Endless Mindgames

So, since my last post I had my positive pregnancy confirmed by blood work (a nice solid number). I think the happy/relaxed part of my brain is malfunctioning. I immediately started worrying about the next one. The next one had increased nicely, and seems to be *just* about double the first one (well within normal limits of doubling time) but I just can’t seem to shut off the worry and negative thoughts.  I think following too many IVF forums with women posting and it almost feels like a competition (whose beta is highest, how fast it can double etc). I think it is at times making this process more anxiety provoking because I am comparing myself to others which is completely irrational especially when it comes to beta levels as there is such a wide range of normal levels.

Through all the ups and downs I have been going through my husband remains away for work and I just need him with me. I think my heart and mind will feel a lot happier when he is by my side. It has been a long few months without him,

So for now I am waiting to hear when my ultrasound will be and trying to remain present and feel grateful that we have made it this far. I will say again having not traditionally been a super anxious person I am surprised how hard this has been for me to not let my mind spin and worry. It is a work in progress!

I have been listening to Fleetwood Mac on repeat and I’m connecting with this song today:

I never did believe in miracles
But I’ve a feeling it’s time to try
I never did believe in the ways of magic
But I’m beginning to wonder why

 

 

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Letting Go

So I caved and POAS a few days ago and it was a BFP. So many emotions have been running through my mind. Of course I was very excited and felt the immediate desire to tell everyone and anyone. I managed to bite my tongue, at least a little anyway but I did share it with my DH, mom and a couple close friends who knew the details of what we have been going through.

After the initial shock/excitement I also experienced fear and worry. What if I miscarry? What if this is ectopic? What if the beta doesn’t double appropriately?

I think infertility has changed my perspective and unfortunately caused me to react with more worry than I really should. I think that is probably a very normal response given that for us this means so much and it has taken so much time to get this much desired result. It is hard not to fluctuate between thinking about names and due dates to the crushing possibility that it could all be torn from under me.

I am trying to let go of the worry and planning and focus on the present. Sometimes it is not working that well but I will continue to try. I went to yoga today and yesterday. The theme was transformation yesterday – we spent 5 minutes chanting Om Namah Shivaya in unison (trust me I was skeptical too but it was pretty powerful when you stop thinking and just do it). Loosely translated this means “to bow to the inner self”. The instructor encouraged us to open our hearts and prepare for whatever transformation we were currently experiencing. I thought this was quite relevant to my current situation. It is a peculiar place to be, on the precipice of pure joy and yet also guarding my heart out of fear for the possible down fall. I read this blog post that I think summarizes some of the problems with holding on to worries and fears, I think she is right that it does come out of a place of trying to control the outcome of what is going to happen. Take a gander if you’re interested:

https://tinybuddha.com/blog/letting-go-worry-weighs-us-down/

Although I would not say that I suffer from anxiety, I will say that this infertility journey has tested me more than anything else ever has. It has brought out sides of me I am not proud of but also reminded me that I am resilient and that my relationship with my husband is solid and continues to grow.

So, all that to say, for now I am a little bit pregnant. I am trying to relish this time and hoping that we continue to get good news in the coming days. Thank you for letting me use this as a tool to unload my worries and fears, it has definitely been helpful for me.

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Landslide

I’m feeling kind of melodramatic this morning. Just emotional and vulnerable. Raw.

Stevie Nicks cuts right to the core. In this song, I feel I built my life around the idea of a child…and maybe it is just the uncertainty of whether or not that will happen that is making this so hard.

I took my love, I took it down
Climbed a mountain and I turned around
And I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills
‘Til the landslide brought it down
Oh, mirror in the sky
What is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changin’ ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?
Well, I’ve been afraid of changin’
‘Cause I’ve built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I’m getting older, too

I am still in the trenches of the two-week wait (2WW) (currently 8 days post 5 day transfer). I have held off testing (or “Peeing on a Stick” (POAS)) so far but the temptation is getting stronger. The only reason I haven’t is because I have to work in a few minutes and I just don’t know if I can hold it together enough to care about other people’s problems if I get a BFN….I just need to push all of my own crap out of my brain to be able to do my job effectively. It is a challenge to say the least.

So, I am going to wait another couple of days to test. I just wish I had a crystal ball. I am trying not to over analyze every twinge or continually squeeze my breasts to make sure they are still sore (this makes no sense b/c they were already sore from the medications before transfer so not a very good indication).

I think in my mind I’ve already started grieving a little, just the way I work I think. Also because nothing has worked yet I sort of feel like “why would this’? Anyway, I am trying to stay strong but just worred about the fall out of yet another BFN….I just so wish we could be the lucky ones sometimes. I think we could be pretty good at being parents…

Anyway. Enough of my rambling. This sh*t is hard!!!

Either Way

This song isn’t really about infertility at all but the raw emotion in his voice really hits me in the gut. I think I see everything through a lens of my own experience so I can relate to some of it, sometimes it would be nice to just be able to walk away from the whole process, to be “…past the point of give a damn”. Mostly I just like this song though. I never used to be a country fan but in the last few years its been growing on me.

I will say that I am fortunate that through all of the stress infertility has put on us I think we have remained united and for the most part still happy and definitely in love. So I know I am fortunate and I can’t wait to have my DH back home (he’s been overseas for the last few months with the military). It has been lonely here without him.

And, I have a slightly major update. I have a little embryo on board. It was transferred yesterday. It survived and was expanding when they transferred it. I have a different feeling this time. Although a million things are going through my brain at times I do feel more calm this time. I am sure when it gets closer to the end of the two-week wait I might be singing a different song but for now I am feeling happy and hopeful so I will take it for now. My friend joined me for the transfer (didn’t come in the procedure room but waited with me and we went for breakfast afterwards). It was nice to catch up and it made the process less stressful having her there. If this works it will be quite the story – DH is in another continent and my friend was with me when I get pregnant ;).

And….it if it doesn’t work I’m going to be very sad….BUT, I have almost convinced DH that we should get a puppy. I know the puppy won’t fix everything but I do think it would help to ease the ache and the need to care for something. Anyway, I have a back up plan so that helps.

Happy Wednesday all.

 

Bleeding Heart

So I am starting my next frozen embryo transfer (FET) cycle and it has brought back all the emotions of this process. I feel a bit like a big open wound, oozing and fragile ready to break apart at the slightest shearing force.

I kept thinking of this Regina Spektor song (for the longest time I couldn’t find it after I heard it on the radio a few months ago and it made me cry):

Someday you’ll grow up and then you’ll forget
All of the pain you endured
Until you walk by, a sad pair of eyes
And up will come back all the hurt
And you’ll see their pain as they look away
And you want to help, but there’s just no way
Cause you won the war so it’s not your turn
But everything inside still burns
Never never mind bleeding heart, bleeding heart
Never never mind your bleeding heart
Never never mind bleeding heart, bleeding heart
Never never mind your bleeding heart

 

I think its more about coming of age but it struck a chord for me. I try to put on a brave face and stuff my feelings back inside but then there are times like these past few days when things start coming to the surface. Last night I opened up to my brother (who is 4 years younger and expecting baby #2 in a few weeks) about our struggles. I just get so weepy even talking about it lately that it’s honestly just not even possible for me to have an adult conversation about it without having a mini breakdown. It is equal parts sadness, fear, shame, loneliness and longing I think. So my default response to all of these overwhelming feelings = tears. I don’t think the estrogen I’m on is helping in the least.

I think it is just hard for me to be vulnerable and try to let go and hope that this process works. I am already grieving this cycle like it has failed yet some part of me is secretly hoping I could prove myself wrong. I’m almost embarrassed to even fathom that this could work for us yet logically I know we have a good chance. Hopefully one day I will look back on this time and be able to say that I did win the war…

Another friend of mine who has been an IF ally just told me last week that she is pregnant. It happened naturally for them after over 4 years of TTC and a few failed treatments. I am thrilled for her but it just sort of makes me feel sad to have lost another friend/ally in a way. As her joy grows, I feel my sadness also blossoming. It is just a lonely place to be and the longer we are on this road that more isolated it feels as the supports you have lose the encouraging words and I want to talk about things less and less.

Throughout all this I have to work (as an ER doctor) so I really need to put my feelings aside and focus…I just need to make it through a hellish next few days and there will be a bit of respite….I also have a visit with my mom coming up which will be a lovely reprieve I am sure.

On another positive note, I joined a yoga studio for the next month and I went to my first class today. It was refreshing and although my mind was busier than I would like I find the meditation and breathing very helpful while going through this process.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and I so hope that tonight is not a complete gong show!

Kintsukuroi

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This weekend I was lucky enough to complete a challenging and fun road race in the beautiful “cottage country” area in Ontario. This race was special because it also incorporates music and live bands along the route and after the race there’s a concert. The race was fun, it wasn’t easy and I wish I had trained more but I was glad I was able to push myself and finished my second 10 km. Now I’m looking at doing another one in a couple weeks to see if I can beat my PB from last year :).

The concert was really good too, the band Hey Rosetta! are really talented and they totally stole the show. I first heard of the concept of Kintsukuroi from them via CBC radio 2 (it’s the title of a song from their label). It is inspired by a Japanese art form that involves piecing back together broken pottery with gold lacquer – creating a more beautiful piece as time goes one with more cracks and imperfections. Its a nice image and message. Maybe the things that break us can make us more beautiful versions of ourselves, and hopefully stronger and more resilient.

Either way, I do like the song even though I’m not sure how much the song has to do with the message.

Anyway. Happy Monday.

 

 

 

Where is my mind?

 

 

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So, I’m back.

Still not pregnant.

When I went off the pill I could never have imagined how far down this rabbit hole we would be 4 years later, it’s actually sad when I add up the time so I just don’t or rationalize things away….To be fair the first 6+ months were a was because we lived in different cities, but still.

Since I last posted we have tried our first frozen embryo transfer (FET) with a genetically normal embryo that did not work…

It is sad & shitty and not what I wanted. But, I guess all we can do is move forward because the other options are, well, are there any?

After more testing (an ERA – Endometrial receptivity assay) and some trips I am about to embark on my next FET. It is so f-ing scary. To let yourself hope and think about names and due dates and then, nothing….This process can really be heartbreaking. As much as I want a baby (sometimes I’m still trying to figure out how much that is…) this is pretty emotionally taxing. Like, seriously, why aren’t we good enough/lucky enough to just be able to be parents? It really is a mind f++k sometimes.

I don’t know, I think I’m just already grieving this cycle as if it hasn’t worked. In fact I’ve already made an appointment to get a second opinion. I think it is just self preservation. I wish I could be one of those hopelessly optimistic people but it’s just not in my DNA. Maybe I read too much. I wish I was more ignorant sometimes. And I wish I could have blind faith in this process. It’s just that I know it doesn’t work and when you break down the stats it can be scary how often it doesn’t work….

Ah…sorry. I’m just having a moment and needed to vent. I feel like my outlets to do that are maybe getting smaller. My DH is away and I’m lonely and sometimes this process really sucks.

BUT – I know I am lucky. We have a chance. We have a good chance. I am healthy. I don’t have any terrible diseases (that I know of) and we have meaningful careers and a good marriage. I am lucky. I will survive.

F**k. Sometimes I wish I could be happy with having a dog. Maybe I could be….

Crazy Train

So, I took a much needed mental health break from IF. I took the summer off of this TTC process and it was great. Highly recommended. Of course, I wasn’t completely free of IF thoughts and worries but for the most part it was a very enjoyable summer after grieving a failed fresh cycle.

But, the seasons change and here we are (sorry singing Guess who in my head now…) – in the midst of another IVF cycle. I was really surprised at how hard the negative results hit me but I picked myself up and tried to convince myself that this may have just been bad luck. We have tweaked some things I have been taking some supplements and trying to be as zen as possible. I was a lot more ambivalent during the whole process but after the retrieval I think shit got real again. Although things went as well as can be expected and we ended up with more eggs mature than last time I am still scared shitless that we could be in the same position as we were last time. It’s friggin’ scary. But it’s out of my hands now and I am hoping for the best.

Being the multi-tasking over achiever that I am I came up with the brilliant idea to go away on vacation (planned months ago) right after our IVF cycle. What I failed to really consider is that we will get our PGS results while we are in the middle of our trip…this could spell disaster OR could be great…I hope I can try to focus on it too much and enjoy myself…

End rant…I just find it helps me process things to write them down here.

Troubled Waters

I haven’t posted in awhile. I am still feeling pretty raw and not really sure what to do with myself at times.

A little over a week ago I got some devastating news. Out of the 6 embryos we sent for PGS testing none of them were normal. 5 had various abnormalities and 1 was “no result”. My RE felt that none would be viable and we have nothing to transfer.

I was completely shattered. I knew they wouldn’t all be normal, statistically about 30-50% are typically “aneuploid”. I had read some studies showing some women, even egg donors, can have higher rates of abnormal embryos than normal but to not have a single normal embryo really shocked me.

Now I feel like there are many more questions than answers.

I feel like the best way to move forward is to treat this like a failed cycle and move forward but I must say this has really shaken my confidence and made me question whether or not this is our answer. It was really difficult to start considering the “what ifs” and possibly confront the future child-free…

My RE didn’t mention the “no reuslt” embryo, I was told they were all abnormal but when I got a copy of the results I found out that isn’t necessarily the case…. Part of me is holding out hope that this little bean could still be normal and that they just didn’t get enough DNA to be able to amplify the sample.

For now I am trying to somehow put this behind me and trying to feel “normal” again. I wish I was in my happy little hopeful bubble. I feel like a wounded warrior already…

 

 

The Bliss

 

If this is all there is,

Maybe that’s ok..

Believing in the Bliss,

Wishin my time away

A tender-hearted sadness pulls me through the day

But that’s alright.

My heart is ok.   (The Bliss, The Fortunate Ones)

Connecting with this song today. These last few days my confidence is waning. I think I am probably being overly pessimistic but also probably building up my defences, protecting my heart from an epic fall…Still, I can’t help but feel that aching hope that this is our answer.

I am not unhappy. Am I happy, fulfilled? Some days I would say yes. I love my husband and I do feel this is bringing us closer. I am so lucky to have him. I am lucky for my career and my family, my house, my friends (all though most are far away), my health. Still, it is there in my heart – a longing. I haven’t had the courage to really visualize it yet – to really picture my very own baby…because you know, what if?

Going to try to enjoy the sunlight and channel some positivity as I wait (?patiently) for my PGS results this week….

The Bliss