Archive | March, 2011

Fuck it

29 Mar

I met with the RPL doctor today and I just felt really disheartened.  It felt like a lot like visiting the vet honestly.  A lot of talk about their being no guarantees, lowering my expectation (which I thought were ALREADY low!), a lot of “we can’t be sure of XYZ” and your tests are inconclusive, etc.  Comparing pros and cons of stuff where all options seem to suck equally but just vary in price.   No real recommendations.

Since I was coming from another doctor I had the pleasure of telling my complete medical history again in all possible formats including the standard forms I completed and sent in weeks ago .  My medical group NEVER sent over my records even though I requested it weeks ago!  I have a real beef with them for sitting on those.   To make up for it I had to spend time digging it all up and preparing my own report.

The Dr’s assistant came in and asked me a million questions, all things she’d know if she just read half of the forms they made me complete.  Then the doctor came in and basically did the same thing.  I felt like more than half of my visit was just updating them on what they should know from all the paperwork I had to complete in advance (and they would have seen had my medical group done their job).  Just talking about it all made me sad and frustrated.  Hearing them tell me how sad my story was really made me feel pretty shitty about the whole thing and all the more hopeless.

I wanted to slap the assistant.  They are an IVF clinic primarily, so clearly she deals with couples who are focusing more on getting pregnant than keeping the pregnancy.  Her cheery comment “at least you can get pregnant!  that is such a big step!” came off as really naive.   She followed it up with “now we just need to figure out how to keep the pregnancy!”  Gee!  Thank you Einstein!  That’s all I needed to hear.  I guess it must just be our follow through.  I’ll go work on that.  Her advice sounded more apt for someone working on improving their golf game than dealing with repeat loss.

It ended with the requisite undressing and shoving things up my crotch to “get a look” at the ovaries.  While I’ve gotten used to this indignity with my usual RE, this time with 4 of us in the room (the Dr. her assistant, a third person just taking notes, and my husband) I just felt done.  She started pointing things out like, “there is your bladder, etc.” and then followed up with “oh, you’ve probably seen plenty of these”.  Yes!  I think I’ve had MORE than enough things pointed up my private parts and looked at those grainy image enough.  I am frankly fed up.  I know she is an expert, but the whole experience felt like I was undressing in front of eager amateurs and I left feeling like it was all pretty pointless.

It may have felt extra weird because it was my first visit there and so my guard was up.  I just felt like they didn’t know what to do with me.  She just quoted research that says that nothing we do really makes any difference.  There is not enough evidence for IVF with PGD to show that it is going to help us have a life baby any sooner.  When I mentioned I was interested in information gathering, maybe doing it for diagnostic purposes she was more on board.  But somehow my heart sank.  Like we’ve given up trying to have a baby and now we are just trying to collect interesting factoids about my reproductive system that MAY eventually help us have some sort pregnancy, never mind a normal healthy birth afterwards.  She then suggested getting ANOTHER hysteroscopy as their might be scare tissue.  Yeah!  Another medical procedure down there that takes months to schedule and generally fucks up, I mean delays your cycle/TTC even more

Sorry for the sailor mouth, but I am just tired of it all and feeling very defeated again.  I am back at wanting to just throw in the towel.  As my cat fights off his cancer with all the meds and forced feedings I don’t have the energy to fight this damn battle another day.  Fuck this!

My Kitty for 16 Years (Sad to say goodbye)

25 Mar

I knew we would have to face this, but was hoping it would be later rather than sooner.  Our 16-year old cat was diagnosed with small cell lymphoma last year (kitty cancer) and had an estimated 1-2 years left to live.  This week he started show signs of really poor health:

  • not eating or drinking
  • sitting in our closet for hours on end sulking
  • having trouble balancing/walking
  • not using the litter box, etc..

He’s lost weight and he basically looks like hell.  He probably feels like hell too, but he can’t quite tell us.  We brought him in when things were looking bad on Wednesday.  They did tests and hydrated him on an IV with electrolytes and fed him with a syringe for 3 days.  We started feeding him this way as well (what a mess!) because he has no interest in food.    Each day we rack up another huge bill and I am just wondering if this is the end of the line.  He’s 16 years old.

As usual the tests came back inconclusive- maybe his cancer is back, or maybe it is something else that we could actually solve more easily.  The only way to know is to do even more tests and spend even more money.  Even if we do, he is only expected to live about another year.  We are looking at spending another $1K just on tests.  We’ve already sunk $1k this week on medical care.  I know I’ll end up spending it, as I can’t quite give up on him without some sort of definitive answer that he can’t get better, but I feel like a crazy fool.

In human years he would be about 90 years old.  He’s led a good life.  I am not ready to euthanize him, but I don’t want him to continue living such a low quality of life.  Feeling sad and confused.   He really is a great cat.  I’ve known him longer than my husband and he’s been a wonderful child substitute.

Not ready for adoption

16 Mar

It’s been exactly 6 weeks since I had my D & C and officially ended pregnancy #4.  I am still waiting to get back on the horse and start trying again, but my cycle is nowhere to be seen.  My hcg levels are also dropping slowly.   Last I checked they were 20.  Once my cycle returns I will get it checked again to see if I am down to normal non-pregnant levels. While I try to block out the past, I don’t remember ever having to wait this long after a D & C to start up again.  Very weird, but not much I can do but sit on my hands.

In the meantime I’ve scheduled a consultation with Sara from www.adoptionpaths.com for April 9 which I am NOT looking forward to.   Kind of fearing it actually.   I was really open to adoption until we actually started trying.  Now somehow it just feels like a whole new process that I don’t have the strength to handle.  I feel so beat up from the losses and the time we’ve invested in trying to have one naturally that starting up the adoption process feels like a big kick in the stomach.  While adoption may eventually help us build a family, I know it requires me to accept my losses and basically give up hope.  I yearn to have one naturally not just because we want to start a family but also because it would enable me to heal.  Somehow this process has ripped a giant hole in me that has left me wounded and broken.  Stopping at 8 or 9 weeks again and again leaves me incomplete.  It’s like I get on the plane, but just sit on the runway and never get to my destination.  I am stuck on having a child naturally because bringing a baby to full term would be the most healing experience I can imagine.  If it was just about becoming a mother I could jump on the adoption wagon a lot faster, but right now I can’t think beyond healing this giant gaping wound and constant feeling of physical failure.

Book Review: Baby Not on Board: A Celebration of Life without Kids

14 Mar

No I haven’t thrown in the towel just yet.  I decided to look at life a little differently and picked up a copy of Baby Not on Board: A Celebration of Life without Kids, by Jennifer L. Shawne.

While I am not on board with mocking the “breeders ” of  the world (as I am clearly a wannabe),  I do appreciate the author’s perspective on how living without kids can be fulfilling and enjoyable and does not have to be seen as a “lesser” way to live.  I picked up the book to look on the other side (and get away from “Poor Me!  Lucky them!”- thinking). Rather than my usual fixating on why the grass is greener for the mommies of the world, I wanted to appreciate the present with no babies on board and this book does just that.  As the book argues and I agree, there are plenty of reasons to stop the baby-envy and love your life just the way it is.

The book provides in great detail comparisons of life with kids and without kids with wit and humorous drawings.  In one of her best examples she walks through a Saturday with kids and one without.  It reminded me how much I love sleeping in (and sleep in general), uninterrupted romantic time, and having the options to go out at a moment’s notice (yeah for travel, dinner out, fitness classes, and spa time!).  Life is pretty low stress without the responsibilities and costs of parenting and I recognize that I often take it for granted.  Blessings counted? Check!

I was most interested in the last chapter “The Meaning of Life: Making the most of your tot-free days”.   The author writes “Many parents claim that having children gives them a purpose in life”, but for those of us without children, we need to be more creative.  This resonated with me.  I’ve definitely been searching for meaning lately.  Not having a baby has forced me to realize how much I was counting on motherhood to fulfill this unmet desire for meaning in my life.  So along with my miscarriages came an identity crisis that has forced me to re-evaluate my life path and search deeper.  Among the possible paths she suggests working for charity, adopting a child substitute (like a sickly pet), engaging in fulfilling hobbies, and being a cool aunt/uncle.  Check, check, check and check!  She lists some great role models for inspiration as well: Oprah, Julia Childs, Katheryn Hepburn, Georgia O;Keefe, Mother Theresa, Janet Reno, Ralph Nadar, Christopher Walken, Terry Gross and Dr. Seuss.

Now that I am relying a little less on motherhood to fulfill me, I’ve had to come up with other options.  My hope is that by delaying having children I can change course a bit and focus my energy on activities that will put me on a more fulfilling path.   Ideally we can have it all,  BOTH fulfilling lives AND children. 

Baby not on Board does its best to make the reader feel good about their situations and let go of their expectations and insecurities about not being parents.  Ultimately the takeaway for me was life without kids sucks, but it is also a gift.

Updated “About Me”

12 Mar

I’ve updated my “About Me” section.  It’s more about me and less about miscarriage.  Enjoy!

SF Bay Area Event: Options for Creating Families Seminar

11 Mar

Stanford Fertility is offering their “Options for Creating Families Seminar” on Tuesday, March 22.  If you are in the SF Bay Area I encourage you to check it out.  They haven’t posted it to Stanford Fertility Website yet so I am just trying to help spread the word.  It is wonderful evening of couples sharing their stories of how they used alternative methods for achieving a family.  Panelists discuss their experiences which include ovum and sperm donations, adoption and surrogacy.  What really got me was how positive the couples were who shared.  It was inspiring to see couples who have gone through so much and had to make difficult choices look back and be so happy about their lives and where they are today.  It’s a reminder that the how isn’t so important once you have your child.

One thing that I am fascinated with but didn’t see on the list is embryo adoption.  A woman in my repeat loss support group is in the process of doing that.  She mentioned that it will save her money over adoption or egg/sperm donor as you can get multiple embryos. When I asked her how this saved money she clarified that with multiple embryos they can have multiple babies for the price of one donation.  “We want to have a large family and we want them to be related” she said.  For some reason this statement blew me away.  Here she was struggling to build her family and she was confident enough to look ahead towards three or more children.  What an inspiration!  Here I was thinking having even one child would be a miracle.  Sure I’d love more, but as time goes on my expectations have dwindled, and I was feeling like I had to just settle for 1.  Two at this point sounds like asking for the moon.

Here are the event details:

Options for Creating Families

March 22nd  6:00-8:00 pm
900 Welch Road, suite 200
Stanford Fertility and Reproductive Medicine Center
Cost: $25/couple or $15/person

This special event will focus on learning about the different options for family building, including:

  • Ovum Donation
  • Sperm Donation
  • Adoption
  • Surrogacy

Meet and listen to the journey from woman and couples that have chosen these paths.
The evening is designed to help patients contemplating 3rd party reproduction to embrace optimism and learn more about what is involved in the various avenues for family building.

Formal presentation will be made by:

Penny Donnelly, LMFT, RN, director of support programs at Stanford’s Fertility and Reproductive Medicine Center, has developed and led a number of counseling and health education programs for patients seeking fertility treatment.  She offers private counseling to clinic patients and facilitates support groups for primary, repeat pregnancy loss, and 3rd party reproduction clients.  In addition, Penny leads and facilitates an innovative mind/body medicine program that has been nationally recognized.

To register, please email Penny Donnelly at pdonnelly@stanfordmed.org or call Penny Donnelly at 650-723-6408.

Infertility with Humor

11 Mar

I recently read Good Eggs by Phoebe Potts and loved it!  The author is an artist who describes her journey through infertility using cartoons which are both touching and humorous.  Her graphic memoir captures the experience with a fresh new lens.  It gave me some laughs and also captured my feelings on the experience like a good friend.   In all she went through four years of fertility treatments with no happy ending, yet.  In all she has had 3 IUI’s, 4 IVFs, and “at least” five miscarriages.

Here are two of my favorite excerpts from the book:

The Waiting Room at the Fertility Clinic