Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Ice Cream Diet

First of all, congrats to The Steadfast Warrior for winning my recent giveaway. I will be making her a pysanky (Ukrainian egg) and sending it off soon.

Secondly, I've added a new section to my sidebar just under the Blog List. It's titled Some Desperately Needed Laughs and has links to some funny websites and video clips. Check it out - and if you know of more funny links I can add, please send them my way!

So ... if you saw my last post you know that this month (Cycle #1 of Follistim) resulted in a BFN. This did not come as a shock, since I had ovary pain beginning on Whacking Day and lasting for an entire week. I suspect something went very wrong so that ovulation didn't go quite right(despite all the positive signs indicating that it did) or that there is some mechanical difficulty such as adhesions or damage from the many large cysts I've had lately. In any case, I am very cynical about our chances for success in the future. Just under a year ago I got pregnant on my first Clomid cycle and even though that ended in an early miscarriage, I had high hopes that I was what every infertile girl wants to be: Easy, Fast, and Cheap. Sadly, time has proven me wrong.

This recently ended two week wait has been awful, though not as awful as the last one back in September when my brother died the day before the IUI and we had to pile in the car the day after the IUI to get to the funeral in a distant state. When I heard the news that he had died, I was shocked by it and also shocked by my reaction, which was simultaneous sorrow and jealousy. That's where these years of physical and emotional pain have gotten me - I'm jealous of the pregnant and the dead.

So in comparison, this wait wasn't sooo awful. But I was stuck in the house for over a week worried about my two sick kids and in a state of dark depression due to the odd combination of 1) being unable to get a moment away from the constant "I want mommy" of my sick kids and 2) not being able to end my family with another little person constantly clinging to mommy.

Being depressed and stuck in the house resulted in the consumption of A LOT of potato chips and ice cream. Apparently, despair and anxiety burn a lot of calories, because I've lost six pounds that I didn't need to lose. That's right - I'm complaining about losing weight. My waistline has been shrinking and hubby's has been expanding. This is exactly the opposite of what we're going for here.

Now we have, at most, three days to decide how to proceed. Of course there's the option of doing the same thing again and hoping for different results. I could have surgery again before continuing with treatment. My endo is dramatically worse since the last one (in 2008) and I'm worried about adhesions. But the last surgery was a disaster that made things much worse, so doing it again doesn't seem very promising. Or we could explore Really Extreme Measures that are very expensive but much more likely to work. I hate making these decisions!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

More Rain and No Rainbow

Once again, I can't even get a pink line, much less a rainbow baby. A rainbow baby, for those who don't know, is a baby born after loss, bringing light and color after a dark and terrible storm.

In Greek mythology, the goddess of the rainbow is Iris. She used the rainbow to travel down to earth to deliver messages from the Gods and to transport women's souls to the underworld. This is the only kind of rainbow I have gotten. Since my first loss I've gotten pregnant twice more, but the hoped-for rainbow babies never arrived. Instead, Iris's rainbow transported me to hell. I've often wondered what message God is sending me on this rainbow. He takes my babies again and again, but offers no peace, no comfort, and no guidance in the aftermath. I don't know how to live with this kind of a rainbow.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

This May Be the Only Way I Can Make a Decent Egg...

Last spring I tried my hand at the art of pysanky (a.k.a. Ukrainian eggs) and have found it to be a fun and unusual hobby. Pysanky are full of symbolism - there's the symbolism of the egg itself, symbolism in the design, and also symbolism in the colors. This egg, my own design, is a representation of the contrast between how most people see pregnancy and birth (full of joy, something beautiful) and how I now see it after suffering multiple losses and infertility.

The egg: birth, new life, fertility

The design: Calendula (orange) - grief, despair, sorrow
Nightshade (purple) - deception, danger, death
Weeping willow (green) - mourning
Forget-me-not (blue) - remembrance

The dominant colors:
Orange - endurance, strength, ambition
Green - hopefulness
Black - darkest time before dawn, death, fear
White - the color of birth, light, and rejoicing is notably absent

So ... leave a comment - tell me a little about yourself if you haven't been here before. How has your perspective on life, birth, and death been changed by your experiences? I'll put your name in a hat and my impartial four-year-old will draw one. The winner will get a pysanky designed and made just for you!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Whacking Day

We are now in the 2 week wait, having survived a weekend of double IUIs. Whacking Day, as it's affectionately known around here, is inevitably more stressful for hubby than it is for me. He has to enjoy it on some level, if only for a few minutes, in order to do the dirty deed. On the other hand, I am free from this particular pressure. I actually don't mind the IUI itself, having survived much more painful and invasive indignities along this road, but the stress of being in this situation at all always sets off a couple of day's worth of heart palpitations every time we make it to this critical juncture.

Post IUI #2, I drove home in an optimistic mood, which is rare for me as you may have noticed. The stats looked good. Two mature follicles. Two seemingly well-timed IUIs. 190 million sperm, which hubby managed to crank out despite being ill with a bad cold, proving once again (as if there were ever any doubt) that all of this infertility agony is my fault.

Since supposed ovulation, however, I'm despairing over two days of pain which have me wondering if I ever did actually ovulate at all. Hubby and the clinic have done their parts, but I never can seem to hold up my end of the deal. This was supposed to be a week of pain-free optimism typical of Week One. Week Two is always a different story, as you well know if you've been subjected to a great many ultimately fruitless two-week-waits. Ten days to go!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

It's On!

The injectibles cycle is ON! Fingers crossed; legs (alas) certainly not. Got good news from the clinic that I still have in excess of $6000 left of my $10,000 insurance coverage for infertility, when I thought it was down to less than $2K. Hooray and an even bigger HOORAY should I never need to use it! Also, I'm thoroughly enjoying not being in constant pain. No pain at all for four days in a row, and counting!

The Follistim shots began four days ago at a low dose (50 IU) and it's hard to believe such a tiny amount of liquid could have much effect at all. I was pleased to find that the injections are simple and nearly painless. It's wonderful to finally have the opportunity to try this, but it was rather depressing on Sunday. I was at church at injection time and had to walk past pew after pew of pregnant women (OK - slight exaggeration, but there were at least three) to go shoot up in the church bathroom. Ugh.

I was pretty discouraged at the follow-up ultrasound today, but don't know whether I should be, as I've never used Follistim before. I'm on Day 7 now, with four small follicles measuring 16, 12, 11, and 10. One is certainly the remains of my most recent cyst. According to the nurse, the others "might catch up", so my Follistim dose stays the same. That phrase extinguished most of the small hope I'd allowed to grow. "Might" is just the trouble with infertility . All this trauma, expense, and agony for a small maybe. And "catch up" makes me feel I'm coming up short already. Am I? It will probably torment me all day.

I'm teetering on the line between hope and despair, trying very hard to avoid the pain of falling on either side of it. I don't want to set myself up for a spectacular crash if this fails, but having some degree of hope is necessary. After all, going through with all the appointments, injections, etc is an act of hope.

If this doesn't work it seems we are out of luck, since both IVF and adoption have been ruled out (on which more later). Granted, I had also previously said I wouldn't go so far as injectibles because of the risk of multiples, and yet here we are. Prior to today I was just so happy being in the moment - free of pain and able to try again. Today, the gravity of the situation kicked in and the pressure is starting to build. Praying with the last microscopic shred of faith I have left that this works...