Sunday, September 29, 2013

My IF Playlist (Sad version, A-L)

Music is such a huge part of me: I still remember dancing to my parents' records and looking through all of the amazing artwork on the album covers that my dad kept in giant crates in the den closet; dancing to Diamond Life, Thriller, Rubber Soul, - to name a mere few- was a regular weekend occurrence. I've always felt the power in certain songs: the way a sad song can describe so perfectly the way you're feeling that, despite feeling the melancholy the artist is describing, the song lifts you up as you realize that this emotion can pass by the time the song ends and a power song comes on. 

This playlist is not just for those sad times that infertility brings on; they're here to comfort you and let you know it's okay to allow yourself to be sad for a bit but that it will eventually get better. Please feel free to comment any songs that you feel are missing, I'm sure I'm missing some genres. I'll try to get M-Z out soon and just so no one goes to the tub with a toaster and some razors, I've got an "Empowering List" coming asap. 

**Disclaimer** Those who know me will expect these to Rick Roll you. I promise they don't. Click the link, just see how good it feels. 

Anna Begins - Counting Crows

Blackbird  - Beatles version (technically I linked Paul only) or Evan Rachel Wood Version or These Guys

Brick - Ben Folds Five (and yes, I know what this song is about, it's beautiful no matter what your choices are so don't get all butthurt and send me mean messages)

Bring Him Home - Les Mis, any live version, probably not the movie I love This Instrumental Too  I just cry for all of them (probably not the movie, if you're a real Les Mis fan, it was torturous)

Constant Craving - Kd Lang or Glee version is actually pretty good

How To Save A Life - The Fray (hey Grey's anatomy! 2006 called....)

I'll Stand By You - The Pretenders (anyone else remember how huge this video was?)

In My Life - The Beatles (so I have a slight obsession) and slight factoid, I've been to the dock, wharf thingy place in Liverpool the beginning of the video 

Killing the Blues - Robert Plant and Alison Krause (Scale of 1 to Pervy Creep, how weird is it that I still find RP sexy?)

Let Her Cry- Hootie and the Blowfish (is this a middle school dance?!)

Let It Be - You know who but I also enjoy the Across the Universe edition, very melancholic 

Life Is Beautiful - Vega4 (wasn't sure if I should put this here or Empowering so here it is anyway)

The Lonely - Christina Perri  (this is just my latest Cut me With a Freaking Knife song, play it five times in a row and cry in my car song)

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Got My Meds Part Deuce

Here they are, in all their glory. I now need two containers for all of the meds from both cycles and sharps but this is strictly this week's arrival. Is this really happening again?

Bonus: caught in the middle of fall decorating. My house is a shitshow but it smells like Witches Brew candles sooooo

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Ready To Initiate Phase 2

Since I'm a glutton for punishment, I spent a good portion of my afternoon perusing my ex boyfriend's wife's Facebook albums (their kid just had a birthday). Don't get me wrong: I know I dodged a major bullet by not having a kid with that loser, but as I'm sitting on my couch with my dogs being a lazy slob all weekend, although there's nowhere else I'd rather be, the feeling of emptiness is palpable. I want to be throwing birthday parties for my own kids and teaching my own kids all sorts of stuff and watching them develop, the way I have for the countless kids I've nannied.

I've been asked multiple times if I'm "excited" to start IVF number two and everytime I try to answer the query, all I can think about is wanting to skip ahead to pregnancy. Gone is the joy I get from sleeping in on the weekends - as I wake up and quietly drink my coffee, I long for a crying baby to soothe or for eager toddlers waiting to get a move on a fun family activity (Apple picking anyone?). There are so many activities I miss out on because the idea of going ice skating, to the fair, to an amusement park, etc feels so depressing without a child. No longer do I get a smug satisfaction out of seeing our bank account grow; "we'd never have money to go to Foxboro for a game if we had a kid!" I'd tell myself, in the past, to pacify the emptiness. Today I'd gladly spend that money on diapers or after school activities or planning our first family trip to Foxboro.

The emptiness us infertiles feel is impossible to describe to the "lucky ones"; what else is there on the planet that you can know you want more than anything, without ever actually having had it to begin with? What else would you put your body through the shots, the hormones, and the appointments for?  I know that eventually all that the IVF cycles entail will bring me on to the next phase and I cannot even imagine how amazing it is going to feel to eventually fill the void, I just can't stand the thought of waiting another second for my destiny to arrive. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

My Intro

I've never written an intro for this blog because I've had some sort of brain block but below I want you all to see my work in progress and hopefully chime in with some tips.

I met my husband in 2005; he was about to be 30 and I was 22 and trying to finish school. It was instant attraction although not an instant romance, I believe what really glued us together was our shared love of family and children and our desire to build a family of our own. 

We were married in the spring of 2009 and although we decided to give it a year of marriage before "trying" to conceive, I still pulled the goalie immediately and never refilled the birth control script after the honeymoon. 

Even though we were not aggressively trying until about 2012, I always had the thought that something wasn't quite right. We also had to contend with my family history of the genetic condition SCA1 which is autosomal dominant (meaning you cannot simply be a carrier; if you have it you have and will have a 50% chance of passing it on to your children). My mom has SCA1, as well as 2 out of her 4 siblings and various cousins of hers. She came to us with the idea of possibly using IVF to negate the possibility of passing it on, if I were positive. I spent a long, long time debating whether I even wanted to know - onset is usually not until at least middle age - and if I was positive, I struggled with the idea of "playing God" and whether I would've been ok knowing that someone could have made the same choice about me. 

By mid 2012, I had yet to become pregnant and my periods had never seemed to even out after stopping birth control; with cycles ranging from 14 to 60+ days, it was impossible to track anything. I finally went to my OBGYN with all of this information: the "not trying but not trying not to", the weird cycles, plus the family history. His immediate reaction was that we were dealing with infertility and that I should meet with a reproductive endocrinologist(RE) specializing in genetics immediately. 

My OBGYN and RE both convinced me that I had to get genetic testing immediately; the biggest impact was when my OBGYN said "you may think it's fine to deal with SCA1, but what if you have a child who can't?" Done. I met with one of the oldest geneticists in the country and four weeks later he called me with the best news I could have heard - negative. With the fright of passing SCA1 thankfully behind us, it was time to move along and get to the bottom of not being pregnant after almost 4 years. It was decided fairly quickly that we'd do IVF with ICSI since our main concern ended up being Male Factor Infertility(MFI)  This blog is my Infertility journey from that point on. 

Infertility is painful; it is in no way glamorous - as some reality shows may lead you to believe -, it is lonely, and there are many, many obstacles and disappointments. The emptiness infertility leaves upon a couple is impossible to describe to anyone who has not dealt with it first hand. I hope to convey the journey to those who are lucky enough to avoid it and to offer a place for those who are dealing with infertility to feel less alone and to hopefully laugh at as much as we can along the way. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Long and Winding Road

Husband had his semen analysis yesterday and I was able to have a good long chat with our RE. The sperm numbers are up but the motility is non existent; as in not even one sperm doing a little jiggle trying to move. So, it's not looking like the quality is ever going to really improve - and now I know not to waste my freaking time after sex and I can just get up and pee already!- so we can finally move forward with the next protocol.

Timing, Mother Nature, and whatever powers their may be out there being the motherfuckers that they are, yesterday s also the day my period decided to show up. I told my RE that I was going to sweet talk him into letting me start the cycle today and he laughed and said that it's unfortunately up to the insurance company; we still need approval for round two which of course has been on hold. Soooo, if it were up to my RE we would've started with monitoring today and gone straight to five days progesterone in a week or so and then straight forward to the transfer. Lovely, easy, all the work up to my husband this time around, right? Big fucking negative, Ghost Writer. 

We are one of TWO of his patients ever to have insurance say that egg thawing is still an "experimental science" and won't cover it (ahhh, a loophole. I know, I should not complain because we do get so much covered). Therefore, I get to do an entire round of IVF drugs again starting next cycle. Tell the folks what she's won: this will be a smaller round since my awesome RE is going to give the finger to the insurance company and thaw my eggs anyway on my retrieval day, so I'll get to skip Lupron all together, thank you baby Jesus. 

There's a lot to worry about, per usual and I'm completely jaded from my last retrieval experience but I've got about a month to get it out of my system and then I'll be riding the hormone crazy train again. Woowoooo. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

I'm a Moron

For two reasons. One, I wrote an alphabet out today for the kids I watch:
Yaaa, I blame it on being Monday and having to sing the alphabet song after I wrote out each letter then prompt them for the next it's definitely the 2 year olds' faults.

 I also blame above moronic moment on being distracted by reason nĂºmero dos: sometime between last night and this morning, I absolutely convinced myself that I am pregnant. I haven't been that convinced since the one time I actually was pregnant and "just knew".  When I went to CVS after work tonight - to pick up my antibiotic for yet another UTI - I just went for it with the pregnancy test. I also convinced myself that I needed to buy the expensive EPT, because that's what I used the time an entire decade ago when I was pregnant. Totally logical. I just took the test and stared down the lines for the full two minutes, as if the vertical line was just going to magically appear over the horizontal to make a plus sign. The time I was pregnant, the plus sign was there before I even took the damn stick out of the pee. Oh to go back in time and slap the girl who took that test! When pregnancy felt like the worst possible thing that could've happened to me at the time. Now the negative has the exact same effect on me. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Game Time


It's kickoff day for the Pats, my husband and I are rabid football fans and will spend 1pm-4 yelling for our team and then the remainder of the day going back and forth from computer to TV and back, keeping an eye on our fantasy teams (this is the first year we're in the same league - lookout marriage!). Excitement and bliss aside, today is also the day my period is due. Wah wah wah. And while the past few cycles have been like clockwork but with no PMS symptoms, this cycle is already a few hours late and with no symptoms. Commence troll brain. 

I totally stood in the evil section of CVS yesterday for far too long, gazing at the pregnancy tests and ovulation kits, debating spending the money. "I'll just buy the store brand one," is how I justified the idea of buying one before my period is even due. I ended up talking sense into myself before I wasted money on a test (I spent it on makeup instead weeee because I always need more and there was PINK mascara and glitter eyeliner, you guys). 

On my way to checkout, I walked straight into a lady with her arms chock full of prenatal vitamins. Fuck. It. I convinced myself that she was in the TTC stage and maybe even she is like me and her RE told her to start them along with her hormones. It kind of helped me have compassion in place of seething jealousy. 

So I'll be simultaneously cheering on my team while cheering on my period to just get here already because really, we had sex three times this cycle, and according to my RE, we don't want any part in the sperm he was producing last semen analysis (I think those sperm were probably slow moving Jets fans- barf!).

Monday, September 2, 2013


How time flies when you are not obsessing over infertility appointments and deadlines! Makes me wish we all had an "off" button somewhere internally for the days when we're tormenting ourselves waiting for our periods or for "the call" or the beta test, ultrasound, blood work, followup, FET, ER, ET.....phew, it truly is a wonder how we don't all end up committed at some point throughout this affair. As difficult as it is to see when you're in the depths of the process, a break can really be a good thing and I strongly recommend one to anyone who is able to do so.

The past week I've been in a toss up of "clouds". Clouds are what I call it when I retreat into my brain and allow my thoughts to wander and escape so much that I'm having conversations and scenarios play out internally without even really noticing so. Our dear friend was finally memorialized on Monday at a beautiful location in my hometown, with many beautiful people who represent the epitome of my childhood, and beautiful stories about the beautiful woman who chose to create her own fate and destiny, right up to the very end. I sat flanked by my parents, in a row with my childhood best friends' parents, watching through the windows as sailboats passed and seagulls flew effortlessly on the breeze. I could not help but think of how many times I'd been in this exact position as a child, with those very characters in that very town and how much of an absence there was and will always be from now on. 

The numerous stories of our dear friend were touching and there was much laughter and even more tears. When it was over, in place of the relief that one often feels at the end of such a memorial, I felt an emptiness and sadness that has lingered with me ever since. Thinking of the tales of such a strong woman who made such a seemingly weak decision in the end and how many lives she touched! Oh the people she influenced in her life and from such an early age! And I've been sitting around feeling desperate for a child, doing nothing but planning and thinking about becoming a mother for years. What stories would anyone have to tell of me were I to die? 

One could get lost in the cloud of life and death but there's been another cloud nagging at my brain as our deadline to return to the RE for a semen analysis quickly approaches. The deadline itself has me thinking of the deadlines we've set for ourselves; the idea that - despite it only being the second day of September - that I could possibly have to survive yet another Christmas without bearing a child. Deadlines that our dear friend may have set for herself; watching the game clock wind down 4...3...2...are you happy yet? What will you do if you are not so by the time the whistle blows? How will you sit through another holiday feeling so empty, so useless? What will happen if this month off break has been all for not in terms of the ceaseless search for sperm?