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Trying-to-Conceive Blog

spazzle's blog

Faith & Fertility

There is a story in the Christian faith of an angel speaking to the Virgin Mary about how she will become pregnant with a child. In response to her asking how this is possible, the angel talks about how nothing is impossible for God and gives the example of Mary's cousin Elizabeth becoming pregnant even though she was old and people called her barren. This detail stuck out to me when I heard this story again the other day: nothing is impossible for God. Some of you know I've been on a spiritual journey of sorts for the past 2.5 years or so. I've learned so much about myself and about God through meditation and prayer, and I have often struggled with what many people refer to as "let go and let God". However, at that moment in hearing this story for the umteenth time, it felt like it clicked. I know this is sounding like more of a religious thing than a ttc thing, but stick with me. Ya know how it's hard to stop the TTC thoughts from taking over? One minute you're just going about your life and the next you're trying to puzzle through your odds and then you're falling down the fertility rabbit hole. Without even trying!!! I mean, I'm not even what one would consider "trying" right now, but it's easy for even me to get caught up on cycle days or upcoming protocol dates. They say when you're trying to stop anxious thoughts like this to recognize them and consciously choose to let them go, which works to a certain extent. After hearing this story though, I decided to pull a page from the meditation work I've done and incorporate a mantra -- something I can tell myself whenever my mind starts running away to bring it back around -- and that new mantra is, "Through God all things are possible." Isn't that what we're really always wondering when we start analyzing our charts or results or searching through Dr. Google's endless info: is it possible? You do not need to scour statistics to believe that it is possible for you to be pregnant. Idk, I felt like this was kind of revolutionary thinking for me. I've stopped so many mental loops before they even got started just with that one phrase. I've started to realize that maybe this was always between me and God. It's something we had to work out for me to find a little peace. Through my daily gratitude practice recently I also realized that when I thought about who I would tell first if I became pregnant, my answer was never God. Isn't that kind of funny? We sit and ask for all these blessings so the most logical thing to do first if we received them would be to say thanks, but it hadn't occurred to me. I mean, you won't see that "announcement" on Pinterest. Don't get me wrong; this isn't an effort at sounding judgemental or preachy! These revelations just felt huge for me, and if they can help anyone find a little more peace then I wanted to leave them here. You never know who's searching for the same things as you, and it seems pretty selfish not to share a piece of the map if you find it. I'm a much less spazzy Spazzle these days. ;) Lots of love, ladies.

Oh hey, it's me

I guess it's been about 6 months since I popped by here. Idk why I got the urge today, maybe it's just that I have been feeling a little out of sorts emotionally as we close out one season and prepare for fall, and blogging sometimes helps me sort through things. We just passed our 5 years TTC anniversary, but honestly our lives have felt very post-ttc for most of this year. It feels like a lifetime ago that we did our retrieval and our FET. Turns out time does heal some wounds, or at least dulls them. I've gotten a lot better about existing in the present instead of dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. You can only be where you are. We're doing our final FET between Thanksgiving and Christmas. (Now that I'm looking at it, I realize that planning to spend a small fortune right before a gift giving holiday was not great planning lol.) I don't have my protocol packet with all the endless dates and meds in it yet but we're on the schedule. I guess we'll see how that goes. In the meantime, I've been working on a book about infertility and how I've used yoga and meditation to learn to live with it. Nonfiction is a new realm for me (typically I write fiction) but I'm enjoying it. It has actually been really cathartic. I'm hoping to have it out on digital shelves before the end of the year for anyone interested. Anyway, I don't sort through the posts here anymore but I do pray for you guys often. Please know, wherever you are, that you're not alone. :)

A Picasso Painted Heart

It's no secret that our failed ivf broke me into pieces. Big jagged pieces that don't fit together in any way that could be considered normal, but somehow I'm out walking around and passing for human. I can't believe it was only 3 weeks ago, since it feels more like this infinite black hole that stretches out into an eternity both behind and ahead of me. Do I remember what it was like not to feel this way? 

My best friend is reluctantly pregnant. It's the only way I know to describe it. She told me she wakes up in the night, crying and asking God why he let this happen to her. Said she didn't think her life would turn out this way. I just told her, "You and me both."

For the most part, people have stopped talking to me about it or asking, which is a big relief. Right after it happened I guess it became the kind of "news" that "trusted friends" tell other people, to the point some girl I only sort of know brought it up like a casual topic of conversation: "Yeah so I heard you guys were doing ivf and it didn't work out. I'm sorry. So how's that going?" I looked her dead in the eye and said, "I don't want to talk about this." I had to say it two more times before she stfu and stopped apologizing or trying to say more about it. Needless to say I've got very few "friends" trying to talk to me anymore.

So it's just us, with our pets, sitting on our front porch in the evenings going through the motions of people who have moved on. We haven't yet dove deep into the finiancial plan for the next FET. I don't think either of us has had the heart. But at least we're not crying all the time anymore. Instead it's like we're side stepping. Side stepping this big hurt that we both know is there so we've stopped talking about it, because what's the point. But things are better. It makes me wonder if this is the kind of break that doesn't heal right, like we're always going to have this painful scar. It sucks to think about.

I think I ovulated a few days late, or not at all, who knows. I got O pains but barely a hint of what I would consider fertile cm. I'm sure my body is still trying to figure out wtf happened. It's not like I think I have a shot or anything, I just really want normalcy.

Anyway, that's me. I'm not praying much anymore. I wouldn't even know where to begin. I try to quietly "sit" with God. My prayers don't have words anymore. Hopefully it still counts for something. 

Hell, or something like it

I regret telling people we were doing ivf. I thought it would be nice to have support leading up to it and then if things didn't work out, like they didn't. But "support" as we know can come in many forms, most of which aren't helpful. Then all that support you thought you'd want becomes a burden.

My mom has taken to sending me things she's googled everyday. "I read the key is the vitamins, herbs, AND acupuncture." Because I'd already told her all the fancy supplements people swear work in a mere 3 months did not work, not even over the YEARS I bought them. Now she's telling me attitude is half the battle and that I need to "unblock my energy channels" and do more yoga (which I do every day, and have for 3 years). While I love yoga and have considered acupuncture for my overall wellbeing (ya know, since I'm crying multiple times a day and barely getting out of bed), these things are not a cure all. It's not like I'm not pregnant because my energy channels are blocked. It's almost as bad as "just relax". I want to scream, "Let me assure you, if I could just relax and get pregnant, I would do it. I would do it a thousand times before spending all this gd money and going through medical hell. I promise." It's not like someone gets cancer and you tell them to just relax and take some vitamins and unblock their fucking energy channels. I've just stopped responding. I know, truly I know, that my mom is trying to help. And this is the only way she knows how to try to help. But I am about this ( ) close to sending her, "Ya know, maybe I should just quit my job and live on govt assistance and eat McDonalds three times a day so I can have not one but TWO kids just like (insert name of one of my brother's crap baby mommas)." My friend told me that I shouldn't send it, that it would come across wrong. But really, truly, WHY am I always accomodating people?! I'm the one sitting over here on the wrong side of this fucked up parallel universe. I am TIRED of giving a fuck. I am close to discontinuing communication with literally everyone. No texts. No snaps. No carrier pigeons. I hate feeling alone but all this misguided "support" makes me feel way more alone, so at this point isn't it better to just tell everyone to leave me the fuck alone? I'm not pregnant. I don't want to talk about it like it's some super easy fixable thing. I HATE IT. I hate that apparently for everyone this is the easiest thing in the world and I HATE that everyone just acts like "oh something must be wrong with you" and I HATE that all these stupid idiot people are running around with kids they don't take care of and I HATE that nobody understands that I hate it. All of it.

We're trying to regroup and in a few weeks we're going to try to figure out the money thing and schedule our final FET. But then what? It won't work and people will sit around telling us if only we had done acupuncture and taken some vitamins? I am really beginning to question my ability to deal with this shit anymore. Yesterday I sat at work and contemplated how much leave I would get if I just decided to have a complete nervous breakdown. I know people care about us and I don't mean to sound ungrateful but FUCK. I need the universe to cut me a tiny bit of slack. Just a sliver. Because I am breaking into pieces and I surprise surprise I'm crying in public. Again. 

(Dh and I do have some plans to do stuff for us and not feel like such shit. I don't mean this whole thing to sound like we aren't trying to get though it. I'm just very frustrated with pretty much everyone and everything else. The only people who might understand that part of it are here, so that's why I'm putting it here.)

Anyway. Yeah.

This is what I wish I could post

I wish I could say this worked. I wish I could say, "We finally did it!!! Five years, finally a bfp!!! And maybe it's twins! The doctor was really happy with the hcg levels, which is amazing since I got bfns on all the hpts. Apparently it really is possible to get a late bfp -- I'm living proof the anecdotes have some truth! It feels so surreal, knowing we're finally going to have a family! Just have faith, ladies, it all works out in the end."

Here's the truth: It didn't work. I'm not pregnant. Five years and fifteen thousand dollars, and we still have nothing. I've never seen a bfp. The doctor said we could do another FET with our final embryo, but I think it's something like $6k, which I don't have lying around. I actually didn't even have the $15k. We spent money we didn't have on a dream that didn't come true. I was going to post a picture here of a baby hat I bought in 2013 and saved for my bfp, which I'm probably finally about to donate or throw away, but honestly I don't have the strength it would take to drag it out, take such a picture, and get rid of it. Maybe another day.

I'm heartbroken and I feel pretty stupid for ever having hoped it would really happen for me. So it goes. 

I like my embryos clingy!

By that I mean I have combined a bunch of implantation goodies from around the web and now present to you...

Spazzle's Super Duper 2ww Smoothie: -1/5 of pineapple with the core (for the bromelain, a natural anti-inflammatory)

- a very non-specific five finger grab of baby spinach (because it's yummy and good for you and you won't even notice it's in here, I promise)

- 1 tbsp grated ginger, or more to taste (from the TCM concept of "warming" foods, and also another good anti-inflammatory)

- 1 avocado (idk, I read this study that avocados tripled ivf success and I like avocados. If you hate avocados, sub bananas here to keep the creaminess factor)

- almond milk, or really whatever kind of milk you prefer bc jeez there are so many these days (probably about a cup)

- honey if you want it sweeter

- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper if you want a kick (and a bit more of that "warm foods" factor)

- 4 or 5 ice cubes (optional)

* Blend, enjoy each day, and think about your embryos attaching to the walls of your uterus like a couple of kids wearing those ridiculous velcro suits launching themselves off a trampoline and sticking to velcro walls (do those still exist or was that strictly a 90s thing? Lol). Anyway, happy waiting! 

Let's talk about these PIO injections...

These really deserve their own post.

All right. I'm going to be honest. These things SUCK! Lol. I'm in a lot of pain a lot of the time. I even wake up in the night with an ache. Does it get better? 

The first one we did was the worst. I think I tensed up and omg it felt like liquid concrete was being injected into my butt, but to be fair I also think that one was a tad low (more in line with the butt crack than above that line, not really purposely that low but hey we were doing our best okay, lol). The instruction videos talk about how higher is better. So we went higher and I made sure to relax and those went a thousand times better, but I can't shake this soreness! It's like having a bruise deep down in the muscle, and I'm always very stiff on the side where we've done it, which is agony for me because I'm usually really active. I've started heating it before the injection as well as after, and that helps. I've also taken to using a rolling pin on the muscle and as much as that's a hurts-so-good kind of feeling it really helps ease the stiffness for a little while. Does anyone have any other tips? Obviously moving it is key, despite the ache. I've been trying to stick to my regular workout as much as possible and it helps so much, but again that's short-lived. Another challenge is that very soon I need to learn how to do these myself for whenever I travel. Currently dh has been doing them, and it's actually been really sweet. I think it makes him feel involved and important, which makes me really happy. :)

Anyway, this may just be my fate for a while, and I get that. As long as it keeps our embryos (which should be blastocysts today!) happy then I would do it forever lol. And I can also thank the PIO for rescuing me from drowning in estrogen sadness like I was before it started. Pros and cons!

I welcome any expertise and all well wishes. :) Thanks! 

The embryos have landed!

Two little high quality beauties were transferred this morning! I got to watch the little blip on the screen and then pretty much immediately begged to go pee, lol. I hope after surviving the ice age they'll decide my uterus is the perfect new warm cozy home. ♡ We're traveling home today where I plan to keep my feet warm, eat avocados, and slice up a pineapple for good measure. 

This whole experience has been pretty surreal in a sense. We've received so much support and love! As one of our close friends told us, "If science can make my hair grow back then surely it can help you have a kid." :'D

I would not call this a ten-day wait so much as a 10-day exercise in patience and faith. The doc gave us a 70% chance of pregnancy per the statistics, but I don't need statistics to know that God truly works miracles, just like when He gave us three eggs and three embryos.

Sorry I'm being so sappy. Blame the drugs, lol. Speaking of drugs, those PIO injections are a BEAST!!! Like wtf??? I've got dh doing them so far and I think we're getting better at them because that first day I was in complete agony. I travel some for work though so I'm planning to work myself up to doing them solo if needed. We've so far been sticking with the same side, then I think we'll switch every 3 days. I just can't imagine having both sides feel that sore at once, I'd be bed ridden. But I'm taking it all in stride. :) Never thought I'd be grateful for painful shots but here I am! There's beauty even in the storm, I think I've learned.

Anyway, that's all I've got for now. Thank you all so so much for the prayers, thoughts, and all the sweet comments you've left me. I feel so humbled by it all and can only say that I'm overflowing with gratitude.

Faith, trust, and baby dust!!!

1 Week!

It's one week until my lining check! And one week until my last lupron injection! It felt so far away for so long but now it's feeling more real. :) Like, it's close enough now I can even look up a weather report if I want, lol.

If all looks good at my scan they'll confirm my FET date and switch me over to progesterone, which I'll take for 3 days prior to the FET since our embies are 3 days old. My lining on its own always looks "beautiful", so depending on estrogen supplementation to build it instead makes me a little nervous, but I've done a pretty good job staying level about it (and staying off Google). I'm usually very much of the mindset "if it ain't broke, leave it the hell alone bc you might break it" lol, but I am trying to trust my body is working with the medication properly. Lots of prayer, meditation, and visualization.

For those of you who have done ivf before: did you test before your beta? I know I'm not there yet but I keep feeling very conflicted about it. I don't want to test too early and put myself in emotional distress for no reason, but I also don't want to fall apart if the beta is negative. So tricky. :/

Gimme All the Hormones

I'm nearing the end of what I hope to be my last AF for a long while! I start estrogen supplementation today, and I'm actually kind of looking forward to it. For the past few days the lupron has had me feeling like an anti-depressant commercial, so I'm definitely ready to have some of my hormones back! Things are looking up, though. I worked out the difficulties between me and my bff (who has decided to embrace her pregnancy), and I also am feeling a LOT better about some crazy family drama that I'm sure was sparked by that super blue blood moon last week. We're also heading into the Easter season next week, which is one of my favorite times of year spiritually. I definitely need to stay spiritually strong right now. 

Not a lot else to report. My only side effects from the lupron were hot flashes (omg so much worse than I used to imagine they'd be before I ever got one lol), night sweats, and the mild depression I mentioned, but none of that was very noticeable until about a week into the injections and it really hasn't been bad. I don't remember what kind of side effects I got from estrogen supplementation last time I took it (my iuis feel like they were a million years ago), but I'm pretty optimistic! Trying to keep my body moving everyday with my usual workouts, even if I feel crummy and need to go lighter or modify. This is a great exercise in body awareness! Recognizing what you need and being kind to yourself. And with all the hormones you never know what your body will even *look* like from one day to the next -- big boobs, regular boobs, flat belly, bloated belly, clear skin, acne -- and honestly I think it has really made me love my body that much more and learn to let go of some unrealistic body image notions and just know I'm beautiful and worthwhile everyday. Or maybe that's just a maturity that you get when you turn 30, who knows, lol. ;P

Anyway, that's my ivf journey right now! Faith, trust, and baby dust. ☆