Hope Stands

Talks to watch when every conceivable thing goes wrong

Today, as I was preparing a course using TED Talks, I stumbled across a playlist of talks to watch when every conceivable bad thing has happened to you. The first one I watched was by Stacey Kramer who talks about the biggest gift she ever received. I won’t ruin it for you by telling you what that gift was, you’ll just have to watch, but I will say that it is connected to wat what most people who get off the infertility train say – I learned so much and wouldn’t change a thing.

So, here’s to the gift of this journey. May it arrive earlier than expected.


2 Days Out

I’ve resisted the urge to test before the scheduled beta. I’m now 13DP3DT. Up until today it was relatively easy. Now I just want to be past this TTW. I find that I’ve turned into some sort of zombie. I’m a zombie on Christmas. My husband has commented on how quiet I’ve become. I’m a hermit zombie with no desire for human flesh.

I’ve had all kinds of symptoms that could be from the progesterone supplements, all in my zombie mind, or from the real enchilada. The two main symptoms have been intense bloating and belly cramping. Yesterday, I felt like it was the day of retrieval when balloons of embies dangled off of my overworked ovaries, waiting to be relieved of their precious cargo. I, of course, have scoured multiple fertility sites and chat rooms for success stories with off and on cramping and sharp pains. The success stories have given me hope.

But, really there is no way to know.

Hecho en Mexico

Not many people can say they saw their babies projected on a screen three days after conception. This may be one of the coolest aspects of going through IVF. It puts a whole new spin on, “I knew you when . . . ” One uncool aspect of IVF, besides the bloating, the uncertainty, the cost, and the silence, is the two week wait (I sometimes refuse to use acronyms). In this two week window, I’ve been reflecting mostly on the silence and the shadows of infertility. When one has cancer, I suppose this silence exists, but when the silence is broken, comes a flood of sympathy. When the silence of infertility is broken, well-meaning friends, co-workers, bosses, and family members say what may seem to them as helpful, things like, “Just relax, it’ll happen.” Or some will even tell you that they got pregnant the first month of trying, with both children. You listen and nod, not knowing what else to say. They can’t possible understand what it is like to have this total desire for child, something that every women seems to be able to do, but you. They can’t possible understand the sleepless nights or the fear that it may be too late. They can’t possible understand what it is like to live with unknown and not being able to control the outcome.

Some well-meaning friends even have children and regret them. Your viewed as someone enviable, with all the time in the world on your hands. Others, the sensitive ones, who started the fertility journey with you, but moved on, into mommy land, understand, but don’t know what to say. Guilt is what they feel when they see you. The conversations with them involve anything but babies and since it is exactly what is on both of your minds, the conversations basically evolve around nothing. Fluff. The wind.

Eight is Enough

My husband drove carefully over the border from San Diego into TJ. We had hit some traffic, and as much as I wanted to tell him to press on the gas, I also wanted to arrive all in one piece. I had an egg retrieval to get to, and I was all bloated and ready. My nipples were saluting the president  We parked in our normal parking lot and told the attendant por dia. Once inside the clinic we waited in our usual spots in the reception. My husband went to use the bathroom and then the nurse took the opportune time to lead me to my hospital room. Before I knew it, I was undressing and wrapping myself in a hospital gown. I was worried that Cristian wasn’t there and that they would take me away before I got to say goodbye. I told the nurse I wanted to see him and she told me after she started my IV. We communicated completely in Spanish and if my anxiety hadn’t started to rise, I might have preened a little bit at my developing Spanish skills.

Eventually, once I was settled in, Cristian did find his way to me. The doctor popped in to say hello. She asked how I was feeling and then told me to do a pee. Everything starts with doing a pee, she said. She then laughed and so did I because it was true. Every time I saw her it always begins with doing a pee. This time I had an IV and a bag of saline to carry.

After the pee, I did kiss Cristian goodbye and followed the doctor into another room with a table that had the largest stirrups I have ever seen. Up until that point I actually hadn’t been nervous because in that moment seeing the stirrups and the stage light perched over it, the nervousness did settle in.  There were six people, including myself in the room: the anesthesiologist, two doctors, two nurses and me. As I was sliding onto the table, the doctor told me that pretty soon it would be like having a margarita with an extra shot on the side. I laughed again. I hadn’t realized what a great sense of humor my doctor had. The minute I had met this women wearing a tight pony tail and brown knee-length boots I knew that she was the doctor for me. But I had no idea she was funny. Perhaps, it was because our conversations have primarily consisted of cervical mucus, follicle growth, and quality of semen. It seems like there are plenty of jokes there and perhaps Chris Rock would be all up in the that stuff, but for us, this is hum drum in the realm of IVF.

I don’t remember having the margarita, but I woke up 30 minutes later, back in the recovery room. My first question was, “How many eggs did you get?” I could have been falling off a cliff and this would have been my last question. The doctor came in a few minutes later and proudly exclaimed, “Great news. We got eight eggs.” If I hadn’t been half out of it, I would have danced a follie  jig. I only had 8 follicles and we got 8 eggs. It was a complete success. Then came the bag of new drugs and ones to buy at the pharmacy. I got a shot of progesterone in the bum and off we went. The last words from the doctor were to eat a big steak later. Cristian perked up at the mention of steak. This is his favorite meal and now having been ordered by the doctor to have one, he was ecstatic.

After crossing back into the U.S. we headed for the Outback close to our house. One steak and lobster later, I was ready for sleep. I didn’t want to sleep that much because I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep later. Boy was I wrong. I slept all day. Woke up and streamed Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix, then fell back asleep again. Sleep was my friend.

The next day the bloating is still my constant companion. My nipples are super sore, and this is what it feels like to be pregnant. The doctor called to say that 5 embies had fertilized. I had dreamt of winning 5,000 dollars at a casino. In the dream, I also held a full house with two aces. It looks like my dream had come true. So, now the waiting game. Hopefully, the transfer will be on Saturday or Monday. We will transfer 3 and freeze 2. I went to acupuncture again today and have basically spent the day watching romantic comedies (I want to keep my mood positive) and eating sweet potatoes with guacamole and cheese. It a delicious combination that I found on All Recipes. Still extremely sore and bloated but hopeful.