anxiety, donor sperm, fertility, IUI, IVF, meditation, outdoors, ovulation, pregnancy, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc, two week wait

high gear

This is going to be a fast post! Stream of consciousness! Bear with me, here–there’s a lot to update.

I had the IUI on Saturday. As I waited for the doctor, I was again facing the calendar. I counted out the days until the due date in 38 weeks and fixed my eyes on it for minutes in a row. Eventually, the doctor appeared, and she was a young black woman with long braids whom I’d never met before. She had a warm vibe and wished me good luck.  11 million, good motility, McP never disappoints with the numbers. While hanging out for 5-10 mins, I actually started fighting off negative thinking (a big NO), and then remembered that what you resist persists. Let the anxious thoughts flow… it’s OK, and understandable. I thought about babies. Afterward, I took a picture of the exam table so the eventual baby can see where he/she was conceived, ha!

At the front desk, I went out to see Maria who is my BFF. I asked her what she thought and she said she thought things were good, and I should focus on positive thinking. She says she’s somewhat psychic, and I believe her. I asked if I could give her a hug, and she said, “of course!” and I stepped around behind the front desk and she kissed my cheek and gave me a huge hug and wished me luck. I spent much of the weekend sleeping–still sleeping off the cold and the stress of the previous week. On Monday, I felt like a million bucks at my 7am training session.

The challenging nature of this process has required me to create some really good habits. I am more organized than usual, I go to bed earlier and get up earlier, I am cooking more. It’s not that hard to avoid certain foods/drinks (coffee, alcohol, gluten). I actually meditate in the morning, at one far end of my yellow couch, facing the sunrise out the bay window. I am more in love with my friends and my city and my family than ever. I’m happy to know that I can kick into this higher gear when it’s necessary. Self-care has finally become the thing I do, religiously, instead of avoid.

Yesterday morning, I had my IVF consult with Dr. Tran–Olga scheduled it since it can take 3 weeks to get an appt with him, so might as well get that show rolling while waiting for the result of this cycle. In a word, the conversation was fascinating. I’m still incredulous that this is even possible. And, yes C, I got a little excited.

The first thing he asked me after shutting the door was, “How are you feeling?” and I paused and said, “How do you want me to answer that question?” Because, as you know about me by now, I can share a great deal of info at long stretches if not given further guidelines. He said, smiling, “It’s an open-ended question.” I said this has been hard, but I’m doing OK, and feel like I’m standing on the edge of a cliff called IVF.

That comment got him started down an alternative path, where I would continue doing IUIs but on an injectible cycle if I wasn’t ready for IVF, meaning I’d give myself daily injections to stimulate production of more follicles (4-5). At first I thought, yes–I’m maybe not ready for IVF yet. But then we talked about IVF.

Ultimately, he says, IVF will get me pregnant the quickest and be the most cost-effective. And I know he is on the conservative side…doing injectible IUIs now seems like more time on the slow path. As he said in so many words, I’ve done my due diligence. When I asked his recommendation, he said, “It’s time.”

So, what is the protocol? I’ll try to summarize in a nutshell. First, he recommends taking a month off for my sanity. I have to consider this…it was so hard for me to take a month off in November. But I know that it would feel like a vacation.

Then, on the next cycle, I’d go on birth control for 14-21 days, and do Lupron injections 2 weeks in for 10 days. This will begin to disconnect my brain from my fertility cycle–I’d go on “manual” instead of “automatic.” After the next period, I’d have 2-3 injections per day for 4 days, blood test, ultrasound, HCG trigger, 36 hours later egg retrieval under sedation.

One thing I didn’t know is that every cycle, there are 10-20 eggs that begin to develop, but they all naturally peter out with the exception of one dominant. (And the body does not self-select for the good egg, darn.) The drugs help to keep all 10-20 in the running–so you’re not actually robbing from future cycles, just maximizing the potential you already have. He would expect to “rescue” 10-20, 70% will be bigger than 13mm (7-14), fertilization would occur in 60-70%, leaving 5-10 embryos. They’d put back 3-4 for a 30% success rate with chances of twins in the low teens. Another option is going to Day 5, allowing the embryos to get much bigger and therefore able to be genetically tested–how crazy that they can biopsy such a teensy thing and know virtually everything about it. The catch here is that you automatically lose 60% by letting them go that long. You don’t have to decide which day the transfer is until you know how many you got.

Dr. T. said my questions were “very insightful”–I admitted that I pulled many of them off the SMC national discussion board. I noticed his coffee sitting nearby, from Noah’s Bagels, wondering where he lived near a Noah’s (there isn’t one near UCSF). Also wondered how he took his coffee so I could bring him one next time.

He stood up and put his hand on my shoulder on the way out, wishing me a good day. I thanked him and shook his hand. He spent 45 minutes with me, at 7:30am. I realized upon leaving that I totally forgot during the conversation that I could be pregnant now.

So, this is a lot to process. Please correct me if I got any of these details radically wrong, IVF friends. I’m in the blissful bubble of no decisions, nothing more to do.

Have a great Thursday, team!

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anxiety, donor sperm, fertility, IUI, meditation, outdoors, ovulation, running, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc, two week wait, writing

swim, swimmers, swim

OK, I’m back. That was a long stretch of no writing, but I was so stressed that I actually felt as though writing about it would make the stress expand and devour all of us like The Blob. I needed to walk quietly through the steps of my week. And, miraculously, I made it through.

I went back for the second ultrasound last Saturday, hugely looking forward to learning the timing of the IUI because I had an important non-reschedulable Thurs/Fri business trip coming up.

Two male doctors this time, which in itself seemed foreboding–I’ve gotten so used to women managing this process. Sure enough, one follicle hadn’t progressed while the other only grew one millimeter: they were at 12 and 12. I thought, here’s something else I didn’t know I had to worry about: what if my follicles don’t even grow???

The doctors were nonplussed, said this can be random, no signs of a problem, come back on Tuesday. Which meant THREE MORE DAYS of waiting, holding off on buying my plane ticket, dreading the conversations I’d have to have about canceling. I came home feeling deflated and defeated and it was almost as bad as a BFN.

I spent the next three days living in uncertainty while being as absolutely kind and gentle to myself as I possibly could. Sleep, good food, friends, undercommitting, mani/pedi, candles, meditation, reading Pema. I was majoring in stress reduction. I took a long sunny walk with my sister. I took a long chilly and windy walk with my friend KC. I talked through every angle of every possibility: if Thursday, then if I can get an early appt I’ll jump on a plane. If Friday, I will have the dreaded conversations. If Saturday, I will be back. Tried not to pull my hair out but felt utterly and seriously stretched. I suddenly have more compassion for couples trying to time their tries around business trips and other commitments–all this uncertainty times two is enough to make anyone go mad.

I bought a Pema Chodron book called, “Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change.” She talks about how the ground is always shifting underneath our feet, that feeling anxious about it and clinging to what is known is totally understandable…yet, what if we practice being with the uncertainty, the discomfort of not knowing, and accept that this is part of being human? Stop resisting and be with it, sit with it, let it be what it is. This is REALLY HARD but all you can do is stay with it and realize that everyone has their own version of this, every day. No exaggeration.

On Tuesday, I went for my third ultrasound, feeling as though I had already been through a great battle and was pretty resigned to what the outcome would be. As mellow as I could be under the circumstances.  And, wouldn’t you know, the follies cooperated and gave me the best outcome:

One petered out, but the other was at 15mm, which meant I could go on the trip and come back for the IUI on Saturday. Today!

The nurse said that maybe my intense stress over the timing ironically actually slowed things down (that and having a cold). I had some painful bumps appear on my back last weekend which may be a mild case of shingles. I really turned myself inside out over this one.

Relief flowed like a happy river and I’ve been floating along it ever since. (It almost felt like a BFP and yet still nothing has really happened. The joys of being monitored!)

I packed my trigger shot and went on my overnight trip. While in the security line, it suddenly dawned on me that I had a syringe full of fluid in my purse and um how would I get security with that? Plus, I was with a co-worker already and not inclined to have a conversation about it in front of her. I texted B who traveled for IVF–what do I do? She said she was only asked for a doctor’s note 1 out of 8 times. A doctor’s note, of course I should have considered this… I could just see the whole trip going down in flames…and then it didn’t. They didn’t ask me about it! More gratitude.

From there, everything went smoothly. I triggered on Thursday. I flew home last night. I slept 9 hours, I called the sperm thaw hotline (YES I remembered), made a smoothie with banana, oranges, açai, almond butter, and mixed greens, and eggs with tomatoes, cheese, and basil. I’ll go on a run after this, which I’ve been missing desperately while sick and traveling. I have zero plans for the weekend other than relaxation. My head is finally clear and my cough is gone. I have an underground ovulation pimple on my chin. The sun is shining.

My friend B somehow thoughtfully and precisely tracks my fertility schedule even though she has a very busy life of her own–I get texts like, “happy triggering!” and just got “swim, swimmers, swim!” And to those texting me for updates–thanks for checking and sorry to leave you hanging during my epic week of stress management!

Time for the last IUI and, now that I think about it, the last two week wait (for IVF it’s a one week wait), the last of this phase of the process. It could work. I felt my left ovary twinging on the plane last night, hopefully preparing to blast out the good egg. Here come McPiercy’s millions!

Crazy how my hope keeps resetting–it’s back.

acupuncture, dating, fertility, IUI, ovulation, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc

sacto

A Chinese herb from my acupuncturist is responsible for the quick turnaround on my sore throat. He says everyone should have it in their medicine cabinet: it’s called “Gan Mao.” Recommend!

I would be feeling great if I hadn’t just indulged in a beer that is instantly taking me south. My nose is running (on the left side only) and I am guiltily pounding waters to counteract the beer. I wasn’t quite better after all and will be going to sleep right after I finish this.

I checked in to my hotel in Sactramento with takeout Korean food and turned on the TV, which is always the most decadent and attractive when I am depleted of energy. I got sucked into an episode of What Not to Wear about a transgendered man to woman who ended up looking really pretty, and I was in tears at the end when she appeared with her new look in front of friends and family. (Better than being in tears over the plethora of romantic comedies also airing this evening.)

After Annie’s Occupy Valentine’s Day manifesto, I had intended to be more loving of myself and others today and found myself receiving way more than I gave. J emailed me, “Happy Valentine’s Day, my corazon!” The woman I met with today brought me a bag of lemons from her backyard. And sweet texts rolled in…

So, to catch up on some giving, I gave the guy working in the Korean restaurant a $20 and asked him to put it toward someone’s dinner tonight. He looked thoroughly confused. He actually glanced at the woman next to me who was looking at a menu and preparing to order takeout for one. But then I think he figured out that he should wait, which was a relief, as that could have been seriously awkward. Hopefully he didn’t pocket it, but either way, I gave him the opportunity to create some good karma and give someone a good V Day story.

It’s true: I am in a hotel room in Sacramento on Valentine’s Day with one Kleenex stuck into my left nostril. I’m on the extreme far right side of the king-sized bed, as if someone instructed me to not take up more than 1/8 the space. The bebimbap from the Korean restaurant was shockingly bad and cold, mostly dry white rice.

And thanks to my higher power and Gan Mao, I’m fine. I can remember a lot of Valentine’s Days in a relationship that were so-so at best. Some were unbearable. There were a couple of truly great ones. And this year I had a very low expectation of the evening, which is mostly being met, so no surprises here!

There are great loves somewhere on my horizon.

The suburbs of Sacramento are, oddly enough, feeling like a minor getaway even though I’m only 1.5 hrs from home. The sun is bigger here, the air a little warmer and sweeter, with errant tall and skinny palm trees silhouetted against the golden sky.

Fertility update: I went to UCSF this morning for a window into my follicle-growing process. As the nurse suspected, Day 9 was too early to tell exactly when my follies will reach their max (20mm), but right now I have a 12mm on the right and a 11mm on the left, so I’ll go back for another viewing on Saturday. They seem to be on track. Come on, follies!

My hope is like one of those little seedlings in a paper cup that we all planted in elementary school. Fragile and new. And mostly fragile.

Lights out from Sacto and love to all my loves.

 

 

 

family, fertility, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc

valentines

And then I got sick with a bad sore throat, right after that last post. So predictable! And kind of reassuring that the mind-body connection is still strong. I’ve been home for two days on the couch, resting my voice, growing my follicles, and trying to keep up with a high volume of work emails. I am better enough to go on another work trip tomorrow, to Sacramento.

Now, what is a less romantic Valentine’s Day than a work trip to Sacramento?

Pretty much nothing. But I feel so lucky to have you all as my Valentines this year, and every year. Those who follow this blog, who keep it on ‘refresh,’ who drop what they’re doing to read, who are in a similar boat or were at one time, who resonate with me, who comment and text and call with concern and love–you are my core support team and I absolutely could not do this without you.

In honor of this, I offer this recent facebook post by one of my favorite writers, Anne Lamott, who proposes that we Occupy Valentine’s Day in the best way possible. Lots of love!. 

We are all so pumped about Valentine’s Day. You could cut the excitement around here with a knife.

My first plan was to celebrate by giving the kitty a flea dip, and overeating, but I think I’ve come up with a better idea.

Now, most of all us have some wonderful Valentine’s Days over the years; or at least days that were not SO excruciating that we wanted to die. Which is at least a start. For instance, I had a wonderful man for seven years, who made me the most incredible little cards every year, but because he did not believe in climate science, or that there was any real difference between McCain and Obama, there were tiny tensions off and on the rest of the time.

I would estimate that approximately 17% of people enjoy Valentine’s day. Mostly, women will be given boxes of chocolates that they don’t want and can’t resist, and will be really mad at themselves for inhaling. Many people will be filled with resentment, anxiety, and guilt at having forgotten, or having shown up late, or having accidentally been having affairs with other people. Many people will feel a sheet-metal sense of loneliness and rejection. They will be comparing their insides with other people’s outsides, especially those happy valentines actors in advertisements and commercials.

Most of the day, except for the lucky few, will be a nightmare.

So let’s start an Occupy Valentine’s Day movement.

Let’s begin with the premise that another word for Valentine’s Day is Thursday. And on Thursday, as an act of radical self-care, we will celebrate the miracle that a few people love us SO much, that we can go on, and bear up, no matter what; that even though they know the darkest, most human and intimate and disgusting stuff about us, they still love us. In fact, they love us more and more through the years. This is so wild, and is really my only hope. It is what salvation looks like. A handful of friends is the reason my faith in God is so deep. Because they ARE love; they (along with the dogs) are my most obvious connection to divine love in this joint, the looks of love on their faces.

Let’s celebrate that all you need is love; and that God is Love and love is God; that Love will heal ALL, although unfortunately, maybe not on our time–ie by Wednesday, right after lunch. But it will. When all is said and done, Love is sovereign on this earth. So let’s go crazy with love on Thursday. If we want to be filled with loving feelings, all it takes is to do a bunch of loving things for others and ourselves. That’s all it takes! You take the action, and the insight will follow–that all you need is love. Crazy. We don’t need to buy or be given a single thing, and we don’t need to eat anything we don’t really want. We’ll just give each other secret love gestures all day. Okay? You in?

anxiety, biological clock, dating, depression, fertility, IUI, meditation, outdoors, pregnancy, running, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc, writing

blue

I landed in SF last night and got into a cab driven by a surly Russian driver. The sun was setting over the city, casting a rosy glow. I experienced my first undistracted moments in over a week, and the tears came. Looking out across the bay, remembering how hopeful I was on departure. Feeling overwhelmed by the upcoming anniversary of my trying. Feeling overwhelmingly stuck in my current life circumstances. Just plain sad–the sad caught up with me (which, as I’m sure you know, it does each and every time you postpone it).

I believe that my grounded sense of peace of the last few weeks is still there, and that I am fundamentally OK, but my circumstances are getting seriously challenging. I’m still in some denial about the overall number of tries as I just keep plowing through them, ticking off days on the calendar and fiercely looking forward. The truth is, I have to be ready for this not to work out. I’ve started contemplating that possibility for the first time ever. One cannot do unlimited Clomid cycles and one also cannot afford unlimited IVF.

After a good night of sleep, I woke up feeling about the same. I knew I had to pull out every tool in my therapy toolbox. I checked everything off today: reading in bed, meditation, spa with my sister, sunny lunch, bought a new book by Pema Chodron, napped on the couch in the sun, went running at Lands End, bought groceries at Trader Joe’s, made myself a healthy dinner. Now I’m writing. I do feel a little better.

As with all the other disappointments, it really triggers the dating one. I feel so lost on this subject and realized this morning that I’m having a hard time even visualizing a great guy coming into my life. He’s done a really consistent job recently of not doing so, which is therefore much easier to imagine. Eckhard Tolle would say this is a problem. So, I’ll work on it. I am filtering for the negative right now, panning for sand and letting the gold through. I know I’m doing it. It’s chemical, it’s automatic. Eventually, I recognize the mental traps for what they are (negative thoughts), and move on, but it’s going to take a little time.

I’m letting you in on the dark side here, folks. I know I sometimes shield it from the blog because on some level I know that feeling sorry for myself is ludicrous, and boring, and will make me sink faster than quicksand. But it would be wrong to say I have a sunshiny outlook at this exact moment. I am trying like hell to get back to gratitude. Grateful just to be alive, to have the opportunity to experience exactly this.

If I had a zen master teacher, he or she would say at this point, “Now, things can get interesting.” I know it’s an opportunity. I know the journey is the point. I know the book will be more interesting if there’s an epic struggle.

So, what’s the big picture? Well, of course, I’m on Clomid, which makes some people crazy, so that is likely contributing to my shade of blue. One more night of that and it’s back to growing the follicles as big as possible, for which I simply try to rest and de-stress. My ultrasound is Friday. I can’t believe this is my last IUI.

In the meantime, I am taking to heart your outpouring of love and assurances and faith. Don’t stop believing.

Uncategorized

Day 2

This update is overdue but I truly didn’t have a free moment until now. AF arrived within less than an hour after the negative test, so it was pretty rapid fire for me. Thanks for milking that sliver of hope, and for all the good wishes, which I really needed. I got an email today from a stranger who’s been reading the blog, and she told me exactly what I needed to hear. What a blessing this blog is, and this community, and this journey.

I’ve been unresponsive to your sweet comments/texts/emails and will catch up when I get home this weekend. Meanwhile, thank you.

I’m not giving up, but I am letting go. My sister reminds me that I am living fully, I am walking in the fire. I feel my resistance of what is, my rejecting of reality, and I try to let it be. My journey is my own, and this is exactly where I am.

It hurts, but I do bounce back. On one hand, I am stronger. On the other hand, the disappointments are cumulative.

These occurrences tend to fall on intense work weeks, so I just launch into that and pretty much ride it out. And it’s true that I was clutching a bottle of Maker’s Mark last night on the couch until quite late.

Today I put all the logistics together for cycle #9, including starting on the Clomid tonight. Olga said, “I’m so sorry you’re not pregnant.”

As J would say, “What else we can do?”

Uncategorized

two words

“Not pregnant”…is what the stick says. It’s really early in the morning and I am exhausted but I don’t feel anything really, just feel stunned. I always try to prepare for the negative (and the positive) but sometimes you just think you know. And I’ve never gotten to the point of testing (14dpo) w/o getting a positive test.

A is also up this early, so I walked down the hallway to whisper, “I’m not pregnant.” Without missing a beat, she said “yet.” (She tested negative at 14dpo when she was pregnant with her daughter–positive 3 days later.)

Man. I’m running on little sleep and have more presentations today. Back to coffee. But I’ll hold out a sliver of hope until AF arrives.

Since I wrote that, I sat here for a minute and the sliver of hope melted a little.This happens, and then I feel like I need to change something major. Cutting bangs didn’t really do the trick. I feel like I keep doing the same thing, expecting a different outcome–the definition of insanity AND ttc.

I bought up the rest of McPiercy’s inventory last week, so I do have a faint memory of being committed to this for the long haul.

Until AF arrives (or a miracle late positive test), I can’t really get on with it. Meanwhile, I have business trip just about 16 days from now that has to be at least 36 hrs. So there are some uncertainties about #9.

Wishing I could just go back to bed but here I go: must keep moving forward. More when I am not so out of it.

.

 

Uncategorized

tick tick tick

Hi, friends. I have been away from the blog, covering many road miles in the winter wonderland of Michigan. First, I flew to Detroit and then drove up north to spend a restful and lovely weekend with my parents, where the fluffy snow piled higher with each day and the sun occasionally cast its light across the blinding white. I love spending time with them and being in the gorgeous north, and constantly try to elongate the minutes while I’m there.

Drove downstate last night, arriving at A’s just as the power came back on at the Superbowl. Even though I’m here for work, leaving early and getting back late, she and her family make me feel welcome to do my thing and spend time together when possible. I have the whole basement as a guest room. Soooo exponentially much better than a hotel, I’m just grateful they seem to like having me around. Right now A is making us popcorn while I tap away on my laptop.

I continue to feel happy and mellow although this is a super hectic trip and I have a huge presentation tomorrow afternoon. I actually need to work on it but wanted to provide an update as it’s been a few days…

The update is that I am still waiting, and will test on Wednesday. The wait has been the most peaceful yet. I know I can’t be in blissful ignorance forever.The suspension between a positive and a negative used to drive me crazy, and now it feels nice.

So, I’ll be hectic and working and driving all around lower Michigan while I enjoy the maybe-ness of it.

More when my uterus sends word.