Well we have hit two weeks since the miscarriage shit hit the fan and I will say that I am doing much better all things considered. Still on edge, still just chilling with my husband and therefore still not a Social Samantha (husband and I like to describe each other in alliterative names…go figure), but better. I started writing this post in the morning to say I had not shed any tears but by early afternoon, they arrived. The 3 day heat wave of 100+ degree temperatures didn’t help, with our house topping out at 84 degrees yesterday. This morning I woke up at 6 to open all the windows to the 58 degree magnificence out there that would get our house back into the 70s. Nice…
Triggers though still pop up, often in unusual places. I avert my eyes at strollers and bellies and take a deep breath, pretending I saw nothing, yet I find that I still smile and make funny faces at little ones with their chubby cheeks when they walk by or are in a table next to us at a restaurant. The most recent breakdown was when thinking about what to do on “results day”…you know, 8dp5dt where the pregnancy test is taken post transfer. (There’s a good portion of me now saying that, if the HPT is negative, I won’t even bother going in for a blood test.) The other thing is having somewhere to go to process the results. One thing we learned in retrospect was that getting away is essential right after you find out the results. Celebrate or cry somewhere other than home. Be away from humanity. What we’ve done thus far.
- IUI cycles 1 & 2 – no travel (obviously had no clue this would be so crazy hard)
- DEIVF #1 – Paris & Normandy, just a couple days after results. Would love to do that again, in particular the countryside.
- DEIVF #2 – Nowhere. Big mistake. I was a wreck and so was he. ugh.
- DEIVF #3 – Cannon Beach day after transfer but didn’t go anywhere after results, which was a mistake.
- DEIVF #4 – Puget Island after results, perfect farm stay in the summer away from the heat and civilization. Saw very few other humans.
- DEIVF #5 (this October) – We’ve decided we’ll escape for a few days to the super quiet coastal town of Yachats the week after results (so if we get a BFP we will be around to do the 2nd blood test before we leave town. I suppose that’s an indicator of optimism?). I love going to the beach in the fall and winter when the crowds have left, especially midweek…ahhh.
But even with these plans, the fact that we are planning yet another trip, which could be another trip to grieve, is simply keeping me sitting on the precipice.
Fortunately, I’m back to work. Thank goodness for my business to put it mildly… I have a new client and a possible two more gigs coming up and boy is that making a difference in giving me the distractions I need, along with catching up on my estimated taxes and making my annual retirement contribution which the slow summer had worried me might not happen.
My husband shared the tweet above that really calls out those who use the “you’re in my thoughts/prayers” and never hear from them afterwards. It’s lazy and it’s not real friendship. In this day where people have 400 Facebook “friends”, I don’t conform. I have real expectations of what real relationships should look like, and while I have lots of acquaintances (where the expectations are not at the same level), when it comes to those few true-blue relationships in life, whether it be friend or family, yeah I do expect people to step up, pick up the phone, make time to come by. I don’t want advice, I don’t want to change the subject, I don’t want anything but love and support and hugs and…time. What a gift one’s time is to those who are struggling, no matter what the reason.
And what I thought about this weekend to go with that, was the fact that my husband and I honestly don’t actually have any super close friends left. I have friends that I may have lunch or drinks with every month or two, yes, but not the really close friendships, because those ones? Turned out they were not the friends we thought they were. Not the kind who show up for you. Not the kind who can be trusted to stick by you and be there for you during your deepest heartbreak of infertility. With a recent betrayal of trust by a family member on my husband’s side giving away private information (information he’d specifically asked not be shared), it has poured salt on the wound of our recent loss, and confirmed to him sadly and unquestionably that this is not someone we want in our lives (not to mention made my own fierce protectiveness of his tender heart amp up even more).
But we know one thing – my husband and I? We are family to each other. Our love is what matters first and foremost. This has made us stronger, closer, and more focused.
Preparing for Round 5
I swear y’all, if I knew a year ago that, as we were starting off the DEIVF portion of our infertility treatment plan (after 2 failed IUIs in the first half of 2015), picking out our donor, still reeling that my (lack of) eggs were changing our whole direction, that a year later we’d have dealt with so much heartbreak? I wouldn’t have believed it. This past cycle was supposed to be our last try. But like I said in a recent post, the experience, no matter how short it was, of being pregnant flipped a switch in me and made the possibility more than a pipe dream…and brought us to where we are today. Try, try again.
Two weeks left of freedom before the estrogen-ing begins. Today being the last day of the heat wave (101 today, back to the 80s tomorrow) means I can also focus on enjoying the last part of August.
For those who are getting treatment in the US, I also found that the SART website which holds the official numbers of how successful clinics truly are has been revised slightly to somewhat improve how they are reporting. One of the biggest misnomers I’ve learned is that the “success rates” posted by most clinics are their rates for a BFP – *not* for delivering an actual baby into the world – and SART still does not state how many attempts it took to get there either. However, they are reporting miscarriage data better, and for DEIVF, it is NOT the 10% average that my clinic (and many others) state. Miscarriage those under 45 for donor egg IVF is closer to 1 in 3 (and close to half of all pregnancies for those over age 45).
It’s too late to fume but for anyone at the beginning, my lessons learned:
- Get one’s embryos genetically tested at the fresh stage. If they don’t offer it, find someone who will do this. You do NOT want to have 13 blastocysts and absolutely no idea which ones have chromosomal abnormalities. And while PGS-tested embryos don’t always turn into kiddos, it doesn’t waste your time or money or physical/emotional stamina on embyros that from the start aren’t going to work. Your time is precious, your body is valuable, your mental health is essential.
- Your doctor is NOT omniscient – and just because your clinic has high success rates, doesn’t mean their standard protocol is the only correct way to go. First, every woman’s body is different as are the embryos they are working with – we are human beings, not machines, so while you want someone who knows what they’re doing, their skill level does not guarantee success with your unique embryos and body! Doctor Google isn’t always a bad thing, if you use it to broaden your perspective to advocate for yourself. Learn about what other women going through IVF are getting prescribed and ask you doctor questions about those protocols and why (s)he’s prescribing each drug compared to X, Y, and Z that you’ve read about. And if (s)he doesn’t think you need it, ask if it will *hurt* to take it anyhow, particularly when it comes to immunology. Some doctors don’t put a lot of stock in it, but, like mine, will prescribe things like 5 days of Prednisone to make me happy because he knew it wouldn’t harm me. But if I hadn’t asked? I’d never have known.
- If you’re going to a large clinic, or your clinic isn’t particularly touchy-feely, make sure you get supplemental care from someone who will give you that support. For me, it was in the 4th cycle making the decision to change to a different holistic care provider for my pre- and post-transfer care, who was much more responsive to my request for care beyond acupuncture, who put together an entire plan of action (both claimed to “help women get pregnant” but the second one actually , and came to my doctor’s office on transfer day to do the before and after treatments (something my first acu said “well I have other patients and can’t possibly take an extra hour off to go back and forth to your doctor’s office” – when she could have just charged extra for her time, like my current one did). I also have a good therapist who specializes in just this area of hell that we’ve been going through.
“I am making a claim and a promise, I shall never abandon you. I missed your growing up, that’s all, but I can see what a fine woman you turned out to be and you deserve to be happy…You are not a quitter, and I am so happy that you are you.”
That’s what my husband’s sweet stepmum said to me after my last post, and my heart beamed to read that. I’ve never had a family member say anything close to that. Not my father before he died, not my mother or grandmother or anyone with my DNA. Our world evolves and with that, so do the people in it. I am grateful for her across the sea. So these pictures are a few excerpts of my youth dedicated to her, the one big heart that keeps beating for us unconditionally. Thank you, Mum C.