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On one of my recent walks I spotted this random little horse left perching in a tree. I sent this photo to J and he said it definitely looked like a good omen. It was sweet of him to say. Of course, we’ve hung our hats on a lot of “good omens” already, but I’ll go ahead and bank on this little horse.
Actually, things already aren’t going so smoothly with my DE cycle. The donor egg coordinator at our clinic is brand new. She didn’t instill a huge amount of confidence at our initial consultation, but I’ve become increasingly worried that she’s actually going to fuck things up. Has the woman ever heard of a spreadsheet? Does she not write anything down?
I wrote down exactly what happened, so I’d be prepared to talk to my RE about it (I’ve changed the woman’s name in this account, obviously):
I called Dumbass on the 22nd of November, because I hadn’t heard from her in awhile, and I knew that it was near the time that my donor was to get her period. Dumbass clearly said that she hadn’t yet heard from my donor, but that she expected her to start on her period in about a day. She advised me to stay on the birth control pills and to skip over the placebo week. At that point I was on the last day of the medicated pills, so needed to start a new pack the very next day. I was uneasy about the fact that I wouldn’t have known to skip the bleed unless I had thought to call her on that day. Dumbass told me that she’d call me as soon as she heard from my donor. She gave me a tentative schedule, but said we’d have a firm one once we knew exactly when my donor began her cycle. She assured me that she’d call me as soon as she heard from my donor.
After Thanksgiving week, I was surprised that I hadn’t heard from Dumbass at all, because my donor should have begun her cycle by then. I left a message for Dumbass Monday the 28th and got a call back from her after five on that day. She informed me that my donor had actually called her on the 18th of November to let her know her period started. Since it began that early, we’d have to wait for her next cycle to avoid conflicting with the yearly lab closure. The delay was fine and unavoidable, but what was disturbing was that she completely forgot this information and consequently misguided me (to the point of telling me to skip a bleed) when I called her on the 22nd.
I expressed my concern about having been misinformed, and Dumbass said that there had just been some “miscommunication.” She said nothing about now adjusting my cycle to accommodate the change in my donor’s schedule. I had to remind her about the possible need to now shift my cycle to coordinate with the change in plans. It didn’t occur to me to ask her about this on the 28th, but I called her the next day to bring it to her attention.
Because of this situation, I am very uncomfortable with the fact that this Dumbass is my only contact for this cycle and that she seems (from my vantage point) to be the only one tracking and coordinating my donor and myself, making decisions about the introduction of medication, and scheduling important procedures.
If any mistakes are made this cycle, the repercussions for us are very great – both emotionally and financially. Given our investment in this cycle, I feel I have a right to be completely confident that my donor cycle is being coordinated and monitored carefully by the clinic that shall remain nameless.
There. When – and if – I finally get to talk to my RE, I’ll try to play nice and use the nurse’s correct name, not Dumbass. The clinics always manage to make reaching your RE a feat tantamount to a snagging a meeting with the Wizard of Oz. So much so that I can’t help but get pissed off when J so-innocently suggests I ask the doctor something. He has no clue (even though I’ve told him repeatedly) that the whole system is set up so that you can never directly call, e-mail, or leave a voicemail for your RE. Sorry, a little off-topic ranting about something I’ve learned after too many fertility treatments.
In other news, I’ve gradually reduced my Zoloft dose to the minimum – 25 mg. I’m hoping to go off it completely by next Monday. I’ve been feeling fine. It’s hard to tell about my sleep, though, because I was taking Benadryl for a bad cold for awhile. That’ll always knock me out. Last night I had a little tougher time calming down and I woke up early thinking about the DE coordinator fuck-up. I think it’s completely legit to be a little stressed about this, though. I don’t feel like I’m going to lose it, and ultimately, I know we’ll be able to right things. In the meantime, I’m just a pissed off infertile (yes, another one).
The really crappy thing about having been on anti-anxiety/depressants for awhile is that when you go off them your husband suddenly is super sensitive to whenever you get emotional. J said that I have to pay attention to whether I start to get too upset too often, and that if I start to “spiral” I should think about increasing the Zoloft dose again. That really pissed me off. I’m not going to have my every emotion monitored and judged, now only allowed “legitimate” reactions, and “overreactions” being tallied as possible cause to re-medicate me. That’s disturbing on so many levels. I know that comment just came from his fear of the pain we’ve been through before and his love of me, but still, it rankled. These factors are given and non-negotiable: the stakes are high with this DE cycle; there’s no avoiding that there may be some stress and anxiety coming my way in the coming months; and by nature I’m not the most easy going, mellow, laissez faire kind of person. But those things being true don’t necessarily mean that I need to be on Zoloft.
I think I am now better able to notice when I become agitated or tense and to calm myself in the moment. I’m better able to observe my emotions from a removed place and think about how to take care of myself. I also have a grounding knowledge that I can get through this – that I can navigate extremely difficult waters. Those are huge gains that I’ve made. Hopefully, even sans Zoloft, those new skills will help me through this cycle, whatever happens. And if living with IF has taught me anything at all, it’s that there are ALWAYS going to be surprises.
I can’t seem to get myself off of the couch. See, I could stay on the couch all day today and it wouldn’t make much of a difference. The crazy thing about my career is that I’ll be harried and super busy for months, and then there will be weeks of a lull. I was just out of town for about two months, away from home and J, living in a crappy apartment, going non-stop all day and then collapsing at the end. It was stressful and all-absorbing. Now I’m back home and though I have a job, there are no pressing deadlines for awhile. For now, I have to wait for others to finish their part before I can even get started on mine. So, I’m just here, on the couch. It’s nice, really, to have the leisure. Believe me, I’m NOT complaining. It’s noon and I’m still in my bathrobe, after all. I know how lucky I am in that respect. It’d be a lot nicer, though, if I could just embrace it and let go of the guilt and mild anxiety at not being busier. I can’t get rid of the idea that I’m some absurd stay-at-home mom without the kid, though.
I organized all my dresser drawers, our bathroom cabinet, and cleaned out my studio closet that will (one day) become the baby closet. My next project is the kitchen. Then I can make preparations to the dining room so that it’s ready to become my studio. Then my studio can become the nursery…one day. Will you think I’m absolutely crazy if I tell you that I have a ground plan sketched for the nursery set-up? That I have the color picked for the walls? That I have a powerpoint collage of nursery inspiration? That there’s a part of me (I’m keeping it in check, don’t worry. I’m not THAT crazy) that just wants to decorate that damn nursery already? I have a list of other things I could do today, but it’s really hard for me to motivate. I should go for a walk, but it’s really cold and gray outside. I could start a painting, but it’s hard to get rid of the feeling of that just being busywork – that it doesn’t matter whether I create that painting or not. I guess it’s that feeling that keeps me from actually being an artist, but that’s another post entirely…
I guess the big problem is that I so desperately, all-consumingly just want to be a mom now (I know I’m not alone here). I don’t want to do anything else. I spend my time researching Montessori tools for infants and toddlers, putting children’s books on my Amazon wish list, collecting kid art projects. I’m now an expert on strollers. I know it’s ridiculous, but that’s just where I want to be. That’s where I’ve wanted to be for FOUR YEARS now. At the beginning, right when we got married (2008), I was afraid of what motherhood would do to my identity and my career. I worried about having to turn down jobs, about staying at home, about becoming a primary care-giver. J and I actually had arguments about it, because I was filled with such fear and ambivalence. That was before the years of struggling to get pregnant. I guess 4 years, 3 clomid cycles, 2 IUIs, 4 IVFs, and 0 BFPs really can change your priorities. Now I can’t imagine anything more exciting than a day at home with my child. God knows, there will be many days that aren’t as idyllic as my imaginings, but let me pretend for now, ok? I know I’m being silly. Even if this DE cycle works I’m not going to be an instant mother. I still have to have other things to fill my life. It doesn’t help that I’m deeply ambivalent about my current career. I’m burnt out and I’m not sure I can stay doing this when we have a kid, so my cathexis has shifted elsewhere. It’s all in one basket – the baby basket.
If I’m honest with myself, I’ll say that our DE cycle is happening in good time. It didn’t take long for us to find our donor (of course we had to look all across the country, but we found someone I’m super happy about), she’s finished all her screening, and now we’re in the process of working on the agreement with our attorney. That all happened in a matter of 3 months. J and I have a couple of months at home together, just being a married couple, not dealing with injections, hormonal moods, disappointment, or my work travel. I know that’s good for us. We’ll work on getting into a groove together again, and on getting our sex life back. I should just enjoy this time for what it is – take care of myself and my love and be patient. Unfortunately, patience isn’t my strong suit, though, and I’d say it’s been given quite a test.
My donor should be getting her period next week. It is the oddest thing to know something so intimate about a complete stranger, but there you are. She’ll then start on birth control pills. Our IVF lab closes from mid-December to New Years for their annual upkeep, so they’ll need to time things so that we have retrieval after the New Year. Transfer should be around January 7th, 2012. All fingers and toes crossed that I’ll be able to announce our pregnancy 4 years from our wedding (April 19, 2008). All fingers and toes and hairs crossed that I’ll be safely pregnant by the time I turn 39, on February 4th. Please.
And then there’s the thought that pokes it’s way in – I’d say 20 times a day. It might not work. We could spend all this money and time and effort and I could STILL not get pregnant. I can only pray with all my being that if that happens, we’ll have some frosties to try again with. (Why on earth does my computer auto correct “frosties” as “fro sties”? What are “fro sties”?). I guess I know we’ll be able to cope with the pain and disappointment if this cycle doesn’t work. That’s the ONE real gift of infertility, as I see it. You learn how very much you can take – and it’s WAY more than you ever thought manageable. But I really, really, really hope I won’t have to find out that I’m quite that strong.