Monday, May 12, 2008

Mourning, Noon and Night

(or: Working Out Some Issues, in four parts)

Part I: In which I did everything right but still didn't get the outcome I wanted

I really thought I was pregnant this time. I knew that all the symptoms - nausea, difficulty sleeping, the two-day long headache - they were all side effects of the progesterone I was faithfully injecting into my ass each night. I knew that. But still I hoped the symptoms were positive signs. I didn't feel so sick last time, did I? It must be a sign, I thought. Except it wasn't.

Nor did it help that I did everything I was supposed to, on time and perfectly. The stimulation cycle went right, my eggs grew fast and well. I had acupuncture in the weeks leading up to, as well as just before and after the transfer and again a week later. I (mostly) rested when directed and I refused to lift my heavy child, for fear of tensing my abdominal muscles. I strolled instead of rushed. I let the house fall to pieces, neither cleaning nor really caring about the mess.

On Thursday I knew the truth. I felt that wetness, the precursor to my period. That day or two of dampness before the blood comes. When I felt that, I went from hopeful to whatever it is when you know the truth but you push it down for another day, thinking you can change reality by the sheer force of your wanting.

* *** *

Part II: In Which I Soothe Myself By Moving the Furniture Around and Steal a Phrase from a Famous Blogger

I am not one of those people who cleans to soothe or calm herself. However, when I am disappointed or upset, I do like to reorganize things. (I totally see that it is an attempt to impose order in some small way. Plus it is way more fun than cleaning.)

This time I moved the dining room furniture around, something I'd been considering for a while but didn't want to do while I was trying to be a good host to my embryos. I wonder whether it matters at all what I did or didn't do. People get pregnant on ski trips, while training for 10ks. Did it matter that I bent over my garden, tugging at weeds and scooping compost? Did it matter that I was stressed about work? that I was frustrated daily by Ada? I kind of doubt the impact of those last two. I got pregnant with Ada during the most stressful days of a very unpleasant new job, and annoyance hardly seems like a key factor in fertility.

I knew it probably made no difference, but what if I did not slow down enough? I marched up and down the stairs after my transfer. OK, not marched. Tiptoed. But more than once. More than too much? Why didn't the embryos implant? With Ada, I was a poster child for IVF. Or should I say poster mom? We had a defined problem, need intervention to get pregnant, and were immediately successful when we tried IVF.

This time I am older, but not "old." No whisperings or notes on my chart about "advanced maternal age." Yet. So why is it different? I keep thinking of a phrase Dooce uses. I wanted to be valedictorian of IVF.

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Part III: In Which I Get Overly Meta and Beat Myself Up for Doing What Bloggers Do
I convinced myself I needed to write about this. For other people. For the women who find me by searching for "progesterone in oil," "how many units of follistim," or "I can't stop crying why can't I get pregnant." Not for me.

This is important to me, but not just for the help it might offer strangers. For me. Writing makes it real and takes some of the sting away. The past few days I have gotten calls and texts from close friends. I have not wanted to talk, because what is there to say? There is everything to say, but nothing too. Nothing that will change the truth of it. I want this out because I need to talk about it but I don't know how to do that in a way that doesn't give me a headache.

I don't really like to read blogs that are so pain-focused. I want funny, or crafty, or ooh, look at that shiny thing! Why I think anyone would want to read about my pain is beyond me, even as I need you here reading about it.

* *** *

Part IV: In Which, Despite My Failures, I Resolve To Try Again

Despite the fact that a famous Einstein quote keeps ringing in my ears, I want to try again. My ever supportive family has offered to help us once again, and I am not quite ready to give up yet.

Part of me wants to walk away, to get used to the idea of just having one kid without simultaneously working on having another one. Karen suggested that coming to terms with the alternative makes it possible to try again. The thing is that if I can't give up entirely, I have to try again as soon as possible. I need this to get resolved sooner rather than later. Even if it works, I will be 37 when I have a baby. And if it doesn't work, I want to know that so I can get on with my life.

I have a required month off, then a test of my estrogen and fsh, apparently to see the effect of my pituitary playing drill sergeant to my ovaries. If that looks okay we can start again. If not, I am not sure what. I will deal with that if and when it is an issue.


  1. I don't think that there is anything that I can say to make any of this better, but I wish I could send you a hug ...

  2. your mind alone will get you through.

    your spirit will catch up.

    strength to you.

  3. Never give up trying for the miracle. I did five rounds of IVF plus a donor egg to no avail, but to this day, I refuse to give up. Granted, my body and age say, "dude seriously, give up" my heart says, "never give up." You are a brave soul and I'm standing on the sidelines, "you go girl!"

  4. I wish and I hope.

    And you are writing for you, as well as for those other people out there looking for answers or solidarity.

  5. This is entirely not about me but I'm glad to read that you want to try again. I'll be here visiting and lending moral support, reading the good stuff and bad.

  6. virtual hugs. i don't know what else to say now but i will always be here reading and hoping with you.

  7. We want to read because we care about you. This stinks and I hope the next one is the charm.

  8. (un)relaxeddad5/13/2008 3:14 PM

    I can't help but admire the eloquence and clarity with which you address even this. I hope that through the act of our reading these posts, you feel even a tiny bit supported.

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  10. your words and situation leave me speechless...that doesn't happen very often.

  11. y'know, N, I'm kind of in a similar state, not with the ivf, but the potentially having to adjust to just the one kid thing.

    b/c I'm more than reasonably afraid that my crazy will be too strained, and that isn't fair to the ones already in my family. (and I'm not saying "just" Jack is a bad thing, nor am I trying to reference will and grace.)

    it's been really hard watching so many people move on to second babies, second rounds, additional family members, and know that I probably couldn't manage a similar thing.

    whether my womb can do so is beside the point, for me.

    I just wanted you to know I understand, sorta, and we can totally not talk about it when we hang out, if you don't want, because I don't necessarily want to talk about it, either. in fact, I don't even really want to write about it. altho you've kinda managed to help me bring it further to the surface.

    anyway. you know I'm here. whenev.


  12. two things.

    1. you are my kind of nutjob. go go insano

    2. i am really so sorry about the sprogs. still.

    we're all ears even when we are eyes

  13. It sounds like you're not just writing about pain, but also strength, which is inspiring and comforting. I'm hoping for you for next time.