Are we parents yet?

The Clements’ IVF Journey

Schedule December 29, 2008

Filed under: The process — Aria @ 10:04 pm

Oh my god, I’m so tired already. I’ll be on the pill until the 16th, starting shots on the 12th, retrieval estimate date of the 3rd of February. We still have enough of the Follistim left since the dose last time was lowered from 300IU to 125IU after it was ordered and paid, so more than half is still left. The protocol and doses will still be the same. Start with 10IU of Lupron, then going down to 5IU of Lupron and adding the 125IU of Follistim and 75IU of Menopur. That stuff burns!!

For being two people who live without debt (excepting the Altima, but that kind of debt is often unavoidable), we sure are going to sink into some major debt. It’ll be worth it though. We don’t have student loan debt or credit card debt or anything. So I think we’ll be ahead of the game with $7,000 left on the car and $8,000 or so for the second round of IVF, or however much is over our insurance coverage. Most people have more than $15,000 of debt, and for dumb, pointless stuff (electronics, fancy meals, etc.), that I don’t feel too bad about having debt for something like this.

I swear, I need a nap for a year or two. This stuff is so mentally exhausting, this non-stop roller coaster of emotion.

 

Our Christmas December 26, 2008

Filed under: General thoughts — Aria @ 3:41 pm

Among other things (my Philippa Gregory historical novel collection is complete now!), two stand-out gifts I got were a white sapphire (he hid it inside the jewelry box he gave me), 6.6mm, so big, very clear, beautiful, for the center stone of an engagement ring. I’ve wanted a white sapphire for ages. Before Debeers started the “A diamond is forever” and the two-months’ salary bull, (which is now 4-6-months’ salary, btw), sapphires stood for fidelity, permanence, and love. My wedding ring is blue sapphires and diamonds, but matching those sapphires to a larger center stone would be too tricky, so we decided on a white sapphire, and he got it.

Another gift is a Kitchenaid mixer. You know those big ones that go on counter tops? That’s the one appliance I’ve wanted for ages and never bought due to price. Moving here freed up the money to buy these things. After opening stuff, I demanded he make me madeleines! And then I put my apron on him, and got a picture! Snapped while he was chewing on cheddar Goldfish crackers.

I got my mom an Anne Klein black wool coat, mid-length, since she needed a new coat. And I got Cody the deluxe editions of Wall-E, Iron Man, and Dark Knight, a Remington shaver, and an XBox 360 with Left for Dead 4, but damn it, it’s on back order, to be shipped about January 14th.

The day did start off with some arguing. Yeah, Cody tried the “think about positive things” and that didn’t help. He’s still in denial. Then gifts and breakfast (Cody made waffles and sausage, and the wffle maker is visible on the counter still), then made dinner, enough for a small army, then watched Wall-E and Iron Man. Partway through Iron Man I left to to pick up a friend to get him to the airport and brought Gosha, his pup that we were the breeders for, back here. Big doggy! The girls (Gosha’s mom and sister) are thrilled to have him here.

It wasn’t a very thrilling day, somber a lot of it (seriously, just lost babies three days before, it’s going to be sad on and off for a while here), but perked up while watching movies. I also ate an entire pumpkin pie, so that was good. But it’s been hard expecting to celebrate our last childless Christmas, instead mourning losses.

There was one gift Cody took back. Well, not took back, but he said he got it when we had those positives, but it might make me sad to open under the circumstances. So it’s on top of the liquor cabinet unopened for now. I think I know exactly what it is.

So that was my day.

 

Things I Wish I Could Tell People About Grieving Infertility

Filed under: General thoughts — Aria @ 1:48 pm

I found this here. The bold italics are my comments.

1. I wish you would not be afraid to speak to me about my losses, my infertility, and to ask what you can do to help.
I’d like to ask not to take it personally if something doesn’t help and I say so.  I understand the intention was right, but it’s asking a lot to want me to just take the daggers you thought were helping.  This kind of loss is much worse than losing an unplanned baby.  I know from experience.  I’ve been there.  This is a lot worse than the first time.  Ask what you can do to help.  Chances are all I need are my friends to listen and let me vent.

2. If I cry or get emotional when we talk about them, I wish you knew that it isn’t because you have hurt me. The fact that I have suffered has caused my tears. You have allowed me to cry, and I thank you. Crying and emotional outbursts are healing.
Exactly.  Holding it in doesn’t help.  Just thinking about other things doesn’t help.  What helps heal is dealing with it head-on, battling it actively.  This is what I am trying to do.

3. I wish you wouldn’t pretend that nothing is happening to me, because it is a large part of my life. I need my friends and family by my side.

4. I will have emotional highs and lows, ups and downs. I wish you wouldn’t think that if I have a good day, my grief is over, or that if I have a bad day, I need psychiatric counseling.
I wasn’t very happy over Christmas, so was told I need therapy.  No amount of therapy in the world is going to make this better.  There are no other ways to look at it.  I’m having to deal with a part of my body not working.  In therapy, a therapist will do things such as ask you to evaluate your feelings and dissect why you feel that way.  This isn’t a mental condition or handling something wrong.  This is dealing with a condition I can’t change by just changing my thinking.  I need support from my friends, not therapy.

5. Being an infertile person is not contagious, so I wish you wouldn’t shy away from me.

6. I wish you knew that all of the “crazy” grief reactions I am having are in fact very normal. Depression, anger, frustration, hopelessness, and questioning of values and beliefs are to be expected during and following what is happening to me.
This loops back into number 4.  I don’t need therapy and I’m not crazy for being depressed right now.  It’s completely normal.  It’s not as easy as just  thinking about something else or looking at the positives, because the fact still remains that I have now lost three babies, and two of them just a matter of days ago.  Going through the most invasive procedure the medical world has to date, which comes with the highest chance of giving birth, and losing them sure feeds into the hopeless feelings.  “If the method with the highest chance failed, how can it ever happen?”  This is completely normal.  It wouldn’t be normal, or even healthy, if I were to be able to just ignore everything and not care or not ever think about anything.

7. I wish you wouldn’t expect my grief to be over if and when I become pregnant or have children.

8. I wish you would understand the physical reactions to grief. I may gain weight or lose weight…sleep all the time or not at all…want to surround myself with business or be all alone, all of which may be related to my grief.

9. My birthday, anniversaries of the failed pregnancies, holidays, and the days I find out that this cycle too was a bust, are all terrible times for me. I wish you could tell me that you are thinking about me, and if I get quite withdrawn, just know I am doing my best to cope. Please don’t try to coerce me into being cheerful or tell me that it will be better soon.

10. It is normal and good that most of us re-examine our faith, values, and beliefs throughout this journey. We will question things we have been taught all our lives, and hopefully come to some new understandings to include those with God. I wish you would let me tangle with my religion, opinions, and beliefs without making me feel guilty.
I don’t believe in god, but the general gist applies.  I need to be able to think and feel without being made to feel guilty for not caring about minor things on the day I lose babies.

11. I wish you would not offer me drinks or drugs to ease the pain. These are just temporary crutches. The only way I can get through this grief is to experience it, and sometimes immerse myself in it. I have to hurt before I can heal.

12. I wish you understood that infertility changes people. I am not the same person I was before I experienced it nor will I ever be that person again. If you keep waiting for me to “get back to my old self,” you will be frustrated. I am a new creature with new thoughts, dreams, aspirations, values, and beliefs. Please try and get to know the “new me”…maybe you will still like me.

 

And now we start

Filed under: The process — Aria @ 9:27 am

I start the birth control pill tomorrow. And on Monday I’ll hear back with which protocol and the schedule.

 

ARGH!! December 25, 2008

Filed under: Frustrations — Aria @ 10:56 pm

Edit to add this paragraph after finishing the rest of this:

I know some of my friends reading will see this as an attack, but it’s not. I’m someone emotionally hurt by some comments while already grieving sharing how I perceive things I’ve been told and how those things make me feel, and what would really help and what wouldn’t. I know three of you who will take this personally and be mad, but friends are supposed to be able to be up front and tell each other how certain things make one feel, right? So don’t take any of this as personal attacks. It’s really, really not. It’s raw emotion while I am going through the natural grieving process. Some links:

Stages of grief
Myths and Facts About Grief Read the first one of this, if you read nothing else.
Loss Affects People in Different Ways
Help someone who is grieving Some of these things obviously won’t apply since these babies have no things to help clear out. But the last three especially are good, especially the first one.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I have been told, more times than I care to count, to “look on the bright side” or to “think positively” about things when it comes to being sad right now. But guess what. A week ago I was pregnant, and now I’m going through losing two more babies. I need time, and it’s really kind of mean to expect me to be able to be all happy and jolly like nothing happened. It was hard work making these babies, VERY hard work, not at all fun like simply throwing out the birth control and having lots of sex would be. Fuck, part of this process is actually no sex. There’s nothing fun about IVF. It’s hard enough losing a baby that wasn’t planned. It’s ten times harder to lose one you planned for and went through something so difficult to conceive.

So don’t tell me to think positively right now or to focus on other things. I just lost two more children. I have every right to have my sad moments. I’ll be honest and tell everyone reading this that these are the wrong things to tell me. Tell me you’re sorry I’m going through something, and that goes a long way to making me feel better. Tell me I’m going about my grief in the “wrong” way and I’m going to feel defensive. No two people handle grief the same way. As long as I’m not self-destructive, doing things like drinking and driving or drugs, then I’m not handling things wrong.

I’ve been through enough shit in my life that I know what works to help me move past things that have happened. I can either try to ignore things and be dealing with it in the back of my mind for a long time, or I can focus on it and work through it in a shorter time. I’ve been through far more shit than anyone else I know, and I’m sorry if it saddens me and can be hard to be so optimistic about certain things when my own experiences have been so bad.

I’m feeling more and more like I have to filter which personal friends I can share my feelings with, and I don’t want to do that. It’s taken until only a couple years ago for me to feel like I could share anything. Until then, I bottled everything up. I’ve refused to filter so far, but I’m wondering if I shouldn’t hold things in again, and just share how I felt after I’ve dealt with it. I’d rather do this than to basically be told to ignore what happened to look only at happy things. I can’t just ignore losing babies. I’m still feeling the physical pain. I’m going to go through IVF again and that will remind me, but the other option is doing nothing and having no children. Not an option!

So far the only people who haven’t told me these things are the people I know who can’t have babies naturally, if at all. So my infertile friends and my mom (total hysterectomy – no chance she can ever have kids in any way). Even Cody isn’t exempt. He’s told me to “look on the bright side.”

Cody and I had this exact conversation this morning, spent the morning arguing about it. His way is to basically ignore what happened and look on the bright side of whatever’s happened, but there’s no bright side to losing babies unless one didn’t want them. I told him just hug me, and, in nicer terms, to shut up about the rest if he wants to tell me to something like that. Really, I don’t need to hear it.

No one can understand completely how I feel unless you’re dealing with infertility, have lost one baby before infertility, then have gone through fertility treatments to conceive babies, had the positive tests, felt elated, even if slightly afraid to believe it could be true, only to lose them, and to know conceiving again isn’t as easy as contraceptive-free sex. It was easier for me to handle my first loss because I knew (or so I thought) that I could always shave another in the future. Losing the baby was hard, but I could always easily actually try and conceive again in the future. I had that thought to make it easier. I don’t have that this time. What I have is a $12,000-procedure (plus medications), and this next time the bill’s going to be mostly, of not all, ours.

So of course I’m going to think about this a lot right now. Just a week ago I genuinely believed we’d be celebrating Christmas and know it was out last childless one, and instead we’re “celebrating” Christmas knowing we lost them, and that to go through it again will mean five figures of debt (and we’re people who don’t even have a single credit card and hate debt).

So.

Don’t tell me to look on the bright side or think about other things. That comes across as telling me to ignore what’s happened, and really, the biggest event to happen in my life recently is losing my babies. Of course I’m going to notice most that which is the biggest event.

Do simply tell me you’re sorry and leave it at that, if you are tempted to tell me the above.

Do ask me to go get coffee or to go to a bookstore or something (obviously if you’re local). Basically help provide a distraction if you want me to think about other things. Thinking about other things is harder to do when I’m home by myself or out doing things by myself. Talk to me and it’s harder for my mind to be consumed by grief.

Don’t tell me I’m grieving wrong. Absolutely do not. Do not say anything that you think will cone across this way. Trying to tell me to handle it by thinking about other things comes across as telling me I’m doing it wrong.

Do let me grieve. It’s been not even a week. Even if they were just clumps of cells to you, to me they were my babies that I had dozens of shots and needles poked through my uterus and celibacy and no baths and orders not to do any exercise at all and living my life on a day-to-day schedule because appointments are often last minute to make.

Don’t tell me to stop. This is a very big deal to me. A lot has happened to me in the past couple years, and this is the worst.

Do realize I’m doing a LOT better than I would if I didn’t have Cody. I know what I have that’s positive, and it’s because I DO see these things that I am not trying to drink myself to death or not eating or hysterically crying non-stop.

I’m telling you all these things so I don’t have to filter my feelings. I really, really don’t want to have to, but I will. I know y’all care or you wouldn’t be saying these things. I know you’re trying to be helpful, so I’m letting you know it actually makes me feel worse. I appreciate what you’re trying to do, but it’s not working. Just tell me you’re sorry. That’s all.

I’m heading to grab some cake, then to bed.

 

Merry Christmas

Filed under: Sadness — Aria @ 9:34 am

Merry Christmas. Sorry I can’t conjure up a bunch of happiness to put behind it. I wish I could, but can’t.

This was supposed to be my last childless Christmas. Instead of a baby, I get cramps and a period. Only 9:34 and already I’m looking forward to the day being over so I can go back to bed. All around the country and in several countries around the world, people are happily celebrating Christmas. Well, this household is somber today.

Also I’m not happy because the XBox 360 and a game (Left for Dead 4) were delayed in shipping, so won’t get here until later. And sun. I wish we had rain or snow instead of stupid sunshine. So even the little things for today didn’t go right.

I’ve got to cook dinner and pies pretty soon. At least my pumpkin pie is the best pumpkin pie in the world, bar none, not even your grandma’s country-fair-ribbon-winning pie.

 

What next? December 23, 2008

Filed under: Sadness,The process — Aria @ 6:51 pm

The second test is negative. Since there were four positives, and even one false positive is very rare, it’s considered that I was indeed pregnant, and had an early loss. This makes my second and third miscarriage in one blow.

Cody and I spent the night last night looking into what to do, hope out two frozen embryos survive the thaw, with me on steroids in the meantime (I don’t do well on steroids, have been on them before, and the result was bad), or see about a fresh cycle, and an FET after that if we have more embryos to freeze. We’d feel better going for an FET if we have enough embryos frozen that we were reasonably certain at least two would survive the thaw. The steroid-risk would be worth it at that point. Back-to-back IVF cycles are very hard on the body, but we have the momentum behind us right now and are still in the groove and don’t want to get off track.

So I’ve got a call in to Stanford this morning, about when we can get another cycle underway. And I got a call back and it looks like we’ll be able to do another.