Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Classes and Needles and Cycles OH MY!

A Split Post about Grief, Life & Infertility

The first half of this post deals with my IVF journey, the second with grief/life. Read one, or both, your choice.

My last post was a little mopey. I guess just realizing how involved this journey toward babyhood is going to be, has me feeling a little less than female. I won't go into that again, I did that here, and so what's the point?

Last Thursday night, hubs and I went to the injections class required by our clinic. I'm not really sure how we got bumped up on the list, but am greatly appreciative for it, as we were told the wait to get into the class could put off our starting a cycle for a while.

The class, led by an extremely personable and informative nurse, walked step by step through each drug, what it did, and how it was administered. I'd be lying if I didn't say that hubs REALLY seemed to enjoy poking the orange. I mean REALLY enjoyed it. I am crossing my fingers that he goes easier on me. Should all go well, these injections will begin sometime next week.

Right now I am taking some Prometrium tablets to start my cycle. There is really no way to sugar coat it, they leave me feeling awful. I didn't react well to them last month when I took them for the trial run, and seem to be even more irritated by them this time around. I feel extremely exhausted and nauseous, and have had a pounding headache the last four or so days. Another disconcerting little fact is that a side effect listed right on the bottle is breast cancer. Not "prolonged use of this drug can lead to..." Nope. Just listed between nausea and diarrhea. After seeing that, I think I'm gonna skip reading the other medication information packets.

Once my cycle starts, injections will begin on day two. I KNOW! I can't believe how quickly we have gone from no forward momentum to this point either. Please keep us in your prayers that this works the first time. Our insurance has a $15,000 lifetime cap, which will be more than spent on this first cycle, so things would get a whole lot more complicated if it didn't.

The drugs were ordered last week, but our insurance company requires them to come via mail. We ordered them to arrive Monday. It is Wednesday. Still not here. A call from the insurance company yesterday assured me that today is the day. Thank God I didn't start my cycle already, or this delay could have really posed a problem. The drugs, for the most part, require refrigeration, and have a shelf life of 28 days, so if the insurance were to not get them to me in time, and we had to put the cycle off another month, they would be no good.

The plan is to implant two embryos on transfer day. If not for the cap on our insurance, we would be doing one at a time, but we want the best possible chance for this to work. The doctor has told me that we have about a 50% chance of conceiving, and if we do conceive, a 50% chance of having twins. A smaller percent chance of higher order multiples. PLEASE PRAY that we do not conceive more than two babies. The whole issue of selective reduction comes into play at that point, and it is more than I can handle quite honestly.

So thus continues the emotional roller coaster that is infertility after loss. One minute I am happy that we are here, and things are moving forward, the next I am scared to death, wondering, If God is making it this difficult for me to have another child, should I be listening? Then a minute later, Why shouldn't I be a mother? It is a real volley of emotions.

A wonderful bloggy friend, Brandy Jean, sent me a package with meditation CD's specifically designed for the IVF process. There are meditations for retrieval, and others for transfer. I can't tell you how much it meant to me that someone who doesn't know me beyond my words on this page, took the time to do something to help ease me through this process. Brandy, herself, is awaiting news as to whether her transfer worked. Please head over and send her some love.

Has anyone out there tried accupuncture? I am in the process now of trying to find a licensed practitioner who deals specifically with fertility and IVF. I figure that in the next month, I am gonna become a human pin cushion anyway, so what's a few more needles, right?

I am going to preface the rest of this post by saying that I know that being open about my grief journey, in a public forum like this, means that some readers are bound to pass judgement on me, and that is fine. They aren't me, they didn't lose my child in the same way I did.

I also know that the vast majority of people who come here are the opposite. They are facing their own infertility, grief, or life struggle, and that is what brings them to this page. Because of this, whenever I come across something helpful to me in my journey, I like to share it here. 

Below are some guideposts that I use when those moments/ flashbacks/ memories/ images that come seemingly out of nowhere to take my breath away, come calling. 

These four guideposts were provided to me some months ago. Of course it goes without saying that I am by no means a therapist, but when I find something useful, I like to share it. I don't know the origins, or creator of these guideposts, and for that I apologize. Mine were jotted down on some note paper, and when I tried to do a google search on them, I came up empty.

The four guideposts are Focus, Grounding, Energy Conservation, and Direction, and they are useful to meditate on when you are really struggling.

Focus: One thing at a time. What is the most important thing for you to focus your attention on right now?
Grounding: Find a way to center or stabilize yourself, so that the waves of emotions can't drag you away into their undercurrent. (For me, this is writing or meditation.)
Energy Conservation: When you are really struggling, your energy reserves are limited. Ask yourself, "Is this the best use of my energy right now?"
Direction: Are your actions taking you in the direction you truly want to go? If not, remember that you can make different choices to change your direction at any time.

These guideposts bring me back to my favorite quote, one that I have turned to for comfort time and time again over the past 17 months. It is by English Novelist George Eliot (who, just as a fun little factoid, was actually a woman named Mary Anne Evans. She wrote under a man's name so as to be taken seriously.)
Eliot said:
"It's never too late to be what you might have been."

On the days (like yesterday) where everything feels so impossible, I bring myself back to this quote, nod my head, and say "maybe so."


  1. Waiting in anticipation for your transfer with you! If it makes you feel better, the act of being pregnant is a deterant for breast cancer! Maybe they will cancel each other out?

  2. I am so happy for you that you get to finally start your IVF adventure. I wont say that it will be easy, it isnt. The shots are nothing, the first one stings and then you are so used to them, after a week I told my husband I could do it myself (the ones in my belly) but the one in my rear, I would ice for a while then he would give it to me, that one stings a little. You will get black and blue and look like a junkie, but in the end it is all worth it, even if it doesnt work (which I have total faith it will) you have givin it your all, I know how hard it is to think positive. I have never lost a child, but I have gone through 15 years of infertility, 6 years of doctoring before finally concieving, my insurnace didnt cover a penny, but I didnt care if I drove a pinto and lived in a trailer, I was going to be a mom, it was my destiny, I didnt give up, and as you already know there is nothing more fullfilling than the love towards your child. I didnt have the accupuncture but a friend who did IVF did and swears by it, I dont have anyone in my small town to do it. I belive when you do get pregnant that Peyton will watch over her little sibling(s) and safely guide them into your loving arms to take over where she left off. Best of luck and know that it is ok to be scared and ok to be nervous, it is all part of life.


    I did acupuncture for knee pain after my 3rd surgery, and it helped ease the pain. Not sure if it will work for infertility, but if you have any nagging knee pain....

    And, I love that quote!

  4. Thinking of you and wishing the best outcome possible.

    I think those guideposts are great to keep in mind during tough times.

    Thank you!

  5. I really hope that IVF works first time for you and you get the desire of your heart - a baby to take home and see grow up. I know another baby would never replace Peyton but hopefiully be part of your healing!

    Peace to you at this time

  6. Thanks for the Shout out!! Enjoy the CD's and all the calm they bring. I actually listened to mine while they were doing the transfer!!! Also just a note. I do accupuncture too. Lots of good success. My accupuncture person specialises in IVF but also Grief. She/ he can help open you up and get the grief out too! Good Luck and I am so excited you are on your journey!!

  7. Ooh those cd's sound fantastic, I should look for them.

    IVF is like a part time job, it's a lot but you become numb to it, and at least there's a point to it, unlike other pains in life.

    I Have used acupuncture for 2 years. It has not relieved my infertility issues, but it did help to regulate my cycles and relax me. I also feel it is VERY helpful during transfer, if nothing else.

    good luck to you! Glad you got bumped up on the list. You'll get used to the shots in no time.

  8. Thinking of you...and sticky babies....((HUG))

    Twins....oh sweet lady....It would/will be so LOVELY!

    I'm cheering for you....

  9. I am praying that that IVF works for you. I want to be able to read on your blog sometime soon that you are expecting and better things are coming for you. I want to be happy more than anything in this world. I know we have never met in person but you really have become a friend to me that I truly and honestly care for. My friend is actually doing the accupuncture since has had a difficult time in getting pregnant, so far she said she likes it. We shall see what happens with her.
    Thank you for sharing the guidepoints. Your post are so helpful to me. I love the quote, I will have to share that with my niece (Marie's oldest daughter).

    I hope you start to feel better and that you get your meds today. Sending you a GIANT ((hug)).

  10. I am praying for you. I can't understand exactly where you are or where you have been, but my heart aches for you as I understand having an empty house when it should be full of laughter, cries and lots of baby things.

    I am thinking of you today...

  11. Congrats on being able to move forward with IVF. You will be in my prayers that you are able to bring a baby hoem with you. Peyton will always be keeping you in her arms and I am sure has already met her sibling and they are planning great things for you! I use accupuncture and it is wonderful. I don't really notice the needles at all and it definitely seems to work for me.
    On this St. Paddy's Day " May the road rise up to meet you.
    May the wind be always at your back.
    May the sun shine warm upon your face;
    the rains fall soft upon your fields and until you meet Peyton again,
    may God hold you in the palm of His hand."

  12. I tried accupuncture both while trying to get preg with Angus and while awaiting his birth (and trying to bring him on!) Loved it and would highly recommend it. Granted I don't have any fertility problems, but if nothing else, I found it really relaxing and personally, I don't think it hurt one little bit. We've been through worse than a few tiny needles.

  13. First and foremost I would like to say congrats on the IVF front. Im hoping and praying this will all work out for you and your hubby. I too suffer from infertility. I was diagnosis with PCOS which makes it very difficult to conceive since i do not ovulate every month. I was on clomid (a infertility drug) for over a year with no luck then a friend told me about acupuncture and infertility. I was recommended to a dr in my area and after only 4 treatments I got pregnant. I continued the treatment until I was 8 weeks along. The treatments were not painful, i found it very relaxing. I hope this information helps you

  14. Thinking of you and praying for success.

    Nice to know someone else who likes Eliot/Evans.

  15. Wishing, hoping and praying for you. And Im a yes vote on the acupuncture.

  16. Yes, yes, yes! I am so glad to see that you have been bumped up. I am going to keep you in my prayers so that your transfer is a successful one. And praying that you can be what you are meant to be here.