Friday, April 30, 2010

One more sleep ...

There's a heavy feeling at the bottom of my abdomen, physically I
mean. Perhaps it's more a hint of a feeling.
Emotionally, there's a small ember of hope glowing in my lap. Enough
hope to get me through these last days of waiting.

Perhaps I'm imagining things. Perhaps all the chocolate I've eaten the
past days is collecting there. Perhaps it's a side effect of the
suppositories. But, perhaps ...

I haven't dared put the thought into words, not here, not to my
husband, as if doing so would make it go away again.
But since tomorrow is testing day, I thought I'd risk it.

So fragile is my hope, that I've avoided looking back in my archives,
to see whether I felt like this before. What I remember of the last
two cycles is that I felt absolutely nothing. What I remember of being
pregnant with Linnea is that I didn't feel much until later.

Will hoping now make a negative hurt more tomorrow? I doubt it.
Probably I'll just feel foolish for having let myself get carried
away. So be it. At least I've spent the difficult days of waiting
daydreaming slightly more than despairing.

Fingers crossed!


P.S. I guess yesterday's post was very recognizable, judging from the
replies. True enough, it's a recurring theme on my blog and on many
blogs. Which is one of the reasons I almost didn't post yesterday. Is
it really necessary to repeat again?
The second reason I almost didn't post, is because I prefer not to
draw outside attention to myself. Then again, I presume Mel's target
audience is genuinely interested in learning more about infertility.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

What if?

What if infertility ruins my relationship with my husband, my
siblings, my in-laws, my friends, my colleagues?

Infertility makes me grumpy, depressed, jealous, ... all sorts of
traits I don't prize in others nor in myself.
The birth of my daughter, after years of treatment, lifted my spirits
enormously ... until we decided to start trying again. It all came
rushing back.

Depression makes me withdraw from people. The same with jealousy.

  • No, I don't want to go to another baptism - another baby conceived AND born while we were trying.
  • No, I don't want to attend another nephew's or niece's birthday part - we could have had a child that age, or that age, or that age, if only.
  • No, I don't want to discuss pregnancy discomforts with pregnant colleague 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5.


Jealousy eclipses empathy, at least as a first knee-jerk reaction.

  • Sure, it's a pity she's on bedrest from the second trimester, at least she has a reason to be on bedrest.
  • So you're worried you may be pregnant again, but you would have wanted a little more space between your kids. Well boohoo.


Grumpiness casts a shadow over my relationship with my husband.

  • No, I'm not in the mood tonight, nor was I last night, or the night before that. I can't remember when I last was in the mood, nor can I imagine ever being in the mood again.
  • Don't you dare complain about the inconvenience ART causes you, you only have to sacrifice one single day for an entire cycle of treatment.
  • If your not asking how I'm doing under the treatment, I'm sure not going to tell you on my own.


Being confronted with my own weaknesses in the face of adversity has - I believe - given me more understanding for those of others in facing their adversity. What if infertility has been an intensive course in empathy? Both giving and receiving empathy, with all it's imperfections. What I've learned is that the effort you put into truly trying to understand the other's position goes a long way into being truly supportive, even if the words that come out aren't perfect.

Now all I have to do is put this in practice, to rebuild the relationships damaged by depression, grumpiness and jealousy.




This week Resolve (U.S. infertility association) organizes National
Infertility Awareness Week, see http://www.resolve.org/takecharge
For basic information about infertility, see
http://www.resolve.org/infertility101

Mel enlisted the blogging community to give an insight in the various
ways infertility impacts people's lives, expressed so aptly by the two
words "what if?".
http://www.stirrup-queens.com/2010/04/bloggers-unite-project-if/
http://www.stirrup-queens.com/2010/04/bloggers-unite-project-if-part-two/

Sunday, April 25, 2010

6 sleeps until testing day

In brief: daydreaming, yet despairing

The glow of having made it to transfer lasted about 2 days. After
that, my heart started sinking.
"It'll all work out, you'll see" a friend tries to cheer me up, but I
just cringed (invisibly at the other end of the phone).

Thinking positive is all fine and dandy, but I've been confirmed in my
despair many, many times and have been wrong only once. It's hard to
fight the logic in that.

I do catch myself daydreaming, what if we get to pick a name again (or
names!), when would I tell people at work, would I battle the BF demon
again, etc. but I feel somehow guilty over doing so. As if daydreaming
is asking for bad news.

The last few days, I've been staking my hope on how bloated I still
feel. A shaky basis at best, but I needed something, anything. It's a
mind game though, is the bloat going down or am I getting used to it?
Perhaps it's just the suppositories' fault ...
Maybe I should pin it on tiredness instead. Yesterday, I went to bed
at seven thirty - before Linnea even! The last time I felt that tired
(without being ill) was when I was expecting Linnea. Coincidence?
Wishful sleeping?

Bigger Clinic wants me to test at 17 days past retrieval, 1st of May.
(I should rename them Bigger Suspense Clinic) Another week of slow
torture. I'm toying with the idea to POAS now, but I won't. It
wouldn't put my mind at ease either way, so I'll wait for beta day.

About my neighbors, interesting comments. The vibe I got from them was
that they saw the cycle as a lottery ticket, one that gave them
another shot at fulfilling a dream. I'm sure they knew about the
possibility of it not working, but emotionally all that mattered was
the fact that they were giving it a shot.
I didn't feel the need to rain on their parade. Either they'll find
out on their own or they'll be one of the very lucky ones.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A mile in their shoes

Today, I still felt a bit giddy from yesterday's events. We made it to
transfer! Transfer of two blasts! Wow!

Thanks for all your well wishes! It's still very liberating to share
with people who get it (and forgive the mixed feelings).

Speaking of which ...

The last two times I was enjoying the clinic's hospitality, I happened
to share a room with couples who got bad news about their cycle.
Though it would be nice to offer these strangers some sympathy, I
think offering them the pretense of privacy is more important at that
time. In other words, I'm too shy to say anything.

Yesterday my neighbors surprised me first by saying hi when they
entered. Privacy was not a concern, they didn't draw the curtain
between the beds, which didn't bother me. All the more to satisfy my
curiosity with, and I wasn't keen to manouver out of the bed in my
flimsy gown.

The woman dutifully changed into the hospital gown, only to be snapped
by her adoring husband with his camera, a gesture that made her smile.
Excuse me? My husband would know not to try that, if it would even
occur to him. But different people handle stress in different ways.

The couple was acting all lovey dovey in general, which is also not
how we interact under the stress of cycling. First-timers perhaps?

The women struck up a conversation, and confirmed that it was their
first time. But they weren't trying for a first child. They had grown
sons together and had recently decided they wanted to try again for a
girl (IVF to circumvent tied tubes). I was dumbstruck, to be honest. I
found it very, very hard to imagine being in their shoes.

Part of me - the bad part - went straight into snark mode. Yep,
tourists in the land of IVF, seeing the sights, getting the t-shirts,
tasting the quaint life style of the poor natives.
Instantly, I felt a pang of jealousy for the fertility they once had.

Part of me - the not so bad part - thought it was a romantic thing to
do together as a couple, more so than booking a world cruise or buying
a flashy car.

I plucked up the courage to ask about the 50% chance of having another
son. It had worked for others, they said, and hoped it would work out
for them, but a son would of course be welcome.

The couple wished me good luck and I wished them the same - and I
meant it - though I was still puzzled by their shoes.

Monday, April 19, 2010

All aboard!

This morning was a flurry of activity, packing Linnea's things and
driving her over to her grandparents to stay for a few days.
Good thing, because the call I was waiting for all morning came after
11 o'clock. Big relief, instructions to come to the clinic this
afternoon for transfer.

Bigger Clinic has perfected the art of keeping the suspense alive. On
the phone, all they told me was there would be a transfer. Once I
arrived (an hour early), they showed me my room, let me get into the
fun hospital attire, made me wonder whether they'd forgotten about me
as my appointed time for transfer came and went (by only 15 minutes, I
admit), then wheeled me to the OR waiting area, parked me for another
10 minutes and finally moved me to the transfer room. Then, and only
then, did we get some details about what had gone on in the 5 days
since retrieval.

There were 5 eggs, out of which 4 fertilized. On day three all of them
were of good to very good quality, which is why they decided to wait
until day 5. In that time, 2 embryos arrested and 2 kept on
developing. Both of these were transferred today.
The embryologist pointed out that the embryo's were not of top
quality, unfortunately. He emphasized the fact even, which rather
alarmed me. Not of top quality, is that mediocre, rubbish? Perhaps it
showed on my face, because he went on to say the were viable,
"pregnancies have been reported with this grade of embryos". Still
not quite reassuring, reported as in "regular occurance" or as in
"holy cow, what a miracle'!". Given that I was facing a doctor, and
not a journalist, I want to believe he meant mediocre. Finally, he
told me to remain hopeful, because there was reason enough for hope.

If only happy thoughts and hope came in pills!

I must admit I suffered less under the lack of information the past 5
days than I feared. I have Linnea to thank for this, she's the best
form of distraction imaginable. When I got home from the clinic, she
wanted me to read to her and then spontaneously gave me a big hug - a
rare treat.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Cliffhanger

I woke up at six this morning - nerves I suppose - though I then half
slept until 8.
Waiting, waiting, waiting for the phone to ring. By 11 I thought they
must have forgotten about me. I caved and phoned the clinic myself.

Imagine my surprise when the nurse told me they're holding out for a
day 5 transfer. Really?
But we had so few eggs, I protested, how can this be? To which the
nurse replied that this is good news, this means the embryos look
good.
So dumbfounded was I that I forgot to ask for the number (I don't dare
call back).

We've never ever done a day 5 transfer, too few embryos to risk it -
according to Local Clinic. 'Too few' is subject to debate, I suppose.
All kinds of thoughts are milling in my mind. It's a high stakes
gamble, and I can only hang on to the assumption that Bigger Clinic
knows what they're doing.

It collides with plans I had at work on Monday, but while annoying,
it's really just too bad.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Tiny update: no news

It's past office hours, I haven't heard any news. I'll cautiously take
that as a good sign.

The phone, of course, has rung quite a few times, though I normally as
good as never get called. Each time my heart skipped a beat.

I won't be able to update until later tomorrow. DH is enjoying a rare
night out with the guys and I'm off to a friends house.

Thanks for the good vibes!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

High five, low five

In brief: is the glass half empty or half full?

The retrieval went well in terms of discomfort. 6 follicles were
punctured yielding 5 eggs. A few smaller follicles were left alone.
5 is definitely something to work with, but not a number that gives a
lot of margin for error. I feel a bit cheated. Is this a sign that I'm
getting old - or at least my ovaries are? The glass is half empty.

The glass is half full. It's too early to despair. The couple in the
curtain next to us got worst news than us (deja-vue from last time),
no eggs of good enough quality to continue the attempt.

About the fert report, it's true that the numbers mean little at this
stage. Except the number zero that is, but the nurse reassured me that
in such an - unlikely - event they would call as soon as they find
out. Unlikely, don't get me started. Until Saturday, my mantra will be
'no news is good news'.


Linnea meanwhile is enjoying the last of the Easter sweets. She has no
qualms whatsoever about eating the chocolate bunny's ears. Won't it
hurt the bunny - I ask her? No, no. - she replies calmly, and points
out that she also likes the bear-shaped cookies we keep in the
cupboard. She has her priorities straight, that's for sure.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Trigger!

In brief: that time again.

The echo this morning showed some nice size follicles on each side,
bloodwork confirmed it's time to trigger - tonight in the middle of
the night. Wednesday is retrieval time.

So far, the switch to Bigger Clinic has been much like staying with
Local Clinic. The protocol is almost the same.
There is one very important difference. Bigger Clinic has a policy of
strict silence. Meaning that you don't get a fert report the day after
retrieval. Calling to ask is pointless, they won't tell.

Why? It's for your own good.
If the fert report is good, it may lead to undue euphoria. Things can
still go awry later.*
If the fert report is bad, it may lead to undue distress. One is all it takes.*

* That was the gist, though I'm formulating it more sharply than they
did. I knew this going in, but that doesn't make me any happier.

I'm unconvinced that it is for *my* good. I know from experience what
the fert report does and doesn't tell me. It tells me whether we're
still in the game or not. That's pretty essential. Not telling is
cruel and inhumane punishment if you ask me, I thought that was
outlawed. Only for criminals?

Already, I have that sinking feeling about this cycle. How on earth am
I going to make my meager hope stretch all the way to transfer (if
there'll be one) without a fert report?

Now I'm off to bed - until trigger time.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Hidden treasure

In brief: cycle is going well. Linnea is a big girl with a diaper habit.

Last Friday, I went for my baseline scan. Finally, after 3 weeks of
just sniffing.
The U/S shows 7 small follicles on the right and just one on the left.
I don't remember ever getting numbers before at the baseline scan, so
I can't compare. But it's something to work with.

Saturday, I started the injections. Linnea caught me preparing my
injection the other day, and yelled "me stick mommy!". Perhaps she
remembers needles from her vaccinations (and wants revenge) because I
have no idea where else she would have seen a syringe. I grumbled and
left the room mid-preparation.

Yesterday, I had a small mishap with one of the bottles with powder,
as I held the bottle upsidedown to pull every last drop into the
syringe, I noticed it was leaking!
Luckily, this happened with the first one of the three I have to use.
So I fetched an extra bottle and restarted the mixing process. The
leaky bottle still had a bit left - I couldn't bear to just throw it
away - so I added the rest to my prescribed dose.
My good resolution to stick to the protocol I ignored for a second.

Today I had my first check-up U/S appointment. The follicles on the
right side had grown, on the left some new ones had appeared.

About the cycle as a whole, I'm not feeling too excited yet. It feels
like I'm doing this out of stubbornness. Experiments have shown that
nothing is so persistent as behavior that is rewarded only once in a
while.

Linnea is 2,5 years old. She's a girl's girl much more than I was/am.
She loves putting on lip balm, sorting out the stuff in her handbag
and twirling around in a skirt.
She's no longer a toddler, but more and more acts and talks like a
kindergartener. She won't actually be attending kindergarten until
after summer though. First we have to figure out how to potty train
her. We suspect she simply doesn't want to take the time to drop
whatever she's doing and go to the toilet. What else is her diaper
for? The few times I've let her run around bare tushed she did ask for
the potty. Now that summer is approaching, we may just have to try
that strategy more often.