Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Big Fat Maybe

Today was the big day: Beta day. Oh how I dread beta day! The agony of waiting for that damn phone to ring after my blood has been drawn is one of the big reasons I kept putting of this FET. The day started out hopeful-ish. I went in for my blood draw early and was assured of a call before lunch. I have always waited for that call with my past cycles. I never poas (pee on a stick). Ever. I used to do pregnancy tests at home all the time back in my temping, charting, clomid days. I would squint and tilt and take photos so I could change the light & tint until I maybe saw a ghost of a second line. In reality, those sticks were always pure, stark white minus that one cruel line. And because it "could still be early", I would never truly lose hope until AF arrived and left me crying on my bathroom floor. It was a hell of a roller coaster and I have been terrified of it ever since I moved on to IVF so I always waited for beta. Until today. 

Chad and I have both been so pessimistic, so afraid to even entertain the idea that this FET might really work that we agreed we wanted to find out together and on our terms. If it was negative, fine, but at least we'd be expecting it when the phone rang. So we left the RE's office & rushed to buy tests. I was too scared to look, so at first I just glanced out of the corner of my eye. One line. There was one line. But it had only been 30 seconds. So we both looked again and slowly a 2nd line was coming into view. It wasn't dark but it was clearly visible. No squinting, tilting or altering required! A second line! It was really happening! We were relieved and ready for the phone to ring. We didn't want to get too ahead of ourselves before we heard the numbers. But the call never came. Lunch came & went and the phone didn't ring. I've learned that clinic staff delays making "bad news" calls. They call their good news patients early. It only took 2 hours from blood draw to phone call when I got pregnant with Eliana. 1st beta- 737. Today, six hours had passed so finally I got sick of waiting and called them. The nurse did not sound cheerful or excited. She started with "congrats" but in a way that sounded like it had a question mark at the end of it. Then she told me my beta was 17. One freaking seven. My hope has plummeted to nearly zero. Either this is a chemical pregnancy/early miscarriage or the hCG booster I did last Monday still hasn't totally left my system. I have another beta on Thursday to see if my beta changes at all and yeah there is that small sliver of a chance that by some miracle it will shoot up but I'm not counting on it. 

Honestly, it sounds awful, but I'm mostly hoping for a big drop. If this FET isn't the one, I just want to know. I don't want to ride the beta roller coaster again. Back in 2010 when I did my fresh IVF, my emotions were yanked in every possible direction with betas that rose but didn't double, then slightly rose again, then tripled. It was hell never knowing if that pregnancy was going to last. When I finally made it to ultrasound and there was no heartbeat, I was devastated and angry. If the cycle was not going to end in a baby, why did I have to endure that torture? A BFN would have hurt but it would have been easier to mourn. No ups and downs, no D&C, no miscarriage. That loss was painful and the merry-go-round that preceded it was hell. I do not want to do that again. I just want to know. Bad news hurts, it's awful, but it is better than maybes and we'll sees. Limbo sucks and I don't want any part of it. 

I am so mad myself for peeing on that dumb stick and letting it get my hopes up! For those few, short hours, despite my attempts not to, I started to get attached. I began imagining whether Eliana would have a baby brother or sister in the spring. I started thinking about how it would feel to have a big round belly. I contemplated the number of weeks I would wait before telling my friends. I wasn't jumping up and down but I was truly hopeful. And I'm pissed at myself for that. I should have known better. It hurts more this way. It feels like someone offered me what I want most in the world and as soon as I reached to pick it up, they snatched it away and shouted, "Nope! Not this time!". The no sucks but not as much as hearing yes first and having it taken away. 

My heart is slowly breaking. Nothing chips away at that crack quite as much as Eliana's sweet face and her requests for a baby brother or sister. Yesterday, totally out of the blue, she asked me if she could please have a baby brother or sister to hold. She wants it so badly. She tells me she will help with the baby and push the stroller. The hope and love in her eyes when she talks about it is indescribable. It kills me that I almost believed I would be able to fulfill that request nine months from now and now I am not sure when it might happen. I don't know for sure how quickly I will be ready to try again. My emotions just can't handle it. But no matter how sad or hurt I am about this cycle, I am nowhere near the point I was before Eliana was here. These are the same hurts, the same wounds, but they have scar tissue now. I will cry but I will have her to make me smile. I want another baby one day, I want her to have the sibling she craves, but she is enough. This is painful, yes, but it is nothing compared to the hurt of not yet being a mother. So, I will push through the next two days and hope that I have real, solid answers by then. I may cry, I may worry or panic, I may get pissed and hate most of the world, but in the end I will be OK. I just hope that end comes sooner rather than later.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Frozen in Fear

I have started and left unfinished about a dozen different blog posts in the past month. I have simultaneously had so much on mind to work out and been working so hard to not think about what was coming, that I could never find the resolve to finish anything I started. Besides, once I write something down and hit "publish", its out there in the world and that makes it more real and infinitely more scary. 

But now that the deed is officially done, I think it's time to break out of my hidey hole. I am currently, and for the third time in my life, officially PUPO (pregnant until proven otherwise). And I am terrified more than I probably have a right to be. Earlier today, I met with my embryologist and my amazing RE to have one perfect blastocyst thawed and transferred. This being my second ever FET (frozen embryo transfer) I felt simultaneously prepared and uncertain of what to expect. I remember the FET that brought us our precious Snow Pea so well, but that transfer came on the heels of a D&C following the failed pregnancy of my fresh IVF. I saw my RE and nurses constantly for months during that time. My life was consumed by nothing but trying to become a mom. Everything else came second. Everything. 

This time around I could barely get up the guts to actually call my RE for the first consultation. I don't understand why, but I think the fabled "Infertility PTSD" hit me harder than I had realized. I have watched and cheered for so many of my fellow Infertile Parents as they have expanded their families with additional treatments or adoptions in the past two years. I never stop being thrilled for those friends who are fortunate enough to see their dreams come true and it is still thrilling to see it happen the second time. With each pal that embarked on treatment though, I became more nervous, more afraid. Originally, Chad and I had solid plans to start another FET nearly a year ago. But as that date drew near, we found reasons to move it back. Then the new planned time would come closer and we'd push it back again. There were always "reasons"- the sale of Chad's company, travel plans to visit family, wanting to sort out our finances. But the truth is I kept delaying because I was scared, too scared to move forward. Three years ago, we didn't let any of that get in our way. We were bright eyed, hopeful and desperate to be parents. Fear existed but our hope and our need to do everything we could in our quest for parenthood, outweighed any trepidation. We threw ourselves full force into every aspect of making our dream a reality. 

Now that the dream has been realized, I kind of assumed that trying again one day would be a piece of cake. We have frozen embryos so that creates less strain both physically and financially. We knew what to expect and what our odds of success would be. And most important of all, we have the amazing little girl that made our dream of parenthood come true. If a second child isn't in our future, we are still parents. Our family of three is full of joy and happiness and if that is all we ever have, we will have more than enough. So when I realized how truly scared I was to try again, despite all of these things, I was surprised at myself. Every time I watched another friend on Twitter talk about starting treatments for baby #2, I marveled at her bravery and strength. I just didn't have it in me to even consider it yet. Strangely, knowing what to expect made me more nervous instead of less. I resented that I had to go through injections and medications and invasive ultrasounds and bloodwork and horrifically emotional waits all over again, just in the name of trying to have more of something I already feel beyond lucky to have at all. I mean, my dream was parenthood and I have that. Why should I have to go through that emotional hell again?

I have been absurdly low key about so much of this for a multitude of reasons. It feels incredibly selfish to think about baby #2 and to talk about how afraid I am to try again, when so many of those I love dearly are still fighting for baby #1. I know that my friends love and support me, no matter what mine or their circumstances may be, but I know it can still sting to be on that other side. Before my successful pregnancy, I had to avoid reading tweets and blogs from just about anyone that had moved forward to the next steps. I still loved & supported them and felt incredibly happy that their dream came true, but it hurt too much to expose myself directly to it. It may sound silly, but I felt like a jerk even considering making anyone listen to me whine about why I was afraid to do another FET. (you may have caught a vague tweet or two about this). 

My crazy pessimism & fear has also made me very wary of having much conversation about the whole thing with anyone I know "in real life". The thought of giving updates to my friends and family throughout the whole process, answering questions, and putting on a optimistic, hopeful front just seemed so daunting and I wanted to do everything I could to avoid that. With that said, if we know each other in real life, please don't think I didn't want to talk to you personally. I'm just very guarded emotionally right now and it has no reflection on our relationship or how much I love you, because I promise I do. I just needed to protect myself. (also please keep what you are reading here to yourself, as I am still not sharing this widely). 

The scariest thing of all of course, is realizing that in spite of my pessimism and bitterness about this whole process, hope has found it's way in. I can't help but envision our family of three becoming a family of four. I can't not see what an amazing big sister Eliana would be. How much she would love and care for a new baby. It really doesn't help my hopeful/fearful heart that she is now actually old enough to express these desires. "Mommy, may I have a baby brother, please?" is a popular request from her recently. She says it so sweetly, so sincerely, how can I not try to deliver? 

The concept of family is one she is just beginning to learn and she is very excited to announce that Mommy and Daddy and Eliana are a family every chance she gets. I want to let go of the fear and be open to the hope that a new name will be added to her list soon, but if that doesn't happen for us, I know I will still be always happy, grateful and in love with the family I have. And that is stronger than any fear, guilt or stress I could ever face.