7th try: Getting started with FET #2!

So, here we go again! After having to take the month off, I can tell you, that for the first time in a LONG time, I was actually happy to see AF arrive. The witch was welcome, as it meant that I can get started once again. Called my clinic, and went in for my baseline scan on Thursday. To say I was nervous was an understatement! The last 2 cycles, I’ve had cysts that had to be drained, so really really didn’t want to go 3 for 3. Thankfully, the scan showed that everything was perfect to start!!! Endometrium under 5mm, and no cysts on either side. I was given my calendar and away I went!

Meds for now:

  • Baby Aspirin: 1 x day
  • Estrace: 2mg / 3 x day
  • Vaginal Viagra: 25mg / 4 x day
  • Prenatal Vitamin: 1 x day

This means I am taking meds at 8:00, 1:00, 3:00, 6:00, and 11:00. I’m not complaining as none of these are injectables, and very easy to take, but, I do need reminders on my phone to keep track of what to take when!

About a half an hour later, the nurse called me back to tell me, that after reviewing everything with the Dr, the Dr suggested I do an endometrial scratch this time. Since it’s only $250 (NOTHING compared to all the other costs) and falls into the “in can’t hurt, but studies show that it could help” category, I decided to go with it. He booked my appointment for the next morning. Now I feel good, that ok, here’s the thing we are going to do extra/different this time. 

Now, Friday morning comes, and it’s scratch time. Now, I had done my research, and asked all sorts of questions, and let me tell you, it is EXACTLY what it sounds like. I was told to expect some pain, but only for about 10-15 seconds. I figure, after 2 egg retrievals, 2 cyst drainages, and a polyp removal, this will be a breeze. Ha! 

The Endometrial Scratch….

So I’m nervous, as I usually am when I arrive for a procedure, but all in all, I figure it can’t be that bad. I get to the clinic and am whisked away to change into the lovely gown, hat, and foot covers. (I’m starting to feel like this is becoming my uniform). I’m brought to a bed in the recovery room, and my vitals are taken. The nurse gives me 2 extra strength tylenol and 2 Advil, to help with the pain. I’m then told to relax (ha! yeah right) and wait as there were 2 other girls before me. The waiting was about an hour at least, but finally it was my turn.

The nurse brings me into the OR, and I lie down on the table. My legs go into the stirrup things, and then they are velcroed in with huge straps. Then she positions my legs open and in the air. The Dr. isn’t quite ready, so she leaves me like this for a few minutes, until he comes. So there I am, on my back with my legs up and open, my lady parts free to the wind. This is NOT a comfortable position by the way, but my modesty left me somewhere between all the testing appointments and IVF #1. So, I may as well have been naked and on display, and I’m not sure it would have phased me. 

The Dr finally comes in, and the nurse explains the procedure. “So, the Dr. is going to insert a speculum, and then clean the area. After that, he inserts a catheter that has a small syringe at the end of it, and scratches the endometrium. He then pulls a little part of tissue for biopsy, and he’s done!” Ok, this doesn’t sound pleasant, but ok. She then tells me that it will feel like very bad PMS cramps, and it lasts under 30 seconds. Ok, I tell myself I will count to 30, to keep my mind focused and get through the pain. 

So, in goes the speculum, easy peasy…….then the catheter….then holy shit the pain. There was no warning, just immediately the worst cramping I’ve ever felt. Count to 30?? Yeah right!!! I was too busy groaning with pain, that I don’t even think I would have remembered HOW to count. It felt like it lasted for several minutes, but I’m sure it was under 30 seconds like they said. As soon as it was over, I got hit with horrible nausea, probably from the cramping. I was told it was normal, and to sit right up. At this point, I’m sweating, pale, and feel like I’ve been hit by a truck. It was bad, I’m not going to lie. Those 30 seconds were worse than any of the other procedures I’d had up to date. I walked back to the recovery room, and lay down for about 5-10 minutes. After that, I felt pretty much back to normal, and was free to leave. There was no pain afterwards, not even light cramping. There was a little bleeding, but that being said, I was still only on CD4 so that could have been AF. 

So that was the scratch. I survived, and if you have to have one, you will too. I won’t sugar coat it, it sucks and it hurts……but we are strong, and we can do ANYTHING for 30 seconds, right? I always say that if someone told me, that if I wanted to have a baby, I had to cut off my arm and I would 100% get pregnant, I would do it. Well I’m sure that cutting off a limb would hurt much more than a little scratch, so I guess this wasn’t that bad, all things considering.

I was a little concerned, because when I googled it (that’s where I turn to for medical advice) it seemed like endo scratches were always done around CD21 the cycle BEFORE starting an IVF or FET. The fact that I was doing it the same cycle, made me a little nervous. However, after talking to the Dr, he said that there are lots of studies that show the same cycle is better, and he believes it to be to true. It’s the way he does it with all patients. I trust him, so feel better now. 

That’s it! Cycle #7 officially started. I feel weirdly optimistic, but because I feel like it HAS to work,  I’m a little worried about what will happen if it doesn’t. I had a big chat with my therapist about that, but I’ll save that for a different post. 

Next appointment/scan is Monday, May 30 and transfer looks like it might be Friday, June 3. Fingers crossed!!!!!

Oh, saw this and laughed…..definitely feels like this is how it’s done sometimes!!!

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What not to say to the fertility-challenged

So I decided to put together a little list of things that people have said to me so far, which have been quite hurtful or mean. Now, in every single one of these cases, the people saying them, were not trying to be hurtful at all. I think it comes from a place of trying to be helpful or understanding, combined with a complete lack of understanding of the process, as well as just not knowing what to say. I’m not putting this list together to hurt anyone, or make them feel bad for what they said. I just want to make anyone who might be reading this, who is a friend of the fertility-challenged, aware of what not to say 🙂

When are you going to stop? This is the last thing we want to hear or talk about. I had a coworker ask me this, after I explained everything to her. I had to tell her what I was going through, as my absence from work for appointments, directly affected her. When she asked me this, I was kinda taken aback. Especially because it kinda came across as if she was judging me. Here are the two different ways I interpreted her question:

  1. When are you going to stop…doing this to your body?
  2. When are you going to stop…wasting your money? 

You see how neither of those questions sounds all that positive? First of all, I would do a TON worse to my body if necessary to have a baby, and second of all, I do NOT by any means feel like this process is a waste of money. I don’t even think I answered her because I was flustered. I think if anyone is ever insensitive enough to ask that again, my answer will be “I guess when I’m bankrupt or have a baby in my arms”.

Can’t you adopt? This one everyone hears a hundred times. Adoption is great, and YES we have all thought about it. It is however, very different from being pregnant. For someone, like me, who really really wants to know what it feels like to be pregnant, adoption takes that away completely. It is also EXTREMELY expensive, and the wait times can be up to 8 years. Yes we know IVF is expensive also, but at least then you have the chance of being pregnant yourself. Here’s the thing……I want to be pregnant. Right now, that means we are using my eggs, and donor sperm to try and make that happen. If I was told my eggs were no good, then I would even go to embryo adoption next, so I could still experience pregnancy. Adoption is OUR last step. Not to say it should be everyone’s, but I emphasize our, because this, like everything else, is a completely personal decision. 

(after any bad news) You seem to be dealing with this pretty well! Don’t say this. It makes me feel like somehow I am minimizing it. Like I should be appearing sadder than I am. When I hear this, I feel like the person is saying “you seem to be dealing with this pretty well…so I guess it wasn’t as important to you as I thought”. Yes, I know I’m adding the rest in there, and I’m SURE that’s not what the person is thinking. However, when people say that sentence, that IS what I add afterwards and fear the person must be thinking. So don’t say it! That way, I won’t add the ending, and somehow feel like you’re judging me. The key word in the original sentence is SEEM. I SEEM to be dealing well, because I don’t want to be the constant crying mess of a person, that all my friends and family start wanting to avoid. No one wants to be around someone who cries all the time, so yeah…..I put on a mask, and SEEM to deal with things well when I’m around others. This doesn’t mean that I haven’t already had one to ten uncontrollable sobbing mental breakdowns that day. It doesn’t mean that the worst case scenarios aren’t on my mind constantly. When I SEEM to be dealing well, it’s because I’m putting on a brave face for you. That is all.

Who’s fault is it? This one should be a given. Fault implies that someone is to blame. Would you blame someone who has leukaemia? How about blaming someone who was born without the use of their legs? Or someone who is blind? When it comes to infertility diagnoses, usually it is the result of how we are made. It is NOT something we did to make us this way. In the case of my husband, it is the way he was born due to a genetic abnormality. Someone with PCOS does not DO something to cause it. Endometriosis is also not caused by certain actions. Never imply that infertility is someone’s fault. The better question to ask, is “What’s your diagnosis?” We already blame ourselves enough (even though we shouldn’t) without you doing it for us thank you very much. 

I know of a friend of a friend who…. Everyone has a story of someone they know, who were struggling to have a baby, going through infertility treatments, etc…and got pregnant the month they were taking a break. This is not the norm. I know people tell us this, because they think it will give us hope. Make us relax so it can just happen. What they don’t understand, is that just like every pregnancy is completely different, every infertility journey is completely different. No 2 couples’ diagnosis is the same, and therefore their journey will not be the same. In my case, if we stop trying, we don’t get pregnant. It’s as simple as that. Hubby doesn’t have sperm, and since sperm is necessary to get pregnant…..it’s not going to happen. No amount of relaxing, or break taking is going to change that. Stop telling me these stories, they don’t help me. They don’t give me hope. Instead they remind me that other people are getting pregnant and I’m not. 

Just relax! Ok, so maybe this one works for people who aren’t fertility-challenged, but for me, if I relax, and don’t think about it, I don’t get pregnant (as I mentioned above). Also, telling someone who’s going through fertility treatments to “relax”, is like telling someone who is angry to just “calm down”. It doesn’t work, and makes it worse. There are ZERO parts to fertility treatments that are relaxing. You are either stressing about: 1. keeping track of your medication cycle. 2. Your next scan…will the follicles be big enough? are there enough follicles? Lining thickness? 3. Blood tests and hormone levels. 4. The horrible side effects of all the meds. 5. Egg retrieval!! 6. Did the cycle work? 7. Am I doing everything/not doing everything I’m supposed to? etc. It’s exhausting! Don’t tell us to relax. It’s physically impossible.

The last thing that people keep telling me, that is honestly the one that bugs me the most, is: IT WILL HAPPEN!! Don’t say this. Ever. Unless you are some sort of magical, psychic person, who can see into the future, you do NOT know this. Yes, I know the odds are in my favour. Yes, deep down, I believe it will happen, because if I don’t, then why the hell am I even doing this? BUT, no one know, with any certainty, that it will happen. Saying this just makes me feel like somehow I shouldn’t be worried about it, and that my feelings are not valid. Instead tell me that you hope it will, and that you are wishing/praying/crossing your fingers (whatever you believe in) for me. That is great, and super appreciative. It validates the uncertainty of the whole process, and is supportive. 

So there you have it. Again, if anyone is reading this who is a friend of someone going through the process, and you have said these things in the past, don’t worry. We know that it comes from a place of concern, and a genuine feeling of trying to help. However, maybe now, you understand a little more and will change your vocabulary.  The things that people have said/done that I have found the most supportive are:

  • Ask me questions about the process, and be genuinely interested. It gives me a chance to talk things out, and kinda normalizes some of the process.
  • Be angry or sad with me when things don’t work. I remember after my second cycle failed, and I was a complete and utter mess, all my best friend said was “wtf, this isn’t fair! This totally sucks, you shouldn’t have to go through this crap”. It was exactly what I needed her to say. 
  • Don’t take it personally if I seclude myself and don’t want to talk to you. I still care about you, and want to hear about your life, but when I need to be alone and go into my dark place, don’t hold it against me. 

For my fertility-challenged friends reading this. Hope you had a good laugh, as I’m sure you have been through the same questions, and hope that once again, you feel less alone going through this. 

Time for some outside help….

So I started seeing a therapist last week. Figured I can’t do this alone, so I guess it’s time to get some help. (Because CLEARLY, spending my days a crying mess might not be the HEALTHIEST way to get through my life right now.)

First visit last week went well, but I have to say it was mostly just her getting to know me. I was surprised at how easily I was able to open up to her. I’m normally the kind of person who doesn’t like other people to worry about me, so my fear was that I would just play off like I was ok, which would COMPLETELY defeat the purpose of going. But in the end, I guess I let that part go. I talked about my fears of never being a mom, and how difficult this process has been. I have to say, that in the hour I was there, I’m not sure I really felt like we got anywhere, but I did get a good vibe from her. I guess that’s a good thing! I walked away from there with 2 things:

  1. Go see a Dr. and get some much needed time off work. I’m an elementary school teacher, so being “on” and in front of 6-7 year olds all day, is just not something I feel like I can do right now.
  2. Start walking. Now, I told her that I used to run, but due to all the treatments I’ve done, I’ve completely let that go. She suggested I start walking instead, as it does 2 things. 1. It helps the release of the feel-good chemical serotonin, and 2. Being out in the sun helps us feel good as well. Sure, that sounded totally doable. Easy enough. (However, I was a wee bit skeptical that “walking it off” was some sort of magical cure.)

Well that was a week ago. I did go see a Dr, who promptly wrote me off work for a month. Phew! I have to say, that although I feel guilty for taking time off work, and am worried a bit about what people will say, I feel like a gigantic weight has been lifted off my shoulders, and I can finally take some time to worry about and help ME.

As far as the walking…..hehehe…….that’s a whole different story. Now right now, I’m very much in a depressed state, and I don’t particularly feel like doing ANYTHING. That includes leaving the house. Going to the grocery store sucks, because all I seem to see when I’m out, is families and pregnant women. And that makes me angry. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not angry at them per se…..but seeing them is like a constant reminder of what I can’t (my therapist would say “don’t”) have. And that makes me so incredibly sad, that I often end up getting back into my car in tears. So yeah…..going out doesn’t really thrill me. Now for the walking…….I live in an area of young families. That means, that at any given point, there are lots of people out walking their babies. And quite frankly, I don’t want to see that. How is going for a walk, and seeing other people doing what I want to do, going to help me?

So, when my husband asked me 2 days ago, if I wanted to go for a walk, I naturally said no. Well I had previously told him that the therapist had suggested that I needed to walk, and that I needed him to push me to do so. Sooo…..what did he do? Tried to push me to do so. Poor guy. The meltdown from me that ensued was COMPLETELY not his fault. I first got snappy – “Why would I want to go for a walk right now? Ugh….maybe later”. Then I got rude – “Umm, this is a little bigger than just a situation that can be WALKED OFF, how the hell is walking going to fix me?”. At this point, the poor guy was a little unsure what to do. Does he keep pushing and have me angry with him? Am I already angry with him? Is he going to do more harm than good?. I think he asked me one more time, in the kindest way possible, saying that it could still be good for me, even if it doesn’t FIX me….and that’s when the meltdown started. Tears for over an hour. I was upset that I didn’t feel like doing what the therapist had said. Maybe she didn’t understand if she thought that’s all I needed. I was so sorry to my husband that I had been so snappy and rude. Anyways, needless to say there was no walk. And…..I doubt that he will be bringing that topic up again soon. Oops.

Today I had my second appointment with the therapist. I told her about my meltdown, and my reasons for not having gone walking. She understood, which surprised me. I kinda thought she’d be angry at me? I don’t know, maybe I expected her to be like “well, if you won’t do what I tell you, then I just can’t help you and we’re done!”. But yeah….obviously that’s not what happened. Maybe I still have a lot to learn about this therapy thing. Anyways, mostly what we talked about today were my fears and how I try to cope by avoidance. She challenged all my negative thinking, by shooting back a realistic (not positive….she doesn’t like to tell people to be positive, because that’s not realistic) view on my situation instead. She kept just telling me that the odds were in my favour. I guess hearing it over and over again, is what’s going to finally help me believe it. So here’s what I took away from today’s session:

  1. Avoid avoidance! Get out there. Go see pregnant people and families. Instead of looking at them with a “I hate you for having what I want”, look at them with excitement of what I will eventually have. Walking and seeing other people with their families should make me think about what it will be like to walk with MY family (even though, as she reminded me, my husband and I are still a family, even if not yet complete). However, do this reasonably. She’s not saying I should do all my walks around the parks and daycares where all the little babies are playing. Because that doesn’t sound like fun. At all.
  2. Remind myself that the odds are in my favour (I can’t help saying that with a Hunger Games voice, hehe). Even though I have all these worst case scenarios bouncing around my head, I need to push them aside and remind myself CONSTANTLY that the odds ARE in my favour here. I have no major issues, for us it’s the fact that hubby has azoospermia. I’m still young (though I don’t feel it) and the odds are, realistically, that at least one of our 6 embryos will be a beautiful little baby.
  3. Keep myself busy doing things that I enjoy. In other words, sitting at home and wallowing all day, is not the most constructive thing for me to be doing right now. I mean, I DO know that…….but not going to be easy to kick myself in the butt and change it.
  4. Thinking good things won’t jinx anything. Yeah. I do believe that. I think that’s why I immediately go to worst case scenario. She also explained how thinking bad things, actually makes your body physically react to those bad scenarios, by producing cortisol and constantly putting your body in distress. That’s not good for ANYthing, especially baby-making…..huh….interesting. So I guess I really gotta work on this.

I’ll see her again in a couple weeks. Hopefully by then I will have started my FET cycle. I did get a really good feeling from her today though. Much better than last time. I feel like she gets me a little more, and I do feel like she’s going to be able to help me. Yay!

Oh, and I’ve found a TON of great infertility memes on pinterest. We actually talked about this one today, so decided to include it 🙂

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