Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

I was inspired to bake this year. I've done Christmas baking in the past, but not for a few years. I think I was inspired by Ashley at Calmly Chaotic who showed us pictures of her delicious looking baked goods. I tried those Hello Dolly bars, which were a big hit with Mr. A, as well as the whole wheat gingerbread cookies. Yum. I also made pistachio-apricot triangles, sugar cookies and espresso chocolate snow caps. Overall, the gingerbread and pistachio-apricot triangles were the ones that turned out the best. Thanks for the inspiration Ashley (and if you don't know her blog, I encourage you to feast your eyes on her lovely posts which are often filled with beautiful pictures (including of her gorgeous girls))

Christmas cookies are so fun to make
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas or Happy Hanuka or simply, Happy Holidays. Thank you for your support and friendship this year, dear women.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Vitamin D and adoption are unrelated topics

I continue to sit at work with not much to do. Today, I have scoured etsy for last minute Christmas gifts, I have written emails to friends with whom I have not been in touch in a long time, and I have tried to read a very dry, but very relevant (but very dry) book on Learning Disabilities. I am struck by the contrast from my last job where 11-12 hours each day wasn't enough to get my work done. It's funny how it's so uncomfortable to have things out of balance, in either direction. I suspect I will be very  busy again before I know it.

So, while I have some time to spare, dear reader, let me entertain you with thoughts on disparate topics.

1) Vitamin D: If you have not come across Jay's blog at Stork Stalking, I strongly encourage you to check it out. Through reading her blogs and generous comments on my blog and others' blogs, I have come to appreciate the relevance of vitamin D in health related matters, not the least of which infertility. For a thorough explanation of the impact of vitamin D deficiency in infertility, start with her tab on the science of infertility and continue on by searching for through the vitamin D label. Jay has such a great ability to make complex scientific information accessible, and I feel very grateful for how willing she is to share her knowledge.
After reading some of the info on vitamin D deficiency, I started to supplement with 2000 iu per day. I thought it couldn't hurt. After about 2 months of this, and after my trip to Cuba in the sun, I visited my family doctor and asked her for labs, including vitamin D. Since I have osteopenia, she was all for it and sent me off to get this tested, along with the usual suspects (tsh, CBC, glucose, iron). The only thing that came up as low was, you guessed it, my vitamin D levels. I was advised to supplement with 1000 to 2000 iu per day, but I sometimes go up to 3000. And perhaps I should go higher. I have to say that I am hoping to improve my chances for the next round of treatments by making sure my D is in the happy zone.

2) Adoption: I have not given many updates on our adoption process here, so I thought I'd update you now. We did finish our home study in November and our social worker Gretchen said she would have the report done in January. We did the adoptive parent training intensive back in Sept/Oct. We are technically at the point of being a "family in waiting". Except that I have not signed us up with the agency or any licensee as of yet. I thought about doing that when Gretchen suggested we call up the agency and put our names on the list, but I think it's the wrong time right now. On one hand, I would like to put all our sticks in the fire and just see what happens. But on the other hand, it would mean that if the agency wanted to present us to birth parents, we would have to say no because we are in active treatment. And I think that knowing there are birth parents who could potentially chose us would really mess with my mind. Especially if the subsequent round of DE IVF failed. As awful as it is, I experience regret and guilt often in my life and I would find a way to regret and feel guilty for the fact that we said no to being presented. Can you see the mindfuck implications?

I still experience a conflict inside about the adoption versus the treatment route. I am and have always been very open about adoption as an option for creating our family. And I am and always have been wanting/hoping/praying to be pregnant one day.  

There is a very disentitled part of me that doesn't entirely believe we deserve the gift of pursuing treatment at a US clinic. Fortunately, there is another part of me that knows to take the gift simply because it is being presented to us, and to just be thankful. The disentitled part of me says that I should just accept my medical condition and stop trying to have science perform miracles by making me pregnant. (I know, that's quite a statement to make to a group of infertiles, but that's me, ready to shock at any hour). Move on and...wait for it... just adopt (you know I'm being sarcastic here). I realize that this makes adoption sound like the consolation prize, but that is not my point. My point is that there are babies being born from women who can conceive but cannot parent, and that I can parent but cannot conceive, so I should maybe focus on trying to parent such a baby, instead of insisting on defying the odds through a medical intervention.

But then, the 'what ifs' start bubbling up. I got pregnant last time, what if I were to get pregnant again? What if this time, I didn't have a miscarriage? What if by some miracle, I got the baby to term and we had a child through DE? Well, that would be swell (note the apt use of a euphemism).

And what is the advantage of DE over adoption for us? Well, we're not too concerned about whose genes reside in our child. Of course, we would like to avoid things like Huntington's or other such awful genetic diseases, but frankly, it doesn't make a huge difference for Mr. A or I to have our child share his genes or not. Not at this point in our journey. I know that might sound discrepant from your experiences, but that's where we are at. If the door to using your OE slams in your face, you orient towards other options. We want to be parents; that is our main priority. Then it should not make that big of a difference whether we focus on adoption or DE. The difference for me is that the pregnancy itself is a very important part. I want to be pregnant. I have had numerous dreams of being pregnant, I've always believed I would be pregnant and if there is any possibility that it will happen, I feel like I have to pursue it. I don't think it's better than adoption, I think it's just that all things being equal, I would prefer to start with our child from the very beginning.

And I know the pregnancy may never happen again. The 12 weeks we had last spring may be it. But it feels like I have to give it a good try. It doesn't put adoption off the table for us. We are thinking that a second child would come to us through adoption and it is something we both want.

I worry about this post and whether I've offended anyone in talking about where I'm at with all this. Please know that this was not intended to offend. It's just me working through all of my thoughts in writing. I think it's very tricky to straddle the ART and adoption worlds. People tend to be in one camp or the other (or one camp after the other might be more accurate). Yet, some of you straddle the two beautifully. I'm not there yet. I'm in the messy phase of sorting it all out.

Friday, December 16, 2011

the week after

Got through it fine. The date came and went. And now it's the week after the due date and I am trying to look forward.

We have scheduled our one-day intensive work up at the Gro.ve for Jan 6. We are flying out on the 5th and returning home by train on the 7th, much to Mr. A's delight (with a 45 min layover in Penn Station on Saturday morning, for New Yorkers who would like me to treat them to coffee). Honestly, I hate flying. I can do it wihtout having a panic attack (barely) but it really creates a lot of distress in me. I certainly was opposed to having to fly after an embryo transfer. What chance would that little peanut have with all quantities of cortisol thrown at it? While there will be no embryos transfered on this trip, we can practice the trips in and out as they will look like when we go for the transfer. Familiarity is our friend in this situation.

I am not sure what to expect. I am hopeful that all will go well and that we will like the team, but I must admit that it feels difficult to contemplate trusting another team. We have so much respect for our doctor in Ontario. It does help that the US doc and our doc know each other. My fear is that I will be treated like a number. For example, the whole question of taking lu.pron or another suppressor comes up in my head a lot. You will remember that I successfull argued against taking supre.fact during our first DE IVF cycle. I am concerned that taking a suppressor introduces too much noise in the equation for absolutely no benefit. There is nothing to suppress in my reproductive system. My pituitary gland is not sending down any LH or FSH. My ovaries most often cannot be visulazed on ultrasound. The Gro.ve doctor asked if my FSH was high, which is what any educated person would assume when seeing the diagnosis of premature ovarian failure. But I find that a poor diagnostic approximation for my condition. I have never ovulated. I will never ovulate. My body has never made gonadotropins. I know that's an abheration, but it's the hand I was delt. So when the doc insists on me having to take Lu.pron, not knowing how my body will respond to something it absolutely doesn't require for the procedure to be successful, I think I will have to put up a stink.

It's one thing to put up a stink with people you know, people who have treated you for years, people who already believe you are an educated and competent person. It's another thing to put up a stink with people who don't know you and might think you're a little bit spun. (which I am, really).

Anyway, I just broke my own rule by writing a blog post at work. But truth be told, I am underwhelmed at my new job and I don't have enough to do. So I feel justified.

How did it feel for you when you changed doctors and medical teams along your IF journey? Do you have any advice you think is important for me to know?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

the due date

According to one IVF site, my due date was December 6. According to the nurse in our program, it was December 8. Sandwiched in between, I thought I'd submit a post to register the nonevent. A miscarriage. Months that have gone by where I imagined myself at different stages of pregnancy. And now the week, the day(s) where briefly, it was expected that we would welcome a baby into the world.

I visited my beloved therapist today. I talked about a lot of crap, but each time he brought me back to what this is: the due date. I want to avoid it, I said. We all want to get away from our pain, don't we, but you told me when we booked the appointment that it was the day before the due date. You wanted me to remember. 

Yes, beloved therapist. Yes. Remind me. Don't let me run from my pain, from my own experience. It's not much, but it's all mine.

Yes, beloved therapist. I wanted you to hold it for me. It's so hard to hold it by myself.

I feel like I said goodbye to owlet in June. In a way, I do not picture owlet having lived. He didn't. It was final. Unequivocal. I feel like this grim anniversary is not just for the little life that could have been but wasn't. It's also a marker of our failure to become parents.

I feel sad about not being able to honour Sattva's gift. I know it's nothing I did or didn't do. I just wish it could have worked.


I won't stay in this grief forever. We are moving on to the next steps. But I know that I need to pause now and mark this due date before I move on with our story.