The Least Push of Joy

First Beta, 159.5!

I'm feeling a lot better today. Thanks for your kind words of support, you are wonderful women.

Today's beta number seems pretty high for 8dp5dt(day 13)! I was very excited to hear it. Those gosh dang pee sticks really got me going. I spent the whole day yesterday feeling really depressed lying on the couch under a quilt, thinking that I was losing the wee little guys. I was really in a funk.

I have been through so many strong, difficult emotions in the past few days. I had no idea that a positive result could be so completely overwhelming.

Going through IVF is hard enough, without having to deal with the fact of either not becoming pregnant or becoming pregnant, as a result. Both are huge. And it's all hard enough without the freakin hormones to deal with.

Believe me, I know from experience that not becoming pregnant is the less desirable option, but the other night I had a super concentrated 20 minute identity crisis about being pregnant that felt a little like a very short bad acid trip. On top of that I was having uncomfortable feelings about the fact that here I am finally pregnant, and it is with some other woman's eggs. That was its own little world of complicated feelings. Fear of not feeling connected with a DE baby. Deep primal grief over missing my dream of a baby that is like me. (I'm adopted, so this one is very deep for me). Shame over not being able to produce a baby on my own. Jealousy that I'm having my husbands baby with another woman. You'd think that I hadn't thought all this out. Endlessly. Obsessively. In depth. Fer goodness sakes. I'm a therapist. It just all hit me again, at once! Obviously and naturally I am having feelings about all this, and that's just the way it's supposed to be.

I think that part of me has spent so much time gearing up for disappointment, that it doesn't know how to let go.

Reminds me of a poem by Emily Dickinson:

I can wade Grief—
Whole Pools of it—
I'm used to that—
But the least push of Joy
Breaks up my feet—
And I tip—drunken—
Let no Pebble—smile—
'Twas the New Liquor—
That was all!

Today I was texting about my beta with my beloved friend in Alaska, the one with the adopted 1 year old. She asked me if I was feeling joy about it. She said "It really is a miracle, the one you've been waiting for, for a long, long time!"

I told her no, not yet, and explained my feelings. She sent me back an email that tonight sent me into tears, and helped me let go. It's so nice to be understood. Here's what she wrote:

I was going to text you back but I've misplaced my phone temporarily so I figured I would send an email instead. I can understand your feelings about being freaked out about the pregnancy. It's a huge deal. And it's natural to be thinking, like, "what the f... was I thinking?" I remember when I got the call that we were getting O, I was in a state of disbelief for the first 48 hours. I remember going back to the hotel after meeting her at the hospital (she had to stay there overnight) and thinking, "I can still back out of this. I don't have to do it." But I took a deep breath and realized that I could do it, and in fact, it was what I had yearned for for like 30 years! It's like taking a plunge off a deep cliff into the ocean. It's scary. But once you're playing in the waves and having fun, you forget how scared and freaked out you were to let go of control and dive!

Keep in mind that you can do this and it's something you've longed for. Just accept the fear and remember that you won't always feel it. It'll pass. And once the baby(ies) start growing in your belly and you can feel them, you'll start the attachment process and you'll love being a mom.

I wish I could be there to stay up late with you and talk for hours about this. Just know that I'm there for you if you ever want to talk.

CONGRATULATIONS! I'm reveling in the complete joy of this! It's amazing. :)

Love to you and R. (And by the way, your presents arrived yesterday. The envelope was damaged in route and the chocolate were smashed but everything else survived! I love the LOVE symbol and the bird mobile. We have it over our dining room table. The Indian elephants are over O.'s crib but we may switch them out. Very thoughtful of you. Thank you.)
Ahhh friends. Thank god for friends. I am beginning to feel a little joy. Hoping for more.


Having a Hard Time

I'm having a hard time right now.

last night I was overwhelmed with fear about this whole process. A cloud of dread took me over. I felt this sense of unreality and doubt, and worried that it was all the wrong choice. I didn't even know exactly what was scaring me so much, but I felt really scared to be pregnant. It was out of the blue, and I didn't like it one bit.

I was feeling a lot going on in my uterus, it felt very full, and had been crampy for days.

And now this morning, the pregnancy test line is fainter than yesterday. I am terrified that I am having a chemical pregnancy. My beta is tomorrow. I tested positive on 5dp5dt, the line was a little darker 6dp5dt (yesterday), and today it is a little lighter.

Scared and confused and upset!


A Line

After the initial post-transfer calm began to fade, I had started madly googling 2 days ago to see when people start getting positive home pregnancy tests, and saw a bunch of early birds who tested positive on day 9, which was yesterday for me. (4dp5dt).

So after dreaming that I was in the bathroom peeing on a stick yesterday morning, I woke up and did so in real life, thinking how cool it would be to put that in my honey's Christmas stocking. I was very sad to see a bald, bare one line result, and tho I told myself it was early days, I felt depressed all day about it. It didn't ruin my Christmas, which was simple and sweet.. unlike so many others.

We have been running around from Syracuse for the transfer, to our home village for an overnight stop, then down to NYC for my work day on Thursday and a Christmas eve gathering with family friends in the Village. We brought my mom back upstate late Christmas eve, and she stayed until today. We logged about 13 hours of driving. Or should I say my honey has. Since the transfer he wont let me lift a finger. He has been driving, carrying, litterbox changing, dish washing, firewood bringing, PIO injecting, footrubbing, etc., etc. I have had it very easy and I'm grateful.

After all that mishugas, I had planned to take it super easy on Christmas, and gestate, do no cooking, see a movie and open gifts, which we did successfully. We even played a game, and had a lovely meal out. But I really love to cook, so I HAD to cook at least one thing to honor the day, and my wonderful husband and my wonderful mother, so instead of a traditional feast, I tried a new brunch recipe: Lemon Ricotta Pancakes. They were SO GOOD. Sorry I didn't take a photo. They weren't around very long in any case. I sifted a little powdered sugar on top, and served them with sliced bananas and lemon curd. Oh man, were they good. It was a very easy and festive start to a happy, relaxing Christmas day.

As we were zipping upstate after midnight Christmas eve, we stopped on Hudson and Christopher and picked up a little tree for ten bucks from a guy packing up to go back to Canada. That is now nicely decorated with all of the unbreakable ornaments I have, plus some replaceable glass balls, so our young rambunctious cats don't cause a cat-astrophy. It looks very pretty glowing and sparkling in the corner as I write in my chair near the wood stove, with said cats stretching and muttering in their sleep, sweet hubby snoring on the couch, exhausted from his servitude, and the snow falling outside. Ahhh.

This morning, I had the exact same dream that I had yesterday morning, that I was POAS. I swear. I'm surprised I didn't wet the bed. It woke me up, and I stumbled downstairs to try the real thing again. My 79 year old mom, who has never really know what to do with animals, but who has wanted grandchildren desperately, was playing peek a boo with my young boy-kitty, who was relishing a new playmate. Past this little love scene and into the bathroom.

This time there was a faint but very-much-there line on the stick. Wow. I guess that means I'm pregnant.


Come to Mama

Today is the solstice, with a magical eclipse thrown in, in the wee hours this morning. I'm sitting in a lovely comfy hotel room in Syracuse, with a picture of four pretty blastocysts (and one that didn't quite get there, second from right) on the table next to me. Our transfer was this morning. We transferred two. Two will be frozen, which I am very happy about.

Our donor gave us 11 eggs, 9 were mature, and 5 fertilized. My clinic decided right away to do a day 5 transfer. They don't like to disturb the embryos so I had no idea during the week how they were doing. I was haunted with fears that they would not survive, like last time, and all our very profound and consuming efforts, emotional, physical and financial would be for nothing. As the Doc opened the door to the transfer room, he said "It's a beautiful day! You have beautiful embryos!" That was VERY good to hear!!

I am really trying to allow all my joy and hopes and pleasure in having these two embryos inside me to live and flourish. I will not, at least today, succumb to protecting my heart in a way that cuts off my life energy, and my love energy. 

I send love and blessings to all of you who are awaiting and loving your children, whatever state your beautiful hearts are in.


Stripey and Wavy

Yesterday I took the one hour drive to my clinic to get my lining check. I was very happy to hear that it was 10.5 and had the famous "triple stripe", even tho I don't actually know what that is. I just know it's supposed to be a good thing. A good thing feels good to have, just a simple encouragement, especially when my mind is so busy with every possible thing that one can think of, exhausting me trying to control an uncontrollable thing, this cycle, this life. Trying to avoid pain.

It's feeling strange to me to be going forward with such an endeavor, this IVF thing. Everywhere I turn I am reading about miscarriage and disappointments and heartbreak. I feel very impacted by Paige's recent loss. I was a lurker for the most part on her blog, but I really identified with her. I also have a therapy client who's wife miscarried IVF twins at 20 weeks recently. I was so shocked by both of these events. Death appeared so suddenly, in the middle of their (and my) lush and tender enjoyment of forthcoming life. Life is very unpredictable and random, and nothing we do can keep control of it. It is a vast mystery. I trust that there is a rhyme and reason that my tiny mind cannot encompass. I try to surrender to it, at the same time as I try to keep hope alive. Its a strange balancing act, that I learned in therapy many years ago, to be able to hold opposite truths at the same time. My therapist had me imagine I was actually holding one in one hand and one in the other. So I will hold Paige's loss in one hand. I will hold BFN's and failure and terrible fear and sadness and pain and loss and death in that hand. And in the other hand I will hold hope. Hope for Paige. Hope for her healing, and for her dreams to come true. Hope for me and for this cycle, for my waiting triple stripe uterus and for a joyful outcome. Soaring hope. Bouncy hope. Hope for each and every one of you.

So amidst all of this, we have a donor with 10-12 follicles, and retrieval will be day after tomorrow. This donor has consistently (twice) produced a modest amount of eggs, but which do well. I have a very anxious hubby, who has trouble articulating his anxiety, going on a 3.5 hour train trip by himself tomorrow to deliver his biological contribution to this hoped for baby(ies). He will return the next day and we will make the trip again, god willing, for the transfer next week. I have a full day of work on Thursday (retrieval day) in the city, and lots of good distracting things to do and people to see on Friday. I have been appreciating the value of distraction more this cycle. I'm usually someone who likes to really experience my life, but I realize that there are choices about what to experience.

For example, tonight my honey and I avoided another evening talking about his trip, and my fears about injecting myself with PIO, by attending a very enjoyable movie, Saint Misbehaving, The Wavy Gravy Movie. I was fortunate enough to meet Wavy Gravy in 1980 during his "Nobody for President" campaign. He was a very funny and unique guy, with an uplifting message. I cooked a vegetarian dinner for him and Mountain Girl and her children, with some of my college friends when he visited our school, and remember him complaining that he would have preferred a hamburger. I always took it a little personally until tonight when I saw him do the same thing in the movie, basically saying yuck when his wife mentioned vegetarian food. I feel much better now!


Mid Cycle, Mid-life, Newlywed

I am in the middle of DE IVF cycle number two. The last cycle was in March, and it didn't work.. the embryos did not look good, and the Doc said it could be that the donor had a bad cycle. It took this long to get a new donor... It feels like forever, especially since I turned 49 last week. I know there are a small minority of women who are choosing to try to bear children at this age, but I don't know any of them. Even in this wonderful blogging community, I feel like a real minority. If I become pregnant this cycle, I will (god willing) become a mother just before I turn 50. Most of my cohort have children in college right now. I am 8 years older than our egg donors mother.

Yet this is my try at having the family I have always, always wanted... everything came late for me. I just got married. Just. My wedding was 2 months ago. It was so wonderful. Or I should say they, we also eloped in January- a beach wedding in Hawaii with another couple witnessing, who are friends of ours, and their new adopted baby. My friend, P., the wife in the couple, is my age. She is actually the oldest new mom I know personally. I wish she lived near me, she lives in Alaska, and here I am in New York.

The second wedding was so sweet.. we had it on a mountaintop near our house, with all of our family and friends, and it was just about the most perfect sunny, clear October day ever. Plus I married the sweetest man I know, pretty good, eh?

I'm glad all of the hullaballo of it is over now, but it was such a huge life passage for me, I really relished it. We totally did it our way, too, one of the advantages of age probably. It was a great wedding.

This is the only non-identifying pic I could find of us on our wedding day. We were walking up to join our loved ones at the wedding site. My dress was red burn-out velvet, and that was a cream colored shawl that I got in Pakistan. You can't see how gorgeous the day was or how happy we were, but take my word for it.

I kind of feel like I am doing the procreating thing my way, too. I do feel some fears of being judged about it. We have not told my honey's family about what we are doing, or much of my family, because of my not wanting to be judged. My honey's sister told us a while ago that she did not believe in assisted reproduction. She figured if you were meant to have children, it would happen the natural way. She has two children. I don't even want to get anywhere near discussing this with her. I'll just keep a safe distance. She totally harshes my mellow.

My close friends know. My mother knows. She's scared to death for my health and well being, which I can understand, but it stresses me out. My close friends are of course totally supportive.

I went to Albany yesterday for my lining check, and the nurse said that it was 6.4mm I think, which was a little slow, they are looking for over 7mm so they added one more estrace pill to my three a day, but this one goes in vaginally. Hmm. It makes sense to get the medication as close as possible to the uterus, if it absorbs like that, but every time I see blue in my underwear, I have a moment of huh?

I have increased my acupuncture to 3 times a week for the two weeks prior to transfer. I continued going once a week since my last cycle 8 months ago, and I find it has significantly helped my energy level and focus and concentration. I suffer from ADD, and I don't remember ever feeling this normal and good. Of course when I started the lupron 3 weeks ago, that all went bye-bye and I was overtaken by a fog of spaced-outness and tiredness and crankyness. Then they put me on estrogen and steroids, which gave me better skin and a bit of an up feeling, but I do not feel like my self. Can't wait to start the progesterone in oil next week!!



I am very sad about Paige's terrible loss yesterday. She was halfway through her longed for pregnancy, and was full of joy at just learning her baby was a son, when she lost him due to a ruptured amniotic sac. Such a shock. If anyone is reading this, please go give her some support.


Goodbye and Hello

I loved my old blog!! I’m upset that I have had to abandon it. I have been dying to blog for a long while, I've had things to share, and have really needed support around DE IVF issues, but I was caught in a bind of my own making... really slapping my forehead over this one.

In a moment of poor judgement, I had allowed a particular friend from my real life to read my old blog.  While I do have a few friends with whom I feel safe sharing my blogging, this one was a mistake. In all the years I've known her, watching her always on the extreme outs with some close friend or family member, I have always felt like I was walking on eggshells, just biding my time until I was the chosen one who's turn it was to be the bad, bad, friend. Well my turn came over the summer. What a shitstorm!

So now I no longer feel safe enough to write whatever I need to write in that blog, because she might read it, and she is not a safe person with good boundaries. Sigh. I really didn't think it through properly at the time. I will be more careful in the future! So, before giving someone you know access to your blog, as Michael Jackson says, “Take my advice.. remember to always think twice”.

I already have issues around needing to be as anonymous as possible, because I am a psychotherapist, and it would be very complicated if any of my clients were to find my blog.

I realized in this case that I would have to create a whole new blog, and start all over again, which really was inconvenient to say the least. I waited several months, unsure of how to handle things. It was upsetting to lose the ongoing connection that I was developing with all of you, it was so wonderful to be in the midst of a group of caring peers. I am going to contact people that I know who were reading the old blog so we can reconnect if you want to. So this is the new blog! If you want to visit my old one, it is here.

Currently I am mid cycle with a new egg donor. I expect her retrieval to be on December 15 or so. I will write more about this in my next post.