Finally.

I still can’t believe it, but I am finally a mom.

My daughter was born on February 16th at 39 weeks exactly. I worried right up until I walked into the hospital whether or not she’d make it here safe and sound. But she did, and the dream of being a parent which has driven me through the past 4 years of infertiltiy hell, has finally come true.

At 6:00 AM on February 16th I walked into the hospital with my husband and doula for my scheduled cesarean section. I sat calmly in the waiting room as I was admitted and enjoyed the last of my baby’s kicks inside my stomach.

The nerves set in as we were walked upstairs to triage for pre-op. I changed into a gown and sat on the bed. I chatted with my husband and doula as the nurse took my vitals, listened to baby’s heartbeat, and administered my IV. We kept the conversation light and they kept me calm and lighthearted which helped my nerves tremendously. I felt calm and ready. The big red digital clock on the wall was constantly in my line of vision as I watched it edge closer to 7:30, my scheduled surgery time.

Finally, it was time. I felt like I was in a dream as I was handed a cap and walked back into the OR. The doors swung open and the lights of the OR were blindingly bright, just like in the movies. I was taken aback by how many doctors and hospital staff were in there, busy preparing for the surgery. I was instructed to hop up on the table so they could administer my spinal and it was at precisely this moment that my nerves went into overdrive.

I sat on the table, wordlessly, shaking from both anticipation and fear. I barely noticed the sting of the needle as I leaned forward and the medication was inserted into my back to numb me for the surgery. I wondered briefly how it would make me feel, and within seconds the entire lower half of my body felt like it had fallen asleep. I was laid down on the table and began to panic internally. What if the medication wasn’t strong enough and I could feel them cut into me? I wanted to ask for a few minutes to collect myself, but didn’t want them to think I was weak or scared.

The anesthesiologist was all business and explained that he was going to poke me with what felt like a thumbtack to assess how numb I was.  He sounded like he had done this a million times, which was comforting. When you have your abdomen cut open you want an anesthesiologist who comes with lots of experience and confidence! As he poked me he asked to what degree I could feel it. I prayed I wouldn’t get the answer wrong as I feared it might lead him to not give me enough medications to sufficiently numb me.

Suddenly, it was go time. The drape went up and I had an overwhelming feeling of This is really happening. Like, right now. There is no turning back. 

My memory from that moment is spotty but I recall finally seeing my husband come into the OR and sit behind the drape right by my head. I asked him if they were almost ready to start the surgery, as I had felt pressure on my stomach for a while now and assumed it was the doctor cleaning and prepping me. My husband told me that they had already began and were well into the procedure, which surprised me more than it should have. From that moment on I became acutely aware that all of the pressure and tugging I felt was, well, my abdomen and uterus being cut into. It was a sickening feeling and left me very unsettled.

The tugging and pressure increased and I heard my husband say they were getting close to pulling the baby out. All of a sudden, the anesthesiologist grabbed my husbands shoulders and told him to stand up so he could see the baby being born and announce the sex.

“It’s a girl!”

I couldn’t believe it. My baby was here, finally she had joined us, safe and sound. And she was a girl! There had been no doubt in my mind for 9 months that it was going to be a boy. I began to cry. I heard her first cry, and the tears rolled down my face faster. My husband kissed me and I felt like I was in a dream. I was listening to my own child cry. Of the thousands of babies I’d heard cry throughout my life, nothing sounds like the first cry from your own child.

They cleaned her up, weighed her, (9 lb 10 oz!) and brought her behind the drape. I kissed her head. I’m a mom. Finally. This is my daughter.

She is two weeks old today and it feels both like I’ve never known life without her, and at the same time, I still can’t believe she’s here and she’s ours. If given the choice I would never want to suffer through those years of infertility, but with her birth it all made more sense. She is who we were waiting for and working towards all that time. And I can say that she was absolutely worth the wait.

Betas

Well, my FET was officially a success (so far), as confirmed by bloodwork this past Thursday. At 9dp5dt, my beta came in at 233.  This is by far the best beta I’ve ever had.  In my previous 3 chemical pregnancies, I never really even got out of the teens for my first betas.  For my blighted ovum,  I was at 86 at 16dpo.  I was thrilled for a few hours, but then anxiety set in.  One strong beta didn’t mean much, I told myself.  I started to get a horrible gut feeling that the number would drop for the second blood draw and that would be that.

I got my second blood draw Saturday morning and was a wreck all day waiting for the results. I sat at my kitchen table for hours, staring at my phone, not even able to move. Finally, by late afternoon I got the call that my numbers at 11dp5dt had increased to 599 – Just about a 36 hour doubling time, which is great.

Since getting that news yesterday I’ve started to feel a little more confident, but I am still terrified. I believe the odds of this working out are pretty good, but after three years of falling on the wrong side of the statistics (recurrent losses…a loss with a PGS normal embryo…etc.), I am conditioned to believe that I will always be that one in a million who gets a bad hand.

I have felt so much more anxiety in the past few days than I ever thought I would.  I always believed the past three years that once I got great looking betas I would just “know” it was a good pregnancy and could relax.  That is not the case at all.  I am terrified that I am going to end up blindsided and something bad will happen. After everything I have been through in this journey, it feels impossible to believe that all of a sudden I woke up one day, my transfer was successful, and I am really truly finally pregnant.

I have one more beta scheduled for next Friday, 5 days away. It is going to be a really tough week but I think the best I can do is keep myself preoccupied and just try the best I can to relax.  These 5 days are going to pass no matter what, so I might as well not torture myself in the meantime.

7dp5dt

I meant to document more throughout this FET and it completely fell by the wayside.  I think I maybe have been too nervous to document another failure.

My transfer day was really special.  My doctor was not scheduled to do any transfers that day, but he wanted to do ours so he made a special exception.  I keep joking with my husband about being VIP’s there. He says its not exactly the place he wants to be a VIP, but I feel like at least it makes things more pleasant!

Anyway.  The day after transfer I lounged most of the day, and my husband gave me a sweet card and got my favorite foods. Basically every day since then has been an emotional rollercoaster of me thinking it worked one second, then convinced it didn’t the next second.

Originally I had planned to take a home pregnancy test only the morning of my blood test, but this morning (7dp5dt, 2 days before beta), I changed my mind. I could not wait any longer.  The second my husband left for work, I took the one and only test we have in the house.

If I did not have the history that I do of multiple miscarriages (including a PGS normal embryo!), then I think I would have been happy with the result this morning. It was a solid line, and certainly much better of a line than I’ve ever had this early on.  And I did feel elated, for the briefest second.  Then immediately I started worrying again that this will turn out to be another chemical pregnancy like my first FET. And now I’ve basically been paralyzed with fear all morning.  I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to take another test tomorrow.  What if everything is fine but the test doesnt look any darker? I’ll spend the whole day having a meltdown. I think I might just want to live in ignorant and hopeful bliss until I get my blood results.

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FET #3 has begun

After delaying this FET twice earlier in the year, somehow it is already time to get it started. Two weeks ago I started Lupron and had my endometrial scratch done (ouch), and last week was my baseline appointment.

The transfer is set for June 7th. Almost exactly one year after my beta for my first transfer, which ended in a chemical pregnancy. For almost every medicated/IVF cycle I’ve had in the past three years, I’ve looked for signs that the universe would align and I’d finally get pregnant with my take-home baby. Surely I would have thought that my transfer being on almost the exact date of my beta last year was some kind of sign. But, I no longer believe in signs. Or any kind of infertility serendipity.  It just is what it is.

I have mixed feelings about this cycle. I certainly don’t have the excitement and hope that I felt with my first FET last year, because I know realistically now the odds of it working are slim.  I’m sure there is still a tiny shred of hope deep down inside me somewhere, otherwise why would I still be doing this? I mostly feel dread and anxiety. Infertility is so much easier when you are between treatments and just living with the dull ache of childlessness day to day. The acute pain of facing another failed treatment is so much harder, and that is what fills me with dread.

As always, we have a plan for what we will do next should this transfer fail, which always helps me  feel a little better.

 

Bad Day

Almost two years ago, after a few too many surprise pregnancy announcements, I deactivated my Facebook account.  Periodically, when I’m feeling brave (or nosey) I’ll go back on and see what so many of the people I’ve lost touch with are up to.

Today, I was curious to see if any of the hundreds of people I follow on Facebook posted anything about National Infertility Awareness Week.  There are so many people on social media portraying perfect lives that, although I don’t want anyone else to suffer, it would be comforting to know that someone else out there is fighting the same battle.

I should have known it would be a bad idea.  I got sucked into a rabbit hole of looking at profile after profile.  So many women I used to be close with are now on their second or third child.  Women who got married after I did.  I feel like I’ve blinked and lost three years of my life. For my own sanity, I usually try not to compare my life to other people’s lives. But today I couldn’t help it, looking at the perfect family moments and photos that everyone else gets to have. The pain takes my breath away sometimes, when I realize that everyone else is able, with relative ease, to have the family they always dreamed of, and I am still so broken and alone.

I have learned to cope – not perfectly, but better than before – with the pain of failed cycles.  And the strain infertility imposes on our marriage, finances, social life… The list goes on.  But the loss of control over achieving my goals and dreams is something that haunts me regularly. No woman should have the ability to build a family taken away from her.  To have to sit by and watch what feels like everyone in the world create what you want so desperately. We are always told that life isn’t fair, and there is nothing like infertility to remind us how true that really is.

 

New FET Timeline

So, my FET is pushed back an extra month.  This is by design on my end.

I realized shortly after my last post that the revised timeline after the endo scratch timing snafu would have me transferring in late May.  After giving it some thought, I decided I was not comfortable with this timeline, as I have debilitating seasonal allergies every May. Logically I know there is probably nothing legitimate to support this thought process, but I have fears that transferring at the height of my allergy attack would cause some type of immune reaction that would kill my embryos. I just don’t want to do anything that would cause me to think “what if”, if the transfer fails.

So, I decided to tack on an extra month of birth control for a tentative June transfer. Next week I start the last pack of birth control and will touch base with my doctor to reschedule the endometrial scratch, and determine a time frame to get back on Lupron (goody!) for FET prep.

In the meantime I’ve decided I have had enough of being bloated, lazy and depressed.  So I’ve revamped my diet (no more Ben & Jerry’s!) and started a workout program. I am a couple weeks in and can already see slight progress in my body. Even better, I feel healthier and happier than I have in months!

Delayed.

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My FET is officially delayed.  I have spent the last month on a combination of birth control + Lupron (pure hell, in my opinion), only for CD1 to arrive 3 days before my scheduled endometrial scratch.  I cannot do the scratch once a new cycle starts as its too late by that point, so now I have to start the entire thing over again.  Another 3 weeks of birth control, then add back in Satan’s juice – I’m sorry, I mean Lupron – and go in mid-April for the scratch, take two.

I am not devastated or anything by the delay itself because frankly I am in no rush to face what I assume will be another failed transfer.  However, I have really been suffering on this bcp/Lupron combination – It has made me so damn FAT and bloated. Not to mention depressed. Like, catatonic depressed.  I think I barely spoke last week, I mostly just cried.  And I usually handle side effects pretty well.

Anyway, now it’s looking like my transfer will be sometime in May, assuming there are no more roadblocks.  At the end of the day I am fine waiting longer and struggling some more with the meds if at least means I won’t blame myself for skipping the scratch or doing it at the wrong time if/when this next transfer fails.

Obviously I am in a very negative and pessimistic place right now, so maybe I’ll make use of this extra time by trying to regain a small shred of optimism.