PLEASE NOTE: If you are struggling with infertility or are currently trying to conceive and you DON'T want to read about my pregnancy (which I totally understand), I recommend starting at the beginning of the blog (March 2010) and reading from there. I find out I'm pregnant in June 2011 so there is a lot of trying to conceive posts in between that you might find funny, helpful or relatable. Wishing you all the luck in the world!

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Story of My Uterus

I recently got a call from one of my nephews. He said, “Daddy told me where babies come out. I don’t think you’re gonna like it.”

November’s ICLW is upon us (http://www.stirrup-queens.com/2011/10/icomleavwe-november-2011/) so I wanted to say hello to any new readers and give you a brief overview of me, my uterus and its scintillating history. Please forgive me if I don’t get too clinical in my descriptions (i.e. medications, doses, dates and details). I’d much prefer to tell you our story as if you and I were sitting having a cup of coffee… so here it goes:

I started trying to get pregnant in February 2009. After several months of romantic interludes slowly becoming more contrived and monotonous, we tried two timed cycles using the drug, Clomid (which in my mind stands by Comical Lady Overly Moody In Distress). Neither of those were successful so we tried three IUI’s (again using Clomid): the first was around Thanksgiving, the second was around Christmas and the last one was on Valentines day (we like our inseminations to be holiday themed apparently). None of them worked.

In April 2010 (which is why I have a picture of the month of April featured on my blog), we did our first IVF using Gonal-F (the F standing for… well… you know). We had eight eggs and three embryos. Not only did it not work, but I found out right afterwards that I had a rather large uterine polyp we lovingly named ‘Jackson Polyp’, that might have been guilty of c*ck blocking our efforts. We’ll never know though for certain.

In July of 2010, we evicted Jackson Polyp and due to lack of funds, waited until January/February 2011 to get accepted into a clinical trial with a different doctor at a new clinic. On this cycle, we used a mystery hormone (how fun is that to inject yourself with some unknown hormonal fluid??? Woo hoo!) that produced ten eggs but only one embryo. Yup. One lone embryo. My husband named it Rudy after the famous underdog who ended up playing for Notre Dame (See the movie RUDY for details). Leave it to a man to make a sports reference out of a fertility disaster.

When the trial failed and we still weren't pregnant, we went to our now third clinic, our third doctor to try IVF for the third time in May 2011. We used our entire savings account to pay for it and all of my medications were donated, so it looked like a potpourri of drugs in my bedroom for awhile: Follistim, Menopur, Progesterone in Oil, Gonal-F, Estrogen Patches and needles galore! I was like an infertile in a hormonal candy store!

Between both the financial strain and the emotional, physical and psychological strain of the past couple of years, my husband and I began to forget that we actually liked each other around this point. We went into our third in vitro never having gotten pregnant once and wondering if perhaps it was time to give up on ever having kids or ever having a date night that didn’t entail talking about my husband’s sperm count or my cervical mucus.

Because the universe likes to try my patience, for our third cycle, we had thirteen eggs but again, somehow only yielded one embryo. Rudy Two - The Sequel! To be clear, one embryo is better than no embryo but when you're infertile... not only do you feel like you need more but you freaking PAID for more. I'm just sayin'.

It was then that my doctor said she suspected that, even though nothing had indicated as such in any of my tests, I had bad eggs. Literally, as I was standing in my hospital gown about to do my transfer for the cycle I was still in, she suggested what she would do differently on the fourth in vitro (How cute is she for thinking we could afford a fourth in vitro??? Simply adorable!)

In June 2011, I had every PMS symptom that I would typically have. The night before my beta, my husband and I made a list of questions we were going to ask the doctor for our “WTF” appointment but as it would turn out, this meeting would never happen.

The next morning, I took a home pregnancy test in preparation to get a negative beta later that day... only to find out that it was positive. As of today, I’m currently 27 weeks pregnant with a little boy and oddly enough, I’m due around the exact date in February that we started trying to get pregnant in the first place.

So, although my nephew is both very wise and thoughtful to warn me, I’m up for the challenge! The thought of labor, delivery, pain in general and pushing something the size of a watermelon out my already exhausted va-jay-jay frightens me but we worked hard for this and I’m just so grateful that we’ve made it this far.

To those of you who are reading my blog for the first time: stop by often, hang out, say hello, share your experiences and please join me as I, a pregnant infertile, slowly make my way to the finish line!

And of course, to those of you who have followed my journey since day one – I can never thank you enough for sticking with me, cheering me on, making me laugh and supporting me throughout all of this. It has meant more to me then I could ever begin to possibly express. And hey -- it IS uter-us... and we're all in it together.

Speaking of which, I’ve been seriously considering starting our own infertility movement called, “OCCUPY MY UTERUS!” C’mon people! Who is with me????

Friday, November 11, 2011

You Spin Me Right Round Baby

Do you ever feel like you’ve had a problem or that even your whole life is like a game of Jenga? You know that game – it’s played with wooden blocks. You take the blocks and build a sturdy tower. Then, the players start taking pieces out and moving them to other areas of the standing tower... all in the hopes that they don’t knock the whole damn thing over. Usually, the game ends with the loser unintentionally taking out that last key structural block thus causing the whole tower to collapse. Before you know it, you’re surrounded by blocks, your friends are laughing at you while you secretly wish you just played a drinking game instead.

As you know from my last blog post, my boss and I had an extensive conversation about my being out of the office quite often this past year due to my “medical issues”. These issues were for fertility treatments and now, my pregnancy. His argument was that when I’m not in the office (even for good reason), it affects him negatively. My argument was that they are valid medical issues and that he was acting like a douchebag (mind you – I didn’t tell him that last part. I just thought it really, really hard). He and I ended up talking it all out, putting everything down in writing where he wrote that he understands my health is important but my position requires I be in the office as much as possible and where I wrote that my occasional absences and lateness have been due to my pregnancy and won’t be an ongoing issue into the future… and that he was acting like a douchebag (Ok, I didn’t write that last part. But again, I just thought it really, really hard). We sent the document into human resources and all was right again with the corporate world.

Until…

On Saturday, October 29th, I got a migraine in the afternoon. This is not uncommon for me so I wasn’t alarmed. I took two Tylenol and laid down for nap. When I woke up, the pain had gone away but I felt dizzy. As the evening wore on, I went from mildly dizzy to having the spins (of course, I wasn’t drinking but that’s how it felt) and then, by Sunday morning, I felt like Amy Winehouse… the day she died. I couldn't open my eyes, the bed felt like it was flying, walking was near impossible and I felt this unnatural urge to put my hair in a beehive.

Due to the constant dizziness, my stomach eventually succumbed to motion sickness and literally every time I tried to move, I threw up. I’m not talking a little morning sickness kind of sick either. It was more like THE EXORCIST kind of sick. If people saw me, they wouldn’t say, “Hmmm. Jay is under the weather.” They would have said, “Holy shit –Give her the last rites!

For the record, I never wanted to throw up in front of my husband. Never. It’s bad enough he’s seen me be an emotional hormonal wreck during the last few years of infertility treatments. Then, add the weight gaining hormonal wreck of a pregnant woman that I’ve been in the last couple of months. Now, on Sunday, in what I can only describe as my lowest moment in quite a while, he saw me laying on the bathroom floor wearing only a pajama top, sweating uncontrollably, non-bikini waxed and throwing up non-stop into our tub. If he ever wants to have sex with me again after all of this, it will be nothing short of a miracle.

After calling the doctor, we were told that I should head into Labor and Delivery at the hospital immediately. I was, of course, VERY nervous about both myself and the baby but really, my main thought was, “Please God… let this stop. I’ll do anything. I’ll go back to church, I’ll be nicer to my mother-in-law, I’ll even stop saying mean things about how ugly Jennifer Lopez’s kids are – just please make this stop.

When we arrived at the hospital (which entailed me laying down in the backseat and throwing up some more. Again, very attractive), they immediately knew I was dehydrated. So much so, that they had trouble even finding a vein to put in an IV in to. They quickly also put a monitor on my belly to check the baby. They were concerned that they wouldn’t pick up anything as most of the women in Labor and Delivery are further along than me and… well… are in labor. However, through some sort of luck, they picked up our baby’s heartbeat and determined that not only was he totally fine but that they were also quite impressed how strong he was under the circumstances. I’m telling you – from only one lone embryo from a batch of 13 eggs right up until now, this baby has been a kick ass hard core fighter.

They gave me three bags of fluid that included anti-nausea medication and had me rest. As soon as the room cleared, the quiet kicked in and I lay on the hospital bed miserable, my husband said something I will never forget. After a minute passed, he said very matter of factly, “Today was the first time I ever heard you fart.” *sigh* Great. Yet another milestone in our marriage. Does Hallmark make cards for that?

By the end of my stay, the doctor on call guessed that I had something viral. He told me there was nothing they could do other than give me anti-nausea medication, send me on my way and hope for it to pass. And this is what I did for the next few days but when I saw it wasn't getting better, I phoned my neurologist who told me to come in to rule out a stroke. A stroke? Really? If ever there was a good reason to miss work, a stroke would definitely be a damn good excuse.

After a few tests, my neurologist said that I have an extreme case of vertigo (not the Hitchcock movie but the neurological affliction) which was probably set off by my initial migraine. He said I should continue with the anti-nausea medication, go home and rest as much as possible. This meant that I would have to be out of work for a total of two weeks. I don't know what's more amazing, that I was in yet another two week wait or that my brain apparently heard my boss complaining about missing a few days here and there and said, “Oh yeah? I see your complaint of a missed day and raise you two whole weeks. Suck on that!” It was then that my virtual Jenga tower collapsed.

To be fair, both my husband and a good friend/co-worker of mine spoke to my boss on my behalf and he has reportedly been very understanding. Still, I can’t help but marvel at the timing of this. I've spent more time than I care to admit in the past few weeks worrying about my job and now, I feel like this unexpected illness has just made things worse. In the words of Krusty the Clown from THE SIMPSONS, "This... I don't need."

Meanwhile, I did what I was told and rested. My husband dropped me off at my parents house so he could get back to work and I could get the constant care I needed as I have been unable to get around other than go to and from the bathroom. As soon as I got to my parents house, I was tucked into bed and my mother, for some unexplainable reason, started showing me her recent clothing purchases. I can only compare it to the movie, MISERY but in this scenario, I was James Caan and my mother was a very loving, well-intentioned woman who loves a good clearance sale at Talbots.

The BEST part of this dizzy fashion show though was when she showed me a pair of pajamas she bought for me. They looked a little like Vincent Van Gogh’s painting called “Starry Night”. “What is that?”, I asked.

She said, “I bought you these to have vertigo in.” Wow. Clearly, they DO make an outfit for every occasion. Vertigo pajamas. Yikes.

My father, bless his heart, kept forgetting I was upstairs and in bed. At one point, I sent him a text asking him if he could bring me lunch. It went ignored so I called him. The conversation went like this:

ME: "Hello? Dad?"
DAD: "Hello? Who's this?"
ME: "Dad - it's Jay."
DAD: "Ohhhh, hi! How are you?" (As if he hasn't spoken to me in months)
ME: "Uhhh, I'm ok. Can I have lunch?"
DAD: "Sure! How's peanut butter and jelly? It's all I can make."

Twenty minutes later, while wearing my vertigo pajamas, I ate a peanut butter jelly sandwich that looked like it was sat on. I didn't critisize though. I was just so grateful to have food.

I’m happy to report that I’m feeling better but it’s been a very slow, difficult process. I’ve spent a lot of time lying in bed thinking. I can’t really watch television (as I’ve been too dizzy), I’ve had trouble walking and up until today, the computer was completely impossible. In order to stay sane despite feeling like ass, worrying about work and dealing with my parents care taking skills, I would occasionally recite anything I’ve ever memorized: The Pledge of Allegiance, the Lord’s Prayer and a monologue I had in my second grade play (I played a cavity).

What really kept me from totally losing my mind though was how often I felt the baby kick. Anytime I’d worry about losing my job, or that I was never going to get better, or when I had a crying fit over how crappy I felt, the baby would kick as if to say, “Hang in there! I’m here!” It’s corny and perhaps a little crazy but I swear that it felt like he was cheering me on.

That’s one of the many things I’ve learned in the last two weeks: The timing of this has sucked and being this out of commission has been scary and frustrating but I’m pregnant… and that’s all I ever wanted. No matter how many virtual Jenga towers I knock over, I at least have that... and that means the world.

I've also learned that I can now freely pass wind in front of my husband. I’m just sayin’. The barrier has been broken.