Monday, June 29, 2009

How it could look

In just the first 2 days of our 10 day visit back at home with family, and my mind was all over the place. As I mentioned before, this trip stirred up a lot of reflection for me- This trip was one of the priorities we made sure to fit in our summer, as our family is so important to us. But it also is a reminder of where I thought we'd be in life, and where we are not. The first 48 hours of the trip were a whirl wind of visiting friends and family, and in the midst of the whirlwind, I felt like I saw glimpses of "what our family might look like some day"- And with each glimpse, I have found myself asking, is this what I want? Is this how I see our family coming to be?

Behind Door #1: An infant
- time spent holding and cooing with my 7 1/2 month old niece. I found myself reflecting on the 8 1/2 month child that should have been for us. Thinking about life with a newborn, watching husband light up when our niece would smile at him. Is this what I want? And if we adopt and a child comes to us older than this, will I regret not experiencing infanthood?

Behind door #2: Foster/adopting older kids
- time spent living my other sisters kids- 5 kids (blended family) ages 2 1/2 to 14 years; Three of the kids have had a tough road with divorced parents, and a parent with mental illness that led to some neglect, and custody battles. Watch ing these kids heal now that they have some love and stability in their new situation gave me pause to reflect on foster parenting for older children as I watched their parents work on attachment issues, setting boundaries, dealing with grief, etc. Is this how I see our family coming to be? Do I have what it takes? Do I want this?

Behind door #3: Multiple kids
- time spent at a reunion with my college friends- about 25 kids were there, ages 4 months to 14. Every one of my college friends have at least three kids (so far!). Some have 4 or 5. It was interesting to be the one couple without kids yet (a topic for another post). But I found myself reflecting on what life would be like with more than 2 kids. Do I want this for us?

Behind door #4: Twins
- time spent with a friend who knows infertility personally, and has 20 month old twins (IVF #1 was a success after three years of trying). Yes, I know, I just wrote about twins a few posts ago. And yes, I know I stated strongly that I did now want twins. Well, ....of any of my reflections as I caught a glimpse of scenarios of how our family COULD come to be, this was the most surprising to me. As I spent time with my friend and her twins, I thought to myself- i would want this if this came to be for us. I could do this. There was no fear in seeing this as a glimpse of what life could be. In fact, I even found this scenario most exciting. Granted we were only there for a few hours, granted they are 20 months and not 2 months old. But I loved watching them play together, having a sibling and friend to play with. It was beautiful.

I think as I evaluate all this, one of the questions I am silently asking myself is "am I ready to move on to adoption and put our TTC plans to rest?" "How far will I go to conceive a biological child?" And I find myself still wanting to pursue TTC, even while putting adoption on hold. Yes, I want to experience bonding with an infant, yes I am completely okay with chance of twins, yes, I only want to be pregnant just once, yes I could see foster/adopting older kids- but not right away, more like later down the road.

All in all, it was a wonderful weekend spend with family and friends- and it was good to get glimpses into what our future might become. And in some small way, as we came back home today- to our quite orderly condo, after 10 days spent living with 5 kids under one roof- I found comfort in enjoying, that for right now, this small quiet home is our life. Sure it doesn't look how I thought it would be, but for today I embrace it as "our life" and that is okay with me- for today.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

How I will spend my summer

I still thankfully feel like I am keeping my head above water, and breathing these days. Had a few days of feeling a bit weepy, but i rolled with it and it has pulled me down. After this last miscarriage, i know I buried my head in the sand and didn't allow myself to grieve or feel the impact of it. And I KNEW that would come back to bite me, and it is and has. I know my grief is sticking with me and pummeling me harder because I buried it earlier on. And so it goes...

I think the grief is bubbling up because the season is changing. Summer is here, and I am reminded of how I had thought things would be, remembered all the milestones I had mapped out in my head. AND we are flying home to visit family for the week- my baby sister, too young in my opinion to be having a baby, found out she was pregnant the week I found out I was having my first miscarriage last year. Her beautiful little girl, by precious niece, is 7 months old. And my heart breaks a little bit to think of what should have been.... My lil' one would have just turned 8 months old. Or, my belly should have been 5 months along. Neither of these have come to be. Time passes, my niece gets bigger and bigger, and everything is the same for me. That's the center of the grief.

I shed a few tears spontaneously this week and the husband gave me a strong embrace. And I talked about how as much as I was trying to be strong, I was little pissed that as soon as I wrapped my head around finally getting help from an RE, then the timing has conspired against us so that for the next three ovulations we will be out of town. No iuis until Fall. And he reminded me, that this summer isn't filled with meaningless business. Everything we will be doing was intentionally chosen to fit with our values, what we believe in and how we want to spend our summer. There is nothing to regret- we are living our summer to the fullest, and we shouldn't put any of that aside to fit in an iui. Rather, we keep living life to the fullest, and trust the timing will work out- not in our way or in our timing, but it a way that is at it should be. And I found some peace in his reminder (I had given hubby this same advise last week when he was crabby over feeling overbooked, and I reminded him that we choose these things for our schedule because of who we are and what is important to us). This paradigm shift is helping both of us.

This summer is just how I want it to be. Time with family, volunteering for causes that matter to us, time with friends, and working towards some of my lifelong dreams. It is true, I do not have an 8 month old, and I have not joined the club of having a growing belly, but my summer will be and IS still full of life giving pursuits.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Evaluating "The Plan"

I've been doing some googleing and feeling like I have had some time to more fully process the last month of our TTC journey and the start of working with an RE. And it is starting to gel for me.

The more I read online, the more I am finding congruences with what I read online and what our RE told us, which is reassuring. I am also better understanding some of what she told us. And all indications are that the plan we have laid out is the best plan for us.

- It makes sense to boost my ovulation with clomid, to do an hcg injection, leading to a timed iui to get DH's swimmers just that much closer to my eggs. Increasing the chances. I feel like the timing is the right mix for us of having been patient enough trying it on our our, and yet still be assertive in pushing ahead with some medical intervention. (Most of our doctors still encouraged us to just be patient and keep trying. We are done being patient). So all in all, I feel like this is the right plan for us, at the right time.

I still have some lingering questions though, some of which I can find answers, some of which I don't know if there will be answers:
- I still don't have a very clear picture what this will cost. I have the fee schedule, but its hard to know what it all will cost when all is said and done. I need to call the clinic and ask some more questions.
- I am worried about what clomid and HCG will do to my body. And wondering if maybe we could do iuis with out medication? I can handle a month of side effects, but I worry about it altering my cycle, or my body having other longer term reactions to the meds. I feel like my body is sensitive to meds like these and I worry about messing with my body when we don't know for sure that I NEED these.
- To be very honest- I don't want multiples. (This is where a blog can get you in trouble, cuz once you write it is there for all of history to read). The doctor said that the increase rate of multiples is not that much greater with clomid. I don't fully believe her. And the whole theory of clomid is to mature more eggs to give the sperm more targets to aim for. Ummmm....? That sounds like a risk of multiples to me? I'm not certain how many kids I want. Two is usually what we have talked about- one biological and one through adoption. That was when we THOUGHT we had it all planned out. And if we had twins? I don't know if I could/would still adopt? But i don't want to give up my adoption dream. Sigh. This is a silly conversation I am having with myself, I know. But its hard- cuz I feel like I am playing the odds in Vegas: i can either take a gamble and see if DH and I can get pregnant on our own, and not miscarry. OR we can boost our efforts with clomid and iui and risk getting more than we bargained for. Sigh. I need to just remind my self that it all works out in the end. I am not the author of the story...

Which brings me to my other unanswered question? Miscarriage. Will I miscarry again? The theory behind our plan is that a) by boosting my cycle with clomid and an hcg injection, i am increasing my follicle quality and supporting healthy hormone levels AND b) by doing an iui with sperm wash, the healthier boys will be inserted, and more of the low morphology/motility boys will be left out. As I understand it- in theory, this addresses two possible causes of the miscarriages- poor quality sperm and/or poor egg/follicle/hormone response. (But there are still plenty of reasons for the miscarriage that we are not addressing)

Its as best of a plan that I can come up with. I need to be diligent in find out actual costs and in asking a lot of questions about clomid and hcg with my doctor. And I need to come to terms with the fact that we will be out of town during my ovulation for the next THREE CYCLES, so this has to wait until September (Which reminds me- i also need to ask about how much time husband needs for his portion of the iui- his work schedule isn't very flexible). I am trying to tell myself that this is a good time for me to care for me- to ride my bike, lose these last 6 pounds, and enjoy our summer travel plans. I need to remind myself that this will all work out, and even though I feel like I am running out of time, I am not.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The start of year 5 and CD1

30 day cycle
29 days last month

i like that they are predictable. I called the REs office today like instructed, but I knew what the answer would be. Wait until next cycle cuz of vacation plans/timing. that's okay with me i think. I have been doing well losing a little bit of weight, so another month of focusing on my bodily health can't hurt. 6 more pounds until ALL my clothes in my closet are feeling good again.

Yesterday was our 4th wedding anniversary. it was a beautiful day. Hubby had all kinds of plans up his sleeve, and it was good for my soul. I'm glad I didn't dwell on the tough stuff. It flitted through my head during the course of the night - thinking back of all the loss we have endured- year one cancer, year two grad school and job had us on different coasts for most of the year, year three failed adoption and miscarriage, year four miscarriage. I could dwell, but i am not

i am beyond grateful for my marriage. i am excited for the summer and our plans. and even though more heartache and loss could come our way in year 5, I wouldn't trade what I have for anything.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

And the goodness continues...

Sunday was a good day. Monday too. And today it continues. I can't explain why I am feeling positive, and hopeful (and like myself again), any more than i can explain why the dark cloud consumes me for days (weeks!) at times. It feels so unrelated to reality and everyday happenings. But no complaints- I am enjoying breathing again.

Some high points (all these things have fueled my overall feeling of good-ness, or maybe these things are the reason for my lifted spirits?)

- had a great 30 minute work break/walk with a co-worker that is becoming a good friend. two years of infertility, and now two children thru international adoption, she is so honest and real about her journey. And it was a breath of fresh air. Our walking and talking reminded me that so much of the feelings I am experiencing are normal- no matter which road we take to get to parenting (pregnancy or adoption). I don't think she even realized how much I was buoyed up by our chat. M

- i have been encouraged in the blog world by recent iui success stories. And I am feeling positive about trying a few rounds of iui. it won't break the bank (we have no infertility insurance coverage- zilch). and in the end, if we try it in 2009, and it isn't successful, I feel like i will have done what I need to do for me to know we did everything we could do to at least give one more valiant effort. My heart will break, but unless our insurance miraculously adds ivf coverage, its just not something that I feel okay with pursuing. So for today, we have a plan. CD1 should be any day now (tomorrow i think). We can't do the clomid/iui this cycle because we will be out of state, but i am going to call the RE and find out what she thinks of at least trying clomid and our own luck. I haven't decided yet if i will pay to have the HSG. She left that up to me. I don't think I fully understand the purpose of the test?

- I am beyond grateful for a DH that is on the same page with me, and that we are coming to the same decisions in the same time frame. We take our own path in getting there, but in the end i continue to be in awe of the ways our path intertwine. I shared with him my thoughts from the previous paragraph (recent iui successes, feeling hopeful, feeling like I could try a few cycles and then walk away feeling like i had given it my all). i was mostly just thinking out loud, but he looked at me and with confidence said, "let's do it". the way he responded gave me the sense that he had been thinking along this way as well- and talking about it confirmed it for both of us. Grateful.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A good day

Usually Sundays are hard for me. I usually feel rushed, feel the weight of not having gotten enough done on the weekend. The dread of Monday being around the corner. But today was different- not exactly sure why- but its still early in the evening, and I am relaxed, and feeling ready for the week.

I had a presentation to give this morning. And I realized once it was done, a weight lifted off my shoulders- I had no idea it was weighing on me. Also, I am currently working as an interim at my old job just until they hire- and the new hire was introduced today. That is great news- the end is in sight and I will have some more free time. And, Hubby and I have a balcony, but no yard- so we did are best at making as much planting space as possible on our balcony- herbs, green peppers, lavender, oriental poppies. So excited. And I just did the dishes (I usually leave the dishes for DH). Aren't you glad you stopped by to read about my thrilling day. Ha! But, it all added up to leave me in a good space tonight.

But, I also am a bit hopeful again today. I've been mapping out my cycle, and actually excited to start trying again. With medical intervention and without. And summer is almost here- so I feel like life might slow down a bit- and we can just play.

Oh- and I have gotten back in the grove of eating well and i have feeling centered and strong.

none of these things are rocket science, but I feel like it all shifted to lift some of my clouds that were hanging around.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Beyond what you could dream of, plan for, hope in...

I am a planner by nature- i like my calendars, my spreadsheets, my to do lists. Like? Love! they order my life. But there are those moments, that blow the lid of my nicely ordered box called life. I am reminded of these things when life happens beyond my control. Cuz, i can only see the few feet in front of me. I don't have the bigger picture. I remember having lunch with an old boss one day recently- as we were leaving the restaurant, he mentioned that there would be a position opening up shortly. it was a simple conversation. and yet, the opening of this position was nothing I could have planned for. I had a 5 year plan on my career path, but out of the blue, someone quits their job, opening up a perfect job for me, at a perfect time. That wasn't "my" plan- but the result has exceeded my expectations. And of course led me in a new, unplanned path.

it is little reminders like this that remind me, my plan is only good for the immediate steps in front of me. BECAUSE i CAN'T CONTROL THE UNIVERSE.

So, my constant reminder to myself, is to let go of the false believe that my life is entirely in my control. And be prepared to be led in unexpected ways. And it will be okay.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

More info means answers?

Amazing how two weeks can go by, and no posts to my blog. Slacking.

Not sure where I have been. I feel like the grief has been a really thick, dark cloud this time. Worse than I was prepared for. Longer than I was bracing for. Sigh. I just feel an emptiness in me. And to be honest, I probably don't have much grace for myself and the process. I am disappointed and frustrated in myself that I could possibly still be paralyzed by grief. Which I know is silly. Grace is all I need right now, to honor that I am still hurting, and let it be, rather than fighting the fact that I am grieving.

But I wish I understood why it cuts so deep....

Its been a full week in our household. All over the place emotionally.

We met with an RE for the first time this week. Not sure what I think yet. The appointment was just yesterday, and I am struggling to process what I think and feel about it. Here are bullet points:

What was good about it:
- My husband learned about what I already knew about from many years of reading fellow bloggers and other literature about infertility and options. Good to be on the same page, and him hear it from an "expert."
- If, by some miracle, I get pregnant again, I can get my beta and an ultrasound right away with the RE (my OB/GYN follows the "wait until 9-10 weeks" policy)
- Husband walked away pretty enthused about IUIs after he learned about our options. Kind of surprised me, but also put me at ease a bit. He is really new to all this infertility lingo, and skeptical, but he is willing and ready to do an IUI asap.

So-so aspects:
- I think I expected some ah-ha moments, lightening, revelations. But I actually knew about 90% of what she talked about. (Good for husband, a review for me)
- There really aren't answers. Just more tests. Tests that may not give any answers. And I am still so ambivalent about all this.
- The doc was young and newer to the practice than I had expected. That can be good or bad, it just wasn't' my expectation.

What next? Well, I am leaning towards a Day 3 blood test & ultrasound and IUI with clomid. We know husband has borderline morphology and motility, but good counts. But we also know I have gotten pregnant twice. Could still be my egg quality. no answers.

We don't see ourselves choosing to spend out of pocket for IVF. I just can't do it without some guarantees. Which we know don't exist.

I was an egg donor 5 years ago (ironies abound), so the doc is going to dig to see what records we can find so save me from tests (did I have a karyotype (spelling?) test? did the recipient conceive successfully?)

I am supposed to check to see if, even though my insurance won't cover a diagnosis code of "infertile" if they will cover a code of "recurrent loss." doubtful, but its one more try.

If i emerge from my ambivalence, we can choose to do an IUI on my next cycle. My period is due to arrive in about 5 days. I'm giving it the weekend to think about it.....


It's been a week of appointments with doctors. We also had our first appointment with the doc who is taking over my husband's post-cancer follow up care. Our doc of three years left the practice. I didn't realize how vulnerable i felt starting over with a new doctor. It brought back so many emotions and fears. Of what we went through to be where we are at today. I welled up with love all over again for him. And guilt, for how I have been so much less of a wife lately to him than he deserves. My grief has made me bitchy. how quickly I forget how close I came to losing him. And then I am a bitch because I want more- I want a child with him.

I also did more internet reading (bad, bad thing) about the chemo drugs husband was on three years ago. Sure enough, one is possibly linked to poor morphology. Sigh. More grief of what we lost in the process. Maybe that isn't the culprit, but you can't help but wonder. And then the cycle of guilt returns- how in the world can I be angry at curtly tailed sperm, when in the end I still have him in my life?

I probably need to work on bloggin on the good days, but for now this is my safe, dumping place. So, it is my place I unpack the turmoil in side of me. Thanks for reading a long.