Sunday, March 23, 2014

bump #60: sunsets and salinograms

Friday date night: a sunset picnic at the beach on Coronado Island. Perfection.

I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to always have something to look forward to. Whether it's a vacation or a bowl of ice cream or a new lipstick, especially when you're bogged down with letdowns in the world of infertility, you need something good to happen to you in the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, fertility treatments are freaking expensive so our non-existent budget for vacations has dwindled into the negative digits. Don't fret, I ate pie alamode with breakfast and got a new MAC shade so ice cream and lipstick are still going strong!  Luckily we live in a beautiful city where white sand beaches abound and it's always 75 degrees and sunny (I see those eye rolls, just know you are welcome to visit us anytime!). I am merely focusing on the positives here: our apartment feels a bit like living in a hotel room, but that only lends itself to my living-in-a-permanent-state-of-vacation fantasy. PS, the room service is terrible!

Coronado Island is this swanky little beach town that Andrew would always take me to in college. We could never afford to live there, but it's one of our favorite spots in San Diego because the second your feet hit the sand you are instantly transported to that carefree vacation place and, for a minute at least, you're distracted by all the beauty and goodness around you. Also, you're shaking your head at those two idiots who are crazy enough to get in the freezing ocean. They really must be on vacation.

My point is, I needed that beautiful sunset. I needed the reminder of a chapter closing and a fresh start and light in the darkness and something better to look forward to. We took a year and a half break from fertility treatment because it was awful and got us nowhere. It only makes sense that I am reluctant to jump back into all of that. But our options are limited and we want a family more than we're afraid of failure and heartache.

So here we go again.

Thursday morning, well 11 a.m. because I am not going to waste sleeping in on a sick day, Andrew and I had our initial consultation at the San Diego Fertility Center. Everything went as well as can be expected. The doctor was wonderful, and she said we could take whatever course of action we are comfortable with. After discussing our 3 failed IUI's, she made the obvious case for IVF, which we've been anticipating for the last year and a half anyway. IUI's have a 17 percent success rate, at best, while IVF has a 50-60% success rate. In 4 years of trying, we have gotten pregnant zero times. The problem is, for whatever reason, the egg and sperm are not combining or the embryo is just not attaching. We still don't really know what the specific problem is, so we are completing a lot of the procedures we have already done again.

I was hoping to "fast pass" through all that, but no such luck. The only thing I don't have to do again is the HSG because my fallopian tubes should still be open. That's a relief because I hated that day!

So far, I had a day 4 ultrasound revealing 17 follicles, I gave 6 vials of blood for labwork, Andrew is scheduled for another semen analysis (I always giggle when they hand us the paper bag at the end of our appointment. I'm mature like that.), and Tuesday I have a saline-hysterogram to be sure my fibroid/polyp hasn't come back. The plan is to finish up this school year and start IVF in July. {Currently googling "how to save $25,000 in 4 months"} A miracle pregnancy is still totally welcome :)

11 years ago, when Andrew and I had our first Coronado Island date, we talked about someday getting married and starting a family. Here we are still trying to figure out the family part. I had hoped that by now, we'd be bringing our kids to play at that beach. We'd bring Maddie, but the beach isn't dog friendly. Jerks. Why you gotta add insult to injury?!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

bump #59: it doesn't get easier

The bumps are few and far between these days. And really they're more like twinges, little jabs that catch me off guard... Someone else is pregnant at work, the only parking spot available is the one that says "expectant mother", the baby clothes at Target are so adorable that I have to intentionally walk the outer perimeter of the store when I'm shopping so I don't have to look at them.  It just hurts.  I don't have new thoughts on this never ending struggle, or even the words to write. I can sum up the last 4 years in a wimpy little sentence:

Trying to have a baby is hard, and it doesn't get easier.

My friends who are parents will probably tell you that having a baby is hard, and it doesn't get easier either.  They're right. {Insert comment about the grass always being greener...}

I can't explain why, but I really thought it would get easier. That at some point I would just accept the fact that I can't have a baby (without serious medical intervention and miracles) and move on.

But I can't move on.

For the last year and a half I have actively avoided fertility treatment. It is easier to view it as a distant possibility like "we can always do IVF, surrogacy, adoption" than to deal with the real potential for failure. It goes from being an open-ended option to being the only option, which makes it a lot scarier. I know IVF is the next step if I ever want to experience pregnancy, but I also know that if it doesn't work I'll feel like there are no more steps left. Somehow 3 failed IUI's doesn't bring out my optimism about moving forward with IVF. Yes, every procedure is independent of the others and has an equally likely chance of success, but it feels like my chance of success is always zero.

I need to come at this from a different perspective. My heart is heavy and hurting and I'm ready for it to feel different.

A couple months ago, I read this post from one of my favorite writers, Jen Hatmaker, and something she wrote resonated with me. The gist of it was this: we pray and pray, and "we often don't end up with what we wanted, but we somehow end up with a different heart."

Obviously, I have not ended up with what I wanted, but somehow I know God is working on my heart.