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

Friday, June 30, 2006

The Cat's Out of the Bag

Well... I did it... I managed to keep my deliriously exciting news a secret from my husband for 5 long days, and last night; at his birthday dinner... I shared the fact that we were parents.

The last 4 days have been a blur... still not feeling 100% after being told that in fact I was suffering with the Ovarian Hyper Stimulation. Mike's efforts to pick up more Gatorade haven't seemed to do a whole lot to make me feel better, but hey... it's worth it right?

I have been CONSUMED by my battle to receive Beta Tests from my RE... something that apparently seemed completely unreasonable by the clinic's nurses, despite the thousands of dollars I spent to see those glorious numbers confirm I am indeed pregnant. Luckily, my family doctor was able to understand where I was coming from, and offered up the requisitions to get the blood draws necessary to confirm that things were looking alright.

So... while I am waiting for the results of my second test taken Thursday, delayed by the holiday weekend... I am left to obsess over the results of the test taken on Tuesday. My HCG levels were 355 parts per million, and that was my confirmation... we were officially pregnant!

His birthday dinner went well... I had prepared a basic birthday card and a Gift Certificate for Home Depot, so he could buy a couple of new toys, and he opened those first. Then there was a second gift I had wrapped, with the card placed inside... the card read "There's a buzz around town" with two bumble bees on the front... then, when you opened it, it had been pre-written "Your the best daddy in the world, happy birthday!"... I added a couple of words, so it would read "You are going to be the best daddy in the world, happy birthday" He opened it and just stared at me blankly, almost scared to believe the news. In the box to which the card was attached, was a Grover puppet that instantly put a smile on Mike's face. Over 2 years ago, when we first talked about starting a family, we saw the little puppet at the store and he had immediately picked it up and started talking to our "imaginary baby"... at the time we thought making a baby in a matter of weeks... a month or two tops. So I picked up the puppet when he wasn't looking and bought it as a surprise when that day came... and now 2 years later, I finally was able to pull him out of the sock drawer!!!

He wanted to know every detail of my last week since seeing the ink appear gloriously in the second window of the pregnancy test... he was disappointed that I had learned this news and hadn't shared it for so long... almost jealous that I had this wonderful news to myself for so many days... but he admitted that his birthday was the most special ever, and that he was thrilled knowing he would never forget the day he learned he was officially a daddy.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

It's Still Real

Probably a bit MORE real than yesterday... since I krept out of bed at 6:30 am to pee, and was happy to see that my first morning urine had produced a solid pink/purple line in the window insanity. Now this one.... made me feel like it could all really be happening!

I managed to keep the grin from my face yesterday with Mike... in fact it was pretty easy. It seems that as soon as my body knew that I KNEW it was pregnant, it decided to pinch and cramp every time I moved... I grimaced my way through dinner, and barely made it through the repeat episode of "The Hills" before grunting and moaning to bed. At one point Mike stood up abruptly and said "You had BETTER be pregnant, 'cause if this is just the damn drugs, that is just plain cruel".... and I couldn't have agreed more!

So this morning, as I had the kitchen to myself with Mike enjoying a Sunday Morning in bed for a few extra minutes, I started to think back... what had been the deciding factor in my success? Had I done anything to increase my chances? I mean only a short few months ago (Ok... EONS ago, lets not kid ourselves) I had been sitting across from Dr. Greene listening to him explain that I needed an operation, or potentially a hysterectomy to remove my fibroids... and now, I was the proud owner of a white stick with two pink lines! What HAD I done that was in my control?....

1) I trusted my body. This was something I did from the begining. From the moment he suggested surgery I realized, I would have to start listening to my inner voice, and knew that I needed to trust in each decision along the way. I think the day I refused additional IUI's and said I wanted to move forward with IVF was a turning point in more ways than one.

2) Karma. This was a word used often throughout my IVF cycle... by nurses and doctors... but most of all, by myself. The moment it sunk in that I had helped at least one other couple with THEIR chance for fertility treatments, by my donation at the fund raiser, did not only allow me to realize this journey had truly began, but also served to remind me that gifts must be given in love to be received. By my purchasing the auction item for a round of IVF, I had helped my journey move forward, while giving hope to another couple just like us, traveling on a parallel path.

3) Acupuncture. I was not one of those that got up off the table and danced out of the office feeling rejuvenated after each session... but I knew deep down inside that the treatments WERE working. It was like the analogy she shared with me at my first session... where bulls with low sperm count were given acupuncture leading up to insemination. Obviously, the Bulls weren't cognisant of the benefits, yet in the end, the bulls sperm count had significantly improved. And so, at first... I went because all the research showed that it was a vital component to a successful IVF cycle... but after only 2 or 3 sessions, I realized I was getting so much more out of it. She became my most trusted friend... my cheerleader, and my comforting calm during all the chaos. Acupuncture had become my savior, and I wouldn't have gotten through this process without it.

4) Wheatgrass and BlueGreen Algae. I kept on seeing these two things mentioned in books and websites touting their benefits. But I just couldn't bring myself to grind up grass every morning, and certainly licking the inside of a fish tank was out of the question! It was when I found Bolthouse Green Goodness (http://www.bolthouse.com/html/cs_green_juice_n.html), that I had found my answer. I'm sure the lady at Safeway thought I was some health nut as I lugged the 8 bottles through the check out. But each morning, I would start the day with 250ml of the thick green juice... and I have to believe, that my body thanked me for it.

5) Removing Hormones. Sounds backward huh? Here I was, ADDING hormones with pills and injections, while at the same time; choosing to remove other hormones that have crept into our food system. I decided to cut out dairy and red meat the day I started my IVF cycle. Sure, it was hard... after all I was used to polishing off a large glass of milk at dinner, but I realized how many hormones were in a typical glass, and decided I needed to remove them from the equation. I didn't miss steak... but man.... it was shear torture not having hamburger for a month! Who knew Wendy's meant that much to me!!

6) Meditations. I purchased a CD prior to starting my IVF cycle. It was a guide to meditations for IVF and I bought it at www.anjionline.com. It was in a word; needed. So many times through the last month, things seemed to spin out of control... I couldn't live at the acupuncturist's, so knowing that I had an escape to walk me through the chaos, was so re-assuring. There were four tracks, each one appropriate for a different part of the IVF cycle. It reminded me to remain calm, forced me to look within and think positively... and to envision everything working just as it should.

7) Laughing. Sometimes I needed to remind myself... but somehow through it all, I always remembered to laugh. I gave myself plenty of material... trust me. At times, I simply laughed at the sheer craziness I found myself in...sometimes I laughed at my doctors; even when they weren't trying to be funny....I laughed at Mike... ALOT... but mostly I laughed at myself.

8) Pineapples. The worst was over, I had lived through a painful Egg Retrieval, and had successfully replaced 2 embryos into my uterus begging them to bury in and make a home for themselves. On our way home from the clinic, we stopped and purchased fresh pineapple. I had learned early on in this journey that the brolemine in pineapples helped with implantation. (1/2 cup, twice a day... 1 pineapple lasts about 5 days) So, now that we were facing the most important implantation of our lives... pineapple was definitely in order.

9) Movement. Some doctors prescribe bed rest after the Egg Transfer, mine did not. This threw me for a bit of a loop at first, I mean... what if my doctor was wrong, and all those posts I had read about mandatory 3 days in bed were something I should be paying attention to. But after talking to the doctor, the nurses and most importantly, my acupuncturist... they all referred back to the same study. A study that showed moving after Egg Transfer was a GOOD thing. Apparently, maintaining blood flow by moving at least every 1/2 hour during the first couple of days after transfer assisted in the embryos moving toward the back of the uterus, and implanting safely for 9 months. I still couldn't lift anything heavy, and certainly didn't move anywhere FAST.... but the point was, I didn't stay in bed all day... and despite my reservations, it seemed to have been the right decision.

10) Giving In. Dozens of times through this IVF journey, I asked myself how I would handle the stress...the demands and the doctor's appointments. I didn't want it to control my life, I didn't want it to dictate my social calendar, and I most certainly didn't want it to effect our home life. But then I realized... it was easier to accept that life would be different, than to try and fight it. Instead of fighting the fact that it WOULD take over my life... I ran with it. I made no excuses.... if I didn't feel up to going to the inlaws for dinner, I didn't allow myself to feel guilty for it. If I wanted to spend and afternoon in bed on a Saturday, rather than do laundry... I did... and Mike seemed to understand, that this was simply "acceptable" for the next while. I took care of me, and refused to feel badly for it. I needed to invest 100% in being successful, and realized early on, that this had to start from the inside.

I'm sure there were dozens of other little things I did in the last month to get through and stay positive... but these seemed to me, at least today... to be the reason why I am sitting here, smiling at a stick of plastic, soaked in pee.