Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Turning inward

My funk is illuminating my entire life. Even while fighting, trying to fight, wading through this mess- the funk continues. Because, here I am. Still without child. But it's more than that.

Even those of us who appear to be metal, are built of molten liquid. Underneath the surface, our cores are still swirling, while outside we appear so strong. But inside, is the breakdown waiting to happen.

I had a mini-breakdown yesterday before I even wrote my last post. I let myself break it down, all the pain inside that I have kept under wraps. Being so strong, yet so weak- it's a part of being human. I understand this. I don't feel strong, but I know that I am. I have a faith in myself that I never had when I was younger. But, that doesn't prevent me from breaking down too.

We all do it. We all feel a pain, and we have to embrace it. Society tells us to brush it off, society would have us believe that it's wrong to feel this way- but I know that it is not. It is the darkness that gives the light it's warmth. What I would take a shallow cold light, if it meant replacing that darkness- but I can't. So I run with it. It's all we can do. Feel the pain, the grief, in it's own turn- then quietly let it go once it has run it's course.

I know now that part of my problem is that I haven't completely dealt with my last loss. I have dealt with it in the basic form, but grieving a lost child, a lost pregnancy, comes in stages. I know from experience that I will never be able to lay her to rest until we get past the anniversaries the first time around. It was the same with Sebastian. Everything in it's own turn, letting the process take hold of me as needed.

The first anniversary is creeping up on me. October 22, her estimated due date. My lil' pumpkin. I haven't let myself overtly admit that until a few days ago. But. It's been six months already since I lost her. Six months.

It feels like a bandage has just been ripped off an old wound, the scab puckers and bleeds again. I had only thought it was healed enough to return to functionality. I was mistaken.

And so in turns, short jumps and long leaps and pauses, I am dealing with it all over again. I would put the feeling into words, but how do I put into words what I can't even put into a single coherent thought? I am not thinking anything, I am just going with the feeling as it comes and goes.

There is no one singular feeling or thought at once, rather it comes on in strange stages and deep lulls- the closest word in the human language to describe everything I am feeling right now is loss. So all encompassing, that one little word. My infertility, my miscarriage, my child, my hopes.

New dreams take root, even now, but I still have to deal with the old roots- so gnarled and brittle, spindly and fine. They take up a lot of space in my heart. And I wouldn't want it any other way. I don't want to get rid of those feelings, those pieces of my heart, but rather I need to move them to the side and weave them in neatly with the new dreams- intertwining my love and my loss.

We do this all the time; by laughing, by crying, by loving once and never letting it go. It's almost instinctual. It's how we get by. But my, what a process it is.

I am reminded of a story I heard an old woman tell at a powwow last month.
The story of the perfect heart.

There was once a young warrior who boasted of his perfect heart. He bared it for the tribe to see, telling them, "Look, look at my perfect heart. There is no mark upon it, no imperfections to be seen. It is the most perfect heart in the world."

At this an old warrior stood, and he said, "That is not a perfect heart. Do you want to see a perfect heart?" And the old warrior showed the young warrior his heart. It was not whole like the young warriors, but gnarled and misshapen. There were pieces missing, great divides made of mountains and valleys.

At this the young warrior laughed, "You call that a perfect heart?" He said. "It is ugly, it is broken, it is imperfect."

"No, it is truly a perfect heart." The old warrior insisted. "You see, these hills were created when I walked among those I loved and they carried me. These valleys are from when I walked alone and struggled. These chunks were where my heart was given to another in love, and it was not returned. These patches are from where I gave it freely, and another returned it to me. This is the meaning of a perfect heart."

The young warrior stared at the old warrior, understanding that he had been wrong- that his heart was weak, imperfect. And then he took a piece of his heart out, and gave it to the old warrior. Now they shared their hearts, and the young warrior thanked him.

See, my heart is broken, fragmented, it is missing a large chunk here and there, it has divets and valleys, mountains and hills, roughly sewn seams, and the roots of those that have left, and the roots that are still here. And it is perfect. I will say it again, I wouldn't have it any other way. It is the hills and the valleys that give me understanding, the missing pieces wisdom, the rough sewn hems strength, and the roots new and old are what keep me from breaking down completely.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Carrying On

I see the new RE in exactly a week- next Tuesday. I'm surprised with how much that is affecting me. One week, and what will this tell me? I don't know.

So many things about infertility are difficult- from the loss of privacy, the financial strain, the emotional drain, the inability to accomplish what should have been easy, having to constantly reorganize your life and your direction... but I think that the hardest part is in the not knowing. Not knowing if it will be worth it, not knowing what is going to happen, not knowing where your journey will take you, when it will end.

Even before we head into it though, we know where it might go, even if that heading changes. I myself am guilty of changing my plans constantly. It's not that I am indecisive, I just don't set plans in stone. In life nothing is guaranteed, except death. If life has other plans for you, then it will win out in the end. That doesn't mean we stop trying though- it just means that sometimes we will win, and sometimes we won't. But, if we don't try... we may miss our chance. So, I keep fighting.

My plans have changed so much in the past three years of marriage. Every roadblock I dissemble where I am going, and lay new tracks. I went from thinking I might have a biological child, to thinking I won't. I went from thinking I could get pregnant and have a baby, to thinking I can't do either. I have planned on injectables, other attempts, and adoption in various forms.

And even though I keep changing how I am going to get there, my destination has never changed. It is my one constant, it is the only thing that keeps me traveling through this endless night.

I have articles at the ready, questions lined up, records faxing, and ideas for our journey poised. I am going in fighting at this consultation, or nothing it all.

Our current plans are set in motion. We will see the new RE, and decide the next step. A few of our options- we ask about Femara, we ask about Clomid and Prednisone, we ask about my leftover injectable medications, and loss prevention. And while we pursue these options, we save up money in the hopes of trying embryo adoption should when those options fail.

We just want to do something in the interim while we pay off some medical bills and save up the money for embryo adoption- we are not counting on these treatments working. If they do work and succeed, great. If not, I will have lost nothing in trying- my heart will not break.

I have realized that I am almost at peace with this. My heart if filled with so much joy at the idea of adoption. Embryo adoption would be awesome for me, because I will not have lost out on pregnancy and birth, should I be lucky. I would not have to mourn that at least. Domestic adoption would be wonderful as well. I would get the life I always dreamed of.

But, I think a small part of me will never stop mourning the lost potential of biological children. I think there will always be a small part of me that wonders whose eyes they would have had, whose hair, whose nose, whose skin complexion, whose smile and laughter.

But, I know that the pain of all that will lessen in time. It has already lessened so much. Because, when I think of an adopted child, I wonder whose laughter they will have, what they will look like, what they will like- and I smile.

At the end of the day, I just want to be a mother.
Screw infertility, I was born for this.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Not a cold

So, it isn't a cold. Go figure.

No instead I have bilateral ear infections (meaning yes, in both ears) and maybe a little bit of a sinus infection. Which translates to...

Lots of drugs for me.

I should be better in a week.

Yay me.

Speaking of in a week, my consultation is slowly creeping up on me. A week and a half away.

But before that, I have a final exam coming up. On Tuesday, in Statistics (Ewwww.) Maybe I should focus on that first?

Naw. It should be easy. As much as I hate math, and don't get it usually; I will admit I like formulas. You just plug in the numbers, and get the results. The answer isn't shifty like in literature. See, in math you just give the answer: 1+2=3, or 3!=6. But in literature, when someone asks you what Octav.ia Bu.tler was trying to say in her novel "The Pa.rable of the", well, the answers aren't so easy. Literature is too subjective sometimes. What I think she was saying, can be completely different than what someone else is thinking; and neither of us would be necessarily wrong.

We could compare math to literature, by comparing normal people to members of the ALI community, ha. In one scenario, man plus woman plus unprotected sex equals baby; always; no matter what. There's no thinking needed, because you just plug in the variables and you get the answer. But in our community, the answer varies, it's subjective. Everyone may have the same variables, or the same text, but we all get different results.

Okay, so I'm all drugged up still and I am going to shut it before this just gets more ridiculous. Smile, smile.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Interrupted thoughts

I officially have a full blown stupid annoying cold.

I am not very coherent. And I don't think I can help that.

My researching is on hold until I feel better can form a coherent thought.

But, what I found out, and decided on, yesterday was reaffirming.

I still have to call the other clinics in my own state, but we did find a clinic in NJ that we may go with. It's out of state, but we'd only have to go there for the actual F.E.T. Everything else can be handled with labs here, and a local clinic. Sweet. And, the cost of everything isn't too bad. That is, if I qualify for their program.

Isn't that always the clincher?

Of course, if I don't, we can still sign up at a website like Miracles Waiting and we can find a suitable match there.

Of course, we have to save up the money first. So, while we're doing that we plan to see the new RE and see about either doing injectables with my leftover meds, or seeing if they'll let me try Femara while we wait.

I know that is sounds bad that I talk about cost on here so much. But this stuff isn't cheap, baby making was supposed to be the cheap-fast-easy part.

It's not.

And here's my ultimate logic, I do not want to pay so much on treatment and efforts that I go in major debt. I grew up in extreme poverty, I don't want my child to go without. If my insurance covered some of my fertility treatments, things would be different. But they cover absolutely nothing. Everything is coming out of our pockets.

Determining your limits by you wallet sounds harsh (and it's not our only deciding factor, but it's a large one), but consider what I've been through. When I was a child I went without a lot. Food Stamp day was heaven, we had so much food. Then, a week later the fridge was practically empty again. My mother and I had arguments over getting new shoes, she said I was reckless for ruining my $10 shoes. I argued it was normal wear and tear, and I couldn't help it if my big feet ripped holes in the toes or that the soles started wearing off. Full blown fights over buying me new shoes. I went without a winter coat more often than not.

I want a child, but I refuse to let them live like that.

I can't reason paying so much money on treatments that haven't worked, or may not work.

I've had two miscarriages with my own eggs and my husband's sperm. My repeat loss testing said that I was physically fine, I should be able to carry. But the facts are there before me, I have lost; I have lost. I can not risk to pay $11,000 for IVF to have another miscarriage. I can't reason paying $4,500 to either not ovulate, get my period a week too early, to not concieve, or have another miscarriage. Yes, there would be a chance at a viable pregnancy... but last time there wasn't even a shot in the dark.

You could say that fertility treatments have made me quite jaded.
In the last 2.5 years, my body has found nothing but new ways to fail me.

So, I feel bad for bringing up cost so much... but for me, the odds of dishing out all that money and actually getting a biolgocial child at the end of it all is not very promising anymore. A part of me used to believe it would happen, but that small part of me is dormant now.

For me, spending all this money almost feels like we're just going through the motions. We're not even trying, just puppets repeating a play.

I don't just feel jaded anymore; I am jaded.
My thoughts keep going back to my last miscarriage. It was so horrible, so painful, so agonizing. I am terrified at the thought of actually getting pregnant again. I want it so bad, but I swear to you... I will cry if I get a positive test. It won't be tears of joy, but rather tears of fear and memory.

I can't put into words what that last miscarriage did to me. It was the singular worst night of my entire life. Not just emotionally, but physically. Worse than waking up from sinus surgery with black eyes and my face swollen twice it's size, worse than every illness I might have had, worse than when I've had to get stitches, worse than anything.

I don't even have anything to compare it to. Nothing in my realm of experience even compares. My first miscarriage was bad, but it was nothing like this.

I will never forget passing the sac, so much bigger than I had imagined it would be. All the haphazard contractions. Six hours of intense pain.

Every pregnancy I've ever had has ended with one night of intense pain, and an excruciating feeling of loss.

Why should I have any hope that another pregnancy would end any differently?

I don't mean to be a downer, I'm sick and I'm rambling.
I should go lay down.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


I'm just going to call it embryo adoption, because it's less confusing and to me either way you go you are technically, as far as I'm concerned, adopting...

My "current" clinic does have an in-house embryo adoption program, but I am ineligible for it. Why? Because I have not tried anonymous donor eggs yet.

Let's talk about that, shall we?

First of all, that is not an option for everyone. Yes, my ovaries are the problem. It costs a lot to pump them full of hormones and try to get them to respond. I get that. But donor eggs is an even more expensive process. Hell, it cost more than IVF.

$4,000-$4,500 for an injectable cycle (without IUI), $3,5000-$7,000 for a donor embryo cycle, $20,000 for a donor egg, $11,000 for IVF.

Embryo donation is a less expensive option. My stupid ovaries would be taken out of the equation altogether, just like in donor eggs. So, why can't I try that?

Has it ever occurred to these people that maybe if one spouse can't have a biological child, that maybe the other one doesn't want that either? To some people, this is the compromise. I am not one of those people, I would be fine if my husband had a genetic link to our child and I didn't, but what if my husband wasn't okay with this? Would this mean we therefore have less a right to try embryo adoption because we chose to skip a few of their steps?

I'm a little miffed. Also, no clinics in my state seem to have an in-house embryo adoption program other than them. I've only called two of them, but looking at the other places websites has been deterring.

This leaves a few options. Contact the other clinics anyway, and ask them, call the two out of state clinics I have found, or join a site, like Miracles Waiting, and try to match up with a couple looking to donate.

The advantage to utilizing a site like Miracles Waiting is that it would not be completely anonymous. While anonymity is fine by me, the issue I see with a completely closed one is that if a child is produced from this venture (completely hypothetical) then I wouldn't know who the biological parents are, or if there are any siblings. It's a very complex issue. I am open to either closed or open, but can very much see the potential complications of a closed.

At this point the research continues. I am still going to see my new RE at the beginning of September, and ask about Femara and the possibility of one last injectable cycle. We'll go from there.

And also, I now have a freakin' cold. I hate summer colds. Bleh.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Day one of phone calls...

First of all, thank you everyone for you overwhelming support. I always appreciate it, it means so much to me.

As for day one of phone calls and more in depth internet searches...
Of which, this website has helped a great deal with understanding Embryo Donation/Adoption, and finding clinics to call about it,

The clinic I am switching too does not have an in-house Embryo Donation/Adoption program. But, they will do a F.E.T. with donor embryos if you have embryos donated and sent to their clinic. Their estimated cost for a F.E.T. and medications, is about $2,300 without insurance coverage. This does not include blood work, ultrasounds, legal fees, and of course the transfer of the embryos from the donors clinic to my own clinic.

My old clinic may have some type of program maybe, but it goes through their lab. I called them today, and we're playing phone tag right now. So, maybe I'll know more tomorrow.

But, going by an estimated cost of everything from what I've seen online, if I go with the new clinic and find a donor on my own, it could cost anywhere from $3,500 to $7,000... which isn't so bad considering my last cycle of injects would have been around $4,500 actually, if I had paid for my medication that is (Thank goodness I had donated medication, right?)

I found a clinic out of state that does Embryo Donation for $4,500 with a payment schedule in place (so it doesn't cost all that up front) Of course, it's a 6 hour drive away.

There is one in New Jersey that has an extensive program, but I don't know the cost, and it's also an 8 hour drive. They have your regular doctor handle everything except the initial consultation and the transfer.

That is of course me still assuming I am able to go through with this. I still don't know that part, which by all means is the most important part right now.

The research continues.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Because an object in motion...

I haven't been trying to concieve really, because a body doesn't work with defective parts (right?), so instead I have been researching. What can I say, it's my coping mechanism. Always has been, not going to change now.

It started with a consultation with a newer RE clinic in the area.

I thought: Maybe we can see if they are more competent. Yes, I said competent.

I have come to blame the whole debacle of my last medicated cycle on my current RE's incompetence. And I have decided that if I hear another person say that I should, or could, respond too well because I am "young," I am going to scream. Shoot me full of drugs at a higher dose people, I am not that the norm... stop trying to peg me down.

I mean, really? I am an anovulatory 24 year old. I stopped ovulating before I was 21. I didn't respond to Clomid hardly at all. I needed a high dose of Gonal-f before stuff started happening. So, let's stop pretending, shall we? I may be "young" but my ovaries aren't dumb. You can not trick them so easily.

Whew, mini-rant over.

Anyway, a body in motion stays in motion, right?

So I have moved on to researching other options, because we agreed to one last injectable cycle. After that, we agreed on adoption.

So I was looking at some stuff the other day, because Dr. Go.ogle is the best professor ever (Shh, don't interupt. No snickering in the back!) And I stumbled back across some information about Embryo Donation/Adoption. I have seen this before, but dismissed it. Before they'd even consider me, most places require proof that I can carry to term... which I have not so far.

But then I got to thinking, I techinically can carry to term. All my repeat loss testing says I should be able to. As my RE, Dr. BlowsSunshine, said, my miscarriages were "just bad luck." (Trust me, another rant in and of itself.)

But my testing says I should be able to carry to term... so maybe I would be able to participate in Embryo Donation/Adoption. Wheels are turning. While we weren't successful in carrying to term with our own, could I with someone elses? Would I be allowed?

Embryo Donation is like as Embryo Adoption, though the term sounds like you are donating you aren't, in both cases you are receiving donated embryos to use for a F.E.T... but it's called Donation if you go through a clinic, because it is technically the contractual transfer of property (By law embryos are still an iffy subject. So, they are technically private property right now. At least that is my understanding.) What happens in this scenario is you and the donor have signed a contract about the embryos, and then proceed like in a normal F.E.T. If I found a clinic to go through, the cost is comparable to what it is going to cost us for another cycle of injectables (Since I have the stupidest ovaries ever and would need lots of drugs.)

If you go through an agency, it's called Embryo Adoption. It costs more for the process and fees, and comes complete with a home-study and everything. Embryo Adoption is out, because it's overall cost is close to as much as Domestic Infant Adoption would be; and if we did Domestic Infant Adoption we would have that guarantee that there was a baby at the end of it, which is not so with Embryo Adoption. And if we saved that much money up, I'd just feel more comfortable going with something that has more of a guarantee that I will eventually get a child.

I don't know, and I dare not get too hopeful. I don't know if any fertility clinics in the state actually offer this through them. And, if they do, they could turn us down, we could try it and have the embryos not thaw (always a possibility), have them not implant (very possible), have another miscarriage (never far from my mind)... but really, most of those same risks apply to our current course of treatment; I may not make the eggs I need (evident from my numerous failed attempts), egg and sperm may not meet, they may not implant, they may miscarry (again)...

So, really the upside, if we got to do Embryo Donation, is this: we'd know that there was an egg, and a sperm, and an embryo was created. A leg up from where we have been all this time.

I've been busy this past week looking into this. I yearn for it to be a real possibility, but I know that with my luck it won't be. Or it would be and something would go wrong. Who knows.

Because a body in motion, stays in motion; unless it's acted upon by an object with unblanaced force- like infertility, or miscarriages, roadblocks, doctor incompetence, lack of funds, root canals, or the loss of hope.

I am going to ask the new RE at my consultation, and find out if their clinic offers it and if I would be eligible. I also plan to call other REs in my state and see if any of them offer this, and about their guidelines. The only way to find out, is to ask. Right?

If we can do this, we may move forward with this instead of a last injectable cycle.

Only time will tell.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

In a Funk

I'm in a horrible funk lately.

I think, and it always comes back to this, it's because I don't ovulate.

Being a twenty-four year old who doesn't ovulate, who stopped ovulating before I was even twenty-one, well... it's kinda depressing. I feel like I've already stumbled on menopause and I'm past my prime. I put off going to get my progesterone filled, and I put it off, hoping that maybe my stupid body can figure this all out... but it doesn't, ever. So, finally on cycle day twenty-eight, I finally went and got it filled already. I filled a few days ago, with six lovely refills on stand-by. And you know I'll need them, because my body is stupid, stupid, stupid.

And of course we have to get the "safe" kind of natural progesterone, just in case I do ovulate and don't realize it (Which, in 12 months of charting has never happened, by the way. I always know if I have ovulated or not. But what do I know of my own body, right?) And for some reason this type of progesterone is more expensive than birth control pills... what's up with that?

You know, sometimes I feel like I might as well be on birth control pills. I wouldn't ovulate either way. At least with birth control, well if I take it for four to five cycles and stop, sometimes I get a freaky post-birth control ovulation. That's how I got pregnant the first time; a freaky post-birth control cycle, in which I managed to ovulate on cycle day forty-four. But no, I keep taking the progesterone because I don't want to prevent... although my body is preventing me anyway.

Such a funk. Not trying, and my body is preventing. So I am really, just not trying even though that is not by choice.

I suppose it has given me time to relax and just exist without focusing so much on my temperature and pills and injections and doctor's appointments. Even though trying to concieve is still on my mind, it isn't quite as much right now because I know, I know, that there is nothing I can do to try right now. It's all out of my hands, completely and utterly.

I've been trying to fill the time with leisure reading, video games, movies, mild house renovation (I need to finish painting the hallway, and I need to install a new ceiling fan... I'll get around to it eventually, I swear.) But to the core of all this, I am still thinking quite often about trying to concieve, and how I can't do anything right now. So I focus on how it's out of my hands, and if it wasn't for the miracle of modern science it would remain out of my hands forever. I mean, not that long ago women in my situation wouldn't have been able to do anything at all other than leave it up to faith and go about their lives.

Yet I feel like I am back then, right now, because I can't do anything about it. The insurance company won't cover anything, they even gave me crap when I called to see what repeat loss testing was covered under our policy. While we can put back a decent amount of money each month, more than enough to cover a child, we can't put back enough to cover treatments.

Yes, we can eventually, but it takes so long. Especially given how much medicine I will have to use this time around. If I had paid for my medication last injectable cycle, I would have paid a total of $4,000. It would take us four months to save that up comfortably. And that disgusts me that we can be so well off, to be able to put that kind of money back a month, so much more than my family and friends, and yet we can't afford to get pregnant. To be able to afford a baby, but not to get pregnant, it's ridiculous.

Like I said, funk.

This quarter of school is coming to a close, two more weeks. Then I have a month off. Then, back at it for the final act before graduation. Then, the curtains will close on that chapter of my life forever.

I'm ready to graduate, but I also fear it. I've spent my last five years at that campus, it's become so important to who I am. I know most of the faculty by name, some out of affection others out of displeasure, and all the English faculty know me by name. I'm gonna miss them, but I'm very happy that I'll never have to write an essay for them again. The essay's are easy now, effortless, but I still dread them with a passion. They're tedious, and since I learned all the little tricks to appease each professor they haven't been very educational; I just write something shocking for S-, something original and outlandish for B-, something with a unique spin for Sa-, and just B.S. through everything for N-.

I think I've been at this school for too long. I'm more advanced than many of my classmates now, and this causes it's own unique challenges for me these days. Part of it is the freshman, fresh out of high school, and so immature. Even when I was a freshman I wasn't that ridiculous, but I also lived a very different life than them. I didn't want to, part of me wanted to be some carefree child whose mother and father took care of everything for, from a car to tuition and everything in between... but then I wouldn't be me. It was the trials that got me here that made me who I am. It's what made me stronger, resilient, and able to tackle real life. But then again, it's also made me bitter, depressed, and afraid of living.

But that's neither here, nor there.

Bottom line, I am in a horrible funk. My life is transitioning without me, and I am watching it fly by. In December I get to attend my commensment ceremony, a figure in black amidst a mass of figures in black. And hopefully, after that, we will be able to go forth with one last cycle. Our last hope and attempt at a biological child. While we might try later on in our lives, this is the last try for a very long time. My life next year is something I can't even make any predictions about, because Decemeber is going to be a climax; a giant hill, and I can't see over it to what's beyond. A career, a baby, a new home, adoption... or unemployment, no baby, same home, still no baby... who knows.

Only time will tell.