I think I’ve been avoiding writing, just like I sometimes avoid meditating–with anxiety following me around like a shadow, not wanting it to catch up.
What you need to know is that everything is going fine.
What’s going on behind the scenes is that I’m getting information every other day, and now every day, on my estrogen level and number and measurements of my growing follicles. And I’ve had to consciously back down from a) trying to be an overachiever, b) interpreting, c) doing math, and d) obsessing about the numbers as if it will help me control the final outcome. It won’t. You also need to understand that the numbers at this point are almost irrelevant–you can have dozens of follicles and only a few mature eggs. You could also have only a few follicles but one mature egg that results in a healthy singleton. And everything in between.
At the first appointment, I didn’t know what to expect. This is a vulnerable place. I felt like the doctors had grim expressions and were disappointed in my number of follicles, which was around 13. It should be noted that they didn’t say anything (at all) to this effect, but when I walked out I felt like a failure and spent the day on the edge of tears. I texted B that I was spiraling and she said, “Don’t interpret. It’s too early to do that and trust your doctors–let them do the work.”
I went to acupuncture the following night and emerged so deeply drained. I asked him if he’d done anything differently than usual, and he said that when you’re that stressed, it’s a long journey to get back to your baseline.
For the second appointment, I brought my sister, who kept me plugged into the irrelevance of the numbers in the short term. Bringing my sis got the docs’ attention and suddenly Dr. Rosen seemed to realize that I was stuck on the anxiety channel and needed strong reassurances–and he gave them to me throughout the appointment. Everything looks really good, you’re doing everything you’re supposed to do, see here on the monitor? Everything is growing, that’s what we want. Don’t worry, you’re doing great, it looks really good. I wanted to celebrate, but my helpful sister reminded me that just like we wouldn’t get destroyed by numbers now, we’re also not going to celebrate. But I did feel way better. My acupuncturist confirmed that my pulse conveyed a much lower stress level the following night (another zapping session, though–afterward, I went home, ate pizza, and fell asleep at 7pm).
At the third appointment, on Saturday, I went alone. Different docs this time, and I didn’t even try to track the measurement of every follicle or do math in my head. I let go, just letting them take over, maybe finally realizing that, no matter what, it will be what it will be. There’s nothing to adjust, except my dosage of meds, which is totally up to Dr. Tran and he hasn’t changed anything since I started. I’m doing everything right, according to Dr. Rosen. All we can do is see how this cycle turns out and have faith that my baby is in there.
I did a pretty good job of letting go on Saturday but I also just happened to be in a terrible mood. I felt like crying about everything, couldn’t bring myself to do the dishes from Tuesday, etc. Still, I managed to finish my taxes AND do laundry, so why I didn’t feel my afternoon was a record-breaking success should be blamed on the hormones. I felt sad and lonely and stuck.
At around 4:45pm, I threw on my running clothes and drove out to Ocean Beach. As I sat in my car getting ready to run, a hurricane-like wind threatened to lift my car into the air. I opened the door and it swung open so hard I thought it may have been damaged. Stepping out into the gale force, I thought YES THIS IS WHAT I NEEDED and began my run along the boardwalk.
I almost couldn’t run straight it was so windy. Specks of sand blasted onto my bare skin, stinging. PERFECT. Despite its ponytail anchor, my hat flew off. Then my hat flew off again. Then it flew off AGAIN. I found myself screaming into the wind FUCK YOU, MOTHERFUCKER and suddenly woke up to my storm-like emotions. I actually started laughing.
Holding my hat in my hand, I continued up the boardwalk with my hair whipping around my face, forming a frenetic, lion-like frizz. I ran up the hill, past the Cliff House, and turning inland into Lands End, where the wind became a mild breeze, the golden afternoon sunlight at an angle that melts my heart.
I needed that. I kept thinking, “This is my natural Paxil.”
Today, after 9 hours of sleep, I woke up better. A gloriously clear day. I picked up my friend C who graciously offered to come with me to my appointment, which are now every day because we’re getting close. It was lovely to have her along although I feel sufficiently detached now, not even particularly asking questions. They’ll tell me if there’s something I need to know or decide.
My likely retrieval day is this Thursday, to be confirmed at tomorrow’s appointment. Then we’ll have real numbers to contemplate: number of eggs retrieved and then the number fertilized. My letting-go skills are getting honed.
My sister has me focused on what it will feel like to have a baby. I’m skipping all these steps in my mind and visualizing the final outcome–the only thing that matters.
Yesterday, my estrogen level was 2,014 (aka my baby’s birth year).
All it takes is one.