Early Pregnancy Announcements: Ew.

Tuesday, a guy I know posted a photo on his Facebook with the caption:

so… it’s super early- and really, a lot could go wrong. but I’m too excited to keep it a secret. 
my wife put it best… “so… this happened today.”

The photo was of course of a positive pregnancy test:

 url

 So basically, they announced their pregnancy when they’re about a whiff’s worth of pregnant.

I’ve always been one of those “wait all the way through the first trimester” kind of gals. I’m superstitious and old-fashioned that way. Now that I’ve a) had a miscarriage, b) known folks who miscarried and c) found out just how common miscarriages are, I find myself even more superstitious and leery of letting the cat out of the bag early.

I mean, I’m happy for them, of course I am (though I won’t lie to you guys…..it also stings to know that JUST ONE MORE person is pregnant before me) but it just seems like SUCH A BAD IDEA to post that picture on the Facebooks when they’re all of what….4 or 5 weeks pregnant?

I feel shitty for this kind of judgment.

It’s interesting though – as a lady writing about her struggles and quests, I realize that if I get pregnant (IF, I said IF….I can dream) I’ll be telling the faceless online support group of fellow questers that it’s worked likely after the first few betas. But it sort of feels like we’re all in this together – the joy of one keeps a mess of us going in a way, “It worked for her, it could for me.”

There was a side thought to my seeing that photo:

They don’t know they’re rubbing their fertility in the noses of a mess of people.

Why would they?

Would I have known if none of this had been a problem?

No, I wouldn’t have.

There’s an innocence that I’ve lost. That many of us have lost. The innocence that tells us to shout out joyous news from the rooftops. That everyone will be happy. Who wouldn’t be happy to hear that there’ll be a new little life in the world?

However:

Between them they know like 900 people….the sheer law of averages means a few people on that list are having a rough go getting pregnant or worse yet, have lost one to miscarriage.

They’re excited. I get it. But take a breath.

And yes, I know I’m a bit of an asshole with this – but it’s my blog, and it’s a safe place.

 

#100happydays 25% of the way

Over on the Twits I’ve been participating in the hashtag “100happydays”

The endeavor: take a picture every day of something that makes you happy i.e. find a bit of happiness in every day.

I’m actually doing this on both of my Twitter feeds: AgingBabyMaker and MyRealName (see what I did there…you won’t find me just yet, friends). The pictures are sometimes the same but often different – the ones on my (actual name) account often have a bit more snark to them….or irony….or a “look at this dumb thing” aspect.

Anyway, since I’m about 1/4 through the 100 days I thought I’d share a few of the photos here – a mixed bag of shots from both accounts so you can get some sweet with the snark.

IMG_0146 unnamed IMG_0276 IMG_0271  IMG_0177 IMG_0106  IMG_0027 IMG_0026 IMG_0126 IMG_0112 IMG_0043 IMG_0326

So – some things that have made me happy over the last 25 days:

An actual phone (old school!!!), Star Wars dog toys, an egg pillow, butterscotch root beer, Lord of the Rings pez dispensers, a sign making me aware of rattlesnakes and bees (no thank you!), a puppy picture of my dog, a calming mug of something warm, socks with a unicorn….shooting rainbows out of its butt!, shamrock shakes (ironic because the thing I was photographing was the 660 calories listing which keeps me from actually buying the minty goodness….), a very sleepy Buddha, and some daffodils (which indicate that spring WILL eventually show up, even if Chicago fights it every step of the way).

What’s a little something that makes you happy? Put a picture in the reply!

Helpful Statements That Are Gut Punches

I had a great lady lunch with some friends yesterday that had one bump in the road. It occurred when I talked about starting our final IVF while also seeing an adoption process on the horizon. My dear friend, in trying to show she cared used one of “those phrases” that seem harmless but are in fact, full of harm:

“You know that once you adopt you’ll get pregnant.”

Because she’s my close friend I didn’t feel the need to mask anything and just said, “well actually all this testing is showing us why we’re likely not getting pregnant and it’s because I have a number of things that can affect implantation so as awesome as it would be to just get pregnant, it just doesn’t look like that would happen.” We talked it out and it’s fine, but it definitely showed me that when the time comes that we “go public” I can likely expect more of these statements.

Oof.

I did a quick google search of the phrase “what not to say to an infertile couple” and I got some juicy ones. Here are thoughts on just a few.

“It could be worse, it could be (insert awful disease here)”

Um, thanks? Why don’t we make a Pie chart of other things that could be worse: pooping my pants on an airplane, having 14 mosquito bites for a year in places I can’t itch, falling into a cactus while my naked lady bits are exposed…. This is a fun game!

“just relax and you’ll get pregnant”

I laugh alot, professionally and personally. I also knit, which is my own form of meditation. I like to cook and chop and stir, all very zen activities. Re. Laxed. And hey look, not pregnant.

“at least you’re having fun trying”

Am I? Infertility makes “trying” into math: when to try, when to abstain, when to try alot. Pee on this stick or take your temperature every day to check for ovulation. Plus, you’re tired! Tired for normal life reasons AND there’s something you really want that you’re not getting and that makes you more tired. So no, we’re not rampantly running amok “having fun trying” on top of all the tables and chairs and in closets morning noon and night. (Not that we were before….who do you think I am?)

There so many more ridiculous things that get said by the way – Google them and have a giggle (or a cry). Don’t get me started on the ones that involve God/supreme beings/what the universe wants.

Honestly, we dodged a big bullet by getting married in our 40s – I can count on one hand two fingers the folks who’ve blatantly asked “so, when are we gonna see some kids?” Apparently, getting married late = implied automatic shut down of parental endeavors?

I’ve been at wedding receptions and seen people walk up to the bride and ask “when are you having kids.” I wanted to throat punch on their behalf. (for the record: I didn’t). Btw, it’s usually a craggy old aunt who does the asking. Don’t be the craggy old aunt.

This is second friend who used the “once you adopt you’ll get pregnant” on me. My friends absolutely wanted to help, wanted to show that they cared (alot!), wanted to show that they were hopeful for my success….but just didn’t think about the fact they were saying these phrases to someone who’s been trying too long.

The sad thing is….before I was in this muck, I likely used these phrases, or at the least wouldn’t have thought about the full impact.

So, before you go throwing what you think is a helpful phrase around, consider:

Do you know if they’ve been trying? Do you how long? Do you know them well enough to deal w/the potential anger/sadness you might trigger w/your pretty friggin personal question?

No one MEANS to be insensitive, but man we all step in it sometimes without thinking.

Maybe just have the balls to say, “I’m really sorry. It must be hard to face all this. I don’t really know what to say.”

It’s likely gonna make you an even better friend.

But if I see you at a wedding and you walk up to the bride or groom and ask them….I will find you.

Dancing dubbed, Muppet Interviews and Gervais w/Elmo

To the untrained human, trying to get pregnant simply involves gettin’busy, knockin’ boots, makin’ bacon, the lust and thrust, the bump and grind, havin’ a bedroom rodeo, some hanky panky, gettin’ lucky, a roll in the hay, a good old fashioned shag…..

……but for those of us in the infertility trenches, we know getting pregnant means trying to hone your body into a perfectly balanced eco-system of hormones and chemicals you never knew you had while aligning the planets during a mystical creatures convention where a unicorn nods approvingly at you and The Cubs win The World Series.

It can be daunting.

For me, it boils down to having a constant stream of distractions, shiny objects and things to occupy my brain.  I share some here each week.

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This clip is from Awakefest 2013, and some genius figured out that it would be fantastically better to set the dancing of these festival-goers to the theme from Benny Hill. I couldn’t agree more.

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Here’s a clip from Unscripted – Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog all taking audience questions re: the release of The Muppets. It’s fairly off-the-cuff and some of it gets pretty sassy. Also, at the 4:15 mark Miss Piggy does impressions of other muppets….and it’s fantastic.

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Ricky Gervais and Elmo in an off-the-rails interview…clearly most of it never made it to air.

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Happy weekend everyone!

No Laparoscopy for This Lady

So insurance will NOT cover the laparoscopy to look for endometriosis. Shit. Not that I was in any way looking forward to going through a laparoscopy (especially since I have to fly to Boston 2 days later), but it would have been nice to have that information and something to treat if something was there.

Well….my Friday’s now open….anyone wanna catch a movie?

We are repeating the Beta 3 integrin biopsy (super gross) at the end of this cycle/end of the month so we will see if it is again negative or if it’s positive (it can change month to month). I am also taking delestrogen – injectable estrogen – every other night to see if this stronger medicine can take care of the “out of phase” issue with my endometrial lining (build up the quality not just the quantity). So that’s two things we’re hoping to fix with this trial/test cycle.

If that Beta 3 integrin’s negative again they want to treat me as if I have endometriosis: Lupron for 3 months or Birth Control pills with Letrozole/Femara (don’t know how long that would be) to hopefully shrink whatever might be there (might be there because we don’t know if I even have endometriosis because I can’t get an exploratory laparoscopy – Eat a D insurance company) and get the environment more suitable (Beta 3 positive) for implantation and occupation.

Now here’s the pickle: we don’t have that kind of time. My hubbo’s contract is up in a few months and our bells & whistles insurance is tied to that. I.e. our fertility coverage goes away end of May/June-ish – he’s in touch with his HR person to get a firm answer on what timeline we’re looking at.

So….we may have to say Fuck It to all this stuff (remember: “ignore all this info and proceed” was one of the options Dr. Hail Mary gave us) and move forward with an honest-to-goodness-low-probability-of-success-but-giving-it-a-shot-anyway IVF starting next month.

Timeline for now: some bloodwork & ultrasounds on 15th, 20th & 25th to see how body’s responding to delestrogen/progesterone trial cycle, Beta 3 integrin biopsy on 30th or 31st…..then we wait the 10ish days for that test to come back.

AND! We really need to make a decision on when to move forward with the adoption process – we’re not getting any younger and that’s a (probably….potentially) LONG process. The first step is 10-12 weeks of paperwork/interviews to get past the home visit stage….which is the point at which potential birth mothers can start seeing your profile. The woman we met with felt we were great candidates, in part because we have very few limitations on the child we’re looking for – we just need to fill out the application and get going. 

But you know – who wants to drop a few thousand on the start of an adoption process only to find out their IVF worked (Hail Mary!!!). It’s only a few more months of waiting…but I’m feeling antsy about making things happen/wanting to be proactive.

It’s alot. It’s all alot. For the first time I wonder if I’m cracking a bit under the pressure. I’m mostly okay but there are a few more “rain cloud” moments within the day where I’m thinking too much and wondering when the tide will turn. I still have all the faith that we’ll end up with our family – it’s just feeling like it’s taking an awfully long time to get there.

Clearly I need to go that Liam Neeson movie and hope for some throat punching….Friday? Anyone? Chicago? My treat!

 

 

Insurance: To Cover or Not To Cover

So Friday I had the following email exchange with my RE’s office regarding our upcoming laparoscopy to look for endometriosis:

RE’s office:    

I just wanted to give you a heads up that as of right now, (Insurance Co) is denying your surgery. A negative Beta  Integrin  test  is not justification for laparoscopy.  [We will] review your history to  determine if there  are other signs/symptoms to support a laparoscopy. I will keep you posted on Monday after we are able to review your chart.

Me:                  

Out of curiosity, with so many women asymptomatic (as I am), how does the surgery usually get justified? Or is this often a problem?

RE’s office:    

It is a problem …. Beta Integrin testing (that’s the gross biopsy I had a few weeks ago and will likely repeat) is not recommended/approved by ASRM. That’s why insurance does not cover the test and you had to pay for it out of pocket.  It is a controversial subject in the field. It is kind of one of those theories that has  not been 100% proven or backed by the RE community and studies.

Me:                

Oh I get that – but what about ladies who don’t have symptoms (a 1/3 of women with endo don’t have symptoms) but it becomes necessary to check to see if endometriosis is present….that it’s the culprit for fertility problems? Do you have to go through this every time?

RE’s office:  

If patients are asymptomatic there is usually no need to check for endo.  The only reason we typically do a diagnostic laparoscopy is because someone has symptoms and we have a hunch that those symptoms are due to endo so we go in a look to confirm if our theory is correct.

So…..hopefully they’ll be able to make the case, because it would be nice to know what’s going on in there…and if there’s something going on in there, do something to fix it. We will not do the lap if it’s out-of-pocket. It would be thousands and thousands (and thousands) of dollars, and since it’s only to “look and see” we’d rather save those thousands and thousands (and thousands) of dollars to put into our adoption fund if IVF4 doesn’t pay off. (Speaking of, we had a great meeting with an adoption agency a week ago – I really need o write about that soon).

I have a pre-op phone consult tomorrow to discuss the surgery….hopefully I’ll know soon if I’m actually going to have it.

Diagnosis: Numerous Implantation Hurdles

So more tests have rolled in and unfortunately they’ve presented some issues. Luckily we were able to get in with Dr. Hail Mary this morning to get an explanation of what those test results mean and what we should do about them.

While we’re still waiting on the results of the receptivity biopsy, the Beta-3 Integrin biopsy has come back negative…and this is one that you’d rather hear “positive” as a result. Beta-3 integrin helps with implantation….without it, things are…..”tougher” – not impossible, but “tougher.”  Also, they also found out that my endometrial lining is out of phase – meaning, it doesn’t mature at the proper time (this could be causing the negative Beta integrin) which also makes implantation difficult. The negative beta integrin can also be secondary to inflammation – meaning, there could be some endometriosis in there.  (These issues are on top of the elevated Protein C we found out about that can also get in the way of implantation – I’ll take blood thinners for that).

By the way – I am completely asymptomatic for endometriosis, but the doctor roughly 1/3 of all women with endometriosis do not have any symptoms.

He gave us 5 options for how to proceed:

1. Repeat test/trial cycle with a different hormone protocol i.e. injectable estrogen to build up lining and injectable progesterone to mature the lining – see if they can build as hospitable apartment in there.

2. Ignore the results.

3. 3 months of Lupron to shut down system, shrink any endometriosis (if there’s any) that might be causing negative Beta-3 and then try to get pregnant after that.

4. Laparoscopy/hysteroscopy – go in, look for endometriosis, get rid of it if it’s there.

5. Use a gestational carrier.

We found 2 not so logical, 3 not really an option due to our insurance ending in May/June (at least insurance that has fertility coverage, so we need to get this show on the road) and 5 just made us giggle.

So, we’re going to combo-platter 1 and 4: test/trail cycle at the same time as laparoscopy.

If they get in there with the laparoscopy and there’s no endometriosis then we’ll continue the testing/trial cycle by repeating the endometrial biopsy to see if the injectable estrogen/progesterone did the trick re: maturing the endometrium during the necessary window of time for implantation. If they find endometriosis then we’ll end the trial cycle – the doctor figures that would be the cause of the negative Beta3, therefore no need to repeat that biopsy (which was a real joy to do the first time…..cough cough…hey look over there!).

I mean, it’s enough that I gotta stress about making at least one friggin good embryo – now I gotta worry about even being able to build a house that’ll accept a resident!

The laparoscopy is scheduled for next Friday, March 14, so we’ll see what we see then. In the meantime, I start injectable estrogen tonight.

Ah the joys of what we do.