Welcome to Paisley Petunia…part two!
I find inspiration in pretty pictures, endless possibilities in a bowl of Meyer lemons, the meaning of lifetime devotion in the wagging tails of our 3 rescue dogs, end-of- the-day bliss in a glass of red wine and now, the boundless, soul clutching meaning of life in the faces of my 2 little angels.
It's a happy, creative, joy-full life we've got here in the LA sun. Come play! Bring wine.
Disclaimer: This blog didn’t start out as a highly personal blog. It also wasn’t a cooking blog or fashion blog and certainly not a mommy blog. It was just a little place for me and S to share things we liked. But everyone who reads knows as life evolved so did our blog.
This might come as a big TMI-WTF moment for some of you. Some of you might think this is all too personal and weird and frankly a little icky for a happy, pink blog. And, forewarned is fair warned-this is going to sting a little for me and for you. But truthfully, if this blog is to continue it’s going to have to be more about my personal, unglossed experiences because I don’t do much vanity baking these days.
Truth. Starting with a little history.
You find your niche on the interwebs pretty easily if you look. If you’re an indy fashion lover or a foodie or a new mom-there’s a twitter hash tag for you. No exception for those who are struggling with infertility (IF). The IF community is vast, active and amazing. Twitter, FB, IRL (in real life) meetings at Resolve, Yahoo group meet-ups, you name it-you can find a place to share your hopes, your experiences, your happy or sad outcomes. You can share complex medical stuff without a lot of back story. You can ask questions, searching for a nugget of hope among people who are used to spending a lot of time hoping. You can bide your 2 week waits with other people having their own 2ww. Sometimes you feel better for visiting, sometimes you feel worse.
(*Everyone dealing with IF knows the alphabet soup but at the end of this post you will find a list of the acronyms and what they mean should this all be new to you.)
On many IF message boards people list their TTC history under their username. Instead of a traditional signature line they have a timeline of their treatments and the outcome; a bunch of dates, acronyms, numbers and sometimes, emoticons with angel wings or little smiley faces with clapping hands, those don’t need any explanation. I guess they do this for cathartic reasons and maybe to share their own obscure details in hopes they find a connection with someone in exactly the same, unusual boat. I read these boards all the time but I don’t have a profile, I don’t have a timeline and I’ve never shared (publicly) the details of our struggles. Partly because when you see people who have a history that goes on for many, many years without a positive outcome it’s hard to feel like you belong. Like maybe you shouldn’t be complaining, I guess. We have had it bad but certainly not as difficult as some people. We have twins after all. Truthfully though, one pregnancy loss or even one year TTC without success drafts you into the club. And I assure you, one miscarriage is suffering enough. Three has made me a lifelong member.
There is a stigma associated with pregnancy loss and infertility, so many people don’t share their story except with close friends or other people in the same situation, which makes it hard because you are being ripped apart emotionally, ravaged with hormones physically but no one really knows. It feels taboo to talk about it here, unprovoked; out of context if you will. But while I am not defined by my struggles with IF, it is a huge part of my life and to never include it on the blog about my life seems fraudulent. This is not a cautionary tale, not an advice post (I don’t have any.) There isn’t a witty wrap-up at the end or anecdotal notes along the way. This is just our story. Told like this for the first time.
So here it goes (I have to admit seeing this written out hurts more than I thought it would. And my list feels plenty long.)
- 2006 Married!
- 2007 begin TTC but not feeling any pressure, we’re in no rush!
- 6/2007 whoa HPT positive (!!), beta negative (meaning we conceived but it didn’t even make it long enough to take the standard doctors office blood test called a beta which they administer 2 weeks after you’ve missed your period.)
- Continue TTC, no pressure but we’ve been trying for over 2 years not a good sign
- 7/2009 HPT positive (!!), beta POSITIVE, HCG low, on progesterone support therapy
- 9/16/2009- no heartbeat today, secondary ultrasound confirms miscarriage, WTF? It happens, it’s a sad, normal thing, blah blah blah.
- 9/22/2009 (first day of fall, my favorite day of the year)- go for a D and C
- 1/2010- meet with RE, all invasive, painful tests return favorable results, no explicable reason for IF, miscarriages likely chromosomal (meaning natural, bad, luck of the draw) suggests we start slow with Clomid, will probably be enough, yeah! Or not.
- 2/2010-Clomid-failed, no pregnancy
- 3/2010-IUI with injectable Folistem-failed, no pregnancy
- 4/2010-IUI with injectable Folistem-failed, no pregnancy
- 5/2010-begin IVF meds-5 shots per day in stomach
- 6/8/2010-egg retrieval, 22 follicles, 18 eggs fertilized, only 4 make it through PGD
- 6/13/2010- Fresh embryo transfer of 2, grade A 5 day blasts, freeze 2 grade A blasts
- 6/22/2010-HPT POSITIVE (!!!) beta POSITIVE (!!) It’s twins!
- 2/2/2011 welcome Tinsley and Aiden, 36 weeks, 5lbs, perfect.
- 10/6/2011 whoa, period late, surprise, HPT positive (!!), beta positive (!!), HCG great
- 10/16/2011 spontaneous miscarriage. I am crushed.
- Go on with life raising two babies, we have 2 frozen embryos after all
- Plan, plan, plan, wait for the perfect time to implant our frozen embryos
- 8/2012 begin progesterone, estrace, prednisone to prepare for FET
- 8/2012 transfer our 2, grade A, perfectly thawed embryos
- 9/2012 HPT negative, beta negative-transfer failed. Not possible. Only it is. I am crushed, again.
And so, we tried. We kissed our beautiful babies good night and then we kissed little, paper pictures of our embryos good night. And together, we held our breath and hoped for the best. It wasn’t meant to be, again, but that doesn’t mean it’s never meant to be. We will try again because we can, because no doctor has told us to give up. Because we want a big family and that doesn’t seem unreasonable. Because having twins doesn’t mean we don’t deserve to have more children if that’s what we want. But, I am terrified of being pregnant and I am terrified of not being pregnant. Every month we weren’t pregnant felt like a million years until we could try again. Every double pink line and beta positive a collective hold your breath. And the waiting, for the love of g*d, the waiting can kill a person.
It has taken a toll on me and on my husband. It twists like a knife in the soft, fleshy part. It fills you with fear, with anger, with dread but also with longing and with resolve. You cannot imagine the roller coaster that is IF unless of course you’ve experienced. Which I really hope you haven’t but if you are out there in the same boat- waiting and wishing and hoping, or grieving- I send you this virtual hug. Soldier on sister.
- TTC-trying to conceive
- HPT-home pregnancy test
- RE-Reproductive endocrinologist, a fertility doctor
- HCG- human chorionic gonadotropin, the hormone produced during pregnancy and measured by HPT or beta tests when first pregnant
- Clomid-devil drug used to stimulate ovulation
- IUI-intrauterine insemination
- D and C- Dilation and Curettage
- PGD-pre-implantation genetic diagnosis used in our case to determine which embryos were viable for transfer
- 5 day blast-best developed embryo used for transfer
- FET-frozen embryo transfer
- 2ww-the 2 week wait between treatments, transfers and betas, followed by the 2ww between OB visits constantly monitoring for a heartbeat
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