Monday, April 28, 2014

Falling Behind

As Baby Fix-It has just crossed the 18 month marker, I am struck with a sense of falling behind. It's imaginary, and pointless, and serves little purpose. But I still feel behind. I thought I'd be pregnant by now. I thought we would be further along in so many ways.

For so long, we are all on the same track. You go through school, you advance at a steady pace, you move forward. Then you finish college and everything goes haywire. At least that's how I felt. Get a job, continue with more schooling, find onself while backpacking in Europe, plan a wedding, stay single, move to a new city. Or do none of the above. As friends started to choose a path, I started to evaluate my worth. "She's already engaged?" Crap. "He's a VP?" Seriously.

And yet, when I step back, I can't argue that I have failed to achieve anything I've wanted for myself. But a voice inside keeps saying that I'm falling behind. 

They say that people are more preoccupied with themselves than they are with you. That might be true. But when I see a mom with a 3 year old at the playground I wonder if she has a baby at home. Or if she's pregnant. Or if she hopes to be pregnant. Or if she only wants one child. So, while I try to figure out everyone else, I assume people are asking themselves the same things about me. Then I ask myself the million dollar question, "Why do I care?" I could talk about social approval, or fitting in, but really it's about the track. We are not on a track anymore. We are not graduating to the next grade. An A on the English paper doesn't exist. Some of us will get married late in our 30s. Some of us will only have one child. Some of us will have 5 babies. Some of us will be career driven, and others will stay at home. Some of us will go back for a doctorate degree once our children are school age. Some of us will switch our paths over and over.

While I field the sense of falling behind and try to answer, "So when are you having another baby?", I try to ignore the sting. I've mastered the kindly polite, "I'm ready whenever it happens" while saying a silent prayer: please let it happen. I know people aren't trying to be rude. Or judgmental. They're genuinely curious. I suffer from the same affliction. I'm saying I get it.

That sense of falling behind is a tough one though. I'm slowly learning to accept that my track is now my own. It's not perfect, or timed as I'd like. There are bends in the road where I can't see what's coming next. Enjoy when the path is clear and easy. Have hope when all you can do is move forward.

Thursday, April 17, 2014


The morning of my 32nd birthday there was a package waiting on our doorstep. A cake packed in dry ice? A fabulous pair of shoes? Nope. A whopping-filled-to-the-brim box of fertility meds. I'm taking it as a good sign. The universe is clearly trying to give me a baby for my birthday. I mean, there are just some messages you can't argue with.

Things may be moving a long a bit faster than I had initially thought, too. After my bloodwork and ultrasound on Monday, the nurse called with my stats. Everything looks great - estrogen, progesterone, LH, FSH, HCG. Check, check, check, check, and check. All numbers are excellent. Follicle count at 16. This always gives me a moment of pride. Then I have to laugh at the ridiculousness. I'm pretty sure I have minimal control over the goodness of these numbers. But then I tell myself to celebrate. Celebrate every little, tiny, silly shred of good news. Enjoy feeling hopeful, right? The nurse scheduled me to come back on May 2 and mentioned something about starting Lupron then. Oh! I thought that was happening in early June. Complain, I will not. I'm all for moving forward.

So on Tuesday, I celebrated 32. I want this year's birthday wish to come true more than ever before.

Monday, April 14, 2014

At Peace

I can't tell where the journey will end
But I know where to start

So wake me up when it's all over
When I'm wiser and I'm older
All this time I was finding myself
And I didn't know I was lost

Did you ever watch Ally McBeal? Remember how she had theme songs for moments and life events? I love that. I totally do that. Around college graduation I blasted "99 Red Balloons" on my car stereo. Annie Lennox has carried me through some serious break ups. When we conceived Baby Fix-It my get-pumped-up-for-injections song was FloRida's "Good Feeling". And this winter, during a trying fertility process, I kept coming back to "Wake Me Up" by Avicii.

Last week we met with our new fertility doctor. I liked him. I really needed that boost of confidence. He was kind, responsive, and gave us no sense of being rushed. I especially appreciate that last part. This new fertility clinic we've been using has often left us with a feeling of being hurried and unimportant. Sure, we are one of hundreds of couples they treat each year (maybe more, I have no idea). But also, this is no small physical, emotional, and financial commitment. So taking the time to really understand our history and wishes was deeply appreciated.

I went into the appointment with thoughts on our next steps. And I was relieved the doctor was on the same page. Last Tuesday we signed paperwork to move forward with a fresh IVF cycle. I'm a bit disappointed we have to go through the entire process, but we have done it before, and we can do it again. The thing with fertility treatments that has always stuck with me is this: your eggs will never be as young and healthy as they are today. So no time like the present.

Today I was already back in the stirrups. We still have to wait a bit while my uterus recovers from the D&C, but things are progressing. My body is back on track (if you know what I mean). So today they checked my HCG (it was hovering around 1 last week), estrogen, progesterone, uterine lining and did a follicle count. I'll start birth control today. This means that next month, when we start the IVF cycle, the timing will be predictable. The doctor also explained that birth control helps keep your system calm. Calm is good in the fertility world.

And so calm it is. I'm at peace with where we are in this process. At  peace and simultaneously pumped up. I'm taking the next several weeks to take care of myself. Going to the gym, eating well, sleep, yoga, balance. Calm. And excitement.

I'll let you know when I find my next song of the moment.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Carry On

Life goes on. Recently we traveled to Rhode Island to celebrate my Grandma's 90th birthday. It was going to be the weekend we planned to tell my family about Baby 2, which was on my mind a bit. I felt a subtle sadness but also enjoyed a few heavy pours of wine. I'm a terrible drinker actually. I would say 1 out of 10 times I feel totally fine and normal. And 9 of the times I end up with a raging headache and a general feeling of malaise. Oh well.

Anyway, we traveled. We saw family, friends. We celebrated my Grandma. We enjoyed what started to feel like the start of warmer weather in New England. It also rained. I slept terribly the whole trip. My Dad was recovering from double pneumonia. My Mom had issues with her eye (turned out to be a detached retina). And we left with sore throats and head colds. Face it, you're jealous.

I've been so hum-drum lately. But honestly, it feels like we can't catch a break. We have almost fully restored our condo from water damage. Today the marble vanity top arrived for the bathroom. Oh wait, it's cracked. You know when you just feel like you're stuck under a bad cloud? The annoyances are hitting the point of hilarious. And also really, really, really not funny at all.

And about that water damage. We had toyed with the idea of putting our condo on the market sometime in March. That clearly did not happen. More waiting. More sitting in suspended animation.

Baby Fix-It it is definitely the best thing we have going on. He is so sweet and delightful and funny and wonderful. He has so much of my husband's personality, it's unbelievable. I also like to think he's got a bit of me. But then when I try to put to words in what ways he is like me, I'm often left stuttering. "Well...we both...uh" Nevermind, he's all Daddy. And I couldn't love either of them more.

So, we have survived another month of 2014. That sounds like the most depressing and lowest bar - "survived'. Life really hasn't been that bad lately. It's just that we know things have potential to be so much better. And they will be. For now we carry on.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

What's Next

I need a plan. Something. Something to focus on as time simultaneously marches on and stands still. Waiting is the worst. I really, really, really hate the waiting. Fertility cycles are allllll about waiting.

A week from today we go back to meet with a Reproductive Endocrinologist. Same practice, new doctor. I need a fresh start. Our previous-new doctor was nice enough, but she has failed to get me pregnant. So there's that. When we met with her and discussed our first failed cycle, she showed little interest in our responses. The message was, "I'm going to tell you what works, and that's what we'll do." I'm eager to have a different set of eyes on our case. I'm sure we'll review our two failed cycles (god, last time we were in that office we left knowing our baby didn't survive...) and talk about ruling out any unknown issues. In my heart I don't believe there are any problems on my end. I think we've just had a streak of bad luck. But I guess better safe than sorry. Sometimes, they say, after child birth there may be trauma to the uterus. I had a saline ultrasound back in November that looked fine. But maybe they'll dig deeper. Lovely.

After that, to my knowledge, it is advised to wait two full cycles before undergoing fertility treatments. After a D&C your uterus is scraped clean. Two cycles is believed to be enough time to "build things back up". This is all what Dr. Google tells me. I'm guessing our RE will tell us something similar. So, best case scenario, based on my half-knowledge and guessing, we'll have another shot in June. That is, assuming my body is back on track.

I had my follow up with my OB/Gyn yesterday. My body has physically healed and the pathology on the fetus and surrounding tissue came back normal. The fetus appeared to be "typically developing". I found this comforting and annoying. Of course, I'm relieved to hear that everything looked healthy and my body was properly developing a pregnancy. But also, what does this mean? The baby didn't have to die? I hate that thought. I'd almost rather know there was a severe issue which meant there was no way the fetus could survive. I also have another thought I come back to: did the baby's heart just stop beating? Like one second it was there and the next gone? Or was it a slow progression? Did it beat slower and slower and slower and eventually stop? Why this swirls around my head, I don't know. I'm guessing the latter.

Mr. Fix-It and I did not opt to do any additional testing on the fetus. We did not believe that we needed any genetic information, and finding out the sex would just make the loss harder. The knowledge that we lost a little boy or girl would always stick with me; I'd always picture our family differently. The part that does stick with me, though, is this permanent mark on future pregnancies. I hate that I'll have to say the words "second baby, third pregnancy" someday. I mean, I'll love that I might have the opportunity to say those words, but you know what I mean. It's as if any future joy will be coupled with the reminder of this loss. In fact, that was one of the first things I said in the room after our ultrasound. "I hate that we'll always remember this".

So, as we remember, and wait, and hope, and look to the future, I wear this. It's just a tiny reminder of better things to come. Sometimes it's just what I need.

{Alex and Ani // "Tree of Life" // Hope, Conservation, Growth}

I have a pile of Alex and Ani bracelets on my nightstand. This morning Baby Fix-It was playing with them. He put two on his own wrist and then handed me one. Which one did he hand me? You guessed it.