Fourth Time’s a Charm…?
When you’ve done multiple cycles, you’re familiar with the process of “doing inventory” as you prepare to do your next FET, so you know not only how many syringes and such you have on hand, but also if you’re going to need to buy another vial right away of the hormones. Delestrogen runs about $200 per vial, Progesterone around $65, and both the Estradiol pills (which I’ve traditionally taken post-transfer rather than continue on the Del to lessen the needle count) and Vicodin/Valium (the latter two for transfer day) cost next to nothing because for some reason. Birth control, which I finished off Sunday, was free.
For donor egg folks like myself, it’s not as fucked up as what those who have their own eggs to use go through, since there’s no egg harvest, and doing the FET is easier than the fresh transfer (with the fresh you do Lupron subcutaneous as well and are timed exactly with the donor so your life basically is put on hold)…but it still is physically and emotionally a force to be reckoned with.
As many going through this can relate, this photo above really describes how I’ve felt lately, like it’s a very very small bit of rope that I’m hanging by. And so when I had my hour with my counselor, we talked about that feeling and everything around me that’s bringing that feeling to the forefront, to near epic proportions at times.
Two words that comes about in my mind are interrelated as well:
If I don’t feel capable or productive, I feel like, well, nothing at all. Useless. Inferior.
When I started at the beginning of the year with step and zumba classes, my energy shot through the roof. I was feeling confident and strong and powerful and in control of at least one thing: my body. I dropped weight just like that, and my husband appreciated the spike in energy that came about in me…in a time when most are dealing with winter blues, January. So when my plantar fasciitis reemerged and completely took me out of the game (not just those classes but the elliptical and treadmill, plus long walks and hikes – really anything that required putting weight on my heel. Not only could I not get in a good workout in the ways that worked so well for me, I couldn’t even go barefoot in my own home, as the pressure on my left heel, within 10-15 minutes, translates into mind-numbing pain.
So the only thing I could do was ride my bike, and to be honest, that was only when I was looking at things objectively. And of course, while I enjoy riding, it’s not a heart-pumping activity when you don’t have anywhere you need to be – I’ve never been that “century ride” type of gal who just rides for fun – I’ve only liked it when it took me places, i.e., work or, of course, to a cafe.
The problem with objectivity was, with my foot injury atop the multiple failures experienced in infertility treatment, I was falling down the rabbit hole, and falling fast. Because I could not do simple things (and with PF comes the irony that if you sit or drive too long, it feels like you are being stabbed in the heel when you get up), and the hormones were fucking with my head big time, like perma-PMS, I could not see straight. Because of these hot flashes, I could not make sensible decisions, and many times got the helmet on my head even and then, in the garage, sat down and started weeping uncontrollably.
I saw myself as incapable…because everything seemed to be disintegrating around me. I felt like *I* was disintegrating. Body failures on all sides, from the reproductive clusterfuck of infertility to the scorching pain in my foot to the skin cancer showing up in my leg to the negative results that came up in my breast thermography (oh and by the way my breast MRI never happened as the doctor I was referred to absolutely dropped the ball and hadn’t reviewed anything when I got there to have it done, and I can’t do it during IVF cycle so I’m SOL until after this cycle is over, and of course if I’m pregnant we wait til after the kiddo arrives…so I’m just pretending I never had the thermo so I don’t go nuts). And with that my self-esteem and self-care habits both went down the tubes.
And while when one thinks about these things intellectually and therefore objectively, we know it’s just not true, but when you are in it you don’t see that you’re capable. You feel failure permeating through your skin and your heart and hope leaving you through all those tears you shed. You think, wow, I’m incapable of making a baby, I’m incapable of moving like I want to move, and what does that say about me? What did I do to myself to make this happen?
You know, all the stuff that makes total sense in your mind but, once you step away from it, makes you realize how damn hard you’re being on yourself.
And that’s why I love my counselor! Going to sessions, as those who’ve done this regularly know, means that some days you leave more exhausted and questioning, and others you get that random awesome breakthrough moment. This past Saturday was one of the latter. I knew I’d been feeling out of control because of all this, but distilling it into those particular adjectives seemed to really help.
And for some reason? I feel more hopeful. Identifying that “why” can be such a huge step to finding peace, even when I haven’t yet figured out the “how”. So of course, that’s why I keep going to her. Amen for therapy!
I found this graphic online and it pretty much summed up my trepidation going in, but then I took a valium, a vicodin and 200 mg of ibuprofen and I swear within 10 minutes I was pleasantly stoned. Being the lightweight I am, it’s nice to not have to chug a bunch of pills in order to get mentally prepped for the procedure.
My doc and I have a pretty good rapport, and the two nurses in the office are absolute gold that’s how much I adore them. So when we walk in, it’s like family. And because I know how my RE is, I know when to cut him off at the pass as well – i.e., when he pulls out The Scratching Implement to talk about what he’s going to do (my husband and I describe it as a modified back scratcher, if you get my visual), I immediately knew to look away. Doctors geek out on this stuff and my husband does as well, but as far as I’m concerned, STFU and just get it over with. No play-by-play, thankyouverymuch. The best prep I ever could have done for this? A) the drugs, to keep me as zen as possible, and believe it or not, B) reading the forums about it, just enough to know that it’s over very quickly.
For those who haven’t had it yet, the feeling of an endometrial scratch was to me like a combination of a pap smear and an embryo transfer, except that instead of the (pap) swab, they scratch the surface of your uterus for a few seconds, and of course instead of shooting an embryo through the catheter, they insert aforementioned scratching tool. Here’s why it can be helpful, I’m told:
“New research and evidence suggests that scratching the uterine lining causes a ‘repair reaction’ which may increase embryo implantation rates: the repair process releases growth factors, hormones and chemicals. The new lining which grows after the procedure is thought to be more receptive to an implanting embryo and so increases the chances of pregnancy; and ‘gene switching’ – scientists believe that the genes which are responsible for implantation of embryos are sometimes not ‘switched on’ during the time when embryos are supposed to implant. Endometrial scratching may ‘switch on’ the genes that are responsible for preparation of the endometrium for implantation, which increases the chances of pregnancy.” (source)
Getting the Cycle in Gear
Along with the scratch, since I finished up my birth control pills on Sunday, yesterday I had my weekly acupuncture visit with one of my new favorite holistic care providers EVER. She’s ridiculously gorgeous and smart and fortunately, incredibly nice. Yeah so it’s a love/hate thing hahaha. No really though, she’s amazing. AND for all my infertile sistas out there, she does a great blog that talks about infertility, prepping for IVF, overall self-care (nutrition, yoga, etc.) and more, including an eBook that you can buy/download – check it out!).
Anyhow, so last week she’d given me needles to help stop the 3 weeks of spotting, and this week of course needles to get my period kicked off, so that I can start my estrogen injections on schedule this Thursday. Happily, she did extra needles for my qi and blood flow, or as I call them, acupuncture that helps me chill the fuck out for an hour and go into the “floaty zone”. Good acupuncture is worth every penny, y’all. She’s out of network so I have to meet my deductible first, but hey, more frequent flyer miles for us right?
She also recommended parsley tea as a quick way to get my period started, something she herself discovered last year when she was trying to get her cycle going before a vacation (haven’t we all hoped for that). Ordinarily I wouldn’t make such a huge effort, but last fall our 2nd DEIVF was postponed 2 months because my period never came, so I’m all for insurance policies of the herbal kind. So, two cups of parsley tea – last night and this morning – which is basically just a teaspoon of parsley brewing for a minute or two, and a bit of almond milk (because christ, you’re drinking hot water with parsley, it’s not exactly a delicious cuppa chai). And yes – the doc said indeed, when I arrived for the scratch, that I was definitely in the early stages of starting my period.
Now…let’s hope that I not have a period for another 9-10 months…whaddayasay? I think for Cycle Four that’s something I damn well deserve. Let’s get a kiddo in mah belly!!