On the IVF Front

I had my sonohysterogram yesterday. First Nurse Vicky weighed me, and cheered with me that I had officially lost 6 pounds.

The doctor arrived a little later and started with thoroughly explaining the procedure. He’s so wonderful with things like that. I already knew, but knowing that I knew the right thing made me more at ease. We began with a transvaginal ultrasound. I’m totally used to those by now.

My right ovary was a little further from the probe and where the egg retrieving needle with be than he would have liked, but it didn’t seem stuck, so he said that was fine. It also has one small cyst, but that’s not worrisome. The left ovary is much more well behaved.

The scapula and the cervix cleaning were unpleasant, but over soon. Then, quick as a whip, he did the practice Embryo Transfer, to measure where the embryo goes, so we can all be sure it’s tucked safe and sound in my uterus.

The actual filling a balloon with saline inside my uterus was very strange, but it wasn’t uncomfortable. Vicky and the doctor were both great. They explained everything on the screen, warned of every fluid increase or decrease and almost made me feel as if something totally different from what was actually happening was happening. My uterus has no abnormalities, which was the expected result, but it’s so good to know that there’s a good home for the embryo once we find the good one.

Twenty minutes after the doctor walked in, I was dressed and on my way back to work. Easy Peasy.

Next week we have the consent singing and stim planning.

It’s better

Since I last posted, I have spent a lot of time moping and letting scary thoughts swirl around in my head. I felt terrible. I felt like I weighed 400 pounds and every movement was a chore. I ate three boxes of store-bought gluten free cookies. I watched a ton of television and hardly payed attention to any of it. I called in sick on Tuesday with a cold that was barely there and may have just been allergies, because I couldn’t get out of bed.

But also since last Tuesday, I have gotten a promotion. It’s mostly just a title change and more hours, but now I get a 401K and vacation. I’ve found assisted living for my Pa, and handed the reins of that horse back over to my dad when my parents came back from Alaska. I was elected Vice President of Education for my Toastmasters Club. I’m in charge of scheduling all meeting roles and making people do their speeches, and I’m second in command of the club., starting July 1st.

So, I seem to have been quite successful at hiding this deep dark depression I’ve been in. Now to climb the rest of the way out.

I got to meet with my new psychiatrist on Wednesday, after a month of waiting. It was so hard to get an appointment with a psychiatrist. Most of the ones in my health care system aren’t accepting new patients. Ones in other systems only accept patients in their system. I finally found this one on the opposite side of the metro area. It was a 35 minute drive there from work. Anyway, she asked a billion questions and asked me how I felt about switching to Wellbutrin from Abilify. They’re both pregnancy category C (risk cannot be ruled out), but Wellbutrin has a longer track record, it’s less expensive (read: not $800), and most importantly, is a great add-on to an SSRI (selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitor). She said it might make me anxious at the beginning, but if I could handle it, it would get better. So I started that yesterday. So far, I feel great!

I met with my counselor this morning and I mentioned the Wellbutrin switch to her. She warned me that I might feel like I’m on uppers for a couple weeks, and then level off and feel fine. Some people get scared and think it stopped working, but it’s just leveling out.

She also gave me homework for improving my cognitive distortions.  Catastrophizing: like thinking I should kill myself based on freaking out over seeing someone else with a baby. Magical thinking: there are only a certain number of babies to go ’round, so if she has one, I can’t. I’m tasked with finding these thought before they start spiraling out of control, identifying them as distortions, and fighting them with facts. Fighting them with weak affirmations I don’t believe won’t help. I need actual facts that I do believe.

For today, I asked a question about shipping costs on an e-bay listing for a piece of equipment my boss wants. I got no answer, but the Buy it Now price jumped from $1,000 to $2,600. Of course, my brain went immediately to “They have done this because they don’t like me. It is my fault that this happened.” Instead of actually believing it when my thoughts jumped to “Now we can’t ever have this piece of equipment and we’ll lose the customer and that’s all my fault, so I’ll lose my job,” I said “That doesn’t make any sense.” They have no reason to dislike me, and all other quotes for identical pieces of equipment are $2,500 to $3,000, so it was probably just correcting a mistake.

The real test will be tomorrow. All of my husband’s cousins are coming over for a party. It was planned two months ago and they kind of invited themselves over. Our house is the biggest of the cousins’ houses and centrally located. I will be fine. I will be fine. Nope, I don’t believe in repeating affirmations either.

These people love me and they don’t want me to hurt. No one stole my babies. There is no reason I can’t someday have a baby. Those are facts I believe, most of the time.

Another breakdown

So apparently I can’t handle family gatherings with my in-laws.

You would not believe the rage I feel. I mean, somewhere inside me I know that she didn’t steal my babies. But the rage is as if she did. I can’t stand the sight of her or the baby.

Some women can be happy for other women’s pregnancies, even as they’re sad for not having one of their own, but I can’t. I’ve been extremely upset about this baby since I first knew she existed. Other pregnancies upset me, but this one was so much worse. Maybe it’s because of the way I found out, from her mother, with the flippant “Guess the birth control didn’t work” comment and the fight insisting I celebrate and support this. Maybe it’s how many times the parents have broken up and she’s sworn she’ll never go back. Maybe it’s that neither of them has a steady job. Maybe it’s just that it’s so horribly unfair that they have a baby and I had yet another miscarriage.

After Christmas with the family I cried until I threw up. I left town so I didn’t have to go to a party with them in January after three days of negative pregnancy tests though I was so sure I was pregnant. (Turned out I was, but I didn’t know until 5 days later.) I shouldn’t have gone to this party. I cried for an hour  just thinking about it. I stopped about an hour before we needed to leave, so I thought I could handle it. We agreed that when I was done we would leave the party. Luckily for me, she and the baby were three and a half hours late. But the child of the other accidental pregnancy in the family (same grandparents) was there and that was bad enough.

When I’d had enough torture, I told my husband I was done and he convinced me to stay another half hour. I couldn’t do anything but stare at my phone the whole way home. I started crying when we got home. He tried to make me feel better, but he really wasn’t helping, so I told him to go downstairs and let me cry by myself. I lit a candle for each of our babies. I bawled until I threw up again.

I miss our babies with a visceral pain as if I just lost them. But I’m also as hopeless and lonely as if I’ve lived a lifetime without them, and will live another pile of lifetimes without them.

I started thinking about how badly I want to be with them. That if I knew I could be, I would die. I don’t know why I can’t be sad without going there. I told my counselor in the morning. We made a deal that I would call her if I got worse or the thoughts got scary. I think it’s better. But I really need that psychiatrist appointment next Wednesday.

There’s something seriously wrong with me that wasn’t wrong before Josh and Caroline and Anastasia and Gregory, and I don’t know how to deal with it. I don’t know if it can ever be fixed, or if I will always feel this broken. Even if I do eventually have a baby that lives, will he or she always live in the shadow of dead siblings and their mother’s inability to cope?

Taking Care of Pa

My aunt called me on Tuesday afternoon to tell me my grandpa was on his way to the ER in an ambulance.

He turned 88 on Saturday and has been living on his own. He does need a lot of attention from my dad, and dad takes care of his finances and meds. My parents went on a vacation to Alaska for two weeks, so my aunt hired a home health care service to visit 4 times a week. Pa agreed to it. On Monday he wouldn’t let them in. On Tuesday the Physical Therapist noticed he kept passing out. We had just thought he kept felling asleep since he doesn’t sleep well. She called 911. The paramedics came and did an EKG and didn’t like the looks of it so they took him to the hospital.

I went over there right away. When I talked to the doctor, he said that Pa’s heartbeat had stopped for a few seconds when he first got to the ER, so they were keeping him overnight for observation. I had to leave for IVF training, so I couldn’t stay all evening. While I was gone, before my aunt finished driving up from Iowa, his heart stopped 5 times in a row. They put him on the cardiologist’s list for a pacemaker the next day. Late in the night, his pulse dropped below 20, so they moved him to ICU.

My aunt was at the hospital with him during the day, so I went to work. He got his pacemaker in an uneventful surgery on Wednesday afternoon. They put his left arm in a sling and told him not to use it. He’s left handed and either doesn’t remember or refuses to obey, or a bit of both. I hope it heals right. On Wednesday night he was very confused and overnight need a 1-on-1 aide to keep him from getting out of bed, using his left arm and ripping off his monitoring wires. He still managed to pull out his IV. The transitional care wouldn’t take him on Thursday because of that, so he spent another night in the hospital. My husband and I spent all evening Wednesday and Thursday there with him and my aunt.

He was moved to transitional care on Friday, and seemed much better on Friday evening when I was there. He did decide at 8:30 it was bedtime, so we left him to it. We were there for just an hour yesterday because he kept felling asleep. It took about 20 minutes to convince him he needed a nap and he should lie down. (Not lay down, he corrected me).  My aunt drove back to Iowa yesterday. We have a party with my husband’s side of the family today so we can’t make it over today. I feel guilty. But I’ll be there tomorrow evening. My parents come back in 9 days.

We’ll need to get him into assisted living, and in my opinion, memory care. My aunt said she talked to some of his neighbor’s at his senior condo building on Saturday and they advised we not to let him live on his own anymore. They had been finding him wandering around outside at night, claiming he was waiting for a ride to church. We did know about a couple times he did that, but thought it was his blood pressure medicine that he was talking multiple times a day making him confused. My dad started monitoring his meds and we thought it was better, but apparently it wasn’t.

When he has lucid periods, he seems to understand that this is necessary, but then an hour later he wants to know when he can go home. It’s a very difficult time.

Not to make you jealous, but…

A doctor told me I have a beautiful colon today. So, everything’s fine and IVF can move forward. Yay!

After the procedure, I hadn’t eaten in 37 hours, so we got Chipotle. I had tacos and chips and guacamole. I never let myself have both because that’s 985 calories. I was more 896 calories under yesterday, so I think it’s fine. All I had yesterday was gatorade and chicken broth.

I’ve lost 5 pounds since the RE told me I needed to lose weight, almost 6 weeks ago. (Today I was another 2 pounds down, but I don’t think that counts.) My BMI is now under 33, yay! I think their limit is 38, but he said less obese is better for responding to the stims.

The gluten free diet is going pretty well. I accidentally swallowed a morsel of a gluten-containing protein bar on Monday, because I had to taste it for work and didn’t have a spit cup ready. Other than that, no gluten for a month now. I can’t tell if that’s helping or the acupuncture, since I started the acupuncture and herbs (Xiao Yao Wan) on the 25th. I have had a lot less need for the anti-nausea pills, and less abdominal pain. Also less depression and anxiety, so I’m gonna keep at it. Except the herbs, those have no pregnancy category, so I’ll only take them until the bottle is gone, one more dose.

The allergies have finally gotten better. I’m on Zyrtec, Nasonex, and Singulair, which seems like overkill, but it’s just barely keeping them at bay, so again, I’m going to keep at it. Actually, looking it up, Zyrtec and Singulair are pregnancy category B, but Nasonex is C, so I might stop that one, I’ll ask the allergist and the RE.

My counselor, though wonderful, has a schedule that doesn’t mesh well with mine. That’s especially true since I moved to a 5 day a week work schedule so I could have mornings until 9:30 off for all the IVF monitoring appointments. Even when I had Fridays off, she could only see me about once a month, which probably wasn’t often enough. I start with a new counselor on Friday, who can meet with me at 8am.

Goodness I have a lot of health issues going on. Everything’s on the right track though, so I’m feeling good.