anxiety, fertility, IVF, ovulation, pregnancy, running, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc, two week wait

the science

It’s a quiet Tuesday evening at home. The light is beginning to wane, and the fog is so thick that I can’t even see the hills. Big puffs of fog roll intermittently down my street. I’m getting used to this phase of not doing much… Just talked myself out of doing work tonight since it can all just simmer down and wait until tomorrow. I also decided not to start my taxes (again). We can’t be driven by the to-do list every hour of every day. Am I right?

Last night was IVF orientation class at UCSF. I got to meet my Patient Navigator, the woman I eventually need to talk to about the financials. Maria from the front desk was there and gave me a hug. The auditorium was full of around 80 people considering or beginning IVF treatment, all roughly my age, all likely having been through the ringer on this already. I walked in and took a seat in front so I wouldn’t be too tempted to peoplewatch and make up stories about what each couple was going through. A woman my age sat next to me–I eyed her wedding ring. Why wouldn’t her husband be here? I felt solidarity with her, and annoyed that he felt he had something better to do.

Dr. Cedars, who I believe had the longest wait when I first called UCSF, got us started with a PowerPoint slide of all the physicians on staff, including, yep, Dr. Tran. I gazed at his photo fondly. She went through all their background info and areas of research (they really seem like a bunch of pals), and then we covered the basics: pre-conception testing, various protocols, the retrieval process, the transfer process, success rates. I knew a lot of it already (it’s amazing how much medical knowledge you can retain when it’s about you), but it was good to hear it from start to finish. I learned that the uterus is actually “potential space” and when it’s empty it’s flat like a pancake with the sides touching. Also, the ovaries aren’t really hanging way out on the sides like a Georgia O’Keeffe painting; they are usually hanging next to the vagina, just millimeters away. Closer to the opening, making the retrieval process not as terribly invasive as one might initially think.

Dr. Cedars says she is more conservative than her younger colleagues who recommend that the only thing you should not do between transfer and pregnancy test is skydive. She no longer recommends bed rest but forbids anything bouncy (which actually brought tears to my eyes as I considered abstaining from running at such a stressful time). She doesn’t want the uterus to contract for any reason–the Valium for transfer day is a muscle relaxer to prevent cramping when the catheter is inserted. She also forbids fish oil (which I’m currently taking) and herbal treatments because they can supposedly cause your blood to not clot well. She said to stop the fish oil when starting stims.

Then we moved on to Dr. Rosen, the lab director, for a bunch of amazing photos and videos from the embryology lab. We got a virtual tour of the lab, with its super-pure air (pushed through 5 filtration systems), incubators with each shelf dedicated to one patient at a time, and these futuristic-looking machines were the operator sits holding a joystick in each hand–ostensibly to guide the needle into the egg and inject the sperm.

The ICSI needle is 1/10 the diameter of a human hair, and the egg is about the size of the period at the end of this sentence. (Probably smaller, actually.) This video game requires some serious precision. About 75% of their IVF patients do ICSI.

I was just reading about how they dehydrate the embryos so they don’t burst while frozen, and apply antifreeze (cryoprotectorant) so they don’t shrivel. It sounds so sad! Don’t tell my kid. Assisted hatching is something they do for women older than 38, since their eggs’ shells can be too hard. The methylprednisolone, whose purpose eluded me when my meds box arrived, is a steroid hormone with immunosuppressive potency, potentially helping the hatched embryo survive in the new environment of the uterus. For some reason not explained in my handout, it helps them implant better. (Did I sound like a med student until that last sentence?)

Suddenly, regular conception or even IUIs  seem practically irresponsible for how much they leave up to chance!

The last slide was a photo of a newborn with an extremely scrunched-up face, and the caption said, “A Healthy Singleton.” Which is the goal. And, honestly, all of the above science doesn’t necessarily feel all that connected to actual pregnancy and birth. I guess that’s why you get nine months.

It occurs to me just how action-packed this blog is going to get in the coming weeks. First, the baseline ultrasound. Then the play by play on stimming–watching for how many follies grow with ultrasounds every other day. I am already anxious about the successful injection of the HCG trigger 36 hours before retrieval–the timing has to be exact. Then: retrieval, the daily fertilization reports until Day 5, the two-week wait for the genetic test results, and then gearing up for the transfer cycle (I don’t even have that calendar yet).

We won’t know anything definitive for two months but MAN will we be busy. And by we I mean me.

 

family, fertility, IUI, pregnancy, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc, two week wait, Uncategorized

neg bomb

Our weekend was perfect–so fun and sweet to be living it up together in the big city. So grateful for the opportunity to celebrate our adorable mom.

Postponing testing was a brilliant idea–I let it all go for one more day.

I did some research and realized that progesterone delays your period, so I knew for sure that a late period didn’t mean anything promising (that and my total lack of symptoms). I was 90% sure I wasn’t pregnant.

This morning I woke at 6:30, got brave, and tested. I didn’t even let myself hope for a positive, so by default I rooted for a negative. And I got it.

All I wanted in that moment was to get some reassuring words from SMCs on the national forum but the server was down or something because I couldn’t get through. So I went back to bed. Sharing the news at breakfast brought on a big cry tidal wave that I couldn’t hold back (though I wanted to).

Now I’m on the way out of NYC on a Greyhound bus, the sky hazy. Negative thoughts are holding a drum circle in my brain.

Tired tired tired of this merry-go-round.

[insert hopeful conclusion here]

depression, family, fertility, IUI, IVF, meditation, outdoors, pregnancy, pregnancy loss, running, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc, two week wait

groove

I just walked back to J’s from the office, stopping for two slices of pizza: one pepperoni and mushroom, one veggie. The pizza is always good here and rarely, if ever, gluten-free. Something was falling out of the sky that was right on the edge of rain/snow, probably hovering just above thirty-two degrees. Thousands of Knicks fans were streaming toward Madison Square Garden and I had to navigate carefully like a fish swimming upstream.

I’ve been in my most typical NYC groove–staying in J’s comfy and overheated one-bedroom, walking the 7 minutes to the office, traveling up to 175th Street to see E and E and their little genius L, eating at the Venezuelan restaurant in Chelsea, running the High Line. These are the rituals.

Now, I’m going to totally blast out of this routine and do everything completely differently: a touristy weekend with my family! It’s so exciting. NYC has no script for this, our family has no script for this. A true adventure. Can’t wait to blast out of this tiny corner of Manhattan and live some meaningful new family memories.

It’s been a good week although emotionally up and down. I started off so together, and then upon landing I got a call from a nurse through my insurance company to say she understands I’m pregnant and I was like…no, I’m not, and she got flustered and asked if I miscarried and then apologized and said “I hate this” and hurried to get off the phone. That was seven months ago, could they update their records?

Then a text that another friend got pregnant on the first try, and a careful heads up that I’d be getting an invitation to a baby shower. I believe I can be truly, unreservedly, wholeheartedly thrilled for friends’ good news and simultaneously punched in the gut–and it’s not a contradiction. The two emotions co-exist in me, and both are true. The punch is visceral…and then guilt over having a bad reaction to good news.

I called my sister for consoling words and she provided them. No, the universe is not ganging up on you. It went back to being a peaceful, sunny day, and I arrived in New York feeling great. Staying centered, getting sleep. Enjoying lovely, warm greetings from friends in the NY office throughout the day.

Then work stress knocked me down. I dragged myself through about 24 hours of a crisis in confidence (so many secondary and tertiary emotions–I’m mad that I’m sad that I’m frustrated etc), cried to J who gets nervous he’ll say the wrong thing, and sometimes does, but I love that he hangs in there and keeps trying. Eventually I am laughing.

I ran the High Line, where I looked for and found this art installation on the side of a building, something my friend S had told me about–breathtaking. I took my morning prenatal and twice-daily progesterone. I drank water, breathed, stayed present.

I felt pregnant-ish until yesterday when I really just didn’t, which added to my emotional distress. Signs of imminent menstruation.

But, since yesterday, I rounded the corner on most of it–dove back into work because the only way to go is forward. Decided that IUIs didn’t work and it’s time for IVF. Decided that I create my own destiny, and it’s a big world once you force yourself out of your groove. Decided I won’t take a month off because the last time I did, I landed in the ER. I have waited 18 weeks’ worth of two week waits. I’m done waiting where there’s a choice involved.

When I caught up with a friend recently, she sighed and said she didn’t think her life would turn out this way. Me neither. But why measure ourselves against an invisible and fictitious standard? Or other people? Or what other people think?

This is real life, how my life turned out, sitting on J’s couch in the quiet of his apartment (he’s at dinner), with rain/snow/sleet falling gently outside on a city about to be re-discovered; pizza in my belly; gratitude, frustration, love, and longing in my heart.

family, meditation, outdoors, running, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc, two week wait, writing

focus

It’s the night before a 12-day business trip and I’m absolutely stunned by my level of organization. This seriously hasn’t happened in all my years of crazy work travel.

The evidence: I’m totally packed, including 2 pregnancy tests. My clothes for tomorrow are laying out, the cereal box is out next to an empty bowl, two vitamins sitting beside it. There’s a list on an index card of what I need to remember to pack in the morning. I have a bowl of quinoa and black beans cooling next to me. I’m calling for the morning taxi. And it’s 8:16pm.

Normally, I kick into packing mode around 10pm, regardless of pick-up time (which, tomorrow, is 4:30am). My last post about being in high gear was no joke–I’m so focused right now, I don’t recognize myself. I’m even getting picky (like J) about how I’m folding my clothes and setting things out either parallel or perpendicular. Let’s not get crazy now!

So what is a 12-day business trip about, you ask? Basically, it’s a series of smaller trips strung together for my convenience, involving office days, meetings, visits to colleagues, four nights at J’s place, a work event, and mucho family time in between.

For my Mom’s (milestone!) birthday, my sisters and I are treating her to a decadent weekend in NYC, with all three of us and my Dad! How deluxe and special that we get to share this time together. Then we’re going down to Baltimore where we’ll hang out with my two nieces! This part I just put together this morning and am feeling very gratified that I get to see them and cut out two cross-country flights.

Today, after a glorious hike at Mt. Tam with sweet C, I was at my sister’s house and she asked me if I wanted to pull a Goddess card. I pulled  one that now I can’t remember the name…Nematoma? It was about creating and preserving a sacred space–within yourself, within your home, wherever you go. I took it to be a reminder to keep my commitment to treat myself kindly on the road, to take time to prepare and rest and stay grounded, no matter how much activity is swirling around me. This means going to bed early, running on the chilly Highline, getting up ten minutes earlier to meditate, and blogging. (Undercommitting is approximately 80% harder in NYC.)

And, with that, it’s 9pm. Time for bed, xo

 

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!

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.

breakup, dating, outdoors, pregnancy, pregnancy loss, running, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc, two week wait, writing

peace

I love how whenever I don’t post for a few days, someone says, “So, have you not blogged in a few days?” and it makes me feel loved.

I had planned on writing tonight and then realized I left my computer at the office…so I am pecking on my iPad listening to Elgar Enigma Variations and will be keeping this short since I want to be in bed by 9:30. Trying to go to bed earlier and lay out my clothes the night before so I am leisurely and relaxed, have time to meditate, and get places when I meant to instead of 30 mins later.

My weekend was super awesome. I’ll list the things I did although nothing was too extraordinary and I spent a lot of time by myself. On Fri I worked out with R and then went for a run along the Embarcadero and around the ballpark. They’ve installed LED lights on the vertical cables on the Bay Bridge, tiny white lights that shimmer and create illusions of clouds going by…and the moon was right above it, and it was a warmer evening and Friday and I was running and everything was in its right place. Here is R’s stunning photo of the bridge from the gym (borrowed with his permission for minimal royalties):

20130128-210436.jpg

Then I had a fancy dinner with dear friend C at a restaurant where I used to go with my ex so many years ago and never went back… Reclaimed!

Sunday I had brunch in Palo Alto with my former assistant who ended a long relationship and got laid off two weeks later, and I was so proud to see that she has picked up the pieces, applied to grad school, and is leaving California. She is more self-assured than ever. The boyfriend just wasn’t in a hurry to get married after four or five years together… I’ve been there and I know the misery of it and the strength it takes to leave. I got all teary over how much she’s grown up.

I came home and got work done that had been hanging over my head. Baked blackberry scones, watched the West Wing.

Saturday I ran six miles at Crystal Springs Reservoir on the Sawyer Camp Trail in the chill morning sunshine, then went to brunch with the four women I’ve become closest to in this journey to single motherhood, all of whom are amazing, independent, successful women, all of whom I feel so lucky to know. The men of SF are simply jackasses if we’re all single. So we go on without them and make the lives we always wanted. Two of the women are prego now and of course the fantasy is that we will all have babies in succession and be huge support to each other, and maybe live in a big house where the men visit for sex but we have all the rest figured out.

Came home and slept for 2 hours on my couch in the late afternoon sun.

Totally feeling symptoms although it’s too early so there isn’t much more to say. I have a giant underground pimple on my chin where I normally don’t. I’m sleepy. I’ve completely disengaged from online dating. Just read an article about what you’re supposed to include and not include in your profile and it included, “Don’t talk about your career because guys are easily intimidated,” etc. Barf. Count me out. For now, anyway. I’m fine, thanks.

I recommend this article called Finding Hope After Miscarriage that made me feel normal–this woman got pregnant four times in a year before finally carrying a baby to term. Some women get pregnant easily and it doesn’t stick and no one knows why. And then there’s a happy ending. Read it here: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/10/finding-hope-after-miscarriage/?ref=health

Sorry I can’t do a nicer link on the ol’ iPad. And it’s 9:32 so this girl better wrap it up. Happy birthday, D. Good night

acupuncture, donor sperm, fertility, IUI, meditation, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc, two week wait

20.88 million

IUI#8 went fine.

I worked from home yesterday, which I do strategically to cloak my suspicious number of appointments. At 9:45am, while peeing on mute during a conference call, I suddenly remembered that I hadn’t called the sperm thaw hotline before 8:30am as instructed. Dropped off the conference call, called the sperm thaw hotline begging them to call me back with confirmation, called Olga hoping she’d put in a good word with the lab. Slight panic. Can you imagine how ridiculous it would be to miss a cycle because of forgetting this easy step? But, now that I’ve missed the deadline twice, I see that it’s ultimately negotiable and probably more of a guideline. A nice lady in the lab called me back within 5 minutes and called me “dear.” Olga also called back and said, You’re all good!

Phew. Sigh. Gratitude. Thank you.

Half an hour before my appointment, I put on a ring from each of my grandmothers and hopped in the car to drive over to UCSF in the rain. I was called in quickly and the procedure was much like every other time with Nurse Stephanie, although this time the number of sperm was roughly double the usual: 20.88 million. They considered doing a second wash to weed out more of the slow-movers (a luxury option due to the high number) but decided it might compromise the overall number. She said it’s great news because you always want more. She showed me the vial and I saw that he donated on April 22, 2010. Earth Day. This seemed significant and memorable.

I welcomed McPiercy’s 21 million sperm into my uterus and the nurse’s assistant kindly pulled my paper sheet over my legs and sort of tucked me in before they left the room. On her way out, Nurse Stephanie said, “I hope this one goes all the way!” (See, no one is wishing for me to get pregnant anymore. We are all fervently wishing for the whole nine yards.)

I meditated. I listened to the cars going by outside on the wet streets. I thought about those 20 million dudes off to the races. I hoped this egg was it. I felt not much else–no tears, no lightning bolts, no prayers. Just mostly peace. When I sat up, the first thing I saw was a calendar that said 2013 in big numbers and my eye went to October. Please. October please.

On the way out, I remembered the woman who caught me at the elevators last time and told me she was sure I’d get good news. I told her last week that she’d been correct, but that it didn’t stick, and she said she seemed to have a knack with reading people–including the gender of babies in utero. I told her I’d swing by her desk for a reading on my way out this time, ha ha.

In the moment, I was kind of hesitating (wouldn’t she be obligated to give a good outlook?!) but when I took a few steps backward to peer around the corner to her (empty) chair at the front desk, who appeared but Dr. Tran! I have never seen him outside of our set appointments. Viewing him in that moment felt like the ultimate sign of good luck. He said hi and asked if I’d already had the procedure or if I was just arriving, and I got flustered and said something awkward like, “I was just exiting,” and he wished me luck. I swooned as I exited.

And, just like that, I’m back in the wait. It is a more emotionally serene place than the previous few weeks. Meditation the other night did help to center me, tears spilling out the minute I sat down and saw H, our teacher. He talked about the three refuges: Buddha (our own Buddha nature–enlightenment), the dharma (truth), and sangha (community). I felt the dust settling around me, a pause in the chaos, a reprieve from the stress. Refuge. It was the most needed medicine.

I held lil baby F last night for a while, went to deeply relaxing acupuncture today, ate mint chocolate chip ice cream while writing this tonight. My dentist gave me a green toothbrush because she said it’s the most fertile color. Everything is humming along.

Going to bed early. Love to my sangha.

 

 

biological clock, fertility, IUI, meditation, ovulation, pregnancy, pregnancy loss, running, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc, two week wait

the plan

After my last post, I dove into work headfirst. I made the rounds to my few work friends to let them know that my good news from the night before was reversed. They were ready to prop me up if I needed it. All the comments on the blog and texts made for bittersweet reading, everyone so incredulous…we thought that was the one, didn’t we? It took a matter of hours for the news to sink in, a process of syncing my conscious brain with what my body already knows, a process I have now gone through three times.

In the most painful moments of absorbing bad news, it is tempting to stop hoping, to lose faith, to really want to give up. It makes sense; if you burn yourself on a hot pan, you reflexively pull your hand and probably your whole self away from the source of the pain. How could I be so phenomenally unlucky…maybe this wasn’t meant to be. Maybe I will land, against all odds, on the wrong side of the odds, every time. Maybe the doctors will observe me as a medical mystery, not able to sustain a pregnancy and no one knows why. Maybe this is not my path.

When these voices get going, it is so reassuring to hear friends counteract them: “Don’t lose hope.” “Thinking of you.” “Sorry the process is so difficult.” “Just know that you are inspiring.”

I am proud that I didn’t fall apart or even halfass the conference–I did my job, I smiled, I stepped outside for five minutes of fresh air. I went on a group run the morning after I got the news. I had oatmeal from Starbucks and a glass of wine each evening. I got through it and found a way to thrive even as a sad song played in the distant background.

So, I haven’t really “processed” last week’s news yet with all the distractions of the past week. Occasionally a tear leaks out. But my chin is up.

I’m looking ahead: this afternoon, I met with Dr. Tran.

At this point, it may seem to an outside observer like I’m experiencing recurring pregnancy loss which must point to a “problem” that should be “fixed.” However, the most likely scenario is that I’ve been conceiving with eggs that had chromosomal abnormalities, something that is correlated to age. I happened to get three out of the last five. I am sure this is my issue and that it’s just (still) a matter of getting the Good Match. Here are some more things I learned about options:

  • I could do the full panel of tests for recurring pregnancy loss now (or: in 4-5 weeks because you have to wait that long after being pregnant). However, Dr. T. feels it’s overkill right now. He’s not worried about the fibroid in my uterus or clotting syndromes or a septum (whatever that is) or immune responses or all the serious and rare conditions that can stand in the way of pregnancy. These aren’t conditions that cause chemical pregnancies per se; they cause miscarriages at later stages. And he is worried that if we do the tests and get one of these results, the interventions will be extreme and possibly fruitless. He really doesn’t want to go down rabbit holes prematurely (and neither do I).
  • I could do the saline test of my uterus to see if the surfaces are ready for an embryo. (They would do this one before IVF.)
  • I could do a karotype to see if I have any abnormal chromosomes in my DNA. Not sure what I would do with this info until IVF. At that point, embryos can be genetically screened, it just costs more and may not be covered.
  • I could do progesterone suppositories, which is what a lot of women swear by on the boards. He said there is no harm in doing it so if it makes me feel better I should do it. But he didn’t seem to think it would make any difference.
  • I could change donors. But he doesn’t think this has anything to do with it–the donor is clear. He has established pregnancies and births. I’m sticking with McPiercy.

I have certainly gotten some medical details incorrect as I am recapping this from memory, but that’s the gist. I trust my doctor and he’s telling me that I am one of the lucky ones: I get pregnant easily. I have high ovarian reserve. I just have to hang in a little longer. And I have a plan.

The Plan:

  • Olga just called to say that this morning’s blood test was negative so I am cleared to try again this cycle.
  • Today is Day 1. I’ll start on Clomid tomorrow or the next day. Ultrasound Day 10. Trigger shot.
  • Two more medicated cycles, then IVF. The main impetus for IVF is my waning emotional stamina and my age–my eggs are in decline. Let’s get this show on the road. He says my IVF prospects would be high.
  • Pray, meditate, run. Rest. Get outside. Love.

 

anxiety, family, pregnancy, single mom by choice, SMC, trying to conceive, ttc, two week wait

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Last night I was at my friend C’s super fun NYE party, a great time–I was playing music at midnight and tossing back the sparkling waters with a hint of juice! Rather than drive home late with questionable drivers on the road, I spent the night there along with 6 other house guests.

We went to bed around 2:30am. I tossed and turned, sleeping lightly, nervous about the morning’s test. Even though I knew in my bones that it would be positive. In rehearsing how I would react to a negative, I told myself that if it said “Not Pregnant,” it would just be wrong, and I’d test again the next day.

At 7am, I heard C get up to get her mom up to go to the airport, then I heard the four people in the living room rustling around and preparing to leave. I had to pee. I had precious moments to do my test before someone else would need the bathroom. These tests recommend FMU: First Morning Urine.

I got the box and tiptoed to the bathroom, shutting the door quietly behind me. With nervousness and lack of sleep, my hands were shaking and I was sure the whole house could hear me wrestling with the plastic around the box. Finally got it open. I have to read the directions every time. Yet again, they hadn’t changed: put the test stick in the stream of urine for 5 seconds, then wait 3 minutes for the result.

I did it. I washed my hands and my face. I stared at the blinking hourglass. It really seemed to take forever. I started cursing it, caught myself, closed my eyes and took a deep breath. When I opened them, I saw one word: “Pregnant” !!!! YES!

This is blurry after many attempts to get my camera phone to focus, still love the result and will keep staring at it until the battery runs out:

Image

I tiptoed back to my sleeping bag and N whispered, “did you test?” and I thrust the stick at her, she put on her glasses, and we silently hugged with wide smiles. I got in my sleeping bag and lay there for a little while to let it sink in. So many things have already gone right at this point: the little implanted bundle of cells is emitting HCG which is what results in the positive test. Good job, everybody!

I put on my boots and my jacket over my pajamas and stepped outside. It was a gorgeous, crisp morning in San Rafael. As I heard my mom’s sleepy voice answer the phone, i watched as the first rays of sun climbed above the green hills.

A new year, a new day, and a new beginning!

I just napped for two hours and now I’m going to meet up with two pregnant SMC friends for dinner. I love how things are coming together.

Praying that the nugget found a good spot and has all it needs to thrive.

Happy New Year!!!!