Tuesday, December 29, 2015

John 13:34 and the Abortion Debate in Online Comments

** I wrote this some time ago and shelved it. Now that we are in the thick of 
4 years ago today loss thoughts, I've decided to publish. (4 years ago today we received amnio results- T18 was confirmed.)

I read an article about a woman who chose to end her pregnancy due to a fatal abnormality.


In summary: Baby Violet was diagnosed with lethal skeletal dysplasia. Lethal because due to her extreme smallness, her lungs wouldn't have room to inflate upon birth so she would suffocate and die.

I think back to the birth of my son Kins and I crush under the weight of this thought: "suffocate and die". 

I think of swimming too deep and rocketing to the surface lungs burning for air "suffocate and die".  

I imagine the terror of birth, forced into a bright, chaotic, unfamiliar environment: being touched may be wiped off with towels before going to mom. Familiar and unfamiliar. Overwhelming I think without the addition of not able to breathe. "suffocate and die"

Then I read the Comments. Why do I do this? I know that I get upset. Not about my own decision, but by the horrible things that are said.

I know not everyone supports my decision. I know that I don't support every decision in all cases (to terminate or to CTT). I believe in being compassionate and treating people the way I would want to be treated. Why tell someone I disagree with their choice when it has been made? Why even critique a choice when in the decision process? I am not YOU and you are not ME. I am not in your family. I don't know what you believe.

Where is the love, 'Loving Father'? He said:
First I would like to extend my condolences to you and your family on such a heartbreaking loss. Second by being a man I have no idea what women actually go through during pregnancy and labor, but I do know of the wonderful gift it is in assisting to bring to life a new person into this world. As a teacher I like to ask my students to always ask why and to think of the outcomes of every situation had they chosen a different path. In this case what if they baby would have lived longer then the prognosis of a few hours. I know that I would give my life to see the eyes of my new baby even for just a few minutes, I mean who am I to say how long my child lives, that’s not my job. Everyone suffers and pain is only perceptive of nerves sending the signal to a brain. But love tell me how does love work? If it’s not through the self inflicting pain of watching what was carried to term and letting God decide if she lives or dies. If none of this makes any sense then simply ask yourselves what if the baby was still fighting to live when your water broke and she was strong that it took the Dr a skull crush to “terminate the pregnancy.” What if the baby was born alive and they crushed her little head because of a “decision.” In no way I’m saying I was there and that happened, but what if. 
Clearly, though ID'ing himself as a teacher, missed reading that the baby was given a fatal injection on day one of the two procedure- long before water break or delivery. That aside, what is to gain by that line of musing? If you are in a situation where you are terminating a pregnancy because of a fatal diagnosis you're already playing a game of "pick the least horrible case". Should my child die by my own hand before we have a chance to meet him/or OR should the child, in this case, suffocate and die? Is Loving Father aware that in L and D abortions, women are induced too early for the child to survive and the child lives as long as they are able without intervention? I know women who went in for an abortion in this manner and had their child live for a short time (minutes). No skull crushing was involved. 

Loving Father would be happy to know I did consider the alternative for my Blue Sunday- though I don't know anyone who received a fatal diagnosis and just said "well, termination it is!" Without considering what life would look like (though I DO know may women who received a fatal diagnosis and proudly proclaim "we never even considered 'the-decision-which-must-not-be-named' " though that's a whole different topic.) For me, death after birth looked more difficult for my child than death before birth. Like Loving Father I would give my life to see my child's eyes, BUT I won't gaze on those eyes without cost. It was not an option to give my life for that moment. The real cost of that gaze would have been seeing the eyes of tragedy, of suffocation, of confusion and pain and then death. Pain for my child, confusion for my child. This was not the least horrible case in my mind. I have written about this before. 
There was another comment, the one that actually sparked this post. This was by another man (the only two comments clearly by men (that loaded) were negative, along with only one other comment.  This is from 'Roger':

Every life has some suffering and then there is eternal life. If a child is born alive it can receive the Sacrament of baptism and be assured of the vision of God for all eternity. This is exactly what God made all of us for – to know and to love Him in this world and to be happy with Him in the next. If you let your child be born and then born again through baptism you can be assured of having a little saint in Heaven praying for you for the rest of your lives, joyfully grateful to you for having given her this place in the bosom of the Father.
Unbaptized infants, according to the traditional teaching of the Church go to Limbo, a place of natural happiness but without the vision of God. It is not Heaven. It is not Hell. There is no suffering there. But they are separated from God.
Every person who accepts suffering for the love of God receives good from it. It is redemptive when it is joined to the sufferings of Christ. Baptism is exactly that – a sacrament that joins the soul to the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
To reject the notion that any good can come from suffering is to reject Hope – and Faith that Christ suffered and died for Love of us.
Satan loves abortion. It thwarts the good hope that God initiates when He forms the soul at conception – that this soul will be united with Him for all eternity.
Please don’t be deceived out of sentiment. Abortion is an absolute evil.

Yes Roger, every life has some suffering, but this life would have been almost exclusively suffering. Yes, feeling a parent's love is a wonderful moment, but not something that child had not felt in utero. And if we're being honest when suffocating it's difficult to gaze into someone's loving eyes. 

I hate when people take their own religion and impose it on everyone else. This Catholic-centric view of life and the after life is one I was brought up in. Some of it still resonates with me, if I'm being honest but I am not particularity fond of people who tout their own religion as the one and only right choice. It is interesting to me that he says this: "If a child is born alive it can receive the Sacrament of baptism and be assured of the vision of God for all eternity. This is exactly what God made all of us for" What about the children lost to miscarriage? Were they not meant for the world? Are they forced to limbo, even the lost children of deeply faithful Catholics? Roger says that god forms the soul at conception- so a child lost to miscarriage was created by him. Since Satan loves abortion, does he also love miscarriage? Was that Satan's plan? Or did god create Violet and Blue Sunday intentionally not to survive.  Are all the babies that are miscarried intended for limbo?

That seems unspeakably cruel. Especially for someone who is supposed to embody love and hope. 

From my Catholic upbringing, the most loving, useful and translatable teaching is John 13:34 "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another." Commonly translated to "Love others as god loves you" or, by the secular "love- and treat- others as you would like to be loved/treated". This is a breathtaking, beautiful, difficult teaching. 

Imagine really living up to this- treating others as you would like to be treated, love them the way you would liked to be loved: family, friends, strangers, other drivers, work rivals, opposing teams' fans, people you just don't like. 

It would change the world.

I still believe that I did the best thing I could for my child. I did for my child what I would want for myself. That is not what everyone would do, or would want. The world will probably never agree on the topic of abortion- but may be we could agree that people are doing what they think is best (in most cases) and especially in the case of termination for medical reasons. May be people could try and respect the decisions of those they don't agree with the way they would want their own decisions respected. 

We don't all have to agree, but we don't have to be cruel either. 

Oh life, it's bigger
It's bigger than you
And you are not me
REM, Losing My Religion

Christmas 2015

I wasn't going to post a Christmas post, but I liked looking at the blogs with kids after loss/IF when I was still childless (I'm always Less a child). So here it is- the wonder of Christmas with a little kid:

It was a hot Christmas- I felt the need for a summer beverage while wrapping!

We let kins open PJs and a book Christmas eve:

Santa Came! (The Teepee is from my parents)


Christmas with a kid is pretty awesome. 

Monday, December 28, 2015

Long December, (eventful January)

It's Monday, but not micro:

I can, almost literally, NOT believe the timing of this cycle. I can believe it, I suppose but just. So a few posts ago, I outlined the heavy hitting Januarys that have happened since I have started this blog. Every January was pretty big, this year will be no exception, for one reason or another.

I go for my lining check January 1st at 7:45.. where else would I want to start my New Year but the fertility clinic?? (the far away one, since it is a holiday. Obviously.) Assuming that all looks good, I call January 4th for my appointment time and on January 6th go in for transfer (assuming it unthaws, which I am NOT counting on to be honest).

Just to underline this:
January 4th is the 4 year anniversary of losing Blue Sunday
January 8th is Kin’s second birthday.

So January 6th is the middle date between the most important dates of my first 2 kids. And they are all at 2 year intervals.

So far so good with this cycle, I’m on a lot of estrogen- 2 pills a day and a patch I change out every 3rd day. I’m trying not to think about the cycle itself too much. I feel very out of control about it. I am not gaining weight this time, but I have been working out a lot and staying stable. So annoying.

Anyway, I wish I could just fast-forward this month and either be pregnant or be moving on.

And just for fun, 1 pregnancy announcement over Christmas. A girl I used to baby sit for. She is very open about the fact that her boyfriend is a drug dealer, and that she uses. She had announced just 2 days earlier that she was leaving the boyfriend and taking  her twins to some other state (she was thinking Texas) to start over where it’s less expensive. Now it’s merry Christmas from the 5 of us! Big happy family.
I cried. A lot.

I know that a few more will be coming in the next few months. I’m not sure how this will go for me. Hopefully Surya-Scott will stick and I don’t need to worry about it. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Vacation Recap

Picture heavy, micro words: (This was supposed to be a microblogging Monday post- but now it's Wednesday)

We had a 5 day get-away up to Vermont this past week. We have a time share and our points were expiring (even though we have 2 years to use them!), so we picked a location we didn't need to fly to and went away!

Ski-in Ski-out condo.. haha

My parents joined us, for a family trip. It was nice to have the help with Kins and since we had enough points for a 3 bedroom condo, why not?

There was no natural snow when we arrived and just a tenth of the mountain open with the man-made stuff. Hub, my dad and I had lift tickets for Thursday and we made the best of it. The lift summit-ed and it took some time to wind our way down- probably 1.5 hours of skiing and 40 minutes on the lift total. Otherwise-- we were at the bar. haha.

The base of one of the major runs...from the bar. 

Yeah- like there were bare spots! Fun time though. 

It looks like it's snowing- but it's actually a cloud/fog. 
Me and hub!

We had a few nice meals, a few nights in the heated, out-door pool (in the snow!) and lots of laughs.

They had an awesome play space. Kins spent some time caring for this baby doll he found- he took her for a walk, put her Ina highchair and cooked and fed her dinner! So sweet. 

Also, he played with trucks. Shocker. 

New England baby loved the dusting we got our last day there! 

Sometimes a get-away is really needed to re-center.

Monday, December 14, 2015

More Updates #MicrobloggingMonday

Apparently Monday is the only time I manage to blog- oops.

We had our WTF appointment on Wednesday and it went well I think:

  • We are moving forward with the FET. I actually got insurance approval this morning. As of now I am off Birth Control and waiting for my cycle to start. Once it does I start estrogen pills and patches and call them to set up appointments- including the transfer date! Unfortunately, it's looking like it will be the week that everything happens (see ** at bottom, or click the lings): Somewhere in the first 12 days of January- depending on when I start, how my lining progresses and when my doc is on call (he wants to do the transfer himself) *FET details at the bottom for those of you who have no clue what I'm talking about. 
  • My doc is surprised I responded so poorly to stims and that our fertilization rate was a big fat 0 this last cycle. He feels badly, but doesn't think there is anything that could have been changed with the exception of using ICSI- which will now be covered by my insurance if we do another IVF cycle since we have a medical need. He still truly feels we can be successful, even if we use my own eggs and possibly even if Surya-Scott takes and we come back to this is a few years time. He said that people have worse responses that I have had, so that is not impossible.
  • He is on board with Donor Egg (DE) if that is how we choose to go. He said about 1/3 of his patients use DE and success rates are high. He also said that his best friend came to him for conception and their 2 kids are DE babies. He said to think of DE as a single cell, reminded us that blood transfusions are thousands of cells and that sperm donation is very common. He said people put the egg on a pedestal, even though my body will still do all the work for supporting a pregnancy. It was a good talk. 

*FET= Frozen Embryo Transfer= putting Surya-Scott back in an see what happens. I have been on BC to prevent my body from making eggs and getting pregnant in the mean time (hahha as if). I have now stopped BC and waiting for my "period" (it is actually just withdrawal bleeding but whatever). Then I will start Estrogen patched (changed every 3 days) and estrogen pills (2 times a day). This will build up my lining, so that Suyra-Scott have a place to call home. We don't want me to ovulate on my own, so we replace my natural estrogen with synthetic. After transfer, I'll start some stuff I put into- ahem- myself and hopefully that will keep on until I'm about 11 weeks pregnant. Otherwise, I'll stop after a negative beta post transfer. 

**Those links are the first 4 Januarys covered in this blog. In order: Blue Sunday’s day- 1/4/12, Calling for an RE referral 1/9/13, Birth of The Kins 1/8/14, Re-scheduling my Re-Start with the Re 1/11/15. No wonder the holidays stress me out!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Updates I Don't Wanna Wait #MicroBloggingMonday

I figure that this can go in a micro-post since there isn't all that much to say.

All went well with Kinsy's test results: they  point to an all-clear. There are a few question marks- but we are largely out of the woods for the big-baddies. The relief was really huge. I mentioned last post, having been the "One in" before, it's hard to not always figure that we'll end up there again. Looks like we dodged this one.

Kins is in the middle of a language explosion! FINALLY. He is still just under 40 words (he needs about 12 more in the next 2 months to be in the (low) normal range by age 2.. that could happen!) Just this week he's added 6: Tea (my fave drink), tractor, popcorn, Elmo, Choo-choo and And. Now he makes little sentences "mama and dada" (when sitting with us on the couch- looking from one to the other), "up, up, up and down! (playing with cars- or on the stairs)"

We are still in a holding pattern for moving forward with family building. We have our WTF (Why the Fail... but really What the F%^&) appointment on Wednesday (2 days from now) and we will make a decision and a timeline from there. I lost my mind a little yesterday and told hub we need to start the adoption process after the holidays. Like really start, I’m looking into booking our class. I say lost my mind not because adoption is a lesser-choice or because it isn’t something we are actually considering (it's not and we are!)- but financially it will be harder for us (there is coverage for more IVF, including donor egg) and  I really would like to have another pregnancy. Clearly, with adoption that won’t happen. That said, I'm not sure what I can withstand mentally as far as TTC, so spending some cash and letting go of a pregnancy might be the best decision for us anyway. All that said,  I need to be DOING something and this waiting period is getting to me. Like, a lot.So fully reviewing our adoption option is next. 

You look at me from across the room
You're wearing your anguish again
Believe me I know the feeling
It sucks you into the jaws of anger
So breathe a little more deeply my love
All we have is this very moment
Paula Cole, I Don't Wanna Wait

Read more micro-posts here!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Update: Baby Watch

Baby Watch 2015 is over. A healthy boy was born last night.

I only shed a few tears sending out the work announcement. There weren’t even enough to need a tissue. Counting that as a win. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Just- Thoughts While on a Baby Watch

So my work friend Ray is expecting her second child. She was due yesterday and is being induced tonight. Last time she was pregnant, I was too and her baby girl was born (3.5 weeks early) just under 4 months before kins. It has been very hard watching her grow while I have failure after failure.

We have been chatting in the office and now texting as she has been through the ups and downs of this pregnancy and now as she is pending delivery. She is high-risk and so there is a lot to stress over. I hope that she successfully delivers a healthy baby in the coming hours. This is planned to be her last, so I hope she closes out her last pregnancy on a high note.

Someone once asked me why I can't "just be happy" relating to pregnancy, babies, kins etc. I finally have an answer:

I can be happy for others. I can and I am. I am so happy that Ray has gotten to experience a full-term pregnancy (though they are hard!). I am happy that she is about to deliver a healthy baby. BUT I can't be "just" happy.

I want more kids than I will ever have. So I am happy, but I am sad.

I know we started TTC #2 much longer ago than she did. She got pregnant her first cycle of trying (last time was unplanned). So I am happy, but I am envious.

These comparisons are staring me in the face when I talk to, see or think about pregnancy, kids, families with more than one child. I cannot help but think of myself when these things are around me. It is impossible to be "just" when your mind is consumed with TTC.

The inability to be "just happy" is unjust. I would LOVE to feel "just happy" for someone. I know what this feeling is like- I am truly "just happy" when people get promoted, married or move into a new home. But pregnancy is my sore spot. I don't want it to be, but it is.

No one should have this heartbreak. Not in terms of family building, loss or anything else that someone really truly wants and cannot have.

Nothing is Just. In any sense of the word.

Monday, November 30, 2015

I've Got The Blues #MicroBloggingMonday

I am blue. Very blue.
Unshakably blue.
This is not my personality. I spent most of the (long, holiday) weekend moping. I sobbed over a too-aggressive haircut for Kins. I briefly snapped out of my funk after going for a run and taking kins to the (indoor, salt) pool at the gym. I plunged back into it when he got pizza sauce all over my favorite shirt of his (and then looked at the stain, said uh-oh and tried to wipe it clean with a napkin).
We got some scary test results for him 1.5 weeks ago. Hub is sure that it's a false positive, his specialists seem to think it's a false positive. One went so far to tear down the test and list off all the reasons she thinks he's fine. But-- well no one wants bad news for their kid-  and when you're getting bad news for your kid AND you've already been an actual positive, after being assured by the specialists and having the test derided in front of you -- I don't buy it.
This isn't a crisis, he'll be fine- even if it's a real positive. I just want him to have a happy, easy life. I think he can be happy, but I don't think things will be easy for him if this is real. We'll know more Friday.

Read more micro-posts here!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


I had a very emotional commute this morning. In addition to traffic so bad it could bring tears to your eyes, I listened to Beat Infertility and The Story Collider. I usually find Beat Infertility very good and hopeful but today it just sent me into a cry. It’s just too close to the epic failure that was IVF #3. The woman featured as a success story had 4 embryos at the time of her transfer of only 5 mature eggs retrieved. She went on to transfer 2 and had twins. It isn’t that I am unhappy with her success, it just rubs in my failure today.

After that, iTunes began to auto-play the next new episode in my queue. It was the newest episode of The Story Collider. For those of you who don’t know it, it’s a really good podcast featuring personal stories about science and medicine. This particular story was from a woman who had a normal MaterniT 21 screening and then found out at 18 weeks that it was likely that her child had lethal skeletal dysplasia. The diagnosis was confirmed and she went on to end the pregnancy. Hearing the emotion in her voice and the tragedy of her story brought it all back for me. She says that when she told her husband that she couldn't go through with the pregnancy he replied that of course they couldn't and that it would be cruel.  My hub and I had the same conversation all that time ago.

I am really not doing well after this latest failure. Everything is setting me off. The obvious, That Story Collider, Paris, the failure itself: the not o obvious, Beat Infertility, kin's (relative) lack of language. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

IVF #3- The End

Nothing fertilized.

I'm calling tomorrow about the schedule for transferring Surya-Scott and then... moving on. 

The Dr called me himself and suggested that next time we do icsi (where they directly put the sperm into the egg) but honestly, we've fertilized 7 eggs and only have had 1 make it to day 5. I'm not convinced it will work. (work defined as getting a pregnancy).

Grand Total:

3 IVFs, 19 eggs retrieved, 7 fertilized, 7 made it to day 3, 1 made it to day 5. 

Sometime in December I think we'll see if any lead to pregnancy. 

Not going to lie, my instinct it no. 

We actively looking at egg banks and dipping our toes in the adoption waters. 

I am heartbroken. I know there are larger tragedies in the world (hell, that I have this blog is the result of one of them) but I so crushed.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Fair to Middling


Not good, even for me.

Not bad, even for me.

Fair to Middling

We were working with 12 follicles. I'd like to know why there was such a disparity between follicles and eggs (both this time and last time, but not the first time). Then again, it doesn't really matter. This was our last IVF (I know, never say never, but I feel physically and emotionally done with this)so there is no really need for a lessons learned:

IVF #1: 10 R, 8M, 4F, 1 blast = normal
IVF #2: 4R, 3M, 3F, 0 blast
IVF #3: 7R, ?, ?, ?

Not feeling too hopeful.

I'll let you know what tomorrow brings.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Deserving #MicroBloggingMonday

Deserving is a complicated idea, isn’t it?

Criminals deserve punishment, right? Heroes deserve praise; hard workers deserve a promotion.

It isn’t that simple when deserving is attached to something that can’t be earned by meeting a certain criteria. Who deserves a happy marriage? Who deserves a steady, high-paying job they love? Who deserves a child?

More to the point, who doesn’t?

I have had people tell me I deserve a baby and that I deserve an easy pregnancy. They say: you’re a good person and a good mom, your pregnancies have been so very hard in the past. You deserve for this to be easy.

Sometimes I feel like I DON’T deserve those things- That Blue Sunday’s diagnosis was a test that I somehow failed and that IF is a punishment for that failure. Or perhaps the T18 was a punishment for something else- for when I was mean to someone, or because I had a storybook life up until that point (I actually married my junior prom date, people!) 

This idea, being deserving something awful, was mentioned to me in relation to the deaths of babies in more than one place this week. I know parents who feel that they deserved for their child/ children to die. They believe on some level that the death of children they love, want and cared for was a punishment for their past.   

They feel responsible for losing a child they love.

I think everyone can logically say that there is no past sin big enough for a good person to deserve death of their child. (I would argue that no one should have that hell be their reality, regardless of how "good" they are). No child's fate should be determined by parental morality.

I know it is easy, and natural, to say “you deserve X, Y, Z”. When you’re talking about something that can be given- a prize, a raise, a pat on the back – this is easy. But when you’re telling someone that they deserve an intangible- a happy life, good friends or something that cannot be given- a child, a good job- remember this:

Deserving works both ways: if you tell someone they deserve something good but that good thing isn’t something they have, you may be confirming a nagging thought they don’t deserve it at all. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

IVF #3 D10 (Final Monitoring)

I've done my monitoring- blood work and ultrasound- and already have my results for the day. Over all, things are looking good I am doing one more day of meds tonight, trigger tomorrow and then retrieval on Wednesday!

So without further ado here are the specifics:

IVF # 3 D10 estrogen level: 2088- my highest ever, even higher than IVF #1 Day 12! (2074) This will likely be my last estrogen level, even though I will take medication one more night (IVF #1 D12 was trigger day). Max estrogen in IVF #2 was 1672.

Follicles were looking good as well: 21, 19, 19, 18, 14, 14, 14, 13, 13, 10 10 Both 10s are 0.1 away from being 11. Overall there are 10 measurable- 12 if you count the 2 almost-11s! There are 4-8 others less than 11. No wonder I feel terrible. 

I'm a little disappointed that I won't have monitoring tomorrow morning, since I can't make a straight comparison to any month, since I've always had an ultrasound trigger day. 

In IVF # 2 my final day of monitoring was Day 13: 21, 21, 15, 15, 14, 14, 14, 14, 10. Only 4 of those had eggs 2 mornings later at retrieval. They told me they assumed that the 2 big ones would be empty- so is that true this cycle? Or is it because there was more medication involved? I will say though, they thought maybe 6 or 7 eggs and were really surprised getting 4. So I guess that was unusual all the way around. Additionally, my estrogen was 400 points lower one day closer to retrieval. 

IVF #1 my final monitoring was Day 12: 22, 22, 21, 21, 18, 15, 14, 13, 12. Ten measurable and 10 were retrieved- 8 mature. I am really hoping that this cycle follows that pattern. 

I guess I'll say more on Wednesday!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

IVF # 3 Day 9

It's Saturday- the 9th day of sims (though I have only done 8 so far- I shoot up in the evenings).

I had monitoring in the morning because my life is awesome and nothing says "happy weekend" like driving out of town at the crack of dawn to get probed and needled. 

I know I sound super cranky, but I think things are going well. My estrogen is sky-high, I've gained 10 pounds and I am a wreck.  I think the cycle is doing well, I am not. 

Anyway here are the stats:

IVF #3 D9: Estrogen: 1579 (IVF #1 1053, IVF #2 358.2 one day earlier)

 Estrogen over time graph because I am having an affair with excel:

Follicles were: 18, 18, 17, 16, 14, 13, 12, 11 with 2-4 small on both sides (8 measurable 4-8 small)
IVF #1 follicles were: 17, 16, 14, 14 and 3 with 10-20 small

I'm a little concerned that there are 2 at 18, but still 1 at 11. This is a wide range. They are having me in again tomorrow. I am hoping those big ones stay put for a bit and let the 13, 12 and 11 catch up. 

More tomorrow morning (oh joy).

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

I Just Don't Know

I don't know how to think or feel.

I am sure it's the (massive) amounts of hormones racing through my system, but I feel hopeless tonight.

My results were good for me. They are poor-responder good- but that's where I am, so I should feel OK.

My estrogen level on Day 6 (meaning 5 days of stims) was 514.7.

Last cycle (4 eggs Retrieved, 3 Fertilized, 0 at day 5) it was 358.2 1 day later on Day 7 (6 Days of stims- they had me stim for an extra day before bw/us because my Day 4 was so low) 
IVF #1 (10R, 4F, 1 at day 5) it was 450.4 on the same day. 

This is also the day of IVF when they do the first follicle check. Here is where my heart sank a bit (a lot)

There are three measurable follicles- 11, 12 and 14 with 2-4 non-measurable- all on the right. Lefty has nothing measurable and 2-4 non-measurable. Bottom line: 6-11 follicles.

Again to contrast: 

IVF #1: Left: 1 measurable (11) 3-5 non-measurable. Right: 0 measurable, 5-7 non-measurable .
Bottom line: 9-13 follicles

IVF #2: Left: 0 measurable, 2-4 non-measurable. Right: 1 measurable (11) 2-4 non-measurable
Bottom line: 5-9 follicles

So there were more follicles on round one, though this time there are more measurable follicles. My concern- and what happened last time, is that one follicle becomes dominant and we have to trigger before there are more follicles available.

I guess we will know more on Saturday when I go back again.

I hate this.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

IVF #3 Day 5 Estrogen Priming Protocol

So we are now in the heat of IVF #3. I can't believe I just typed that. IVF #3. How did I get here?

Anyway, Recap:

I'm doing the estrogen priming protocol this go-round. For me, this means before my cycle started I ditched the birth control pills for estrogen patches and injected ganerlix (A.K.A. the blue box one that burns like a mo-fo). Overall time line was:

CD 24 (IVF #3 D-7) Put patch on lower belly
CD 25 (IVF #3 D-6) Leave patch on, inject ganerlix
CD 26 (IVF #3 D-5) Leave patch on, inject ganerlix
CD 27 (IVF #3 D-4) Change patch, inject ganerlix
CD 28 (IVF #3 D-3) Leave patch on
CD 29 (IVF #3 D-2) AF starts in evening (Wednesday)

IVF #3 D1 (CD 3) 450 gonal-f, 150 menopur
IVF #3 D2 (CD 4) 450 gonal-f, 150 menopur
IVF #3 D3 (CD 5) 450 gonal-f, 150 menopur
IVF #3 D4 (CD 6) 450 gonal-f, 150 menopur

My estrogen level was drawn yesterday (after 3 days of sims) and it was 176.6!

Last cycle (4 eggs Retrieved, 3 Fertilized, 0 at day 5) it was 83.7 and IVF #1 (10R, 4F, 1 at day 5) it was 141.9. Sooooooo this is good! I'm feeling (gulp) hopeful.

More bloodwork and ultrasound tomorrow morning. I'll try to update in the afternoon.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Honoring the Lost: Kid-centric holidays #microbloggingmonday

Here we are again- the kid-centric holidays.

They are, for me, a LOT less difficult now that I have a child of my own here in the world with me. Hub and I marveled about re-finding joy in Halloween and we have already begun Christmas shopping for kins. (And I really don't like the 2 month lead-in to Christmas).

There is always a tug of loss, however. Families with multiple kids, kids who are 3.5, as Blue Sunday would be now- They give my heart a cramp.

People who are clearly and blissfully unaware of loss are everywhere talking about kids. You can always tell people who have never had a child tragedy: They ask "Is he your first?" at the company party. Not just implying that there may be a second, but not careful of the language that makes the question hard to answer for those who have lost. My company is led by someone who lost a child. He asked: "do you have any others at home"? when meeting kins. Subtle, but the babylost understand.

This year, in honor of my Blue Sunday and 3 lost babies of friends of mine- I am adopting a wish list of local children involved with our states Department of Children and Families.  I was hoping to find infant twins, a boy between 6 and 12 months and of course a 3 year old.

Would you believe there they were? 4 needy kids who will receive gifts because of 4 others gone too soon. It is easy to let this become a why MY baby moment (or my friends' babies). These kids are often abandoned, many are waiting adoption or foster care. Some have been forcibly removed from their families. I choose instead to focus on the joy and small comfort a child will receive when ours cannot.

The days I feel most like a mom to my Blue Sunday is the days I choose, shop for and drop off something to the child I gift to by proxy.

A car seat, bath towels and toys, 9-12 month clothes, a play tool set.

A memory, a moment. Love.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Hold Music

The hold music that my RE's office uses gives me anxiety.

I'm not exactly sure what day today will turn out to be in terms of IVF #3: either D-1 or D-2 I guess . Last night I started my cycle. Today is Wednesday and I figure I will start injections tomorrow?

I am sitting on hold and the music is making me feel like my heart is in my throat. So much anxiety.

It isn't the clinic- they are great- it's this whole process.

My body image is tanking. I have gained 20 pounds this year. Twenty. That's more than when I was pregnant with kins. That makes me anxious.

The things I'm putting into my body are making me anxious. I don't have a needle phobia- it just sucks to constantly shoot yourself full of hormones and get blood drawn. The dildo operated by a (kind) late-in-life woman is a breeze compared to staring down my (also kind) Slavic phlebotomist who EVERY time tells me I have bad veins and need to drink more water. At least her accent is pleasant to listen to.

The lack of strenuous exercise is making me anxious (and fat). Moving hard really is better than medication for my mind. But ovarian torsion is bad.

Most of all, not knowing the outcome is anxiety producing. I don't mean of this cycle (though that is stressful in it's own right). I mean the whole thing. How many kids will I have? How will I have them? Am I chasing the dragon here?

My life is tired up in that hold music. I am just hold here, waiting.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Back in the Saddle Again #MicrobloggingMonday

The last thing I want to be is on a weight-loss journey right now.

I want to be pregnant. I want to be too busy with a newborn and a toddler. I want to still be were I was in the months after Kins was born.


I'm not pregnant, I'm not (really) too busy and I sure as certain not at the weight I was in the months postpartum.

The truth is I've gained a lot of weight this year. Most can be placed in the months I was cycling. Hormone woes, emotional eating.. it doesn't really matter what the reason was right?

No more excuses. Fitbit on, salad in my mouth.

I'm looking to lose 30 pounds by April. Starting small: hoping for 1.5 by Sunday.

I have to be healthy for this little guy:

(IVF update: Started estrogen patched and ganerlix. Have a headache and nothing else. AF should start in the next few days)

I'm back in the saddle again
I'm back
Aerosmith, Back in the Saddle

Friday, October 23, 2015

You and I Again: The Child I Have

Kins is the best kid in the world (sorry other moms).

He is playful, he is sweet, he is curious, and he is mine.

He is Trouble, he is joy. He is sensitive and he is kind.

He makes my world full. He shows me all I lost. He shows me what I dream to have one day.

That a lot of burden for a little guy and he carries it gracefully.

I had a cry just now, he heard from the other room and stopped what he was doing:


He runs in, still in his monster-feet PJs. And again:


I tell him:

Mama is feeling sad, and he runs over and lays his head on my lap.

He says little, but understands so much.

And so although I know we are only small
In the time we have here
This time we have it all
You and I again
This time, this time

James Taylor, You and I Again

Monday, October 19, 2015

On Loss #MicrobloggingMondays

October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. I made a little post on my facebook page, and did participate in the wave of light. For those living under a rock not familiar, at 7pm local time all participants light a candle in memory of lost babies. I feel like I know about are more losses than I want to think about: failed IVF transfers, miscarriages, terminations, fetal death, infant death. So, so many women are living in the aftermath of loss of a child they wanted, nurtured and love.

Here are the candles I lit for my own lost Blue Sunday, the lost babies of my friends, and those babies of people who I don't yet know.

Living after loss is always living WITH loss. It doesn’t go away. I had an ugly cry for the child Blue Sunday would be now. He would be three and half! A real kid. I can’t imagine what that would look like. I never will really be able to I suppose. That’s what loss is, never really knowing someone you should have known all the rest of the days of your life. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Making a List

Making a List, Checking it Twice

I’ve spent each day over the last week looking into one of our family building options. I am a crazy person, so I came up with a ranking system on 4 categories: difficulty of next step, cost, stress that will occur/ is likely to occur when doing it, and likely hood I get a baby out of the deal. Here is the breakdown of options: IVF #3, Donor egg, Donor embryo, adoption infant, adoption foster-to-adopt and GULP living with one.

Roughly in order of preference, though some could be swapped around.

Key: NOTE: Emojis don't publish in Blogger= annoying
>< squinty-face of fear= more faces, more fear
:*( crying=  More tears, more terror
$ amounts of cash needed =mo money, mo problems
? odds of working = more question marks, more questionable

IVF #3: we’ll be doing an estrogen priming cycle “patch protocol”. I will be putting on an estrogen patch every 3 days starting on CD 24. That is October 23rd. I actually don’t know the plan for the stim meds that cycle. I found most of the chat board banter about this topic on the DOR board, so that makes sense- though my ovarian reserve blood work is within normal limits, clearly something is going on.
Next Steps: Time passes, box of meds arrive, I patch, prime and poke.

Stressin’ Out Thinkin’ 'bout: ><  (1) I know what to expect
Cost of Doing Business: $ yay insurance
Blessed with a Baby: ???? the definition of insanity and all that yadda-yadda. 2 IVFs one embryo not good odds.
Mental Anguish:  :*(   :*(   (though I know what to expect and get a full genetic link to a baby that comes from the process- I don’t think it’s going to work)

Donor Egg: I looked into two egg banks with two different processes. One has the donor cycle for you. Many are unproven (which means they haven’t done a round of IVF before). That stresses me out, since she could bomb the way I did. No one would have guessed I would fail IVF so miserably. Hub and I have had some spectacularly bad luck in the past. So we think odds are pretty good an unproven donor will give us nothing. But, when I limited my search to proven-only donors I didn’t see any that captured me. The other site has eggs from known donors, so you know going into it how many eggs are available. But again, no homeruns in the lineup. The down sides: Hub thinks it’s oddly voyeuristic and it makes him uncomfortable to sift through women. Not an insurmountable issue. I am wary of losing a genetic link to my baby, this is evidenced by how important I felt it was to choose a blue-eyed donor (like me, hub and kins).
Next Steps: Save money, finish IVF #3, implant Surya-Scott (and any other embryos), pick a donor

Stressin’ Out Thinkin’ 'bout: ><   ><  (2)
Cost of Doing Business: $$$$ (looking like 25-30 thousand)
Blessed with a Baby: ?
Mental Anguish: :*(   :*(   :* (  (3) I think this is a really good shot at another pregnancy, but I am not quite ready to give up my genetic link, especially when hub will get to keep his.

Adoption: By ‘Adoption’ I mean either domestic infant or very young international child adoption. We have looked into a few things and are going to contact a few local agencies in the coming weeks. We aren’t sure if this is the way for us. Which is why we have foster-to-adopt below. I like the idea of having another baby, though as kins grows, I like him more and more (I say like, because I already love him max. haha).
Next Steps: Meet with agencies, Save money, finish IVF #3, implant Surya-Scott (and any other embryos),
Stressin’ Out Thinkin’ 'bout: ><   ><    ><  (3)
Cost of Doing Business: $$$$ (looking like 30 thousand plus)
Blessed with a Baby: ??? (I think we’ll be a hard match, honestly. Non-religious, liberal family with a bio-kid)
Mental Anguish: :*(   :*(   :*(  I LOVED giving birth, that’s hard to give up. The adoption process, especially for infants falls through often. For me, that feels like a late-in-pregnancy loss. I don’t know that I can do that again.

Foster-to-adopt: Between the adoption options, I don’t know that I have a preference. I know that there is A LOT I don’t know about adoption, most importantly post-adoption issues and care. I want to be the best mom possible, for any child who may come into my life. I know that foster-to-adopt has its own challenges, especially if you add an older child to the family. We do have adoption in our family, so it’s not a foreign concept, but parenting is different. What I have always imagined as a mom is school-aged kids, so I’m not missing my parenting sweet-spot by older child adoption
Next Steps: Meet with agencies, finish IVF #3, implant Surya-Scott (and any other embryos).

Stressin’ Out Thinkin’ 'bout: ><   ><   ><  (3) In the post-adoption time period…you know, the rest of my life.
Cost of Doing Business: $$ (foster-to-adopt is quiet inexpensive, by comparison)
Blessed with a Baby Kid: ? (This is probably one of our better-bets)
Mental Anguish: :*(   :*(   :*( (3) I LOVED giving birth, that’s hard to give up. Older child adoption has its own challenges, which I am reading up on and becoming aware of. I am concerned about the effect of a child in crisis on kins.

Donor Embryo: This is also known as embryo adoption and reflects two different schools of thought on using an embryo created with the gametes of two people who are not the parents-to-be. In short, there will be no genetic link to me or to hub. I talked about donor embryo/embryo adoption here. There is actually less information around on this option than I would like. I’m not too sure about this option.
Next Steps: Decide if this is even an option for us.

Stressin’ Out Thinkin’ about it: ><   ><   ><   ><  (4) fear of the unknown
Cost of Doing Business: Not really sure
Blessed with a Baby: ??
Mental Anguish: :*(   :*( :*(   :*(  (4) I think this is a really good shot at another pregnancy, but I am not quite ready to give up my genetic link, knowing so little about it makes me nervous.  

Living with One: This is obvious, right? Stop the insanity, save the money, avoid the heartbreak (and potential joy) and live as a family of three.
Next Step: Exhaust all other options/ all the money we're willing to spend.

Stressin’ Out Thinkin’ 'bout: ><  ><   ><   ><  ><  (5)
Cost of Doing Business: -$, -$ Save tons (college, cars, making the baby etc.)
Blessed with a Baby: ????? I mean I guess I could have a natural pregnancy.
Mental Anguish: :*(   :*(   :*( :*(   :*(   (5)

Metadata for Reproduction #MicroBloggingMonday

I’ve spent each day over the last week looking into one of our family building options. I am a crazy person, so I came up with a ranking system on 4 categories: difficulty of next step, cost, stress that will occur/ is likely to occur when doing it, and likely hood I get a baby out of the deal. What can I say, my job is literally managing data. I make spreadsheets and information capture systems 9-5, 5 days a week (really 8:30-4 and 8 until it’s done for the day, but that’s neither here nor there).

In brief, it really is least stressful for me to just jump into this next (likely last) IVF. I know what to expect (not that it’s GOOD or fun, but it’s known), the monetary aspect is minimal and I get a full genetic link to a child that comes out of this process.  I’m not sure how important that genetic bond is to me, but I do know I am sad when I think about how much Kins looks like hub when I think I will NEVER have that. Though, it isn’t really important.

My next post will have the breakdown of IVF #3, Donor egg, Donor embryo, adoption infant, adoption foster-to-adopt.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

IVF #2 The End

Though IVF #1 still may have be successful, (looking at you Suyra-Scott) IVF #2 is definitively a bust.

No embryos made it to biopsy.

I am sad, but not in the least bit surprised.

I had a chat with hub and we decided to give it one more try. To be honest, he decided to give it one more try and I consented to that. I feel ready to close the door. I'd like to transfer Surya-Scott before the end of the year and have a new-start in 2016. That may be with donor egg, donor embryo or adoption. Or a pregnancy, may be.

Hub isn't really keen on this either, but he feels that we're giving up before it's over if we don't try one last time. This cycle cost us very little money, since there was nothing to biopsy it was less than a $500 cycle (don't hate me!) I will be doing a patch protocol, which I have yet to look up. The doc made it sound like it's good for people who get over-suppressed from BCPs (MEEEEE). It is a bit of a slow protocol, but I was slow anyway.

If insurance can be rushed along and approve in just under 3 weeks, I can start the patches on CD 21, which is October 20th  and then injections on day 2 of my next cycle, which should be just before the end of this month. That would set us for a retrieval some time mid-November and hopefully a transfer in December.

The best laid plans, right?

Monday, September 28, 2015

#Microblogging Monday Where to Start

The song tells me that one should "Start at the very beginning" and that it is a "very good place to start". This is all well and good, but where oh where is the beginning?

I feel like looking into adoption is like trying to untangle a string of Christmas lights (one not put on one of the handy-dandy light rollers, of course). I am just looking at the lump of wires and bulbs, still haven't even found the plug on one end. I’m just pulling the string at random, not knowing how close to the beginning the section I'm working on is.  

From the few people I have spoken to, (and I have more to contact), I have been sent in a few different directions:

Decide on a country and age range
Talk to a few agencies (but watch of for ones with fees! Or may be they are OK actually…)
Know you're done with the fertility treatments
Think about debt/home study roadblocks/ other skeletons

Ugh. I don't know where to go from here. We have the therapist we see who is an adoptive father- we may ask him.

I wasn't going to add this but just to be fair- one additional egg went on to fertilize- so we have two that were growing at 2pm yesterday. 1 4 cell "perfect" and 1 3 cell with a bit of fragmentation. To keep us all real- last time I had the same PLUS 2 more "perfect" 4 cells and one made it to biopsy. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

IVF #2: Retrieval Day Update

We are spending my post-surgery time researching adoption. 

That's really enough to tell you how it went right?

Of 9 follicles seen on Wednesday, we got 4 eggs. We'll hear tomorrow how many were mature and fertilized. Last cycle it was 10r -->8m -->4 fertilized --> 4 at day 3 --> 1 at day 5. 

Given that, we're accepting that this is a bust. 

I know stranger things have happened, I also know that we have a rather severe egg quality issue and that cycles with few eggs rarely produce pregnancies (38% per the link for my age and number of eggs).  

So we will implant Surya-Scott at our earliest opportunity and in the mean time research adoption- I don't know where to begin. I have 2 IRL contacts for adoption and 1 from the internet.. if anyone here can help- I would greatly appreciate it. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

IVF #2 Day 11

*Continuing to write from the future- how annoying.

So where we last left off, I was at day 7 with one follicle.

I went in Monday morning, Day 11, hoping for the best, but really expecting the worst.

It is encouraging to see that there are now 6 that are measurable, but there is such a huge differential between the largest (18.24 on my WTF Left side and 17.9) and the smallest (just 11.25), with two others also on the smaller side.

When I talked to the nurse today I asked about the size range and she said (I'm paraphrasing) that the are going to sacrifice the bigger ones for the greater good.

So we're *really* working with 4.


Continuing on with meds as was, go back on Wednesday IVF #2 day 13.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

IVF #2 Day 7

Really, really annoyed.

I went in for my first follicle check on Thursday (I'm writing this from the future) and i was hoping for something, though given my poor E2 level on Monday I wasn't hopeful.

There was just 1 measurable follicle (11.16) and "few- 2-4" smaller than 11 on each ovary. That is a best case/ worst case as 9/5.

My estrogen remained a pathetic 358.2. This is more than the 48 hour doubling they hope to see, but I started out so low it doesn't really matter, right?

For fun-sies I looked back at last cycle. I went in on day 6, this time was day 7.

Then: E2= 450.4 11, 9, 10, 10, 8 and 2-4 per side smaller than 11
Now: E2= 358.2 11 and 2-4 per side smaller than 11

Looking back, I'm not too sure if the 2-4 per side smaller than 11 included the very small (but for some reason measured) follicles. They tell me they only measure if they are bigger than 11mm (and that's what the flowsheet indicates as well). I can tell you from working in oncology, lesions that are considered non-measurable for size reasons are 10mm or less. Below that, it is hard to image and make quality estimates of size. I had different ultrasound techs at the appointments, so there could be user differences playing a factor as well.

I am continuing with:
450 Gonal-f
150 menapur

and will add 250 ganarelix Fri/Sat/Sun and go back Monday morning.

Monday, September 14, 2015

IVF#2 Day 4

IVF #2 started 9/11. That start date left me with a feeling of foreboding.  

We are now on IVF #2 Day 4. My doc decided to max out my dosage this month- so I am on:

450 Gonal-f
150 Menapur (2 vials a day)

I have done 3 doses thus far (tonight will be number 4). I did blood work this morning and my estrogen was only 83.7. Last cycle on this day I was at 141.1.

Last time I was told to come back in 3 days, this time I'm not to come back for 4 days. 

I'm assuming that means I'm growing even more slowly than before. 


Thursday, September 10, 2015

Delays Update

OK, IVF posts now (working through a backlog)

I should have updated (as I said I would) after I got a response from the nurse from my e-mail in my last post. I wrote one, lost it, went on vacation and then didn't get around to it. I will try to do this briefly, so I can get to current matters.

Right after I posted, my nurse called back. She listened to me vent- and cry. I explained myself fairly reasonably:

  • I was upset that we had only one blastocyst (and thrilled that it was chromosomally normal). She assured me that her most frequent call with a PGD/PGS cycle is that there are 0 or 1 normal. She agreed though that it was disappointing that there was so few that made it to blast and thought it might be prudent to discuss with my doc.
  • I was disappointed because one of the reasons we did IVF was to create embryoS in the hopes of having TWO more kids. She knew that this was a driver for me and mentioned we should think about leaving our embryo (Surya-Scott- I'll explain later for those of you who don't get it) on ice. I explained that we are (SO) lucky to be doing insurance covered IVF and that I was told I couldn't do another cycle if I had someone frozen. She told me she would confirm but with one, at my age, with my insurance they would cover another round WHAT???? I JUST had this convo with the financial coordinator two weeks before! Sure enough, it's covered, she confirmed a few hours later.
  • I was mad that I had already been waiting 3 weeks for an appointment and now I was being asked to wait 5 more. She apologized, said that that was not how they wanted to operate and that she would work on getting my appointment moved up. Before the end of the day I was confirmed for a 8am appointment on that Friday- 3 days later. That's before my appointment would have been before it was moved! And just for perspective, ALLLLL this time I've kept you waiting for an update and I STILL wouldn't have had my follow-up yet (It would be this Friday)!
So, it was a really good call and I was really happy I made it. She had me stop the pill and then I waited for my Friday appointment.
  • My doc apologized immediately, and said something to the effect of we know this is stressful and we don't want to make excuses, but we had a new assistant and she didn't know how to book appointments and that she was let go. I felt guilty about that, but 8 weeks from retrieval to follow-up isn't acceptable. I apologized back, saying I didn't want to cause trouble.
  • He asked me how I am doing- and he means it. So I told him I was having a rough time. I told him about Baby Flynn and he cried. He is a good man. He is praying for Flynn and his family. I like him extra for that.
  • He agreed we should do another cycle. He wants to max out meds. Though my IF has been unexplained, it is now clear there are egg quality issues- which makes sense given Blue Sunday and our difficulty conceiving/ maintaining a pregnancy. I am not ready to get into my feelings of responsibility for Blue Sunday's condition.
  • He said data suggests that I will enter into DOR sooner than average, and have menopause sooner than average as well.  Boooo
As before, everything is on the table for us. We are committed to another child, we are committed to on more cycle, to transferring Surya-Scott and any other viable embryos from the additional IVF. After that- we don't know- IVF, Donor egg, donor embryo, adoption. Lots to think about.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

First Family of Three Vacation

Whoops. I fell off the face of the earth. Can I write my fun post first?

We took bub kins (kins is what I actually call him little-kins, baby-kins, baddie-kins. SO kins from here on out. Sorry for the switcheroo) on his first vacation! It was FINALLY time for my friends' wedding and we took the week before for our own family vacation. The wedding was down the Cape (Falmouth, Ma) and so was our rental house. We left on a Sunday, an spent the next several days at parks, on carousels and on the beach! My parents came down for one night- which just so happened to be our 9 year wedding anniversary- so hub and I got out for a nice dinner on our own (where we were seated next to a little boy- go figure)*.

Pictures are worth 1000 words right? Here we are- Cape-cation 2015.

carousel (Kins was suspicious of it)

Kins trying to climb down a hole at an AWESOME park at the carousel

If you dig a baby a hole, you can finish one adult beverage before he gets fussy!* actual results may vary

My dad, hub and kins at the water

Pirate ship!
First Friendly's kids meal. Happy ending!

This was on shore at the pirate boat. Too cute

My family on the porch of the house we rented.

On Friday, one of the bridesmaids joined us (she is kins' godmother) and Friday night another joined. Saturday morning hub and kins left to bring the little boy to his grandparents. The last of the bridesmaids joined us when we all went to get our nails done before the rehearsal dinner. 

Then it was all about the wedding! We did the rehearsal, practiced my speech and then the ladies had wedding day morning makeup and hair. Wedding day was PERFECT 80 and sunny.  My friends were beautiful, especially the bride. Here are hub and I on the big day!

*Not complaining, he was cute and well behaved- it was just funny to be psyched to get away from our little boy for a few hours to see another.