Tuesday, October 27, 2009

thank you to a lost friend from the past

Such a beautiful Autumn day. I remember being a kid and running and jumping in the huge piles of raked leaves. It seemed so much fun. But then I also remember the last Autumn I felt like a kid. It was the introduction to the death of an animal. My best friend at the time, Becky, mourned the loss of her cat that day as I watched from a distance from the leaf pile. That was the last time jumping in those colorful leaves seemed appropriate.

Becky taught me a lot in the short time I knew her. She was a proper young lady that, while I was playing in the sand and making mud pies with her little brother, she would sit on the swingset and watch so as to not get dirty. But every once in a while, she would join us in our games of "Hotel" (our verion of running an imaginary hotel in the most perfectly formed set of pine trees), "Father Bigfoot" (our play on Smurfs where we had to stay away from the evil character chasing us) and "Save the World" (a game one summer we created to keep eachother safe... when one of us needed help, the others came to the rescue with their own unique powers. Mine was a magic wand that gave people energy and it was fueled by our long driveway that served as a fantastic "river of strength"). She knew she wanted to be a dancer when she grew up and I envied her ability to dance and that she already knew what she wanted to be. We learned how to troubleshoot arguments... and found forgiveness was the most powerful moment... even for young girls such as ourselves. Beyond that, she taught me how to let go and heal.

There are those moments you look back on and you can remember the sounds of the TV and the feel of the blankets covering you like it was just yesterday. I was in my parents water bed alone watching TV most of the afternoon as Becky was off to camp cross-country skiing for the weekend. I watched Rainbow Brite, Punky Brewster, and Fame. The preview of the news after Fame was over said a 9 year old girl had died. I remember thinking to myself "I wonder if I know her?" I waited to hear the news story out of curiosity... and once I heard her name, I hid under the covers and plugged my ears so hard, I can still remember the pain. Everyone said I was so strong-such an adult young lady. I barely cried and was back in school days after it happened.

I look back at our final summer together and I now see how important "Save the World" was to us. We tried so hard in our imaginary ways to keep everything safe and happy-and it always worked. I so wished I could use my powers for real. We were forever changed that winter and come the following summer, no imaginary games were played. We did try, but our young minds and hearts grew up that year and we now knew what adult fears and responsibilites were. Nothing was ever the same. I may have seemed to adjust well, but only I knew the truth. I was obsessed by it. I re-enacted the layout of the funeral home with legos and imagined I could see her in the clouds. In my teens, I spent hours by her grave talking to her as if she were right there with me. I shut down from nearly everything in fear I would lose more and I simply could not handle that. Her loss permeated everything I did. It was many years before I realized that life was not fulfilling when you don't allow others in. But it was a long journey to get there.

I never thought I would find any silver lining, nor did I think this story had a place in this blog. I don't like to think things happen for a reason every time (what the hell reason would there be to let a 9 year old die?), but I do think that she has stayed with me these past nearly 24 years and the lessons and coping skills I gained with her help gives me some solace as to why it happened. If her death shaped me into who I am today... I imagine she affected every person she touched in their own way.

My journey today to have a child has been a challenge and I won't lie-it has reduced me to tears on more than one occasion, but I think I am strong because of my past. She has helped me learn to cope and take nothing for granted, especially those around us. She came into my mind today during my two week wait for a reason. I believe she is still doing her part to stay alive with me... and I thank her for that...

Monday, October 26, 2009

where did "me" go?

I have been thinking about the past several weeks and thinking to myself that I feel like I am standing outside of a box looking in at myself. So many things have changed so quickly that I simply don't know myself right now and I am simply so far out of my comfort zone that I don't have the capability of processing it all and getting back to "me" again. I am fully aware that this journey can leave one a changed person-raw, sometimes empty and at a loss of where to go next. There is yearning to go back into that box... the one where I was "normal" and nothing was broken-including but not limited to our physical inadequacies and spirits. It seemed easier and more innocent there... I knew who I was and where I wanted to go. My dreams were clear and I didn't lose sleep over choices I had to make and figuring out where we would get the money for the next procedure. My life wasn't based on my cycles-and it certainly wasn't based on keeping track of when to take my next pill or give myself my next injection.

I layed on that table in the sterile doctor's office and let a nurse insert a speculum, shine a spotlight on the event in front of her, and inject the sample into my uterus. This event should have taken placed in private-with 2 participants-one NOT being a stranger with a spotlight and a catheter. I feel robbed of the most natural and basic rights we should have had-and that leaves me raw.

It's funny I feel like I am outside looking in, because Jeff has felt the same way. At least we are in this together. I know we can never go back to before. We are different people because of this and hopefully in the future, we will be able to find ourselves in this mess and will come out the other side stronger for it.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

today i give thanks for...

...a beautiful warm and breezy fall afternoon. Although a bit sad I have to work tonight as well, perhaps it will put people there in better spirits, making for a much nicer night!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

and now for the two week wait

The goods have been deposited... and much to my surprise, the motility is much improved from his original analysis. There are 37.5 million strong motile swimmers in there waiting for the impending ovulation tonight. Sadly, I had to go on my own as the husband had to get back to work due to a little mishap with a car he was working on. It felt so empty and sterile. The nurse was great and she kept chatting with me to keep the mood light... but once she left me to lie down for the allotted time, I felt so alone. So many people have been on this table in the same situation... did they feel as defeated as I do? One hurdle overcome-I am now a veteran to a medically stimulated cycle.

As much as I want to be excited, I just can help but remain reserved. If his numbers are so good this time... then what is the problem really? Do I have a hostile environment? Are my eggs impenetrable-or worse yet... are they not viable from the start? The worst thing I can think of to be labeled is "unexplained infertility"... where do you go from there? No idea why it is happening equals no idea how to fix it. It is a crap shoot every month in the hope one thing changes to work in your favor.

Listen to me... I just had my IUI and I am already feeling down on myself. I need to get into a positive frame of mind here. In just two "short" weeks, I will be having my blood drawn for a possible positive HCG test... and that would be a first ever for us. A positive test is a foreign concept that I would also like to become a veteran of.

Monday, October 19, 2009

IUI tomorrow morning

No pictures today or measurements. But all of the follicles increased in size... and another one magically appeared today as well. But they are concerned that my one follicle (my star follie) is getting a bit "too big" to keep that egg from releasing. they decided tomorrow is the day. Three follicles look ready to go, and another day would probably yield two more. They just don't think it is worth it to hold out for the others. Tomorrow it is then.

An ovidrel injection tonight and an early morning date with a catheter... and a good sense of self and humor :) Glad the husband is able to take off part of the morning to spend the procedure with me. The moral support is much appreciated given the sterility of the situation...

Friday, October 16, 2009

today i give thanks for...

...the possibility of IUI 5 days sooner than we anticipated this cycle.

the numbers please

I never imagined seeing so much action going on in those little ovaries of mine. Today's appointment went well... really well in fact. It is entirely possible I figured my cycle would run the normal 28 day gamut. Now I know not everyone has a textbook cycle, but I am fortunate mine works out like that usually (not that it has done a bit of difference right?). The nurse took a look at the follicles and I apparently have 4 little follies developing... well, one star follie and 3 following slightly behind the star. She informed me that based on the development, she figures I will be ready to trigger Monday pending my appointment that morning-and the IUI Tuesday. MUCH sooner than I anticipated! I figured 14 days worth of injections and testing were in the works. I am very relieved of course, less injections is a plus. The numbers are a bit hard to read as all I could get out of them was a photocopy of the images, but I will be sure to elaborate below :)

May I introduce a nice 7.45 mm thick lining... thats the uterus there in the center. However, I was enlightened by my artistic and imaginative brother-in-law, it looks a bit like a smiling clown with the dark circle above it being the nose...

Here are the three smaller follicles that they hope will catch up by Monday. Follicles sizes are 12.78mm, 10.74mm and 9.58mm respectively.

And finally, my star follie measuring at 15.61mm which I hope does not crowd out the other three. It would be nice to have a few to work with this month you know?

Be good and do your thing little follies... some of you could soon be considered a first photo for the baby album. If nothing else, this process allows us to see the very beginnings of possible conception... and that puts it into an amazing perspective.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

is it cold in here...

I can't decide if the exhaustion, chills, mild headache and slightly achy knees are because of the meds... or my hypochondriac tendencies.

I vote the latter...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

not so bad

So I got to do my first set of injections last night: 150u of Follistim and 5mg of Lupron. I will also get to do exactly the same tonight. Quite honestly, if you can get over the shock of watching you stab yourself with a piece of thin metal... it isn't so bad. The sting was quick and the dull ache after the injection went away after a few minutes. I can't say as much for the wave of nausea that overcame me as I realized exactly what I was doing-to myself! It think at one point I was horrified with the needle stabbed straight in my gut. Now that the initial shock is over, I am sure tonight will not be so disturbing.

No true side effects yet. Well... nothing out of the ordinary. I am utterly exhausted which I think contributes to the dizzy feeling I have-but no sleep (characteristic for me to not sleep lately) can do that too. Not sure if chills are a side-effect, but if the heat were on here at work, I may not have chattery teeth any longer.

My RE is very spiritual and chalks up this journey (or any challenge in life for that matter) as a "gift" that makes us better and stronger. I used to think he was full of it... but it is growing on me as a philosophy. It takes a strong person to overcome obstacles and challenges. This journey to having a child has tested me in way I never could imagine and has taught me more than most women will ever know about themselves. It is a learning experience every day. Hardships come to everyone... but it is how you deal with it that exhibits that necessary growth.

Oh how much more grateful we will be for our little one because of this journey.

Monday, October 12, 2009

the IUI begins.. and so does the family health troubles

I had a virtually sleepless night worrying about my early morning appointment, all the pretty needles... and the cancer that seems to be taking over Jeff's side of the family. Three family members on chemotherapy with two responding well. Another was just diagnosed about a month ago, was given a prognosis of one year with chemo, but now may not make it through to see this Christmas as he is worsening by the day even with chemo. Sad and concerning. It is a lot to deal with for everyone involved with it - and incredibly frightening that this cancer may be genetically predisposed. Here we are trying desperately to bring a life into this world while so many around us are suffering with facing their mortality... and others are facing saying their goodbyes to them. It makes our journey feel so trivial right now. I know the bitter reality of life is that it is a circle of life and death. I want to be the one to bring some new life into a family who seems only to see misfortune. That is the only part that seems to make it ok for us to continue our journey.

To top it all off, Saturday kicked off my cycle 24 with a side of IUI #1 and injectibles. Nothing like a rendezvous at 7:30 am for a baseline ultrasound with the vagina cam to wake you right up. On a positive note, there are several good follicles on the right ovary and two on the left. Good thin uterine lining and no cysts. We now have the green light to begin the drugs this evening.

Now it is up to me to limit stress and think positive. In light of all that is going on, it will be a huge undertaking...

Friday, October 9, 2009

today i give thanks for...

...being on the cusp of new possibility with such high hopes and "butterflies in the stomach" anticipation.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

the last installment of meds... finally

For anyone waiting with baited breath for the final of my 5 meds for this next cycle, look no further! My follistim has arrived-sans pen. Yes, that's correct. I have 4 cartridges and 40 pen needles, but was provided no pen for injection. Of course, in my frenzied "I have only 2 days left to get this all in order" panic, I left a message at the doctor's office, full knowing they close well before 5:30 on any evening. This morning, a nice nurse returned my call to ask if I had received the blue pen with the cartridges and needles. I said "no-no blue needle." She informed me to just ask at my next visit after I call on CD1 and they will give me a pen. It should look a little like this:Crisis averted...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

surprising result (read in sarcastic tone)

So I decided to take an HPT today for two reasons:
  1. I am constantly curious, yet realistic of the impending result of a test taken too early. Oh! And because in the last 23 cycles I have seen negatives every.single.time. anyways... why would it be any different this time.
  2. The last thing I want to do is go to my local pharmacy after work and pick up yet another pricey injectible for this next cycle if I do not need it. Thankfully this will be the last one for me to get. Nearly $200 later, I am ready to get the actual expensive part underway!
And the test... came up negative for anyone wondering. Those unholy damned things... work for once!