3dp5dt: Holding Fast to Blissful Ignorance

This morning some fearful thoughts tried to sneak their way into my mind. I beat them back with a stick and sent them packing.

Up until that moment, I have enjoyed a very uncharacteristic confidence and sense of calm about this transfer. I never spend the two-week-wait (or the ART variation thereof) in a zen-like state of calm. I am never flooded with peaceful energy and thoughts of my life being pregnant for the coming 8-ish months. Never. Until now.

I feel rather chilled about the whole thing. Yesterday my acupunturist and TCMD asked if I felt optimistic. I could not say yes, not because I don’t have hope but because until I thought about how to answer that question I had been simply feeling comfortable. Comfortable and content. Comfortable that I have done everything possible for this cycle to be successful and odds are that I am pregnant. Content believing that even if it is a complete delusion.

I have discovered the experience of blissful ignorance. How completely fascinating.

I have never understood women saying they did not want to take a home pregnancy test before their beta because they wanted to savour the belief that they were “pregnant until proven otherwise” (an expression I feel quite loathsome toward, even now that I have clearly drank the kool-aid). I’ve always been a band-aid ripper-offer. I routinely and compulsively test early and test often. I have never not tested out my triggers, for example.

This time, I had no trigger. All of my low-dose hCG injections were complete well before transfer (Dr. Braverman prescribed them to help implantation, in lieu of Lupron since we did a protocol without that drug this time). I have no trigger to test out this time. I pulled out tests to stuff into the bathroom drawer last night on the basis that I would start testing Saturday because it is a special day for the LP and I. I knew that would be too early (4dp5dt) but I thought it could give me a baseline against which to measure any changes.

Today, I am reconsidering my decision. What if I feel completely anxious after testing and getting a negative, even though I know it will be negative? I will lose this moment of bliss. My zen-like, peaceful, “optimistic” state will be dashed and it is unlikely I will be able to recover or restore it. Or will it? Can I maintain my faith and find peace in all of this even if I start testing early?

As I think about it, I believe Sunday is the day to start testing. 5dp5dt or 10dpo is the earliest I have ever had a positive HPT before and often the second line is not really visible to anyone not suffering from line-eye until 6dp5dt or 11dpo. But that begs the question, doesn’t it? Should I test at all before my beta next Wednesday? Whether I should or not, I will. That much I know. I just don’t have it in me not to test early. I am who I am.

In the meantime, I am deeply committed to the blissful ignorance that is my unwavering faith that Azulito and maybe a companion are along for the ride and have chosen this cycle to make his/her/their way home at last. I love you, little babies. I know you are only embryos right now but I’m calling you babies anyway. Science be damned.

The last two mornings I have looked to my Animal Spirit Guide cards (I used the physical cards, not the online link or the app). I asked for a message from Spirit about our embryos, Gertrude and Alice. Each morning I drew the Unicorn:

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Immediately after drawing the Unicorn this morning, I realized I had to indulge in some creative play. I took out my intuition journal (because I couldn’t find my art journal) and some oil pastels, picked up the pastel that my hand first gravitated toward (green – coincidentally the same colour as I had my toenails painted for this cycle), closed my eyes and put pastel to paper. Next my hand went to blue – Azulito’s colour – and I closed my eyes again. I continued until it occurred to me that when I’ve been visualizing the mind-body connection to my uterus lately it has been taking the form of a lotus flower. I felt strongly that oranges and reds belonged in the flower out of which the blue and green presences seem to have floated. Here is what resulted:

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When I look at the finished product now, I see flames and our Gertrude and Alice rising out of the fiery lotus flower in phoenix-like resurrection. Gertrude (in green) looks a little rougher around the edges and Alice (in blue) a little more contained.

I do not know entirely what all of this means. But it feels right. And I like that.

I could get used to this blissful ignorance thing. It’s almost as good as Val.ium.

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The Madness Continues and a Word of Thanks

The plan was hatched. The intentions were set. The flights and hotel accommodations were booked.  And then life came along and got in the way of my best laid plans.  Again.

The LP will not be joining me in New York for the transfer of (I hope and pray) our last two embryos, Gertrude and Alice, on Tuesday.  The transfer has been scheduled for the afternoon.  That was a small hiccup I did not anticipate and although Dr. Braverman told me that science says there would be no problem at all with me flying back home Tuesday night, his gut (and mine) say wait one more day.  I left home Thursday last week and today I accepted that I will  not be back – and I will not see the Miracle Toddler or the LP again – until Wednesday evening.  So it is.

The later-than-anticipated transfer time meant the LP would be travelling back solo (as would I) as he has a work commitment he cannot change further (he already changed it to be able to come to the transfer next Tuesday).  Oh well.

Then something much more serious happened.  The LP injured his back very severely.  Even on muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatory medications, he can barely move.  This has never happened before although he has been having muscle spasms in his back this year.  The suspected source to date has been stress and the strain of a desk job under high tension.  And possibly a lack of consistent exercise although the LP does curl and plays hockey nightly with the Miracle Toddler when not disabled (no hockey today or last night!).

The prospect of air travel and sitting in airport lounges for 8-9 hours on Monday and the same on Tuesday night with a severely injured back makes me wince.  The LP was determined to come notwithstanding this latest obstacle but today we both agreed that this was a bad long-term plan for his physical and mental health and not likely to make me feel very good about asking him to be at the transfer with me.

In other news, the Progesterone In Oil (PIO) is kicking my behind (literally, because you know that is how I roll).  Dr. Braverman’s nurse taught me a new trick about heating it immediately before drawing and administering it and so far this has meant no lumps or bumps because the oil is thinner and moves more easily as I inject it and after having done so.  I don’t so much mind the needles going in.  All of that I can manage and would not even blink or complain.  The pain I have for about 24 hours afterward at the injection site on the other hand… that is not pleasant.  I feel as though I walked into a sharp object and gave myself a mother of a bruise on each flank.  I will take the PIO over Prometrium any day of the week but I hope I find some better spots on those flanks soon or I will be a walking wincing wimp in short order.

On the eve of Canadian Thanksgiving, I am struck by how much I have for which to be thankful.

In the present moment, I have been truly moved by some phenomenal events so far on this week’s stint in NYC.  First, I met a friend and fellow RPL sufferer from Canada and her partner for whom I have developed a lasting affection.  Together we briefly met with another blogger who happened to be attending a conference in NYC this weekend.  That was intense.  I don’t think I could have attended that conference.  Yowza!

I have been awed by the kindness and generosity that some truly amazing women in New York have shown me these past few weeks.  I am humbled and choking up a little as I write to say how honoured I am to have met you.  These amazing women who I did not know a few short months ago have behaved as true, long-time friends do.  You have checked in on me, met me to do things and welcomed me into your homes.

Friends, you know who you are.  Please also know that you mean so much to me and I am so grateful for you helping me be and feel safe, comfortable, “normal” and less lonely in this totally abnormal, often lonely and anxiety-provoking process.  What you have done and are doing means so much to me.  Thank you.

And to everyone who has wished me well, followed along, worried beside me, shared this journey and hoped as I have hoped for you that things will one day work out as we long for them to do: thank you.  A toast to each and every one of you, my friends.  Please accept my heartfelt thanks.  We truly are an amazing group of female creatures.  Yay us.  Yay you.

Spirit Baby, I Choose You

I think for many of us, when we do IVF the first time notwithstanding the statistics saying it only works some – nowhere near 100% – of the time it’s inevitable that we believe in whole or in part that it will work, if not the first time then sometime soon afterward. When IVF does not make our dreams come true (cancelled cycles, BFN, loss), it is such a blow.

When one moves on to donor egg IVF and the same thing happens, it can shatter who you think you are. The blow is hard. In my case, much harder than the first blows with ART. In the LP’s case, the blows may have been more comparable.

When one gets a diagnosis saying you have so many immune and genetic obstacles it is unlikely you could ever stay pregnant and practically impossible for you to carry another child to term after doing so once, as I did, the devastation is complete. Or one is inclined to think it is. We want that to be the final blow.

I pray and hope that there is no next level or layer of obliteration of my sense of self and faith in God, myself, western medicine, traditional Chinese medicine and the contract I believe we have made with our spirit baby.

My fear is not gone even though I am choosing not to give her voice. The risks are real. I know that. I choose not to think about them. I know from experience that this means any negative outcome will be soul-shattering.

I know there is a decent chance the first time we do this immune protocol and use a frozen embryo that may not survive the thaw we run the risk that it will not work.

The risks are real.

I choose not to linger on them.

I choose faith.

I choose hope.

I choose life.

I choose my beautiful, powerful, heart and soul shattering spirit baby, Azulito.

Azulito, I choose you.

Please Let These Needles and Other Things Do the Trick

This morning marked episode one of my current three-needles-per-day (Neupogen, Lovenox, Novarel (hCG)) and multiple pill (Prednisone, Estrace, Claritin, 81mg Aspirin) routine. I also am on a bunch of supplements to which I have had to add Calcium (to address the negative effects on bones caused by the Prednisone and Lovenox) and Magnesium (to avoid the constipation that will surely follow the high doses of Calcium and because it’s supposed to help balance things out more generally).

Only the Lovenox hurt and only a little. I have divided my supplements and drugs into 5 doses/times. This is the most regimented I have ever been entering a cycle. It feels obsessive and reassuring at the same time.

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure how I feel. The fear is hanging around like a bad penny but I’m trying to keep holding her hand and reminding her that we can get through this together. She needs me more than I need her; if I send her packing, she’s gone. She does not need to know I am likely unable to do that at this point.

I keep trying to remind myself that this may not work the first time and that is okay. I think I need to stop that and just tell myself I’m already pregnant, as I did with my last transfer (the one that ended badly in May). Although it ended badly, I was more confident than I have ever been and I felt better throughout the cycle as a result of that increased confidence.

Of course, my increased knowledge of how many obstacles stand between me and a healthy, full-term (or at least viable) pregnancy makes self-delusion a little trickier.

I return to New York to spend another date with Dr. Braverman’s nurses for my second Intralipid infusion and with the Almighty Oz himself on Friday for another ultrasound (to check my lining and other lady bits). I will also need blood tests done; Dr. B orders all kinds of hormone levels, not just estradiol. I hope to have the blood tests completed Thursday evening at home so I don’t have to pay for them in New York (since I don’t think I can get that reimbursed by our public health system or paid for by my private insurance).

I will be on weekly Intralipid infusions for three weeks and then every two weeks. In theory, our embryo transfer will happen between that third infusion and the switch to the bi-weekly plan. I hope I make it to the bi-weekly part of the plan.

I cannot even express how much I want this cycle to work. Please, forces greater than me, make this happen.