Friday, November 23, 2012

Round 1: No Luck

Well, round 1 has come to an end with no luck. I am not pregnant. I knew that it was unlikely to happen the first month (statistically, it is unlikely to happen any month with a woman my age having less than 20% chance a given cycle), but I was hoping. Not just hoping, but longing for it to happen. I wanted to be one of those stories: well, we struggled with infertility with our first, but with our second, it happened on the first try! I guess not. Secretly, I was hoping it would happen this past summer when we were not as careful with our birth control as we could have been.

When I became pregnant with my son, I was giving acupuncture a try and also listening to guided meditation. I have read a lot this time about the mind-body connection. I get it, but here is my question: how do you stay positive and tell yourself that your body can do this when it failed you for so so many months before? I am so scared of getting my hopes up only to be dashed on the floor like last time. I want to believe but I feel guarded, like my infertility past is a haunting ghost preventing me from having full faith this time around.

So, I will try to keep my head up, try to believe and have faith in my body. I know that I can get pregnant. It will happen, I hope.

Friday, November 16, 2012

A son is a son until...

My head was groggy from multiple cries in the night of "momma, up pease."  The sun was just beginning to shine over the frost covered pasture and leaving my warm bed with a toddler, bottom up and hands tucked under him for warmth, was the last thing I wanted to do.  After 31 years, I know that the relentless march of the morning will not be stopped by hiding under my covers.  I throw back the white comforter (white because it can be cleaned, bleached if necessary) and reluctantly begin my day.  As I throw my legs over the edge of the bed, ready to begin the morning, I hear a soft voice from the center of the bed.  He has rolled onto his back, and looks up at me with a shy smile and says, "momma, cold."  I agree that it is cold and I take his commentary as an invitation to linger for just a moment longer.  I climb back into bed and wrap my arms around the little boy as he snuggles into my chest and sighs.  I sigh too, loving these moments where his happiness is my hug, my warmth and where I am the center of his world.

I have heard it said that "a daughter is a daughter forever, and a son is a son until he is married."  Perhaps that saying is why I push my husband to call his mother more.  "Call her, just tell her about your day," I prod.  "She doesn't want to hear about my boring day," he responds.  I stand there looking at my husband, and in his eyes, I see my own little boy and the toddler that my husband once was.  "I promise you, she would love to hear about your day." 

My little boy is going to grow up.  His world will slowly expand beyond our little family to embrace his schools, the state and then the world beyond.  I can't wait to watch him discover all that life has to offer.  I will watch from the center of the field and then from the sidelines as he learns the wonderful joy and sorrow that are present in our world.  I will slowly step back.  Today, I hold his hand and direct his life.  Tomorrow, I will let him walk on his own but still close by.  Someday, he will run far away from me and I will sit down, weary from years of chasing, directing and hand-holding.  I will await his return, *hopefully* content knowing that I did what I could.  I know that someday he will walk back towards me, holding the hand of someone who has stolen his heart.  I know that he cannot stay my little boy forever, but for today, I will wrap my arms around my ferocious and shy toddler, love and tickle him.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What You Need Now

My computer has this annoying habit where if I am on another website (for work or otherwise) and I receive an email, my email either pops open or the little internet explore icon in the bottom corner of my screen starts to flash.  Conditioned like one of Pavlov's dogs, I immediately click over to see what earth-shattering communication awaits in my email.  Nine times out of ten, I immediately delete the email.  It is an ad from a clothing store that I used to frequent when in private practice or an email about a symposium on some esoteric principle of law that I just! have! to! attend!  How about no.
Today, I was in the middle of reading a blog about how to simplify the holiday season and enjoy the true beauty of Christmas when the icon in the corner started to flash.  I raced over and opened my email.  The new email was from a shoe store claiming:  "What You Need Now..." followed by their cleverly named new collection of overpriced shoes.  While I normally delete these emails without a second thought, the title caught me off-guard today.  "What I Need Now:" More Shoes. 
I can think of a hundred and fifty things that I want right now:  prints from etsy, a new dining room table (reclaimed barnwood, please, sigh), barstools for our renovated kitchen, a new floor to replace the electric blue carpet from the 80s in our dining room, collared shirts that are not stained and, of course, shoes.  I want all those things, oh yes.  I long to hang new prints on the wall, to decorate and have a "perfect" house.  But "need," what do I truly need?  None of that.  I need food to eat, clothes to wear to work and air to breathe.  In honesty, I probably "need" far less of those first two things than I have or consume. 
Beyond the basics, I need to smell my little boy's hair as he slowly falls asleep on my chest at night.  I need time to connect with my husband, time to remember the man I fell in love with almost thirteen years ago.  I need to step outside these walls that contain me during the day and run so that I connect with the outside world and myself.  I need to linger over a cup of coffee with my mom, fostering my realization that she knows exactly what it is like to be a working mom and that she will always give me a hug and tell me that it is going to be ok.  I desperately need to figure out what I want to do when I grow up.  I need to show my son that he can believe in people and that there is goodness, hope and love, if you just look for it.  For none of those things are new shiny shoes required. 
Truthfully, it is so hard to break the old habit of see what I want and reflexively enter the credit card number that I still keep stored in my head.  For years, I told myself that I worked hard and so deserved that new pair of jeans or that piece of art or toy for my son.  It is tough and with a bit of ache that I struggle to remind myself that I do not need, I want.  And by saying no to the wants, I make it easier to address my true needs.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Here We Go Again (Part 3)

Cycle 3 of Infertility Treatments.  The cyst had resolved.  It was go time.  It was springtime in Boston.  I would go for my daily monitoring and enjoying walking the beautiful streets on my way to work.  The day of our procedure happened to be a Sunday.  Early in the morning, my husband went with me to the clinic.  We spent our waiting time in the English Garden.  We went home, crashed, napped and saw Iron Man.  In the midst of that cycle, I decided it was time to tell my family.  I needed the support.  I told my mom and my sister, in person.  I tried to tell them how hard the last many months had been.  They cried for me, but they had had no idea.  They both eagerly assured me that it was bound to happen soon.  My mother, a nurse, tried to comfort me and ask questions about the procedures.  I finally felt like I had a cushion of support.  I no longer had to make up reasons that we couldn't visit on the chance that a particular Saturday would be a procedure day. 
Cycle 3 also brought me to acupuncture.  I would have tried anything.  As one of my friends said to me,"if they told you to eat an orange Popsicle, upside down on Tuesdays and you would get pregnant, you would have a stash of orange Popsicles in your fridge within an hour."  She was so very right.  So I tried acupuncture.  The first guy I saw was horrid.  He told me that I hadn't tried long enough, that the procedure wouldn't work and that I was "too young" to go this route.  (The "too young" or "you have so much time" is one of my biggest pet peeves.)  I dropped him that afternoon.  Then, I found Josh.  He was wonderful.  Compassionate, caring and encouraging.  He let me talk or just stay quiet depending on what I needed that day.  He was wonderful.
Less than two weeks after the IUI, I peed on a stick first thing in the morning.  The faintest of two pink lines showed up.  The next morning, the line was stronger.  My husband sent me flowers at work.  I went for a blood test and ultrasound at the fertility clinic.  I had two primary doctors at the clinic.  Doctor 1 was a head RE at the clinic.  Doctor 2 was an RE earning her credentials.  Doctor 2 was young and did much of my monitoring, including the failed cycle, and the day before the IUI on cycle 3.  Doctor 2 did the ultrasound to check for a pregnancy.  We saw a heartbeat.  She hugged me, tears in her eyes.  She asked that we send a baby announcement after my due date, February 6.    
Three years ago, my husband and I were so desperately trying to get pregnant with our first child.  That period of my life -- where we were trying and unable to get pregnant -- was one of the toughest of my life.  Every month was filled with excitement, hope and devastation.  And it is with excitement, hope and trepidation that we start walking down that path again.  Only this time, I hope and pray that the path is so very much shorter.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Here We Go Again (Part 2)

My husband and I undertook our first cycle with trepidation and excitement.  This was it.  We were sure this would work.  I stopped running.  I started doing yoga.  I endured my first cycle, complete with shots and early morning appointments for the monitoring.  No one knew.  I was careful to ensure that the daily appointments did not interfere with my work.  I wore long sleeves so that people could not see evidence of the every-other day blood draws.  Even though I could have done the injections myself, I asked my husband to.  He was gentle and compassionate (from a guy who is a type 1 diabetic) about sticking me with a needle (sometimes two) every day.  The month went by, and ... nothing. 

The day that my second cycle was to begin, the doctor came in whom I learned to loathe.  She had a med-student with her.  When they began the monitoring, she turned to the med-student and said, "see, this right here is why we cancel some cycles.  She has a cyst that hasn't resolved.  It will in a month or two."  And then she looked at me and said, so call us next month.  I was dumbfounded.  I cried on my way to work.  A month may not seem like that long, but when you have watched so many tick by with nothing, each month becomes an opportunity.  Each month hat goes by with nothing is a loss.  After a rough day, I decided to say screw it for a month. 

Our second bedroom had remained unfinished and unloved for years, in hopes that a baby would some day give us reason to decorate.  The day my second cycle was cancelled, I decided that I would no longer let that room taunt me.  That weekend, we ran off to IKEA and bought a room's worth of furniture.  We stopped at home depot and bought paint (but mind you, paint that would also go with a nursery, just in case).  We turned our blah office into a gorgeous guest room, with yellow walls, white furniture with black and gray accents and our charcoal paintings of New Orleans on the wall.  We lounged in the room and I loved that it became a place of happiness instead of a place that taunted me.  That month, I didn't want to think about or care about getting pregnant.  I didn't pay attention to anything that was going on with my body.  It was a huge relief.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Here We Go Again (Part 1)

No.  I am not pregnant.  Dare to dream.

But, we have decided the time is right to begin trying to add number 2 to our family. 

Last time, it wasn't so easy.  Last time, I was so excited to start trying.  I was sure that I would see a happy face, two lines, or whatever the correct symbol was to let us know that our tiny family of two would soon be three.  And then six months went by.  My sister had her baby.  I hid the sorrow on my face as I held my tiny nephew.  I was elated for my sister, overwhelmed with love for my nephew and, though I felt horrible to admit it, jealous that my husband and I were not expecting our own. 

At six months, it was time for me to "read up" on this business of getting pregnant.  I devoured six, maybe seven different books on getting pregnant.  I lingered over TTC boards.  We changed the way we were doing a few things.  We kept trying.  I tried charting my temperatures.  That whole process completely stressed me out.  I quickly realized that I could manipulate the thermometer, and I could never quite figure out the results.  I added in OPKs (ovulation predictor kits).  My life was run by when those lines would show up.  Don't get me wrong, my husband and I had fun in the process, but at some point, my heart began to ache.

At nine months, I had my annual physical.  I casually mentioned to my doc that my husband and I were trying to get pregnant.  She patted me on my knee and reassured me that it would surely happen soon.  I mentioned that we had been trying "a while."  She stopped, cocked her head to the side?  Nine, almost ten months I mumbled.  I saw her glance to my chart.  Yup, I was only 27.  She smiled at me, a knowing smile that I came to recognize in the months that laid ahead.  The smile that said: it should have happened for you by now.  She wrote me a referral to the hospital's fertility clinic. I was relieved to have the referral.  It meant that I wasn't crazy for thinking that it should have happened.  It confirmed that maybe, something just wasn't quite right. 

I was shocked to get a call from the fertility clinic a few weeks later, saying that they had my referral and asking when I would like to come in.  Tomorrow?  Part of our struggle was that my husband and I hadn't told anyone -- ANYONE -- that we were trying.  We had been together for seven years, married for five, and as I later found out, our families were making peace with the possibility that he and I may not have wanted children.  If they had only known the truth.  A few months of testing, and..... nothing.  There was nothing obviously wrong with either of us. 

The hardest part of our "unexplained infertility" diagnosis for me was that I had to cut back, if not cut out completely, my running.  Two days before we received the diagnosis, I ran my fastest half-marathon ever.  I had worked so hard to get faster, and it felt so good to hit those miles minutes faster than I had just a few years earlier.  In hindsight, perhaps running 30-40 miles per week was not the best for getting pregnant.  Some women can, I cannot.  I understand that now.  I was also advised to find other ways to handle my stress.  During this time, I was working at a super intense, stressful, time-consuming and life-sucking job.  If you have ever read any book about how to create a good work environment, my job was the antithesis to any advice in that book.  The only upside to the life-sucking job was the insurance.  It was fabulous and covered everything with the infertilty treatments.