Archive | May, 2012

Modern Family: Baby on Board

24 May

Last night Modern Family took a big leap that won me over.  When I saw the episode title “Baby on Board” I thought, oh no, this is going to be another one of those sitcoms that makes having a baby look so easy.  The previous episodes hinted that Cam and Mitch were expecting a second baby, but completely glossed over the how part.  I figured they could gloss over this as they had that TV magic that causes babies to appear at the perfect time whenever the plot needs to introduce one.  The same magic that misleads impressionable naive viewers like myself  (pre 2008) into thinking that we too will be able to have a baby easily when we want.

I love the characters Cam and Mitch and I did want their dream to come true, but it seemed totally unrealistic for them to be having such an easy time adopting, twice!  The first baby arrived with almost no explanation as to what they went through.  I figured it was just my bitter infertile side coming out, so I chose to let the episode unfold rather than give in to my cynicism that gets in the way of me enjoying baby/birth-related TV episodes.  Resigned to see yet another couple have a happy ending, even if it seems unrealistic, I found myself totally surprised when the episode took a turn.  As Cam and Mitch were waiting as the birth mother gave birth, out of nowhere the grandmother appears and tells them in Spanish that the adoption is off and she is going to take care of the baby instead, rather than give it to strangers.  What?  Is this the cute and fuzzy sitcom I’ve come to know?  How could they build up the arrival of the new baby and then leave Cam and Mitch empty handed like that?  How could they build this perfect picture and then tear it down?  I was sad for the characters, but I found myself cheering inside.  Seeing mainstream TV characters crying in despair about how hard having a child is and how this just keeps happening to them was incredible.  I felt for that moment that they were speaking for me and for a moment validating and normalizing my everyday crazy talk.  At the same time it disproved the misperception/lie that adopting is an easy plan B as implied by the common phrase non-IFers like to give ” why don’t you just adopt?”.  Maybe after seeing this episode one less person will give that terrible unwelcome advice.

As they were describing their agony I felt for that that brief moment like the mainstream world acknowledged and recognized the grief and frustration of what setbacks to family building feel like.   Adoption loss, pregnancy loss, infertility- those of us experiencing these things can all relate to being angry, sad, frustrated, stressed out and beat up by this exhausting and demanding process that seems to take everything we have.  Ultimately I want to give kudos to the writers for forgoing the easy crowd pleasing baby arrival and keeping it real.  You guys get it.

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Hang in there

22 May

It’s been quite a week.  Today would have been our first ultrasound.  I knew it wasn’t going to happen even when we scheduled it.  It still hurts to see the appointment come and go.  I am officially un-pregnant as my hcg is now under 2.  The good news is, that’s the last needle poke for a while.

The next question is why?  As usual, we have no explanation.  These things tend to be physical, chromosomal, or possibly immunological.  Because we did CHG, we already know the two that were implanted were considered chromosomally normal.  I was hoping to get some information from the immunology Dr. showing that it was an immune issue.  Their tests came back and showed that no, there were no immune causes.  We tested during the pregnancy and found that my immune system was responding fine with everything coming back as normal or slightly elevated.  So there goes that theory.

My new theory is that my unexplained repeat pregnancy losses all have one thing in common:  me.  Since I can’t pinpoint any specific cause, not even a specific body part or system that is causing this I am really left to just blame myself-  me as a person or my behaviors.  Maybe I should have grilled that burger longer… maybe I should have not been weeding so much…  Maybe I should have just given up a long time ago and started the adoption process.  By blaming myself it is almost easier to accept than to just think the world is a random scary place where unfair unexplained things can happen to anyone at any moment, or in my case, repeatedly happening to the same person again and again. Self-blame naturally leads me to feeling guilt, shame and embarrassment which results in me wanting to just isolate myself from the world and hide.  Each time I get the question “how are you?” I force myself to smile and say “great” when I really just want to tell the truth, but I can’t, at least not to most people.  Since I can’t tell the truth to most people it just takes so much energy to hide the truth and act happy that I prefer to hide at home alone.

The secret keeping and isolation that comes along with RPL is almost as bad as the RPL.  I feel like all my friends just had babies and jumped on a boat and left me abandoned on a deserted island.  I can see their happy status updates on Facebook and we see each other at BBQ’s with their little ones, but they seem miles away.  I feel like I have only 2 choices : be alone or be with friends and feel awkward.  When I stay away from them I feel even more guilty that now I am pushing them away.  I am to blame for my own isolation.    I am not sure what to do.  When we all get together with the kids I am just miserable. I feel like a giant spotlight is on me and my failure to have a baby.  Now that all of our friends (even the gay ones) have at least one baby it’s all they want to talk about and I feel totally awkward around them.  It’s just embarrassing to be there when they all start talking about being parents.  I hate being so lonely, but I hate these awkward social interactions even more. I want so badly to have good news and be able to rejoin my friends, but instead I just feel ashamed and embarrassed that we are still at square one 4 and half years later.  Actually it isn’t even square one, it’s more like negative six.

 

Here is some interesting information about the Hang in There Cat-

The image, of a tiny kitten hanging off a tree branch (or rope in the case above) with the words “Hang In There” has been around since the early 1970s. Many have tried to reproduce the original’s genius, while others, such as The Simpsons, have parodied the motivational poster. In ”The Twisted World of Marge Simpson” Marge sees the poster’s 1968 copyright date and says, “…determined or not, that cat must be long dead. That’s kind of a downer.”

One of the cats from the posters passed away last October, to which singer John Mayer tweeted, “That cat from the “hang in there” poster just died. Makes a man just wanna give up.”

It’s officially over

14 May

Well, pregnancy #6 ended almost as soon as it started.  I just got the call that my beta was only 35.  At least now we know for sure that it’s over.  As sad as it is, at least I didn’t have to find out yesterday, on Mother’s Day.  It was nice to at least have hope on that day for a change.  I am really at a loss as to what to try next.  We pretty much did it all in this last try and I am running out of hope that anything is going to work with my broken body right now.  My body is literally a death machine.  I can’t find out what’s wrong with me and so I can’t seem to fix anything. I feel like I spent the last year trying to diagnose my situation, spending gobs of money, talking to all these new doctors, doing tons of tests and treatments and taking tons of drugs and then here we are again.   This just confirms what I thought all along, that IVF won’t help us, it will only make the loss more painful.  Good bye my chromosomally perfect little boys.

Ticket to ride?

12 May

If pregnancy was a train ride, I’d say I keep getting kicked off at the first stop because my ticket expired.  On this particular ride I feel like my ticket might not even be valid.  I’m hanging onto the back hoping to make it to the first stop anyway, but I’d really feel better if I at least had something to go on that suggests I can at least make it that far.

I took another pee test today and as you can see by the faded line, it’s giving me the finger.  The second line is just pink enough to say “Yeah, ok, it’s positive”, but not dark enough enough to say “You’re pregnant!  Next step ultrasound!”.

It’s another level of tentativeness to this that I don’t need.  This may be the shortest ride ever, so I need to just sit tight and try to enjoy what I can before it’s all over again.

Inching away!

9 May

It’s officially 14 days past my transfer today.  My beta is now up to 45.  Not even close to doubling, but my Dr. seemed to think it was good enough and set me up with the positive pregnancy schedule with instructions for weekly betas and an appointment for a first ultrasound in two weeks.  I was so excited I peed on a stick.  Unfortunately the stick lines were soft and inconclusive.  I hate that!  Since my pregnancies have been historically short lived I am just going to try and enjoy this one for as long as I can.

I am thinking positive things about little boys, yes boys.  This is a big secret for blogging eyes only!  As part of the PGD they were able to identify the genders of all 10 of our embryos.  The only two normal ones that made it through the test were male.  Out of the whole batch it was pretty skewed- we actually had 7 male and 3 female.  So if this one or two guys make it, there won’t be a big reveal on the gender later on.

 

Slightly more pregnant

7 May

My HCG is now a whopping 36!  Up from 18 two days ago.  While it may be a stretch, I am officially calling this pregnancy #6.  Given the super low beta, it has the most unpromising start of them all.  I test again in two days.

For comparison I checked out my past first Betas, which considering my current situation seem quite impressive.

  1. 155902 (Feb 2008)
  2. 139 (April 2009)
  3. 1709 (August 2010)
  4. 517 (January 2011)
  5. 625 (June 2011)
  6. 18 (two days ago)

I know numbers don’t mean everything, but I had taken some comfort in them in the past.  Even though I know nothing is for sure, I was able to feel somewhat celebratory in the past at least for the brief periods while I was pregnant and before the ultrasounds started.  This time I feel like I am grieving the loss at the same time that I am still taking all the steps as if we were pregnant.

The worst of these steps  is the dreaded nightly progesterone injections.  In addition to being painful I seriously think the hormones are making me unnecessarily moody.  These days I have only two moods: angry or sad.  At their worst they fluctuate from rage to depression.  It feels like its been years since I felt true joy or happiness.  While I know rationally this isn’t true, it just shows how skewed my perspective has become.   Is it the drugs?  Is it my circumstances?  Maybe a combo of both.  The reason I blame the drugs is because the last time I remember feeling positive was right before I started taking them.  It was right after the transfer when I knew there were 10 embryos and I started believing that maybe this is going to work, maybe this time things would work out differently.  When I learned that 8 were gone and we had only 2 to implant I just took a nosedive and really haven’t quite made it back up since.  It was right after that that I started the progesterone overload.  I am taking it 4 ways- 1 injection, 1 oral, 2 suppositories.  It seriously feels like overkill, but my Dr. confirmed that he wants me to keep it up as long as things are progressing, even if the progress is at a snail’s pace like mine.

So in short, I am pregnant, but unable to have optimism.  It just feels all too familiar like those ambiguous ultrasounds of the past where I was told to come back in two days because things didn’t look right.  There are cases where things turned around, so we now have to hope we are one of those.  Give my track record it’s too hard to have hope unless everything looks on track or better.  One slip and I assume it’s just a sign that things are about to go south.

A little pregnant?

5 May

I was hoping for some dramatic news today, but instead I am back in the waiting game again.  You might say I was “a little bit pregnant”.  That’s the optimistic way to look at it.  I did my beta test today and the result that came back was a very low hcg level of 18.  Technically that counts as positive in their book.  Since I couldn’t wait for their call I jumped the gun and peed on a stick.  BFN.  I have a lot of things on hold waiting for this result that I was hoping to finally settle today, but alas, I get to keep those on hold or just continue to operate with uncertainty.   So if my levels don’t increase I guess I basically had a “chemical” pregnancy.  That would be a first.  I suppose it isn’t all out failure.  So the meds and injections continue along with no sex, no booze, no lifting heavy things, yadda yadda.  This wait and see stuff just feels all to familiar, like all my previous pregnancies.   The good news is I am seeing so many friends who were in the infertile camp graduate and have healthy pregnancies and babies.  It’s good to know there is another side to this.