Friday, February 21, 2020

Still Processing

K was having the D&C at 11am today.

I took the rest of the week off for self care.

Tues evening was nice, we took D out for ice cream which ended up being our dinner which felt perfect. I also took a nice long bath and went to sleep with am.bien that evening.

Wed, I woke up at 4:30am, went for a 4 mile run at 7am, worked out of a coffee shop in the morning, had therapy at 1pm and then watched one of my fave shows and tried to nap. I then took D out to a kitty cafe which took 2 busses to get to, which is fun bc he loves public transportation. Turns out there was an age requirement for the cafe so we went to dinner nearby and took a bus, the metro and another bus home, so transportation was our entertainment for the evening.

Thurs, I met my pastor for a 2 hour coffee with my running clothes on so I could go for a 6 mile run home. I took the best bath then went to get a pedi and went back to the kitty cafe by myself and bought myself new running pants, and then walked 2 miles home.

Today has been a relaxing morning with D and his friend while our nanny had a docs appt and I'm going to go ice skating this afternoon. And tomorrow we are going to go as a family to a trampoline park.

I feel like I'm doing all the restorative, refueling and self care things I need to do.

I've been texting with K, with family and friends and it's all felt good. I posted on my surrogacy moms group and on my church's joys and concerns page. I feel incredibly supported.

And I feel somber. This just sucks. I really wanted this sibling for D. I was enjoying starting to picture him.

And at the same time, I feel that I've been so guarded that it just feels like another checkmark on the miscarriage list. What is this one? 13? 10 for me, 2 for N and 1 for K?

I've been through a lot already. And I am a mom. I have D. And I have all the things to be grateful for in this world.

A few days ago I turned in a Lenten devotional I wrote about how when something hard hits again I hope that I can still turn to God and feel grateful. And on Tues evening, I had to remember my own words. And on my run Wed morning, I did just that. I said, why, God? and I also said, thank you, God.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

We lost the baby

I can hardly believe it. I thought we had turned a corner with the genetic testing results and moving into the second trimester. I had just announced it at a company All Hands on Monday. I never expected this to happen.

Yesterday K had the first monthly check up and they couldn't find the heartbeat.

It seems unreal. I know I was having a hard time pivoting to the joy but I'm wondering now if there was a reason for that.

Apparently the baby was measuring normally so the heart stopped beating fairly recently. K is going to have a D&C (I can't imagine what that's like at 14.5 weeks) on Friday and they will do an autopsy. We thought we'd do that just in case it can glean anything for what D might have that hasn't been detected yet.

How does a fetus make it 14.5 weeks only to have this happen? We did genetic testing on the embryos and then on the fetus. I just don't get it.

And at the same time, I want to jump into adoption and tell someone to put a baby in my arms by August. We're so ready.

(And yet we're not. B definitely isn't and had me promise to not talk about it for two weeks. And logistically we'd need to move the way our rooms are configured to make it happen since D is not in a legal room right now. But anyway...)

I'm still just stunned. It's 5am and despite taking meds I can't sleep right now (I'll definitely nap this afternoon).

D won't have a biological sibling. His brother didn't make it.

And we'll be ok. Of course we will. But this isn't what we've been trying so hard for with him.

And how did he make it and the rest didn't? He was the first that worked right away and the 5 other embryos didn't. What a miracle that he did.

We came home early last night and took him out for ice cream for dinner. The best was when he got a big amount on his spoon and giggled really loudly as though surprised there could be that much ice cream on his spoon! It was super fun and just what we needed. (And then he threw up at the park, so fitting).

Where do we go from here? How do we process this?

I'm taking today off. I scheduled a 1pm therapy appt. I'm going to go for a run this morning. And I'm not going to work today and potentially the rest of the week. At least not in person. I don't want to interact with others.

D is such a miracle to us. We just wanted him to have a miracle sibling too.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

We Are Having a Healthy Baby!!!

I can hardly believe it. We're having a healthy baby!!!

The genetic test results came in yesterday and they are normal.

Big breath, sigh of relief, tears from B. It really feels unreal. Surreal.

My dreams are coming true!!!!!

I knew it was irrational for me to have to wait for this test after our embryos had been PGS tested but I've just been through too much and just needed that extra validation.

(All of that plus seeing the video of the baby at 10 weeks and having this test happen so late was causing me such anxiety as to what would happen if something were to show up in the results... I've needed lots of and am.bien these last couple of weeks).

But we're here now and holy moly, D is going to be a big brother!!!

Seriously, after all we've been through and after all the emotional work I did in the fall thinking that the last embryo would likely not work after 4 past failed attempts, I really can't believe we are here and having a baby around August 14.

It's hard to describe but pivoting from this isn't happening for us to it is happening for us is weird, an amazing weird, but still very weird.

Like I got used to thinking not everything happens for everyone and being super ok with that, knowing that B, D and I would have an amazing life together and that that was enough.

But now the universe is telling me ALL my dreams are coming true? That we will have a second biological child? That just seems like a HUGE amount of icing on the cake...

(Though my therapist would argue all of our dreams are NOT coming true - this is NOT the way we wanted our family planning to go, I've had to mourn the loss of not having a biological girl AND I had always wanted 3 kids).

But wow - having two biological kids.... AFTER everything we've been through???? That IS amazing. It's incredible. It IS all my dreams coming true. It feels like I won the lottery, like I'm on top of a mountain, like having so much sugar stuffed in my mouth, like love exploding from my heart, like I somehow don't deserve it when not everyone's dreams come true.

It's such a complicated feeling... that I am grateful to experience.

And I'm so ready for my therapy sessions to be about pivoting to the joy now.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Heartbeat for Embryo Transfer #3!!!

Oh man... so I didn't write about the last 2 weeks and how anxiety-producing they were...

Her beta was on Mon, Dec 9 and she was at 439 at 13 dpt then at 918 on Wed, Dec 11. They wanted her to re-test again on Friday since the doubling was right around 100% (which I didn't understand bc I always thought they looked for at least 60%). The nurse told me that our doctor thought 100% doubling is on the low side...

So she tested again on Fri, Dec 13 and it was 1968, still doubling but she basically told us that it's a slow rise and they are concerned about ectopic pregnancy or a smaller than expected pregnancy or "best case scenario everything is normal".

So, that was unsettling to say the least. I fully expected her to bleed by 5-5 1/2 weeks as N had and as I had, so the next week (last week) was SUPER anxiety-filled. I think I took am.bien every night and took higher dosing of my anti-anxiety meds.

I bought my flight on Tues to be there for the ultrasound on 12/23 (yesterday) which the nurse again said 'we'd see where the placement of the pregnancy was' not 'the heartbeat', so.... I was preparing for bad news.

And it didn't help that B and I didn't really get a chance to talk that whole weekend of the 13th-15th because we had a house guest (a friend that was super fun) and a wedding we went to with other people (which was also super fun).

I am glad I had a lot of good distractions... BUT we did get into a fight/two fights on that Sun when getting ready for a holiday party. Yes, we were worn out, and stressed, an emotional, and it wasn't good. Thankfully we were able to quickly recover but I still feel really bad about how much I yelled that day.

I went down to NC on Sat evening. K picked me up from the airport and it was good to get time with her in the car. I got to hug my niece and nephew before bedtime and then K and R stayed up for about an hour chatting which was also good.

R is a pastor and we stayed for 2 services on Sunday morning and his sermon was JUST what I needed to hear. It was truly beautiful and turns out he didn't even change any of it based on our convo Sat evening. How amazing is that!

I had a great time with the kids. It was nice to be with them without the whole family. The boy loves to cuddle and I just love playing with my niece's hair and her personality and I just think she's the cutest!

K and I took naps and had a lazy Sunday afternoon, then went out as a family for a fun dinner and some unexpected fun shopping.

I DID NOT sleep well AT ALL on Sun night. Our appt was Monday morning at 9am. Thank goodness it was that early and we didn't need to wait longer.

When we got called back, we told the technician that we were expecting bad news for her to not feel badly delivering it. And if it was to be good news to be gentle about it bc we didn't think we could take a big hoopla.

And holy moly if I didn't see that heartbeat right before she said it. And I already started to cry and then super uncontrollably in my hands. I really couldn't believe it. My little A was in there. (At least I'm hoping we can call it little A). Man. Man oh man. No words can explain this.

K was crying too. It took me awhile to pull myself together.

The tech said that it was a strong heartbeat - 142 beats per min. They look for over 80 and anything over 100 is good.

Yay! Maybe this little one will stick!

And you know, all that stuff about getting over that it wasn't a girl? It was amazing to me how much I kept saying, my little boy is in there. He made it! He's measuring 6w2d now. :)

Now, let's just keep our fingers and toes crossed. I want to believe in this so so badly.

(And I also know I'll be ok if it doesn't work).

But both B and I feel more confident now. We hadn't made it past this point since L and we hope that means it's a really good sign.

Best Christmas present ever!

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Embryo Transfer #3 Positive (So Far)

Yes! We had our 3rd embryo-transfer with our sister-in-law, K, last week, on Nov 27th, which would've been B's parents' 50th wedding anniversary (his father passed away 30 years ago), so we were hoping this date would bring us some good luck.

I was really nervous. I didn't want to make too big a deal about it.

I had been to counseling lots pre-grieving the loss of this last attempt, this last embryo, so I was very weary.

And K and I had a nice ride to the clinic talking about all of that. I'm glad it's so easy for she and I to talk about it and understand and be on the same page.

But I did get her special socks (and wrote her a special card) and I got the socks to match mine which were a gift from an infertility warrior friend. Cute, huh?

We had a nice Thanksgiving together and on the day she left she said, watch this one be the one that works because I don't feel anything... ok.

By Sunday and Monday nights, I wasn't sleeping well. My anxiety was much higher than normal. And then luckily, she texted me this on Tues morning:

Whoa is right! I wasn't even expecting her to test until Wed, which is early. Tues was Day 7!!!

So I felt super joyous all morning long and texted my closest people about it!

And then by afternoon, the PTSD was back. The 'be cautious, we've been here before... will she start bleeding at 5 1/2 weeks like the other ones... let's not get too ahead of ourselves...'

But it's really a rollercoaster because then the joyous feelings come back, and then PTSD again and so on.

One evening this week, I even allowed ourselves to talk about names. And I let myself say out loud "I wonder if he'll look like D or if he'll look completely different..."

And it was kinda fun.

And I decided to let myself because really, when I thought about it, if this doesn't work, it's not like it's going to hurt more if I let myself feel the joyous parts of it. 

Counseling helped this week too. She told me I was doing a good job. And that felt good to hear because I think I am too. 

I knew this would be extra stressful with the holidays and I also knew I didn't want the stress of the holidays get to me, especially with this in the background/foreground, and I wanted to actually enjoy the fun parts about the holidays so this is what I've done/am doing:
  • I got all our major Christmas gift shopping done AND wrapped by Nov 30. So much so that when my best friend, J, gave me an idea for her son on Dec 2, I said, nope, I'm done! Give that idea to someone else. ;)
  • I decided which of the events really mattered to me and decided to prioritize them (my friend's open house even though it's 45 mins away and J's holiday party)
  • I decided to have a good attitude about the 'musts' - family bdays squeezed in there, both office holiday parties, and a wedding (!!!)
  • I decided to do no sugar/no processed foods so I don't feel gross (though at the first event of the month last night, I decided to have dessert at the end of the night; I had gotten my period that day and there were no healthy options out and I decided I could make an exception and not be that hard on myself!)
  • I'm also enjoying time with D. The other night, we were behind schedule for dinner and bedtime because we decided to work on the puzzle box and had so much fun playing puzzles that I let ourselves indulge in that.
  • And I'm enjoying and very energizing by the work stuff going on right now
So, I feel like I'm focusing on all the right things and controlling what I can and being gentle on the things I can't.

Beta is Monday and heartbeat would be on Mon, Dec 23! Next counseling appt is the week of Dec 16.

And now I must get ready for one of the fun holiday events today!

Keeping fingers, toes and everything else crossed. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Last Embryo Transfer Next Week

This is it.

Our last embryo... the transfer is one week from today.

It's been a whirlwind of complicated feelings, a lot of processing the 'what if' and a lot of thinking through what's next if it doesn't work.

I had a big cry Monday night after seeing my psychiatrist and I see my psychologist tomorrow. Scheduled that one on purpose. I knew a week out I'd likely be super anxious.

I just really can't believe that we are here.

Three years ago, no FOUR years ago, I produced 6 viable embryos. And then D happened. And thank goodness. I don't think I would've been able to make it this far if he hadn't worked early on. And I thank God that it worked on the first try to spare me anymore (in)suffrable pain.

And I kept wondering what I'd ever do with leftover embryos. How hard that would be...

I feel like the universe is either doing me a favor by not letting me experience that or it's a cruel joke.

I just never thought that after it worked so well with D that it wouldn't work so quickly again the next time or two we tried. I thought we had cracked the nut on the 10 years of why it wasn't working with me.

And to think that N had two miscarriages and that K had two negative results so far... it just doesn't seem possible with D right next to us, happy and healthy.

So, this is it. In less than 3 weeks we'll know whether D will have a biological sibling or not.

And if it's not, then we'll need to figure out what's next. And I've been all over the place on it:

  • Adoption - at first I was all gung-ho on this. I needed a Plan B (or is it Plan E? F? G?) and it made me feel better to think about keeping on going. To feel hopeful about something else.
  • Donor Egg - then I thought, well, if I could be open to adoption, why couldn't I be open to donor egg (something that I was adamantly against a few years ago, so much so that we moved to surrogacy). But suddenly I was open to it and even got access to the donor bank on our clinic's website and started imagining this becoming a reality for us. 
  • Family of 3 - and then I thought, I don't know if I have the energy to continue on with this and maybe there is some relief in sight with just being done and being happy for what we have, which is a lot.
I also think that if this next one doesn't work, it will feel like such a blow, such a crushing ending to my dreams that I will need some time and space to process and grieve it before deciding anything else.

So while I'm sitting with option #3 right now, as much as I want a sibling for D for him to have now, growing up, and for him to not be alone later on, and for us to experience having more than one child in our family, I also recognize that raising a child/children is a lot of work and that being able to fill our own cups takes time and putting energy into our marriage also takes time and that adding to our family will make all of that all the more challenging (and something we've known and would be ok with) but that putting an end to all of this, which has been 12 years now, feels like it could be the best decision. Relief in sight feels right at the moment.

Of course we are keeping everything crossed, praying and putting the most positive vibes out there. There is nothing I want more than for this to work. And hopefully it will. And if it doesn't, I need to know that I can peacefully move on and focus on being happy without balancing happiness and hope anymore. It's been exhausting. It's been 'worth it' and I'd also like to just be at peace.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Transfer #2 to Surrogate #3 - Dreams Shattered

...or this one can be called my son worked on the first try and then we've had 4 in a row failures.

The last two resulted in BFNs with K and we just can't understand why. Why is it that our son worked on the very first try with our first surrogate and then we had two miscarriages/biochemicals with surrogate #2 and two BFNs with surrogate #3?

And the thing that is the most painful for me right now that only my husband and I shared because we wanted it to be special... is that those were ALL girls.

My dream of having a biological girl isn't going to come true.

And that's super hard to sit with.

Especially when I thought that for sure it would work after D was born and we learned we had FOUR girl embryos - AND that they were the highest quality embryos.


I even went so far as to think up a ludicrous dream - that I'd get my 3 kids that I'd been dreaming of since I was 19, since I realized I loved the dynamics of my best friend's family and my college roommate's family that had three.

I thought, maybe, just maybe, the embryo will split and then we'd have healthy twin girls and then the names we'd picked out, named after our grandmothers and that are so, so meaningful to us, well, we wouldn't have to choose. It would be perfect.

Leela Lucille
Adrienne Frances

Man, it hurts to even write that out. We kept calling "her" LLB (B is my husband's last name). And now LLB won't be. :(

I'm sad and I'm angry.

And I want to do something with those names but I'm not sure what. Maybe paint their names (or initials) on flat rocks and put them in our garden, or bury them in our yard, or put them in our nearby creek... or make wall hangings with their names to commemorate them somehow, I don't know. (And maybe I need to move past this immediate pain before I can figure that out, or maybe doing something will help me move through that pain...).

As soon as the third day of home tests were negative, I knew I just needed to cry. And I know my mom just can't be there for me in that way. She means well but I get a lot of platitudes from her, from most people, which is why I often can't share bad news with most people until a few days later because I don't want to hear that stuff. It's too hard. It invalidates my feelings.

Of course I know how lucky I am to have D and of course I'm hoping the next one will work and of course I know there are other ways to have babies and I know gender doesn't/shouldn't matter and I know EVERYTHING else is going well in my life right now. And I don't take ANY of it for granted. But PLEASE can I just have this one feeling? This ONE feeling of extreme disappointment of a dream not coming true??? We had 2 boys and 4 girls - surely ONE of those girls was going to work????

So I texted my best friend and I told her I needed time with her that day to just cry on her shoulder. I needed her to be my mom. And she showed up. She showed up in a big way. I came home early from work, we went up to my room. She sat on my bed. I laid in her lap and just bawled it out. I told her about the girls. And about all my hurt and disappointment. She stroked my hair, she listened, she repeated what I was saying, was empathetic and prayed with and for me. It was beautiful and exactly what I needed. I hadn't balled that much in a really long time. That deep, deep, uncontrollable despairing, ugly bawl.

I felt a big relief after that and then the next day at therapy, she picked up on my anger which I didn't realize was in there. So that was helpful too.

And then Sat night when my husband and I could steal an hour, I cried and cried in his arms too.

It just sucks. It sucks so badly.

And here's the stupid picture that we have gotten countless times that I'm so dubious of. "Good luck with the cycle!" they say enthusiastically. Yeah, do you have any idea how many times this hasn't worked for us??? SO MANY. TOO MANY.

I swear I've kept thinking that maybe the universe just didn't want me to be a girl mom. That I wasn't capable. That I'd repeat mom/daughter cycles. That it would be sparing me that other down the line pain.

And I'd consoled myself earlier on that if this didn't work and the boy did, well, at least I could revisit all of D's cute clothes that I've stored away. And yes, of course, that would be great. But it's also not consoling me right now. It will... IF we are lucky enough to have the next cycle work, but right now it's not.

And speaking of the next cycle, that's part of what is so hard with this... after two failed cycles, how do you even get hopeful about a third?? How do you not think maybe we won't be able to have a biological sibling for our child after all?

And then if I still feel this tugging away at me, how do I convince my husband to move to adoption when we are in debt, major debt with what will be 5 tries with 2 surrogates for D's sibling???

I really wanted that girl...