The Spirit Is Willing

Hi there. Long time, no post.

I would say I’m sorry (because I am) but I have no real words to offer up in defense. I think of posting often, and have many things I’d like to say to you. But by the time I’ve run through my day of up early/commute/work/pump/commute/pick up baby/home/put baby to bed/eat dinner/sit on couch with no pants I’m totally spent, you know? After dinner is when I could totally try to make something of the dozen-odd half formed posts that live in my drafts folder, but at that point It’s all I can do to keep my eyes open while I prep the baby and myself for the next day.

As they say, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

So how about a quick run down? The baby first, because, well, she is our raison d’être.

She’s almost 9 months now. Can you believe it?!

She sleeps mostly well. We sleep trained (Ferber, which sucked massively but goddamn if it didn’t work exactly like it’s supposed to) at 4ish months. She took to it in a few days and then we tackled night feedings by once a week dropping a minute off the time that I nursed her. Once we were down to about 5 minutes per nursing session she decided waking up wasn’t worth her time and started sleeping through the night. For the most part she goes down by 7PM and wakes up around 6AM, although recently she’s been waking up around 4 or 5 which is decidedly not cool and makes me dread the end of Daylight Savings Time. We’re going to be putting her down a few minutes later every night this week in hopes that it will help recalibrate her clock. It probably won’t work, but then, I’m your resident pessimist.

She eats VERY well. She has three big bowls of solid food a day and has recently gotten the hang of self feeding via soft bits of carrot and peas and cheerios and her beloved puffs. Over the next few months I figure we’ll transition to more and more self feeding and do away with the baby food (which she LOVES).

I am working on weaning her from breastfeeding, which I am both sad and excited about.

Breastfeeding was really hard in the first few months. She initially wouldn’t latch due to her tongue tie, I had massive engorgement, she ate round the clock (seriously, she was either attached to the boob or screaming – I was her pacifier, and no plastic substitute was acceptable) and I got little to no sleep. For weeks I would sleep in half hour bursts which drove me to the very brink of my sanity. The gaping maw of insanity is a very dark and terrifying place. PPD is not a joke, my friends. Tread lightly.

On the other hand, I spent some heart achingly sweet time cuddled up with my girl, and I was (and am!) so damn proud of myself for being able to feed my daughter from my very own body. After all the shit infertility put my sense of self through, being able to nourish and sustain my long fought for child from my very own body (sorry, that needs to be repeated) went a long way toward healing.

So why am I stopping? Well, I went back to work and my supply tanked. I did the fenugreek, the water, the oatmeal, the extra pump sessions, the power pumping and blah blah blah. It helped some, but not enough and I was killing myself trying to make quota every day. So we started supplementing, which further tanked my supply, and it’s been dwindling ever since. My hope was that I could feed her mornings and nights and just not worry about pumping during the day, but Ellie just seems frustrated that she gets a measly few ounces first thing in the morning when she would greatly prefer a hearty breakfast of about 7 or 8 ounces.

And while it’s sad, it’s also exciting. If I never have to pump again it will be too soon. I might burn that damn pump. Seriously. Set the fucker on fire and dance around its charred remains. If there is anything more sucky (ha) about pumping, please don’t bring it to my attention because god almighty there is enough shit in the world.

So. The end. Sob. (Yay!)

Ellie loves her daycare. We had a few bumps as we all got adjusted, but it’s worked out beautifully. She has two sweet little friends in her class that she plays with every day and the teachers help gently encourage skills that routinely blow me away. It’s like, what do you mean she can hold her own bottle/clap hands/wave bye-bye/blow kisses/hold hands with her friend (omgsocute)/etc. I didn’t teach her that! It’s like she’s an independent person! That can be taught things! Weird!

She is crawling like a champ, and pulls herself to stand. We think she’ll be an early walker, probably by Christmas, according to her teacher. She would be around 10 or 11 months then.

And how are her mamas? We’re well. We’re both a little shell shocked from her infancy, and honestly, we’re just starting to recover. Tammy gets visibly upset if anyone mentions having another baby (because obviously it would be the easiest and cheapest thing to get pregnant) and is adamant about wanting to be one and done with Ellie. I go back and forth on the issue but don’t want to commit myself one way or another. There are pros and cons to both.

One thing that Tammy I and agree on is that Ellie’s infancy was, frankly, the most difficult thing we’ve ever done. Now though, it is so, SO fun. So worth it. This is what I wanted when I fought so long for a child. Watching her discover and explore and learn and grow. Her whole body smile. Giving her one last kiss on her fuzzy little head when I lay her sleep heavy body down in her crib at night.

Like they say, the days are long but the years are short. I hope you all are well. xo

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Insurance Can Kiss My Ass

I have no insurance coverage for infertility, other than an initial diagnostic appointment (that doesn’t include any, you know, diagnostic tests like blood work, HSG, ultrasound, etc., because that would be too fucking logical). Everything else was 100% out-of-pocket. I am so envious of those of you who a) live in states where there is mandatory coverage and b) can utilize those benefits. We used to live in a state where there was coverage, but HAHA SUCKERS it didn’t apply to us. It only applied to those individuals who used their husbands sperm. i.e. no lesbians or single women or hetero couples with severe MFI who decided to use a donor. Because obviously, those of us in the previously mentioned categories do not deserve to have children. Obviously.

ANYWAY, moving on swiftly. I had an experience today that reinforced my need for an insurance vendetta.

As I stated above, I have no insurance coverage for infertility; no monitoring, blood work, ultrasounds, procedures themselves (IUI or IVF) and definitely no prescription drug coverage. HOWEVER, once I got pregnant (ultrasound tomorrow to confirm that I am, in fact, actually still pregnant and not newly awakened from a month-long delusion/psychotic break) certain medications that I took for infertility (estrogen, progesterone) are now covered due to my pregnancy “status”. When I called to order more drugs after my BFP, I told the pharmacists my new “status” and asked joyfully what the co-pay was. The pharmacist responded that they needed to have my doctor’s office call my insurance company to confirm that I was, in fact, pregnant. This was a month and 3 refills ago. Each time the pharmacist tells me they’re going to call over to my doctor’s office and ask THEM to call my insurance company. Of course, they don’t fucking do that. Today I got a little royally pissed off vexed in a MOST ladylike way, and told them what was up.

30 minutes later, I got a call from someone at the pharmacy asking if I was pregnant. OMFG. I only told you all that a fucking MONTH ago. She promised that she would call over to my doctor’s office to have them confirm the dates of my pregnancy, so they could retroactively reimburse me for money paid out-of-pocket for the last 3 refills. An hour later I found out that my doctor’s office would only confirm my pregnancy as of May 29th, and I had called for a refill on May 28th. So that $400 haul of drugs won’t be covered.

Reading over what I wrote, maybe I should be more irritated at the pharmacy and my doctor’s office, instead of the insurance company. And yes, the pharmacy definitely dropped the ball on this one. And I’m going to have a little chat with my doctor’s office tomorrow to see WHY they claim me pregnant on May 29th when I had my positive beta on the 24th. But you know what? All of this mess would have been avoided if I had coverage in the first damn place. God.

**UPDATE: I just got my meds delivered to my office building (damn right they deliver) and the workers in the mail room made many HILARIOUS jokes about my “drugs”. HA.HA. Hilarious. Lets talk a little louder about my DRUGS when the CEO is just down the hall! Fabulous idea.

It’s Aliiiiive

I just got a call with my second beta (that was done 4 days after my first beta, due to the long weekend).

First beta (at 10dp5dt): 372
Second beta (at 14dp5dt): 2032

That’s a doubling time of 39.19 hours.

The nurse that called me said this was “good.” My next appointment won’t be until I’m between 6 and 7 weeks pregnant (if I make it that far*) to see a heartbeat.

No more betas!?! No more appointments for over a week?! I feel adrift. Can I come in for blood draws for fun? What about visiting my old pal, Monsieur DildoCam? Or could I come in to breathe the heady, intoxicating scent of sadness and fear that permeates the waiting room? I’m still generating plenty of that pungent elixir to contribute. What if your stores are depleted without me around??

Another hurdle has been cleared. I keep trying to tell myself that I’m farther (further?) than I’ve ever gotten before. But poor Tammy had to talk me back from the ledge over and over this weekend, repeatedly fielding my teary questions of “what if it’s dead?” “what if it doesn’t double?” “what if I’m a fucking lunatic for hoping this would ever work?” (that last one was only in my head)

But so far**, my fears have been for naught. I am assured by What to Expect When You’re Trying to Freak Yourself the Fuck Out that our baby is the size of an orange seed right now. The heart is beginning to function at a rudimentary level, although it will be a few weeks until we can see it on an ultrasound if we get that far.***

Tammy and I also engaged in extremely risky behaviour this weekend: we looked at baby stuff while we were at Target, and talked about a possible/future/maybe nursery.

And THEN I held my friend’s baby for hours on Sunday, wiping her little teeny baby butt, kissing her baby toes, rocking her to sleep, and drinking in the perfect sweet/sour baby smell of her head.

Is it possible that I actually, maybe, possibly might end up with a baby of my own? Boggles the mind.

*I have GOT to stop doing that. Industrial strength asshole = me.
**That was the last one. Promise.
***Ugh. I’m the worst.

Heavenly Day

Heavenly Day
By Patty Griffin

Oh heavenly day, all the clouds blew away
Got no trouble today with anyone
The smile on your face I live only to see
It’s enough for me, baby, it’s enough for me
Oh, heavenly day, heavenly day, heavenly day

Tomorrow may rain with sorrow
Here’s a little time we can borrow
Forget all our troubles in these moments so few
All we’ve got right now, the only thing that
All we really have to do
Is have ourselves a heavenly day
Lay here and watch the trees sway
Oh, can’t see no other way, no way, no way
Heavenly day, heavenly day, heavenly day

No one at my shoulder bringing me fears
Got no clouds up above me bringing me tears
Got nothing to tell you, I’ve got nothing much to say
Only I’m glad to be here with you
On this heavenly, heavenly, heavenly, heavenly
Heavenly day, all the trouble’s gone away
Oh, for a while anyway, for a while anyway
Heavenly day, heavenly day, heavenly day

**********************************************

The doctor called with my beta results. As of this morning, my hCG was 372. With my last pregnancy it was a 17. Obviously, this could mean absolutely nothing for the long-term. I could miscarry this baby just like the last one. But today, at least, I’m chosing happiness. I’m chosing joy. I’m chosing peace.

Stick around, little one. Your mamas can’t wait to meet you. We love you already.

I Held Out for as Long as I Could

So this happened.

tests2

Beta wasn’t scheduled until Tuesday, but I broke down and emailed my nurse yesterday, begging her to let me move the blood test up. She agreed, so my beta is tomorrow morning (when I will be 10 days post a 5 day transfer, or 15 days past ovulation).  I guess that makes me officially 4 weeks pregnant today.

I don’t really know what to think or how to act. I’m excited, of course, but I’m also scared out of my mind. There’s a large part of me that feels detached, like this is happening to someone else. I feel like I’m watching a movie, sitting back and saying, “Huh. Well, that’s interesting”. Tammy suggested I feel this way because I’m scared it won’t work out, that I’ll lose this pregnancy like I lost the first one. She may be right. Which is why I wanted to move the beta test up. A strong beta number will help to ease my mind (a tiny bit). And if it’s strong, I’ll worry about the second beta doubling appropriately. And then I’ll worry about the 6 week ultrasound to see a heartbeat.

I told a friend of mine yesterday that I was pregnant. He responded that since I was doing IVF, he didn’t realize it was a question if I was or wasn’t, that he thought it was a “done deal”.

HAHAHAH! At “done deal”!!!! OMG. Wiping away tears of laughter (and a little bit of bitterness). Don’t I fucking wish it was that simple. Take some drugs, get lots of beautiful embryos, pop one or two or three back in, and just wait to find out how many! Then have a blissful, worry free pregnancy, a textbook delivery, and a happy & healthy baby.

God. I fucking wish.

Anyone have suggestions about how to be calm/happy/enjoy the moment while I wait for my beta number?

 

Edited to Add: Sorry the bottom test is so yellow. That’s disgusting. No idea why it’s so yellow (I did pee on it, but why has it gotten so yellow? Barf.) Also, I cropped the picture to take out the pee stick part. There were droplets (DROPLETS) visible, and I do have some pride.

Things that Irritate Me Today

ITEM:
The fact that I take a fist full of vitamins daily. I’m too paranoid to stop taking them.Vitamins(clockwise from the top red one: prenatal + DHA, fish oil, estrace, colace (I *heart* colace), royal jelly, CoQ10 x2)

ITEM
The fact that I can’t remember if I took my estrace this morning. And I’m having an internal panic – do I take another one just in case I DIDN’T take it? Can you overdose on estrace? Do I NOT take one in case I DID remember to take it? Called my nurse but she hasn’t responded yet. Grump. Anyone have any suggestions?

ITEM
The fact that I had this email waiting for me when I got to work (excerpt):

Over the past couple of days they have had “heavy” coverage of [redacted] issues on their web site and also, I noted in the “paper” edition of this morning.

NO. Just NO. Your quotations license is revoked. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

ITEM
The fact that my clinic starts counting the two-week wait when you have your transfer, not when the embryos are made. So REALLY I have a two-and-a-mother-fucking-HALF week wait.

The Pirate has Commandeered the Mother…Ship

The transfer went well yesterday. The appointment was set for 9:15, but we had to be there at 8:45. Due to the general suckitude of the traffic, we decided to stay in a hotel 1/2 a mile from the clinic, and that was an AWESOME decision.

Tammy has to travel for work more often than we’d like, but the upside of this is that she has hotel points. Cashing in those suckers was SUCH a good idea. We didn’t have to pay for the room (which is good, because we have no mas money after paying for all this IVF shit), got to sleep in, had an awesome breakfast at the hotel, didn’t have to sit in traffic, and got to the clinic in literally 3 minutes.

When we got to the clinic, I was told to put on booties (AGAIN WITH THE BOOTIES) but didn’t have to change into anything else. Except take my pants off. (Isn’t that a given?)

booties

They made Tammy put on booties as well. On one hand, I don’t really understand WHY we had to put on the booties, but it made it seem more sanitary (I guess? Like are they worried they’re going to drop the blast on my dirty foot?).

I got another ID wrist band.

wrist ID

And then the doctor came in and ran us through the stats:

23 eggs retrieved
18 mature enough for ICSI
15 fertilized normally (I found out an additional one fertilized abnormally – WTF is that? I didn’t even know that was a THING)
Day 1: 14 in the 2-4 cell range (GOOD) 1 at 7 cells (BAD)
Day 2: 14 still growing at the appropriate pace
Day 3: Down to 12 – 2 have slowed down and don’t have as many cells as they should
Day 4: No update, they just leave ’em in the incubator (MY BABIES ARE ALL ALLOOONNNEEE)
Day 5: 5 at the transfer/freeze stage (blastocysts), 5 more just one step behind that they’re going to watch until Thursday and potentially freeze.

The doctor strongly (STRONGLY) recommended that we transfer 1. Tammy and I had discussed this ad nauseum, and were still somewhat divided. (HA! Get it?! I made a cell division joke! Divided?! Cell division?! Nevermind…) We decided to wait and hear the doctor’s recommendation to help make our final decision. My waffling decision making on this issue looked something like this:
Transferring 1
-Same pregnancy success rate at my clinic as transferring 2 (60%)
-Would be easier on my body to carry 1
-Would be nice to be able to focus on one baby at a time
Transferring 2
-Would get the whole “having babies” thing out of the way in one go – only have to go through this (emotionally, physically, financially) once
-It would be fun for our kids to have a friend to grow up with that was their age.
-The “luck” factor. If my chances are roughly 60% with this IVF, what if we transfer 1 and it wasn’t THE one? What if it was the unlucky embryo? Wouldn’t transferring 2 give us more of a shot?

But like I said, the doctor STRONGLY recommended that we transfer 1. And Tammy was STRONGLY leaning in that direction also. The doctor got me to agree by telling me how much higher the miscarriage rates are for twins than a singleton. Now, I know as much as the next person that miscarriages can happen regardless of how many are in there. But having experienced one, I’m fairly desperate not to go through that again (my heart goes out to all you RPL ladies. You are so strong and it is so unfair. I’m so sorry).

So one it was. And it was a beautiful one.

Perfect Blast

Internet, meet Captain Jack Sparrow. It is currently chilling (hopefully NOT chilling – get to WORK young man*. We’ve got IMPLANTATION to do) in my uterus. They put a picture of it on a TV screen while the embryologist brought it in. Tammy’s first comment was “look how big it is!” Mine was “look how tiny!”

Speaking of wee, you must have a “moderately full” bladder for the transfer. And by “moderately full”, they mean HOLY GOD YOU ARE ABOUT TO PEE ON THE DOCTOR LOOK OUT. I actually asked the doctor if anyone had ever peed on her during transfer and she said only once, but the woman was under sedation for the transfer and didn’t have control over her bladder. Then she told me she used to be in obstetrics so a little pee and a little poo don’t faze her. “Now VOMIT on the other hand, I don’t do so well with,” she said. (Duly noted. I will aim my vomit on the nurse.) I only had a FEW panicky moments when the damn nurse pressed on my stomach with the ultrasound wand, but I was distracted by the small flash of light in my uterus, which was the moment the doctor ejected Captain Jack into my uterus. You can’t actually see the blast, of course, but the flash is the fluid surrounding it.

After 5 minutes of laying still, and about 5 minutes of blissful peeing, I went home and I climbed into bed to do my 24 hours of bed rest. Normally I enjoy nothing more than some downtime to laze around and read or watch movies. But yesterday I was bored as hell. Apparently sometimes I can be a wee bit stubborn and contrary. Just a teeny tiny bit.

The next two weeks are going to be agonizing.

*We both for some odd reason think it’s a future boy. NO idea why. But IF this sticks, and IF it’s a girl, well, Captain Jack Sparrow is still a badass name.