Retrieval results

We received our retrieval update on Thursday: 19 eggs retrieved (not bad for 38 years old). Of those, 12 were mature and 9 had fertilized. We find out today (day 5) how many are left and if there were any they could biopsy.

I’m hoping they can biopsy some so we can figure out transferring once the world is not in crisis mode.

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IVF #4 and COVID-19

Today is retrieval day for my 4th IVF (This is my second fresh cycle). I’m waiting in the waiting room and I’m anxious for a number of reasons. I don’t want to be out and about right now with COVID-19 rampant in Florida. I want to be at home in self quarantine, not in a doctor’s office lobby breathing shared air.

I am also alone. Spouses are unable to come up so my son and husband are in the parking lot downstairs in the car waiting for me.

We are doing PGS because “advanced maternal age” so there won’t be a fresh transfer… which leads me to the only bright spot: I can drink wine and coffee again. Given that there is a global pandemic afoot, wine sounds pretty good right now.

I remember my first fresh cycle several years ago. It was all consuming. It was so stressful. Now, with COVID-19, working from home full time with a young child due to school closures, worrying about my health and the health of those I love, and with the one year anniversary of my dad’s passing coming up, IVF feels like a fly buzzing around my head. I’ll be very happy when today is over and I can have one less thing to stress about.

IVF builds character, that’s for sure. So I’m here alone, going into surgery alone, purell-ing the shit out of my hands, and praying for success. And health. And so many, many things right now.

Gratitude?

Our family has been altered in one of the most profound and painful ways. We lost my father unexpectedly in April at the age of 60. I watched him take his last breaths, a moment that I regret witnessing as the image of him fading is seared into my brain and tortures me. I don’t regret being there for my father and my family but I regret seeing what I saw.

I had to pull myself up for my son who asked daily where his PopPop went and if he could come back from heaven. Losing a parent is awful but helping your innocent child grieve is a special form of hell. Many day’s I stuffed down my abyss of grief and sadness to be strong for my son.

So on days like Thanksgiving where we count our blessings, I need to acknowledge the ever present hole in my heart, in our lives. While I’m deeply grateful for what we have – family, careers, home, health, friends, travels and above all my miracle son, it’s dulled by all the moments that will never be. All the things my father has missed and will continue to miss. And despite gratitude being the anchor that’s kept my ship from sailing away this year, it doesn’t make losing my dad any easier. That’s simply a slice of shit pie we have to eat day in and day out. 

FET #2: an update

We saved for a year to afford another shot at IVF for baby number two. I worked a second job at night. I lost 57 pounds.

And on February 14, the day before our embryo transfer, my community was shattered by the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high. The school is a mile from my home. It’s where my friend of 20 years works as a teacher. Shock and devastation don’t begin to describe how I still feel about the horror that took the lives of 17 innocent people in my community.

The day after the shooting, we went to our appointment with sadness and a heavy heart. We had a perfect embryo that began hatching. Everything looked great.

But it failed. And 10 days later, my HCG blood test was negative. I worry if my sadness from the shooting was the cause. If overdoing it picking up my toddler son made it fail. And I know these are all ridiculous thoughts but I’m so disappointed and sad. And angry. I spent a year preparing my body and finances and walked away empty handed and broken hearted.

Somehow, I thought it would be easier this time to face a failure since I have my son. And it’s partially true yet I’m still very heartbroken. I wish this wasn’t so hard for us.

Trying for baby # 2

I’ve got my FET calendar in hand. It’s happening. I’m officially preparing for a February FET.

I don’t know how much I’ll be able to blog so I’ll be documenting most of it on Instagram. The name is @this_is_infertility if you’re interested in following along.

I forgot how draining this process was: physically, emotionally, financially.

That hateful wench, hope

We have two embryos frozen. I think about them often but keep the idea of trying for another a distant faraway thought, one I don’t fill with hope or fantasize about coming true. It’s easier that way, safer for my heart. 

And then, a few weeks ago, a pregnant coworker and I were talking about what we’d do differently knowing what it’s like to be a mom. How we would have stressed less about this and worried less about that. And then the words came out like I was a normal, fertile woman: “when we have another, I won’t be as scared to go out with a newborn.”

::squealing of brakes::

My brain stopped in its tracks as the words came out. I should have said “if we are lucky enough to have another…” but I didn’t. And then I knew how badly I wanted another baby. And that’s hard to admit because given the odds and my fertility and miscarriage history, it’s not so easy. 

Today, my period came. I was 5 days late. And for the first time in over two years, my heart sank when I saw it. Disappointment. Not pregnant. And we weren’t trying so I should not have expected anything. Except hope has planted her dangerous roots in my heart again. Dammit. 

Update on eye surgery 

I’m super behind on blogging and I have a lot I want to say, a lot I want to share, and not nearly enough time to share it all. 

We went to the big fancy eye specialist for the surgical consult for my son and after 4 long hours of testing (yes, four delightful hours of testing a toddler), they determined he does not need surgery! Hallelujah!

He only has farsightedness and not the added muscular issue our pediatric ophthalmologist thought. I’m so relieved! I think part of this discovery was the dr’s bedside manner. She was so sweet and patient with my son, singing to him, saying the light she was shining in his eyes was a camera and he was going “cheese!” and smiling at her. This is a stark contrast from his regular eye doctor who is brusque and not the warm and fuzzy type. I often have to hold my son’s arms while he scream during those exams. I know she was able to have a better exam simply because my son was calm and letting her do the tests. 

All in all, it was a very long but good day where we found a new doctor for my son and don’t have to think about him having surgery. 

To top off the day, my brother is the head chef at a super swank restaurant that was 5 mins from the eye center so we got to have lunch with him and it was DELISH! 

Hooray for food and good news. 

Guess who’s back

Back again. 

I’m in the waiting room at our infertility office after over two years. I’m seeing Dr. G today. I used to dread these appointments, I would sit here with sadness following me like a cloud wondering if I’d ever become a mother. But not today; I walked in with my heart pieced together by the miracle boy Dr G helped make a reality. 

I’m here because my cycles are outta whack…9 day heavy periods every 16 days. Yeah, not normal. Dr. G indicated he thinks I might have PCOS given my infertility, weight, and gestational diabetes so I’m here getting blood work drawn and an exam. He suggested metformin (which I’ve heard terrible things about) so that’s not something I’m looking forward to taking. 

My goal is to get my cycles sorted out, lose about 50 lbs before year end, and then transfer our last two frozen embryos in hopes of bringing home baby 2. I haven’t thought much about how I feel if that doesn’t work out. I’ve learned with infertility that I can’t lose myself in the what ifs of the future. So I’m here today fixing my cycles. I’ll cross the next bridge when I get there. 

Surgical consult

Today was not what I wanted to hear but what I prepared myself to hear. My son’s follow up with his eye doctor resulted in a referral to the nation’s leading pediatric eye institute for a surgical consult. 

The silver lining to this news is this medical center is less than an hour away from where we live. We are fortunate enough to live so close to the best care for my boy. Thank god for that. 

Our doctor said we have two options: a surgical consult at his office or sending us down to the eye center. He said “this is not about my ego, this is about what’s best for your son so I suggest you go for the consult due to the advanced research grade technology they have there.” From there we can decide if we want to have surgery down there or with our doctor’s office with the technology report from the eye center. Our doctor is one of the leading pediatric opthamologosts in the area so we are in good hands all around. My guess is I’ll opt for surgery at the eye center given their resources and ratings.

There is a chance they will tell us he won’t need surgery which I pray like mad is the case. He has partially accommodative esotropia. Basically, he’s both terribly far sighted AND has muscular issues in his eyes. The surgery would correct the muscular issue.

So now we wait for the eye center to have an opening for our appointment which could be a few months. As for positive news: he’s doing great and his doctor is pleased with how he responded to the latest prescription in his glasses. 

After our appointment, we were near a children’s art museum he loves so we spent the rest of the afternoon playing. Seeing him have a blast helped take the stress of the appointment off and we made some memories today. 

Thank you for your prayer yesterday.

Tornadoes all around

I’ve been a horrible blogger. I, for starters, haven’t actually blogged in a while. Or with any consistency. I’ve also neglected to comment on posts I’ve read simply because there is not enough time. But I read them and I pray for those who are having a rough go. You know who you are and I’m thinking of you. Constantly.

And it seems more and more that I am surrounded by sadness. For the past few months, there’s been an oppressive cloud of shit dousing people with crap. (Don’t even get me started on the state of current political affairs.) It’s like I’m surrounded by a bevy of tornadoes swirling all about, watching as they destroy those around me. A friend’s husband had recently passed away at age 37. And if that wasn’t bad enough, she finds out she has cancer. And another friend put his son in hospice this week. At 7 years old. And they wait day by day for an end to his suffering. Yet they dread knowing what’s coming and try to enjoy each fragile moment with him while he’s still here. I can’t fathom being faced with that decision and my heart pains for them. And my childhood best friend’s son starts experimental chemo next week for his terminal illness. He’s 15. And a co-workers 6 month old just has his SECOND open heart surgery. WHAT. THE. FUCK. IS. GOING. ON.

My heart is so, so heavy for these friends. And despite all they go through, I selfishly  worry about my woes. Tomorrow, we have another pediatric ophthalmology appointment for my son where we find out if he will need eye surgery. His glasses are at the highest prescription for his age and we were given 3 months to adjust to new lenses. His eyes still cross (less but they are not 100% better) and I am dreading tomorrow’s appointment because I feel in my gut they will bring up the ‘S’ word. And despite knowing that eye surgery is worlds better than the hell my friends are going through with their families, it’s still surgery. On my baby boy. And I am not ok with that.

So if you’re the praying type, please send up one for my boy tomorrow…and if you could send a few more up for our friends, I’d be most grateful.