges ahead, and I for one want to concentrate on those!

This morning's ultrasound brought welcome news at first, Dr. O'Keane was back!!! Surely this would be a good sign!! It's funny... how I have come to appreciate the doctors at my clinic for their respective traits. Dr. Greene for his shear brilliance and reputation in the fertility field. He is known and respected across Canada and is simply the best when it comes to infertility treatments; this undoubtedly deserves my respect! Then there is Dr. O'Keane... a little less smug, and the polar opposite of Dr. Greene in his demeanor. If for nothing else, Dr. O'Keane has my adoration simply for his bedside manner. I have to say, he is one of the nicest men to ever throw me in stirups and check out my Hoo-Haw with a camera.

So there I sat, bloated and uncomfortable, waiting to find out if I was progressing any better after the disappointing growth Tuesday. He said things looked good... they were finally all around 14 to 17mm... getting there, that is for sure. 10 now sat in the right ovary, and more than 14 were in the left. He seemed optimistic that I would soon see the day where I no longer had to self inject myself.

The only thing that seemed to bother him was the number of eggs... the only thing I had been excited about this whole time. Again he brought up the concern about the potential for OHSS. (Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome)... he said they would watch my estrogen levels closely in the next couple of days... since they wanted to allow the eggs to mature just a bit more, while not forcing my body into this dangerous tailspin.

When the blood work came back that afternoon, the nurse remarked that I was getting perilously close to the 10,000 level of concern. My estrogen level was now at 8376... and so, in preparation for a trigger shot any day, they decided to reduce my Gonal F stimulant injection today, to 150IU... and then asked me back tomorrow for yet another round of tests.

So here I lie...feeling awkward in my skin, my stomach tight and feeling as though it is filled with air and ready to pop. I wish I could fall asleep early, but I hardly see that being a possibility... the reality is, I am likely going to be lying here on my back, unable to get comfortable until my alarm clock goes off tomorrow morning to go through the whole routine again.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

A Day of Confusion

This morning, I half hoped for the confusion from yesterday to suddenly be erased with pure clarity, but yet... it still remained.

Lets start at the beginning...

It was another day of Blood Work and Ultrasounds at the clinic. I arrived and was told that not only would I be having these appointments, but I would also be meeting with the staff psychologist. It is a normal part of the IVF regime at my clinic, & allows the psychologist to make sure she helps make sure I am dealing with the emotional aspect of the treatment as best possible. The consultation lasted about a 1/2 hour, and then afterward I was whisked into the UltraSound room to wait for Dr. Greene and my latest update.

I sat and waited.... what seemed like hours (which in reality was 30 minutes... all with a sheet draped across my naked bottom & left wondering if I should shuffle out to the hallway in a make shift toga and ask for someone to remind him I was there). He eventually arrived, and proceeded to update me on my progress.

Initially things looked good... I had managed to grow more follicles, just as Dr. Okeane had hoped by upping my dosage... now it appeared there were about 9 in the right ovary, and another 14 in the left. He pointed out the dermoids which have been present since my first appointment... but this time thought it may be Endometriosis... something I can't be concerned about now, and didn't seem to be to much a problem, since I was managing to still produce a nice number of eggs despite being crowded in the right ovary with these nasty evil cysts. But the problem was.... the size of these little eggies were not maturing. They were still basically the same size as they had been 2 days earlier. Sure, I was creating MORE eggs... but that wasn't necessarily a good thing in Dr. Greene's eyes... since it could lead to complications later if I hyperstimulated.

In the end, he decided to wait to see what my blood work showed, before deciding if he was planning on upping my dosage of Gonal F (The Stimulant) or keep me at the same levels until my next appointment on Thursday. It ended up, 2 hours later, the nurse called and said my blood work came back showing that I was still responding very well to the medication, and that I was going to remain at 225IU through Thursday's appointment. It appeared they were going to take the slow and steady approach, hoping to grow my little follicles slowly and surely and hope that they would all mature at the same time, and that I would have a bountiful retrieval. All was good. (Or at least that is the way I have to look at things... there is no point in being nervous or self doubting now right?)

The rest of the day went as expected... I battled through the lingering questions in my mind, managed to give my injection that afternoon in a public washroom stall and getting through it without to much nervousness or embarrassment (I kept thinking I would drop the needle and it would roll out from the door and announce that there was a junkie in the third stall to the left).

I had plans to meet my father for dinner... so after I packed up my office in preparation for my now 2 weeks off work for this IVF cycle, I headed out the door to meet him.

And that is when I was reminded that even when the whole world seems to be revolving around your fertility, you can quickly be snapped back into reality with the introduction of family dynamics.

It has been nearly 6 months since the extortion debacle with my "father"... as Father's Day approaches, I am reminded that I truly didn't believe I would celebrating yet another such occasion with this man that had played the Father role in my life for the last 30 years. That time around Christmas was a difficult one, and I was pleased with myself to cut him from my life and no longer allow him to make havoc of my life and my emotions. The fact he begged me to reconsider, and pulled back his demands of hundreds of thousands of dollars, and apologized for some of his wrong doings, provided a window... a very small window... for us to move through, and see if there was any chance of reconciliation. And tonight's dinner was one of 4 we have had since then... an attempt to repair what relationship may still exist.

Often tense, always guarded... we sat across from eachother and made small talk about things that really didn't matter. He attempted to discuss IVF with me, begging to be a part of this journey, but no matter how I tried to let him into the whole process, something in me would not let him past that barrier I put up for typical strangers and passing acquaintances. I gave him the bare minimum rundown, and he seemed to understand that was as good as it was going to get.

As his only "child" (as he was once married to my mother, and acted as a sort of step father to me for 20 year before they too divorced), there are parts of him that cling to the hopes that he could be a Grandfather, and be a part of my life through this process... but the fact remains that decisions he has made over the last year have made this a challenge I am not yet ready to deal with. I am willing to make the effort, but can make no guarantees. What makes a man who is wealthy beyond imaginable, demand money from his only living relative that was willed to me by his parent? ( Apparently "Someone" told him that since I was only his step child, and that he divorced my mother after his own mother wrote her will, that money that was left to me in her will was somehow mis-represented, and that he should get it back) What makes a man that wants to be looked at as a father, create spreadsheets and contracts detailing the interest and earning potential he could have made from every dime he provided toward my education nearly 20 years ago? The man that sat across from me in that little restaurant was the same man that did all this to me and my husband only 6 months ago... how could I forgive him?

He knows it was wrong... he admits that he allowed others to control his dealings with me... and knows now that this wasn't the right thing. (At least that is what he claims) These "others" were namely the woman he has dated for several years now, a woman that has never appreciated the fact I am in his life. She told me once, that she didn't understand why I was still in his life, since he never legally adopted me, and that since he was no longer married to my mother, really has no reason to be a part of me or my family. She has voiced her resentment for many years... furious that my father has done the things parents simply "do". He helped pay for my wedding... something that infuriated her... he gives me presents for Christmas and Birthdays... something that she also felt completely a waste. She wants him to retire, and build their dream home at the lake, and use his money for THEIR life, not to better mine; his now removed step-daughter.

So there I sat... when he uttered the words that surely took all the courage in the world for him to utter... he had bought her a ring on their last trip to phoenix last month, and they would be married some time next year. She wants him to sell his current home next spring, and retire at 56. This was his new plan. The words didn't resonate until I was driving home... if I decided to take this man back into my life, I would be forced to allow this woman into my life too... something that, at this stage, I am unwilling to do. He asked me for $50,000.00 when we sell our home, so that; in his words "he could get her off his back about all the times he had helped me out over the last 30 years"... and that stung. It stung bad... Here I sat, telling my him how much the IVF was costing, trying to include him in the talks of our new house, and he was once again thinking money. That was always the way with him. A man that is alone, aside from me.... and now his future wife of course, with more money than he will be able to spend in his lifetime, asking me for money to appease the woman he loves.

We will give him the $50,000.00, I have decided that it isn't worth the stress or the anguish of battling this "demand"... but the day I write that cheque, will be the final turning point in our relationship, we will have changed from family, to... I don't know what. But the relationship will not be the same, even with it's strained formalities of the awkward meetings we now have between one another, it will never be like this again; and his decision to marry this woman solidifies that.

So that was yesterday... confusion is the only way I can describe it. Here I sit, awaiting the biggest moment in my life thus far to occur... the potential welcoming of life into our family through IVF... and another door is closing. Family is a dynamic unlike any other. Some are able to see the beauty and love that comes from such relationships, and others simply can not. I will hold onto the loving thoughts of family... and know that our family will soon be larger and more full of love, I have to hold onto that thought.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

I'm Keen on Dr. O'Keane

Okay, the fact remains that I really respect and enjoy working with my regular RE.... dont get me wrong... but today, for my first Ultrasound since starting Stimulants; Dr. O'Keane, one of the 3 other doctors at my clinic; really made my day.

The nurse doing the blood work sucked, and as I sat on the table naked from the waist down and draped in the "luxurious" 50 thread count sheet; I examined the HOLE she had made in my left arm. It was already bruising... you would think she'd be an expert at this... after all, there were at LEAST 20 other women having their blood drawn this morning. Perhaps she opted for decaf at breakfast and was a little jittery, 'cause this was definitely not an example of her best work. Things were off to a rocky start.

So I lay there on the table, waiting for the RE to sit down and deliver the news... I was ready... good or bad, I would take it in stride. So when he sat at the foot of the table, inserted that lovely camera and uttered the word "nice" under his breath, I wasn't sure if he was impressed with my progress, or happy to see that I shaved my legs this morning for the occasion.

Thank God he followed up quickly to the nurse that he was pleased to see my uterine lining looking great. 12mm I believe was what he asked the nurse to record. Not knowing if that was good or bad, I accepted his comment and breathed a sigh of relief.

He then moved to the left ovary.... this was it.... 8.... "8 nice even sized follicles" he stated. Was that good? Should there not be more? Was my body doing what it should? I had recently been reading reports of friends seeing 15 or 20 follicles in ONE ovary... was 8 really going to cut it? He looked up and reassured me, saying that seeing 8 follicles at this stage was excellent. In fact, I was reacting almost TO well to the medications, and that he suspected by our next appointment other follicles would be there to join the party. The fact that these were all small (about 12-13 mm) and all evenly sized showed that I SHOULD have a successful retrieval, and that my body was doing exactly what we have been coaxing it to do. Then he moved over to the right. I warned him that Dr. Greene wasn't sure we would get much out of that one, but he cut me off and laughed, apparently Dr. Greene was mistaken, there sat another 6 well proportioned little follicles. As he finished up he smiled and said; "This is what we like to see"... you're doing great kiddo (Kiddo? Anything that makes me feel younger at this stage is a good thing!). He decided to bump me up to 225 Gonal F, to see if he could get any other follicles to show their face. And with that, he sent me on my way.

Today was a good day. I'm sure that there will be some crappy ones thrown in along the way these next weeks, but it's days like this that keep me going... that and the fact that news like this deserves being rewarded with a Banana Split Blizzard... so what if it's dairy... I need to celebrate!