Thursday, January 9, 2014

31 Is the New 21

Yesterday was my birthday. In true birthday form, I was in tears before 7am, driving along on my way to work and crying because I had, stupidly, peed on an hcg stick before leaving and it was, naturally, negative with no chance of there being any sort of trace of hcg anywhere. Never mind the lingering concept of knowing that this is not where I wanted to be at 31 nor did I ever expect to be here. Forget the fact that I am being pumped full of the 'mones and am therefore about a billion percent more emotional than normal. Nope, the tears were brought on by my full-on stupidity of peeing on a godforsaken stick before I went to work on the day of my birthday, 6 days post frozen transfer.

 By the time I arrived at work, I'd already screwed up my makeup and my entire day. My boss fully forgot my birthday (again) which is fine, it's a week after New Year's, I don't expect anyone to care or remember when I go out of my way to make everyone else's birthdays special (hello, bitter? party of one). The Facebook notos flooded in but really, do any of those people give a shit? And how much has Facebook ruined our culture, by the way, when my own mother and brother thought a simple post on my wall was going to suffice?

Yes, I'm full of self-pity mixed with wallowing over the probability of another negative beta mixed with self-sabotage from forcing the negative test upon myself. Luckily the boys I watch were sweet as pie all day, making me toy cakes and just as I was about to "blow them out" saying, "No no, it's not ready yet" and running to grab some other drool and snot covered toy to add. The stress of the day must've shown on my face because one of the 2 year olds looked at me while I was changing his diaper and asked, "Are you otay, (my name)?" I nearly lost it right there but just planted as many kisses and hugs upon him as he would allow before running off to be a race car.

I work long hours on Wednesdays but this day, somehow, mercifully went by at a bearable speed and by the time I got home, I just wanted to curl up with my dogs and my husband and cry. The fact that there were NO birthday cards in the mailbox ensured plenty of tears by the time the dogs greeted me (yes, I'm a spoiled brat, but it was my birthday and I will cry if I need to). My grandmother, who is 90 and is always ever so punctual with a card and a check for any occasion, is in the hospital so the disappointment of not having a card was then replaced with guilt for being so self-centered when my grandmother is sick, cue more tears.

By the time Husband walked through the door - with an embarrassingly large bouquet of flowers - I was a balled up, bawling mess on the floor next to the dog bed. Husband is ever the optimist about our infertility battle so he simply held me and told me I was being dumb about the testing, then he said something that really broke me, he said, "don't you think I blame myself for this every day?" Great. At this point I think I had cried myself into a lower immune system and all of the snots and coughs and grossness the kids I watch have rained upon me for the past two weeks caught up with me and I became sick within literally minutes of my husband coming home. Because, why not? It's my birthday, dammit. Let's cap off a fantastic day with an annoying cold and no appetite. Wah wah wah.

Now I am here all stuffy and gross, supposed to be renewing my driver's license with THE hottest DMV photo of all time. Looks like I'm driving without a license til next week.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Finally Found My Mantra!

Every time - and I mean EVERY.TIME. - I try to come up with a mantra for yoga or meditation, I can only think of either Grandmother Willow  in Pocahontas ("Que, que naturah, you will understand") or, and this is silly, but I am a Beatles fan, George Harrison had a hand in a nice version of a Hare Krishna chant ("Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, hare hare/ hare Rama, hare Rama, Rama Rama, hare hare"). Neither of which means dick to me or my journey, so I always end up either counting breaths or doing what my mom taught me as a very young child, which is to visualize breathing "in with the good, out with the bad": simple but somewhat effective. 

Well since I'm on my quest to be more zen and am also in the two week wait once again - how is that for a test of wills, by the way? For the beginning of my quest to coincide with the wait?* - I downloaded some regular meditation podcasts and one fertility mediation podcast which I really enjoyed the episodes I tried out. The first one introduced the mantra, "I let go, it is beyond my control". How simple is that? How perfect is that for infertility? Pretty perfect if you think about the way a mantra is supposed to work, that's to say, if you really stick with it, you can in fact make a change in your thinking and train your brain to release control. I know it's not for everyone but for me, it's better than those "ohm shanti shanti shanti ohm" ones, which are effective as well but don't mean much to me. 

*I realize I used "quest" twice and that's bad form for creative writing but I just love the word and it makes me feel like Atreyu whenever I use. If you aren't down with Atreyu, don't even think you're down with me. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Frozen Transfer

I've officially survived my first frozen embryo transfer (FET), both remaining embryos survived the thaw, and, bonus, Husband and I survived the drive in the beginnings of a blizzard. I was not hopeful that both embryos would make the thaw, so just the fact that they are both at home in my uterus is a big relief. We arrived early, despite the bad weather, and the entire building was a bit of a ghost town. I came prepared with a liter bottle of water this time and had to stop drinking a few exits before our turn off because I was already starting to feel full. 

Since there had been so many cancellations and issues with the weather, we hardly had time to sit in the waiting room before the extremely flustered receptionist* brought us to the atrium where all of the procedures are done. When we walked through the door, there was just one nurse and not one patient in sight in the normally bustling place, she brought us back to the transfer rooms and we did all of the normal checkin stuff plus I had to ask: what do they do tomorrow when the storm is supposed to be at it's worst? Turns out because of the holidays, they only have one egg retrieval scheduled for tomorrow - transfers have leeway to be pushed a day although not always ideal - and then the monitoring that couldn't be moved would have to carry on so basically they all have to get there. 

The nurse then informed me that my own RE was doing the procedures today - I can't even tell you the relief I felt after the last RE lying about the quality of the embryos, plus all of the catheter debacles during transfer, which had led to quite a bit of pain and cramping for 24 hours post transfer. Plus my RE is my people and we have a relationship, of course, whereas last RE and I just have a "look at my vagina" type relationship going on. I was quickly seen by the ultrasound tech who assured me that my bladder was at ideal levels and to hang in there because I was next but she didn't know how soon that would be. Husband and I sat and chatted and laughed until I finally had to tell him to just let me breathe or else I would pee the table. I started to try meditative breathing but within a minute there was a knock on the door and we were ready to go.

I got the picture of the embryos (blasts) which I always feel like they are expecting some kind of fabulous reaction out of me but I always feel like, "do I have to hold this?" and we quickly got to work. My RE did try the first kind of catheter last RE tried first but only made one quick attempt and then called for another kind rather than poking and prodding the way last RE had. Within seconds the catheter was in place and the embryologist was in the room with my teeny tiny embies and before I knew it we were watching them blast onto the screen ane into my uterus. By this point I had to pee so badly I just wanted to close my eyes and tune everyone out but the embryologist and ultrasound tech were being so kind and assuring and wishing us well that I was honestly touched. 

Ten minutes later we were making our way out - funny tidbit- the women's bathroom was occupied so I ran into the men's room in the hallway only to be greeted by a man of at least 80 when I stepped back out. He muttered, "I didn't know you were a man!" and I had to giggle as I took off for the elevator and the excruciating ride home. Within ten minutes I felt like I needed to relieve my bladder again and there were so many mother effing cars on the road that should not have been. By the time we got to our exit I made husband pull over at McDonald's so I could run in and hover over a pee-stained seat (seriously ladies? How do you even do that?) and obviously so I could get some French fries. We were home in just over two hours, round trip. Now I'm chuckling to myself as I tell my husband, "ugh, I feel so terrible that I can't help you shovel today!" Mwahaha fuck that. Dogs cuddled up, tv and Netflix all to myself: being snowed in is going to be great so long as I can get out by tomorrow afternoon to distract myself from the two week wait crazies. 

*When we walked in, the receptionist was on the phone with an egg donor calling from Florida who was supposed to be coming in. Can you imagine? What do they even do? She isn't getting a flight here any time this weekend. Then we heard quite the earful about how the poor receptionist is months away from retirement and gets worked up over this weather. I must make a note to send her a thank you for being there. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013


The only resolution I've ever kept - or made - in the past ten years is to not make New Year's resolutions. I hate the idea of them, can't stand the incessant discussion of them during the week between Christmas and New Year's Day and I really hate when people think you want to know what theirs are. Yet I don't think there's anything wrong with resolving to do something at any time during the year and trying your best to stick with it. It's just that no one in your office - or on Facebook or Twitter - wants to know that you're going "gluten free" this year. I'm sorry, not sorry.

All of that being said, I can't seem to avoid the theme and have been working on bettering myself recently and thought I'd share with you what I've been doing to improve myself (yes, I realize I'm a huge hypocrite but since I've been doing these for a few weeks, it doesn't truly count). 

In no particular order

- Meditating or taking a beat to breathe when I feel ready to snap at someone or when something beyond my control is annoying me. 

- Relinquishing control. Hoo hoo, this is a tough one but I have to learn when things are beyond my control and when to just let go. 

- Yoga. I never knew how much yoga coulda make me sore and make me feel amazingly relaxed at the same time! I've been wasting so much time cardio-ing and lifting in the gym; who knew? 

- Keeping my mouth shut when I have nothing nice to say or nothing to positive to contribute to the conversation. I spent most of my teens and early twenties teaching myself to assert myself and speak up for what I think is right, now it's all about tailoring that trait to know when it's worth it and when it is all for not (spoiler alert for the passive, it's usually not worth it unless you need to speak up to family or your coworkers). 

- Stop allowing the actions of others to effect me so. I realize this goes along with "relinquishing control" but I feel it bears repeating this specifically. 

- Stop comparing myself to others. The inner monologue in my head would make Perez Hilton cringe, I swear. 

- Do a perfect winged liner on every try. 

What are your resolutions or ways you feel you can better yourself or your infertility situation/outlook?

How To Survive the Holidays

The holidays can be particularly hard on IFers with reminders everywhere of the life we wish we had. This year I tried my hardest to grin and bear it and observe the times I felt ok versus the times I just wanted to crawl under the covers until at least January 2nd. What I learned is that really the best bet would've been to book a Carribbean trip from the 24th through my birthday for just my husband and myself on some adults only resort where the drinks are all inclusive. Of course that's usually Not feasible and I've since found out that my FET will, in fact, be on January 2nd hence making the trip even less possible in theory. So what can we do during the holidays when the pain of what is not yet to be gets unbearable? 

1) Try to focus on making the holidays as wonderful as possible on your significant other or family members. I really foud joy in trying to find the perfect presents for everyone and watching them open them.

2) Do as much online shopping as possible. You do not want to be in one of those "negative beta" type moods and bump into someone you know waiting inline for Santa with her newborn. Or anyone with a newborn for that matter. 

3) if you can afford it, Treat Yo Self here and there whilst shopping for friends and family. Chances are non of your ungrateful siblings are going to get you anything you actually want anyway, why not have something under the tree from you to you? 

4) Know that it's ok to say "no". You can sit out events that you don't feel like going to: no one wants a Debbie Downer at their holiday party anyway so if you know that you just can't grin and bear it for a few hours, give yourself the okay to skip it, send a bottle of wine with your significant other or send flowers or a note the next day. It's not as much about you as you think and people will have a great time with or without you, no matter how awesome you are.

5) If you must attend an event that you're not feeling up to, suck it up and tell yourself that it won't be as bad as you thnk. It most likely won't and if you're really worried about it, practice a "worse case scenario" scene in your head on the car ride over there: imagining that your hair lights on fire or that every single person in the party is pregnant except you is never going to happen but if you imagine it will, it will make you feel better about whatever does occur and ensure that you will survive. 

6) Do something for others. Donate time, money or used items to a shelter - animal or homeless! It will open your perspective greatly. 

7) DON'T get caught up in what you don't have. It's hard, I know, trust me but when you start thinkng about how you wish you could leave cookies out for Santa or obsessing about what you wish you could buy your nonexistent kids or looking at those darn  Pinterest pins that make holidays look so perfect that really no real busy mom does anyway, you're not doing yourself any favors and you're not allowing yourself to live in the moment and therefore missing out on the potentially beautiful things that are happening around you. 

8) Start a tradition with your significant other and/or other child free friends. Naked Christmas Eve? Yes please. Drunken hot tubbing on New Year's Eve? Why not? Live it up now before you have to worry abut babysitters and feedings and such. 

9) BREATHE. It will be over before you know it and in no time this entire period will be just a memory while you're celebrating with your own sweet little family. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Life Today

I had monitoring for my first Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) on Saturday. It will be far less invasive and less time consuming however it is much less likely to work and I am not even expecting that the two embryos we have left will even survive the thaw, but it is something instead of nothing. Christmas is now a week and a half away and I have been finding myself internally angry a lot of the time. It's not that I'm taking anger out on a single soul - or at least, I hope I am not - but inside my head, there are angry, awful thoughts and mean words for almost every situation I find myself in and almost every person I come across. I know this is not healthy and I also recognize that it is me who is the problem (if it smells like shit everywhere you go, check under your own shoe, and all that).

Being aware of the anger and having an idea of where it stems from is all well and good, but how to let go? For some reason, I thought perhaps the teachings of Buddha would help me. I have no idea what brought this on or why I knew to turn to Buddhism, but I did and for the time being, I feel slightly at peace, although I know that I have a very long way to go and will need many, many reminders along the way. I thought I'd share something I read before bed last night from "Buddha In Blue Jeans" by the poet and Zen priest, Tai Sheridan:

Pain Is Natural
Pain is a natural part of life, 
Learn to accept it, 
Learn to take care of it
as best you can. 

Decrease the complaining. 
Decrease the self-centeredness around it.
Everybody has pain. 

Breathe and relax
into the pain 
as best you can. 

Please accept natural pain. 

Because that's what the anger is about, isn't it, in the end? It's due to the pain and suffering that consumes us and makes us forget that we are not alone and that our pain is not the only pain. I've been trying to remind myself this year that I can choose to say, "No one has any idea what I'm going through," or, I can say, "I have no idea what anyone else is going through." It's very hard, much harder than self-pity but it does help. 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Bah Humbug


That's pretty much all. I have gone shopping and gotten some gifts for people but mostly ended up with more stuff for me (because I'm buying my happiness right now until I have a child). I was also ordering some stuff from Amazon and making my Christmas wish list and I found my old Amazon Wish list that I made so long ago with Patriots maternity shirts and little Patriots onesies and some ornaments that I would've used to announce my pregnant to my parents, if the timing ever lined up. Delete. Oh to be that fucking optimistic again.

Now the idea of a Christmas at my parents house with no kids, the first year without our family dog and with no good news to share, and with no husband as usual as he has to work holidays; it's enough to make me want to crawl under the covers and not come out until January. Although early January brings my 31st birthday and another depressing milestone without kids.

Sorry to be a Debbie Downer and venting, I've actually been feeling pretty great and having a great time just not being consumed with IF/IVF for a bit but when it comes to the holiday season, I can't. And don't even get me started on the excessive family holiday posting on Facebook that has started already. How much can you honestly be enjoying taking your kid to see Santa if you're spending the whole time Facebooking about it? Like I said, Bah freaking Humbug.