When Life Gives You Lemons

Trying to make the most out of infertility, and life in general. This is my journey to conceive, after a miscarriage and D&C that left me with Asherman's Syndrome.

Monday, July 31, 2006

A weekend away physically but not mentally

B and I spent the weekend down in the Jersey shore. We really needed to get out of town, so we (or I should say B) found a charming little B&B right on the beach in the Jersey shore. This was supposed to be a weekend of some much needed r&r. But my weekend started with the reality that my second IUI was unsuccessful. I got what seems to be my period over the weekend, and this particular period is the lightest one I’ve had yet. I had 2 drops of brown spotting on Saturday and that was it. My BBT is back to being low, so this was definitely my period. I am convinced that I have re-scarred, even though I was assured by my RE that if I were to re-scar, it would happen right away and not months after my hysteroscopy. Well it seems my body is proving my RE to be wrong and I’m really annoyed.

Since I had already scheduled to go in today for day 3 blood work in advance of a third Clomid + IUI, I had blood drawn today. My regular RE is out on vacation, so I was able to see his assoc., Dr. C. Dr. C did an ultrasound and said I have an “antiverted” uterus (I had never heard of that before nor had it ever been diagnosed previously) but he said that it was totally normal to have such a uterus. He also said that despite the fact that I had 2 previous HSGs, and in both HSGs no dye had gotten in, in his opinion, I have not had a “real” HSG. So I’m being sent for another HSG this Thursday. Obviously my IUI this cycle has been cancelled.

I’m thoroughly annoyed. Why did they agree to let me do two IUIs. Of course they weren’t going to work and I feel like I’ve wasted 2 months time and money and mostly heartache and frustration on this. I’m feeling really down about all of this. I feel like I’m back to square one. I just know I’m going to need another hysteroscopy b/c I know there’s more scarring (even if it’s only concentrated to my cervix and lower segment). I just feel like I’ve wasted 8 months.I’m just at a loss for what to do. I know I have no decision to make until after my HSG, but based on my history I know the HSG is going to show nothing. No dye will get in again and I’ll be no closer to an answer.

Dr. C also told me that he thought long term my chances of conceiving were good, but that he would put me on injectibles and probably recommend IVF as a next step. But that’s only if I can get an HSG diagnosis of a clear scar free uterus, and that might be months way. I just feel like I’m getting older and older and the possibility of ever having any children is seeming more and more elusive. I’m tired of being told how young I am and how young my eggs are. Without a working uterus, all of that means nothing to me.

I told B that I want to drink a whole bottle of wine tonight. It’s been about a year since I’ve had a glass and I think I deserve it. I’m probably going to call in sick to work tomorrow. Then again, I should probably save my sick days for days of surgery. Too bad there’s no such thing as taking a mental health day off from work.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

And also, baby mail

What also makes me upset today is the non-stop baby related mail that seems to be coming to my house on a regular basis. I know when I was first pregnant, my OB at the time discussed my options for delivery and told me she was affiliated with NYU hospital. She must’ve let them know to expect me to come in sometime in Feb. 06 for a delivery, which obviously never happened. I can understand them putting me on some sort of mailing list; they sent me an info packet with congrats on my pregnancy, an all about your pregnancy guide type of mailing, and what to expect from their staff at delivery time. I read this with excited, baited breath, because at the time I received this, I was still pregnant. But don’t they realize I never came in for a delivery? My baby was never born, so why are they still harassing me with mail? Are they the ones that told Sears I should receive a special discount for family holiday photos which prompted Sears to send me postcards with other people’s happy smiling kids on them during the holidays? Are they responsible for releasing my name to the local Y, so that they can let me know about their latest daycare options and classes for me and my baby?!?!?! The worst of these was the mail piece I got from the cord blood registry. It talked about how my baby’s cord blood can one day save my life and the lives of my future children, when in actually, the miscarriage I had might have ended the chance that I’d ever have future children. I can’t stand it. Its easy enough to throw out all the pregnancy stuff, or even hold on to it with hopefulness for the future, but the baby stuff is ridiculous. In the last year, I’ve received diaper samples, formula samples, pamphlets on breastfeeding, information on daycare and baby classes, Yoga with your baby, Sears portrait studio mailings, and the list goes on. Do you guys all get this kind of crap in the mail to? How do you deal with it?

Bad Anniversary

My miscarriage at 11.5 weeks was diagnosed one year ago today. Today is a painful day for me. I woke up at 5 AM crying and just couldn’t get back to bed. I got through the day that would’ve been my baby’s due date, but today is very hard. It’s the day that changed me forever and tomorrow seems like it has the potential to be even worse. A year ago I found out there was no heartbeat, and I completely fell apart. B and I cried the whole day, and then went out for dinner. I remember the dinner – we had lobster and I had two drinks, it was almost a celebratory dinner in that we went to one of our fave local restaurants but we looked completely dejected. I was morose, and figured at least I can enjoy the alcoholic drinks since my pregnancy was no longer viable. Instead of the alcohol putting me in a cheery mood, I remember that it made me feel desensitized and completely numb which was what I needed to get through the day. One year ago tomorrow is when I had the D&C, which resulted in my Ashermans Syndrome and has compromised my fertility. I can’t even think back to the day of the D&C. All I remember is coming out of anesthesia, and being in the recovery room with other women who had gone through the procedure as well. When my OB said I needed to have the D&C performed in a surgical facility, she did tell me to expect that a lot of the women there were there to end pregnancies that were unwanted by having abortions. So I was put in the same category with all the women who were getting abortions. After all, isn’t that what a D&C really is? I remember being in recovery and hearing the woman recovering next to me tell another woman that the D&C cramps were nothing like the pain of labor. She thanked whatever higher power she believed in that she wouldn’t have to go through that again. She said 3 kids from her ex husband were enough and she didn’t want kids with her “stupid ex-con boyfriend”. I am so bothered by the fact that I was there to remove the products of conception from the thing I wanted most in this world, and I had to share the moment with women who got there by accident and just wanted their mistakes erased. And now I’m the one with a scarred uterus and fragile fertility. And I’ll bet all those breeders are having a grand ole time getting themselves knocked up over and over and just erasing their mistakes. It’s so unfair. B and I thought about suing, but a friend pointed out to me that the Dr. who performed the D&C didn’t set out to hurt me. If anything, they would’ve treated me, as the patient that actually wanted her pregnancy to work out, with the utmost care and respect. The anesthesiologist even told me before she put me under that her first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage and she now had 2 beautiful daughters. She told me I’d be fine and I’d go on to have the family I wanted and craved. And yet I’m the one that got damaged by the D&C and all those other women getting abortions are just fine. Why does the world suck so badly. I want this day to go away and with it all the bad memories.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Things People Say and quick update

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Mostly, this is because I haven’t felt like I’ve had much to say. But it’s also due to my enormous work load this week. I’m slowly digging out from paperwork, and wanted to post on a topic I know a lot of IFers struggle with: The stupid things people say. A few weeks ago, a single friend of mine said ( and I paraphrase), “if this baby-making stuff is really stressing you out, why don’t you just adopt.”). I didn’t know how to respond to her at the moment, but here’s what I want to say:

That was completely rude and heartless to say. It’s like me telling her, “well, if you are so upset being single all the time, watching your friends get married and build their lives with a partner, then why don’t you just become a lesbian”. There’s nothing wrong with either option of course (adoption and being a lesbian) but if it’s not what you want for yourself, if it’s not in line with the plan you’ve set your heart on, then having someone suggest this as a way to remedy your situation is just hurtful.

Contrary to this, another single friend of mine recently said she’d offer up her uterus to me if I ever needed a surrogate. This is an overwhelming offer. I don’t think I could take her up on this, even though she’s made it pretty clear that she doesn’t want her own kids. She would be doing this because she sees how much B and I are suffering and how we want a family so badly, but I could never accept such an offer. Frankly, I’m hoping we can fix our IF and I can carry our own children, but surrogacy (or more likely a gestational carrier) is something we are keeping on the back burner. But I’m touched by how two seemingly close friends, both single, could treat me so differently. One would open up her heart and body, while the other makes me feel like I’m burdening her by even talking about our fertility issues. I actually haven’t spoken to this friend in a while. I was so hurt by her words and we both decided to put distance between out friendship, but the words and sentiment she expressed still stings.

Off topic – I had my IUI on Sunday, and now I’m in the dreaded 2ww. The Re thought my follicles looked good; they were measuring around 20 or 21, and B’s sperm looked great. At least once of us has parts in working order. My lining was still 6mm…it hadn’t grown in the extra 2 days they had me wait for the IUI. I’ve held steady at 6mm for a while now. So that’s not so promising but crazier things have happened.

We also had a death in the family. It’s not someone close. It’s B’s aunt’s mother-in-law, but considering his family is so small, it feels like a very familial loss. We learned that the woman who passed away (she was in her late 80’s) lost her first child who only lived for 6 months. Apparently in her last moments of life, she mumbled that she was surrounded by her parents and her first child. This should be a comforting thought…to let me know that perhaps I’ll meet the child I never had from my miscarriage, but somehow instead of comforting me it creeps me out. I have so much anger at my body for failing me and I blame the miscarriage/D&C for leaving me with Asherman’s Syndrome and leaving my future fertility in this questionable state. I don’t think I would want to meet the child that never was. I don’t know if I can forgive.

Thanks to those of you who have checked in on me. I haven’t disappeared too far and I’ll be catching up with your posts over the weekend. I hope everyone is doing well and has only good news.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Finding Happiness

I have no news to report in terms of my IUI thus cycle. I’m in a waiting period. I went in today for my day 12 ultrasound, and it looks like I might have 2-3 good follicles this cycle. The RE said I wasn’t ready yet so I should come back in 2 days for another ultrasound. This will make Sunday IUI day, right in time as B is leaving for a business trip on Sunday afternoon.

I should be happy that the RE thinks things look good. My lining was measuring 6.5mm, which is a .5 improvement over last month. But somehow I can’t take any news as good news. I can’t bring myself out of this constant state of gloom that I’m in. I’m having a really hard time right now figuring out what it will take to make me feel happy again. I have been such a strain on B, who is such an optimist. I can’t seem to get at the root of my unhappiness. The easy answer is that I want to be a mother and I can’t right now, but I can’t just chalk up my state of despair to that. I feel like there’s so much more going on. I’m not happy in NY. I constantly want to move away and start a new life over somewhere else. B thinks I want to run away, but I feel I want to run toward something new. He thinks it irresponsible and stupid to leave NY now. Our lives are in NY, our jobs and families and friends are here. All of my Dr’s are here. He said what if the baby thing works out – we are going to need family nearby (his family… mine’s in Florida) and how can we do the baby thing on our own in a new town. But I feel like what if the baby thing
doesn’t happen for us? How long can I be expected to put the rest of my life on hold?

I’m feeling miserable in my job. I like what I do in theory (marketing for a museum) but I’m having a tough time focusing on my day to day responsibilities. I want to do more with my life. I want to advance in my career and have more responsibility and more money. But how can I look for another job with everything I’m going through fertility-wise. I am a basket case who can barely get my job responsibilities done; how can I manage job interviews and the stress of a new job? So this makes me feel stuck in my current job which is not fulfilling me.

I’m fighting with close friends. I’m feeling testy and misconstruing everything anyone says to me. Every conversation becomes about infertility and my own hell, even if it only seems that way in my head.

On top of which, I just found out m y very first boyfriend (I was 16, he was 14) just had a baby 2 days ago. I got an email from his sister who I’m still e-mail buds with. This news upset me greatly. Partially because he’s 2 years younger than me, got married after I did, and b/c his wife is older (37 or 38) and it happened for them so easily. Of course I don’t know that it happened easily. I’m just assuming this. I assume everyone has an easy time of this family building thing but me. And I feel horrible for thinking this and for being jealous, instead of being truly happy for them. I know it’s not a contest. There is no prize to be the first to the finish line with kids. But I can’t help feeling competitive and last to the finish line.

I went to another dermatologist yesterday – one that I used to see years ago and really liked and respected. I stopped going to her for 2 reasons; one she didn’t take my insurance and 2 she was on the 77th floor of the Empire State Building. Let’s just say that in a post 9-11 NY world, my heart rate jumped every time I got into the elevator of her office building. But she moved to a new office and I managed to track her down. The good news is that she doesn’t think I have melanoma. I am predisposed to it, and need to get a full body mole check twice/year, but for now she thinks everything looks good. I am totally un-phased by this news. It’s almost as if I wanted to hear bad news to confirm the negative thoughts I’m having. I’m waiting for a self fulfilling prophecy. I’m assuming the worst will happen with regard to my health so that I’m not surprised when I hear bad news. I’m a classic pessimist. I really want to snap out of it and find ways to enjoy my life, but I can’t seem to stop wallowing in this self pity party. I don’t know how to get energized right now. It’s as if I’m constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. I need to get past this. I need to try to stay positive for the IUI. I have to find a way to try.

Friday, July 07, 2006

My Furry Baby

I feel I owe it to myself to offer up a little post about my furry baby, who has been my stand-in child for 2+ months Now. His name is Quincy, and he’s my little Shih Tzu puppy that we adore, but in the interest of full disclosure, he’s a little monster.

Quincy is 5+ months old. We got him in late April after a reality check meeting with our financial planner in which we learned that we don’t have the moula to buy a house, but we certainly can afford a dog, cant’ we?!?! So B and I went to the little breeders place where we go to play with pups when we need our spirits lifted, and there was this little face staring up at us. I kinda had my heart set on a white-ish colored Shih Tzu puppy, b/c that is similar to the dog that we’ve dog sat for in the past for friends, and this particular puppy was more of a dark golden color. B asked me to take a good long look at him, and he was indeed adorable.

And then I found out he was born on Feb.11, 2006 – 2 days prior to what would’ve been my due date had my pregnancy stuck around a little longer.It was kismet. I had to have this puppy. I felt like he was destined for us. Plus, I was convinced that I was having a boy and I felt like this was my son to be in a sense.
So we brought him home, named him Quincy (just because we liked the sound of it, not out of any love for the great Quincy Jones or any presidential allegiance to our second President John Quincy Adams). Or was it the third president – as you can see my American history ‘aint what it was in High School.

The first day with Quincy home was hard. I know it’s not the same thing as having a baby, but it sure felt new, exciting, scary, overwhelming and intriguing to me all once. I was surprised that all of the mixed emotions I anticipated having about bringing home a baby without a manual on how to raise it totally came flooding to me. I second guessed getting the dog. I wondered what I was going to do with him. How I could stop him from whimpering. How I could make sure he’d always be ok. How I could walk out of the door and leave him cooped up in the apartment for hours, all alone. But we got used to it together, B and I. And now I can't imagine life without little Quincy. He makes us feel like a family. I look at him, and I know he is a part of us. And after spending the weekend with him, it's hard to leave for work on Monday mornings. I look at his face and I feel like we're disappointing him by leaving him home alone. He doesn't get that we'll back. He has no conception of time I'm sure and I know that when I come home I find him standing by the gate the exact same way I left him in the morning. It breaks my heart.

Sure, I get annoyed when he barks in the middle of the night and keeps me up. I start questioning why we thought it was a good idea to get a dog in the first place. I start wondering if it was smart to sacrifice my sleep now, when I need it most. I start cursing at him in my head because I'm honestly really tired and want to go to sleep and his barking is annoying. And I start to wonder if that means I'll be a bad parent...that if I can't handle my dog's formative years then how am I going to handle a child. I start thinking that maybe this is a test, and it's showing me that I'm not cut out to be a parent and that the things happen for a reason means that the past year was to show me that a child wasn't meant to be in my future. But I need to get that thought out of my head. It's not very positive-thinking of me and is self destructive. I love my dog. I look at his face and I feel warm and fuzzy. I want him to be a well trained obedient pup, but I realize he has an internal need to create mischief. He is testing us, and if survive the next months of his puppy-dom, I'm hoping we will be ok. Maybe this will make us stronger. Maybe this will teach us to be better prepared for the unknown. Neither one of us ever owned a dog before so we have no clue what we're doing. But that's ok. We're all learning. We 3 are getting used to each other. Children don't come with instruction manuals. I'm allowed to get mad and annoyed at my dog, aren't I? It's all part of the learning process.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Failed IUI cycle

It didn't work this time. Oh well. Thems the breaks I suppose. I was foolish to think we'd get lucky on our first attempt.

I had been spotting for a few days, and went to the RE yesterday. Turns out my blood work was consistent with cycle day 3. So I'm on Clomid as of last night, then I'm also doing estrace day 8 - ovulation. I did the same thing last cycle (Clomid then estrogen) and my lining was at 6mm. The RE said it's the bare minimum, but they tried the IUI anyway. Bare minimum - is that like when you go to an amusement park and there's a sign that says you need to be at least 5 ft tall to go on the ride and if you are exactly 5 ft tall, you get to go on? It doesn't matter if you are an inch above 5 ft or 2 ft above the 5ft requirement. So if 6 mm is the bare minimum then I get to go on the ride so to speak. It didn't work last time but I'm trying again. I'm giving the Clomid one more chance before I ask to be switched to Femara, which I've read does not thin out your lining like Clomid does.

My concern is that I didn't even know AF had started this cycle. I was barely spotting, and my temps were still high and today (day 4) I'm spotting black blood which is exactly as gross as it sounds. I know other ladies with Asherman's Syndrome have said that their RE's are less concerned about the quality of the period...it's the mere fact that you get a period that matters, but I can't help but be disappointed that I didn't get any red blood at all. This is emotionally draining. I'm a wreck at work. I can't seem to focus on actually doing my job. I'm spacing out. I'm reading blogs all day (and happy to be doing so!!). I'm learning so much from others out there who can express themselves much more eloquently than I can.

Today is cd4. Started Clomid last night. I feel totally fine on it, which makes me worried that it's not working for me. I want to be nauseous (or is it nauseated). I want to be bloated. I want to feel like something works in my system. I'm also taking Chinese herbs that my acupuncturist prescribed for me. 30 pills/day - 15 to" tonify my middle qi" - which I didn't even know I had prior to this and 15 more to "harmonize my interior/exterior". That one makes more sense to me. I know i'm tone deaf so it's no urprise to me that my insides mach my unharmonized outsides. And I'm taking a multivitamin. And I'm drinking red raspberry tea, because they say that it promotes good uterine health and increases your uterine lining. So what would happen if a man drank this stuff?!? It's pretty tasty actually. On cd 8- ovulation, I will be taking Estrogen twice a day. And, I'm taking Dostinex to control the high prolactin levels. I've also heard that something called CQ10 is supposed to increase the lining measurement. I'm considering taking it, but not sure if it's safe to take with Clomid and estrogen and all these other meds. But at this point, I'll try anything. I'm a walking drugstore. If I stand on my head I will dispense medication for you.

A special thiank you to those of you who have given me comments and support. I'm so glad I decided to delurk and start blogging. This IF community is wonderful and supportive and although I don't know you guys personally, I feel so connected and overwhelmed by the genuine sense of caring. It really warms my heart. It sucks that any of us have to be down this road, but I couldn't think of better co-pilots for this journey.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Out damn spot, out I say

I just saw Shakespeare in the Park this past weekend, with Liev Schreiber (hubba hubba!) so forgive me for the bad Hamlet pun.
I'm spotting, going on 3 days now. I'm guessing this means this IUI cycle definitely didn't work. I tried to do an HPT this morning, and I'm such a retard that I broke the little pee stick thingy. It gave me an error message which could either mean there was too much or not enough urine on the stick. I jammed the mechanism. Argh. I can't even pee properly. It probably would have been a waste of a test anyway since I'm 99% accurate that I'm not pregnant. But, there is this little part of me that is still hoping it's implantation bleeding.
But back to the spotting. It's brown, it's light, it's annoying. I've never spotted this much before prior to getting my period. I've been spotting for 3 days now. Where is the red? Have I re-scarred in the ole ute? Or in the cervix? My temps are still high, so I don't think I have started a new cycle yet. That's not technically due until Wednesday. Unless my temps are high because of the ridiculous steamy humid weather. I can't help but think this means scarring. I'm constantly worried that I will re-scar. Although Dr. S thinks if I was going to re-scar it would've happened shortly after my last surgery, I hear of other Asherman's women who re-scar months after surgery. Their periods get progressively lighter and lighter, and I'm so afraid this is happening to me. It's almost as if I've opened up Pandora's box with the IUI and Pandora wants is shut again.
I say out with the spotting on bring on the flow already. I'm panicking because I have no idea what day to count as cycle day 1. And if we do IUI again this cycle and Wed. is day 1 as I already anticipated it would be, then B will be away for work during the day of the IUI. And then what? Do they freeze sperm? I feel like I should know this by now.
I called Dr. S's office and asked if they're open tomorrow (July 4) for monitoring hours. They said yes, and that I already had an appt. scheduled. Huh - do thy know something I don't know? I don't remember making an appt. But I guess tomorrow will bring me answers one way or another.
My therapist thinks I'm angry. No shit I'm angry. She wanted me to point out where I feel the anger in my body. How do I tell her that my vagina is what's angry. How do I tell her that I'm angry at my whole body for feeling like it failed me. How do I say anything more than "oh I think my upper body is a bit stiff and congested." Of course I'm angry. And frustrated and overwhelmed and downright seething mad. I hate every pregnant woman I see. That's not entirely true, hate is too strong of a word. More like insanely jealous. Especially at the ones who rub their bellies in front of me. It's like they are rubbing it in my face that they can be pregnant and have babies and families and I can't. Or, the ones who constantly complain about how hard it is to be pregnant. When I would do anything to be vomiting my brains out right now, or peeing a thousand times a day. Yes, I'm angry. And I'm trying to move past it and still have hope, but it's so hard when I feel like the entire world is able to be pregnant but me.

So I've decided to start making a list of things that make me happy and take my mind off things, aside from B and my puppy of course. My list consists of the following:

shopping for yummy produce at Whole Foods
Lettuce wraps at P.F. Changs

Clearly the secret to my happiness lies in all things food related. What a shocker!