Friday, December 28, 2007

We Have a Bun!

My beta was scheudled for yesterday. I've never wanted to do anything less in my life. I was so incredibly anxious. Afterall, if I don't know at least I can pretend, right? I wanted to pretend awhile longer. I did decide that if I was going to get another negative - I could at least control the circumstances under which I learned the news. I wanted to know before the phone call. I couldn't bear to hear "I'm so sorry...." one more time. So - I used a home pregnancy test.

Just before I left for my appointment I ran in my bathroom, avoiding my sweet and nervous husband as to avoid him finding out and peed on that dreaded stick. The urine moved along the results window as always but the negative line didn't show quite as fast as usual. It took it's time. It did apprear though and I closed my eyes and silently sobbed, resigned to yet another negative test. I half-opened my eyes - looked at the stick and there it was. That elusive second line. It wasn't even a faint second line. A dark second line. All of sudden I was ready for my blood test!

I went to the doctor cautiously excited and the nurse took my blood. She then told me that their office doesn't process bloodwork same-day so I owuld have to wait until today to hear the news.

This morning, I got the call. The nurse said my numbers look great. She said "You are deinfetely p-------". My HcG was 133 and my Progesterone was 77 yesterday. Of course - then I immediately started worrying that my beta was low but it looks like it's perfectly average for 10 days post a 5 day transfer.

I'm very happy. More than happy, though I am cautious. I have more bloodwork scheduled for Monday to see of the numbers are doubling the way they should. Of course - I won't hear any news until Wednesday, then.

But - for the time being I am truly trying to be positive and confident. I can not bring myself to use the "p" word or the "b" word that ends with a "y". So - my husband and I have decided we will refer to our curreent state as "bun" success. Project Baby 2007 has ened with a bun in the oven! Let's hope it continues to rise!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Cheerful Rant from a Sleepless Bitch

For the 3rd night in a row I'm awake at some cruel hour. The first 3:00am. The second, 2:30am. This morning, 4:00am. I know it's just my body getting adjusted back to being in the US but really? One good night's sleep would really do me well.

Of course, nothing productive is accomplished during my sleepless hours other than self-analysis of the likely hood of pregnancy and mental torture.

My body is responding so differently to this cycle and in ways that don't give me confidence that I may end up with a positive. It took a few days for me to feel the progesterone and then it hit hard. But - now - again I don't feel it. I'm in a better mood (with no sleep and all of these hormones) than I have been in a long time. Yesterday I was downright cheerful and energetic. Ha - I haven't felt like that in quite some time. I shouldn't feel like that now. I should be sleeping standing up; I should be bitchy and downright unpleasant; I should be crying at the drop of a hat (ok - so I do cry at the drop of something more along the lines of a petite person wearing a hat....). What I should not be is energetic, happy, cheerful, and "glowing". Someone actually told me yesterday I was glowing. How could they possibly see a glow behind the two giant zits that were left over from 1991 that decided to finally come out of hiding. Besides - that word alone is cruel. If only she knew what she had done to me when she said that.

My mind: "Glowing - did she really just say glowing? Glowing?? Could it be....? Good Grief woman stop reading into everything - Yeah - but she Did use the word glowing. Has anyone Ever told you you Glow? Of course not, silly bitch. You're not the glowing type. Oh my God.......I really am not pregnant am I? This is one of those signs that I think is a sign that turns out to be a cruel twist of fate that God gets to laugh at....Would God ever really laugh at me? Of course he ...... she said I was Glowing!"

Take this scenario and apply multiple situations and this is a typical display of recent self-talk.

I don't have tiredness, I don't have sudden-bitch-from all the hormonesiness but I do have cramping. and lots of it. But - cramping without any spotting does not feel like implantation......

Ugggghh - could I seriously have just gone through all of this just to get another negative result? The lack of symptoms could actually be a good thing though - maybe I will be one of those women who sail through the first tri-mester that every other pregnant woman hates.... I mean - I've at least earned an easy pregnancy - right? Ha - wouldn't that be a hoot? Glowing in front of all my friends that get pregnant the first time they decide to "try" and are puking their guts out for the first 3 months? God I really am a cruel bitch - but c'mon... "Turnabout is fair play" right?

Ahem....I did just say I was cheerful right?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Good Morning, Progesterone

I take my words back - I feel it. I definitely feel it now. It is here and it is kicking my ass. All that progesterone finally hit me - like one of those cartoon characters strolling along whistling without a care in the world when suddenly a piano falls fron a window and leaves them splattered on the pavement. 3 am - Good Morning, progesterone - thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Home Sweet Home...

We are back home. We got in around mid-night last night. It was a really long travel day.

So - our transfer was Monday. Everything went well. We did end up transferring 3 embryos. One was a grade 2 but 2 were Grade 1. One of those was an advanced blastocyst and the other was an early blast. The embryologist said the early stage blast would probably be caught up within a few hours. We struggled with how many to transfer as the grade 2 was fragmented but our RE said they are self-healing and it may be fine.

We are officially in that hell called the 2 week wait. Our schedule wasn't exactly as I had hoped as our donor needed an extra day of stim. We had to drive back to Prague right after the transfer and then flew yesterday (day after transfer). The interstate between Zlin and Prague are not the greatest - they are very bumpy. Imagine driving over those little raised lines in the road you hit before stop signs --- that's what the drive was like for about 2 of the 4 hours. I joked with my husband that they either attached to the lining just to end the tumbling effect or they bounced right out of me. He assured me that they couldn't bounce out.....

I felt alot of "twinges" yesterday. I guess that could be from a lot of things but I like to think it's those little embies snuggling in. :-)

I'm constantly worried about my progesterone levels - I am taking in an insane amount of progesterone but don't feel tired or sick which worries me. Progesterone normally hits me pretty hard but I just don't feel anything this time. I'm doing 3 100mg pills a day, one 2cc injection in the morning and a vaginal suppository in the evening. I should feel sick or tired from all of that shouldn't I?

I just scheduled my BETA with my OBGYN for the 27th. 14 days post transfer is New Years Eve - I would rather not hear bad news on New Years Eve - at least if it's bad I will have a couple of days to recover before I write off 2008.... BUT - hoping and praying for good news.

Honestly - I can't even bear to think about the beta. I just don't want that phone call again. I almost don't even want to take the test and just see what happens naturally. The thought of that pain again is just unbearable. Of course that doesn't make much sense and I will take the test but - for the record - I really don't want to.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Fertilization Report

We got the call with our fertilization report this morning as we were taking pictures in front of the Imperial Palace in Vienna. 14 of the 25 fertilized so we are scheduled for a day 5 transfer on Monday! My husabnd took the call. I was literally jumping up and down on the street when he told e the news. I'm so very please so far. I'm feeling very positive and hopeful. Now we're just praying for several perfect blastocysts to transfer Monday.

We've been dicussing today whether we should transfer 2 or 3, god-willing 3 make it that far. I think we've agreed to transfer 3. I know there are potential problems with Triplets but I also know of several women that have trasnferred 3 and only had a singleton. I would hate to miss that one. I would love love love twins, as most of use would, I'm sure. Still need to do lots of thinking about this but 3 is in my mind right now.

Now - Vienna. Ahhh, Vienna...... This is, without a doubt, the mosdt romantic city I've ever visited. It's absolutley beautiful with tons of culture and history and the right amount of sophistication. It's just lovley. We have had the best time here. We are planning to extend our trip by a day and stay longer. There's so much to see and take in. I'm just having the best time with my wonderful husband in this dreamy setting.

I'm praying for all 14 of those little embryos!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Retrieval Update

Today has been such a great day.

Our appointment was at 8:20 this morning. My husband did his part (with a little help from me... :->). Hoping his boys perform well now. It was so funny. The happy room is this little closet in the main lobby. Of course, everyone else is there doing the same thing but the lobby was standing room only and when we walked out it was a bit embarrassing knowing that everyone looking at us knew what we had just done.

We decided to drive to Vienna today. Zlin is a small town with no tourist value and I was going crazy there. So - we got in the car and drove to Austria. Beautiful drive. Austria ia stunning.

On the way to Austria we got a call from the clinic with the results of the retieval. Our donor was so amazing and gave us 25 eggs! We are just praying for quality and several to make it to blastocysts, now for a 5 day transfer.

So - back to Vienna - beautiful city. the Christmas Markets here are even more wonderful than the ones in Prague. Vienna is my kind of city. I could so easily live here. Absolutley love it. we are thinking of skipping Cesky Krumlov to spens a couple of extra days here.

We will get our fertiliation report tomorrow and should know if we will be doing a day 3 or day 5 transfer.

Mentally and Physically I am in such a great place. I can't imagine being in a better state for transfer. I will say - there are several downsides to this IVF abroad deal, which I will post about once home and settled because I do want to be very honest about this experience but the vacaiton part of it truly does help this go more smoothly. I'm not obsessed and stressed like I always am during a cycle. It's been fantastic so far.

Will post again tomorrow once we have an update.

Thanks so much for all of the well wishes - they mean so much!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Update from Zlin - First Appointment

We had our first appointment this morning. It went well.

Lining was 9.1 with Triple stripe. It sounds like our donor is progressing well, also.

Retrieval is scheduled for tomorrow and DH will have his time in the happy room. We haven't decided if we are driving to Cesky Krumlov or Vienna yet but we leaving for somewhere tomorrow after his deposit. :-)

We are heading out to check out the town and maybe buy some shoes from Bata. :-)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Finally in Zlin

Helloe from Zlin! My husband and I arrived in Zlin, Czech Republic late this afternoon. We spent the past 4 days in Prague and had an unbelievable time. For those of you plannig on travelling to Zlin I would highly recommend spending a couple of days In Prague ,or Budapest or Vienna before heding to Zlin just vacationing. I'm so relaxed and feel better than I have before starting any of my previous cycles and that's all because we've done nothing but enjoy ourselves and time with each other in such a beautiful city.

The drive from Prague to Zlin was easy and enjoyable for each of us. We did not rent the car until today - public transportation is a breeze in Prague. We stayed at the Courtyard Marriott in Flora - about 5 miles from the city center. Buses 22 and 23 in Prague take you to all of the tourist attractions. You can buy a transit ticket for 80 Kc a day and it's good for bus/tram and train.

On the second day in Prague - my husband and I were trying to get somehwere on the tram and didn't realize we had ridden it to the last stop. suddenly we found ourselves trapped on the tram. We literally could not get out. We had to sit there for 30 minutes while the driver took his break. It was pretty funy - especilly as the passer-by locals laughed at us without shame. It was a great reprive for our tired feet, at least.

Last night - we ate our way throguh Prague. The Christmas marketes were fantastic and there were lots of street vendors with food. We started with a crepe with nutella and banana, DH had a huge piece of fresh cooked Ham, then we had potato pancakes, roasted corn, trdllo (a pretzel-like pastry rolled in the shape of a barrell covered with sugar and nuts). Needless to say - we rolled our stuffed selves back to the hotel..

The Rick Steve's book for Eastern Europe is highly recommended. He gives such great details. A must-have. One thing to be aware of - they charge for everything. The first night we had dinner, we got the blll and there was a line item we didn't understand. When I asked what it was he said Bread. They brought a basket of bread and butter to the table before dinner (we didn't ask for it - assummed was customary) and then charged us 60 Kc' s for it. The next night we were charged 60Kc for there being salt, peppr, ketcup and mustard on the table. Just be prepared for the extra charges - I was a bit surpriseed by them.

We visited the Jewish Quarter yesterday - the Pinkas Synagouge ws pretty moving - the names of nearly 80,000 jews killed in Auswitz are listed on the wall. Defintely something worth your time.

My first appointment is tomorrow at the clinic. It was movd back a day. I was told Dr. Anna was going to be out of town but found out that wasn't the case they just have more patients than they've ever had at any one time right now. I'm hoping this doesn't move everything out by a day as our return flight was cutting it close already. I

I can barely keep my eyes open as I type this. Hope all is well with everyone !

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

It's Here!

Hope has arrived in all her tragic and beautiful glory. I awoke this morning to the thought of how wonderful it would be to be pregnant after this donor cycle. My heart fluttered and I smiled to those sweet thoughts -imagining me with a baby growing inside of me. Then that cautious bitch Reality showed up waving her wand of self-protective doom and gloom and - of all things - I tossed her aside and introduced myself to Hope. It's been quite awhile - she'd likely forgotten me.

I actually feel about ten pounds lighter this morning. It's taken so much energy to stay guarded and closed off to hope. I hadn't realized that until this morning.

Yesterday we received an update on our donor. She is progressing very welll. She already has 10 follicles and still has about a week left. I never had more than 6 follicles on the day of retrieval - she wins! That news had a tremendous impact on me. For the first time I felt like I could let go a litle bit and just be happy and hopeful.

We leave this afternoon! I'm excited about the vacation. we have a 7 hour lay-over in Paris. I can't wait to see Paris decorated for Christmas. What a dreamy city. I couldn't think of a better way to start this trip than a day with my love in Paris at Christmas. Perfection.

We arrive in Prague tomorrow evening at 7:00. We are staying in Prague 4 days and head to Zlin on December 10th. We've decided to rent a car when we leave Prague. I've heard that Zlin can make you feel a little trapped if you don't have the freedom to tour with a car. We will travel in between our dates at the clinic to Cesky Krumlov and Vienna.

My first appointment is on the 11th for my ultrasound. It was supposed to be on the 19th but that was changed yesterday. My husband has his time in the happy closet and leaves his deposit on the day of retrieval, which will either be the 11th or 12th. Then we just wait for fertilization and pray for a 5 day transfer.

I can't believe we leave today! I havne't gotten any sleep as I've had so much work to get done before leaving so I"m hoping to sleep the flight over. That will be a small miracle. I travel to India several times a year and don't sleep a wink on a 20 hour flight. If I actually fall asleep on this flight - all will be well and that will be my sign that miracles really do happen!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Our Trip is Just Around the Corner!

I haven't posted much lately because I am trying really hard not to think about what we are doing. That sounds a bit crazy doesn't it? It's actually been hard to sit down and really plan this trip because work and life has been so very busy, for which I am grateful.

But - alas - I do have to think about this. I started my estrogen yesterday - 3 pills a day. We leave December 5. We are going to spend a few days in Prague before heading to Zlin for my first ultrasound on Decemer 10. Hubby spends time in the happy room for his deposit on the 11th and we will drive that afternoon to Cesky Krumlov and spend a day or so there. I am hoping desperately for Day 5 transfer so that would be on December 16.

My emotions around this trip are so confused. One minute I feel optimistic and another I feel like I have made a terrbile decision. I still feel pretty removed from this process - as if it hasn't actually sunk in that I will be going through that two week hell again and will either be pregnant or not pregant once again around Christmas. I'm focused on our vacation rather than the true purpose of the trip.

I've received several e-mails asking who we are using and what our experience has been. We ultimately chose to use Marcela Fite has been very helpful. I can say it's really ben great working with her. I don't want to share any more than that until we've been to the clinic and met Dr. Anna. I will say the one significant draw-back for us has been the fact that I have no direct communication with the clinic or the doctor. Everything is filtered through a thrid party and I really don't like that.

I am praying for my donor, though. Praying that she knows the gift she is offering us and that the time on the meds will not be too difficult. I so wish I knew more about our donor. Her reasons for doing this, her personality, etc. I think that would help me feel more connected to the process but maybe not. It could do just the opposite. Regardless, I am grateful to this young woman and pray that she will be blessed.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Finally Feels Real!

So, today I feel it's truly official. I know I've said that several times but today really is the beinning of this new cycle. I did my Lupron shot tonight. I've really been dreading this - not because of the actual shot - I'm a pro with injecting myself at this point - but because I just hate Lupron. I hate the way I feel on this medicine and unfortunately, this isn't a micro-dose it's the full month shot. I went throguh 6 months of Lupron hell and it's a true miracle I survived - my poor husband was miserable.

At any rate - shot's done and now I'm planning our trip. Flight and hotel are booked. I actually getting excited. I'm doing my best to focus on the vacation aspect and not even really think about the IVF part - which, surprisingly, is easier than I would have imagined.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

It's Not All About Me

It's so easy to get caught up in infertility and forget that we (the women) are not the only ones that hurt through this. I tend to be slightly introverted and work through my issues internally. I don't talk through my emotions with others - I have to be inside my own head and work it out.

There are times through this infertility journey that I get caught up in myself. I forget the outside world. I forget to think about maintaining relationships with my friends and family because I'm hurting. I don't want to be around people when I'm hurting. I'm focused on just waking up, convincing myself I can make it through another day - talking myself through the emotions that come along with the sight of a new mom walking with her baby or telling people that i do not have children when they ask. Preventing these daily mini-breakdowns is quite taxing.

My friendships have certainly suffered as a result of this self-focus. I don't have anything left to give another person after I'm done taking care of my fragile self. I'm just mentally exhausted all of the time.

The worst, though - is how I've neglected to consider the depth of my husband's pain. I know that he hurts. I see it in his eyes and it moves me like nothing else. The pain in his eyes is what propels me forward on the donor egg issue. the problem is - this isn't a daily consideration for me. My own pain is certainly something that runs through my mind at least once daily but I only think about his when it's visible - which is not often.

Sure - I consider my husband's feeling the same way others going through infertility have - can he still love me if I can't have children? Is it fair that he won't have children because my body is broken? But - that's really about me isn't it? About my fears and my hurt.

I imagine what it will be like if we come back form the Czech Republic and find out we are not pregnant. That cuts me to the core. And for the first time - it's not as much my pain as it is the pain I imagine he will feel. I think, at this point, I'm a little resigned. I want a baby more than anything but I'm open to adoption if donor egg doesn't work. He isn't there yet and I"m not sure he ever will be. The pain he will feel will be intense and heart-breaking.

I hope when we are on the other side of the dark dark road - he will know that I love him and thank him for being with me through this. I hope I will have been a noble wife and considered his needs and emotions daily. I hope that this can stregthen us rather than pull us farther and farther apart the way infertility does so many couples.

My prayer is that God shows me my husband as He sees him - pain, worries and all so that I can love him through this. He's certainly done his share of loving me when I don't deserve it or return it. I want my heart to feel the burden that his carries so that I never forget it really isn't all about me.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Replacement Found!

I know calling our donor 'My Replacement' is cynical and a little crass but I'm ok with that......

Today, it's official! We actually have My Replacement and things are moving along. I thought I would be happier than I am. In fact - I've been thinking that this news would be the thing that finally moved me to excited. I'm happy but cautious - and unusually cynical.

We did find a great match, though. She matches my blood type, she's 5'10, blonde hair and green eyes with a degree. The doctor says she is very attractive but I'm assuming they tell everyone that.

I'm more concerned with the fact that I can not see a picture than I thought I would be. In the Czech Republic, all donors must remain anonymous and that prevents the doctor's from showing the donor's photo. I'm comparing this to adoption to feel better about it. If I were adopting I wouldn't know anything about the birth mother.....

That's the down-side to going abroad for donor egg. The information you get about your donor is not as comprehensive and detailed as I would have gotten with my clinic here. Is that information worth $20,000. What a price tag for a photo and a list of hobbies, huh?

So - all in all I suppose I am happy that we have moved onto the next phase. I've never been this cynical before - normally I'm fussing at my husband for being that person. Maybe it's not as much cynicism as it is self-protection........

Monday, October 8, 2007

Destructive Feminism

I've been hearing that Oprah is getting ready to do a show on "wombs for rent" with a focus on IF treatments abroad. This absolutely infuriates me. I can't even begin to describe the anger that flows through me at hearing this. It's as if women who work so hard to have children simply aren't as sophisticated as those women who choose not to have children. Why don't we understand that we have been given such incredible freedom to be strong, independent women by not having children? Why aren't we more evolved?

There's always a line in feminism where if it's crossed the philosophy is no longer a tool for empowerment but rather an instrument of destruction. This is a perfect example of destructive feminism.

If we had cancer and were going abroad for treatment the tone of this topic would be "these poor women who've been forced by our health care system to seek treatment outside of the US for the chance of survival". Instead it's - "these pathetic desperate women who will stop at nothing to fulfill their insane desire to be mothers".

I removed Oprah from my TIVO list last week after watching the pathetic interview she did with Michael Moore (no political flames, please....) so I can't even delete her from my list in defiance of this latest attempt at "journalism".

My hope is that she does treat this topic fairly - though I have little faith she will actually do that. Maybe - one day - we can stop judging each other for the decisions we make and simply empathise with our sisters - and find the tie that binds us together and celebrate that rather than participate in destructive fodder that weakens the souls of other women.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Choosing My Replacement

Tonight I finally sat down to complete our Donor profile for the Doctors in Zlin, Czech Republic. I've been putting this off and hadn't really stopped to examine my reason for doing so. As I sat here, tonight, however, outlining the characteristics I require of my donor I understand. I'm choosing my replacement.

I've fully accepted that Donor Egg is the route we should pursue as it is the only route that allows my husband to fulfill his deep need for a genetic link and it satisfies my desires to be pregnant and bond with my child for 9 months before actual birth. But - I am trying to find another me somewhere in the Czech Republic and that realization just drives the stake further into the coffin that holds my hope of genetic children.

Blood type match is of ultimate importance to me as I'm not decided that I will ever disclose this to our children. There are may debates and arguments on both sides - more on the side of full disclosure it seems but I'm not ready to embrace that yet. And - in all fairness - I don't think I have to be at the moment.

The second item on my list is no family history of mental illness. I chose to put this above education. One of my greatest secret fears is that we will have gone through all of this pain to find an entire lifetime of struggle with mental illness. I'm not sure why this scares me so but it does. It's the one thing that keeps me awake at night when I think of this entire process.

Education, of course, was next. A college graduate or current student is our requirement. Further - I would prefer her major course of study be in the arts as that was and is my focus. My husband is a scientist and it's very important to me that our children represent the balance that our partnering would bring to our own children. So - I actually specified on my profile that our donor could not have a degree in or be majoring in engineering or other sciences. I wonder if I am the only person that's ever had that request. I imagine the doctor reading that and thinking what a weirdo I must be. I think that also bothers my husband a little bit but to choose someone otherwise would be adding something that's foreign to me to the equation. Further - back to the mental illness fear - they say that scientists and engineers have a much higher risk of having autistic children.

Finally I requested a donor that is artistic - enjoys reading, painting and/or music - the later of which is of utmost importance to me. Again - my understudy should be as close to the original cast as possible, no?

All of this made me a little sad. I've grieved and resolved this loss as best I know how but it's just another layer of reality. My prayer is that nurture really does play more of a part than nature. And - that as I carry a baby form foreign DNA that I can bond and love it so that when it is finally born I won't even care.

Of course - this is all based on a lot of assumptions - I suppose the first step is actually pressing the send button and finalizing this first step.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Foolish Games

One would think that after 5 years and month after month of negative results and the diagnosis of Diminished Ovarian Reserve and only one tube left that happens to be blocked - I would no longer be prone to kidding myself those few days before my period each month - but I am, in fact, still a sucker.

I'm a day late and nauseous and there's a little person in the back of my mind that starts turning "it could be a miracle!" cartwheels. Tomorrow she'll fall flat on her ass and realize how silly she looked - a girl her age should never do cartwheels. She's relentless too. No matter what I do to ignore her - she's right there demanding attention - spinning and twirling and causing my mind to toss around thoughts I wish I simply would never have again.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Speed of Light

That's how fast I feel we are moving right now. It's pretty interesting how I've actually developed some pretty strong characteristics from all of this. I can't think of anything else that is quite the emotional and time roller coaster. One day we're balling the next day we're hopeful because we've found new option. One month seems to drag by and we feel life is just at a stand still and the next we wish we could slow it down. Flexibility, Agility, and Resolve are some of the great things I've learned from all of this.

I am feeling very rushed right now though. While I do want to move with DE as quickly as possible when I hear we may do this as soon as December I lose my breath. I can't imagine that we are really doing this. Don't get me wrong - I want to do this - I'm just shocked we're moving so fast. I have to get all of my medical records and complete our donor profile and, of course, write another check (though this one is much easier to write since it's a manageable amount) with in the week. On top of that - work is crazier than it's ever been. I'm working 14 hour days trying to roll-out new projects and it's the end of the quarter and I have to go to India for a month in November - which brings it's own set of concerns....Ahhhhh!!!


Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Danger of Hope

Hope is an essential emotion. Hope has saved lives and gotten people through unimaginable circumstances. Many holocaust victims credit this single emotion with allowing them to survive impossible conditions - the hope of the life they once knew or the hope of seeing their family again. Hope is the fuel that drives the most successful of people - the hope of financial freedom or the hope of creating a legacy. Hope is the hand that pulls children out of the inner cities and into the great colleges of our country - the hope of a better life.

For me - Hope has been the salt in the infertility wound. With every cycle comes the hope that this is it. That this is the cycle that will get me pregnant. Of course - with every negative test result - the loss of that hope is the source of the deepest pain. I wish someone had told me when I started IVF that I should check hope at my doctor's door.

As we begin to make plans for our donor egg cycle fear is the predominant emotion. Not the hope that was always there before. I fear the potential of more wasted money. I fear the fact that I may not get pregnant. I fear the doctor's will not be completely be honest with me about my donor. I fear if this doesn't work my husband will not be able to love me anymore. But - most of all I fear the unexpected visit of hope. I've tried to hide from it. I've tried to lock my heart so tight that it can't get in but it is creeping in and that makes me feel panicked.

Panicked because I don't know how much disappointment I can handle. Because I think at some point I will be so lost that there's nothing left of the woman my husband fell in love with. Panicked because I don't know who I will be if I am not a mother. And panicked because I'm afraid the God I thought was always there has forgotten about me - just like Celie in The Color Purple - "Dear God, I've always tried to be good. ...Please let me know what is happening to me."

But there it is. Hope. Starring me in the face and filling my heart. Maybe this really will be it this time.

Monday, September 10, 2007

If at First You Don't Succeed.....

We have made a decision! I'm so excited to just move out the holding pattern we've been in. I just feel like I need to constantly be moving forward. Forward motions helps me feel as if I am progressing - even if I have to double back a few times...

We've decided to go with Donor Egg. We've also decided to work with a clinic in the Czech Republic. I simply can't imagine spending another $25,000 on a chance again. At least in the Czech Republic the cost is roughly half of what it would be, here, in the states and we'll get a fantastic vacation at the same time.

I'm just waiting to find out my dates.

So very happy to be moving again!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Why Do You Want Children, Anyway?

A good friend of mine once asked me this question as we were beginning our first round of IVF. Many people ask questions like this out of pure stupidity - innocent as it may be. Her question, however, was smart and little did she know that it has shaped my emotions around my choices as they have become fewer and fewer.

When she asked me this question I was shocked - and a little embarrassed - that I didn't have a great answer for her. "Because I'm a woman" or "I just do - I feel like I want to be a mother" is all I could come up with off the cuff. As I thought about this question, however, I realized the absolute importance of the reasoning.

The fact that I'm a woman and wired for children or have this innate desire simply isn't a suitable justification for the stress I am putting my body through trying to get pregnant. This amount of effort deserves an honest and realistic probe into the emotions that propel us into the long and painful process of infertility treatments.

I've pondered this question for quite some time but I didn't get really honest with myself until my current condition forced me. Now that I have few, if any, eggs left this question takes on an entire new meaning. Just how much does the genetic link play into my desire for children?

Through all of this soul-searching, what I have found is it really doesn't play a role, at all. I am surprised that I can separate being a mother from being genetically linked to my child. While, there is definitely grief at the loss of being able to have genetic children, my desire to mother - to parent - reaches far deeper than that. The two really are totally separate issues for me.

So - why do I want children? I want children because I want to parent. I want to experience the good the bad and the ugly. I want to raise children to be healthy, wise adults that become productive members of society. And I do mean raise. I understand all of the hard work, exhaustion, frustration and even pain that goes into raising children - and I'm crazy enough to want all of it. For me the answer is the same as it would be for another when asked why they practice in their particular profession. (my disclaimer on this analogy is a person who actually enjoys what they do for work...)

What I can not, yet, explain is why I want everything that is inherent in parenting. Biology is certainly the first reason that comes to mind but I'm not completely satisfied with that. I also think that God places these desires on our heart and thereby He may have "called" me to be a parent.

I've learned that my motive for wanting children is my desire to parent - not my desire to leave a legacy through my genetics, or have the love from a child that I may not have received from another source. I also don't have the illusion that my children will grow up and save the world - I've heard that often - "I want children because I want to make the world a better place". I've seen enough children and met enough people to realize that we're not all making the world a better place - in fact - most of us are just existing - to endow a child with this burden seems to be the ultimate display of ego - but I digress.

I would encourage anyone struggling with infertility to answer these questions for yourself. What I learned has been a relief and has removed a layer of stress. While I have a great career and for a time thought if I didn’t have children I would be ok and simply focus on my work - I know, now, that my work is not to be in the board room but in my own home. And I've learned that I should not fear my ability to love a child that isn't genetically related because in the end - that fact is not my driving force.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

My Infertility Journey

As I look back on the hell that is infertility I often feel as if I am watching the life of someone else - a stranger - this certainly can't be the picture of my life, can it? My life was not supposed to look anything like this. This is so far from the plan - how did Blythe Adams end up here?

I was born and raised to be a mother. I grew up in the rural south and from early on I learned that women had two expectations and two electives in life. The expectations: Wife and Motherhood. The electives: Teaching or Nursing.

The electives never appealed to me and I always felt slightly deficient because of this. It confounds me, now, how a child in modern times simply could not know all that existed in the world outside of the rural south. The expectations, however, were all I focused on. I wanted the white knight to come and sweep me away from the country-side into his city of lights and noises and everything foreign to me. Motherhood was the pinnacle. I began preparing myself for this role as a teenager. After all - this was the most important call I would answer in life - I should be ready to be great.

The white knight showed up and did sweep me off to his city of lights and everything foreign and we eventually married at age 26. Just a few months after we were married is when the nightmare began. We learned of my infertility by accident. I was having an abdominal catscan performed and the technician moved me down too far. Thank goodness he did. What he saw was a pelvis full of cysts.

Several surgeries, lots of drugs, hundreds of dollars in ovulation tests and 4 years later I finally gave into the notion that IVF was my only option. We found the doctor and then got notice that my employer was going to be covering infertility treatments in 2 months. We were so excited and so sure this was a sign from God that we were doing the right thing.

We changed doctors and immediately began our first IVF cycle in January. My husband and I were almost giddy at this process. We were going to get pregnant! Finally! We started the drugs - 6 shots a day - and did everything perfectly but I simply wasn't progressing. With every ultrasound we prayed for more follicles but all I was growing were more cysts. We cancelled the cycle.

We immediately had the cysts drained and started a new cycle. This time things were looking better. My FSH levels and Estrogen were cooperating - though slowly. Finally - we had follicles! Not many but enough to move forward with retrieval.

The day of retrieval was nerve wracking. I cried the entire time they prepped me. I was so scarred they would retrieve nothing from my few follicles. After the procedure I got the great news! 6 eggs! That was truly amazing given the limited number of follicles and the small endometrioma that was in the way. On Day 3 we transferred. Two perfect Grade A embryos. This was it. I got in the car holding fast to the picture of my two perfect little embryos.

In my mind I was there. Of course, I knew I wasn't yet pregnant but God was pulling through. I talked to them and prayed every minute - "Please let them attach". The next two weeks was absolute torture. I was so nauseous from the progesterone - everyone kept telling me I was pregnant and I kept saying - "Let's not get ahead of ourselves - it's just the progesterone".

The day before my pregnancy test I went shopping. As I walked back to my car I noticed I parked in a spot with a sign. Panicked I had parked in a handicapped spot by accident I ran to the sign to find it was marked for Expectant Mothers. This could be nothing other than a sign from God!

Pregnancy Test

This day changed me. I can honestly look back at my journey, so far, and point to this day as the day that I lost a part of myself.

Sunday morning we drove across town for the pregnancy test. My doctor said he would call with the results. My husband and I held hands and prayed. This is what we had been waiting for. We didn't expect to get the results for awhile so we stopped at an Electronics super-store. He went to the restroom and I waited for him among the blenders and food processors. My phone rang. I answered - it was my doctor. "I'm so sorry - I really thought I would have good news for you. The test was negative." My phone lost reception and cut-off. Everything stopped. Time stood still. My life fell apart and my world shattered in the blender Aisle of Electronics hell while my husband sat on a toilet.

I don't really remember getting to the car but I remember sobbing. Sobbing like I never had before - in the parking lot. My poor husband looked as if someone had knocked the wind out of him. I remember one of first coherent thoughts being "How could this happen to my husband? He wanted this so badly and he had so much faith - how could God disappoint him like this?"

The rest of that day and much of that week is just a blur. I cried until there were no more tears and then I just sobbed with dry eyes. I got angry and screamed at God. I cried for my husband and the pain I knew he was in. Then - I couldn't talk to God anymore and the deep anger set in.

I eventually came back to half-life and started preparing for the next round. I cut out every ounce of caffeine - took more vitamins than I ever had and spent my mortgage in acupuncture treatment each month leading up to the new cycle. We tried a new protocol this time that is ideal for low responders. This time - 0 follicles. Nothing. Not a poor response - no response. Another cycle cancelled. My endometriosis had it's way. Diminished Ovarian Reserve. My doctor said our only real option was Donor Egg. We could start immediately. Just write the check for $25,000 and we can go ahead and move forward.

And here we are - deciding what to do next. Adoption? Donor Egg? Donor embryo? None of these are the options I want. I want a baby that is made from my husband and me. A baby that reflects the best of who each of us is. A baby that has my genes - possibly my love for the written word or my musical ability. But that will not happen for me. And now we face the biggest dilemma I could imagine at 32.

Will my life ever be what I dreamed? What do we do now? I'm not sure what the future looks like. What I know is it's not what I imagined. And I grieve the life that I will not have. The baby that I will not have. The dream that can never be - and the me that I lost along the way.